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July 27, 2011

Vol 37 • No 48

Read the print version

Best of Arkansas 2011

Readers have spoken in our annual Best of Arkansas poll.

Editor's picks

From tats to tunes, the Times staff picks its bests.

Best of Arkansas readers' poll

The best, according to Arkansas Times' readers.

Craig O'Neill tells all

When the voice of God prank called Texas.

Mark Martin wins!

Voters lose.

A look back at Barbara Graves

In the nearly 40 years the Times has been in print, we've changed formats and frequency, used at least five different logos, run through a gang of editors and kicked a habit of using women with come-hither looks to illustrate all of our cover stories. Since we launched in 1974, nearly every thing about the publication has changed. One of the few exceptions? This year's winner for Best Lingerie.

Best cheap date

The Big Dam Bridge.

Toy story

Let Boris tell you about it.

White teeth and good hair

That's what you get when Best Of winners Ed and Ned and Barry come together.

All-time Best Of champs

Our readers' favorite people.

When I dip, you dip, we dip

The 16-year Best Of queso breakdown.

On toothcombs, fatal deaths and airs apparent

Also, interesting alternatives to "clockwise."

Arkansas's moon trees

With the last shuttle mission in the books, NASA has a little time on its hands to think about its history. On the agenda right now is a project to register all surviving "moon trees" in the United States, two of which are here in Arkansas.

Arkie Engskov a rising star at Starbucks

Kris Engskov, Beryville native and former aide to Bill Clinton, has been named head of UK and Ireland operations for Starbucks.

Bridge over troubled land

The opening of the Two Rivers Bridge over the Little Maumelle River, linking the River Trail to bike/hike trails in Two Rivers Park, is marred by a property dispute.

Calling all food truckers

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership is looking for participants in its Main Street Food Truck Festival coming Oct. 1.

Juanita's casa nuevo

Same ol' grub in a shiny new space.

The Observer in the Crescent City

Plus, the pros and cons of the Observer's charming Capitol View bungalow and bafflement over Apple store hysteria.

The other worst month

January, with its long nights and punishing northwest winds, is a bad month indeed, but obese people, which, let's face it, most of us are now, suffer more in July.

Is it Arkansas State or is it Academic Partnerships LLC?

The aggressive advertising of Academic Partnerships, a private firm that contracts with Arkansas State University to provide on-line education, has made Academic Partnerships "ASU's face, ASU's identity and ASU's brand," according to the president of the ASU Faculty Senate.

Good week: Swepco

It was a good week for Swepco, Artee Williams and Abdulhakim Muhammad. It was a bad week for Fourth District Democrats, Rep. Nate Bell and the unemployed of Arkansas.

Jessica Lea Mayfield, Green Jelly and Nashville Pussy

Plus, Sway's first anniversary, "Same Time, Next Year," Tyrannosaurus Chicken, The Black and White Years and Honky.


The world (or manhood itself) has changed a lot since the pre-manscaping days of yore.

Heat wave reading list

Take refuge in the AC with one of our editors' recent faves.

In typical Ross fashion

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross held a press conference Monday morning to announce that he would not seek re-election to his Fourth District congressional seat in 2012. In typical Ross fashion, he pleased no one.

Ross is running, but I repeat myself

If you don't believe it, talk to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, with whom Ross likely will tangle in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

How much is LR hurting?

Former city hall administrator and permanent civic gadfly Jim Lynch thinks the city is exaggerating its financial condition in hopes of winning a sales tax election vote in September.

Can't tolerate tolerance

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel showed commendable restraint in suggesting that state Rep. Jon Hubbard is "angry" and "misguided." Hubbard's all of that, and so much more.

Seeing stripes

An astute reader notices a flub in the Times editorial from July 20.

Swimming pool guide

In the midst of a nationwide heat wave, temperatures have held steady in the triple digits here in Central Arkansas, and folks have been flocking to pools, ponds and parks for a bit of aquatic relief.

A few bad apples

Democracy, not oligarchy

"If Republicans think for one second that those receiving Social Security and Medicare are sucking at the public trough, someone needs to educate them to the fact that money was taken from our paychecks every two weeks or monthly for those programs."

The Frontier Circus plays White Water

Plus, Lord T & Eloise, Mike Shipp, The See, Stoney LaRue and more.

Mad dogs and Tea Partyers

Protest at Griffin's office

The Greatest Generation's hero

It's Captain America — in 3D!

