The Big Island Circumnavigation Expedition took to a seldom-seen wilderness and exposed schoolchildren to the beauty and power of nature.
Big riversJune 20, 2013
Vol 39 • No 42
Lisa Song of InsideClimate News has a great piece today exploring the complicated question of the long-term health impacts of oil spills.
Gov. Mike Beebe seems to indicate a somewhat nuanced picture is emerging as facts are being gathered on how an Arkansas parolee, now a murder suspect, failed to be held behind bars despite repeat criminal charges and failure to appear for parole meetings.
I've written before this week about the notion by Sen. David Sanders and Rep. John Burris and others that the bare majority of Arkansas Republican legislators is sufficient to override constitutional governance and allow them to tell executive agencies not to do business with people they don't like.
Talking Points Memo alerted me to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's decision to become the third Republican senator to endorse same-sex marriage.
From the Central Arkansas Library System: The Central Arkansas Library System's Board of Trustees is considering recognizing the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton for her services to children by naming the new children's Library in her honor.
David Koon has provided summaries of opening statements in the trial of former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings, charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a car burglary suspect, Bobby Moore Jr., 15.
Gas line break interrupts classes at University of Arkansas.
This just in from the Arkansas Republican Party: Arkansas GOP Chairman Doyle Webb has released the following statement on the celebration of Juneteenth: “Today we celebrate Juneteenth, marking the final abolition of slavery in Texas and the nation in 1865.
The speed with which Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil is unusual, according to pipeline experts InsideClimate News rounded up.
The 8th annual exhibition kicks off with Argenta ArtWalk preview.
Gene Pfeifer, the bike enthusiast and developer who donated land he owned on the north side of the Arkansas River to the Arkansas River Trail, has asked the Dillard family to do the same.
Channel 4 reports early details on an oil spill of unknown source and size in Lake Hamilton, from which Hot Springs draws its drinking water.
David Koon reports from the manslaughter trial of former Little Rock Police officer Josh Hastings: The afternoon was largely dedicated to testimony of Jeremiah Johnson, a 14-year-old who was in backseat of the stolen Honda Civic that the victim, Bobby Moore Jr., was driving the night he was killed.
Well, back in Little Rock for one full day. Here's my return open line, including: * SPANKING FOR JESUS: I ignored the news that the wacky Pat Robertson had endorsed spanking disobedient wives, citing the familiar Biblical support for wifely submission to their husbands.
More from David Koon, reporting from the manslaughter trial of former Little Rock Police Officer Josh Hastings.
Pizza and beer aren't all that's great at this local brew pub.
Damn. From CNN: James Gandolfini, 51, who won three Emmys for his portrayal of Tony Sprano on "The Sopranos", has died, according to HBO.
Twitter has been lit up today with tales of an 'escape artist' macaque monkey that let itself out of a Conway vet's office last night and put a succesful chase in motion.
The Times is giving away two tickets to see Johnny Winter June 21 at Juanita's.
Brooklyn band The Dig played at Stickyz on June 12.
Chef Brian Kearns to take food from Farm to Table.
With implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act's major provisions gearing up in Arkansas, the potential involvement of Planned Parenthood is stirring controversy among Republican lawmakers.
Also, 'The New 22' at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Opera in the Ozarks, Johnny Winter at Juanita's, Juicy J at Clear Channel Metroplex, Black Flack at The Phoenix in Fayetteville and Bow Wow Wow at Juanita's.
In his 2012 State of the City Address, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola claimed that his city has the potential to be "the next great American city in the South." While the mayor's phrasing was awkward, I thoroughly share the sentiment that Little Rock has potential to be a truly great city.
"The employee/nurse, who didn't want to comment when contacted afterward by a Kansas City newspaper, did enough to where the girl was breathing and awake upon leaving the baseball stadium."
It was a bad week for Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, a joint endorsement, Arkansas's congressional delegation, ExxonMobil and ExxonMobil's credibility.
When The Observer's beloved cat Scout came down with an infection recently, we were struck with two emotions. Sympathy, of course (poor kitty!), but also dread — because administering cat medicine is a shrieking, painful mess of a task liable not just to strain The Observer's relationship with our pet, but with our better half, a fanatic cat lover unimpressed with The Observer's tepid cat-wrangling skills.
Asked and answered.
Also, Rodney Block at the Joint.
The singing, dancing, foul-mouthed, sex-having puppets of "Avenue Q" (and their human counterparts) put on a fun, sweet and funny show in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of the smash-hit musical.
We now know for sure that screwy right-wing ex-governors of Arkansas make more sense than screwy right-wing incumbent governors of Texas. Political scientists had so theorized for some time; the point was proved over the weekend.
Arkansas may not be known for its high share of immigrants — they compose only 5 percent of the state's population — but immigrants have begun to play a larger role in both the economic and political landscape of our state.
Announcing her candidacy for lieutenant governor, Dianne Curry said she considered running for the Second Congressional District seat and state auditor "before deciding lieutenant governor best fits her experience and abilities."
A child prepares to bowl during a frame of mini bowling at Playtime Pizza in Little Rock.
When the hunt for scandal produces only flaps, it is hard to recognize it when you're handed the real thing.
Hits equal misses.
One diverting aspect of The Guardian-inspired hullaballoo over NSA surveillance has been watching people bicker about it on Facebook. In the old Soviet Union, people walked in the woods or hid in the bathroom with the faucets running to whisper forbidden thoughts. Here in the USA, people post them online along with cute kitten videos and photos of Reuben sandwiches.
From the Children's Theatre to making $400 million movies, Little Rock native Brad Simpson has had quite a run.
OK, I obsess some on Little Rock government's dependent relationship with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Joann Coleman, a civic activist who's been closely following the proposed UAMS-St. Vincent services merger, has unearthed yet another interesting document from her series of FOI inquiries.
I received this note overnight from Shaun Gains, who said he's 20 and attended Hall High School: For over a year I have been having a conversation with concerned citizens, parents, and educators in the LRSD.
Fox 16 reports on a federal Labor Department investigation of a children's consignment sale business, Rhea Lana's, over its practice of using
Politico reports on the national dimension of an Arkansas political fight. Planned Parenthood is seeking nationwide to share in the money available under Obamacare to hire workers to help enroll people in the broadened health coverage it provides.
Claudia Lauer, the Democrat-Gazette's energetic City Hall reporter, ran to ground quickly and thoroughly yesterday the story behind a pop-up Facebook page lamenting a developing plan for the city and the Central Arkansas Library System to build a parking deck in Riverfront Park.
Juicy J performs at Clear Channel Metroplex Friday.
Johnny Winter performs at Juanita's Friday night.
Opera in the Ozarks kicks off its 2013 season Friday.
You need a better ice pop substitute…and with the Arkansas heat finally reaching skin blistering temperatures, you’ll want one sooner than later. Well dear friends, look no further than Le Pops.No matter how you get your hands on them, get you some Le Pops this summer.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today amended its rule on Internet access to court records to require clerks to redact information such as Social Security numbers in cases filed before Jan. 1, 2009 when new rules kept such information out of filing.
Evin Demirel has a thoughtful piece up on Sporting Life Arkansas about the current tub-thumping to create a Rice Bowl football game at War Memorial Stadium to match some lesser teams from minor conferences, including the one that includes one Arkansas football-playing school and another Arkansas non-football school among its members.
The Arkansas legislature — particularly the dictatorial John Burris and David Sanders — should be required to read an important 1st Amendment decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Little Rock police department said homicide detectives will investigate the cause of death of an unidentified black woman found in a house that burned shortly before midnight last night at 1909 E. 8th Street.
He'll hand build pots for ArtWalk.
