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Fiction Issue

Fiction Issue

December 11, 2014

Vol 41 • No 14

Read the print version

Waltz

Tomorrow when the authorities find Timothy Manning's body, the 16 year old will be face down at the edge of a cornfield at the end of Corning Road.

Carnival

Our carnival grounds have fallen to a field of brown stalks, the rides felled, a sparkling harvest of metal reaped with remnants of recycled laughter.

Death of a rock star

Little Rock music community mourns the loss of TC Edwards.

A racist system

At its foundation, we are a nation that was established by white men drafting rules and laws from their point of view. The mistreatment of people of color has never been an isolated incident. It's a continuum of purposeful, often legal, actions to keep people of color in a constant state of second-class citizenship.

'Theory' of love

How Hawking came to know the universe.

Playing for tips or dog treats

Photo by Stuart Bowles from our Eye on Arkansas Flickr group.

Arkansas fiction: the survey

We asked local literary figures for Arkansas novels they wish were better known. Here are a few of the results.

The magical, doomed world of C.L. Bledsoe

The Arkansas novelist returns with 'Man Of Clay.'

Racism: More than cops

Every report of police overreaching with black males — the national spectacles like those involving Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the local ones that catch only passing notice in the press — summons a memory from my distant youth.

Kindred the Family Soul at Juanita's

Also, "Mythbusters" at Walton Arts Center, 2nd Friday Art Night, Garth Brooks at Verizon Arena, "Art of the Bar" at South on Main and Th' Legendary Shack Shakers at White Water Tavern.

Bonnie Montgomery at White Water Tavern

Also, Arkansas Sounds Holiday Concert at Ron Robinson Theater.

Hedging our bets on students

Lotto scholarships, cat hunters, crazies on the Jonesboro City Council and more assorted news of the week

Ignore Kiyen's clutter, enjoy its sushi

A new Japanese restaurant in Chenal.

Rolling Stone now publishing fiction

Like the best crime fiction, Rolling Stone's infamous article about a purported gang rape at the University of Virginia was vividly written. I'm embarrassed to say that it almost convinced me.

Edina Begic, on top of state athletics

UALR volleyball player was part of greatest Trojan team ever.

Civil rights history book

We went to press before votes were counted in Fayetteville's referendum Tuesday on its civil rights ordinance.

Show, don't tell

What you're holding in your hands (or, as the case may be, staring at on a digital screen) is our soon-to-be-annual Fiction Issue, which contains the results of our recent contest for Arkansas writers.

Up and down Razorback programs

As has become custom in the overlap of seasons, this bag of Pearls is a mixed one. We'll first address postseason for the gridiron Hogs, a favorable Texas Bowl slotting with onetime rival Texas on Dec. 29 that has more intrigue than any game between 6-6 also-rans would normally merit.

Beau don't know Bo

All credit to Arkansas for their 30-0 whitewashing of Ole Miss. The Hogs played a great game, with their defense causing six turnovers and stifling a potent Rebel offense. However, Wilcox is way off base when he declares "you can bet that Ole Miss will have more offensive stability when their signal caller changes next fall. He's not a natural scrambler, misses reads and is just not capable of making decisions under duress."

Ex-Razorback acquitted on murder charge back in trouble

KTHV reports that Joshua Melton, a former Razorback recently acquitted of a second-degree murder charge, is back in trouble with the law.

Dustin McDaniel, going out with a whimper, joins anti-immigrant lawsuit

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is spending his final days in office catering to the desires of his successor, Leslie Rutledge. He's joined a Republican gimmick lawsuit against President Obama's executive order on immigration. Why not let her do it in three weeks? Good question.

Mark Pryor engaged to be married to Joi Whitfield

A friend of Sen. Mark Pryor tells me the outgoing senator became engaged to Joie Whitfield Monday night. There is life after Congress.

