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Back in the saddle

Back in the saddle

August 3, 2017

Vol 43 • No 48

Read the print version

HIA Velo brings bike-building back home

The Little Rock manufacturer says the heck with Asia, builds carbon-fiber bicycle frames in Little Rock.

Adieu, Mooch

If The Observer were prone to feeling sorry for folks who further the aims of a corrupt authoritarian fanboy, we could almost feel sorry for those who Trump has chewed over and spit out during his six months in office. Almost.

Keep hitting the delete key, Mark

Salsa to the rescue

Few highlights at Agave Grill.

Diarrhea what?

A Q&A with Evan Bird of Diarrhea Planet.

Rom-com remix

'The Big Sick' subverts genre.

Martin does it again

I don't believe this! Mark Martin released the info of every Arkansas voter not just once, but twice? Is he really that eager to grovel at the feet of Herr Trump?

Arkansas Razorback 2017 football review, part 1

By the time you read this, Arkansas will have put in about a week's worth of gridiron prep for a 2017 season that has such an odd feel, what with the deflating close of 2016 a distant but still germane development and the cast of skill and special teams players looking substantially different.

Guns 'N' Roses at War Memorial Stadium

Also, Elise Davis, 607, Marcella and Her Lovers, Tab Benoit, The Ben Miller Band and more

Inconsequential News Quiz: Cracker Barrel drive-thru edition

Play at home, while enjoying some not-quite-as-bad-as-you-thought-it-would-be horehound candy!

Crisis at 60

The city of Little Rock, the school district and the National Park Service last week announced extensive plans for events in September to mark the 60th anniversary of the Central High desegregation crisis.

Ten days

Last week confirmed what was already obvious. The Book of Proverbs was composed as either a primer or an omen for Donald Trump.

Sham hotline

Secretary of State Mark Martin has set up a hotline for Arkansans to call with feedback about the individual voter data he so eagerly turned over on two separate occasions to the newly created Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Leisure Club plays White Water Tavern

Also, Samarra Samone returns to South on Main.

Abortion laws halted

Also, another voter data dump and more.

Putin's missteps

A good title for the entire Trump-Putin saga might be "The Naive and Sentimental Dictator." Assuming, that is, that it all plays out as farce — certainly the direction events are trending in the White House.

State still holds reins over youth lockups

After Jan. 1 takeover.

Overturned truck on Interstate 40 was filled with whiskey

An 18-wheeler filled with whiskey flipped yesterday on I-40.

Gentry man faces felony charge after leaving child in hot car while working

A Gentry man was arrested Tuesday night, charged with felony child endangerment, after police say he left his 4-year-old son in a car before starting his shift at an industrial bakery.

UAMS gets grant to study how healthy people process emotion

Scientists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have received a National Science Foundation grant worth $422,610 to study how the brains of men and women respond to "emotionally rich images," investigator Keith Bush, Ph.D., said.

Raw sewage a problem in Southeast Arkansas, across the country

Raw sewage is a continuing problem in Southeast Arkansas and across the country, causing horrific health outcomes.

NEH grant goes to state archives for newspaper digitization

A grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities will allow the Arkansas State Archives to digitize 100,000 pages of historic Arkansas newspapers in the collections of archives. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History will provide technical support.

Thursday's video and open line

The headlines for August 3 include a new bike trail for Arkansas, a boozey truck wreck, sewage problems in Southeast Arkansas and an impressive grant for UAMS to study emotional processing in men and women.

DHS hires Florida woman to lead the Division of Medical Services

The state Department of Human Services has announced the hiring of Rose Murray Naff to head DHS' Division of Medical Services.

Charter school oversight body gets new charter-friendly appointees external to Ed Department

Yesterday's appointments included three new members external to ADE: Toyce Newton, Naccaman Williams and Mike Wilson.

U.S. unemployment rate continues to drop, jobs continue to grow

The national unemployment rate now stands at 4.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this morning. Around 209,000 jobs were added last month.

The Pantry Crest is everything it's cracked up to be

Swing by for happy hour and apps.

Asa Hutchinson III carrying concealed handgun with an expired license in DWI arrest, dash cam footage shows

Hutchinson appears to be very disoriented in the dash cam footage. He tells the officer he thinks he's heading north when he was, in fact, traveling south. After he's handcuffed, the state trooper asks Hutchinson, "Anything on you you're not supposed to have?" After mumbling unintelligibly, Hutchinson tells the trooper he has a gun. Hutchinson is asked if he has a concealed carry license, and he admits that it has expired.

18 new officers graduate LRPD Recruit School

The Little Rock Police Department graduated 18 new officers today, beginning to fill a large number of vacancies city officials have said are hindering the department from stopping the rise in crime.

Celebrate Restaurant Month with today's deals

Today's specials include a house-smoked brisket sandwich, a $12 3-course lunch, bronzed black grouper, gulf shrimp, and 15% off pizza.

Supreme Court rejects rule to make ballot challenges easier

The Supreme Court has rejected a rule change proposed by lawyer Scott Trotter that would  have made it easier to challenge legislatively-referred constitutional amendments to the ballot, the AP reports.

