Hourly news and comment
The guide to Arkansas entertainment
For food lovers
On art in Arkansas
A view from Northwest Arkansas
A new Cajun/Creole restaurant in WLR serves up delightful stews and gumbos. It's a spicy, saucy success.
Little Rock continues to surprise with its wonderful hidden gems, and the fudge shop inside the Crown Shop is no exception. It’s a small shop that’s probably not on most people’s radar for delightful sweet treats, but I’d definitely check them out next time you’ve got a hankering for fudge.
Arkansas Cooks sits down with Liz Sanders of the Bernice Garden to talk farmers markets, local growers, and community.
Don Bacigalupi has written a come-hither piece about the minimalist acquisition.
All the stops on tonight's gallery walk/trolley tour.
Their silverpoint drawings help Hearne Fine Art celebrate its silver anniversary.
I've been among the speakers at Arkansas Boys State for 20 years. I talk about my left-leaning ideas. Conservative young men take vigorous exception, particularly on social issues such as abortion and sexual orientation. /more/
When someone lamented the starvation of millions in the Ukraine, Joseph Stalin is supposed to have observed that "one death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is only a statistic." /more/
Spy work holds deep allure for many people. My own career as a secret agent began as an outgrowth of training beagle hunting dogs. See, I needed new antennas for the little radio transmitters in the animals' collars — which combined with a directional antenna and multi-channel receiver helped me bring the little rascals home alive at day's end. /more/
The jury has been seated in the trial of Josh Hastings, the former Little Rock Police Department officer charged with manslaughter for the August 2012 shooting death of a 15-year-old boy during a burglary call at a West Little Rock apartment complex.
Hastings shot Bobby Moore, Jr. as Moore and two other teens attempted to flee in a Honda Civic from the parking lot of the Shadow Lake Apartments complex at 13111 W. Markham, where Hastings had been dispatched to investigate a car burglary.
Hastings told investigators he fired because the car was speeding to him and he feared for his life, but further further investigation produced discrepancies between Hastings' account and the evidence.
David Koon reports that nine women and three men make up the jury. Opening statements are scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
After the jury was dismissed, Judge Wendell Griffen reveresed his ruling from yesterday that attorneys wouldn't be allowed to cross examine the two juveniles who were in the car with Moore when he was killed regarding the fact that they were on probation at the time. Griffen said attorneys can cross examine the witnesses on their probation, but can only refer to their probation to challenge credibility and on issues of "bias or motive." He said attorneys can't use their probation to establish state of mind at the time of the shooting or establish character. Why the juveniles were on probation or prior offense they may have been convicted of are off limites too, Griffen said.
Opening arguments were thought to be starting this afternoon, but the trial was slowed when Prosecutor John Johnson requested striking one of the jurors after he'd been selected during the alternate selection. Koon reports that victim Bobby Moore's father approached the Victim Witness Coordinator and told her that one of the jurors and his brother worked with him for the city of Little Rock. Moore's father claimed that juror's brother had made racially charged statements. After recessing to deliberate on whether a juror could be struck after being chosen but before being sworn, Griffen allowed lawyers to question the juror to determine if he should be struck. The juror denied knowing Moore's relatives. He was dismissed.
Griffen said he didn't dismiss him for cause, explaining that just because relatives might say things that are "intolerant and abhorrent," doesn't mean a relative holds those views. Griffen said he allowed Johnson to exercise the last of his preemptory challenges. Defense attorney Bill James objected to the juror's dismissal.
Little Rock School Board member Dianne Curry, who is running for lieutenant governor, said that current Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr was "using the misery of the people, the residents of Mayflower, Arkansas, to garner feel good press." Darr made comments, reported by KUAR, that "as far as the clean-up goes it looks like that's been pretty well taken care of" and "they've kind of made this area even better than it was before."
"It's shameful, it's wrong, and it's what is wrong with politics," Curry said. Her press release is after the jump.
*Reading Curry's release, a point of clarification: the image of Mark Darr used in the post earlier today is a file photo. I didn't choose it, but I apologize if it caused confusion: none of the folks in the picture were with Darr when he made his Mayflower comments.