The Big Swill: Where legislators freeload today

Here's where legislators — unburdened by Issue 3 — will get free meals and drinks today and their payees:

UPDATE: No Supreme Court decision today on same-sex marriage

Today could be the day for a ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court on the state appeal of Judge Chris Piazza's ruling striking down the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage. Or not. And, if not, it presents some new questions about final completion of the case.

When justice is for sale, defendants pay a heavy price. See Arkansas.

More money is being spent to buy judicial races, often using tough-on-crime as a campaign theme. That's bad for criminal defendants, but the hidden agendas of such advertising is bad news, too. Arkansas is a good example.

Markham Street property owners fear gas line work damaged trees

Homeowners along West Markham Street think recent gas line excavation may have damged trees lining Markham severaly enough to cause them to fall. The gas utility is taking a look.

Police confirm TC Edwards was victim of homicide

Police today made official what we'd reported Monday, that Terry Charles "TC" Edwards, a familiar figure on the local music scene, was the man found shot to death in a carport on Howard Street last Sunday.

Sweet Love, Sweet Soul, sweet victory in potato pie contest

 The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center has announced the winners of its annual "Say It Aint' Say's" sweet potato pie baking contest.

Today's Issue 3 wrinkle: Which amendment trumps

A mounting list of questions remain to be answered about implementation of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that opens the door to pay increases and longer service by legislators, but also imposes some new ethics restrictions that the lobbyists are already dodging nimbly. Here's another:

The Thursday open line: Plus Garth Brooks

Here's an open line and video headlines. Garth Brooks said hello to Little Rock before his Verizon shows. Sen. Jason Rapert horned in on the event to grab some attention for himself.

Jeff Gardner out, Tony Thomas in as CEO of Windstream

Jeff Gardner has been replaced as CEO of Windstream, the telecommunications company based in Little Rock, by Tony Thomas.

TV show 'Smashed' to the River Market Friday and Saturday night

An email sent to River Market tenants says that a film crew from a reality TV show called "Smashed" will be in town Friday and Saturday night, asking world renowned geniuses to explain the meaning of life. Did we say "world renowned geniuses" and "the meaning of life"? We meant to say: "drunk people" and "stuff." Sounds like "Smashed" sends crews to bars, where they walk around with a camera and ask questions of drunk people. We'll stick to the home game, thanks.

8th Circuit hears case of LR cop killing of Eugene Ellison

Here's coverage from St. Louis of arguments before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in which Little Rock cops are trying to get dimissed from a lawsuit over the shooting death of Eugene Ellison, 67, in his Little Rock apartment

Arkansan's nomination to Federal Energy Commission reaches Senate floor

Time is running short, but there's still a chance Arkansas Public Service Commission Chairman Colette Honorable could be confirmed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this year.

Garth Brooks at Verizon; hypocrite Rapert on hand

Brian Chilson has a Facebook folder full of photos from last night's sold-out Garth Brooks show at Verizon Arena. He has a couple more shows scheduled, but they are sell-outs, too. Oh, and anti-gay Sen. Jason Rapert strutted around with "We Shall Be Free' Brooks.

UPDATE: The Big Swill: Today's legislative freebies

Here's the list of the special interest groups picking up the tab for legislators' meals today.

Tom Cotton votes with Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Tom Cotton, an outlier again on a spending bill, find himself in agreement with that San Francisco liberal, Nancy Pelosi.

What would Uber charge? A Bryant 11-year-old's $2,500 cab ride

The story of the Bryant 11-year-old who took $10,000 from her grandmother's sock drawer and then struck a $2,500 deal with a Little Rock Yellow Cab driver ($1,300 up front) to drive her from a Little Rock doughnut shop to visit a boy in Jacksonville, Fla., has pretty well gone viral on the web. Our question is WWUD? What would Uber do in the same circumstance?

Alderman says he'll try again for Fayetteville civil rights ordinance

Fayetteville Alderman Matt Petty says he'll try again to pass a city civil rights ordinance that extends some protections to LGBT people.

