Late start for me. I’m in San Francisco at a conference of what we used to call alternative newsweeklies. We’re still that, but digital portals, marketers and anything else we can dream to continue to be alternative voices. Maybe I’ll learn something.

I could smell the crabs steaming and sourdough baking on my walk around the bay front this morning. Eat your hearts out. Some items from the overnight mail:


* STATE LOSS ON PAYROLL GLITCH: Treasurer Charles Robinson’s office provided me with a tally on the money lost to the state when it paid its $29 million biweekly payroll to 30,000 employees two days early. His office calculated the money lost at $657.14 for two days. Not even a $29 million deposit earns much money these days. BTW: Has there ever been a more efficient, dependable and accessible state employee than Charles Robinson, who’s filling out the office’s term because of Martha Shoffner’s resignation? I did get a report overnight of a state employee outside Little Rock who got two paychecks and a warning that failure to pay back one of them was not an option. Whether that was an isolated glitch or not, I haven’t had time to check.

* COTTON OUTRAISES PRYOR: Extremist Republican Tom Cotton is boasting this morning that he raised $1.24 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s $1.1 million. Given the Club for Greed’s support of Cotton, I’m a little surprised he and Pryor continue roughly neck and neck. Cotton edged slightly ahead of Pryor the previous quarter. 


* MAIN STREET PLAN  DRAWS HONOR: An award is announced for a plan:

A plan to transform four neglected blocks of Main Street in downtown Little Rock into an arts district has earned a national 2014 Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects. Faculty and staff members of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas designed this award-winning work.

The Creative Corridor, designed by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect, won an Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design, one of six awarded. This is the center’s 11th national AIA Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design, and this is Blackwell’s third AIA Honor Award.

The Creative Corridor plan retrofits a four-block segment of Main Street, between 3rd and 7th streets, by using economic development catalyzed by the cultural arts rather than a traditional retail base. The goal is to structure an identity for the Creative Corridor rooted in a mixed-use, work-live environment that is also sensitive to the historical context of Main Street in Little Rock, which has a metropolitan area population of about 700,000.

Plans are one thing. Action is another. But things have been happening and more are on the way. Think, for example if the significant creative workforce of CJRW did move to a renovated Fulk Building at Third and Main (Bennett’s Military Supplies). Also, stay tuned. A huge new residential project is in the works.


* PRYOR PRAISED/ ASA REMONSTRATED: Speaking of Mark Pryor. He was singled out for praise at an MLK Day observance in Pine Bluff this week by the slain civil rights leader’s nephew. The article is behind a pay wall, but the Pine Bluff Commercial reported that Isaac Farris of Atlanta, a son of King’s sister acknowledged Gov. Mike Beebe, Tom Cotton and Mike Ross, but heaped praise on Sen. Pryor:

“Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, who is being challenged by Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, was extolled by Farris for his willingness “to do the right thing for all by seeking to compromise on national issues.”

“Too many Washington leaders have a “my way or the highway” attitude, Farris said.

Farris also gigged Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson for not being on hand. He said “Hutchinson can’t be trusted if he didn’t wish to associate with the King family or a King holiday-related event.” Hutchinson participated in other King events that day, it should be noted. 

* SUPREME COURT WON’T REVIEW INHERITANCE DISPUTE OVER CALDER WORK: The Arkansas Supreme Court today declined to review the Court of Appeals decision in the case in which Little Rock restaurateur Capi Peck said her late father had intended for her to inherit an Alexander Calder work that went instead to his trust and was sold for $3.7 million, to the ultimate benefit of his widow. Both a circuit court and the court of appeals court said that evidence of her late’s father’s wishes didn’t override the fact that the gift was never made. He kept the work in his home until his death. The decision not to review the case came without comment.