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October 24, 2013

Vol 40 • No 8

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Arkansas enjoying a craft beer boom

Three years ago there were only four craft breweries in the state. Now there are 17.

The Hillcrest Fountain: home before you head home

Times readers vote the Fountain top bar in Central Arkansas.

Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival 2013 guide

With beer from 50 brewers from across the country.

Best of Central Arkansas booze 2013

Times readers select their favorite local watering holes and drinks.

Baker to open a production facility employing 150 in Springdale

Gov. Mike Beebe today announced that South Coast Baking, which produces frozen dough for commercial baking, will open a new production line in Springdale that will employ 150.

Bricks fall on truck during downtown rehabilitation work

No one was hurt, but a concrete truck was crushed, when brick facade fell from the back side of the building at 315 Main that is being shored up in preparation for conversion to the K-Lofts apartment project.

Writer William Harrison dies

Renowned fiction writer William Harrison, who lived in Fayetteville for the last 50 years, died yesterday.

Secretary of state's public affairs division silent on double dipping report

I reported here yesterday a summary of Freedom of Information work by Matt Campbell of the Blue Hog Report.

Scrutiny planned for Death Row inmate's hearing

A criminal justice reform group says it will be monitoring the hearing next Monday in 

Fayetteville athletic director arrested for Internet stalking

This news from KFSM/KXNW: 

Democrats take credit for Rep. Tim Griffin calling it quits

For the second time, I'm inclined to take U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin at his word.

Pay $100, vote on public art

A Night in the Garden attendees will choose your art for you.

Wednesday night line

Three down, two to go. The line is open.

Zombie outbreak blamed on Mayflower pipeline breach!

Okay, not really. But there's a paintball place up in Conway running a "Zombie Hunt" that claims that.

Pryor favors extension in signup for health insurance

With problems plaguing signup for new health insurance options under the exchange program provided under the Affordable Care Act, efforts have begun to ameliorate the situation.

Thursday: 10 Years, Big BOO!-seum Bash and more

10 Years performs at Revolution Thursday.

Mount St. Mary Academy and the firing of Tippi McCullough

'I just wanted to teach,' says McCullough.

Farm to terrible at Pancetta

Local ingredients can't make up for subpar preparation.

10 Years at Revolution

Also, Stiff Necked Fools come to Afterthought.

Ozark Folk Festival kicks off in Eureka

Also, 'Little Rock and a Hard Place' at The Joint, Halloween-related events, Artistry of the Guitar at South on Main, Reason in the Rock at the Wyndham Hotel, John Edward at Robinson and Coheed and Cambria at Revolution.

Seeing 'Red' at The Rep

Rothko paints the town, at The Rep and Arts Center.

By hook or by ...

In modern crime slang, a hooker is "a prostitute." But in Shakespeare's day, according to Bill Bryson in "Shakespeare: The World as Stage," a hooker was one who snatched desirables through open windows with hooks.

Rallying for Human Rights

A woman holds a sign Monday during a protest supporting former Mount St. Mary teacher Tippi McCullough, who was forced to resign last week after legally marrying her partner, Barb Mariani.

Looking bleak in Hogdom

This is the 91st edition of Pearls About Swine, and all prior installments, without fail, have been a byproduct of my own eyes and ears. This is my solemn vow. Not this week.

Rothko in the '40s opens

And portraiture shows make three at the Arts Center.

What's next for Tim Griffin?

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin announced earlier this week that he will not seek another term after four years in Congress. What will he do next? We checked with our bookie and here are the current odds on Griffin's next move.

It was a good week for Arkansas school teachers

It was also a good week for new blood in the Second District, a new candidate in the Fourth District and Democrats. It was a bad week for same-sex marriage by schoolteachers, the Razorbacks and Harrison.

How will Arkansans pay for all the new prisons and people to run them as we fill them full?

And who do we warehouse in these prisons?

Tea Party scheme bad for U.S., GOP

The deep stresses inside the Republican Party, which erupted into fratricidal war during the government shutdown and debt crisis, have been an unexpected blessing for Democrats everywhere, even in the deeply red states of the Confederacy.

