Fuzz buster alert 

An anonymous source told The Insider that the director of the state Department of Higher Education, Linda Beene, had a radar detector in her state car. The source wondered about its purpose. We made inquiries at DHE, through an intermediary, and received this e-mail from Beene in response:

“I have a portable device previously used during recent highway construction as an auditory reminder to slow down when my speed was read by a radar detector at the entry of a construction zone. It was a helpful reminder for me to be safe and obey the law. It has been removed now that most construction is complete.”

Will he make it?

You may not know that Wicked Wisdom, a band on the Friday night bill with heavy metal headliner Sevendust at the Clear Channel Metroplex, is the heavy-metal hobby of actress Jada Pinkett Smith (“Collateral,” “The Matrix” sequels). Often, her husband, Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith, makes cameo appearances. No promises this time, but tickets are $23. Show time is 7 p.m.

Maumelle’s hot plumber

Ray DePriest, a 37-year-old plumber and massage therapist from Maumelle, is among 20 finalists in Redbook magazine’s “Hottest Husbands” contest.

“ ‘Desperate Housewives’ doesn’t have the only hot plumber,” Redbook says of DePriest. His wife Cynthia, a stylist at Joel’s salon, nominated him. She told the magazine, “Arkansas has a sizzler of its own!” She added that he wakes up early every day to do the laundry and bring her coffee with whipped cream.

There were more than 1,000 entries. The winner, to be determined by website voting, will be announced in the June issue.

Gone over?

Did you see the recent appointment of Richard L. Mays, a Little Rock lawyer, to the state Claims Commission, a $22,658 part-time gig?

He was appointed by Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican. Mays is a long-time financial supporter of Democratic causes and a friend of the Clintons who overnighted at the White House. Thanks to Bill Clinton, he was the second black appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Has Mays gone over to the GOP? We couldn’t get him to return our calls. He did contribute $1,000 to Huckabee’s campaign for governor in 2002. We remain curious about the identity of MSR Management, which, at the $10,000 contribution level, was one of the biggest contributors last year to the Healthy America PAC that Huckabee set up in Virginia. MSR isn’t registered at the secretary of state’s office and Virginia records list it only as a consulting firm at 415 Main St., Little Rock. Several offices are housed there, including Mays’. Mays’ secretary said she didn’t know if there’s a connection with her boss. Our number, Mr. Mays, is 375-2985.

About a dog

Our Insider column last week reported that, during dirt work for the new baseball stadium in North Little Rock, workers uncovered a child-sized coffin with the remains of a dog. A reader asked what happened to the remains? Answer: turned over to city Animal Control.


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