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June 29, 2011

Vol 37 • No 44

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The day the vote-buying stopped

In 1976, the fixers finally got tired of swapping cash and whiskey for votes in Searcy County.

Memoir of an election crusader

This week, the Times is pleased to run an excerpt from retired Supreme Court Justice Tom Glaze's new book from the University of Arkansas Press, "Waiting for the Cemetery Vote."

Tuesday topic NEWS UPDATE

Gee, an entire rainy day. I can turn on the oven tonight.

New editor for the Arkansas Times

A small piece of news in this week's Arkansas Times. Effective July 1, I'm no longer the editor.

An anthem for the gun nuts

Rising country star and Arkansas native Justin Moore's new album features a ditty that's sure to be a hit among the concealed carry crowd.

R. Stevie Moore plays the White Water Tavern

Plus, Dead Rider, Ryan Couron, Jason D. Williams, Spa City Metal Festr and more

Texan wooed by Arkansas kook caucus

Texas Gov. Rick Perry represents everything that 20 of the most extreme right-wing Republicans in the Arkansas State House of Representatives want in their next president.

The Times has a new editor

Millar replaces Brantley.

Rodney Atkins plays Timberwood

Plus, "Everybody Loves Opal" at Murry's Dinner Playhouse, Adam Faucett at Maxine's and Gold Diggin' Mothers play Stickyz

Arkansas-born actress misidentified

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently ran a publicity photograph from the 1973 movie "White Lightning," which misidentified Jennifer Billingsley, who, as her on-line biography notes, "graduated with honors from Fort Smith Senior High School in Arkansas," class of 1958.

Big trucks roll over Beebe, legislature

It is nearly impossible to believe that a powerful lobbying group could be false-hearted and harder still to believe that the Arkansas legislature and Governor Beebe could be rolled by a big special interest, but we were left last week to contemplate those possibilities.

Crispin Hellion Glover comes to town

Avant-garde film to screen in Little Rock, Hot Springs.

New life for cemetary

Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Park Service awarded to UALR history professor Johanna Miller Lewis, the Rohwer cemetery is getting restored.

When teachers go bad

Cameron Diaz winningly plays a selfish jerk in 'Bad Teacher.'

The Observer savors the rain

By the time the clouds finally opened up last Tuesday and doused downtown Little Rock with rain, it had been so long that The Observer barely remembered what it looked like.

Little Missouri swimming area closed, local business suffers

U.S. Forest Service provides no explanation.

The changing Times

I'm stepping down as editor, a job I've held since the Times became a weekly the first week of May 1992. Lindsey Millar, who's overseen feature coverage (and much more), will be taking over.

Hot Springs Salaries: Detail view

Hot Springs Payroll: Department View

Hot Springs Government Payroll

Find the salaries of almost 600 Hot Springs government employees.

The parent problem

I grew up down the street from a terrible human being. That's the only way I know to put it. Let's call him Mike.

Hot Springs Payroll: Department Overview

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

Red Door breakfast not to be missed

Red Door, which opened about 18 months ago, has seen strong business that should only improve with the addition of one of the very best breakfasts in town.

Hot Springs Payroll: Search Results

Hot Springs Payroll: Search

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

Hot Springs Payroll: All Overview

See an overview of the maximum and median salaries and wages and number of employees for Hot Springs government.

Protest in graffiti

Dillard's reinvents itself

Word has it that the department store chain is attempting to reposition itself as more of a luxe player in the market, à la Nordstroms.

Frozen yogurt guide

One needs only to remember that the Metropolitan Bank Tower in downtown Little Rock was once called TCBY Tower to know that Central Arkansas is a place that cares about its "froyo."

A litany of freedoms

We have freedoms out the Bob Burns bazoo. So many that we couldn't possibly count them all. But let's at least try to tote up some of the major ones, the really important ones.

The doyenne of Downtown Dogz bids adieu

Sadly, the sweet Westie we recently photographed for this feature, Meg, passed away shortly after our visit.

Peace in

A friend recently turned us on to these very cool bracelets from Peace Cord, made from authentic materials used by soldiers in the field.

E-novel nets author lots of free time

"Accountable to None," a digital novle published by a writer with the pseudonym Ashley Fontainne, stirred up a bit of interest when it hit Kindle with a breezy tale of intrigue and evil in an accounting firm in a Southern city.

