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Cost of incarceration

Cost of incarceration

June 9, 2016

Vol 42 • No 40

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Mother and child disunion

In an era of mass incarceration, more women are going to prison and for longer. An often overlooked consequence: More children are ending up in foster care.

Rylie Hubbard at White Water

Amelia White coming to South on Main.

Mansion ownership

For many years, I volunteered at the Governor's Mansion as a docent and in other roles. Docents are part tour guide and part historian. The Mansion is full of our state's history, and our tours were absolutely nonpartisan. As tours began, we would make a point to say: "The governor and first lady want you to know that this is your house, and they have the privilege of living here."

Democratic endgame

'Popstar': Idiocy done brilliantly

"Popstar: Never Stop Not Stopping" flopped last weekend, earning about a tenth of what a quartet of Ninja Turtles hauled in, and that fact is enough to have you weeping for America.

Can you spare a Harriet?

In elementary school we were solidly Team Harriet, who we learned about as a voracious reader in the kids' section of the library.

Summer fun

Ideas from the staff of the Arkansas Times.

Ride with Pride Trolley

Also Erykah Badu at Verizon Arena; Late Romantics, Rodney Block and Vision Control at White Water; "The People Rule" at the Old State House;

Trump and Latinos

Sarah Huckabee, responding to Donald Trump's suggestion he won't get a fair trial from a judge of "Mexican heritage," says Latinos will "come on board" with Donald Trump.

'Windfall' at The Rep

'Seinfeld's' Jason Alexander directs play premiere.

Comic Expo back, bigger

Since 2011, the year River City Comic Expo founder Brent Douglass put on the first Expo in Sherwood for about 300 attendees, people have been telling him that a comic book convention would never work in Central Arkansas.

Dyslexia dysfunction

Arkansas schools are progressing with interventions, but major gaps remain.

All politics is local

The web is brimming with comments on the Middle East, global warming and presidential politics. But what do they know about the Pulaski County Quorum Court or the Little Rock City Board of Directors?

Road hogs

State funds detoured.

Breakfast, bologna, beer

Andina thrives on Third.

Private Hillary

Why do people not like Hillary? Because she is obsessed with privacy.

Lawmakers punish the poor

Fiery finale

The crowd at Riverfest 2016 watched Sunday's closing fireworks show from the First Security Amphitheater in Riverfront Park. Riverfest officials said 140,000 people attended the festival over its two days of concerts.

Helena-West Helena raises age for tobacco purchases

Helena-West Helena has passed an ordinance to increase the legal age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, KATV reports. The ordinance takes effect Sept. 1.

Petition guide: Marijuana and more ready for voter signatures

The deadline passed this week to publish notice of efforts to change state law or Constitution by voter initiatives and five have been published. They cover marijuana, casinos, term limits and damage lawsuits.

Arkansas Democrats land a Clinton, early-retire Jefferson and Jackson

The Arkansas Democratic Party has landed a Clinton — former president Bill Clinton — to speak at the party's annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, the last to be named for the former presidents on account of objections to some inglorious elements of their records.

State Police identify plane crash victim

State Police say Phillip Sloan, 66, of Mena was the pilot killed when his single-engine plan crashed Wednesday in a clear-cut area of rural Jefferson County near the Grant County line.

Sharp County death penalty reversed by Arkansas Supreme Court

The Arkansas Supreme Court today reversed the death sentence of Steven Wertz, convicted in 2007 of the 1986 slaying of  Kathy and Terry Watts of Ash Flat. Terry Watts was then in a custody dispute with Wertz's then-wife.

Supreme Court split over whistle blower act

A case brought under the Arkansas Whistleblower Act revealed a division on the court on whether that act can override the state's protection from lawsuit under the sovereign immunity doctrine.

Little Rock School District report; good news marks Kurrus' farewell

Outgoing Superintendent Baker Kurrus is reporting to the state Board of Education on the Little Rock School District this morning. Watch live here. He began shortly before 11 a.m.

Darren McFadden sues financial advisers, alleges $15 million in losses

Darren McFadden, the former Razorback who now plays football for the Dallas Cowboys, has filed a federal lawsuit against Michael Vick and other unnamed parties for alleged mismanagement of his finances.

East Hall Recording releases five-volume retrospective

East Hall Recording's Chris Moore has released a free five-volume compilation; a retrospective of tracks recorded in the cozy Fayetteville studio.

