Meet the 20 best and brightest high school students in the state.
The Force is with themApril 28, 2016
Vol 42 • No 34
These 10 students made the final round of judging for the 2016 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team.
Here are the students nominated to be Academic All-Stars. They are listed by their hometowns, as indicated by mailing addresses.
Now that the spectacular musical "Hamilton" and a new book that hails him as the father of the U.S. economy have burnished the reputation of the soldier-philosopher, the most brilliant of the Founders, it behooves political columnists to incorporate him.
Also, 'Incognito' in Conway, Arts and the Park in Hot Springs, "Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning" at the Arkansas Arts Center, Patti Lupone at the Fort Smith Convention Center, the Turkish Food Festival, Sunday Court Square Music Festival in Mountain View, St. Luke's Festival of the Senses at St. Luke's Episcopal and the 46th Annual World Famous Armadillo Festival in Hamburg.
Also, Hester sees the light, Huckabee comes home, Hernando? and the exit of Marcus Devine at DYS.
Keith Sykes plays South on Main.
Kurrus may be out as superintendent, but fight for the district continues.
Just before the March 1 election, I was campaigning in the Capitol View neighborhood encouraging support for the ill-fated Pulaski County transit tax. I asked one man out building a fence whether he planned to vote. His response: "I can't because I was a felon."
State Education Commissioner Johnny Key fired Baker Kurrus as Little Rock superintendent last week because he ventured off the reservation when he presented data to the state Board of Education on the damaging impact of charter schools on the district, which the state now runs. Kurrus was questioning proposed expansions of two charter schools already draining easier-to-educate children from the LRSD.
Jokes on the LRSD.
Just so we understand: [Arkansas Department of Education] Commissioner [Johnny] Key, who does not have a teaching certificate, replaced [Little Rock School District Superintendent] Baker [Kurrus] because he did not have a teaching certificate.
Welcome to the Arkansas Department of Education, where inequity, ideology and incompetence are our specialties — but trust us with your kids.
Honduran restaurant is cheap and delicious.
The Observer observes. It's right there in the job title, folks, and we knew it from the first moment we donned the sacred ring regurgitated by a magical, wish-granting catfish in exchange for releasing him back into the moonlit Arkansas River many and many a year ago.
Call me unpatriotic, but whenever I hear people prating about the "American Dream" it sets my teeth on edge. The thing about dreams, see, is that they're imaginary. A figment of your imagination.
Christopher Epperson, board chair for the Arkansas chapter of of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, arranges shoes on the steps of the state Capitol last week to represent the more than 500 Arkansans lost to suicide each year.
A Joint Budget vote is scheduled this morning and historic preservation groups have been lining up solidly to oppose the amendment proposed by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to kill the agency and transfer its work to the Arkansas Department of Heritage.
The University of Arkansas System has announced the three finalists in the search for a successor to Joel Anderson as chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today affirmed a Pulaski Circuit Court ruling that said Daniel Wren should be given unredacted State Police accident reports under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Arkansas State Board of Health voted 13-7 today to bow to legislative pressure and revised rules on abortion facilities to require women to say they are aware they are causing death of an unborn child.
A Little Rock developer and critic of the 10-lane freeway expansion for Interstate 30 says the HIghway Departemnt should make clear a park proposal it featured at a public hearing Tuesday night is only a pipe dream. It won't be part of their project.
The Little Rock Zoo celebrates its 90th Birthday with “90th at Night” at Wild Wines Saturday, April 30, at 7:00 p.m.
Here's the Thursday open line and today's video roundup. Also a reminder to check this year's Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team.
The 3D videos prepared by the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to allow viewers to compare the 8-lane option for Interstate 30 to a 10-lane option (called 6+4 for various reasons by the AHTD, one of them possibly to get around requirement to get Metroplan to amend its 6-lane limit on I-30) show such a dramatic difference that I called the highway department's design build project engineer, Ben Browning, and asked why.
The Civic Advisory Committee of the Little Rock School District tonight approved a motion calling for the replacement of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, a halt to charter school expansions in the city and waivers to state education law, and a return of the district to local control.
Grassroots effort to regain control of Little Rock School District is keeping the pressure on state officials.
