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Mayflower oil spill

Mayflower oil spill

April 11, 2013

Vol 39 • No 32

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Will Mayflower ever be the same after the Exxon spill?

It's all fun and games until the world's richest corporation spills 200,000 gallons of goop in your backyard.

What leaked in Mayflower?

Not tar oil, Exxon says.

The Pegasus pipeline

Completed in 1948 to deliver light, conventional crude oil from Nederland, Texas, to the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Patoka, Ill., ExxonMobil's Pegasus Pipeline is an 858-mile, 20-inch steel pipeline with a capacity of up to 95,000 barrels per day.

Tuesday night line

Closing out. Final notes: * HEALTH DEPARTMENT SEEKS DENTIST'S PATIENTS: The Health Department is recommending blood tests for about 100 patients of a dentist for fear they received contaminated medicine intravenously.

Gun battles (political) rage on

The New York Times examines why some states — Colorado and Connecticut — have been successful in enacting gun safety laws while Congress has been stymied.

Brummett evolves: Hillary for president

John Brummett persists in putting his most liberal columns behind a Wednesday pay wall at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Death on Pinnacle Mountain

In response to question: Trails on Pinnacle Mountain were closed yesterday evening while State Police investigated following discovery of the body of a 45-year-old man near the crest of the east summit trail.

Correction on Exxon Mobil; Also, law officers moonlighting for oil company

I erred last night in saying Exxon Mobil wanted a Mayflower school PTO meeting about a $15,000 Exxon grant to be closed to the press.

The case for private option Medicaid expansion

Republican Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville has put together an analysis of the legislature's great pending issue — whether to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion provided by Obamacare through a "private option" expansion of government-financed private insurance coverage.

Saturday mail service will continue

The Postal Service has backed off plans to stop Saturday mail delivery because of congressional objections.

Legislature today: DREAM again denied for immigrant children

Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill to allow colleges to charge in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students who've graduated from Arkansas high schools and had sufficient residency here failed in a Senate committee today.

U.S. Senate strikes deal on gun regulation

The New York Times reports that a deal has been struck in the Senate to produce enough votes to avoid a filibuster and approve expansion of gun background checks to gun shows and on-line sales, with some record retention that law agencies want.

Asa! Tweets: The Hutchinson campaign is officially underway

Didn't he say this already?

UAMS art contest for PRI

Artwork sought to raise awareness of what PRI calls "the healing power of art."

Today, Mark Pryor opposes marriage equality

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor reiterated to reporters today that he's opposed to marriage equality. That's more or less consistent with what he's said repeatedly.

Thursday To-Do: Luella and The Sun, Isaac Alexander

Luella and The Sun play White Water Tavern Thursday.

Thursday: Smittles at The Joint, CARTI's Ragin' Cajun Bash and more

Stephanie Smittle will sing at The Joint Thursday.

Saying hello (again) to Ciao Baci

Ciao Baci is the sort of place that reminds you what dining out should be all about: attentive service, well-executed dishes, and an atmosphere that invites smiles to the faces of everyone around the table. And for that, almost any price is fair.

'Ain't in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm' gets theatrical debut April 19

"Ain't in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm" premieres April 19 in New York City.

Help wanted: Arkansas Times looking for sales rep

A word from my sponsor: The Arkansas Times has a position open in our Advertising Sales department.

Tech Park Board member 'furious' over 'unilateral' decision-making

I called Dr. Good about Duvall's complaint. She said her extended absence from town, in part because of the death of her sister, had made it difficult for her to be ready for a meeting this month, but she said it was also important that more information be gathered about the new sites recommended by Dilks.

UPDATES ALL OVER: Stormy Obamacare Eve; tort reform defeated

Our webcast day ends with Arkansas Republican legislative leaders — and I do mean leaders — are holding a late afternoon public session to bring around votes for their "private option" version of implementing Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.

