In November 2012, Ernest Hoskins was shot and killed by his boss during a business meeting. With the killer now charged with manslaughter, a family's search for justice highlights the often blurry line between recklessness and murder.
Vol 39 • No 31
Lee Richardson, the award-winning former executive chef at Ashley's at the Capital Hotel, has been keeping busy lately working on a new business venture, but also getting engaged in the political process.
At the new Children's Library and Learning Center.
A roundup from the in-box this morning: * MURDER SUSPECT KILLED AFTER BRYANT OFFICER SHOT: Channel 4 reports that a man suspected in an Illinois slaying was killed and a Bryant police officer was wounded in a shootout at the Fred's store on HIghway 5 in Bryant about 11 p.m. last night.
I wrote yesterday about the effort backed by Arkansas's duopoly casinos at Southland and Oaklawn, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and others to cripple the referendum process by, among others, severely limiting signature gathering by paid canvassers.
Asa Hutchinson has gotta be kidding. The National Rifle Association announced that Republican Asa Hutchinson had been chosen to lead a study on school safety.
A new study says (Talking Points Memo) states with the loosest gun laws have a higher level of gun-related violence.
Former Mitt Romney healthcare advisor Avik Roy, who went from excited to cool about the "private option," has a new post up this morning advising Arkansas Republicans to vote against it.
Harold Ott's "The Lost Souls" screens at the Ozark Foothills FilmFest.
A spokesman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter's campaign says he has $1 million in startup money, thanks to a $640,000 personal loan from Halter and $360,000 in contributions.
The Arkansas Travelers start back-to-back three-game series Thursday.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel distributed this photo of the site of the pipeline break that gushed heavy crude from Canadian tar sands into a Mayflower subdivision.
On the legislative front: * BIG RIVER STEEL: The enabling legislation for state incentives to build a steel mill in Mississippi County won approval in a House committee today.
The LRPD says an arrest has been made in the spate of home burglaries reported during daylight hours Monday in Hillcrest and the Heights.
The Little Rock Burger caucus crowns a winner in this year's burger bracket. It was a delicious bit of March madness.
The Fifth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Vigil is Thursday morning at the Arkansas State Capitol.
The Kochs have spoken. Their Americans for Prosperity chapter in Arkansas has formally announced opposition to the legislature approving the Obamacare-provided expansion of health care coverage under the Medicaid program.
Rep. Randy Alexander's bill to impose a two-year moratorium on consolidation of school districts that fail to have 350-student enrollment for two years failed in the House today.
The line is open. Finishing up.
One of my favorite places in the metro area, Argenta Market, is celebrating their third anniversary on Saturday, April 13.
Score! Cinemax has ordered a pilot for a new dramatic series scripted and executive produced by Little Rock's Graham Gordy.
The U.S. attorney's office has announced that John Mathis Lile III, 55, of Little Rock, former head of Cosmpolitan Life and Advanced Insurance Brokerage of America has been indicted on two counts of embezzlement for using a company credit card for $300,000 worth of personal expenses over a three-year period.
Fiction is as strange as truth. Noted, the article on which the headline above is based is written by Andy Borowitz, a humorist for New Yorker.
Also, Whale Fire at Town Pump.
Though needed, it came tragically too late. Legislation to curb feral hogs was approved by the House of Representatives last week, but not before Senate Republicans had already overridden Governor Beebe's veto of a bill prohibiting voting without photo identification.
Rock 'N Tacos adds quick option to Latino restaurant scene.
A duck covered in oil is recovered near the Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area in Mayflower. On Friday an ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured and spilled several thousand barrels of oil.
Apropos of nothing beyond serving as a welcome distraction to this interminable General Assembly, last week journalists and politicos spent most of a day rewriting rap lyrics to fit Arkansas legislative themes.
