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February (first magazine)

February (first magazine)

February 1, 2019

Vol 45 • No 18

Read the print version

The Hot Springs mile-pie club

Spa City is swiftly becoming a polestar for pizza.

Flash Point: Race, fire, police and Little Rock's new mayor

Can the city's first elected black mayor heal the racial divisions that have long plagued the city's fire and police departments?

Little Rock's Dos Rocas gives a nod to Paraguay

Arkansas Times readers named it the "Best New" restaurant in Central Arkansas.

Best restaurants in Arkansas 2019

Our readers pick the best.

Thursday: Open line and stuff

Here's the open line. Also the daily video with news headlines and comment. Also check your newstands. The first monthly Arkansas Times is out and it's full of good reading, with a cover story about the mayor and lots more bubbling in Little Rock.

Execution drugs expire; 'fix' coming

The Associated Press notes that all of the Arkansas execution drugs have expired, as expected. No executions are scheduled and the state can't kill anyone until new drugs are obtained.

Asa's tax cut even worse than you thought; or better if you're really rich

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has completed an analysis of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's income tax cut plan and, as I predicted this morning, it's an even bigger boon to the rich than the first. It also may be more costly in lost revenue.

Still without weed in Arkansas

But it looks like medical marijuana will finally roll in.

Orval gets redeemed from Hell

To be paired with a very special spiritual mentor.

The smoked meat pleasures of Naaman's

A pitmaster with a cult following prepares to move his joint across the street — and into another state.

Essential New Orleans

An extensive guide to eating, drinking, dancing, karaoke-ing, strolling and Carnivaling in the Crescent City.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Please Hammer, don't hurt 'em edition

Play while you scarf down volcano wings with Satan's mother-in-law.

Denise Garner wants campuses to be able to say 'no' to concealed carry

'Compromise is not a bad word,' the freshman legislator from Fayetteville says.

The unbearable whiteness of being

What's lost when we consider the history of racial violence from a white perspective.

Local Lime

The 411 on Little Rock's new e-scooters.


Like Velvet: history in black hairstyles in Arkansas

How a kitchen cosmetologist built — and handed down — a 90-year legacy of black hair care.

What to expect from the 92nd Arkansas General Assembly

Tax cuts for the richest Arkansans top the agenda for the ledge.

"Chicago" opens at The Rep, Sumokem at South on Main, ASO plays "Ode to Joy" and more

And much more.

Asa's inaugural spending buried in state GOP filings but here are some details

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced, according to the Democrat-Gazette, that he had donated $200,000 remaining from his inaugural festivities to the Arkansas Economic Development Foundation. So we decided to get a fuller financial report.

Asa's tax cut for the rich gets strong reaction and a familiar myth

The governor's tax plan is a windfall for the rich. And, no, it's not in line with their existing tax burden.

Want to subscribe to the monthly Arkansas Times?

The first monthly Arkansas Times is on the streets and available free at the usual pickup points in Central Arkansas. But suppose you'd like to receive a mail subscription?

UA trustee Eichler objects to diversity effort at UA-Fayetteville

Thanks to Emily Walkenhorst, new to the higher education beat at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, for coverage of a University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meeting Thursday at which trustee Kelly Eichler of Little Rock went off on a diversity program.

A fairly good week for the Hogs despite splitting games

Mike Anderson’s still, in the humble opinion of Pearls, coaching for his short- and long-term job security. He remains upbeat about his young team’s future, but a lot of tough games are on the schedule yet, and this team really doesn’t have a signature win to speak of.

White Mansion wins Round Two of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

The second round of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase was as wildly varied as the first, with sets that shifted from from dark wave to front porch harmonies to pop anthems to sax-seasoned geeksta rap.

White flight: Now it's from football

Good reading today from The Atlantic: It's about white families discouraging kids from playing football because of evidence of the risk of long-term brain injury. The trend is less evident among black families and shows up in a rising percentage of blacks playing college football.

Let's make it easier to vote: A tale of an uncounted ballot

A personal anecdote in support of the need for easier voting — such as online voting.

TGIF: The news roundup and open line

Friday: The roundup of news and comment and the open line.

The Tax Cuts and Doritos Edition

This week, Max and Benji discuss the governor’s income tax cut for the rich, a state Supreme Court ruling against Fayetteville’s civil rights ordinance, friction between a charter school and its hosts on the UA Little Rock campus, and new legislation (sponsored by Republicans!) to reform the juvenile justice system.

Sens. Chesterfield and Elliott and the problems with a constitutional convention

If you didn't see the video going around social media or missed Max's post earlier this week, you missed some of the most important commentary of the year on the state of politics from Democratic Sens. Linda Chesterfield and Joyce Elliott during Tuesday's debate on Senate Joint Resolution 3. The resolution calls for the United States Congress to convene a convention to amend the United States Constitution. Some supporters of the resolution hope to use the convention to pass a balanced budget amendment. Both Chesterfield and Elliott point out that, instead of a convention, we should use the electoral process to accomplish the same goal, and, more importantly, tinkering with the Constitution could be dangerous for some Americans.

Will Va. Gov. Ralph Northam survive 1984 blackface photo? Should he? UPDATE

Gov. Ralph Northam, blackface and the question of a statute of limitations on past sins.

Growing up black and white in Little Rock in the 1950s

A talk worth hearing: Two lawyers who grew up on different sides of the racial divide in Little Rock in the 1950s talk at the Clinton School this week about their youth and subsequent friendship.

Tax-cutting by the numbers: Some elaboration on the governor's pitch

Gov. Asa Hutchinson pitched his revised income tax cut for the wealthy udring his radio message this week and the spin demands some additional information. Call it another chapter in the book: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.

John Goodson files for divorce from Justice Courtney Goodson

John Goodson, the Texarkana lawyer and member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, filed Thursday for divorce from his wife, Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson of Fayetteville.

The open line

The Saturday open line.

Group wants to talk about 30 Crossing, the I-30 project downtown

Improve 30 Crossing, a group devoted to improving the Interstate 30 corridor in downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock, wants to talk about the planned $600 miillion project to widen the road and build a new river bridge.

'Willful ignorance' — Donald Trump and 'intelligence'

Some reading for a slow day: Time's inside view of Donald Trump's briefings from his own intelligence officials, whose knowledge he scorns.

A signature Hog win against LSU

Arkansas fans, you may well have witnessed SEC and Arkansas history on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

A super open line

Go Saints. Here’s the open line.

Lack of funds delays Washington County crisis stabilization unit

County judge says the county will seek private funds.

Legislature today: Pensions, perks and problematic legislation

Public pensions, free drinks, abortion and a legislative battle over health insurance bureaucracy are among items of interest at the legislature today.

As Ralph Northam turns

The hint in this Washington Post article seems to be that Ralph Northam may yet resign as Democratic governor of Virginia over the racist photo on his medical school yearbook page 35 years ago.

The benefits of government: Helping hands for Benton County

Am I alone in detecting a bit of irony in the dilemma about extinguishing a dump fire in Northwest Arkansas? Republican Benton County has its hand out for state and federal money to fix the problem. And its millionaires will have hands out to share in a whopping income tax cut for the rich this legislative session.

State revenue lagged in January

Poor timing for a lackluster monthly state revenue report, what with income tax cuts for the rich at the top of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's legislative agenda.

Julie Adams, with credits including Miss Little Rock and 'Creature from the Black Lagoon,' dies at 92

Julie Adams, a Little Rock High School graduate and 1946 Miss Little Rock known for a long acting career including "Creature from the Black Lagoon," has died at 92.

Tom Cotton plans book on Arlington National Cemetery

Politico reports that U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is writing a book for release in May that focuses on his service and others in the Old Guard, the Army unit that oversees services at Arlington National Cemetery. He reportedly received a $500,000 advance on the book from publisher William Morrow.

Legislators release ethics proposals

A bipartisan group of senators and representatives announced legislation today to stiffen state ethics laws. A quick summary from Jessi Turnure of KARK/Fox 16:

Tax cut for the rich zips out of Senate committee

The windfall income tax cut for the wealthy — a 14 percent cut in the top marginal tax rate in two years that will give 70 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent of taxpayers — zipped out of Senate committee today.

'True Detective' episode 5 recap: Seeking atonement

Well, that escalated quickly. An index card on a police bulletin board in 1990 calls the cliffhanger at the end of “True Detective’s” fourth episode the “Woodard Altercation,” in the understatement of the decade.

Tax dodging Rep. Mickey Gates reports his debt to state

Republican state Rep. Mickey Gates, facing felony income tax charges, reports that he piled up more than $50,000 in debts to the state over a 10-year period, but says he's paid it down significantly and is current on a repayment plan.

Another week, another open line

The legislature dominates the daily video with headlines and comment. Here's the open line.

Arkansas gets an F from public school advocacy group

The Network for Public Education, an organization that supports traditional public schools, has issued a state-by-state evaluation of the states based on the extent to which they support public schools or, by lack of accountability, favor privatized school choice in the form of vouchers, scholarship programs akin to vouchers and charter schools. Arkansas got an F, along with 16 other states.

Irvin proposes Hattie Caraway and Jimmy Driftwood for Hall of Statuary

Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View has another proposal for replacements for the Arkansas figures in the National Statuary Hall in Washington —U.S. Sen. Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to a full Senate term, and, from close to home, James Morris, better known as the musician Jimmy Driftwood.

Hutchinson names Ed Fryar to UA Board of Trustees

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named Ed Fryar of Rogers, a former agricultural economics professor at UA and poultry executive, to succeed David Pryor on the UA Board of Trustees.

'Ethics reform' seems to include loopholes for campaign spending

The so-called ethics reform legislation announced this morning by a bipartisan group of legislators is hitting the public record and, on first read, it is short on real meat. One of them, Sen. Will Bond's bill, seems to provide new loopholes for legislators — with a built-in preference for incumbents — to live high on corporate cash.

UPDATE: 'Stand your ground' proposal deferred

At the last minute, stand your ground legislation was removed from the House Judiciary Committee today. Opposition was expected to the bill, which would increase the state homicide rate, based on experience elsewhere.

Driver using handheld device cited in UA pedestrian death

KTHV reports that an 18-year-old UA student died after being struck Saturday in a campus crosswalk by a 17-year-old driver using a "hand-held device"

Free eats today for the legislature include UA 'tailgate'

Ethics, schmethics. Where are the freebies for legislators? Today, they include a UA 'tailgate.'

