In the wake of Death Week 

Also, another Academic All-Star and more.

click to enlarge week_that_was1-1-565de239efbcb5d3.jpg

Quote of the week</p>

"When you see a road that has water crossing it, turn around."

—Governor Hutchinson, offering advice to the public at a news conference Tuesday after surveying flood damage in Northeast Arkansas. At least seven people died in weekend storms that spawned at least five tornadoes and dumped 6 to 8 inches of rain in the northern half of the state.

In the wake of Death Week 2

A federal judge ordered an autopsy and preservation of tissue and blood samples in response to a motion from attorneys for Kenneth Williams, who want to determine if he suffered during his execution April 27. Williams was the last of four death row prisoners the state executed over eight days. Media witnesses observed Williams coughing, convulsing, lurching, jerking and making sounds that could be heard through a glass partition during his execution. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Medical Board, which has subpoena power, is investigating how the Arkansas Department of Correction obtained the drugs used in the executions. A state law shields information about the drugs from Freedom of Information Act inquiries. McKesson, a drug supplier, continues to pursue a lawsuit against the state after, as it says, the ADC obtained an execution drug under false pretenses.

Sticking it to the little guy

Governor Hutchinson's proposal to change the state's Medicaid expansion appeared headed to approval by the legislature in a special session earlier this week. Now, the state will have to get federal approval; that approval seems likely. The changes would take anyone whose income is between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level off Arkansas's expanded Medicaid program, Arkansas Works, and force them onto a subsidized plan in the Affordable Care Act marketplace or onto an employer-sponsored plan. As a consequence, some 60,000 will likely have to pay more in premiums and cost-sharing, and a significant number of them are likely to lose coverage altogether.

Our profile of Meagan Olsen, a 2017 Academic All-Star, was inadvertently omitted from last week's issue of the Times. The profile, in All-Star style, follows:


Age: 18

Hometown: Fayetteville

High School: Fayetteville High School

Parents: Anjanette Olsen and David Olsen

College plans: University of Arkansas Honors College, chemical engineering

Fayetteville High School's top student, with a perfect ACT score of 36, a 4.2 gradepoint average and the co-author of a paper on fractal self-assembly, is not just a bookworm. She's a leader, her counselor Cindy Alley says, who shows "grit, motivation to succeed and a desire to help others." She is also, Alley says, "a pure joy to be around." In her essay for the Arkansas Times, Meagan talked about how she came to understand "ternary counters," a base-3 method of counting in which only the digits 0, 1 and 2 are used. (Binary counters of 0 and 1 make up our computers' "thinking"; as people with 10 fingers, we use base 10 to count.) Meagan, trying to make a "self-assembling ternary counter," said she banged her head against "endless walls" for weeks. Then, just after 1 a.m., she woke up with the answer. It's a wise child who gives credit where credit is due: "I understood," she wrote, "my mother's advice about taking a break whenever I was upset." Meagan's paper on fractal self-assembly was published in the 22nd International Conference on DNBA Computing and Molecular Programing. She no longer lets frustration prevent her from solving a problem; sometimes, she'll just sleep on it. Meagan told the Times she plans to attend a small conference this summer and then take some needed downtime. She plans to use her degree from Fayetteville to pursue biomedical research.


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