President Obama endorses Hillary Clinton, urges party unity

President Obama's endorsement of Hillary Clinton was posted on her Facebook page today. It included praise for opponent Bernie Sanders and a call for the party to unite in November.

Thursday's news and an open line

Here's the day's video and the daily open line.

Arkansas Medical Board suspends Robert Rook's license over pending rape case

The Arkansas Medical Board voted 9-3 today to suspend the license of Dr. Robert Rook, a Conway family practitioner, because of two pending sexual assault charges.

Ninth Circuit upholds ruling denying right to carry concealed weapon in public

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has roiled the gun lobby with a 7-4 decision upholding a lower court finding that the 2nd Amendment does not provide the right to carry a concealed weapon in public. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is among the gun lobbyists upset by the opinion, but she chooses to ignore some important background in her criticism.

Midnight hour: 30 Crossing study in, city letter being drafted, Metroplan releases its comments.

The city's consultants that examined the Arkansas Highway and Transportation's plan to widen Interstate 30 to 10 and 12 lanes provided the mayor and board of directors a white paper this week that they say should serve as background for a work session with AHTD, though the deadline for comments to the highway department is tomorrow, June 10. Meanwhile, the mayor has written a letter to the AHTD and has asked directors to append their comments.

Elizabeth Warren KOs Donald Trump; now what about Tom Cotton?

Elizabeth Warren brutally took down  Donald Trump over his attempt to subvert the rule of law by his racist attack on the judge hearing a Trump U. fraud case.

Conner Eldridge is trucking

Democratic U.S. Sen. candidate Conner Eldridge rolls out a campaign accessory this morning a red 1953 Dodge truck — made in Detroit, the news release notes. He'll be touring Arkansas with it but I doubt he'll get incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman to join him on the bed of the truck for some rolling debates

Protests rise to highway department's I-30 plan; there are other ways: Update

Testimony piles up about flaws in the Highway Department plan to widen the freeway through Little Rock and other cities show the way to do things differently. Alas, thinking outside the box is not the establishmentarian way in Little Rock.

Lottery revenue continues to improve against last year

The Arkansas Lottery reports that it netted $6.6 million in May for scholarships, about $200,000 above budget. That put revenue for the first 11 months of the budget year at $74.1 million, about $5 million above budget and $10 million above last year.

Republicans plan African-American 'homecoming'

The Republican Party of Arkansas plans an African-American "homecoming"  from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the state's museum of African-Americans in Arkansas.

Another fire at a Little Rock school playground

Greg Yarbrough of our news partner KARK captured this photo of a fire today on the playground of Carver Elementary Magnet School on Little Rock's east side at 2100 E. 6th

Sally Nixon, "Naturals," statehood party, contemporary craft, student art

Tonight's 2nd Friday ArtNight activities include partying like it's 1836 over at the Old State House, a new exhibition of illustrations by Sally Nixon at the Historic Arkansas Museum, contemporary crafts at Matt McLeod Fine Art, student work curated by Arkansas art educators at the Butler Center and a continuation of the exhibition "Naturals" at Arkansas Capital Corp.

Faith leaders dismayed at governor's call to ignore law on transgender non-discrimination

Seventy religious leaders have signed a letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressing "dismay" at his statement urging Arkansan's to disregard the guidance from the Obama administration that the law protects transgender people from discrimination. Specifically, they should be allowed to use public facilities that align with their gender.

Friday's farewell: An open line

Here's the open line and a video roundup of news and comment.

This week's podcast: Leslie Peacock takes over

This week's podcast includes plenty of presidential politics and the state of women's rights in these United States.

City to AHTD: Consider downtown. Otherwise, go ahead.

On this final day of public comment on the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's plan to widen Interstate 30, Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore have provided the AHTD with recommendations based on an assumption the proposed alternatives — 8 lanes or 10 — will be acceptable to the city.

Gov. Hutchinson names new Mansion Commission

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has swept out most of the old Governor's Mansion Commission with new appointees to serve on the largely neutered agency.

The two heads of Hursley: Delta winner

Little Rock photographer Tim Hursley tells a great story about seeing this two-headed calf in a junk store in Northeast Arkansas and deciding he had to have it. It took a while, but success was his, and now the photograph this nationally-known lensman made of the calf (now in his studio) is the $2,500 Grand Prize winner in the "Delta Exhibition" of the Arkansas Arts Center.

U.S. attorney announces rehabilitation option on drug cases

U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer announced Friday a new effort to rehabilitate drug offenders as an alternative to felony convictions.