Partisan election control shifts in January

The attorney general says the changeover of county election commission to reflect the Republican Party's new majority status won't occur until January. Get ready for some changeover friction.

The battle for open carry reaches a Searcy Walmart

KTHV reports on an open carry advocate who had his concealed carry permit confiscated by a state trooper because he persisted in attempting to carry it openly in a Searcy Walmart.

Who says college has to be a residential experience?

A thought-provoking op-ed in today's New York Times that's directly relevant to the ongoing discussion by the University of Arkansas about moving more aggressively into on-line education.

Houston to open Arabic dual-language school

Houston plans a dual langue public elementary school — Arabic and English. Could that happen in Arkansas?

Nog-Off - Rachel Trusty paintings - stereoscopes: 2nd Friday at HAM

Eggnog and art are a great combination, one offered up tonight (Dec. 12) by the Historic Arkansas Museum, which is holding its 10th Ever Nog-Off competition, opening new exhibitions and hosting Kemistri, featuring Nicki Parrish, from 5-8 p.m.

The TC Edwards memorial roundup

TC Edwards had hundreds of friends. If you were among them or even somewhere on the periphery, your Facebook feed has been dominated this week by tributes and photos and news of benefit concerts. Here's an attempt at a roundup of everything that's out there, with a focus on all the things you can do or attend.

An open line: TGIF

Here's the open line and video roundup.

Hearne on Conteh, Palmer's 'Bitter Medicines and Sweet Poisons'

Garbo Hearne will lead a gallery tour Saturday and Sunday of the current exhibit at Hearne Fine Art, "Bitter Medicines and Sweet Poisons," assemblages by Alfred Conteh and Charly Palmer. Both are nationally known artists whose works comment on the African-American experience.

Kim Kardashian, a Christmas playlist, local poetry and more

Tonight, is the Arkansas Times annual holiday party. As usual, I've been asked to DJ. That means putting together a playlist on iTunes and Spotify that starts with not-lame Christmas music, gradually transitions into mid-tempo party music, moves to Stax and Motown so the boomers on staff will dance and then, maybe after Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, is just "Back That Azz Up" played on a loop.

Senator to take another run at cutting off money for Planned Parenthood

Sen. Gary Stubblefield has told reporters he'll plan again to try legislation to prevent any public money from going to an organization that provides abortion. It's aimed at Planned Parenthood's services other than abortion, but that organization contends it has much broader peril to health service providers.

The Everybody Is Invited Edition

The repeal of Fayetteville’s civil rights ordinance, the new ethics amendment, why Dustin McDaniel joined a meaningless lawsuit challenging President Obama’s executive order on immigration and the Arkansas Supreme Court and same-sex marriage — all discussed on this week's podcast.

Little Rock plans permit fee increases to aid budget

With money tight, the Little Rock City Board will vote Tuesday on an ordinance to increase fees for building, electrical, plumbing, mechanical and similar work permits.

Justice Antonin Scalia defends torture

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has spoken approvingly of the use of torture before, but he's expanded on that in a Swiss radio interview. Nothing in the Constitution prevents its use, he said, while citing circumstances where it would be hard to rule it out.

The full college football experience; for sale at auction

Here's a New York Times story on how colleges are raising money for sports by selling "experiences" in on-line auctions run by an affiliate of CBS.

Survey tests new names for UAMS

An Internet survey is testing other names for UAMS, the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences campus.

Arkansas Baptist College receives $30 million federal loan; expected to ease cash crunch

Arkansas Baptist College officials say they have received news of approval of a federal loan that is expected to stabilize the college's finances after a period of struggle.

The Black Lives Matter open line; a tribute to Razorback Jonathan Williams

Black Lives Matter proclaimed demonstrators across America today, in Little Rock. It's cause, too, for reflection on the "Don't Shoot" gesture of Razorback football player Jonathan Williams, a historic moment that deserves more credit than some want to give it.

