It hit 104 today, tying a record. So what's new? (UPDATE: 107 and a real record.) Final words for an open line:
* SPEAKING OF GAS: The group fighting the severance tax issued, Arkansans for Jobs and Affordable Energy, signaled that their fight has just begun. (Gas companies have spent $1.5 million so far.)
“Mr. Nelson has been out gathering signatures for nearly a year, and he has employed paid petitioners for months now, so we fully expected him to come up with the signatures to turn in to the Secretary of State today,” said Randy Zook, chairman of AJAE. “However, given his willingness to mislead the public and throw around unfounded accusations throughout this campaign, we’ve got some serious concerns with the integrity of Mr. Nelson’s signature gathering process. We’ll be reviewing copies of the petitions, and we are prepared to mount a challenge, if necessary. We owe it to voters - this issue is too important to Arkansans, and to the economic future of our state,” said Zook.
* SMOKED MEATS: 40/29 reported a fire today at the landmark former Ozark Mountain Smokehouse on Highway 71 in Crawford County. The building now appears to be part of a lodge and RV park.
* I-630 LANE CLOSURES: You already knew about overnight lane closures on the 630 freeway next week alongside the old Ray Winder Field as the outfield fence and lights come down. But beware: There will be lane closures, too, along the stretch by the Baptist Medical Center exit for removal of an old overpass. The work will occur at night — Sunday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. — with various lanes in both directions affected. No work Saturday, July 14, then a resumption of nighttime work July 15-20.
* HUCKABEE: NO GRUDGES: Mike Huckabee says 2008 is history and he tells the NY Times he holds no grudges against Mitt Romney, despite their sometimes better election contest that year. Spoken like a man who'd be willing to take a veep slot if offered. The Mike Huckabee I know has never forgotten a slight. Perhaps his newfound media success has knocked that perpetual chip off his shoulder.
PS — Readers may note comments on a topic no longer appearing here, the religious conservative blast at the appointment of Jay Barth to the state Board of Education. Barth happens to be gay. The dimensions of that item grew, so I separated it and moved it up.
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