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December 28, 2011

Vol 38 • No 18

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What to do in Chenal

Promenade on over to the shopping center, explore big boxes, meditate, enjoy arts in the wild woods, drive around looking at the really big houses.

What to do in Pleasant Valley

Wander among plants; wander among fresh food; eat lunch by the fire; bang on Wednesday; veer over to Vesta's, etc; tour Two Rivers Park.

SoMa peeks over the hump

When I first moved to the Quapaw Quarter in 1997, the question asked by friends and acquaintances was "Is it safe down there?"

The Central promise

Say "Central" and most people familiar with Little Rock will reflexively add "High" to it. The school is the city's most famous icon. Today, the neighborhood surrounding Central High is seeking to vie for its share of attention — and with some success.

What to do in Maumelle

Nosh on a bagel at Morningside, get a peek at America's automotive ast, grab lunch at Kierre's and get your cornbread tossed.

In the center of things in Midtown

I live in Midtown, also known as the Hall High neighborhood, where proximity is everything. I enjoy boasting that I can get anywhere I need to be in 15 minutes or less.

Living the American dream in Capitol View-Stifft Station

Even though three members of the seven-person editorial staff of the Arkansas Times, including me, reside in the Capitol View/Stifft Station neighborhood, initially there was talk of unceremoniously lumping the neighborhood in with Hillcrest. People do that all the time, in my experience, and I don't like it one bit.

Hillcrest: The best neighborhood in Little Rock

I live in a two-story brick house on Ridgeway Street that my neighbors would surely like to see spiffed up, but Ridgeway is in Hillcrest, and because Hillcrest attracts an eclectic, tolerant type of person, the neighbors have never complained. At least not directly to me.

Unique neighborhoods of Central Arkansas

Looking at where we live every day and noticing fundamental change is a little like looking into the mirror every morning. It looks the same as yesterday, but over the last two decades, it's become a different face and a different city.

In praise of urban living in Little Rock

Living in the core of downtown Little Rock is the ultimate reverse commute.

What to do in Park Hill

Have a burger and a shake at Frostop; walk, skate, roll, tumble, sled or otherwise descend Snake Hill; enjoy the adult beverage of your choice on the patio of U.S. Pizza; pick up the latest issue of Detective Comics at Collector's Edition; grab a wiener and a sundae at Scoop Dog; take a breather on a bench by Lake No. 1 on a sunny fall day, and take a stroll along Skyline Drive.

What to do in Levy

Get around to it at Stanley Hardware, take a hike at Emerald Park, get your carnivore on at Hogg's, try some barbecue at the Dixie Pig and have a brew at My Friend's Place.

Bars-clubs where you'll find live music

From rock to jazz and everything in between.

Aspiring to great Heights

At the risk of sounding like some nostalgic curmudgeon, the Heights that I grew up in during the '70s and '80s is a far cry from the Heights of today.

The rich history of Riverdale

Northwest of downtown and adjacent to the Arkansas River lies Little Rock's Riverdale neighborhood, an area that has been an important part of my life and my family's history.

What to do in Argenta

Soak up the arts, catch a film/play/concert at the Argenta Community Theater, walk/ride to fun things, go for a pub crawl and eat.

Proud to live in West Little Rock

When my husband and I first moved to Little Rock, we knew little about the area and had no preconceived notions about the metro's various neighborhoods. We came here with an open mind, eager to explore our new home, excited to see where our tastes would lead us.

Underground SWLR

I wake up early on this crisp, chilly autumn Sunday morning, my head still aching from the one-too-many beers I drank last night around that bonfire at my trailer park on Stanton Road, where a bunch of my neighbors and I talked shop, exchanged anecdotes, told dirty jokes and belly-laughed copiously way into the wee hours of the morning.

Many shades of green in Pleasant Valley

In the last two decades, there's been an undercurrent of tension that hums along the western expanse of the Cantrell Road/state Highway 10 area from Interstate 430 to Chenal Parkway.

Maumelle hitting growth spurt

At 7:20 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, cars crawled along Maumelle Boulevard.

Argenta: Revival on Main Street

Old houses with tons of character. Local shops with locally produced goods. Neighborhood bars and restaurants run by your neighbors. Dedicated trails for biking and walking.

Learning to love North Little Rock in Park Hill

Any description of North Little Rock's Park Hill neighborhood will eventually, inevitably, include a comparison to Hillcrest, its better-known cousin south of the river.

Planned, lakeside living in Lakewood

I've spent most of my adult life as a vagabond of sorts, living in such diverse areas as New York and Paragould, Ark., and everywhere in between. I recently settled into a two bedroom, two-bath apartment on McCain Boulevard in Lakewood, and I'd be hard-pressed to name a more ideal location in terms of convenience in Central Arkansas.

Levy: Durable as the stuff in a hardware store

Seen from the interstate, on the way from somewhere to somewhere, Levy looks picturesque, even pretty, nestled in the bowl of a valley west of North Little Rock's Park Hill, a patchwork of rooftops sticking up above the trees.

Public and private agencies that provide help

Services for the abused, neglected, addicted, homeless, disabled, hungry and others needing assistance.

