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The Purple People

The Purple People

April 1, 2019

Vol 45 • No 20

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Crystal C. Mercer's activism bleeds into promoting Arkansas businesses

A Q&A with the new executive director of Local First Arkansas.

2019 Arkansas Times Academic All-Stars Nominees

Listed by their hometowns.

Refugees from an Ozarks cult detail abuse

They escaped from the Nahziryah Monastic Community in Marion County.

2019 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team

Meet the best and brightest high school seniors in the state.

2019 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Finalists

They made the final round.

Statewide voucher bill clears Senate

A similar plan targeted at Pulaski County stalled in committee.

Governor pushes to keep Medicaid expansion despite halt to work requirement

Hutchinson asked Trump administration officials to appeal a federal judge's order blocking the work rule

House blocks Medicaid budget after judge strikes work requirement

Two days after a federal judge halted Arkansas's first-in-the-nation work requirement for certain Medicaid beneficiaries, the state House of Representatives rejected the entire Medicaid budget by a large margin on Friday.

Rhett Brinkley's 'I Want to Stare at My Phone with You' is a love letter to Little Rock

An interview with the author in advance of his Arkansas Literary Festival appearance.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Hide your jewelry, the legislature is in town edition

Play at home, while guarding your stuff from sticky-fingered DHS employees!

Sweet Willie Wine took a stand in the Arkansas Delta

With his Walk Against Fear 50 years ago.

Up all night at Hurts Donuts

Surveying the line at downtown Little Rock's popular new donut shop.

Liana Finck and her shadow

An artist, her shadow, create a memoir.

Arkansas Literary Festival: Highlights

See arkansasliteraryfestival.org or a full schedule of author talks, workshops, special events and children's activities.

BOLD Team will harvest first medical marijuana in Arkansas

A tour of its facility in Woodruff County.

Orval, Rapert and 'the righteously indignant'


I believe there is no better smell in all the world than old books, a lifelong addiction that keeps The Observer rifling through pages at pretty much every moment when we're not rifling through old bookstores and haunting book sales, even though our shelves back home in the parlor and study and specially constructed Reading Toilet of The Observatory are already groaning with enough tomes that I'll never get 'em all read unless I live to a well-seasoned 306.

Ben Dickey returns to Little Rock

And more!

An interview with Esmé Weijun Wang

She navigates mental illness in 'The Collected Schizophrenias.'

Plan to check out the 2019 Arkansas Literary Festival

Interviews and a guide to festival highlights.

The worst legislature ever

Anti-women. Anti-poor. Anti-black. Anti-people. Anti-old-style Republicans.

Best beards

Mustaches, too.

Farewell, Mr. Anderson

Any epitaph on someone’s coaching tenure is customary rife with negativity. This coach disgraced the program by falling off a motorcycle, lying about the circumstances, and hiring a young blond with no conceivable credentials as his “aide.”

House rejects bills to limit minimum wage increase

Two bills sponsored by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) to undo substantial portions of the minimum wage hikes approved by voters in November were voted down easily Monday in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

House approves Medicaid budget on second try

The Arkansas House of Representatives narrowly approved a bill to fund the state's Medicaid program on Tuesday, completing legislative action on the appropriation and handing a victory to Governor Hutchinson.

Kisses from Biden

If you didn’t know Joe Biden was of Irish descent, you might think he was French, or Italian. The man exudes personal warmth. He touches people, leans in close, pats their shoulders, whispers in their ears, and plants unsolicited kisses. Upon women, that is.

GOP's health care quandary

Republican officeholders, in Arkansas and everywhere, have found themselves in an impossible catch-22 — caught between mutually conflicting political demands by their voters. I’m talking about the political dilemma of choosing between the widely hated Obamacare and the highly popular provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Legislators take page out of Trump's playbook to victimize vulnerable women and girls

This year, state legislators in Little Rock have been staging an all-out, unrelenting attack on abortion access in Arkansas.

Lance Hines wants to make Little Rock a better place for new business

As City Director of Ward 5, Lance Hines wants to represent the business community’s interests on the city board. Now in his third term as a city director, Hines said he wants to make both residential and retail development easier in Little Rock and increase the city’s revenue by recruiting “one of a kind” retailers to make it a source for “destination shopping.”

Higdon Square Cafe in Hot Springs skews classic

Higdon Square Cafe does meat and three right.

Welcome, Coach Muss

As is common when a “coaching search” gets underway at the University of Arkansas—at this rate, it’s been about an average of every two or three years during my lifetime that either the basketball or football head coaching position has changed—the rumor mill churns at a feverish pace and almost always ends up being discredited for one reason or another.

Pain, pain, go away

Take a minute to think about the major categories of pharmaceuticals in the marketplace today and you quickly come to a simple conclusion: Pain management is big business.

Rust Never Rests: buZ blurr's art is an exercise in "time stoppage"

buZ blurr's forthcoming exhibition “Wait of World” runs from April 12-May 2 at CALS Bookstore at Library Square, with an opening reception Friday, April 12, 5-8 p.m.