Our House, the non-profit agency that assists the homeless, has sold 4.5 acres it owned along Overlook Drive above the Murray Lock and Dam that was deeded to it a decade ago by the federal government. The new owner wants to build a 30-unit condo there.

The property once included a pavilion and overlook. The Corps of Engineers closed the park, and the General Services Administration later deeded the property to Our House for use as a job training site. Our House decided this year that the program was not a wise use of its funds and contacted the GSA about selling the property.

Gary Green, a Little Rock lawyer, and his wife paid $550,000 for the land, according to tax stamps. Our House worked out an arrangement with the GSA that turns over two-thirds of the sale price to the government.

Green said Tuesday he’ll seek to have the R-2 property rezoned for what he called “high-end condos” to be built in stages, 10 at a time. He said the condos would be two stories and 2,500 square feet and would include shafts for buyers who wished to install elevators.

Green, who lives nearby and intends to move into one of the condos, said he was “taking into consideration” the neighbors’ view of the river and would build something that “blends in with the surroundings.” Entry to the condos would be on a road off Overlook that is now blocked by concrete barriers. He said the project, which he calls Overlook Park, would have a retail value of $25 million.

Recent tree clearing on nearby land has prompted at least one complaint to City Hall, but that clearance is for two single-family homes, not this project.


Gov. Mike Huckabee has filed a third quarterly report on his Hope for America PAC, registered in Virginia. He’s described it as a vehicle to spread his healthy living message, but it’s primarily a vehicle for his presidential exploratory work.

Hope for America spent $116,770 in the quarter, much of it to pay for Huckabee appearances in places like Iowa and South Carolina with important early tests for 2008 presidential nominees. He also sent money to his political consulting firm in San Francisco and paid more than $15,000 to the Dempsey Film Group for production of a video. “The Man from Hope” would be a catchy title, don’t you think?

Huckabee raised only $30,692 in the quarter, with $5,000 each coming from the Inland Group, a consulting firm in Newport Beach, Calif., KND Holdings of Solano Beach, Calif., and Jerry Airola for Sheriff of Las Vegas. He had cash on hand to cover the extras and reported $67,000 in the bank at the end of the quarter.

There’s still been no definitive sign, by name, of an in-kind contribution to report the airplane flight he received from Ted Suhl, who operates the state-financed Lord’s Ranch for troubled youth in northern Arkansas. Huckabee reported that Martha Hill of Little Rock made an in-kind gift of a reception for him or his PAC, at a cost of $888.

How long the bus ride?

“Can you imagine putting our children on a bus for over three hours a day? I sure can’t. But that’s what’s happening when we close local schools. My opponent helped create this problem. I want to fix it.”

This is what Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson has been saying. He refers to the closure of Paron High School by the state Board of Education and the Bryant School Board. The school, with 111 students in grades 6-12, was too expensive to operate and didn’t offer all the required courses.

But according to Bryant School Superintendent Richard Abernathy, there are no students riding the bus “for over three hours.” At our request, he compiled a list of the 29 former Paron students in grades 6-12 who now ride buses to school in Bryant.

The longest route, ridden by one student, is from 6:40 a.m. to 7:55 a.m., or one hour and 15 minutes, for a total of 2.5 hours daily. Four students ride for 70 minutes each direction. Seven students ride 65 minutes. Two ride 63 minutes. Twelve ride 52 minutes. One rides 47 minutes. Three ride 42 minutes. So 18 of the 29 ride less than two hours total for the day.


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