Stone's Throw Brewing ready to rock craft beer

The old building at the corner of Ninth and Rock streets is more construction site than brewery right now, and the men behind Stone's Throw Brewing are more concerned with paint and drywall than they are with the fermenting tanks and kegs that sit ignored, still in their shipping crates.

The human impact of health care expansion

Despite its natural and architectural beauty and relatively high property tax values, Eureka Springs is ground zero for the health care coverage crisis in Arkansas.

'Dead' re-do

Frights aplenty in remake of cult classic.

UAMS, St. Vincent collaboration

Devil's in the details, bishop says.

Government not the enemy

During a time of great hardship for our nation, the Depression, a wise president, born to wealth and privilege, but reviled by the elite as traitor to his class, once said, "Government can err, presidents do make mistakes. But the immortal Dante tells us that the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted are weighted on different scales by divine justice. Better the occasional fault of a government living in the spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."

Stephanie Smittle fundraiser at The Joint

Also, The Scimitar Shrine Circus.

Lulav goes Italian

Excellent fare, but separate lunch menu needed.

Griffin touts Exxon to oiled constituency

Put yourself in the shoes of Rev. Pat Robertson or one of the other clerics who insist that disasters, whether natural or manmade, are God's way of showing His wrath over the stupid things people are doing.

Spring is here

Jon Nichols submitted this photo of swallowtail butterflies to our Eye On Arkansas Flickr page.

Luella and the Sun at White Water Tavern

Also, George Strait at Verizon; 'Bloody Mama' at the River Market Tower; Frightened Rabbit at Revolution, 'The Odds Are Against Us' at Argenta Community Theater; Jim Dandy, Rwake and Pallbearer at White Water Tavern, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson Auditorium.

The reality of the Mike Rice firing

Look at it this way: if Rutgers coach Mike Rice hadn't gotten fired last week after ESPN broadcast video of him shoving players, hurling basketballs at them, and screaming that they were "faggots" and worse, he was a good bet to get dumped next year after another losing season.

Tubing in tar sands oil with Tim Griffin

The inconsequential news quiz: The Prez Billy Jeff edition

Play at home.


Asa Hutchinson is not as dizzy as Wayne LaPierre — who is? — but if you accept donations from the unstable, and champion their creepy causes, you're apt to be tarred with the same brush.

Parlay voo?

"Obama's budget was due in February, but administration officials said it was delayed by the year-end fiscal negotiations and resulting tax changes. It is to arrive on Capitol Hill hours before the president dines Wednesday evening with a dozen Senate Republicans — his second such parlay in recent weeks."

Greed rules

The Arkansas legislature earns its low regard daily, last Friday with committee approval of a constitutional amendment labeled "ethics reform."

It was a good week for Big River Steel

It was also a good week for the first of many lawsuits and expansion. It was a bad week for tax justice and workers between jobs.

Sparkman vs secrecy

Lake Conway memories

The Observer spent a good part of last week in Mayflower, that sleepy little burg to our north that we knew mostly as the place where we turn to get to our favorite Halloweentime pumpkin patch until an ExxonMobil pipeline burst there and made a hell of a mess on the Friday before Easter.

Odds and ends in Hog land

Nobody is likely to accuse Bret Bielema of being a renaissance man, and maybe that sounds like derision, but it's far from it. Pearls can and does appreciate the modern bravado that he employs, though Jeff Long may ultimately have to yank the reins on his ebullient coach.

The post-crash morning report

Another day and the Arkansas Blog is back in business after an extended crash last night.

Friday: Tank, 2013 Ozark UFO Conference, Scimitar Shrine Circus and more

Tank will be at Chris B's Celebrity Birthday Friday at Montego Cafe.

Lake Conway: Pristine or not?

Exxon Mobil, which has a high-dollar, high-pressure PR operation in progress to minimize impact of the pipeline rupture and tar sands deluge in Mayflower, has been steadfast in one message — no oil has reached Lake Conway.

Friday To-Do: Little Rock Film Fest presents 'Bloody Mama'

The Little Rock Film Festival will screen "Bloody Mama" Friday at River Market Tower.

