Interest in the gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action has exploded since the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. Leaders here say they're in the battle for 'gun sense' until the job is done.
Tough mothersApril 5, 2018
Vol 44 • No 31
Come on by: Our liveblog of the first debate between Democratic candidates for the Second Congressional District seat.
And much more.
In "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness."
Plains and Eastern Clean Line may be dead, but clean power still coming.
I recently attended the March meeting of the Little Rock School District Community Advisory Board, where a plan was discussed for arming current security personnel working for the school district.
Spring football always represents such a fresh veneer, but especially when a new coaching regime has been installed.
Also, Dr. Norman Boehm performs works by Chopin, Delius, Schumann and Scriabin at Pulaski Tech.
How do you get more millionaires to live in your state? You tax them fairly and equitably. And you use that money to pay for investments that improve quality of life, like education and infrastructure that produce successful businesses. The wealthiest people might not be excited about their tax rates, but research shows that nearly none of them will be bothered enough to leave.
The Observer has always been partial to strong women. Strong people in general, of course, but strong women in particular.
At least three more groups that were denied cultivation licenses by the state's Medical Marijuana Commission have filed lawsuits challenging the commission's means of choosing five winners among 95 applicants.
Dig the deck.
In a year of odd phenomena, none is odder than this: Across the nation's midsection, schoolteachers are suddenly fed up with their government's treatment of education and educators, and Republican governors and legislatures are capitulating right and left, even raising taxes to mollify them.
So here's my question: If you're all about personal privacy, why are you on Facebook to begin with? Neither Cambridge Analytica nor any other internet marketing firm has any information about you that you didn't give away.
Play at home, while soaking up the sweet, sweet propaganda!
I'm fired up as I reflect on Easter and the ridiculous displays of piety by our elected officials who spend the rest of their time propping up systems that lead to injustice and suffering for anyone who isn't rich and white.
Also, state sues opioid manufacturers, Sinclair propaganda and more.
Holy Ghost Ministries, Jason Rapert's tax-exempt non-profit, suggests that churches and other organizations bring Rapert in to speak on "American Renewal."
Governor Hutchinson yesterday announced a new slate of appointments.
The announcement yesterday that China will impose a 25 percent tariff on around $50 billion worth of U.S. imports will likely have a significant impact on Arkansas farmers.
Former White River Juvenile Detention Center guard pleads guilty to assaulting child with pepper spray
Jason Benton, a former guard at the White River Juvenile Detention Center in Batesville, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to using pepper spray to assault a 15-year-old boy and for falsifying an incident report about the assault.
A new post from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families reviews education spending in the fiscal and special legislative sessions, which wrapped up last month, noting "little to no new funding for priority education needs for children in Arkansas, especially for low-income children and those with special needs."
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in spat with cities and counties over opioid lawsuits, retaliatory tariffs could mean economic hit for Arkansas and Democratic candidates for Second District Congressional seat faced off in a debate last night.
Arkansas Business reports that Axciom, the Conway-based tech company that sells individual user data to marketers, is consolidating two divisions and cutting 2 percent of its workforce (the company now has around 3,300 employees worldwide).
A sexual harassment complaint has been made by a district staffer against Fayetteville school district superintendent Matthew Wendt, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.
The 2018 Jonesboro Open professional disc golf tournament starts today and runs through Sunday. In addition to being able to walk along with the pros – and maybe pick up some tricks – the event will feature family-friendly activities and concessions.
The legislative task force on taxes continues its hunt for money to devote to tax cuts weighted heavily toward the rich. At its next meetings, on April 25 and 26, it will examine more than 40 sales tax exemptions that reduced revenue by more than $1 billion. That includes the partial sales tax exemption on groceries.
News from the catfish beat: Thirteen inspectors are busy fanning out across the state doing random field testing to ensure accurate menu labeling. If necessary, they are prepared to do DNA testing on the catfish.
The Fayetteville school district is investigating its superintendent over sexual harassment complaints made by a staffer; a former White River Juvenile Detention Center guard has pleaded guilty to assaulting a child with pepper spray; and a legislative “Tax Reform and Relief” task force will examine sales tax exemptions reducing state revenue, which includes a partial sales tax exemption on groceries.
This week, we check in on new music from Or, Ghost Bones, Spirit Cuntz, Colour Design and Couch Jackets, look over the panel lineup for the Bentonville Film Festival and talk with Osyrus Bolly and Bill Kopsky about their work at the Arkansas Public Policy Panel.
Governor Hutchinson will grant 11 pardons, he announced today. An additional 45 clemency requests were denied; no action was taken on three others.
