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Trump's executive order on immigration is on hold, but its pernicious effects still squeeze Muslim-Americans like Rasha Alzahabi of Little Rock. BY BENJAMIN HARDY AND DAVID KOON





Round 4! Feb



Thursday, February 16! All ages welcome! | $5 over 21. $10 under 21!



Fri, Mar











Your Round 4 musical get-to-its: BR AE LENI & THE EVERGREEN GROOVE M ACHINE 11PM


All semi-final nights are held at Stickyz. Yet, the final event (March 2. Or, two weeks and a day later) is at The Rev Room.



And then, as if four nights of wall-balling musical excess weren’t enough, three weeks later we’ll convene for the…


on March 10

From Round 1 DeFrance

From Round 3 Rah Howard

From Round 2 Dazz & Brie

From Round 4 ?

Vidoe and updates at 2

FEBRUARY 16, 2017









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VOLUME 43, NUMBER 24 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each week by Arkansas Times Limited Partnership, 201 East Markham Street, Suite 200, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, phone (501) 375-2985. Periodical postage paid at Little Rock, Arkansas, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ARKANSAS TIMES, 201 EAST MARKHAM STREET, SUITE 200, Little Rock, AR, 72201. Subscription prices are $42 for one year, $74 for two years. Subscriptions outside Arkansas are $49 for one year, $88 for two years. Foreign (including Canadian) subscriptions are $168 a year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current singlecopy price is 75¢, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $2.50 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all single-copy orders. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents without the written consent of the publishers is prohibited. Manuscripts and artwork will not be returned or acknowledged unless sufficient return postage and a self-addressed stamped envelope are included. All materials are handled with due care; however, the publisher assumes no responsibility for care and safe return of unsolicited materials. All letters sent to ARKANSAS TIMES will be treated as intended for publication and are subject to ARKANSAS TIMES’ unrestricted right to edit or to comment editorially.


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Just talk There is a lot of talk about “stop the violence” and, unfortunately, talk is all it really is. Few people are willing to admit this, but violence is money. You have a problem believing violence is a big moneymaking market for mankind? The sale of drugs of all kinds is a multibillion-dollar industry. In America, money is power. The fight over the control of the sale of drugs has caused millions of lives to be destroyed. Violence among my people, by my people, is a disaster. People wonder why there is so much violence among black people? Well, go out and buy a copy of “The Willie Lynch Story” and many of your answers can be found. We have been programmed to be who and what we are; we have been robbed of all hope. Black people are like little turtles that are washed upon the shores from bodies of water by various tides. Few of those turtles make it back to the waters. I feel there is a concerted effort to slow or stop the advancement of black people in America. Unfortunately, when you stop the advancement of one American, you stop the advancement of America. Black people have been in America for many years. What do we own? We don’t own large factories or industries that are able to employ large numbers of people. So employment is in the hands of people who control whether we are employed. We are almost set up to fail. Our young people are either sure to be incarcerated or go to an early grave by getting into early trouble. Once they into the criminal justice system, they are nobodies. Many of these prisoners are right at home in prison because they have no real homes on the outside. Austin Porter Sr. Little Rock

wants it for everyone. That’s basically it. Rich Hutson Cabot

Promise must be kept During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a crystal-clear pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security. Now, as his term begins, older voters are counting on Congress to support President Trump’s vow. This issue is looming because some in Congress are pushing for a drastic change in Medicare

that threatens to increase costs and risks for those who depend on it. Proposals to create a voucher system, sometimes called premium support, could drive up costs that the 565,000 Arkansans who are now in Medicare have to pay out of their own pockets. And the pain will spread, as another 575,000 of our state’s older residents enroll in Medicare over the next 15 years. Arkansas already has one of the country’s highest rates of senior hunger, because of seniors’ low income, so how are they going to pay additional premiums?

The foster care crisis in Arkansas

WARM FIRE. Mount Magazine State Park #ARStateParks


The difference between left and right The breakdown of politics in America is fairly simple. Those at the top are for plutocracy, and the leaders on the left and right play to their respective bases to win votes. The upper echelon uses social issues such as abortion and gay marriage to keep the masses distracted from economic issues. In this way they can rob us blind while we fight over who is allowed to marry a person of their own choosing. The general populace, whether aligned with the political left or right, want basically the same things — access to health care, education and economic security. The difference is the conservative base wants these things for their kind only, while the liberal base 4

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Americans have earned their Medicare benefits by paying taxes throughout their working lives. As our new president declared last year, “You made a deal a long time ago.” That deal does not include cutting benefits and pushing up health care bills at a time in life when people can least afford it. For more than 50 years, Medicare has delivered on its promise, bringing health care to seniors who were once shut out of the system. Yes, health care costs must be contained — but in a fair and responsible way, not by harming hard-working Americans and retirees. President Trump understands this vital principle, and we urge him to remind those in Congress who do not. Larry Larson Little Rock

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My park, your park, our parks

As of November 2016, there were over 5,000 children and teens in Arkansas’s foster care system, 30 percent more than the same time the year before. During their time in the system, children may experience years of physical, emotional and even academic troubles. Studies have shown that kids in abusive homes may exhibit signs of delayed learning, aggression and attention deficit disorder. When kids are exposed to controlled substances at a young age, they may experience medical complications as they grow up. They may also encounter emotional problems away from home. Within just a few months of placement, many children show signs of depression and withdrawal. As they grow up, they are most likely to have higher rates of anxiety and poorer social skills at school. Adolescents in foster care can have trouble with academic functioning. When they come out of problematic homes, many of them show signs of decreased ability to concentrate, and they are likely to make bad choices starting at a young age. Studies say that more than 75 percent of teens in foster care do not remain in school. It doesn’t require lots of effort to help; simply showing compassion and understanding for the children is enough. The most efficient way to contribute to the system is by publicizing the issue to the community. There are so many people in Arkansas who do not know about foster care, and it would be best to educate the public about this problem in our society today. With the help of many caring people, the number of children in the foster system can be reduced significantly, not only in Arkansas, but all over the nation. Serye Kim Hot Springs

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Quote of the Week:

“You’re looking at students who are granted authority to be in the university system. They’re paying tuition — out-ofstate tuition, I believe — and they’re getting their education, and while they’re doing that, we don’t want to create a climate of fear for them.” — Governor Hutchinson, noting his concerns about legislation by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that would have stripped state funds from colleges and universities with “sanctuary policies” toward undocumented immigrants. The bill failed in committee as Hutchinson was making his remarks, though a similar bill targeting “sanctuary cities” remains alive for the time being. The Republican governor also made not-so-Trumpish remarks criticizing a bill from Smith regarding Sharia law (see cover story, page 14).

AG fights to repeal local LGBT civil rights law The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the legitimacy of Fayetteville’s ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, a law that was ratified by the city’s voters in a September 2015 election. Many cities around the U.S. have passed similar nondiscrimination ordinances that include sexual orientation and gender identity. But Republicans in the Arkansas legislature attempted to forestall such progress by creating a state law in 2015 forbidding local civil rights measures that “create protected classification or prohibit discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.” So much for “local control.” The Supreme Court will likely have a decision in the coming weeks. 6

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


be a sweet deal for charter operators in Little Rock looking to expand their footprint and pull more students away from the beleaguered LRSD.

Woodruff Early Childhood

Save our schools … or sell our schools? Education Commissioner Johnny Key announced school closures in the Little Rock School District will move forward as recommended by Superintendent Mike Poore — a surprise to no one, but a blow nonetheless for parents. Because the district remains in state takeover, the education commissioner acts in the role of its school board and has final authority over such decisions. Students at Franklin and Wilson elementary schools and Woodruff Early Childhood Center will be reassigned to different campuses at the end of the school year. The closures are necessary due to a loss of funds from the state, Key and Poore have said. Coincidentally, Republican legislators introduced a bill that would give charter schools first dibs on leasing vacant public school buildings. Could

Let the sunshine in At least one good idea may be going places this legislative session (fingers crossed). The House passed a bill by Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) that would increase transparency by requiring candidates to file campaign contribution reports online, thus creating a searchable electronic database. The state has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a better online filing system; Della Rosa’s measure would merely require elected officials to use it, rather than filing their reports the old-fashioned opaque way — on paper. A similar proposal from Della Rosa in 2015 was killed by her own party (joined by some Democrats), so the progress is encouraging. But, it could face a tougher climb in the Senate.

Amazon tax hits a snag A bill aimed at requiring Amazon and other out-of-state sellers without a physical presence in the state to col-

lect sales tax stalled in a House committee on Tuesday, just a few days after Amazon announced it would voluntarily begin collecting tax on purchases made by Arkansans starting March 1. SB 140 by Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) passed the Senate last week. But after the panel rejected an amendment from House Minority Leader Rep. Michael John Gray (D-Augusta) that would dedicate $25 million of the new sales tax revenue to the Medicaid trust fund, pre-K and other sources, eight Democrats did not vote on SB 140, and it failed on a 6-2 vote. The measure needed 11 votes to advance.

Legislative loser We’re not fans of the hard-right policies pushed by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville), but give him credit for this, at least: He’s lost 112 pounds since July 2016, down from a high of over 360 pounds. It’s an effort that won Ballinger’s family a $10,000 cash prize through a weight-loss wagering website, “I have 7 kids and want to be around for a while,” Ballinger said in a news release issued by the House of Representatives. “I knew I needed to do something.”


Home again


he plan, formulated months ago, far less sophisticated machinery was this: Ellen and I were going to go at great personal to Washington for inauguration fes- cost. A narrator tivities, then fly out the morning after provided history the balls for Panama City and a long and engineering MAX planned cruise to begin with a Panama details during the BRANTLEY Canal passage. day-long passage The Washington part of the vacation through locks and was scrapped by election results. But we lakes before we finally passed into the went ahead with the cruise, leaving the Pacific and cruised on to Ecuador, Peru country on the fine day of demonstra- and Chile. tions of resistance against the threats You can check my Facebook page for presented by the Trump presidency. I the travelogue and tourist snapshots, but was sorry to miss the massive turnout in the remnants of ancient advanced civiLittle Rock, but happy to be able to post lizations, wildlife, food, pisco sours and on Facebook the photo of a Washington the high deserts were all part of Latin marcher from Little Rock wearing the America’s charms. Some of the big cities pink pussy hat Ellen had knitted, one — Panama and Santiago — have forests of tens of thousands of headgear state- of skyscrapers. Sanhattan, they call the ments to the misogynist-in -chief. biggest city in Chile. Somebody had once said a Panama Our neighbors to the south viewed Canal passage was about as exciting as political events here as nervously as I do. watching paint dry. Not to me. The infra- “Mucho loco,” remarked a Panamanian structure geek in me marveled at this cab driver as he gestured to a Trump massive project, done originally with building in the city.

Who needs courts?


ot since the John Birch Society’s “Impeach Earl Warren” billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court’s school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge? Actually, it’s not. Donald Trump is, but that surprises no one. Trump impugned every judge who sometimes dared to rule against him in the scores of civil suits over his business deals over the years. When he assaulted the character of every judge who ruled against him in the Muslim travel fiasco this month, many saw the character attacks on judges as an unprecedented attempt by a president to undermine faith in a vital democratic institution. (Even his Supreme Court nominee was alarmed.) Maybe it was, but more likely it was only Trump lionizing Trump, which is all that he is about. Executive interference with the judicial branch is old hat, and nearly always futile. Franklin Roosevelt tried it briefly in 1937 with the court-packing “Judicial Procedures Reform Act.” Our governor tried it when he defied court orders to desegregate the schools in 1957 and was

blocked by President Eisenhower, who sent soldiers to Little Rock to enforce the judicial decrees. ERNEST Legislative tamDUMAS pering with judicial independence and the separation of powers is rarer, the most grievous being the U.S. Senate’s refusal to let President Obama fill a Supreme Court vacancy the Constitution intended him to fill. Across the country, newly emboldened Republican state legislatures are moving to reverse judicial interpretations of state and federal constitutions on social issues, apportionment and vote suppression that have thwarted the party’s ascendancy. But the Arkansas General Assembly is No. 1. A raft of constitutional amendments that shift historic judicial prerogatives to the legislative branch are working their way through the legislative plumbing. The good news is that only three of them can get on next year’s ballot and become law. Space doesn’t permit a full discussion, but here’s a digest of the most serious ones. Tort reform: An initiative resolution would effectively repeal a central doctrine

