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Natives Guide

Natives Guide

December 31, 2015

Vol 42 • No 17

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What the future holds

Bold predictions: 10 things that will definitely come to pass in 2016.

Where to get help

Everyone needs a little help sooner or later.

When will we have fun?

The festivals of 2016.

Who is in charge in Pulaski County?

The elected officials.

Where do the rich people live in Pulaski County?

The top home sales in 2015.

Where is the culture in Central Arkansas?

Museums and galleries.

Where can I get a good late breakfast in Central Arkansas?

Six suggested brunches, and a dozen other options.

Why do we love the library in Central Arkansas?

A radio show. Tools. Composting. Concerts. 3D printing. Books, too.

Who you gonna call when the water rises?

Flooding in Arkansas re-introduces an issue that illustrates the selective view of government by some politicians.

State Police reviewing shots fired at Crossett suspect

The State Police said it is reviewing shots fired by law officers in Crossett Thursday morning when a suspect fled. No one was seriously hurt.

A watery open line

Heres' the Jan. 1 open line. Not much to report but high water. Lots of people are out gawking today at the flooding from the Arkansas River.,

Robert Loyd, a leader in the fight for equality, dies in Conway

As readers noted yesterday, Facebook has news — and an outpouring of sadness — of the death Wednesday of Robert Loyd, a pivotal figure in Central Arkansas in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people.

Sen. David Sanders is a sartorial hit

Roger Stone, a political consultant, compiles an annual best- and worst-dressed list for the Daily Caller, a right-leaning website. This year, among the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Anderson Cooper, is a natty Arkansan — Sen. David Sanders of Little Rock (right after Huma Abedin).

Two homicides open 2016 in Pulaski County

Two homicides were reported on Friday, the first day of 2016, in Pulaski County.

Former Sen. Dale Bumpers dies at 90

A giant of Arkansas politics, former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers, died last night at his Little Rock home. He was 90 and had been in failing health.

Bill Clinton remembers Dale Bumpers

Former President Bill Clinton has issued a statement on the death of Dale Bumpers.

Give me liberty or give me an open line

Here's a place to write. At this moment, things look good for the Hogs in Memphis. So there's that.

Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:

Going to pot, and other state ballot issues

The UA Public Policy Center is a good source for information on pending statewide ballot issues, notably the various efforts underway to legalize marijuana, either for medicine or general purposes.

Calling all gun nuts: Obama to take questions at gun town hall

President Obama is going on CNN Thursday night to take questions on gun control. Can't wait to see the Fox counter-programming and the GOP candidater social media eruption.

Dale Bumpers stories: From Charleston to the seats of power

Oh the stories Dale Bumpers could tell. Ernest Dumas, who did an 11-hour interview with the late former governor and senator for a University of Arkansas oral history project, excerpts some of that interview here.

Hindu group presses secretary of state for action on Capitol monuments

A Hindu group that wants to erect a statue on state Capitol grounds — given the state law that has cleared the way for a Christian-motivated monument to the 10 Commandments planned there — is urging an early meeting of the commission that reviews proposals for Capitol grounds monuments.

The back-to-work open line

The long holiday is over. Back to work tomorrow.

Another way for businesses to shape public policy

Interesting reading in the New York Times about a consensus-building business and philanthropic coalition in Minneapolis, the Itasca Project, that works to better the community, with a focus not solely aimed at increasing business profits by tax cuts and deregulation.

A glimmer of change on Arkansas's Death Row?

Some news from Arkansas Death Row: A change that could mean a lessening of the solitary confinement-like conditions there.

Memorial service set Sunday in Little Rock for Dale Bumpers

A memorial service for Dale Bumpers, the former governor and U.S. senator who died Friday at 90, will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church.

No movement on LR Port understanding with Quapaw tribe

The Little Rock Port Authority has been working for a year on a memorandum of understanding with the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma about the tribe's use of ancestral land purchased near the port. The memorandum has been drafted and the tribe has agreed to its terms. But the board of the Port Authority still hasn't adopted it.

Metroplan economic report: Upbeat going into 2016

Metroplan has issued its Economic Review and Outlook and the summary seems upbeat on economic trends in Central Arkansas

The art of the gun

From Guy Bell comes notice of "The Gun Show," a juried art competition, with prizes up to $2,500, for works exploring the firearm in Southern culture.

Ethics Commission finds violation in Bentonville School Board race

The state Ethics Commission has fined Rodney Fry of Bella Vista $50 for buying a Facebook ad for a Bentonville School Board candidate without providing the information required by law on the sponsor of the ad.

Former Huckabee aide Alice Stewart joins Ted Cruz campaign

Alice Stewart, who recently quit Mike Huckabee's faltering presidential campaign, has joined the Ted Cruz campaign, Politico reports. Stewart is a former Little Rock TV and radio performer who's worked for a variety of Republican politicians.

Craig Strickland's body found near Oklahoma lake

Authorities today found the body of Craig Strickland, singer in the Northwest Arkansas band Backroad Anthem, missing since Dec. 27 on a duck hunting trip to an Oklahoma lake.

Campaign begins for Arts Center bond issue

The ad hoc Committee for Arts and History will have a press event at noon Tuesday in support of a Feb. 9 special election vote on Little Rock on pledging sales tax money to a bond issue to expand and improve the Arkansas Arts Center as well as spend some smaller amounts on the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and the surrounding MacArthur Park.

Arkansas cyclist sets record for miles biked in a year

Bicycling magazine has just said on Twitter that Kurt Searvogel of Sheridan has broken a long-standing record for the number of miles biked in a year.

Bill Clinton debuts as 2016 New Hampshire campaigner

Hillary Clinton put a famous Arkansas traveler to work for her in New Hampshire today — her husband, the former president, Bill Clinton. He said he wasn't mad at anybody in passing up opportunities to go after — or respond to — GOP critics.

An open line for the new year

Here's the Monday open line, plus the first news-and-comment video of 2016.

Saline judge denies Mayberrys' challenge to liquor store permit

Saline Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips has turned down a lawsuit aimed at blocking a liquor store permit in on Arch Street Pike in the Saline County community of East End.

Obama says gun proposals are coming, but no specifics yet

With the gun lobby already heated to the boiling point, President Obama reiterated today that he plans executive action aimed at gun safety, but he's not ready to be specific just yet. He said his ideas would pass constitutional muster and had the potential to save lives.

Gov. Hutchinson applies spin on changes in Obamacare extension

As promised, Gov. Asa Hutchinson has formalized his request to extend Arkansas's use of Obamacare money for the private option version of Medicaid expansion, but with changes to make it more palatable to conservative Republicans. The media has been sold some Asa spin on the need for these changes.

Freeways: Widen them and traffic moves slower

More research on the futility of widening freeways to speed traffic . In Houston, they've more than doubled the width of a major freeway and commuting times are slower.

State tax revenue down from last year, but ahead of forecast

The monthly report on state tax revenue for December shows both net and gross income down from the same month a year ago, but ahead of forecast — by 1.7 percent net and 2.2 percent gross.A key indicator — the sales tax — fell below forecast.

Everything you wanted to know about building permits

Here's a new website/app that might interest you: Some entrepreneurs have developed BuildZoom, which compiles every building permit issued around the country based on data collected by local building departments.

A day at the office for LRPD — sorting out a shooting

Life on the street for the Little Rock police, as told in a report on a shooting Monday that left two wounded at a house on Wolfe Street.

Asa and other Repubs in coordinated attack on Obama on gun safety effort

Gov. Asa Hutchinson sniped at President Obama this morning on his plan to attempt to improve gun safety through some executive actions. To date, however much Hutchinson may resist gun safety measures, nothing the president has proposed appears to run afoul of the Second Amendment.

Portrait of a cook as magician

A look at the finest meal of 2015, prepared riverside and devoured with glee on the banks of the White River.

Little Rock School District ready to open new WLR school

Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus talked this morning about plans to open a new middle school in west Little Rock and to plan for a new high school in Southwest Little Rock.

Airport touts resumption of flights to St. Louis

Southwest Airlines, whose shifting of flights to larger airports has contributed to a drop in passengers at Clinton National Airport, is resuming Wednesday a nonstop flight to St. Louis, once a major hub for flights from Little Rock, particularly on TWA and then American Airlines.

Judge again sides with defense on physical evidence in murder case, but allows use of recording of victim

Circuit Judge Herbert Wright again today sided with a defense request to exclude a blood spot and hair found in the trunk of murder suspect Arron Lewis' car inadmissible in his trial for the slaying of realtor Beverly Carter. He did allow introduction of a length of rope found in the car, KARK reports.

The Tuesday open line, plus news and comment

Here's the Tuesday open line and today's news and comment video.

Sen. Boozman and his challenger, Conner Eldridge, on presidential gun control

Republican Sen. John Boozman, joined the unified and orchestrated Republican chorus of condemnation of President Obama's intention to take executive action on guns. His Democratic opponent steered a different course.

Verizon Arena adds new security screening

Verizon Arena says it is joining a national trend in stepping up security for concerts and other events at the North LIttle Rock facility.

Arts Center campaign begins, could use more transparency

As I mentioned yesterday, the campaign began for a $37 million bond issue to expand and rehabilitate the Arkansas Arts Center.It's a worthy cause if the Arts Center is to remain a top arts institution and grow in appeal and attendance. But .....

Korea — and the usual suspects — go nuclear

You've read by now that North Korea has claimed it's detonated a hydrogen bomb.Fallout? Republicans naturally are reflexively howling that it's President Obama's fault.

Political hands join in public affairs firm

Some familiar names have joined forces in a new  "strategic communications"  firm, Aarch Communications.

Get your piping hot 'coon here

The Gillett Coon Supper, a community fund-raiser that has long been a popular political stop, is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the school gymnasium in Gillett.

'Welcome to Walmart. Do you have a license for that pistol?' And more gun news

Walmart managers in Texas have a new duty — checking people carrying weapons for licenses to carry them openly under a new state law. And speaking of open carry: A philosophy professor has a suggestion for those uncomfortable with open display of weapons in restaurants and other public places: Leave. Also: objections raised to new open carry ordinance in Baxter County.

Come to the U.S. premiere of Tav Falco's 'Urania Descending' on Jan. 21

We're thrilled to be teaming up with Arkansas Sounds to host the U.S. premiere of Tav Falco's ambitious and fascinating new film "Urania Descending" on Thursday, Jan. 21, at Ron Robinson Theater. Falco was born on a farm in rural Arkansas and today lives in Vienna, where he writes books, directs films and records music with the cult art-rock band Panther Burns, whose most recent album, “Command Performance,” was released in March. Free, open to the public.

Missouri man sentenced in vintage car fraud

A former Harrison resident to almost 15 years in federal prison for defrauding 80 victims in the sale of classic and vintage vehicles.

Carjacking leads to chase and arrest near Russellville and death

A carjacking early this morning on U.S. Highway 64 near Russellville led to a police chase, wreck and arrest of a suspect in the robbery and another person dead of wreck injuries.

Secretary of State Mark Martin relents on weekend closure of Capitol

Secretary of State Mark Martin, who drew praise from no one, including the governor, for his decision to close the state Capitol on the weekends after the holiday seasons, has relented.

Alabama chief justice orders halt to same-sex marriages in state

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore today issued an order that said probate clerks in Alabama are not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Ask the governor: Hutchinson talks Medicaid, highways, guns, Huckabee

Gov. Asa Hutchinson had an open session for press questions today. He covered familiar topics but dropped no bombshells.

