An oral history of the first 40 years.
40th AnniversarySeptember 18, 2014
Vol 22 • No 30
From sexy camping to horseradish souffle.
Some of it left a permanent mark.
The Arkansas Times reflects on 40 years.
A look back.
Also, the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival, WWE Smackdown at Verizon, the ACANSA Arts Festival and 'M' at Few.
A survey of Arkansas Times covers from yesteryear that make us say, "WTF?"
How a stylist and designer from small-town Arkansas helped create the next big thing in pop.
The Arkansas Times celebrates 40 years of publication this week. I feel a little like Jimmy Buffett's pirate of song. Looking at 40, he muses on the switch from sails to steam. The cannons thunder no more, he laments. He's a victim of fate, too late for the glory days of sail.
Business accelerator has teams scrambling for $150,000 investment.
Or an entire reboot.
With a yearlong winning drought now a bygone thing, Arkansas had to take a quick "next step" back toward respectability.
When the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the old maxim "money speaks" needed to be in the Constitution and, in fact, was already there hiding in the First Amendment, it took a while for the concept to root in remote Arkansas.
Have you been hearing a hollow clanging in the middle of the night? Faint, but growing louder in that gathering twilight before the fitful dreams of midnight's slumber?
Alson, Ron Robinson screens 'Hook."
The Observer and the rest of the editorial staff of the Arkansas Times spent the last couple of weeks flipping through the bound archives of the stick-it-to-the-man underground rag-turned-magazine-turned-weekly newspaper we work for, finding stories and tidbits of yesteryear to put on display.
'The Drop' rewards patient audience.
Maybe next time, they'll award the Nobel Peace Prize at the end of a politician's tenure rather than the beginning.
French Hill, the millionaire banker running for Congress in the 2nd District, is apparently hoping to have it both ways.
Has Sen. Jimmy Hickey loaded the dice in hand-picking a legislative consultant to review the Arkansas Lottery — a consultant that failed to make the deadline for an audit being conducted by the Lottery Commission?
A former deputy prosecutor had his day in court yesterday for harassing a Wynne man who'd complain about his free-running dogs. His story was part of a larger look by Mara Leveritt at the difficulty of making complaints about state prosecuting attorneys.
The Arkansas Supreme Court today affirmed a 90-day suspension and $10,000 fine of Hot Springs lawyer John Skylar Tapp for misconduct in a paternity case.
A divided Arkansas Supreme Court came down narrowly on the side of plaintiffs today in an interim proceeding in a class action lawsuit over termination fees for Alltel cell phone customers.
Good morning. Did you know that in 1953, before his first recordings, Johnny Cash wrote a science fiction short story called "The Holografik Danser"? According to Steve Turner's biography, "The Man Called CASH," he wrote a number of short stories during this period, many under the pen name "Johnny Dollar."
The Arkansas Times has spent 40 years detailing politics, food, and culture. Happy 40th!
Word comes today that the Little Rock City Board will finally have a discussion on the Uber car service at its agenda meeting next week. A representative from Uber will talk. The local cab franchise holder, who opposes Uber operation here, will talk. No proposal is on the table yet.
Little Rock's Lo Thraxx has been talking up his next release, "$harkansas," for some time now, but this morning he abruptly dropped a different mixtape altogether, "Deep Waters," apparently a prequel or, in his words, "lay up drills" to warm up for the real thing.
Leslie Rutledge, the Republican candidate for attorney general, has asked the attorney general's office to review 36 emails pertaining to her that her former employer, the Department of Human Services, thinks should be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
How does Tom Cotton counter criticism of his lone Arkansas vote against the farm bill? Easy. Use President Obama and people on welfare as red herrings.
Pro golfer John Daly is closing his Lion's Den Golf Course in Dardanelle. Hard economic times.
Timothy Buffington, who escaped from the Pine Bluff prison unit in June while serving a murder sentence, was captured today in Logan County, where the crime he committed had occurred.
John Burkhalter, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, opened his ad blitz with some effective biographical advertising featuring his church pastor and information about his success in business. His new ad goes after his Republican opponent, Rep. Tim Griffin.
A North Little Rock man has filed an ethics complaint against Republican treasurer candidate Dennis Milligan for alleged shortcomings in campaign finance filings.