Correct the Record, the super PAC working to elect Hillary Clinton as president, has underway a biographical reintroductions of the candidate to counteract the familiar opposition narratives. "Let's Talk Hillary" includes, for example, this YouTube video of a Pine Bluff woman praising Clinton's advocacy of the HIPPY program to help mothers prepare children for school.
The New York Times reports that a contribution of $30 million to rename the law school at Virginia's public George Mason University for Antonin Scalia has prompted an overdue backlash to the amount of ideology already infused in that campus by past contributions from the Koch family and like-minded conservatives. Sound familiar?
Torrential rain has caused problems all over this morning. But, yet again, the sump created by the Broadway Bridge construction work produced a water barrier to traffic on La Harpe at the Robinson Center. That, in turn, multiplied problems everywhere else.
AHTD Design Build Project Director Ben Browning emailed this morning, hoping to clarify his remarks on how the C/D lanes help with congestion and the assumed widening of I-30 south of the 30 Crossing project area.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is going to endorse Ted Cruz for president, just ahead of that state's primary. He better hope the Indiana governor has longer home-state coattails than another governor we can think of.
Education Week reports on a new database on racial achievement gaps in U.S. schools. I'll boil it down: The best predictor of an achievement gap is concentration of kids in high poverty schools.
Former Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck, charged with a felony records tampering charge, pleaded no contest to a reduced misdemeanor charge today and got six months' probation. He resigned from office in mid-April after the Benton County Quorum Court agreed to give him about $80,000 for pay and health insurance coverage for the rest of the year.
Energy and Environment Daily reports on efforts by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman to get federal law to encourage burning of trees and timber waste (biomass) to produce electricity.
Here's the open line to end the week, plus the daily roundup of news and comment by video.
This time around, always-popular country star Carrie Underwood — no stranger to Verizon Arena in North Little Rock — was surrounded.
Sprint, the wireless carrier, has opened a South Central headquarters in Little Rock to serve four states and says it will have 100 full-time employees in Little Rock by the end of the year.
New LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore makes the round, the fix is in on 30 Crossing and Hillary v. Donald — all covered on this week's podcast.
A Pulaski circuit court jury today acquitted Jose Turcios of a charge that he'd molested a teenage dental patient. It deliberated for about two hours..
The attorney general's office announced that Arkansas will receive about $3 million for its Medicaid programs as part of a $784 million settlement of a national class action lawsuit with Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth pharmaceuticals.
I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
A welcome note from policeone.com on a departure in Arkansas law enforcement from the growing fad of putting "In God We Trust" on patrol cars and other bits of public property.
Also on the agenda for Tuesday's city board meeting is board confirmation of Mayor Mark Stodola's picks for a number of city board and commission seats, including the always highly sought Airport Commission.
Legislators and the governor announced yesterday that a deal had been done to dip into reserve funds to restore $1 million cuts from both library and senior center budgets in 2015 to pay for a capital gains tax cut that primarily benefits wealthy people.
Benji Hardy is going to reflect more fully on this later, but I wanted to mention that the incoming Little Rock school superintendent, Mike Poore, finished a hectic week of meeting Little Rock people with more than an hour chat with the Arkansas Times Friday afternoon before returning to Bentonville. My score: A-.
Here's an open line. Back tomorrow unless I win the $315 million Powerball.
Brian Chilson was on hand for Paul McCartney's stop at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock last night.
The legislature continues to make a mockery of the Constitution by pushing substantive issues in the budget session and by finding ways to keep the free drinks from lobbyists pouring.
The Sunday open line.
The New York Times rounds up how candidates are responding to the spread of voter ID laws across the U.S. — a strategy by the Republican Party to suppress votes among poor and minority groups that tend to favor Democratic candidates.
Conner Eldridge, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent John Boozman, started advertising this morning to tie Boozman to presidential candidate Donald Trump and his remarks about women.
The Bentonville School Board expresses dissatisfaction with the district's school report cards in a discussion relevant for all in the context of the report cards, but particularly Little Rock, soon to be run by Bentonville's superintendent.
I've yet to receive confirmation from Gov. Asa Hutchinson's lead spokesman, but word is circulating at the Capitol that Michael Lamoureux will be departing as the governor's chief of staff by the end of May. Further speculation is that he'll be succeeded by Betty Guhmann,
The Arkansas Arts Center has announced a famous visitor — Pierre-Auguste Renoir's painting of a French actress, "Madame Henriot in Costume."