The Internet lifeline provided little reassurance to travelers, what with a Russian asset chosen to be the president’s top security adviser; a disbeliever in climate change at the EPA; an opponent of civil rights at the Justice Department; and a Wall Street titan around every office corner to advise a man who had said Hillary Clinton would be a puppet of Goldman Sachs. Last weekend, the reality TV show continued. With waiters and Trump resort dinner guests looking on, Trump and the prime minister of Japan reviewed documents and talked of a response to a North Korean missile test while unsecured cell phones pointed cameras and bright lights at them. The aide who carries the nuclear football posed for a smiling photo. Trump made the Japanese leader pose with guests who’d contributed money to Trump enterprises. And still, House Republicans want to investigate Hillary Clinton, not the now-departed Mike Flynn. While we traveled, news from home wasn’t so internationally consequential but it, too, was dispiriting. Arkansas legislators, along with Republican colleagues in many states, are aiming to

neuter the courts. (See Ernie Dumas this week.) Some want to strip equal education from the state Constitution’s guarantees. Still more anti-woman legislation will reduce women to chattel when it comes to reproductive rights, with one bill even allowing a rapist spouse to prevent termination of a pregnancy. Guns remain a sacrament. And speaking of the sacred and the profane: Sen. Jason Rapert has declared himself a full-time preacher, giving him leeway to solicit cash contributions to his “ministry,” which will include educating politicians on his sort of leadership. None dare suggest an ulterior motive if a corporate lobbyist signs up to “sow” Rapert’s Holy Ghost ministry with monthly contributions of $1,000. This hardly scrapes the surface. Corporate forces, particularly at nursing homes, plan to ask voters to put a cap of $250,000 on the value of a human life, no matter how cruelly ended by corporate abuse or neglect. But, advocates of this will say, shouldn’t the people rule? Life lately has been full of evidence that votes are sometimes made without a full understanding of the consequences.

of the Arkansas Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, the rules that protect citizens and minorities of all forms from tyranny by majority government or plunder by powerful interests. Art. 2, Sec. 13 in the 1874 charter is a ringing manifesto about the duty of the courts: “Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs he may receive in his person, property or character; he ought to obtain justice freely, and without purchase; completely and without denial; promptly and without delay ... .” The legislature is going to change Sec. 13 to say that it will curtail what a jury can award an injured person and what an injured person can pay a lawyer to handle the years of litigation that it takes a poor woman to battle a corporation in the courts. This will be a more reliable way to hold down your liability than bribing a judge to reduce the jury award. But the resolution goes further and takes away the courts’ power to establish the rules by which they operate, which the Constitution now reserves to the Supreme Court. The legislature would take over that function. The judiciary would become a satellite of the legislature, which already controls its funding. Vote suppression. The Constitution now prohibits the legislature from adding requirements for people to vote beyond those in the Constitution, of which the

Supreme Court reminded the legislature in 2014 when it struck down a law requiring voters to show a government photo identification, which many poor, black and elderly people don’t have. The legislature intends to put photo IDs in the Constitution in case, the Republicans say, a lot of unregistered people go to polling places and sign the voter affidavits of people who don’t show up. There is an actual record of a woman who tried to cast her recently deceased spouse’s ballot. School inequality. Two resolutions would remove the judicial branch’s authority to review what the legislature does on public education to see if it comports with the Constitution. Either would obliterate 50 years of history. The Constitution’s single mandate to the legislature is that it must provide an adequate and equal education for every child in Arkansas. Since soon after the Second World War, the Supreme Court has accepted its duty to judge whether the legislature and the governor had obliged the Constitution. It ended with the historic Lake View decisions. The proposed amendments would shift that role to the legislature so there would be no more Lake View suits. It would review what it had done every year and determine whether it was adequate and fair to every child. Who needs courts? Separation of powers, see, was a horseand-buggy doctrine, pointless in the brave world of Trump.

Follow Arkansas Blog on Twitter: @ArkansasBlog FEBRUARY 16, 2017



I Join us for Hope Wins.

A fundraiser to support Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County (SPSF Pulaski).

March 9, 2017 6-8pm Trapnall Hall Come out, have a cocktail, listen to live music by Stacy Higginbotham and enjoy Hors d’oeuvres provided by Capers while raising money to help single parents break the cycle of poverty in Arkansas.

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Drivers Please be aWare, it’s arkansas state laW: Use of bicycles or animals

Every person riding a bicycle or an animal, or driving any animal drawing a vehicle upon a highway, shall have all the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except those provisions of this act which by their nature can have no applicability.

overtaking a bicycle

The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a roadway shall exercise due care and pass to the left at a safe distance of not less than three feet (3’) and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

anD cyclists, Please remember...

You’re vehicles on the road, just like cars and motorcycles and must obey all traffic laws— signal, ride on the right side of the road and yield to traffic normally. Make eye contact with motorists. Be visible. Be predictable. Heads up, think ahead. 8

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


f the late, great Donald Westlake had written spy thrillers instead of crime capers, they’d read a lot like the opening weeks of the Trump administration. My favorite Westlake novel is “Bank Shot,” in which a gang conspires to steal a temporary bank building by towing it off with a truck, only to confront the reality — oops! — that Long Island is indeed an island, and they can’t haul the thing to the upstate boondocks without encountering police road blocks. That’s when things get complicated. Well, things have suddenly gotten complicated for the Trump White House and its timid enablers among congressional Republicans. Let’s put it this way: The simplest explanation that fits the facts could be that President Trump encouraged National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to sweettalk the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions imposed by President Obama for interfering in our presidential election, and then urged him to brazen it out when word of their improper conversations leaked to the press. Trump, see, would likely have been ignorant of the fact — as he’s ignorant of so much — that the National Security Agency would monitor the calls and that their contents would alarm intelligence professionals. Assuming minimal competence, Gen. Flynn — the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency — surely knew that the Russian ambassador’s phone conversations were intercepted. But he may have assumed that the president could protect him. Indeed, until the Washington Post put well-sourced accounts of those conversations on the front page, it appeared that the White House would brazen it out. Minimal competence is probably all that should ever have been expected of Flynn, who was sacked from the DIA job due to managerial bungling and a fondness for conspiracy theories. Seriously, didn’t it make you a little uneasy to know that the genius advising our impulsive commander-in-chief subscribed to the “Comet Pizza” conspiracy — the idea that Hillary Clinton was connected to pedophile orgies in the basement of a Washington pizza joint? “Lock her up!” the general chanted at Trump rallies. A Democratic president that appointed an aide whose previous job was starring on a Russian propaganda TV network …Republicans would squawk like a tree full of screech owls.

Meanwhile, Flynn’s not the first, and he’ll surely be far from the last, to learn that Trump’s insisGENE tence upon perLYONS sonal loyalty is a one-way street. The president appears to recognize little difference between running the White House and running scams in the cutthroat New York real estate game. But this ain’t real estate or reality TV. Trump’s foolhardy bravado is catching up with him fast. Maybe he and Flynn also assumed that if push came to shove, Vice President Mike Pence could be rolled. And maybe he could have been. That is, until then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the White House that she feared that “Flynn had put himself in a compromising position” and that Pence had a right to know that he had been misled. The vice president would be an odd politician indeed if the phrase “President Mike Pence” didn’t occur to him then. Yates, along with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, warned that Flynn had exposed himself to Kremlin blackmail. On CNN, the ubiquitous David Gergen, who has worked for four presidents, said, “It’s unimaginable that the White House general counsel would sit on it [and] not tell anybody else in the White House. In every White House I’ve ever been in, this would go to the president like that,” he said, snapping his fingers. Meanwhile, Trump fired not Flynn, but Sally Yates. On Feb. 13, Kellyanne Conway told reporters Flynn had the president’s complete confidence. Early on Feb. 14 news shows, she clung fiercely to the fiction that the White House had been kept in the dark. By noon, White House spokesman Sean Spicer assured reporters that Trump had been all over the situation for weeks, and had demanded Flynn’s resignation. In terms our Queens president would understand, Trump appears to have put his withered testicles right into Putin’s muscular hand. Also into FBI Director James Comey’s, who may feel the need to regain his forfeited honor. Do you suppose Flynn told FBI investigators the truth about his Russian contacts while he was lying to the vice president? And if not, then what?

Future is female


he question that is asked all over the state these days whenever Arkansas politics is discussed is, “Who will run in 2018?” Who will take on Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) and Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville)? Who will take on Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin? Who will take on U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton in 2020? Who will be the future of the Democratic Party in Arkansas? With the exception of a couple of names of women being tossed around in Collins’ district in Fayetteville and the announcement by Maureen Skinner that she is running for Jason Rapert’s seat in Conway, I keep hearing the same old names keep coming up as potential candidates — the names of men who have run for office and lost after running as centrist Democrats, or “Republican Lites.” No offense to any of these men, but seriously, Democrats: Why go down the same old road when there are so many eager women who would make ideal candidates and would appeal to the progressive, younger base that the Democrats ignore at their own peril? Criminal justice reform, marijuana legalization, public schools, workers’ rights, equality issues — these are the topics that get the newly active Democrats excited. Yet, these are the issues that many of the former Democrat candidates shied away from.  The Democratic Party in Arkansas suffers from a huge void of women in power. Just take a look at the state House of Representatives. Shameful. There are only three women representatives out of the 24 elected Democrats. Twelve percent. On the other hand, women make up 20 percent of the Republicans in the House, where 15 out of 75 are women. This discrepancy was even worse before the three turncoat Democrats defected to the GOP. In the Senate, two of the nine Democrats are women. Five of the 26 Republican state senators in Arkansas are women. At this rate, the first female governor of Arkansas is likely to be a Republican.  I hope these kinds of numbers for the Democrats are a thing of the past. Since the election, women have been out front in the movement many are calling “The Resistance” that drives the constant phone calls to our elected officials, the organizational meetings, and the frequent protests to express displeasure with the right-wing extremists’ war on women, science, immigrants, minorities, logic, reason, truth and just about every single category of people

and rational concepts except for white men and fear. Nearly every event I attend or see in NorthAUTUMN west Arkansas is TOLBERT either planned by women, primarily attended by women, or women are at the podium advising the progressives on how to move forward. I imagine this is true in the rest of the state. However hard we fight for the world to acknowledge that men and women are equal and should have equal voices at the table, it is impossible to ignore the fact those voices are not the same. It just feels different when women speak about the things important to us. Bless Reps. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) and Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) and the other progressive men in the legislature, but they can only carry our water for so long. We need to be there alongside our women legislators helping make the decisions. It feels different to hear Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) speak out in favor of public education. It feels different to hear former state Rep. Kathy Webb speak out on child hunger in Arkansas. At least to this woman it does. And it does to some other women, too. A good friend of mine pointed out after we left a legislative forum in Fayetteville that even in the most progressive part of the state, there, in the front of the room, were eight white men that had been elected to represent areas of Washington County. Not a single woman. Not a single person of color. It just didn’t feel right.  Democrats are facing a watershed election in Arkansas in 2018. Women are working hard to get involved on the state and local level. Denise Garner is in the running for the chair of the Democratic Party. The Progressive Arkansas Women PAC is actively recruiting women to run for office. There is a real danger in continuing to run middleof-the-road men who do not represent the more progressive values and identities of the changing party. It will take more than one election cycle for the Democrats to even begin to make strides toward regaining some of the power they lost. If they choose to play the long game and draw the progressives into the fold, the tide may begin to shift in the next few years. “The future is female,” Hillary Clinton reminded us earlier this month. I sure hope Arkansas Democrats were listening. 