Lisa Song of InsideClimate News has a great piece today exploring the complicated question of the long-term health impacts of oil spills. The short answer is that we really don't know. There are no clear federal guidelines on what to do when a spill happens in a populated area and it's often left up to local officials to make decisions, with results varying from place to place. Song notes the differences in response to three oil spills in U.S. neighborhoods since 2010, including the Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower.
In Mayflower, Ark. authorities quickly evacuated 22 families after a broken pipeline leaked about 200,000 gallons of heavy crude on March 29, 2013. But people living in the same subdivision, just a few blocks away, were not asked to leave. Neither were the residents of the lakeside community where the oil eventually pooled and where the cleanup continues today.
After each of these spills, people complained of headaches, nausea and respiratory problems—short-term symptoms that health experts say are common after any chemical spill and usually disappear as the air clears.
What health experts don't know, however, is whether the fumes could also trigger long-term health problems that become evident only years or decades later. That gap will be increasingly important, because over the next few years the industry plans to build or expand more than 10,000 miles of oil pipelines—including the Keystone XL.
Despite all the new building, Song notes that "there are no plans to conduct long-term health studies in Mayflower, Marshall or Salt Lake City. There also doesn't appear to be any momentum to set federal guidelines for chemical exposures at oil spills, so health officials will be better equipped for future emergencies."
The article takes a close look at the policy response to the Mayflower spill from state health officials:
In Arkansas, health officials decided that Mayflower residents could return to their subdivision when benzene levels in and around their homes dropped to below 50 ppb. (Most of the 22 evacuated homes have been cleared for re-entry, although none of the families have returned.) But people nearby complained of headaches, nausea and other health problems even after officials announced online that contaminants in the air were "below levels likely to cause health effects for the general population." ...
After oil spills, public health decisions usually fall to county or state officials. In Mayflower, those decisions were made by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), which set a benzene threshold of 50 ppb.
Lori Simmons, who heads the agency's environmental epidemiology section, said the ADH calculated that a member of the general public could be exposed to air with up to 50 ppb of benzene for up to six months without long-term health effects.
InsideClimate News tried to compare that 50 ppb guideline with guidelines established by other agencies, but found that it was virtually impossible to make a direct comparison. Some guidelines were designed to protect people from certain health effects but not others. Many, like the ATSDR guidelines, come with disclaimers saying they aren't supposed to be used to define what's safe and not safe.
Song notes that "Arkansas' benzene threshold is also considerably higher than the guidelines used in Alberta, Canada, where the heavy crude oil that spilled in Arkansas and Michigan was extracted."
Read the whole thing.
"Whoa! What was that?"
"What was what?"
"That! Do you hear it? It sounds like... An episode of SyFy's hit series "Ghost Hunters."
"You mean, here in Little Rock?"
"Exactly, I'm getting a reading that tells me the upcoming new episode on Wednesday, June 19 will include a ghost-hunting expedition to a home once owned by prominent early 20th century banker Edward Cornish."
"Yes, it airs at 8 p.m. and it's called "Ghost Friends Forever."
"Spooky. What else can you tell me?"
"Well, here goes...
On this episode of Ghost Hunters, TAPS is called to Little Rock, Arkansas where a family has inherited a bungalow next door to their home that they believe to be cursed. The bungalow has a tragic history of death, robberies and murder dating back to the 1800s. Paranormal activity has been terrifying their bungalow tenants for years and now activity seems to have spread over to the family’s main house. Have the bungalow spirits traveled next door to the family’s home? Are the family’s deceased close friends, who willed the bungalow to them, to blame for this activity? TAPS is being brought in to get answers for this family in desperate need of answers.
"So where can I watch a very brief preview for this episode?"
"After the jump!"
Jazz legend and "Schoolhouse Rock!" composer Bob Dorough will perform at The Afterthought, 8 p.m., $5.
Hey there, how about this: you and a buddy get to go see Johnny Winter June 21 at Juanita's PLUS get to go to the meet-n-greet before the show and maybe get your picture made with the blues guitar legend. Sound cool? Well your old pals here at the Times are going to be giving away just such a prize.
All you need to do is send an email to robertbell at arktimes dot com with JOHNNY WINTER in the subject line. Send it in by noon on June 19. I'll draw names later that afternoon and announce the winner here on Rock Candy.
rc, I drive by that site every time I go to Conway from Mt. Vernon…
I guess someone missed the words "File Photo" on the cutline.
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings