Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Frolics

Jason Willett, Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, hammered Republicans on ethics in an interview with Pat Lynch on WAI. He mentioned $10,000 that lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid to the state Republican Party in 2001 and again stated that former Arkansas Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson was on a list of “friends of the owner” at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Hutchinson’s brother, Asa, is the Republican candidate for governor in November. Democrat Mike Beebe, Arkansas attorney general, also is running. “I just wonder if Tim ever took his brother Asa there for that free meal, too,” Willett said on the show.

Bill Halter will begin his gubernatorial campaign with a statewide tour tomorrow. Halter will be running against Attorney General Mike Beebe for the Democratic nomination.

Entergy expects to spend $1.5 billion in repairs after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The University of Arkansas System says that Clinton School of Public Service Dean David Pryor is resigning his position effective Feb. 15.

The drought continues as the Conway Corp. board of directors discussed low lake levels at Lake Brewer, the city's water supply. The lake has dropped 13 feet because of the weather. A drop of another 14 feet would put the lake at the minimum pool allowed.

More than 62,000 Arkansans voluntarily signed up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit during the first two months it was offered, bringing the number of Medicare recipients in the state with some form of drug coverage to more than 246,000.

A $4 million renovation is coming to downtown Conway. EM Jeans, a Conway retailer, will put a $1.2 million "fashion forward" building on the empty lot at the corner of Oak and Chestnut Streets. Seayco Group of Bentonville will spend $2.5 million to renovate the Halter Building at Front and Oak Streets to include residential lofts, offices, retail space, with Michelangelo’s Italian restaurant already confirmed as the anchor tenant. It will feature a rooftop dining terrace.

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