Spruce up on Beechwood
The Kroger grocery store at Beechwood and Kavanaugh in Hillcrest will close Jan. 30 for an estimated 36 weeks for a total remodel, store representatives reported at a Hillcrest Residents Association meeting this week.
The store will be gutted and remodeled and feature a new facade. The footprint of the store, and parking, will remain the same. Hank Bates, head of the HRA, said the new store will feature a Fresh Fare section and offer more prepared meals. Kroger's pharmacy will not close, Bates said, but will be relocated to a trailer on-site while the store is being remodeled. To open up parking at the Kroger on Cantrell in the Heights, that store's employees will be shuttled from a car park in Riverdale.
Do as we say
Max Brantley's column this week is about growing taxpayer and public utility subsidies for the private Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce's economic development team. The chamber and the city of Little Rock have refused the Times' Freedom of Information Act request for specifics on line-item spending of the city's $200,000 contribution.
The hypocrisy is clear enough. The chamber's website criticizes taxes and government regulation. Its political positions include opposition to health reform that isn't employer based.
The limited information provided by the chamber to the city shows that public sources — Little Rock, UALR, Central Arkansas Water and the Wastewater Utility — are subsidizing roughly a third of the $23,000 worth of group health insurance for chamber employees. The chamber does not want the government to subsidize YOUR health insurance, however.
By the way: North Little Rock subsidizes the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in similar fashion — $250,000 this year. The same amount is budgeted next year. Like Little Rock, North Little Rock is cutting services and jobs next year, but not chamber subsidies.
Wanted: true grit
The fabled Coen brothers are remaking “True Grit,” the Paramount Pictures movie based on Arkansan Charles Portis' novel and they are seeking a gritty young girl for the part of Mattie Ross, who searches for the killer of her father.
A casting call will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Peabody Hotel for girls aged 12 to 16. No experience is necessary. Says a news release: “We are looking for a girl who's tough, strong and tells it like it is.”
After a recent casting call in Memphis, one Little Rock girl has been invited for a full day of work with casting director Rachel Tenner.