'Carrie,' again

Moretz does well by King's classic character.

Tim Griffin's surprise exit

Media weren't the only people caught by surprise Monday by U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's announcement that he would not seek re-election in 2014.

The Second District shakeup

Just under four years ago, a Second District congressman facing difficult poll numbers because of his national party's travails suddenly announced his departure from the race, sending the Central Arkansas political world into a frenzy. On Monday morning, Tim Griffin did the same, surprising most everyone just as his predecessor, Democrat Vic Snyder, had done.

Mercury in retrograde

As if The Observer didn't have enough to worry about, Spouse flitted past the other day while we were relaxing at The Observatory and told us to watch out: Mercury is in retrograde between now and Nov. 10, and at HALLOWEEN no less!

Not brothers' keepers

Republicans like Ted Cruz are gnashing their teeth because they failed in their effort to deny affordable health care to all low-income Americans. But they did manage to keep millions of their poor and sick countrymen from receiving treatment. For a party that has become dedicated to not helping people, this is a significant accomplishment.

Doing well

Tea Partyers hate Social Security too. Its great success is a continuing refutation of the right-wing theory of government, which is, essentially, that the government can't do anything right.

Pro-common sense

Not every fundamentalist is a right-winger. Crackpot utopianism and black and white thinking infect all social, political and religious movements. Indeed, it often appears that abandoning common sense for dogma is one of the main concomitants of a certain kind of liberal arts education.

Michael Bloomberg aims to defeat Mark Pryor

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already meddled in Arkansas politics by targeting Sen. Mark Pryor with ads in his gun control campaign.

Tom Cotton's bedfellows include Citizens United advocate Ted Olson

Last night's right-wing fund-raiser for Extremist Republican Tom Cotton's U.S. Senate campaign included some big names as hosts. 

Private business gets its nose in government's tent: See LR Chamber and Tech Park

I recommend this reporting by the Center for Public Integrity because the ills it highlights are already creeping into Arkansas.

3 wonderful ways to do Dallas right

If you foresee a trip to Big D in your immediate future (and I hope you all do), I offer this (very) short list of some of the must-try restaurants in city. And while it seems almost ridiculously hard to narrow down and compress this grand city into one article, I offer this—the best way to do Dallas right.

Friday: Stiff Necked Fools, 'Rocky Horro' at Market Street and more

Stiff Necked Fools play at The Afterthought Friday.

Gunshot victim dies week after shooting

Homicide report from the Little Rock police department: Chadrick Clemmons, 27, was found critically wounded by a gunshot about 11:15 p.m. last night near a basketball court in the 2700 block of Summit

Barry Hyde's bad start for county judge campaign

Barry Hyde announced yesterday for county judge. He was a competent and engaged state legislator and runs a successful construction business.

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr commutes today by State Police

An Ethics Commission review continues of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's use of campaign money for expenses that appear to be personal in nature, including gas fillups on 

Third annual Ark. Cornbread Festival in SOMA on Nov. 2

I like a good skillet of cornbread or — even better — Mexican cornbread as well as the next guy.

John Moreland talks about becoming a singer-songwriter, plays "3:59 AM"

In the latest edition of "Live from Fellowship Hall Sound," a video collaboration with Greg Spradlin and Camp Friday Films, Tulsa's John Moreland talks about his musical upbringing and early songwriting and plays "3:59AM," from his latest album, "In the Throes."

Pop Up in the Rock is Saturday on Seventh

The city's second Pop Up festival demonstrates a lively urban scene on Seventh between Cross and Main.

The line is open; duck and cover the political fire

Sorry, I've been distracted today by some family activities. The line is open.

More than 60,000 Arkansans have enrolled in the "private option" for Medicaid expansion

In testimony before the Joint Public Health Committee at the capitol today, the Department of Human Services released the latest figures on enrollment in the "private option" for Medicaid expansion.

Republicans' bogus claims that Mark Pryor flip flopped on Obamacare

I was going to write a post carefully documenting how nonsensical the blubbering from many Arkansas Republicans, including Rep. Tom Cotton, has been on Sen. Mark Pryor endorsing the idea of extending open enrollment for Obamacare.

