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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.