In Ross's wake

Fourth District Rep. Mike Ross told reporters Monday morning that he would not seek re-election for Congress in 2012. When asked who might succeed Ross, he said he knew of 10 or 12 likely candidates although he refused to name names. In that candidate vacuum, others stepped in to put forward their best guesses.

Seismic inactivity

Two natural gas drilling waste injection wells in Faulkner County will be shut down permanently. The wells are currently inactive due to an Arkansas Oil and Gas commission moratorium.

Taco trucks guide

Looking to make you first visit to a taco truck? Don't be intimidated when you step up to the window. Start with a couple of tacos. Two tacos make a good snack, three a light meal.

Essential Little Rock guide

The the top 11 places we think help define Little Rock and our surrounds.

Is anti-abortion speaker telling the truth?

Anti-abortion groups in Arkansas held a closed strategy session in Little Rock yesterday to plan continued fights against abortion in Arkansas, including the possibility Planned Parenthood might expand abortion services, now only done by pill for women in the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

Beebe takes on the Republican roadblock

Is there a better voice for moderation, compromise and legislative solutions that Gov. Mike Beebe.

How badly is Little Rock hurting? UPDATE

I note another article this morning about Little Rock City Hall hand-wringing over income arriving at levels less than forecast and the need for budget cuts.

Scott Howe named new CEO of Acxiom

Acxiom, the Little Rock-based data management company, has a new CEO, Scott Howe, a former Microsoft advertising group VP.

Wednesday To-Do: Jessica Lea Mayfield

Jessica Lea Mayfield plays Juanita's tonight.

Wednesday To-Do: Sway's first anniversary

Sway celebrates its first anniversary tonight.

David Boling gets Mansfield Foundation post

David Boling, the former chief of staff under U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder who ran unsuccessfully for Snyder's vacant 2nd District seat in the Democratic primary last year, has been hired as deputy executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes U.S.-Asian relations.

You want spending cuts? Democrats have them

Politico notes that Democratic Sen. Harry Reid's budget plan cuts spending more than Republican John Boehner's plan.

Onion rings: want to argue about it?

Once again, the readers of the Arkansas Times have determined their favorites — on everything from politicians to water parks. And once again, Sonic garnered the most votes for best onion rings, much to the chagrin of many local diners.

Trunk show: Lauren Embree

Young jeweler Lauren Embree of Fayetteville, whose work is getting national and international attention and has appeared in Martha Stewart magazine, will have a trunk show tonight at M2 Gallery from 4-8 p.m.

Until we meet again

I'm about to head to Little Rock National Airport for a plane to Chicago and then London, where I'll go to Dover for a ship that's going to cruise the coast of France, from Normandy to the Basque region of Spain.

Deep Six deep-sixed by AOGC

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission voted today to shut down an injection well near Greenbrier and impose a moratorium on all new injection wells in the area.

Thomason won't run in 4th

Chris Thomason will not run in the 4th District race in 2012.

Tea Party group turning on Boehner

A Tea Party group is turning on Rep. John Boehner.

Beebe releases House map

Gov. Beebe released an updated version of the House redistricting map today.

Whirlpool layoffs in Ft. Smith

Citing low demand for major appliances, Whirlpool in Ft. Smith announced today that they'll be laying off or offering early retirement to 20 to 25 salaried workers there by the end of the year.

Jennings Osborne dead at 67

Little Rock businessman and philanthropist Jennings Osborne has died following a long illness.

Former ADEQ chief to pay pollution fine

Marcus Devine, former head of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, has signed a consent administrative order with the agency after inspections revealed that his company, Poseidon Energy, was guilty of numerous pollution violations.

No drug court broadcasts on TV, Arkansas Supreme Court rules

Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court said that drug court proceedings cannot be broadcast on TV.

Open line

Beebe on Osborne: "With the passing of Jennings Osborne, Arkansas has lost one of our highest-profile philanthropists.

Burger joint of the week: Salem Dairy Bar

The perfect classic drive-in burger, complete with order-at-the-window experience and a bevy of soft serve ice cream desserts, all on the north side of Benton.

Deeper cuts at Whirlpool

Deeper cuts expected at Whirlpool

Brummett weighs in on 'primitive life force' Nate Bell UPDATE

In today's column, John Brummett eviscerates Rep. Nate Bell, the Mena state legislator who recently compared state Democrats to "Nazis."

