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September 4, 2014

Vol 22 • No 28

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The long shadow of Carnell Russ' death

In 1971, a white Arkansas police officer shot an unarmed black man over a $23 speeding ticket.

Claims of sexual assault epidemic on campus overblown

Long ago and far away, a woman we hardly knew presented herself bruised and weeping on our doorstep one night. She told a vivid tale of woe. An old friend of our family she'd been dating had supposedly beaten her and thrown her down the stairs. Why she'd come to our house instead of police headquarters wasn't entirely clear.

Wait for the facts

Almost the only heartening news out of Ferguson, Mo., came in a Washington Post report headlined "Nearly 6 in 10 African Americans say Michael Brown shooting was 'unjustified.' "


Every morning of the workweek, The Observer walks by the tidy blacksmith shop at the Historic Arkansas Museum. We relish those mornings when the doors are open, white smoke curling from the brick chimney, the sharp tak-tak-tak of hammer on anvil issuing from the dim maw of the double doors.

Hogs break down at Auburn

When Auburn clanked a field goal attempt off the upright going into halftime, Bret Bielema's fist plunged skyward and Arkansas headed to halftime all square at 21. The game plan was working. Gashed early, the defense was settling in to make some stops here and there, and the offensive machine was humming.

Direct democracy goes well with liquor

Appropriate that this weirdly wet summer might birth the amendment that ends dry counties in Arkansas. Last week, the secretary of state's office announced that the organization Let Arkansas Decide had turned in enough signatures to place before voters an item to allow retail alcohol sales in all counties statewide: over 87,000 verified so far, with others being counted.

KABF celebrates 30th anniversary

Also, Cory Branan at White Water Tavern, Totems and Romans at UALR, International Observe the Moon Night in Argenta and 'Ugetsu' at Few.

Ask the Times: What's going on with my student loan?

Answer: It's complicated.

'Memphis' explores discrimination through early rock 'n' roll

Rep musical debuts Sept. 5.

Goose finds its sound

Fayetteville champions of 'Americana partyfolk' bring banjos and harmonicas to the indie pop scene.

Heights race could determine control of Arkansas House

Hurst (R) v. Tucker (D) in District 35.

Are spirits high with Arkansas voters?

Late last week, the secretary of state certified the signatures on a proposed constitutional amendment to permit alcohol sales in all 75 counties.

Wage theft and the American worker

Something in the boilerplate news every Labor Day stirs memories of my father, a trucker and woodsman who toiled harder and longer and with more passion than anyone I have known, right up to his final heart attack at the age of 66.


Traci Berry with the Arkansas Boathouse Club recovers her boat after a mishap at the finish line of an individual time trial last Saturday in the Six Bridges Regatta on the Arkansas River.

'As Above' makes you squirm

Don't go down there.

"When Religion Becomes Lethal" at Ron Robinson

Also, Argenta Community Theater hosts "Opera in the Rock."

Middle Eastern delight

Ali Baba worth seeking out.

Route non-locals around city

Across America, city after city has spent millions of dollars expanding interstate highways through their midsections only to discover that they quickly become recongested.

FactCheck: Attack ad on Mike Ross 'extraordinary whopper' has done new reporting about Mike Ross' sale of his family drugstore in Prescott years ago and concluded that a Republican ad attacking Ross on the deal is an 'extraordinary whopper.'

Corporate speech invades your medicine cabinet

Interesting report here from the Ozy website on an unexpected way in which U.S. Supreme Court protections for corporate speech have impact outside the political realm, specifically in drug sales.

McPherson hits Rep. Crawford on VA bill opposition

Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson, the Democratic candidate for 1st District Congress, has a new ad punching Republican Rep. Crawford for being one of only five members of the House to oppose a bill aimed at improving VA health care.

Fast food workers on the picket line in Little Rock; block Broadway, arrests follow

Demonstrators took up positions outside the McDonald's at 7th and Broadway this morning as part of a national movement to fight for $15-an-hour pay and union organizing at franchise outlets of national fast-food chains and some moved to block traffic on Broadway.

