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June 6, 2013

Vol 39 • No 40

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No open doors for Oxford House

City's fears, grant process and attitude work against group. houses for alcoholics, addicts.

Morning Notes: Stodola, Stovall, Hobbs

*MAYOR RAISE DECISION DELAYED: The Little Rock Board of Directors yesterday postponed the decision on whether to give Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola a raise of almost $20,000.

Rev. Will D. Campbell, escort for the Nine, dies

The Rev. Will D. Campbell, 88, who with four other members of the National Council of Churches escorted the Little Rock Nine to Central only to be turned back by the mob, died Monday.

Thursday-Saturday To-Do: Thunder on the Mountain

Toby Keith headlines Thunder on the Mountain this weekend at Mulberry Mountain.

Thursday To-Do: Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre: 'Much Ado About Nothing'

Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre kicks off Thursday at Hendrix with "Much Ado About Nothing."

Exxon report on pipeline break said to be nearing completion

KUAR reports that ExxonMobil's report to PHMSA on what caused the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower report should be complete soon.

Thursday: Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band, Water Liars and more

Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band play at Cajun's Wharf Thursday.

Searcy County Sheriff removed from office over chicken theft

Searcy County Sheriff Kenny Cassell has been removed from office over a 1979 federal misdemeanor theft conviction over Cornish hens stolen from a Tyson's poultry truck during an interstate shipment.

Health problems in Mayflower

Great report from HuffPost on lingering problems for residents of Mayflower two months after the oil spill.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute sells historic Malco Theater

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute has sold the Malco Theater in Hot Springs.

Police: NWA man bilked by woman posing as famous singer

Authorities in Washington County are awaiting the extradition of a New Mexico woman they say convinced an elderly man that she was the country singer Alison Krauss, eventually marrying the man before, police say, she raided his bank accounts and convinced him to sign over the deed to his house, KWNA in Fayetteville reports.

Pulaski Tech offers new, non-credit cooking classes for adults, kids

Pulaski Tech has announced a new Summer Culinary Series, featuring non-credit summer cooking classes for the general public.

Beebe wants to use rainy-day funds for ARHEG grants

Gov. Beebe has agreed to seek legislative approval to transfer $1.1 million to the Higher Education department to help the students pay out-of-state tuition at dentistry, podiatry, veterinary medicine, chiropractic, osteopathic medicine and optometry schools.

Juli's Law and the Supreme Court ruling

Re: Monday's Maryland v. King ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.

USA Drug founder dies in Pine Bluff

Steve LaFrance, the pharmacist who founded USA Drug and sold it to Walgreen for $438 million, died at his home in Pine Bluff today of natural causes.

Federal grand jury indicts Shoffner

As expected, Martha Shoffner, the former Arkansas Treasurer who resigned under fire last month, has been indicted on charges of extortion and receipt of a bribe.

Rapert won't go for Lt. Gov. job. Too bad.

State Sen. Jason Rapert, the Republican from Conway who authored Arkansas's 12-week abortion ban, which has not gone into effect thanks to a federal court injunction, announced today he'll see re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.

Arts Center to propose $6 million budget

Full board to decide Monday.

Fifth carrier sends letter of intent to sell on healthcare exchange

The Arkansas Insurance Department just received word that United Security Life and Health Company out of Chicago wishes to offer plans on on the Health Insurance Marketplace — the regulated marketplace, or "exchange," created as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Open Line

*RAPERT'S OUT, WHO'S IN? So after prayerful consideration, Rapert's not running for lieutenant governor.

Pryor should thank Bloomberg

In the unlikely event that Mark Pryor wins re-election as Arkansas's senior U.S. senator in 2014, he should send New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg a thank-you gift. Something like a sugary 44 ounce Big Gulp or a case of Dr. Pepper. Offering His Honor a 30-06 deer rifle would be churlish.

Simple, but delicious at Salut

Bistro serves up tasty Italian fare.

Where in Arkansas? for June

Know where this slice of life in Arkansas is? Send along the answer to Times photographer Brian Chilson and win a prize. Once a month in this space, we'll post a shot from a relatively obscure spot in Arkansas for Times readers to identify. We also invite photographers to contribute submissions of both mystery and other pictures to our eyeonarkansas Flickr group. Write to to guess this week's photo or for more information. Last month's winner was John Herzog who correctly guessed the photo was of bird houses behind the Clinton Museum Center in Riverfront Park.

Ask the Times: DNA and sunken houseboats

Q. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police may take DNA samples from persons arrested for serious crimes without having to get a court order, likening the DNA samples to fingerprints. May police personnel in Arkansas take DNA samples from persons arrested for serious crimes without a court order?

