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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

An open line — wild times in Washington County

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM

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The line is open. Closing out:

* FAYETTEVILLE FUN: For Fayetteville readers and the many who've spent pleasant time in that civilized college town, where progressive politics prevail. Here's a letter from Washington County Human Resources Director Linda Huffaker outlining some allegations about county personnel from Justice of the Peace Eva Madison: 1) private law practice by the county attorney, who's supposed to be a full-time county employee; 2) partisan politicking in a county car by the county chief of staff; 3) the county chief of staff packing a handgun into the courthouse, despite the law's limitation of that power to law enforcement. If you have time to kill, torture yourself with the Washington Quorum Court and County Judge Marilyn Edwards in action.

* VIRGINIA IS TO LOVE: Republicans in Virginia have backed off their scheme to game the electoral college system by splitting up the state's electoral votes on congressional district or popular vote lines.

* HALTER INCORPORATES: Bill Halter has formed a nonprofit to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.

* FAULKNER FEUDING: Word from Conway gives the narrow edge to a Republican in a hotly fought battle on the Faulkner County Quorum Court to name a replacement for Democratic County Judge Preston Scoggin, who was named by the governor to head the Livestock and Poultry Commission. Some interesting pushing and shoving is taking place in the selection of a replacement for Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggin, recently named by Beebe to head the Livestock and Poultry Commission. Republican contender, who'd go from the outhouse to penthouse if he's chosen, is Mark Vaught, who ran an unsuccessful race for county clerki. Democratic contender is Allen Dodson, appointed county attorney by Scroggin. The decision could come this week.

* PRAY FOR CONWAY SCHOOLS: FOI requests continue to dislodge — slowly and with some gamesmanship on the part of the Conway Public Schools' pro bono legal counsel, a Texas organization devoted to conservative religion advocacy — internal e-mail that indicates resistance on the part of the School Board and Superintendent Greg Murry toward any effort to rein in rampant religious activities in the schools. Twenty or so church groups make regular lunchtime visits to Conway schools. A parent has complained to a group that works to separate religion from publicly funded activities. Do the visitors preach and proselytize? We don't know, but given the tenor of the reactio, you have to wonder. Here's another batch of internal communication. School Board member Carl Barger's investigation of the infidels who support separation of church and state is interesting. Interesting too is Superintendent Greg Murry's suggestion to School Board members that, based on my FOI requests, "it is wise that we not engage in email or other written exchanges about this particular issue going forward, either with me, each other, or our legal representatives."

Telephone calls, presumably, are OK. Though not even then if decisions are reached by phone. But silly me. I don't know why anyone would question the good faith of the Conway Public Schools. Not even when School Board member Barger, by his own writings a very religious man, apparently wants to root out the person who complained about religious activities in a public school, as the email below indicates. Maybe he just wants to pray with them.

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