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Discovering Jones

Discovering Jones

November 10, 2016

Vol 43 • No 10

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The Kingdom of Norman

Club owner and former Miss Gay America Norman Jones has been providing safe spaces for Arkansas's LGBT community for 40 years. Love him or not, he has helped make being LGBT acceptable in Arkansas.

Violent election

Writing in the tranquility of election morning, after and before the maelstrom, one must be struck by the long campaign's terrible peculiarities. But what stands out most is a level of viciousness and violence not seen in politics since the Civil War.

Gator bites

In a year where an unapologetic demagogue can sniff the U.S. presidency, I suppose the turbulence of the 2016 football season for Arkansas could've been anticipated, but by all benchmarks, the 31-10 win over Florida in Fayetteville was utterly weird.

Wigs and watermelons

How a drag queen's performance led to allegations of racism.

One last push

Students from Central High holding signs on Chester and 15th streets on Election Day.

Selling kids short

young professional family told me this week they are thinking of leaving Arkansas because the state isn't committed to education and opportunities for their kids. Another parent of a child with special needs told me she's frustrated her school can't afford the help her child needs to get her reading up to grade level. Another parent's child isn't allowed to bring textbooks home because the school doesn't have enough of them, and can't afford more.

"2001: A Space Odyssey" screens at the Argenta Community Theater

Also, Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth plays Maxine's.

Big talk

As the national political melodrama drew near its end, a sometime email correspondent in Texas worried about my safety. An uxorious older gentleman with a love of horses and a weakness for conspiracy theories, he was always puzzled and often angered by my apostasy.

The all-new, expanded To-Do List

Art, music, dance and more.

Refrain for the refugee

Leyla McCalla Trio roared, softly.

Toward a new Arkansas Arts Center

Five architectural firms present ideas on design, connectivity.


Razorbacks and Trump.


By the time you read this, let's hope, it will be over. We put that "hope" in there to pour one out for our homies lost in The Battle of Hanging Chad in Election 2000, when over a hundred million votes and who would hold the most powerful office in the world came down to a handful of nimrods who couldn't fully push a stylus through a piece of paper in Florida. We love the Redneck Rivera, Florida, but don't screw this up for us this time. Seriously.

Can we get along?

he Times production deadline fell before polls closed this week, so I'll look to the past and future.

In response to 'Hillary in Arkansas'

You have to admire the dedication and energy of the older Traveler campaigners. No apathy in that bunch.

Suicide, interrupted

'A Man Called Ove' a comedy in the ancient Greek sense.

Heartbreakers' brunch

Breakfast heals at Farmer's Table Cafe.

Republican legislative count rises by 12 in Arkansas General Assembly

Final count on political alignment in the Arkansas legislature shows a sharp drop in the already small Democratic minority.

Trump protests pop up in Arkansas

Protests developed around the country yesterday, including in Arkansas, to the election of Donald Trump.

Spilled milk: Voter suppression laws DO work

Many factors explain Donald Trump's victory Tuesday, but I think the attention to white identity politics has overshadowed a Republican strategy of long-standing that bore fruit Tuesday — vote suppression.

The new American way: Waterboarding is back!

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton finds a reason to be happy about Donald Trump's election — a return of waterboarding.

Early look at the new Robinson Center

Take a look at the newly renovated Robinson Center.

Justice Wood refuses to get off Michael Morton nursing home case

Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood today said contributions her 2014 campaign received from Michael Morton didn't require her to recuse from cases involving his nursing homes.

Robinson Center re-opens today

Today, the public will get a first chance to see the Robinson Center after the largest architectural update to the building in its history, a $70 million renovation approved by voters in 2013 using a portion of the state's 2 percent hospitality tax.

Mortuus Pater Pictures commended by Governor Asa Hutchinson

In a press conference this morning at Galaxy Furniture in North Little Rock's Argenta District, Gov. Hutchinson congratulated filmmakers Graham Gordy and Daniel Campbell, as well as Executive Producer Gary Newton on the start-up's first feature film, "Antiquities."

A message from North Carolina for Arkansas on LGBT discrimination

A North Carolina vote should send a message to Arkansas about discriminating against gay people.

Razorback women will stand for National Anthem

The Razorback women's basketball team will all stand for the National Anthem for the remainder of the season, the Traveler student newspaper reports.

