Smart Talk June 9 

The kiss of the ADA Rep. Vic Snyder of Little Rock and Sen. Blanche Lincoln received the highest ratings of the Arkansas congressional delegation from the Americans for Democratic Action, a liberal group. The ADA rated members of Congress according to how many times their votes agreed with the ADA on 20 selected issues in 2004. Both Snyder and Lincoln were rated 95. Sen. Mark Pryor had a rating of 85. Fifty-two representatives and 17 senators scored perfect 100s. Rep. Mike Ross of Prescott scored 65, Rep. Marion Berry of Gillett 60 and Rep. John Boozman of Rogers 10. Boozman, the only Republican in the Arkansas congressional delegation, voted with the ADA twice. Forty-six members of the House of Representatives got zero ratings from the ADA. No senator got a zero rating. Paydirt They don’t know yet if it’s a discovery worthy of the Beverly Hillbillies’ “black gold,” but Boy Scout leaders are still thrilled with a gas discovery on the 3,000-acre Gus Blass Scout Reservation near Damascus. That’s the acreage that serves Scouts from the 33-county Quapaw Area Council based in Little Rock. Scout executive John Carman says Seeco of Fort Smith has completed and just begun production from one gas well, is drilling another and has plans for a third on the Scout property. Some wells are being drilled on adjacent farmland as well. “We don’t know what the production is going to be,” Carman said. “It may take a year before we see the start of the money.” Initial plans call for putting the money in the council’s endowment. The find comes at a good time. Scout support from a major traditional source, the United Way, has been dropping in recent years and could drop 15 percent (or by $17,000 or so) next year, Carman said. The decline has a variety of causes. The biggest contributor, United Way of Pulaski County, continues to meet its campaign goals, but an increase in the number of people who direct their contributions to specific charities or to other United Way organizations, some of which have missed fund-raising goals, has caused a decline in support to a number of agencies traditionally supported by United Way. A dark and hairy night If you live in Union County, that furry no-see-um that keeps turning over your trashcan every night might be something slightly bigger than a hungry raccoon. It might be Bigfoot — or so a witness told the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (www.bfro.net). An unidentified man told BFRO that around 8 p.m. May 7, while he and a female friend were parked on a dead-end road about a quarter mile from Highway 167 near El Dorado, he saw, about 15 yards away, a dark furry creature standing on two legs. The witness reported that the creature was between 4 feet and 5 feet tall, covered in brown or black fur, and walked hunched over. Though his female companion was looking another way and didn’t see the creature, she did hear it crunching off into the underbrush. “I can honestly say I have never seen anything like that,” the man wrote. “We sat in the truck for five minutes out of fear. I gassed it and left the road quickly.” A BFRO contact visited the Union County area on May 9, the website reports, but found only a well-worn game trail and no evidence of Bigfoot. “The only tracks I found were deer and what looked like coyote tracks,” she wrote. “I never saw anything that I would consider a Bigfoot track.” Could it be that folks down in oil country are jealous of the Delta’s ivory-billed woodpecker?

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