Publications in Pulaski County guide

All that's fit to print in Pulaski County.


For Central Arkansas

What to do in the River Market

Cross the river, hit the Heifer Village, play in Peabody Park, get a little art, watch the ducks and drink, eat and be merry.

What to do in downtown Little Rock

See fine art, go to the theater, shop for 'military supplies,' eat well, hear the music of youth and have a whiskey.

What to do in SoMa

Sit amongst sculpture in the Bernice Garden, eat local, dream about the OA and shop greenly.

What to do in the Central High neighborhood

Learn about Little Rock's history at the Central High School Visitor's Center, tour the dead at Mount Holly Cemetery, buy some eggs at Dunbar Garden, get some boudin at K Hall, shop for fine art and books and take a walk through Centennial Park.

What to do in Midtown Little Rock

Play in Rocket Park, shop and eat.

The River Market: Raised from the dead

Nearly 15 years after what we know today as the River Market district was born, it's still a neighborhood without a clear identity.

What to do in Capitol View-Stifft Station

Have a PBR at White Water Tavern, eat a dozen on the half shell at Oyster Bar, embrace the funk at Pizza D, catch a game at Lamar Porter Field and tour the State Capitol.

What to do in Hillcrest

Go to Allsopp Park; go to Knoop Park, experience shopping the way it was before the birth of the big box; dine along Kavanaugh; dive into pool; clean 'em, board 'em, fix 'em; visit a playground for all.

What to do in Riverdale

Walk the Arkansas River Trail, ride the Big Dam Bridge, cross Jimerson Creek, take fido to Paws Park, tee it up at Rebsamen Golf Course, eat and drink.

No developments in Discovery shooting

I checked in with Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings on developments in the fatal shooting of a Dallas man outside the Discovery nightclub in Riverdale in the early morning hours Christmas Eve.

Performing arts venues

Music, theater and more.

New Years Eve happenings

All you need to know.

Better than most

Lemongrass Asian Bistro does some good, some bad.

Past winners of the Musicians Showcase play Stickyz

Plus the 31st anniversary of Nightflying at Stickyz, the Ugly Sweater Party at Revolution, Cool Shoes at Downtown, Dash Rip Rock at Stickyz, WWE Smackdown at Verizon, Hosty Duo at Stickyz and ZoZo at Revolution

Library guide

Pulaski County's public libraries — including the Central Arkansas Library System and the William F. Laman Library in North Little Rock — are more than just reading rooms, offering e-books, music downloads, art galleries, computer access, special features for teen-agers and coffee shops.

Rez, 2012

I was just finishing up my New Year's resolutions for 2012, and my thought was to keep them to myself this time, so as to avoid the usual hoorawing from y'all, starting in early February, for my inconstancy of purpose.

Republicans cave

It turns out that there is a limit to the oldest cynical political strategy — saying one thing, doing the opposite and then claiming credit for both. The holiday cave-in by House Republicans demonstrates it.

Hogs battle ghosts in Cotton Bowl

The Arkansas Razorbacks' uniquely miserable bowl history — 12 wins in 38 games — is perfectly encapsulated by a 3-7-1 showing in the Cotton Bowl.

Shopping in Central Arkansas guide

Big box and department stores abound (Arkansas is, after all, the home to flagship retailers Walmart and Dillard's), but independent and specialty shops also thrive.

Mass transit guide

We're all trying to live greener and smarter these days, and for many urban dwellers, taking public transportation is part of that. While the River Rail streetcar may not be all that practical for long-distance commuters, it is a whole lot of fun, and the Central Arkansas Transit Authority has bus options to get you all the way from Roland out west to the airport in the east if you're willing to make a few transfers. Here's the low-down on getting around town.

The year online

As we close out the books on 2011, we decided to take a look back at the traffic on our website to get a tally of the most-read stories of the year. All but three of the stories below appeared online only.

Public sports parks guide

A list of addresses for tennis courts, swimming pools and more.

Ron Paul is crazy

Rep. Ron Paul has no chance whatsoever of securing the Republican nomination, nor of being elected president under any imaginable circumstances. Ain't gonna happen. Even Newt Gingrich has basically said he'd vote for President Obama over Paul.

Civility lost

And class war is total. Our Arkansas congressmen's colleague, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, has announced that Michelle Obama's butt is too big.

Elected officials

A comprehensive list of the federal, state and local officials elected by Central Arkansans.

Central Arkansas demographics

Numbers aren't just for baseball scores, tallying up your purchases at the mall, and dreading or looking forward to on your birthday (depending on your age). Here we present a look at the numbers behind the people who live in Pulaski County. All statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey.

Lyons' logic

The column by Gene Lyons "Global Warming Is Real" ranks right in there with Saudi Arabia claiming that if women are allowed to drive there will be no more virgins.

'American Stuffers' saves your pets for posterity

One of the saddest things in the world is that every bit of love you get from a pet is tempered with the knowledge that it's all going to come to an end sooner rather than later. With cats and dogs, you get 10 good years at best, and that's if they don't run out into the street and get creamed by a passing car.