18th Annual Oscar Watch Party

ROBINSON HALL BALLROOM February 26, 2017 Red Carpet Photo Paparazzi: 5:30 pm Silent Auction: 6:00 pm Dinner: 7:00 pm




Not worthy














FEBRUARY 16, 2017


here’s something to be said for an Arkansas basketball team that spends two-and-a-half games looking like quitters before rising off the mat. But after storming back at LSU on Saturday night, did the Hogs do enough to convince a fickle NCAA Tournament selection committee that they still might belong in the March Madness field? At this point, I say no. Splitting games against Missouri and Vanderbilt and having to fight like hell to forge a sweep against the worst Louisiana State team in a good while doesn’t augur well for the postseason. Let’s also revisit the Hogs’ nonconference slate, which at the time was billed as one where the team could make a little hay: * A 92-83 victory over Fort Wayne looked especially good when the Mastodons went out and beat then-No. 3 Indiana back before winter solstice. Now it’s lost some measure of luster because Fort Wayne has stumbled pretty badly in the Summit League, losing five out of seven and slipping to 6-6 in a league where it was thought to be a contender. * Beating Texas-Arlington, a prohibitive Sun Belt favorite, was a nice achievement in a way, but the Mavericks are part of a logjam in a crowded field that incidentally also includes a very good Arkansas State team with a record that, at press time, is identical to their Northwest Arkansas foil (18-7). * Stephen F. Austin, coming off a rousing run in last year’s NCAA Tournament, is just a middle-of-the-road, 13-11 team in the Southland now, a function of the team’s experienced core being gone and the team’s then-head coach, Brad Underwood, heading off to Stillwater, Okla., to take over the Oklahoma State Cowboys last year (more on that squad momentarily). * The loss to Minnesota wasn’t pretty, and sadly, while the Golden Gophers are a commendable 18-7 overall, the Big Ten is similarly situated on the national scene as the SEC. There are three viable tourney teams (Maryland, Purdue and Wisconsin), and Minnesota sits squarely in the middle of the league standings. So what might’ve at least been arguably a quality loss now looks like a knock against the Hogs when the selection committee is trying to separate tourney wheat from NIT chaff. * Oklahoma State has really used the rout of the Razorbacks in the Big 12-SEC Challenge to springboard back into the NCAA tourney fray, but at 16-9

overall, and having lost six straight at one point, do the Cowboys have a legitimate chance of reversing the BEAU course of the seaWILCOX son? In a bit of irony, it might come down to a choice between the Hogs and Cowboys, and if you were a neutral party, wouldn’t the 28-point rout that Okie State leveled Arkansas with back in January be a substantial determinant of which way you’d swing on the question? The Hogs’ in-conference performance is clearly damning, too. Mississippi State, Florida and a really mediocre Vandy team won at Bud Walton Arena, and the Hogs tanked road games against Mizzou and Kentucky in ugly fashion. At 18-7, 7-5 after the indisputably fine little bounce-back at Baton Rouge, the Hogs are just sitting there with an average and weird tournament profile, and not too many opportunities left to move the needle. It starts this week with a game at South Carolina, which, while definitely one of the premier teams in the conference, is imminently beatable and inherently flawed. The Gamecocks struggled through a four-overtime midweek game against Alabama, losing by four, and that showed all the chinks in the armor. Should the Hogs vanquish South Carolina and follow that with a clean performance at home against a steady but only NIT-worthy Ole Miss team, the 20-win mark is reached and there’s a little sunshine hitting the program at the right moment. Timing has been a real problem for Mike Anderson in his six seasons here, as the team has either limped to the finish or, more notably, spent only 40 minutes of court time at the SEC Tournament, where a team’s bubble can harden or blow out in a matter of a single sleepy afternoon. The best news after Arkansas woke up is that the likes of Dusty Hannahs and Anton Beard, two of the more seasoned guards in the league, don’t feel compelled to mail it in just yet. There was a plainly evident malaise in the losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt that made it appear Anderson was potentially overseeing his final games on the Hill. It isn’t necessarily that beating LSU with an authoritative second half gives him a reprieve, but it did show that there’s spark and a fighting spirit still emanating across the roster.

11200 W. Markham 501-223-3120


Love is a verb


t is Valentine’s Day as The Observer writes this, the day of chocolates and lacy underthings past for you, but still the present for Yours Truly. Such is the nature and curse of a reporter, to always live in everybody else’s yesterday, a day early and a dollar short. The Observer has long been lucky in love, having found our way youngish to Spouse, the pretty girl who let us borrow her “History of the English Language” textbook one day when we left ours at home. The rest, as they say, is alternative history, 22 years removed now from the moment we turned away from that still and loveless country where The Observer feared we might live out the rest of our days. Through thick and thin, brothers and sisters, she has steered our Love Boat away from the rocks to safe harbor, more times than we can count by now. She remains the best thing that ever happened to us, bar none, even including that time we kicked over a clod and found a hunnert-dollar bill on the way home from school in the fifth grade, then used it to buy a bushel basket full of Snickers bars and a remote control boat our brother promptly sank in a jealous rage. She is herself a dowry, as Shakespeare said of dear, doomed Cordelia in “King Lear.” How many of you out there have a lass like that? If so, here’s hoping you do as well at keeping her as we have. Speaking of Shakespeare, we reached out to our old friend Dr. Mohja Kahf the other day, asking for her insight on recent events in Trumplandia. A University of Arkansas comparative literature professor, she was born in Damascus, Syria, and is one of the most brilliant people with whom we’ve ever had a conversation. That’s saying something. We met her a few years back when someone dropped us a tip about a Muslim sex-advice columnist living in Fayetteville. In reality, she turned out to be so much more: a kind of philosophical freedom fighter, plugged into both the heart of America and the Islamic world, uniquely fearless. We met her at the Fayetteville Public Library and adjourned to a balcony with plentiful No Smoking signs. There, she pulled out a long cigarette holder, fired up, and pro-

ceeded to blow our everlovin’ mind on the subject of women in Islam. It was one of the best interviews of our career. That, too, is saying something. The good Dr. Kahf has plenty to say on the subject of the screwball comedy in which we find ourselves, including the fact that injustice and racism isn’t something that came to America the day Donnie Trump backed his U-Haul up to the White House. Trump’s travel ban, she said in an email, is crude, parochial, and targets the wrong people, solely by affiliation. “Opposing it has nothing to do with what some will call political correctness,” she said. “It’s not about political correctness: It just Does Not Work. Does not make us Safer. Does not make the country Greater — because it has no way of targeting the actual criminal activity but lumps huge groups of people to keep out innovative physicians and spelling bee winners and Oscar nominees and other greater-types and contributors to greatness.” Then, because Mohja is Mohja, she channeled Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and wrote us a heartbreakingly lovely sonnet that makes her point even more elegantly. We print it here with her permission.

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UNWELCOME How unwelcome am I? Let me count the ways Unwelcome with a visa or without Unwelcome as a refugee no doubt Unwelcome poor, unwelcome straight or gay Unwelcome to the depth and breadth and height Of executive (soon legislative?) reach Whether I come to learn, or heal, or teach Unwelcome whether black or brown or light Unwelcome si hablamos espanol Unwelcome iza mnihki arabi Though our kids mostly win the spelling bee Unwelcome but I love you, so just know That when you kill the lamp and close the door You lock yourselves in darkness with your fear FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Arkansas Reporter


Hail to the chief A Q&A with LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner on policing and immigration in the age of Trump. BY DAVID KOON

by the tail.” When you’re down there in the pit, things seem to change. If the federal government thinks they can come in and solve all the problems in Chicago, I’d love to see it. Many have seen that tweet as a threat to declare martial law if Chicago doesn’t “fix” its crime rate. In

entertaining more than I’m giving it substantive value. I just want to wait to see what actually happens vs. what this media outlet reports. If you watch conservative television, they’re going to report one thing, the liberal stations are going to report another. As an independent, I try to find where the truth is, usually somewhere in the


What do you think about the way Trump has conducted himself as a leader so far? I think from what I’ve seen from the president at this point is that he will be unconventional. I think that he will go about business his way. I think that we are seeing an individual who sees problems, probably, through a different lens than we’re probably accustomed to. I think that, as with any other president, there will be some things that he will do that we will agree with and there will be some things that we disagree with. That’s one of the downsides of being a leader. But so far, I think that we need to give him time to get his plan and his people in place and let’s see what happens. He’s only been in office for a couple of weeks and I think people are, in some instances rightly so, concerned. But I think he hasn’t been given time to roll out his full plan. On Jan. 21, in response to the homicide rate in Chicago, Trump tweeted, “If Chicago doesn’t fix horrible carnage going on, I will send in the feds!” What’s your reaction to that? Is a threat like that alarming to you as the police chief of an American city? You know, when you see tweets and 12

FEBRUARY 16, 2017



he following is the latest in our series of conversations with Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner. Given the confusion sown about law enforcement priorities, and particularly immigration, in the days since Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, we took this opportunity to pick Buckner’s brain on the personality and priorities of the mercurial man in the Oval Office. We spoke on Feb. 1, days after Trump issued an executive order temporarily banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

‘ZERO INTEREST’: In rounding up undocumented immigrants, Little Rock Police Department Chief Kenton Buckner said.

you see statements vs. policy vs. actions vs. behavior, I think we need to wait and see. I think that local police in some of these challenging cities, Little Rock being one of them, it’s very easy to stand on the outside and say, “Hey, why don’t you fix that or why don’t you stop the aggravated assaults, or why don’t you fix the homicides?” The best analogy that I can give you is, it’s very easy to stand outside an alligator pit and tell someone, “You shouldn’t grab the alligator by the arm. Grab it

the past, we’ve discussed the impossibility of finding a “penicillin pill” to fix crime issues in urban areas. Is it wise for Trump to ask for a quick fix pill “or else”? I don’t know what the president is asking for. I’m working on the local level and my direct reporter is the city manager, Bruce Moore. He reports to the mayor and the city directors and they report to the citizens. So, to be honest with you, some of the stuff I’ve been seeing is somewhat almost

middle. I think again, let’s stop acting like the sky is falling. It’s not. The same process that gave us Barack Obama gave us President Trump. We need to give the man a chance to see what he’s going to do. That doesn’t take away your right to protest, it doesn’t take away your right to disagree. I think he deserves an opportunity to see what he’s going to do. Trump has repeatedly called urban areas crime-infested. In response to


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criticism by U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) in January, for example, Trump said that Lewis should focus “on the burning and crime infested inner cities of the U.S.,” and spend more time helping his district, “which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested.” Do you think Trump is being realistic about life and crime in America’s cities? If not, why do you think he repeatedly depicts them as urban war zones? I won’t get into his spat or disagreement with Rep. Lewis. I think that he is a man that deserves respect considering what he’s contributed to our society, but I will say this: The statement of saying that a lot of urban communities are crime-infested, I would liken that to having a child who has some behavioral problems, or for lack of a better word, let’s just say they’re bad. It’s one thing for you to know that your child has issues and they’re having behavioral issues in school, it’s another for someone else to say that to you about your child. While I understand that some people will be upset and offended by the statement, it’s no secret when you look at the data that many of our urban areas across the country are crime-infested. Now, we don’t like to hear that. Some people don’t like to think about that, and if you live in one of those communities — let’s just take our community for example. I’m responsible for public safety. I love this city. This city gave me an opportunity to be a chief. There are a lot of negative things said about our city. I don’t like when I hear that. But when they talk about some of the challenges we have with crime, I have to accept it because it’s the truth. We do have challenges with crime. We are an urban community. While I don’t want to hear someone saying that about Little Rock, there’s some things people say about Little Rock that are true. We’re working very hard to fix some of those things, but it’s the truth. It’s the truth. That’s where, I don’t necessarily agree with a whole lot of things Donald Trump says, but some of the stuff he is saying is the truth. Little Rock is not on fire out there, though.

It’s not on fire! And thank God for that. We have a great city. Which is why I get so defensive for residents like you and I. There are a lot of great things going on in Little Rock. But if you hear someone say about your city, if you tell them, “Oh, I live in Little Rock,” they’ll say, “I can’t believe you live in Little Rock!” Yeah, we have challenges, but it’s a great city. On Jan. 25, Trump issued an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to deputize local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws. The order also declares that if a city or county is deemed a “sanctuary jurisdiction” because it fails to cooperate with the federal government against undocumented immigrants, those places could lose federal money. What’s your reaction to Trump’s policies ratcheting up immigration enforcement and using the threat of defunding to force local law enforcement to participate in immigration efforts? I don’t know what the federal government is going to do to attempt to force local and state municipalities to participate in some form of immigration [enforcement]. I can tell you that the Little Rock Police Department has zero interest in rounding up immigrants and deporting individuals who are not causing problems and have not committed some kind of serious crime. We have zero interest in that. Now, could something happen from a federal standpoint that could force our hand to do something? It could possibly do that. But I can tell you that anything we’re involved in will be reflective of our community policing values, and that we will do it in a compassionate way, and we will do it in a way that respects humanity. But we have zero interest in being federal agents for immigration. That is not our responsibility. What’s the LRPD policy with regard to illegal immigration right now? I won’t quote the policy to you, we can get you a copy of the policy. But I can tell you in practice, if someone is charged with a violent offense or a serious felony, we will call immigration in those kinds of examples. But for minor

offenses and misdemeanors, we treat them like any other resident of our city. I think that’s the practice of most police departments across the country. Just to correct the record, Little Rock is not a sanctuary city. Many of the things that they’re discussing are not applicable to us. Do you think undocumented immigrants in the city of Little Rock will be less likely to report crimes with Donald Trump as president? Of course. I participated in a Spanish immersion program back in 2004. I lived in a city called Morelia, Mexico, which is about two hours south of Mexico City. I stayed with a Mexican family who spoke no English. I lived with them for five weeks. I got to see a number of the things that cause some of our undocumented citizens to seek out better opportunities in the United States. I know there’s a lot of mistrust in their native country, and many of [them] bring some of that mistrust and concern to the United States. They’re already an underreporting community today. But I could see that being even worse if you have fears of state and local and federal agents having some kind of far-reaching immigration policies that are more aggressive. Is that going to make it harder to do your job as a police officer? It will make it harder to connect with those communities. It will make it harder to get those individuals to report when they’ve been a victim of crime. It will make it harder for them to participate in neighborhood associations or any kind of initiative we have with the police department. During my tenure, as you’re well aware, we’ve taken great strides and effort to try to connect with our Hispanic community. I don’t plan to do anything that’s going to erode the bridges that we’ve built or that impacts our ability to strengthen those bridges and connect with more people in the Hispanic community. I see that as an asset — that everyone should feel like they’re welcome in the community. But I will say this, and this is a strong “but” — everyone with any level of intelligence does understand that we have to do something to better protect our borders. We just can’t