Another attempt to nickel and dime the poor by the Arkansas GOP

Tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear SB237, a bill sponsored by Sen. Ronald Caldwell (R-Wynne) and co-sponsored by a handful of other GOP legislators that will double the amount of the jail booking and administration fee imposed on all those convicted or receiving a deferred sentence on any felony or a class A misdemeanor from $20 to $40.

Louisiana school board says no to corporate welfare; business lobby freaks out

Great story in the New York Times about the East Baton Rouge School Board taking advantage of a change in state policy and denying a property tax break to Exxon Mobil, which has long had a major refinery in the district. The business lobby has gone nuts.

Wendell Griffen on Northam: The larger problem is wide tolerance for white supremacy

Wendell Griffen, the pastor, and judge, writes for Baptist News about Va. Gov. Ralph Northam's problem and the larger issue: “White Christianity in America has long tolerated, and continues to be complicit in, the sin of white supremacy.”

Tax cut bill falls short in first Senate vote after defeat of effort to limit benefit for the richest 1 percent

The Senate today fell two votes short of passage of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's income tax cut for the rich after first turning down an unsuccessful effort by Democratic Sen. Will Bond to limit the cut provided the very richest Arkansans.

Harvest to operate Natural State Wellness Dispensary in Little Rock on Stagecoach Road

Harvest Dispensaries, Cultivations & Production Facilities, LLC, the Tempe, Ariz., cannabis growing and dispensary company that will operate Natural State Wellness Enterprises' cultivation facility, will also operate a dispensary in Little Rock "on behalf of Natural State Wellness Dispensary shareholders," according to Ben Kimbro, director of public affairs for Harvest DCP.

Tuesday: Headlines and the open line

A tax cut for the rich and pretty much only the rich is the lead topic on today's news video.

Woods, Shelton seek review of court documents in appeal

Former Sen. Jon Woods and his friend Randell Shelton, both convicted in a kickback scheme involving state money sent to Ecclesia College, have filed a motion in their appeal seeking sealed documents filed in the case.

The state of Trump

Watching the so-called State of the Union? File your reports on the latest episode here. I'll leave it by saying that we know from two years of experience is that whatever he says could be inoperative before morning.

Church night doesn't mean suspension of freebies for legislators. Cell phone users beware.

It's church meeting day but that doesn't mean free drinks won't be pouring for Arkansas legislators. Topics include a new tax for cell phone users.

Trump a hit — with his base

The Nuremberg-rally style chanting in the House chamber for Donald Trump's speech last night seems to be reflected in poll numbers — strongly favorable. But the viewing audience was heavily skewed toward Trump supporters.

Wednesday To-Do: Soccer Mommy plays free show at Hendrix College

Soccer Mommy gives a concert at Hendrix College's Worsham Performance Hall Wednesday night.

UPDATE: National debt? What debt?

Remember when Republicans worried about the national debt? Turns out they are ignorant.

UPDATE: Report out on UA-Little Rock football. Not now

A study says now is not the time to start football at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Blackface in Virginia, again. And again the question: Statute of limitations?

Virginia is for politics lovers, if you like a good disaster. The latest: Attorney General Mark Herring says HE once donned blackface — 39 years ago, as a 19-year-old college student, to join pals in impersonating a musical group they admired.

Health marketplace bill advances

After more than an hour of debate, the House Insurance and Commerce Committee this morning approved the legislation proposed to merge the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace agency into the state Insurance Department.

Medical marijuana cards going out

The Arkansas Health Department has begun distributing medical marijuana registry ID cards, which are necessary to purchase medical marijuana when it becomes available in Arkansas.

Speaker puts CPA on state pay commission

House Speaker Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado has appointed Nathan Evers, an El Dorado CPA, to the independent citizens commission that meets annually to decide on pay raises for state elected officials.

A family fight in Magnolia over a fake Confederate flag

Becky Bell, in a special to the Magnolia Reporter, reports on the verdict in a bizarre lawsuit in Columbia County over the sale of a family heirloom that turned out to be a fake Confederate Battle Flag.

Rapert, responding to metal show poster, calls for boycott of Vino's

Sen. Jason Rapert, responding to a poster for a metal show that features a photoshopped Rapert biting a baby, calls for a boycott of the venue hosting the show.

Assault on women's medical rights continues

A Senate committee today approved a so-called trigger bill that makes abortion illegal in Arkansas should the U.S. Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade, which limits the states' ability to outlaw abortion.

Mayor Scott says he's "looking into" a no-knock warrant policy for Little Rock; city board passes resolution to donate undeveloped city property to Depaul USA

Roderick Talley, the plaintiff in a civil rights lawsuit with the City and Little Rock police officers over abusive police practices in drug raids, addressed the city board Tuesday about a lack of action taken against the LRPD's no-knock search warrants.

Income tax cut for rich passes the Senate with key Democratic votes

The governor's bill to cut the income tax by more than $150 million, with most of the benefits going to the wealthy, passed on a second vote without debate today thanks to Democratic votes.

Senate votes to strip local building control

The Senate today passed Sen. Bart Hester's bill to strip local government of design control of housing developments.

The week is half-baked and the line is open

Another sorry day at the legislature leads the video roundup. Here's the open line.

Dumas woman named as $2 million winner

Linder Mathis of Dumas has claimed the winnings from a $2 million Mega Millions lottery ticket sold for the Jan. 29 drawing at a Super Stop in Pine Bluff.

Gene Fortson opposes end to at-large city directors, won't run again in 2020

Also says infrastructure problems need to be addressed.

Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center dispensary heading to Razorback Drive in Bentonville

Arkansas Medicinal Source Patient Center is finalizing paperwork for a permit to renovate its facility at 406 Razorback Drive, according to Erik Danielson, an owner of the dispensary. It hopes to open by May 1.

Too old

Whenever I encounter words like “Boomer,” “GenXer,” and “Millennial” used to explain political behavior, it’s normally my practice to quit reading. Cant invariably follows. As anybody old enough to remember the Kennedy assassinations and the Vietnam War understands, so-called “Boomers” have been bitterly divided about every significant issue in American politics all their lives.

Hello Mrs. Bates, I’m Johnny Cash

In a non-binding vote, the Arkansas Senate today expressed support for civil rights figure Daisy Bates and musician Johnny Cash to represent the state in the national Capitol’s collection of state statuary. Former Sen. James Clarke and lawyer Uriah Rose stand there now.

Jim Parsons' latest effort to save government money

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports here that devoted civic gadfly Jim Parsons' latest public-spirited endeavor is a self-filed lawsuit to make those responsible for the dump fire near Bella Vista rather than taxpayers pay for the environmental disaster, a cleanup that could cost tens of millions. Imagine, putting responsibility for problems on those who created them  rather than asking Uncle Sam and Arkansas taxpayers for a handout as the Tea Partyers in Bella Vista  and their enabler in the governor's office would prefer.

Drinks are on the lawyers today at legislature. Also: Crocodile tears in order

A light freebie schedule for legislators today, but a good one.

In praise of Little Rock police work

Little Rock police deserve a mention for solid work yesterday on an arrest in my neighborhood of a man who pointed a loaded gun at them.

Scooter death and injuries prompt safety efforts

BBC reports on the latest death of an electric scooter rider, one of at least 1,500 scooter-related accidents in the U.S. since 2017. A scooter vendor, safety efforts are underway, including in Little Rock.

8th Circuit affirms dismissal of city and chief from police shooting case

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today upheld lower court decisions in the suit seeking damages for the mother of Bobby Moore, killed by police officer Josh Hastings during the investigation of a car burglary.

Gun lobby slowed on unlimited carry resolution in House committee

An effort to declare by resolution that no permit is required to carry a weapon in Arkansas, concealed or unconcealed, ran out of time this morning.

Fighting to save the minimum wage

November are fighting back against Republican Sen. Bob Ballinger's proposal to wipe out not only the 2018 increase but also an earlier increase approved by voters. A new social media campaign is underway to urge calls to legislators.

The mayor, the governor and a little preaching UPDATE

Coming and publicized recently by Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. is an event being sponsored by Immanuel Baptist Church March 1 at Robinson Center featuring preacher D.A. Horton. His views might not go over in many parts of Little Rock.

Jeremy Hutchinson attacks FBI tactics in his arrest; his daddy spreads the word

Former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson filed a motion in federal court to dismiss his felony indictment on account of allegations of misconduct by the FBI in the investigation. His father, former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson, has alerted his followers to the motion.

Thursday: The headlines and the open line

Get your daily video news roundup here. And contribute to the open line.

Call it the Stadium Security Administration

New legislation proposes a brand-new bureaucracy to establish a "uniform security protocol" for public events — such as football games and rock concerts.

Frank Scott's mayor campaign finished in the hole by $74,000

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. won the election but he finished in the red, with a debt of more than $74,000.

Hutchinson sends National Guard to Texas after boot from New Mexico

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has moved Arkansas National Guard members assigned to border security duty to Texas after New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham ordered Guard troops out of her state.

Is this the year that tenants get protection from slumlords?

For the record: Here's this year's proposal to guarantee some degree of habitability in rental housing as opposed to current law giving the hammer to landlords in what is the country's worst state for rental tenants.

Friday To-Do: Luke Combs at Verizon Arena

North Carolina country star Luke Combs takes the stage at Verizon Arena tonight.

Women's rights suffer in Arkansas and at U.S. Supreme Court

The news was bad yesterday for women's medical rights, in a couple of happenings that should have been no surprise.

More recess may be on the way for Arkansas kids

A bill filed yesterday by GOP Rep. Jana Della Rosa (Rogers) requiring at least 40 minutes of recess for all public school elementary students has the support of Parents for Active Learning (PALs), a group pushing for more unstructured play in Arkansas schools. Della Rosa's bill requires the recess to be outside when weather permits and allow for "free play and vigorous physical activity."

Catholic diocese adds names to list of priests suspected of abuses

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has issued additional findings from a review of files of clergy and updated the diocese disclosure of cases of suspected sexual abuse.

Homicide reported in Western Hills UPDATE

Little Rock police say a man died in a homicide during an apparent robbery early this morning at 7313 Fairways Drive in Western Hills.

Trump still rides high in Arkansas, but we're an outlier

The Morning Consultant's monthly polling shows Donald Trump still enjoys a 10-point net favorable rating in Arkansas, trailing only eight states — Idaho, Wyoming, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

New episode of Out in Arkansas: T & A return from hiatus

Out in Arkansas's hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things because all the things are LGBTQ things. They are back! Traci and Angie return from hiatus and catch up on life, politics, and more. Thank you for listening! #outinarkansas #beinggayinthesouth

Little Rock mayor's Republican outreach includes police chief search connection

Blogger Russ Racop offers a photo of Lisenne Rockefeller with Arkansas State Trooper Keith Eremea to support his theory that Eremea has the inside track to be chosen by Mayor Frank Scott Jr. from 10 finalists for the next Little Rock police chief. I have no idea if there's anything to that, but there is a connection worth noting and it's also a good occasion to mention Scott's recent Republican outreach.