Four-kid pileup

Four children take a tumble Friday at the River Market on Ice rink in the River Market Pavilion.

Judicial officials

Courts state, county, municipal.

Year in review, part two

Real estate in 2011 in Central Arkansas

If you tend to see the world divided between the 1 and 99 percenters, the real estate market in Pulaski County will back you up.

Amasa Hines to White Water

Plus Mayday by Midnight and more.

It was a good week for getting out of court

Also a good week for the spirit of giving and the Arkansas Lottery. It was a bad week for escaping on a technicality and goose hunters.

Coming clean

It's hard for us, as it would be for any well-intentioned person, but some commendation is due the three Republican congressmen from Arkansas.

Emergency numbers

The numbers for when it all goes wrong.

Rebooting the HSDFI

The often-beleaguered Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, which has run into money troubles in recent years, has quietly installed a new executive director in recent months.

Utilities guide

Info on water, electricity, gas, sewer and garbage and recycling utilities.

Bang! Boom! Bongos!

Latest 'Mission: Impossible' succeeds by playing up the camp.

A look back at 2011

Schools guide

Many of Arkansas's best public and private schools are located in Pulaski County, as the accomplishments of its students show.

Low-flying on real wheels

The Observer owns a bicycle now for the first time in 20 years or more, the first one since the mountain bikes of our troubled youth. We've been riding The Going Nowhere bike at the gym since August, and have been making noises about our desire for a Going Somewhere bike for months now.

TV and radio in Central Arkansas guide

Surfing the airwaves in Central Arkansas.

Hospitals in Central Arkansas

Pulaski County has two Level I trauma centers: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital. Baptist Health and St. Vincent Infirmary are Level II trauma centers. There are also two veterans' hospitals: John L. McClellan Memorial in Little Rock and Towbin Health Care Center in North Little Rock. Baptist Health North Little Rock is a Level III trauma center and St. Vincent North is a Level IV trauma center.

Little Rock National Airport guide

All you need to know about flying out of LIT.

Museums guide

From the Arkansas Arts Center to the Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park, lots to see in Central Arkansas.

Iowa doesn't matter

Pardon me if I fail to join the crowd handicapping next week's Iowa GOP caucuses like race track touts peddling betting tips on the Kentucky Derby.

2012 SWOP opens at Laman

NMWA show at Butler Center Galleries.

January book calendar

Trista Harris, Jay Ruud and more.

Art galleries guide

Get your dose of culcha in the dozens of galleries in Central Arkansas.

A guide to New Year's Eve

It's that time of year again, when we adorn ourselves in our most festive, shimmering finery and our most humorously oversized glitter-encrusted novelty glasses and top hats.

Lights, camera, action ... soon at Pulaski Tech

College plans to train film crew members.

Little Rock's shadow government

I exchanged several notes with Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola last week about his disappointment over Pulaski Tech's rejection of a proposal to move its culinary school downtown.

What's wrong with Iowa? UPDATE

Rick Perry's evolution on abortion tells you something about the voter segment represented by the Iowa Republican caucus participant.

Drunk dialing in the eBay era

I can't decide if this is one of those New York Times invented trend stories or the real thing.

Rambling: A downtown cooking school?

A few thoughts on an alternative way to bring culinary tourists to downtown Little Rock.

Little Rock Housing Authority gets new name

The Little Rock Housing Authority — the somewhat self-governing city agency that provides government subsidized housing in the city — has a new name and a marketing agency.

Officer identified in Park Plaza shooting UPDATE

A Little Rock police officer, working private security at Park Plaza mall, shot and gravely wounded one person and slightly wounded another in the mall parking deck yesterday. Many questions remain about the circumstances of the shooting.

Razorback football schedule released; questions remain

The University of Arkansas released most of its 2012 Razorback football schedule today. The Hogs are still looking for a non-conference opponent for Sept. 22.

8th Circuit orders state desegregation aid to continue

It had tipped its hand decisively earlier with a stay of the order, but the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals finished the job today of undoing Judge Brian Miller's unexpected and preemptory order ending state desegregation funding to the Little Rock School District.

Stephens empire expands newspaper holdings

Interesting that an investment company owned by Little Rock financier Warren Stephens has purchased 16 newspapers from the New York Times to add to a newspaper Halifax Media already owned in Daytona Beach, Fla. Industry press says the prices — $143 million and change for more than 400,000 in daily circulation — represents a dramatic reduction in the value the newspapers once held.

The midweek line

Things slow where you are? Deadly dull around downtown.

Hillary for vice president

Robert Reich, a Clinton administration cabinet member, claims no inside information but predicts the 2012 Democratic ticket will be Obama-Hillary Clinton, with Vice President Joe Biden heading to the secretary of state slot.

Sherwood mayor rapped by Council on impact fee study UPDATE

Interesting item on Channel 4 last night. More details needed, but it reports that the Sherwood City Council had passed a resolution expressing disappointment in Mayor Virginia Hillman for misleading them on a report they'd commissioned about imposing a development impact fee to generate money for parks.

