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Academic All-Stars

Academic All-Stars

April 26, 2018

Vol 44 • No 34

Read the print version

2018 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Finalists

They made the final round.

2018 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team

Meet the best and brightest high school seniors in the state.

2018 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Nominees

Here are the students nominated to be Academic All-Stars. They are listed by their hometowns as indicated by mailing addresses.

On 'Stormy shaming'

The media shames most anyone who is not in the establishment media (and corporate) class. The media's shaming effect is more widespread and overt than you realize.

A Q&A with Alex Scally of Beach House

On a decade of dream pop.

Never again

Living in poverty

To successfully raise children as a single mother living in poverty in Central Arkansas requires a staggering amount of resilience, a significant amount of support from loved ones and the community, and at least a little bit of luck.

A Q&A with Matthew Shiner of 'The Lion King.

On making lightning.

Saltgrass does upscale casual well

It's big on beef.

She's no Jeff Sessions

Wouldn't it be refreshing if Arkansas had an attorney general as dedicated to the rule of law as Jeff Sessions?

Prisons go green

Law allows state entities to use future savings to pay for efficiency upgrades.

Medicaid favor

Arkansas's distinctive form of Medicaid expansion has been precarious since its creation in 2013 by a bipartisan coalition.

Trump train derailed

So here's my question: If Trump's going to make America great again, when was America last great? And what was so great about it?

Earl & Them comes to Cajun's Wharf

Also, Del Shores returns to the Weekend Theater.

The Arkansas Literary Festival returns

And much more.

Ghost ride

The Observer spends a lot of time observing the river these days, ensconced as we are most days in a satellite Observatory with a lovely balcony full of deck chairs overlooking a lovely stretch of the Arkansas a half-mile downstream from the red scar of Big Rock Quarry, which used to just be Big Rock before some damn fools turned the whole thing into gravel at some point in the past century.

Inconsequential News Quiz: God's Not Drunk Edition

Play at home, while being an anonymous gay freedom fighter at Harding University!

Hating on Griffen

Also, the rejector general, UA Little Rock video inspires investigation and memorial to 21 fire victims installed.

Satanic Temple plans to sue state of Arkansas over alleged religious discrimination

The First Amendment firebrands at the the Satanic Temple are preparing a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas, alleging religious discrimination in the wake of the erection this week of a monument to the Ten Commandments.

Money talks: Rot in Little Rock, rot in D.C.

The corruption trial against former state Sen. Jon Woods is but a whiff of a larger stench.

Clarke Tucker campaign touts poll showing close race with French Hill


Thursday's headlines and your open line

Satanic Temple plans to sue state of Arkansas over alleged religious discrimination; Turkey Trot festival has new sponsor, but only if no turkeys are dropped from planes; Clarke Tucker campaign touts poll showing close race with French Hill.

UPDATE: Education Commissioner Key rejects Friendship charter’s push for expedited approval of plans

The commissioner's denial of Friendship's request for a waiver of Education Department rules should not be construed as opposition to its actual proposal.

Rutledge rejects proposed ballot initiative to increase minimum wage to $11

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today rejected a proposed ballot initiative from David Couch to raise the minimum wage again, this time to $11. Her decision is outrageous: The language in the proposed ballot initiative is identical to the language in the previous minimum wage initiative, which was not only approved by the previous attorney general, but ratified overwhelmingly by voters.

Judge blocks Voter ID law with primaries set for next month

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray today granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the Voter ID law.

Farm Sanctuary applauds new Turkey Trot sponsor's decision to ban throwing turkeys out of planes

As we covered earlier this week, the new sponsor of the Turkey Trot has barred the practice of flinging live turkeys out of airplanes. The U.S. Congress, meanwhile, may also look in to new federal regulations to put a stop to the turkey drop once and for all.

Leslie Rutledge grandstands against Affordable Care Act in lawsuit that aims to strip coverage from millions of Americans

Here she goes again.

University of Arkansas School of Law selects new dean

Margaret Sova McCabe has been tapped to be the new dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law, the school announced today.

"Rally for the Rep" planned for next Tuesday

In the wake of this week's announcement that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre is suspending operations effective immediately, a group of community leaders today announced plans for a street party next Tuesday to raise funds to save the Rep.