continue to have the level of walking across in the country that we have. That’s dangerous for everyone. I don’t think the answer is some kind of inhumane [action] or something that shows a lack of compassion for the undocumented citizen we have here, absent those individuals who are committing serious crimes or felony offenses. Over the weekend, several court orders were issued by federal judges in response to Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven primarily Muslim countries, a move that had stranded over 100 green card holders in American airports and saw others turned away. There have been reports that Customs and Border Protection agents have refused to comply with those court orders. Do you think that the resistance to complying with lawful court orders by government law enforcement agents is dangerous for the country? I do. I certainly understand the rub and the disagreement that some individuals may have, but again, we don’t get to pick the laws, we don’t get to make the laws. Our job is to enforce the laws, and I think we have a duty and responsibility to do that. But I think in doing so, we should never step away from the values we have in our respective communities. The Trump era is shaping up to be an era of protest. There was a big protest at the state Capitol the day after the inaugural, and another in opposition to Trump’s quote-unquote “Muslim ban.” Are you talking to your officers about protests any differently than you were before Trump was elected? No. I think with protests, we respect the First Amendment. We respect your right to protest. We certainly think that is a part of the fabric that makes America the country we are. As long as people are peaceful, as long as they’re law-abiding, as long as they’re not being destructive, we will certainly do everything we can to ensure they have the opportunity to do that. Absent breaking the law, I think people have the right to exercise their First Amendment rights. FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Their home, too Rasha Alzahabi is one of thousands of Arkansans whose families have been impacted by President Trump’s travel ban. BY BENJAMIN HARDY


FEBRUARY 16, 2017


only domestic flights, Little Rock saw no dramatic moments like those at John F.



n Sunday, Jan. 29, a last-minute protest organized by opponents of President Trump’s ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries drew about a thousand people to the steps of the Arkansas Capitol. It was a large crowd for Little Rock and an especially impressive turnout considering many of those present had just assembled twice in the past week — a rally for reproductive rights had taken place at the Capitol the previous day and the Women’s March for Arkansas a week before that. But while those actions were driven by anxiety over what the new president might do, this one was fueled by outrage over what he actually did with his newfound authority. In December 2015, in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., by a self-radicalized married couple with sympathies to the so-called Islamic State, Trump the candidate promised supporters he would bar all Muslims from entering the United States. (One of the pair was an American-born citizen; the other was from Pakistan.) A little over a year later, on Jan. 27, Trump the commander-inchief signed an order that kept citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen — from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days. The order also suspended refugee admissions from any country for 120 days — except for refugees from suffering, war-ravaged Syria, who were banned indefinitely. The language in the order was so broad, and so legally porous, that even lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (that is, green card holders) from the seven targeted nations were initially barred from re-entry. Chaos erupted at international airports across the U.S. as the order went into effect, receding only when the ban was halted by a temporary restraining order from U.S. District Judge James Robart of Seattle on Feb. 3. The Trump administration appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which last week declined to stay Robart’s restraining order; the case is ongoing. Amid the turmoil, Arkansas has felt even further removed from national politics than usual. Because Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport receives

travel plans and sent a wave of fear and uncertainty through the Muslim-American community, even with the order temporarily blocked. Rasha Alzahabi, 31, is a lawyer and natural-born U.S. citizen whose parents immigrated to Michigan from Damascus, Syria, in the 1980s. Her husband, a cardiologist at Little Rock’s John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, came to the U.S. from Aleppo in 2001 and

WATCHING THE COURTS: Rasha Alzahabi and her family are anxiously following developments with the president’s travel ban.

Kennedy International Airport in New York City, where protests spontaneously erupted outside the terminal at which customs officials detained incoming travelers. However, to the thousands of Muslims who call Arkansas home, Trump’s travel ban is anything but distant: It has upended hopes of reunifying families, disrupted

is now an American citizen as well. They have lived in Arkansas for over three years and are raising four children in Little Rock. “My father- and mother-in-law live with us; they’re Syrian citizens,” Alzahabi said. “They’re legal permanent residents here, but, as you know, the executive order was so sweeping that it included deny-

ing legal permanent residents entry to the United States.” Although the White House later backtracked and said the order should not be interpreted to mean green card holders were barred, the Trump administration did not change the language of the order itself. Should a court allow the travel ban to be revived, then whom exactly it affects could change with a whim of the president. That means Alzahabi’s in-laws could potentially find themselves locked out of their adopted country if they travel overseas to visit family. “With what’s going on in Syria, they haven’t been able to visit in some time, but they have traveled to see my brotherand sister-in-law in other countries. My brother-in-law lives in Saudi Arabia. They were able to see my sister-in-law — who does live in Syria — in Lebanon last year.” Now, she said, “Frankly, we’re not comfortable with them traveling, given what’s been going on, because we’re concerned they may not be allowed re-entry to the United States, which is their home now. We really don’t know what’s going to happen. If legal permanent residents were being blocked from their own homes, then anything is possible.” Meanwhile, her brother-in-law’s hopes of one day joining the family in the U.S. are diminishing. American immigration policy contains a “family preference system” that allows siblings of citizens to seek a green card, but it’s not easy to get in the door — and the Trump administration wants to make it harder. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican who has allied himself closely with Trump, recently introduced legislation in Congress that would eliminate adult siblings of U.S. citizens from the family preference system altogether. “There’s a long line for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens as it stands — 12 or 13 years,” Alzahabi said. “But [Syrian] brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens were one group that the Obama administration had identified as maybe getting priority in being able to settle in the United States as refugees, and my brother-in-law had applied for that program. He was just in the very preliminary steps of meeting with the United Nations folks [to seek refugee status] when this executive order was handed down. It doesn’t seem likely that that’s going to go anywhere.” If reinstated, the travel ban would also prevent him from taking a trip to visit his family in Arkansas: “He’s obtained a visitor visa to the U.S. on a number of occasions and came and visited us here. The way it’s going, it doesn’t seem like he’d be able to get a visa anytime soon.” It is difficult to estimate how many

MAN OF FAITH: Dr. Mahmoud Hassanein, imam at the Islamic Center of Little Rock, says he believes Americans will continue “welcoming all people regardless of their faith or their color.”


people in Arkansas are affected by the travel ban, but as Alzahabi’s example illustrates, its shadow stretches well beyond those individuals directly denied entry to the U.S. Arkansas is home to Syrians, Yemenis, Iranians and Iraqis, most of whom are concentrated in Central and Northwest Arkansas and many of whom work in medical fields. There are not significant numbers of people from Somalia, Sudan or Libya living in the state, although there is a sizable community of Somalis and Sudanese just across the state line from Benton County in the southwestern Missouri town of Noel, drawn to the region by jobs in the poultry industry. Soon after the order was implemented, University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz issued a statement saying the Fayetteville campus included “well over 100 people from these affected countries [who] currently hold visas to study, visit and work in the U.S.” The university told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Jan. 31 that two Iranian students visiting family back home were prevented from returning to the UA and resuming their studies. (Mohsen Dadashi, the president of the university’s Iranian Student Association, said the two students were able to get back to Arkansas in the past week, thanks to the travel ban’s being halted.) A spokesman for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock said there were 55 students at the school from the seven countries listed in the executive order. The Arkansas State University system said three students and two faculty members were from countries listed in the order, and the University of Central Arkansas said it had two students from the affected countries. Alzahabi said the climate created by the executive order also affects Muslims whose families are not from one of the seven countries. “The executive order does say other countries may be added to the list,” she noted. “I know other members of our community, people who are permanent residents, who have canceled travel plans because ... they are worried that their country will be added to the list and they won’t be able to come back home. Everybody is concerned, even if they’re not from those seven countries. You could say everyone is impacted, because … everybody felt that it was a Muslim ban.” Trump insisted that his executive order “is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about

religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.” Yet Trump’s previous statements undermine that claim. Alzahabi said the courts likely must confront the question of whether the ban is an intentional effort to discriminate on the basis of religion. The 9th Circuit, Alzahabi noted, “didn’t get too much into the establishment clause stuff, about religion, but it did kind of touch upon the fact that you can look beyond the language of the order in deciding whether there was a discriminatory effect. The president did say that he wanted a Muslim ban during his campaign. … Rudy Giuliani, who worked with him on his campaign, came out and said Trump approached him and said, ‘What’s a legal way to do a Muslim ban?’ So even though the language [in the executive order] doesn’t talk about Muslims, and not all Muslims in the entire universe are banned … you can still look beyond the language of the order. … If the whole point was to ban Muslims from entering, that would be unconstitutional.” Dr. Mahmoud Hassanein is the imam at the Islamic Center of Little Rock, where Alzahabi is a member. Before taking the post at the ICLR a year and a half ago, Hassanein was an assistant professor of Islamic studies in English at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He received his Ph.D. in comparative religions at Durham University in the United Kingdom. “People have a lot of concerns … because they don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I’m Egyptian. Egypt is not among the countries that are in the ban. … But people say, ‘Who knows, maybe Egypt could be added?’ Maybe Pakistan — nobody knows. In such a situation, you can find rumors everywhere.” Because of the uncertainty, some members of his congregation are even avoiding domestic flights, he said, despite his efforts to assuage their worst fears. “I personally believe in the American values, and I believe that America will remain American — welcoming all people regardless of their faith or their color or these things. … But some people are getting their luggage, their things packed, they say, ‘OK, we’re going to leave anytime.’ So many people, they don’t feel comfortable. “What I’m trying to tell people is that we support this country. We love it. And we’re going to do our best to keep it strong and united. I have so many very strong relations with churches — with Christian, Jewish friends. … I


FEBRUARY 16, 2017


think things will be OK.” In the past few weeks, Hassanein said, the ICLR has received a steady stream of emails and flowers and cards from non-Muslims expressing friendship and solidarity. In a wall-mounted box prominently displayed in the prayer area of the mosque, the imam has mounted some of these well-wishes for congregants and visitors alike to see: evidence that tolerance across faiths and cultures can prevail. “As an American and a Christian, know that you are loved and supported by so many in our community,” reads one. “We are so sorry that you and your family are facing an atmosphere of hate and discrimination,” another says. “My family will stand with you and support you. You do not deserve to be treated badly. You are our neighbors and friends, and we value your contributions to the Little Rock community.” The ICLR holds open houses every Friday afternoon to welcome visitors. “We receive delegates, groups from churches, Temple B’Nai Israel … so I would say we’ve gotten very good feedback,” Hassanein said. “I was invited just yesterday evening by the Second Presbyterian Church to deliver a lecture there … so a lot of people now are interested to know what Islam is, which might be something good.” He was especially heartened by the show of support at the rally at the state Capitol after the travel ban was first announced. “The most amazing thing about the rally was that the majority of the people were not Muslims,” he said. Alzahabi said she was also encouraged by the turnout at the Jan. 28 rally, and hoped for greater contact between Muslims and others. “I think that people who have interacted with Muslims will have a more positive view of Muslims, as opposed to people who don’t know any Muslims and all they’re getting is what they see in the media. You almost can’t blame them for having an anti-Muslim sentiment.” Her own experience with encountering prejudice has been fairly minor, she said. “There’s been isolated incidents where someone might make a comment

… but overall, I think most Americans are not racist and they’re not bigots,” Alzahabi said. “I’ve worked in the legal field, and oftentimes I was the only Muslim woman attorney I knew. I wear this scarf, and I’ve appeared in courtrooms in Wisconsin, and I worked in Indiana, and I never felt that being a Muslim held me back or that anybody bothered me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell — you might get passed over by one employee because you are a minority, but there are others that want more diversity and may recruit you because you are a minority. So I think it’s a mixed bag, and I always look at the positive side of things. … There are incidents where you see racism and discrimination rear its ugly head … but I have faith in the American people that hopefully we’re going to overcome this and see past that kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric.” Nonetheless, the fact remains that Americans are anxious about the threat of terrorism and many conflate Muslims in general with violence committed by some in the name of Islam — something that most MuslimAmericans fiercely condemn. “No religion allows for the taking of life … people of all religions commit evil acts,” Alzahabi said. “Islam is a lot more similar to Christianity and Judaism than most of the American population realizes. It comes from that same tradition — we believe in Jesus as a prophet [and] the Ten Commandments. … And it’s unfortunate that we even have to go there and make that clear, but because of this rhetoric and what people see on the news, they’ve come to believe that there’s a holy war, when that’s not the case at all. I think it’s simply politicians using that to push their agendas forward.” Yet paranoid rhetoric against Islam finds fertile ground in much of Arkansas. Last week, the state House of Representatives approved a bill by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that seeks to declare “American laws for American courts” and is motivated by the supposed threat of Sharia — the canonical law of Islam — creeping into the American judi-

