JOHNSON'S DUMP: On Thayer Street.
  • JOHNSON'S DUMP: On Thayer Street.

A salvage yard owned by Johnson Brothers Investments of Bigelow, a company in which state Sen. Bob Johnson is a partner, was to be inspected Wednesday, Sept. 6, for violations of state water quality and hazardous waste laws.

Acting on a complaint by a landowner near the yard, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality was to visit 915 Thayer St., where Bradford Auto Salvage and Sales, formerly Bradford Auto Services, operated for many years on property the size of four city lots. Some 500 tires, old gas tanks, car parts and other trash — including a boat — can be seen on the partially oil-soaked lot; dumped furniture and high grass surround the lot.

The city sent a notice to Johnson Investments in February that its exterior fence was out of compliance with city code. Brett Johnson of John-son Investments responded by saying the company was going to evict the tenants, who’ve been cited several times over the years for various city code violations, and bulldoze the site. Cars, boats, trailers and large scrap metal were hauled off the site in April and May, but clean-up work stopped in July. The city has since unsuccessfully tried to contact Johnson Brothers about the condition of the site, which has also prompted an inquiry by City Director Stacy Hurst.

Paul Dodds, who owns a house a block from the salvage yard, complained to both the city and ADEQ, writing that the yard’s “filthy pe-rimeter looks like something out of the slums of Manila.” Dodds noted that the site drains into a creek that runs to the Arkansas River.

Johnson, who failed in the last legislative session to pass a bill that would have stripped Central Arkansas Water of its ability to protect Lake Maumelle’s watershed, said the city’s files must be in error and maintained that his company had been working steadily to clean the site, despite the fact that there is little evidence that a crew had been there. He said a city code inspector he spoke to had not identified himself as such, but had expressed interest in buying the property.

Attorney in waiting
We’ve written previously about speculation on a successor to U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins of Little Rock, who says he’ll be leaving the job soon.

There are growing indications that Arkansas native Tim Griffin, a top political operative at both the Republican National Committee and in Karl Rove’s office, is the White House favorite for the job. Democrats in Congress are expected to object to putting such a political figure in a Justice Department slot. If so, the White House likely would wait until Congress is in recess and give him a so-called recess appointment, a way to avoid the normal confirmation process.

Airplane scare
When a flight attendant on a US Airways flight from Charlotte to Little Rock Sept. 1 noticed a couple of passengers holding water bottles (now forbidden as carry-ons) she notified security. Though the plane was just a few miles from Little Rock on an uneventful flight, the law enforcement operation moved into high gear.

The plane was held on the runway for a time as officers swarmed in. The people with the water bottles — and their water — were removed. The rest of the 53 passengers on board were held for a time. Dogs sniffed the plane.

It became apparent soon enough that the passengers were indeed carrying nothing more dangerous than bottled water, not bottles masking a dangerous substance. Feds were tight-lipped that afternoon about the suspects, but Little Rock police gave us the rest of the story this week. The passengers had bought the water at Charlotte, after transferring, within the airport secured area, from another flight, Sgt. Terry Hastings said. One was an active-duty military female officer. The other was a man from Mount Ida. They were released after a lecture from federal agents.

Deal done
Craig and Brent Renaud, the Little Rock-native documentary filmmakers, say they have cemented a deal with HBO for a film on Central High School to air in the fall of 2007, the 50th anniversary of the school crisis.

Piece of an Emmy
PB2, a Rogers-based architecture and engineering firm, had reason to smile when the ABC Show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” won an Emmy in the Best Reality Program category.
The winning show was the Camp Barnabas episode, filmed in Purdy, Mo. PB2, provided the design for three buildings as well as con-struction management for the kids’ camp project. PB2 had earlier worked on an episode of the show for a Morgan Nick Foundation pro-ject.

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