Big Dam secret

So what is the official name of the Big Dam Bridge? The Arkansas Democrat Gazette had a tantalizing sidebar in its Sept. 29 paper reporting that the official name of the bridge — which a plaque gives as the unsexy Pulaski County Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge — would be revealed at opening ceremonies the next day.

County Judge Buddy Villines said he wasn’t sure where the Dem-Gaz got that notion. The Big Dam Bridge will remain the Big Dam Bridge, he said, despite the urgings of friends who wanted to see Villines’ name on it. “I would have been totally uncomfortable with that,” he said Tuesday.

Now, for some stats about the Oct. 1 Big Dam Bridge 100 bike ride, posted by event coordinator Fred Phillips: The number of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches consumed at aid stations: 4,500. Gallons of fluids consumed: 3,000. Gallons of pickles consumed: 20. Individuals who rode: 1,300. Volunteers at aid stations and other locations: 250. Law enforcement officers used for traffic control: 162. Law enforcement jurisdictions the 100-mile route passed through: 9. Mobile command centers used for communications: 3. Counties the 100-mile route passed through: 2. Number of Big Dam Bridges crossed: 1.

And while there were no partridges in pear trees, there was a giant squash hanging from a spindly branch near the railroad tracks just off the course. Look for it on the left when you pedal east on Rebsamen Park Road across from Sherrill Heights.

Senior moment
Governor of Arkansas has been an office mostly won by men younger than 50 (only men have been governor) for longer than most of us have been alive.

Whichever of the major candidates — Republican Asa Hutchinson or Democrat Mike Beebe — is elected in November, he will be the oldest person elected to a first term as governor since Marion Futrell in 1932. Futrell won his first term at the ripe old age of 62.

Beebe, born Dec. 28, 1946, would turn 60 before he’s sworn in. Hutchinson, born Dec. 3, 1950, will be 55 on election day and 56 on inaugural day.

Other ages of governors on first election day: Mike Huckabee, 43; Jim Guy Tucker, 51; Bill Clinton, 32; Frank White, 47; David Pryor, 40; Dale Bumpers, 45; Winthrop Rockefeller, 54; Orval Faubus, 44 (and only 54 on his sixth victory); Francis Cherry, 44; Ben Laney, 47; Sid McMath, 36; Homer Adkins, 50; Carl Bailey, 42.

Only Thomas C. McRae was an older first-termer than Futrell in the 20th century. He was 70 when he took office in 1921.

You can’t get no satisfaction

Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday was in August, but you know he’s always late. So it’s appropriate that an extravaganza is planned in New York Oct. 27-29 to celebrate the event by raising money for his philanthropic efforts.

There’ll be a golf outing, brunch, a dinner at the American Museum of Natural History and, on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the 3,000-seat Beacon Theater, an intimate concert by the Rolling Stones. Don’t bother to call Ticketmaster. Weekend packages start at $60,000 and top out at $500,000. For that, though, you get a pass to the backstage Rolling Stones dinner, “platinum” seating for Mick and the boys and prime seats at all the other dinners, receptions, etc. Probably even a mulligan or two at the Bayonne Golf Club tournament.


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