The KUAR pledge morning line

I'm off to UALR early, so a quick roundup before I go: * MAKE A PLEDGE TO KUAR/GET A MATCH: Rosi Smith and I will be raising money on KUALR/KLRE this morning.

A "new" cheesecake in town

Sample one next time you’re out shopping or eating at one of the above mentioned retailers. Odds are you’ll be equally impressed with The New Cheesecake Company’s wares.

Saturday: Mud Run, Lord T & Eloise and more

Lord T & Eloise perform at Revolution Saturday.

The mid-morning catchup: Huckabee, state House, more

My morning fund-raising stint on KUAR puts me behind. So I'll wrap up some stuff quickly.

Dark money groups get $1 million fine in California

So-called "dark money" groups that spend mysteriously sourced funds in political campaigns have been fined $1 million in California.

Police blotter: Rape arrest, teacher resignation

News from the police blotter: * RAPE SUSPECT ARRESTED:

Food Feedback Friday: the tour, the pour, and more

It’s starting to get chilly out there, and while I’m hoping we aren’t forced to live through another ice apocalypse this year, I certainly welcome the cooler weather. Time to tell us where you're eating.

Pork producers suggest more danger to Buffalo River from people than pigs

The campaign against a mass hog feeding operation in the Buffalo National River watershed is generating enough heat that the agricultural industry is fighting back.

Kathy Webb considering race for Pulaski County judge

Multiple sources tell me that they've heard definitively that former state Rep. Kathy Webb of Little Rock plans to run for Pulaski County judge.

Vote suppression watch: In Texas, women's votes imperiled

Women of my political bent are feverishly circulating news reports about a Texas gambit in the drive to restrict voting to Republicans (aging, white males.)

Does Tim Griffin's website on Obamacare work?

An e-mail has arrived from Tim Griffin, the Republican who's quitting the U.S. House at the end of next year to make more money.

The Friday night line

I've had a long week and I'm thinking I'm going to bug out early. To finish up, I share at the top a heartfelt Game and Fish Commission video tribute to a young wildlife officer, Joel Campora, who died attempting a rescue during Scott County flooding.

The Tim Griffin Bows Out Edition

Tim Griffin’s decision not seek reelection and what his exit means for the future of the Second District, the final Little Rock Tech Park vote (or was it?), the Pulaski County judge race, Bloomberg v. Pryor and the latest shadiness from the lieutenant governor and secretary of state's offices — all covered on this week's podcast.

Morning notes: Little Rock in court, state in court, conservatives in Washington

Some morning odds and ends: * LITTLE ROCK IN COURT I: Here's a copy of the city of Little Rock's response to the lawsuit over the bungling of a 911 call that led to the death of a woman trapped in frigid water after her SUV slid off an icy road.

Little Rock lawyer pays strip club steak tab for Bryant police chief Mark Kizer

Well isn't this a hoot(er)? Shelli Russell at reports that Little Rock lawyer Jack Wagoner has sent a check for $158 to Bryant Police Chief Mark Kizer to reimburse his $58 dinner tab at an Orl

Tim Griffin promises future in public service

If you're not on his list, I share below a letter from U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin about his decision not to seek re-election and a comment on plans post-Congress.

The Saturday night line; another Pulaski County judge candidate

The line is open. Final note:

Little Rock City Board: Building and boozing

Now and again I take a look at the full agenda packet for coming Little Rock City Board of Directors meetings.

Another line of inquiry for auditors: University of Arkansas athletic spending doesn't match budget

A new post recently on on a blog titled "Academic Daylight: Transparency at the University of Arkansas," is worth a look.

Gov. Beebe, Speaker Carter at Scaryoke: Where's the bootleg?

John Lyon at Stephens Media has an item about a coming moment in Arkansas musical history.

Monday: Brave Combo at Stickyz

Brave Combo plays at Stickyz Monday.