Here's the Thursday open line; Killer's survival strategy and Tom Cotton ripped for dishonest farm ad
Here's today's open line and video roundup. Plus: Tom Cotton is called a liar and an escaped killer explains how he survived three months on the run.
A Senate vore for aid to Syrian rebels drew support from Sen. Mark Pryor and an instant critique from his election opponent, Tom Cotton.
LR School Board will likely vote on superintendent's contract before newly elected members take office
Because of a delayed evaluation timeline, the Little Rock School Board's vote to renew Superintendent Dexter Suggs' contract for an additional year is happening at an awkward time: during what's essentially a brief lame-duck session of the board.
I'll not sully the ineffable here with much in the way of prose. And I don't take photographs in restaurants. This is merely some news you can use.
The latest gun slaughter came yesterday in Florida — a convicted felon killed his daughter and grandchildren before killing himself. He'd served a prison sentence earlier for killing a son in a hunting accident.
Some interesting gossip about a future race for Arkansas Supreme Court justice, including a non-denial of interest on the part of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
When it comes to vegetarian dishes, Indian food comes through with tasty salads, well-cooked vegetables, and sauces that pile on the flavor.
The unemployment rate in Arkansas edged up in August to 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent the month before. The size of the workforce also declined.
Former Sen. David Pryor and his wife, Barbara, will take questions on their son Mark Pryor's Facebook page at 11:30 a.m. Monday as part of their continuing campaigning for his re-election over Republican Tom Cotton and a couple of other candidates.
If Arkansas State football players are free to put crosses on their helmet, aren't they free to put any symbol they want on there — religious or otherwise? And if not, why not? Answers have been slow in coming from ASU leadership.
What do you do if you’re the mayor of a small Missouri town that has been hit hard by decades of gradual economic decay and whose highway in and out of the city’s center is now known as “Old 54” since the new Highway 54, a vital transportation artery, now snakes around your fair city, leaving your diminutive, but proud populace, and its neglected factories that used to assemble computer chips and automobile parts, miles away from economic stability?
Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore said today that James Jones, who's been an Entergy Arkansas executive, will join the city staff Oct. 6 as assistant city manager.
Twenty-six legislators were approved to attend a state govenrment convention in Alaska in August. Bills have started coming in, with tabs of $2,000 to $4,300 from 14 legislators so far, some of them budget hawks who led the opposition to adoption of the private option Medicaid plan as too expensive.
I doubt you’re buying writer and Raiders fan Steve Almond’s argument (or his book)—neatly encapsulated by the writer and Seminoles fan Diane Roberts here—that it’s time we stopped watching football altogether.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has accepted the $98.4 million low bid by a Kansas City construction company to replace the Broadway Bridge in Little Rock. Massman Construction Company proposes to have the bridge out of service only 180 days, a full year shorter than earlier estimates, though the full term of the contract will stretch more than two years.
We plowed this ground thoroughly yesterday, but add Politifact to the near-universal condemnation of Tom Cotton's latest ad, blaming his vote against farm bill on President Obama.
A Boston city councillor is headliing a fund-raiser for Arkansas Democrats Monday in Boston in part as a "tribute" to Republican Rep. Nate Bell's offensive remark about Bostonians following the 2013 bombings.
Disability rights activists protesting in Little Rock, a national magazine profile of Tom Cotton that unearthed new info that told us what we already knew, the 1st Amendment and Arkansas State University, liquor stores fighting the expansion of alcohol sales in Arkansas, Arkansas Supreme Court rumors and Little Rock School Board elections — all covered on this week's podcas
An open line, a video news roundup, an Arkansas Times birthday and a gubernatorial debate. Live ..... it's Friday night.
Ray Hobbs, director of the Arkansas Correction Department, sent notice to employees that he was retiring Nov. 1.
The WSJ on the show at Crystal Bridges: "kept to a PG-13 rating in the hope that CBMAA's viewers—many of whom are first-time museum-goers—might be led somewhat gently into the problematic precincts of contemporary art."
John Mathis Lile III, 56, former president of the now-defunct Cosmpolitan Life Insurance Company has pleaded guilty to theft or embezzlement in connection with health care, the U.S. attorney's office announced this evening.
The encryption of Little Rock police radio signals will be discussed by the Little Rock City Board at a meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Uber car service is also on the agenda.
The verdicts on the gubernatorial debate between Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson: "My man won." I detect an edge for Ross on substance, however.