The Arkansas legislature is considering two dramatically different views of tax reduction. One approach benefits the wealthiest Arkansans who already pay the lowest effective tax rates in the state. An alternative approach gives the most tax relief to the middle and low-income Arkansas families who already pay the highest effective tax rates in the state. This is not only a policy choice, it's also a moral choice.
It was also a good week for expansion and inching towards the governor's race. It was a bad week for Mayflower and women.
State has racially divided high school sports records.
The crack of a 20-inch interstate pipeline rupturing in Mayflower, Ark., announced more than a flood of heavy Canadian crude oil on a trim subdivision near Lake Conway.
Also, Travs home opener, the Ozark Foothills Filmfest, Little Rock Startup Weekend at the Clinton School, the Designers Choice Fashion Preview at the Metroplex, Amp Out Alz at Revolution, Futurebirds and The Whigs at Stickyz.
I wanted to raise public awareness regarding upcoming Senate legislation that should be of concern to all Arkansans. Senate Bill 900 seeks to overturn the decision made by Arkansas voters when they enacted Amendment 89 to the state Constitution.
Harmony Korine pioneers 'beach noir.'
The policy debate over cutting taxes, so old now that it has become tiresome, has reached the point of absurdity in this legislative session, but the politics of tax cutting, while just as silly as the policy, is more fascinating than ever.
All over town, The Observer observes dogs observing him. It was Spouse who first pointed it out, love of my life and keeper of my heart and housekeys, and I of hers.
With the exception of sex and religion, nothing makes people more irrational than race. Given the bloody history of racial disputes in American life, one would think that responsible news organizations would take particular care in addressing inflammatory topics.
The morning report: * TINY TIM GRIFFIN: Of course he is an apologist for Exxon Mobil in the pipeline spill in Mayflower and he continues to exaggerate to the point of nearly criminal dishonesty about the jobs to be created by the Keystone XL pipeline he's shamelessly flogging for his financial patrons like the Koch brothers.
Who wants to be like Connecticut? HIgh per capita income.
The Arkansas Republican Party, having passed a Voter ID bill developed nationally to depress turnout among traditional Democratic constituencies, mounted a PR effort this morning to show that they really do care about people voting.
Nice plug in Politico for the Times' David Ramsey's coverage of the unfolding Medicaid expansion debate in Arkansas: — ARKANSAS REPORTER MIXES IT UP WITH FORBES COLUMNIST OVER EXPANSION — David Ramsey, whose reporting for the Arkansas Times on his state’s unusual Medicaid expansion approach set the tone of a national conversation, shredded Forbes’s Avik Roy yesterday, contending the columnist ignored important facts on the subject.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is pressing Exxon Mobil for information on the devastating oil spill in Mayflower.
From left, Pamela Reed, Jeremy Estill, Amanda Taylor and Deb Lewis star in The Weekend Theater’s production of “Doubt: A Parable.”
Little Rock Startup Weekend begins Friday at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Ballet Arkansas's "Spring into Motion" is this weekend at Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
On May 2, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will install its first temporary sculpture.
The Washington Post's Wonkblog posted the map above illustrating by-county changes in female mortality rates.
We're long passed the days of knife fights on the state House floor. Now legislators take to Twitter when they wish to inflict bodily harm on those who disagree with them.
Health Management Associates, a hospital chain that includes two medical centers in Fort Smith, is opening a services center in a former Fort Smith mall (billing, collections, insurance) that will employ 500.
The next SoMa Second Thursday will be the last for Preston.
The proposed combination of the University of Arkansas clinical operations at UAMS with St. Vincent Health was not on the agenda for today's University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meeting today in Monticello, but it turns out that a draft collaboration agreement was given to members of the board today.
Over to you. Closing out: * ROUND ONE IN THE MEDICAID FIGHT: The Senate meets at 8 a.m.
A memo went around to staff at Arkansas Children's Hospital today about the impending doom of Republican legislators' passion to cut Medicaid.
This is an outrage and if it happens be sure to put blame on House Speaker Davy Carter's chief of staff Gabe Holmstrom along with reactionary Republican Rep. Nate Bell of Mena.
