Save your quarters

Slot machines are coming. Wait. Don’t call them slot machines.

Additional forms of “electronic gaming” are coming to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs and Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, thanks to an act of the legislature and two recent special elections.

The state Racing Commission will take up the subject Dec. 8. That day, it will begin a review of proposals from gambling industry consultants on standards for the new games, regulations and procedures for testing the machines. At the same time, the tracks are drawing up proposals on the types of games, the number of machines, the hours of operation and the location in the two tracks.

A spokesman for the Racing Commission predicted it would take six to seven months to work through the regulatory issues to put the games in place. Neither track has said yet what type of games will be played. Video poker is the odds-on bet.


Tsunamis, monster hurricanes, floods, droughts — as if the tinfoil-hat brigade wasn’t worried enough about the end of the world, now there comes something new to sweat over: earthquakes. As detailed in the June issue of the prestigious science journal Nature, scientists at the University of Memphis Center for Earthquake Research and Information say that the New Madrid Fault — responsible for a massive 1812 quake that caused the Mississippi River to run backwards — might be gearing up for another big one. By sinking global positioning instruments 60 feet deep at 11 sites along the fault, scientists were able to show an average of an eighth of an inch of movement per year — the equivalent of the Harlem Shuffle in geologic terms. Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Arch Johnson, director of the U. of Memphis center, said: “It’s significant. It confirms we’re seeing deforming in the region at a far more rapid rate than we anticipated.”

Mystic pizza

Judy Waller will turn the ground floor of the historic Pulaski Heights Masonic Lodge 673 in Hillcrest into a new location for her U.S. Pizza chain of restaurants.

Waller is closing on a deal to buy the lodge this week, reportedly for $675,000. The building has been on the market for more than a year; the Masons are selling because of declining membership.

Waller will also use the 6,100-square-foot building, which includes a large hall and stage for Masonic rituals on its second floor, for her business offices. The lodge is on the north side of Kavanaugh between Ash and Beechwood.

Down the street at 2814 Kavanaugh, Waller will expand Hillcrest Liquor into the space currently occupied by her pizza restaurant to create a more upscale liquor store.


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