Speaking of free speech: Flyer ban enforced in River Market

Today's picketing by fast food workers reminds me of another 1st Amendment activity that ran afoul of Little Rock police this week — posting of flyers on utility poles and other public property. Police have been cracking down.

Tom Cotton goes to the outhouse

Tom Cotton is falling back on a favorite theme — a past generation's reliance on outhouses — to propel his own campaign for office.

Arkansas Supreme Court refuses recusal motion in same-sex marriage case

The Arkansas Supreme Court, back from recess today, issued an order that denied without comment plaintiffs' request that judges facing future elections disqualify from hearing the case.

Worker fatally injured by car being chased by deputies outside Walgreens

Heather Cater, 22, of Traskwood was fatally injured about 6 p.m. Wednesday when struck by an SUV on the parking lot of her job at Walgreens, Col. Glenn and University. The vehicle, reported stolen, was being chased by Pulaski sheriff's deputies.

Teachers endorse John Burkhalter for lieutenant governor

John Burkhalter, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, was joined at a children's library news conference today by educators who announced his endorsement by the Arkansas Education Association.

The University of Texas — Fayetteville campus

The University of Arkansas's enrollment growth has been driven by out-of-state students. The increase in out-of-state students more than doubles the increase in students from Arkansas the last seven years.

Jonesboro has new police chief, veteran Rick Elliott

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin today named Rick Elliott, a member of the Jonesboro Police Department since 1992, as the city's new police chief. KAIT reports.

Bryant woman buys $1 million lottery ticket

Susan Gray of Bryant bought a $20 Platinum Payout scratchoff lottery ticket at I-30 Liquor in Little Rock and it turned out to be a $1 million winner.

Mark Darr pays up on illegal expense payments

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr had repaid the state for almost $11,000 in illegal expense reimbursements he'd claimed in office. Darr resigned Feb. 1 after findings that he'd misspent campaign money on personal expenses and and audit finding that he'd received money for personal expenses in claims for official expenses, chiefly commuting money to his home in Springdale.

Breaking news: Joan Rivers dies; former Virginia governor and wife convicted

Breaking news flashes: Joan Rivers has died and former Virginia Governor Bob McConnell and his wife have been convicted in the case that alleged they took gifts in return for official favors.

Another U.S. Circuit Court strikes down gay marriage bans

Add the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to the long roster of federal courts that have held it is unconstitutional to prohibit same-sex marriage. The case arose from Indiana and Wisconsin laws.

Read our 1975 interview with Charlie Rich

From the depths of the Arkansas Times archives, here's our February 1975 profile of Colt, Ark. native Charlie Rich, written by Larry Mougeot back when the paper was still called the Union Station Times.

Open line and video headlines; Also, lawsuit against state board executive and a religious claim for a beard in prison

Here's the Thursday open line and video news summary. Also: Suit against former state agency head; prison official found telling untruth in lawsuit over beards in prison.

Mother Jones on the collapse of the Common Core consensus

The story of Common Core serves as a cross section of the entire contemporary American political landscape, where inchoate fears of government-corporate collusion for sinister ends are granted credence by the reality of an unresponsive, top-down system too often contemptuous of everyday people's concerns, legitimate and illegitimate alike.

Kilwins is a sweet addition to the River Market

The new Kilwins franchise in the River Market is a wonderland of sugary delights.

Police beat update: Suspect arrested in parking lot death; carjacking arrest; football team bus in wreck;

A warrant in a hit-and-run death; female suspects in a string of carjackings and a wreck involving the North Little Rock high football team are on the police beat report tonight.

Little Rock Planning Commission approves big gas station on Highway 10 at Taylor Loop

The Little Rock Planning Commission without dissent reportedly approved a 24-pump Murphy Oil gas station and store at Taylor Loop Road and Highway 10, a proposal strongly opposed by neighbors who say traffic on the road is already dangerous.

Asa Hutchinson flip-flops on minimum wage measure: Once a foe now he'll vote for it

Asa Hutchinson was repeatedly AGAINST the proposal headed to the Nov. 4 ballot to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas. Suddenly, a change of heart. He'll vote for it.

