← Back to issues
Oh, Pioneers!

Oh, Pioneers!

October 1, 2015

Vol 42 • No 4

Read the print version


As a young man, Ted Holder helped Arkansas take some of its first steps toward LGBT equality.

Oh, pioneers!

Ted Holder and Jennifer Chilcoat were long in the fight for LGBT rights in Arkansas

She got her gumption up

Tennessee transplant jumped into volunteer work with PALS.

The falling boy

The Observer wrote some weeks back about our trip to the Arkansas Railroad Museum in Pine Bluff, a gem of a spot with a large collection of vintage rolling stock that is all open so you can clamber up and over and through the old cars and cabooses and locomotives, sit in the driver's seats, and pretend you're Casey Jones. If you're a train buff or have a kid who is, get thyself to Pine Bluff. That's an order.

The Powerful People and charters

Out of the hundreds of words the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette used Sunday, Sept. 20 and the following Monday opining on education, one thing was correct.

An intern's take on 'The Intern'

Robert De Niro stars.

Vols come at right time for Hogs

Let's dispense with the torturous weekly reliving of hell this week, OK? I for one don't think the garish details of another fourth-quarter collapse make for delicious column material. It was gut-wrenching, nasty, horrifying, predictable, etc.

It's Mo'Betta now

Washed out of Louisiana by Hurricane Katrina, a chef finds hope in a pot of gumbo 10 years later.

Huckawho? Ex-gov is yesterday's flavor

Given the wild gyrations of the Republican presidential nominating race, I write these words knowing that a future meal of them remains possible, but nonetheless: Mike Huckabee is toast.

Rapert wary heartbeat rules not implemented

Emails to Health Department, Medical Board demand proof.

First Nixon, then Boehner

Like Richard Nixon's resignation speech 41 years earlier, John Boehner's sudden valedictory from Congress may be said to be the old politician's finest moment.

True Lit Fayetteville Literary Festival hosts Zadie Smith in Fayetteville

Also, Dana Louise & The Glorious Birds at Juanita's.

David Family Kitchen holds its own

With chicken and fixin's.

Good exposure

Lera Lynn of Athens, Ga., who provides a Greek Chorus-like mournful background to season 2 of HBO's "True Detective" showed off a vast range of country-influenced music in an appearance at South on Main last Thursday night.

The fall of Boehner

Nothing so became U.S. Rep. John Boehner's tenure as speaker of the House as his manner of leaving it. Subjectively speaking, he has never appeared to believe very much of the nonsense his position required him to utter. An old school politician who literally grew up working in the family bar, his conservatism is of the traditional Midwestern kind — more Bob Dole, say, than Ted Cruz.

Inquizator: Holt Condren

Holt Condren is an explorer and entrepreneur based in Maumelle, the founder of Ink Custom Tees and the author of "Surf the Woods: The Ordinary Man's Trail Map to the Extraordinary Life." He's also featured in a new documentary, "Finding Noah," which follows a team of archeologists and theologians to Mount Ararat, in Turkey, on a search for Noah's Ark. The film will premiere with a multicity one-night-only screening at 7 p.m. Oct. 8.

Young Dro comes to Revolution

Also, Kent Babb and "Not a Game: The Incredible Rise and Unthinkable Fall of Allen Iverson" at the Clinton School, Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival in Hot Springs, José González at Juanita's, Adia Victoria at White Water Tavern and Tig Notaro at Hendrix College.

This Supreme Court brought to you by big business

Also, pope fever, bye-bye Boehner, more tilting at windmills from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, driving Dixie down and more.

Equal treatment is good for business. In Indiana, many Republicans get it

A lesson from Indiana Republicans on why non-discrimination is good for business.

Jason Rapert bullies Medical Board over abortion rules

Sen.Jason Rapert hectorsthe state Medical Board about whether his law making woman get information about fetal heartbeats when seeking an abortion is being complied with. Where will his invasion of women's medical privacy end?

Additions announced for Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail

UALR's Institute on Race and Ethnicity will add 14 plaques to the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail at a ceremony at 3 p.m. Nov. 12 at Scott and Markham Streets.

Revenge porn strikes legislative opponent of criminal bill

The Indiana legislator victimized by unauthorized distribution of a sexy video from his cellphone would have had police recourse in Arkansas — a law against revenge porn. The legislator helped block such a bill in Indiana.