Huckabee's sons analyzed in New Yorker essay on "large adult son" meme

Jia Tolentino writes a fascinating analysis of the "large adult son" meme for NewYorker.com that discusses an old Huckabee family portrait.

Deadly shooting at Marmaduke gas station, State Police investigating

A deadly shooting occurred at the Valero gas station in Marmaduke (Greene County), according to a press release from the Arkansas State Police.

McLarty Nissan has the car for you with a 110% price guarantee

When you’re car shopping, the first step to finding the right vehicle is finding the right dealership. Are you looking for low prices, but high selection? McLarty Nissan should be your first stop. Who wouldn’t want to visit a dealership that’s known for saying: “The reason we sell so many, is because you pay so little!”?

UPDATE: Andre Jackson arrested for fatal shooting of Italian tourist

Andre Jackson, 32, was arrested and charged with capital murder in death of Carlo Marigliano, an Italian tourist.

Houston Nutt's attorney proposes settlement offer with Ole Miss

Tom Mars, the Friday Firm lawyer representing former Arkansas and Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt in Nutt's lawsuit against Ole Miss, sent along a statement last night on a settlement offer he has presented Ole Miss on behalf of Nutt. Mars did not provide the details of the agreement.

The sweet child o mine early open line

I've got a day of enjoying this beautiful day with chores capped with seeing Sturgill Simpson and Guns N' Roses at War Memorial. Anyone else going?

Cotton figures in New York Times roundup on 2020 presidential race

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton gets front page ink in today's New York Times, which rounds up GOP presidential hopefuls who're laying the groundwork for a race in 2020 amid the chaos of the Trump presidency.

LRPD: Homicide on Howard St.

One person was killed and his brother was wounded in an early morning shooting on Howard St. in Little Rock today.

Early Sunday line

In case other responsibilities keep us away, have at it.

ACLU presses fight on eviction law

The Arkansas chapter of the ACLU says it is continuing its fight against Arkansas's one-of-a-kind criminal eviction law.

Nutt settlement: Wants integrity commission, not money

Rumor mill: A columnist for Yahoo sports, quoting sources, says the proposal by Houston Nutt to settle his defamation lawsuit against Ole Miss calls for no money for him but $500,000 to fund a "commission on integrity in Mississippi sports."

Ward 2 race possible for Little Rock City Board

Rohn Muse, a neighborhood activist, has scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning at the children's library to announce he'll be a 2018 candidate for the Ward 2 seat on the Little Rock City Board currently held by Ken Richardson.

Arkansas ACLU sues over new state anti-begging law

The Arkansas ACLU today sued theArkansas State Police to prevent enforcement of a new law intended to replace an earlier anti-begging law declared unconstitutional. The ACLU says the new law continues to unconstitutionally criminalize begging.

Robber shot in Blytheville robbery attempt

The Blytheville Courier reports that a person was fatally shot by a Domino's Pizza employee in Blytheville late Sunday during a robbery attempt.

Even Arkansas opposes Trump's ban on transgender in military. Also, props to the IRS

A Washington Post analysis of 2016 polling data concludes that a majority of voters in all 50 states and Washington D.C. oppose Donald Trump's ban on military service by transgender people. EVEN ARKANSAS. And a transgender Arkansan reports good news from another federal agency, the IRS.

Who knew? Global trade is complicated

Donald Trump delivered shortly after his inauguration on a promise to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade pact that was supposed to end punitive tariffs on U.S. agriculture producers. That decision has had some negative consequences.

Review: Guns N' Roses at War Memorial Stadium

Saturday, August 5th, 2017. “Guns N’ Roses Day” in Little Rock. The entire show was completely gold.

ACLU seeks state communications with Sessions on immigrant children policy

— The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the national ACLU filed open records requests today demanding copies of any communications between the Arkansas Office of the Attorney General and the federal government regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.

Monday, Monday

Here's the open line. And a video news roundup

Rutledge again attacks consumer protection agency

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge continues her push with other Republican state legal officers to reduce the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Newly rigged charter school panel sets meets for Walton-powered agenda

The charter school expansion effort continues next week in Arkansas with a regulatory board stacked wtih friends of the charter school movement and influenced by the financially powerfulWalton Family Foundation.

Alarming report on climate leaked to New York Times

Fearing Donald Trump would suppress it, scientists made available to the New York Times an alarming government report on climate change.

Surprise! Right-wing think tank criticizes Arkansas taxing and spending

A unit of George Mason University, the go-to university for right-wing thinking on law and economics, is touting a study by Arkansas academics that says Arkansas government has it all wrong — too much spending, poor tax policy.

Arkansan drowns off Destin beach

A 70-year-old Arkansas woman has drowned off Henderson Beach in Destin, Fla., a popular vacation destination for Arkansans.

Staffing dozens short at Tucker Max, where breakouts occurred UPDATE

The security staff at the Tucker Maximum Security prison, where inmates have twice overpowered guards in the last 16 days, is about 24 percent below authorized force.

