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April 30, 2009

Vol 7 • No 16

Hot Springs heats up

Hot Springs, the 10th-largest city in Arkansas, bills itself as a friendly resort community. Yet meetings of the Hot Springs Board of Directors are among the most closely guarded in Arkansas.

Another vote for gay marriage

The New Hampshire Senate today completed action on a bill legalizing same sex marriage. It would be the fifth state to legalize the unions, but the governor's approval is not certain.

Paper trails

It was an identity-thief’s dream, and a privacy advocate’s nightmare: documents bearing Social Security numbers and other private information, scattered with the trash on the floor of an abandoned building in the former Hollinsworth Grove public housing project near the Little Rock Airport.

Old news on pollution

On April 20, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality released a report detailing the extent to which “landfarms,” or disposal sites for water-based fluids left over from natural gas drilling, had run afoul of state environmental regulations.

Smart talk, April 30

It’s a dog’s life these days for Nigel, a former Arkansas shelter pooch who was plucked from obscurity back in October and is now on his way to stardom.

Editorial cartoon, April 30

Blue Dogs howl

Blue Dogs in the Arkansas congressional delegation complain that President Obama is too hasty in seeking health-care reform and other progressive legislation.

The observer, April 30

Crime may or may not pay, but it surely fascinates.

Praise for Lit Fest

I attended the Oxford American’s panel on great music writing today at the Arkansas Literary Festival.

Boo’s world

I saw this headline on a news item the other day: “All This Has Happened Before.”

Coming out

Gay rights activists have gone on the offensive against their opponents by making concerted efforts to publicly identify those who’ve aided opposition causes.

A&E news, April 30

“War Eagle, Arkansas,” which won the inaugural Charles B. Pierce award for Arkansas film last year at the Little Rock Film Festival, is coming to theaters throughout Arkansas in June, before expanding to New York, L.A., Chicago and other cities nationwide thanks to a recently finalized distribution deal with Empire.

‘The Elephant Man’

Every season there’s at least one. A play that defies category, that takes audiences out of comfort zones, that deeply challenges.

April 22-28, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … THROWING GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD. North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays, who’s already invested more than a quarter-million dollars of city money in a barge and towboat for a private riverfront restaurant, says he’s in the market for a barge to replace the one that sank recently.

Mean streets

“Gomorrah” pulses with justifiable anger.

In brief, April 30

At “Beginiversary,” a one-anniversary celebration of the conception of Root Cafe (which still doesn’t exist in the physical sense), there’ll be door prizes, food, drink and music from local experimental instrumental act Mammoth Orange and Washington state blues man Lonesome Shack, 8 p.m., $5.

Arty May days

Art and music lovers, Eureka Springs is calling your name in May.

Words, April 30

Mike Watts, an associate professor in the accounting department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, writes:

Unveilings

They’ll be sketching in the streets May 8, when the multi-venue, twin-city art event Artweek 09 kicks off.

Orval, April 30

Man Man

If you happened to stumble randomly into the Man Man show at Revolution last Thursday, you might have thought you were witnessing an elaborate joke.

To-do list, April 30

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Toad Suck Daze, 'The Wind In The Willows,' Rivertop Party, Bubba Hernandez, 'Fantastic Symphony,' Snoop Dogg, Richard Buckner and The Tennessee Three make for a few entertainment options this week.

Health care now

It is as simple as this: If you think universal health insurance is essential and urgent — and the vast majority of Americans do — you have to support the notion of doing it right away by majority rule.

Shoot-em-up

The legislative session didn’t go particularly well for gun zealots.

This modern world, April 30

What's cooking, April 30

The Meat Shoppe, the fine meat, barbecue and poultry institution in Gravel Ridge, is coming to Little Rock.

Rumba revisited

Hey, party people! Yes, the Rumba Revolution patio is a fabulous place for warm-weather happy hours.

Shame the right wing? Think again

There’s this odd, ironic and surely futile political dynamic arising out there. The angry left wing has decided to out right-wingers, to bring them from the closet, as it were, as if to embarrass or shame them.

Let the sun shine

John Brummett thinks it's of little value, maybe counter-productive, to publicize those who enabled an anti-gay and anti-child measure to be placed on the Arkansas ballot last year.

In Huck's green room

Fox News A New York Times feature writer pays a visit to Mike Huckabee's Fox talk show and likes what he finds.

Where's the money?