“I have faith in the American people that hopefully we’re going to overcome this and see past that kind of hateful and divisive rhetoric.” Rasha Alzahabi

cial system. Although Smith could give no examples of Sharia being used in an Arkansas court, he said his bill was necessary as a preemptive measure considering demographic changes in the U.S. Some immigrants “tend to group in small enclaves and they feel comfortable among their own people,” Smith warned the House Judiciary committee on Feb. 2. “What happens is there will be some elder, some leader arise out of the group who says, ‘We’re here, but we’re still going to run our lives based on law from our originating country,’ and that puts some people who wanted freedom at risk of running afoul against their own people group after they arrive in our country.” Hassanein testified against the bill at the time, given that it seemed motivated by hostility toward Islam. But, he told the Times, it will have no real effect if it becomes statute. “I don’t think it will at all … because if a Muslim is here in America, he should abide by American laws. The word ‘Sharia’ has been misinterpreted in so many ways.” Despite the enthusiasm among some Republican legislators for indulging Islamophobic symbolism, the imam’s sentiments are backed up by Republican Governor Hutchinson, who said last week that the anti-Sharia bill was unnecessary. “I’m searching for a reason for that legislation. I’ve been in courts, I’ve litigated all over the country and here in Arkansas, and I just have not identified that as a problem,” Hutchinson told a reporter when asked about HB 1041. (The measure is now awaiting consideration by the state Senate.) Hassanein said, “What people need to do is know what Islam is and who are Muslims. Muslims are not violent people or looking for violence. On the contrary, the word ‘Islam’ itself, it means ‘peace.’ ” He referenced the Jan. 29 terrorist attack at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada, in which a French-Canadian student killed six people at prayer and critically wounded five more; that atrocity should not be blamed on Christians or Christianity, he emphasized. “Evil is everywhere,” the imam said. “I love my Christian friends … and I read the Bible and I know the verses, and nothing there calls for violence. So if someone is committing a crime, it’s unfair to refer to his religion. He’s an evil person; leave the religion aside.” He asked the Times to end this article with a single sentence: “The Muslims here love this country, love Americans, and they are working day and night for the well-being, the progress, the development of America in general.”


RESETTLEMENT DIRECTOR: Emily Crane Linn at her office at Canopy NWA in Fayetteville.

Up in the air Canopy NWA, a small Fayetteville nonprofit focused on refugee resettlement, sees its plans in jeopardy after Trump’s executive order. BY DAVID KOON


hile many Americans reacted with general shock at President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning refugee arrivals in the United States, for Emily Crane Linn of Fayetteville the fear was more focused. “Immediately, I had a name, and I had a family that jumped to mind,” she said.

“I knew, ‘Oh my goodness, they’re not going to be able to come.’ So it was sadness for them, it was sadness for our community.” As the director of Canopy Northwest Arkansas (, a recently launched nonprofit that partners with the Lutheran Immigration and Refu-

gee Service to resettle refugee families in the state, Linn’s worries were soon realized. The Congolese family Canopy was hoping to bring to Fayetteville that week had its travel plan canceled by the U.S. Department of State. They were among tens of thousands of refugees, visa and green card holders whose lives were thrown into turmoil by Trump’s sudden order. Though many are familiar with the part of Trump’s executive order instituting a 90-day ban on arrivals from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia and Yemen — a lesser-publicized provision of the order halted America’s refugee resettlement program for 120 days for all nationalities. The day of the order,

the Congolese family that Canopy hopes to resettle in Fayetteville was literally packed to travel to America, after weathering over a year of intense vetting by the U.S. By the time they started that process, they had been living in a refugee camp in Africa for 16 years. “It was just canceled, just like that,” Linn said. “That was obviously — I can only imagine that was disheartening to them.” Soon after federal courts stayed Trump’s executive order, the family’s travel was rebooked. Barring another court ruling on the temporary stay, the family is scheduled to arrive in Northwest Arkansas this week. Canopy’s staff, Linn said, is holding its breath. “I need to be making arrangements for housing for this family,” she said, “but FEBRUARY 16, 2017


I’m wary of doing so until I’m sure that to a resettlement agency, Linn said, the to 50,000 per year, down from 110,000 by the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeresettlements last year. land Security and the State Department. they’re coming. It’s hard for the comgroup looks at its partners across the U.S. “We are struggling to know what the munity mentor team to plan. It’s hard “From the time that the United States to see which would be the best fit. for our staff to plan. We’re all just being Linn said that given the difficulty of begins considering you for admission rest of this fiscal year looks like, because strung along. I think a lot of people feel until the time you get on a plane, you are gaining official refugee status — candithere’s this potential ban, and no refuthat way. We’re just waiting to see what checked and rechecked and rechecked,” dates have to prove they are being persegees means no funding,” she said. “If tomorrow will bring and hoping we can she said. “Your story is checked and cuted because of their personal identity we’re talking about four months withor because they’re part of a social group, roll with the punches.” rechecked, everybody in your family and out refugees, that’s four months without Such is the miasma of funding coming in to confusion and fear that our organization from has clouded the day-tothat funding source.” day operations and future Linn said Trump’s of Canopy, one of dozens anti-Muslim rhetoric of small refugee-reseton the campaign trail tlement agencies all over was worrisome, but the nationalist and the country. Launched in anti-immigrant stateOctober, Canopy has a staff ments he’s made are of four and over 400 voleven more concernunteers standing ready to ing. “For whatever assist newly arrived families in Northwest Arkanreason, this is a pretty sas. While the group had recent thing that refuhoped to settle over 35 to gees have become kind 40 families a year — up of a scapegoat in the political world,” she to 100 individuals total — that mission is suddenly in said. “I’m not exactly doubt. Since its first clients sure how and why that arrived in December, Cangot started, but that’s opy has managed to resettle become kind of a worrisome trend among a a woman from El Salvador, two families from the Demvariety of politicians. It wasn’t just Presiocratic Republic of Congo and two families from Iraq. dent Trump who was Other than the Congolese using that rhetoric durfamily Linn hopes will ing the campaign seaarrive this week and several son. There were a lot of other cases — all from the people who were.” Congo — currently in the The reason refuUNDER THE CANOPY: Farah Abu Safe (left), a former refuge and an interpreter for Canopy, shares her story at a town pipeline, whether Canopy gees want to come to hall meeting in Fayetteville. will be able to help more America, Linn said, is is uncertain. While Linn that the country, as an said the organization will entity, is highly veneruse any gap in arrivals to train staff and you are interviewed multiple times, your not just fleeing danger and indiscrimiated. The dream of millions around the fine-tune procedures, Canopy’s budget name is run through a litany of databases, nate violence — the idea that terrorists world, she said, is to come here and make is largely dependent on a per-refugee your biometric data is verified. It goes on would use refugee status to enter the U.S. a life, and the refugees who weather payment from the U.S. government, and on. There are even health screenings rather than utilizing quicker and easier the long process to do so are living that methods, like entering on a travel or stubuttressed by private donations from you have to pass.” dream. She is worried about the damage dent visa, is highly unlikely. While Linn Once a person has been vetted, Linn churches and individuals. If there is a that moves like Trump’s executive order said, the State Department coordinates wholesale shutdown of resettlement prosaid she hasn’t gotten any indication that are doing to the country’s reputation with one of nine nonprofit resettlement grams by the State Department, times the U.S. is planning on shutting down the and standing around the globe, but she agencies, including the Lutheran Immimay soon get very lean. refugee resettlement program entirely, believes the status of the U.S. as a wel3.5” x 2.5” | Maximum Font Size: 30 pt The State Department, Linn said, gration and Refugee Service. LIRS works another section of Trump’s executive coming place will outlast the Trump era. decides which refugees are coming and with a network of 28 nonprofits in 26 order slashes the yearly number of refu“I heard a story on NPR the other day about the Iraqis who were cooperating when, often after refugees have spent U.S. states. Once a refugee is assigned gee resettlements in the U.S. by over half, decades in relocation camps. In the case with the U.S. to retake Mosul from ISIS,” of the Congo — the country from which she said. “They’re baffled. They’re saying: most refugees resettled in the U.S. have ‘I thought America liked us. I thought we Kelly R Journey, AAMS®, ADPA®, arrived in recent years, with 16,370 Conwere America’s partners.’ I think it does Knowing CRPC®, CRPS® golese resettled in 2016 — the minimum raise questions, but I think ultimately, Financial Advisor wait Linn has seen was 13 years. it’s more the idea of America. It’s hard our clients 10800 Financial Centre Pkwy Suite 270 Once refugees make it to the step in for me to put it into words, but it’s more Little Rock, AR 72211 personally 501-455-5786 which they’re officially being considered about America as an ideal than a country is what for entry into the U.S., Linn said, the led by one particular person. I think it’s vetting process is “intense,” involving bigger than a president, and people see we do. Member SIPC a deep dive into a person’s background it that way.”

Knowing our clients personally is what we do.



FEBRUARY 16, 2017


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The Argenta Arts Foundation invites you to our Annual Fundraiser at the Argenta Community Theater on February 23, 2017 for a preview night of The Secret Garden (a musical).



Arts Entertainment AND

HARD TIME COMING AGAIN: Rebecca Gayle Howell (inset) explores the Southern working class’ condition through poetry.

Believing is seeing A look at Rebecca Gayle Howell’s new novelin-poems, ‘American Purgatory.’ BY JACKSON MEAZLE


ebecca Gayle Howell, a senior editor at the Oxford American magazine, has written a novel that strips the Southern working class’ condition of its veneer, exposing a future economic and environmental catastrophe. Set in a locale that puts the “dust” in industrial decay, Howell’s broken passages recall the detailed descriptions of exhaustion and famine offered by the disenfranchised Depression-era voices in Studs Terkel’s “Hard Times.” 20

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


That is to say, this book has happened before and believably could happen again. Before you conclude that “American Purgatory” only appeals to the most cynical of readers, though, know that the book is also a mosaic of subtle, extreme — and ultimately, beautiful — poetic language. Composed of fragmentary poems, “American Purgatory” is structured as allegory, a vehicle for the lives of members of the local proletariat: Slade, the stoic preacher man; Little, the antiso-

cial visionary; and “the Kid,” a disfigured field worker. Through the eyes of an unnamed narrator, the reader observes these three enigmas in endof-time, after-work activities like minnow fishing, hunting practice and trying to locate drinkable water. The working conditions are poor at best — they include picking valuable cotton under crop dusters in an atmosphere “like breathing gasoline.” “American Purgatory” presents a nightmarish vision born of water deprivation and fatigue. To grasp the book as dystopian, though, oversimplifies the current state of the worldwide working class. In an interview with “32 Poems” magazine, Howell says, “I don’t think it’s foolish to think about work. I think we are in real need of a conversation big enough to include globalized war capitalism, exploitation, labor and the possibility of neighborliness. It’s a necessary conversation, as necessary as our conversation about the global control of women or the brutalities of American racism.” Howell’s fabulist brushstrokes cover all of these heavy topics. Abusive relationships, thirst beyond hunger and the unfair vetting for the hardest of wage slavery plague these lives, as if they were a single square inch of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” I wish it meant something. I wish a moon could pull so strong dirt would gush a well. I’d get my silver bucket. I’d open my mouth. The fire — it’s a game; one guy sets it from boredom and from boredom the other puts it out. Personal bewilderment, more so than dialogue, enables the poetic narrative driving the story; bird formations are isosceles triangles, cotton field workers appear to be angels and the sky mimics an abacus tallying sins. The Bible weighs heavily on the book’s symbolism, as do magic and superstition; snakes are the summation of evil in this world,

and water is its salvation — in an aurora borealis or ouroboros kind of way. The narrator’s elliptical interior monologues are mesmerizing meditations on natural life and existential terror — and the expression of “neighborliness” shared between the narrator’s retinue ranks among the most lucid since that in fellow Kentuckian Maurice Manning’s “A Companion for Owls”: PLEASURE DON’T QUIT Please that old song screams, and begs me, Don’t go. I hear it in my head in a time as this, when I am alone, and how Don’t go has all my days been my low-ditch song’s refrain, and how I have not known who it was a going, and how, turns out, it was me. Touch is water, when it’s kind, a cool pool I can drink and sink down into, resurrect out, rise up, rise up. But a heat vision won’t make it so. The books and paintings I’ve compared to “American Purgatory” were authored by men, but Howell’s poems find power in the feminine; queen ants, a pregnant dog and the narrator all share a common bond in warding off an authoritarian offense. Linguistically, death from childbirth is placed next to the burden of a hard labor, and a vision of water in a cistern is interwoven with “this is how my water breaks.” As was the case for Shakespeare’s heroines, or C.D. Wright’s, everyday vulnerability is a prick in the side, and those who stop to muse are met with ironic overtures. For them, to dream is to encounter the brave new world, and an old one, too. Howell, also the author of “Render/ An Apocalypse” and a translation of Amal al-Jubouri’s “Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation,” will read excerpts from “American Purgatory” in a book launch at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, at The Joint, where she’ll be joined by banjoist and fellow Kentucky native Brett Ratliff. Admission is free. “American Purgatory,” published by Eyewear Publishing, an independent British micropress, and distributed by Small Press Distribution in Berkeley, Calif., was the winner of the 2016 Sexton Prize for poetry.