Judge Miller serves on board of Southern Bancorp nonprofit

Federal Judge Brian Miller, who ordered an end to millions in state desegregation aid to Pulaski County schools and then, last Friday, removed himself from the Pulaski County school desegregation case, also serves on the board the Southern Bancorp Capital Partners, a nonprofit arm of the Southern Bancorp that has pumped money into Phillips County schools, including the KIPP Academy charter school.

Another Hutchinson, wrong again

Clarifying position

"The Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department, that model of efficiency and quality, recently imposed one of the dumbest rules ever, of course with the aid of our state legislature, another august body that, when it finds nothing better to do, just does something, even if it doesn't make sense and hurts private business."

Juanita's to open

the venerable Tex-Mex restaurant and venue that was a fixture on South Main Street for years, plans to open in its new River Market location by July 1.

Libya made simple

Good week: Pulaski County School Districts

It was a good week for Pulaski County School Districts, the Pulaski County Special School District, and some much-needed rain. It was a bad week for filling the vacant federal judgeship in Little Rock, the Fayetteville Shale and Mark Martin.

A new conservative think tank

Banana Leaf will win you over

The Indian mobile kitchen inspires devotion.

Mike Beebe's very bad night

There was some discussion last night of Gov. Mike Beebe's lamentable remarks before Stonewall Democrats.

Shane Broadway to lead Higher Education

It was inevitable, today's news in the Democrat-Gazette that Mike Beebe would tap his old Senate buddy Shane Broadway to continue as the permanent director of the state Higher Education Department.

Republican fishing expedition strikes out UPDATE

Another chapter in the story of Arkansas Republican Party retaliation against those who would make Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin look bad by shining the light on his misjudgments.

Thursday To-Do: Dead Rider

Dead Rider features Todd Rittmann, guitarist for skronk-meisters U.S. Maple.

Thursday To-Do: Jason D. Williams

Though he was born in El Dorado, Jason D. Williams is a genuine Memphis Madman, a hyperactive, convulsive piano pounder who draws deeply from the musical traditions of his adopted city.

Texas for Obama

Early polling means not a lot. But this is still amusing.

Behind the scenes at Arkansas Rice Depot

The organization feeds seniors, kids, families... and even folks who have survived a disaster. See what it's all about.

Insurance mandate upheld by appeals court

A U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati has upheld the health care reform law's requirement that Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Thursday: DJ Greyhound, Adam Faucett, "Everybody Loves Opal"

Kick back and relax to the sounds of DJ Greyhound in the comfy confines of Deep Ultra Lounge, 10 p.m.

Summer art classes at Thea

Foundation launches first summer art classes.

SOMA: Muralist wanted

There's a blank wall crying out to be painted on downtown.

Republicans blast Beebe's push for Broadway

The Arkansas Republican Party unloads on Gov. Mike Beebe for pushing to have his "crony" Shane Broadway elevated to director of the state Higher Education Department when he lacks qualifications specified by state law for the job.

Ex-school board member gets 65 months for child porn

Malcolm Trent Cox, 48, a former North Little Rock School Board member, has been sentenced to 65 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release for possession of child pornography.

Huey Lewis to Fayetteville for free show

Already got plans for Friday, Sept. 9? Well, better reschedule, because it looks like you're gonna be headin' up the hill for Huey, Lewis that is. And The News, they'll be there too.

V.I.T.A.L. that you go

The Butler Center's Concordia Hall has a great show right now by the members of Visual Images that Affect Lives.

The line is open

Hump day comments welcome. Final notes: * OBIT PROTEST: A demonstration is planned Thursday in Batesville by a gay rights group to object to the local newspaper's policy of not including the name of unmarried partners — gay or straight — in free obituaries.

Obama goes on the attack

President Obamatodya took a page out of Harry Truman's book, blaming Republicans for a major role in creating today's budget problems and the predominant role in blocking solutions.

How Waltons target school spending

Diane Ravitch's essential education Twitter feed leads me to a Washington Post article that details highlights of the $157 million the Walton Family Foundation spent on education in 2010.

Is there an election next year?

I can't shake the feeling that Republicans are again ahead of the curve on planning for 2012 elections in Arkansas.

Yarnell's ice cream closes after 78 years

This is terrible news. Yarnell's Ice Cream is closing after more than 78 years.

No July 4 holiday for the U.S. Senate

Senate leader Harry Reid has cancelled the July 4 recess so the Senate can deal with the debt ceiling.

