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Trio's: tried, true, tasty

May 24, 2018
Trio's: tried, true, tasty
Salads, fresh fish, reliable dishes keep people coming back. /more/

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Max Brantley

Now, the main event

I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Flooding the swamp

It became clear the first week of his presidency what Donald Trump meant with his repeated campaign pledges to "drain the swamp," the moneyed culture of Wall Street and corporate lobbyists who dictate the laws and rules of governing in Washington. /more/

Gene Lyons

Like wrestling

So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family? /more/

Pearls About Swine

Post-season time

May 24, 2018
Arkansas fans who have been focused on enjoying the high level of achievement of the baseball team are hopefully not neglecting the young women on the softball diamond who are making record progress after years in the doldrums of a cutthroat conference. /more/

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 20:28:00

Griffen holds DHS in contempt of court and enjoins emergency rule on home care hours

click to enlarge JUDGE WENDELL GRIFFEN
  • JUDGE WENDELL GRIFFEN

In a strongly worded bench ruling Wednesday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen enjoined an emergency rule promulgated last week by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, calling it "a deliberate and calculated disobedience" of the permanent injunction he delivered last week. The judge found the agency in contempt for its actions.

The emergency rule concerned the allocation of attendant care hours for disabled and elderly Medicaid beneficiaries in the ARChoices waiver program, which pays for caregivers to assist with activities such as bathing, cleaning and other daily routines. (Such at-home services are typically much cheaper than care in a nursing home and are much preferred by beneficiaries.) Seven disabled plaintiffs, represented by Legal Aid of Arkansas, say DHS effectively cut their benefits in 2016 when it began using a computer algorithm to determine how many hours of care each person on ARChoices should receive each week. The plaintiffs argued DHS did not follow state law regarding the rule-making process when it implemented the algorithm-based method. Previously, an individual's weekly number of hours was determined by a nurse. (Here's some background on the issue.)

/more/  

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 19:14:00

Police identify remains as those of Ebby Steppach


KARK/Fox 16 reports that Little Rock police have identified skeletal remains found Tuesday in a west Little Rock park as those of Ebby Steppach, the 17-year-old who's been missing since her car was found in that park abandoned in 2015.

The police provided a briefing in the video above by work of a cold case unit. The background is a long history of criticism of the LRPD for its work inadequate work in the early days of her disappearance.

Again, there's no indication new tips emerged that led police to search a drainage pipe where the remains were found.

The family made these statements, according to KARK:

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No hint today if the police have an idea about suspects, though they appealed for information. "We know there are people out there who have information about this case," a detective said. A reward has been offered.

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 18:03:00

UAMS presents balanced budget

click to enlarge UAMS:Bslsnces its budget.
  • UAMS:Bslsnces its budget.

UAMS,
pressed by financial problems for several years, told the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees today that it had a $1.5 billion operating budget that doesn't call for deficit spending.

The heart surgery program, suspended because of loss of personnel, will resume in weeks with local surgeons, the campus said.

In April, the campus said it had made up $32 million of a $70 million deficit, but still had other budget cutting to do. Dozens of jobs have been eliminated in the cost-cutting.

Earlier today, the UAMS chancellor sent this message to faculty:

I have very good news regarding UAMS’ finances that I would like to share. Today at the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meeting we presented our budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1. This was the first time in a number of years that we have been able to present a balanced budget. We also were pleased to report that we are on target to end FY 2018 within the budget approved by the Board of Trustees. Much of this success can be attributed to the hard work you have done to address the challenging budget issues of the last year.

And that work has not gone unnoticed. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has released $5 million from his Rainy Day Fund to UAMS for operations and education. This vote of confidence in the wake of our improved financial situation will go a long way to help us fulfil our mission of educating tomorrow’s health professionals, researching new treatments and providing exceptional patient care.

I want to thank you for continuing to do your jobs faithfully and passionately for the people of Arkansas and all those whose lives are touched by our work here. We will need to continue our efforts in the weeks and months to come to sustain our financial progress.

I appreciate your continued support and belief in our mission to improve health and health care in this state and beyond.


Sincerely,

Stephanie Gardner, Pharm. D., Ed.D.
Interim Chancellor
A wonk special bonus, the UA budget books presented today.

 

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Friday, May 18, 2018 - 16:36:00

No Small Talk, Ep. 16: Bash-O-Bash, McElroy House

click to enlarge nosmalltalk_-_copy.png

This week, Omaya and Stephanie talk with Bryan and Meredith Martin-Moats, the parents behind the Bash-O-Bash cast of animated characters and behind McElroy House, a rural community organization for cultural resources in Dardanelle.



But first up, we check in on a bit of entertainment news:

At (0:32): Trust Tree Programs continues its fundraising effort for a summer songwriting camp for girls with a show from Tranquilo, Pissin Comets and Fred at the White Water Tavern, 9 p.m. Check out the Trust Tree Facebook page to see of these blossoming musicians/the future ambassadors of the Arkansas sound at work!

(1:43) "Antiquities," the short film from Daniel Campbell, has been turned into a feature-length film with a screenplay by Campbell and Graham Gordy, filmed in Arkansas last fall. It'll get a world premiere at this year's "Dances With Films" festival in Hollywood, and we've got our fingers crossed for an Arkansas screening soon.

