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Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Eat Arkansas

Bar Bark almost off the leash: Check it out sometime in June

Bark Bar is straining at the leash, shooting for a mid-June opening, co-owner Elizabeth Michael says.

BURRiTAS serves up pretty good burritos

Fast, real food: available here.

Trucking, at Fifth and Main

Here's the trucking lineup at this Friday's Food Truck Friday at Capitol Avenue and Main Street, 10:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.:

Dining Review

Fairing well

May 25, 2017
Fairing well
Tomas Bohm continues successful run with District Fare. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

David Bailin's 'Erasings' capture the undulation of memory

May 25, 2017
David Bailin's 'Erasings' capture the undulation of memory
It's on exhibit through May 27 at Boswell Mourot Fine Art. /more/

To-Do List

Africa Day Fest at Bernice Garden

May 24, 2017
Africa Day Fest at Bernice Garden
Also, ZZ Top, Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Potluck & Poison Ivy, Liverfest, Patio on Park Hill and more /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Virgil, quick come see

There goes the Robert E. Lee. But the sentiment that built the monument? It's far from gone. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Real reform

Arkansas voters, once perversely skeptical of complicated ballot issues like constitutional amendments, have become almost comical Pollyannas, ratifying the most shocking laws. /more/

Gene Lyons

Conspiracy theorists

Back in 2000, I interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell on camera in connection with a documentary film of "The Hunting of the President," which Joe Conason and I wrote. /more/

Movie Reviews

Medieval melee

May 18, 2017
Medieval melee
Guy Ritchie's take on 'King Arthur' is deft, if not sublime. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Post-season promise

May 25, 2017
What the coaching staff has done in 2017 constitutes a minor miracle and it likely represents the best work of Dave Van Horn's accomplished tenure. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 17:35:00

A modern mercantile for downtown

click to enlarge Not a modern general store.
  • Not a modern general store.
The storefront at the corner of Clinton, Cantrell, Markham and Cumberland (can there be an intersection anywhere like it?) has brown paper covering the windows and a sign saying LEASED, so we asked Moses Tucker realtor John Martin what gives.

Watch this space for full details. All Martin will say today is that it will be a "modern general store. Will be very cool." He'll issue a press release Thursday.

Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade store that sold textiles, furnishings and other household items, and jewelry was the last occupant of the space. A new coffee shop, Nexus, will open this summer next door on Clinton Avenue; Nexus has also applied for a wine and beer permit.

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 17:17:00

Feds announce 61 named in 18-month Little Rock drug investigation

The U.S. attorney's office announced today that a joint operation with local law enforcement had led this morning to arrests in the indictment of dozens of drug and gun dealers in the Little Rock area, the culmination of an 18-month investigation.

Twenty-five were arrested today, joining 27 already in custody, while another 19 are being sought. Fifty of the 61 are from Little Rock.

Eight indictments were unsealed today, the largest naming 33 people in 67 counts of a heroin and cocaine conspiracy. A Justice Department news release identified the leader as Aaron "Black" Clark, 33, of Little Rock.

The indictments cover cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin and multiple gun charges.

An investigation of North Little Rock drug gangs began in 2015 and soon led to suppliers in Little Rock, the news release said. Wiretaps and undercover purchases were used to identify suspects. A search warrant issued in November led to seizure of $100,000, jewelry, heroin, a marijuana grow operation and firearms.

The release said agents had seized more than 2.2 pounds of cocaine, 1.1 pounds of heroin, a pound of both crack cocaine and meth and a half-pound of fentanyl. In all, they seized 25 guns and $241,000 in cash.

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 17:05:00

Yes, Obamcare repeal would be a bad thing for a lot of people

The Congressional Budget office has completed its analysis of the House-passed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Bad.

From the New York Times:

A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would increase the projected number of people without health insurance by 14 million next year and by 23 million in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That 10-year figure is slightly less than originally estimated.

It would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over a decade, less than the $150 billion in savings projected in late March for an earlier version of the bill. And in states that seek waivers from rules mandating essential health coverage, the new law could make insurance economically out of reach for some sick consumers.

“Premiums would vary significantly according to health status and the types of benefits provided, and less healthy people would face extremely high premiums,” the budget office concluded.
A poor, unhealthy state like Arkansas would naturally feel disproportionate pain. And if Gov. Asa Hutchinsson succeeds in trimming rolls with work requirements, we will be worse off still, after being among the best in providing health coverage (which means better health) to more people.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell doesn't think he can pass a repeal-and-replace bill. Trumpcare is going to be about as tasty as his steaks and rewarding as his casinos and college.

UPDATE: What did the Medicaid expansion mean to Arkansas (and thus what might it mean if it goes away?) Read what David Ramsey has to say on the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas was ready to pounce with a statement:

“We’re seeing the effects of just how irresponsible our Republican representatives have been,” Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray said. “The results of this bill would be devastating. I want to hear Representative Hill, Representative Crawford, Representative Westerman, or Representative Womack explain to the people of Arkansas why they voted to strip tens of millions of Americans of their health insurance and lifesaving care. I don’t think they can; it’s indefensible.”

The CBO’s findings released Wednesday showed that by 2026, 51 million Americans under the age of 65 will not have health insurance if the AHCA is made law.