An open line and a preview of a legislative hearing with Education Commissioner Johnny Key over the firing of Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus and possible new questoins about the accuracy of claims of waiting lists up to 8,000 for two Little Rock charter schools.
The Little Rock school hearing continues at the Capitol while I get some background on new procedures for handling reporting of lobbyist social events for legislators.
Kurrus made it clear that he won't be actively fighting Education Commissioner Johnny Key's decision, but said he's open to playing a role in the district — as long as he approves of the direction Key is steering the LRSD.
Speculation continues on what new opportunity drew Michael Lamoureux out of his job as chief of staff to Gov. Asas Hutchinson. A Danville-based phone company is one possibility that comes to mind.
An environmental lawyer sounds the alarm about potential hog waste pollution from a hog feeding operation in the Buffalo River watershed. But does the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality care?
The news from the monthly state revenue report for April was mixed.
The Bloody Mary is the quintessential "recovery" drink or brunch cocktail. Our guide to making your own, plus where to get the best bloodys in Little Rock.
Think toast is boring? Arsaga's in Fayetteville would like a word.
A Canadian blogger connects the dots on the bipartisan group of power players angling to build a plant near Pine Bluff to convert gas to liquid fuels.
The Joint Budget Committee was unable to consider the huge Education Department budget this morning because Sens. Joyce Elliott and Linda Chesterfield said Commissioner Johnny Key had not talked to them about their holds on the budget.
Kathy Wells reports that a compromise that preserves the Capitol Zoning District Commission was cleared in the Joint Budget Committee this morning.
Another Little Rock foodie startup is making the jump from food truck to brick and mortar storefront: gourmet pie maker Honey Pies.
Associate Justice Courtney Goodson's losing campaign for chief justice cost her $660,770, which enabled to outspend her winning opponent, John Dan Kemp.
$100 million for Chinese communists but not a cent for poor people to send their kids on field trips. That's the bottom line on the Arkansas legislature this year.
A federal lawsuit today says the Arkansas Department of Human Services has arbitrarily cut Medicaid services for severely disabled people, which could force them into nursing homes.
Here's the open line and daily news roundup.
Clayton Johnson, a science teacher at Premier High School who's been active in neighborhood groups, says he'll run for Little Rock City Board in November for one of three at-large seats currently held by Joan Adcock, Gene Fortson and Dean Kumpuris.
Ernest Dumas muses this week on the latest huge gift of corporate welfare in Arkansas — $100 million or more in local and state giveaways to lure a Chinese company to build a pulp mill near Arkadelphia.
State Rep. Nate Bell, the former Republican, offered the Tweet above that seems as good a comment as any on Donald Trump's apparent win of the Republican presidential nomination with
Justin Nickels made a video of his friend Sarah Higgins painting a storm drain at 17th and Main as part of the 2016 Drain Smart project.
Mike Huckabee, whose failed presidential candidacy at least produced a job on the Trump campaign for his daughter, Sarah, is pleased as punch about Donald Trump's apparent taking of the GOP nomination.
Conner Eldridge, the Democratic Senate candidate from Arkansas, was out early in what is now a broad move by Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate to tie Donald Trump — and particularly his ugly remarks about women — to Republican opponents.
Social events have been somewhat light during the fiscal session, primarily because fewer lobbyists' interests are on the table. But lawmakers need not ALWAYS pay for their own food and drink.
Collage artist Michael Church, who uses sometimes surreal, often wry images in his collages to express issues of alienation, injustice and the absurdities of life, is the 12th artist featured in the Thea Foundation's The Art Department series of exhibitions by emerging artists. Church's exhibition, "Succinct," opens Friday, May 6, at Thea, 401 Main St. in Argenta, with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
In one fashion or another, Little Rock native Nate Powell has always worked in narratives.
In case you wondered, here's the proposed omnibus spending bill for the state fiscal year beginning July 1. It's the so-called revenue stabilization bill.
We're over the hump. An open line and video news and comment.
Big development: The federal Justice Department has told North Carolina that, if it chooses to comply with the state's new anti-LGBT law, will be violating the U.S. Civil Rights Act and could cost the state millions in federal funding.
Asa Hutchinson is on board the Donald Trump train.
White Water Tavern gets a cameo in a new short documentary about soul singer Leon Bridges.