The Thursday night line | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Thursday night line

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

DEAL EM: A canvasser for a petition to call a vote on casino gambling expansion in Arkansas was at work today in front of the union at the University of Arkansas. Poker figures in the name of the full-fledged casinos that would be allowed.
  • DEAL 'EM: A canvasser for a petition to call a vote on casino gambling expansion in Arkansas was at work today in front of the union at the University of Arkansas. Poker figures in the name of the full-fledged casinos that would be allowed.

The night line is open for reader comment. Finishing up:

* REAL CRIME EXCITEMENT: Little Rock hits the No. 6 spot on this list of the country's 10 most dangerous cities. Feel proud? Like a survivor? Commentary from

Though Little Rock’s 2011 violent crime rate is down from 2010, when there were 15.2 violent crimes for every 1,000 people, in many ways the city’s crime rate has not truly improved. Although in 2010 there were only 25 murders in the city, in 2011 there were 37. Additionally, incidents of forcible rape increased from 149 to 161, while the number of property crime incidents increased by 708, or almost 5%. According to the Little Rock Police Department’s COMPSTAT reports, the total number of violent, property and arson crimes has experienced a net increase since 2001, although with slight declines in more recent years.

* EYE IN THE SKY: Channel 4 reports arrests in North Little Rock of two men who spray-painted graffiti on an elevator in the Junction Bridge. Elevator had a security camera.

* WHAT'S THE DIFF? The Razorbacks will play Southern Mississippi in F'ville in 2013. Noted: Southern Miss is the functional equivalent in its home state of Arkansas State University. UA won't play a second-tier Arkansas school, but it will play a third-tier Mississippi school.

* FBI AT WORK: I continue to get reports from the hills of North Arkansas, in the vicinity of Pocahontas, of that FBI operation I mentioned yesterday at a child care facility. The latest report indicates the FBI team was expected by employees to be on the ground five days. Financial records are said to be the focus. The operation of the facility continues. The FBI has confirmed such an operation, but will reveal no specifics about where or why. The U.S. attorney's office won't comment. The state Department of Human Services said it is aware of no operation that would affect services to children.

* LAKE MAUMELLE IN PERIL: Bad news on the Lake Maumelle front. According to a report from Kathy Wells, the Central Arkansas Water Commission learned today that the Arkansas Farm Bureau, a traditional foe of strong clean water regulation, has turned up the heat against zoning rules for the Lake Maumelle basin. The Farm Bureau, reportedly in league with Deltic Timber, some small landowners in the basin, and a Koch family lobbyist, are challenging the Tetra Tech recommendations on what's necessary to protect the watershed. It serves as the foundation for the already watered-down proposal pending before the Quorum Court for zoning. The Farm Bureau wants a new study by another consultant that will take predictions on future climate into account, perhaps financed by the state. This could mean a delay, though County Judge Buddy Villines says the Farm Bureau would trade off acceptance of a portion of the zoning ordinance — on prohibited uses, stream setbacks and registration of land use changes — for delay of broader parts of the ordinance. Delay is always good for opponents, of course, giving the lobbyists more time to pick off members of the Quorum Court on the zoning vote. Villines says he doesn't believe a new study will provide new or different information. He said a report from the U.S. Geological Survey on development trends in the watershed is due in August and at that point the Quorum Court will take up whether to move ahead with zoning or go along with the Farm Bureau's call for a delay and more study.

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