Excerpts from an oral history.
The Best of ArkansasJanuary 14, 2016
Vol 42 • No 19
A fallen lion in the fight for LGBT rights.
Fallen on tough times recently — old pachinko debts, badly timed investments on the Shanghai Composite, flooding-related losses from our riverside aquaculture holdings — The Observer has had to turn to unconventional streams of revenue.
Donald Trump deserves to be the Republican nominee for president. For decades now, Republicans have been trying to give tax breaks and investment incentives to guys like Donald Trump by fighting government regulations of corporations.
All three of the speakers at Sunday's memorial service for former Gov. and Sen. Dale Bumpers in Little Rock highlighted Bumpers' humor as a key to his political success.
The Arkansas Arts Center may no longer be the state's top cultural institution, but it remains the capital city's major cultural hub, despite its manifest needs, including a bigger and better building.
It's the start of a whole new year, and that means resolutions.
Deputies lead Arron Lewis out of the Pulaski County Circuit Courtroom after jury selection in Lewis' murder trial for the killing of real estate agent Beverly Carter.
It's the latest Heights restaurant from the Chi family.
To rejuvenate and inspire a Razorback basketball team that seemed badged with mediocrity, Coach Mike Anderson likely pinpointed the football brethren, a once and past disaster that sprang from the ashes and reversed its course at the turn.
Also, Monster Jam.
Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell star in Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight.'
Also, gun rhetoric, the latest abortion battle, members only, tragedy on Kaw Lake, another $1 billion for charter schools and more.
Also, 'Jazz: An Evolution of an Art Form" at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, YFN Lucci at Power Ultra Lounge, Legendary Shack Shakers at White Water Tavern, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at UALR and the Wiz Revisited at Revolution.
It's funny how societal fear works (if your humor turns to the morbid). It can be in inverse proportion to the facts supporting it but in direct proportion to the heat of politics and the proximity of elections.
This just in: Nothing boosts circulation or enhances ratings like a sex scandal.
'Locked room' mystery takes hold.
Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign perhaps needs all the publicity it can get. Here's some of the unflattering kind. A woman called him down at an Iowa appearance for hypocrisy — talking family values while defending the Duggar family. Huckabee didn't take kindly to the criticism.
The trial of Arron Lewis in the 2014 abduction and asphyxiation killing of real estate agent Beverly Carter continues today at the Pulaski County Courthouse.
Arkansas got off light, with tiny attorney fee awards in lawsuits successfully challenging the state ban on same-sex marriage. Kentucky must pay more than $1 million.
Cold weather is better with a tasty cocktail—especially the rich, velvet-smooth taste of a good Manhattan.
Media are reporting an accidental shooting at Harmony Grove.
The fraud trial of Ted Suhl, who once operated a large residential treatment facility for troubled youth and community counseling facilities around the state, has been rescheduled for July 12 before federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson.
The Press Argus-Courier reports that two Republican candidates for election this year have records of sex-related offenses.
Jim Hannah, a veteran judge who retired Sept. 1 as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court because of poor health, died this morning.
Federal Judge Kristine Baker heard arguments today from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to make a class action for all its Medicaid patients in the lawsuit aimed at preventing the state from refusing to cover non-aboriton medical services at the organization's two clinics in the state.
Saying "we must not let the perfect become the enemy of the good," federal Judge Price Marshall today approved a facilities plan for the new Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District over objections from lawyers for black children who said it would continue substandard elementary schools for black children.
The open line and today's news video. Plus, criticism of use of restraints at the Booneville Human Development Center, a residential facility for developmentally disabled people.
The prosecution continues building its case against Arron Lewis today for the abduction and slaying of realtor Beverly Carter in what they say was a ransom scheme gone bad.
An FOI request turns up a list of 132 people who've signed up to be members of a private club planned by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson and others in the historic Packet House on Cantrell Road.
Every employee of the state Workforce Services Department got a notice about absence of parking on the Capitol mall Sunday, a day when nobody works anyway. Was it a subtle way to publicize and encourage participation in an annual anti-abortion demonstration?
A tipster tells me House Speaker Jeremy Gillam is bringing select legislators into a private meeting next week about the continuation of the private option version of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare with select health care industry officials. Topic: Managed care.
The ACLU has sued Orleans Parish and the Louisiana Public Defender Board over a shortage of public defenders there. It is one of many states, including Arkansas, where questions have been raised about meeting the need for counsel for criminal defendants.
Arron Lewis, accused of abducting and killing real estate agent Beverly Carter, has decided to take the stand in his own defense as his trial moves to a conclusion, perhaps today.
