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Eat Arkansas

Come for the coffee, stay for the avocado toast

Get your morning off to a great start with Zeteo Coffee in Conway.

Petra, Fayetteville's delicious, unique lunch counter

Petra is the perfect lunch, hearty and satisfying without the 3 o’clock food coma.

Catfish rules at Soul Fish Café — and so does everything else

There's great fish and more to be had on Main Street.

Dining Review

Bravo Bruno's

August 25, 2016
Bravo Bruno's
Deli offshoot is near perfection. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Listen to her

August 25, 2016
Listen to her
Hannah Pittard will read from her novel 'Listen to Me' at Oxford American Annex. /more/

To-Do List

Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers come to Arkansas

August 25, 2016
Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers come to Arkansas
Also, Stonewall Democrats "Donkeys and Drinks," "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Studio Theater, Liverfest at Cadron Creek Outfitters, Meredith Walker at the Clinton School for Public Service and more. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Pay to play. Really?

The announcement that Bill Clinton will distance himself and foreign and corporate contributors from the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton is elected president has, if anything, increased attention to the intersection of money and politics at the Foundation, along with the ongoing email controversy. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Dollars and degrees

Governor Hutchinson says a high graduation rate (ours is about the lowest) and a larger quotient of college graduates in the population are critical to economic development. Every few months there is another, but old, key to unlocking growth. /more/

Gene Lyons

Swing and miss

In my view, God invented baseball to provide a sanctuary from the fallen world of /more/

Movie Reviews

A new animation king

August 25, 2016
A new animation king
'Kubo and the Two Strings' solidifies Laika's status as an unsung hero. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Razorback offense can't fail

August 25, 2016
The first year of the Dan Enos experiment was an unqualified success, even if the Hogs struggled to put up points in crippling losses to Toledo and Texas Tech early in the year. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 14:56:00

Saturday's open line. ex-senator DWI charge noted in Conway; Buffalo River test pressure continues.

Here's an open line. Not much to report. But:

* Gilbert Ray Baker, 59, the former state Republican senator and former GOP party chair who remains in the news on account of a variety of issues including the Mike Maggio bribery case, was jailed in Faulkner County this morning by the Conway police on charges of DWI, refusing a breath alcohol test and driving left of center. He was released at 11:45 a.m. on a $1,395 bond. For those checking the jail roster, a photo posted originally with the booking was of someone else. It is to be corrected, an official told me.

* The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance reported today on its continuing efforts — so far unsuccessful to get a scientific representative on the team doing drilling around the C&H hog feeding facility to see if hog waste is escaping and finding its way into the Buffalo River,.

The following Alliance release updates its effort:



/more/  

 

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 08:31:00

Singing along with a legislative caucus. Is it in tune with ethics law?

screen_shot_2016-08-27_at_8.08.09_am.png

An invitation to some karaoke by the House Republican Caucus reached my desk. Contributions are being sought ($50) to the caucus. Food and drink will be available, but participants must pay for their own. Is this a handy way to put lobbyists with legislators in a way safely outside the reach of the cheesecloth ethics amendment that was supposed to end lobbyist/legislator wining and dining, but didn't?

I did some inquiring at the state Ethics Commission. Not, mind you, about this specific event. Here's what Graham Sloan, director of the commission, had to say about my general inquiry.

If a legislative caucus committee is receiving contributions in order to make contributions to candidates, BQCs/LQCs, [ballot question committees] political parties, and/or PACs, it will trigger PAC registration and reporting. There’s a contribution limit of $5,000 per person in a calendar year applicable to PACs. I think Act 1280 (Amendment 94) might come into play if a lobbyist is giving money to a legislative caucus committee. Generally speaking, Act 1280 prohibits a member of the General Assembly from receiving anything of value from a lobbyist, somebody who employs or contracts a lobbyist, or someone acting on behalf of a lobbyist. By definition, a legislative caucus committee is a group that consists of members of the General Assembly.
So, if the House Republican Caucus is registered as a PAC, it can accept corporate/lobbyist/and other contributions. But it must file a report of its contributions. The contributions are subject to limits. It may spend the money on candidates and ballot questions. But, if it is not a registered PAC, it might be running afoul of the supposed rule against gifts to legislators by lobbyists and people who employ them. 

I checked the most recent secretary of state listing of registered PACs and don't see a  House Republican Caucus, though perhaps there's a nomenclature difference that explains otherwise. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam hasn't responded to a question I sent him. Perhaps somebody will want to get some clarification before the karaoke machine warms up.