Fayetteville School Board retains outside counsel as investigation continues into sexual harassment claims against superintendent

The Fayetteville School Board has retained Susan Keller Kendall as outside counsel in the wake of sexual harassment claims against superintendent Matthew Wendt, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

The shrinking Little Rock School District

State data show the district's enrollment for this year is 22,759, down from 23,164 in 2016-17.

State officials to appeal Voter ID ruling to state Supreme Court

Secretary of State Mark Martin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will appeal the injunction blocking the Voter ID law granted yesterday by Circuit Judge Alice Gray.

Your open line and end of the week headlines

Judge blocks Voter ID law with primaries set for next month; Ten Commandments rise again at Capitol, but Satanic Temple says Arkansas law is on its side; "Rally for the Rep" planned for next Tuesday; Margaret Sova McCabe has been tapped to be the new dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Politico ponders the deep mysteries of Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Spoiler: There is no mystery.

Come get lit with the Arkansas Times

This Saturday, April 28, the Arkansas Times is proud to once again sponsor the Pub or Perish event connected to the Literary Festival at Stickyz Rock n Roll Chicken Shack in Downtown Little Rock.

The Baphomet Is Real Edition

The new Ten Commandments Monument and coming legal challenges, the abrupt closure of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Lakeview and the Arkansas Supreme Court's recent ruling on sovereign immunity — all covered on this week's podcast.

Art in its Natural State at Winrock: Sculpture to be revealed tomorrow

Nine temporary installations by sculptors from Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Missouri will be unveiled on Petit Jean Mountain Saturday — seven on the grounds of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and two in Petit Jean State Park — amid a day of arts-related activities.

Medicaid advocate criticizes Arkansas Works' email-only reporting for work requirements

DHS Director Gillespie said the online-only reporting requirement was part of a concerted effort by her agency to move toward digital communications in general — but she also acknowledged it was simply more convenient for DHS.

James H. Cone dies at 81

Arkansas native James H. Cone, an Arkansas native often considered the father of black liberation theology, died today. He was 81.

How Arkansas Republican primary voters learned to stop worrying and love Obamacare

On the evolution of opinion on Medicaid expansion among Arkansas GOP primary voters, and Asa Hutchinson's role in saving Obamacare in Arkansas.

Citizens in western states aim to expand Medicaid via ballot iniative

Speaking of Medicaid expansion...

Tom Cotton and "shameful political behavior"

A Sand Lizard's selective memory.

Literary open line

It's yours.

Jan Morgan offers gun giveaway for campaign cash (UPDATES)

The Jan Morgan campaign for governor is holding a raffle open to donors who give at least $50, with the winner receiving a Jan Morgan engraved commemorative Kimber micro 9 handgun. But is holding a raffle for campaign cash a violation of state law?

Clarke Tucker tells personal cancer story in new ad, promises to stand up to anyone in Congress "who tries to take your health insurance"

Here's the new ad, set to debut on the air tomorrow, from Clarke Tucker, who is running for the Second Congressional District.

Open line

It's yours.

The mysterious $80,000 wire transfer: Jake Files, the nursing home industry, and the "tort reform" ballot initiative

Tangled webs: An $80,000 wire transfer from Michael Morton's parter to former state Sen. Jake Files during a legislative push for the nursing home lobby's top priority.

Brickeys prison reports fourth apparent suicide by hanging in two months

William Childress, 25, was found "hanging in a locked single-man cell" at approximately 3:30 a.m. this morning.

Dems to debate tonight in 2nd District Congress and state legislative primaries

The four Democratic primary candidates for the 2nd District U.S. House race in Central Arkansas will debate for an hour tonight from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. Candidates for four state legislative races will also face off, for 35 minutes each.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson to appear in Little Rock on Tuesday

Carson and Hill will tour Our House, the shelter for working homeless families and individuals on Roosevelt Road, at 12:15 p.m.

Don't miss the fourth annual Bentonville Film Festival

The Bentonville Film Festival truly has something for everyone – with over 100 films, music events and free activities for people of all ages. Festivities begin May 1 and go through May 6.

Memory lane: When Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson heaped praise on nonprofit leaders now implicated in alleged kickback schemes

If you've been following the federal corruption trial against former state Sen. Jon Woods, or the indictment in a separate case against former Little Rock lobbyist Rusty Cranford, you may have seen the names Tom and Bonitea Goss.

