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'Protect and serve' vs. 'patrol and control' in Little Rock

'Protect and serve' vs. 'patrol and control' in Little Rock

January 4, 2018

Vol 44 • No 18

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'Protect and serve' vs. 'patrol and control' in Little Rock

As the Little Rock Police Department has increased traffic stops to crack down on crime, it says the stops can also be part of community policing. Others say it's akin to stop-and-frisk.

Governor points to declining Medicaid rolls in seeking renewal of Arkansas Works from legislature

On Thursday, Governor Hutchinson announced that enrollment in Arkansas’s Medicaid program has declined by almost 10 percent over the last year — from 1,048,000 on Jan. 1, 2017, to 931,000 on Jan. 1, 2018.

Asa, I'm coming for you

Undoing America

The U.S. Labor Department will tell the owners of restaurants and other businesses this month that they can keep the tips that customers leave for waiters and other service workers.

Baby driver

Long after rookie pilots in The Observer's day went to test for a driver's license, Junior, 18, finally took the plunge over the Christmas break and got his permit.

Erik Knowles at Loony Bin

Also, "Casablanca" goes up on the big screen at Riverdale 10 Cinema.

Vintage Hog ball

The Southeastern Conference era of Arkansas athletics has represented something of an oddity in that historically, the two flagship programs cannot seem to be on steady footing simultaneously.

Girl meets amphibian

Del Toro's 'The Shape of Water' is, foremost, a love story.

Applications released

The Medical Marijuana Commission released 326 applications from persons seeking to be licensed as dispensaries and/or cultivators of medical marijuana last week, documents that did not identify the applicant but did provide business names, phone numbers and names of the companies' registered agents (including Asa Hutchinson III, the son of the governor, who is representing a Bentonville grower applicant).

No meat, no matter

Viva Vegan will make you a believer.

Arkansas's Trump?

Jan Morgan's challenge to Governor Hutchinson in the GOP primary is the most interesting political development in 2018 for sheer theatrics.

A home for the visual arts: UALR's WCAD

Thanks to the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

'Small Works on Paper' at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

And much more.

A fresh start

For much of my adult life, I've tried to eat black-eyed peas and greens every New Year's Day, worrying that if I didn't, the year would be just awful. I've made resolutions. I've sworn off fast food. I've pledged to go to the gym three times a week.

Hillary done it

Down at the courthouse, the kind of story Donald J. Trump is peddling is laughingly called the some-other-dude-done-it defense.

Inconsequential News Quiz: We Don't Need No Education Edition

Play on the bus, as your coach careens toward disaster!

Gov says open carry legal

Also, Jan Morgan enters the fray, Huck says something dumb and more.

Will Arkansas join the red state revolt?

The Republican stranglehold on Arkansas state government is in jeopardy. Using a model developed by John Ray and Jesse Bacon that incorporates a blend of fundamentals (presidential approval rating, for example) and legislative district-level demography (such as household income and race), we find that Democrats are poised to break the GOP supermajority in the state's House of Representatives this year.

A love letter to The Forge

Truths, lies and Tareytons

Fire at Bill and Hillary Clinton's Chappaqua property

Various news outlets reporting that a fire broke out yesterday on the Clintons' property in Chappaqua, New York.

Trump abandons voter fraud commission

President Trump has abandoned the "voter fraud commission" that he established in May. The commission was itself a fraud, which grew out of Trump's ludicrous lie that massive voter fraud had cost him the popular vote.

Billy Fleming projects pickup opportunities for Democrats in the Arkansas House

2018 is likely going to be a very good year to run as a Democrat, and the party will have a real chance to flip control in both houses of Congress. But what about in Arkansas?

State revenue collections well above forecast for December

Revenues were $23.7 million above forecast according to the the Department of Finance and Administration's general revenue report for December.

UPDATE: Sessions rescinds memo that stopped crackdown on legal pot

According to the Associated Press, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind an Obama-era Department of Justice memo that directed federal prosecutors not to go after marijuana convictions in states where it's been legalized.

Report: Many nursing homes use corporate arrangements to juice hidden profits while care suffers

Recommended read: In the New York Times, Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News offers a harrowing look at nursing homes, where corporate profits may take priority over quality of care.

MLK Day set to stand alone

Thanks to legislation passed last year, this year MLK Day will no longer be combined with an honor for Robert E. Lee. No, this won't dent, say, the wealth gap. But our symbols and traditions reflect who we are.

State Police: one dead, three wounded in Brinkley apartment shooting

Arkansas State Police reports four people were shot in an apartment in Brinkley this morning, with one dying of his wounds. ASP said that the shooting occurred just after 7 a.m. today at Pinewood Apartments in Brinkley.

