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Songs in the key of fall

Songs in the key of fall

September 17, 2015

Vol 42 • No 2

Read the print version

Fall Arts Calendar 2015

Music, theater, film and more.

'Our America' Latino art, Alfred Maurer, Wright Usonian House

The fall's biggest exhibitions.

Fall stage: Macbeth, mermaids, more

2015 music preview: Stevie Wonder, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne and more

The fall ushers in some great entertainment in venues big and small.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival back, in the black

Fall Arts Guide 2015

Our guide to the season's biggest music, art and theater events in Arkansas.

Two Huckabees

Unless he can rescue his tanking presidential ambitions, we have now witnessed the zenith and the nadir of the political life of Mike Huckabee, and both involve the narrow question of how Americans should treat declarations of human rights by the U.S. Supreme Court.

LRSD 'wake' protests state takeover of district on anniversary of last school board election

About 75 people turned out at the central offices of the Little Rock School District this afternoon to hold a "wake for democracy." Meanwhile, the state awaits release of testing data for the 2014-15 school year.

Mixed bag Mediterranean at Al Seraj

Lunch was great; dinner not so much.

Amen to Griffen on incarceration

Wendell Griffen's recent letter, "Summit won't help mass incarcerations," struck a positive Amen chord with me. How many young lives have been ruined and will be ruined because of our antiquated drug laws?

El Dorado Film Festival returns

Also, Little Rock Baconfest.

Mr. Pockets

In advance of Junior turning 5, Spouse was determined to find something to enliven a backyard birthday party. The Observer suggested a large bowl of chips. Spouse suggested The Observer go to hell. When Spouse struck out with magicians, she threatened to dress up like a clown. Thankfully — particularly for Junior's future therapist — The Observer's mother stepped in to recommend Mr. Pockets.

Impatient eyes

M. Night Shyamalan returns to horror in 'The Visit.'

Hating on Hillary

TV themes: Donald Trump as Nationalist Strongman, Hillary Clinton as National Bitch.

An uneven 'Macbeth'

Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.

Get back to the plan, Razorbacks

The inherent risk of braggadocio is that it can morph so violently into complete humiliation. That transition takes about three hours or so, based on what transpired Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium, where temperatures were mild and tempers were hotter than a soft-willed state senator at a hardware store.

Celebrating Independence

A dancer swirls in the Wonders of Mexico performance at the Mexican Independence Day celebration at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center Saturday, Sept. 12.

Inquizator: Read Admire

A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Clinton School of Public Service, Read Admire launched The Urban Food Loop in May. It's a do-gooder idea with a business start-up twist. For $31 a month, Admire will come by your house once a week, pick up your organic kitchen scraps in a supplied bin and turn landfill-bound waste into compost.

Bobby Petrino Jr. comes out

Plus: A child is left for hours in Justin Harris' preschool van; the Osborne Family light show goes dark at Disney; Planned Parenthood sues the state; Democrat to run against Boozman; Central High top again in merit scholars; Fayetteville passes non-discrimination ordinance.

Legends of Arkansas Festival at Riverfront Park

Also: Chelsea Clinton at the Statehouse Convention Center, the Bo-Keys in the ACANSA Festival, Wynnona Judd, Black Tusk, Six Bridges Regatta and 'Days of Heaven' at Ron Robinson.

A Q&A with Slink Johnson

Arkansas native and Adult Swim star talks about 'Black Jesus.'

School elections: Why now?

Forward Arkansas plan to move school elections to general election is flawed.

The Rapert file

State Police file on alleged threats against Sen. Jason Rapert reveals multiple investigations, zero charges.

Clinton Airport parking goes high-tech

The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport will have a media event today to show a high-tech feature of a $2.8 million parking improvement program at Little Rock's airport.

Highway contractors have carrot-and-stick plan for highway money

John Lyon of the Arkansas News Bureau lays out new details of the highway construction lobby's evolving plan to produce more money to keep the contractors busy building and repairing highways. It's a bundle of tax and free increases — including a temporary 10-cents-a-gallon fuel tax increase — plus transfers of general revenue to highways, including a whopping quarter of a billion a year by transferring sales tax on vehicles from general revenues to highways.

The great Republican debate: winners and losers

The Republican debate roundup. Could somebody please show Mike Huckabee the exit? And if Carly Fiorina had a good night, it could have been even better if she'd demonstrated any warmth.

Faith Ringgold quilt of Maya Angelou goes to Crystal Bridges

"Maya's Quilt of Life," a quilt featuring the image of Maya Angelou by Faith Ringgold that was a commissioned birthday gift to Angelou from Oprah Winfrey, has been acquired by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art from the collection of the late author.

