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January 6, 2011

Vol 37 • No 18

Start your homework

On area schools.

Blog blog blog

A list of the best

Read, listen, look

Libraries aren't just about books anymore.

Mass transit

Trolley, bus information

Eleven for 2011

This year, the Arkansas Times Natives Guide starts at the top — the top 11 places we think help define Little Rock and our surrounds.

By the numbers

The sum total of Central Arkansas.

Art and culture

A survey of museums and galleries.

Popcorn dreams

Film series fill up the dark

The club scene

Cha-cha-cha changes.

Shop it, seriously

Small shops still thriving.

Spend thrift

Nifty stores for cheap.

Music for the people

Reeds, strings and things.

Diversify your palate

A survey of Central Arkansas's ethnic groceries.

Easy being green

Pulaski puts parks in drive.

Here's a hint: Think spa SOLVED

The first "Name that Arkansas Artist" of 2011.

Thursday: Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Luke Williams Band, Mr. Lucky

Thursday night brings Tyrannosaurus Chicken to White Water Tavern, The Luke Williams Band to Revolution, Mr. Lucky to Cajun's Wharf and much more.

Dillard's sales up in December

More economic rebound evidence? Dillard's says its same-store sales for the five weeks ending Jan. 1 were up 7 percent over the same period last year.

In defense of health care

More details here on the Democrats' plan to mount a high-profile defense of health care legislation, an effort noticeably lacking in last year's election season.

Religion cramdown

The Family Council, which is bringing the faux historian religionist David Barton to town next week to indoctrinate legislators on cramming their religion down others' throats, illustrates the specifics of its theocratic approach to government in its legislative package.

Don Tyson dies of cancer

Don Tyson, former CEO of Tyson Foods, has died of cancer at age 80.

House session on-line

The Arkansas House caucus at 1:30 p.m. today to consider the Claims Commission recommendation to seat incoming Rep. Fred Smith despite a challenge of his residency will be available on the web.

Jan Parker: Art that grows on you

First Friday shows at Fayetteville Underground.

'Help us Jesus'

That was the shout uttered by a birther who disrupted the gimmicky reading of the U.S. Constitution (except unpleasant original parts, such as the one providing for slaves) in the U.S. House.

Dustin McDaniel's priorities

Second-term Attorney General Dustin McDaniel did what his first term? It escapes me. He mostly avoided like the plague battling for consumers against greedy, polluting utilities — once a staple activity of the office.

Halter names Cook to Ethics Commission

Here's a good final deed by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who leaves office next week.

House seats Smith, Post

Short and sweet on Part I. The House voted 89-1 to concur in the recommendation of the state Claims Commission that Fred Smith be seated as a representative from Crawfrordsville. It later defeated an effort to delay the seating of Rep. Leslee Post.

Unreleased Cash on the way

Columbia/Legacy is set to release "Bootleg, Vol. 2: From Memphis to Hollywood," a two-disc set of demos, outtakes, rarities, etc., on February 22.

Money talks; political spin walks

The House voted today to cut the House budget 5 percent. The vote drew only a handful of nays.

Robbery suspects identified

Police have identified the two men shot when they reportedly tried to rob Joe's Grocery and Deli on Col. Glenn Road: Demario Lamont Harris, 18, was wounded in the leg and is in stable condition.

Mark Martin announces staff

Thanks to Jason Tolbert for the news release from Mark Martin on the secretary of state's staff decisions.

LR police response to mugging breakdown

You might remember the news that a man was mugged at Fourth and Louisiana about 10 p.m.

Today on Twitter: T.I., Beefheart, Al Gree-mix

What's on the Rock Candy Tweetroll for Thursday?

The Thursday line

Over to you, blog fans. In other news: * I can't tell where the spate of incendiary/suspicious packages in Baltimore may be going.

Halfway house update

Tireless community activist Clayton Johnson reports by e-mail on the Planning Commission today on competing proposals for halfway houses for federal prisoners — from the City of Faith, which has run a house in a residential neighborhood near Boyle Park for 15 years, and from the GEO Group, which wants to get the contract and put the residential facility on Markham Street, a block west of City Hall.

Mallett going pro

The Twitter feeds are overloaded with news that the Stanford qb's decision to spend another year in college has cinched Ryan Mallett's decision to turn pro, to the point that a Hog sub has tweeted that the Stanford qb's decision was good news for him.

Weekend: Montgomery Trucking, Runaway Planet, Rwake

Other highlights this weekend include shows by Montgomery Trucking, Runaway Planet, Steepbanks and more.

Saturday To-Do: 'Arkansas Shorts'

After two years of sell-out screenings at Hot Springs' gorgeous, historic Malco Theater, "Arkansas Shorts" is set to return for its fourth year, showcasing music videos, experimental films, documentaries and narrative shorts from the state's filmmakers.