Congressional candidate Curry supports Planned Parenthood funding

Dianne Curry, an announced Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, a seat now held by Republican Rep. French Hill, has criticized Hill for his vote to stop federal Medicaid money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics.

State fights for excluding Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

The state of Arkansas has filed a lengthy brief in federal court asking federal Judge Kristine Baker not to enjoin the state from cutting Planned Parenthood's two clinics in Arkansas off the Medicaid program.

Arkansas Business details settlement of banker Scooter Stuart's money

Arkansas Business has the details on the resolution of a dispute over assets seized from the estate of  Layton "Scooter" Stuart, former CEO of One Bank and Trust.

Little Rock School District sets announcement; includes deal on building for West Little Rock middle school

Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus has scheduled an important announcement at 1 p.m. today.Our sources indicate Kurrus will announce the district has put under contract the vacant Leisure Arts building on Highway 10 as the site of a middle school.

New work on Main Street adds $80,000

City is spending an additional $80,000 to alter a recently replaced stretch of Main Street sidewalk to install new street lights.

Mass shootings at Oregon college; 10 dead, many injured

Another mass shooting, this one at Umpqua (Ore.) Community College. CNN is reporting 10 dead and seven injured.

Starting tonight: the 4th annual Made By Few conference

So, yes, tonight marks the launch of the fourth annual Little Rock design/web/tech/friend-making/life-changing (at least for me) conference, Made By Few. This is organized by local design and development firm Few. Nice guys and gals there. I understand registered guests this year include over 250 folks from over 30 states and at least one country. But this isn’t just a milling about kind of conference. There will be speakers, too. Ever heard of Etsy? Their Creative Director will be there to craft a great presentation. What about a little thing called Spotify? Lead designer ready to rock. And don’t stop there, want to learn a thing or two from the co-founder of OK Cupid? Fall in love with this idea: you can. Even the inmimitible Aaron Draplin is returning this year. These folks plus a number of other speakers are on the rooster for this year’s conference. I implore you to check out the list on the website on your desktop or mobile device because you know what? Their website is responsible. #profesh

Take the downtown Little Rock tour — free. And don't miss the food trucks.

City promoters are planning free downtown  tours twice daily on Saturdays in October, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The open line. Plus, execution glitches

The open line and a question about executions in Arkansas, given the foulups in Oklahoma.

What happened to the Little Rock Film Festival?

In a short note posted on their website Wednesday morning, the Little Rock Film Festival announced that they would be closing down. The development took many by surprise — World Shorts curator Justin Nickels told the Times he had learned of the decision 12 hours earlier. The Times spoke to festival founders Brent and Craig Renaud today, who explained the move had been under consideration for at least a year and was the result of new projects and time commitments which would prevent both filmmakers from giving the festival the attention it deserved.

No trial necessary in Baxter County Nativity scene lawsuit

Federal Judge Timothy Brooks has decided there won't need to be a trial of the lawsuit by a Mountain Home woman challenging all but a Nativity scene from display on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn during the Christmas season.

Regulators fine ExxonMobil $2.6 million on pipeline failure and specify safety steps

A federal regulatory agency has issued a final order in its review of the break of Exxon Mobil's Pegasus pipeline that spewed 5,000 barrels of heavy crude on a Mayflower subdivision and into nearby wetlands in March 2013.

Kurrus: District studying facility for WLR school, will build in SWLR regardless

Baker Kurrus' announcement this afternoon that the district is moving forward with two new facilities projects is among the most significant development in the LRSD since the district was taken over by the state in January.

UPDATE: Walmart headquarters terminates 450 today

Look for news this morning on layoffs in the executive offices at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville. Media reports have varied on the number, with the Wall Street Journal predicting fewer than 500 job cuts.

Vatican distances Pope Francis from Kim Davis' views. Plus, he met with gay couple.

The Vatican is now distancing Pope Francis from the view of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, with whom he had a secret meeting while on his trip to the U.S.

The search for explanations in the Oregon shootings

Social media mining has begun in the search for understanding (as if) in the mass shooting yesterday at an Oregon community college. A sample here of what's being unearthed about the young man identified as the shooter, who died in an exchange with police.

Medicaid report secret until Wednesday

A consultant's report on changes to the private option health insurance program has been completed, but the public can't see it until next week because it has been deemed legislative working papers.