In the space of 12 hours, I've received two different communications complaining about the lack of information about how the city of North Little Rock plans to spend its federal stimulus money.

Assault reported

I have a report this morning from a friend at UALR that a graduate student was assaulted by five men and robbed about 9:30 p.m. last night while walking home from school.

19 Cows Die at Chesapeake Well Site in Louisiana

A video from the group "Drilling Reform for Texas" shows cattle drinking fluid near a drill site Numerous accounts rolling in this morning about the deaths of 19 head of cattle near a Chesapeake drilling site in Louisiana.  An "unidentified substance" flowed from the drill site into a nearby pasture.  Authorities believe the cows ingested the mysterious fluid (likely frac fluid) before dying as there were tracks leading to and from the puddles.  From KATC.com:

Thursday To-Do: Rhonda Vincent and the Rage

RHONDA VINCENT AND THE RAGE7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall. $30-$32.Rhonda Vincent's only 46 — and lookin' good, too — but she's been playing music professionally longer than peers 10 to 15 years older.

Shew

For the first time this season, Kris Allen ended up in the bottom three of the results show in "American Idol."

Change at Lion World Services

Arkansas Business reports that the board of Lion World Services for the Blind, which offers training at a current campus on Fair Park, has removed its CEO, Ramona Sangali over what were described as philosophical differences.

Tort reform takes blow

I'm making a last check of e-mail on my way to the airport and find an opinion today from the Arkansas Supreme Court that finds two elements of the 2003 tort "reform" law unconstitutional.

Chrysler bankruptcy

Obama administration oficials are saying some debtholders wouldn't accept workout terms.

Swine flu alarm

I'm thinking we're on the edge of full-blown hysteria about swine flu. It might be justified.

Livestock deaths reported near drilling site

Officials are reporting the deaths of 19 head of cattle near a Chesapeake drilling site in Louisiana.  An "unidentified substance" flowed from the drill site into a nearby pasture.

Livestock deaths reported near drilling site

Officials are reporting the deaths of 19 head of cattle near a Chesapeake drilling site in Louisiana.  An "unidentified substance" flowed from the drill site into a nearby pasture.

Where in the World is Charles Balentine?

Charles Balentine remains well-known among Razorback fans for hitting the 3rd biggest shot in Arkansas history (we'll give you two guesses as to what #1 and #2 are), but many other details of his storied career are slipping away into the mists of time.

On the fourth day ...

Circuit Judge Willard Proctor testified before the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, which is holding a hearing into 11 charges of ethical misconduct against the Pulaski County judge.

Thursday: Beginiversary, Kevin Kerby and more

Mammoth Orange. Photo by Catherine Gilbert.

Close one

An advance man on President Obama's security team who traveled to Mexico before the president is believed to have ... guess what?

Hunker on down

Ain't nothin' but a protest pose. In the forgotten trends section of Great Arkansas Contributions to Humanity, "hunkerin'" grabs our attention today.A Time dispatch, from 1959, offers a nice primer.

For you stat geeks

Rep. Steve Harrelson linked to this report yesterday on his blog and others have started to talk about it as well, so I thought I'd post it here.  It's from the Bureau of Legislative Research, and it's basically a not-so-boring look, seriously, at the state's economic figures, education statistics and a whole lot more.  Lots of visuals and reads like a power point.  Enjoy.   

A first (sigh)

The Air Guard's 18th Airlift Wing announces its first promotion of an African-American to colonel.

Whoops UPDATE

UCA Interim President Tom Courtway announced today that UCA will honor all scholarship offers made by the university admissions office to prospective students for the upcoming school year.  Seems to make sense.  What doesn't make sense is the need for the statement in the first place.  Courtway's announcement came in response to letters sent by the UCA admissions office on April 24, notifying some students who had previously received offers that, because of a high acceptance rate and budgetary constraints, scholarship funds had been depleted.  "Regardless of the budget challenges facing the university, parents and students must be able to rely upon any scholarship offer from UCA that gave them until May 30, 2009, to respond," Courtway said.  "Any person who received such an offer from the UCA Admissions Office may count on that offer and the May 30 deadline, and they should please disregard any communication to the contrary.

