Friends of George Allen — a 66-year-old Vietnam vet identified by police as a suspect in the pellet sniper case in which someone took hundreds of potshots at the car and dog of a neighbor of the Parris Towers low-income housing project — say that Allen has disappeared into the local hospital system and they can't find him.
Allen apparently suffered a head injury soon after being evicted from Parris Towers on Aug.10. Friends say they were told he fell off a barstool and hit his head while drinking at the North Little Rock tavern, The Forge. According to the bartender, Allen's car is still there in the parking lot. Soon after Allen was injured, police identified him as a suspect in the Parris Towers case.
Paul Myrick, a friend of Allen's, said that he has been trying to get more information about Allen's whereabouts since. He and another friend located Allen while he was at UAMS, and visited him there. At the time, Allen was in bad shape, Myrick said, with a large flap of skin over his ear held together by staples. When Allen was transferred from a North Little Rock hospital to UAMS, the only personal effects that came with him were a pair of boots.
"He didn't know who we were," Myrick said. "We tried to tell him who we were, and he was out of his head, stringing words together that didn't really make any sense."
Soon after that visit, Allen was transferred elsewhere, and now Myrick says his friends can't locate him. The Little Rock VA hospital told Myrick the former Marine is not there, and other hospitals and nursing homes won't give out information to non-relatives, citing confidentiality laws.
Myrick said that he had been told by an officer with the Little Rock Police Department that even they don't know where Allen is. Called for comment, however, Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said Allen is in a local nursing facility with "severe brain damage" and not expected to survive. Hastings refused to name the facility.
Myrick said he isn't giving up on trying to find Allen, but isn't surprised his friend is in a nursing home. "He's gotta be," he said. "Somebody's gotta be taking care of him because he couldn't even feed himself. That's the sad thing."
Harding says no to Komen
The bookstore at Harding University in Searcy has pulled merchandise that includes the Susan G. Komen Foundation logo because a student complained that Komen makes grants to Planned Parenthood.
Komen grants fund women's health services like mammograms, but not abortion, but the student wasn't making the distinction and went to a dean to protest. The Christian school's vice president of finance, Mel Sansom, made the decision to pull all Komen-stamped products, which included mugs and picture frames, from the store inventory.
An employee at the bookstore declined to comment except to say that pulling the products "was not our choice."
Harding spokesman Heather Williams said she was not given a reason by Sansom for the decision and that he would not speak to the public about it. Williams said she did not know if there would now be a school policy on what could be sold at the bookstore.
Harding has sent teams to the Komen Foundation's "Race for the Cure" events in the past. Williams said the school was "very much in support" of the fight against breast cancer.
Shaggy dog story
Ernest Dumas' column this week relates the convergence of a couple of mail-order doctorates awarded to Clinton residents, one the bulldog of Dr. Ben Mays, a vet who sits on the state Board of Education. Mays paid $549 for a Ph.D. for his dog, Dr. Maxwell Sniffingwell, in theriogenology, or animal reproduction. Sniffingwell's letter of application bears selective quotation:
"...I have come to believe that I have a natural ability in theriogenology, especially in the field of canine reproduction where my successes are well documented with the American Kennel Club. I have done some experimental field work with felines. However these studies, while highly insightful, have served primarily to underscore the scientific value of postulations gone bad, and led to my somewhat reluctant realization that my talents and natural inclinations are best suited for canine reproduction. Also since my employer is a pet doctor, I have experienced only limited exposure to the ins and outs of farm animal breeding services. So in my chosen field of theriogenology, which of course includes all animals, as much as I would like to just 'do them all,' I've come to understand the prudence of specialization. ..."