Police find getaway car in club slaying

Channel 4 reports that Little Rock police found the getaway car — a PT cruiser — believed used by men who fatally shot Richard Ratley of Dallas outside the Discovery nightclub in Riverdale early Christmas Eve.

Police: No charges yet in Park Plaza shooting UPDATE

After I talked with Sgt. Cassandra Davis yesterday, the Little Rock police apparently filed charges against Joseph Williams, the driver of a car seriously wounded Tuesday by police officer Chris Johannes' gunshot in the Park Plaza parking deck.

Burger joint of the week: Cheers in the Heights

The Old Fashioned Cheeseburger is a classic, served up with potato chips or for a little more some great fries.

Intramural newspaper snark

Noticed this Twitter today on NWAONLINE, the feed for the Northwest version of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette controlled regional newspaper combine.

Another pedestrian accident downtown

I've confirmed that a pedestrian was hit by a car yesterday afternoon at an old problem intersection — Sixth and Broadway.

Iowa caucuses: Happiness is a warm gun

Michelle Bachman gets worked up about the AR-15, concealed carry, the size of her magazine, etc.

Cigar lounge planned on Main Street

Though the application for a conditional use permit is still in the mill, I noticed last night that work is underway on the ground floor of the Wallace Building at 109 Main Street on what appears to be a new bar.

Throwing out some line POLICE UPDATE

The night line is open. Close-outs: * MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE: Tour guide throws message in a bottle off a cruise ship.

Corporations score tax windfall

Another reminder in the New York Times today of why income tax rates hold little meaning since so many loopholes reduce the effect of high marginal rates.

Occupy Little Rock sets convention Jan. 13-15

Occupy Little Rock sends word of an Occupy Arkansas convention in Little Rock this weekend.

Dump truck breaks through gate at Fort Smith Airport

40/29 reports that somebody drove a dump truck through a gate at the Fort Smith Regional Airport last night.

Little Rock School Twitter hit by hacker?

Sorry I didn't take a screen shot. I was alerted last night to a post on the Little Rock School District Twitter account that suggested a Bible reading for the day — from Revelation, maybe?

Oil and gas exploration: A cautionary tale

I've said before that I grew up in the Southwest Louisiana oil patch in a refinery town.

Homicide reported in SWLR this morning

The Little Rock police say Greg Smith, 25, of 4315 Pinecone Drive, was fatally wounded by several gunshots on a parking lot at 5201 Geyer Springs Road shortly after midnight this morning.

Charter schools allowed to intervene in deseg case

Some legal normalcy is returning to the Pulaski County school desegregation case. First, it was the 8th Circuit's decision to nullify Judge Brian Miller's out-of-the-blue order ending state desegregation aid to the three Pulaski County school districts.

Pieday: Sweet potato at Lindsey's Hospitality House

The best barbecue places serve up pie. And many of the best places for barbecue around here serve up sweet potato pie.

Teens arrested in press box fire

40/29 reports that surveillance video led to the arrest of two 13-year-olds in that elementary school press box fire in Rogers.

Mitt Romney's son is a birther

Republicans and Democrats alike expect another Mitt Romney chameleon performance when and if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

Park Plaza officer suspended for 3 car wrecks

I received a followup from the Little Rock Police Department yesterday on the work history of Officer Chris Johannes, who shot the driver of a car in the Park Plaza parking deck earlier this week when Johannes felt the car was backing up toward him in a threatening manner.

Copper thieves hit skating rink

If not for crime news, there'd be no news at all. Police say that sometime between 10 p.m. last night and 7 a.m. this morning, some stole 20 feet of heavy-duty copper wire that powered the ice skating rink under the River Market Pavilion 1.

Greene County Tech defies ACLU on Nativity display

We wrote earlier about the Greene County Tech elementary counselor in Paragould who put up a Nativity scene display in her classroom despite counsel against it from the school district lawyer, Donn Mixon of Jonesboro, and the administration.

On Crystal Bridges, that meth lab facility in Arkansas

An Arkansas-born Texan writes about the museum.

Low tide at CBMAA

While we're on the subject (I know, you're saying I'm ALWAYS on this subject), here's what the pool is looking like at Crystal Bridges.

No charges to be filed in assistant chief's wreck

The Little Rock police today gave me their investigative file on the October wreck involving now-retired Assistant Police Chief Carlos Corbin.

Let the eagle soar

A traffic fatality, arrests of two serial robbers and other police news dominate the day.

Montana bans corporate campaign cash

Heartening news from Montana. The state Supreme Court there has upheld the state law that bans direct corporate spending in state and local elections.

Arkies work for water projects in third world

A change of pace on a so-far quiet holiday weekend. Roger Armbrust, a former Arkansas Democrat reporter now retired back in Little Rock after a career in New York, contributes columns to Yahoo and today's is a feel-good story about Arkansans, particularly the Little Rock couple Beckham and Karla Allen.

Rep. Darrin Williams: One to watch

Thanks to Stephens Media for noting Governing magazine's inclusion of state Rep. Darrin Williams of Little Rock on its list of a dozen state legislators nationwide to watch in 2012.

