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June 8, 2011

Vol 37 • No 41

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Is Bentonville the new Fayetteville?

Well, they still don't have the Razorbacks.

Losing those little-town blues

The northwest corner of Arkansas was still quiet and roomy 30 years ago. A retiree come back to the region would find much has changed.

Wakarusa photo recap

See pics from this weekend's Wakarusa Festival of performances by My Morning Jacket and more.

Little Rock sales tax proposal — UPDATE

Mayor Mark Stodola is to unveil his sales tax proposal tonight. I have a conflict.

Chef Dan Capello wins Diamond Chef, again

The votes have been tabulated, the results consumed and the crowd dispersed after this year’s Diamond Chef competition at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Pulaski County Government Payroll: Detail View

Pulaski County Government Payroll: Search

Search by employee name or department for pay information, hire date, gender and more for all Pulaski County government workers.

Pulaski County Government Payroll: Search Results

Pulaski County Government Payroll

Find the annual base salaries of more than 1,100 Pulaski County government employees and the hourly wages of over 100 more.

Hitchcock on the stage

The Rep debuts '39 Steps.'

Pulaski County Government Payroll: All Overview

See an overview of the maximum and median salaries and wages and number of employees for Pulaski County government.

Q&A with Joe Johnson

The former Razorback and perennial NBA All-Star sat down with the Times to talk about the possibility of a lockout, what Mike Anderson's return means for the Hogs and his future acting plans.

LRPD: All reports $10, unless you know magic words

For years, the Little Rock Police Department has been charging the public $10 each for burglary reports, incident reports and other printed materials, in what might be a violation of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act — or at least a case of governmental fleecing.

Decision on lottery data halted

Accountability at risk, new commissioners say.

Mosaic Templars head is back

Governor intervened in museum firing.

Pray for CATA

Are you good with the Central Arkansas Transit Authority? I'm not.

The audacity of Paul Ryan's whining

At some point if the nation is to solve its problems, one of the political parties is going to have to forgo getting revenge for the preceding rhetorical dishonesty of the other.

Pulaski County Government Payroll: Department Overview

See an overview of the maximum and median salaries and wages and number of employees for each department in Pulaski County government.

Q&A with Fleming Stockton of Your Mama's

Fleming Stockton talks about his early days of veganism (!), flipping burgers, serving political celebrities during the Clinton campaign days and much more.

Defying expectations

Tokyo House delivers a delicious Japanese buffet.

Khalil's Pub and Grill

They've got seafood, they've got sandwiches, they've got sauerbraten. We'll be back.

The good Huckabee

You have to credit Mike Huckabee with one endearing quality that sets him apart from his Republican brethren: He is capable of occasional honesty about the burning issues of the day.

New doctor

That pundits should designate Sen. John Boozman to succeed Jack Kevorkian as "Dr. Death" seems, in a way, inevitable.

Pulaski County Government Payroll: Department View

Surrender, hell!

"High Noon" would not be so uplifting a movie if Gary Cooper had decided to back down from the bad guys because people told him there'd be trouble if he didn't.

Noisy stop

Katie Jones, 4, plugs her ears as Union Pacific's No. 844 steam locomotive stops in Bald Knob on Monday.

Radio Disney stars come to Magic Springs

Allstar Weekend and Kicking Daisies bring sugar-high pop-punk to the park this Saturday.

New director pay

The Arkansas Arts Center will offer new director Todd Herman a base salary of $160,000 a year

LRHA seeking counsel

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette classified section included a request for applications to serve as special counsel for the Little Rock Housing Authority, to handle an alleged claim of employment discrimination.

Hot tips

Here are some all-new tips for coping with a summer that's already a son-of-a-bitch.

In defense of Stanley Reed

"There were several glaring misrepresentations and falsehoods stated in the editorial regarding the selection of a new University of Arkansas President."

Following Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business published a story last week extolling its masterful use of the social networking service Twitter in a journalistic "nanny nanny boo boo" of sorts.

Little Rock Film Fest 2011 recap

Another great festival.

The Observer goes to Washington - not Old Washington - Arkansas

The Confederate capital, now a state park, is the closest thing to Williamsburg that you'll find in Arkansas.

Orval, June 8, 2011

A home for LGBT homeless

A local non-profit is currently raising money to build a shelter for one of Arkansas's most vulnerable groups: homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth.

The P.A. that saved the WM3

One of the directors behind the "Paradise Lost" films reveals how the filmmakers were finally able to win the court's approval to record the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin.

Arkansas Medicaid ranks low

Only five state Medicaid programs spend less per patient than Arkansas's, according to a consumer activist group.

