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LR Confidential 2014

LR Confidential 2014

July 17, 2014

Vol 22 • No 21

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Little Rock confidential

Some subjects are too personal to ask a stranger about. Like, what's it like to be transgender? To be quadriplegic? So, few of us know the answers.

Professors can't be rape police

If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assault and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.

Diamond Bear goes into the pub biz with Arkansas Ale House

Diamond Bear remains one of the only places in Central Arkansas that has packaged beer sales on Sundays, so grab a six pack or two after you finish your meal.

People power vs. power industry

Eureka Springs, where my spouse and I have a second home, loves a parade. Just over a year ago, those parades began to get a decidedly orange tinge.

Ross wins debate, but ...

The Arkansas Press Association had a one-hour gubernatorial debate at its convention in Hot Springs last week.

New day for 'Planet of the Apes'

'Dawn' stands out from other summer fare.

The lie that won't die: Tax cuts help economy

The 2014 Little Rock Fashion Week continues at the Statehouse Convention Center through Saturday

And Amasa Hines will be taping "AETN Presents: On the Front Row" live at AETN headquarters in Conway at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Pujol comes to Stickyz

Also, the 12th National Drawing Invitational at the Arkansas Arts Center,the Big Gay Radio Show Relaunch at Sway, Devourment at Vino's, the Great Arkansas Beer Festival at Clear Channel Metroplex, Wink Burcham at White Water Tavern and "Friday Night Lights" at First Security Amphitheater.

From the web re 'The roots of Little Rock's segregated neighborhoods'

As a teacher in LR, I have noticed that our students segregate themselves across racial lines.

Field of dreams

The Observer's windup is stiff, our curve ball hangs and we don't have the durability to fling our body under a tag, but sometimes we miss playing.

Ask the Times: How did the North American headquarters of the Spanish bicycle company Orbea end up in Little Rock?

While there's plenty of bicycling going on in Little Rock — fun fact: The Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge in the U.S. that wasn't converted from previous motor vehicle or railroad usage — it's surely surprising to a lot of folks that the North American headquarters of a Spanish company that builds high-end racing bicycles that competitors in the Tour de France ride wound up here.

Cool Cotton, warm Clinton

Cotton doesn't have the charisma that Clinton has, by a mile.

Reading in the Rock

Summer book picks from locals.

That 'ghetto' traffic box

heresa Cates, a self-taught North Little Rock artist who paints sinuous and stylized African-American men and women, often praising God, has found that when it comes to public art, people aren't color blind.

Lonely oak

On an old dirt road near Newport.

Fayetteville studying non-discrimination ordinance that protects gay people

The Fayetteville City Council will consider an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gay people.

Traveling Arkansas on the trail of 'True Grit'

The New York Times Sunday travel section, on-line now, includes a feature article by Arkansas writer Jay Jennings in which he visits the real places that inspired Charles Portis' "True Grit."

Southern Gourmasian announces brick and mortar location

Little Rock food truck favorite announces plans to open a brick-and-mortar store.

Pre-K education a bipartisan winner; except in Arkansas

New polling reported by Huffington Post shows strong bipartisan support for more education for children before kindergarten. The Arkansas governor's race indicates anything but agreement on the point.

UPDATE: Little Rock Mayor Stodola announces for re-election

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola has announced he'll seek a third four-year term as mayor.

WSJ examines Arkansas Medicaid denial of expensive drug for cystic fibrosis

Wall Street Journal digs into the denial by Arkansas Medicaid program to provide an expensive drug for sufferers of a rare form of cystic fibrosis. Their lawyers argue that cost, not medical protocols, are the reason for the state's resistance and that's a denial of their civil rights.

How much money is necessary for happiness?

Money can be happiness up to a point, but that point is relatively low in Arkansas. And researchers say money beyond that "happiness benchmark" doesn't increase emotional well-being.