Democrats capture majority of seats on House tax committee; Repubs irate

Democrats, though in a small minority, have managed to get controlling membership on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and one top Republican is pitching a public fit about.

Arkansas by the numbers: The victories for Trump and marijuana

Hendrix College professor and Times columnist Jay Barth has put together an analysis of the election Tuesday on the demographics that brought Donald Trump and medical marijuana victories in Arkansas.A familiar Republican coalition, plus the now famous less-educated white voter, gave Trump a big win. Marijuana is harder to pin down.

UA Board ponders future of Obamacare

Joann Coleman, who follows the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, sends a message about Board discussion today about the future of Obamacare, which Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have vowed to repeal.

Thursday's open line and news roundup

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

Collectors, it's time: Arts Center show and sale opens Friday

The 48th "Collectors Show and Sale" opens tomorrow (Nov. 11) at the Arkansas Arts Center with about 150 works from New York galleries, all selected by the arts center's Collectors Group in its September trip to the Big Apple.

Tension reported in South Arkansas high schools

Reports are bubbling about election-related tension in one Southeast Arkansas high school and a police call to another.

As Torres trial nears end, jury hears graphic details of alleged child abuse, autopsy

Day three of the Mauricio Torres murder trial included testimony from the victim's sister and the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on six-year-old Isaiah Torres.

Court rules against a Ten Commandments monument

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a lower court ruling that a Ten Commandments monument built with private donations and erected outside the Bloomfield, N.M. City Hall was a constitutional violation.

Do unto others: The election fallout

More details from Conway of students complaining of post-election unpleasantness in the form of harassment of minorities by Trump supporters. School officials downplay the reports.

Why does Tim Griffin rage? Self-aggrandizement potentially thwarted.

Why is Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin so unhappy about the Democrats' packing of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. A self-aggrandizing special interest tax break is why.

Ted Suhl argues for release pending appeal, cites chance of reversal

Ted Suhl, the mental health services executive sentenced Oct. 27 to seven years in prison in a federal bribery case, should be allowed to remain free pending appeal, his attorneys argued in a motion filed this week.

Trump announces transition team

I'm pleased to share a news release from the Donald Trump campaign announcing members of his transition team — led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Arkansas Catholic bishop on Trump: Mixed blessing

Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock has published an election commentary in Arkansas Catholic. Mixed review of the Trump campaign, particularly as it pertains to treatment of immigrants of Hispanic origin and women.

Thank goodness. An open line, week-ending video

Here's the Veterans Day open line and the daily roundup of news and comment. Surely next week can't be any worse.

#Repaint hate: Fayetteville sign painter uses art to fight back

Fayetteville artist and sign painter Olivia Trimble learned from Facebook this morning that someone had painted an obscene and racist tag (see below) on a boarded up window of the vacant City Hospital south of the Fayetteville Public Library. Her solution: "I flew out, loaded my car and covered that up as fast as I could," Trimble told the Times.

The Apocalypse Now Edition

On this week's podcast, Max and Lindsey try to make sense of the election and what’s coming next. They also talk about state politics and the governor’s proposed budget and state S.C. justice Rhonda Wood refusing to recuse from a case involving one of her largest campaign donors.

Will love trump hate? Capitol demonstrators hope so

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the Capitol last night. It was not a protest of Donald Trump's election, but a Vigil of Solidarity.

Talking and governing: Now the hard part for Trump

Donald Trump's campaign promises now meet the test of fulfillment. Some are already being modified. Others, perhaps not, and that has the potential victims nervous.

Open line, plus some election trivia

The open line includes a roundup of post-election news of interest, including some record-correcting on the size of the Democratic vote. Remember: It isn't all counted yet.

Lottery tinkering produces expected result

Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning the wholly expected result of legislation stiffening requirements to receive a lottery scholarship — a decline in applications and awards.

UA chancellor calls for open hearts, minds in election aftermath

University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz sent an e-mail Saturday to students and staff reiterating the campus' commitment to inclusion and diversity.

SNL opens with Kate McKinnon singing 'Hallelujah'

Saturday Night Live's open.

An open line and a time for song

The Sunday open line. Got a favorite hymn? It might be in order.

A call to combat election-related bullying UPDATES

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Arkansas Citizens First Congress have called for  a coordinated response to reports of election-related mistreatment of minority students.

