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Smart talk July 21 

Recruiting roadblocks While this has absolutely no Arkansas connection at all (other than being co-sponsored by ACORN, which got its start in Little Rock), we have to point all you parents to a new website: www.leavemychildalone.org. It was created by a group of parents who were troubled by the new and increasingly invasive data-mining tools being made available to military recruiters and featuring such details as the ethnicity, address, telephone number, grade point average and areas of academic study for each child. The website features an address parents can write to in order to have their child’s information moved to a “suppression file,” which retains the information but doesn’t release it to recruiters. The website also features detailed instructions on how parents can keep their child’s school from releasing information to recruiters under a little-known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Section 9528 of the law requires public schools to release information on students and their academic records to recruiters, or risk losing federal funding. Parents are allowed to opt out of the program, however, by writing a letter to the school district superintendent. Texarkansan Thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for pointing out the background on a new album, “Little Rock,” by Houston singer and song-writer Hayes Carll. Before his appearance in Atlanta, the newspaper found this explanation on the album’s liner notes. “Everybody back home has been making a lot of money writing songs about Texas. I got in the game a little too late to take advantage of it so I’ve started writing songs about Arkansas.” Carll writes from experience. He graduated from Hendrix College. A toast to the Trojans As UALR nears the formal opening of the $22 million Stephens Center with a basketball game against Navy Nov. 22, some questions have arisen about the facility, built with a gift from Little Rock financier Jack Stephens (a Navy alum). Answers to a couple: • DRINKS: Stephens wanted food and beverage options to be comparable to those available at Alltel Arena, a UALR spokesman said. So UALR will apply for a permit that will allow beer and wine sales to basketball fans (and alcohol will be allowed in private skyboxes). The NCAA does not ban sales of alcohol at sporting events except at championship games it sponsors. Some schools and conferences have more restrictive policies. • OTHER EVENTS: The 5,600-seat arena is designed primarily for basketball, with seats as close as possible to the court. So it has neither the same floor space nor staging facilities of a major arena. However, a floor cover will be purchased for the main arena and also for a practice facility. That will allow the building to be used for other events, from music concerts to graduation. Just peachy Nashville newspaperman Louie Graves couldn’t wait to tell us and we couldn’t wait to pass it along. Add to the South Arkansas crawfish festival that once had to import Louisiana crawdads and the Warren Pink Tomato Festival’s annual need for Florida ’maters this factoid from hometown-proud Louie: The recent Johnson County Peach Festival in Clarksville required a shipment of 288 boxes of Howard County’s finest Red Globe peaches to sate festival-goers. Louie provided the supporting photo of the shipment by grower Bobby Feemster of Nashville with his grandson, Robby Pratt.
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