Rapert challenger Tyler Pearson tops him in fund-raising

Tyler Pearson, a Democratic Senate candidate from Conway, says he continues to raise more campaign money than Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, an "embarrasment" to the district, Pearson says.

Malaysian airliner down in Ukraine

We interrupt our conventional parochial program with a news bulletin — a Malaysian Airlines 777 bound from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has gone down in Ukraine and some reports are saying it was shot down.

Florida judge strikes down ban on same-sex marriage

Today it's a state court judge appointed by Jeb Bush who did the honors in declaring that the U.S. Constitution prohibits discrimination against same-sex couples who want to marry in Florida.

Walmart, so far, indicates it won't join Target in refusing gun toters

A loaded gun left in a Walmart restroom in South Carolina raises the question of whether a national drive to encourage national chains to declare their premises off-limits to guns could prompt a change in policy at Walmart. It claims to follow applicable laws, which raises this question: Does Walmart believe open carry is the law in Arkansas and thus permissible in its stores?

Pryor accepts a second debate with challenger Cotton

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor announced today that he'd accepted an invitation for a debate with Republican Rep. Tom Cotton in Fayetteville October 14. This follows his acceptance several weeks ago to appear with Cotton in a statewide televised debate on AETN.

The money in the booze battles

Walmart has now put $1 million into the effort to get local option elections on retail alcohol sales in Faulkner, Saline and Craighead Counties.

New music from Bonnie Montgomery, 'Black County'

Bonnie Montgomery, who you may recognize either as the composer of that Bill Clinton opera a few years ago (covered by the New Yorker) or as a beloved local country singer-songwriter (she's released two EPs, "Cruel" and "Joy," via Fast Weapons Records), has finished a full-length self-titled album and it's due out July 29.

Lobbying continues for change in broadband law

FASTERArkansas, the ad hoc group formed to promote broadband service for public schools, continues its intensive lobbying for a change in state law to allow the state to provide broadband service to schools.

Today's video headlines and an open line; plus more Tomfoolery by Cotton. A cold heart for a cold day.

Tom Cotton continues to exhibit his coldness toward providing food to people in need. Now he suggests food stamp recipients are rife with addicts.

Pallbearer covers Decibel Magazine, announces Little Rock album release date

The issue isn't on newsstands yet, but here's the cover of September's Decibel, featuring Little Rock's Pallbearer and the caption, "The torch is passed to doom's next big thing."

Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill coming to 4th and Main

Chris Tanner provides details on Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill, an ambitious restaurant planned for ground floor space in The Mann at 4th and Main. 32 beers and 20 wines on draft and food prepared quickly on wood-fired grills are the headliners.

Chris Tanner planning Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill at 4th and Main

Samantha's Tap Room and Wood Grill, Cheers in the Heights, Chris Tanner, Samantha Tanner

Food Feedback Friday: Cool Summer's Day edition

With this unusually cool weather lately, I hope you all have been getting out and eating on some patios. I know we have. So, let's get on with our feedback.

Bull Shoals police chief challenged in brutality case

The Baxter Bulletin provides detailed coverage of the trial of Bull Shoals Police Chief Daniel Sutterfield, accused of brutalizing a suspect in a domestic abuse case.

The dashing of the Arkansas Baptist College dream

Arkansas Baptist College, once every do-gooder's favorite feel-good story about helping disadvantaged students, appears close to the breaking point from financial problems. And it continues to stonewall press inquiries.

Arithmetic for Arkansas legislators

The need for a $100 million prison is only the beginning of a Republican pipe dream about tax-cutting the state's way to prosperity.

Arkansas unemployment rate continues to drop, to 6.2 percent in June

The state says the Arkansas unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in June, down from 6.4 percent in May. But the number of people working declined.

Psych of the South: Suspension of Belief's "LSD" (1967)

In 1967, a North Little Rock group, The Villagers, released a cryptic early psychedelic record called “LSD” under the name Suspension of Belief. The song is a mix of non-sequitur lyrics, a haunting folk guitar ballad and orchestral sound clips interspersed throughout in an early example of sampling. When the group recorded it, they had no idea that producer George Whitaker, the owner of Zay-Dee records, would transform their psychedelic folk song into a swirling operatic wonder.