Speaking of minimum wage: GOP may oppose it, but they understand good employees deserve more

The Republican Party, which includes few candidates in support of a minimum wage increase, understands you have to pay far more than the state minimum wage of $6.25 an hour to get qualified workers.

'Ladies Listen Up: Why Tom Cotton is not on your side'

A longtime Democratic activist and Arkansas writes for Huffington Post about why Tom Cotton is a terrible choice for women voters.

CNN poll puts Cotton up 2 over Pryor, statistical dead heat

A new CNN poll in the U.S. Senate race gives Tom Cotton a two-point edge, within the margin of error.

Jeb Bush to help Asa Hutchinson raise money

Jeb Bush will headline a Pleasant Valley Country Club fund-raiser for Asa Hutchinson Sept. 30.

Finger to the wind, Tom Cotton suddenly decides he, too, will back minimum wage increase

The Arkansas Republican Party has put its finger to the wind. First Asa Hutchinson reversed course yesterday and declared he'd vote for the minimum wage increase. Then, this morning, in the friendly confines of Alice Stewart's pro-Republican radio show, Senatorial candidate Tom Cotton said he, too, would vote the minimum wage increase.

Conway voters asked to subsidize new shopping center

Conway voters are being asked to dedicate a sales tax to a $21 million bond issue to pay for road improvements to serve a proposed shopping center and residential development.

The Piranesi show at UALR: Watch the video

UALR gallery director Brad Cushman talks about UALR's new exhibition, "Piranesi and Perspectives of Rome," featuring the works by the 18th century engraver from the university's and other collections, in this video.

Hot Springs Documentary Film Fest announces more screenings

Last week, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival announced that it would kick-off its 23rd annual lineup with a screening of "Glen Campbell .. I'll Be Me." Today, the festival released more details about its program. George Takei will close the festival with a presentation of his film "To Be Takei" (about his "playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love") followed by a Q&A.

Heather Cater's death: More on pursuit and jurisdiction questions

The sheriff's office talks further today about how they came to attempt an arrest of a drug suspect who fatally injured a pedestrian trying to elude deputies. They also address the jurisdictional issue of their investigation of homicide in the city of Little Rock.

Saline County local option question struck from ballot

I have a note that a Saline County circuit judge today removed a local option alcohol sales question from the ballot in Saline County.

Bankruptcy filed by leader of Turner Grain

A personal bankruptcy petition was filed today by Dale Barlett of Marvell, president of the troubled Turner Grain Merchandising of Brinkley.

TGIF: Plus, Republican triangulation and another whopper by Tom Cotton

Here's your open line and video roundup. Also: Republicans triangulate on minimum wage and health care, but Tom Cotton can't avoid getting caught in a big ol' fib.

Your Mama's Good Food closing Sept. 12

Your Mama's Good Food, the cafeteria-style meat-and-three joint in Little Rock which was famously a hangout for Clinton campaign staffers during Clinton's 1992 campaign for president, has announced they are closing after 24 years in business.

Pat Hays continues to get Caterpillar-worthy traction with job ads. Sweeter than a Blue Bell cone

Pat Hays has a good ad about his job creation efforts as mayor of North Little Rock. Too good for the Republican Party, which thinks his free speech about his accomplishments should be abridged.

The They Know Which Way The Wind Blows Edition

The politics of the proposal to increase the state minimum wage, rich Arkies giving boatloads of money to Republicans, the resignation of UALR Athletic Director Chris Peterson, gas stations and Little Rock politics and the Little Rock drug arrest gone bad that left an innocent bystander dead — all covered on this week's podcast.

Arkansas Business: Layoffs at Rogers toy maker

Arkansas Business raises questions and reports layoffs at a Rogers toy maker that got a $2 million state investment for its plan to be a U.S-based manufacturer of toys to be sold by Walmart.