The Koch Party: Inside the oligarchs' political machine

Politico delves deeply into the political machine begin built with the Koch brothers' fortune — a data-driven colossus for voter identification and turnout that has eclipsed Republican Party machinery to the extent that people like Tom Cotton used it over party tools.

Fee request filed in federal marriage case

One of the attorneys in the federal lawsuit striking down the state ban on same-sex marriage has filed a request for $16,411 in fees and costs for her work on the case.

Opinion split on Popeye's for West Markham Street

Another split between city planning staff and regulators has emerged on a proposal to build a Popeye's chain restaurant at 5514-5520 West Markham Street, across the street from the War Memorial Golf Course pro shop.

The Senate's final hours and the fate of an Arkansas nominee

The confusion about final votes of the U.S. Senate has implications for which governor will control the majority of appointees on the Arkansas Public Service Commision.

Speaking of Mike Beebe's potential midnight appointments

Gov. Mike Beebe has a shot at some "midnight" judicial appointees. Will he take advantage of a two-week window to put his old pal Cliff Hoofman in a fat job for a fourth time, this time Court of Appeals?

The false spring open line

The Sunday open line.

From Kansas, a cautionary tale for Arkansas

Kansas and Mississippi show it's easy to cut taxes, but hard to pay for education and other vital services when you do.

Arkansas anti-abortion legislators plan more curbs on women's medical autonomy

Republican lawmakers plan further assaults on the constitutional right to an abortion in the 2015 legislative session.

After capitalizing on hostage crisis, Uber forced to back off in Sydney

Uber was forced to back off "surge pricing" in Sydney during the hostage crisis after an outcry on social media.

Guest Mix: Goon des Garcons

I think I was supposed to have an introduction here but i'm gonna just skip all that and let you guys get to the music.. Here's a list of some of the songs I listen to on my day2day.

Women of the Arkansas House get dress-for-success tips

A new dress code for Montana legislators has stirred controversy in that western state among female legislators. It turns out the Arkansas House operates more or less along the same lines, clothing-wise.

Coon Supper tickets now on sale

Tickets are on sale for that rite of Arkansas political pasage — the 72nd Gillett Coon Supper.

Power line environmental study released; to carry wind power across Arkansas

Arkansas Business reports on the Energy Department's completion of an environmental impact study of a 750-mile power line that would carry wind-generated electricity from Oklahoma across Arkansas to Memphis.

Names and faces in public places: Facebook threatens legislators who don't mind rules

Hmmm. Wonder how legislators managed to get skybox seats at Verizon Arena for the Garth Brooks concert?

Beebe's last round of pardons

Gov. Mike Beebe issued today what likely will be his last round of recommended pardons. He announced his intention to grant 14, all to people who've completed all aspects of sentences. None had a conviction for a violent crime.

Fayetteville city attorney prepares new civil rights ordinance

Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams has drafted a new city civil rights ordinance to replace the ordinance repealed by voters in a referendum Dec. 9.

The open line and today's video

The Monday open line and video roundup.

Yes, Virginia, there is more than one way to make eggnog

The Historic Arkansas Museum's website is the place to go for winning eggnog recipes.

Jeff Nichols to direct 'Aquaman,' according to leaked emails

The revelations from last month's massive Sony hack have so far included embarrassing financial statements, embarrassing emails and many other categories of embarrassments. Sony employees hate their own movies, for instance, and Channing Tatum writes weird emails. And now even Arkansas is involved, however tangentially, with the news that Little Rock native Jeff Nichols might be attached to direct the "Aquaman" movie.

Airport Commission set to consider Central Flying-TAC deal

The Little Rock Airport Commission will consider Tuesday morning a proposed sale of Central Flying Service leases to TAC Air, a competing fixed base operator at the airport. TAC will also take over all fueling services.

