Art, music, film and more.
Spring Arts 2018March 1, 2018
Vol 44 • No 26
'Let that baby fly.'
Steve Earle, Wanda Jackson, Dave Matthews Band and more.
Spring 2018 fine art preview.
Cue the footlights
A Q&A with Beth Ditto and previews of the upcoming fine arts, film, music and theater events.
Here's the day's roundup of headlines and comment. It is also the open line.
Big spending on security at the Arkansas Insurance Department, including lots of guns and ammo and a $39,000 pay increase for the security chief, a former deputy sheriff, over his predecessor, who had a law degree.
Hendrix College joins the ranks of those colleges saying they won't mark down applicants who've joined "peaceful protests."
Jan Morgan has Gov. Asa Hutchinson running scared. This interview with Fox News is a case in point
Check out the second edition of our new podcast, "The Conversation," where host Matt Price interviews state Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock), who is exploring a run for Little Rock mayor.
A 16th person has been sentenced for stealing money from a program supposed to help feed poor children.
The state isn't yet ready to release details on ownership of the five top-scoring applicants to grow medical marijuana in Arkansas, but we've rounded up a few details.
Walmart, known as the country's biggest gun retailer, is joining Dick's Sporting Goods in putting new limits on gun sales. No one under 21 may buy guns and ammo.
Also, she talks about the wall and a big gun arrest.
With authentic Mex.
The Observer, that old rabble-rouser, is watching these kids today, these American Daughters and American Sons who've clapped on their helmets and gone off to battle for the people they love and the people they lost to greed and violence and those who love guns more than they love a child, with something approaching a parental level of pride.
And much more.
Natural State Medicinals, Bold Team LLC, Natural State Wellness Enterprises, Osage Creek Cultivation and Delta Medical Cannabis Company Inc. were the five companies awarded permits to grow medical cannabis by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission on Tuesday.
It all seems so urgent yet so pointless, this umpteenth national catharsis over gun slaughter: children and parents wailing for action by Congress and legislatures, followed by hesitant and often laughable ideas from the president and others about how to stop it.
If Arkansas joins the red state revolt this November, it will be because the slate of young, first-time Democratic candidates vastly outperformed Hillary Clinton on the ballot.
And Riverdale 10 Cinema screens "The Room."
From the GOP perspective, maybe the worst thing about the dueling Nunes/Schiff memos regarding the FBI's Russia investigation is what they revealed about the intelligence of the combatants. Following the Fox News-amplified thunder of the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign, the most striking thing about the Nunes effort was how breathtakingly dumb it was.
Play at home, while not giving your kid an adverse childhood experience!
This past week I was a member of a panel of attorneys addressing discrimination in the practice of law. Just like any field, sexism exists in the legal industry, especially in certain practice areas.
Arm teachers and other school employees? Bad idea. They have more than enough to do as it is.
From director Alex Garland.
We're still deeply engrossed in the Arkansas men's basketball campaign, but first, Pearls has a word on a couple of other ongoing February sports on the hill.
Insurance Department spends thousands on guns, ammo, Tasers and other equipment to apprehend fraud suspects
Since new head of criminal division was hired in 2016.
The gun lobby is wrong in thinking law enforcement failures in the Florida massacre are arguments against gun control. They illustrate why we must look harder at the devices that do the mass killing and how they get in hands of people even law officers are reluctant to confront.
The Democratic Party is hoping to pick up some legislative seats this year. Odds may be long, but young people like Ryan Carter of Corning at least can ask Republian opponents some uncomfortable questions.
WREG in Memphis reports on a heated argument between Helena-West Helena School Board President Andrew Bagley and Jewel Hamilton, principal of Wahl Elementary.
Here's a report on the 40-year-old program of federal tax subsidies for small airports, some serving as few as a dozen passengers a day. Four beneficiaries are in Arkansas.
In bits and pieces, the Walton-financed agenda to destroy the Little Rock School District continues.
Requiring premiums for Medicaid coverage isn't working well in Arkansas or other states. Good new: The Affordable Care Act is increasingly popular, except with Republicans like Leslie Rutledge.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today, in a 5-2 decision, rejected Death Row inmate Bruce Ward's argument that he was entitled to the assistance of an independent psychiatrist in his defense.It lifted a stay of execution issued April 14, the day he was scheduled to die by lethal injection.
The Arkansas Supreme Court, despite asking for briefs on the issue, decided not to provide any clarity about its momentous ruling that the state can't be sued.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today also lifted a stay of execution for Don Davis, who'd been granted a stay along with Bruce Ward in April.
