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Philanthropy 2014

Philanthropy 2014

December 4, 2014

Vol 41 • No 13

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At Aldersgate, kids are kids

Not diagnoses.

Apathy vs. empathy

Lucie's Place brings help and hope to LGBT homeless.

Restoring the Little Red, and more

The Nature Conservancy at work in Clinton, other parts of Arkansas.

Top foundations 2013

The following figures are based on tax form 990 information filed by the foundations. Audited numbers may be slightly different.

'The perfect storm for success'

How an afterschool program changed the life of one kid from Wrightsville.

Arkansas foundation giving

Major gifts of 2013.

Bowen takes the price tag off justice

With legal clinic.

Learning the ABCs

It's never too late, new reader, 66, says.

Philanthropy 2014: What your dollars can do

Teach a man to read. Help a disabled kid enjoy life. Repair a river. Help the homeless. And more.

Philanthropy in Arkansas

Better times, increased giving.

The melodrama of Ferguson

Whether on Fox News, CNN or MSNBC, marketing racial discord has become a profitable niche industry. There's a well-known cast of ex-prosecutors, defense attorneys and professors who appear to spend more time in TV studios than courthouses or campuses.

'Elf: The Musical' brings Santa to The Rep

Through the eyes of Buddy the Elf.

The bluest of the blue: Little Rock

The 2014 election cycle has left progressives in Arkansas — never in the majority but consistently holding a place at the table in the state's policymaking — scrambling to determine what comes next in Arkansas.

Brantley: Keep Fayetteville Fair

Fayetteville voters will decide Dec. 9 whether to repeal a civil rights ordinance that provides small penalties for discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, veterans status, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Clint Black comes to Walton Arts

Also, The Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade.

Keystone: Fight ignores fact

From all the fear campaigns launched around the election season — Obamascare death panels, secret Benghazi plots, Islamic State crazies storming the Mexican border to cut American throats, an Obama-led Ebola epidemic, national bankruptcy and all the rest — it would be hard to pick the flimsiest.

Stand with fast food workers

By the time this is published, McDonald's workers from the Central Arkansas area will have started their 24-hour strike together with workers in hundreds of other cities across the nation.

Spice would be nice

Otherwise The Fold is well done.

Another fourth quarter meltdown for the Hogs

Having risen like the proverbial phoenix with those grand shutouts, the football Hogs just couldn't have a true regular-season finale without officiating controversies and lightning-rod personnel issues.

Don't slight Pinnacle

I do not know why you felt the need to insult and basically bash Pinnacle Mountain State Park in your seemingly unrelated introduction. It sounds like you have hiked in only one small area of the park (on a busy Saturday, at that), and are unaware that Pinnacle Mountain State Park is much more than solely the mountain that gives it its namesake.

Doug Smith, longtime editorial voice of the Times, dies

He also had a long career with the Arkansas Gazette.

Split over civil rights

Also, a "fundamental right," the Huckster having it both ways, bad Black Friday, Ferguson tremors in Little Rock and banking on the Duggars.

Bottoms up

Pelicans diving for lunch on Lake Conway. Photo by Jon Nichols from the Eye On Arkansas Flickr page.

Mostly horrible

'Bosses' doesn't take advantage of talent.

Rodney Crowell comes to South on Main

Also, Aaron Carter at Juanita's, Arkansas Craft Guild Showcase at the Statehouse Convention Center, the Holiday Hangout at White Water Tavern, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Verizon, Royal Blood at Juanita's and Christmas at the Quarter in the Quapaw Quarter.


The Observer lost a friend and colleague over the Thanksgiving holiday: Doug Smith, the long-time Arkansas newsman and editorial writer, who retired from the Arkansas Times in 2013 and died on Nov. 26 after a long struggle with heart ailments. He was 74.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Make bubbles edition

Play at home.

Court kills Florida law to drug test welfare recipients

A federal appellate court has conclusively stomped a Florida law that required drug testing of all welfare recipients. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has pursued every appeal avenue despite clear court precedent that the testing amounted to unconstitutional searches. Arkansas legislators should take note

Torii Hunter calls writer a prick for asking about endorsement of Asa Hutchinson

Torii Hunter, the Pine Bluff native and major league baseball star, called a reporter a prick four times during a news conference yesterday for asking about his endorsement of Asa Hutchinson for Arkansas governor and his opposition in that endorsement to same-sex marriage.

Morning commute note: Another fast-food worker 'strike' set on Broadway

Commuters who use Broadway downtown and stop at the string of fast-food shops there be on the alert: Fast-food workers are scheduled to be staging a demonstration there again this morning. A previous demonstration briefly blocked traffic.

Judge Griffen writes of disparity in police treatment of black suspects

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen writes again — on the occasion of the Eric Garner grand jury decision — of disparate treatment of black suspects by police, a situation that he says gives rise to some people seeing cops as "new agents of lynching."

Arkansas Supreme Court won't rule today on same-sex marriage ban

The Arkansas Supreme Court didn't rule today in the challenge to the state ban on same-sex marriage. It heard oral arguments Nov. 20 and could rule at any time, but the case wasn't among decisions released today.

Pedestrian malls make for happy foodies

It's time to address downtown's hideous traffic problem by using techniques proven to work by other cities.

Baxter County Courthouse creche is back, with a disclaimer

The Nativity scene that Mountain Home lawyer Rick Spencer has erected for years on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn as a tribute to his wife is back. No word if a humanist group will renew its objection to the Christian display on public property, but it has a disclaimer this year.

UPDATE: Lottery Commission sets meeting on vendor contract

It would appear Lottery Director Bishop Woosley has a deal to present to the Lottery Commission today on a contract extension for Intralot, the Greek concern that makes about $11 million a year providing certain types of lottery games.

UPDATED: HHS says average Obamacare premium costs in Arkansas will drop by 3 percent in 2015

A report released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that premiums for a midgrade insurance policy purchased on the health insurance exchange will increase by a modest 2 percent before consumer subsidies are applied. In Arkansas, premiums will decline by 3 percent on average in 2015. Historically, double-digit hikes are the norm in the insurance world.

Justice Department: Excessive use of force by Cleveland police

The Justice Department has found excessive use of force by Cleveland police and the agency will develop a court-enforced consent decree to improve practices, including use of an independent monitor to oversee reforms.

Candace Franks to remain as Arkansas bank commissioner

The Asa Hutchinson transition team announced today that the incoming governor would keep Candace Franks state bank commissioner. She's been with the State Bank Department for 35 years and commissioner since 2007.

Consultant proposes major changes in Arkansas Lottery operation

A consultant hired by a legislative committee has issued a study harshly criticial of the Arkansas Lottery and recommended changes in marketing, governance and operation to make it more profitable.

Thursday's open line and news headlines; plus an Arkie for FERC

The open line and video headline roundup. Plus, Colette Honorable of Arkansas seems headed for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Voices from Little Rock fast food workers at today's protest for higher wages

Protesters at the "Fight for 15" demonstrations today in Little Rock and North Little Rock speak about why they're demanding better wages. It's a more coherent and energetic movement than many people realize.

Legislature votes today on the future of the Buffalo River

A rule to limit future hog feeder operations in the Buffalo River watershed is up for review by legislative committees this morning. Environmentalists view the rule as vital to protection of the river.

Arkansas Lottery vendor Intralot defends its cost

Intralot, a major lottery vendor, defends Arkansas Lottery costs and suggests a new review by a legislative consultant unfairly compares costs in Arkansas and other states.

Dr. Rapert and them are in, practicing medicine on Arkansas women

A state Medical Board meeting yesterday illustrated an unsettling development — the Arkansas legislature is now practicing medicine.

K-12 broadband report says DIS stiffs schools, recommends change

A long-awaited report on K-12 broadband recommends using an "aggregated statewide network for Internet access" in the long run — like ARE-ON. Its short term recommendation: Stop using the Department of Information Services.

Something had to change, right?

2014 will be the best U.S. job creation year since Bill Clinton was president. Damn that Obama.