A Berry Republican challenger

The blogs are abuzz about a possible challenger to Democratic Congressman Marion Berry.  You have to read through a lot on his web page before you get his announcement, including his distaste for "socialized medicine," activist judges and those who say "I support the troops, but I oppose the war."  He also finds room to voice his support for the rash of tea parties recently held across the country.  Berry's going to be tough to beat, especially when he's being challenged by someone who leaves even Republicans wondering, Who's Rick Crawford?

It's time...

for an open line.  Whaddya got?

What Happens in Chicago...

Tomorrow afternoon, I will be flying to Chicago on work related business. I haven’t been to Chicago since February of 2008.

Souter to retire

Looks like President Obama will have a supreme court appointment to make.  Supreme Court Justice David Souter is planning to retire at the end of the current court term.  From NPR:

Fractured peace

At 8 p.m. April 2, Mark Cothren stood on his front porch holding a decibel meter in one hand and a video camera in the other as a loud, compressor-like noise ripped through the night air. He's had enough of the noise coming from Frac Tech Services, an oil and gas services company located about 200 yards from his house, and decided to start documenting it.

Finally

With no big business to take care of, the 2009 legislative session should end today with little fanfare.  Count me in the "glad it's over" category.   

Slow down

From Fort Smith's The City Wire: Six years of first-quarter growth in U.S. natural gas drilling activity came to an end during the first quarter of 2009, according to The Natural Gas Summary from the American Gas Association.

About that justice

John Brummett weighs in to provide some context.  Summary: It's not going to make that big of a difference.

Lottery housekeeping

The first meeting of the Arkansas Lottery Commission is set to take place on May 5, but as of yet there is no set agenda that commissioners will follow.  The Bureau of Legislative Research is providing staff and assistance to the commission until they hire their own staff.  Bureau director David Ferguson says the meeting will probably be organizational and that the commission has some general housekeeping to take care of, "althought I can't speak for the commission," he said.    Ferguson passed along an email from commmissioner Ray Thornton to other commissioners asking for suggestions on what to discuss.  Judging by Ferguson's response, he hasn't received many replies.  "They’re going to have to decide when they’re going to meet again and what they’re going to get accomplished at the next meeting.  They'll also have to decide who will be the disbursement officer.

Friday To-Do: Rivertop Party

RIVERTOP PARTY8 p.m., Peabody Little Rock. $5.Even though the Rivertop Party, the Peabody Hotel's weekly spring and summertime get down, officially kicked off last week, consider this Friday's edition the grand opening.

Weekend To-Do: 'The Wind and the Willows'

‘THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS'7 p.m., Arkansas Arts Center. $11-$14.In its final production of the season, the Arkansas Arts Center's Children's Theatre takes on a stage adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's children's classic.

Weekend To-Do: Toad Suck Daze

Little Big Town. TOAD SUCK DAZE5:15 p.m., Downtown Conway.

David Sedaris tickets on sale

You can get them at any Central Arkansas Library Branch or charge by credit card by calling 918-3098 or 918-3009.

The day you've always dreamed of

"Smokey and the Bandit" comes to life in Hot Springs Monday and Tuesday, May 11 and 12.

Baker NOT saying no

This morning, House Speaker Robbie Wills theorized on his blog that Senator Gilbert Baker's filing of a proposed constitutional amendment with the Attorney General's office was his way of finding something to do other than run against Blanche in 2010.  Wills writes: 

Saturday To-Do: "Fantastic Symphony"

Copland. ‘FANTASTIC SYMPHONY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.

The Weekend: Cory Branan, Bleu Edmonson, the Reds, Miss Gay Revolution and more

FRIDAY 5/1At White Water, popular Memphis singer/songwriter Cory Branan offers a sing-a-long set, 9 p.m., $5.

Strawberries for a slow news day

This post from GreenAR by the Day, a great local blog for everything environmental, reminds me of our cover story last week about local foods.  For those of you who grow strawberries, or just buy too many, here's some tips on preserving them.

Hillary settling in

Some of our readers might find this NYT piece on former First Lady and current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interesting.  Apparently, she's making the transition from presidential candidate and former Obama rival to her new post quite smoothly.  Aides describe Clinton's relationship with the president as "warm."

Fishing for scholarships

Maybe UCA should take note.  The University of Arkansas department of agricultural and extension education will host a bass tournament Saturday, May 16, to help raise money for departmental scholarships.  According to a press release, the entry fee is $80 per two-person team.  Individuals can enter for $80 as well.  Boats will launch from the Hickory Creek Corps of Engineers ramp on Beaver Lake at 6 a.m.  More info here.