Morning notes from all over: * TORT REFORM: I've told you the business lobby has been striving mightily to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot to strip the Arkansas Supreme Court of rule-making power in damage lawsuits and otherwise cripple the ability to sue corporations that injure people.
Still more stuff to roundup this morning; * MARK PRYOR'S ALLIANCE WITH THE NRA: I've noted before Sen. Mark Pryor's alliance with the NRA on legislation supposedly aimed at reducing gun purchases by the mentally ill. The NRA favor reduced gun purchases?
I noted recently objections to the effort by Arkansas's duopoly casinos at Southland and Oaklawn, in league with their friend Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, to make the referendum process prohibitively difficult in Arkansas so as to discourage future casino amendments, along with other potential laws unpleasant to the business lobby.
The current debate about school security and guns prompted by the Sandy Hook slaughter has occasioned a 15-year anniversary article about the shootings at the Westside school in Arkansas.
Lamman Rucker hosts the 2013 Designers Choice Preview Saturday night.
Amp Out Alz 2 is Saturday at Revolution.
Sean Michel plays at Stickyz Saturday night.
A federal judge has overturned an Obama administration rule against over-the-counter sale of morning-after-sex contraceptive pills to women younger than 17.
The Arkansas Senate endorsed Medicaid expansion in Arkansas through a private insurance option. But the vote fell three short of what will be needed to approve an accompanying appropriation bill to spend the money.
Whale Fire plays at the Town Pump Saturday night.
A disturbing report from a website of a group that opposes pipelines for tar send transport, such as the one that ruptured near Mayflower.
Two more U.S. senators from conservative states — Indiana and North Dakota — have joined the Senate majority in favor of marriage equality.
The Futurebirds play at Stickyz Sunday night.
Good story in Arkansas Business by Chris Bahn on the preparation and delivery of the speech by UA Athletic Director Jeff Long a year ago on the decision to fire successful coach Bobby Petrino after his motorcycle wreck and revelation of an affair with an athletic department subordinate.
A hit-and-run driver eluded pursuing Little Rock cops in a series of events that began at 33rd and Bishop about 9:20 p.m. last night.
Questions continue to mount on the Exxon Mobil pipeline rupture that drenched a Mayflower neighborhood with Canadian tar sands and forced evacuation of homes.
I've been surprised that the new Republican majority didn't take aim at public employee retirement benefits first thing.
The FAA will delay closure of 149 airport towers, including in Fayetteville and Texarkana, until June 15, in part to resolve legal challenges and also give airports more time to adjust to the change.
Constitutional amendments will be discussed by the legislature's state agencies committees today and competing proposals for changes to law governing damage lawsuits ("tort reform") are at the top of the agenda.
Lots of things going on around central Arkansas. Here's just a few of them. Let us know what you're eating and what you're excited for, here on Food Feedback Friday.
The first lawsuit has been filed over the rupture of the Exxon Mobil pipeline at Mayflower.
Jo Ann Coleman, the civic gadfly who's been watchdogging the proposal for UAMS and St. Vincent Infirmary to form a new venture to jointly operate many clinical services, has seemingly produced a severe wrinkle in the process.
Enough already. The Friday night line is open.
The oil spill in Mayflower, the final days of General Assembly, Asa Hutchinson and the NRA, Mike Ross's slow march to inevitable and the UAMS/St. Vincent merger - -all covered this week.
This takes a separate item. I reported not long ago that U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor had walked back the comment attributed to him in which he state his belief that homosexuality was a choice..
Lots of questions, still not many specific answers backed by documents on whether Exxon Mobil has followed pipeline inspection procedures and notice requirements down through the years on the pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower and left a mess that will be long in cleaning up.
Yes, the legislature is meeting today. Lengthy agendas full of bad legislation in a compressed time period is not a formula for good government.
