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Philanthropy 2018

Philanthropy 2018

December 13, 2018

Vol 45 • No 15

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Philanthropy 2018

Who gave what and where to give in 2018.

Central Arkansas Harm Reduction Project

A grassroots initiative provides free naloxone and other life-saving resources.

The Arkansas philanthropy honor roll

Higher education, from business to the arts, top givers' lists.

Arkansas Hospice Foundation

Helping the dying live.

Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

The state's ultimate anti-hunger warriors.

Gordon Watkins helms an effort to 'Save the Buffalo River – Again'

Working to protect 'a thin blue ribbon.'

Justus Fine Art rings in new year with Lasater, Raborn and others

Justus Fine Art in Hot Springs opens its January show with a reception, 5-9 p.m. Jan. 4.

New place to collect art: Gleanings

"Pieces," featuring collage work by Becky Botos, opening Jan. 4, is the debut show for new gallery Gleanings.

Cantrell Gallery kicks off 2019 with ALA show

Cantrell Gallery opens its 2019 exhibition lineup Friday, Jan. 11, with the "Members Choice Winners," a show of work by the Arkansas League of Artists.

'Small Works' opens in Pine Bluff

The Arkansas Arts Council's 2019 "Small Works on Paper" juried exhibition is open at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff.

Dustyn Bork in top form, protest in print at Arts and Science Center

The Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff has opened the exhibition "Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space," abstract and geometrical work by the Lyon College associate professor of art.

Heart Society, Dazz & Brie share a bill at South on Main

And much more!

Ramblin' Jack

The Observer, like a lot of folks, is drawn to the real places: barbecue joints and honky-tonks, seedy truck stops and greasy little diners where the waitresses and clerks still call you "Hun," used bookstores that have been there since Faulkner was still drinking mint juleps, bait shops hung with dusty-eyed bass pulled up from the deep when Eisenhower was in the White House.


Rambler's reverie

An 87-year-old folk legend casts his spell at the White Water Tavern.

Beware of 'unity'

Beware the sweet lull of that siren song calling for "unity" and for us to "come together." It's the latest incarnation of the call for "civility," and just as dangerous.

Sex and Trump

No one, least of all Donald Trump, should be surprised when sex puts him in mortal jeopardy, which seemed to be the case last week when his personal lawyer pleaded guilty to violating the law by arranging $280,000 in hush payments to a porn actress and a Playboy model who were prepared to tell voters about having sex with him.

Back to square one

After an impressive six-game run that was punctuated with a rout of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. — exacting some small measure of vengeance for the Rams beating the football Hogs there in a crushing defeat in September — the Arkansas Razorbacks came back to a pretty lively Saturday afternoon gathering in Bud Walton Arena to take on a 4-4 Western Kentucky team that, based on its record alone, appeared average at best.

Hope and change LR

While I was away, Frank Scott Jr. won a historic victory in a runoff with Baker Kurrus to succeed Mark Stodola as Little Rock mayor.

Aji Ramen Bar provides great food, atmosphere

And uncommon ramen.

No leash

Living as I do in the remote provinces, I often find myself fascinated by the cultural advances of America's great metropolises. Last week, for example, The New York Times featured an entertaining column urging people to walk cats on leashes. If I tried that, I'd definitely have a fight on my hands.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Sawbucks edition

Play in South Arkansas on your Arkansas Times-provided iPad!

Historic mayoral election

Also, LRSD teachers in crosshairs and D-G scales back.

Couch Jackets play Maxine's in Hot Springs

Also, Drexel and the Spirit at White Water Tavern.

Appeals court blocks Trump rule aiming to curb birth control coverage, though not in Arkansas

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration rule expanding the ability of employers to decline to include contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans by citing religious or simply moral grounds.

Conway County envisions another dam bridge

The Morrilton Chamber of Commerce will soon announce results of a feasibility study to build a "Little Dam Bridge" over the Arkansas River Ormond Lock and Dam in Morrilton as a tourist attraction.