Now City Director Hurst has a crime plan

Stacy Hurst NOW says she has a plan to do something about crime in Little Rock. Noted: She's been a member of the City Board, which oversees the Little Rock police department, since 2002.

Tomatogate: Pryor goes all in

Mark Pryor just can't quit jabbing at opponent Tom Cotton for snubbing the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival in favor of meeting with the Koch brothers and other Republican fat cats.

Savor the City again, during August

The fifth annual Savor the City kicks off Aug. 1 for Little Rock Restaurant Month, when eateries will provide discounts and specials to promote their chow.

Marriage equality comes to Oklahoma

A federal appeals court has ruled that Oklahoma must allow same-sex couples to marry. It's the same court that earlier struck down Utah's ban.

Statewide alcohol sales vote needs 17,133 more signatures

David Couch, attorney for Let Arkansas Decide, which is seeking a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize retail alcohol sales in all 75 counties, said he learned from the Arkansas secretary of state's office that initial canvassing produced 61,000 signatures of registered voters.

Razorbacks trademark the Hog Call

The University of Arkansas has trademarked the Hog Call, the cheer that has been a part of Razorback athletics since the 1920s. Trademarking a chant? It's unusual.

Anti-violence advocate sees favoritism in LR police response

Rev. Benny Johnson, who leads an anti-crime group, says Little Rock authorities favor certain neighborhoods over the inner city when it comes to responding to violent crime.

MAPCO proposal at Third and Broadway is dead

The city of Little Rock received a letter today from MAPCO, the convenience store chain, that it was withdrawing its controversial application to build a unit at Third and Broadway.

Alex Reed departs the secretary of state's staff

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said Alex Reed, who's been handling internal communications, submitted a resignation letter yesterday. Today was his last day at work, though he'll remain on the payroll for about three weeks of accumulated leave.

Woo Pig Sooie! It's another chilly open line. And Obama will strike another blow for equal rights

An open line, with the day's video headline roundup. Also: Obama orders non-discrimination against gay workers on federal jobs, no religious exemption. And, brother, was it cold for a July 18.

ArtWalk: Head to Mugs Cafe, Greg Thompson Fine Art

Tonight: Quapaw Quarter Figure Drawing Group; Southern artists, student artists, fabric jewelry art demonstration, all in Argenta tonight from 5-8 p.m.

Blackberry Chutney, Prince's Hot Chicken and Sriracha portraits

Only old timers will know the name Y.A. Tittle. Hell, he's even old to me. But I was an LSU fan and he was famous as a quarterback there before he became a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback, forever famous for a bloodied photograph following a critical interception in a championship game.

The Woo Pig Sooie TM Edition

I fill in for Lindsey this week, who's on daddy duty with a new baby boy (congrats Lindsey!). Max joins me to talk Razorback trademarking, the state of the Pryor-Cotton and Hutchinson-Ross races (tomatoes! debates!), ballot initiatives for statewide booze sales and raising the minimum wage, and the possibility of Uber coming to Little Rock. Plus endorsements for the city of Nashville and "Getting Back to Abnormal," a character-rich documentary on post-Katrina New Orleans politics.

Minimum wage petitions short on valid signatures

As expected, the drive to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot fell short of the number of valid signatures of registered voters to qualify on the initial submission. They have 30 days to get more.

Bull Shoals police chief cleared on 2 of 3 charges

A federal court jury in Harrison late Friday acquitted Bull Shoals Police Chief Daniel Sutterfield of conspiracy and falsifying a police report charges in a case that said he brutalized a suspect on a domestic abuse call. The jury couldn't reach a verdict on the charge that he'd use'd excessive force, the Baxter Bulletin reported.