Goodbye, Old Paint

I've read that the abbreviation "GOP," short for "Grand Old Party," a nickname of the Republican Party, may be on the way out, some newspapers now banning it.

Rep takes a trip to 'Avenue Q'

Hit Broadway musical opens Friday.

Coming out at Boys State

I've been among the speakers at Arkansas Boys State for 20 years. I talk about my left-leaning ideas. Conservative young men take vigorous exception, particularly on social issues such as abortion and sexual orientation.

Like Orval

Sen. Mark Pryor sounds like Gov. Orval Faubus in the '50s, when he was resisting racial integration. No matter the cost to himself politically, Faubus promised, he would not kowtow to the NAACP and the Urban League, he would stand fast against the forces of Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole, he would not flee even a virtual army (well, nine) of black schoolchildren.

GOP problems

Jesus wouldn't turn away gays

I read a news story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on May 31 stating that the First Baptist Church in Gravel Ridge has revoked the Charter of the Boy Scouts and will no longer allow these young men to meet in the Church because the Scouts are permitting openly gay Scouts to join the Troop.

Change from the ground up thanks to Arkansas Public Policy Panel

Group celebrates its 50th anniversary.

It was a good week for Charles Robinson

It was also a good week for UALR and Dassault Falcon. It was a bad week for weather, Martha Shoffner, First Baptist Church of Gravel Ridge and Fort Smith.

An impossible woman

The Observer was in South Arkansas for a funeral on Monday, that of Spouse's Great-Aunt Edith, who had lived a good, long life before shuffling off her mortal coil in a nursing home down there. The Observer has fears, and one of them is living so long that all the people who really knew us have passed. That's what apparently happened to this ol' gal in large measure. After a life that was surely full of passion and anger and love and laughter, the most anyone could recall about her by the time the coffin was closed was that she was kind. There are worse things you could be recalled for than kindness, of course, but to The Observer, it was still a minor kind of tragedy.

Joey Farr and the Fuggins Wheat Band at Cajun's

Also, Amy LaVere at White Water.

The Fresh Prince steps in it in the future

'After Earth' is a low-grade B-movie, but your 10-year-old might like it.

God, Jason Rapert and Obamacare

When someone lamented the starvation of millions in the Ukraine, Joseph Stalin is supposed to have observed that "one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is only a statistic."

Thunder on the Mountain on Mulberry Mountain

Also, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Arkansas Times Celebrate the Grape in Argenta, Brewer and Shipley in Eureka Springs, Future and Ace Hood at Barton and Amy Garland at White Water Tavern.

Police: Pot ring busted in Cabot

Ever watch the Showtime TV show "Weeds," about the pot-dealing mom living in picture-perfect suburbia?

Morning notes: another ad attacks Pryor, NSA spying on Americans

The Released a lame ad in which a pool salesman whines about Obamacare. Was it really the healthcare law that led to this dude’s troubles or just the unfortunate luck of selling pools in a downturned economy?

Friday To-Do: Arkansas Times Celebrate the Grape

Celebrate the Grape is Friday at Sixth and Main in Argenta.

A detour in De Valls Bluff

Don't pass by De Vall's Bluff if you're in the area. It's a quick hop off the 40 that will save you drive time in addition to making the rest of your trip rather pleasant, especially if it involves shoveling pie and pork in your face. It's an experience you've got to see (and taste) for yourself.

Here are some photos from last weekend's Wakarusa

Wakarusa was a muddy affair this year.

Friday: Amy Lavere, '13' at The Weekend Theater and more

Amy LaVere plays at White Water Tavern Friday.

Tom Cotton says president is "court packing"

I'll say this for Rep. Tom Cotton: he knows his audience.

Gov. Beebe appoints Jay Shue Medicaid Inspector General

Gov. Mike Beebe today announced the appointment of Jay Shue as the state's first Medicaid Inspector General.

Farm to Table: An Arkansas Times eating event

Arkansas Times Whole Hog Roast winner Brian Kearns will serve up a plantation-style meal in Scott.

Lunch with a side of 'judicious marksmanship'

While out at lunch today, we saw this sticker on both doors of a fast-food sandwich shop on Park Hill in North Little Rock.

Will there be enough carriers to create a competitive health insurance marketplace in Arkansas?

We noted on Tuesday the announcement of letters of intent from four carriers to sell on the Arkansas health-insurance exchange, known as the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM).

Rembrandt in Little Rock

There is nothing like looking at Rembrandt.

Masterpiece open line

ART! I'm checking out the Kentwood House exhibition at the Arkansas Art Center tonight.

Anti-abortion group can't intervene in federal suit

The anti-abortion group Concepts of Truth may not intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas's 12-week abortion ban, Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled today.