One wounded in bank branch robbery on Highway 10

The Little Rock police report a man with a gun robbed the Bank of America branch at 14519 Cantrell Road in far northwest Little Rock earlier this afternoon. A man was wounded.

Guilty plea in bomb threat on Rogers church

Allen Ward, 51, of Muskogee, Okla., pleaded guilty today to making a bomb threat by telephone to the Bentonville Police about the Fellowship Bible Church in Rogers, which his ex-wife attended.

Taxpayer contributions generous in Manila expansion

State economic development officials announced today that Southworth Products would spend $935,000 to expand its material handling equipment production in Manila and add 35 jobs. It will get incentives that approach its investment.

The midweek line is open

Here's the Wednesday open line, plus today's news and comment by video.

Sen. Hutchinson, partners have plan for private club in Packet House

A state senator and two partners have a proposal pending before the Little Rock Planning Commission to put a private club with restaurant, bar and lounge in the currently vacant Packet House, a historic structure on Cantrell Road.

Hutchinson set to meet with feds on Feb. 1 to negotiate details for revised private option

At Gov. Asa Hutchinson's presser today, he said that he is planning to meet with officials from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Feb. 1 to try to hammer out an agreement over just how many of conservative bells and whistles he can get added to the private option, the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion. The governor has said that he wants a legislative special session in April to vote on the plan. He should have a pretty good idea of precisely what's possible by then, based on his discussions with the feds, but he won't have anything official in hand until later in the year.

The political strategy (and pitfalls) behind Asa Hutchinson's Medicaid spin

Gov. Aas Hutchinson is trying to bamboozle the legislature with his slippery rhetoric on Medicaid, but perhaps his spin is the best means to achieve two very challenging political lifts — continuing the private option and reforming the traditional Medicaid program. A look at the political considerations behind the governor's strategy, plus some reasons to be considered about the baloney narrative he's pushing as part of that strategy.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson meets with federal officials today on future of private option; what he's asking for and how feds will respond

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is set to meet with officials from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today to negotiate revisions to the private option, the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion. A look at the governor's big four asks — what they mean in terms of policy and what to expect in negotiations with the feds.

Despite exit of Razorback stars, Liberty Bowl win bodes well for Hogs

It wasn't flawless, but Arkansas's 45-23 dismantling of Kansas State in the Auto Zone Liberty Bowl was as thorough and dominant as the score suggested, if not more so.

Report: Huckabee backers helping Rubio in Iowa

A report in the National Review (no liberal journal) says supporters of  Mike Huckabee and another past Iowa caucus winner, Rick Santorum, are so unhappy that Ted Cruz has stolen their thunder with Iowa evangelicals that they are working to help Marco Rubio.

One killed in wrong-way crash on Interstate 40

The State Police said Juanita Power, 62, of Charlestonn, was killed Wednesday night in an Interstate 40 crash with a wrong-way driver near the Galloway exit near North Little Rock.

The growing Koch machine aims at state level influence

Politico continues its reporting on the growth of the Koch billionaires' political machine, now bigger it estimates than the Republican National Committee and its congressional arms.

A word of explanation for erratic blogging

My blogging has been mostly non-existent since about noon Sunday and here's an explanation for any who might be curious.

No jogging along Rebsamen

Times photographer Brian Chilson took this picture this morning of the jogging trail past Rebsamen Golf Course. The National Weather Service says the river has hit 23,95 feet, about a foot above flood stage — obviously.

City to close Rebsamen Park Road because of flooding

The city will close Rebsamen Park Road through Murray Park because of flooding

The auld open line

Here is an open line looking at you kids as 2016 rolls in on little cats' feet. 

Federal judge temporarily halts new state law aimed at shutting down Planned Parenthood pharmaceutical abortions

A federal judge has called a temporary halt to a state law aimed at preventing drug-=induced miscarriages by abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.