Hoxie candidate craps out in rolloff for Council seat

The sad story of Cliff Farmer, who didn't vote for himself in a runoff election for a seat on the Hoxie City Council that ended in a tie, was resolved Thursday by a roll of the dice. Farmer lost, rolling a four to Alderwoman Becky Linebaugh's six, the AP reports.

Republican's legislation would protect ability to enlarge Little Rock School Board

Sen. Joyce Elliott calls my attention to legislation filed by Rep. Jim Sorvillo, the West Little Rock Republican, that would allow the expansion of the Little Rock School Board (currently non-existent with the district in state control) from seven to nine members.

Another bad headline on crime in Little Rock

Another day another ranking that puts Little Rock among the most dangerous cities in the United States.

State board urged to study school waivers

The state Board of Education heard but didn't comment,today on a public call for a study of the granting of waivers from school standards, now widely available to all public schools.

Bank robbery suspect caught after cab getaway

A woman robbed the Arvest branch on Capitol Avenue in Little Rock this morning and after a witness saw a suspect get in a cab, police made an arrest of a cab passenger at a Conway convenience store.

Friday: News headlines and open line

The week-ending open line and the day's video news roundup.

No Small Talk, Ep. 33: "His Girl Friday" next up in Arkansas Times Film Series

This week on "No Small Talk," Omaya and Stephanie talk Quinto Poder, Ricky Jay, 607 and Levelle Davison's new collaboration and Howard Hawks' 1940 film "His Girl Friday," the next film up in the Arkansas Times Film Series.

Hot Springs insurance executive pleads guilty to $3.5 million fraud scheme

U.S. Attorney DAK Keys has announced a guilty plea by former insurance executive, Berry Roland Bishop, 67, of Hot Springs in a bank fraud scheme involving more than $3.5 million.

Judge strikes down Obamacare

Thanks, Leslie, for helping screw Arkansas and poor, sick Arkansans.

Fake news: The Scott Walker photograph

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today put on its front page a photograph of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defending his approval of legislation diminishing the power of the incoming governor by means of a wildly misleading chart (a factor that didn't get mentioned in the front-page D-G display.)

City Board to consider enriched retirement for retiring Mayor Mark Stodola

The Little Rock City Board agenda for its last meeting of the year Tuesday includes, as expected, a vote on an ordinance that will significantly sweeten retiring Mayor Mark Stodola's retirement and apply to future mayors as well. The agenda, however, carries no mention of resolution of his claim for an estimated $173,000 in pay for unused vacation and leave time.

Entergy demolishes old power plant near Stamps

Entergy, the state's largest electric utility, yesterday used explosives to destroy the major parts of its closed Couch Plant near Stamps, which dated to 1943 and was designed to burn fuel oil or gas at two generating units. Named for power company founder Harvey Couch, it's been out of commission since 2013.

Obamacare's ruin: Where are the boastful press releases from Arkansas Republicans?

Silence so far from Republican politicians such as Leslie Rutledge on achievement of their long-stated dream, death to the Affordable Care Act. Could that be because most people now understand what a good thing President Obama did with its passage? Update: Rutledge applauds and offers empty promise of coverage.

Saturday's open line, plus some political notes

The Saturday open line, with some political odds and ends:

Porch pirate prosecution plan coming

Local and federal officials will announce Monday details of Operation Porch Pirate, which will entail federal prosecution of mail thieves.

Today's headlines: Government efficiency and nursing homes

A convergence of newspaper articles this morning provided some valuable insight on the influence of money in state government.

The Sunday open line

The readers take over.

Obama goes to bat for the Affordable Care Act that Leslie Rutledge wants to kill

Former President Barack Obama has been rallying people to continue to sign up for health insurance coverage although a federal court ruling in Texas, if upheld, could spell the end of his signature legislation. Most important is his recitation of what the law provides (what will be taken away from millions if the lawsuit decision sought by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is upheld.)

World learns about rise in pistol-packing Arkansas teachers

Voice of America, the government-funded source of worldwide distribution of news about America, has a feature up on the expansion of gun-carrying teachers in Arkansas public schools.

Frank Scott announces mayoral transition team

Frank Scott Jr., who becomes Little Rock mayor Jan. 1, has announced a committee of people to help him plan the transition that includes a former opponent, financial backers and others.

