In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
RiverfestJune 2, 2016
Vol 42 • No 39
In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
Chris Stapleton, Juicy J, The Flaming Lips and more.
Before he implemented it last week, Donald Trump had let it be known that he would fulfill Karl Marx's spooky proverb that history repeats itself, "the first as tragedy, then as farce," but with the order of the outcomes reversed. He planned to spend the summer and fall reliving the "Clinton scandals" of the 1990s, this time with Hillary Clinton as the victim.
The Dreamland Ballroom was the scene for an intensive two-day yoga class led by Kino MacGregor on May 21 and 22.
Also, Betsey Wright on Ken Starr, those damn emails, rate hikes on the horizon and the smell of bacon.
A visit to the 29th Annual Ozark Mountain UFO Conference.
Also, Lum and Abner Festival in Mena, African-American Arts in Arkansas at Mosaic Templars, Conway Pride Fest, Sunday Serenades at St. Paul United Methodist and Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils at Stickyz.
Also, Butterfly and Irie Soul play Next.
Some final thoughts about the recent presidential primaries: I actually feel sorry for candidates like Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Chris Christie and all the other experienced governors who knew how to run a state, but got bumped out of the presidential primaries by Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
It's easy to walk out of a surly War Memorial Stadium after Arkansas has inexplicably torpedoed hopes of a magical season with a loss to Toledo and think, "Damn this infernal program, teasing me year after year. I hate being a Hog fan."
Mansion, money, power.
The Observer and our lovely bride have been doing a lot of porch sitting on the wide veranda of The Observatory of late, watching life scroll by on leafy Maple Street.
Here's my basic problem with Bernie Sanders: To put it bluntly, once a Trotskyite always a fool.
I spent the second half of May immersed in two different Americas: one defined by pessimism about the future, and one decidedly optimistic. Those differences are at the heart of the dynamics that will determine the outcome of the 2016 elections.
Using "surplus" to fund highways likely will make it harder for legislators to count on having leftover money to divvy up for their own pet local projects. This might put an end to years of unconstitutional spending of state money on purely local projects.
Heroes are done well, but the villain is a slog.
Cocktail connoisseurs will remember Spencer Jansen, currently membership manager at the Arkansas Arts Center, as a star bartender (and multiple Arkansas Times Toast of the Town winner) at the Capital Bar and Grill a few years back. It was there, some five years ago, that he created Festy Bingo to celebrate the culture of Riverfest.
Eureka Springs taqueria soothes your taco-loving soul.
Walmart will dominate news coverage today with its star-studded stockholder meeting extravaganza, but a union-backed group continues to push its message about Walmart's treatment of workers.
Want some serious reading? Try this in The Atlantic on the "welfare utopia" that is Oregon — with broad and generous support programs for making ends meet. The key question raised by the article, which holds up Arkansas's punitive approach to welfare by comparison, is whether race plays a role in differences in benefits.
Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump yesterday for his dangerously uninformed approach to foreign policy and it produced a rare "win of the news cycle" for the Democratic presidential candidate. Trump didn't have much of a comeback, but a wannabe national player, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, did.
An Arkansas Bar Association committee has recommended amending the Constitution of Arkansas to provide for appointment, rather than election, of members of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Marci Manley of KARK reports that Circuit Judge John Langston has granted a motion to delay the trial of Judge Wade Naramore on a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge in the hot car death of his 18-month-old son Thomas last July.
Little Rock City Director Gene Fortson says he plans to seek election to a third term in his at-large seat on the board.
Conway police announced today the arrest of Dr. Robert Rook, a Conway physician, on three counts each of rape and sexual assault.
The Little Rock Planning Commission yesterday solidly rejected a proposal to rezone residential property at the northwest corner of Cantrell and University for a sitdown restaurant.
The Friday open line and today's video — leading off with Hillary Clinton's clobbering of Donald Trump on foreign policy.
President Obama today announced commutations of the sentences of 42 people, including Craig L. Watson of Jacksonville.
The Garland County sheriff's office announced today that Lester Dewayne Curry, 60, who recently retired as principal of Lake Hamilton Middle School, had been charged with 2nd degree sexual assault and sexual indecency with a 13-year-old female student.
Max’s annual visit to Arkansas Boys State, the latest from Tom Cotton, a proposed casino amendment and incoming LRSD superintendent Michael Poore — all covered on this week's podcast.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson today announced two appointments to the state Board of Education — Ouida Newton of Leola and Fitz Hill of Little Rock.
Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has discovered what we've been writing for some time — the legislation for the governor to take control of Governor's Mansion operation arose from tension between First Lady Susan Hutchinson and the commission over decorative decisions.
The news of the death of the great Muhammad Ali inspires a historian's detailed account of the political furor stirred when Ali was invited to speak at the University of Arkansas during the height of controversy over his refusal to be drafted.
From KTHV is an Associated Press article that indicates Larry Ross, chairman of the independent commission that meets annually on state official pay, sees no need to meet this year. Right. If state employees aren't getting cost of living increases, why should elected officials.
Heres the Saturday open line. Can anybody tell me if Riverfest is happening in terms of crowd?
Jimmy John's, the chain fast food operation, is appealing denial of a request to convert a bank branch on West Markham into a drive-through restaurant.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette picked up the latest filing from the Razorback Foundation, which supports sports at the University of Arkansas. Giving was up. Also up significantly was a payment to former Athletic Director Frank Broyles for speaking engagements.