Monday's headlines and open line

Dems to debate tonight in 2nd District Congress and state legislative primaries; Brickeys prison reports fourth apparent suicide by hanging in two months.

Win VIP tickets to see Los Lobos at the Bentonville Film Festival

The annual Bentonville Film Festival kicks off May 1, and while the lineup is crammed full of hundreds of films you'll want to see, there's also a strong concert series throughout the event, which culminates with a performance by legendary rockers Los Lobos Sunday afternoon.

State launches effort to educate doctors on pain management in effort to curb opioid prescriptions

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will run the program, called AR-IMPACT (Arkansas Improving Multidisciplinary Pain Care Treatment). It will be funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the office of the state drug director.

Secretary of state asks Supreme Court to maintain voter ID law in upcoming May elections

Arkansas primary elections will be held May 22, and the motion from Martin's office notes early voting begins as soon as May 7 and some overseas absentee ballots must be sent out with instructions by the end of this week.

Former legislator Hank Wilkins pleads guilty to federal bribery and conspiracy charges

Among the favors Wilkins provided in return for the payments to his church: "steering approximately $245,000 in Arkansas General Improvement funds to his co-conspirators."

Jan Morgan puts gun giveaway on hold after questions about legality of campaign raffle

I noted yesterday on the blog that a promotion by the Jan Morgan campaign for governor — a drawing for a "gun giveaway" that people could enter by donating to her campaign — appeared to violate state law. This afternoon, the Morgan campaign put the contest on hold, and has now taken down the gun giveaway webpage on the candidate's site.

Bribes bought legislation for youth services nonprofits, says federal plea agreement of former Democratic state senator

Among the unnamed parties in the conspiracy is "Entity F, an Arkansas non-profit corporation located in Magnolia, Arkansas, which was a provider of youth services to delinquent and at-risk youth." The agreement identifies a “Person #3” who "served as the Director of Entity F."

Community activists plan to show up at Ben Carson's visit to public housing in Little Rock and NLR

Neil Sealy, the director of Arkansas Community Organizations says activists will gather at two public housing projects that U.S. Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson is planning to visit this morning

Little Rock filmmaker Brent Renaud selected as Nieman Foundation for Journalism fellow

Brent Renaud, the Little Rock filmmaker, photographer and journalist, has been selected for a fellowship by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Walmart backs out of European grocery business, sells UK supermarket chain Asda

Walmart announced yesterday that it is selling its UK supermarket business Asda in a $10 billion deal. The company will be merged with Sainsbury's, a larger rival. Walmart will receive $4.1 billion and a 42 percent stake in the merged company.

New Rock the Culture podcast: "Downright wrong"

In this week’s episode, perspective and conversation on Pulaski County Circuit Judge Alice Gray’s decision to strike down Arkansas’ voter ID law, the loss of jobs at LRSD due to declining enrollment and overdue repairs to McClellan High School. Hosts Antwan Phillips and Rep. Charles Blake also discuss entrepreneurship and innovation with guest Chris Jones, the executive director and lead maker at the Innovation Hub.

More financial trouble for Arkansas Baptist College

Arkansas Baptist College continues to struggle with financial difficulties, once again warning that the institution may not be able to issue paychecks on time.

Leslie Rutledge uses Sarah Huckabee Sanders hullabaloo to build email list

Attorney general champions powerful new movement. All you have to do is provide your email address to her campaign.

Fire at Ozark Country Restaurant in Little Rock

As of 1 p.m., it appears fire crews have put out the blaze, but the building doesn't look good.

The art of the deal: Jon Woods inspired by Donald Trump

The art of the deal.

Tuesday's videoless open line

Your open line for Tuesday.

In Wilkins corruption plea, unnamed 'Senator A' appears to be Jeremy Hutchinson

The federal plea agreement of former Sen. Henry "Hank" Wilkins IV (D-Pine Bluff) filed yesterday in U.S. district court describes an alleged bribery scheme involving multiple unnamed individuals and entities.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joins lawsuit against program for Dreamers

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a seven-state lawsuit filed yesterday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton aiming to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Rattlesnake Ridge land west of Pinnacle Mountain to be dedicated as Natural Area

A 373-acre tract of land known as Rattlesnake Ridge, just west of Pinnacle Mountain, will be dedicated this afternoon as the newest addition to the state's System of Natural Areas.