Illusionaut wins Round Three of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Dynamite blues riffs from the virtuosic Akeem Kemp Band, endearing singalongs from indie rock darlings Willowack, driving dulcimer-peppered rock from trio Kid City and dark, drum-forward anthems from Illusionaut.

Amazon's Bezos writes of shakedown attempt by tabloid publisher

This story is too good not to get more attention. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, says the company that publishes National Enquirer threatened to run intimate photos (read "dick pic") of him unless it backed off an investigation.

Friday: Headlines and the open line

Trump, blackmail and Republican outreach in a Democratic-voting city are topics in today's daily news video. Here's the open line, too.

The Virginia mess gets worse with a rape allegation

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apparently has told his staff he won't resign. The alternative has grown more problematic, because another woman has alleged she was raped by the lieutenant governor.

Longhua Xu named 2019 Arkansas Living Treasure

Chinese-born sculptor Longhua Xu, who has lived in Hot Springs since 1990 and is a former teacher at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, has been named this year's Arkansas Arts Council Arkansas Living Treasure, an award that recognizes Arkansas artists who have preserved and passed on a traditional craft.

The Hard to Fathom Legislation Edition

The latest from the legislature, former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson’s legal case and football at UA Little Rock — all covered on this week's podcast.

Charter schools and the damage to real public schools

Charter schools have become a growing political issue nationally (if not so much in Arkansas) as advocates of conventional public school districts with voter control come to understand the damage done to them. For reading, an essay on how charter schools are "pushing public schools to the breaking point."

Apparent delay in LR commitment to $3.8 million in I-30 project spending

Interesting tidbit from the weekly posting of the Little Rock City Board agenda: A resolution to commit $3.8 million in city spending to mitigate impact of the controversial Interstate 30 expansion project, whose design is now uncertain. After my inquiry, it appears there'll be at least a delay in consideration of the resolution.

Reps. Clowney, Garner and Godfrey and a perfect illustration of why representation matters

To understand why it is so important to have more women in the Arkansas legislature, watch this video of Democratic Reps. Nicole Clowney (Fayetteville), Denise Garner (Fayetteville) and Megan Godfrey (Springdale) from Friday's legislative forum in Fayetteville. If you are short on time, I'd encourage you to skip ahead to minute 49 for Godfrey's compelling statement on the bill that will all but outlaw abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Warning: Her words hit hard. Get some tissues ready.

The Saturday open line

The readers take over.

Mike Huckabee and the fight for Florida beach access

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is in the middle of a controversy over public access to the famed beaches of the Destin, Fla., area, fully reported by a local newspaper complete with video of the scenery.

Tom Cotton catches flak for socialism crack

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton has been getting heavy social media abuse for a crack about socialism, part of the unhinged Republican reaction to a new member of Congress.

The rich get richer and Asa wants to keep it coming

The rich are getting richer, with a growing concentration of great wealth not seen since the Roaring Twenties, according to an analysis described in the Washington Post. So you could say Gov. Asa Hutchinson is in step with the times with an income tax cut plan that gives most of the benefits to the richest 1 percent in Arkansas.

A tax talk open line

The open line includes the schedule of tax talk Monday — income tax "relief" by Democrats and highway taxes by the governor.

Tribute to an Arkansas transplant in Virginia

A reader notes news about an Arkansas native who made political history in the Washington, D.C. area — Catherine "Cathy" Hudgins.

Monday To-Do: ACS screens "True Detective," follows with Graham Gordy Q&A

Screenwriter/actor/producer Graham Gordy participates in a Q&A following a free screening of this week's "True Detective" episode from the Arkansas Cinema Society.

California to study charter school impact on real public schools

Here's an idea: California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to review the financial impact of  charter schools on real public schools — that is schools that have public money, public control and full state regulation.

Another primary election shift has complications, including judicial elections

Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning on Sen. Trent Garner's bill, apparently approved by the Republican Party, which means passage, to again move up the primary election in 2020 from May to March so Arkansas can join in the regional acclamation for renomination of Donald Trump. There are problems.

Legislators go to the dogs tonight for drinks. It's a good time to talk about dog racing

Legislative freebies today are courtesy of the Arkansas Greyhound Kennel Association, which races dogs at the Southland track in West Mempis and just got a boost from voters thanks to the casino expansion amendment that not only lowered the state tax on gambling at the racino but pumped money into the dogr racing purse fund. Here's a topic for legislators to ask about: Dog injuries.

Chihuahua! A dog's life grows more complicated

The tortured tale of Reese's, the chihuahua shot by a Faulkner County deputy, continues to grow, witness this Log Cabin Democrat report on the latest. A dispute over a fund-raising drive, a new fund-raising drive, the seizure of a companion chihuahua (Oreo is its name), a harassment complaint. Where to begin?

'Heaven has a wall' and South Arkansas has other grocery stores

KARK/Fox 16 reports on the latest message in the grocery mailers distributed by Mac's Cash Saver, a grocery chain with stores in Magnolia, El Dorado, Camden and northern Louisiana. The message:  ‘Heaven has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has open borders. Let that sink in.’

Democrats propose to help poor more than rich with tax legislation

Arkansas Democrats unveiled their ideas for tax relief this morning and it's a marked departure from Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to give more than 90 percent of tax cuts to the top 5 percent, with the top 1 percent getting 75 percent of the eventual $150 million in tax reductions.

Review: Luke Combs at Verizon Arena

Combs' 14,000+ crowd at Verizon Arena was pretty impressive, especially compared to attendance numbers for these terrific artists: Keith Urban, 11,558; Shania Twain, 11,118; Thomas Rhett, 11,045; Miranda Lambert, 10,318; and Brad Paisley, 5,665.

The governor's highway plan: sales tax, fuel tax, gambling tax, electric car fees

The governor unveiled his highway plan today. It's a $300 million plan built on new taxes and diversion of casino taxes from general revenue to highways.

The Releaf Center in Bentonville hopes to offer extracting services to other dispensaries

The Releaf Center dispensary is renovating the former Big Red Gallery & Gifts building at 9400 McNelly Road in Bentonville, and Roger Song, CEO of The Releaf Center, said it hopes to open for business by midsummer.

Arkansas again at bottom of ranking for LGBT equality

The Human Rights Campaign has released its fifth state equality index ranking policies toward LGBT people and Arkansas again falls at the bottom.

'True Detective' episode 6 recap: Enter the chicken king

Things are not going well for Tom Purcell, and that’s really saying a lot. Episode 6 of this third season of “True Detective” finds him mad as hell and not taking it anymore, and marks a high mark for Scoot McNairy, who till now has played the grieving father as the embodiment of cuckolded defeat.

Homicide reported in Maumelle

Maumelle police say they are investigating as a homicide the death of Anthony Thomas Jr., 19, who was found dead in his apartment Saturday morning at 1100 Union Court.

Gun found at eStem Junior High

Parents of eStem middle school students were informed a gun was found in a student's possession today. Police were called and no harm was done.

Before LR city board: Cooperating with feds on illegal immigration UPDATE

Also noted on the Little Rock City Board agenda: A resolution pledging cooperation with the federal government to "stem illegal immigration."

Another week, another open line

Here's the Monday open line. Also the daily news video: taxes and more taxes.

A pitch for more consideration for lower-income taxpayers

Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a grassroots group, adds its voice to those questioning Gov. Asa Hutchinson's insistence on giving a big tax break to the wealthy. It compiled the chart showing impact of past and future tax plans.

New episode of Rock the Culture: 'Safe Scootin'

In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on UA-Little Rock’s feasibility study on football, ICE’s deportation of 21 Savage, and Little Rock’s use of Lime scooters. In addition, Antwan and Charles introduce a new segment in which they provide rapid fire perspective on Rock Topics. They also discuss fitness training with Kim Leverett, CEO of A Kick Above.

Senator pushes back at notion of county switch for new casino

State Sen. Ron Caldwell, chair of the Senate State Agencies Committee, has written Johnson County officials to pour cold water on the idea of the legislature coming up with a way for Johnson County to have a new casino if Pope County doesn't want it.

Another no-knock drug raid gone wrong

Here's Radley Balko of the Washington Post again, this time with a review of a no-knock drug raid in Houston that left two people with no meaningful criminal records dead and five officers wounded. Little in the way of drugs, weapons or alleged security fortifications were found. There's a suggestion that officers might have hit the wrong address. Great work by local journalists.

Passenger complains about Delta pilot after landing at XNA, sees racial profiling

Khaled Beydoun, a law professor, civil rights activist and author of a book on Islamaphobia, has stirred wide interest on Twitter with his account of his treatment by the pilot of a regional jet after landing Sunday evening at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

Arkansas Arts Center will set up shop in Riverdale

The Arkansas Arts Center announced today that it will relocate to the old Walmart Neighborhood Market space in the Riverdale Shopping Center when the Arts Center closes for renovation.

A Democrat's attack on democracy

Democrats can't pass much in the Republican-majority legislature and let's hope that continues with Sen Keith Ingram's renewed effort to cripple the ability to put popularly initiated measures on the ballot. In that many corporate interests share Ingram's anti-democratic view of the popular initiative, you never know.

Allegiant to add flights to Destin-Fort Walton from Little Rock

Clinton National Airport says Allegiant will add flights to Destin-Fort Walton  May 17.

A busy night for legislators in search of freebies

Tuesday is a popular day for free food and drinks for legislators, courtesy of the legislatively crafted loophole to the no-wining-and-dining amendment Arkansas voters thought they had passed. Today's offerings for lawmakers (the average voter who nominally is to be admitted to meetings of the General Assembly best not try to enter):

Will Baptist abuse report reaction mirror that of Catholic abuses?

The Washinton Post examines the fallout from Texas newspaper reporting on sexual abuse by people affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, a report that touched on Arkansas.

And another lobby is at work today: Moms

It's advocacy day at the legislature today for Moms Demand Gun Sense in America. Ask new highly paid state employee Charlie Collins if they are effective.

Experience India at Harmony Health Clinic’s Bollywood Nights February 16th!

Bollywood Nights celebrates Indian fashion, dance, cuisine, and culture. The evening features a fashion show, dance performances, and an Indian-inspired dinner. All proceeds benefit Harmony Health Clinic and serve the health needs of the homeless, uninsured, and veteran population of central Arkansas.

House committee preserves tax cut for the wealthy

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee rebuffed a Democratic effort to strip the governor's income tax reduction bill of a huge break for the richest 1 percent and then sent the bill to the floor.

Feds announce indictment of 54 in probe of white supremacists

U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland will join others in Russellville this afternoon to announce details of a 54-count indictment involving a white supremacist group, New Aryan Empire, for a conspiracy said to include solicitation of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and maiming.

Tuesday: The news and the open line.

The day's video news roundup and your open line.

You think the legislature is bad now? Consider Trent Garner's latest

Sen. Trent Garner, who devotes full-time to sponsoring legislation harmful to society, has the worst idea of the legislative session so far: A constitutional amendment to provide for regular sessions of the legislature EVERY year.

Acanza Health Group dispensary renovating storefront in Fayetteville

Acanza Health Group is renovating a space at 2733 N. McConnell Avenue in the I-49 Business Center in Fayetteville, according to Michael Mayes, spokesman and industry consultant for the dispensary. Mayes said Acanza, which received the highest dispensary scores in Zones 1 and 7, hopes to be open by the end of April or early May.

Q&A with Kayla Pecchioni of "The Book of Mormon"

Kayla Pecchioni, who plays Nabulungi in the touring Broadway production of "The Book of Mormon," talks fitness, profanity and guilty pleasure podcasts with us ahead of the show's run at Robinson Performance Hall.

Northam, Virginia and the benefit of the doubt

It’s not astonishing to me that a Washington Post poll reveals that Virginia’s African-American voters favor giving Gov. Ralph Northam the benefit of the doubt by 58 to 37 percent. They’ve been dealing with history’s brutal ironies for 400 years

Northam, Lyons and the ways of Virginia

In his latest column, Gene Lyons writes on Virginia, race relations and why Gov. Ralph Northam, who is facing calls for him to step down because of what Lyons acknowledges is a "sickening and absurd" picture in Northam's medical school yearbook, should stay in office.

Two from LRPD in final four for next police chief

Two Little Rock Police Department assistant chiefs — Hayward Finks, a 30-year veteran of the force, and Alice Fulk, a 26-year veteran of the force, are among four finalists to be the next Little Rock police chief

Tort reform, or limits on lawsuit damages, is back

It's back, the perennial effort by the business lobby to limit damages that can be assessed when people are injured by negligence, malpractice and other wrongs.

Like Arkansas weather? Some day you'll love New York

The Atlantic reports on a study predicting how the changing climate will be felt in years ahead. Example: By 2080, New York's weather will be more like that in Jonesboro, Ark.

Freebies and foolishness: Legislative business today includes attacks on U.S. Constitution and Libertarian Party and a proposal to make judges partisan candidates.

Lots of free eats and drinks are on tap at the Capitol today along with the usual legislative foolishness, such as destroying the U.S. Constitution, punishing Libertarians and stripping the judiciary of even the appearance of political impartiality.

Spoons up: Soup Sunday soon

Ciao Baci's Jeff Owen is the featured chef for this year's Soup Sunday, the annual fundraiser for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families that draws in slurpers and dancers of all ages by the hundreds and is coming Feb. 24 to the Statehouse Convention Center.

Florida's Red Bar, a popular spot with Arkansas links, burned this morning

News reports say a fire this morning destroyed the Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Fla., a popular restaurant and club on the Florida coast near Destin, familiar to the many Arkansans who vacation there in part because it was started by Arkansans.

Women suffer when men control our narratives

Thursday, the Arkansas House of Representatives is expected to vote on GOP Sen. Jason Rapert's "trigger law" outlawing nearly every abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The bill passed in the Arkansas Senate last week with three Democrats voting in support. I predict that the narrative on abortion in Arkansas will continue to be controlled by the GOP evangelicals who believe women either need to be punished for our choices or saved from our naivety and these goals can only be accomplished by passing Rapert's bill.

Flowers proposes end to slavery in form of unpaid labor in prisons

State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) has proposed a constitutional amendment to end slavery for those convicted of crimes.

Northwest Arkansas Medical Cannabis Group building dispensary in Fayetteville

Northwest Arkansas Medical Cannabis Group is finalizing architectural plans for its new dispensary facility at 3390 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Fayetteville. Don Parker II, an owner of the dispensary, said it has no estimated timeline for opening, but the contractor has already been selected, and construction will begin as soon as plans are approved.

Speaker's committee kills expanded medical marijuana use at governor's urging: UPDATED WITH WARNING FROM HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The House Rules Committee today killed legislation to expand the list of medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed in the face of strong opposition from Gov. Asa Hutchinson. And then the governor's administration went full Reefer Madness.

Wednesday: News headlines and the open line

The line is open. And here's the roundup of news and comment.

House approves U.S. constitutional amendment convention

The Arkansas House today approved, 56-40,  a resolution adding Arkansas to a list of states calling for a convention on amending the U.S. Constitution. This completes action on the resolution. The Senate approved it earlier.

A super show at Crystal Bridges: 'Men of Steel, Women of Wonder'

You might think the recently opened exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville “Men of Steel, Women of Wonder” is a celebration of comic book art and aimed at a particular group of superhero aficionados. It is that — includes a rare first issue of the Superman comic — but it is much more.

Marijuana Rx commission told complaints dismissed, allows dispensary moves

Alcohol Beverage Control Director Doralee Chandler reported to the Medical Marijuana Commission today that the agency has dismissed complaints about Natural State Medicinals cultivation facility in White Hall and River Valley Relief Cultivation of Fort Smith.

A basket full of deplorable constitutional amendments filed today

The last day for filing for proposed constitutional amendments brought a basket full of deplorable ideas that boil down to a power-hungry legislature anxious for more power and to comfort their rich patrons.

TC Edwards honored with a flag football memorial Sunday

This Sunday, punkers and rockers alike will gather in fond memory of a late Little Rock legend, TC Edwards, spending the afternoon at the Arkansas School for the Deaf (2400 W. Markham St.) doing a couple of things TC loved fiercely: playing flag football and eating.

Surprise: Add missing money to woes of problem-plagued charter school once run by Valerie Tatum

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports today that a would-be charter school operator in Little Rock says his job's been made more difficult by the discovery that Valerie Tatum, the former leader of Covenant Keepers College Preparatory Charter School had, in recent days, drained more than $188,000 from an account necessary to operate the school.

Maumelle makes arrest in slaying

Maumelle police said last night that a suspect had been arrested in the fatal shooting Anthony Thomas Jr., found dead in his apartment Saturday in Maumelle.

Rally set for tenant fairness legislation UPDATE

Grassroots groups will gather at the Capitol at noon today to rally support for this year's effort to pass a fair landlord-tenant law in Arkansas.

Thursday To-Do: Valentine Blues

Boxwine (Jason Weinheimer, Joe McMahan, Chuck Dodson) leads the charge for a blues-tinged Valentine's Day show at the White Water Tavern tonight.

The fight against illegal pork barreling; can winning lawyers be paid?

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning on whether John Ogles of Jacksonville should receive attorney fees for successfully challenging unconstitutional General Improvement Fund spending.

Committee rejects tax break for low-income taxpayers

Of course a House committee today rejected a Democratic proposal for an earned income tax credit for low-income working people.

State Board rejects Haas Hall report; moves to shift students at failing Covenant Keepers

The state Board of Education voted today to reject a requested report from the Haas Hall Academy charter school in Northwest Arkansas for failure to provide all the information requested. It must report further in April

House passes income tax cut for rich

The Arkansas House today approved Gov. Asa Hutchinson's bill to cut income taxes for the rich.

Thursday: Today's news roundup and the open line

The open line and the daily video news roundup.

House passes 'trigger' bill to ban abortion

The House today completed action on a bill to virtually ban abortion in Arkansas should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Former Mountain Home man kills mountain lion with bare hands

News breaks today that the viral story about the trail runner who survived an attack by killing a mountain lion in Colorado with his bare hands is former Mountain Home resident, Travis Kauffman, 31.

The tax man cometh

Lots of talk about people getting smaller income tax refunds than expected this year after the Trump tax cut. How about some crowd-sourcing?

Review: "Book of Mormon" at Robinson Performance Hall

“The Book of Mormon” literally offers a laugh a minute, but it also serves as savage critique of the white savior myth.

Improve 30 Crossing

Reminder: There's a public meeting tomorrow to talk about ways to improve the Interstate 30 expansion project through downtown Little Rock, a billion-dollar project that is a half-billion short in available money and seems certain to undergo radical change from models discussed in the planning process.

Action expected today on failing charter school in SWLR, with possible move out of neighborhood it was supposed to serve

The state Board of Education is almost certain to act on an emergency basis today to revoke the charter of the financially and academically reeling Covenant Keepers charter school and allow the Friendship Aspire Academy to be allowed to open a year early to take its students.

State board revokes Covenant Keepers charter, clears another charter to take over

As expected, the state Board of Education this morning revoked the charter of the Covenant Keepers charter school on Geyer Springs Road and gave permission to Friendship Aspire Academy to immediately open a new charter school at another site to accommodate the more than 100 students in grades 6-8.

Expert offers casino rules change proposals covering sports bets, problem gamblers and credit

An experts hired by opponents of the casino expansion amendment has submitted ideas on rules changes to discourage problem gambling in the new and expanded Arkansas casinos.

Little Rock offers down payment help for first-time homebuyers

The city of Little Rock has announced a program to provide up to $5,000 for down payments by first-time homebuyers with qualifying incomes.

Blood money: Bill to finance UAMS cancer research includes favors for Big Tobacco

UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson joined legislative sponsors Thursday in cheering legislation aimed at encouraging establishment of a national cancer research institute. Little was said about the necessary funding mechanism, specifically a legislative proposal that would benefit big tobacco in several ways.

Headlines and the open line

Stick a fork in us. Here are the news roundup and the open line.

Bill proposes to forget about Confederacy on state flag

What would a legislative session be without resumption of Civil War-related hostilities. But, who knows? Maybe Rep. Charles Blake's idea will receive unanimous consent.

Adventureland wins Round Four of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase; Willowack wins "wild card" spot

The last semifinal round of the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase brought bouncy literary rock with mad drum fills, a band that very well might be the only Little Rock ensemble that boasts two accordion players, clever commentary paired with mandolin and reimagined reggae from Fayetteville.