Update: Work requirement ends Medicaid coverage for 4,600 more Arkansans in December

In the first week of December, the state terminated coverage for another 4,655 beneficiaries due to noncompliance with the work rule, adding to the 12,277 who were cut off and locked out of Medicaid from September to November.

Shootout on Main Street leaves teen wounded, cars damaged

KARK has new details on a shooting that erupted Saturday night in downtown Little Rock at Sixth and Main outside a party for teens in a building nearby. A teen was wounded and nine cars were struck by gunfire in a fusillade of some 30 gunshots, police told KARK.

Monday: Headlines and the open line

Monday's open line and the daily video news roundup.

Governor backs cutting concealed carry fee in half

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today that he supported legislation to cut concealed handgun carry permit fees by 50 percent.

Boyle Building listed for sale for $5.995 million

The historic Boyle Building at Capitol Avenue and Main has been listed for sale for $5.995 million by the Chi Hotel Group, which purchased it in March 2014 for $4.5 million with plans to develop a hotel.

Authorities announce federal complaint against 'porch pirate'

The local/federal news conference today to announce a joint law enforcement effort to crack down on thieves who pilfer packages from porches included the announcement of a federal arrest of a package theft suspect.

Dismang appoints Benton man to Medical Marijuana Commission

Sen. Jonathan Dismang, president pro tempore of the Senate, announced this afternoon that he'd appointed Kevin Russell of Benton to fill a four-year term on the state Medical Marijuana Commission.

LRPD investigates video of cop cars caught in parking lot capers

KARK/Fox 16 reports that police are investigating a video on Facebook that shows two police cars joyriding by cutting "figure 8s" on a parking lot outside a gym on University Avenue.

Rapert in national spotlight for history of anti-Muslim remarks

An unrepentant Sen. Jason Rapert has gotten national attention from Huffington Post for a long history of anti-Muslim remarks in addition to a recent remark that got him locked out of Twitter. He's being quoted "out of context," he says.

Satanic Temple cleared to enter the 10 Commandments lawsuit

The Satanic Temple has been allowed to enter the lawsuit challenging the 10 Commandments monument at the state Capitol on the ground that refusal of its request to install a Baphomet monument was a violation of their constitutional equal protection right.

Medical marijuana permit score release delayed until January

The state Medical Marijuana Commission announced today that it will postpone a meeting on the grading of applications for dispensaries until Jan. 9.

No indictment of former ASU chancellor

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro announced Monday, according to NEA Report, that a grand jury had declined to indict former Arkansas State University Chancellor Tim Hudson.

Making American Great Again: Resistance foils Trump on border wall, personal charity. Judge lectures Michael Flynn.

A couple of significant headlines this morning in the fight to curb Donald Trump's criminal or otherwise faulty impulses. And, whoa, did a judge lay into MIchael Flynn today, Lock him up!

A time to speak up for the Little Rock School District

The state Board of Education will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday in special session to complete business on suggestions to alter operation of the Little Rock and Pine Bluff School Districts. It is time for those who believe in local control of the district — looking at you Mayor-elect Frank Scott Jr. and the Little Regional Chamber of Commerce — to stand up and be counted.

Tuesday: The headlines and open line

Here's the daily video news roundup, leading with Trump and lots of him. Also this is your open line.

In face of blowback, state will slow down assisted living cuts

Brett Rains of 40/29 is tweeting from the Capitol that the Department of Human Services is slowing its push for cuts in reimbursements for home health aides that critics have said could force many people into more expensive nursing home and force companies that provide the services out of business.

The Capital's Seafood House opens

Finally, Little Rock has the Seafood Burger, the creation of retired Green Bay Packer linebacker K.D. Williams, thanks to the opening of Williams’ The Capital’s Seafood House, 1706 W. Third St., across from the state Capitol.

Court dismisses ethics complaints against Kavanaugh

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed numerous judicial ethics complaints against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh because the law exempts Supreme Court members, even for acts committed as a judge covered by the law. In short: Bart O'Kavanaugh is above the law.