A milder side of Donald Trump

A slightly softer side of Donald Trump emerged in an interview on 60 Minutes.

Comcast announces high-speed data service in Little Rock

Comcast Business announced today that it has completed a fiber optic network in Little Rock that can provide 100-gigabit speed to customers.

This week: A fight over hog waste in the Buffalo River watershed

Coming this week: A Pollution Control and Ecology Commission hearing Wednesday morning on the appeal of state approval of a modified permit for a farm to spread waste from the C and H hog factory feeding operation at Mount Judea on land in the Buffalo River watershed.

The myth about Arkansas's 'high-tax' status

The Arkansas legislature is being dished some propaganda on tax rates this morning. It's baloney, as Ernest Dumas has illustrated a number of times.

State reports on steps to 'stabilize' foster care system

The state Human Services Department reported today on initial steps to "stabilize" the foster care system and released a report, "Moving Beyond Crisis," on a system  now caring for 5,200 children.

Two more robberies in Heights-Hillcrest; up to seven in a month UPDATE

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports a couple more robberies in the Heights and Hillcrest neighborhoods Saturdayby a man with a gun, running the total robberies in the area to seven in a month.

Senate meets in Hot Springs; freebies on at the Oaklawn Jockey Club

The Arkansas Senate is having an orientation session in Hot Springs today and what would be an orientation session without food and drink?

Monday's open line and the daily news roundup

Here's Monday's open line and the daily video with news and comment.

Democrats won't pursue challenge of Faulkner clerk with criminal record

Chris Burks, counsel for the Democratic Party and lawyer for plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the eligibility of Margaret Darterto be Faulkner County clerk, says he won't pursue an appeal of a circuit judge's decision in the case.

1st arch for Broadway Bridge to move Tuesday

The Highway Department has announced that one of two support arches for the new Broadway Bridge will be floated into place Tuesday.

Update: Mauricio Torres found guilty of capital murder in death of 6-year-old son

A Benton County jury this morning found Mauricio Torres, 45, guilty of capital murder and first degree battery after a brief deliberation.

At sentencing, five more children and stepchildren of Mauricio Torres allege previous abuse

Three former stepchildren and two biological children of Torres, all of whom lived with the defendant during the late 1990s or early 2000s, spoke on Monday. All told the court that they suffered chronic abuse at the hands of Mauricio Torres.

Judge denies Ted Suhl's motion to remain free pending appeal

Suhl must report to prison on Monday, January 2, 2017. Wilson's order was succinct. "I have ruled on each point raised by Defendant in previous orders, and I am satisfied that those rulings were correct," he wrote.

Arkansas Bar Association ready for vote on judicial selection proposal. Prospects dim.

The Arkansas Bar Association is ready to debate a proposal to end election of Supreme Court justices and move to merit selection. Prediction: Won't happen.

Trans Arkansas veteran featured on Google video series

Now, maybe more than ever, is a good time for an uplifting story about somebody striving to help a small and not well-understood or accepted minority.

Jerry Jones gift to NLR cops put at more than $300,000

Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones' gift to North Little Rock police is valued at more than $300,000. Is that an ethics violation.

J.B. Hunt settles discrimination case by four Sikh drivers

J.B. Hunt Transport, the Arkansas-based carrier, will pay $260,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by four Sikh drivers who objected on religious ground to the manner in which the company proposed to drug test them.

Republicans in Washington County axe public transit to pick up state 4-H cost

Priorities in Washington County under Republican-led Quorum Court: Cut public transit so the county can pay for a 4-H agent that used to be a state responsibility.

Integrative design: Architect Ken McCown to give talk tonight

Ken McCown, department head and professor of landscape architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas, will give a talk tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center on the changing role of designers.

Father, son involved in shooting in Southwest Little Rock

James Danthon Sparkman, 53, of Sweet Home was found fatally shot Monday evening in a home at 7417 Vega Drive in Southwest Little Rock.

A balm from Ernest Dumas on the election

"It may not be nearly as bad as you expect."

Tom Cotton for the Cabinet; at least he'd leave Arkansas

Tom Cotton for a Trump cabinet job? Why not? What does Arkansas have to lose but a senator.