Crime reports: Are all of them made?

A New York Times article focuses on a New York city problem that I suspect is replicated many other places.

The auld lang line

It's open for the last night of 2011. A note: * F*** IOWA: The Iowa caucus madness continues.

Do food related resolutions work?

I have no data to back this up, but I believe the most popular New Year's resolution is to lose weight.

Dead blackbirds fall from sky in Beebe again UPDATE

It remains to be seen if the death toll approaches last year's blackbird apocalypse, but reports are emerging of another dead blackbird fall on New Year's Eve.

The body's fight against weight loss

Just in time for New Year's resolutions comes a New York Times magazine cover story on the increasing evidence that, once fat, a body is likely to stay fat.

The 50 best Arkansas burgers I tried in 2011

Few people have eaten more burgers at more Arkansas restaurants this year than Kat Robinson. Check out her choices for the 50 best she found in 2011.

The New Year line

Sorry. I've been out.

Iowa, schmyowa

I still don't see how anybody can claim a victory with, maybe, 25 percent of the vote from 125,000 or so people inb an extremely narrow demographic segment in a whitebread state that generally fails to pick the ultimate Republican nominee.

Our problem isn't debt, it's jobs

Paul Krugman should make teabaggers' heads explode today — and by 'baggers I mean Arkanas's Republican delegation in Congress.

Corporations eye court takeover

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sara Wire (pay wall) wrote further this morning about Supreme Court Justice Robert Brown's idea to create some sort of apparatus to avoid "toxic" judicial elections — that is, elections taken over by excessive corporate contributions, dishonest advertising and the like.

A small rant: Hunka Pie

Should a restaurant "cleanse" its Facebook page of negative remarks?

Chain Link: Red Lobster

I can already hear the groans from the foodist elite amongst our readership. There’s a line that certain folks have forged here between the folks who know food and the sheep… and that line is Red Lobster.

New laws for the new year

State Rep. Kathy Webb's newsletter for constitutents runs down some of the new laws that take effect in 2012, including the increase in the sales tax exemption on used cars from $2,500 to $4,000.

School Board considers ban of 'The Kite Runner'

The book banners never sleep. I've received a note that the Valley View School Board in Jonesboro will meet at 5:30 p.m. today while others watch football games to consider two complaints from school board residents about the teaching of "The Kite Runner" to honors English classes.

Monday line

Anybody there? You are on.

Indiana pushing Right to Work (for less)

The Republican-controlled Indiana legislature is pushing for speedy adoption of a right to work law there and apparently taking steps to limit free speech expressions of disagreement within the Capitol when it happens.

Standing up for 'The Kite Runner' in Valley View

Here's a longer report from Blue Arkansas on the outpouring of support last night for continued teaching of "The Kite Runner" in the Valley View School District in Jonesboro.

When will taxpayer-financed religion end?

A new year has begun and still the state Human Services Department dithers on the disclosure that taxpayer-financed pre-schools operated — for either profit or family pay — by state Rep. Justin Harris and state Sen. Johnny Key have included religious instruction subsidized by public money in the Growing God's Kingdom and Noah's Ark pre-schools.

Duggar backs Santorum in Iowa

In some places, a Jim Bob Duggar endorsement might not be a plus (except insofar as the number of the rest of the clan of voting age.)

School rankings: One size doesn't fit all

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette devoted a significant amount of real estate in the Sunday newspaper to some number crunching by the Walton-financed school reformers up at the University of Arkansas.

LR SWAT team answers hostage call UPDATE

Channel 4 reports a hostage has been released from a house surrounded by SWAT officers on Izard Street, but the hostage-taker hasn't surrendered as yet.

Santorum says states could outlaw contraception

I guess you have to credit Rick Santorum for fully exhibiting an agenda sometimes cloaked strictly in anti-abortion clothing.

Forestry Commission financial tangle continues

With Republicans spoiling to lay a mismanagement charge on the Beebe administration, the Beebe administration rolled out its own background today in advance of continuing legislative hearings tomorrow on the shortfall in Forestry Commission money that recently required layoffs of 36 workers.

A man and his cars: Tuesday's open line

The late Jennings Osborne's collection of vintage autos and other vehicles has been sold to a local dealer.

That was no win in Iowa for Mitt Romney

The headlines that say Mitt Romney "won" the Iowa caucus by 8 votes are not politically accurate.

Burkhalter has new Capitol area building plan

Kathy Wells of the Downtown Neighborhood Association has confirmed a rumor I reported last week.

Surprises when schools ranked by test scores AND poverty

I wrote yesterday about what I thought was inordinate attention given by both the University of Arkansas school reformers and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to a statewide ranking of every school in Arkansas according to its composite score on the Iowa Test, a national standardized test.

Cocaine and candy on the cop beat

A routine traffic stop in McAlmont by a Pulaski deputy yields suspects in thefts of, among others, dozens of candy bars and some jeans (loose fit, naturally).

Thursday: Grace Askew

Grace Askew plays Stickyz Thursday night.

State revenue up sharply in December

December tax receipts were up sharply — 9.5 percent increase in gross revenues over the same month last year and 8.1 percent above forecast.

