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The Insider, Nov. 15

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Eying Villines

Phil Wyrick, a former state legislator from Mabelvale who switched to the Republican Party for a run against U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder and later served as Livestock and Poultry Commission director under Gov. Mike Huckabee, may have one more political race in him.

Wyrick says he's considering a race for Pulaski County judge. Incumbent Judge Buddy Villines, after some concerns about his health, has said he'll be running again.

Wyrick said the No. 1 issue in Pulaski County is finding the money to reopen County Jail bunks. He faults Villines' management for the county's inability to keep the jail at past operating levels. Wyrick said he had a solid management record in state government and said the judge needs to restore confidence among voters in county government. He said he'd need more study before he could say whether the county can improve the jail without a tax increase.

The producers

Want to back a motion picture?

Then you might want to give Beth Brickell a call.

We hear she's hoping to make a movie, “Big Doc,” based on “Big Doc's Girl,” the Mary Medearis novel about a young woman who dreams of becoming a concert pianist.

Brickell, the TV and film writer and director who lives in Little Rock, has been inviting potential investors to hear about the production. You'll need a big checkbook. At a recent session, $100,000 investments were sought.

Already on board as executive producers are Jo Ellen Ford, Hayden McIlroy and John Bell.

Capital news

We hear a big private party is set Friday night at the Capital Hotel to celebrate completion of the expensive renovation and expansion of the landmark by owner Warren Stephens. The rest of us can get our first look Monday, Nov. 19. That's the date set for public reopening of all rooms and both restaurants.

Horn tooting

In case you don't read Salon, the on-line magazine that has established itself as a source of national political reporting, it posted an article Monday that might have local interest. It's Times editor Max Brantley's reaction to the warm reviews “nice guy” Mike Huckabee has been getting from national media as he campaigns for president. Brantley — whom Huckabee once compared to mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer — has a different take. “The dark side of Mike Huckabee” is the headline. Find it at Also, see John Brummett's column in this week's Times.

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