Kansas GOP leaders seek to block state Supreme Court from enforcing education adequacy requirements. Will Arkansas Republicans try the same gambit?
Worth watching this battle in Kansas over education funding.
The debate among Democrats vying to be the party's nominee for Arkansas’s Second Congressional district, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years after his assassination and the McClellan High School coach who was put on paid leave after KARK revealed he’d made bigoted tweets — all covered on this week's podcast.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Sen. Tom Cotton met the press to talk about rural broadband, net neutrality and national security concerns.
State Supreme Court denies Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's request to pull prosecutor from opioid lawsuit
The latest from the ongoing turf war between the attorney general and local governments: The state Supreme Court today denied Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's request that a prosecuting attorney representing the state be mandated to withdraw from a lawsuit filed against opioid makers and distributors by a coalition of cities and counties.
Daniel Allen Yielding, 23, of Paragould, was fatally shot by an officer of the Arkansas Department of Correction yesterday afternoon after a manhunt two miles north of Marshall in Searcy County.
Yellville Chamber of Commerce will no longer sponsor turkey drop festival; future unclear but pilot predicts he will drop turkeys out of plane again
The Yellville Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday on its Facebook page that it will no longer continue its longtime role as organizer of the Turkey Trot festival, the Yellville fall festival that has drawn massive controversy for the practice of dropping live turkeys out of an airplane.
The city of Little Rock will host a series of public meetings in each of the city's seven wards over the coming weeks to gather input about proposed infrastructure projects, the city announced in a press release.
The latest on the sexual harassment allegations lodged against Fayetteville school superintendent Matthew Wendt.
The next domino.
Attorney David Couch speculated that Secretary of State Mark Martin's shenanigans led to a delay in receiving a ruling from Judge Alice Gray.
Sen. Tom Cotton did his semi-regular pow-wow with Roby Brock on Talk Business and Politics this morning.
The former Razorbacks coach is taking his talents to Foxborough.
A few scattered headlines to chew on. What you got?
The Walton Family Foundation announced today that it is putting $300 million into readily available, lower-cost loans for charter schools, including in Arkansas, to purchase or build school buildings.
Fayetteville school superintendent Matthew Wendt takes leave of absence in wake of sexual harassment allegations
Fayetteville school superintendent Matthew Wendt is taking an administrative leave of absence, with pay, in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
Local politicos have been expecting that state Rep. Clarke Tucker, who entered the race for the U.S. Second Congressional District in February, would bring in a big fundraising haul.
David Couch has a new amendment ready for recreational marijuana as soon as approval polls show opportunity
Could a ballot initiative on legalizing marijuana for personal use be coming to Arkansas?
A small local note to the diplomatic tussling that erupted last month, when Russia expelled 60 American diplomats in retaliation for the U.S. sending Russian diplomats packing.
Dana Bonham has announced his Democratic candidacy for state representative, vying to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Mary Bentley for the District 73 seat, which includes parts of Pope, Perry, Yell, and Conway counties.
Time's Up Hendrix, a student-run campus movement pushing for institutional changes at Hendrix on the issue of sexual assault and misconduct, is holding a "Don't Keep It Under Cover, Hendrix" event tomorrow. The event is being held in solidarity with a University of Arkansas-Fayetteville student's campaign this month to encourage reporting of sexual assaults on campus and reform the resources available to victims.
The F.B.I. raided attorney Michael Cohen's office today, seizing various records and files, various media outlets are reporting. Cohen's grasp of the law seems suspect, but he is a highly loyal surrogate willing to do the dirty work for Donald Trump.
Arkansas farmers hurt by President Trump's trade war will have to take whatever comfort they can from the president's promise to "make it up them."
Doug Thompson, who is covering the trial of former state Sen. Jon Woods on 15 corruption charges, reports in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that potential witnesses in the trial include state Auditor Andrea Lea, state Treasurer Dennis Milligan and state Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb.
Clarke Tucker has raised more than $500,000 in first quarter; David Couch has a new amendment ready for recreational marijuana as soon as approval polls show opportunity; Walton Foundation pours $300 million more into charter schools, to ease loans for new buildings.
With Facebook sending out notices to users whose information was improperly harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a reminder: John Bolton's super PAC has paid the firm to acquire data, in violation of Facebook policy, for "behavioral mircotargeting with psychographic messaging." Among those on the receiving end of that targeting were Facebook users in Arkansas, as Bolton's PAC poured more than $800,000 to back Tom Cotton in his race for Senate.
If there's one thing politicians can agree on, it's military spending.