Monthly revenue report for Arkansas: Mixed

State tax revenue in September was 1.4 percent less than the same month last year, but $13 million, or 2.3 percent above forecast. Not a lot of room for more tax cuts and big increases in highway spending.

Independence County judge furls the Confederate flag at courthouse

Independence County Judge Robert Griffin confirms that he had a Confederate flag taken down last night at the Independence County Courthouse because of continuing controversy.

Razorbackula and a tour through the police blotter

A certain morbid curiosity about crime is one of the few silver linings of living in a place where the per capita crime rate rivals even the shystiest hellhole corners of the country. So that’s our topic for the week, crime reporting.

U.S. education chief Arne Duncan to depart cabinet position in December

He'll be succeeded by Deputy Secretary John B. King, Jr., formerly the chief of schools in New York state, where he became a lightning rod for critics of the Common Core.

Ever butt-dialed 911? False alarm from panic button in West Fork

KNWA reports on the lockdown Tuesday of West Fork schools after the child of a teacher accidentally punched the panic button on her mobile phone.

Vet with concealed weapon explains why he didn't shoot in Umpqua; also a call for action by Congressman Hill

A vet with a legal concealed weapon on campus when shooting broke out in Oregon explains why he didn't shoot.

Huckabee goes political on guns. Draws fire at dangerous Little Rock.

It didn't take a genius to predict that Mike Huckabee,  his presidential race in the toilet, would try to capitalize on the Oregon massacre and in the most predictable way possible: He'd play gun politics by accusing others of playing gun politics, the hated black President Obama particularly.

Clinton speaks at Anne Frank tree dedication

We couldn't make the Clinton Library installation today of an Anne Frank memorial with a sapling taken from a tree outside the diarist's hideout from the Nazis in Amsterdam, but Alexis Hosticka of Arkansas Business was on hand for the former president's remarks.

Judge blocks Arkansas from stopping money for Planned Parenthood for three; Governor vows cutoff for others

Federal Judge Kristine Baker has issued a preliminary injunction to stop Arkansas from cutting off Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood for Jane Doe plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Gov. Asa Hutchinson's directive that the support be stopped.

Finalists named for UA-Fayetteville chancellor's job

Donald Bobbitt, the University of Arkansas System president, has selected three finalists for the chancellor's position at the UA campus in Fayetteville. They are top officers from state universities in Kansas and Ohio.

The Imperial Base to School Edition

A federal judge stopping the state from cutting off Medicaid reimbursement to Planned Parenthood, the federal government imposing a fine for the break of ExxonMobil’s pipeline in Mayflower in 2013, Mike Huckabee disappearing candidacy, the Little Rock School District’s building plans, the end of the Little Rock Film Festival and more — all covered on this week's podcast.

The Friday line and video

Over to you.

First they come for your schools, then your speech

From the Los Angeles Times, another example of the Walton billions put to work to damage those with whom they disagree, particularly teacher unions.

Main Street Food Truck Festival is today

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership's ever growing Food Truck Festival is today on Main Street and the lineup is impressive.

Game time open line

Some food truck photos come with tonight's open line.

Can fresh faces help Democrats in legislative races? Here's one from Dardanelle.

Some fresh Democratic faces have been popping up in races for state legislature. Here's another, Lesa Wolfe Crowell of Dardanelle, who hopes to knock off a Republican representative.

Taxpayer-subsidized football: Deductions for the good seats

Luxury suite seating at Razorback Stadium raises again the taxpayer subsidy provided people who can afford the expensive seats at major college sporting events, particularly football.

NY Times: How mass shooters got their arsenals

The New York Times examines how arsenals were assembled by recent perpetrators of mass shootings, an article that includes a call for stricter gun laws from Ian Mercer, the father of Chris Harper-Mercer, who killed himself after killing nine people on an Oregon community college campus.

Maumelle charter school investigating porn on website

The Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle has suspended a teacher after a report of sexually explicit material appearing on the school's website. KARK reports.

SNL: A drug for the deluded who think they could be elected president

Mike Huckabee was one of the key punchlines on a Saturday Night Live spoof of hopeless presidential candidates.

Sunday open line

The Sunday open line.