Tonight: Argenta Art Walk

Chocolate-making demonstrations on this post-Valentine Argenta ArtWalk are on tap tonight at the Innovation Hub, 201 W. Broadway in North Little Rock. The Hub is also exhibiting collagraph prints by Christine Geunard, hosting an indoor artist and maker "mini-market" and making "oobleck" (aka slime). ArtWalk hours at The Hub are 5-7 p.m.; other venues will be open until 8 p.m.

The Gov Vs. Medical Marijuana Edition

Max and Lindsey talk about legislative craziness, Governor Hutchinson pushing back against medical marijuana and more.

Medicaid work requirement grows to include younger beneficiaries

If a beneficiary fails to report sufficient work hours for any three months in a calendar year, he or she is kicked off Arkansas Works and locked out of reapplying until the next year begins. Out of the 18,164 who lost coverage last year, 1,452 have applied for and regained coverage so far in 2019, the new DHS report says.

Rutledge kisses up to Trump again

Donald Trump declared a national emergency to build a border wall today and at a widely panned news conference later essentially admitted it wasn't an emergency. Many Republicans aren't happy about this. But our attorney general, Leslie Rutledge,  hustled out a statement cheering the great man.

A century after the Elaine Massacre: remembrance and talk of reparations

A panel of speakers gathered Friday in the small Delta town of Elaine for remembrance of the September 1919 Elaine massacre in which racial tension and concerns over labor organizing led to the mass killing of hundreds of black people, one of the worst episodes of its kind in U.S. history.

"True Detective" Crew Spotlight: A Q&A with Tom Wallace

A retired Air National Guard Photographer Serves as a location scout for Season Three of "True Detective."

Accountability: The future of the Little Rock School District hangs on a test. At charter schools on the other hand ....

The outlook is cloudy for the return of local control of the Little Rock School District. Also cloudy is equality of accountability standards for Arkansas schools, both real public schools and privately operated, but state-financed charter schools. And while we're talking school accountability, hang on for a charter school discussion.

Democrats call for GOP Rep. Brandt Smith to apologize for racist remark

State Democratic Party Chair Michael John Gray has called on Republican state Rep. Brandt Smith of Jonesboro to apologize for a "blatantly racist attack" on House Minority Leder Charles Blake, following Blake's introduction of legislation to change the law that explains the meaning of symbols on the Arkansas state flag.

The Oklahoma! open line. Marijuana is near yet so far.

Here's the open line and a question: Have you been to Oklahoma yet with your now-activated Arkansas medical marijuana card?

LR police fired on in John Barrow Addition

Mitch McCoy of KARK/Fox 16 says a man fired at a police officer who returned fire about 1 a.m. this morning near 28th and Longcoy in the John Barrow Addition. Apparently no one was hit and the suspect was at large.

Public officials skip meeting on improving I-30 widening project in downtown LR

Improve 30 Crossing, a group hoping to limit damage by the plan to widen Interstate 30 through downtown Little Rock, held a public meeting on the project Saturday, but no public officials attended, according to a report from KTHV.

Taxes and spending: Arkansas leads country in local sales tax rates while state starves services to cater to rich and special interests

A reader sends a link to a stunning top 10 compilation: A ranking of local sales tax burdens shows Arkansas cities occupy 12 of the top 17 places on the list, with Gould leading the nation with a combined local sales tax rate of 11.5 percent. It's a lesson in the impact of state priorities.

City manager reports on success of efforts to recruit more city residents for LRPD

Pressed by City Directors Erma Hendrix and Ken Richardson, City Manager Bruce Moore has provided more data on recruitment of Little Rock police officers who are city residents, including a report spent on incentives to attract city residents.

Sunday open line

The readers take over.

Lessons from other cities on expanding freeways: Don't

Since local political leaders couldn't be bothered to attend Saturday's public session by Improve 30 Crossing on the proposed concrete gulch through downtown Little Rock, here's some take-home reading from Strong Towns about the folly of freeway expansions and some better ideas in other major cities — Dallas, Houston, Louisville and Rochester.

The move to take one-party (Republican) government to the courts

Take note: The Republican Party is making moves nationwide, including in Arkansas, to extend one-party political control from the legislative and executive to the judicial branch.

Asa uses casinos as a cover to raid general revenues for highways

Don't be misled: In addition to new sales taxes, the governor would finance his road plan with millions in casino revenue that once supported other public services.

Budweiser or Coors? Will the choice be offered for free legislative cocktail hour tonight?

It's a light day at the Capitol, given the holiday, but not too light for some freebies. The question arises: What free beer will be on tap?

Corporate welfare expands at the local level; Springdale chamber licks its chops

Keep on eye on this. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote today — too benignly — about cities in Arkansas getting more heavily into the corporate welfare business.

Grassroots OpCo dispensary renovating former Joubert's Tavern on Kanis Road

Grassroots OpCo, which received the second highest dispensary score in Zone 5, is renovating the former Joubert's Tavern facility at 7303 Kanis Road in Little Rock. Matt Darin, founder and COO of Grassroots, said it hopes to open for business in the next several months.

Review and Slideshow: James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt at Verizon Arena

Taylor's connection with the audience was palpable and he created the communal, tribal sensation that powered so much of ‘60s popular music and made musicians near cultural gods.

'True Detective' episode 7 recap: Penultimate payoff

The sight of two broad-shouldered black Cadillacs in front of Wayne Hays’ house, and of a chicken tycoon phoning him to come outside, is the cliffhanger from the next-to-last episode of "True Detective’s" third season.

Know your history? Survey says most don't, particularly in Arkansas

For today's holiday, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation prepared a 20-question quiz on American history. 60 percent flunked and Arkansas responses put us in the bottom five states.

Minimum teacher pay going up by $1,000

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced he will sign today legislation that promises a $1,000-a-year minimum teacher pay increase each of the next four years.

Another approach on paying for cancer research: A real tax on smoking

Things are developing on the blowback I reported last week to legislation written by the tobacco lobby to theoretically help pay for a cancer research institute at UAMS, but actually a Trojan horse for Big Tobacco. One development is a new bill that would impose a meaningful tax on e-cigarettes.

Holiday open line and the day's headlines

Happy Washington's Birthday: An open line and the day's news roundup.

Fiddler's Green to offer 'bud bar' at dispensary in Mountain View

Fiddler's Green, the top scoring dispensary in North Arkansas's Zone 2, will be renovating an existing facility for its new storefront on Highway 9 in Mountain View. Lisa Murphy, CEO of Fiddler's Green, said the dispensary hopes to complete renovations and open for business in May.

New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: Can you have hot sauce?

In this week’s episode, Antwan & Charles provide perspective and conversation on Memphis’ Beale Street Music Festival in comparison to Riverfest, UA-Little Rock’s relationship with eStem High School, and Blake’s breakdown from the Arkansas legislature. In addition, they provide rapid fire perspective on Rock Topics and discuss the differences between plant-based eating versus veganism with Dr. Tionna Jenkins, Founder of Plate It Healthy.

Time for Anderson to go

Arkansas’s standby excuse during the lean portions of the Mike Anderson era has been reduced to one word or its variants thereof: “youth.”

Sale of Arkansas Business Publishing Group announced

Arkansas Business Publishing Group breaks the news today of its sale to current president Mitch Bettis by a group led by long-time CEO Olivia Myers Farrell. Financial terms weren't disclosed

Jon Woods raises more issues in appeal of bribery conviction

Still more legal paperwork today from Jon Woods, the former Arkansas senator doing 18 years in federal prison for bribery. The government has indicated, incidentally, that what he wants to see from the Jeremy Hutchinson files might implicate some unindicted people.

Searcy a finalist for Hulu TV show

My parents might disown me if I don't tell you that my hometown of Searcy is one of six finalists to be featured on the fourth season of Hulu's "Small Business Revolution — Main Street," a small-town, small-business makeover show with co-hosts Ty Pennington and Amanda Brinkman. The finalist town that gets the most votes by 10 p.m. Feb. 19 wins $500,000 and appears on the eight-episode show.

Not just a fluke: Wednesday Night Poetry celebrates 30 years

Wednesday Night Poetry celebrated its 30th anniversary on Feb. 6, commemorating 1,567 consecutive Wednesdays of weekly poetry readings since it began as the first recurring art event in Hot Springs on Feb. 1, 1989.

Senate approves statues for Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash in Washington

The Senate today voted 33-0 to replace the current statues representing Arkansas in Washington's hall of statuary with statues representing civil rights leader Daisy Bates and Arkansas native musician Johnny Cash.

Little Rock School District (J. Key prop.) faulted for dyslexia services

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports a state Education Department audit has found the Little Rock School District has been providing woefully inadequate help for students with dyslexia. So who's to blame?

GOP offers no apologies for Brandt Smith's racial remark

KATV followed up on responses to the Democratic Party's call for apologies for Republican Rep. Brandt Smith's ugly remark about Democratic Rep. Charles Blake after Blake introduced legislation to redefine the symbols on the Arkansas flag to omit the Confederacy. In short: No apologies.

Follow the legislative freebies to legislative action

Freebies galore on tap for lawmakers today, notwithstanding the alleged ethics amendment that voters thought would end free lobby wining and dining. And don't think this is just about socializing. Health care, software, corporate welfare and more figure in.

Reflections in Black on KUAF

Raven Cook, founder of Foundations: Black History Educational Programming, has a new weekly segment on KUAF called "Reflections in Black" that focuses on the legacy of Black Americans.

NEA Full Spectrum building dispensary in Brookland (Craighead County)

NEA Full Spectrum, which received the seventh highest dispensary score in Northeast Arkansas's Zone 3, is building a new facility at 11913 Highway 49 in Brookland. Gerald Sale, president of the company, said it hopes to open for business by May 1.

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Wendell Griffen's appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined without comment to hear Judge Wendell Griffen's appeal of the dismissal of his complaint alleging First Amendment violations by the Arkansas Supreme Court in punishing him for participation in a death penalty protest.

The race factor in Arkansas school transfers

The push for unlimited public school transfers is not about race, its advocates argue. The numbers suggest otherwise, at least as to impact.

LRCVB brands a streetcar in free-ride promotion

Rock Region Metro today rolled out a streetcar with sponsor branding in support of the recently begun fare-free promotion.

Voucher creep in program for students with disabilities

State Rep. Mark Lowery has filed a bill to expand the school voucher program known as the Succeed Scholarship.

No, Alan Clark doesn't want to starve kids. But his idea is flawed all the same

I think I set off a social media rumble with a Tweet about new legislation from state Sen. Alan Clark.

