"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
The first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close if you can believe it — let that sink in for a second, you ol' time traveler you — and that means it's time once again for our annual Best and Worst issue, our annual salute to the goodest and baddest that Arkansas had to offer in the previous year.
Sad to say, but in the grand scheme of things, the Year of Our Lord 2010 turned out to be kind of a bummer, what with the BP loosing a bajillion gallons of black gold into the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing Great Recession and what not.
As seen on our cover this year, one of our Worsts for 2010 was that the voters saw fit to award the congressional seat formerly occupied by the solidly liberal and reliably thoughtful Rep. Vic Snyder to former Karl Rove toady Tim Griffin, part of an Arkansas red tide of toxic Republicans. We'd call that a definite low point, though Rep. Griffin's tenure is almost sure to pay dividends for the low side of the Best and Worst equation in the future. Also landing with a splat in the Worst column: an electrocuted anchorette, the Summer from Hell, and some near-deadly hillbilly caviar. Read on for details.
As has been our trend in recent years, we wound up with more Worsts than Bests, something which we have struggled mightily to correct, but which seems to simply happen of its own accord and for wholly mysterious reasons, like good watermelons down in Hope and sightings of the Fouke monster — the latter of which makes an appearance in these pages this year courtesy of U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson Jr.
No matter what arcane forces are at play on the makeup of the Best and Worst this year, we found the process of reading back over it to be a calming experience. Blessedly, we only have to live through it all once.
A Southwest Airlines employee at Little Rock National Airport called police in June after a peek inside an improperly-labeled package bound for Texas revealed a cache of 45 human heads. The founder of the Wynne-based firm doing the shipping told officials that the free-range noggins were part of an education program for doctors.
Worst dropped call
In July, Pierce Boyd, 19, dropped her cell phone while talking to her mother as she approached the I-430 bridge near Maumelle. The young lass went to pick up the phone, lost control, and she and her Toyota wound up in the river. She escaped unharmed as her car sank, but not before making sure she had retrieved her cell phone and a Bible.
A suspected bank robber led police on a chase across Little Rock before stopping his car on the Main Street bridge, leaving the money behind and jumping into the Arkansas River. The fall killed him.
Best correction (if you're Jack Jones)
A mix up at the Arkansas Supreme Court in May resulted in the court issuing an order denying a stay of execution for death row inmate Jack Jones, which meant he could be delivered into the hands of the Lord with all deliberate speed. Later that same afternoon, the court replaced the order with another that said the stay of execution had actually been granted.
A rare New Year's Eve blue moon escorted in the new year. It was pretty. Not blue, but pretty.
An alleged fragment of the "little rock" for which this city was named was "dedicated" in a riverfront ceremony in May in a million-dollar tourism promotion venture.
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