Roundabout coming on Fair Park Boulevard; City Board also to hear from Johnny Key

The Little Rock City Board agenda session next week includes a $1 million contract with Burkhalter Technologies to use bond issue proceeds to build a roundabout at Fair Park Boulevard and Zoo Drive in War Memorial Park.

Tougher ethics law produces results in Alabama; Arkansas moves backwards on ethics

The conviction of an Alabama legislative leader on ethics charges shows why an ethically lax Arkansas legislature isn't likely to get tougher on ethics.

Summertime open line

A Saturday open line.

Tom Cotton's latest obstructionism: Wants to preserve jail option for hooky

John Lyon at the Arkansas News Bureau examines another of Sen. Tom Cotton's one-man Senate roadblocks — this one to a juvenile justice reform bill. Cotton objects to ending the ability of judges to jail youths for minor offenses such as skipping school.

Arkansas is starving UAMS — and the rest of state government, too

A news article today is a useful reminder of the state's starvation of UAMS, a fact of life through state government that we're inclined to call "stealth Brownback."

50 dead in mass shooting in Orlando night club

A mass shooting this morning in an Orlando night club — 50 dead and more than 50 wounded. The suspect, who was killed, has been identified as a 29-year-old Florida man.

All we need is ....

The Sunday open line.

God, guns and gays: Politicians' sympathy stops short of support for non-discrimination

God, guns and gays. That bedrock Southern political triad came together in an awful way Sunday in Orlando. And Arkansas politicians don't want to touch the gay part. Meanwhile, in Texarkana, voters will get a chance to express their feelings on discrimination against gays in an election Tuesday.

Democrats take exception to Gov. Hutchinson's boasts

The Arkansas Democratic Party today offered a counter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's claim of Republican legislative successes and campaign promises fulfilled.

U.S. Supreme Court won't delay pollution-reduction rule

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused a request from 20 states, including Arkansas, to block implementation of a federal rule aimed at reducing pollution from mercury and other emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Acxiom looking to sell its downtown office tower

Arkansas Business reports that Acxiom is looking for a buyer for its 12-story downtown office building. Reason: It needs only a fraction of the space, maybe a floor worth.

Top deputy departs Hutchinson staff for consulting

Jon Gilmore, who was campaign manager  for Gov. Asa Hutchinson's election and who has been his deputy chief of staff, has announced his resignation at the end of the month to  open a consulting firm.

Killer escapes from East Arkansas prison

40/29 reports that Lloyd Jones, serving 60 years for the murder of a Lavaca teen, has escaped from the East Arkansas Regional Correctional Facility in Lee County. No details of the escape as yet.

The law-abiding gun community

Read all about the gun dealer who sold weapons (legally) to the man who killed 49 and wounded as many others in an Orlando club before he was killed.

Zoo realizes almost $3 million trust from supporter's estate

The Little Rock Zoo has announced the largest donation in its 90-year history: A trust worth almost $3 million established by Jayne Jackson, an animal and zoo lover who died in December.

Monday: An open line and a video roundup

Monday's open line and the day's news video.

Prosecution makes its case in Naramore child death

Special Prosecutor Scott Ellington filed the bill of particulars requested by defense in the pending negligent homicide case against Judge Wade Naramore, whose 18-month-old son died last summer after being accidentally left more than a half day in a car on a hot day in Hot Springs.

Arkansas judges go against Ventura in American Sniper case

A legal eagle calls to my attention the Arkansas connection in a decision by the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse a $1.8 million jury verdict in favor of Jesse Ventura, the former wrestler and Minnesota governor, in a defamation case against the estate of Chris Kyle, author of the best-selling memoir "American Sniper."

About that focus on ISIS: Killer's contradictory background raises questions

So Omar Mateen claimed allegiance to ISIS. But he also claimed kinship with opponents of ISIS. And, who knows, he might have been gay. Bottom line: Resist easy answers to complicated questions.

Don't let vino varieties keep you from enjoying the grape

Looking for the right wine for you? Don't want to break the bank? Let's talk vino.

Eureka Springs woman fights SWEPCO, wins $4.2 million refund

A complaint to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by a Eureka Springs resident, Martha Peine, has produced a $4.2 million refund by SWEPCO to electric customers.

Today in guns: Every picture tells a story

The ready availability of guns in the United States may make their owners feel safer, but the gun homicide rate tells another story.

UA Board set for final decision on $160 million Razorback Stadium expansion

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will vote Thursday on final approval of a $160 million expansion to Razorback Stadium on the UA campus in Fayetteville.