Share your Big Ideas to make Arkansas a better place

It's the time of year again when we solicit suggestions for our annual Big Ideas issue. As in year's past, we're searching for specific, potentially transformative suggestions for making Arkansas a better place to live. We're open to practical, wacky and everything in between.

Governor: Feds shouldn't target medical marijuana but recreational use is fair game

Hutchinson did not directly criticize Sessions' decision, suggesting that it would be appropriate to enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have sanctioned the recreational (rather than medical) use of the drug.

Rep. House: Sessions' repeal of hands-off policy on legal marijuana is 'inviting a disaster'

An state representative who has worked extensively with Arkansas banks in the search for financial institutions to provide banking for the state's burgeoning medical cannabis industry says that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement that he will rescind Obama-era guidelines that direct the federal government to take a hands-off approach to marijuana in states that have legalized medical and recreational cannabis will spook banks from working with dispensaries and cultivators, potentially forcing cannabis-related businesses to deal solely in cash.

Thursday open line

Hit the comments and share some news.

Medicaid rolls fall by ten percent this year; still no word on Medicaid expansion waiver

Gov. Hutchinson trumpets good news for the budget. The question now is what impact the reduction in the Medicaid rolls will have on the uninsured rate. Plus: What's going on with the waiver request?

Eastern District of Arkansas will receive new federal prosecutor position focused on violent crime

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced yesterday that it will receive additional resources devoted to combating violent crime.

Lyon College will open pet-friendly campus housing

Who let the dogs in?

Democrat Michael Wendel announces run for House District 70

Michael Wendel of Conway has informed the Arkansas Times that he will run as a Democrat for state representative in District 70, which includes parts of Faulkner and Perry counties. Wendel is a political newcomer who said that he was galvanized by the 2016 election.

Department of Education will livestream MLK Day event at North Little Rock High School

The Arkansas Department of Education announced today that it will livestream the 2018 MEGA KINGFEST event, one of the nation's largest MLK Day celebrations.

Some Arkansans to get refund after Rutledge settles with mortgage company

Rutledge, and 48 other Attorneys General, reached a $45 million settlement with PPH Mortgage. The non-bank residential mortgage originator improperly serviced mortgage loans between 2009 to 2012. And if the company messed with you some cash might be coming your way.

Your daily update and open line

Got any weekend plans?

The Asa and Jan Edition

The justice department and marijuana, a new Republican gubernatorial candidate and Medicaid and Arkansas — all covered on this week's podcast. kicking Trump from the site would 'hamper necessary discussion.'

If you ever find yourself daydreaming that Twitter will finally enforce their rules and spray a little water on the raging dumpster fire that is Donald Trump's Twitter account, don't hold your breath while waiting for the ban hammer to drop.  A statement posted by the company to Twitter's blog today implied that as long as a person is a "world leader," pretty much anything he or she wants to say on the social media site is A-OK, even if it violates the rules set forth for everyone else.

Donald Trump wishes America good morning

Donald Trump announces that he's "a very stable genius."

Group seeks constitutional amendment for casinos and highway funding

Here we go again. A group calling itself Driving Arkansas Forward announced yesterday afternoon that it is launching an effort to push for a constitutional amendment to allow three casinos to be built in the state.

Still no action from GOP Congress on CHIP: ARKids set to run out of funds in March, some states this month; CBO revises CHIP price tag down by 90 percent

Emergency funding approved by Congress last month will not be enough to keep the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) afloat this month in some states, federal officials announced yesterday — on the same day that the Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget score that now estimate the net budget impact of CHIP re-authorization to be a fraction of previous projections. Action is months overdue and Republicans are out of excuses.

Guidelines on Medicaid work requirements coming soon from Trump administration

The Trump administration will soon release guidelines for states — such as Arkansas — that wish to add work requirements for certain populations in their Medicaid programs.

Saturday open line

Bundle up, it's yours.

Arkansas Advocates: Governor's proposed Medicaid changes will harm low-income Arkansans

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families released an issue brief this week on the changes that Governor Hutchinson is seeking for the state's Medicaid expansion program. The brief argues that the governor's proposals — which still await federal approval — would increase the number of uninsured Arkansans, risk disrupting coverage for beneficiaries and run counter to the purposes of the program.

UAMS layoffs begin: Update

An anonymous source has provided the Times with an email from an employee who says UAMS' Office of Global Health has been defunded. The office is headed by Nick Zaller of the College of Public Health. We've asked UAMS administration whether Zaller is gone or whether this particular initiative has been defunded.