Fox16 reports that former legislator Hudson Hallum was sentenced today in federal court to one year home detention and three years probation.
The state today completed its case on the manslaughter charge against former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings for fatally shooting a car burglary suspect on an apartment complex parking lot.
The Little Rock Police Department's Sgt. Cassandra Davis said Candace Middleton, a 911 call dispatcher has resigned, thus bringing an end to investigation of her actions related to the death of a Little Rock woman who died after skidding into an icy pond in January.
Closing out another day. Final notes: * MARKET WOES: The Dow dropped 352 points today.
The Arkansas Bully Boys — Rep. John Burris and Sens. David Sanders — met with Gov. Mike Beebe today on matters related to implementation of Obamacare in Arkansas.
The manslaughter trial of Josh Hastings continued today after an afternoon break with the defense calling engineer and vehicle accident reconstructionist John Bentley to the stand.
Bill Maher will be at Robinson Center Music Hall Sept. 14.
Two of the University of Arkansas's creative writing masters of fine arts program's most successful recent alumni in the literary world are poised to make a big splash the TV world.
News this morning lifted my heart. I've along admired the awesome ugliness of the naked mole rat, an East African animal that is part of the Little Rock Zoo collection.
I shared yesterday an approving e-mail sent around by Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce boss Jay Chesshir cheering the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's attack on Social Security and Medicare, vital programs that it likes to refer to sneeringly as "entitlements," as opposed to payroll tax-supported insurance programs.
Feedback, Feedback, Feedback!
Black Flag plays at The Phoenix in Fayetteville Saturday night.
The monthly state report shows the Arkansas unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent in May, up from an adjusted 7.2 percent the month before.
Thanks to Channel 4 for a link to a study, Measure of America, that ranks the states on factors such as income, health and education.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports on activities of Thom Robb, the KKK leader and putative Christian minister, who surfaces periodically like pond scum from his redoubt near Harrison in the Arkansas Ozarks.
Little Big Town performs at Magic Springs Saturday.
The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees has joined the growing list of Arkansas colleges that have declined to allow staff to carry weapons on campus under Republican Rep. Charlie Collins' legislation in this year's session.
The Arkansas Blog reported yesterday on the resignation of the suspended 911 dispatch operator for the Little Rock police department who notified MEMS, the ambulance service, but apparently failed to notify police and fire agencies after a Little Rock nurses's SUV slid off an icy road and into a cold pond in western Little Rock in January.
It's almost football season isn't it? Hope springs eternal, doesn't it?
The Arkansas Community Institute is going to honor Central Arkansas Library System director Bobby Roberts next week with its Truth Teller Award.
For the coming West Little Rock branch of the breast-a-raunt.
The Department of Human Services withdrew its request for an appropriation of $4 million for 100 outreach workers, known as "guides," to identify people newly eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and help them sign up.
Engineer and accident reconstructionst John Bentley came back to the stand for questioning by Prosecutor John Johnson, who walked Bentley through a series of photos taken of the rock slope at Silver Lake Apartments.
Republicans remain hellbent to dismantle Obamacare. Can they do it before the obvious benefits pile so high that, like Medicare, people forget what the fight was all about?
It's called "A Rose by Any Name."
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo assesses the developing bipartisan Senate proposal for immigration reform: Senate Democrats have made the calculation that in exchange for Republican support on a ‘pathway to citizenship’ they’re basically willing to agree to almost any level of wasteful and in many cases needless spending on border security - moat, laser fence, 20 million border guards.
Facts don't matter. Despite not a shred of evidence to the contrary, Secure Arkansas's Jeannie Burlsworth, the state's leading anti-government conspiracy crank; assorted Quorum Courts; Dr. No Boozman and a growing contingent of Republican politico have decided that the White River blueway program is a land grab rather than a garden variety conservation program with money available for voluntary participants in various sorts of projects.
Kevin Murphy, curator of American art at Crystal Bridges Museum, is headed to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., in September.