Saturday To-Do: Bubba Hernandez

BUBBA HERNANDEZ9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $7.An integral member of Brave Combo for two decades, multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Bubba Hernandez brings his Los Super Vatos (“The Super Dudes”) crew to town for what's certain to be a kaleidoscope of fused sounds on Saturday.

New name in UCA hat

A dark horse and evidently very strong candidate for the presidency of the University of Central Arkansas at Conway has emerged suddenly.

'$5 Cover' debuts tonight

Ben Nichols talks about the rigors of playing himself. Craig Brewer's new MTV series, "$5 Cover," which I told you about way back when, debuts tonight on MTV.

UPDATE: Proctor hearing, Continued

Executive Director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission Dave Stewart says the hearing will conclude within the next 30 minutes or so.  He said the next step will be for each side to file a summation, in the form of a legal brief, that will be delivered to each member of the three-person panel that presided over Proctor's hearing.  A timeline for the completion of those briefs will be set today and will, according to Stewart, certainly be ready within 30 days.  Members of the panel will create a final report for the full nine-member commission.  The commission will then review the report and decide Proctor's fate.  The final report to the full commission will be due in 60 days.        UPDATE: The hearing concludes with a statement by Proctor that he believed if he had done anything wrong, prosecutors, defense attorneys and officials would have stopped him.

Will Blanchard Caverns close?

Word comes that Blanchard Springs Caverns in the Ozark National Forest may be among caves the Forest Service intends to close for up to a year in order to combat a disease that is killing off bats.The decision on Blanchard could come in a few months, sources say.

Handicapping the finalists of the LRFF music video contest

Like last year, the Arkansas Music Video Competition is the highlight of Saturday night at the Little Rock Film Festival.

Remember that list?

The one we told you about a couple days ago.  The one compiled from public records of all the names and addresses of the Arkansans who signed the petitions to put Act 1 on last year's ballot.

Over to you...

I'm headed to Toad Suck.  Hoping for some meats on sticks and some drama at Stuck on a Truck.

People v. insurance companies

Brummett stakes out the battle lines on the coming debate on a move toward national health care.

How bad are things at UCA?

Bad. The devastating state audit, long expected to be full of bad news, was every bit of that based on the detailed account in today's Democrat-Gazette.

Healthy system

Brummett makes a lot of sense today in his column on health care reform. His point: A government guarantee of access to health care for all doesn't mean the end of the private system.

Stimulus needed

You know, maybe a good stimulus program would have kept this temple from falling apart.

Fayetteville bubble

Now there's a lawsuit over the failure to build the downtown Fayetteville hotel promised as a byproduct of annexing some school millage for a private development in a big chunk of downtown.

Sorry funnel cake fans...

Toad Suck has been canceled for the day.

Where's the paper trail?

Scott Miller of Argenta News passes along an item about the improper disclosure of what happened to nearly $5 million in stimulus funds by the city of North Little Rock.  The city has not created a public website to show how funds are being spent.  Miller's FOIA requests to find out more have produced little.  Miller writes: 

It's raining

A lot.  So what else is new?  Consider this an open line.  I hope you're all curled up on the couch reading a good book, watching a favorite movie or just listenin' to the rain drops fall. 

Local Foods: How Far Do You Go?

This rather wet Saturday saw me packing the girl and heading to the Augusta district, where I had hoped to score dinner-making goods from the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market.  Alas, the rather turbulent skies had forced all but a handful of hardy souls to abandon the lot at 6th and Main, and with the Argenta Market not yet open we were left to head south for the other market of note.

Local Foods: How Far Do You Go?

This rather wet Saturday saw me packing the girl and heading to the Augusta district, where I had hoped to score dinner-making goods from the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market.  Alas, the rather turbulent skies had forced all but a handful of hardy souls to abandon the lot at 6th and Main, and with the Argenta Market not yet open we were left to head south for the other market of note.

Fiscal conservative

John Brummett writes about what happened when Sen. Gilbert Baker, co-chairman of Joint Budget and an avowed conservative Republican, met a real fiscal conservative on the issue of dividing state surplus revenue.

They stick to trucks, don't they?

Toad Suck was rained out but Truck Stuck wasn't -- here's Brian Chilson's photo of hour 51.