I'd suggest someone sing "Almost Persuaded." You know "last night in a barroom...met a guy with a drink in his hand .... temptation was flowing like wine .... we danced and he whispered I need you ...."

I think this particular modest event arose with pure intentions to put together a legal mix-and-mingle. Far worse is happening as lobbyists put together more clandestine fund-raisers powered by their major corporate clients for select legislators and, particularly, the PACs that are now the mother's milk of Arkansas legislative politics since direct corporate checks to candidates were prohibited.

Moral: Water will find an outlet. So will cash. 

There are many legislative caucuses so the question here is not singular. A few of them are registered as PACs as you'll see if you scan through the list I've linked.

Update: Speaker Gillam refers my question on the posture of the caucus in this event — PAC or not — to Rep. Mathew Pitsch, who is said to be in charge. 

Update II: Pitsch says the caucus does have a registered PAC and it will be used for contributions. I will supply the name when I have it. 

Update III: It is the House Leadership PAC

PS: I know I'm persnickety, but I hope legislators don't plan to care off any money from PAC contributions to pay for stuff for themselves.

 

Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 08:06:00

City residency for employees back before Little Rock City Board

click to enlarge ON THE AGENDA: City Board to hear about some tweaks in redevelopment plan for former department store building.
  • ON THE AGENDA: City Board to hear about some tweaks in redevelopment plan for former department store building.

The Little Rock City Board agenda session Tuesday includes two proposals related to residency of city employees.

* A resolution would  provide a cash incentive for new city employees to live in the city.

*
An ordinance proposed previously by City Director Erma Hendrix is also up for consideration of placement on a future meeting agenda. It would require future police officers to become city residents within 90 days of hiring. 

Under a proposal from City Manager Bruce Moore, new full-time employees could receive up to $5,000 to buy a home or $2,500 for a lease within the city. Application for the money must be made in the first year of employment. Employees must stay on the city payroll for two years or repay the taxable grant. People who are fired are not required to repay the money. The program would be retroactive to Aug. 1.

Will the incentive encourage more police officers to live in the city of Little Rock? Not as long as  Police Chief Kenton Buckner continues to reinforce the existing officers' view that the schools suck and the city is too dangerous a place to raise a family.

Past action indicates a lack of majority support for a police residency requirement. The ordinance says that residency "enhances the ability to respond more quickly to City needs, especially in times of emergency;" and would "promote greater community involvement both during the work period and afterwards."

At a minimum, it's time to stop allowing police officers who live in Lonoke County to drive police cruisers home.

Also on the agenda:

* PHILANDER SMITH HOUSING: The college proposes to place six, six-bedroom manufactured housing units  on the vacant property in the 1600 block of Chester Street once home to the Village Square apartments. The college says it needs a temporary solution to a campus housing shortage so the students don't have to live in hotels. It's envisioned as a two-year plan while permanent housing is built on campus.

* MAIN STREET: Some tweaks in previously approved zoning are recommended for three buildings at 510-524 Main, including the old M.M. Cohn Building, in a long-discussed redevelopment project. Changes include parking in the basement of the Cohn building, provisions for amenities such as a rooftop pool and party rooms if development of office and residential space justifies and the provision of potential sidewalk dining by a ground floor tenant.

* WASTEWATER: The Board also is to consider setting a hearing on an appeal of Planning Commission rejection of a wastewater treatment plant at 25616 Highway 10 to serve a planned subdivision. It's a neighborhood controversy over potential watershed pollution. The applicant wants a deferral until December. 

 

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Friday, August 26, 2016 - 14:29:00

V.L. Cox's 'Murder of Crows' travels to New York

click to enlarge V.L. Cox, "Stained," Bible pages, tea, acrylic, wax.
  • V.L. Cox, "Stained," Bible pages, tea, acrylic, wax.

Little Rock artist V.L. Cox is sending her installation "A Murder of Crows, The End Hate Collection" to to New York for exhibition Sept. 9-Nov. 11 at The Center, which serves New York's LGBT community.

"A Murder of Crows," which was shown in Little Rock at New Deal Studios, features such sculptural items as "Stained," an American flag constructed of tea bags that Cox made out of pages from the Bible; "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," a 1939 Coca-Cola cooler lid shot through with ammo and a Bible; and "No Vacancy," a metal steeple combine with a wooden cross that blinks "No Vacancy" in neon-like tubing.

Cox's description:

The End Hate Collection is a narrative body of work that looks at the history of past and present discrimination, gender issues, and social culture. The powerful pieces convey messages that are aggressive, violent, disturbing, irreverent, and even humorous, but all show us as a society where we’ve been before and where we can’t allow ourselves to go again. Cox’s goal in the End Hate series is to engage viewers responsibly in a dialogue no matter how uncomfortable. She believes that by truthfully looking in the mirror at ourselves, we take the first step in accepting the fact that we are all part of the link that needs to be repaired.

