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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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Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 08:29:00

Arming teachers: An insurance complication

click to enlarge MAKING SCHOOLS SAFE: Insurance companies aren't sure arming teachers will do the trick. Photo from demonstration in Bentonville this year. - TWITTER/40/29
  • Twitter/40/29
  • MAKING SCHOOLS SAFE: Insurance companies aren't sure arming teachers will do the trick. Photo from demonstration in Bentonville this year.
Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.

Kansas has a problem: It has a law allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom, but almost no schools are using it because insurance companies refuse to provide coverage if they do. As EMC Insurance, the largest insurer of schools in Kansas, explained in a letter to its agents, the company “has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.”

Then came the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, leading frustrated Republican legislators in Kansas to try forcing the issue with a bill banning “unfair, discriminatory” rates for schools that arm staff. The insurance industry held firm. Last month, the bill failed.

“I don’t think insurance companies are notorious anti-gun liberals,” said Mark Tallman, associate executive director for the Kansas Association of School Boards, “so we think they’ve got good reasons for not doing it.”

As proposals to arm teachers sweep across the nation, insurance companies are being forced to weigh the risks of these controversial plans. Some insurers are balking. Some are agreeing to provide policies but lamenting the lack of evidence about whether it makes schools safer — or increases the chances of people getting shot. Others are raising rates. 

Well, if uncomfortable insurance companies are what it takes to stop bad legislation, I'll take it. I prefer to think of all the other good reasons — from trained law officers who misfire in difficult situations; to innocent people mistakenly shot; to theft and misuse of guns brought into schools. And how to forget the Arkansas legislator who mistakenly "shot" a teacher during a school shooting drill?

Such things actually underlie insurance industry concerns.

Insurers are always looking for ways to minimize risk. It’s why companies that cover schools send out notices about even small dangers such as the tripping hazards of extension cords or warnings about hanging classroom decorations from ceiling lights.

Adding trained police officers to schools is generally viewed favorably, industry officials say. But giving guns to school janitors or history teachers — even with some training — raises concerns.

“Putting in more resource officers — that’s additional security — we feel that makes it safer,” said Paul Marshall, of McGowan Program Administrators. “It’s different when you start pushing it to arming teachers, volunteers, voluntary security.”
Of note lately has been the presence of police officers in schools where the shooting occurred. Even when good and well-trained, they can't be everywhere at once. Thus a brave teacher tackled a shooter last week in Indiana. How many armed guards are enough? Will every school become like an airport?

Perhaps reducing the number of guns is a strategy worth considering.

More likely the legislature will continue a preference for providing immunity for gun mishaps.

 

Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 07:41:00

Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019


I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium after 2018 season seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.

(The way things are going, Razorbacks may get grass before Arkansans seeking medical comfort from "grass" will.)

 

Sunday, May 27, 2018 - 07:36:00

Crowds increase at RiverFest day 2

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
Photographer Brian Chilson notes an upswing in attendance at day two of the new privately run RiverFest, which closes tonight.

Lots more RiverFest photo coverage in his Facebook album.

 

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Friday, May 25, 2018 - 12:48:00

No Small Talk, Ep. 17: Mortalus and more

click to enlarge nosmalltalk_-_copy.png

This week, Omaya Jones and Stephanie Smittle hear from Michelle Gann of Mortalus about heavy music, classic influences, Friday night's show with Houston's Doomstress and what it's like to be a trans woman making metal in Arkansas.


First up, Riverfest is happening, and it's  in new hands. Check out this week's cover story for the details, and for a handful of highlights from the three-day lineup.

Also, Little Rock has a new movie theater. At long last, the IMAX-outfitted cinema at The Promenade on Chenal is re-opened under AMC Theatres, and you can watch "Solo" with a film-inspired cocktail and a fancy flatbread pizza in hand.

The Weekend Theater is doing something new in late October/early November called "Playwright's Week," and the company is soliciting submissions from locals for one-act plays to be showcased later this year. Check it out.

Also: An event at Courthouse Square Park in Helena ushers in Conway Twitty Day, an official designation in honor of the Arkansas son who gave us these gems:



Next, we visit with Michelle Gann and Bryan Bedgood of Mortalus, a local metal band with classic influences. They'll share a bill with Doomstress of Houston tonight at Vino's. Check 'em out:


Next up, Omaya and Stephanie make some recommendations:

Omaya recommends Episode #93 of The Kitchen Sisters podcast, "Prince and the Technician," the story of Susan Rogers - "a trained technician with no sound engineering experience [who] became the engineer of "Purple Rain," "Parade," "Sign o’ the Times" and all that Prince recorded for the next four years. For those four years, and almost every year after, Prince recorded at least a song a day and they worked together for 24 hours, 36 hours, 96 hours at a stretch, layering and perfecting his music and his hot funky sound."

click to enlarge Susan Rogers - KITCHEN SISTERS
  • Kitchen Sisters
  • Susan Rogers

Stephanie suggests you check out the music of The Matchsellers and go catch them Friday night at Four Quarter Bar. Here they are with a 2-D animated video featuring an articulated paper doll version of Earl Scruggs and, following that, some dubious advice for new parents.


 

Friday, May 25, 2018 - 11:42:00

"Delta Exhibition" winners announced

The Arkansas Arts Center announced the winners of its 60th annual "Delta Exhibition" last night, and all are Arkansans. 

 

Thursday, May 24, 2018 - 15:59:00

Philip Mann to leave symphony after 2018-19 season

click to enlarge LEAVING ARKANSAS IN 2019: Maestro Philip Mann.
  • LEAVING ARKANSAS IN 2019: Maestro Philip Mann.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced in a press release today that the next season of the symphony will be Maestro Philip Mann's last. The ASO will give Mann the title of "Music Director Laureate" and hopes that "Mann will be able to continue his highly successful relationship with the ASO as he grows his international conducting presence and broadens his role within classical music."

The final season will be Mann's ninth with the ASO. Symphony CEO Christina Littlejohn said in the announcement that she wanted to let symphony fans know the orchestra is on solid ground. “As we look ahead to next season and beyond, Arkansans should rest assured that we are a thriving, financially stable organization and our priority is to provide engaging, high-quality performances and offer music education initiatives around the state," she said.

In a Q&A in January, Mann told the Arkansas Times that his relationship with the symphony was a "charmed one that I'm very lucky to have." He described his meeting up with the orchestra:

We knew in that first rehearsal that we had some chemistry. Sometimes when you have this immediate, big flashy spark, things won't continue to build, but they continued to build all the way through the week and into each performance. Each performance was memorable — the kind of experience that you carry with you for the rest of your life. I draw on those remembrances of those first performances as a reminder of how far we've come, and also how we started off together. There was a sense of momentum and kind of passion. There was an abandon to the performances that was very invigorating.

 

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Bike nonprofit in high gear

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Recycle Bikes for Kids gives away hundreds of refurbished bikes every year. /more/
 

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