Mojito time for me

An open line for you.  Enjoy.  I'm heading over to a friend's house for dinner.  He's a chef at Ashley's at the Capital.  I win. 

The D-O-double-G

In advance of tonight’s show at the Village, I chatted with Snoop, via email, about getting turned into wax, loving Johnny Cash, collaborating with Miley Cyrus and appearing on Martha Stewart. It's amazing how well Snoop-ese translates in print.

Bad news

Tyson announces a $104 million second quarter loss.  Ouch.

Hudson dies

Eighth judicial circuit judge Jim Hudson, 54, died yesterday. The Miller County judge had been been hospitalized since late March with a post-surgical infection.

There's the rub

Paul Krugman talks about the "paradox of wages."  Falling wages are a symptom of a sick economy, he writes, and one that can make it even sicker.

Monday To-Do: Snoop Doog

SNOOP DOGG8 p.m., Village. $39.50-$40.So let's recap.

Q&A: Snoop Dogg

In advance of tonight’s show at the Village, I chatted with Snoop, via email, about getting turned into wax, loving Johnny Cash, collaborating with Miley Cyrus and appearing on Martha Stewart (above).

Cummins to UCA?

You may remember Bud Cummins, the former US attorney that was fired, along with eight others, to make room for "loyal Bushies" back in 2006.  Since then, Cummins has spent time as the CEO of US Canadian Biofuels Inc.  Now, he's submitted an application to the UCA presidential search committee.  In the letter, he explains his rather eventful departure from his previous post:

Smoke up

The Department of Finance and Administration released their general revenue report for the month of April.  Big take away?  Looks like year-to-date levels are holding steady.  How'd we do in April though?  Not so good.  Net available general revenue was down $60.2 million (nearly 11 percent below last April).  That's 4.9 percent below forecast.  The report shows that tobacco tax revenues were $14.6 million, almost 23 percent above a year ago.

A man, a plan, a Razorback

A UA graduate has been elected president of Panama. Straw hats shaped like hogs to be hot new item.

The (Argenta) year in pictures

We got e-mail this morning from a new blog from North Little Rock: 365argenta.com. It's a photoblog put together by Tim Vahsholtz that will feature a photo for every day of the year.

Sad news

J.M. Products, one of the nation's largest ethnic hair care product manufacturers, based here in Little Rock, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy today.  The company listed debts between $10 million and $50 million.  Arkansas Business has more.  The company was started by Ernest P. Joshua in 1977.  Joshua built the company from scratch and turned it into one of the largest African-American owned businesses in the state.   

See how easy?

KNWA TV in Fayetteville is apparently doing a story on the online posting of names and addresses of supporters of Arkansas Families First, the coalition that formed to fight the anti-gay Act 1 ballot issue that keeps unmarried people from taking in Arkansas's homeless children.

It keeps getting worse

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has announced another round of lay-offs.  No word yet on how many will lose their jobs, but the cuts are said to be "substantial."  Associate Editor Rhonda Owen is among those who have been let go.  From the D-G's website: "Executive Editor Griffin Smith said the number was not being announced to keep employees from keeping track of those being called aside during the day.

Deal With It.

Yes, indeed, that there is a clamshell box filled to the brim with nachos.  A whole heck of a lot of food.  Quite a deal.

Does pollution pay?

Stephenson Oil Company Inc. of Cleburne County was fined $20,906 by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the federal Clean Water Act.  The company dumped 1,970 gallons of oil into Sulphur Creek from their facility near Heber Springs.  That works out to about $10.50 a gallon.

The Weekend: Rains doesn't ruin Toad Suck Daze

From reviewer Carson Fant:It was rainy days that washed through Toad Suck Daze. Flash flooding in downtown Conway caused the cancellation of Saturday's music lineup, including headline act Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and rainstorms muddied Sunday's concerts.

Sams to retire

After 56 years in the broadcasting business, KTHV's morning man BJ Sams is retiring.  His last day on the air will be July 31.  The 74 year-old broadcaster said he's looking forward to not waking up at 3 a.m. every day.  No kidding.  Transcript and video of the announcement here.

Open line time...

We like food here at the Times.  Max often posts pictures from family dinners and we're always talking about food here at the office.  On last night's open line, I mentioned going over to a friend's house for dinner.  Just so happens my friend is a chef at Ashley's.  Probably some of the best food I've had.  A commentor asked for a menu, so here it is.  For starters, we had a golden beet and Montana morel mushroom risotto, with lobster glace.

