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Working it off

David Huckabee, the 26-year-old son of presidential candidate and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, made what he described as a “stupid, stupid” mistake last week. He walked into the Little Rock National Airport security checkpoint with a loaded Glock .40-caliber handgun in his carry-on bag, plus a nine-round clip. Huckabee, who said he routinely carries the weapon on business trips in his car, said he threw a computer bag into his luggage for a plane trip before an early morning flight and simply forgot it also carried a pistol. He was arrested, booked (the photo is from the county sheriff) and pleaded guilty when arraigned before District Judge Lee A. Munson. He was fined $855, sentenced to a year on probation and ordered to perform 10 days of community service. Young Huckabee says that while you can pay to avoid community service at the rate of $10 per day, it seems too easy a way to get out of the obligation and he intends to do his community service. At last report, the specific assignment hadn’t been decided. The news, on account of his father’s candidacy and advocacy of allowing concealed weapons in more public places, drew international attention. The Times got a call from an incredulous BBC reporter about the discovery of a loaded gun in an airport checkpoint: “I’ve never even seen a handgun.”

Drug data incomplete

Drug reformers didn’t try to pass reform bills through the recent General Assembly, finding little support among legislators. But they haven’t given up on reform, and now they want to improve their chances by getting better data on how existing drug policies are working.

Denele Campbell, executive director of the Drug Policy Education Group, based in Fayetteville, wrote a letter to all members of the legislature saying that law enforcement agencies should be required to maintain and report drug-arrest records in a more understandable way. For example: “Reporting on quantities of drugs seized should be documented in a common measurement method, and compiled as a total quantity. Current measurement categories make no sense.” “Asset seizure and forfeiture continues to escape appropriate monitoring.” “Prison records for persons incarcerated on drug convictions should reflect the type of drug involved in their offense. Currently there is no method by which to know how many inmates are incarcerated due to marijuana offenses. In cases where multiple offenses are involved, all offenses should be listed including drug types.”

Campbell said no legislator has responded to her letter.

Fighting foreclosure

Little Rock-North Little Rock ranks 27th among America’s large metropolitan areas in the rate of foreclosure filings, according to ACORN, which has begun a campaign to help beleaguered home owners save their homes. ACORN, an organization of low- and moderate-income people, said a recent study showed Little Rock-North Little Rock with 4,739 residential foreclosure filings in 2006. That was a foreclosure rate of 1 filing for every 55 households. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn had the highest rate, with one foreclosure filing for every 21 households.

Johnnie Pugh, a member of Pulaski County ACORN, said that predatory lending practices were among the causes of the “epidemic” of foreclosures. She urged all homeowners having problems with their home loans to call ACORN for assistance at 1-866-67-ACORN.

Market Street to add beer, wine

Matt Smith’s Market Street Cinema in West Little Rock will begin serving beer and wine starting May 1.

“We’re going to have high-end beer, something like Heineken, Beck’s, maybe Corona, things along those lines,” Smith said. “It won’t be draft beer, it will be beer in a bottle. People buying will get an armband. We won’t serve it in cups.”

Wine, white and red, will be served in the small individual bottles.

Smith was approved for his license April 18 by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

“I just want to get it started, get my feet wet, see how my customers respond,” Smith said. “This is one thing at the Angelika Film Center in New York that we don’t have. We have cookies, cashews and pecans, ice cream, your standard hot dog, popcorn and nachos, movie food, but not this. We’ll see what happens.”

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