Yarnell's closes

Much heartbreak this morning with the news that Yarnell's Ice Cream will be no more.

Burger joint of the week: JP's Restaurant and Gathering Place

This one, I should likely call “In defense of a rare burger.” Because I know some folks are going to disagree with me. JP’s Restaurant and Gathering Place is the restaurant inside the 1929 Hotel Seville in Harrison.

Swindoll DWI case resolved with sobriety court

A fair amount of attention has been given to handling of a negligent homicide charge against Benjamin Swindoll, 21, in a 2009 traffic death and subsequent alcohol-related offenses.

Rock 'n' roll Highway 67 videos and panel discussion

The Clinton Center presents videos featuring Arkansas' Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67 and a panel discussion.

New at CBMAA: Nick Cave

Let's hope the "Soundsuit" gets a Killsonic introduction at the opening festivities in November.

Republicans look to government UPDATE

It's been interesting to listen to Republicans yowl on Twitter and elsewehre about the closure of the Yarnell's ice cream business.

Friday To-Do: Ryan Couron

RYAN COURON9 p.m., Juanita's, $10. As far as local country acts go, you'd be hard pressed to find a performer more poised to break through to bigger stages than Ryan Couron.

NJ votes to ban fracking

New Jersey lawmakers passed a ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Who is Kate Hannebaum?

The Butler Center has two mysteries on its hands.

Beebe fills Board of Education slot

Gov. Mike Beebe announced a slew of appointments today, including the naming of Mireya Reith of Fayetteville to the state Board of Education.

Juanita's files paperwork to be a 5 a.m. club

Juanita's, which opened for business today in the River Market, has filed paperwork with Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control to hold a Class B private club license that would allow it to stay open until 5 a.m. every day.

The Thursday line

The worst of Michele Bachmann. Republicans hold a witch hunt. Mark Halperin is a dick. Juanita's goes clubbing. Homophobia on parade.

Lottery falls short of scholarship goal

Lottery director Ernie Passailaigue told commissioners that the $98 million the lottery will transfer to the academic scholarship fund will be short of his original goal.

Beebe's boy wins a round

A huge political backer of Gov. Mike Beebe, Highway Commissioner John Burkhalter, won a round at the Capitol Zoning District Commission this evening when the commission voted unanimously to put out for public hearing a proposal to change rules governing land use around the Capitol to lift a three-story height limit so Burkhalter can build a six-story building at Capitol and Woodlane.

ABC plugs Arkansas Delta

The ABC evening nNews last night had a whale of a promotional piece on Arkansas DeltaMade, the organization that markets products made by Arkansas craftsmen.

Rape case collapses

No local angle here except that it is another episode in the annals of the complications of alleged sex crimes.

A constitutional debt solution

I had missed this discussion until today. Does the 14th amendment give the Obama administration an out on continuing to meet U.S. obligations if Congress doesn't vote to lift the debt ceiling?

Pieday: Strawberry Rhubarb at Village Wheel

The Bull Shoals restaurant serves up a couple of different homemade pies each day. If you like tart pies, this is the one for you.

Democrats target the billionaires

Finally, maybe, some gumption from Democrats. A budget bill that raises NO revenue should be an absolute non-starter.

Hothead Wisconsin justice caught on tape

Is there really any doubt now that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, the darling of the teabaggers, has an anger problem.

Two Rivers Bridge dedication

Pulaski County will dedicate the Two Rivers Bridge Friday, July 11 at 11:30 a.m.

Saturday To-Do: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND7 p.m., Ozark Folk Center State Park, $35. The question of who was the first country rock band is a subject of intense debate among guys who don't have girlfriends and spend too much time at the record store.

Saturday To-Do: Spa City Metal Fest

Now this right here is what you call a good ol' fashioned grip of Arkansas metal bands, headlined by one of the state's best acts of any era or genre.

Truckers back off money grab

Sorry. I've been out all morning listening to a variety of discussion in the Little Rock school desegregation case.

Saturday To-Do: Matt Bauer and Dana Falconberry

Matt Bauer and Dana Falconberry play Artchurch Studio Saturday night.

Judge hears desegregation arguments

Federal Judge Price Marshall heard a wide range of arguments on the Pulaski school desegregation case today as he takes over from Judge Brian Miller, who recused recently on account of apparent unhappiness with the state of Arkansas's takeover of his hometown Helena-West Helena School District.

