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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/
The muddle in accounting at the Bill and Hillary National Airport that meant no checks could be cut for “quite a length of time,” L. Cotton Thomas & Co. CFO Chad Miller said, were outlined to the full commission this morning by the auditing firm.
The audit says the accounting in airport’s general ledger, which was changed when new software was installed in 2011 and made more problematic with a software upgrade in 2012, “lacks sufficient clarity and detail to readily and clearly identify the transactions of the Airport.” The new software changed accounting codes and an upgrade that was supposed to integrate with the software in a way that would keep classifications separate did not. That meant that coding for transactions were changed twice over the course of a year. Auditors described their work as “cumbersome” because of the problems and said it is difficult to compare the latest numbers with those in 2011. They recommended that the airport examine its books carefully on a month-to-month basis to make sure that changes implemented to fix the problems are working.
The commission approved the report, but not until after Miller fielded questions from commissioners. Bob East noted that there were 40 pages of “account reversals” because items weren’t coded correctly, and both he and Tom Schueck asked whether the software, which the Thomas auditors said was geared toward manufacturing, was right for airport use. Executive Director Ron Mathieu said the software was chosen after presentations by “four or five” companies and that it was in use at other airports. Mathieu said that company that integrated the upgrade into the new software in 2012, causing more problems, has been at the airport “for weeks at a time” fixing problems and training airport staff to use the program. He said the vast majority of problems have been worked out.
Commissioner Wes Clark asked if the new software would allow the airport to reduce the number of employees in the finance department. Mathieu responded that the goal was not to reduce staff but to allow staff to better manage its procurement and find efficiencies that way. Commissioner Jesse Mason sought to cut off discussion, saying the audit already had been discussed in the finance committee of the board, that “there are no missing funds, no wrongdoing” and the board should not make a big deal out of it.
L. Cotton Thomas, the airport’s auditor for three decades, will not seek to win the airport’s business when it contract expires this summer, Mike Schaufele told the finance committee last week.
The board also voted to extend its contract with legal counsel Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon and Galchus for three years with one three-year extension available “at the discretion of the Executive Director,” but not after some debate on the process. Commissioner East questioned whether the board should give Mathieu the power to renew contracts on his own without board approval, and Schueck said he was “not comfortable” with forgoing a bidding process for the business. Mason said he didn't understand the concern over the process, to which Chairman Kay Arnold said the commission is to abide by its rules. She asked Commissioner Virgil Miller to put together a committee to “get clarity” on the process. Schueck’s was the only no vote on the extension.
The firm also got a 2.6 percent raise, retained for $11,000 a month with an hourly rate of $195.
Debbie Rogers, chief deputy state treasurer, said Treasurer Martha Shoffner will not be at work today, but otherwise it was "business as usual" at the treasurer's office. Shoffner was arrested Saturday and charged Monday with taking kickbacks from a securities salesman who handled state bond business.
Rogers said she didn't know about Shoffner's work plans beyond today. She said Shoffner had spoken briefly with her today and said that she'd been advised not to comment and to refer questions to her attorney, Chuck Banks.
There's been a bipartisan call for Shoffner's resignation. Republicans also have begun urging Gov. Mike Beebe to begin proceedings to remove Shoffner from office. The Constitution provides for impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate as one means of removing the state treasurer. Shoffner's term in the $53,000-a-year job runs through 2014. There's also a provision for removal by "address," a hazily written provision that hasn't been used since the Constitution was written in 1874. It might mean that the governor could remove Shoffner on a two-thirds vote of House and Senate.
Shoffner should resign for multiple reasons, beginning with the sworn affidavit that she'd admitted to FBI agents that she'd wrongly accepted money from the bond dealer. She may yet have a legal defense on the charge, but it's politically sufficient evidence that she should no longer be conducting state investment business.
I think Gov. Mike Beebe is right to give the decision a bit more time before putting removal machinery in play. Said his spokesman Matt DeCample about impeachment and address:
Those are always options, but before going to the extent and taxpayer expense of calling in the Legislature, he wants to give the resignation option some time. There is also continuing study of how exactly those proceeding would occur. We haven’t found record of the “by address” provision being used before.
I think the last Arkansas state officeholder to be removed from office was Sen. Guy "Mutt" Jones, expelled after a Senate trial in 1974 after a federal tax conviction.
A North Little Rock woman has died after her fiancee poured gasoline on her and set her on fire.
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."
Arkansas is full of talented people, and we ran across yet another one of them last night: the thoroughly-hilarious writer and video blogger Joseph Birdsong. In the video seen above, Birdsong, who was born in Arkansas, schools out-of-staters on some skewed facts about the Natural State, including: "People in Arkansas are born with the ability to recognize 30 different kinds of roadkill based on scent alone," and "The first gay person to ever come to Arkansas was George Takei, and that was because he was forced here to live in an Arkansas Japanese internment camp during World War II." Just remember, he's laughing WITH us, not AT us. Okay, he's laughing AT us as well, but a great sense of humor covers a multitude of sins.
If you're looking for a good laugh, you can check out almost 200 of Birdsong's quirky videos on his Youtube site, cupofjoeshow.com. He's also got a site where he blogs, a very funny Twitter account. and a video blog for My Damn Channel's Answerly page where he talks about sex and relationships.
If Jesse Mason says everything's okay ... then Jesse Mason gets on more public (and…
"Commissioner Jesse Mason sought to cut off discussion, saying the audit already had been discussed…
While reading the story in the DOG this morning about Apple's tax-avoidance schemes, two words…
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