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Bright Futures

Bright Futures

December 3, 2015

Vol 42 • No 13

Read the print version

A good year for the arts

UALR, UA-Fort Smith, Walton Arts Center, Children's Museum the beneficiaries.

Arkansas Support Network delivers choice and empowerment

For developmentally disabled people and their families.

Working to clear the air

At the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club.

Top Arkansas foundations in 2014

Walton, Windgate and more.

Bridging the finance gap for students who are parents

At the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County.

Our House: It's more than shelter

Nonprofit helps folks get back on their feet, from working poor to the formerly wealthy.

The Arkansas philanthropy honor roll

Major gifts.

A place to belong, for big and little

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas.

Arkansas philanthropy 2015

Big donations and profiles of places that deserve your gift.

Race is not destiny

From sea to shining sea, college students seem determined to make us argue about race to the exclusion of all else.

Race is not destiny

From sea to shining sea, college students seem determined to make us argue about race to the exclusion of all else.

Illustrating the governor's message

Our prisons burst with disparities. Eliminating them will take courage. Let's see if the Arkansas Parole Board can heed the governor's message with one matter currently before it.

Shrugging at homegrown terror

Thus when nine Islamic jihadists kill 130 people in coordinated attacks in Paris, international terrorism suddenly becomes, according to polls, the greatest concern of American voters, far bigger than jobs, inequality, taxes, education, immigration, the environment or global warming.

Fighters and fathers

Michael B. Jordan learns from the best in 'Creed.'

Arkansas Craft Guild's 37th annual Christmas showcase is at Statehouse Convention Center

Also, Marvin Berry plays the White Water Tavern.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Turkey jerky edition

Play at home

The Blind Boys of Alabama come to UCA

Also, The Indigo Girls and Patterson Hood at South on Main, "A Christmas Story" and "White Christmas" at Ron Robinson, Jeff the Brotherhood at Juanita's and Like a Storm at Juanita's.

The slow melt of climate denialism, by the numbers

Also, Mike Huckabee getting it right and then way wrong, the tech park backing off eminent domain threat and those liberal Arkansans.

The Rep goes 'Under the Sea' for the holidays

In 'The Little Mermaid.'

The future of the private option

A Q&A with Rep. Charlie Collins, co-chair of a health reform task force.

Whew, Pig$

The $95 million that rolls into the University of Arkansas's athletic department is by far the biggest of any single department at the UA.

Stop whining, he didn't shoot you

Middle Eastern grill hits the spot

Arbela is cheap, fast and tasty.

To tell a story

he holidays are upon us, which takes us all into the company of family for extended periods of time, of course, folks we're around so much we're damn near sick of 'em, folks we ain't seen in awhile, and folks who have been scarce since Hector was a pup.

Searching for consistency

As the 2015 season has unfolded to its terminus, it appears Bret Bielema has done some learning along the way just as much as his players have done some wagon circling.

Time for national emergency

Surely, most humans want peace for their children's future. Peace starts with us.

LA Times expands portrait of San Bernardino shooting suspects

The Los Angeles Times digs into the biography of Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, killed yesterday in the search for a suspect who killed 14 and wounded 17 more after opening fire on a county health department luncheon in San Bernardino, Calif. His wife, Tashfeen Malik, 27, also was killed.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's expanding international role

Secretary of State Mark Martin's recent trip to Ghana is evidence of his view that the office could be a player in international relations for the state of Arkansas.

Thoughts, prayers, guns

"Thoughts and prayers" is a phrase high on the list of responses to yesterday's mass shooting. It has also produced some contentious responses.

More cities with a different idea on freeways

Other cities, notably Miami, are looking for ways to slow, not speed vehicle traffic, because of the damage that high-speed corridors do to urban neighborhoods. It should be a lesson for Little Rock.

Local gifts ideas sure to wow your favorite foodie

Show some love to your favorite foodie this Christmas by giving them something delicious from the Natural State.

Huckstering with Mike Huckabee: There's money in miracle cures

Mother Jones reports on a publishing company that has had great success playing to conservatives' fears in pitches through ads on e-mails from politicians such as Mike Huckabee.

Judge says state must produce information about execution drugs

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that the state law making execution drugs secret violated a settlement with Death Row inmates of a lawsuit over execution procedure.