Challenge filed to prevent vote on alcohol sales amendment

As expected, Elizabeth Robben Murray of the Friday Law Firm today filed a lawsuit challenging the certification of the proposed constitutional amendment to allow retail alcohol sales in all 75 counties. She also asked for an expedited hearing and asked for oral arguments.

Arkansas Times is 40 today

Forty years ago today, the Union Station Times, soon to be known as the Arkansas Times, published its first issue.

The Humping Pact, Accounting classes, Etouffee recipes, the New Yorker and a mixtape tribute to ourselves

Okay, first off NSFW. Well, maybe safe if you work at the Arkansas Times. But generally: not safe for work. Here you go.

Friday open line — Moody Brews edition

You ate it, now talk about it.

Rogers City Attorney Ben Lipscomb won't be charged for flashing badge at Miranda Lambert concert

KNWA reports that a special prosecutor has concluded no charges should be filed against Rogers City Attorney Ben Lipscomb for flashing a badge to get VIP treatment at a Miranda Lambert concert at the Walmart AMP.

Incumbents on the defensive at Little Rock School Board candidates forum

Two seats on the seven-member Little Rock School Board are up for election on Sept. 16, and incumbents in both zones face challengers fiercely critical of the direction of the city's schools and LRSD superintendent Dexter Suggs. On Thursday night, a forum hosted by Arkansas Community Organizations gave the public a chance to hear the four candidates answer questions about their plans to turn around the troubled district.

Private club ordinances on City board agenda; also study for sport facility

Late-night private clubs and a study of a new indoor sports facility are among the items of discussion on the coming City Board meeting agenda.

Little Rock plans 10 days of events for Clinton Library's 10th birthday

Details are beginning to emerge of 10th birthday events planned for the Clinton Library, a major factor in development of tourism business in Little Rock.

Opportunistic Republicans run for cover on minimum wage issue

2nd District Congressional candidate J. French Hill was the most craven flip-flopper among the gang of Republicans who — after months of opposition — suddenly converted to the voter-popular cause of increasing the minimum wage.

The blowout open line

Here's your open line. Got anything more exciting than Hog football?

Planned minimum wage survey might nail down where GOP's French Hill stands on issue

Survey coming on where candidates stand on the minimum wage increase. Good. Because some questions linger on J. French Hill, the millionaire banker Republican who's running for 2nd District Congress.

NBC poll puts Cotton up 45-40 over Pryor; Hutchinson up 48-39 over Ross

Chuck Todd begins his stint as host of NBC's Meet the Press today and Channel 4 notes that the program, in addition to an interview with President Obama, will include results from yet another survey in the race for U.S. Senate between incumbent Democratic Mark Pryor and Republican Tom Cotton (and a couple of third party contenders.)

UPDATE: The post-racial open line: Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson and race in the NBA

The open line includes a thought on news that the owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, will sell the team because of racial remarks. Too many blacks would drive whites away from a venue? That's what he said.

Driver charged in Lawson Road fatality

A motorcyclist was killed in a three-vehicle wreck on Lawson Road Sunday afternoon and the driver who allegedly caused the accident has been charged with negligent homicide and DWI.

Question: Is the truth in Tom Cotton?

The Washington Post works over Tom Cotton — joining a long line of non-partisan debunkers — for his dishonest advertising about Sen. Mark Pryor's supposed support for Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants.

GOP nightmare comes true: Obamacare is working

Talking Points Memo notes why Republicans have fought so long and hard against advances toward universal health care coverage — it's popular and it helps millions of people. When the message sinks in, voters are more likely to thank those (Democrats) who delivered it than those who opposed it (Republicans.)

Buffalo River Coalition not assured by Cargill response on hog farm

The Buffalo River Coalition said today thanks, but no thanks to Cargill's promise to take extraordinary measures to keep the hog feeding operation it supports from polluting the Buffalo River watershed. It is no place for a hog farm, the coalition says.

Deputy, suspect trade Taser shots before arrest

A Pulaski deputy was stunned with his own Taser during a struggle with a man resisting arrest at Highway 365 and Dixon Road south of Little Rock. The man, being sought for pointing a gun at another man, finally was subdued.

