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Up from the ashes!

Up from the ashes!

July 20, 2017

Vol 43 • No 46

Read the print version

A week at Midtown

Can a dive bar be reborn?

Plan for the homeless echoes Gillam Park history

It's a dumping ground, again.

Pay attention

If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Turn to baseball

When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Ready for Freddy's

Smashing burgers, shoestring fries.

The Creek Rocks play Four Quarter

Also, Priscilla Rock's House of Horrors at Sway.

Another Jesus

If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.

The edge of night

Next month's solar eclipse won't be total in Arkansas, but it still will be a spectacle to behold.

Football for UA Little Rock

Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.

Bob Schneider at Rev Room

Also, PopUp Argenta, Frances & The Foundation, "97" fiber installation at Bernice Garden, Jim Gaffigan, "Be Yourself" Poster Launch and more


Inconsequential News Quiz: The Capulets and Montagues are ready to rumble edition

Play at home, or I shall bite my thumb at thee!


Regardless of the spectrum of your religious beliefs or lack of, does alluding to any religious icon or symbol of any religion [when writing of] the joys of double-finger penetration inspire any of your readers to any form of greatness?

Dumb and smart, at the same time

The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.

Live and let die

'Apes' reboot is satisfying, if not daring.

Five big questions for Arkansas football

Among them: Can Austin Allen get a better handle on the job and rein in his emotions?

Riverfest calls it quits

Also, deseg saga continues, Cotton targets legal immigration and more.

Former city director seeking work at city hall

Eric Besson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported a piece of Little Rock City Hall business this morning about what appears to be a case of Mayor Mark Stodola creating some part-time work for former City Director Brad Cazort.

Scientist blows whistle on Trump war on science

To borrow an apt cliche, a Washington Post op-ed by an Interior Department scientist with a whistleblower complaint is just a tip of the iceberg of Trump administration destruction of important parts of government.

Frank Broyles at home following stroke

Former Razorback football coach and athletic director Frank Broyles, 92, is reported recovering at his Fayetteville home following a stroke.

Faulkner County investigating sexual harassment complaint

At the urging of the Faulkner County Quorum Court, Prosecuting Attorney Cody HIland will undertake what he calls a civil investigation of complaints of sexual harassment against Shelia Bellott, who oversees four employees as director of the county's emergency management office.

Homicide victim a Little Rock newcomer

Little Rock police have identified the latest city homicide victim as Samuel "Chris" Gilmore, 19. His body was found late Monday night in the 4800 block of W. 14th. Police said he had just moved to Little Rock from Texas.

Something else for Little Rock to live down

Think Progress expects John Bush, a Little Rock native who practices law in Lousiville, to be confirmed as a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in a party line 51-48 vote this afternoon. Sad!

EPA chief Pruitt in Arkansas pushing end to clean air and water rules

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was in Little Rock today and touted his effort to loosen clean air and water rules at a meeting at the Don and Randal Tyson Conference Center at the Arkansas Poultry Federation.

Little Rock native, a Senate candidate in Arizona, attacked for religion

A Little Rock native who's running for Senate in Arizona was the center attention recently for abuse she endured for her Muslim religion.

Mayor Stodola details his crime-fighting plan

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola is rolling out his plan to deal with crime at a City Hall news conference this afternoon.

Fayetteville, Fenix and art-making on Saturday

If you're in Fayetteville this weekend, you can drop in on several workshops being held by the Fenix Fayetteville artists' cooperative at the Walker-Stone House, 207 W. Center St. downtown.

Journalism review features Tom Cotton's press dodging. They couldn't get comment either.

Columbia Journalism Review, in a new piece by Trudy Lieberman, gives a searching look at Sen. Tom Cotton's general avoidance of questions by local media about a leading issue of the day, health legislation.

Thursday open line and today's news

Today's open line. And the daily news roundup, beginning with an episode of the Apprentice President.

Police identify suspect, officer in carjacker shooting

The Little Rock Police Department has identified the carjacking suspect shot by a police officer Wednesday after a chase from Home Depot to the drive-through line of a nearby Chick-fil-A in West Little Rock.

UPDATE: French Hill gets a prominent mention in Russian intrigue

The lede of a Politico article on Russian intrigue is perhaps not an ideal place for Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock to find himself:

Nutt suit brings Freeze ouster at Ole Miss

Football. High-dollar coaches. Cell phones. Women. Trouble.

Paul Bookout released from prison, back home in Jonesboro

Former state Sen. Paul Bookout of Jonesboro, who received an 18-month federal prison sentence for using campaign contributions for personal expenses, is back home in Jonesboro for the remainder of the sentence, the Jonesboro Sun indicates.

Suddenly, Obamacare doesn't look so bad

The New York Times ventured into Trumpland in Pennsylvania to sample opinions on the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. People are singing a different tune.