Friday To-Do: George Strait

George Strait plays at Verizon Arena Thursday.

Judge Rudy Moore Jr. dies at 69

Fayetteville District Judge Rudy Moore Jr. died this morning of complications from cancer. He was 69.

Mark Pryor's money talks

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's own messaging isn't always so hot. But he carries a big stick.

UPDATE: Today's report on Exxon Mobil oil spill in Mayflower

News conference this morning. Fox 16's first summary says that some of the people forced out of their homes by the deluge of heavy Canadian tar sands from the ruptured Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline could return home today.

Friday To-Do: Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit plays at Revolution Friday night.

Friday-Saturday To-Do: 'The Odds are Against U.S.'

"The Odds are Against U.S." premieres Friday at Argenta Community Theater.

Mark Pryor, the NRA's friend, opposes debate on gun bill

The Senate voted 68-31 to send gun legislation to the floor for debate. The majority included many Republicans who oppose the bill, but believe the issue should be debated.

Friday To-Do: Jim Dandy, Rwake, Pallbearer

Jim Dandy performs at White Water Tavern Friday.

Tonight: Third Day at Verizon Arena

Third Day plays at Verizon Arena Thursday night.

Little Rock records sixth homicide

The Little Rock Police Department says Abe Hall, 58, of 3608 Asher, has died as a result of gunshot wounds suffered at his home early this morning.

Here are some photos of last weekend's Designers Choice Fashion Preview

Brian Chilson took some photos at last weekend's 2013 Designers Choice Fashion Preview.

Exxon hates this TV ad

In my opinion, the video above is obviously a satirical way of attacking Exxon Mobil's record.

UPDATE: House approves Medicaid expansion

The House is in session and, shortly before 2 p.m., discussions began of the bill to allow Arkansas to expand its Medicaid budget under President Obama's health care initiative through a "private option" approach.

Thursday night line

The Thursday night line is open. Final words: * THE MEAN STREETS OF LR AND THE MEAN LR COPS: The Guardian has taken another look at use of force by the Little Rock police force, with detailed reporting on pending legal actions over excessive force.

Central Arkansas Water asks Exxon to relocate pipeline

The board of the Central Arkansas Water utility met today and, as expected, adopted a resolution asking for information from Exxon Mobil about causes of the pipeline rupture at Mayflower and for assurances about future safe operation before the Pegasus pipeline is restarted.

Gov. Beebe, Speaker Carter prefer climactic Medicaid vote Friday, but ....

The deciding influence on holdout Republicans on Medicaid expansion lies more in the hands of Republican colleagues than in the governor's office, unlike some mighty legislative cliffhangers of years past.

UPDATE: Medicaid, guns, bicycles on the Broadway Bridge

A light input overnight. A few things stand out.

Saturday: Bam Margera at Revolution, after-party at Discovery

Bam Margera will be at Revolution Saturday night.

Attack on referendum process continues

The Oaklawn and Southland casinos, gas lobby and other business interests are in a House committee this morning with an 11th-hour amendment to SB 821 to strangle the ballot referendum process.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: 'Midori & Tchaikovsky'

Midori performs with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this weekend.

Exxon security at the Mayflower spill

More interesting video above from the Tar Sands Blockade, an activist group that is looking at the impact of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline break.

Medicaid vote delayed until Monday

I'm awaiting a report from David Ramsey at the Capitol, but it appears the vote on the Medicaid expansion appropriation will be put off until Monday.

Blanche Lincoln speaks out for rights of Arkansas women

It's a measure of how cynical people had become about former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln that an opinion piece she's posted on Huffington Post has people wondering what her ulterior motive might be.

Rick Smith named UAMS med school dean

Dr. G. Richard Smith, chair of the department of psychiatry at UAMS, will be the new dean of the College of Medicine, succeeding Dr. Debra Fiser.

Rick Redden Memorial at studioMAIN

Architects will honor the downtown designer.