A new organization aimed at bring substantive issue information to women voters will talk about its aims at a news conference in Little Rock next week. Any talk of issues important to women should favor Democratic candidates, it seems to me.
The Arkansas Times celebrated its 40th birthday last night, a gathering of many friends and former co-workers at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Petitions were submitted today in Fayetteville by proponents of legal discrimination against gay people. They want a special election on the city's new civil rights ordinance, which covers multiple classes of people but is controversial because of LGBT protection.
Gov. Mike Beebe's gubernatorial papers are going to his 1968 alma mater, Arkansas State University. ASU is going to create a shrine to Beebe at the V.C. Kays House and Dean B. Ellis Library with "interactive presentations of the governor's legacy in public service and illustrate Beebe's role in major Arkansas history issues."
U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, will be at Union AME Church, 1825 Pulaski, this morning to join in an observance of Freedom Sunday.
The Republican-majority legislature is moving in multiple ways to enhance and consolidate its already great power over the executive and judicial branches. A couple of constitutional amendments are particularly problematic.
Some hopeful signs for Democrats as U.S. Senate candidates go after senior voters by using Social Security as a leading campaign issue.
The Sunday open line.
David Ramsey has inspected this situation thoroughly already, but Blue Hog Report has done further analysis of Republican Stacy Hurst's attempt to use the nursery school assignment of her Democratic opponent's four-year-old in her race for state House of Representatives. His take of Hurst; "If at first you don't succeed, lie, lie again."
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is divesting itself of fossil rule investments. There's some irony locally. Rockefeller money built the Arkansas Republican Party, whose candidates today are vigorous advocates for fossil fuels and against environmental regulations on them.
Rep. Warwick Sabin is among a group of 24 named to receive Rodel Fellowships from the Aspen Institute. They are intended to promote civility in public discourse.
Anchorage TV reporter says **** it and walks off set to work for legal marijuana.
Term limits supporters are rolling around Arkansas with a "trojan horse" emblem to oppose the legislatively referred constitutional amendment, Issue 3, that would tighten some ethics rules but also substantially loosen term limits.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is hitting up the Washington, D.C., lobbying community for dollars to help his Arkansas campaign. He knows many of them from his own lobbying days and work in the Bush Administration.
Marcus Horton, 37, of 608 E. 23rd, was charged with domestic battery Sunday after the shooting of his live-in girlfriend, Gloria Brown, 48.
The state trumpeted today the groundbreaking for Big River Steel's $1.3 billion mill and recycling plant in Osceola. It's heavily subsidized by county and state governments, with direct support, tax credits and a huge equity investment in teacher retirement money.
Fox 16 reports that the Arkansas Department of Health has confirmed the first case in the state of enterovirus.
The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police chapter has endorsed Republican Stacy Hurst, a current member of the Little Board of Directors (which sets pay for cops), in her race for House of Representatives against Democrat Clarke Tucker.
A complaint filed today with state judicial regulators alleges that Sen. Jason Rapert contacted multiple members of the Arkansas Supreme Court to talk about the pending lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Google has joined the long list of major corporations planning to end financial support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization much beloved by Republican state legislators for their subsidized junkets from which they bring back cookie-cutter legislation on the wish list of people like the Koch brothers.
The Monday open line, plus a video news roundup.
You can’t help but feel the heat of summertime Memphis in 1958 as the forbidden love story of white radio DJ Huey Calhoun (Brent DiRoma) and black club singer Felicia Farrell (Jasmin Richardson) unfolds before you on the stage of the Arkansas Repertory Theater. It’s one of the hottest, loudest musicals I’ve ever seen at The Rep, and perhaps the most uplifting since “Les Mis” came to Main Street in 2008.
Frustrated with the legislature's apparent reluctance to move forward with the Community First Choice Option (CFCO), a group of some 50 parents are filing a lawsuit against the state that alleges Arkansas's failure to provide home- and community-based care options for developmentally disabled children is in violation of the US Supreme Court's landmark Olmstead decision.
A motion was filed today before the Arkansas Supreme Court challenging the initiated act to increase the minimum wage. The plaintiff in the challenge may be one of the state's richest men.
A Tucker prison lifer who raped and killed an 18-year-old girl in 1974, was discovered last week working on a prison industries job at a Cabot junior high school.
Polling is underway about attitudes toward the Little Rock School District. Many factors suggest the pollsters won't find high enthusiasm for public schools.