Saturday To-Do: Amy Garland

Amy Garland plays an album-release show Saturday at White Water Tavern.

Saturday To-Do: Brewer and Shipley

Brewer and Shipley perform Saturday at Basin Spring Park in Eureka Springs.

Food Feedback Friday: lemongrass and Lin's

Welcome back to everyone’s favorite day of the week, Friday. I’m certainly glad to see its smiling face again, especially when it means we get to talk food, here, on Food Feedback Friday.

Saturday To-Do: Future, Ace Hood

Future performs at Barton Coliseum Saturday night.

Morning Notes: Shoffner, C&H Hog Farm

*THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: Picture above from BuzzFeed, which reports that Dunkin' Donuts is offering the Doughnut Bacon Sandwich, starting today.

Our far-flung correspondents

Courtesy of Max, where did the word "geyser" come from? Iceland.

Poll shows opposition to immigration reform in Arkansas

Mark Pryor, immigration reform, Gang of Eight

Saturday: Arkansas Bo, Earl & Them and more

Arkansas Bo performs Saturday night at Club Utopia.

Armed robbery at LR Kroger store

The Kroger store at 8415 W. Markham was robbed this morning by an unknown assailant brandishing a pistol.

Saturday: Easton Corbin at Timberwood Amphitheater

Easton Corbin plays at Timberwood Amphitheater Saturday.

Walmart workers protest in Bentonville during shareholders week

About 200 people, many of them Walmart employees, marched from the Bentonville town square to Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art yesterday to protest the labor policies of the discount giant during the company's annual shareholders meeting, which drew over 14,000 people to town this year.

NSA surveillance: not just phones

The Guardian reports: The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

Vesuvio moving to El Chico's

Erupting from below-ground quarters at the Governor's Suites.

Ark. Times' Celebrate the Grape wine festival sold out

Sorry wine-fans. You snooze, you lose.

Read an excerpt from oral history of Upright Citizens Brigade

Vulture published an excerpt from new book about the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Walton giving in 2012: $432 million

The Walton Family Foundation made grants of "more than" $432 million in 2012, the foundation has announced.

2013 Porter Fund Literary Prize awarded to Pat Carr

Pat Carr won the 2013 Porter Fund Literary Prize.

Cushman, Edgington thinking prehistorically

At Gallery 26.

Actress arrested for sending ricin letters to Obama

Major news stations are reporting that actress Shannon Rogers Guess Richardson ("The Walking Dead," "The Vampire Diaries") has been arrested for mailing ricin-tainted letters last month to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Cloar in Memphis

At the Brooks Museum.

Jay Moody being reviewed for federal judgeship

An American Bar Association committee has begun soliciting comments on Circuit Judge Jay Moody as a potential nominee to a federal district judgeship.

Environmental groups meet with ADEQ on hog-farm permit

Officials from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality met today with representatives of the Ozark Society, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the Arkansas Canoe Club, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

TGI FFA Open Line

Virginia GOP lt. governor nominee: birth defects caused by sin

Shades of the three stooges in Virginia. Buzzfeed quotes from a 2008 book by the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in Virginia, E.W. Jackson, who was a minister at the time.

Luke Bryan to Verizon Arena Oct. 17

Luke Bryan will perform at Verizon Arena Oct. 17.

Wilkins announces departure from White Water Tavern

In a statement on the Kitchen at White Water Tavern's Facebook page today, bar food genius Jonathan Wilkins announced that he will be leaving the Tavern in July to "pursue other opportunities."

Open Line

Here's some slow motion for you. Consider this your open line...

Pryor: "I've known for years that they would come after me."

Sarah Wire has a roundup in this morning's paper (paywall) on the attack ads from the right and from the left on Sen. Mark Pryor.

Carrier competition on the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace

The Washington Post's Sarah Kliff rounds up the dozen states that have released public information about the carriers that will sell on the Obamacare exchanges, including the Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) in Arkansas.

Blanche Lincoln on Mark Pryor's election chances

Roby Brock catches up with former Senator Blanche Lincoln on the lobbying life. If Sen. Mark Pryor goes down as Lincoln did, it will of course be very bad news for progressive causes in the Senate (even an unreliable vote on the Democratic side is immeasurably better than the alternative in Arkansas).

NSA whisteblower reveals himself

Edward Snowden is the source of the intelligence leaks regarding the PRISM program and Verizon surveillance.

Open Line: Hog farm, Mayflower, Head Start

*IS THE BUFFALO RIVER SAFE?: Michael Dougherty, president of the Buffalo River Chamber of Commerce, sounds off on the permit granted to C & H Hog Farms in a guest editorial in the D-G (paywall).