Arrests made in grain thefts

Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long of Forrest City has announced the arrests of five men, including two police officers, for stealing $130,000 worth of soybeans and corn from a McCrory granary in December and January.

Conviction of animal cruelty reported in puppy mill case

The Humane Society of the United States says that a woman in Randolph County has been convicted of animal cruelty on a charge related to the rescue of 46 dogs and 11 cats and chickens from a suspected puppy mill in Warm Springs.

2nd guilty plea in bribery case over state mental health services

Arkansas Business reports here on a federal court filing Wednesday that shows a second person has pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme to help a major contractor of the state Department of Human Services.

Another day, another round of Jason Rapert

After the Arkansas Times reported details of Sen. Jason Rapert's report of threats to the State Police, he mounted an intensive lobbying campaign on the State Police — and also brought in the govenror's office — in an effort to get their help in repudiating the article.

Open line. Plus, Democrats gig Asa; Hillary adds a Little Rock appearance; state seeks charter school money

The open line, daily video and news on Asa Hutchinson's greater concern for insurance companies than poor people; a Hillary Clinton visit to Little Rock, and a state push for federal money for charter schools.

A plea to transgender people in Arkansas

The U.S. Trans Survey heads into its final days, and this survey has the potential to be a game changer for the transgender community in Arkansas.

Last of power plant goes down in controlled explosion

Entergy announced this morning it had completed the leveling of the retired Ritchie Power Plant near Helena with a controlled explosion.

No ruling on Planned Parenthood request for injuction

After a two-hour hearing, federal Judge Kristine Baker did not rule on Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's request for a temporary injunction against the state Department of Human Services to keep Medicaid reimbursement flowing to PPH affiliates in Little Rock and Fayetteville. Baker said she is "taking the matter under advisement" and will notify lawyers when her written ruling is prepared.

Solicitor general bases attack on Planned Parenthood on debunked hearsay

Arkansas's new solicitor general offered debunked claims about Planned Parenthood in other states as an argument for stopping Medicaid support of medical services to poor women in Arkansas. Roll the video.

Richard Wyatt, top Human Services official, resigns amid Medicaid probe

Richard Wyatt, the chief information officer at the state Department of Human Services, submitted his resignation Thursday, effective Oct. 31.

Unemployment rate in Arkansas continues to drop

The Arkansas unemployment rate in August was 5.4 percent down from 5.6 percent in July. The labor force grew in total by 1,400.

Arrests mount in Conway slayings

Prosecutor Cody Hiland continues to add criminal charges related to the August slayings of Robert and Patricia Cogdell.

Your new flags of Little Rock

BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.

House votes to block Planned Parenthood funding for a year

On a mostly party line vote, the Republican-controlled House voted to block federal funding from Planned Parenthood affiliates for a year. All Arkansas Republicans voted for it.

Lengthy moped chase in Mountain Home ends with good shove

The Baxter Bulletin has a report on the recently released police dash cam video of a restrained-speed chase of a man on a moped who fled from officers Aug. 10.  The man was suspected of firing a gunshot into the door of an apartment and making threats.

British firm wants info on Arkansas execution drugs

Do drugs stockpiled by Arkansas for use if and when executions resume include products of a British firm that has said it doesn't want its drugs used in executions? It appears possible. But the state says secrecy shrouds all execution matters.

Chelsea Clinton visits her old stomping grounds

Chelsea Clinton is in Little Rock for a round of appearances today, including this morning at Mann Middle School, where she was a student when her parents relocated to Washington in 1993. She also was scheduled for a visit to the children's library named in her mother's honor and is expected to draw a big crowd to the Statehouse Convention Center tonight as the 1,000th speaker in the Clinton School of Public Service's lecture series.

The law according to Kim Davis

A lawyer for a deputy of Kim Davis says the Kentucky county clerk has been violating a federal judge's order by altering marriage license forms.

Open line. Plus: Blazing Wi-Fi and double-dipping senators

Here's the open line, news video and a couple of other items on double-dipping senators and the airport's fast Wi-Fi.

State Police victim of car thefts

Four decommissioned police cars were stolen from the State Police locked lot, the agency announced this afternoon. The vehicles were headed for resale and two have been recovered.

Judge blocks Arkansas from ending Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood

Judge Kristine Baker this afternoon issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from stopping Medicaid reimbursements for people who receive services from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville.