The show opens with a reception from 7-9 p.m. Sept. 9 at the gallery, 208 W. 13th St.
 
click to enlarge V.L. Cox, "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," Coca-Cola cooler lid, Bible.
  • V.L. Cox, "Ready, Aim, Fire, Brimstone," Coca-Cola cooler lid, Bible.

 

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 15:42:00

Delita Martin/Lauritzen Wright/Nina Katchadourian/Andrew Kilgore

click to enlarge Delita Martin's "Daughter of Night," 2016,  gelatin printing, conte, acrylic, relief, lithography, hand-stitching and decorative papers, 50 x 39 inches.
  • Delita Martin's "Daughter of Night," 2016, gelatin printing, conte, acrylic, relief, lithography, hand-stitching and decorative papers, 50 x 39 inches.

click to enlarge Nina Katchadourian's "Lavatory Self-Portrait in the Flemish Style No. 15," 2011, C-Print, 8.25 by 6 inches. - CATHERINE CLARK GALLERY
  • Catherine Clark Gallery
  • Nina Katchadourian's "Lavatory Self-Portrait in the Flemish Style No. 15," 2011, C-Print, 8.25 by 6 inches.
The Bradford Art Museum at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is celebrating its one-year anniversary tonight with the opening of what promise to be super exhibitions of portraiture and a talk by printmaker Delita Martin, formerly of Little Rock but now living in Houston. A reception starts at 5 p.m.; Martin's talk is at 6 p.m.
 
Martin is actually showing work from several series, which will occupy three galleries. "Night Women" features new large-scale portraits, a mix of printmaking, stitching and collage, of women of color and includes work from her "I Walked on Water to My Homeland" series as well. She also has an installation, "Dinner Table," of hand-drawn portraits on plates; the 
click to enlarge Tad Lauritzen Wright's "Venus Pulling a Thorn from her Foot," 2016, India ink on Arches paper, 22 by 14 inches.
  • Tad Lauritzen Wright's "Venus Pulling a Thorn from her Foot," 2016, India ink on Arches paper, 22 by 14 inches.
title references Judy Chicago's "Dinner Party" and is about women gathering to "lift each other up."

Photographer Nina Katchadourian of Brooklyn is showing self-portraits of herself in "Seat Assignment: Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style." Katchadourian shot the photos of herself in airplane bathrooms with a camera phone and dressed in seat covers, toilet tissues and hand towels. Included in the show is a video, “In a Room Full of Strangers.”
 
Tad Lauritzen Wright of Memphis is showing drawings in the exhibition "Continual Myth" that depict mythological characters in a whimsical style. He'll give a talk about his work in upcoming weeks.  

click to enlarge Andrew Kilgore, "Bruce Robertson," 1980, photograph, 14 by 11 inches.
  • Andrew Kilgore, "Bruce Robertson," 1980, photograph, 14 by 11 inches.
"Arkansas Neighbors" is an exhibition of portraits by Arkansas photographer Andrew Kilgore from ASU's permanent collection, which includes work from Kilgore's "Fayetteville Townfolk" series.

The exhibitions run through Oct. 9 at the BAM, which is open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday in the Fowler Center, 201 Olympic Drive. 

 

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 10:34:00

Evanescence's Amy Lee releases children's album

Amy Lee, the Little Rock-born lead singer for Evanescence, told her Facebook fans last December that she was “angry enough to write Evanescence’s heaviest album” after artistic disagreements with “the suits” at her former record company, but you’d never know it from “Dream Too Much,” the children’s album Lee just released, inspired by her 2-year-old son, Jack, and studded with covers of familiar songs like “Rubber Duckie,” “Hello Goodbye” and “Goodnight My Love.”

What started as a gift to her father in the form of studio time blossomed into a family affair, and the tracks are laden with ukelele, dobro and banjo from Amy’s father, John Lee; guitar, bass and harmonica from her uncle Tom, and harmonies from her sisters Carrie and Lori Lee.


 

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Arkansas trauma system takes a hit

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Doctors worry about impact of canceled contract with educational arm, loss of funds. /more/

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'This is not your grandfather's America': a Q&A with Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner

August 25, 2016
'This is not your grandfather's America': a Q&A with Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner
On residency requirements for LRPD officers and why many of his officers choose to live outside the city, community policing, mass incarceration, juvenile justice, assault rifles and gun control and more. /more/
 

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