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The Fold, the new taqueria and cocktail bar from Bart Barlogie and Wilson Brandt, opened this weekend in Riverdale.
Coming to the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.
Travis McConnell serves up the good stuff at the Bernice Garden Farmers Market.
"Beautiful Uprising" reception tonight, talk by artist Saturday.
Reception for artist is tonight.
I had a nice visit with Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood last week. /more/
If you are a beltway Republican, no antidote for the blues matches extended congressional hearings on a real or imagined national horror — that is, if it might heap dishonor on a Democratic administration. If Hillary Clinton will be the dishonoree, so much the better. /more/
"What mighty contests," wrote 18th-century satirist Alexander Pope, "rise from trivial things." The poet had sex in mind, although something similar could be said about Americans and their pets. If you think people get worked up about politics, say something "controversial" about dogs or cats. Then prepare for action. /more/
She had not returned to work today following her appearance in federal court to answer a charge that she'd extorted money through public office by taking kickbacks from a securities salesman who did business with the state.
Banks had said yesterday that he'd recommend Shoffner resign given what faced her. According to the FBI, she admitted her improper activities to agents who arrested her Saturday at her home in Newport after the salesman, acting as a confidential informant, recorded her accepting $6,000 in $100 bills hidden in a pie as one in a series of payments for a huge increase he'd enjoyed in selling bonds to Shoffner's office for state investments.
Shoffner's letter, copied to the attorney general, said she could no longer perform the duties and responsibilities owed the public. There'd been unanimous calls for her immediate resignation from political figures and a push for Beebe to call a special session to impeach her or otherwise remove her if she did not. Beebe had said this morning he wanted to give her a little more time before plunging into some uncharted removal waters. Given circumstances and Banks' advice, her resignation can't be called a surprise.
Beebe will appoint a successor to complete her term, which runs through 2014. Former Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher is one of several names mentioned as a potential appointee.
The resignation lances a boil that would have grown into a huge political squabble before too many more hours had passed.
I've sought a comment from Beebe on his plans and have asked Banks if this signals any change in how Shoffner plans to proceed on the charge. UPDATE: Banks said there'd been no change in the earlier statement that Shoffner planned to enter an innocent plea. "Still more work to do," he commented in an e-mail.
She faces a sentence of up to 20 years on a conviction. A criminal defense attorney, using some estimates on the amount of alleged bribery and money lost to the state in the transactions, has estimated for me that she could face a minimum of four to six years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Downward departures are unusual for public officials in corruption cases. Shoffner is 68 and in her second term as treasurer. She'd previously served in the House of Representatives.
This is only the end of the beginning, of course. Charges arising from this case could go beyond the single charge filed against Shoffner so far, depending on whether prosecutors at the state and federal level think more investigation is required. State prosecutors, for example, could pursue state bribery charges as well as charges related to improper campaign contributions. Securities regulators at the state and federal level are reviewing activities of the securities dealer. Inevitably, that review could consider others with whom Shoffner has dealt, including in some previously reported campaign finance discrepancies. Shoffner fell, too, because of tips from disaffected former employees whose variety of stories might bear another look. State legislators will want to look at whether sufficient protection is available to encourage whistleblowing by employees who think they know of misdeeds by officials. Also, people who had knowledge of Shoffner's alleged activities might be deserving of some attention as well. I've written a column this week expressing a widely held belief that a securities investment professional shouldn't be chosen by popular election, certainly not in a race in which the campaign finance money has always come from people with an interest in doing business with the treasurer.
Here also is our exclusive story in which three sources, including his boss, identify salesman Steele Stephens of the St. Bernard Financial Services company as the salesman who participated in the investigation.
Is a note of sadness allowed for this debacle? Or only anger of the self-righteous and political triumphalism?
The line is open. Finishing up:Here's the resolution that Bobbitt will ask the UA Board to approve.
* THINGS ARE HUMMING IN OTTER CREEK: One of those periodic urban retail myths — Costco was looking at a location in Otter Creek — passed over my desk and that reminded me I'd been meaning to check in with Tommy Hodges of Otter Creek Land Co. on the Bass Pro Shops development at the I-30/430 interchange. No, Costco isn't coming. But construction on the Bass Pro Shops outlet is moving along and the store should open, complete with four-acre fishing lake, by October or November, Hodges said. First Security Bank will have a new branch on an outparcel about that time, too. A restaurant may also be among the first new developments. A year later, Hodges said he hopes to have open a high-end outlet mall, with complementing hotel and restaurants. He said a glitzy lineup of tenants has been assembled, but he's not ready to release it yet. The opening of the Bass Pro, with its expected big traffic, should firm up commitments from many businesses, including some retail operations with plans for freestanding businesses.
* VOTE BUYING SENTENCE: Sam Malone, a former West Memphis police officer, was sentenced to 7.2 months of house arrest and additional probation in federal court today for his role in an illegal scheme to elect Hudson Hallum, a Democrat, to a seat in the state House, the U.S. attorney's office said. He, Hallum, Hallum's father and Philip Carter, a West Memphis council member, have pleaded guilty in a scheme that included influencing votes with vodka and chicken dinners. The others haven't been sentenced. Carter will be in court tomorrow; Hallum on June 20.
Varner has a bachelor's degree from Harding University and a master's from the University of North Texas in public administration.
Who doesn't love a good cocktail, right? And who doesn't love "Jersey Boys," the Tony- and Grammy-winning jukebox musical that tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons?
Say, here's an idea: what if the Arkansas Times was to have a contest for the best "Jersey Boys"-inspired cocktail, and give the winner a pair of tickets to see the musical June 19 at Robinson Center Music Hall, plus entry to the official after-party at Boscos, where that person's winning cocktail would be served? Sound keen? Bet.
Here's the deal: email your cocktail recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "JERSEY BOYS COCKTAIL" in the subject line. We'll select the most promising recipes, then your trusty and (very) seasoned Times cocktail experts will try them out and anoint a winner. The contest is open from through June 6, and the usual caveats apply (no Times employees, don't scalp the tickets, etc.).
Feel free to get all crazy and "mixologist" with this thing, but know that if your recipe is too out-there, calling for emulsified durian oil or pulverized fresh loganberries or something else that no self-respecting bartender has ever heard of, then you might not win. Cool? OK. Aaaand... go!
Here's what you get when you combine "Rockin' Robin" with "Folsom Prison Blues" and "The Joker." What say you — abomination or finger-snapping good time?
The mash comes courtesy of DJ Faroff.
I'll have more on my impressions on this year's festival tomorrow. In the meantime, here are this year's prize winners.
Oxford American Best Southern Film Award ($10,000 prize money): "Bayou Maharajah"
Heifer International Social Impact Film Award ($10,000 prize money): "These Birds Walk"
Golden Rock Narrative Film: "Short Term 12"
Golden Rock Documentary Film: "Dirty Wars"
Extraordinary Courage in Filmmaking: Jeremy Scahill ("Dirty Wars")
Arkansas Times Audience Award: "Bridegroom"
Made in Arkansas Best Feature: "45 RPM"
Made in Arkansas Best Short: "The Discontentment of Ed Telfair"
Made in Arkansas Best Director: Mark Thiedeman for "Last Summer"
Made in Arkansas Best Actor: Liza Burns in "45 RPM"
World Shorts: "When We Lived in Miami"
A previous version of this post incorrectly listed the World Shorts winner as "When We Live in Miami."
Sad is really the only word to describe Shofner's plight. No need to pile on…
The Molly National Journalism Prize of 2013—Recognizing Superior Journalism in the Tradition of Molly Ivins
a very well qualified leader
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