The Sunday night line: Football and an airport merit attention

The Sunday night line is open. Closing out:

American exceptionalism: Broadband edition

Many friends surf the net for items of interest so I don't have to. One such nugget that turned up in the morning mail is a report on BBC on the high cost of home broadband service in the United States and the high cost of bundled phone/TV/internet service.

Drug problem halts capital punishment, maybe forever

The National Journal offers a long look at the troubled state of capital punishment in the U.S. thanks to the lack of acceptable drugs for the lethal injection process.

Arkansas Republicans pile on HHS Secretary Sebelius

The Republicans in the Arkansas congressional delegation are joining the pile-on of Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius for the flaws besetting the website to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

At the Arts Center: Rothko in the 1940s, Face to Face, Portraiture Now

Tomorrow, the Arkansas Arts Center opens its much-anticipated exhibition of works by Mark Rothko, along with artists self-portraits from the co

Pioneering, Arkansas-born stuntman and director Hal Needham dead at age 82

Pioneering Arkansas-born stuntman Hal Needham — current record holder for the world's most awesome life — died on Friday.

Matt Campbell sues Lt. Gov. Darr for concealing cell phone number in FOI request

Matt Campbell, the Little Rock lawyer and Blue Hog Report blogger, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today against Lt. Gov. Mark Darr because his office redacted his cell phone number from an information request Campbell had made for phone records.

Former Mount St. Mary teacher gets 10-year prison sentence

Channel 4 reports that Kelly O'Rourke, a former teacher at Mount St. Mary Academy, was sentenced to 10 years in prison this morning for sexually assaulting a student.

Vote to bar workplace discrimination against gay people puts Pryor on the spot

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will schedule a vote before Thanksgiving on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to ban workplace discrimination on account of sexual orientation

Food canner Allens of Siloam Springs files bankruptcy petition

This breaking business news from Arkansas Business:

Vote for 'The Pill Girls' trailer

[embed-1] Movie trailers can be an artform in and of themselves, so we love the effort by Arkansas actress Ashlie Atkinson and her fiance Leon Chase, called "The Pill Girls." Atkinson produced the fictional trailer — for an alleged 1970's chixsplotation flick about five drugged up, sexed up women terrorizing NYC — while Chase directed.

Texas abortion law struck down

A federal district court in Texas has struck down that state's restrictive abortion law. It required all abortions to be peformed at surgical facilties, required doctors to have admitting priviThe law, one of the strictest in the nation, banned abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and required doctors to perform all abortion in surgical facilities starting next October.

Darr's State Police travel assists included plane flight with son

I got followup information today from the State Police related to my inquiry about the frequency with which Lt. Gov. Mark Darr uses State Police transportation to travel from him his home in Springdale to his work in the Capitol.

Coming Thursday: Donald Roller Wilson

To Greg Thompson Fine Art.

Clemmer sets announcement on 2nd District run

This just in by e-mail: Ann Clemmer To Make Announcement About Arkansas’ 2nd District

Tomorrow night: Dunbar Garden event to feature hors d'oeuvres from South on Main, Natchez and Butcher and Public chefs

Amazing music, courtesy of Bonnie Montgomery! Delicious passed hors d'oeuvres from South on Main chef Matt Bell, Natchez chef Alexis Jones and Butcher and Public chef Travis McConnell!

The Sandy's Homeplace Cafe story

The latest from the Times collaboration with Greg Spradlin and Camp Friday Films is a short profile on beloved home cookin' restaurant Sandy's Homeplace Cafe.

Clinton Airport responds to low rating in magazine poll

I mentioned yesterday the blow struck by Travel and Leisure magazine in rating Clinton National Airport in Little Rock as the worst in the country.

The Monday night line

Another week begins and the Monday line is open. Final words:

Kathy Webb says no to county judge race

I received this e-mail just now from former state Rep. Kathy Webb : In the past several days I have been asked by a number of people in our county to consider a race for Pulaski County Judge.

Nostalgic mall eats at Corn Dog 7

A trip down memory lane can only end with one thing: a corn dog.