Main Street to be blocked between 3rd and 4th

The city of Little Rock announced today that Main Street would be closed between Third and Fourth for three to four weeks to do landscape and sidewalk work in the "creative corridor" project. "Rain and light gardens" are being installed.

More than 200,000 have gained coverage via the Medicaid expansion private option

The Department of Human Services today released the latest enrollment figures on the private option, the state's unique plan using Medicaid dollars available via the Affordable Care Act to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. Through August 31, 205,097 Arkansans have gained coverage.

Fort Smith man gets $40,000 from suit over phone seized by deputy during filming; new policy on filming follows

The Southwest Times Record reports that a Fort Smith man has won a $40,000 settlement from a Sebastian County deputy sheriff who seized his cell phone while the man was photographing a drug bust. The case has also inspired a new written policy that makes it clear citizens have a right to record police officers in action.

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush join hands on scholars program at their libraries

Bill Clinton and George W. Bush joked like old friends today as they annnounced a joint leadership education program by their libraries and two other presidential centers.

Baltimore Ravens terminate Ray Rice for punching wife

New video of Ray Rice punching his wife has cost him his NFL contract with the Balitmore Ravens. It's an occasion to think generally about second-class treatment of women and how society responds.

Brew Review: Half Seas Over Imperial IPA

Half Seas Over, the debut beer from Moody Brews, is a bold statement from the brewer. But can a big beer like this please even a picky drinker?

Change of management at John Rogers' sports memorabilia business

Arkansas Business reports here on the $14 million lawsuit by First Arkansas Bank and Trust of Jacksonville over delinquent loans to John Rogers, who built a big business on photographs and sports memorabilia but now seems to be foundering. Arkansas Business notes that Rogers hasn't been running the business for more than six months.

Guest Mix: Adam Faucett

For the last seven years it seems most of my time has been spent in my van. Before that it seems most of it was spent on a platform in Mars like temperatures waiting on the blue line. Before that it seems much of it was in my kitchen doing paintings for school. My point is, the songs best suited for a hangover are best suited for the Snake.

Republican Hutchinson: Democrat Ross wants to cut taxes too much

Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas can't afford Mike Ross. He wants to cut taxes $612 million. I kid you not. The Republican says we can't afford those kind of tax cuts.

The Monday open line

Here's today's open line and news headline video — from the Senate race to domestic violence to race and former presidents.

Senate casts a vote on something pertaining to rollback of Citizens United

The U.S. Senate voted 79-18 today to keep debating a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United (the corporate personhood ruling that opened the floodgates on political spending.) The vote has limited, if any, meaning.

Appeal filed on local option election in Saline County

As expected by Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips, who allowed a local option alcohol ballot question to appear on the Saline County ballot though he'd refuse to certify it, the proponents appealed his ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

An edge for Wyrick at county judge's forum last night

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning on a League of Women Voters forum for candidates for county judge and I'd have to give Republican Phil Wyrick the edge in answers reported there, particularly on operation of the County Jail.

Ask the Times: Why is Dustin McDaniel advertising his office on Razorback broadcasts?

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has committed to spend $237,000 in money from his office's consumer protection division to advertise his office on Razorback, UCA, UAPB and ASU sports broadcasts and websites. It's important, he says, to let young consumer know about his consumer protection efforts.

Private push begun to enroll Arkansans in new insurance programs

A private group has been formed to help people enroll in health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act. It's a response to the legislature's effort to prevent expenditure of public money on such public education.

Victim's family: Killer posts Arkansas prison photos on Facebook

KARK/Fox 16 reports on a shocking discovery by the family of an Arkansas murder victim: The man convicted of the crime apparently has posted pictures of himself in prison on Facebook.

Lawsuit says Crittenden Regional Hospital charged employees for health insurance premiums but never paid claims

A lawsuit filed on Friday in the Circuit Court of Crittenden County alleges that at least beginning in 2014, Crittenden Regional Hospital (CRH) withheld money from employees' paychecks for health insurance premiums, but never actually paid the claims. That would potentially leave their employees on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in medical care they were told was covered by their health insurance. The practice may have dated back even further, said Denny Sumpter, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

Vegetarian delights with The Veg and Solfood Catering

The Veg and Solfood Catering are serving up vegan cuisine with mainstream appeal.