Shop, drink, help The Van and Arkansas Foodbank at Lost Forty's popup event Sunday

If you wait until Christmas Eve Eve to do your shopping — that’s you, gentlemen — here’s a way to make it painless: Check out the “Holiday Brunch and Browse Pop Up” event Dec. 23 at Lost Forty Brewing.

Ad man Heathcott sues CJRW for damages in ouster

Gary Heathcott the long-time ad and PR man who now lives in San Antonio has sued CJRW, the major ad and PR firm, over its severing of a consulting deal with him last year and asks $1.3 million in actual damages plus unspecified punitive damages.

More Little Rock residents allege they were victims of 'unconstitutional, unethical' no-knock search warrants

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Mike Laux introduced several people the attorneys described as victims of "unconstitutional, unethical" no-knock search warrants by the Little Rock Police Department

Tough Tom Cotton loses big in crime bill fight

A rebuke for Tom Cotton and praise for Mike Huckabee thanks to Senate passage of the criminal justice reform legislation.

Being a charter school means lots of understanding from the state

The state takeover of the Little Rock School District for difficulties in reaching the at-risk populations in a handful of schools continues to contrast with the forbearance extended charter schools in the state.

Democracy and the Little Rock School District: The fix is in

A board that advises the state in running the Little Rock School District made an important decision last night BEFORE hearing public comment. Alice in Wonderland, anyone?

Stodola gets retirement enhancement, delay on $173,000 vacation pay windfall

The Little Rock City Board last night, as expected, sweetened retiring Mayor Mark Stodola's pension with changes worth $890,000 over time, but held off a decision on paying him more than $170,000 he claims he's owed for unused vacation time.

Chamber corporate welfare handout continued by the LR City Board while others take cuts

No coverage in paper this morning, but among the private organizations that experienced no cut in taxpayer subsidies from the Little Rock City Board for 2019 was the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, which will continue to get a $300,000 corporate welfare handout to subsidize its expenses even as the city budget takes  a $387,000 haircut from 2018 and non-uniform employee pay increases have been omitted.

Hutchinson announces inaugural plans

Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans a couple of days of festivities for his inauguration to a second four-year term as governor.

UPDATE: Standoff with armed driver ends at I-430, Maumelle Boulevard

KARK reports that a person with a gun in a stopped vehicle has closed the I-430 and Maumelle Boulevard exit and both roadways. UPDATE: Shortly before 11:30 a.m., the standoff ended with a suspect in custody and no one harmed.

Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria

Donald Trump has declared victory over ISIS and will pull all U.S. ground troops out of Syria.

Dec. 19: Open line and daily headlines

Here's the open line. And the daily roundup of headlines.

Escape reported at State Hospital. He's quickly recaptured

The State Hospital reported that a patient escaped by scaling a fence today. UPDATE: The hospital reported that he was back in custody.

Dustin McDaniel plans office building near Capitol

It is possible to make a living in the private sector after public office. See former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. He has plans in the works for a 7,700-square-foot office building at Fourth and Pulaski within view of the state Capitol.

Legislators can't quit the public trough

Add Charlie Collins to the growing list of ex-legislators who might turn up in state jobs now that legislative paychecks are coming to an end.

Lawsuit seeks halt to I-630 widening project

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas Department of Transportation expenditures from voter-approved bond money on freeway improvement projects wider than four lanes now asks for an injunction against ongoing work on the Interstate 630 freeway through Little Rock.

Fact-checking the governor’s claims on Medicaid work rule compliance

The governor says almost 9 out of 10 Medicaid beneficiaries subject to the work requirement are complying with it. Others say 80 percent of those beneficiaries are NOT complying. Who's right?

Tax cheats sentenced in Little Rock

A Little Rock couple — John Dunn, 64, and his wife, Wendy, 51 — were sentenced in federal court today on tax fraud charges.

New Marijuana Commissioner Kevin Russell on his history of opposition to medical marijuana

Kevin Russell will take Dr. Carlos Roman's seat on the state Medical Marijuana Commission. Russell, a Benton police captain and 19-year veteran of the Benton Police Department, said his law enforcement background and experience in "prevention and education" of drug use has helped prepare him to serve on the Commission.