A second arrest in Searcy child's death

KTHV reports a second arrest in the death of Malik Drummond, the Searcy two-year-old missing since last November. His father, Jeffery Clifton, was charged this week with murder in the case and remains believed to be those of the child were found in rural Jackson County.

Thursday and an open line

The line is open. With news and comment.

Life sentence in abduction, death of Gurdon woman

A Gurdon man has been sentenced to life in federal prison without parole in the abduction and killing of a Gurdon woman.

Arkansas State Capitol: 'Religious center' says Facebook page

It was just called to my attention that the Arkansas State Capitol Facebook page is topped by a description that it is a "landmark" and a "religious center." Religious center?

Bribing officials for Medicaid money; Suhl case goes farther than latest indictment

The indictment yesterday of Ted Suhl, whose mental health care companies received $135 million just since 2009 in Arkansas,  illustrates sharply corruption at the highest levels of Arkansas government.

Two dead, including Hot Springs mayor's son, in U.S. 70 crash

Two Hot Springs men, including the son of Mayor Ruth Carney, were killed in a crash on U.S. Highway 70 east of Hot Springs early this morning.

Two children hurt going to school

Two separate accidents this morning have sent school children to hospitals.

Supreme Court stays judge order on execution drugs

About an hour before a noon deadline, the Arkansas Supreme Court today stayed Judge Wendell Griffen's order that the state must provide information about sources of the drugs it has obtained to carry out executions.

An idea on gun regulation from Missouri

A Missouri legislator has an idea for gun regulation inspired by his state's regulation of women seeking abortions.

Bell's Brewery announces Arkansas intentions for 2016

With a big year for Arkansas beer winding down, all signs point to 2016 being even better.

San Bernardino shooters 'radicalized' but not organized

FBI Director James Comey said today that the San Bernardino shooters were "radicalized" but there was no evidence yet they were part of an organized terror cell.

Thank goodness. Here's Friday's open line

Another week is done. Here's the open line and the daily video of news and comment.

The Ted Suhl Finally Gets Indicted Edition

Domestic terrorism, the indictment of Ted Suhl, the fight over execution drugs, and money in college sports — all covered in this week's podcast, sponsored by DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Bentonville.

Federal judge awards $19,950 attorney fees against state in marriage case, brings total to over $93,000

Federal Judge Kristine Baker entered an order Friday awarding a total of $19,950 in attorney fees in the federal case that successfully challenged the state ban on same sex marriage.

Sen. Jake Files' financial woes mount, Democrat-Gazette reports

Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported in detail this morning a growing list of financial problems for Republican Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith.

Newspaper style note: Hot enough for you?

Is there any doubt it's warmer globally these days? Depends on which newspaper you read, perhaps.

An open line: Plus, Cruz thumps Huckabee in Ark. GOP straw poll; body part found in river

An open line with Republican straw poll and body part found in Arkansas River.

Why must Little Rock suffer from Interstate 30? Look at Northwest Arkansas. Also: Talk of a tunnel in LR

The highway department insists on making Interstate 30 ever wider and more destructive through the heart of Little Rock. But look at booming Northwest Arkansas and where the main freeway run relatives to its major cities. PLUS: A new wrinkle emerges in I-30 expansion plan: A tunnel.

Duggar TV about a paycheck? Say it ain't so.

Here's a Fox report on apparent contention within the vast Duggar clan over the return of a couple of Duggar daughters, Jill and Jessa, to reality TV on TLC soon after the end of the larger Duggar entry, "19 and Counting," after the Josh Duggar scandal broke out.

Arkansas in Liberty Bowl open line

Here's the open line. BTW: Arkansas plays Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl Jan. 2.

Election by association; how free should a judge be with snapshots with politicos?

Supreme Court candidate Courtney Goodson has a penchant for using social media to post photos of herself with prominent elected politicians. A complaint to ethics regulators probably will go nowhere, but it doesn't mean it's a good idea.

A Catholic High grad returns to 40th reunion as a different person

The essay that follows was written by Sarah A. Vestal following the 40th reunion of the 1975 class of Little Rock's Catholic High School for Boys. She was Charles Vestal in 1975 and, still, at the 30th reunion in 2005. Photographs show Vestal today and before she began receiving female hormones.