The best "Hey, Smoke up Johnny" reference since Smoke Up Johnny

You know, the band.Anyway, this is part of NBC's fall line-up, which the network announced today.

Cannibalism?

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson (now a Pulitzer Prize winner) takes a look at the efforts of the New York Times to squeeze another $20 million out of the Boston Globe in order to keep New England's largest newspaper afloat.  It's interesting reading, especially in light of yesterday's tough news at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  As deputy editor Frank Fellone once told me, everyone in the newspaper business is "dancing as fast as they can."

Who's gonna pay?

Fox 16's David Goins tumbles this story from last night's newscast.  An elderly couple in Little Rock is dealing with a large sinkhole in their front yard.  City officials met to see if they were legally obligated to help pay to fix the problem.  Goins says the city isn't legally obligated to do anything.  However, it may cost more, politically speaking, if they don't do something.  Tumblr is a great way to stay in touch and even catch news items like this one.  It's basically a really simple blogging platform with a social networking capability.  I'm tumbling at bytheby.tumblr.com.  Leslie Peacock, our managing editor, is tumbling about the local art scene at arkansasartnotes.tumblr.com. 

Recycling incentives

Talk Business has an item about rewarding recycling with tickets to the zoo and Starbucks coupons.  The head of the Pulaski County Recycling and Waste Reduction District says the program would resemble frequent flyer programs at airlines.  Every time you recycle, your bin would be weighed and then scanned with a bar code.  Once you get a certain number of points, you get a coupon.  Tickets to the zoo and coffee?  What about a sixer of Diamond Bear beer?

Enough with the showers

If the old adage is any indication, May ought to be one heck of a month for flowers.  Kudos to the grounds crew at the library downtown.  Their wall of roses is pretty amazing.

Lottery commission to meet UPDATE

Lottery commissioners will meet today at 1:00, at the University of Arkansas Systems board room, 2404 North University Avenue in Little Rock.  The meeting is open to the public.  It's likely that the meeting will be largely organizational.  As we reported on Friday, there is no set agenda.  Commissioners will likely elect a chairman and set the agenda for the next meeting, which some expect will take place in about one month.  UPDATE: Max checks in, from Turkey, with a comment on this morning's news: Coverage of legislative oversight committee in today's Democrat Gazette makes it sure sound like at least some legislators -- Johnny Key a praiseworthy exception -- are determined to call the shots on the so-called independent commission.

In the money

Hendrix College has landed a $750,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation.  The grant will be used to help fund the campus's new Student Life and Technology Center, which is scheduled to open in January.  The grant was one of only five given out by the foundation to four-year colleges nationwide.  Hendrix has more on their website.   

Idle hands

More bad economic news today.  This time it's from the Alcoa North American Rolled Products plant in Texarkana.  Rep. Steve Harrelson notes on his blog that the company has decided to "idle" for an indefinite period of time.  250 employees will be affected.

Burned

Arkansas Business says Brent and Sam's bakery in North Little Rock -- now owned by Lance Inc. -- is going to be shut down.

Motorcycling

News items arriving this morning: Arkansas State Police, by way of announcing motorcycle safety month in May, says motorcycle fatalities increased 300 percent in the decade from 1997 to 2007.

Last night: Snoop

Not from last night, but close. Anyone get any good pics?

A bridge to the bridge

The city will install a footbridge in Riverfront Park tomorrow that will connect the pathway through Riverfront Park with the Junction Bridge from the La Petite Roche plaza, spokesperson Scott Carter has announced.The plaza is the $650,000 construction project that has closed access to the Junction Bridge.

Affiliated Foods bankruptcy

Last week the company, which employs more than 550 1750, said it hoped to sell or merge.

Lottery log

Fox News' David Goins tweets that Chairman Ray Thornton tells the commission they need to get things into high gear: "Everyday we wait, that's $200K in missed college scholarships."

The biggest night in TV EVER

It's rawk night on "American Idol." Slash is the mentor, and at least according to Top Idol, the kids are singing one song on their own and one in a duet.

Elvis in Arkansas

Elvis Costello was in Arkansas today at the Delta Cultural Center in Helena. He sat in, briefly, on the King Biscuit Time radio show with "Sunshine" Sonny Payne.Much respect to Payne, who's been doing the show since 1951(!), but the interview, which comes in the last third of the show, sounds a lot like your grandfather interviewing Elvis Costello.