Two dead in Tuesday night shootings

Two people were killed and two wounded in three separate shooting incidents in Little Rock Tuesday night.

Skynyrd, Little Big Town to Riverfest

Riverfest announced two of its headlining acts for 2012.

Husband searches for wife he's charged with killing

40/29 has film of a Fort Smith man dutifully searching for his missing wife — the wife he was later charged with killing.

Alexander mayor's wife convicted on meth charges

The Saline County prosecutor's office has announced the conviction of Genieve Mitchell, wife of Alexander Mayor Paul Mitchell, of charges related to methamphetamine possession.

Mara Leveritt wins Laman Fellowship

North Little Rock's William F. Laman Library announced today that frequent Arkansas Times contributor Mara Leveritt is the recipient of the 2012 Laman Library Writers Fellowship.

Coming to Justus Fine Art

New work by Dolores Justus, Steve Griffith, Jennifer Libby Fay and more.

The conservatives' legislative puppeteer — ALEC

Arkansas legislators, particularly Republicans, are on board with the fatcat-underwritten American Legislative Exchange Council, a lobby masquerading as an educational organization that churns out cookie cutter legislation for introduction by compliant state legislators.

Talk, but no solutions, on Forestry Commission shortfalls

Some legislators were cool Wednesday to a proposal to add $2.7 million to the state Forestry Commission from the state surplus to fix a money problem.

The line is open — Bryant is buzzing

Bryant is buzzing about City Hall shakeups by Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs. President Obama is getting tough with recess appointments.

New gallery: Ryan T. Schmidt

Gallery showcases sculpture.

Judge Griffen blasts Obama for signing detention policy

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has written in Ethics Daily about the new law providing for indefinite detention of U.S. citizens who are terrorism suspects.

Careful what you say on the Internet in Greenwood

Popping off on Internet chat boards can get you in trouble. Particularly if you're an unpopular newspaper writer in a small town and your unfriendly comments are directed at a member of the city council.

Arkansas highlighted in postoffice fight

The New York Times chooses postoffices in small Arkansas communities to highlight the fight over the Postal Service's move to cut costs by reducing local service.

Dillard's same-store sales up 4 percent in December

Corporate results come and go, but I thought the report from Dillard's this morning on December sales was of a piece with state tax reporting yesterday that, stripped of estimated income tax payments, showed modest gains, but not stunning jumps, in such areas as taxes on retail sales.

Jimmy Buffett to play Verizon Arena March 1

North Little Rock will be cheeseburger paradise March 1 when Jimmy Buffett and band bring his Welcome to Fin Land tour to Verizon Arena.

Burger joint of the week: Razorback Ribs

Smoke is great for ribs and brisket and chicken — but how about a burger?

Weekend: Velcro Fly, Sychosys, Matt Stell & The Crashers and more

Sychosys plays Downtown Music Hall Friday night.

Clerk punched in convenience store robbery

A resistant clerk got punched in the face but may have reduced a robber's take in a robbery this morning at the Shell Super Stop at 4100 W. Markham (across the street from Park Plaza).

Penny in our thoughts

Members of the committee that will oversee the expenditure of Little Rock's new penny sales tax haven't been named (though I've got a question in to City Manager Bruce Moore about the nominees) but the committee does have its own logo and name: CENT, Citizen Evaluation of New Tax.

Pulaski County adds iPhone assessments

Pulaski County Assessor Janet Ward is pleased as punch with a tech development of her office.

Proposal to expand elk territory draws criticism

The Forest Service and Game and Fish Commission have a proposal pending to expand the habitat for elk in Pope, Newton and Searcy counties.

Veggie burger joint of the week: Big Orange

Big Orange offers the widest variety of veggie burgers in town.

Friday 13th lucky for sweets lovers

Kelli Marks got her start baking in the cake section of Barnes and Noble, where she read up on how to make her first creation: A four-tier buttercream cake from scratch for her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

U.S. Rep. Womack goes ballistic on constituent

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack is a former National Guard colonel and he apparently acted like a rank-pulling jerk at a rare town hall meeting Wednesday night, according to this report from Blue Arkansas.

SWOP open at Laman Library

Works no larger than 24-by-24 inches by 39 artists.

Cheeseball at Gallery 26 tonight!

Gallery open late First Thursday festivities in Hillcrest.

Woman butts up against art

Mistakes Clyfford Still's painting "1957-J no.2" for "john," rubs derriere on painting.

Of jobs, Walmart, raccoons, geese and tomatoes

Blue Cross workers face job loss. Work has begun on a new Walmart in Riverdale. The Coon Supper Lives. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gets more bad publicity. Tim Griffin is demagoguing. Tomato packers get justice. Geese get gone.

The line is open

A court order of protection couldn't save Cassie Cotta's life.

Bryant mayor taps GOP boss as interim city attorney

You heard it here first. Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican Dabbs tonight appointed State Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb as interim city attorney.

Pieday: Chocolate cream at Dan's I-30 Diner

Want a good solid bite for lunch? You can get it at Dan’s I-30 Diner in Benton, along with whatever pie the staff decides to make up each day.

