Both before and after the NCAA cracked down on the use of Indians as mascots for athletic teams, Dean Lee, director of athletics at Arkansas State University, told reporters that he had met with members of the Cherokee Nation and they had approved of ASU’s use of “Indians” as the name for the school’s athletic teams, and of the accompanying use of Indian imagery. A high-ranking Cherokee Nation official disputed that in letters to the NCAA and ASU. Dr. Richard L. Allen of Tahlequah, Okla., policy analyst for the Cherokee Nation, said that “the Cherokee Nation is opposed to any sort of mascot imagery that purports to be or has a basis in American Indian culture.” Anyone Lee might have met with was not authorized to speak for the Cherokee Nation, Allen wrote. (Allen told the Arkansas Times by telephone that the people who met with Lee were not Cherokees at all, but “Arkansas wanna-bes.” Allen also said that he received his doctorate in counselor education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. A Razorback? ASU fans will see a conspiracy here.)
One more for 37
Another candidate plans to seek the Democratic nomination for House District 37, the midtown Little Rock area represented by Sam Ledbetter, who is term-limited. Jesse Gibson, a 30-year-old attorney with his own practice, says he is joining the field, which already includes restaurant owner Kathy Webb.
Jam band Widespread Panic will make an Oct. 22 stopover at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock this fall. Tickets will be $32.50. More scuttlebutt puts a Staind concert at Alltel. Nothing has been announced yet. Riverfest Amphitheatre may not be shut out this year in rock concerts. Expect an announcement about a 3 Doors Down show any day.
Get your gun
Sherwood’s freeway access roads soon may offer one-stop shopping for something with a bit more punch than cars and chain-restaurant eats: guns.
Sporting goods mega-store Gander Mountain on Landers Road and nearby Sherwood Pawn (which also deals in shooting iron, at 6503 Warden Road) will be joined in 2006 by Academy Sports at Warden Road and Wildwood Avenue and long-time North Little Rock gun dealer Fort Thompson Sporting Goods at 5802 Warden Road. Gander Mountain and Academy both sell hunting rifles, shotguns and ammunition; Fort Thompson is a full-on gun dealer, offering everything up to and including semi-automatic assault rifles.
The Senate today voted 20-9 to pass Sen. Bryan King's bill that says a fourth commitment to the Arkansas Department of Correction means the person sentenced must serve at least 80 percent of the sentence before parole eligibility.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.