Also, (at 3:56) Ben Nichols and Lucero are back with "Among the Ghosts," out August 3 on the Thirty Tigers label, and you can stream two tracks from the new record here.


(Also, Stephanie struggles to recall the name of the song accompanied by this fantastic video from Lucero's 2015 release "All A Man Should Do," so here it is in all its glory:)

 
Check out this week's To-Do List for more happening this week!

Next, (6:14) we talk with Bryan and Meredith Martin-Moats about their work with Bash-O-Bash, a collection of drawn characters that, as Bryan states, "started with our kids just goofing around," (also, Halloween costumes) and has morphed into a full-on storyline with a forthcoming book, "The Bulb."

And: they've got their own podcast! Check out their latest, an introduction to the "granny gopher" character Byanza Almeda, with a generous helping of Arkansas's own Granny, Almeda "Granny" Riddle. 

At 21:37, Bryan and Meredith talk a little about the wonders of yarrow and the work they're doing with "McElroy House," a community organization that works to bring people across differences. They've got a butterfly- and bee-attracting garden, a monthly skillshare, a cloth diaper bank and a partnership with Arkansas Tech University to cultivate, establish and give various types of away berries.

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Come meet Bryan and Meredith-Martin Moats (and try their limited edition "Bash-O-Bash" cookie) at Cattywampus Co-op's "Spring Bizarre," a collection of talented artists showing off (and selling) their handmade art at the Blue Canoe Brewing Warehouse Saturday, May 19.

And, at 30:08, we make some recommendations:

Omaya recommends you check out the Star Party the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society is throwing at Pinnacle Mountain State Park this Saturday, May 19 and we wax self-righteously indignant about light pollution. (Who wants to start a dome street light initiative?!)

And, at 34:10, Stephanie recommends the body's new album, "I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer." It's the latest effort from an Arkansas-connected duo that juxtaposes a thicket of heavy noise with alternately angelic and visceral vocals from Chrissy Wolpert of The Assembly of Light Choir.


And The Move for the weekend: go dig beautiful art by Robert Bean and Diane Harper at the opening for "You Are Not Alone," a new exhibition at Gallery 26.

click to enlarge 32544024_10157331865517538_2198423008102580224_o.jpg

 

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 13:49:00

3rd Friday in Argenta means Art Walking

click to enlarge North Little Rock street, traffic and vehicle maintenance employees stand by a dog sculpture they erected in the Argenta Arts District. - NORTH LITTLE ROCK
  • North Little Rock
  • North Little Rock street, traffic and vehicle maintenance employees stand by a dog sculpture they erected in the Argenta Arts District.

There's new public art in Argenta that celebrates the North Little Rock's once-hated, now-embraced moniker "Dogtown." The sculpture, at Sixth and Main streets, was designed by Terry Bean and fabricated of steel (it's one of two Bean sculptures installed; more are on the way.) The Argenta Arts Foundation provided the photo above, plus information on tonight's art offerings, 5-8 p.m. on Main Street:

Katherine Rutter, whose watery and fine-lined paintings of ambiguous human and animal creatures have earned her a national reputation as a muralist, is showing paintings in a show called "Meet Me in the Water" at the Thea Foundation (401 Main St.), where she's painted a mural on the wall as well.

The Latino Art Project has a new show, "In Bloom," at regular host venue Core Brewery (411 Main).

Abstract printmaker Dustyn Bork of Batesville and photographer/painter Heidi Carlsen-Rogers of Bella Vista put up a show of new work, "Flowers and Facades," at the Argenta Branch of the Main Library (420 Main St.).

Larry Pennington's "About Face" show of photography is on exhibition at Argenta Gallery (413 Main St.), where profits from sales benefit the Argenta Arts Foundation. (Adjoining gallery StudioMAIN continues its "Year in Review" show of creative design.)

Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St.) continues its "Southern Abstraction" exhibition of work by Arkansans Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus and Sammy Peters and top regional talent.

Up in the 700 block, find Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio (711 Main St.), where the impressionist will demonstrate technique

Theatergoers: Remember the Main Thing's production of "Orange Is the New White," a comedy about exactly what you think it's about, at the Joint Theater (301 Main St., curtain at 8 p.m.).

 

Friday, May 18, 2018 - 13:22:00

Walton grant creates Delta youth program

The Delta Cultural Center in Helena/West Helena will offer a yearlong program for youth, the DCC Arts and Cultural Education Program, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

A press release from DCC Director Dr. Kyle T. Miller said the program will "utillize history, scriptwriting and dramatic performance to enhance students' reading, writing and oratory skills. Students in the program will research the lives of people buried in three historical sites — the Dixon, Magnolia and Confederate cemeteries — and present a living history program similar to the Parkview High School's Tales From the Crypt at Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.

Also supporting the project are  KIPP-Delta Preparatory School, the Helena-West Helena School District, Desoto Academy, Great Rivers Co-op and Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas.

According to the press release, the project will begin this summer and will "serve both charter and public school" students (an interesting construct, since charter schools receive public dollars).

 

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