Supreme Court upholds ban on big magazines

Gun nut heads are exploding all over Arkansas today on news that the U.S. Supreme Court has again signaled that the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms does not guarantee an unregulated right  to bear arms.

Christmas gift idea: Book on UA scandal

Former UA PR man John Diamond's book over the 2013 financial scandal at the University of Arkansas might make a good Christmas presents for people who need to know about inner workings of the Fayetteville campus.

State loosens birth certificate procedure for same-sex couples

The state Health Department has expanded its policy on issuing birth certificates to same-sex parents.

Architecture talk: New UA school professor Newman

Dr. Winfred E. Newman, who goes by Elysse, will give a talk titled “New (Old) Directions in Architecture" Tuesday at the Arkansas Arts Center. There will be a reception for Newman, the new head of the University of Arkansas's Fay Jones School of Architecture, at 5:30 p.m.; the talk follows at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Death on Kanis Road termed an accident

Little Rock police today said the death of woman found fatally injured on Kanis Road Dec. 1 has been ruled an accident, not a homicide.

'Capitol Commission' minister led Capitol invocation

We got several inquiries about the person who gave the invocation at the annual ceremony lighting the Capitol holiday display last Saturday. The complaint was not only content — heavy on Jesus — but length, a mini-sermon some complained.

Here lies Brasher and Rowe

This week, Brasher and Rowe write a humor column about death. Look at the hubris on these two. Of note: donating your body, picking your funeral playlist, building the most lavish monument to the sky, James Brown and Brian Eno.

Stuttgart teacher named Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Meghan Ables, who teaches at Stuttgart High School, is the 2016 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

Trump's solution: Total ban on Muslims

Donald Trump went the next mile today, "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what's going on."

Update on that tunnel to the chamber

Max posted yesterday about Skip Rutherford's tweet saying Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department engineers are pondering building a tunnel under Clinton Avenue to link drivers to La Harpe at the Chamber of Commerce building.When pigs fly, cars will drive to LaHarpe via a tunnel. The highway department responds.

Arkansas to get more than $600,000 in settlement of drug kickback case

The state of Arkansas will be among 40 states sharing a $390 million settlement by Novartis Pharmaceuticals for paying kickbacks to specialty pharmacies that recommended its drug Exjade to Medicaid and Medicrae patients.

Former Saline sheriff Bruce Pennington gets year for wire fraud

U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer announced that former Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington, 64, was sentenced to one year plus one day of incarceration for wire fraud.

The week-opening open line

Heres' Monday's open line. We've had Internet troubles all afternoon and so the daily news/comment video is up in the air at the moment,

Fort Smith paper notes senator's city-backed project

The Southwest Times-Record reports here on earlier reporting about a $111,000 federal tax lien filed against one of Sen. Jake Files' business.

Conway city employees cleared for class action over pay

A circuit judge has certified a class action lawsuit by police and firefighters in the city of Conway on their claim that the city had not given them pay increases they were due since 2010.

When they say it's not about race ....

Article in Salon with a provocative headline (underscored by data): "The South won the Civil War: White men, racial resentment, and how the Bitter Minority came to rule us all."

American Electric Power leaves ALEC over clean power

The Guardian reports that American Electric Power has left the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council because of its opposition to action on renewable energy and climate change. This should mean a bit more progressive outlook in Arkansas, but it probably won't.

Argenta Farmers Market's annual Christmas Market is coming up

Annual Christmas market returns to Argenta this Saturday.

Damgoode Pies on Rodney Parham to close

A press release from Damgoode Pies today announced that the local pizza chain would be shuttering their carryout/delivery-only location at 10720 Rodney Parham Road on January 31. 

Texas lawyers get big fees in same-sex marriage challenge

What a difference a state makes. Texas Observer reports that a federal judge in Texas has awarded a Texas law firm $605,000 in fees and costs for winning a lawsuit challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage.

New study: The benefit of food stamps

The White House has released state-specific figures on a new study about the benefits of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, more commonly known as food stamps.

Tom Mars joins Friday law firm

Tom Mars, a former State Police director and for seven years general counsel of Walmart, has joined the Friday, Eldredge and Clark law firm in Little Rock as senior counsel.