Back-to-school news roundup and the open line

School issues dominate the news roundup today. Here it is, with the open line

Review: Dwight Yoakam at Verizon Arena

Dwight Yoakam took 2,950 fans back to the heyday of steels guitars, twang, fiddles and country music sounding like country music.

Another unconstitutional abortion bill comes out of committee

The anti-abortion Family Council says the House Public Health Committee this afternoon approved HB 1439 to ban abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy  It may hit the House agenda tomorrow.

Little Rock board votes to pay former Mayor Mark Stodola $160,000 in unused vacation and sick leave pay

In a bizarre meeting of the Little Rock Board of Directors that ended abruptly when police hurriedly escorted attendees out of the building, the board voted 7-2 to pay Mayor Mark Stodola $160,000 for unused time off. Scott wouldn't say what was going on at the time, Fox 16 News's Donna Terrell said she spoke with the Little Rock Fire Department, which told her, "a man called the non-emergency line saying he had a shotgun and would take hostages and shoot people."

Tobacco pushback in proposal to limit sales under age of 21

Legislation has been introduced to prohibit sale of tobacco and electronic cigarettes and related materials to people younger than 21, except those in the military.

Short take I: End accrued vacation time for Little Rock mayor

The Little Rock City Board decided last night to make former Mayor Mark Stodola's accrued vacation pay controversy go away by paying him $160,000. It's outrageous but it's over. Can strong Mayor Frank Scott Jr. now please take steps to clarify that elected officials are paid their statutory pay, no more or less?

Short take II: Arkansas swims against tide with tax cut for the rich

Again Arkansas is an outlier. Gov. Asa Hutchinson yesterday signed an income tax cut for the rich. It's bracketed today by results of a national survey that shows broad national support — including among Republicans — for higher taxes for the wealthy. Here, we're robbing public services to comfort the rich.

High-dollar dinner tonight for select legislators among many free spreads

The free lobby swill tonight (on a busy day chock full of freebies) includes some of the priciest vittles in town. Mullenix and Associates will be treating members of the House Judiciary Committee tonight at Arthur's, the steakhouse on Chenal Parkway.

Arkansas legislative session a 'perfect storm' for low-income, analyst writes

Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families writes that the governor and legislature are creating a "perfect storm" for lower-income people with tax policies that favor the rich and reduce money for public services. Amen.

Big news in Randolph County: Legal beer

NEA Reports has the momentous news of the first publicly available legal beer in Randolph County in 70 years.

Bill proposes rules on 'last meal' for condemned prisoner

State Rep. Rebecca Petty (R-Rogers) filed a bill today to place specific limits on the last meal for people about to be executed.

Tobacco bill to be withdrawn

I noted on the House agenda today an item that says Rep. Andy Davis (R-Little Rock) plans to withdraw his bill that purported to provide funding for a cancer research institute at UAMS.

Bernie is right about Walton wealth

Score one for Bernie Sanders on the Waltons' wealth

Big crowd on hand for dicamba hearing

The state Plant Board public hearing on use of the herbicide dicamba has drawn the expected big crowd to the Embassy Suites in Little Rock.

Print pundits falling for foolishness

“Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking!” is supposedly based upon the hopefuls’ “holistic viability to trounce Trump,” a jokey bit of alliterative jargon seemingly intended to make light of the whole enterprise.

Wednesday: News roundup and open line

Taxes and cigarettes top the discussion on today's video news roundup. Here's the open line.

After the governor's ball was over: An unhappy designer UPDATES

Gov. Asa Hutchinson had a lavish inaugural ball in January, but social media is now buzzing about some unhappiness over credit for the decor.

Lyons takes the Post to task for "Power Ranking"

Gene Lyons takes the Washington Post to task for its "Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking," which rates the Democratic candidates for the presidency with all the solemnity of a horse race: They're at the Post, and they're riding a trivial wave.

Republican of the day: Jimmy Gazaway

Kudos for Republican Rep. Jimmy Gazaway for legislation helping people who don't have many advocates at the legislature.

Dan Douglas proposes law to help terminally ill speed death

Let the debate began. Republican Rep. Dan Douglas has introduced a bill to help the terminally ill end their lives.

U.S. Supreme Court strikes a blow against money-making law enforcement

Big news today from the U.S. Supreme Court. It ruled unanimously that the Constitution limits governments in taking private property used to commit crimes.

Meet the future police chief; four public sessions set with candidates

Here are the details on coming public meetings to meet the four finalists for Little Rock police chief, who'll be chosen by Mayor Frank Scott Jr.

Appeal set in Arkansas Times challenge of state pledge requirement

Lawyers for the ACLU of Arkansas, representing the Arkansas Times, will file today an appeal of federal Judge Brian Miller's rejection of our challenge of the state law that requires us to sign a political pledge to do business with Arkansas.

Thursday To-Do: Bonnie Montgomery and friends at the White Water Tavern

The Ameripolitan Music Awards draw nigh, and that means Bonnie Montgomery and an all-star lineup of honky tonkers are rolling through Little Rock on their way to the ceremony.

Upworthy: LR court clerk and husband reunite homeless man with family after 15 years apart

Want to feel good? Here's a story I spotted yesterday on Jason Lee's Facebook page, with this followup and photo from KARK. A familiar downtown figure is homeless no more.

Light freebies, heavy regressive taxation and a resistance to change: The Arkansas legislature at work today.

Light freebies for legislators. For the rest of us: Heavy taxation and a backward approach to tax policy.

Why 'National School Lunch money' is so important to poor kids in Arkansas

I've written about the noise that followed Sen. Alan Clark's introduction of a bill to punish school districts with low reading scores by taking their state "school lunch money." As I explained from the beginning, this isn't food money but it's important education money. A school superintendent explains how important.

UCA brings former Hog coach Lou Holtz to town

Lou Holtz is coming to Conway March 7.

Gambling on the Constitution a hot topic at public hearing

The Arkansas Racing Commission, which regulates casino gambling, is holding a public hearing today on rules for expanded casino gambling in the state. Most of the talk is about Pope County.

Thursday: The open line and the daily news video

The open line and the daily news video with comment on highway taxes, school lunch money, gambling and a number of good deeds.

'Frida and Movement' tonight at the Arts Center

Ashley Bowman, artistic director of the Tucson, Ariz., Artifact Dance Project, will give an "Art of" talk about Frida Kahlo at the Arkansas Arts Center tonight, Feb. 21.

Senate defeats bill to alter alimony law

The Senate failed Thursday to approve Sen. Bob Ballinger's bill that would open the door to reopening all alimony cases and allow a judge to call an end to permanent alimony awards.

Senate passes major part of governor's highway tax bill

The Arkansas Senate today passed a major part of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's $300 million highway tax bill. The vote was 27-8, the three-quarters needed, and it goes to the House.

More evidence that Arkansas Medicaid work rule is bad news for poor people

Here's another report on Arkansas's flawed rule requiring work efforts by Medicaid recipients. More criticism.

The feeding scandal rolls on with 17th sentencing

The U.S. attorney's office announced another sentencing Thursday in the multi-million-dollar scandal of theft from the Arkansas Department of Human Services' operation of feeding programs for poor children.

Perfectionism, patriarchy and paradox: A Q&A with Iris Dement

Without her nomadic life’s timeline as accompaniment — the youngest of 14 kids, catapulted from Northeast Arkansas to coastal California at the age of 3 — you might hear Iris Dement’s inimitable voice and assume she never left the American South.

Shooting closes West Mountain summit in Hot Springs

A shooting Thursday evening at the West Mountain Overlook in Hot Springs prompted the National Park Service to close the West Mountain Summit and some trails temporarily. They are tight-lipped about details.

Live drawing: 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase finals draw near

Join us Friday, March 1 at the Rev Room for the best part of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, and catch the Facebook live video here to catch the order of the night's performances!

Friday To-Do: Fats Waller Tribute at The Weekend Theater

If you're not among the ticketholders for tonight's sold-out performance of "Chicago" at The Rep, go check out The Weekend Theater's nod to Fats Waller just a few blocks west.

The blackface yearbook search turns up a 1967 photo at the University of Arkansas

The great yearbook search engendered by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam continues, unsurprisingly, to yield more examples, including in a 1967 University of Arkansas yearbook.

Sex offender charged after attending elementary's Christmas party as an elf

Fox 16 reported yesterday that a sex offender dressed as an elf posed for pictures with kids at Lawson Elementary at an after-school Christmas party last year and school officials were slow to report the discovery to authorities. The Pulaski County School District responded in detail today.

LR police shoot and kill driver after traffic stop

A Little Rock police officer shot and killed a driver after a traffic stop this morning at Rodney Parham and 12th Street, according to a report on KTHV.

11 named to study Little Rock city government

An 11-member committee has been appointed to study Little Rock city government and report later this year.

TGIF: An open line and the daily news roundup

Here's your daily news roundup. And this is the open line.

Retired judge reprimanded for personal use of office

Retired Circuit Judge Philip Smith of Pocahontas was reprimanded today by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission..

Little Rock police deadly force lawsuit allowed to proceed, but city exempted

Federal Judge Leon Holmes today dismissed the city of Little Rock and former Police Chief Kenton Buckner from a lawsuit over the use of deadly force by Officer Dennis Hutchins, but said the case against Hutchins could proceed.

Trump administration moves to shut down family planning by Planned Parenthood

The Trump administration has issued the anticipated rule shutting off family planning money to agencies that also provide abortion — a blow aimed particularly at Planned Parenthood.

Video: Four Questions with Soprano Keely Futterer

Ahead of tomorrow night's performance at Opera in the Rock's gala fundraiser, soprano Keely Futterer talks with us about the social relevance of opera, about her favorite arias and about how her upbringing in Dover, Arkansas prepared her for a singing career.

The No Return to Local Control for the LRSD Edition

Max and Lindsey talk about the latest from the legislature, paying off former LR Mayor Mark Stodola for accrued time off and the state’s new impossible exit criteria for the Little Rock School District.

Post writer presses case on no-knock Little Rock police drug raids

Radley Balko, the Washington Post writer who's exposed Little Rock police drug raid practices, has been pressing the city on its defense of LRPD.

Satanists sign up to keep Highway 300 clean

KFSM reports on Satanic Arkansas's joining the state anti-litter program, with a commitment to police a stretch of Highway 300 near Roland in Pulaski County.

Saturday To-Do: 'Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom' at UA Pulaski Tech

Lead actress Damaras Obi plays Lowery in this touring performance of the story of Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person on the legendary 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery.

New episode of Out in Arkansas podcast: Poetry and Privilege

Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things because all the things are LGBTQ things.