Governmental Accountability Office: feds failed to ensure private option was budget neutral

A new report from the federal Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) argues that the feds failed to ensure that Arkansas private option would be "budget neutral" and implies that the private option could cost around 24 percent more over the next three years than regular old fee-for-service Medicaid would have. Here's what you need to know...

Profile: John Adams, a Democratic candidate for House in WLR

The Southern Progress Fund continues its profiles of promising Democratic candidates for legislature today with a report on a friend of mine John Adams, the lawyer who made a run for Congress four years ago. He's a promising candidate to take back a House seat currently held by a term-limited Republican.

Climate change: What the birds tell us

A new National Audubon Society report says more than 300 bird species are at risk of disappearing by the end of the century because of climate changes. Among those birds: the mallard duck.

The Pryors hit the campaign trail

With Sen. Mark Pryor in Washington, his family surrogates — parents David and Barbara Pryor — are hitting the campaign trail hard with a round of scheduled visits to college campuses meant to underscore Republican opponent Tom Cotton's vote against the federal student loan program.

Another Arkansas benefit Tom Cotton would chop

Hot Springs will get $200,000 from the Economic Development Administration to develop an economic strategy. The Democratic Party notes that Rep. Tom Cotton, who represents Hot Springs, wanted to abolish the Economic Development Administration as wasteful.

Comprehensive report on school broadband costs due on Dec. 1

The joint Education Committee was told today that legislative staff issued an RFP last week to study the current cost of providing broadband in every K-12 school in Arkansas and the cost of expanding that service to bring districts up to national bandwidth standards. That information has been much in dispute over the past several months, as education advocates and the governor have battled internet service providers over whether to allow schools to use the state's fiber optic network, ARE-ON.

Maumelle police arrest man for gun at elementary school

Maumelle police announced the arrest today of a man carrying a gun who'd been making threatening remarks near the campus of Pine Forest Elementary.

UALR talks about race and the police

UALR held a forum yesterday — part of Chancellor Joel Anderson's long-running effort to bridge racial divides — on race and law enforcement. A campus account here of the program, which grew out of the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting.

The open line

The open line today includes a non-surprise political endorsement: the NRA for Tom Cotton.

Feed your mind, try your hand with Mia Rosenthal

Philadelphia artist Mia Rosenthal, whose work is part of the "12th National Drawing Invitational: Outside the Lines" exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center, will give a talk at the Arts Center at noon Friday as part of the "Feed Your Mind" lunchtime lecture series and then offer a drawing workshop on Saturday.

Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless: "My confidence was lost in the hospital board 20 months ago."

Crittenden County Judge Woody Wheeless said that since he was elected country judge almost two years ago, he has seen a pattern of neglect from the leadership of Crittenden Regional Hospital, which was forced to shut its doors this week after years of financial struggle.

New Yorker: Democrats favored to hold onto U.S. Senate

Disheartened by analysts who favor Repubicans to take the Senate? Here's a contrary view, numbers-based, too.

Statewide petition review completed

The secretary of state's office has completed signature verification on statewide ballot initiatives. The final count shows both an alcohol amendment and minimum wage measure easily cleared the signature requirement.

Jerry Jones named by former stripper in sexual assault complaint

Sports Illustrated reports that Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has been named in a sexual assault lawsuit by a former stripper. Here's the lawsuit.

Republicans hit James Lee Witt for, well, something

The GOP oppo research team has filed an ethics complaint against Democratic congressional candidate James Lee Witt for failing to disclose his investment in a piece of real estate that he didn't own during the time his last financial report covered.

Conway approves tax rededication for bond issue

Early voting in Conway is overwhelmingly in favor of rededication of a sales tax to, among others, support a bond issue to pay for millions in road improvements required by the developer of a proposed shopping center and other projects on the old Conway airport.