A groundbreaking is scheduled at noon today in Helena for a memorial to the victims of the Elaine Massacre in 1919, when white mobs killed hundreds of black Arkansans in the Delta, attacking men, women and children in one of the bloodiest racial conflicts in the postbellum history of the United States. The setting for the memorial, in Court Square Park across from the Phillips County courthouse in Helena, has drawn some questions from local community members.
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives and LANCO will headline the 37th annual Toad Suck Daze festival this year, to take place May 4-6 in downtown Conway.
Einstein Charter Schools, the New Orleans system planning an expansion into Little Rock, abruptly ended those plans amid a scandal over a failure to provide New Orleans elementary students with yellow bus service.
A tipster informs us that push polling began this week on behalf of David Sterling, who is vying for the Arkansas Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Courtney Goodson.
A brief interruption in our regularly scheduled programming to give credit where it's due — this, via Rachel Herzog at the Democrat-Gazette, is how to open a news story.
Arkansas remains below national average in education assessment, with widening racial achievement gap
The National Assessment of Educational Progress today released results from fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math assessments conducted in early 2017.
Today is Equal Pay Day — the annual observance of the date that symbolizes how far into the year the average woman must work before earning what the average man earned in the previous year. In Arkansas, recent studies have found that women are paid around 78 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Equal Pay Day highlights wage gap; Arkansas remains below national average in education assessment, with widening racial achievement gap; Einstein Charter Schools nixes planned expansion into Little Rock.
Danny Lewis, a realtor and Baptist minister, has announced he'll seek the Ward 1 seat on the City Board of Directors. The seat is held now by Erma Hendrix, who has represented Ward 1 since 2007.
A little ephemera from the gridiron and legal departments: Friday Firm lawyer Tom Mars, who represented Houston Nutt in a defamation case against Ole Miss, is battling with the school once again.
The jury was selected yesterday and opening statements began. The first witness will be called by the government today and the trial is expected to last three or four weeks. The witness list includes a who's who of Arkansas state politics, including the state treasurer, the state auditor, the state GOP chairman, and numerous current and former Republican lawmakers.
The inevitable wrangling over the language in the popular name and ballot title has commenced for a proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize the creation of four casinos in Benton, Boone, Miller, and Pulaski counties.
The state Department of Health released its latest influenza report yesterday, announcing five more deaths in the state from the flu last week, bringing the total for the season to 215.
The "Trump tax": analyst estimates that president's ACA sabotage increased health insurance premiums for tens of thousands of Arkansans (CORRECTED)
Through a series of regulatory schemes, threats, efforts to spook carriers, withholding promised reimbursement payments, interference with outreach and marketing, and other shenanigans, Trump was able to bump premium increases this year for private nongroup plans higher than they otherwise would have been. In Arkansas, the Trump bump hit an estimated 90,000 Arkansans, increasing their premiums by $47 per month more than they would otherwise be, or $564 over the course of the year.
In his column this week, Ernie Dumas cites a study that concluded that Arkansas would not prosper economically until it levied the taxes required to create good schools and provide good health care and transportation.
Today, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen urged the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to once again return to evaluating applications for licenses to cultivate medical marijuana.
State Rep. Scott Baltz sounds off on Medical Marijuana Commission process, accuses commission of changing scores after deadline
On Facebook, state Rep. Scott Baltz (D- Pocahontas) sounded off on the state's process to award medical marijuana licenses, which has attracted multiple lawsuits. Baltz said that there were irregularities in the Medical Marijuana Commission's process, including the commission chair changing scores after the deadline in a manner that altered which applicants ended up being chosen for cultivation permits.
Even sans a "Mr. Roboto," the dad rock set at Verizon Arena did not disappoint.
The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the nonprofit that has been at the front lines of the ongoing fight against the placement of a large hog harm five miles upstream from the Buffalo National River, is hosting a fundraising event along with the Arkansas River Blues Society on April 22.
Former Rep. Micah Neal details alleged "slush fund" kickback scheme in federal corruption trial of former Sen. Jon Woods
Micah Neal testified that, hard up for cash, he noticed the high-priced sports memorabilia in Jon Woods' fancy apartment and asked how he was raking the cash. What followed, according to Neal: Kickbacks, the GIF slush fund, envelopes stuffed with hundred dollar bills, and campaign donations snuck into private accounts. The latest from the federal corruption case against Woods.
Griffen urges marijuana commission to return to evaluating cultivation licenses; Attorney general rejects ballot proposal for casinos in four counties; Arkansas flu deaths in Arkansas now at 215.