Smart talk, June 18 

Moving to screen


Fayetteville native Jason Moore, whose first big hit on Broadway came in directing “Avenue Q” and who later directed “Shrek: The Musical,” is moving to the big screen. He's been signed to direct a remake of the 1983 Nicholas Cage hit “Valley Girl,” this time as a musical. The Hollywood Reporter said Moore's feature film debut will remake the story along a Romeo-and-Juliet line, with new wave music.


Will he or won't he?


The political crowd wonders if Sen. Gilbert Baker will ever make up his mind about running for U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln's seat. Sen. Kim Hendren has already announced — tentatively — and other Republicans are considering a race. The whispering leans toward a Baker decision to stay put.

He told the Times' Arkansas Blog that his family was his paramount concern. He still has five sons, aged 9 to 18, living at home. Fatherhood comes first, Baker said. No doubt it would be harder from Washington, presuming the large family couldn't make the expensive move from Faulkner County to Washington. Baker contends, however, that the family is willing. His wife is supportive, he said. Also, he said he'd done a secret ballot vote of his sons and the vote was 4-1 in favor of his running. In politics, 80 percent is a mandate.


Central High tops

Arkansas high schools


Newsweek magazine has devised an annual ranking of the best public high schools in the U.S. It divides the number of Advanced Placement tests given to seniors at a high school by the number of students in the class. Newsweek excludes selective entry schools, such as Arkansas's math and science boarding school in Hot Springs. Eight Arkansas high schools made the national list, finishing in this order:

LR Central (62); LR Mills (126); Fayetteville (417); Bentonville (681); Conway (979); Fort Smith Southside (1,089); Rogers (1,131), and Ouachita High in Donaldson (1,304)


McDonald's shooting claim is settled


The Nigel Haskett case has ended, but we're not sure whether the ending was happy. An order filed at the Workers Compensation Commission says that a settlement agreement between Haskett and his former employer, McDonald's, has been approved. The order, dated June 8 and signed by WCC administrative law judge David Greenbaum, says that the settlement was for a lump sum, but the amount and other details were not revealed.

Haskett was working at a McDonald's on North Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock when he came to the defense of a woman being assaulted by a man. The assailant then shot Haskett. The man is awaiting trial on felony charges. Haskett was hospitalized and incurred medical bills. He filed a claim against McDonald's, saying that he'd been denied workers compensation benefits. The case drew national media attention after the Arkansas Times reported on it.

The settlement does not necessarily mean that the name of Nigel Haskett will be heard no more. Rumors are that he's being considered for heroism awards from a couple of national organizations.





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