This Modern World, June 8, 2011

Where have the dials gone, Joe Dimaggio?

I read the other day that the word "clockwise" is vanishing from the language because younger people don't know what it means.

Harry and Jorge's stops in its tracks

After opening just before Memorial Day in the former home of Flying Burrito, the new Mexican restaurant was closed early this week with paper over its windows.

Good week: Little Rock Film Festival

Now it's time for city leaders to give the festival a permanent theater home, where it can show films year-round.

'Chicago' comes to Robinson for a two-night stand

Also, The Black Angels bring Texas psychedelia to Stickyz.

Tweaking the SOS Twitters

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today reviews policies among state officeholders on employees' use of social media during the day to make political comments.

Opposition continues to road on Old Main lawn

Remember the item about a historic preservationist's opposition to the University of Arkansas's plans to cut a temporary road through the lawn in front of historic Old Main to facilitate several building projects?

How Little Rock profits from crime

ICYMI in this week's Times: David Koon turns up a most interesting fact about Little Rock city government.

Little Rock Zoo gets 2 new elephants

Two retired circus elephants have arrived at the Little Rock Zoo to keep Ellen company.

Wednesday To-Do: 999 Eyes Freakshow

The freakshow dedicated to its genuine "genetic human anomalies" brings the Lobster Girl, Peg-O the Leg-O and more to Juanita's.

Wednesday To-Do: The Black Angels

Stickyz hosts the return of the Velvet Underground-lovin' Texas psychedelia outfit.

Church and state in Hot Springs

I wish the Hot Springs Sentinel-Record wasn't behind a pay wall because the ongoing coverage of the religion-flavored fight for control of Hot Springs government plays out almost daily in its pages.

Judge dismisses suit over Conway Human Development Center

Federal Judge Leon Holmes has dismissed the Justice Department's lawsuit against the Conway Human Development Center over conditions at the residential center for developmentally disabled.

Pryor says Weiner should resign

In an interview with reporters today, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said it would be a "good thing" if Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned.

Fayetteville won't ban smoking in bars

The Fayetteville City Council voted 5-3 to amend city ordinance to also ban smoking in bars, along with other public places.

City objects to anti-McDonald's display

What is it about local government and free speech? First the bus company nixed an ad from atheists.

Thursday To-Do: Samuel Locke-Ward

The ACAC brings an underground singer/songwriter that's managed to shock us with his songwriting swag.

Changes in leadership at Little Rock Film Festival

Big shakeups abound in the Little Rock Film Festival offices, just days after the close of the festival's fifth year.

Hump day line

Only two days left. The evening line is open.

Banker Harbert indicted on fraud charge

The U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock has announced the indictment of former One Bank senior vice president and loan officer Kelly Harbert, 45, on 17 counts of bank fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of identity theft.

Mark Martin on the ropes

Our FOI requests finally dislodged the secret Secretary of State Mark Martin and Co. didn't want you to know.

UP locomotive making early departure

Fox 16 reports that Union Pacific's No. 844 steam locomotive will depart North Little Rock at 8 a.m. today rather than Friday to avoid potential flooding problems on its return trip.

Filling federal judgeships, a slow process

Susan Hickey of El Dorado got some questions about her experience but generally gentle handling in an appearance yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will eventually vote on her nomination by the president as a federal district judge.

Hendrix football — no match for real thing

John Brummett reviews Hendrix College president Tim Cloyd's case for adding non-scholarship football as an enrollment builder.

Breaking: Old Main lawn is saved!

I've reported here about opposition to a University of Arkansas plan to temporarily cut a road across the lawn of Old Main, the historic center of the UA campus, for access to a variety of construction projects.

Burger joint of the week: The Bulldog Restaurant

Bald Knob is a familiar crossroads to anyone who takes to exploring northeast Arkansas. The Bulldog Restaurant's the local hotspot for travelers and locals alike, serving burger and barbecue and such. There's almost always a line.

Speaking of election fraud

I hope you've been following news of rampant fraud in the effort by Republicans to recall Democrats from the Wisconsin legislature.

Ringling Bros. 'Zing, Zang, Zoom' in August

Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus will bring their new "Zing, Zang, Zoom" show to Verizon arena Aug. 4 -7.

Today only: rock posters from Anthro-Pop for sale at Art Outfitters

The venerated local record store is resurrected (in part) for one day only, selling gig posters from both Little Rock and beyond.

(Some) Senators fight for Medicaid

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller news release: Senator Jay Rockefeller today announced that 41 Senate Democrats stand united against any efforts to slash Medicaid.