Governor Hutchinson today signed an executive order to create the Arkansas School Safety Commission, which will produce two reports — the first due Jul. 1 and the second Nov. 30—- to look at mental health, school security plans and how schools partner with local law enforcement. Not on the table for the commission: gun control.
A city of Little Rock legal filing indicates the voluntary payments of sales tax on purchases made through Amazon is producing about $1 million a year in sales tax revenue for the city.
The Arkansas Department of Correction today announced the closure of two units of its smaller units because of staffing concerns.
Election filing closed today with few surprises, except the surprise decision by a state senator not to seek re-election.
The Thursday open line and daily news roundup: Elections, school safety, guns, marijuana.
Arkansas bishop urges congressmen to consider gun control, knocks NRA (big backer of one of his flock)
Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has written the Arkansas congressional delegation urging them to back "reasonable, life-saving" regulations on firearms as a response to the Florida school massacre.
Frontier Airlines has begun service from Little Rock to Denver and a Clinton National Airport spokesman says demand has proved sufficient to expand the service from three to four days a week.
Dillard's the department store chain based in Little Rock, is following others in corporate America in the aftermath of the big federal income tax cut with a stock buyback.
The federal Justice Department announced today that it had filed a civil action to stop drug production by Cantrell Drug Company because of unsanitary operations.
The Progressive Arkansas Women PAC celebrated its candidates on the steps of the state Capitol today at the close of filing for the 2018 elections, with Secretary of State candidate Susan Inman asking, "If not us, who? If not now, when?"
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has just released copies of the applications of the top five scorers in the round of competition for five cultivation facilities.
Mike Huckabee resigned after a day as a member of the Country Music Association Foundation Board after a heated protest of his appointment on account of his anti-LGBT pronouncements.
The monthly state revenue report through February says the state net take was 4.6 percent above the first eight months of the budget year compared with last year, with a surplus so far of $79.6 million more than forecast.
Seeking opinions on changing Little Rock city government to a mayor-council system.
A Politico tipsheet says the expected visit of a Trump administration Medicaid official in Arkansas Monday will deliver a split decision for changes Gov. Asa Hutchinson has proposed in the Medicaid expansion program financed by Obamacare and offered through private insurers under Arkansas's hybrid plan.
At 3:13 p.m. yesterday, correctional officers found Danny Ollis "hanging in a locked single-man cell where he was alone," according to an Arkansas Department of Correction press release.
One note over the line for Texas Wesleyan baseball coach Mike Jeffcoat, a Pine Bluff native
The week's done. Open line. Plus news video.
Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key signed off today on a $1,000 one-time bonus for Little Rock School District teachers. But he issued an ominious note about a reworking of district salary schedules in the future.
The winners of the medical marijuana cultivation permits, the latest from the legislature, including hog slop and a Medicaid wait-and-see, and Governor Hutchison's school safety plan — all included on this week's podcast.
Judge refuses to dismiss corruption case against former Sen. Jon Woods; says FBI agent could face charges for mishandling potential evidence
Federal Judge Timothy Brooks today refused to dismiss charges against former Republican Sen. Jon Woods and other defendants in a case alleging a kickback scheme using public money.
City Hall news: Another exploratory campaign committee; a proposal to go easy on marijuana enforcement, and a coming bond issue.
Trump news and more Trump news. And none of it good.
A study to help Arkansas State University make more money exposed an ugly fact about higher education in Arkansas — the system favors higher income students.
Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Friday removed all but one Libertarian candidate from the website listing candidates who filed for state office in 2018 elections.
The open line includes a rare, if brief, piece of good gun news from Florida.
The Little Rock Marathon is underway.
Donald Trump, president for life?
A tribute to Vietnam-era veterans sparks a protest. Perfect, given the history.
It’s time for your comments.
A decision with life-or-death implications will be announced today concerning the Arkansas Medicaid program.UPDATE: A work requirement was approved; a bigger change that could cut Medicaid for 60,000 people remains under discussion.
Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has sent a note to staff responding to blistering criticism of her management.
New music from Kami Renee of Dazz & Brie and The Emotionalz, Mark Currey, Indy Grotto and Brae Leni.
Natural State Wellness, one of five companies winning a permit from the state to operate a medical cannabis cultivation facility, has chosen to locate in Jefferson County, giving that county two cultivation centers. The company had submitted identical applications, one for Jefferson and one for Jackson County.
Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner announced today that he'd withdrawn from the competition to choose a new police chief for Charleston, S.C.
Here's the Monday open line. Also a roundup of news and comment.
Ricky Hampton, the rapper known as Finese 2 Tymes who was performing when shooting broke out July 1 in a downtown club, leaving 25 wounded, entered a negotiated guilty plea in federal court today to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
More criticism of Arkansas's decision to put a work rule on Medicaid recipients. The impact will be small and will hit some innocent people, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
On Monday, the nation’s top Medicaid official traveled to Little Rock to announce federal approval of a measure long sought by Governor Hutchinson: a work requirement for beneficiaries of Arkansas Works, the program providing health insurance to 285,000 low-income Arkansans under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
The Arkansas Citizens First Congress has an on-line petition drive fast gaining momentum to oppose industry legislative efforts to protect a factory hog feeding operation in the watershed of the Buffalo River.
Kid power made a difference in the Florida legislature, with passage of meaningful gun control legislation by the Senate. It goes to the House today, where a powerful NRA lobbyist will attempt to replicate past control of the Florida legisalture.
The tragicomic farce of the Trump administration added an episode yesterday with former campaign aide Sam Nunberg's declaration that he wouldn't cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller. He later decided maybe he would cooperate after all. Perhaps the lesson of Susan McDougal encouraged his change of hert.
There's an argument that the Arkansas legislature should defeat Gov. Asa Hutchinson's Human Services Medicaid budget: It's too mean. But the debate will be about whether it is mean enough. Ernest Dumas explains.
The State Police say men opened fire on a vehicle in Stuttgart about 7:30 p.m. Monday, leaving one dead and one wounded.
A Little Rock School District coach has been placed on administrative leave over remarks made on his Twitter account. Police were later called about his attempt to 'handle man to man' his complaint about a reporter who put events in motion.
A $1.186 million grant frrom the Walton Family Foundation will expand the Big River Trail 30 miles, from the southern end of the levee trail in Marianna through downtown Helena-West Helena and westward to the Arkansas Heritage Trail.
Disability Rights Arkansas today issued a report faulting Arkansas for poor progress in moving disabled people who work in sheltered workshops to more "integrated employment."
The House today failed to pass the state treasurer's office appropriation, which included a controversial school voucher provision. The vote was 56-22 and 11 not voting, with 75 needed for passage.
The Arkansas Senate is debating the state Human Services Department's medical services appropriation, with its continuation of the Arkansas Works program to expand Medicaid coverage in Arkansas under Obamacare.
The open line and the news roundup.
SWEPCO, the electric utility that serves part of Arkansas, is raising questions about a media campaign against their proposal to meet part of generating needs with a new wind power project., known as the Wind Catcher Energy Connection.
On Tuesday, the state Senate narrowly approved another year of funding for Arkansas Works, the program providing health care coverage to some 285,000 low-income adults through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
Scott Carroll of KATV has put together an in-depth retelling of the mass shooting July 1 at Power Ultra Lounge in which 25 were struck by gunfire, but none killed.
Legal Aid of Arkansas has begun putting out the word about the coming work requirement for Medicaid benefits. It will offer help to those who need it to avoid losing coverage.
As the state moves to final approval of medical marijuana cultivation permits, grumbling is growing among the unsuccessful applicants. Does it matter?
With advice in hand from the city attorney, the Little Rock Board of Directors will discuss March 20 whether to appeal a judge's ruling against its effort so shut down exploratory committees raising money for cadidates for city office.
A coalition of environmental and grassroots groups joined in a letter to legislators today to resist a proposal circulating to override a state decision not to grant a new permit for a factory hog feeding operation in the Buffalo River watershed.
The House of Representatives today fell one vote short of the 75 needed to pass a treasurer's office appropriation that included an amendment to allow tax deductions for money directed to K-12 private school tuition, essentially a voucher program in support of private education.
An open line and the daily news video.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge proudly announced today another victory for air pollution, a stay of an EPA rule to clean up emissions from coal-burning power plants in Arkansas.
Alexander Joseph Jordan, 21, who was arrested Feb. 27, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for possessing the deadly biological toxin ricin. He is in federal custody.
On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives voted 77-13 to approve the budget for Arkansas Works, the Medicaid-funded program that provides health insurance to 285,000 Arkansans.
Jonesboro woman is a million-dollar (less taxes) lottery winner.
How about this? The Florida House today joined the Florida Senate, both bodies with majority Republican membership, in approving some meaningful gun legislation.