Top 5 Friday — your list of lists

The launch of a new feature, Top 5 Friday — and as a starting bonus, we're giving you THREE top fives this week: delicious Arkansas products, a guide to ribs, and some sandwich talk. Did your favorite make the list?

Duck hunters arrested for killing cats in St. Francis County

The St. Francis County sheriff has filed animal cruelty charges against duck hunters who posted Facebook photos with their kill, including two dead cats.

Lottery scholarship changes on senator's agenda

Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana, who's driving the train that seems likely to produce a legislative takeover of the Arkansas Lottery, also has a plan afoot to alter lottery scholarships.

Complaint filed on apartment project's limit on service dog

The National Fair Housing Alliance has complained to the federal Housing and Urban Development Department that the John Toland Company had refused to allow tenants with service dogs at their New Horizon apartments in North Little Rock. The company disputes the allegation.

Hog manure talks; environmentalists walk on Buffalo River protection rule

A report from the scene indicates supporters of a rule to ban more medium and large concentrated hog feeding operations in the Buffalo River watershed faced a barrage of hositle questions from Farm Bureau advocates and the rule was headed to defeat.

Friday night art events: Icons at Argenta, Craft Guild,

Sylvia Inzarella, a self-taught artist from Lafayette, La., has been studying religious icon painting for 16 years. Tonight (Friday), an exhibition of her works, "Sacred Images: Icons of Sylvia Inzerella," opens with a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Argenta Gallery, 413 Main St. in North Little Rock. Also: Craft Guild Annual Showcase is open and Art Group Arkansas is holding customer appreciation night tonight.

City budget hearings set

The city of Little Rock has scheduled two public meetings on the 2015 city budget, which includes no across-the-board raises for city employees (but does continue a $200,000 subsidy to the private Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, whose political activities include working against policies that benefit organized labor.)

Help Hot Springs get a (solar-powered) community radio station

Hot Springs wants a radio station, and they're asking for our help in raising their very specific goal of $9,790. KUHS 97.9 will be a community station and, incidentally, will be the only solar-powered radio station in the state. Station manager Zach Smith presents a familiar argument against corporate radio in the video above, complaining that the FCC helped turn music into "goo."

McDaniel issues guidance to new state official pay commission

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has issued some advice to the new independent commission that is going to recommend pay for state elected officials, including judges and legislators (plus expenses for legislators). Advice on meeting in private is advice many other boards should take to heart.

Legislature hears from the Arkansas Lottery and its consultant

Legislature's lottery oversight committee hears about declining revenue and also considers a consultant's report on ways the lottery could be changed. Additionally, a lottery consultant writes to blast the Sen. Jimmy Hickey's designs on the lottery and the consultant contract he's using to achieve his aims.

Layoffs reported at Ted Suhl's healthcare operations

An anonymous telephone tip today says layoffs have begun at the statewide mental health organizations owned by Ted Suhl's Maxus Corp. The state confirms he's dropped the appeal of his suspension from Medicaid, without which it would be difficult if not impossible for his businesses to operate.

Rolling Stone apologizes for Virginia rape story

Rolling Stone has apologized for its blockbuster story about a gang rape at the University of Virginia. Discrepancies in the story have caused the magazine to conclude that trust in the source was "misplaced."

Gov. Beebe formally announces plans to pardon his son

Gov. Mike Beebe announced today his intention to grant 12 pardons, including one he'd disclosed earlier for his son Kyle.

Stephano's goes green for Christmas, starting Sunday

Stephano's Fine Art at 1813 N. Grant St. will kick off its holiday show of recycled, refurbished and found objects at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7. Donations to Out of the Woods Animal Shelter will get you a discount on purchases. The show runs through December.

Central Flying and TAC Air working on potential deal at airport

TAC Air, a fixed-base operation at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, has reached a tentative agreement to purchase a part of Central Flying Service's operations.

Wind Symphony trailer recovered with instruments inside

Too late for last night's concert, but the Little Rock police announced the recovery today of a trailer full of Little Rock Wind Symphony instruments stolen earlier this week from the parking lot at Second Presbyterian Church.