OK in DC

Add Washington, D.C., to the places that recognize same sex marriage, Washington Post reports.  

My uncle...

There's been a lot of coverage about the death of Circuit Judge Jim Hudson.  Steve Harrelson has compiled a list of related articles on his blog.  The Democrat-Gazette also had an article in which Hudson was praised by pols like Mike Ross and Blanche Lincoln.  A lot of you probably remember him as a great prosecuting attorney and an honest, fair judge.  I remember him as my uncle Jimmy.  The guy who would play all-time quarterback (or pitcher as the game demanded) all day long at family gatherings when we were kids.  He was a good man, and he will be missed.    (That's us in the photo above.  He brought me along to a Bill Clinton rally in 1982, probably unbenknownst to my parents.  We were both a lot younger then.)  Funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow at the First United Methodist Church at 400 East 6th Street in Texarkana.   

Busy day

How was your's?  Let's open it up.

Trainspotting

Today, I needed to buy something train related for a work thing.  I could explain why, but you'd stop caring well before I finished.  The main thing is I kept putting it off until we've gotten to the point where I'm running out of time to purchase something train-ish.  At first, I thought the idea of Hobo chalk would be funny but maybe that's because I'm a fan of John Hodgman and I saw that one episode of Mad Men.  The thing is, my item will go into a basket of similarly themed items that will be auctioned off, and I thought sidewalk chalk with a shoddily made label proclaiming it "Hobo chalk" might not be a reference everyone would find as amusing as I do.  I'm not even sure it would make sense.

This can't be yogurt

I'm in Santorini, Greece today. I had this bowl of yogurt with fruit -- drizzled with honey -- overlooking an azure sea.

Leveritt on Proctor

Witnesses say that Circuit Judge Willard Proctor was once heard to express his desire that God would strike down Times writer Mara Leveritt.

Bonner's is back

Bonner's Grocery in Southwest Little Rock has made an agreement with Kansas City wholesaler Associated Wholesale Grocers, Phil Bonner said this morning, and the store, which had previously been supplied by Affiliated Foods, will be fully stocked by Friday.

Wednesday To-Do: Tennessee Three

THE TENNESSEE THREE8 p.m., Revolution, $10 adv., $15 d.o.s.Johnny Cash got stuck without a band at a concert in Fayetteville in 1968.

Wednesday To-Do: Richard Buckner

RICHARD BUCKNER8 p.m., Vino's. $10.Go to this show.

American braces for injustice

Kris Allen, dreaming of punching Danny Gokey in the balls. So here's what happened last night: The prohibitive favorite, Tim Curry from "Rocky Horror Picture Show," after last week's brief fall from grace, once again became the prohibitive favorite.

High water, no boats

It seems slightly ironic, this announcement from the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock:

Q&A: Richard Buckner

Last week, I talked, by phone, to Richard Buckner in advance of his show tonight at Vino's about singing with himself, his philosophy on making albums and what makes a good performance.

Bank branch robbed

Police Sgt. Terry Hastings said Little Rock police, with the help of the NLRPD, have arrested a suspect in the robbery of a Bank of America branch at 6001 Kavanaugh, at Kavanaugh and University, earlier today.

The buzz

Roby Brock's Talk Business Quarterly comes out tomorrow with his list of the top 10 most influential legislators.

Has anyone told the Gossip Girls...

...that Taylor Momsen's band is opening for the Veronicas on Friday at Revolution? The 16-year-old actress, of course (I mean, OF COURSE), plays the wide-eyed — lately raccoon-eyed — fashion ingenue Jenny Humphreys on this generation's teen soap du jour, "Gossip Girl."For context for you not-so-old timers, this would be like Shannon Doherty bringing a band to town in 1991.

The sun came out for 2 seconds ...

... so I ran to the river to get a picture of the just installed Riverfest Bridge to the Junction Bridge.

Jax pix

As the daughter of a Jacksonville girl, I'm going to announce: Early voting began yesterday in the special election for Jacksonville mayor at Jacksonville City Hall.

Kris is in

Kris Allen is safely in the top 3 tonight.  He'll be coming home to Conway soon for a concert.  The announcement was just made on American Idol.  I hate to tell all of you who were watching in suspense, but Fox 16 had the news a couple of hours ago.  I'm sure there will be much more about this on Rock Candy later on.
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