Saturday To-Do: R. Stevie Moore

R. Stevie Moore plays White Water Tavern Saturday night.

The shock of the new (with new note about Gorky)

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art unveiled a new website and new works today.

Equal access to education

Pro Publica, the public interest journalism nonprofit, has rolled out a huge analysis of national data on how well the states do in providing equal access to advanced education.

Art tonight: Hot Springs Gallery Walk

Justus, Hazard-Bishop, Griffith, Kelly.

Tonight: 'The Return of The Drunken Angels'

Thick Syrup Records presents 'The Return of The Drunken Angels'

Podcast: The End of Angel Food Vanilla Edition

This week, Max and I talk about the abrupt closure of Yarnell's, the latest on the status of the Pulaski County Special School District, Gov. Beebe's visit to a Stonewall Democrats meeting and more.

State Hospital loses Medicare eligibility

As expected, the state has received official notice of loss of Medicare eligibility for the State Hospital.

A little hope for Yarnell's

Rumors swirl over whether Yarnell's or its facilities will be purchased by another ice cream maker.

AT&T cutting jobs in Little Rock

Got a tip today of a reduction in jobs at AT&T's business office on Capitol Avenue.

Friday night line

Republicans oppose a woman's right to choose. Yarnell's had a hankering for public money.

Former Ark. magistrate in Texas news

There's an Arkansas angle in a story out of Texas. Reported a Texas law blog: Dallas’ 5th Court of Appeals has vacated and remanded a $22 million arbitration award after finding the arbitrator failed to disclose that a lawyer representing a party in the dispute had given him a ticket to an NBA basketball game, a wine basket and paid for expensive meals, among other things.

The greedy truckers

Brummett continues to apologize for the truck lobby and insist they were willing all along to pay for a diesel tax increase and only wanted a sales tax exemption as an offset (or, perhaps, a net gain.)

Who was rescued by taxpayers' Yarnell bailouts? think it's a question of legitimate public interest to know what bank the Arkansas Development Finance Authority let off the hook when it took over $2.5 million in debt for Yarnell's Ice Cream in Searcy in 2000.

GOP si! Hispanics, no!

Interesting little story in the Northwest edition of the D-G today, but you can't see it unless you subscribe.

Fire away

The Saturday line is open.

Sizzling time at the Argenta Foodie Fest

Another great Argenta Foodie Fest is in the books. This year the entire operation was in one city block, with restaurants and artisans alongside farmers in the big lot at 6th and Main.

NETFLIX PIX: Bill Hicks vs. Gatoroid Edition

Just got a chance to hit Netflix Instant this weekend, and our cup of Arkansas-connected film runneth over.

Flag waving on the Fourth

Fire damages Camden library UPDATE

Reader jtsims reports a serious fire at the Camden/Ouachita County Public Library early this morning.

Sunny Sunday

Nothing here (except new potatoes to cook in parchment, crookneck squash, heirloom tomatoes and some putatively wild-caught salmon to grill).

More dust in special House election

Investigators are looking into allegations of absentee vote fraud in the Democratic runoff for the House District 54 seat in Crittenden County, to be decided July 12.

Pump discounts aimed at retail sales

Well, sure. Walmart is offering 10-cent-a-gallon gas savings (if you pay with a Walmart card) to get people into their parking lots in hopes they'll ring cash registers inside the stores.

Fox News hacked

Fox News' Twitter account was hacked overnight and it was NOT funny — false posts about a presidential assassination.

Tuesday To-Do: Louis Logic, and it's 607's birthday

New York-based underground M.C. Louis Logic brings his old-school-sampling, lovin'- and drinkin'-themed jams to Stickyz.

Monday To-Do: Pops on the River

POPS ON THE RIVER5:30 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre, Free. Even the most Godless, America-hating, terrorist-coddling, climate-change-insisting, gun-grabbing, Kenyan-born-president-supporting, lamestream-media-believing, big-government-loving, tofu-dog-eating, tinfoil-hat-mocking, wealth-redistributing, latte-sipping, hybrid-driving, capital-"L" Liberals love a bitchin' fireworks display.

See photos of Dana Falconberry and Matt Bauer

Photographer Zoie Clift provided Rock Candy with some great shots of Matt Bauer and Dana Falconberry performing Saturday night at Artchurch Studio in Hot Springs.

Review: Crispin Hellion Glover at Market Street

Crispin Hellion Glover offered an evening of out-there entertainment to Market Street Cinema Saturday night.