Boil order at resort, Mount Ida

The Montgomery County Regional Water Authority has issued a precautionary boil order for folks in Mount Ida and Oden/Pencil Bluff, an area that includes the Mountain Harbor resort and condos on Lake Ouachita.

Arkansas "private option" remains unique plan for Medicaid expansion

Health Affairs puts the spotlight on Arkansas and the so-called “private option” for Medicaid expansion.This middle ground or “private option” appears more politically tenable for states led by conservative lawmakers intent on moving more people into the private market.

Queens of the Stone Age to Arkansas Music Pavilion Oct. 8

Queens of the Stone Age will play the Arkansas Music Pavilion Oct. 8.

Bernice Garden sculpture winners announced: Update

Their work won't be unveiled until September, but the winners of the Bernice Garden's annual sculpture contest have been announced.

No 'matoes in Bradley Co. for annual Pink Tomato Festival

The annual Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, scheduled for this weekend in Warren, will have crafts, food and music.

Hillary Clinton tweets

Hillary Clinton joins the world of Twitter. Her self-description is pretty great: Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD...

'Game of Skill' wagers at Southland, Oaklawn top $1.3 billion so far this year

Wagers on so-called 'electronic games of skill' at Oaklawn in Hot Springs and Southland in West Memphis stand at $1.384 billion so far in 2013, according to figures from the Arkansas Racing Commission, KLRT reports.

Free & Equal moves their 'United We Stand' thing to Los Angeles

Not happening in North Little Rock: "United We Stand"

John Burkhalter to announce candidacy for statewide office tomorrow

John Burkhalter, governor

Open Line

CHICKEN OF THE CONGRESSIONAL SEA: The Arkansas congressional delegation is fighting to protect the Office of Catfish Inspection in the farm bill, which critics say is just protectionism for catfish farmers in the South.

Jonesboro man drowns in Gulf Shores, Ala.

KAIT reports that Warren H. Moore, 62, of Jonesboro drowned in the Gulf of Mexico at Gulf Shores, Ala. on Monday afternoon, the latest of four victims who drowned there in less than 24 hours due to strong currents.

Obama administration will allow over-the-counter sale of emergency contraceptives

WaPo's Sarah Kliff reports on the announcement yesterday evening that the feds will allow emergency contraceptives to be sold over the counter, with no age restriction.

Huckabee advises evangelicals to double down

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke last night at the 2013 Pastors' Conference in Houston on the eve of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

John Burkhalter will run for lt. governor

Roby Brock reports that Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter will announce this afternoon that he is running for lieutenant governor.

Yet another lame ad attacking Mark Pryor

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is out with a new ad going after Sen. Mark Pryor.

Chew on this: A bargain bento at Igibon

Get yourself to Igibon for a bento box today—it's quick, cheap, and highly enjoyable and will help you plow your way through the rest of your workday better than any other meal I know of.

Little Rock a possible site for annual college football bowl game

ESPN's Brett McMurphy reports that Little Rock is on the shortlist of cities being considered to begin hosting bowl games for the smaller college football conferences in 2014.

Dianne Curry joins race for lt. governor

About an hour after news broke that Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter is running for lieutenant governor, the Democratic field has now doubled: Little Rock School Board member Dianne Curry will join the race.

Huckabee: churches should reject tax exempt status

It's time for churches to reject tax exempt status completely; freedom is more important than government financial favors.— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 11, 2013 Thought this was worth a separate post: former Gov. Mike Huckabee recently tweeted a message more blunt than his comments at the speech last night.

Exxon gets 3rd extension to report on pipe

ExxonMobil has been granted its third extension to provide the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration its analysis of what may have caused the metal in the Pegasus Pipeline to split, spilling 100,000-plus gallons of oil in Mayflower.

Oaklawn plans 58,000 sq. ft. racino expansion

The Hot Springs Planning Commission will decide this week whether to allow a 58,000-square-foot addition to Oaklawn's "electronic games of skill" gaming floor.

Immigration reform bill clears procedural hurdle in Senate

The Senate voted 82-15 to proceed with debate on the immigration reform bill crafted by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight."

Gays on tv! Huckabee freaked.

Wasn't intending to have an all-Huckabee day, but the hits just keep on coming. Quoth the Huck: This is why the legalization of same-sex marriage is going to be a much bigger issue than just saying we let people love whoever they want to love.

John Burkhalter meets the press

Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter, who announced earlier today that he is running for lieutenant governor, had a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

Open Line: Boozman, Koch brothers, Pryor

*DR. NO: You're never going to believe this but Sen. John Boozman opposes the immigration reform bill.

Mason's Deli hits a high point with cannoli

Authentic Sicilian treats in the River Market.