Sex scandals of the decade: The sweet 16

Talking Points Memo declares the top 16 sex scandals of the decade in a slide show that provides a quick, useful look at home some previous indiscretions have played out.

Fleur Delicious: Not just a chance to sport a fake French accent

Eureka Springs explodes in an extravaganza celebrating French cuisine, culture and life this July.

Vedder croons for Davis, Echols

Eddie Vedder's new solo album includes a song written from the perspective of Lorri Davis, wife of Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three.

Marion Berry to have surgery for brain tumor

Former U.S. Rep. Marion Berry is scheduled to have brain surgery Tuesday, June 14, at UAMS for a tumor, as yet not diagnosed.

Stronger together: Arkansas Food Bloggers Network forms

The new group will focus on sharing information about food in Arkansas, learning more about Arkansas food operations, and finding ways to help others through food. Of course, a good time is expected to be had.

Weiner won't resign

New York Post reporter grabs video of Anthony Weiner on the street today. He's going to work, not resigning.

A bucket list for Little Rock

Looking ahead: 2nd Friday Art Night

Two new exhibits in the Butler Center Galleries.

"Feeling Groovy" at Laman Library: Today

Posters from the halcyon Haight-Ashbury days, opening today.

Friday To-Do: Ark. Times Rivertop Party

The Times gets down with the weekly party, launching our Cocktail Compass app and showcasing three of our favorite local acts

Judge denies stay of desegregation money cutoff

Federal Judge Brian Miller today denied multiple requests for a stay of his surprise ruling calling for an immediate end to state desegregation aid to school districts in Pulaski County.

Al Green gets covered by Phish

The crowned kings of jam debuted a cover of "Rhymes."

Mid-Southern Watercolorists

This time, at Cantrell Gallery.

Be heard on the Little Rock tax plan

The city of Little Rock has announced a series of hearings to discuss a sales tax proposal for a special election in September — a permanent increase of the existing half-cent tax by 150 percent, to 1.25 cents on the dollar, for operations, and an eight-year half-cent tax for capital projects.

Thursday thoughts

The line is open. In closing: * CHECKBOOK JOURNALISM: Did you know the Texas woman whose Facebook exchanges with Anthony Weiner gave ABC a lead over competition in the scandal reporting was paid a "licensing fee" for her story?

NLR moving on State Fair tax

Fox 16's David Goins reports polling is underway by the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on voter feelings about a temporary sales tax to raise $70 million to lure the Arkansas State Fair to move its grounds from Little Rock to a spot in or near North Little Rock.

Little Rock Zoo plans for the future

Little Rock Zoo officials and supporters met tonight to hear the product of a consultant's work on a strategic plan for the facilty.

Demonstrators get a promise from Tim Griffin

Neil Sealy with Arkansas Community Organizations sent the photo along with a note about a group a dozen Arkansans who drove to Bryant to greet U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin at a campaign fund-raiser at Luigi's.

Boozman's selective spending policy

Good story in this week's Arkansas Leader. It's about a visit to Lonoke by U.S. Sen. John "Dr. No" Boozman, the Republican scourge of earmarks and government spending, particularly on poor people.

Amazon to end affiliate program in Arkansas UPDATE

I haven't found a link myself, but Jason Tolbert Twitters this morning that Amazon has announced that it will end its "associates" program in Arkansas because of the new state law that will impose the Arkansas sales tax on sales made through Arkansas associates.

Cross-dressing robber suspected of other hits

The Little Rock Police Department reports a USA Drug robbery last night, perhaps by the same man suspected in a recent Wendy's robbery and perhaps others, though he cross-dressed for this one rather than using a Spiderman mask.

Mark Martin, another broken promise

A defender of Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin objected the other day to the use of the word "lie" relative to one of the series of misleading, bumfuzzling, inept acts by Martin.

2nd Friday Art Night: Ranaa Tasneem

Harmony Health Clinic in Little Rock is the subject of a photographic documentary on exhibit at Christ Church, 509 Scott St.

2nd Friday Art Night: Rhonda Berry and Diana Michelle Hausam

Photographs of places with a past, at HAM.

Leg. Committee: Abolish Pulaski County School Board UPDATE

Fox 16 reports that the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee, after another morning wrestling with the multiple financial problems found in audits of the Pulaski County School District, has recommended abolishing the Pulaski County School Board.

Park art balloons

New sculpture in the Vogel-Schwartz sculpture garden, in Riverfront Park behind the Peabody Hotel, was celebrated yesterday afternoon with ice cold water and wine.

Warren Stephens' cure for the economy

Stephens Inc. CEO Warren Stephens goes on the Wall Street Journal's opinion video to talk about the state of the economy ("sluggish") and his ideas to improve things.