Another poll; another dead heat on Pryor and Cotton

The City Wire is up with another poll on the race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and Tom Cotton, the extremist Republican.

Democratic Party makes ethics complaint about Tom Cotton

The Arkansas Democratic Party will have a news conference today to talk about its complaint to the Office of Professional Ethics that U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton may have conducted a radio interview that included an appeal for campaign support while at the U.S. Capitol Sept. 30.

Retired Army peace activist to speak in Little Rock

Retired Army Col. Ann Wright, a Bentonville native who's become a peace activist, will speak at 7 p.m.

Roaches plague Little Rock housing project

Fox 16 has the day's Big Ick — complains by residents of the Sunset Terrace public housing project (near the State Fairgrounds) of a roach infestation.

Mercy for Animals complains about practices of Walmart pork supplier

Also on today's agenda: A news conference by the group Mercy for Animals about practices of a Walmart pork supplier in Minnesota.

Wednesday To-Do: Coheed and Cambria

Coheed and Cambria perform at Revolution Wednesday.

Wednesday: Blue Sky Black Death

Blue Sky Black Death performs at Stickyz Wednesday.

Campaign for Robinson renovation bond issue begins today

Little Rock voters will go the polls Dec. 10 to pledge the two-cent restaurant and hotel tax to repay a bond issue to finance the renovation and expansion of Robinson Auditorium.

The influence of money on judicial elections; voters are wary

The rising influence of special interest money in judicial elections, particularly to state supreme courts, is the subject of a new report, The New Politics of Judicial Elections, 2011-12: How New Waves of Special Interest Spending Raised the Stakes for Fair Courts.

UPDATE: The Republicans want health care to work? Tim Griffin gets an earful

Americans United for Change, the group working to support Obama initiatives, is a day late but nonetheless right on the money in response to Republicans' sudden concerns about making the Affordable Care Act work.

Asa Hutchinson 'nudges' French Hill to run for 2nd District Congress. It worked

Asa Hutchinson, one of the Republican gubernatorial candidates, spoke Saturday to the Van Buren County Republican Party's Reagan luncheon in Clinton.

Walmart passes out some promotions

Amid criticism of its low pay and large part-time workforce, Walmart made a PR move today with visits to selected stores to announce promotions to 25,000 employees among its 1.3-million workforce.

"Say it ain't Say's" pie contest returns

Enter by Nov. 18, turn pies in for judging Dec. 1.

Judge orders new trial for Tim Howard

Lab evidence about DNA tests was withheld in the capital murder case.

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Game and Fish request more testing of Lake Conway from Exxon

Game and Fish letter says that Exxon's figure for a certain kind of contamination may misrepresent the amount of toxins still in the environment.

The Neosho mucket open line

settlement biological diversity. spotted owl group. 

Mark Pryor to vote for Employment Non-Discrimination Act

I've just received a brief message from Sen. Mark Pryor's office. It's big news.

Thursday: Iron Tongue, Old Haunted Warehouse, 'Red' and more

Iron Tongue plays at White Water Tavern Thursday.

Thursday To-Do: The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers play at Revolution Thursday.

Thursday-Friday To-Do: Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo runs through Friday at the Little Rock Zoo.

Friday To-Do: Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival

The 2nd Annual Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival is Friday in Argenta.

Friday and Saturday To-Do: Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald performs in Fort Smith and Conway this weekend.

Weekend: Paul Prater, Jim Mize, Smile Empty Soul and more

Smile Empty Soul performs Sunday at Revolution.

"50 50 50": Jean Joseph Bernard

On exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Saturday To-Do: Motion City Soundtrack

Motion City Soundtrack plays Juanita's Saturday.

Saturday: Reverend Horton Heat at Revolution

The Reverent Horton Heat plays at Revolution Saturday.

Tuesday To-Do: The Mowgli's

The Mowgli's play at Juanita's Tuesday night.

Tuesday To-Do: 'The State of Arizona'

Laman Library screens "The State of Arizona" Tuesday evening.

Tuesday: The Apache Relay and Johnathan Rice at Stickyz

The Apache Relay plays at Stickyz Tuesday.