You heard it first on our Arkansas Blog, but it appears that Dr. Debra Fiser is in line to succeed Dr. Albert Reece as dean of the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. She was introduced to faculty last week as the finalist for the position by Dr. Dodd Wilson, chancellor at UAMS.

Fiser is chairman of the department of pediatrics at UAMS. Reece left to take a similar job in Maryland. In meetings with faculty, she emphasized education and clinical programs. Also at the meeting, we hear, Wilson mentioned that he planned to retire in 2008.

Signing scrapped

Several readers who saw our item last week on former Little Rock resident Cecilia Hallman’s self-published novel, “The Memphis Kingmaker,” asked whether her co-author, L. Douglass Brown, was that L. Douglass Brown — former Arkansas state trooper and retailer of lurid tales from the Whitewater snipe hunt of the Clinton presidential campaign era. They are one and the same. Hallman, a South Carolina native who worked as Jack Stephens’ executive assistant and at the Alotian Club, his son’s private golf course project, during three and a half years in Little Rock, said she met Brown at the Capital Hotel bar and struck up a conversation about writing (Brown’s bio says he’s a “published author” with an advanced degree in history from Oxford University, and Hallman had written some unpublished children’s books).

As for any resemblance between the book’s main characters — a powerful, rags-to-riches businessman and his female “confidante” — and herself and Stephens, Hallman said there isn’t any. The characters are all composites of many people she and Brown have known over the years, she said, and readers in other states have also claimed similarities to local citizens.

If you’re interested in reading the book, you’ll probably have to buy a copy at Amazon or the book’s website, www.thekingmaker.net ($26.95 plus $3 shipping); Hallman said she thought Wordsworth was carrying it, but owner Jean Cazort said she didn’t have any copies and likely wouldn’t. Wordsworth also canceled a planned Aug. 4 booksigning. Cazort said there were scheduling conflicts but for a variety of reasons she’d decided not to have anything to do with the book.

Unanswered questions

A column by Max Brantley July 13 first reported that a 14-year-old visitor to Little Rock for a soccer tournament July 1-2 said she had been raped at her airport area motel. The column detailed the response of city and tourism officials, including new rooms for the girl, her family and team members and a plane flight home for the girl and family. The Democrat-Gazette subsequently examined the case in more detail in an article in last weekend’s paper.

One more detail: No arrests have been made and police have no suspects. Furthermore, a spokesman says investigators still haven’t been able to find evidence that supports the victim’s account. A trip to North Carolina is planned for another interview. Police are not saying the report was false, but they haven’t ruled out the possibility either.



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