The Taking Pleasure in Huck's Pain Edition

Planned Parenthood in Arkansas, the ethics investigation into four state Supreme Court Justices handling of the same-sex marriage case, Jason Rapert trying to throw his weight around, the latest plan from the highway lobby, the second Republican debate, the Creative Corridor and narwhales — all covered on this week's edition.

Legislator fights liquor store permit in Saline County

Republican Rep. Julie Mayberry of East End, her husband, former Rep. Andy Mayberry, and a daycare operator have sued to stop the issuance of a liquor store permit on Arch Street Pike in East End.

Go Hogs. To Fayetteville? Pondering War Memorial's future.

The Razorbacks play Texas Tech tonight in Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas has announced a sellout of the 72,000-set Razorback stadium. That means 22,000 more fans in seats than during the Hogs' game in Little Rock last week. Does this spell trouble for the future of the Razorbacks in Little Rock.

Hold that open line! And beware Rapert's safety device

The open line includes a link to a rip-roaring discussion about the merits of Hog games in Little Rock versus Fayetteville.

Medicaid mess remains unresolved

John Lyon recounts at the Arkansas News Bureau the story of a woman eligible for Medicaid coverage who's been trying since June to get her eligibility restored. The system, it would appear, hasn't been fine-tuned.

An open line, plus Bret Bielema's very bad day

The open line includes the viral video of the Texas Tech coach delighting in putting a whipping on Hog coach Bret Bielema.

Hillary Clinton comes to Little Rock today

Hillary Clinton will be in Little Rock today — for a public appearance this afternoon at Philander Smith College and then for a private fund-raising event tonight. Meanwhile, polling is available for people of all persuasions in this race.

FOI in court today; D-G publisher to be subpoenaed

I went to church Sunday at Allison Memorial Presbyterian, where former Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey is pastor, and picked up a little information before the service about action today in circuit court, where Humphrey is defense lawyer for Rodney Forte, director of the Metropolitan Housing Alliance. He's doing battle with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Website urges draft of Sen. Tom Cotton for president in 2016

A website emerges urging a draft of Sen. Tom Cotton for the 2016 presidential race.

Jermain Taylor fit to stand trial

A mental evaluation has determined that boxer Jermain Taylor is fit to stand trial on a battery charge, KARK reports.

When food becomes obsession

When the taste for pimento and cheese strikes, love can become obsession.

The ethics mulligan is now in use in Arkansas

Yet another ethics loophole is now in play for wayward legislators — the ability provided under a new law for a "cure" period for erroneous campaign finance and personal financial statements. Blue Hog learned this in his complaint against Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

Central High grads are state's AP scholars

Two Central High School graduates were the state's Advanced Placement scholars for 2015, the College Board has announced.

Andi Davis surrenders law license

As we reported she would do last May, Andi Davis of Hot Springs on Monday voluntarily surrendered her law license. She hopes that will clear some pending disciplinary actions.

Gov. Hutchinson hopes to leverage state's military installations for the economy

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today a task force to focus on expanding the mlitary's footprint in the state as an economic development tool.

Bald Knob police chief resigns; cites family safety

KTHV reports that Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balentine, whose pickup was torched not long ago, is resigning out of concern for the safety of his family.

Monday's open line and video headlines

Here's the open line and today's news video.

Scott Walker to quit presidential race

Everyone is reporting that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker — once hailed as a real comer in presidential politics — is quitting the race today.

Guilty plea in Stuttgart courthouse fire set by meth smoker

Donald Aaron 34, of Stuttgart appeared in federal court Monday to plead guilty to a charge of arson in a Sept. 23, 2014 fire in the Stuttgart courthouse annex. The fire damaged the building so much it had to be demolished, with a loss valued at $2.2 million.

Hillary Clinton speaks at Philander Smith

Hillary Clinton spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters about 5:30 p.m. today at Philander Smith College. Her remarks tracked some familiar themes — equal pay for equal work, help for students to pay the rising cost of higher education.

What do local Republican women want in a president? Ben Carson.

A straw poll of Republican women on the presidential field might surprise you. Huckawho?

Another Little Rock homicide this morning

Police report a man fatally shot about 1:30 a.m. this morning at 1515 W. 19th Street

George W. Bush to raise money for Jeb in Rogers reports that former president George W. Bush will visit Rogers Oct. 2 to draw people to a fund-raising reception for his brother, presidential candidate Jeb Bush.

Marshals museum gets $1 million from Pendergraft family

The family of the late Ross Pendergraft, long-time chief operating officer of Donrey Media, has given $1 million toward the construction of the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, which is the Pendergraft hometown.