Gov. Hutchinson auctions dinner with the governor at Mansion for charity

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Brian Fanney reports on a subject that has been talked about lately — Gov. Asa Hutchinson's decision to break from past practice and allow charities to auction dinner with him at the Governor's Mansion

Clinton to announce gun safety ideas

Hillary Clinton prepares to take on gun policy. Messaging is key.

Big savings touted in prison health care cost-shifting

Legislative publicity offices distributed a news release today that said the state was saving almost $8 million a year under legislation that makes it easier to seek Medicaid coverage for inmates of the Department of Correction.

School threats stir police response in Conway

A couple of threats of school violence reported in Conway — at a junior high and UCA. Students were taken into custody in both cases and there's been no report yet that the threats were serious.

Main Street Food Truck Festival was bigger than ever

Our good friend Kat Robinson shares some pictures and thoughts on the Main Street Food Truck Festival.

ASU gets $1 million gift for sales education

The family of builder and real estate developer Robert M. "Bob" Wood has given Arkansas State University, his alma mater, $1 million for a sales leadership center for sales research and education.

Shoe's on other foot for opponents of Hurricane Sandy aid in South Carolina

Now that South Carolina is coping with unimaginable flooding, it's time for everyone in the U.S. to join hands and chip in to disaster relief. Right? Or should the example of Tom Cotton and other southern Republicans, including those from South Carolina, be followed. They opposed Hurricane Sandy aid.

Another week begins. The open line.

Here's Monday's open line and the daily video roundup.

More obstructionism from Tom Cotton

Sen. Tom Cotton can always find an excuse to obstruct the Obama administration. Today, he's holding up ambassador appointments because of the unrelated question of whether the Secret Service leaked information about U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who once unsuccessfully appplied to work in the Secret Service.

Figurative master, early Fauvist, late Cubist: Alfred Maurer at Crystal Bridges

"Alfred Maurer: Art on the Edge," opening Saturday, Oct. 10, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, should appeal to all sorts of art lovers. The show includes 65 works, including two from the Crystal Bridges Collection, "Jeanne," the snarling, smoking larger-than-life lady in satin, and "Fauve Landscape with Red and Blue."

UPDATE: Appeal notice filed on ruling on state defunding of Planned Parenthood

The state has filed notice of appeal of federal Judge Kristine Baker's issuance of a temporary injunction Friday in the case over Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order that the state stop providing Medicaid reimbursement for Planned Parenthood medical services.

UA Board plans chancellor trip

Members of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will travel Wednesday  to Lawrence, Kan., and Columbus, O., as part of the board's deliberation of candidates for chancellor of the Fayetteville campus of UA.

Ashdown school officials defend prayer exercises

KTBS reports on yet another public school district — this time in Ashdown — that thinks it has found a way around court dictates against organized prayer activities in public schools.

Jay Dickey regrets his legislation to curb gun research

Former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey now says he's sorry about his namesake 1996 legislation that has stifled gun research.

Hot dogging at the State Fair

Double your pleasure with one of the new food items on offer at this year's Arkansas State Fair.

Former UA associate counsel Varady to head Razorback Foundation

The University of Arkansas Athletic Department announced today that Scott Varady, who's worked 19 years in the UA general counsel's office, would become the new director of the Razorback Foundation.

Arrest made in Rodney Parham hit and run

KARK reports that Kevin Linsley, 35, has surrendered to Little Rock police on charges of negligent homicide and failure to stop after an accident in the Aug. 28 death of a pedestrian Ian Canham, 29, at Rodney Parham and Old Forge Roads.

Q: Is Trey Gowdy's Benghazi probe a political hit on Hillary Clinton?

Nifty video impales Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy on his assertion that his Benghazi witch hunt isn't about Hillary Clinton.

Rutledge files Supreme Court petition in abortion case

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed the state's petition with the U.S. Supreme Court today to ask it to review the decisions by a district and federal appellate court that Arkansas's attempt to prohibit most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy was unconstitutional.

eStem to open new elementary/middle school in east Little Rock

The planned site is near the Clinton Library and the Heifer International headquarters, said eStem CEO John Bacon today.

Jury refuses claim over arrest in Dover; but one defendant settled for $225,000 moments before

On the second day of deliberation, a federal court jury today declined to find in favor of a claim by Eva and Pat Robinson and their son Matthew who said excessive force had been used against the 16-year-old boy and his mother in a 2011 incident in Dover. But one defendant had settled 30 minutes earlier for $225,000.