Walmart, the Arkansas-based retailer, announced today that it would close 269 stores worldwide, including 154 in the U.S. The main target is smaller stores.
Melissa Stone, a lawyer and current interim director of the state Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, has been chosen by the Board that oversees the division to become the permanent director.
C.D. Wright could be two things at once. In her poetry, she was a voice from very far away that spoke directly and intimately to our secret interiors. In her life, she was a venerable genius who shocked younger generations of poets by constantly championing our work and encouraging us to write ferociously on our own terms.
Three more members of the Arkansas Supreme Court issue individual statements today on retired Chief Justice Jim Hannah, who died yesterday in Searcy at the age of 71.
Now comes the Arkansas Supreme Court with a per curiam order in memory of retired Chief Justice Jim Hannah. It's a nice unsigned tribute but too late to paper over the bickering that led to it.
Here's the week-ending open line and today's video news summary.
I generally don't love westerns. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the simplistic moralizing, all black hats and white hats and bullshit showdowns. Maybe it’s a consequence of growing up as the geekish asthmatic in a household of competent, muscular men who build houses and drive tractors. Maybe it’s just the fact that watching people squint into the desert sun makes me feel uncomfortably thirsty.
The Arron Lewis trial, the death of former state Supreme Court chief justice Jim Hannah, the state of the union and Arkansas’s congressional delegation’s response, Metroplan’s presentation before the Little Rock City Board on the flaws of the 30 Crossing plan and some of the dispiriting response from some of the board's members and Dennis Milligan and ethics — all covered on this week's podcast.
After deliberating for about an hour this afternoon, a jury found Arron Lewis guilty of capital murder and kidnapping in the death of real estate agent Beverly Carter.
The Interstate 30 widening project seems likely to proceed in the most damaging form to downtown. It's a reminder of Little Rock's historic resistance to looking at the facts and unintended consequences of expansion decisions.
A famous Republican name takes sides in the race for Arkansas Supreme Court.
Electing judges means you get judicial advertising. This year, in the race for chief justice, that means a choice between Arkansas values and prayer.
The open line plus an opportunity to comment on Sen. Tom Cotton's finding of as dark cloud in the silver lining of release of U.S. prisoners in Iran.
Carl Carter Jr. has posted on Facebook a thank-you note to those responsible for the conviction of his mother Beverly Carter's killer, Arron Lewis, in Pulaski Circuit Court last week.
An encounter with the barrel of a gun in a fast-food restaurant prompts a question for public discussion.
The readers take over.
Something frozen seems to be lightly falling as I await sunrise of the state holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee. The day's events include a "marade," Kingfest at UALR and a speech on voting rights by the head of the national NAACP.
Eleven super PACs are exploiting a loophole in federal law to delay reporting new megadonors until after the important Iowa and New Hampshire primary contests.
The Arkansas Times has spent more than a year documenting shortcomings in the Arkansas child welfare system — short of foster homes and case workers, among others. But, again, we have Mississippi to thank for apparently being even worse.
We tried Salt & Pepper on a whim and did not regret it.
The leaders of the 1836 Club, the new private club that Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson and others hope to open in the former Packet House on Cantrell Road, have announced that veteran chef Donnie Ferneau will head the restaurant operation.
It's a little later than hoped, but construction began today on Bruno's Deli, the lunch takeout place to be opened next door to Bruno's Little Italy at 310 Main Street.
Boulevard Bread Company plans to open a new location on Feb. 1 in the Baptist Health Medical Center Tower 1 in Little Rock. Boulevard currently sells its soups, salads, sandwiches and bread at locations in the River Market, South Main and in the Heights, at the flagship, which includes full-menu bistro.
Arkansas Business' Mark Friedman has a long look here at the Hutchinson administration's decision to extend a major lottery vendor's contract by 10 years, without taking competitive bids, though the vendor, Scientific Games, was found some years back to have been paid millions more than its original contract called for.
Last week, the state Education Department quietly posted school-by-school breakdowns of student scores on the PARCC test, used in 2014-15, that was aligned with Common Core.
The Little Rock Police Department said that Joshua Williams, 17, of Cabot was released from a hospital today and then taken to police headquarters for processing on charges of robbery, attempted capital murder, battery and aggravated assault in a robbery and shootout Jan. 9 at the Red Lobster on West Markham Street.
Here's the Martin Luther King/Robert E. Lee Holiday open line.
Arkansas figures in the uncommon outcome of a round of Jeopardy, the TV quiz show.