Radiolab, Beanie Sigel, Kat Wilson, Chris Rock and more

I have just discovered, thanks to my 23-year-old daughter, the podcast Radiolab, where two guys offer up a stew of various topics — color, dinosaurs, language, medicine — with music as a principle ingredient. So a program on how we perceive color featured info about Newton sticking knife in his eye and other amazing scientific facts and was accompanied by a choir that sang the spectrum to illustrate perception.

Jumbo waterslide event Slide the City coming to LR, Fayetteville

Slide the City, a traveling water carnival that sets up events in which they unfurl a 1,000-foot-long, padded, dual-lane, side-bumpered mega-version of the old Slip'N Slide down the middle of a city street, is coming to Little Rock and Fayetteville soon. So says their website, anyway. No word yet on a date, but pages for both cities are currently open for pre-registration.

The Lotto Problems Edition

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery drama, the latest on hog farms in the Buffalo River watershed, a big court victory for marriage equality in the state, Fayetteville’s referendum on its civil rights ordinance, the Downtown Partnership’s really unpopular proposal for a design overlay district and race and justice in America — all covered on this week's podcast.

Thank goodness the Friday line is open; also a federal fraud sentence and private option report

Here's an open line and a news roundup by video. Might be one more big court development today. Might not

Tom Cotton trying to stir fight against GOP spending plan

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton is expected to break from House Republican leadership and try to stir an insurrection against their spending plan. He thinks there's a way to stop spending on the president's plan to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants.

ASU gets Little Rock office space, with help from friends

Capitol dwellers have been commenting on the expansive new Arkansas State University presence in office space across the street in the former National Old Line building. It's part of "increasing visibility" for the expanding ASU System.

A tool to track Defense Department hardware sent to local governments

Much has been written about the distribution of heavy military armament — from grenade launchers to armored personnel carriers — to local governments, from coroners to school districts.

Quitman High School scraps homecoming speeches; silences lesbian student

Quitman High School scrapped all homecoming speeches by members of the homecoming court Friday after one student gave a practice speech in which she mentioned coming out as a lesbian to her parents.

The Dogpatch USA open line

Today's open line includes links to a story and photo essay on Dogpatch USA, the former theme park that is said to be due for restoration by a new owner.

UPDATE: Judge Griffen defends speaking out

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen writes to defend his frequent expressions about bias in the criminal justice system and lack of understanding of the law. Should a judge speak so loudly? He says he can do no other,

How the energy industry is buying attorney generals. Plus, a style note.

Your attorney general was put into office by an oil industry-backed Republican association bent on beating environmental regulations.

Arkansas's discrimination against atheists

A movement has begun to strip anti-atheist provisions from the Constitutions of seven states, including Arkansas, History indicates the movement won't get far in Arkansas.

UA shuts down student voting shuttle in Tuesday election

The University of Arkansas administration has shut down graduate students' plan to run a shuttle bus to the Washington County courthouse for early voting in the special election to repeal the Fayettevill civil rights ordinance. The service was open to all. The administration has concluded that it was a partisan service.

The felonious and reactionary open line. Also a homicide

The Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce has bought newspaper advertising that says it's good for business to allow legal discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. I'm afraid voters are about to agree with the proposition.

Demonstrators hold 'die-in' at Park Plaza Mall over police brutality

A protest of police brutality and mistreatment of blacks was staged at Park Plaza Mall during a busy Christmas shopping day, with about 50 demonstrators staging a "die-in" in the food court.

Hall of Fame vote today for former Arkansas Traveler Dick Allen

A vote will be announced today on whether Dick Allen will become a member of the baseball Hall of Fame for a career that included a tumultuous beginning as an Arkansas Traveler.

That Arkansas-Texas bowl game; divided loyalties for many UA students

Texas and Arkansas will play in a bowl game, which undoubtedly will stir sentiments about an old rivalry among old Hog fans, but perhaps not so much among Texans, now in good supply in Fayetteville themselves.