Watch a new documentary by the Renaud Brothers, 'Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis'

Brent and Craig Renaud have a new documentary out at the New York Times today, "Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis," in which they follow Central American teenagers fleeing violence in Honduras and Guatemala and attempting to enter Mexico and the U.S. It's immersive, first-person reporting — fascinating and important.

Tuesday's line is open

Here's Tuesday's open line and the daily news video.

Little Rock Tech Park: Same old story of establishment politics

C.J. Duvall has again risen to the fore in challenging insider politics by the Little Rock Tech Park Authority. It's a case study of how the good old boy club in Little Rock works.

John Walker prepared to rev up school litigation

A federal lawsuit is in the works by civil rights lawyer John Walker over racial discrimination in the takeover of the Little Rock School District. It is another good opportunity to review the influence of the city business establishment in political and school affairs.

Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau launches "Locally Labeled" program for beer, wine and spirits

The LRCVB announces a new "passport" program to highlight all the great beer, wine and spirits made right here in central Arkansas.

Health Reform Task Force releases consultant's report; recommends continuing private option, with tweaks

The Health Reform Legislative Task Force's consultant, the Stephen Group, is releasing its final report on the future of health reform and the private option in Arkansas. Get excited.

Bill Clinton explains everything for Stephen Colbert

Bill Clinton, master of explaining stuff, was asked last night by Stephen Colbert to explain the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump and whether he'd urged Trump into the presidential race. Check it out.

No decision today on request for execution delay

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen heard testimony this morning on the request by Death Row inmates to postpone scheduled executions until questions are answered about drugs to be used in the lethal injections. He's promised a ruling by next week.

Mirror, mirror: Marianela de la Hoz at UALR

The mirror as a symbol for personal reflection and thinking is the subject of "Speculum-Speculari," an exhibition of works in egg tempera, silverpoint, ink and graphite by Marianela de la Hoz of San Diego opening Saturday,Oct. 10, in the Fine Arts Center of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The exhibition includes mirrors with painted phrases that refer to reflection.

Wildwood puts on "Park's Pants" (Nancy Nolan's photobiography of her son)

Since her son, Park, was born 19 years ago, Nancy Nolan has been documenting his life by photographing him in a pair of jeans — the same pair from infancy to now. She writes on her Park's Pants website that his birth was difficult for both him and her and that he spent a couple of months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She's grateful for his life, and now we're grateful that Wildwood Park for the Arts is providing a venue for the exhibition, "Park's Pants," which Nolan is doing in collaboration with photographer Dave Anderson.

A peek at what GOP lawmakers would like to do to Medicaid if a Republican is elected president

A look at the Stephen Group's "out of the box" recommendations to the Health Reform Task Force — the ideas that the GOP-led legislature might pursue if a Republican takes the White House.

Wednesday's open line. And a call to and about arms

It's the midweek open line. Plus, People magazine has published contact information for every member of Congress and urged readers to call them to do something about gun violence. We have Arkansas contact info here.

Buzzfeed: Huckabee book full of bogus quotes

Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski scores another in its systematic review of the walking exaggeration that is failing presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Stephen Parks gets 27 months in federal prison in investment fraud

Stephen K. Parks, 62, of Little Rock has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay the IRS $845,000 in restitution for wire fraud in an investment scheme involving sale of refined coal tax credits. He'd pleaded guilty. He's also forfeiting more than $7.5 million in cash and property realized in the scheme.

Arts Council Fellowship winners in the visual arts: Holder, Castleman, Ford

Dawn Holder, whose ceramic installation "Landscape" was exhibited in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., Dayton Castleman, who has exhibited sculpture in Chicago and Northwest Arkansas, and Joe Ford, a 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in the Humanities and 3D Visualization Institute, have won $4,000 Arkansas Arts Council's Individual Fellowship Awards in the sculpture/installation category.

Here's text of lawsuit fighting takeover of Little Rock School District

As I wrote earlier, John W. Walker late today filed his promised lawsuit over the state takeover of the Little Rock School District and ending of a democratically elected school board. We have here a link to the suit.

An introduction to I Love Juice Bar

Meet the I Love Juice Bar in Midtown, and learn more about adding healthy and delicious products to your diet.