An alternative to Comcast: Government Internet service

A story with Arkansas implications: The Chattanooga public utility, EPB, has installed lightning fast Internet service. Its cheaper and better than private competition. It wants to expand. Telecomm companies are standing in the way.

Chris Christie, Mitt Romney to campaign in Arkansas for Asa Hutchinson

AP reports that former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will campaign in Arkansas in August for Republican nominee Asa Hutchinson. 47 per centers need not apply. They couldn't afford the tickets anyway.

Greetings from Prague — and an open line

A postcard from globetrotting Gov. Mike Beebe tops today's open line.

Former Supreme Court Justice Conley Byrd dies

Ernie Dumas reports the death Saturday of Conley Byrd, a former Arkansas Supreme Court justice who lived in Redfield.

Missing man just went for a cycle ride

A silver alert for a missing Little Rock man turned out OK Saturday. He just wanted to ride his Harley to Sturgis.

D.C. politics come to Little Rock — GOP demands loyalty

More evidence still that fiercely partisan D.C.-style politics will be the order of the day if the Republican Party enhances its control of Arkansas political offices. Republican caucus preferences should dictate unanimous votes for legislative leadership. And if that's so, why not set the same rule for legislation, too.

The 'bridge builder' open line

The Sunday line is open. Mark Pryor was on Capitol View on KARK/16 this morning. A snippet of his appearance here, in which he talks about being a "bridge builder," somebody who'll cross party lines on votes.

Lawsuit filed over missed payment on sports photo collection

Arkansas Business reports on a lawsuit filed against John Rogers of North Little Rock, who's won fame as a collector and reseller of photos and other memorabilia of famous athletes.

The debate debate in the U.S. Senate race

Now Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor is playing the debate game after weeks of it by Republican opponent Tom Cotton. If Cotton is so all-fired willing to debate Pryor, how come he hasn't agreed to two appearances Pryor has accepted?

Republicans still lying about Mike Ross

A new national Republican ad buy in Arkansas to attack Mike Ross repeats discredited lies in a similar ad last month.

Karen Garcia, Democratic candidate for treasurer, releases ethics plan

Karen Garcia, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer, has offered a strong ethics plan for the office if elected. It merits consideration even if her Republican opponent wasn't already a strong reason to consider Garcia.

Tom Cotton is perfect — for Arizona

The Kochs' political group, Americans for Prosperity, loves Tom Cotton. Too bad its blog doesn't seem to konw where he lives. Not that it matters, so long as he votes right. And he does.

76-year-old runner apparently hit by car

Barry Livingston, 76, left for his morning run from his home on Auburn Drive about 6 a.m., Little Rock police said. He was found later along Hughes Street near Amherst Cove with a head injury and broken right leg, consistent, police said, with being struck by a vehicle.

Court refuses claims by Stanford Ponzi scheme victims

A U.S. Appeals Court has affirmed a lower court ruling that investors in Allen Stanford's fraudulent Ponzi scheme were not entitled under law to seek compensation from the Securities Investors Protection Corp.

Treasure hunt: The prize could be a college degree

The Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges has begun a search for people who've earned or almost earned associate's degrees but might not know it.

Lawyer says statewide alcohol petitions invalid

A lawyer has said petitions submitted for a statewide vote on retail alcohol sales in all 75 counties were submitted to late under the Arkansas Constitution and cannot be certified.

News roundup and the open line

The open line and video headline roundup. Also, a marijuana measure for 2016 has already been rejected by the attorney general. They'll be back.

The amazing survival of Kali Hardig

BuzzFeed has written in depth about Kali Hardig, then 12, whose swim in a water park south of Little Rock put her in contact with a brain-eating amoeba nearly always fatal. Treatment at Arkansas Children's Hospital saved her life.

Asa may waffle, but the private option is here to stay

Ernie Dumas gives Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson a jab for dodging a position on the private option expansion of Medicaid, while Democrat Mike Ross is loudly proclaiming his support for a plan crafted by Republican legislators.