Check out the Times’ A&E blog

A&E NEWS DR. BEVAN KEATING IS the new artistic director for Wildwood Park for the Arts, the organization announced last week. Keating served as the artistic director for the park’s summer music camp and festival, Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts, and will continue to oversee the academy, as well as all events in the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theater and the park’s schedule of visual arts exhibitions and festivals. He is also choral director at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and at Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, where he founded a multidisciplinary arts organization called Praeclara. “I don’t have jobs,” Keating said in a press release. “UA Little Rock is not a job; Wildwood is not a job. It’s who I am.”


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FROM A POOL of 52 submissions, the University of Arkansas’s Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop selected Jennifer Steil’s novel “The Ambassador’s Wife” as the second winner of the Phillip H. McMath Post Publication book award. Steil will visit Arkansas to accept the award as part of UCA’s Arkatext Literary Festival, to take place March 6-10. “REINVENTING VILONIA,” a tornado recovery plan created by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, won one of five awards issued by the American Institute of Architects in the category of Regional and Urban Design. After Vilonia and neighboring Mayflower were struck by an E4 tornado in 2014, the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District made use of grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce to hire the design center, resulting in a plan for what the center called a “safe room network … a modulated system of shipping containers that hold between 30 and 240 people. Landmarks pointing to the safe rooms function as community ‘hearths’ — organizing a set of public spaces, such as parks, squares, trails and neighborhood green spaces.” THE ARKANSAS LITERARY FESTIVAL, to be held April 27-30, announced its author lineup this week, a list of over 70 presenters. They include Natalie Baszile (“Queen Sugar”), Therese Anne Fowler (“Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald”), Marita Golden (“Migrations of the Heart”), Thi Bui (“The Best We Could Do”), Larry Brown (“Louie,” “The Larry Sanders Show”), Hussein Hussein (“Euphrates Dance”), Jason Zinoman (“Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night”), and more. For details, visit


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‘ROOTS’ ROCK: Brazilian brothers and Sepultura founders Max & Iggor Cavalera perform their 1996 album “Roots” in its entirety at the Rev Room, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, $25.



6:30 p.m. Revolution. $25.

Thank the gods for Black Sabbath and Queen, without whom Sepultura might never have been. Although the mind reels at what Iggor Cavalera would have done with the preoccupation he had with samba music as a young man, it was evidently a Queen concert in 1981 that turned him on to rock music. For his brother Max, the turning point was “Black Sabbath Vol. 4,” which he heard the same day the

boys’ father died of a heart attack. They formed Sepultura before either of them turned 15, and after a decade of tours and a move from Sao Paulo to Phoenix, Ariz., Max departed the band under dramatic circumstances in 1996, following the brothers’ much-heralded album “Roots.” It’s either a Korn ripoff or a groundbreaking combination of metal and the music of the indigenous Brazilian Xavante tribe, depending on who you ask. The album pays homage to rainforest activist Chico Mendes and to Lampiao, a Clyde Barrow bandit-

leader type whose confrontations with the police made him into a folk hero in the 1930s. “Roots” has aged well, too, so when the two brothers, having reconciled in 2006 to form Cavalera Conspiracy, neared the album’s 20th anniversary, they decided to go on tour playing “Roots” in its entirety — all 65 minutes of it. They’re joined in that endeavor by Cavalera Conspiracy bandmates Johny Chow and Marc Rizzo, and word has it they sometimes even rock “Canyon Jam,” the 13-minute hidden track from the original CD release. SS

ing style and comedic songwriting, until the show’s changing of the guard last fall after Garrison Keillor’s retirement. Public radio’s loss is Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series’ gain, and this entry in the monthly series at the Joint promises to bring the fun as well as his instrumental prowess. On the radio, Donohue — actu-

ally born in PHC’s hometown of St. Paul, Minn. — was often called upon to wield his wit with his guitar, a rare combination of talents that goes unappreciated in the world generally, especially it seems in the cold, mathematical realm of fingerpicking. See the face behind the fingers with this welcome performance in this series. SK



7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse, North Little Rock. $25.

If you know Pat Donohue, you probably know why he’s got time for this gig. Donohue dazzled listeners of public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” for 20 years with his bluesy fingerpick22

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


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8 p.m. Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack. $5-$10.

Our Round 4 winner, whoever it might end up being, has some work cut out for them. They’ll face off against DeFrance, Dazz & Brie and Rah Howard in the finals March 10 for a chance to secure a spot at Riverfest; a spot at Low Key Arts Valley of the Vapors Music Festival; a spot at Legends of Arkansas; a recording session at Capitol View Studio; and some real live cash money. Up first in the fourth round: November Juliet, one of our wilder submissions, whose repertoire includes a post-apocalyptic reinterpretation of “You Are My Sunshine” and the lyrics “East Block Nation/1985/Like Boris and Natasha in the heat of the night”; CosmOcean, a funk-flavored dance band fronted by espoused classically trained singers and whose lineup includes such highly relatable tunes like “Beer, Bread and Cheese”; The Martyrs, a straight-up rock ’n’ roll outfit headed up by Rose City tattoo emperor Scott Diffie; and Brae Leni and the Evergreen Groove Machine (formerly Soulution), a jazzinformed band backing a silky-toned singer who takes some major stylistic cues from D’Angelo and Earth, Wind and Fire. SS


THURSDAY 2/16 Misti Nicole Harper gives a talk at the Old State House Museum, “When Middle-Class Black Womanhood Shook the Pedestal: Intersectionality in the Build-Up to Integration at Central High School,” as part of the museum’s Brown Bag Lunch Lecture series, noon, free. NPR’s Southern Bureau Chief Russell Lewis gives a lecture, “Covering the South,” at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Darragh Center, 6 p.m., free. Gabriel Rutledge brings his competition-winning stand-up to the Loony Bin, 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat., 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., $8-$12. Central Arkansas Library’s Shani Atwood leads “Astronomy 101: Star Party,” an exploration of the night sky using the library system’s new lending telescopes, 7 p.m., Natural Steps Sports Complex, State Hwy. 300, Roland, free. Charlotte Taylor and her band, Gypsy Rain, perform at Cajun’s Wharf, 9 p.m., $5. University of Arkansas at Little Rock photography instructor Joli Livaudais will talk about the early work of Ansel Adams at the Arkansas Arts Center, 5:30 p.m., $10 nonmembers. The vastly undersung Kevin Gordon performs at the White Water Tavern, 9 p.m.

FRIDAY 2/17 DADDY ISSUES: Emily Maxwell, Jenna Moynihan, Jenna Mitchell (left to right) bring their “witch-rock” set to Maxine’s in Hot Springs for a free show with Vegas Verdes, 9 p.m.



9 p.m. Maxine’s, Hot Springs. Free.

Self-described Nashville “witch rock” trio Daddy Issues began as a parodic Twitter account headed up by then-Belmont University students Jenna Mitchell and Jenna Moynihan, but when talk turned to recording a song called “Pizza Girl” — also a joke — things got real and they added a non-Jenna, drummer Emily Max-

well. About six months after picking up their instruments, Infinity Cat Recordings posted their song “Ugly When I Cry” on Soundcloud, and the trio was whisked off to perform at South by Southwest. Not to be confused with the Greensboro, N.C., surf pop band of the same name — with whom Nashville’s Daddy Issues claims they will one day wage a revolution — the band released “Can We Still Hang” on Infinity Cat last June. It’s full of grungy guitars and “Rebel Girl”-style odes to self-assured

peers like “Veronica,” Winona Ryder’s character in the 1988 film “Heathers”: “I’ve heard stories about Veronica/Took her shirt off in the pool/She’s got bigger plans than all of us/She’s gonna steal the crown and rule.” If Hollywood’s Powers That Be ever decide to go ahead and make that fake movie trailer for “Daria: High School Reunion” a reality, “Can We Still Hang” might soundtrack Aubrey Plaza pretty well. Just sayin.’ They’re joined by Vegas Verdes for this free show. SS

be shown as a “catalyst for discussion about the role of the built environment, where design, art, culture and community intersect,” StudioMain announced. Also open after hours for ArtWalk: Mugs Cafe, which continues its show “Nature, Inside and Out,” printmaking by Daniella Napolitano and Carmen Alexandria. Napolitano was chosen to illustrate Karen Russell’s novel “Swamplandia”; Alexandria is a Little Rock artist whose work has been

exhibited at Drawl Gallery. The Thea Foundation continues Michael Shaeffer’s show “The Thrill of It All,” portraits of local drag artists, the subject of a recent feature in the Arkansas Times. At the Argenta branch of the Laman Public Library, see “Images in Pastel,” works from the Arkansas Pastel Society. Greg Thompson Fine Art opens its “22nd Anniversary Exhibition,” works by top artists from Arkansas and the South; champagne will be served. LNP



5-8 p.m., downtown North Little Rock galleries.

Argenta newcomer StudioMain, formerly on Main Street in South Little Rock, is hosting a “Welcome to My Neighborhood” exhibition at its new home at 413 Main St. (Argenta Gallery) as part of the art district’s monthly ArtWalk. The architectural collaborative’s designs from the past four years will

Nashville-based spousal duo Fort Defiance joins local jug band Sad Daddy for a show at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, 8 p.m., $7. Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass join Fayetteville’s Sad Palomino at Smoke & Barrel in Fayetteville, 10 p.m., $5. Wick-It the Instigator brings his electronic dance mixes and mashups to Revolution, 9 p.m., $12-$15. Texas country singer Roger Creager makes a stop at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, with an opening set from Randall King, 9 p.m., $10. Psychedelic garage rockers Black River Pearl take the stage at Four Quarter Bar in North Little Rock, 10 p.m., $7. Big John Miller and his band keep the dance tunes coming at Cajun’s Wharf, 9 p.m., $5. Dallas country rocker Matthew Huff brings his set to King’s Live Music in Conway, with an opening set from T.J. Ashley, 8:30 p.m., $5. Susan Erwin plays the happy hour set at Oaklawn’s Pops Lounge in Hot Springs, 5 p.m. Fri.-Sat., free, and Mayday by Midnight plays at the casino’s bar and grill, Silks, 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., free. Ol’ Puddin Head and Carey Griffith play a free show at Markham Street Grill & Pub, 8:30 p.m. Rhiannon Cortez hosts “Surrealism,” the February installment of Cortez’ monthly parties at Club Sway, 9 p.m. Southbound 420 performs at TC’s Midtown Grill in Conway, 9 p.m. Big Papa Binns plays a free show at The Tavern Sports Grill, 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY 2/18 Scarface, Mystikal, Trick Daddy, Juvenile, Pastor Troy, 8Ball and MJG join forces at the Robinson Center Performance Hall for “Legends of Southern Hip Hop,” 8 p.m., $52-$59. Drawl Gallery opens its new exhibition “North of South,” work by Northwest

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies FEBRUARY 16, 2017








‘KEY CONNECTIONS TO HUMANITY’ 5-8 p.m., Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery.

Several of Arkansas’s top African-American artists and a photographer who documents living conditions of African children are contributing work to a show that downtown gallery owner Matt McLeod hopes will “open a door” to a much needed discussion of race in America, in both “painful and joyous” terms. Erstwhile Arkansan Angela Davis Johnson, who now lives in Atlanta, focuses on missing and exploited women in her paintings. John David Pittman’s photographs focus on children in Kenya; part of the proceeds from the sale of his work will be contributed to Blue Door Sponsorship, which provides those children with food, education and medical care. There will also be objects by University of Arkansas at Little Rock applied art professor David Clemons and University of Central Arkansas sculpture professor Bryan Massey in the show, which runs through March 23. LNP



10 a.m. Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. $10.