Audit faults state agency payment to Democratic Black Caucus

John Lyon of Stephens Media reports on a Legislative Audit finding that a $1,500 payment the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission made to the Democratic Black Caucus appeared to be a prohibited political contribution.

ASU application for osteopathic medical school rejected; school to try again

Arkansas Business' Lee Hogan reports that an accrediting commission has turned down an application to open a branch of a New York osteopathic college of medicine at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. ASU says it will try again, with hopes to open the branch by 2016.

Following the money at Arkansas State University; who got improper discounts?

Legislative Audit released its review of Arkansas State University finances yesterday and it included a report on a topic suggested for review by ASU's internal auditor concerning student housing discounts given by Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lonnie Williams.

Taliban kills dozens of children in attack on Pakistani school

The New York Times reports on a Taliban attack on a school in Islamabad that left scores of children dead and hundreds of students trapped inside.

Jeb Bush announces presidential exploration bid

Jeb Bush took to social media this morning to announce an exploratory bid to run for president in 2016. Has anybody of substance ever undertaken an exploration that didn't end with an affirmative decision?

Hutchinson plans change at Securities Department

State Securities Commissioner Heath Abshure tells me he was informed yesterday by a representative of the incoming Hutchinson administration that Asa Hutchinson would be naming a new director of the state Securities Department, which oversees the securities business.

Martha Miller announces departure at Department of Arkansas Heritage

Here's another piece of transition news: Martha Miller has told staff that she'll be departing as director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Psych of the South: The Mercenaries' 'Things Found Here'

Recently, a trove of band business cards from the golden era of Arkansas garage bands was discovered and put on eBay. I was able to purchase some of them, including one by a little known 1960s garage band from Little Rock named The Mercenaries. Their record, on the cult favorite MY records label based in Little Rock, was released in early 1967. Their songs, including the atmospheric and heavy “Things Found Here” along with the psychedelic tinged “Take It All” are obscure even by garage rock standards. They were not featured on the 1999 Butler Center MY records compilation and their story has not been told before

IKEA to open Germantown, Tenn., store in 2016

IKEA will open a store in east Memphis in 2016, moving the Swedish retailer about three hours closer to Central Arkansas.

Pupuseria Mi Chalateca serves elite Salvadoran cuisine

Fans of food trucks and Salvadoran food alike will find a lot to love about one of Hot Springs' most popular destinations for good eats.

Video takes on Diamond oil pipeline project

Lansky Sound and opponents of Valero Pipeline/Plains All American Pipeline's Diamond Project have created this video to talk about the state Constitution's provision granting eminent domain to oil pipeline companies and the threat that presents to Arkansans who don't want to give up their land to the oil company.

Hutchinson plans new Mansion administrator, Don Bingham

Don Bingham, currently director of special events at UCA, is going to replace Ron Maxwell as administrator of the Governor's Mansion in the Hutchinson administration.

Monopoly lottery game to be dropped, Arkansas Lottery announces

The Arkansas Lottery said today that the Monopoly Millionaires Club game will end Dec. 26 because of disappointing sales nationally.

The open line and video roundup: Plus, your legislature on TV

The Tuesday open line. A comment on lack of livestreamed legislative committee meetings while equipment is used to broadcast school choirs singing Christmas carols.

More pipeline news: Magellan, this time

The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas has been informed by Magellan Midstream Partners of Tulsa that its Fort Smith-to-Little Rock pipeline project is planned to bisect about 450 acres its owned for 50 years at the northeast corner of the I-40/I-440 interchange in North Little Rock.

UPDATE: Honorable confirmed to federal energy commission seat

UPDATE: News reports say the Senate confirmed Colette Honorable to a position on the Federal Energy Commission by unanimous voice vote Tuesday night. So now the question: Who will Gov. Mike Beebe appoint to replace her on the PSC?

Work begins on amendment to tighten campaign finance law

Regnat Populus, the grassroots good government group, has begun its effort to tighten campaign finance law and increase the transparency of campaign spending.

