Some odds and ends:
* NEIGHBORHOOD GROCER HESTAND'S TO CLOSE? I'll know this for certain in a few hours, but Skip Rutherford Twittered last night that Hestand's in the Heights is to close. He would know because he's a regular shopper there. Sad news, but long expected. It has been squeezed by competitors big and small, most recently by the new Walmart down the hill (not such a hot store, by the way). Custom meat, local produce, good food prepared on-site, interesting items from local bakers and suppliers and a good selection of hard-to-find Cajun ingredients (andouille, boudin, roux) were among the pluses, plus easy access, Sunday hours and super friendly people. Terry's, the venerable carriage trade grocer nearby, remains a good alternative to the megamarkets and, like Hestand's, still continues charge accounts. Edward's, a few blocks west on Cantrell, is my choice over Kroger, still, for major shopping.
UPDATE: Rodney Getchell confirmed for me this morning that Friday will be Hestand's final day. The stock is depleting, but some freshly made ham salad and other deli food is still available, along with some good meat deals (T-bone, for example). He'll be marking down canned goods to half off on the final days, he said. His own health and the competitive squeeze (think Target, Fresh Market and three Krogers in easy reach along with Edwards, Terry's and Walmart) dictated the end after 17 years in the Heights. He's the third generation of a grocery business with roots back to 1923 in Pine Bluff. Good folks. Good store. Fond farewell.
* PEABODY HOTEL MANAGEMENT: I noticed a page one story in Democrat-Gazette today that Davidson Hotels had been targeted by the new owner of the Little Rock hotel as the management firm, though a flagship brand had not yet been picked. I mentioned Davidson's involvement in the deal June 28.
* SEWER NEWS: No charges, the Democrat-Gazette reported this morning, on the Little Rock Wastewater Utility's method of selecting people (politicians, business execs, sewer utility relatives) for a trial program aimed at detecting sewer service line problems. Frankly, having learned more about this "benefit," (attachments to sewer lines that require some yard digging to install and which lead to early detection of a need for sometimes expensive repairs) I'm not sure I'd have wanted it in the first place. But the sewer probe isn't over, the article said. One source has indicated to us that pending matters could include a review of some sales of used materials. It's clear that tension between utility management and City Hall, which has no authority over the autonomous agency other than through commission appointments, shows every indication of continuing.
* DIVORCE PRIVACY: Just learned about this. Getting divorced but would prefer that you not get daily newspaper notice? Here's a trick. No, not using initials or a first or middle name by which you are not known. File the suit first as a separate maintenance action. Then amend it a few days later to make it a divorce suit. The newspaper apparently doesn't publish filings of separate maintenance actions and the amendments to change status don't get picked up. Or that appeared to be the case recently on filings by a certain high-profile individual. The eventual decree can't be avoided as a public matter, of course.
* RUMOR OF THE DAY: It's going around that a conservative interest group is promising $50,000 in "independent" advertising support for any state legislative candidate who'll sign their no-tax pledge. It would be interesting to know, speaking of "independent" expenditures, how much the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity spent supporting the candidacies of their stooge candidates in Northwest Arkansas Senate primaries. You may be sure that neither their candidates nor any of the other fake ethical reformers in the GOP contingent (Ann Clemmer, I'm thinking particularly of you) will be pushing for the "full disclosure" they claim is the cure for governmental ethics for this type of electioneering. Other states have done it. It's doubtful that the rising Republican tide is interested in that sort of reform.
Sad is really the only word to describe Shofner's plight. No need to pile on…
The Molly National Journalism Prize of 2013—Recognizing Superior Journalism in the Tradition of Molly Ivins
a very well qualified leader
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