- The Thanksgiving eve open line
- UPDATE: UA names search committee for new athletic director; also sets game in LR with Ole Miss next year
- Memphian named as new Little Rock fire chief
- Little Rock dentist sues over his arrest
- Sarah Huckabee Sanders: No thanks for your Thanksgiving shtick
- Trolling for questions for our weekly podcast
- UA chancellor hits Senate tax proposal for impact on graduate students
- Former Death Row inmate Tim Howard approved for parole
- 30 Crossing bubbles up at City Board meeting
- Fayetteville City Council fills vacancy by appointment of Kyle Smith, leader of For Fayetteville
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:24 AM PST
Here's an open line. And a batch of headlines for the day before Thanksgiving — Razorback news, tax news, sexual misconduct news.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 11:09 AM PST
UPDATE: University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz has announced the members of a committee that will help in the search for a new athletic director.
Jeff Long was fired as athletic director last week after almost 10 years on the job and will take a severance deal worth up to $4.6 million through 2022, offset by any earnings in a new job. Steinmetz said there'd been a loss of confidence in Long. His decision followed a closed meeting with the UA Board of Trustees, a majority of whom also wanted to see Long dismissed. The primary reason was the poor performance of the football team under Bret Bielema, in his fifth year and with a losing SEC record under a contract that runs through 2020 and has a multi-million buyout clause negotiated by Long.
"I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas," Steinmetz said. "I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I'd like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor.".
* Lance Harter, the head coach of the Razorback
* Ben Hyneman, a Jonesboro banker who's chair of the UA Board of Trustees. Hyneman, sources tell me, was one of Long's last defenders on the Board.
* Gerald Jordan, the faculty athletics representative and associate professor of journalism. Jordan is black and the supplied biography notes his work in
* Stacy Lewis, a pro golfer and UA graduate.
* Peter MacKeith, dean of architecture at UA. He's called the only UA dean with intercollegiate athletic experience at the Division I level. He was captain of the soccer team at the University of Virginia and later an assistant coach.
* Rick Massey of Little Rock, a
* Bill Montgomery of Dallas. A former star quarterback at UA, he's had a career in investing in New York and Dallas and has worked in university fund campaigns.
2018 SEASON NOTE: The UA announced today that the Hogs will play Ole Miss Oct. 13 in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. That's the last contracted game for the Hogs in Little Rock. Jeff Long had angered some members of the UA Board by trying to get out of that last contracted game and play all future home games in Fayetteville, which has more seats and more private suites and the potential to produce $2 million more or so for the treasury than a Little Rock game. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has made it clear, however, that he'd like to see the Hogs continue to play a game in Little Rock every year. No announcement was made beyond filling in the name of the promised SEC opponent for the Little Rock date.
Had Long still been
From the release:
"We look forward to our return to Central Arkansas to take on Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in October 2018," Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples said. "I know Razorback fans will be excited and ready to cheer on our team in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup. Arkansas and Ole Miss first met on the football field more than a century ago and we look forward to the next chapter in this rivalry, in a venue that has hosted so many important games in this series."A funster suggests Houston Dale Nutt and his attorney, Tom Mars, as honorary captains when the Hogs and Ole Miss square off.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 10:22 AM PST
City Manager Bruce Moore has chosen Delphone Hubbard, a 22-year veteran of the Memphis Fire Department, to be Little Rock fire chief, succeeding Gregory Summers, who retired in August.
Moore, who interviewed two finalists, said Hubbard was dedicated to fire safety and community involvement. The other finalist was Brian Dunn, fire chief in San Angelo, Texas.
Hubbard rose through the ranks, serving since 2016 as division chief. Along the way, his service included time as an emergency medical technician.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 10:03 AM PST
KARK/Fox 16 reports that Dr. Jose Turcios, a Little Rock dentist acquitted of a charge that he'd molested a teen patient, has sued police officers who participated in his investigation and arrest.
Turcios, represented by Mike Laux, says one investigator was married to a dentist, giving him a conflict of interest, and two other investigators who were in a relationship and later married fabricated evidence so they could spend more time together. He said aspects of the investigation were mishandled and he'd suffered economically from an unjustified arrest.
Here's the full complaint, which names several Little Rock officers and state investigators, among others. Trucios was charged with kissing and fondling a 14-year-old patient who'd been given nitrous oxide during a dental procedure.
Laux has sued over events involving at least one defendant before — Tabitha McCrillis Carter, a defendant in a lawsuit over the fatal shooting of Eugene Ellison by Little Rock police working as private security at an apartment complex. Carter was at the scene but didn't fire the fatal shot.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 08:54 AM PST
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Donald Trump's press secretary, is getting tabbed a hectoring bully (just like her boss) after her Thanksgiving week shtick. In a performance often dripping with disdain, she demanded that reporters give thanks for something before being allowed to ask her a question.