Sunny night for 2nd Friday, with mint juleps

Artist Melissa Gill to give presentation, Frank Frazier's birthday celebrated.

The Rep's Silver ArtWorks is Saturday

Work by more than 90 artists goes on the block starting at 6:30 p.m.


Oh, Lord, call them home. The line is open.

The End is Near Edition

The coming monumental vote on health care expansion, tort reform, Planned Parenthood and other legislative odds and ends. Plus, the latest from the Mayflower spill, Mark Pryor and guns and C.J. Duvall's unhappiness with the Tech Park Authority — all covered on this week's edition.

Food Feedback Friday: raven, rock, and radio

You know the drill. Tell us where you ate. We love hearing from you.

George Strait tops the morning report

I'm happy to say I finished tax returns last night. You?

Gubernatorial campaign underway: Ross spotted with liberals

I meant to mention earlier that I'd heard one announced and two unannounced candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination were pressing flesh at a fund-raising dinner last week in Little Rock.

Robert McCord dies at 84

The final note today is a sad one: My friend, colleague and mentor Robert McCord, 84, died this morning after a long period of declining health.

Saturday night line

Let's make this the open line. * GUNS IN BARS: Something tells me we haven't heard the last of this episode of guns drawn, including by off-duty cops if the notes are correct, in a bar in Fayetteville.

Ethics update: Amending the amendment

I've done some emoting on the blog and in my column about the proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 9, crafted by Rep. Warwick Sabin and others to incorporate some of the Regnat Populus ethics initiative into a multi-pronged proposal with some benefits for legislators.

Nucor-Yamato seeks $115 million local bond issue

The Blytheville Courier News reports that Nucor-Yamato Steel is planning a $115 million expansion to produce a new type of steel product.

When, exactly, did Exxon pipeline rupture begin?

One of many unanswered questions about the Exxon Mobil pipeline rupture at Mayflower is when, exactly, were troubles first noted on the pipeline.

Monday: State Champion at White Water Tavern

State Champion plays at White Water Tavern Monday night.

One fine day open line

Here you go.

The costs of rejecting the "private option" and doing nothing

What happens if the legislature rejects the “private option,” the new policy framework developed by Arkansas Republicans as a possible third way in the expansion question?

Monday morning: Medicaid, ethics, Bill Clinton, bar brawlers

The Monday miscellaneous report: * ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: An oxymoron that headline, I know. I wrote at some length yesterday about the evolving proposec constitutional amendment to tighten state ethics rules a bit, while also providing legislators with a path to increased pay and easing of term limits.

Koch lobby has new leader in Arkansas

The Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch billionaires' anti-tax, anti-regulation political arm that spent a million bucks to produce a Republican legislative majority in Arkansas, has a new state executive director.

Capitol Zoning District survives Nate Bell attack

Since I've written quite a bit on the Capitol Zoning District and the effort by Rep. Nate Bell of Mena to abolish it following a dispute over fence height requirements in historic neighborhoods, I want to close the book on it.

Here are some photos of George Strait at Verizon Arena

George Strait played at Verizon Arena Friday.

Reminder: Lecture: Ennead Architects

The Architecture and Design Network continues its Art of Architecture lecture series tonight with Kevin McClurkan, a founding partner and management principal of Ennead Architects.

LR cop relieved of duty over Fayetteville bar incident

Update on the Billy's Bar brouhaha in Fayetteville (video above) that I mentioned again this morning.

One dead, two wounded in Little Rock shootings

LRPD reports this morning: * FATAL SHOOTING: Darrell Eugene Henson was found shot to death in the 15000 block of West Baseline Road about 4 a.m. today.

House committee stymies unemployment benefit cut

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee fell short on a roll call vote today of reducing unemployment benefits.

Caution urged at LaHarpe and Clinton Avenue

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership and the city of Little Rock continued its pedestrian safety campaign today with a media event at La Harpe Boulevard and President Clinton Avenue, site of the most pedestrian accidents in the city.