After lunch, the defense put on Dale Donham, an accident reconstructionist who worked for Arkansas State Police for 17 years and now works for the Saline County Sheriffs office.
The Friday night line is open. * T-SHIRT TROUBLE IN HOT SPRINGS: A new T-shirt shop in Hot Springs has upset the city's wacky mayor Ruth Carney and a few of the local Taliban apparently.
Republicans and Planned parenthood, what Darrel Dennis means for the Department of Community Corrections, the latest on Mayflower, Ross and Burkhalter, merger talks between St. Vincent and UAMS and more.
The defense has rested in the manslaughter trial of former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings, David Koon reports. Judge Wendell Griffen has sent the jury home. The court will reconvene at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning for closing arguments.
PHMSA turns down request for pipeline integrity studies from 2010 and 2013.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the outline this morning of how the Republican-majority legislature's vendetta against Planned Parenthood will play out in the case of a tiny contract for workers to help people sign up for expanded health coverage provided by Obamacare.
Worth noting as UAMS and St. Vincent Health continue to discuss ways to merge their hospital operations is this story from the LA Times: When Hoag Hospital announced this spring that it would no longer provide elective abortions, officials at the esteemed Orange County medical center said the decision was made because of low demand.
I'm going back to the courthouse this morning to listen to the closings on the Josh Hastings trial — the LRPD officer who was charged with manslaughter after killing a 15 year old Bobby Moore as Moore tried to flee after breaking into cars at an apartment complex in West Little Rock.
Alabama Shakes will perform at the Arkansas Music Pavilion on Sept. 6.
Shucks, Ellie Mae, the Chinese crested hairless dog from Gurdon didn't win the World's Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, Calif. A beagle-basset-boxer mix took the crown.
Here's tonight's open line. In news today, President Obama sent word via Twitter that he'll make a major speech Tuesday on a national strategy for addressing climate issues.
The jury is out for deliberations in the manslaughter case of former LRPD officer Josh Hastings.
John Lyon at Stephens Media assesses preparation by the secretary of state's office to get the word out about the Republican Voter ID law, a cookie cutter version of a national Republican initiative aimed at depressing voting among traditional Democratic constituencies.
A Pulaski County jury will resume deliberations at 11:30 a.m. today in Judge Wendell Griffen's court to consider the manslaughter case against Josh Hastings, a former Little Rock patrol officer who prosecutors contend acted recklessly in the fatal shooting of Bobby Moore, 15, on a West Little Rock apartment complex parking lot in the early morning hours last August.
Bow Wow Wow plays Monday at Juanita's.
Just after noon, Judge Wendell Griffen released the jury for more deliberations after giving them an additional instruction regarding a hung jury.
The Hastings trial distracted me. We need an open line and why not mention; * ARKIE WINS; Ken Duke, 44, won his first PGA event today, the Travelers Championship.
The Arkansas Times and the Pulitzer Prize-winning InsideClimate News are teaming to report on the Mayflower oil spill.
These ideas wouldn't go far in Arkansas politics, of course, but worth noting anyway are a couple of NY Times op-eds on ways to, if not deter misuse of guns, help compensate innocent victims: * MAKE GUNMAKERS LIABLE: Retired Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau says it's time to overturn laws that shielded gunmakers from lawsuits.
The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that affirmed a University of Texas admission policy that takes race into account, according to scotusblog.com.
A juror says the Josh Hastings split 10-2 in favor of conviction, but two female holdouts simply wouldn't convict a police officer for killing someone who might have been a criminal suspect.
Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner must appear personally in court to enter a not guilty plea to her indictment on multiple charges of taking money from a securities dealer in return for bond business with her office.
Arkansas still needs federal approval to proceed with the "private option" for Medicaid expansion, approved by the legislature last April.
Ecowatch reports that environmental protesters locked themselves to equipment at a pump station that is part of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma to force a halt in construction.
