The Thursday night line is open. We’ll close out with a tornado photo; some retail news in the Heights; a prison sentence for a securities scam; a false rape report at the UA and some brilliant commentary on racism.
* DEVASTATION: Photos keep pouring in all over the web of devastation in the Mayflower and Vilonia area from the EF4 tornado Sunday night. Striking is this file on Imgur of the Parkwood Meadows Vilonia subdivision before and after the storm. A trim group of some 53 homes shown in earlier photos is shown, in the image above, to be about nine standing amid a leveled field of rubble.
* SHOPPING: The Doyle Rogers Co. has added three tenants in the Shops in the Heights development at 5501 Kavanaugh between Polk and Taylor. Southern Accented, featuring women’s clothing and home decor items, has opened. Coming are Domestic Domestic, which will sell American-made home and kitchen goods, is to open in May. Its owners, Heather Smith and Sarah Ort, opened Eggshells Kitchen Company in the same center, but sold it in 2013. Also coming is LePops Gourmet Lollies, which will sell frozen treats beginning in June.
* PRISON TIME: Michael Columbia, 27, of Scottsdale, Ariz., was sentenced in federal court in Fayetteville to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay $12.2 million in restitution. He was convicted of defrauding an area investor of $1 million, allegedly collateral for a loan, but diverted to what the U.S. attorney’s office said was Columbia’s “lavish lifestyle.” He pleaded guilty in February.
* FALSE RAPE REPORT: The University of Arkansas announced today that a report of a rape Sunday night in a campus parking garage had been determined by campus police to be a false report. A charge of filing a false police report has been made against the woman who reported the assault. The report had prompted a campus-wide alert.
Melissa Harwood-Rom, dean of students, said, “While this cased ended up being a false report, we are sensitive to the fact that such an outcome may discourage others from coming forward to report an assault. That is not our intention or our hope.
“We take campus safety very seriously – and must consider all variables in the fight against sexual violence,” said Harwood-Rom. “We have a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault. Numerous university programs provide training, resources and counseling to our students. Ultimately, we want to equip University of Arkansas students with the ability to make good decisions.”
* ‘ELEGANT RACISM’: Your bonus reading tonight from Ta-Nehisi Coates on the racism of Donald Sterling, Cliven Bundy and Voter ID laws, which he styles as “elegant racism.” Where were those who condemn the oafs when real racism causes mass incarceration, housing discrimination, voter discrimination?
Far better to implicate Donald Sterling and be done with the whole business. Far better to banish Cliven Bundy and table the uncomfortable reality of our political system. A racism that invites the bipartisan condemnation of Barack Obama and Mitch McConnell must necessarily be minor. A racism that invites the condemnation of Sean Hannity can’t be much of a threat. But a racism, condemnable by all civilized people, must make itself manifest now and again so that we may celebrate how far we have come. Meanwhile racism, elegant, lovely, monstrous, carries on.