Out with the bad pipe

Nice picture from Josh Berry of Channel 4 on Twitter of work to remove the split section of ExxonMobil's pipeline from the Mayflower neighborhood were a major rupture loosed thousands of barrels of Canadian tar sand crude.

UPDATE: The House defeats Medicaid expansion appropriation

I'm led to expect a test vote — maybe THE vote — will be held early in today's House session at 1:30 p.m. today on the appropriation bill to pay for expanding Medicaid-financed health coverage in Arkansas.

Explosions at finish line of Boston Marathon

Unfolding now is news of an explosion, perhaps two, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon with multiple injuries.

Two from the Louvre at CBM

Joining American genre paintings for traveling exhibit.

UPDATE: Ethics amendment defeated

The legislature has killed a proposed constitutional amendment to strengthen ethics laws.

Fearless forecast: Obamacare will advance in Arkansas

Not much to report this morning. The two dominant stories — the Arkansas Medicaid expansion debate and the Boston Marathon bombings — are fodder primarily for speculation at this point.

Expand-o-meter rumor mill: down to the wire

Sunday, 1:45 p.m.: At the Capitol last week, “what’s your count?” was the greeting instead of hello.

The House approves Medicaid expansion, 77-23

The Arkansas House voted 77-23 in favor of the appropriation bill, HB 1219, to pay for a federally financed expansion of Medicaid health insurance coverage under President Obama's health care legislation.

It's called CYA: Tim "Pipeline" Griffin backs pipeline relocation

Rep. Tim Griffin wants ExxonMobil to move its Pegasus pipeline out of the Central Arkansas Water's watershed for its water supply. No word yet on what he thinks about Keystone XL's crossing of sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.

Terrific Thai at Chang's in Sherwood

Getting to Sherwood may require a few extra minutes in the car for most Little Rock residents, but the city is far from saturated with good Thai joints, making it all the more appropriate to invest the extra time in attainment of excellent food. Chang's was a pleasure, from beginning to end. It’s a small sacrifice for such beautifully done Southeast Asian fare.

Now come the tax cuts and handouts

With House approval of the Medicaid expansion, other pieces are beginning to fall in place.

Suit filed to challenge 12-week abortion ban

The Arkansas affiliate of the ACLU, as promised, is suing to challenge Arkansas' ban on most abortions beginning at the 12th week of pregnancy.

Central High assistant principal charged with harassment

The Little Rock police announced today that Thomas Randall McDonald, 55, an assistant principal at Central High School, had been named in five misdemeanor harassment charges involving students at the school.

Exxon proposes compensation to Mayflower spill victims

The Log Cabin Democrat has the rundown on a letter ExxonMobil has sent residents of the Mayflower subdivision where a pipeline ruptured and spilled thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude from Alberta tar sands.

LR Film Festival announces "Made in Arkansas" lineup

Yesterday, the Little Rock Film Festival announced the slate of 19 "Made in Arkansas" films that will screen at the 2013 LRFF.

Canceled: Art of Architecture lecture

American Airlines glitch means lecturer won't get to town.

The Tuesday night line

The line is open. Closing out: * MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected yet another effort to formulate a medical marijuana ballot intitiative on account of what he says are some ambiguous references in the text.

Report: Bush administration ordered torture; no firm evidence it was productive

Big news that first appeared in the New York Times this morning, but lost in the Boston bombings: A bipartisan panel said President George W. Bush’s administration engaged in torture after the Sept. 11 attacks and blamed “the nation’s highest officials” for “allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.” The 560-page report by a task force of the Washington-based Constitution Project also takes aim at the Obama administration for maintaining secrecy on past abuses and failing to prosecute acts of torture.

The 2013 Jewish Food and Cultural Fest returns to the River Market

My favorite thing at the Jewish Festival (apart from that chopped liver) is the mammoth table of baked goods which takes up most of one side of the River Market Pavilion.