AP reports on a weekend fight reportedly involving former pro basketball star Scottie Pippen outside a Malibu sushi restaurant.
Central Arkansas Water will do selective timber cutting around Lake Maumelle this summer, work that CAW Watershed Manager John Tynan said is meant to improve forest health and cut down on fire risk.
Fox 16 has a report on a branch bank robbery this afternoon of a U.S. Bank at 10720 Rodney Parham Road.
KUAR, the public radio station at UALR, is making midday program changes July 1 because of the end of Talk of the Nation June 27.
Weird tale from Austin, Ark., courtesy ofLt. James Kulesa of the Lonoke sheriff's office.
The Monday night line is open. Final items: * CONSPIRACY WATCH: The latest wackjob alarum, over the White River Blueway, will come before Arkansas legislative committees at 1:30 p.m.
When Mellow Mushroom arrived in Atlanta in the early 1970s, it was designed to capitalize on the carefree attitude and values of the hippie nation. Now, after 39 years and thousands of pizzas served, Mellow Mushroom finds itself settling down in Little Rock, Arkansas…in West Little Rock, no less. Whether you go soon, and decide to battle the crowds, or wait until things die down a little, I think you’ll find something to like at Mellow Mushroom.
A couple of stories worth noting: * THE VIDEO LOTTERY IS BACK: In the face of stagnant revenue, the Arkansas Lottery Commission is revisting the idea of whether it should allow video lottery games such as keno, which offer repeat, fast, all-day gambling action.
Ernie Dumas provides next week's column early this week and it's a good accompaniment to news that Sen. Harry Reid says the Senate won't bail out the runaway radical U.S. House with a stopgap farm spending bill.
The Waltons' billion-dollar megaphone is already trumpeting an updated report from a Stanford research arm on performance of charter schools in 25 states.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to release additional opinions at 9 a.m. Central today.
You might remember that Sen. Johnny Key pulled a fast one in the special language subcommittee and exploded the cap on "virtual charter school" enrollment in Arkansas from 500 to a whopping 5,000 without full legislative deliberation.
Notice from the University of Arkansas System: Members of the Distance Education Policy and Strategy Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas will travel to Dallas, Texas, to visit the offices of Academic Partnerships, an online education service provider that the UA System has partnered with to help grow and expand online education, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26.
Bill James, defense attorney for Josh Hastings, the Little Rock cop whose trial on a manslaughter charge for killing a 15-year-old ended in mistrial, is protesting Judge Wendell Griffen's 10 contempt of court citations — and $25,000 in fines.
Environmentalists I've seen commenting are wide-eyed at President Obama's tough speech on climate change and the need to further regulated greenhouse gases.
The 25-state bus tour by the Michael Bloomberg-backed Mayors Against Illegal Guns will come to Little Rock Thursday.
Gov. Mike Beebe will preside over a big Arkansas banking combine, to be announced shortly after 3 p.m.
The line is open. Final thought: * THE GREAT VOTE PURGE BEGINS: Among the many unhappy reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court's evisceration of the Voter Rights Act is that of Greg Palast, who uncovered Tiny Tim Griffin's role in Republican voter roll purging in Florida (one of the states that has supposedly "eradicated" bad practices.)
It's called "IRL" and stars Sky Ferreira.
Hopes to open its own studio in the historic Arkansas building.
While I slept, a significant number of people nationally — and in Arkansas, judging by Twitter and last night's open line — were gripped by Texas Sen. Wendy Davis' nearly successful attempt to mount a 13-hour filibuster against an unconstitutional anti-abortion bill similar to, but more punitive, than the one recently enjoined in Arkansas.
Jonathan Martin in the New York Times writes that the inexorable tide of demographics ultimately spells defeat for the Solid South's use of Republican vote suppression tactics to preserve the old order of things.
We'll be standing by again today for announcements beginning at 9 a.m. Central on the final decisions of this term of the U.S. Supreme Court.