Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
Over to you. Closing out:
* SUPPORT PLANNED PARENTHOOD: A wonderful suggestion here. Make a contribution to Planned Parenthood and ask for a thank-you card to Karen Handel, the right-wing, anti-abortion official of the Susan G. Komen Foundation who's been implicated in that organization's decision to stop providing breast cancer screening money to Planned Parenthood. You'll see in link about Handel that a former Mike Huckabee campaign staffer also has been influential in punishing Planned Parenthood. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he'd give Planned Parenthood $250,000.
* BROADWAY BRIDGE DESIGNS: The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will have a public meeting from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 7 at the Arkansas Transit Association office at 620 Broadway to show design concepts for a replacement Broadway Bridge. Local officials hope for an architecturally significant design. I'd prefer a new river crossing upriver and then replacing the Broadway Bridge after it's finished because downtown traffic otherwise will be utter chaos at rush hour when the Broadway link is taken out of service.
* HAPPY MOTORING: A member of the cycling community tells me that a House subcommittee has sent a transportation bill to the floor that will prevent infrastructure spending on any transportation except by motorized means. The tiny amount now spent for walking, cycling, hiking and safe pedestrian passage at intersections and other places will be gone. U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a member of the subcommittee, voted against an amendment to restore money for these uses. (Hike/bike trails in NWA? Fugheddaboudit.) The bill goes to the floor. Attention now turns not just to Womack, but to Reps. Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Mike Ross. Were the Arkansas River pedestrian bridges, the River Trail, money for school crossing officers and other projects such bad things they should never be repeated?
* HOW THE GOP IS RESEGREGATING THE SOUTH AND DENYING PEOPLE THE VOTE: Two good pieces from Ari Berman, one on how the Republicans are diluting Democratic strength in redistricting with racially based practices, and another link to his important piece on the Koch-financed campaign to disenfranchise Democratic leaning voters.
* ARREST RELATED TO HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE SLAYING: The Garland County sheriff's office announced the arrest Wednesday in Lake Charles, La., of a probation violator, Kevin Duck, described as a "person of interest" in the slaying of Hot Springs Village resident Dawna Natzke. She was last seen leaving a party Dec. 21 with Duck, her boyfriend. Her body was found in woods the next day.
* LOG CABIN DEMOCRAT MOVES: The Log Cabin Democrat, the 132-year-old newspaper in Conway, is moving to a new downtown building and getting out of the printing business. Paxton Media will print the newspaper at its Russellville newspaper.
* LIFE IS CHEAP: A Washington County jury awarded $20,000 damages to the estate of James Ahern, killed by Bella Vista Police Officer Duke Brackney after a high-speed chase. Brackney said he shot Ahern because he was backing up in his direction. A camera on Brackney's car didn't show backup lights on. The jury refused a request for damages for excessive force and punitive damages, awarding $20,000 for loss of life. Brackney had pleaded earlier to a negligent homicide charge.
* EMBEZZLEMENT PLEA: Leander Muncy, former president of a truck company, pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling $270,000 from a company pension fund.
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