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Ritzy bars

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Evidence is emerging that the quantity and quality of contraband found in a horse barn at Tucker maximum security prison on March 10 might be more extensive — and potentially dangerous — than what was first reported by the Arkansas Department of Correc-tion.

ADC spokesperson Dina Tyler confirmed that in addition to a large amount of meat, vegetables and canned goods found in the barn, a false-floorboard stash was discovered in the hayloft containing around 700 pouches of rolling tobacco, several hundred dollars in cur-rency and a working cell phone. Tyler said that a tip that they’d find drugs there, too, turned out to be false.
Tyler said that investigators believe that the tobacco and food caches came from different sources, and that inmates had to have help from prison employees to get it into the prison. While providing an inmate with contraband such as food or tobacco is a Class D Felony, smug-gling a cell phone into a state prison — due to its value during an escape attempt or other illegal activity — is a more serious Class C Fel-ony.

Tyler said that while the report on the seizure is not complete, the investigation has confirmed that ADC employees have eaten the contraband food in the past, “both knowingly and most unknowingly,” adding that some employees could have eaten the food at prison potlucks or cookouts.

While she said the ADC does occasionally find hidden troves of tobacco and other items, the horse barn stash was one of the biggest ever discovered. “Obviously, you’re going to have to have some help to get that much food into a facility,” she said. Tyler said a soon-to-be-completed report will be turned over to the State Police for further action.


Trouble on the right

Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential run is already encountering opposition — from fellow Republicans.

National Journal’s Hotline blog this week reported that the Arkansas Republican Assembly, a state affiliate of the national con-servative organization, is distributing information to show that Huckabee has raised taxes numerous times.

At the same time, the Club for Growth, a vigorous supply-side activist group that counts local financier Steve Stephens as a board member, is even more direct about its desire to derail Huckabee’s presidential chances.

“I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs ... about Huckabee’s poor record on taxes,” Andy Roth, the Club for Growth’s direc-tor of federal affairs, told Hotline. “Just so you know, if Huckabee continues to get good press, I’m only going to get louder. Republi-cans shouldn’t be [electing] a tax hiker as president.”

Big screen credit

If you can’t plug your pals, who can you plug? So here we plug again Little Rock native and former Times intern Ashlie Atkinson, the New York actress, who has a nice part in “Inside Man,” the hot Spike Lee bank job film starring Denzel Washington.

Atkinson plays a mobile police command officer. It’s no bit part. She gets a lot of screen time, plenty of lines and top stars, including Ash-lie, get full-screen photo credits before the usual smaller credits.














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