Gyronne Buckley, imprisoned 11 years on wrongful conviction, tries federal court

Gyronne Buckley, the first offender who received a life sentence for a $40 cocaine sale that was later found to be a wrongful conviction, has filed a federal civil suit arising from his arrest and conviction. This is the case in which a unanimous Claims Commission voted for a $460,000 payment to Buckley, but Attorney General Dustin McDaniel successfully argued to a legislative panel to give him nothing for spending 11 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit

Secretary of state to stream holiday programs at Capitol

Holiday programs from the Capitol will be streamed live on the secretary of state's Facebook page. There's even a hint that the secretary of state, Mark Martin, might turn up for the occasion at the Capitol.

Ponchito's serves tasty Mexican

Ponchito's Mexican Grill on Rodney Parham is home to some of the best tamales we've eaten in the city — and everything else is pretty good, too.

June trial set for Jermain Taylor

Boxer Jermain Taylor appeared before Circuit Judge Leon Johnson today to plead not guilty to battery and terroristic threatening charges in the Aug. 26 shooting of his cousin at his home . The case was set for a jury trial June 23-24, with a pre-trial hearing May 29.

Spotlight planned on Little Rock police shooting

Michael Laux, attorney for the family of the late Eugene Ellison, plans to discuss Ellison's 2010 shooting by Little Rock police at a news conference at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Allison Presbyterian Church.

Homicide victim identified as TC Edwards, local musician

Little Rock police are still withholding identification of a man found shot to death early Sunday on Howard Street, but multiple reports on social media are tying the death to that of a well-known figure on the local music scene, TC Edwards. The suspect in a criminal case brought over crimes against Edwards will likely be reviewed for potential involvement in his death.

Ethics panel: Where were the ethicists?

The Clinton School put on a panel about the constitutional amendment that will give legislators a pay raise, allow them to serve longer in office and put some possible limits on direct spending on them by lobbyists. It wasn't exactly stacked with people likely to demand accountability from legislators.

Guest Mix: Jeremy Brasher

Like most folks I know around here, I am really influenced by and enthusiastic about all sorts of music. From electro and house, to reggae and dub, golden age hip hop, 80's EBM, soul, any heavy metal that references the devil, gamelan music, equestrian jazz, hardcore whale songs, machinery noises, you name it, if it's good I'm into it.

Bandit outruns local smokeys in stolen Mustang

Little Rock police report that a man driving a stolen Ford Mustang outran police in a chase across southwest Little Rock this morning at speeds over 120 miles per hour.

Pryor delivers farewell speech, cites 'hyperpartisanship'

Sen. Mark Pryor, defeated for re-election by Tom Cotton Nov. 4, delivered a farewell address in the Senate today. He urged the Senate to put aside hyperpartisanship and red and blue team jerseys for the red, white and blue jerseys of "Team USA."

The Monday open line; also Sharon Priest retirement from Downtown Partnership

Today's open line, includes the retirement of Sharon Priest as director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.

2015 'Small Works' artists announced

Forty works by 29 artists were accepted into the 28th annual 2015 "Small Works on Paper" touring exhibition, the Arkansas Arts Council announced today. Purchase award winners were J.P. Bell of Fayetteville; Warren Criswell of Benton; Dennis McCann of Maumelle; Jennifer D. Perren of Mabelvale; Megan Snoddy of Jacksonville; Dan Snow of Springdale, and Jon Shannon Rogers and Byron Taylor of Little Rock.

Term limits aim clear, even if some lawyers are not

Does a new constitutional amendment on term limits go farther than everybody who had anything to do with its adoption think? That's what the state's most powerful business lobbyist thinks. I think he's wrong.

Screwed by the refs, an Oklahoma high school goes to court

A bad call in an Oklahoma high school football playoff is now the subject of a court fight, perhaps unprecedented.

Free food and drink continue for Arkansas legislators through ethics amendment loophole

Ethics amendment? What ethics amendment. Lobbyists are wining and dining legislators for free every day this week at breakfast, lunch and dinner under a loophole already being exploited to the hilt.

Entergy buys into gas-fired generating station in Union County

Entergy is buying a portion of the Union Power Station near El Dorado, a four-unit natural-gas fired generating plant.

