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The Insider, June 17

DOGGIE SEE, DOGGIE DO: What doo you see?
  • DOGGIE SEE, DOGGIE DO: What doo you see?

Dog gone

Our Arkansas Blog last week confirmed that there'd been a movement of Riverfront Park statuary on account of a disagreement on interpretation of the sculpture.

Mark Webre, deputy Little Rock parks director, said that a sculpture of a crouching Labrador retriever, poised to spring into water in pursuit of waterfowl, had been moved farther from the rear of the Peabody Hotel. In its original location, the dog often found itself amid wedding and other parties with snapping cameras.

The problem: Too many people took the dog's pose to be that of an animal preparing to deposit something, not retrieve. See photo.

"The Peabody Hotel and a lot of people who were doing wedding parties down there thought the dog was doing something else," Webre said. "Labrador guys with dogs who retrieve were all really impressed and inspired by that sculpture. But those who didn't understand the retrieving aspects of a Labrador saw it another way."

Leadership rumors

State Rep. Robert Moore won't take his place as House speaker until the 2011 session, but we hear that he's at work figuring who he'll tap for committee chairmanships, the big prize of the speaker's power.

Here's one interesting report: State Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock, who'll be in her final term in the House, is said to be in line to be the House co-chair of the powerful Joint Budget Committee.

Fighting words

Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Keet ruffled some feathers during last Saturday's Pink Tomato Festival in Warren.

Come time for the annual tomato-eating contest, Keet introduced himself by saying, according to state Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, that he was the only gubernatorial candidate with the guts to show up. Gov. Mike Beebe had participated in the parade earlier and had planned to spend the day in Warren, but the flash flooding and deaths on the Little Missouri River forced

his early departure for a tour of the flood area and a news conference with officials working on the search for bodies.

Jeffress had explained the governor's absence earlier and he said Keet's remark drew a "gasp" from the crowd, along with a smattering of applause from Republican partisans.

At the Pink Tomato luncheon later, Jeffress said, "I gave greetings on behalf of the governor. I wanted everybody to know the governor was off doing the business of the state of Arkansas and everyone thought it was the right thing for him to do. I said when he's re-elected he'll be at the tomato eating contest next year."

Justice-elect to divorce

A divorce action was filed Monday in Washington Circuit Court to end the 14-year marriage of Mark Henry and Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Courtney Henry, recently elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Mark Henry is the plaintiff in the divorce suit. I don't have a copy of the filing, but the judge said it cites the boilerplate general indignities language often used in divorce suits. Judge Henry said all issues in the case had been worked out. She said the agreement, yet to be ratified in court, is that she and Mark Henry will have joint custody of their three children, aged 5 to 10. She will maintain a residence in Fayetteville.

Judge Henry won her Supreme Court in part on the strength of a TV advertising campaign that mentioned her adoption by the man her divorced mother married. She said Tuesday, "It's unfortunate, but so many Arkansas families suffer from broken homes and none of us are immune from that." She added, "It's a trying time."

The case was assigned to Judge Mark Lindsey.

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