Review: R. Stevie Moore

R. Stevie Moore’s outsider rock attracted a good number of folks to the White Water.

The 1st District past and future UPDATE

A couple of items today related to Arkansas's 1st Congressional District: * MARION BERRY: The former congressman's wife reports on their CaringBridge page (registration required) that he went home Saturday to Gillett after an extended stay at UAMS following surgery for a brain tumor June 13.

Placing blame for the budget

It won't bestir the 'baggers and similar true believers, but Talking Points Memo offers some useful reminders about the emptiness of the Republican talking points on budget problems.

The July 4 line

Let your fireworks begin. But enjoy: * SPENDING LIKE HUCKABEE: The Republican lt. gov. in South Carolilna, caught buying clothese and electronics and other goodies with his campaign money.

After the fireworks, some find cars towed

Received a letter this morning that says owners of at least one downtown parking lot were busily towing cars that used the lot for parking during the July 4 Pops on the River concert and fireworks show Monday night.

Can judge banish lawyer? UPDATE

Interesting column today from John Brummett, who reports on an ongoing appeal by a deputy public defender in Fayetteville, Julie Tolleson, to challenge her banishment from Circuit Judge William Storey's court.

Update: Huckabee's beach house

Still lovin' Lilly's

After all this time, Lilly's still serves up amazing Asian fusion fare with care. Always delicious.

Arkansas tax take shows signs of recovery

The state revenue report for the fiscal year ending June 30 is in and it shows net income for the year up by almost $250 million, or 5.8 percent more than the previous year, and 2.1 percent above forecast.

Clinton Foundation buys DLC papers

Politico reports that the Clinton Foundation has purchased the papers of the now-defunction Democratic Leadership Council, the moderate Democratic group that was an important factor in Bill Clinton's rise to the presidency.

FERC approves new Entergy power pool deal

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ruled that Entergy can use Southwest Power Pool power lines to transmit electricity to Midwest ISO, another power transmission organization with which Entergy has struck a new transmission agreement.

Little Rock Zoo elephant Ellen dies at 60

The Little Rock Zoo closed unexpectedly today because of the death of the elephant, Ellen, at 60.

Columnists shuffle at D-G

Two significant changes were announced at the Democrat-Gazette over the holiday weekend. First, Jay Grelen’s thrice-weekly column “Sweet Tea” will be no more. Also, Linda Caillouet’s “Paper Trails” column will make only one weekly appearance instead of three.

Vocabulary misfunction

A couple of folks have objected to my use of the word cartoon-like to describe the lines that Sondra Strong ("VITAL that you go") uses in her paintings.

Beebe says legislature weakened by term limits

I'm getting some Twitter-style feeds from Gov. Mike Beebe's talk today to the Downtown Little Rock Rotary Club.

Mark Martin: Fun with arithmetic UPDATE

Secretary of State Mark Martin — he of the illegal Board of Apportionment spending, the $54,000-plus staff retreat and the fancy new SUV — has issued a news release saying his office finished $3.2 million under budget this year, money that could be spread around to many state needs.

Casey Anthony innocent on murder charge

I have not followed this, but judging by lunchtime chatter, everybody else in the world has: Florida mom Casey Anthony has been acquitted of charge she murdered her two-year-old daughter Caylee.

Pawlenty adds a Huckabee

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of Florida tax exile Mike Huckabee, has been hired as a "senior political adviser" to Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign.

Pretty Lights to Verizon

Pretty Lights, the DJ name of Fort Collins, Colorado's Derek Vincent Smith, is coming to Verizon Arena on October 29.

Tuesday talk

The line is open. Close-out: * FIREWORKS: The Little Rock police took 818 calls about fireworks being set off illegally in the city on July 4.

Jermain Taylor spars verbally with mom

Thanks to Bill Lawson of Stephens Media's Maumelle Monitor for the report of a public dispute between fighter Jermain Taylor and his mother By Bill LawsonArkansas News BureauMAUMELLE — Former middleweight boxing champion Jermain Taylor was involved in a verbal altercation with his mother that did not come to blows on a busy street Tuesday, police said.

Anti-choice group targets Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma apparently plans a news conference Wednesday to announce a new alliance with a Des Moines-based Planned Parenthood organization.

Weekend To-Do: "Sit-Ins, Freedom Rides and Beyond"

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center hosts the symposium "Sit-Ins, Freedom Rides and Beyond" Saturday.