Gov. Beebe on reapportionment

Gov. Mike Beebe's weekly radio address states the obvious: Some will like and some won't like the results of legislative redistricting.

Under the lights this Friday

The line is open. Maybe if you wander out to this parking lot in the 11600 block of Pleasant Ridge Road tonight you'll encounter this critter spotted last night near a dumpster.

Podcast: The grit and Division III football edition

This week on the podcast, Max and I talk about the Little Rock sales tax proposal, North Little Rock's interest in the state fair, the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee's recommendation to abolish the Pulaski County School District and Hendrix College's football plans.

Dream Big, in North Little Rock

Hurray for Thea, and dreams come true.

Judge agrees ads unsuitable

The Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton gave the UCA treatment today to Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker's appearance in advertising for Jamileh Kamran clothing, a matter we discussed briefly with the judge back in April.

Republican hypocrisy examined

John Brummett tries to have a rational conversation with Republican Rep. Justin Harris and learns it's just about impossible.

Yes, let's bypass Iowa

I'm glad to read news of some Republican candidates, notably Mitt Romney, decided to give the Iowa caucuses a pass.

Democrat leaders call for Weiner resignation

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Steve Israel have called on Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign.

Another Saturday night

And I got nobody but those of you on the open line.

Count me with the Republicans

For the record: I agree with three Republicans — Rep. Jane English, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and former legislator Dan Greenberg.

Photos posted of Gabrielle Giffords

Photographs of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords have been posted on her Facebook page, the first close looks at the congressman since she was seriously wounded by a gunman in a meeting with constituents in Arizona.

A catfish note

Good fortune took me on a dinner roadtrip last night, to Murry's Restaurant on Highway 70 near Hazen.

Sunday supper

The Sunday night line is open. I think we're still early for the sweetest spot of the summer produce season.

The midnight ride of Sarah Palin

John Brummett endeavors to explain how Sarah Palin didn't know what she was talking about when it came to Paul Revere and that her true believers won't accept the truth about her if hit over the head with a redcoat's musket.

LR's grow-now, pay-later impact policy

Debate is underway about a Little Rock sales tax proposal to raise a half-billion-dollars over eight years for operating and capital needs.

We're No. 1 — in uneducated legislators

A new study is out on the educational level of state legislators nationwide. We're No. 1!

Fire department promises closer look after storms

Little Rock Fire Chief Gregory Summers, in a memo to City Manager Bruce Moore, has outlined what he believes will be better procedures, including door-to-door checks, to check homes for injured following major storms.

Man fatally shot in apartment parking lot

The Little Rock police say Edward Harris, 24, was fatally shot about 11:50 p.m. Sunday on the parking lot of the Asbury Park Apartments at 8500 Keller Drive, south of Kanis Road near John Barrow Road.

Weiner tales: Another Chicago dog found in Fayetteville

Feltner Brothers in Fayetteville are putting out a Chicago dog worthy of the name. Their burgers, on the other hand, are straight out of a previous era. I swear, it's Bob Feltner's original Whatta-Burger, revisited.

Mark Martin jacks up parking fees

Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin has promised to get government off your back, to cut costs, to fight taxes and fees, etc. So, wouldn't you know it? He's increased the rent on a parking lot he oversees by 38 percent.

Steve Womack joins junketers

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, another Republican committed to lean government and killing universal Medicare and other wasteful stuff, gets an unwanted hat tip today in a report on how some members of Congress have continued to engage in high-dollar travel despite a push to cut back on junketing expenses.

State board denies virtual charter's expansion

The state Board of Education today the Arkansas Virtual Academy's request to grow from 500 to 1,500 students.

Rick Perry's salvation show

Has there ever really been any doubt that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Aug. 6 rally is anything but a Christian revival and an effort to bludgeon other governors into joining a chorus of "Just as I Am" or suffer political consequences for not doing so?

Review: 'The 39 Steps'

The Rep’s production, directed by Bob Hupp, delivers the silliness with expert flair and even generates an emotional connection.

Alice Stewart departs secretary of state for Bachmann

Now I see why Alice Stewart hasn't returned my call about Secretary of State Mark Martin's huge parking fee increase. She's left the secretary of state's office.

Soda can bomb case ends with 2-year sentence

Mark Krause, originally charged in a case alleging his involvement with placement of a soda can bomb at a rural Arkansas polling place, was sentenced today to 24 months in prison and fined $5,000 for possession of an unregistered weapon.

Monday night line

It's open. Final shots: * Jon Hubbard has written a "book." Walnut Ridge couple won $500,000 in lottery. Former Little Rock Director Larry Lichty questions tax plan.