“The CBO report underscores how misguided it was for lawmakers to rush to pass this legislation without letting Americans know what was in the bill. These are people’s lives we’re talking about,” said Michael John Gray. “And while they’re busy playing politics, toeing the line for President Trump, Arkansans are wondering how they’re going to pay for their sons’ and daughters’ medical bills. It makes me sick to my stomach. It is clear our Republican Congressmen do not care about the best interest of Arkansas families or the Arkansas economy.”
PS: Tne analysis is pouring in. If you are a healthy 21-year-old male, this bill is sweet. If you are a woman, too bad, costs going up, way up.

 

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Rock Candy

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 11:09:00

Bentonville judges choose 'Red Dirt Rug' for ArtPrize

click to enlarge A red dirt rug similar to one that Rena Detrixhe will create as the winner of an ArtPrize award at pitch night in Bentonville. - CULTURED.GR
  • Cultured.GR
  • A red dirt rug similar to one that Rena Detrixhe will create as the winner of an ArtPrize award at pitch night in Bentonville.

A panel that included Arkansas arts professionals met Monday night at 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville to listen to five pitches for an ArtPrize award to create public art in Grand Rapids, Mich. The jury — Dayton Castleman, museum manager at 21c Bentonville; Don Desmett, curator of the Western Michigan University ArtPrize venue; Shannon Dillard Mitchell, independent curator; Lauren Haynes, curator of contemporary art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; and Marc Mitchell, curator and director of exhibitions, co-director of graduate studies, and assistant professor at the University of Arkansas — chose Rena Detrixhe's "Red Dirt Rug," a 1,000-square-foot rectangle of red dirt she'll imprint with carved shoe soles, for the $5,000 prize. You can see read more about the ArtPrize winner here and see a video of the presentations in Bentonville here.

That description of the artwork doesn't do it justice. Detrixhe describes the work as "part sculpture, part performance, part ritual and meditation." It brings to mind the mandala sand images created by Buddhist monks. The monks carefully create colorful mandalas, only to destroy them as symbolic of the impermanence of material things. Detrixhe's work, however, which will be created on the campus of Western Michigan University, represents the soil of the Dust Bowl and the human impact on the land, the impermanence of nature in the face of human alteration. Like Oklahoma, where Detrixhe is living and which inspired the red dirt piece, Michigan has serious environmental concerns, including the lead-poisoned water in Flint.

There were two Arkansas entries in the Bentonville pitch night: Craig Colorusso and a collaboration by Katrina Rattermann​, Stephen Reyenga, Caro Lynch and William Burks.

The competitors came to Arkansas because 21C hotels has been host to three of the six competitions across the country, in Louisville, Ky., and Durham, N.C. In Louisville, Kurt Ghode and Kremena Todorova's winner is "Unlearn Fear and Hate," a performance piece that launched last year in Lexington, Ky. The artists will stencil a mosaic "halo" image with the "Unlearn Fear + Fate" slogan in Grand Rapids' Lyon Square. In Durham, Chris Vitiello won with his entry "The Language Is Asleep," in which Vitiello will dress as a fox and cover the walls, ceiling and floor of a gallery with thousands of one-line poems written on dictionary pages. Future pitch nights will be at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.


 

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 11:13:00

U of A grad's "Damnation" slated for series with USA Network, Netflix

click to enlarge Tony Tost
  • Tony Tost
“Damnation,” the Depression-era drama from University of Arkansas graduate and “Longmire” writer Tony Tost and “Hell or High Water” director David Mackenzie, has been ordered to series by the USA Network, and is expected to premiere in October. Netflix, now a co-producer of the series, has obtained first-run rights outside the United States. Tost, whose first book of poetry received a 2003 Walt Whitman Award (judged by the late Arkansas poet C.D. Wright), is also the author of the 33 1/3 book series’ treatise “Johnny Cash’s American Recordings.” Along with James Mangold (director of “Walk the Line”) Guymon Casady (“Game of Thrones” producer) and Daniel Rappaport (“Office Space” producer), Tost will executive produce the series.


 

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 11:11:00

Check out Phillip Rex Huddleston's "Southern Writers" prints

click to enlarge PHILLIP REX HUDDLESTON
  • Phillip Rex Huddleston
Little Rock-based composer, artist and educator Phillip Rex Huddleston has created a “Southern Writers” series of prints, featuring portraits of Eudora Welty, Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, Mark Twain and others. The series, available for now in a bundle of five prints (Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, Charles Portis, Alice Walker and Tennessee Williams), is available at Huddleston's Etsy shop.

"I definitely had my favorite southern writers in mind for these first fifteen," Phillip told us, "but I decided to crowd source who I should draw. I put up a Facebook post that got a decent amount of input from fellow bibliophiles. This was my first project to ever use Copic markers. I'm so pleased with the values and textures I could get from them. I haven't been this proud of my ink work in a long time." 
click to enlarge PHILLIP REX HUDDLESTON
  • Phillip Rex Huddleston

Stay tuned on Huddleston's Etsy shop and Instagram page (@philliprexhuddlestonart) for news of an upcoming collaboration with South on Main's Matt Bell and Amy Kelley Bell. The three hope to adapt the Southern Writers series for use in a card game/playing card set.


 

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May 25, 2017
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The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients. /more/

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Arkansas Reporter

High school MVP

May 25, 2017
High school MVP
An Academic All-Star who approaches perfection. /more/

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  • Photos taken in Pocahontas, Shannon, Walnut Ridge and Hoxie on May 5, just after almost a million acres in the state were submerged by record floods.

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