Farewell to the first black Razorback 


Quote of the Week:

"Large infrastructure projects are not only about responding to the current needs of society, but also about (quite literally) shaping society for the future. Infrastructure lasts for decades, so this is always true, whether or not people are aware of it when projects are approved."

— Nickolas Jovanovic, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, in an email to the Arkansas Times. Jovanovic is one of scores of city residents drawn into the urgent discussion over the proposed expansion of Interstate 30. The state Highway Department's "30 Crossing" project would build four additional lanes of interstate traffic through downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock for the sake of speeding commuter times to outlying suburbs — but urban residents are beginning to push back.

LRSD suit dismissed

Opponents of the state takeover of the Little Rock School District were disappointed last week when the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state Education Department was immune from a lawsuit on the issue. The opinion from the high court was unanimous, and reversed a contrary ruling from Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

Usually, state agencies enjoy "sovereign immunity" that protects them from being sued, but legal exceptions are granted when it can be shown that an agency acted illegally. The plaintiffs in the case, which included former members of the elected LRSD school board dissolved in January, argued that the state's takeover was so arbitrary and unnecessary that the lawsuit should be allowed to proceed. The Supreme Court, though, said that was a matter of opinion rather than fact.

Those seeking to reverse the takeover now place their hopes in a separate federal lawsuit spearheaded by state Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock).


Farewell to the first black Razorback

When Darrell Brown entered the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville as a freshman in 1965, he was one of 12 African Americans on the UA campus — and the only one crazy enough to try to play Razorback football at a time when the entire Southwest and Southeastern conferences were exclusively white. A walk-on player, Brown was ostracized by his own coaches, who directed his teammates to run brutal plays against him in practice after practice. His fellow players, chanting slurs, used him as a tackling dummy in kickoff drills. Brown made it through the year, but an injury ground his quixotic desegregation efforts to a halt as a sophomore; the Hogs' varsity team stayed all-white until Jon Richardson broke that barrier five years later.

Brown went on to graduate from the UA's law school and practiced as a trial attorney in Little Rock for decades. He died on Saturday at 67.

Nation's report card slides — sort of

Unlike most other standardized tests, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, gives the same test to students in every state (it's for fourth- and eighth-graders in math and reading). So, when national scores released last week showed a drop for eighth-graders in each category — the first such decline since the exam began — people freaked out. Scores in Arkansas dropped as well, more steeply than the national numbers.

That being said, it's partly a matter of perspective: Since 2003, NAEP scores overall have risen dramatically, both in Arkansas and the U.S. as a whole. The main takeaway here is to beware of simple measurements in school data.

Hold that pipeline

TransCanada, the Canada-based oil producer seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf Coast across the Great Plains, has asked for a delay on a final decision from the federal government on the controversial project.

The Obama administration has kicked the can on Keystone for years, and Arkansas Republicans like U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton are particularly fond of complaining about the president's reluctance to approve Keystone. That's in part because an Arkansas pipe manufacturer stands to benefit from its construction — and also in part because Arkansas isn't one of the states the massive oil conduit is planned to traverse.

It's assumed that any Republican president would greenlight Keystone in a heartbeat, while the leading Democratic candidates both have spoken against it. By asking for a delay in the decision, TransCanada has evidently decided Obama is a lost cause, too. A GOP victory in 2016 is the Keystone project's last hope for survival.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Asa on pre-K

    • Aug 17, 2016

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in The Week That Was

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • I have been diagnosed with COPD for over 7 years. A couple of months ago…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Profile of a plant

    • There is plenty of studies out there, which fill in the holes in this story…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Plant of the year

    • The only dope I see in this is that Kleiman, talking about things he is…

    • on January 19, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation