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Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is the only major Democratic office-holder in the state not listed as a co-host for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign kickoff event scheduled for March 10 at the Peabody Hotel.

The co-hosts include U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln; U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, Mike Ross and Vic Snyder; and all of the state constitutional officers except Halter.

Pryor spokesman Michael Teague said Halter told the campaign that he would not be able to attend the event, and that he has a policy of not agreeing to host any event that he cannot attend.

Halter did not respond to several messages left by the Arkansas Times. Halter’s glaring absence from the co-host list has fueled speculation in Democratic ranks that he’s considering a primary challenge to Pryor in 2008.

And on the other side

Speaking of Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid: Mike Huckabee is running for president and it’s far too soon to predict the outcome. But it’s not too soon for political operatives to say pressure is building for Huckabee to run for U.S. Senate in 2008 against Pryor if his presidential candidacy fails. Huckabee has said, and repeated to us this week, that he has no interest in running for Senate.

De-lighted

Remember the old lights from War Memorial Stadium that were donated last year for use at the Curran Conway Park baseball field used by the Parkview High Patriots? An alert reader informs us they’re still lying on the ground, rusting and unused, at Kanis Park.

Assistant City Manager Bryan Day says that’s because the city wants to use wooden poles to hold up the lights, instead of the metal ones they came on.

“With a wooden pole you basically drill a hole in the ground and stick them in,” he said. Installing a metal pole involves laying a concrete foundation. The wooden-pole route is much cheaper and easier to manage, he said.

So the city has been working to secure wooden poles, which have to be 80 feet tall — 10 feet to go in the ground, 70 feet to raise the lights to regulation height.

Street fight

The applicant who’s seeking to close a short lane that connects the luxe East Crestwood Drive to Kavanaugh Boulevard, a controversial issue that’s divided neighbors in the area, was to ask for a 60-day deferral at the City Board of Directors’ agenda meeting Tuesday night.

Because the street to be closed is adjacent to City Director Stacy Hurst’s home at 4901 E. Crestwood, and because Hurst herself had sought the street’s closure several years ago, anti-closure neighborhood skeptics believe the fix is in. The Planning Commission rejected the earlier proposal.

Hurst, however, said Tuesday that she has recused from board action on the request by Bryan Jeffrey of 4909 Crestwood. If the street is closed the property would be divided between the Hursts and R.N. Dillingham at 4916 E. Crestwood. “There’s a lot of misinformation going around” that her family would benefit from the street closure, Hurst said. In fact, she said, if the street is closed she would deed her family’s portion to the Heights Neighborhood Association “for a common area.”

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