Smart Talk Sept. 21 

Vacation on the farm

It’s only a relatively modest business in the U.S. so far, but “agritourism” is big business in Europe. A stay at an agriturismo in Italy can mean sharing a charming centuries-old farmstead with a family that drinks wine from its own vines and eats and serves visitors from its own orchards and livestock. The farms can be low-cost bases for exploring surrounding countryside.

Is the idea workable in Arkansas?

The Winthrop Rockefeller Center of the University of Arkansas has received a $50,000 Arkansas Rural Business Opportunity Grant to study the idea. Communities in Conway, Johnson, Logan, Pope, Perry and Yell counties will study agritourism as an economic tool. In most of those counties, homemade wine would be illegal, of course. But the terrain seems a bit more conducive to the European agritourism model than, say, a bean field in the Delta. What, do you think, would be the Arkansas indigenous dining equivalent of pasta with pesto?

The path to LR

Since she was targeted for one of the worst fictional treatments in the recent ABC mockumentary, “The Path to 9/11,” former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright might have a choice critique to offer when she visits Little Rock Sept. 27.

She’s the latest in a string of high-profile visitors attracted by the Clinton School of Public Service. She’ll lecture at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Statehouse Convention Center. The event is free, but reservations are required. Write Nikolai DiPippa at publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or call 683-5239.

A gala for the LR 9

Add a guaranteed big event to the calendar in September 2007 for the 50th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis, when Gov. Orval Faubus tried to block the desegregation of Central High School. Federal troops were called to enforce the order of the federal court.

Former President Bill Clinton will chair a gala to benefit the Little Rock Nine Foundation. Established in 1999, the foundation will award scholarships in 2007 to nine black high school students — one from Central High, two from poorly performing schools in Arkansas and six from poorly performing schools around the country.

A news release quotes Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the Little Rock Nine and president of the foundation. “We, ‘the Little Rock Nine,’ are pleased and honored that President Bill Clinton will serve as chair of our 50th Anniversary Gala celebration. His commitment to education and equality parallels the Little Rock Nine Foundation’s commitment to developing future leaders. The funds will endow students with a comprehensive mentorship and scholarship program.”

The gala will be Sept. 24, 2007, with more details as the event draws nearer.



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