David Brooks' column this morning is interesting — about the impending disaster for the Republican Party should Donald Trump or Ted Cruz win the presidential nomination.
As expected, the U.S. Supreme Court announced today it would not review lower court rulings striking down the Arkansas ban on most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy.
Seventh-day Adventists sue White Hall over ordinance requiring permits for door-to-door religion messaging
The Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and two members have filed a federal lawsuit alleging First Amendment rights have been violated by the city of White Hall's requirement that they obtain permits to carry religious ideas door to door.
Noise Free America, a nonprofit group based in Chapel Hill, N.C., that says it is devoted to fighting noise, especially from boom cars, car alarms, leaf blowers, barking dogs, and motorcycles, isn't too happy with Fayetteville, Ark., and its annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he will announce at 1:30 p.m. today his preferred plan for providing more money to spend on Arkansas highways.
The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today filed an expanded list of allegations of impropriety against District Judge Joseph Boeckmann of Wynne, who faces a full hearing on the charges later this year.
Yet another group shows that the driving boom has ended but still highway agencies want to build unneeded new roads and ignore other needs, all the while wasting tax dollars. Sound like Little Rock?
Among many cases the U.S. Supreme Court routinely declined to consider today was an appeal by Little Rock Police Officer Donna Lesher, who contends she should be immune — for acting in an official capacity — from a civil lawsuit over the fatal shooting of Eugene Ellison.
Benton County Sheriff James “Kelly” Cradduck surrendered to State Police this afternoon at the Benton County Jail and was charged with one count of tampering with a public record, a felony, and one misdemeanor count of tampering. A special prosecutor brought the charge.
The Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods has distributed a response it received from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to a series of questions about the 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 through Little Rock. For one thing, a "pedestrian scramble" crossing is being studied for the Cumberland/Markham intersection.
U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer's office announced today the indictment of Christian Trey Ashcraft, 40, owner of Ashven photography and a former photographer of high school students around Pine Bluff, on a charge of Internet stalking and another of lying to a federal agent.
Here's the evening open line, plus today's video roundup of news and comment.
Earlier, Max outlined Gov. Asa Hutchinson's long-awaited plan for highway funding. I was at the press conference, so I'll add a few more details.
After more than an hour of public comment and board debate, City Director Gene Fortson moved that a resolution by Directors Kathy Webb and Ken Richardson asking the state highway department to consider alternatives to widening Interstate 30 be deferred to April and the board quickly adopted the motion, with only Webb, Richardson and Director B.J. Wyrick voting against deferral.
At least 22 are dead as a result of militants' attack on a college campus in Pakistan.
The sixth Rally for Reproductive Justice, under attack more than ever in Arkansas, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the State Capitol.
Friends report that the Texarkana Board of Directors passed an anti-discrimination ordinance last night by a vote of 7-0.
By golly, there's still an opposition party in Arkansas, or at least one Democrat with the nerve to call out Gov. Asa Hutchinson's free lunch highway plan — Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane.
Walmart has announced a pay increase for employees.
Something's up relative to the long-delayed action by the Little Rock Port Authority on a memorandum of understanding with the Quapaw Tribe about use of its land near the port. Looks like that agreement is dead.
Here's the open line and daily news video.
Pulaski County Technical College opens its new Center for Humanities and Arts next Tuesday, Feb. 2, and follows that with a public reception for the exhibition, "Merging Form and Surface," the first in the building's new Windgate Gallery, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 3.
Americans for Prosperity has launched an attack on the quarter-cent tax increase that would provided $18 million a year to improve public transportation in Little Rock. The hang-tag above is being distributed. The tax vote is set for March 1. You can bet no one associated with AFP rides a bus. They may not even drive themselves.
Last night, there was lots of talk at the Little Rock City Board of Directors meeting about the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's ongoing consideration of alternatives to the 30 Crossing plan to widen seven miles of I-30 for $600 million. Nothing set in stone, Director Dean Kumpuris and Mayor Mark Stodola assured the public that came to speak out against the widening.This image above is from the AHTD's presentation to Metroplan's Regional Planning Advisory Council today. It's an update and schedule for future public meetings. Do you see all the other alternatives they still have in the hopper?
As task force tackles Medicaid reforms, consultant will analyze alternatives to full-risk managed care
The Health Reform Legislative Task Force met today. Get. Excited.
A look at the timeline for the Health Reform Legislative Task Force as it tackles the future of the private option and major reforms to the Medicaid program. Plus, the Medicaid reform plan will be scored against a baseline of 5 percent growth — is that the right figure to use?
Hot Springs candy shop is a fun stop for sweets.