Santorum's profit from public service

It wasn't such a bad thing that Rick Santorum was soundly defeated in a re-election bid in Pennsylvania for U.S. Senate.

Education: what works, what doesn't

A couple of headlines of note on education in the NY Times this morning: * VIRTUAL SCHOOLS: The on-line school racket — devised by the likes of William "Slot Machine" Bennett to pour dollars into the pockets of private businessmen through per-pupil tax support equivalent to that given students in real schools with labs, gyms, bands, rich curriculum and all — gets another poor review.

Dutch pension fund dumps Walmart investment

A major Dutch pension firm with $120 million invested in Walmart has announced it has blacklisted the Arkansas-based retailer over its labor policies and anti-union stance.

Another homicide this morning in Little Rock

Is this No. 3 of the year already? Police report John Edward Williams Jr., 33, was killed about 12:20 a.m. this morning at 7500 S. University, the address of the Heritage House Inn.

Jane English calls for campaign spending transparency

Rep. Jane English of North Little Rock, a Republican who's seeking a state Senate seat next year, has issued a heart-warming campaign news release.

Jason Reitman likes Matt Owen's awesome movie posters

Little Rock artist Matt Owen got some big props from director Jason Reitman.

Billy Bob Thornton's upcoming flick to be a 'Southern Whip-Ass Extravaganza'

The Baytown Disco is set for release some time this year.

Vore pummels the seething throngs with "Gravehammer"

Vore's latest album is "Gravehammer."

Wakarusa unveils some of its 2012 lineup

Wakarusa unveiled the first set of lineup announcements yesterday.

Steve Womack's heart of stone

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack got some deserved unflattering attention this week for lecturing a hard-working college student for criticizing his priorities in supporting tax breaks for the rich, corporate subsidies and the rest while cutting college aid for struggling students.

40 Minutes of Hell on ESPN Feb. 11

This is the best thing I've seen all day, the trailer for the coming ESPN documentary "40 Minutes of Hell," on Nolan Richardson's running Razorbacks.

Soulful or Saccharine? Grace Askew at Stickyz

Grace Askew offered a mixed bag at Stickyz.

That no-sales-tax promise? Misleading

A friend noticed this pop-up brag on the Urban Outfitters website and did a double-take.

Delta winners: Moorhead, Bailin, Anderson-Staley

See them starting Jan. 27 at the Arkansas Arts Center.

McDaniel signs off on congressional redistricting law

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has issued an official opinion today saying no state law change is necessary to correct a voting precinct discrepancy discovered after the legislature approved new congressional districts.

Megan Chapman, Dolores Justus and a cast of thousands

Hot Springs Gallery Walk tonight.

Check out the video for Rock Star Jones' 'Bombs'

Here's the video for the latest single from Rockstar Jones — formerly of Little Rock, now living in L.A. He released "Bombs" back in April, but the video, which came out a few weeks back, looks good, with plenty of perfectly washed-out shots of sunny southern California.

No charges in Maumelle hot tub death

The Pulaski prosecutor's office has closed its investigation of the death of Dexter Williams, a 24-year-old Mountain Pine man found dead in September in the hot tub of a Maumelle home.

The Real Housewives of Saline County Edition

A state legislator willing to fix an ethics law loophole, craziness in Bryant, Steve Womack’s bad day, new developments in the deseg case, the Park Plaza shooting and more are covered in this week's rapid fire edition.

How small names grow big: SWOP

“Small Works on Paper" a venue for upcoming and established artists alike.

$8 million claim filed in trooper crash case

The estate of Vickie Freemyer, the Blytheville teacher killed when her car was struck by a speeding State Police cruiser driven by former Trooper Andrew Rhew, has filed an $8 million claim in the death with the state Claims Commission.

The Cotton Bowl open line

WPS. Otherwise, final words: * 4TH DISTRICT GOP DEBATE SET: Tune up your computers so you'll be ready Monday night for a live-streamed debate among Republican candidates for the open 4th District congressional seat — Tom Cotton, Beth Anne Rankin Marcus Richmond.

Fracking may send water trucks to Pa. town

One to watch: The Pennsylvania town where regulators are considering again the use of trucked water because of concerns of water pollution of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Have a question for Steve Womack?

Col. Steve Womack, who blustered at critical constituents at a Fayetteville Town Hall last week, is putting himself before the public again next week.

Race and the Republican candidates

Race-baiting in the Republican presidential campaign has drawn increasing attention in recent days thanks to some comments from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich ("food stamp president").

Pumped about football?

We love our football don't we? In the afterglow of the Cotton Bowl, here's a recommendation — Ben McGrath in the New Yorker on a private high school in New Jersey that may be the best high school football team in the country.

Honor veterans — unless they want to be helped on Main Street

The Democrat-Gazette carried an interesting article (pay wall) today about the Department of Veterans Affairs' plans to locate a service center for vets at 10th and Main in the old Cook Jeep building.Mayor Mark Stodola is fit to be tied.

The Saturday line

Over to you.