UPDATE: A simple proposal for elected official pay increases — use the CPI

What if you applied the Consumer Price Index to legislative salaries when they were last increased by voters in 1993 as a measure of what new salaries should be set by the new independent citizens commission? Big increases. But not shocking increases.

Hutchinson to change leadership at Workforce Services

Asa Hutchinson will replace Artee Williams as the head of the state Workforce Services Department

The legislative social calendar: Courtesy of the lobbyists of Arkansas

Legislators in town this week for orientation need bring no money for drinks and eats — special interests are picking up the tab three meals a day. The business lobby runs the social calendar for the Arkansas legislature, ethics amendment or no ethics amendment.

CIA misled White House, Congress about brutality

The report on torture is as bad as all expected and feared. The brutality was bad and the CIA misled the White House and Congress about it. Waiting to see which side Arkansas's congressmen come down on.

Photographer Winningham tonight at AAC

Geoff Winningham, whose excellent book "Of the Soil: Photographs of Vernacular Architecture and Stories of Changing Times in Arkansas" was reviewed in the Arkansas Times in October, will give a talk tonight at 6 p.m. at the Arkansas Arts Center as part of the Architecture and Design Network speaker series. His talk is called "Working in the Eye of the Sun: Photographing the Vernacular Architecture of Arkansas."

Plaintiffs in marriage case to urge McDaniel to drop state appeal

Plaintiffs in the lawsuits challenging the Arkansas ban on same-sex marriage say they will deliver petitions to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel tomorrow asking to do do the "right thing" and drop an appeal of a federal judge's ruling invalidating the ban.

Dixie on dope: National leaders in opioid use include Arkansas

Four Southern states, including Arkansas, account for 41 of the 50 cities with the highest rate of use of drugs like Oxycontin, perhaps a side effect of poor general health, a study says.

The open line and Fayetteville election watch

An open line, video roundup and a place to report the results tonight of the referendum on Fayetteville's civil rights ordinance.

Independent pay commission to meet Dec. 18

The independent citizens commission established by Issue 3 to recommend new pay for state officials will meet at 9:30 a.m. Beware of a former Common Cause activist bearing a gift of free legal advice, however.

Fayetteville vote: Gay civil rights ordinance repealed

Fayetteville voters repealed a city civil rights ordinance that included protection for gay people in a special election Tuesday night. The vote was 51.6-48.3 in favor of repeal.

Marking four years since Ellison shooting, family's attorney alleges LRPD cover up

At a press conference held Tuesday night at a Little Rock church, the sons of Eugene Ellison, a 67-year-old man shot to death by LRPD officers in 2010, marked the anniversary by having their attorney lay out troubling aspects of the shooting and the actions of the Little Rock Police Department in the immediate aftermath of Ellison's death. They say the Ellison shooting fits a pattern of excessive force and cover up seen in other high-profile shootings involving officers nationwide.

Asa Hutchinson a voice of reason on torture report

Asa Hutchinson, the governor-elect, stood out in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's roundup of Arkansas reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee's report detailing the use of torture by the CIA and its ineffectiveness. He credited it with credibility other Republicans from Arkansas in Congress weren't ready to grant.

The Big Swill: Who's feeding legislators freebies today?

Where are the official events today at which legislators will eat and drink free despite the new so-called ethics amendment? Freebies today are courtesy of hospital, insurance, telephone and independent lobbyists. The Big Swill is tonight at Doe's, Noble Strategies picking up tab.

Markham Street Grill and Pub is a Chef Shuttle superstar

Little Rock food delivery service brings excellent pub grub from the bar to your door — and life may never be the same.

Oaklawn admission to be free; no racing passes for legislators this year

Oaklawn Park has answered the question about whether legislators will continue to get hundreds of dollars worth of free passes to thoroughbred races after adoption of Issue 3, which bans most gifts of value by lobbyists. It's not going to charge admission to anyone this year. Now what about Razorback football tickets?

The morning after the Fayetteville civil rights repeal

A friend in Fayetteville takes the long and optimistic view of human rights despite the disappointing defeat in Fayetteville of a civil rights ordinance that extended protection to LGBT people.