DHS officials outline ambitious plan to reform state's child welfare system

Coupled with the governor's announcement last week of his intention to seek a $39 million boost in DCFS funding over the next two years, this plan represents a concerted, ambitious effort to improve child welfare outcomes in Arkansas.

'Loving' screening raises $10,000 for Tiger Foundation benefitting Central High

Little Rock native Jeff Nichols brought his new acclaimed film "Loving" to the Ron Robinson Theater last night ahead of the movie's wide release on Friday. The ticketed event raised $10,000 for the Tiger Foundation, a nonprofit that benefits Central High School, Nichols' alma mater.

Jury returns death penalty for Mauricio Torres

Fox 24's Channing Barker reports by Twitter that a Benton County jury has sentenced Mauricio Torres to die for the capital murder of his six-year-old son, Isaiah.

Broadway Bridge span floats into place

One of the two arched spans that will make up most of the new Broadway Bridge was floated into place on the Arkansas River today.

Two shot, one fatally, at east side garage; suspect flees

Police say a woman drove up to a truck repair garage at 815 East Capitol Ave. about 1:30 p.m. today and shot two men. One suffered a wound in the leg; the other later died from a chest wound , police said.

Roosevelt Thompson memorialized at Yale

Yale University had its ceremony last week renaming a dining hall for the late Roosevelt Thompson, the Little Rock native and Central High graduate who died in a car wreck in 1984 shortly before leaving for a Rhodes Scholarship.

Tuesday: An open line and the daily news video

Tuesday's open line and today's news video.

Greenwood student named winner of "Write on. Ride off" essay contest

A contest co-sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and the Arkansas Department of Education awarded a $1,000 mountain bike package to high-school junior

Arkansas's toothless ethics law: Example, Mark Lowery

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Michael Wickline reported this morning that, for the second time in four years, Republican Rep. Mark Lowery had been cited by the state Ethics Commission for failing to comply with campaign finance reporting law. The minor penalty won't discourage similar in the future.

Little Rock's budget shortfall is about more than Internet

Little Rock has a budget problem thanks to lagging tax collections and the Internet isn't the only villain.

Arkansas school board member photographed in blackface

KARK/Fox 16 reports on a social media photograph of a Blevins School Board member in blackface and holding a "Black Lives Matter" sign.

LR reports 34th homicide of year

Another homicide in Little Rock

County groups seek priority for mental health

Associations of county officials have adopted resolutions urging "priority funding" to prevent local jails from becoming warehouses for the mentally ill.

TheaterSquared unveils plans for new 51,000 sq. ft. theater

Northwest Arkansas’s year-round professional theater company, TheaterSquared, unveiled plans last week for what it calls “a new, permanent home.”

Enter the 2017 Arkansas Times Musician's Showcase

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, in which performers will compete for an array of prizes worth over $2,500.

The Little Rock school closure rumble

The plan to close some Little Rock School District elementary schools is stirring questions and harsh criticism.

What does Donald Trump mean to architects? A Fayetteville voice urges wait-and-see

Architects are unhappy about their trade group's conciliatory outreach to Donald Trump when so little is known about how his ideas on climate change and other important topics might clash with their principles. Noted architect Marlon Blackwell of Fayetteville is among those who say there's much yet to be known.

Senate cuts off Democratic committee influence with new rule

The Arkansas Senate is drawing committee assignments today and the Republican majority took steps to make sure there'd be no committee packing by Democrats as occurred in the House.

At Hearne Fine Art Friday night: Mason Archie, Larry Wade Hampton

Mason Archie and Arkansas-born artist Larry Wade Hampton will be at Hearne Fine Art from 5:30-8 p.m. Friday and give talks 3-5 p.m. Saturday in connection with their exhibition, "Landscapes Unmasked," which also includes work by Dean Mitchell and 19th century African-American artists Robert S. Duncanson and Edward M. Bannister.

Historic brew made in Hot Springs

Madden’s No.1 beer is brewed from the same recipe that was used by gangster Owney Madden during Prohibition.

Over the hump: The daily video and an open line

Here's the open line. And the daily video.

Ten Commandments monument advances

AP reports a committee has moved a proposed Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol to the public comment phases.

A new front in the war over hog waste in the Buffalo River watershed

Lin Wellford, one of the petitioners, told a reporter that the EC Farms permit modification was "choreographed to get around the moratorium" on new CAFOs in the Buffalo.