Alice Stewart: Meet the boss

Alice Stewart, until this morning press aide for Mark Martin, has broken on the national scene already as spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who officially announced her presidential candidacy tonight to steal headlnes from the New Hampshire Republican debate.

Pulaski superintendent survives firing vote

The Pulaski County School Board has a special emergency meeting at 5 p.m. for an executive session to discuss personnel.

Tuesday To-Do: 'Chicago'

Can Celebrity Attractions and Broadway in Little Rock at large continue its successes of the past year? If there's a show that'll keep up the trend, it'll be "Chicago," a tried-and-true classic if there is one.

Charity begins at ....

News article noted in Baxter Bulletin: A charitable VIP dinner is slated July 19 featuring former Arkansas governor and presidential contender Mike Huckabee.

Why stop with Dustin McDaniel?

In reviewing the wide disagreement with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's practice of deciding who will benefit from lawsuits he wins in the state's name, John Brummett takes the argument for legislative control of such money further — to all "cash" funds generated by state agencies.But then I also argue that the same goes for all these regulatory agencies that collect their own cash, from licensing and so forth, generating what gets known either as “cash funds” or “special revenue.” Typically, these regulatory agencies get the Legislature to approve their budgets with authority for them to spend their own cash funds or dedicated revenues.

Maybe we ain't so uneducamated

The Democrat-Gazette today provided defense for the Arkansas legislature today by reporting that some baseline information (Project Vote Smart) used in the study on educational attainment of state legislators wasn't always an accurate description of a legislator's college-going record.

GOP debate dances around the elephant

Timely commentary from Ernest Dumas for this week's Times on last night's Republican debate. It's about how the Republicans, who all want to wreck Medicare and Medicaid, danced around the Mitt Romney elephant in the room.

UALR names head of racial institute

UALR announced today the leader of its new Institute on Race and Ethnicity, a product of Chancellor Joel Anderson's long focus on race relations.

At last, madam, have you no shame?

I've written before about Teresa Oelke, a Kochite who's on their dole to run down government and taxes on rich people under the name of the Arkansas affiliate of Americans for [billionaires'] Prosperity.

Ham it up for Father's Day

Win a free ham and bacon sampler from Petit Jean Meats by telling 'em what sort of Petit Jean Meats product your dad likes.

So, there was this meatball, you see

Rather than get a bag of meatballs from a food supplier, OW Pizza makes their own... unique balls of meaty joy, great with garlic bread.

Follow the Cocktail Compass

Come Thursday night, you can utilize your smart phone to get great drink deals at parties all over the city.

Two robberies reported in LR

Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings sends summaries of two nearly simultaneous nearby robberies last night.

Gloomy forecast for the economy

News that only a Republican (an unfeeling one at that) could cheer (from Talking Points Memo): CBO director Doug Elmendorf offered reporters a sneak preview of his agency's forthcoming economic forecast Tuesday, at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

'El Grito' on UALR TV

Four artists whose work was shown in the UALR exhibition "El Grito (The Cry for Independence)" are the subject of the latest "Inside Art" feature with Brad Cushman.

Feds announce major meth bust

The U.S. attorney's office and other law enforcement agencies participated in a news conference this afternoon about an 18-count indictment naming 20 people in a methamphetamine distribution ring.

Michael Nellums resigns as school principal UPDATES

Michael Nellums, principal of Mills University Studies High School, has resigned in advance of release of an investigation of his involvement in a plot to make School Board member Gwen Williams look bad.

Marion Berry out of surgery

Marion Berry's family reports on their CaringBridge webpage that the former congressman has come out of surgery at UAMS for a brain tumor.

State vehicle lawsuit dismissed

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has dismissed a taxpayers lawsuit over state officials' use of state cars for personal purposes.

McDaniel calls for redistricting maps

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has sent a letter to Gov. Mike Beebe and Secretary of State Mark Martin, the other members of the state Board of Apportionment, proposing a timetable to air final maps for proposed legislative redistricting and to provide a 10-day window for the public to see and comment on the maps before the final vote.

The Tuesday line

Have at it. Some close-outs: * GAY MARRIAGE RULING STANDS: It was a slimy tactic and a federal judge has rejected it — the effort by opponents of gay marriage to overturn a landmark ruling striking down California's anti-marriage law because the judge who made the decision was gay.

Stephens takes a beating in Las Vegas court

This is just for journalism junkies. But the Stephens Media-backed effort to sue the bejeesus out of little non-commercial blogs that repeated items from their newspapers — an effort that Walter Hussman's media empire (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is the biggest member) signed onto — has lost a major ruling in Nevada.