Here's the night's open line. A good day for the conclusion of Riverfest, which reduced admission prices today.
Riverfest closed Sunday night with good weather and a robust crowd. Still to come are figures on whether the event was a financial success.
What to do about Donald Trump? Politico says it's a problem for future Republican candidates such as Sen. Tom Cotton. Also: Anyone else notice the silence of Arkansas Republican leaders on Trump's racist remarks about a federal judge?
John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" ripped Arkansas legislation last night —
It's Burger Week in Little Rock, with burger specials all week at 21 participating restaurants.
Little Rock police say one person was killed and a woman and child were wounded in a shooting about 7:30 a.m. this morning at an apartment complex at 6900 Cantrell Road.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former governor's daughter and a paid hand for Donald Trump, tried to defend his racist remarks on CNN today. Viewers assessment: Fail!
Republican State Rep. Kelley Linck of Flippin resigned from the legislature Friday to become chief of legislative and governmental affairs (aka lobbyist) for the state Department of Human Services. He'll be paid $108,243.
No matter how hard the establishment keeps trying to tell people to move along, the Interstate 30 12-lane concrete gulch (more than that really at the dystopian Mills Freeway/I-30 junction) downtown is a done deal, credible voices keep popping up to say otherwise.
A divorce filing in Montgomery County is of interest because it involves Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs, who is asking for alimony from her husband Allan, a chiropractor and former member of the Saline County Quorum Court.
Here's the open line and the daily roundup of news and comment.
We take a last look at the Robinson Center Auditorium renovations before the building is closed for finishing touches.
Read the awful story of a woman who died after waiting more than two years before she could be confirmed to an ambassador's post. The delay? Sen. Tom Cotton was using her to get back at President Obama. To add insult to injury, the malicious Cotton claimed to have "respect" for the woman he punished.
From Newsweek comes this news: Hackers associated with ISIS, or Islamic state militants, have in their random hacking of websites tapped into a database in Arkansas — that of the Arkansas Library Association.
Is there a Republican in Arkansas office will to stand on principle against Donald Trump as, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham has done? A former GOP legislator, Davy Carter, deserves an asterisk in the search for a principled GOP officeholder.
Ernest Dumas writes this week on a subject that puzzles many — the personal aversion to Hillary Clinton or the so-called "likability" issue. Put it down to Clinton's obsession with privacy, he writes.
The Riverfest lineup was bestowed with prime weather, psychedelic spectacle, bizarrely shaped ice cream cones, and lots of fringe.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Conner Eldridge has called on his opponent, incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman, to repudiate Donald Trump's remarks about a federal judge presiding in the Trump University lawsuit.
KARK reports that 16 units in the New Horizon apartments at 4900 Augusta Circle in North Little Rock were destroyed by a fire last night.
Here's today's news release from the Arkansas Department of Human Services on a restructuring announced today.
The Tuesday open line and news roundup.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, through spokesman J.R. Davis, responded to my request for a comment on the raging debate on the nature of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's knock of a judge of Mexican heritage hearing the case alleging fraud in the operation of Trump University. He's critical of the remark, but still supports him.
Charles Pierce of Esquire calls Sen. Tom Cotton a "sadistic swine" for blocking an ambassadorship for a qualified black woman (who died during his 2.3-year hold on the nomination) to "inflict special pain on the president."
Fennell Purifoy architects Tom Fennell, Ben Hartter and Baxter Reecer continue to whistle past the graveyard, drawing up a yet another handsome new plan to show how I-30 south of the Arkansas River could be replaced with with a boulevard. The plans are based on the Smart Mobility consulting firm study.
The unanswerable question is whether Gillespie's proposed changes to the department's "core business structures" will introduce much-needed accountability and efficiency to DHS, or whether they'll simply add a new layer of bureaucracy.
It's Hillary. History is made.
Just in: An installment of Jason Rapert TV, preaching and driving on a return trip from Illinois.
Sen. Tom Cotton's malicious blockade of a foreign service appointment has gained national attention, in part because of the death of the woman Cotton punished to get at President Obama. Will it get local news coverage?
Little Rock City Director Dean Kumpuris, one of three at-large members of the Board, told me this morning that he will seek a fifth elected term to the board. He joined the board by appointment in 1995.
The Board of Pulaski Tech, the two-year college based in North Little Rock that is to merge into the UA System, has again voted to opt out of the law that would allow concealed carry on campus by permitted faculty members.
Arkansas Democrats will elect their national committeeman and committeewoman later this summer and I'm hearing a challenge could be made to Dustin McDaniel's re-election to the committeeman slot. Reason: party disloyalty.
A state audit listed today shows the Lee County School District overpaid health insurance for the superintendent, Willie Murdoch, by more than $23,000 during a 30-month period. She shouldn't have qualified for more of a subsidy than any other district employee.
Wednesday's open line and a roundup by video of news and comment.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today agreed with Judge Leon Holmes' finding that the court didn't have jurisdiction to hear Nucor Steel's lawsuit challenging air permits for the state-subsidized Big River Steel mill, a new competitor for Nucor in Mississippi County.
John Diamond, who once led media relations at the University of Arkansas, will sign books at Wordsworth, the Heights bookstore, from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 13.
Summer has arrived in Fayetteville, and with the warmer weather comes a craving for outdoor eateries and food trucks. Natural State Sandwiches is tops on the list.