Why subsidize wealthy corporations?

The New York Times takes another run today at examining the handouts state give to lure manufacturers.

There's trouble in Bryant city

That's trouble with a capital T, which rhymes with P, which stands for .... * PETITIONS: I've confirmed with a circulator that a petition to recall Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs is underway.

Maureen Dowd on Rick Santorum

It's over. Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.

Sunday thoughts?

The line is open. Recommended: Michael Kinsley's review of Thomas Frank's new book in NY Times.

Who is Occupy Little Rock?

Occupy Little Rock has sent out more information about its state convention Friday through Sunday, Jan. 13-15 in Little Rock.

Congressional inaction raises taxes on transit riders

If Congress' failure to act before the end of 2011 had produced a tax increase on millionaires, the howls would have been heard round the world.

America's playing field — far from level

"Land of Opportunity." As Arkansans know too well of our historic motto, that was a euphemism for impossibly unequal circumstances and terrible deprivation.

Gary Latanich begins pitch for 1st District congress

He starts with scant name recognition, but a self-description as a "lifelong, true-blue Democrat" is a good start there's for Gary Lataninch, an ecomomics professor at Arkansas State University, about his Democratic candidacy for 1st District congress, a seat now held by Republican Rick Caldwell.

Little Rock listed as 11th gayest city has come up with a ranking of the nation's gayest cities (focusing on cities beyond the obvious like New York and San Francisco) and Little Rock clocks in at No. 11.

State board approves charter schools

The state Board of Education this morning has approved two applications for charter schools by school districts — a conversion charter for an elementary school in Cross County that will provide "projects-based" learning aimed at rural students and a conversion charter for a STEM school in the Lincoln District.

LR Horror Picture Show: now with more zombies!

The braaaaaaains behind the Little Rock Horror Picture Show — the gore and spooks spin-off of the Little Rock Film Festival that's scheduled for Feb. 17-19 at Market Street Cinema — announced their next film today, and it looks to be a winner if you're a George A. Romero fan.

Argenta Restaurant Week kicks off today

Today marks the beginning of downtown North Little Rock's twice-annual week of dining deals. Except this go-round, it's not a week; it's two weeks.

Polyphonic Spree, Delta Spirit to Revolution

The Polyphonic Spree and Delta Spirit are scheduled to play shows at Revolution soon.

Comedy theater comes to North Little Rock

The Joint, a new coffeehouse, comedy and music venue, will open in North Little Rock in April.

Argenta gets a new coffeehouse-cum-comedy club

A new Argenta coffeehouse-cum-comedy club plans to open in April.

Goose coalition breaks with NLR over new ordinance UPDATE

The Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park has split the sheets with the city of North Little Rock over Mayor Pat Hays' proposed ordinance to give the mayor power to allow hunting of nuisance animals on three days' notice, without City Council review.

Fire probe: Conway woman killed granddaughter, self

Faulkner County authorities tell the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway that Janice Robbins, 63, fatally stabbed her 8-year-old granddaughter Abby and killed herself.

Fisk far in future

Tennessee AG may appeal latest ruling.

Monday, Monday

News roundup: State travel to bowl games; recording criminal interrogations; bomb scare in Fayetteville.

Here are the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase semifinalists

Here are the 20 semifinalists for the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

The morning roundup

Odds and ends around Arkansas this morning: * THE BRYANT FOLLIES: Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs called in TV stations — not all print media that I can tell — and held forth for about an hour Monday about how she's a victim of obstructionist council members.

North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays to retire

Word was circulating last night that North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays had made his decision not to seek re-election this year after almost 24 years in office.

KATV considering move, but no deal done

Last time I checked, KATV General Manager Mark Rose, though confirming that Channel 7 was giving some thought to a move from its long-time location at Fourth and Main, said no specific plans had been nailed down.

Romney's abortion dance

Mitt Romney was for a woman's right to choose abortion before he was against it.

Wardrobe malfunction foils robbery

Little Rock police say a robber with a large butcher knife demanded money at the Exxon at 7600 Cantrell Road about 9:50 p.m.

Melissa Harris-Perry speaks at Philander

Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, a political science professor at Tulane and frequent commentator on MSNBC, will speak in the Bless the Mic lecture series at 7 p.m.

Pryor responds on USDA office closures

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced plans to close 16 USDA and Farm Service agencies in Arkansas.

Employees grumbling at new Stephens papers

Employees of the regional New York Times newspapers sold recently to Halifax Media, a company controlled by Warren Stephens the Little Rock financier, are not happy about a non-compete agreement they are being asked to sign by today.

Protests ring hollow on vet center notice

When Mayor Mark Stodola's last-minute objection to a long planned relocation of a day center for veterans surfaced, U.S Rep. Tim Griffin joined the fray.

The line is open

News roundup: 4th District Republican debate; domestic violence death; casino gambling in Arkansas.

Don't forget the Times daily calendar!

In case you're not used to checking it already, the Times' events calendar includes news about art shows and events all over Arkansas.

Eaten anywhere lately?

Here's an open line for anyone wanting to fill us in on new places, old places or just to blow off steam.