Pulaski prosecutor will not enforce criminal eviction statute, questions constitutionality

Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, whose district covers Pulaski and Perry Counties, has given notice that his office will no longer enforce the state criminal eviction statute.

Rutledge settles claim against lax funeral home

The office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today settlement of a 2016 lawsuit against Arkansas Funeral Care for shoddy funeral services.

The Tuesday open line

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

Trump issues a warning to North Korea

Donald Trump sends a war-like message to North Korea.

Glen Campbell dies at 81

Billstown, Ark. native Glen Campbell, the singer and guitar player, has died at 81. His family disclosed he had Alzheimer's in 2011. Rolling Stone notes that, in 1968, he outsold the Beatles.

Glen Campbell: 1936-2017

In memory of the Pike County native, who died today at 81.

North Little Rock approves sales tax increase

North Little Rock voters decided a sales tax increase today. Itvpassed easily.

UPDATE: Tucker Max inmate breakout resolved after six inmates took keys, had Taser

A situation in which six inmates at the Tucker Maximum security unit for the Arkansas Correction Department took control of keys and doors of a recreational area of the unit while three corrections officers were in the area with the inmates has been resolved.

Corporate welfare is no bargain in Wisconsin

That much ballyhooed Chinese investment in a TV screen plant in Wisconsin? It might not be such a good deal for taxpayers' $3 billion, an independent analysis indicates.

Conway newspaper changes hands

An article in the Conway Log Cabin Democrat reports that the newspaper, along with other newspaper properties of owner Georgia-based Morris Publishing, has been sold to GateHouse Media, a national chain with other properties in Arkansas.

Trump expands on going nuclear; Tillerson says U.S. can 'sleep well'

Interested in the North Korean situation? Between retweeting Fox News items, Donald Trump elaborates today on his nuclear threat

16 states, not Arkansas, seek to protect nursing home patients

The Trump administration proposes to overturn an Obama-era rule that protected the ability of nursing home patients to seek redress for abuse and neglect. Sixteen states, not including Arkansas, are objecting.

Razorback opponent takes pay cut if band stays home

Tyler Thomason of KARK/Fox 16 reports that Florida A&M, which will play football against the Arkansas Razorbacks Aug. 31 in War Memorial Stadium, will take a $50,000 cut in its payday if the school's famous marching band doesn't make the trip.

Family pleads for mental treatment for defendant in 10 Commandments destruction

The family of Michael Reed, jailed pending an Aug. 29 arraignment on a felony first-degree criminal mischief charge for destroying the new Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds June 28, has written a judge urging mental treatment for Reed.

Black officers fault chief for absence from anti-crime events

Tension continues between the Little Rock Black Police Officers Association and Chief Kenton Buckner.

Fatal accident on West Markham Street

The Little Rock police have reported a traffic fatality in the 2300 block of West Markham Street at Barton Street in front of the campus of the Arkansas School for the Deaf.

Trade group forms for medical marijuana business in Arkansas

A business of any consequence needs a lobbyist so the advent of legal medical marijuana in Arkansas is unsurprisingly accompanied by the formation of a trade group.

Unscheduled pizza delivery on Interstate 30

A tractor-trailer rig carrying a load of frozen pizza wrecked on Interstate 30 at Mabelvale Cutoff today, dumping the load all over the highway. The Department of Transportation reports the driver and the overpass are OK.

Awwwwww. Big Bret Bielema shows off his little baby daughter

Razorback Coach Bret Bielema brought his month-old daughter Briella to his news conference this morning and cuteness ensued.

UA President Bobbitt: Both finalists withdraw from UAMS chancellor search

Looks like the search for a chancellor of UAMS to succeed the retiring Dan Rahn must start over. Faculty has just received this from University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt:

Is it only Wednesday? Nonetheless, the line is open.

Here's an open line for a weird day, plus a roundup by video.

Federal judge dismisses Houston Nutt's defamation suit against Ole Miss

Federal Judge Neal Biggers has granted a motion to dismiss Houston Nutt's defamation lawsuit against Ole Miss and related parties on jurisdictional grounds.

Little Rock School District gives 11th-hour notice of plan to sell vacant building to Waltons

Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore announced after the close of business today that he'd recommended the sale of a vacant building, the former Garland School at 3615 W. 25th Street, to KLS Leasing, a company used by the Walton Family Foundation to purchase other buildings in Little Rock and North Little Rock and other cities for charter schools.

Ready for school? Can't be too careful

A photo of a gun display in a Walmart touted as a back-to-school purchase got heavy play on social media, prompting an apology from the retailer.

Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.

UPDATE: Prosecutor finds police shooting of Marion youth justified

We've added footage from the officers' body cams. Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro announced today that he'd found Marion police were justified in use of deadly force in the fatal shooting of Aries Clark, 16, outside a Marion youth shelter July 25.

Another departure from Gov. Hutchinson's staff

Another member of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's senior staff is heading for the exit. Kelly Eichler, senior advisor for criminal justice (and a Hutchinson appointee to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees) has given notice she'll be leaving in a couple of weeks.
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