Young adults ‘aging out’ of Arkansas foster care system struggle to adapt

Because it’s uncommon for older teenagers in foster care to be adopted, many are emancipated at age 18 or 21 without ever finding a permanent home. In the last state fiscal year, 235 young people “aged out” of the Arkansas system. Too old to be a ward of the state but unprepared to be cast out on their own, they entered adult life highly disadvantaged.

LRPD names man killed and officer in fatal shooting

The Little Rock Police Department this afternoon said Bradley Blackshire, 30, of Little Rock was killed by Patrol Officer Charles Starks after a car driven by Blackshire struck Starks about 11 a.m. at Twelfth and Rodney Parham.

Saturday's open line

Here's the open line.

Hit-and-run death on University Avenue UPDATE

Little Rock police report that a pedestrian was killed in a hit-and-run about 9 p.m. Saturday at University Avenue and First Tee Way, a short distance south of the Col.Glenn/Asher intersection. No other details available.

Shame works on one anti-LGBT legislator in Kansas

Good story this morning in the Washington Post about the daughter of a Kansas legislator who shamed him for sponsoring anti-LGBT legislation aimed at finding a way to prevent same-sex marriage.

Sunday To-Do: ASO mashes up spoken word performance with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra pairs Beethoven with spoken word performances from Osyrus Bolly, Brooke Elliott, Rosslyn Elliott, Red Hawk, Kristy Ikanih, Jamee McAdoo, Dariane LyJoy Mull, Marvin Schwartz and Shiseido Wells Sunday afternoon at Robinson Performance Hall.

Ole Miss players take a knee for a good reason

Another chapter in the book Why They Kneel. This time it was Ole Miss basketball players, eight of them, who took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem at a home basketball game. Why?

Sunday: An open line includes a police news conference and mayor's promise of "full and fair" review of fatal shooting Friday

Here's the Sunday open line. It includes a news conference this afternoon by Interim Police Chief Wayne Bewley and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. on Friday morning's police shooting of the driver of a suspected stolen vehicle. The mayor promised a "full and fair" investigation.

Select legislators will work late Tuesday at the Capital Hotel

Excellent free entertainment is on tap for select legislators Tuesday nightt courtesy of State  Farm Insurance and the Mitchell Williams law firm, which makes big money from insurance-related business.

A fee for bird-watching? French Hill has an idea for Game and Fish

U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock wrote the state Game and Fish Commission ahead of a recent town hall with an idea for increasing revenue by raising money from people who don't fish and hunt.

'True Detective' season 3 finale recap: Wins for Mahershala Ali, Northwest Arkansas

Let’s appreciate for a moment what it means to a show like “True Detective” that you can stream TV now. Not simply to tape it, but watch it on devices as small as the pulpy paperback that it has, for many people, replaced. The ability to revisit it endlessly, to fast-forward and rewind and rewatch as easily as Wayne Hays’ memory skates through time. The third season of Nic Pizzolatto’s serial crime drama — destined to be remembered alongside its astonishing, fulgent first season, rather than the boggy, overcomplicated Season 2 — was a television story that skipped boldly between three timelines spread across 35 years, while living firmly in 2019.

Windstream files for bankruptcy protection

Bloomberg, among others, is reporting that Windstream, the Little Rock-based communications company, is preparing to file for bankruptcy. UPDATE: They have indeed made a voluntary bankruptcy filing.

Review: The Rep's "Chicago" is strapped to the beat

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is back at it, with gusto to spare.

Cyber watchdog legislation gets a tough state review

There's been a lot of rumbling about SB 281 by Sen. Mathew Pitsch to require state contracting with a software outfit that would track actual computer time by state vendors who bill for hours of work on computers.

Monday Monday: The news roundup and open line

A quiet day for news. Maybe the open line will be more lively.

'Part to Whole': Work by GAP women coming to the Butler Center

Work inspired by the organic and by community by the artists of the Art Gap (Group of Artist Professionals) — Mia Hall, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Barbara Satterfield, Sandra Sell and Elizabeth Weber — is going up Friday, March 8, at the Butler Center's "Galleries at Library Square" in an exhibition titled "Part to Whole: The Making of Art, the Artist, and the Artist Group."

Lime scooter company issues caution over braking 'bug'

The Lime scooter company has issued a warning about a potential bug in its braking system. Beware.

House passes 18-week abortion ban

With little debate, the House approved a bill by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum and Sen. Jason Rapert to ban all abortions at 18 weeks of gestation or later and sent the bill to the Senate.

Tobacco lobby introduces amended bill to produce money for UAMS research. It's still blood money

Rep. Andy Davis introduced new legislation today to produce revenue — primarily from medical marijuana — to provide support for a proposed cancer research institute at UAMS. It contains a singular concession, but otherwise still  stinks of the tobacco lobby.

13 'Twenty-somethings' coming to South Main Creative

Photography, painting, jewelry, ceramics and textiles by 13 twenty-somethings will go on exhibit Friday, March 1, at the South Main Creative antique mall at 1600 S. Main St. UA Little Rock art history students Cassy Christ and Grace Lytle were organizers of "Twenty-somethings," the debut pop-up show at South Main.

Now comes the promised effort to move a casino from Pope to Johnson County. Lawsuit to come.

Republican Rep. Aaron Pilkington introduced today his promised legislation to alter the brand-new Amendment 100 to move one of the two newly authorized casinos from Pope to Johnson County.

$20 million proposed in new legislation for hazardous waste cleanup UPDATE

Four Northwest Arkansas legislators, including Senate Republican leader Jim Hendren, introduced a $20 million appropriation bill today for hazardous waste cleanup.

'Year of the Kat': Wilson at UA Fort Smith

When a couple of her jobs ended last March, photographer Kat Wilson of Fayetteville decided to quit struggling to cobble together various ways to make money and just concentrate on her work. The result is "The Year of the Kat," which will feature a continuation of her "Habitat" series (including the above, "The Sharps"), works in her "Warrior Women" series, a "Selfie-Throne" and her emoji paintings when it opens March 4 at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The show is in the Windgate Art & Design Gallery; there will be a reception from 5-7 p.m. March 15.

Will the sun shine on university records? Don't bet on it.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says Sen. Kim Hammer will attempt Thursday to get committee approval Thursday of his bill that would make clear that records of nonprofits that provide direct support to public entities should be open to the public. I don't like his odds.

Another state quits National Guard border duty

Wisconsin has become the third state — with New Mexico and California — to withdraw National Guard troops from the southern border in support of Donald Trump's declaration of a crisis need there. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson remains steadfast to Trump, though he shifted our contingent from New Mexico to Texas after the New Mexico governor declared the effort a waste.

Downtown's got a hole in it — Hurts Donut Co. opens Wednesday

I happened to pass by the future home of Hurts Donuts on Markham Street in the Block 2 lofts across from the Statehouse Convention Center and found staff busily prepping to open at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

No-knock raids a subject with first chief candidate. UPDATE: Were SWAT raids a policy of the police chief?

Public sessions with four finalists for Little Rock police chief began last night and the first candidate won headlines all over for saying in response to a question that he "generally" didn't think no-knock raids were necessary.

UA professor wins Whiting Fellowship for Death Row stories

UA Professor Geffrey Davis has won a $50,000 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship for his work with the touring performance "On the Row: The Prison Story Project."

Senator proposes legislation to punish 'sanctuary' cities

Sen. Gary Stubblefield has introduced expected legislation to prohibit "sanctuary" policies by Arkansas cities.

An early open line and the day's headlines

The open line and daily news roundup by video.

Senator files two bills to discourage use of medical marijuana

More pushback on medical marijuana from a Hutchinson-aligned Republican — two bills by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe to discourage use of medical marijuana.

Police chief finalist Chamberlain speaks against no-knock policy

At the first of four community forums at Philander Smith College with candidates for the Little Rock police chief's job on Monday evening, finalist Todd Chamberlain emphasized the importance of "setting standards" for the training of new police recruits to prevent excessive use of force and police misconduct.

Trump, Epstein and Kraft: Rich men groping

In the Age of Trump, it often seems that powerful, entitled men have taken to imitating the behavior of the great man himself: forcing themselves upon reluctant women (and sometimes girls), relying upon their power and money to protect them from the consequences. So go ahead and grab them, boys, because "when you're a star, they let you do it."

They don't have to say they're sorry: Money, men and sex abuse

Gene Lyons writes in his latest column of a trend: rich, entitled men forcing themselves on women, with the Patriot's Robert Kraft the latest.

Searcy wins a $500K "Main Street makeover," plus spotlight on Hulu reality TV show

Searcy (White County) has just won a $500,000 "marketing and business transformation" from Hulu reality TV show "Small Business Revolution - Main Street," a project of the Deluxe Corporation.

Searcy wins $500,000 TV series prize

Searcy wins! It will star in a Hulu series about small business revitalization.

House votes to block Trump's border emergency declaration. Arkansas Republicans on losing side.

The U.S. House voted Thursday to block Donald Trump's emergency declaration on the southern border but the Democratic majority was joined by only 13 Republicans. None of the four Arkansas Republicans in Congress voted against Trump.

Lawyers show LRPD memo that indicates SWAT raids were standard practice for search warrants

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Mike Laux shared an LRPD memorandum from a 2014 drug raid, which includes a portion that reads, "It is a mandate from the Office of the chief of Police that the SWAT team execute all search warrants." Three new alleged victims of no-knock search warrants also came forward.

Tom Cotton emerges as obstacle to Trump judicial appointee

When a Trump judicial appointee isn't extremist enough for Sen. Tom Cotton, but plenty radical enough for Mitch McConnell.

Your city might be lacking in excitement if .....

Rockin' in Little Rock. An early morning crowd for doughnuts.

Today in the legislature: More regressive taxes

The Arkansas House will take up today Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to slap a sales tax on motor fuel, put a disproportionate tax on fuel-efficient electric cars and pilfer the (reduced) casino tax as part of a $300 million plan to keep the highway construction lobby busy.

Cohen on Trump: Racist, con man, cheat

Michael Cohen dishes the dirt on Donald Trump

Speaking of regressive taxes: Cell phone users beware

Talk about a tax that will hit people where it hurt — their cell phones. It's a 100 percent tax increase, more or less, on internet connectivity, to $2.25 a month for ALL devices with data plans — phones, tablets, watches.

Shop Walmart! LGBT people welcome.

I interrupt my normal programming to give a thumbs-up to Walmart for advertising that has the American Family Association in a snit.

KARK: Change of status for officer in fatal shooting

KARK's Mitch McCoy reports that there's been a change in status of Charles Starks, the Little Rock police officer who fatally shot Bradley Blackshire last week during a traffic stop.