Henderson State faces embarrassing audit on misspending

Stephens Media rounds up an embarrassing appearance by Henderson State University before a legislative audit panel over audit findings of rampant improprieties in a campus center that helped students who speak English as a second language. The leadership is now gone.

Rogers' city attorney soon to have no work to perform

The mess over Rogers City Attorney Ben Lipscomb continues to grow.

The Obamas talk about shopping, dining and catching a cab while black

Talking Points Memo reports on a People magazine interview with President and Michelle Obama about being black in America.

Obama moves to normalize relations with Cuba

A prisoner exchange sets the stage for a planned announcement today by President Obama that the U.S. and Cuba will enter talks on normalizing the countries' relationship.

Hutchinson names Allen Kerr to head Insurance, keeps Sheila Sharp at Community Correction

Asa Hutchinson has announced that former state Rep. Allen Kerr of Little Rock will be the insurance commissioner in his administration, succeeding Jay Bradford, and that Sheila Sharp will remain as director of the Department of Community Correction.

Photos from March for TC

Last night, dozens of friends of TC Edwards, the Little Rock musician and man on the scene who was found murdered Dec. 7, marched in his memory, chanting "Justice for TC" and "TC is metal" as they walked from Pizza D' Action up Kavanaugh.

Mark Berry named adjutant general of Arkansas National Guard

Brigadier General Mark H. Berry will succeed Major General William D. Wofford as adjutant general of the Arkansas National Guard, the Asa Hutchinson transition team announced today.

It's the most wonderful time of the year, for beer

What a great year it's been in Arkansas for beer lovers, and as the last month quickly gets crossed off the calendars it become pretty evident that 2015 is going to be just as rewarding.

New York imposes moratorium on fracking for natural gas

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today he favored a moratorium on fracking for natural gas in upstate New York after receiving a report about potential public health risks and questions about economic benefits.

Buyers take note: Art market Friday in Argenta

Still shopping for art gifts? The Holiday Art Show, featuring the fellows of Artist INC and the students of Art Connection, will be open 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, at 413B Main St. in Argenta. (That's the other half of John Gaudin's gallery space. Religious icons by Sylvia Inzerella are on exhibit in 413A.)

Report on K12 broadband further muddies the waters, except on one issue: DIS is price gouging

The Education and Information Technology committees received a report this morning from CT&T Inc., which was hired to conduct a comprehensive study of the Internet capacity of Arkansas K-12 schools. It brings little clarity to the confusing issue, but it does illustrate the Department of Information Services has given a very bad deal to schools

Shane Broadway takes job as Arkansas State lobbyist

To nobody's surprise, Arkansas State University today hired Shane Broadway as its lobbyist, or vice president for governmental relations. He'll be paid $185,000.

Terror threat scraps release of 'The Interview'

Major theater chains decided not to show "The Interview" because of threats of action against theaters that do. Sony then scrapped release of the movie. Will this spawn more threats on commerce?

The Wednesday open line and video roundup

Here's the midweek open line and our video news roundup.

Ownership change in works for Doubletree Hotel

A New York investment group that owns the operating leases for the Doubletree Hotel has struck a deal to sell its interest to another New York investment group and it will bring in a new management firm.

Venture Center new Tech Park tenant

The Arkansas Venture Center will be the Little Rock Technology Park's tenant in its temporary space in the Block 2 Building on Markham, where it will offer its pre-accelerator and incubation programs for early-stage businesses and its coding classes. Brent Birch, director of the park, said the arrangement will sustain the current momentum of interest in tech startups while the Tech Park works toward a permanent home and "show the tech park is happening."

Top 10 Little Rock albums of 2014

Here are the Little Rock albums we listened to more than any others this year, the ones that meant the most to us and that we’d push on any out-of-towners who asked what was new in the Little Rock music scene.
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