Common Cause and other good government groups have challenged a Walmart scheme to increase employee giving to its PAC by making a 2-for-1 charitable match.
Jerry Jones daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson, a top Dallas Cowboys executive, talked in Little Rock yesterday of the NFL getting its house in order when it comes to domestic issues such as treatment of women. Might the Dallas Cowboys' house need a little straightening, too?
A state court says a lesbian couple in Louisiana — legally married in California — are unconstitutionally discriminated against in Louisiana when it comes to adoption. The judge has ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, despite the recent divergent view of a federal district judge.
This week, we're celebrating pasta on Eat Arkansas, starting by opening the floor to our readers. Let us know all about your favorite way to eat noodles.
Little Rock's Bombay Harambee, who played in this year's Times showcase and released a great EP in February, were nice enough to give us an early copy of their new single, "Check, Check, Checkmate."
This mix came about like most do: I grabbed a stack of records — some recent acquisitions some not so — that included tunes I'm currently obsessed with, put a tape in the deck, started mixing without a plan, and then tried to stop by the time the tape ran out.
Ernest Dumas admits the awful truth — the "private option" version of Medicaid expansion dreamed up in Arkansas cost more than expansion of traditional Medicaid. That doesn't make it a bad thing. But if you really want to save money, there's a much better option.
David Sachar, executive director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, confirms our report yesterday that a complaint has been filed regarding a conversation between Supreme Court Justice Cliff Hoofman and Sen. Jason Rapert.
Tracy Steele, the former state senator, King Commission leader and, most recently, director of the Youth Service Division, is leaving that job Oct. 31. Keesa Smith will be interim director.
A new poll shows continued majority support for the death penalty, but also favorable opinion on replacing it with a life sentence without possibility of parole.
Attorney general's opinion favors release of more Leslie Rutledge DHS e-mails, but probably not the important ones
An attorney general's opinion says a few more of Republican candidate Leslie Rutledge's e-mails as a state employee should be released, but it's clear that they only way to clarify her negative job rating is for her to voluntarily release the information.
A new round of polling by a Democratic-leaning research firm shows Republicans in the lead up and down the ballot in Arkansas. If only Democrats could clone Mike Beebe.
Larry “Goose” Garrison, the longtime Little Rock bar owner known for rebuilding White Water Tavern three times after three separate fires nearly destroyed it, died Saturday, Sept. 20. He was 63.
The release of nine pages of documents related to Leslie Rutledge's work at the Department of Human Services in 2007 indicate questions about her work were raised in November, shortly before she abruptly resigned. Questions had also been raised earlier about her work on two adoption cases.
Open line, video review and a rant on Tom Cotton, who has AGAIN voted against federal spending that helps disaster relief IN ARKANSAS.
Arkansas GOP congressional delegation sends letter to state Insurance Commissioner, gets facts wrong
Congressmen Rick Crawford,Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Tom Cotton sent a letter today to Arkansas Insurance Department (AID) Commissioner Jay Bradford asking for details on 2015 rates on the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, the Obamacare-created health insurance exchange. Apparently, the Arkansas congressional delegation is getting their (misleading) information from Americans for Prosperity. They claim that a wave of cancellations is coming this fall in Arkansas because of Obamacare and that consumers therefore need to begin to shop for alternatives for 2015 on the Marketplace. In fact, no plans have been cancelled due to Obamacare non-compliance in Arkansas. And no one will be kicked off their plan due to Obamacare non-compliance this fall. Apparently unbeknownst to the Arkansas Congressional delegation, AID decided back in March to take advantage of a change in federal rules and allow insurance carriers to continue to offer non-compliant plans in the state through October of 2016 (which means consumers can keep their plans through the fall of 2017). All of the state's major carriers have told AID they plan to continue to offer these non-compliant plans to consumers who currently have them.
Arkansas has 16 semi-finalist in the National Merit Scholarship program's National Achievment awards competiton for promising black high school students. Four of the 16 attend Little Rock Central High School.
No more Mr. Nice Guy from Tyler Pearson, the Democrat from Conway who's mounting a spirited challenge of incumbent Sen. Jason Rapert, the Repubican who's running a hate-the-liberals campaignj for re-election. Pearson has hit mailboxes with a mailer on Rapert's poor record. Fair game. Rapert doesn't respond well under pressure. I expect a volcanic eruption.