If every science fiction movie set in the future is to be believed, robots are going to be a significant part of human life to come, and it’s probably best just to make nice with them. For this workshop-turned-robot-wrestling match, teams of three to five are tasked with the creation of a robot, and given materials necessary to do so. At around noon, there’s a break in the action for some beer and brats — open to any ticketholders, even those not competing — and at 1 p.m., the androids battle it out in a showdown. SS


of his new album, “In It to Win It.” “Stopping for me is not an option,” Wilson told the Washington Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Post last week. “While people Wilson’s work as Leon Ruswas looking at me funny and trying to figure me out, I was sell’s backing band may not have earned them the chart working hard in the basement. success they’d find later, but And when I came out the baseit proved their mettle early on, ment, I was ready to go.” In the giving Russell’s piano prowess last few years, he’s been honthe churchified funk it came ored with an NAACP Image to be known for. As talented Award and, in 2013, a Lifetime backing bands are wont to do, Achievement Award from BET the brothers moved upstage — which he accepted with an as The Gap Band, donning YOU DROPPED A BOMB ON ME: The former award night performance feasparkly cowboy suits and Gap Band lead vocalist Charlie Wilson turing Justin Timberlake and even sparklier guitars for retired from the trio after four decades, and Pharrell Williams that earned he’s back on tour with Fantasia and Johnny “You Dropped a Bomb on Me,” the channel its highest ratings Gill in support of his latest solo album, “Burn Rubber on Me” and that “In It to Win It,” 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20, in years. And although havtimeless ode to the thing that $60-$98. ing all those accolades on the got us all here in the first place, books is undoubtedly nice, “Humpin’.” They kept going for there’s a less official gemstone over 40 years, retiring in 2010, but evidently Charon Wilson’s resume: Snoop Dogg refers to him as lie had some more falsettoing left to do. He’s hit “Uncle Charlie.” SS the road with Fantasia and Johnny Gill in support 7 p.m. Verizon Arena. $60-$98.




Various times. University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College. Free.


9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $25.

Is there anyone left who cares at all about music who hasn’t heard Billy Joe Shaver’s epic tales of hard-won glory, profound loss and redemption? How as a young comer, he challenged Ol’ Waylon to either listen to his songs or face an ass-whoopin’? How Waylon’s subsequent album filled with Shaver songs turned outlaw country into a thing? (Let history show that Waylon Jennings is a music lover, not a music fighter.) How even Shaver’s song titles — “Ain’t No God in Mexico,” “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” “You Asked Me To,” “Georgia On a Fast Train,” “Live Forever,” “I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal” — sound like sermons from the one cowboy church preacher you might actually like to listen to? Similarly, it would be nearly insulting to offer more than a cursory rundown of Little Rock’s venerable White Water Tavern, one of the few venues still operating in the state with a Shakespearian backstory of fire, lust and violence that meets and exceeds that of Shaver. Furthermore, after, lo, this many BJS shows at the WWT, the reflected limelight of venue and performer are now shared to the point that everybody knows this drill — so mentioning you better get tickets now if you’d like to go is perhaps the most superfluous thing to say at all. The Salty Dogs open the show. SK 24

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


‘10 INTERNMENT CAMPS:’ Nancy Chikaraishi, Drury University professor and the daughter of two Rohwer survivors, says she hopes “to bring awareness to the consequences of fear based on otherness and prejudice” with her art, on display at Hendrix College’s Mills Library Feb. 21-27 as part of a series commemorating the 75 years elapsed since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.

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During World War II, the United States government was so afraid of an uprising from immigrants, refugees and citizens with a shared Japanese ancestry that it ordered around 120,000 of them to be sent from the West Coast to relocation camps in places like Jerome and Rohwer in the Arkansas Delta, with the professed goal of “protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises and national-defense utilities.” That part of Arkansas history was preserved, in part, by Hendrix faculty members Floy Hansen, Paul Faris and Louis and Elsie Freund, who documented life at Arkansas camps and staged an exhibition of artwork by Jerome internee Henry Sugimoto. Meanwhile, UCA graduate Mabel Rose Jamison was teaching “Caucasian Art” in the Rohwer camp, and saved her students’ artwork for later display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., at Little Rock’s Butler Center and at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. In light of those ties, and in solemn commemoration of the 75 years that have elapsed since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the executive order clearing the way for Japanese internment, the two schools


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memorative ceremony in the school’s Mills Library at 4:30 p.m. That will be followed by “WWII Internment and Conway: Lessons for Today,” a forum featuring Rohwer survivor Richard Yada, Hendrix President Dr. William Tsutsui and UA Little Rock professor Dr. Edma Delgado Solorzano at 4:45 p.m. in the Mills Center, Room A. At 7:30 p.m., Vivienne Schiffer’s film “Relocation, Arkansas: Aftermath of Incarceration” will be screened at Hendrix’s Worsham Performance Hall South, followed by a Q&A with Yada. An awful lot of inhumane treatment has been carried out in the name of “national security,” and it behooves us to revisit the ways in which xenophobic hysteria has affected policy in our country’s past, particularly now, when simply replacing the word “Japanese” with “Hispanic” or “Muslim” or “Syrian” makes the whole ordeal seem frighteningly contemporary. SS

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are holding a series of events to “pause to remember the people who suffered imprisonment, without any charges, without lawyers and without trials, and whose only “crime” was they looked like the enemy,” the event’s webpage says. “We also remember those who took a stand against racial injustice, despite the risk of being socially ostracized, to aid Japanese Americans amidst a climate of fear and discrimination.” Selections from the Gould-Vogel collection of Japanese-American Internment art and artifacts, on loan from the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, will be displayed in the Fireplace Room in UCA’s McCastlain Hall Feb. 20-24, and Drury University professor Nancy Chaikarishi’s sculpture “Life Interrupted: 10 Internment Camps” will be on display at Hendrix College’s Mills Library Feb. 21-27. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, Aya Murata, Hendrix College’s Japan Outreach Initiative coordinator, will conduct a com-

Arkansas artists, with a reception from 4-7 p.m. Songstress Bijoux takes the microphone for a show at South on Main, 9 p.m., $15. Boxers and kickboxers Kevin Henderson, Dawond Pickney, Tyrone Price and T.J. Brown face off at the Clear Channel Metroplex for 360 Fight Club, 7 p.m., $20$40. The Museum of Discovery explores the characters and technologies from the “Star Wars” series with hands-on activities, including “Darth Vader” Tesla shows and lightsaber building, 10 a.m., $8-$10. Skillz Barbershop hosts “Battle of the Orisha,” an open-invitation poetry slam, 6801 W. 12th St., Suite AA, 8 p.m., $15 to compete. CosmOcean follows its Thursday appearance at the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase with a Saturday set at Maxine’s, 8 p.m., $5. Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings bring their mountain music-inspired jam to Four Quarter Bar, 10 p.m. Memphis quintet You the Few (formerly Eleutheria), Mortalus and More Than Evergreen share a bill at Vino’s, 8 p.m. Rock Candy takes the stage at Cajun’s Wharf, 9 p.m., $5. John Neal Rock and Roll plays Stickyz, 9 p.m., $7. Discovery Music Competition holds its second round of semifinals, 9 p.m., Discovery Nightclub. Brian Nahlen plays a show at Cregeen’s Irish Pub, with Stephen Winter, 9 p.m. Across the street, Josh Green performs a set at Skinny J’s, 8 p.m.





ARKANSAS TIMES PRESENTS: ‘THE THING’ 7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $8.50.

Boasting what may be one of the most terrifying taglines in cinematic history — “Man is the warmest place to hide” — John Carpenter’s “The Thing” came out the same day as “Blade Runner,” two movies that apparently needed to age a while before they were appreciated. Worse, both preceded the release of “E.T.” by two weeks, a death knoll for a suspense film that opts for despair and paranoia in a moment that craved hope and violins. “I’d made a really grueling, dark film and I just don’t think audiences in 1982 wanted to see that,” Carpenter told audiences at the movie’s screen-

ing at Capetown Film Festival in 2013. “They wanted to see ‘E.T.’ and ‘The Thing’ was the opposite.” Originally adapted from “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell, the film was expertly scored by renowned Italian composer Ennio Morricone (“The Good, The Bad and the Ugly,” “Once Upon a Time in the West”), the man largely responsible for the sound we associate with spaghetti Westerns. Scream Factory released a collector’s edition of “The Thing” on Blu-ray last October, but it’s worth a repeat on the big screen. Catch our presentation of the film Tuesday, and keep an eye out on Soundcloud for an accompanying podcast from Film Quotes Film, our curatorial partner in the Arkansas Times Film Series. SS



8 p.m. The Lobby Bar. $10 ($5 for students).

With abortion rights under attack, the nonprofit Arkansas Access Abortion Support Network is raising funds to help patients who need help covering the cost of their procedures and associated expenses, such as travel, lodging and childcare. Though new state laws that have made it harder for low-income

women to obtain abortions are no joke, those who support women’s reproductive rights could use a laugh. So the AASN is bringing comedian Katrina Coleman, founder of the Memphis Comedy Festival, to this fundraiser for the organization. Michael Brown of the Brain Trust comedy show on YouTube hosts, and the show will also feature Little Rock comedians Kayla Esmond and Josh Ogle. Tickets are available at LNP


MONDAY 2/20 The Clinton Presidential Center offers all-day free admission in honor of President’s Day, including a performance from the Air Force Midwest Winds Quartet, 11 a.m. David Cutler, jazz pianist, composer and author of “The Savvy Musician” gives a half-hour talk, “Doing the Wrong Thing and How It Can Lead to Success in the Arts,” as part of his residency at the University of Central Arkansas, 7 p.m., UCA Downtown, free. Ronel Williams hosts “LOL Edition,” a comedy showcase at Cajun’s Wharf, 7 p.m.

TUESDAY 2/21 Trey Johnson and Jason Willmon play a free show at 109 & Co., 6:30 p.m. Saratoga, N.Y., rock trio Wild Adriatic takes its Bonnaroo-certified act to Bear’s Den Pizza in Conway, 10 p.m., free. Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon discusses the past, present and tenuous future of U.S.-Iran relations in “The Iran Wars: Spy Games, Bank Battles, Secret Deals and What Comes Now,” 6 p.m., Clinton School of Public Service’s Sturgis Hall, free. Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson, a Ferguson, Miss., minister and author of “Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community,” gives the next lecture in Hendrix and Philander Smith Colleges’ “Faith in Black and White” series at Hendrix’s Mills Social Science Center in Conway, 7 p.m., free. John Neal plays a show celebrating the release of his EP, “Dead Flowers,” at Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro, 6 p.m.

North Little Rock 501-945-8010 Russellville 479-890-2550 Little Rock 501-455-8500 Conway 501-329-5010

Follow Rock Candy on Twitter: @RockCandies FEBRUARY 16, 2017



Join us for our first ever BEER DINNER! We have partnered with Lost Forty Brewing to bring you a taste of New Orleans on Fat Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 28 • 6-8:30pm The evening will feature a 5-course dinner with pancakes, beignets & much more prepared by the @ Team. Each course will be paired with Lost Forty brews to highlight flavors, traditions and creole customs.

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201 E. Markham Street • Little Rock, AR 72201 501.400.8458 • Fb: At The Corner | Instagram & Twitter: thecornerlr 26

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


DEATH BY GUNSHOT, DEATH BY PENCIL: John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is back, and he’s landed squarely in the middle of the sort of stylized gunplay that made its 2014 predecessor an unexpected hit.