The case for cleaning up judicial elections

Times columnist Ernest Dumas writes this week about a bar committee's recommendation for appointment rather than election of members of the Arkansas Supreme Court and other ways to clean up judicial elections — now dominated by dark money.

Aug. 15 trial set for Wade Naramore

A trial date was set today for Aug. 15 for Judge Wade Naramore of Hot Springs who faces a negligent homicide charge in the hot car death of this 18-month-old son Thomas last year.

Dr. Robert Rook of Conway appeals license suspension after rape charge

Dr. Robert Rook of Conway, whose medical license was suspended by the Arkansas Medical Board last week following his arrest in Conway on charges of raping two patients, has appealed the licensed suspension in Circuit Court in Little Rock.

Asa Hutchinson to join other governors in meeting with Donald Trump

Donald Trump has set a meeting  in New York with several Republican governors, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. They are from mostly red-meat GOP states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Delay granted for response in Michael Morton-Gilbert Baker lawsuit

Special Judge David Laser this week signed an order extending until June 27 a response from plaintiffs for defense motions to dismiss the lawsuit alleging that then-Judge Mike Maggio took a bribe to reduce a verdict in a nursing home damage suit.

Even Texas sees light on freeway expansion

Even Texas highway builders are considering tearing down a freeway rather than widening it. In downtown Dallas!

Tuesday: the open line and the daily video

Here's the open line, plus the daily roundup of news and comment.

Big Piph releases video for "Big Boi," directed by Kenneth Bell

On the cusp of his upcoming release "I Am Not Them: The Legacy Project," Big Piph releases a video for "Big Boi," filmed and directed by Kenneth Bell.

Review: Erykah Badu at Verizon Arena

Erykah Badu channels Prince at Verizon.

Arkansas legislature continues its anti-gay agenda

Call it discrimination light.  In the week of the Orlando mass slayings at a gay club, perhaps by a man conflicted by his sexuality, an Arkansas  legislative panel signed off on a rule to allow psychiatric counselors to refuse to serve someone with different religious beliefs.

Nursing homes have raised more than $300,000 so far on lawsuit limitation amendment

The group formed to discourage medical malpractice and, particularly, negligence lawsuits against nursing homes have already raised more than $313,000 to gather signatures to put the amendment on the ballot in November.

Former UA Board members question Razorback stadium expansion

Five former members of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees have written an op-ed piece opposing the $160 million expansion of Razorback Stadium. Their bottom line: "this is a terrible time for the U. of A. Fayetteville to be making a commitment to this kind of debt, especially for this purpose."

Tom Cotton thinks Latinos don't care about Trump anti-immigration stance

Ryan Lizza writes in the New Yorker about Republicans coming to grips with a divisive candidate, particularly one that has sent such a virulent message to immigrants.

American Medical Association: Gun deaths a 'public health crisis'

The Hill reports on the American Medical Association's declaration that gun deaths are a public health crisis and that it will lobby to allow federal research. The gun nuts won't stand for research that could make guns safer.

Little Rock Zoo adds yellow-backed duikers. (They're antelopes.)

The Little Rock Zoo announces a couple of new arrivals — yellow-backed duikers, or small antelopes native to forests in several African countries. There's a two-year-old female from the Dallas Zoo and a one-year male from the Cincinnati Zoo.

Police arrest two in Simmons Bank robbery

The Little Rock police have arrested two men for robbing the Simmons Bank branch at 23816 Chenal Parkway about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Dave and Buster's is finally here; we've got the deets on the eats

You'll need something to keep your strength up for all those games. Here's our guide to the best eats from Dave and Buster's.

Innovation Hub joins Winrock International

Winrock International, the international development organization based in Little Rock, is combining with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

Navy to name new attack submarine USS Arkansas

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today that a Virginia-class attack submarine will be named USS Arkansas. Construction is to begin in 2018 and operations are expected to begin in 2013.

Some things you won't see an Arkansas GOP politician do

Headline news on politicians: A filibuster for gun control and a Utah Republican elected official apologizing for past mistreatment of gay people. Here in Arkansas, we can only dream.

Womack gets anti-Clean Line bill out of committee; Sierra Club responds

A House committee today approved legislation by Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers intended to throw up an obstacle to the Clean Line project to move wind-generated industry across the country, including through Arkansas. The Sierra Club criticized the legislation

Wednesday: The open line and today's video roundup

We're over the hump. Here's the open line and today's Arkansas news video.