Gene Lyons writes that Barack Obama is Tom Cotton's real opponent in his race for Senate, a factor that overcomes Cotton's manifest shortcomings as an Arkansas political candidate.
Advocacy groups called yesterday for voters to pay attention to where candidates stand on women's and family issues.
The body of a woman aged 25 to 35 was found on Interstate 40 near Palestine early this morning, the State Police. The cause of death is not yet known.
J. French Hill, the millionaire Republican, has launched attack advertising against Democratic opponent Pat Hays that opens with Hill claiming Hays has been attacking HIM. One problem: That's not true.
It's now clear that Leslie Rutledge, the Republican nominee for attorney general, will stonewall attempts to understand why superiors said should she not be rehired after abruptly resigning as a juvenile court lawyer for the Department of Human Services effective Dec. 3, 2007. Voters deserve better.
Send in questions now for an Ask Max Q&A to be recorded for video and posted to our blog and Facebook pages.
The New York Times reports today on the unearthing of secret details on the corporate money pouring into the Republican Governors Association, which in turn is spending heavily in Arkansas and other states to win governor's seats.
King Dyl says "Money is my only subject," but this thing is all over place, an awesome, desolate rant about honesty and violence and Chris Tucker. He explains why he doesn't answer the phone anymore, insults Migos, Washington D.C., all of us listening, etc. He's also really proud of Little Rock and it's contagious.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Kroger for sexual harassment of a female clerk by an older worker in a North Little Rock store. The harassment began when she was hired at 15 and continued for several years.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today that he would "yield" his time to the secretary of state's office in oral arguments next week on the challenger to the 2013 voter ID law.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services will not ask the feds for an adjustment to the private option's "budget neutrality" cap, according to DHS spokesperson Amy Webb (for lots more on the budget neutrality caps, see this post). Last month, Webb told the D-G last month that the agency was not planning to ask for an adjustment "at this point," but officials have been cagey ever since, stating that the agency did not believe it would need the adjustment but would wait to make a final determination closer to the deadline, October 1. That decision has now been made, Webb said. DHS is confident that the private option will be able to stay under the caps even without a 2014 adjustment, officials said, a decision with potentially tens of millions of dollars at stake for the state.
UPDATED: Privatizing teacher insurance unlikely; merger with state employees gains support. Plus, a genuinely new idea.
The legislative task force created to study the public school employee insurance problem doesn't like the idea to cut school districts loose to shop for insurance on their own, but there's support for the proposal to merge the teacher insurance system with the state employee system. Meanwhile, a Republican legislator has an innovative proposal that could potentially make a big difference.
New polling by Suffolk University for USA Today offers a better outlook Democrats in the November election, from top-of-the-ticket races in Arkansas to several farther down the ballot. The poll has Democrat Mark Pryor ahead two points of Republican Tom Cotton in the race for U.S. Senate and Democrat Mike Ross two points behind Republican Asa Hutchinson in the race for governor.
Here's your midweek open line, the video roundup for the day and other news. Imagine. Some people were dealing meths in the hills and hollows of Van Buren County.
A classic Hot Springs eatery is back open under original ownership and better than ever.
The Arkansas Leader continues to pursue related angles to the story it uncovered about a convicted rapist/killer working on a prison labor detail at a middle school in Cabot. Other schools are using prison labor, too, the Leader reports.
Liquor stores, particularly county line liquor stores that profit from neighboring dry counties, hope to kill a statewide alcohol sales initiative in a challenge before the Arkansas Supreme Court. But they are already at work, too, with a campaign to persuade voters to oppose the constitutional amendment to end local option dry areas.
You might remember that far-right Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback boasted that his state would be a "red-state model." He would slash taxes and prosperity would rain down! Instead the real, live experiment has been a disaster. The state is in fiscal crisis. What's a state bleeding revenues to do? How about auctioning off thousands of sex toys?
Tonight's ACANSA Gallery Hop will have you bouncing all over town from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Venues are The Art Group Gallery, Cantrell Gallery, Greg Thompson Fine Art, Hearne Fine Art Gallery, M2 Gallery, Gallery 221, L & L Beck Art Gallery, Local Colour Gallery, Matt McLeod Fine Art, Stephano's Fine Art Gallery, The Edge Gallery, The Hot Springs Art Group, Argenta Gallery and Boswell Mourot Fine Art.