Trump at work on obstructing justice; French Hill dodging questions

Donald Trump is talking about pardons as the Russian investigation heats up. Closer to home, we get the cold shoulder from U.S. Rep. French Hill on his reported meeting with Russian dealmakers.

Lies, sex and cell phones: The Arkansas roots of Hugh Freeze's demise

I was going to leave the Hugh Freeze ouster at Ole Miss to the sportswriters but I thought it weird how the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette print account of his abrupt departure (from the AP) made no mention of Arkansas's own Houston Nutt, except as the coach Freeze succeeded.

Head to the Doubletree Bentonville for your stay-cay!

The Doubletree in Bentonville has package deals for visitors who want to spend the day taking in the sights and spend the night relaxing in a two-room suite with your choice of a king bed or double queen beds.

Arkansas unemployment rate holds steady at 3.4 percent

No change in the unemployment rate in Arkansas from May to June, still at the record low 3.4 percent.

Arkansas has a $2 million Powerball winner

Francis Mallahan of Navajo, N.M., was in Van Burean for a funeral when he bought a ticket for the July 15 Powerball drawing and it came up a winner worth $2 million.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders becomes White House press secretary

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is the new White House press secretary.

Jarod Varner resigning as head of Rock Region Metro

Jarod Varner, executive director of Rock Region Metro, the local bus/streetcar organization, is resigning effective Aug. 18 to take a regional vice president's job with a national transportation firm.

Another week done

The Friday line is open. From the White House to the Ole Miss outhouse in the news roundup today.

The Cotton, Boozman Nowhere to Be Found Edition

Arkansas politicians and the health care overhaul and Russia investigation, the ascension of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the firing of Pulaski County Superintendent Jerry Guess, the end of Riverfest, UA-LR and football and maybe more — all covered on the podcast.

Playground fire at Gibbs school

Another Little Rock School District playground fire, this one about 5:45 p.m. Friday at Gibbs Elementary.

Annals of the Granite Mountain 'dumping ground'

The Little Rock City Board is set to approve an expansion of mining closer to the Granite Mountain neighborhood, long treated as a dumping ground by the city.

Saturday open line

Post your thoughts here.

Dinner and dancing in Dogtown

A good night out in Argenta. Looking for the theater? Consider "Sweet Charity."

Football is king, Bentonville edition

Good analysis in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of an unannounced Bentonville School Board vote last week to put $2 million into a football stadium for West High School despite board assurances in last May's tax election that no money would go to a football stadium.

But what about the Clintons? Last refuge of Trump, New York Times

Trying to compare Donald Trump's reaction to the Russia investigation with Bill Clinton's dealings with Kenneth Starr should be a non-starter if the facts mattered. But these days — and to the New York Times — it ain't necessarily so.

Sunday and another open line

Got anything for the open line?

A night out: Beer and bullets

A late night shooting in the Fayetteville entertainment district brings a reminder of the legislature's recent expansion of gun law.

Jared Kushner: Nothing to see here. But it helps obscure health legislation.

Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's son-in-law, has prepared a statement detailing four meetings with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition and he asserts nothing improper occurred. I'd rather talk about health care.

Giuliani in the bullpen for Sessions?

When Donald Trump starts tweeting about "beleaguered" Attorney General Jeff Sessions it adds credence to reports that Trump is looking to replace him with Rudy Giuliani.

'Cemetery angel' Ruth Coker Burks featured in new short film

Ruth Coker Burks, the AIDS caregiver and activist memorably profiled by David Koon as the cemetery angel in Arkansas Times in 2015, is now the subject of a short film made by actress Rose McGowan.

Trump's ratings slide everywhere, but Arkansas remains in favorable territory

Donald Trump's rating is in negative territory in two-thirds of the U.S., but not Arkansas, though his numbers are well below the vote he received in 2016.

Judge clears effort to gather vote information

A federal judge has said the Trump commission aimed at providing evidence he really didn't lose the popular vote may proceed with asking states to supply vast amounts of information on voters because it is not technically a federal agency subject to privacy laws.

Magic Springs coaster stops

The X Coaster at the Magic Springs amusement park in Hot Springs stopped running this afternoon, KARK reports, and the station quotes the park operator ass saying guests are now "enjoying the park."

Two shot in home on W. 19th

KARK reports that a 19-year-old woman and 20-year-old man were found with gunshot wounds when police responded to a house in the 4200 block of W. 19th.

Whatever secret bill Senate considers, winners and losers are the same

The U.S. Senate seems likely to vote Tuesday on a secret health bill. Whatever version is rolled out — and if Sen. John McCain's doctor approves a fly-in so he may vote — the outcome is the same. Bad for working poor and previously sick; good for rich people.

Circuit court charge filed against Ten Commandments monument destroyer

The Pulaski County prosecuting attorney's office filed a direct charge in circuit court today against Michael Tate Reed, who's been held in the county jail since he was arrested June 28 after driving over and demolishing the day-old Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.

