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Smart Talk July 7 

The canals of Little Rock Though the Clinton Library is getting top billing in Little Rock tourism brochures these days, our fair city has a lot more to offer visitors than just presidential history. You know, like staying at the famous “Hotsprings Lodging Hotel” on Markham Avenue, shaking hands with “Mayor Billy Lawrence,” or taking a boat trip down one of our tranquil canals. Those were just a few of the sights boasted about on the website for a sham medical conference discovered last month by the Arkansas attorney general’s office. Matt DeCample with the AG’s office said the extensive website for the “International Child and Youth Care Conference” — supposedly occurring July 7 at the Statehouse Convention Center — was brought to their attention by a Canadian doctor who became suspicious after attempting to look up more information about a hotel listed on the site. The conference had been marketed via e-mail to doctors and other health professionals in Europe, Africa and Canada, who were instructed to send in credit card payments for registration and hotel fees. The e-mail directed viewers to the phony website, which featured among other things a detailed schedule of events, a welcome by Little Rock “mayor” Billy Lawrence, biographies of keynote speakers, and pictures of accommodations — in this case, Hot Springs’ Arlington Hotel, rechristened the “Hotsprings Lodging Hotel” and relocated “a few kilometers away from the Statehouse Convention Center.” “It just keeps going on and on,” DeCample said. “If you’re from here and you look at it, it’s hilarious. If you’re from overseas, it might look exotic and legit.” The website has since been taken down, and DeCample said he didn’t anticipate a flood of confused foreign doctors roaming the streets of Little Rock come July 7. “I would assume that as they get ready — once their money disappears and they don’t get any of the registration forms — that they’ll realize it’s a scam.” Bible time No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court might say about the Ten Commandments, federal judges aren’t prevented from citing the Scriptures when the spirit moves. A recent case in Little Rock concerned a man who was fired and prosecuted by his former employer for alleged theft. He beat the theft rap and sued the company for malicious prosecution and defaming him. The federal court, at the defendant’s request, sent the case to an arbitrator. Bad move for the company. The arbitrator found malicious prosecution. The company then appealed the arbitrator’s finding to the federal court. Federal Judge Bill Wilson upheld the arbitrator’s award. After citing several legal reasons, he closed: “Defendants might want to take a look at Proverbs 26:27 (King James Version).” We did. It says there, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” Haute dogs Dog people and cat people alike are welcome at a couple of coming money-raising events for the new Little Rock animal shelter. First up is the “Haute Dogs and Kool Cats” event at the River Market from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 12. For $30 ($25 in advance) you’ll get entertainment, a dog-kissing booth, and more. Aug. 10 at the Peabody Hotel there’ll be a $75 luncheon. Pets of the locally famous will be “hosts” for the luncheon and you’ll get to see their photos — the likes of Sadie Rutherford, Philco Graves, Pepper Cazort, Sassy and Bandit Adcock, Boris Kumpuris, etc. — on a big screen during one event. A bond issue is providing $1.2 million for the shelter, off South University Avenue. But City Director Joan Adcock, who’s driving the fund-raising, said additional money could make the building “state of the art” now. Arf arf.
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