$$$ for Game and Fish 

$$$ for Game and Fish

A judge thinks the state Game and Fish Commission should get to keep the millions it's received in gas lease revenues, rather than share the bounty with the state.

James Dockery of Little Rock filed suit in Pulaski Circuit Court last year, saying Game and Fish had no right to lease state lands and that the $32.2 million Chesapeake Energy paid Game and Fish should go into the state general revenue fund. Chesapeake paid the money for drilling rights on 11,500 acres in the Petit Jean and Gulf Mountain wildlife management areas. Game and Fish agreed to set the money aside in a special fund and not spend it until Circuit Judge James Moody Jr. entered a final order in the case.

Game and Fish lawyer Jim Goodhart said Monday that Moody has asked the agency to draw up a proposed order to dismiss the case. A hearing was held on the agency's motion to dismiss on Dec. 7. The agency is drafting the order now and expects to file it by week's end or next week. An appeal in the case is likely.

U.S. attorney coming

Little Rock lawyers have been contacted by the Justice Department in what appears to be the final vetting process leading up to the nomi-nation of Michael Barnes to be U.S. attorney in Little Rock. He's a lawyer with Wright, Lindsey and Jennings and son of a federal judge. No word yet on a nomination from the president for the U.S. attorney opening in the western district of Arkansas. Three federal judgeships in Arkansas also are awaiting nominations.

The missing divorces

Inquiring minds want to know why the list of Pulaski County divorces has been absent from the pages of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Deputy Editor Frank Fellone assures it's not a product of space reductions and that the feature will be returning.

“I am told by one of our city editors that the county is using a different system to organize that information,” Fellone says. “I don't know if it's hardware or software, but apparently our clerks are having trouble accessing the divorces. The change-over has flummoxed us a bit, but we expect to figure that out pronto and get those divorces back in the paper and, in fact, we'll back-track a little, because it's been awhile.”

The list of failed marriages is “avidly read,” Fellone said. “People probably read them for the same reason people slow down to look at a car accident on the side of the road.”

Scott Price, Pulaski County chief deputy clerk, says there have been some delays in getting all the data converted to the new Contexte soft-ware system, but they should be resolved by the end of this week.



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