Trump's disbanded voter fraud commission still facing legal challenges

More drama for the now disbanded "election integrity" commission that President Donald Trump created after his convulsions of insecurity led him to lie that widespread voter fraud led him to lose the popular vote by several million.

Sunday open line

Tell us something good. 

Eighth grade students in northeast Arkansas build prosthetic foot for duck with 3D printer

Miracle in the Delta.

Arkansas Children's Northwest receives $8 million gift; opens for outpatient services tomorrow

The new Arkansas Children's Northwest hospital is slated to open this month, with outpatient services starting tomorrow. At a celebration on Friday night hosted by ACH at the new facility, Mandy Macke, associate director and secretary for the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, announced a gift of $8 million.

UAMS will reduce workforce by 600 positions, including 258 layoffs: UPDATE

Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner sent an email out to UAMS this morning, making the bad news official.

Alice Stewart re-ups with CNN

CNN has renewed the contract of political commentator Alice Stewart, a former KARK television news anchor and Mike Huckabee staffer.

Oprah for president?


A happy Monday and an open line

What's the word?

Fleming, class come across with puzzle in national journal

Vic Fleming, the Little Rock district judge whose song about crossword-creating ability was featured in the 2008 documentary "Wordplay," and the 20 or so members of his LifeQuest of Arkansas Puzzle Class will see their name in lights, or at least in print, when the Jan. 19 Chronicle of Higher Education carries their crossword.

Teen fatally shot by police in North Little Rock

Sunday night, around 1 a.m., Charles Smith Jr., a 17 year-old high school senior, was fatally shot by North Little Rock Police, according to the police and follow-up reporting by KARK.

Kelly Scott Unger announces Democratic run for House District 87

Lawyer Kelly Scott Unger of Siloam Springs announced last night that she will run for House District 87 in northwest Arkansas as a Democrat, a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum of Elm Springs, who is seeking re-election.

Governor set to present his proposed fiscal 2019 state budget

Governor Hutchinson will propose his fiscal 2019 state budget this morning to the legislative Joint Budget Committee.

Governor Hutchinson calls for in-state tuition freeze at Arkansas four-year colleges

During today's presentation of his proposed fiscal year 2019 budget before the legislative Joint Budget Committee, Governor Hutchinson announced that he is asking for an in-state tuition freeze at all state four-year institutions next year. He is also asking two-year colleges to limit their tuition increases to the consumer price index (CPI), a measure of inflation which went up around 2.2 percent over the last year.

Fayetteville ten-year-old pushes for alligator gar to become state fish

Shamefully, Arkansas is currently one of only four states in the nation without a state fish. Henry Foster wants to fix that.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack the favorite to be tabbed today to chair House Budget committee

Politico spotlights U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, who represents the state's Third Congressional District, and is the favorite to be named House Budget chairman by senior House Republicans, who are voting on the position this evening.

John Chavis named defensive coordinator for Razorbacks football; Joe Craddock named offensive coordinator

Former Texas A & M defensive coordinator John Chavis was named the new defensive coordinator the Arkansas Razorbacks this morning. New head coach Chad Morris also announced that he is bringing along a few assistants from his old perch at SMU.

City of Jonesboro purchases land for more than $1 million for proposed shooting range

KAIT reports that the city of Jonesboro has purchased more than 200 acres of land for $1.276 million for a proposed shooting range.

Albert Yarnell, famous ice cream man, dies at 94

Albert Rogers Yarnell, a businessman who helped his father grow Yarnell Ice Cream Co. into a nationally known brand, died at 94, according to Arkansas Business.

Schools respond to governor's call for tuition freeze

Dr. Chuck Welch, president of the Arkansas State University system, offered a statement in response to Governor Hutchinson's call for an in-state tuition freeze at all state four-year institutions next year.

Bannon out at Breitbart

Steve Bannon will no longer be executive chairman of Breitbart News, the company announced today.

Today's updates and your open line

What's on your mind?

Police release general report on shooting of teen by officer

The North Little Rock Police, this afternoon, have released a general report on what they say occurred on Sunday night when an officer shot Charles Smith Jr., a 17 year-old high school senior.

Cotton joins Boozman on Senate budget committee

Sen. Tom Cotton will join the Senate Budget Committee, his office announced today.

Governor requests smaller state budget than previously projected, citing 'efficiencies'

Hutchinson said the reduced budget figure "reflects real spending cuts in a number of agencies through efficiencies without a reduction in services." He also cited healthy revenue collections and a strong economy.

Womack tapped for Budget chair; Democratic challenger Mahoney dings him for tax-cut profligacy

As expected, the House Republican Steering Committee recommended U.S. Rep. Steve Womack to be the new chair of the House Budget Committee last night. That recommendation will now be voted on by the full House GOP conference, which is expected to approve the choice.

