Superintendent Roy Brooks of the Little Rock School District has ill-concealed contempt for the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association. As a result, many teachers took it as an intentional slap when the district’s summer newsletter contained an article informing teachers precisely how they could drop their membership in the CTA and related state and national organizations and save $587.55. The CTA is currently in negotiations with the district for a contract for next school year.

A spokesman for Brooks insisted that the item was published in response to “several” requests from teachers. To end payroll dues deductions, requests to end membership have to be submitted to the CTA and district no later than July 15. Grainger Ledbetter, executive director of the CTA, said there are always a few non-renewals each year, for retirement, dissatisfaction, people who move, etc. “There’s been no significant uptick this year,” he said. “But I’ll say this. If they’re supposed to be bargaining in good faith, how are we supposed to take this gesture?”


We told you last week that Boulevard Bread Co. planned to move by Nov. 15 into the River Market space now occupied by Andina Cafe. That was news to Nita Westbrook, who bought the cafe earlier this year and extended her River Market lease until fall 2009. Turns out, however, that River Market leases allow tenants to be moved at the market’s discretion and expense. Turns out also that market manager Shannon Light hadn’t gotten around to notifying Westbrook that she’d have to move for Boulevard’s bigger retail operation. Lots of unhappiness ensued. Light and Westbrook met Tuesday. Westbrook will be moving into former flower stall space in the middle of the market and seems satisfied, Light said. Light said she was sorry Westbrook got the news as she did. “We did not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings.”


Robert Steinbuch, who teaches at the UALR law school, continues to draw gossip column coverage in the Washington Post for his legal action against Jessica Cutler, a former co-worker on Capitol Hill, who earned notoriety for a blog that mentioned her personal relationship with Steinbuch and others. The blog escapade later turned into a novel and possible TV series.

Steinbuch certainly hasn’t helped make the story go away. He’s sued Cutler in federal court in Washington, where a judge has halted the discovery process while he considers a motion to dismiss the suit, the Post reported. The newspaper also said that Steinbuch wants to add Ana Marie Cox, former author of the popular Wonkette blog, to the $20 million lawsuit. Wonkette wrote about Cutler’s blog.

The Post also reports that Steinbuch has opened a second legal front in Arkansas, with a federal suit naming Cutler as well as Hyperion, the publisher of her novel, its parent Disney and HBO, which is making a TV series on the tale.



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