The plight of the refugees: Dark episodes in Arkansas

Ernest Dumas reaches into history, some personal, for moments in Arkansas's view of refugees. It was brought to mind by the current crisis in Europe and the political divisions over whether the U.S. should respond to the needs of the displaced.

No vaping at UALR

UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson has announced the campus has added e-cigarettes and vapor devices to the no-smoking policy on campus.

Group presses state for action on Buffalo watershed hog farm

The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance continues to press the state Department of Environmental Quality for action on the hog farm in Mount Judea on a tributary of the Buffalo River.

20-week abortion ban fails in Senate

By a 54-42 vote, the U.S. Senate fell short today of the 60 needed to pass a ban on most abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. Several Democrats and Republicans switched sides..

Drug firms don't want products used in Arkansas executions

The Associated Press continues to illustrate the essential under-handedness of the Arkansas execution process.

The open line

Here's an open line, hours before the official arrival of fall. Also, today's news video.

Hillary opposes Keystone pipeline

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, which would put aquifers across the middle of America at risk to carry heavy Canadian crude across the U.S. to reach refineries that would ship much of the producet overseas.

Rosenzweig winner: David Warren

David Warren, associate professor of printmaking at Henderson State University, won the $1,000 first prize in the Irene Rosenzweig Biennial at the Arts and Science Center in Pine Bluff for his linocut "Voyage."

Police seek robbers of Roberson's Jewelry

Roberson's Jewelry in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center was robbed shortly before noon today by men who used hammers to smash display cases and escape with an unknown quantity of jewelry.

Ask Lucero Anything (on Reddit)

Lucero will be doing a Reddit AMA this afternoon, for anyone interested. It was supposed to be from 5-7 p.m. EST, but they're apparently running late.

Dedicated and determined at Barnhill Orchards

To Cen­tral Arkansas farm­ers mar­ket vis­i­tors, Bob Barn­hill of Barn­hill Orchards in Lonoke is a fix­ture, as is the diverse selec­tion of fruits, veg­eta­bles and nuts that is avail­able from the farm almost year-round.

How the wealthy influenced higher education in Kansas. Arkansas, anyone?

Exposure of the influence of big money — from the Koch family — on higher education brings to mind another wealthy family with immense influence at another public university. We're talking about the Waltons and the University of Arkansas.

County officials join fight on highway money

The Association of Arkansas Counties, a lobby for county government, jumped into the highway money debate today with an alarm about an idea to help the state Highway and Transportation Department by transferring the maintenance of many rural highways to county governments.

Womack wiggles on shutdown over Planned Parenthood money

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, in speaking Tuesday in Fort Smith, seems to come down on the side of not forcing a government shutdown when the Senate fails to endorse House-passed legislation to halt federal money for Planned Parenthood.

'Mutually Exclusive Terms': Human and Huckabee

Thanks to Talking Points Memo for catching Larry Wilmore on one of Mike Huckabee's latest rhetorical blown circuits — the idea that the appointment of an Army secretary was about appeasing homosexuals rather than the appointees demonstrable credentials.

Little Rock worker who scrimped for Hillary gets a special party invite

ABC News reports a bit of additional news from the fund-raiser held Monday night at Kaki Hockersmith's Edgehill home for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. It included a special guest who'd sacrificed to make a contribution to the Clinton campaign.

Walton Foundation project to focus on design in Northwest Arkansas

The Walton Family Foundation calls attention today to its plan to focus resources the next five years on development of public buildings and spaces in Washington and Benton Counties.

Rutledge will take unconstitutional law to U.S. Supreme Court

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she'd ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court decisions that held unconstitutional Arkansas's ban on most abortions once a heartbeat could be detected, somewhere around the 12th week of pregnancy..

Conway police chief to take lottery security job

Conway Police Chief AJ Gary told the Conway City Council last night that he'll leave the department Oct. 31 to become head of security for the Arkansas lottery.

The pope speaks: Poverty, climate change, migrants and a welcoming church

What's not to like about Pope Francis' initial remarks in the U.S.?

Midweek and the line is open

Here's the evening open line and today's news video.

University of Arkansas claims secrecy for certain skybox tickets

The University of Arkansas is playing secrecy games again, this time on recipients of tickets for skybox seats to Razorback football games.

Filmmaker planning Clinton family documentary. FYI if you get a call.

Remember Whitewater? Ginned up scandals. Critical documentary films. It feels like 1992 all over again.

Happy for hummus

That the humble chickpea can be made into something as wonderful as hummus is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.