Country coming around on gay marriage

Polling shows Americans support full marriage rights for same sex couples.

Friday To-Do: "Same Time, Next Year"

Conway Community Arts Association presents "Same Time, Next Year," opening Friday at The Lantern Theatre.

McCain: Some members "deceiving" constituents

Sen. John McCain criticizes some Republican members of Congress for being unfair to the American people.

$20 million to Crystal Bridges [updated]

The big donation that Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced earlier this week turns out to be $20 million from Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Reception tonight: McKimmey

"Blues, Moods and Attitudes" at Boswell-Mourot

Walmart gift pays admission to Crystal Bridges

A hefty donation from Walmart will pay admission costs for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Travelers, Tyrannosaurus Chicken

Tyrannosaurus Chicken plays at Dickey-Stephens after the Travelers game Saturday night.

Debt ceiling non-compromise updates

Slate has a running update of debt ceiling talks.

Savor the City and Argenta Restaurant Week kick off next week

Two celebrations of discounted food, Savor the City in Little Rock and Argenta Restaurant Week in downtown North Little Rock, kick off on Monday.

Write-in candidate for School Board

Loretta Hendrix, 62, a member of the Little Rock Historic District Commission and an "education strategist" with a background in curriculum development has filed as a write-in candidate for Position 1 on the Little Rock School Board.

Rockwell-Rivoli at the Arts Center

"In Search of Norman Rockwell's America," which pairs Norman Rockwell paintings, prints and lithographs with work by photojournalist Kevin Rivoli, opens Friday at the Arts Center.

River City Comic Expo & Card Show

The River City Comic & Card Expo kicks off Saturday morning in Sherwood.

Harding to serve as guest lecturer at UCA

Rush Harding will teach at UCA starting in the fall

ACLU weighs in on Gould ordinances

The ACLU has sent a letter to the Gould City Council urging repeal of three controversial ordinances passed on July 13.

Gluten-free on the mountain

The Saturday Chef Series up on Petit Jean Mountain at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is a must-do for culinary addicts and fanatical foodies. See what goes into one particular class on gluten-free cooking with Chef Robert Hall.

The good ole girl network

Saline County Republicans are calling for "support" at tonight's Bryant city council meeting.

Redbone's Downtown headed to River Market

A new restaurant called Redbones Downtown hopes to open next week in the River Market in the space that previously housed Flying Burrito and, briefly, Harry and Jorges.

How 'bout an open line?

Have at it.

Things get ugly in Gould

The mayor of Gould, Earnest Nash, was assaulted tonight by someone that he says was in support of city council members who passed an ordinance he opposed.

Pieday: Buttermilk at Ashley's

Most great Arkansas pies can be found at mom-and-pop restaurants, diners and the various hole-in-the-wall around the state. But the state's finest restaurant has a pretty darn good pie, too.

Get stompin'

It's time once again for the Altus Grape Festival. Yes, I'm trekking that way today.

Gov. Beebe's redistricting proposals adopted

On Twitter, Stephens Media's John Lyons reports that the Board of Apportionment has voted, 2-1, to adopt Gov. Beebe's House and Senate redistricting proposals.

Sunday To-Do: The Black and White Years

The Black and White Years plays Stickyz Sunday night.

Review: "My Fair Lady"

The Weekend Theatre, "My Fair Lady"

Sunday To-Do: Green Jelly

Green Jelly plays Juanitas Sunday night.

Update on debt ceiling talks

House Speaker John Boehner plans to go forward with his plan and hold a vote sometime this afternoon.

The state of Arkansas wants to sell you a portrait of a distinguished man

A little mid-day levity: A reader pointed us to the item above on the Arkansas state surplus web auction.

Cook to Game and Fish

Gov. Mike Beebe named Steve Cook, of Malvern, to serve as a commissioner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Griffen to flock: Tax too much

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, in his position as pastor of New Millennium Church, has sent a letter to church members encouraging their attendance at a rally tomorrow by the $500 Million Tax — Too Much!

Suspect arrested in shooting of nine year old

Little Rock Police officers arrested Darius Manning, 19, yesterday in connection with a July 23 shooting that left a nine-year-old boy in critical condition.

More high school graduates heading to college in Arkansas

We've passed a milestone in postsecondary education in Arkansas! Now, more than 50% of public high school seniors attend some sort of higher education institute, according to a state Department of Higher Education report.