Two more gun deaths in Little Rock Monday night

The Little Rock homicide toll rose by two Monday night, accompanied by other shooting incidents. KARK/Fox 16 has a roundup.

Trump turns Boy Scout appearance into political youth rally

Donald Trump spoke, as many other presidents have, to the National Boy Scout Jamboree and it's an event, overlooked in the morning paper, that's worth examining.

The secret health bill and one man's personal view of it

Russian intrigue dominated news coverage today when something with more lasting importance could be decided in the Senate today — health coverage for millions of American. One man with a personal stake, Matt DeCample, writes about what it means to him.

Group says sales tax holiday bad policy

The Tax Foundation has issued its annual reminder that sales tax "holidays," such as Arkansas's coming "holiday" Aug. 5-6 for school clothing and supplies, are nothing more than unproductive gimmicks.

Republicans bring Jeanine Piro to town

The Arkansas Republican Party will have its annual Reagan Rockefeller dinner Saturday at the Marriott Hotel/Statehouse Convention Center and the key speaker is Jeanine Piro.

8th Circuit reverses punishment of John Goodson, other lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

Huge legal news from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the highly publicized case in which federal Judge P.K. Holmes disciplined lawyers for working out a class action settlement in a lawsuit against an insurance company that involved dropping long-running litigation in his court for a settlement in state court.

Boozman's a yes on ruination of Obamacare. Cotton dancing still.

A constituent who called Sen. John Boozman's office reports that she was told the senator is a "yes" Sen. Tom Cotton says today's vote is just on debate. He's STILL not ready to declare on specifics.

8th Circuit refuses immunity for Ferguson, Mo., police officer in case related to Michael Brown shooting

Ferguson, Mo., police officer denied qualified immunity in lawsuit over his stop of two suspects that ended in the death of Michael Brown Jr.

Football and brain damage: An Arkansas image included in study

The New York Times has posted brain scans of former NFL football players from a study that found 110 of 111, including a former Razorback, had C.T.E., a disease linked to blows to the head.

Attorney general announces program to discourage prescription drug abuse

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced an on-line program aimed at discouraging high school students from becoming addicted to prescription drugs.

Preparing for 60th anniversary of Central High crisis: Questions

Big plans are being made for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis in 1957. Preparations should include readiness to answer some uncomfortable questions about the state of schools and race relations today.

Tuesday: An open line and the news roundup

Here's the open line. In the video, we cover health care, Trump's wholesale breaking of Scout Law and some question for the Central High 60th.

Feds announce 25 gun, drug indictments in West Memphis

The U.S. attorney's office announced in West Memphis today the indictment of 43 people on federal drug and gun charges.

Pence breaks tie, Senate opens door to repeal of increasingly popular Affordable Care Act UPDATE

A win for Republican leader Mitch McConnell. With a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence, the Senate voted, with the conversion of holdouts such as Dean Heller, Rand Paul and Shirley Capito, to open debate on legislate to replace, or at least dramatically alter, Obamacare.

Marion police fatally wound teen at shelter

The State Police said a teen was shot and fatally wounded by Marion police about 7 p.m. Tuesday outside East Arkansas Youth Services, an emergency shelter at 104 Cypress Avenue.

Trump's Boy Scout backlash

Donald Trump's inappropriate speech to Boy Scouts this week has drawn a vigorous response, except from the organization itself.

Trump declares ban on transgender people in military

Donald Trump decrees ban of transgender people from military service. Words fail.

Shotgun blast at surveyor brings charge

No, you cannot fire a shotgun at a surveyor who happens to step on your property. Or so a Pulaski County sheriff report indicates.

Comedian Joe Mande's new special includes story of going to taping of "Huckabee" stoned

Joe Mande's new Netflix special has a long joke about seeing Mike Huckabee's Fox News show after eating a pot brownie

Insurance companies file rates for 2018, governor touts them as success story

Health insurance companies have filed proposed rates for 2018 and Gov. Asa Hutchinson touts them as indicators of the success of the Arkansas method of implementing the Affordable Care Act, with its Medicaid expansion and marketplace insurance offerings.

Halfway done. An open line.

Here's the midday, midweek open line. Also some news and comment.

Cracker Barrel gets a drive-through customer

A Honda CRV plowed into the Cracker Barrel on Shackleford Road  in west Little Rock around lunchtime, but the Little Rock police say no one was hurt.

Republicans fall short on Obamacare repeal vote, but Cotton and Boozman were on board

The U.S. Senate has failed at two more tries at doing something about Obamacare. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman both joined a Republican minority in votes to kill it in two years.

Summer. Fresh. Local.

Don’t miss out on your taste of Arkansas’ summer harvest at Edwards Food Giant.

Two charged in Newport police officer's slaying; new triggerman

KATV gets the jump on news that Prosecutor Henry Boyce has charged two people in the June 12 shooting death of Newport Police Lt. Patrick Weatherford, killed in a chase of a car break-in suspect. There's a new suspect for who fired the fatal shot.