Georgia's lottery falls short

A cautionary tale: Georgia's lottery is falling way short of funding the state's college scholarship program at existing levels and big cuts seem likely.

Mike Ross: Profile in demagoguery

Even Heath Shuler says he'll not vote to repeal health care reform legislation. Mike Ross?

Saturday To-Do: Rodney Carrington

Country comedian Rodney Carrington rolls into the Robinson Center Music Hall this Saturday.

Sunday To-Do: Danny Barnes

Country-punk O.G. Danny Barnes dives into Juanita's this Sunday.

LR superintendent search nearing end

The Little Rock School Board met last night in response to a petition from district residents who don't want Linda Watson replaced as superintendent.

Partisanship arrives in Arkansas

Gov. Mike Beebe said today in a radio interview that he thought voters would punish legislators who emulated Washington and acted in an overtly partisan way in the Arkansas legislature.

Snow forecast Sunday

Here's the latest from the Weather Service on snow forecast for Sunday and perhaps Monday, too.

Tea Party teaches constitution

You've perhaps read of the religion- and Tea Party-based takeover of most of the levers of government in Hot Springs and Garland County.

Last night: Tyrannosaurus Chicken at White Water Tavern

Times photog Brian Chilson with great footage of Tyrannosaurus Chicken at White Water Tavern.

Wakarusa 2011 lineup released: MMJ, Sharon Jones, more

Wakarusa released their lineup for 2011. Highlights include My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.

Suit filed over Capitol-area building plan

Downtown resident Dan Cook, a former member of the Capitol Zoning District Commission, has filed a lawsuit over the commission's recent approval of a five-story office building at Sixth and Woodlane, across the street from the Capitol.

More details on Beth Ditto's coming memoir

There's no US release date that I can find, but we've got the cover image and a synopsis for "Coal to Diamonds," the forthcoming Beth Ditto memoir.

Elana Wills named to PSC

I was just wondering this morning what Elana Wills would be doing now that her appointed stint in a state Supreme Court has ended (and a good one it was).

Today on Twitter: The Big Cats, Lena Durham, Klipsch

What's on the Rock Candy twitter deck? Deals with Klipsch, The Big Cats' matinee show and a midnight interview tonight with Kool G Rap on KABF.

Gun issue on grocer who shot robbers

Joe Alley, who shot two alleged robbers who’d taken cash from him at his Joe’s Grocery and Deli on Col. Glenn Road earlier this week, apparently has a record on drug charges that raises the question of whether he could legally possess a gun.

Gallery Walk: Robin Hazard Bishop, Bill Garrison and more

Time to walk the streets of the spa city.

The eagle flies

And the line is open. Last headline: * Firestone Building Products is closing a plant in Kingston, S.C., and moving 100 jobs to a plant in Prescott that employs about 400.

The figures on health care reform

The New York Times delves deeper today into Congressional Budget Office estimates on the deficit-reducing prospects for health care reform and Republicans' rejection of same.

Let there be guns everywhere

Steve Jones of Arkansas Carry, one of the noisiest pro-gun groups, informs me that for now the group isn't going to push legislation to open public college classrooms to pistol-packers.

Blackbirds, bye-bye

I've learned my lesson. A reporter for AOL called me Friday for my take on the Beebe blackbird death story, now, thanks to the Internet, a worldwide phenomenon and grist for the unified conspiracy mill.

Happy David O. Dodd day

You know, of course, that it is David O. Dodd Day, when the Sons of Confederate Veterans gather to mark the hanging of the Boy Martyr of the Confederacy for espionage.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in head

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was fatally shot in the head at point blank range in Tucson today during a public meeting at a grocery store. As many as six more may be dead and others wounded.

Open line

If there's anything else to talk about.

Radar watch

Who knows what the day will hold? A winter storm.

The news from Arizona

The New York Times has updated its overview of the shootings in Arizona. The death toll remains at six.

Highway tax: a road to nowhere

John Brummett today considers House Speaker Robert Moore's so-far lonely voice in support of raising taxes for highway construction.

Dead birds make SNL

Saturday Night Live takes on the Beebe "dead bird" story.

Petit Bistro brings interesting food to Bentonville

Inventive dishes and a unique setting are drawing people to northwest Arkansas to sample Kobe beef burgers, poached pear salad and salmon pizza and so much more.

Consumer alert SOLD OUT

Shameless commercial interlude. OK, it's snowing.

Snow day line

Yep. It snowed.

Snow day tomorrow

Snow day rules Monday for state employees in Little Rock area. Essential people only.

Arizona aftermath

The New York Times has posted its story for tomorrow's paper reconstructing the deadly events in the Tucson strip mall.