ASU set for college of osteopathic medicine

Arkansas State University said the New York Institute of Technology's College of Osteopathic Medicine has received approval from a national accreditation agency to open a campus at ASU in August.

Feds bust 11 on drugs, gun charges in North Little Rock

The U.S. attorney's office said 11 people have been named in three indictments for drug and firearm offenses in North Little Rock, particularly in the Dixie Addition.

Tuesday's open line

An open line and video roundup.

Bus shelters illustrate a transit effort on the move, in need of tax

Rock Region Metro has won a $360,000 grant to install 25 solar-powered shelters, including a bench and bike rack, around its route system in Pulaski County. It's an indication of a growing transit system that needs a dedicated source of tax support.

Arkansas's only Syrian refugee: Sees little difference between Trump and other politicians

Omar Al Muqdad writes of his experience as the only Syrian refugee in Arkansas. What he's seen from Arkansas and other politicians since then has not been so pleasant.

Asa World approach to health care: Get mean

Gov. Asa Hutchinson talked yesterday about the punitive additions he'd make to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Arkansas to make it politically palatable to Republicans in the legislature. I explain how his thinking could be applied to others, such as deadbeat Republican legislators.

Winter Market at Two Rivers brings artisans and food trucks together

Food truck grub and locally produced products will be on display this Saturday.

Denouncing Trump: Democratic candidate seeks a second from Boozman. I seek some karaoke partners on Marvin Gaye

Conner Eldridge, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, has denounced Donald Trump's idea to bar entry of Muslims into the U.S. and called on his opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. John Boozman, to do the same. But ....

Court of Appeals affirms former UCA official's conviction; turns down steel mill permit challenge

The Arkansas Court of Appeals today affirmed the burglary conviction of Jack Gillean, the former UCA chief of staff, for providing a key to a student that was used to take tests from faculty offices.

Happiness is a warm gun-sex object in hands of photoshopper

In these dark times, a laugh is needed. Fusion provided it with a report on Metafilter founder Matt Haughey's project to edit photos of Republican politicians fondling guns (there are many to work with) to show the candidates holding dildos instead.

Death in Sherwood police chase

KARK reports that a Jacksonville man died when his vehicle hit a tree after being pursued by Sherwood police late Tuesday night.

Arkansas football makes top 20 in coaches' pay

With a $97 million total budget, the University of Arkansas Athletic Department is a Top 20 team when it comes to paying assistant football coaches. 18th, in fact.

U.S. schools falling short on sex education

A new survey indicates large numbers of public schools aren't providing comprehensive sex education. Arkansas marks in the study are mixed.

J.B. Hunt says it could add 1,000 jobs at Lowell HQ

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which broke ground on a central office building in September, announced today that it is increasing its workforce and expanding its corporate headquarters. It said that could mean an additional 1,000 jobs in in the next six years.

Report: Walmart business with China costs 400,000 U.S. jobs

The Economic Policy Institute reports that trade with China, particularly fueled by Walmart purchases there, ahve cost the U.S. about 400,000 jobs since 2001. It estimates Walmart has sold $49 billion worth of Chinese-made goods during that time.

GOP freeze on judgeship includes single-handed Tom Cotton blockade

Sen. Patrick Leahy again rips U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton for single-handedly blocking appointments to vacancies on the federal court of claims.

The open line for Wednesday

An open line, plus today's news and comment by video.

Tyson names Mike Beebe to board of directors, a post worth $200,000+ a year

Tyson Foods, the giant poultry and meat producer based in Arkansas, has named former Gov. Mike Beebe to its board of directors. It's a job that can have substantial financial benefits.

Cedric Cobbs, ex-Hog, pleads to drug charge

Former Razorback and NFL running back Cedric Cobbs has pleaded guilty to a drug  charge — using a communication device to facilitate a drug offense.

Tech park construction start estimate: March 8

Chad Young, an architect with Wittenberg Deloney and Davidson, presented the firm's preliminary drawings for the first phase of the Little Rock Tech Park construction: renovation of 42,000 square feet in buildings at 415 and 417 Main St. The presentation included a timeline that should a construction start date of March 8.
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