Arkansas man found guilty in beating of black man in Charlottesville during white supremacist rally

The Washington Post reports that Jacob Goodwin, 23, of Ward, was found guilty last night of malicious wounding in the beating of a black man inside a parking garage during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year.

Third 1-40 stop produces pounds of stashed pot

If you are illegally transporting carrying pounds and pounds of pot, Interstate 40 through Arkansas may not be the best route to take.

State tax collections fell slightly short in April but year-to-date figures remain above forecast

Collections for April were 2.3 percent lower than expected, but the state is still running at $54 million above forecast for the fiscal year 2018 as a whole.

Clinton National Airport announces non-stop to Austin, Texas

Well, it's too late for Arkansans wanting a quick route to the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, but still: Clinton National Airport announced yesterday that Via Air now offers nonstop service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport every day but Saturday.

Little Rock housing study finds linkage between respiratory-related hospital stays and property code violations

People hospitalized for a respiratory-related illness at UAMS were twice as likely to rent a property that at some point has been issued a mold-related violation notice from Little Rock's Code Enforcement Division when compared to a control population adjusted for demographic differences.

Zoo's cheetah euthanized

The Little Rock Zoo has euthanized its oldest female cheetah, Zazi, who was ill with kidney disease. A press release from Zoo director Susan Altrui said zoo staff determined her quality of life had significantly declined.

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Family of dead Brickeys inmate retains lawyer

The family of Robert Ivy, who was the second of four apparent suicides at the East Arkansas Unit of the Department of Arkansas Correction (known as Brickeys) this year, has retained a lawyer and is awaiting the outcome of an internal investigation by the prison to determine whether to file a wrongful death suit.

Today's headlines and your midweek open line

In Wilkins corruption plea, unnamed 'Senator A' appears to be Jeremy Hutchinson; Arkansas man found guilty in beating of black man in Charlottesville during white supremacist rally; Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joins lawsuit against program for Dreamers.

Amicus brief filed in appeal of private probation company case

The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed a friend of the court brief at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Justice Network v. Craighead County case.

Arkansas Supreme Court grants stay request from Secretary of State Mark Martin, Voter ID will be in effect during primaries

The Arkansas Supreme Court today granted a request for a stay from Secretary of State Mark Martin in the Voter ID case, which means the policy will be active in the upcoming primary this month. Early voting begins on May 7.

Staff member suspended at Central High

Parents of students at Central High School today got a robocall from Principal Nancy Rousseau notifying them that a staff member had been placed on paid leave because of allegations of inappropriate behavior between the staffer and the student.

Fort Smith may sue former Sen. Files

The Southwest Times Record reported today that the city of Fort Smith is considering suing former Sen. Jake Files and Sebastian County Election Commissioner Lee Webb as individuals to recover the $1.08 million the city gave them to build the River Valley Sports Complex.

No verdict today in Jon Woods corruption trial

The jury will resume deliberations tomorrow morning in the federal corruption trial against former state Sen. Jon Woods.

Youth services nonprofit referenced in Wilkins bribery plea hired Sens. Lamoureux and Hutchinson to do legal work, former director says

"There’s going to be a lot of people making statements. There’s all kinds of allegations, and if you had any dealings with Cranford Coalition, you’re going to be tainted. Some of it will be true, and some of it won’t be," Walsh said.

Gan Nunnally slams primary opponent Rep. Jim Dotson for per diem shenanigans and Ecclesia ties

Rep. Jim Dotson's GOP primary opponent says it's time to drain the swamp in Little Rock.

Former state Sen. Jon Woods found guilty in federal corruption case

Former state Sen. Jon Woods was found guilty today on 15 counts in his federal corruption case. Consultant Randell Shelton Jr., on trial on related charges, was found guilty of 12 counts.

Out-of-state judicial dark money group returns to Arkansas airwaves with six-figure TV purchase

The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative Washington D.C.-based political nonprofit, is spending big to defeat Associate Justice Courtney Goodson in a race for Arkansas Supreme Court — again.