These toxic times

As expected, the debate rages on whether angry political discourse, video games and other elements of our culture encourage action by people like the accused shooter of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whatever his motivating political philosophy (good luck with that) might be.

Well ...

Not looking too promising on traversing the hill from my house — now or for days given that it is the absolute last street in the city to thaw or receive salt or other attention from city crews.

Snowing on the parades

A Republican Party spokesman said the big party planned tonight to celebrate the GOP's new constitutional officers and legislators has been postponed on account of weather.

Bird death mystery solved

People for the American Way, a group that keeps up with zanies so you don't have to work at it full-time, has unearthed the reason for the Arkansas bird and fish deaths and other recent disturbing natural happenstances.

Renauds in Haiti

Little Rock filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud are back on the New York Times website today, with the second part of their "Surviving the Haiti Earthquake" series.

Razorback Pizza robbery ends in chase, fatal wreck

Two gunmen robbed Razorback Pizza at 10900 Stagecoach Road Saturday and then fled. But the driver of the getaway died in a police chase that also caused injuries to passengers in a car not connected to the robbery.

What Giffords said night before she was shot

Rep. Gabrielle wrote to a Republican friend the night before she was shot: The night before she and 19 others were shot at an event in Tucson, Arizona, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) wrote a warm email to Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, where she told the Republican "we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

Mara Leveritt: New work on W. Memphis 3

Times senior editor Mara Leveritt tells me CNN plans a special at 8 p.m. Wednesday on the West Memphis Three murder case.

Let the lawmaking begin

Anybody got a credit card? Arkansas legislators in town and they're looking thirsty after a hard day of swearing-in festivities.

Ed Stone furniture at U of A

The Fine Arts Center features a show of the famed architect's furniture.

Tom DeLay gets three years

The one-time House Hammer gets three years in prison for political money laundering. He's appealing.

Into the night

I'm creeping home. Noted: * Arrest of man who made threatening calls to U.S. senator's office in Colorado.

Five at Baum

Things ought to be thawed out by the time the Baum Gallery of the University of Central Arkansas opens its spring season.

While on the subject of snow...

just a link back to last year for your convenience — on the makings of snow ice cream.

Robbie Wills joins the lobby ranks

Former House Speaker Robbie Wills at least gave his successor in office a few hours grace before announcing he'd turned his political service into a lobbying career, a gig with the Arkansas Installment Lenders Association.

Weather remains iffy

The dreaded refreeze has occurred in various places around Arkansas — be careful. State Police notes: As for 6:45 AM traffic is at a standstill in the eastbound lanes of I-30 between the 98 and 106 mile markers [vicinity of Malvern exit] Commercial carriers are jackknifed and ice has stopped traffic.

Arizona: The mental angle

David Brooks decries the discussion of political factors in the Arizona shootings. He's concluded — I don't really disagree — that the crime itself seems more likely done by a person who needed mental treatment than someone motivated by over-the-top political debate and imagery.

Senator hitches cop chopper ride

Buzz in the Capitol yesterday included talk of Sen. Steve Harrelson's late arrival for swearing-in from Texarkana — by State Police helicopter.

Whither a highway program?

If anything stood out in opening day ceremonies of the Arkansas legislature, it was House Speaker Robert Moore's fervent call for the need to figure out a way to shovel billions more into the state's road-building program.

Schedule change on W. Memphis 3 report UPDATE

There's been a time change on the CNN special I mentioned yesterday on the West Memphis Three murder case.

Doctors optimistic about Giffords' recovery

Doctors say they are confident that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will survive the gunshot wound to her head and also optimistic she will not survive in a vegetative state.

Why River Rail rolled

Everybody loves to beat up on River Rail. Not me. I love to hear the trolleys rumbling past my building.

New Thea scholarship

And now, a focus on the written word.

AAC faculty show opens today: Update

But the reception for it has been delayed until next week.

Tuesday: Ben Nichols, Micah Schnabel, This Holy House

Tuesday night is a goldmine for alt-country fans, with Lucero's Ben Nichols and Two Cow Garage's Micah Schnabel doing solo gigs at Arkansas CD & Record Exchange and White Water Tavern, respectively.

Shoot-Don't shoot: A gun owner's dilemma

Here's a great account in Slate of a handgun owner who responded to news of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting nearby and almost shot a man with a gun — the man who had taken the gun from the mass killer.

Calling all garfish lovers

I am not a particular fan of the alligator gar, except for its appearance — so awful it is almost entertaining.

Police name driver killed in post-robbery crash

Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said Melvin Cobbs Jr., 32, of 79 Lancaster was the driver of the 2002 GMC Envoy that crashed on Stagecoach Road about 9 p.m.

The line is open

Your thoughts welcome. They need not be politically correct.
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