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Vaccine law change



A change in state law to allow pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies every three years instead of one may be part of the state Health Department's legislative package next year.

Department spokesman Ed Barham said the agency would meet with veterinarians, the state Livestock and Poultry Commission and other interested officials before making a recommendation.

Most rabies vaccines now provide immunity for three years, according to state Public Health Veterinarian Susan Weinstein, and one is effective for four. Arkansas has required once-a-year rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats since 1945, when vaccines were licensed for one year.

Vaccinations are for the benefit of humans, not the animals, Weinstein noted, and the law was hugely successful in reducing human exposure to the virus. Today, rabies in Arkansas is found mostly in skunks and bats; only a small percentage is found in domestic animals.

The Rabies Challenge Fund Charitable Trust is a national group working to change state laws to reflect the longer effectiveness of current vaccine technology.


Back on the list

A woman licensed by the state to provide respite foster care will be restored to the caregiver list, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services says.

The Times last week reported that the woman was dropped from the list after she refused to sign a pledge required by state's private partner in recruitment, CALL (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime) that she was not gay.

Julie Munsell said the agency has also decided to drop its website link to the Christian recruitment agency, but will continue to partner with CALL.

Though the Division of Children and Family Services has partnered with an agency that does, the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled it may not legally discriminate against gays who wish to be foster parents.


Slowdown reaches NLR

Jim Jackson, one of the developers of the proposed Rockwater Village development in North Little Rock, confirms an Argenta News report that the project has been slowed by the economic downturn and credit crunch.

 “These are demand-driven projects,” Jackson says. “So in the spring we'll evaluate what the demand is, and determine when to move forward at that point.  We know there is demand for it, but it's all about the timing.  We're ready to go as soon as the market is ready.”

He remains optimistic that the project, a mixed-use plan to revivify a portion of the Baring Cross neighborhood near the Arkansas River with the help of a Tax Increment Finance District, will go forward. 


Bitter Harvest

The Harvest Foods on Cantrell Road in Riverdale — often lauded as the world's largest convenience store for its supermarket-sized inventory and lack of customer traffic — apparently is closing. A shopper says a store employee told him the store would close this week when he inquired about depleted shelves and markdowns. We could get no return calls from owners at the related Affiliated Foods. Another Harvest Foods closed recently in Hope.


More dean aspirants

Two more people have applied to be dean of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law — Malcolm L. Morris, interim dean at Northern Illinois University School of Law at De Kalb, and Susan M. Richey, associate dean and professor of law at the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, N.H. The Times reported last week on the first 10 applicants. Interim Dean John M.A. DiPippa said there might be one or two more applicants. The item last week said erroneously that one applicant, Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen, was no longer on the bench. He was defeated for re-election in May but will serve through the end of the year. Also, applicant Ché  Williamson is a woman, not a man as the article last week indicated.


Political signage

We mentioned last week that we'd noticed what appeared to be a two-fold sign strategy by Mark Leverett, a candidate for judge of Little Rock's environmental court. Then and now, we've only seen signs with his photograph in predominantly black neighborhoods. Signs in predominantly white neighborhoods bear only his name. He's black. Campaign spokesman Robert McLarty said that old signs didn't bear photos and new ones do and that they are being placed in all neighborhoods in the city. Any appearance of a geographic strategy just arises from coincidental placement of signs we've seen, he said.

Another sign issue: Stephens Media columnist David Sanders reported Sunday that he'd observed a St. Marks Baptist Church van being used by a crew erecting Leverett signs. St. Marks is an influential black church, one of the largest in the city. Churches risk their tax-exempt status if they expend resources supporting candidates. McLarty said the campaign had used no church resources in its campaign. “We have a dedicated sign team working out of their own trucks,” he said.


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