I reported yesterday that a constitutional amendment modestly addressing state ethics law was approved by both the House and Senate committees that clear the three proposed constitutional amendments that the legislature may send to voters every two years.
I received a response today from Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock to a followup question I posed after Jo Ann Coleman shared an e-mail she received from the bishop about the proposed combination of St. Vincent Infirmary and UAMS for a range of health network services.
Nice day. Anything else to say about it?
A momentous week lies ahead. Against all odds, a significant Republican caucus has developed for moving ahead with Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.
* COMPLAINT AGAINST SEN. BOOKOUT ON CAMPAIGN SPENDING: Interesting story in the Jonesboro Sun about an ethics complaint filed by a Jonesboro resident against Sen. Paul Bookout (Is he still in the Senate?
Politico writes in some depth about the shift in Republican leadership thinking — with some mostly Deep South exceptions — in favor of accepting the medical coverage expansion provided by Obamacare, but shaping it in ways more palatable to conservative thinking.
The spill of Canadian tar sand crude in Mayflower is being used by environmentalists to slow approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry a similar material through the Great Plains across a sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.
The Arkansas state Board of Education is meeting today. So far, it has found the Lee County and Strong-Huttig school districts in academic distress and the Hughes district in fiscal distress.
The House today overwhelmingly approved, 78-18, legislation to issue state bonds for the startup Big River Steel mill proposed for Mississippi County.
A home baker proves that not all exceptionally talented cooks are found in commercial kitchens. Anyone looking for some way to make a special day even better, consider Zara's cakes. You'll be glad you did.
The Arkansas House is now meeting as a committee of the whole to hear the pitch for taking federal Medicaid expansion money, but my moving more people into private health insurance, rather than through a government-overseen program.
It's a slow morning so I'll share an e-mail that repeats a recurring complaint — the privileged class running amuck in golf courts in the Heights/Country Club of Little Rock neighborhood.
The Monday night line commences. Closing out: * MARRIAGE EQUALITY: U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson threw his support behind marriage equality.
Bart Barlogie (son of the famous oncologist of the same name) and business partner Wilson Brandt are aiming for May to open their new upscale Mexican restaurant in Riverdale. The restaurant is called The Folde, and it's located in a space that once housed an Alltel fleet service station
The 2013 Jumbo Gumbo cook-off was a night of good food and fun.
Bill Gaither and the Gaither Homecoming Tour came to Verizon Arena Saturday night.
Good morning. What's good about it you ask?
Ernie Dumas writes this week on the Mayflower oil spill, beginning by musing, a la Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell/etc., whether a divine hand might have had an influence.
The clip above comes from Bill Clinton's appearance on the Colbert Report. This link takes you to an edited clip of the segment, on which Colbert gets Clinton to send his first "tweet" from a Twitter account set up for the occasion, @PrezBillyJeff (it already has 46,000 followers).
Republican Rep. John Burris is before the House Public Health Committee he chairs this morning to urge approval of the Medicaid expansion legislation.
The Bill Halter for Governor campaign announces that former state Sen. Jim Argue has endorsed Halter, currently the only announced Democratic candidate.
I posted a little something this morning about an Arkansas Democratic Party 'Save Our Session' rally.
The annual art auction celebrates its silver anniversary with work by 90 artists.
No meeting of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority this month. Chair Mary Good says the board continues to gather site information.
The fix is in. When the deeply split Arkansas House passes something 71-12, you know something is amiss.
We're definitely closer to passing expansion than we've ever been, with legislation moving through the General Assembly and a significant group of Republicans actively pushing for the "private option."
From the legislature this afternoon: * FETUS FRENZY: By a 19-11 vote, the Senate today approved a bill aimed at stopping state funding to Planned Parenthood.
Of course Mike Ross is running for governor. We've said it here repeatedly, most recently this morning.
Leonard A. Lauder (as in Estee Lauder) gives 78 Cubist paintings, drawings and sculpture.