Congress to keep feds off backs of medical marijuana

An advocate for legalizing medical use of marijuana in Arkansas takes heart from news that Congress seems likely to approve a spending bill that prohibits the Justice Department from spending money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. Now if only Arkansas had such a law. An effort continues to get one.

Feds help pre-K in Arkansas, but advocates say it's not enough

A new federal grant will provide $15 million each of the next four years to expand the Arkansas Better Chance program, aimed at providing quality pre-K schooling for children. The money will allow an expansion of the program to 2,241 more kids, but the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and the Invest Early Coalition said in a statement it's "not near enough to fix our early education financial crisis."

Hutchinson announces inauguration plans

Details have been announced for ceremonies Jan. 12-13 related to the inauguration of Asa Hutchinson as governor. The inaugural address is at noon Tuesday, Jan. 13, on the Capitol steps.

Tennis stars Roddick, McEnroe to play in Little Rock April 17

The Champions Cup tennis series will come to Little Rock April 17 with matches played by Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Mark Philippousis and Andy Roddick.

McDaniel announces start of private law firm

A public relations firm distributed a news release today that said Attorney General Dustin McDaniel would be starting a Little Rock-based law firm with two office assistants when he leaves office in January.

Marriage plaintiffs petition McDaniel to drop appeal

As announced yesterday, plaintiffs in the state case challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage presented a petition to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today urging him to drop an appeal of a federal district judge's decision striking down the ban. It brings up hot speculation about the course of the appeal in the facing of changing judicial players.

Holiday gift ideas for the craft beer lover

Surely everybody has one craft beer lover on their list to buy for this year?

Wynton Marsalis plays concert for Clark Terry at Pine Bluff hospital

Wynton Marsalis visited Pine Bluff yesterday to pay a visit to the 93-year-old jazz legend Clark Terry, currently in the hospital (and accepting donations for his medical care). Terry, born in St. Louis and mentored by Louis Armstrong, played in bands with icons like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Quincy Jones, and was a stated influence on trumpeters like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie (who considered Terry the greatest jazz trumpeter in the world).

Arkansas legislators junketing

Sen. Scott Flippo and Sen.-elect Linda Collins-Smith are off in Florida, according to a Collins-Smith tweet, getting used by the Foundation for Government Accountability, yet another one of the right-wing advocacy groups that plies willing state legislators with cookie-cutter bills to advance its right-wing agenda.

Southern Gourmasian crowdfunding kitchen interior cost

Southern Gourmasian, the much beloved local food truck (often raved about on this blog and elsewhere in the Arkansas Times), is amid a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 to cover the cost of building out and furnishing the dining room of a brick-and-mortar restaurant of the same name.

Lots of opportunities to try Lost Forty Brewing for the first time

Lost Forty Brewing, the new brewery from the folks who brought you Big Orange, Local Lime and ZaZa, is debuting its beers at a series of events this week and next week.

Blue Canoe Brewing opens

Another brewery entered the booming Little Rock craft beer scene over weekend as Blue Canoe Brewing, next to Andina's at 425 E. Third Street in the River Market area, opened it's doors on Saturday.

UA not ready to say if new ethics law ends legislative Hog favors

The University of Arkansas isn't ready to say that an amendment ending lobbyist freebies to legislators means an end to cut-rate football tickets and free parking for legislators at Razorback football games. The immediate question: What about the Texas Bowl?

The midweek open line; also Rutledge names staffers

The Wednesday line is open and here's our video news roundup.

AVC wants Tech Park space, and isn't alone

It was just a year and a month ago when the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board voted to locate the taxpayer-funded enterprise on Main Street downtown. I say just a year because of the two-year circuitous route the board took — through midtown, down to the river, back south and out west — to get to the location vote. But things are moving far more quickly now, with nine (not named) companies, one especially eager, and the Arkansas Venture Center seeking Tech Park real estate.

New music from Rose Eater, Dionte BOOM, Penis Grenade, Rod-D and Canopy Climbers

Rose Eater is a Little Rock indie rock band who seem very new and very young. Their Facebook page says they're about to record their first album, but this is from an EP called "Leech" they released on Friday.