New episode of Rock the Culture: 'Ride the Bus with Us'

In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on Arkansas State Board of Education finally releasing criteria for LRSD to exit state control, community forums with the final four candidates to be next police chief of LRPD, and Blake’s breakdown from the Arkansas legislature. In addition, they provide rapid fire perspective on Rock Topics. They also discuss the future of public transit in Central Arkansas with Charles Frazier, Executive Director of Rock Region Metro.

Adventureland, Illusionaut, The Mad Deadly, Willowack and White Mansion face off Friday at Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finals

One night, five bands, mucho prizes.

The South rises again: Confederate symbolism preserved on state flag

KARK's Jessi Turnure reports that Rep. Charles Blake's bill to legally ascribe a star on the Arkansas flag to the state's Indian heritage rather than its participation in the Confederacy was defeated in House committee this morning.

Wednesday's headlines and the open line

The open line and the day's video news roundup.

Casino bills get airing in committee

A batch of casino bills were discussed in the House Rules Committee today

Small Works: Friday at CHARTS' Windgate Gallery

The traveling "Small Works on Paper" juried exhibition has landed in Central Arkansas: You can see the 39 works, all no larger than 18-by-24 inches, tomorrow night, March 1, at UA Pulaski Technical College's Windgate Gallery, in the Center for the Humanities and the Arts building. The college is at 3000 W. Scenic Drive in North Little Rock.

Art joints jumping with Katherine Strause, others for Hot Springs Gallery Walk

The galleries on Central Avenue and beyond will be open for Hot Springs Gallery Walk on Friday, March 1, from 5-8 p.m.

Big government today: Scooter regulation

Some small government Republicans think some more government regulation is necessary in one emerging business — electric scooters.

Satanic movie puts Arkansas in the spotlight

You can have your "True Detective." I want to see this real-life account of events including many in Arkansas. Stars include local Satanists and a demagogue for all seasons, Sen. Jason Rapert. The Arkansas Capitol figures prominently.

The roll call to preserve a Confederate tribute in Arkansas flag. It's about slavery, said a lone Republican dissenter

Here's the roll call on the vote this morning defeating Rep. Charles Blake's cost-free but dramatically symbolic bill to say in law that one of the stars on the Arkansas flag (a flag designed in the white supremacy days of the early 20th century to resemble the Confederate flag) no longer represented the Confederacy. The committee, in short, refused to strip an emblem of the defense of slavery from the state flag.

Pine Bluff banker added to state public official pay commission

House Speaker Matthew Shepherd has made his second appointment to the independent citizens commission that meets annually to determine pay raises for state officials — the legislature, constitutional officers and judges. He is Tommy May of Pine Bluff, former CEO of Simmons First National Corporation.

Thursday To-Do: The Moth Mainstage at Robinson Performance Hall

Featuring Little Rock locals Korto Momolu Briggs and Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton, the Moth brings storytellers to the stage for a night, as host Ophira Eisenberg says, consisting of “five really delightful meals.”

The Art of No Deal: Trump walks in North Korea summit

Donald Trump'ssummit with North Korea was abruptly terminated with an announcement that no deal was possible for now. In short:

Country convocation for legislature tonight

Meat is at the top of the free entertainment for legislators today.

Thursday To-Do: Joan Shelley & Nathan Salsburg at South on Main

Shelley performs tonight with Nathan Salsburg at South on Main.

Dueling redistricting proposals in the mill for 2020, one heavily GOP-flavored

Two proposals have emerged to control legislative redistricting. One is nakedly partisan. One makes a stab at bipartisansip.

Plant Family Therapeutics building dispensary with 'culture of compassion' in Mountain Home

Plant Family Therapeutics, which received the third highest dispensary score in North Arkansas's Zone 2, is building a new facility at 5172 Hwy 62 E. in Mountain Home. Clint Mickle, a PFT owner, said the dispensary hopes to open by the end of the summer.

Anti-abortionists oppose birth control too. UPDATE: Bill for no-Rx pill distribution approved

A legislative hearing this morning to improve access to birth control pills provides an illustration of a poorly kept secret — many of those in the anti-abortion movement don't want women taking birth control pills either.

Groovy! Art under blacklight at Gallery 360

Gallery 360 and Gleanings (900 S. Rodney Parham Road) host receptions for two shows openings from 6-10 p.m. tonight (March 1): "Ultraviolet: A UV Art Experience" and "Found Artists."

St. Edward Catholic School to close

The Little Rock Catholic Diocese announced today that St. Edward Catholic School will close at the end of this school year.

$9 million judgment entered against Jonesboro accountant in embezzlement scheme

Craighead Circuit Judge John Fogleman Wednesday entered a $9 million judgment against Jonesboro accountant Edward M. Cooper Jr. for money he embezzled from Roach Manufacturing Corporation since at least 1996.

Appeals court dismisses bias claim over Hillcrest nail salon zoning

A dispute dating back to 2007 was decided today by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of the city of Little Rock, which had been sued for alleged racial discrimination for denying a rezoning for a beauty salon in Hillcrest

The legislative hopper: True grit is right

Legislative bill filing continues. Make them stop. Items today so far include:

Pregnant? Try Google. The Senate's latest anti-abortion bill is junk science

The Senate today voted 29-6 to pass more anti-abortion legislation based on junk science.

Thursday: Headlines and the open line

Trump and the legislature occupy most of today's video news roundup. Here's your open line.

Potential Pulaski charter school provider under scrutiny in Oklahoma

The Pulaski County Special School District Board voted earlier this month to contract with Epic Charter Schools of Oklahoma to provide online K-12 schooling that would produce some dough for the district and charter operator, too. Oops. They are under investigation in Oklahoma.

Rival company to protest state's award of youth lockup contract to Rite of Passage

In a written statement, Gary Sallee, the chief legal officer for Youth Opportunity Investments, said Rite of Passage "did not meet the minimum qualifications for a bidder as defined by the state."

SWEPCO seeks whopper of a rate increase

SWEPCO has filed for a whopper of an electric rate increase — 24 percent.

Friday To-Do: 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finals

The 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is nearing its end. We’ve just wrapped up an intense four weeks of competition in this annual battle of the bands. Each night of the showcase, our esteemed judges – along with the crowd in attendance – picked their top band by scoring the musicians on songwriting, originality, musicianship and showmanship.

On the trail of True Grit means a visit to Oklahoma

Rep. Mary Bentley's introduction yesterday of a bill to create a True Grit Trail in Arkansas — a highway route supposedly tailored to Charles Portis' famous novel — will require some fiction, as I noted yesterday.

Government welfare for Bella Vista private landfill cleanup on fast track UPDATE

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported today that a $20 million appropriation and $10 million loan for the state to clean up an underground landfill fire in Bella Vista zipped out of Joint Budget yesterday and, with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's nephew and Senate leader Jim Hendren leading the way, is likely headed to speedy passage. Thanks to a couple of Democratic Little Rock legislators for taking note of the state's hurry to help a high-income Republican stronghold.

Assistant Chief Hayward Finks talks community engagement, "accountability" in LRPD

In the second community forum for Little Rock's four police chief candidates, LRPD Assistant Chief Hayward Finks spoke about his 31 years of experience within the department and shared his ideas for making the city a "great place for everyone to live."

Joint Budget bails out a developer and doubles taxpayer spending on private school vouchers

In addition to providing $30 million in public funding to deal with a landfill problem for Bella Vista, effectively a bailout for wealthy the developer, Cooper Communities, Joint Budget yesterday also doubled spending on an unaccountable handout of public money to private schools.

Islamic inmate sues Arkansas prisons over combined religious service

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has sued the state Correction Department for requiring inmates to attend combined religious services for three faiths — Islam, Nation of Islam and Nation of Gods and Earths.

33 Arkansas artists selected for Arts Center's "Delta"

The 61st (and last until 2022) "Delta Exhibition" at the Arkansas Arts Center, on exhibit May 3-June 30, will feature 50 artworks by 49 artists, 33 from Arkansas.

All done: The news roundup and open line

Friday: The video roundup of headlines and comment and the open line.

Inside judicial baseball: All in the family?

Since the legislature isn't meeting today, here's a bit of the kind of legislative trivia that gets buried in the avalanche of bigger issues: A little ol' bill that could help get a better state job for the wife of the chairman of the state Republican Party, Doyle Webb.

Walmart to work to keep greeters employed

After a torrent of bad publicity about the potential loss of jobs by people who work as Walmart greeters on account of new responsibilities for that job, the giant retailer is backing up.

Hog basketball purgatory

The hardwood Hogs’ six-game losing streak reached its paradoxical high and low of the entire season in the span of a single half against Kentucky in Rupp Arena.

The 'Google It' Legislation Edition

The latest from the legislature, a new proposal for redistricting and Little Rock Police matters — all covered on this week's podcast.

Judge denies injunction in complaint against ArDOT

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray today denied a motion for preliminary injunction to stop the state Highway Commission from spending tax dollars to widen highways to more than four lanes.

Mayor Scott reaffirms commitment to LGBT inclusion at event with governor and pastor

"I know we’re here to talk about race, but we have to make certain that as we continue to move in this 21st century, there’s more than just race," the mayor said. "It’s about socioeconomic status, it’s about sexual orientation, it’s about gender identity."

Saturday To-Do: "No Tears" Suite at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

This 60-minute jazz suite from Little Rock jazz pianist Chris Parker and vocalist Kelley Hurt, commissioned by Oxford American magazine and premiered in 2017 at the 60th anniversary of the Nine’s entrance into Little Rock Central High School, goes up at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center tonight.

Saturday To-Do: Elise Davis at Stickyz

Elise Davis performs tonight at Stickyz, with an opening set from Adam Faucett.

Sunday To-Do: "Newsies" at Argenta Community Theater

"Newsies" is up at Argenta Community Theater.

Potter Satake to his 'collaboration' with clay at FOCC talk

Akira Satake, a Japanese-born potter who wood-fires his ceramics, is coming to Arkansas to speak to the Friends of Contemporary Craft and others about his work on Sunday, March 10, at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Fishing, floating, the rural scene: the "Arkansas Territory Collection"

A juried exhibition of 78 works by 63 artists that opens March 28 at John Brown University commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Arkansas Territory.

Indomitable: African American artists in 'On Their Own Terms' at UA Little Rock

UA Little Rock is, once again, proving the folly of ignoring African-American art, with the exhibition “On Their Own Terms,” which opens Jan. 17 at UA Little Rock’s Windgate Center of Art and Design.