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The Insider, Nov. 8

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Checkered past

Robin Clark, the woman recently arrested for driving a Cabot School District bus while intoxicated (cops were called about her behavior while she waited to pick up the Cabot debate team at Central High in Little Rock), had a previous legal history, including two previous DWIs. She was also the beneficiary of a Mike Huckabee gubernatorial pardon in 1998. Documents from the state parole board and the secretary of state's office show that Clark was convicted for theft by receiving in 1986. She was given two years probation and the conviction was expunged. Her pardon application was to restore her right to carry firearms.

According to Assistant Cabot Superintendent Jim Dalton, Clark served as a substitute driver for the school district last spring before coming on full-time this fall. She had a valid bus driver's license. The Cabot district does a criminal background check on all employees when they are first hired. Bus drivers get an additional annual DMV check.

Dalton said the DMV check on Clark only went back five years. Her most recent DWI was in 2001. Dalton also said the school district applied for a criminal background check on Clark in August, but that the results were pending until last week. When the background check did come back, it showed no criminal activity.

Market moves

The Community Bakery outlet in the River Market, one of the longest-running tenants in the market, has closed. Bakery owner Joe Fox said that the shop was more or less breaking even, but, to improve business, he would need a larger space, which, after several requests to the River Market management, didn't seem forthcoming. Fox said that he had a tentative arrangement with adjacent Hardin's River Mercantile to continue to sell its baked goods through their storefront, but on Monday, Hardin's had cleared its space and posted closed signs. Proprietor Jody Hardin couldn't be reached before deadline, but a friend of Hardin's said he'd closed shop following a disagreement with River Market brass over whether he could sell Community's doughnuts out of his space. River Market manager Shannon Light laughed off that suggestion and said, as far she knew, the mercantile is “still trying to pull things together.”

Ho, ho, ho

It hasn't been the best of years for Tim Griffin, the former high-ranking Republican opposition researcher who briefly served as acting U.S. attorney in Little Rock, but then resigned when Democrats insisted on a confirmation hearing for the controversial appointee.

But 'tis the season to be jolly. Griffin and his wife, Elizabeth, are featured in the November issue of Southern Living in a three-page, recipe-filled Christmas article, “Their First Christmas.” Griffin is joined in a picture by Boyd and Lynn Corley of Little Rock.

Elizabeth Griffin is quoted about how they started a tradition of having friends over for dinner on Christmas and the article is accompanied by recipes for dishes said to be easy to prepare, including roast with gravy and (somebody spent too long in Washington) sauteed brussels sprouts with apples.

The mascot hunt

Arkansas State University is in the process of giving up its Indian mascot under pressure from the NCAA and selecting a new mascot. Hundreds of options have been suggested,

Gov. Mike Beebe, an ASU grad, reportedly has entered the fray with the suggestion Red Wolves, also suggested by many others. Committees are to submit suggestions for narrowing the list of choices in a few days.

The red wolf is nearly extinct, by the way, and described in reference sources as a shy and wary creature that likes to hunt rabbits, raccoon, rodents and occasionally deer. ASU generally must face bigger prey on the football field — Tigers, Longhorns and the like.

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