'We're not stupid' 

Also, selective coverage of the Little Rock Nine in the D-G, a nominee for U.S. attorney and a plaza plan.

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Quote of the week

"We're not stupid. We know what's going on in this town." Minnijean Brown Trickey, of the Little Rock Nine, at a ceremony celebrating the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, alluding to ongoing school divisions in Little Rock, including the state takeover of the Little Rock School District.

Quote of the week II

"Proliferation of charter schools has given us cause for concern for the future of conventional public education." Gabriel Wair, reading a statement from his grandmother, Thelma Mothershed Wair, of the Little Rock Nine, at the 60th ceremony. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the editorial page of which has been an outspoken advocate for the proliferation of charter schools in Little Rock, included quotes from all of the surviving eight members of the Nine in its coverage of the ceremony, except for Wair.

Western District nominee

President Trump has nominated Duane "Dak" Kees, director of global ethics and compliance at Walmart Stores, to be U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. The position has been filled on an interim basis by a career lawyer in the office

Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton announced the pick. Kees is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. Before joining Walmart, Kees was an Army lawyer for nine years. He rose to the rank of captain and deployed in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Prepared statements from Cotton and Boozman praised Kees' investigative skills, courtroom experience and military service.

The Western District U.S. attorney, a political appointment last filled by Conner Eldridge before he stepped down to run for Senate, oversees prosecutions and government lawsuits in 34 counties. It is home to the probe that has targeted two former Republican state legislators, a corruption investigation that lawyers have said promises more indictments.

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NLR unveils plaza concept

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith presented a plan to the city council this week for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhance downtown as a destination.

The project includes water features, an audiovisual screen wall, and a "front porch" area with porch swings along Main Street between Fifth and Seventh streets, along with a performance stage and design influenced by the nearby Arkansas River.

The mayor says some $40 million in recent or promised private development is happening downtown, in part because of the allure of the as-yet-unnamed plaza. A cost isn't given, but the mayor said the money would come from city reserves, mostly from land sales made to private developers who expected complementary city development.

The design was produced by a partnership of TAGGART/Architects, a local design firm, and DLANstudio out of Brooklyn, N.Y.

White supremacists gather in Conway

Anti-racist organizations posted on Facebook photographs and news about a meeting of a white supremacist organization led by the infamous Billy Roper that was held recently at the Mean Bean coffee shop in Conway. The Mean Bean Facebook page was inundated with unflattering comments and vows to take coffee business elsewhere. All that conversation has now been removed.

In its place, Mean Bean owners posted an apology, saying a longtime employee had misled them about the gathering. The employee, who was not named, was subsequently fired. "We are appalled that the employee hijacked our business to provide a platform for hate and we absolutely denounce it and all forms of hate," the Facebook post read.


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