Conflicting opinons on Affordable Care Act

A D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has ruled 2-1 that participants in federally operated health insurance exchanges in 34 states cannot qualify for federal subsidies. These are the states, including Arkansas, that didn't set up their own health insurance marketplaces and left it to the government. It will be a while before the ruling has an impact, if ever.

Mara Leveritt wins 2014 Porter Fund Literary Prize

The Porter Fund, founded by Little Rock novelists Jack Butler and Phillip McMath in 1984, has announced writer and Arkansas Times contributing editor Mara Leveritt as the recipient of the 2014 Porter Fund Literary Prize. Past award winners include Kevin Brockmeier, Trenton Lee Stewart, Roy Reed, David Jauss and Donald Harington.

'Not Nostalgic': A Q&A with Fayetteville's SW-MM-NG

The fellows from Fayetteville’s SW/MM/NG are about to go places— literally, as they hit the road next month as part of a national tour with stops far from home, and more figuratively, as they’ve procured a spot on Old Flame Records’ roster and are poised to finally release their full-length debut.

Governor candidates talk about hog farms in Northwest Arkansas

Hog farming and the private option were among the points of disagreement in a joint appearance today by gubernatorial candidates Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson.

Download 'Art Amiss 15,' an overview of the Fayetteville underground

Art Amiss is a non-profit arts collective based in Fayetteville which aims to "support support Arkansas music through the production and sale of eclectic and genre specific compilations and use those funds to award grants to artists on a quarterly basis."

Hearne, filmmaker and composer collaborate on 'Indigo Visions'

A new exhibit at Hearne Fine Art features works by 25 new, emerging and established artists who collaborated with composer Ryan Gaston's music/film/art installation "A Dream Retrieval Ritual."

Oops. Farmer Asa hits a boulder plowing the agri vote

Gubernatorial candidates appeared at a Farm Bureau forum today and Republican Asa Hutchinson flunked a pop quiz on his membership in the organization.

The Syrian open line

An open line. And what does Syria have to do with the Arkansas Times, you ask?

8 Chain Restaurants I'd Actually Like To See In Arkansas

I’m not particularly fond of most chain restaurants. There are plenty of reasons to eat at locally owned restaurants, but perhaps most importantly, the food is generally better. But you know that not all chains are created equal. Arkansas sometimes seems to be a hotbed for mundane, unappealing chain restaurants…and in many ways, it probably is. But there are some chain restaurants that I, for one, would not mind popping up around town. Here’s 8 great chain restaurants I’d like to see in Little Rock

What's next on Obamacare?

Here's a useful list of what lies ahead after conflicting rulings yesterday on whether subsidies are allowed for people who enroll in health exchanges set up by the federal government rather than the states.

Grandfather shoots grandson

Garland County authorities report a 68-year-old man shot his grandson last night as he advanced on him with a knife.

Minimum wage drive needs some 15,000 signatures

The drive to put a minimum wage increase on the November ballot is roughly 15,000 signatures short of the 62,507 signatures of registered voters necessary to qualify the initiated act for the ballot.

Bentonville's Potlikker Film Fest: Food! Beer! Bluegrass! Films, too!

The Southern Foodways Alliance, a non-profit based at Ole Miss' Center for the Study of Southern Culture that studies the culture of food in the South, is collaborating with chef Matt McClure (21c Museum Hotel) to host the Potlikker Film Festival on Saturday, Aug. 9, in Bentonville.

Arlington Hotel Edition, with Kari Faux and Country Florist

Little Rock's song of the summer now has a video, and it's better than any of us could have hoped, like DGainz meets DIS magazine. The fact that I've yet to hear this song on the radio here is a complete mystery.

Job-creation, Mississippi-style

When candidates this year make big promises on economic development, listen closely for candidates who claim they'll match Mississippi, a solid red Republican-controlled state. Their corporate welfare tab is huge and schools are paying the price.