Chronic wasting disease found in four deer in northwest Arkansas

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced yesterday that chronic wasting disease has been found in four white-tailed deer in  northwest Arkansas. The confirmed cases were identified across three counties: Benton, Washington and Sebastian.

Supreme Court again refuses to hear Mike Maggio's appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied without comment Mike Maggio's petition to consider an appeal of his conviction and 10-year federal prison sentence for bribery.

Woodruff County Sheriff increases reward in case of ten slaughtered animals

Eight goats, one alpaca, and one calf were attacked and killed in gruesome fashion. One goat survived the attack.

Shooting on South Pulaski Street

The D-G reports that a police SWAT team last night responded to a call at a residence at the intersection of South Park and West 24th streets, where the victim of a shooting had gone after being shot in the leg. The shooting took place at a different house on the 1700 block of South Pulaski Street.

Clinton public schools briefly on lockdown after threat made

Clinton public schools in Van Buren County were briefly on lockdown as a "precautionary measure" this morning after a threat was made against the Clinton School District.

LRPD announce arrest in killing of mother and two children; investigation ongoing

The Little Rock Police Department announced yesterday, on Facebook, that an arrest had been made in the killing of Mariah Cunningham and her two children.

Two Arkansas-based banks top Forbes national ranking of best banks

Conway-based Home BancShares was ranked first on Forbes evaluation of the financial health of the nation's 100 largest banks, released today. Bank of the Ozarks, based in Little Rock, ranked third.

Source: More layoffs to come at UAMS: UPDATE

More staff reductions are to come at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, including tenured or tenure-track faculty, several sources tell the Arkansas Times. The information from these sources has proved correct in the past, so there's reason to believe in the accuracy of what they say.

Evidentiary hearing in Jon Woods corruption case closed to public

Update from the corruption case against former state Sen. Jon Woods.

Walmart expands cashier-free technology to 100 stores

Walmart will expand its "Scan & Go" app to 100 stores, allowing customers to check out without a cashier, the retail behemoth announced yesterday. That means no waiting in line at the register, but presumably also means that cashiers will lose their jobs.

Federal judge temporarily blocks Trump administration's efforts to end DACA

A federal judge in San Francisco issued an order late yesterday to temporarily block the Trump administration's effort to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by the Obama administration.

Jan Morgan says stuff

The Jan Morgan show hit a meeting of Miller County Republicans at the New Haven Golf Club yesterday.

NLRPD releases footage of officer shooting Charles Smith; say officers had no choice but to return fire

The North Little Rock Police Department released dashcam footage of the shooting of Charles Smith, 17, by an officer Sunday morning.

Beth Ditto at the Rev Room March 7

Beth Ditto kicks off her North American tour in Little Rock with a show at the Rev Room.

Gov. kicks in $500K to help fund ASU efficiency study

The Governor's office announced today that Gov. Asa Hutchinson has released $500,000 in state discretionary funds to bankroll an Arkansas State University efficiency study that will seek ways to increase revenue, reduce cost and reallocate resources in the Arkansas State University System. The half-million dollar allocation will be put toward the $945,000 "Accelerate ASU" study currently being conducted by Huron Consulting Group.

Your mid-week updates and open line

Over to you.

ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.

Talk Business launching print magazine in northeast Arkansas

Talk Business & Politics, the Little Rock-based, multi-platform news outlet, announced yesterday that it will launch a new monthly print publication in Northeast Arkansas in March.

Trump administration releases guidance giving go-ahead on Medicaid work requirements; Arkansas request still pending

The Trump administration this morning released guidance for states that wish to impose work requirements on certain populations in their Medicaid programs.

Arkansas man sentenced for molesting orphans while working as missionary in Haiti

Daniel Pye, 36, a resident of Ashdown in Little River County, was sentenced yesterday to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing children while working as a missionary in Haiti, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced in a press release.

Arkansas gets poor score on LGBT rights in Human Rights Campaign's state equality index

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a national LGBTQ advocacy group, yesterday released its 2017 State Equality Index. Arkansas, along with twenty-six other states, was ranked in the lowest-rated category, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.”

Walmart announces upped wages and expanded benefits, noting tax cuts. But it also closed a lot of Sam's Clubs

Walmart, the Bentonville-based retail behemoth and nation's largest employer, announced today it would increase wages to $11 for starting employees, expand maternity and paternity leave and even hand out one-time $1000 bonuses to certain veteran employees.

A new paywall for 2018

Our new paywall system is more integrated, easier to use, faster to log into and will provide a platform for some exciting projects in 2018.