The New Yorker covers the episode. In summary:
The President of the United States is a bully who makes a mockery of his office, democratic institutions, and the English language. So is his press secretary. On Monday, during the last briefing before the Thanksgiving holiday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders treated the White House press pool the way a sadistic teen-ager would treat a group of third graders. The journalists, for the most part, went along with it.Dana Milbank also ripped Sanders with a reworking of the old "I'm-thankful-for" meme so beloved by newspapers. For starters:
I prefer to share my thoughts of gratitude with my family at the Thanksgiving table, rather than when commanded to by a Trump mouthpiece. But maybe Sanders was onto something with her infantilizing of the press corps. Maybe in this week of Thanksgiving, we all should speak about what we are grateful for in public life. I'll star
He went on to praise James Comey, Robert Mueller, Angela Merkel, Sally Yates, Jeff Flakes, Bob Corker and various standouts in the Trump resistance.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 08:16 AM PST
Lindsey Millar and I will record the Arkansas Times' weekly podcast this afternoon and post it shortly after it's done. This week, we're soliciting questions from readers/listeners.
You can send questions to our Facebook page post;
Any that we don't handle on the podcast I'll endeavor to answer on the blog. Any topic is welcome.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 07:07 AM PST
Joseph Steinmetz, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, has issued a statement emphasizing the "devasting" effect of pending Senate tax legislation on graduate students.
He complimented some elements of tax reform. But:
I do wish to caution, however, about the devastating effects treating graduate student waivers as taxable income will have for our current 1,581 University of Arkansas graduate students receiving a tuition waiver, future UA students and the University of Arkansas as the land-grant flagship institution for our State of Arkansas.Higher education isn't highly
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:24 AM PST
Mara Leveritt tells me she's been told by people working on the case that the state Parole Board voted yesterday to parole Tim Howard, who's been imprisoned since 1997, some of that time on Death Row, for the slayings of a Little River County couple, Shannon and Brian Day, and attempted murder of their child.
The Parole Board denied Howard's release two years ago, though his resentencing to 38 years in a retrial of the case ordered by the state Supreme Court made him immediately parole eligible. The judge in the original case and prosecutor continued to argue for his incarceration. Howard has maintained his innocence and has had an unblemished prison record.
Leveritt detailed some of the ins and outs of the legal aspects of the case here.
I hope to elaborate on this later today, such as details on
UPDATE: A Parole Board spokesman said the Parole Board, at a meeting Monday, voted 5-0 to grant parole to Howard. He can't be released until approval of his parole plan. Several conditions were placed on parole., including an employment plan, periodic drug testing, no association with victim or relatives, maximum supervision for the remainder of his probation by the Department of Community Correction, a curfew if he is not at work, school or church and community service work if he is not employed. He also may not return to Sevier or Little River County.
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 06:10 AM PST
The state highway department's heavy-handed tactics to speed its plan to widen the city-splitting concrete Interstate 30 gulch through the heart of Little Rock is drawing some attention from the Little Rock City Board.
At a board agenda meeting Tuesday, there was mention of a potential future resolution objecting to the so-called Arkansas Department of Transportation's announcement from Director Scott Bennett that it would not fund some federally aided projects in Central Arkansas until Metroplan changes some wording in its transportation plan to explicitly approve wider freeways. The resolution could be considered at the next City Board meeting.
Metroplan believes the wording change isn't required for release of federal highway money. Also, critics of the action contend a
Can a majority of the City Board be mustered to express unhappiness with the effort by highway officials to hold highway projects hostage to fast-track the gulch? Sadly, some directors have made it clear that whatever the road building lobby wants (aka
Posted: 22 Nov 2017 05:52 AM PST
The Fayetteville City Council decided last night to fill a vacancy by appointment rather than a special election.
Alan Long resigned with more than three years remaining on his four-year term in a seat representing Ward 4. The vote for appointment over
I'm relying on the Fayetteville Flyer's detailed minutes of the meeting, which included the references of a stellar lineup of people wanting to serve. Kyle Smith, a frequent attendee at Council meetings, was a drafter and campaigner for the city's non-discrimination ordinance, for those interested in that ongoing legal controversy. He's president of For Fayetteville, the group formed to support the ordinance.
The cost of a special election and a delay of several months in filling the seat if an election were held were points made by those favoring appointment. The length of the vacancy was cited as a reason for an election.
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