Central High again tops National Merit semi-finalist list

Arkansas has 132 students on the list of National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists this year, a drop of 18 from last year, and Little Rock Central High accounted for more than one in eight, with 18 semi-finalists.

Death reported of Jeff Baskin, director of Laman Library

The CaringBridge website for Jeff Baskin, the long-director of North Little Rock's Laman Public Library, reports that he died last night. He was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in mid-July.

TV debate in governor's race set Sept. 19

Channel 4 announced this morning that it has set a debate between gubernatorial candidates Mike Ross, the Democrat, and Asa Hutchinson, the Republican, at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19.

Private clubs win early closing battle

Private clubs apparently have won their battle against earlier closing hours, based on a "compromise" revealed at the City Board meeting last night.

In Hot Springs, pizza means Deluca's

In Hot Springs, one pizzeria is taking fresh flavors to the next level.

The Kochs, Tom Cotton and their dislike of helping farmers

The Koch political lobby is trying mightily to pretend it supports American farmers and that Tom Cotton's vote against the farm bill isn't a measure of farm support. A new report from a Democratic organization blows that dishonest messaging out of the water.

Police catch suspect in gas station robbery

Little Rock police captured a suspect in the robbery of a Valero station at 10501 Stagecoach Road about 5:25 a.m. this morning.

Ole Miss, ASU mix football and religion; complaint prompts removal of cross from ASU helmets

Ole Miss is getting a look from the Freedom from Religion Foundation for the overt religious practices, including a team chaplain, present in its football program. The same group is looking into Christian cross decals placed on Arkansas State University helmets this year.

New music from Arkansas Bo, Country Florist, Lo Thraxx and Drick Stonie

Stuttgart-native, Suga City co-founder and Dallas transplant Arkansas Bo is one of the state's greatest hip-hop exports, with his gruff baritone and intuitive feel for grown-up country rap in the Scarface mold. He apparently left town to take a job with Fed Ex, but he's stayed in touch, held onto his first name and it's still an event here when his new tape drops.

Lawsuit over dragstrip injury kept alive

For the second time, the Arkansas Court of Appeals has reversed a summary judgment in favor of Wayen and Patty Styles, owner of the Centerville Dragway, which was sued by a racing fan injured when she fell from bleachers on account of what she believed was an unsecured plank.

Zen and the art of an open line: Take a walk

The open line, video news roundup and a sermon on the benefits of walking.

Customer shot in KFC on Geyer Springs

LRPD says a man was shot while in the KFC in the 8200 block of Geyer Springs Road shortly before 5 p.m. this afternoon. The customer, shot at several times by one of two men, was hospitalized.

Pryor goes after women's votes

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, who's shown some unaccountable weakness among women voters in recent polling, made a strong pitch for support today.

New Quest charter middle school opens with a different look than surrounding school districts

Chris Bauman, general counsel for Responsive Education Solutions, the Texas-based company that is operating the new Quest charter middle school in Chenal Valley, has compiled demographic data I requested on the new school's enrollment.

'DNR': DHS made it clear it didn't want to rehire Leslie Rutledge when she left the state agency

Leslie Rutledge, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has bounced around a lot of legal jobs. On one of them, working for the state Human Services Department, a supervisor took pains to insert in her file a note that she not be rehired. Why? Good question.

Coming to Gallery 360: Scrounged up art

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Gallery 360 will open the largest show in its two-year history: "Artists Scrounging," sculpture, jewelry and collage assemblages of found objects. Reception is 7 to 10 p.m.

The not-so-principled stand of Tom Cotton on the minimum wage

Finger-in-the-wind political maneuvering doesn't get much more stark than Republican Senate candidate Tom Cotton announcing earlier this month that he would support the ballot initiative to raise the state minimum wage. Cotton's endorsement of the minimum wage hike was presumably meant to neutralize the minimum wage issue in this campaign, which Sen. Mark Pryor might have used as a political cudgel. But Cotton's brand — and his defense on controversial votes — is that he always takes the principled stand, even if it's difficult or unpopular.