Weekend gallery going

I'd like to direct your attention to the calendar section of the home page, where you can click on the art tab and find out exactly what's happening where.

Martin sends out political tweets on state time

Mark Martin sent out political tweets while on state time.


Tim Griffin's credit card bills, grandma on the precipice in Sharp County

Head-pummeling governance

Brummett is dismayed by political antics and weirdness — both in the debt crisis and in Gould — and concludes in his column that: Allow me to take both a side and a stand: Democracy works only when executed by sane and civilized people who permit open debate without head-pummeling.

Bloody Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ...

Though they aren't, it sure seems like homicides are a daily event here in Central Arkansas.

Tax protest

Under a blistering sun, a half-dozen poster-waving members of the $500 Million Tax — To Much!

Open wine

That's what I've done after a long hot dog walk. What goes with wine?

Good morning

I'm opening up the line this morning so you all can fuss with each other while I mow the grass.

Ed Garner is...

According to Ed Garner's Facebook page, he is running for Senate in 2012.


How about that? Consider this the Sunday open line.

The Debt Ceiling Deal UPDATE

Mitt Romney remains silent on the debt crisis debate.

This just in: Crop circle artistry and physics (update)

Physicist speculates on how crop circle artists work.

Maybe this explains it

Alcohol abuse in the nation's capital is higher than anywhere else in the country.

Browning's to open today?

Browning's Mexican Grill, the Heights institution that's been closed for almost exactly a year and under renovation since last October, says on its Facebook page that it will open to the public today at 4 p.m. and operate with a limited menu and under limited hours for its first week in business.

Tuesday: Nashville Pussy

Nashville Pussy plays Juanita's Tuesday night.

A farewell to Osborne

Jennings Osborne's funeral will be held today.

Windstream to expand its broadband services with $2.3 billion deal

Local telecom and broadband provider Windstream said today that it will expand its presence from 29 to 46 states by acquiring New York company Paetec Holding Corp. in a transaction valued at near $2.3 billion, Arkansas Business reports.

Tuesday: Honky

Honky plays White Water Tavern Tuesday night.

Republicans respond to cover-up charges

The Democratic Party of Arkansas says some Republicans tried to cover up the fact that a fundraiser broke federal election laws.

REMINDER: Cash Bus location change

As a lot of you have heard by now, The Arkansas Times is running several buses to the first annual Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro on Thursday.

Open line

Belatedly. Have at it.

Warwick Sabin running for House

I interrupt my vacation to bring you this news from a check of e-mail: Former Times associate editor Warwick Sabin, now publisher of the Oxford American, tells me he'll be running for state House in 2012, the District 33 seat now held by term-limited Rep. Kathy Webb.


Jon Stewart recaps the debt ceiling debate

More tax talk, this time pro

Mayor Mark Stodola, Police Chief Stuart Thomas, Fire Chief Greg Summers, Annie Abrams, Dexter Doyne, Jim Metzger and Yana-Janelle Scott are lined up to talk up the 1 percent city sales tax increase tomorrow at noon at the Willie Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center, 3805 W. 12th St. The Committee for Little Rock's Future is hosting the event, and calls attention, in a news release, to the diversity of the group.

The not-a-chain pizza joint in Conway

Stromboli's handles a great lunch special with a thin-crust pizza and a salad with a dressing that'll knock your socks off.

Chef Lee Richardson to NYC...

but not for good, thank goodness. Instead, the chef will be serving up amazing Southern-inspired food at the James Beard House in New York City for a special event, "Southern meets Oregon Wines."

Shooting, two store holdups

Busy week for the LRPD. Just in over the wires: two more convenience store stickups (one at the EZ Mart on Mara Lynn Road, and another at the Shell Store on S. University), and a shooting in which the victim was later arrested for drugs and weapons possession.

Arkansas wins Gates Foundation grant

Arkansas was awarded a $1million grant to improve college graduation rates.

Debt deal done

A debt deal was reached in the senate.

Republican revisionist history

The Republican Party of Arkansas takes another shot at Jeff Woodmansee and offers no proof to back up their assertions.

Retired police to present tax plan

Farris Hensley and other members of the Little Rock Police Pension Board will submit their own proposal for a city sales tax tonight at the City Board meeting.

Finally - The Box set to return

In a few weeks (we're crossing our fingers) those great juicy gut-bombs will be served up again from a shop at 7th and Ringo — right next to the new dry cleaners that totally threw me off the scent.

Time to talk

How 'bout an open line?