Kill, thrill, repeat ‘John Wick 2’ a crowd-pleaser. BY SAM EIFLING


ince the first “John Wick” bum- him the target of every contract assassin in rushed everyone’s senses at the end New York. Wick being Wick, he stomps of 2014, no similar shoot-’em-up through would-be killers like Godzilla, gangland noir has managed to capture its stopping only to reload and to not quite die. flavor: frantic yet dark, wry yet hyperbolic. The challenge stuntman-turned-direcThe plot — a retired hitman single-hand- tor Chad Stahelski faces is how to keep edly wipes out an entire New York mafia all of this carnage feeling distinct and after one of its members kills his dog and relevant within the story — because there steals his car — was like a monster movie is a ton of killing in this movie. In the where you root for the monster. “The placement of the camera and the pace boogeyman,” the doomed Russian thugs of the fighting, Wick often feels less like called him, and with Keanu Reeves in the a protagonist and more like an avatar in title role, there wasn’t anything remotely a first-person shooter, a live-action “Call warm to offset the moniker. This was a of Duty” installment. In close quarters, stone-cold killer hell-bent on avenging the monotony does get a break, as when his puppy. It was the stuff of a campy Wick has to fight a bodyguard (Common) cult classic that blew up into a stealthy on a subway car, or when he memorably blockbuster, and a sequel was inevitable. employs a single pencil to thwart a pair Alas, there was almost no way “John of assassins, or plays cat-and-mouse in a Wick: Chapter 2” could match the zany neon-lit, hall-of-mirrors museum installbleakness of the first, simply because, like ment called “Reflections of the Soul.” The the poor mafiosos in the first installment, action, though, can slump toward the we now could see the monster coming. rote. Wave after wave of minions rush Yet the second installment is eager to play at Wick headlong, as if he were not snapcrowd-pleaser. It plumbs deeper into the ping necks and shooting holes in them by parts of Wick’s underworld we wanted the dozens. More exciting by half are the stylish to see more of; namely, the illuminatiesque criminal network that supported glimpses of this underworld network Ian McShane’s comically genteel Con- that Wick is trying to escape. The Continental hotel in Manhattan, and a hint tinental’s decorum remains a source of more of Wick’s backstory without getting deadpan humor, especially in its newly too talky. We get nastier gunplay, more revealed Rome outpost and in its throwfisticuffs that end in stabbings, more gold back phone room, where a staff of heavily coins. Also, he has a new dog. It is cute, tattooed rockabilly secretaries in matchand it lives. ing pink outfits disseminate contracts via What he doesn’t have yet is an out. The switchboards and early-’80s computers. moment he finishes entombing his guns Touches like these are why “John Wick” and gold under a fresh layer of cement is budding into a franchise that’s promin his basement, a fellow hitman named ising a long run (as well as video game Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio, and VR adaptations). We got through an very Italianly) arrives at his house and entire sequel without learning much new asks him to return a blood oath favor. Wick, about Wick as a character. But someknowing better, declines. So Santino blows how that doesn’t make the certainty of a up his house. Wick relents, and is sent to “John Wick: Chapter 3” any less attracRome on a mission that winds up making tive.


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Sidney suffered twice the damage. So we offered twice the care. Sidney was working at his small business when he experienced a serious accident that left him with two major injuries. One to the bones in his face and one to his eye. There was only one place that had the multiple experts to treat his complex trauma—UAMS. While a surgeon from the Jones Eye Institute worked to protect Sidney’s vision, another surgeon performed facial reconstruction, making cosmetic repairs. Thanks to these two highly skilled specialists, Sidney was fully recovered and back in business just days after surgery.

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12/23/16 9:37 AM


TWELVE RESTAURANTS, FOUR proprietors and six food events have been chosen from nearly 300 nominations as finalists for the first Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Awards. Four awards will be presented, for the winner of the categories mentioned above and for a People’s Choice Award, to be announced at the induction ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Ron Robinson Theater. The 12 restaurant finalists include Jones BarB-Q Diner in Marianna; Craig’s Bar-B-Q in DeValls Bluff; McClard’s Bar-B-Q in Hot Springs (notice a theme here?); Feltner’s Whatta-Burger in Russellville; Neal’s Café in Springdale; Kreme Kastle in Blytheville; Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village; and Bruno’s Little Italy, Sims Bar-B-Que, Lassis Inn and Franke’s Cafeteria in Little Rock. Joe St. Columbia of Helena/West Helena (Pasquale’s Tamales) and Capi Peck (Trio’s Restaurant), Scott McGehee (Yellow Rocket Concepts) and the Continental Cuisine Partnership of Paul Bash, Ed Moore, Louis Petit and Denis Seyer were finalists nominated for the proprietor award. Finalist events were the annual Bean Fest and Great Arkansas Championship Outhouse Races in Mountain View, the Gillett Coon Supper, the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-Off in Stuttgart, the World Cheese Dip Championship in Little Rock and the Cave City Watermelon Festival in Sharp County. The finalists were chosen by a selection committee of 12 food writers and others. Predictions for the first inductees: Jones BarB-Q, Joe St. Columbia, the Gillette Coon Supper and … it’s anyone’s guess for People’s Choice. The Food Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Department of Arkansas Heritage. THE WHEELS WERE to begin turning Wednesday on the renovation of the upper end of Spokes bicycle shop for a kitchen, coffee shop and bakery. The coffee shop will serve Intelligentsia coffee from Chicago, both American-style and specialty coffees. The baked goods will be made in house. Work is expected to be complete in 90 days. Hours and whether the coffee shop will have a separate name are still up in the air. IF YOU BELIEVE that warm Toll House cookies might be the world’s best invention, you might want to drop by the new Nestlé Toll House Cafe in McCain Mall. The cafe opened Monday, and sells bakery goods, coffees, smoothies, crepes, wraps, flatbreads, cakes and, of course, cookies. Though Nestlé is most closely associated with sweet things, the Swiss company is also engaged in multiple philanthropic partnerships, sponsoring healthy activities and healthy food, safety, education and clean water projects, so that should ease some guilt (yours and theirs) about ordering dessert. Find the cafe on the lower level. BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON National Airport announced Tuesday that Chick-fil-A and Chili’s outlets will open on the concourse by the first quarter of 2018. 28

FEBRUARY 16, 2017


PERFECT PASTA AND A LIGHT SIDE: The olive pasta topped with grilled chicken and a basil pesto sauce was a winner at Milford Track. Ditto for the spinach blueberry salad.

Head down Milford Track Homemade pasta for the discriminating customer.


f you’re looking to eat at Milford Track, you might be looking for a while. After driving in circles and wandering aimlessly through a couple of parking lots, we eventually found the restaurant, tucked away on the bottom floor of the Searcy Building off Executive Center Drive in West Little Rock. Its ambition and cuisine exceed its modest footprint. There are only a few small tables. The expansive menu is scrawled across a chalkboard-painted wall, just behind the glass counter filled with ready-togo desserts made for folks who pop in on their lunch breaks or come down for an afternoon snack. There are old pictures, posters and knickknacks hung on the wall — trin-

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kets that immediately give you the impression you’re in a place that has become a family’s life’s work. It looks lived-in, from years of busy lunches, cranking out salads and sandwiches for 9-to-5ers who work in the building and for those who venture over looking for something special. Kay Clark, the general manager, opened Milford Track 28 years ago. She had started her career as a social worker and eventually found out she couldn’t effect as much change as she would’ve liked. So she did what disillusioned social workers do and bought some farmland out in Faulkner County and started an organic farm. She figured, what the hell? And it worked. She started farming and that

led to an apple orchard called Sweet Apple Farms (a moniker she still uses today to sell canned goods out of the restaurant). Clark was cooking for small parties and catering family dinners when one of her clients was building a business complex in West Little Rock. He said there was a place on the bottom floor carved out for a dining establishment and asked if she would come take a look. “When I saw this setting, and the lake, and the trees, I knew I could do it,” Clark says. “And I’ve never regretted the location, although it’s hard to find.” The view is idyllic, overlooking a small, man-made lake, surrounded by a tree-lined ridge and populated by geese that shake, flutter, and dip their beaks into the water. It’s hard to find, but that’s OK with Clark. “It appeals to a more discriminating customer,” she says. “It’s not fast-food.” And she’s right. Don’t go if you’re in a hurry. Go when it’s nice outside and you can take a seat on the patio and enjoy the view. Pasta at Milford Track has achieved an almost mythic status in our imagination over the years. We’ve


Check out the Times’ food blog, Eat Arkansas

heard about it from friends and fellow foodies but had never made the trek to try it ourselves. It’s just not a place that pops up on our mental restaurant Rolodex when hunger strikes. It will from now on. There are many pastas and sauces from which to choose. You can build your own plate: Select your type of pasta, sauce and then add chicken or fish. Clark makes cilantro, chili, whole wheat, olive, spinach, lemon pepper and rosemary basil pasta (among others). “And we’ll make any other flavor people suggest,” she says. You can top that with your choice of sauce: basil pesto, Alfredo, marinara, tomato parsley, cilantro pesto, pepper garlic, black bean chili or Raphael (a marinarabased sauce with artichoke hearts). We narrowed it down to olive pasta with basil pesto sauce and added chicken ($8.50). The pasta itself was hearty, cut into wide strips like fettuccini. It was cooked properly (al dente) and tasted of, well, good black olives. It’s one of the only times we’ve ever had pasta almost as flavorful as the sauce coating it. The basil pesto was lightly applied, but had a rich and creamy texture. Flecked with

Parmesan, it was warm, satisfying and complementary. It was one hell of a meal, something at once comforting and elevated. The lemony, peppery chicken was nicely grilled and went well with the dish it topped. It was a favorite of the table. We also ordered chili pasta with black bean chili sauce ($8.50). Fans of Frito pie will find lots to love here. The chili pasta had an orange hue and tasted like homemade chili. The black beans were a nice touch, but didn’t exactly constitute a “sauce.” It’s a hearty dish, topped with shredded cheese and chopped tomatoes. Definitely comfort food for the super hungry or the hungover. We needed something a bit lighter, so we ordered the spinach blueberry salad as a side ($7.50). Blueberries, strawberries, feta cheese and sliced almonds rest on top of spinach greens. The dressing is a yogurt-like vinaigrette that drizzles but doesn’t drown out other flavors; it provides a nice zing. The pasta at Milford Track is worth the effort and the wait. On a busy Saturday, it took a while to get our food, which didn’t bother us, but might others. But that’s the price you pay for made-toorder food. Clark prides herself on cooking everything fresh, every day. If you don’t like that, there are other places to eat that are way easier to find.




Milford Track

Searcy Building 10809 Executive Center Drive Little Rock 223-2257 QUICK BITE Don’t ignore the sandwiches on the Track’s menu. The Shug’s Roast Beef is a winner of a sandwich, and at $6.50 it’s a steal. Thinly sliced roast beef is soaked in a homemade spicy vinegar-based barbecue sauce and topped with grilled jalapenos, onions and mushrooms. We could’ve done with grilled, or even toasted bread, but this sandwich will cure what ails you. The crispy chicken sandwich ($5.50 and usually sold as a wrap) is made from delicious homemade handbattered chicken strips, lettuce, tomato and mayo. It’s killer. HOURS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

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DI S COV E R MUS IC COM PET IT ION 7 weeks of music with 8 bands competing Grand Prize: $2000 cash and 4 hours of studio time at Blue Chair Studios

ROUND 6: SEMI-FINALS | THE FUNK DONORS VS. BRIAN MULLEN| FEBRUARY 18 Doors at 9pm, Show at 10pm Cover is $10 (includes entry to Discovery Lobby and Disco-Tech after the show) 1021 Jessie Rd, Little Rock • 501-666-6900 •

OTHER INFO Credit cards accepted. No alcohol. FEBRUARY 16, 2017





Musicians Showcase Semifinals: Round Four


Argenta Arts Acoustic Music Series



Patrick Donohue Argenta Arts Foundation


The Secret Garden: AAF Night at the Theater




2017 Easterseals Arkansas Fashion Event


Wolfe Street Foundation


Watch Party and Banquet for the 89th Academy Awards


Responsibilities: Provide direct primary medical care for all patients in accordance with the physician’s neurology medical specialty; professional, teaching, research &/or administrative functions; provide ongoing inpatient, outpatient, transfers, & urgent / emergent patient care; consultation, assessment, diagnosis, & treatment of acute & critically ill patients in neurologically-related symptoms; perform & interpret neurological tests for inpatients; collaboration with all levels of hospital staff to facilitate quality patient care with optimal clinical outcomes. Education & experience requirements: Graduate of an accredited medical school with a degree of Doctor of Medicine, completed Residency in Neurology, must be Board Certified or Board Eligible in Neurology; & AR Medical License. To apply, email resume to: AHG/ Baptist Health, ATTN: Claire Pittman, Physician Recruiter at

Directed by Jamie Scott Blakey and Sarah Scott Blakey Music Direction by Jeannie Scott Cross February 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 2017 $16 Adults $12 Students & Seniors THURSDAY DISCOUNT: $2 off “Date Night Discount” Our 24th Season Is Sponsored by Piano Kraft For more information contact us at 501.374.3761 or www.

1001 W. 7th St. Little Rock, AR 72201

@ the Corner


Pancake Supper with Lost Forty Brewing

28 MAR

United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas


UCP’s Putt Putt Pub Crawl

Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County



Hope Wins!


Buffalo River Watershed Alliance


Sing Out for the Buffalo


ACANSA Arts Festival


Arkansas Made Arkansas Proud

Fundraiser featuring Nora Jane Struthers and Joe Overton


Fine Art and Craft Preview Party and Silent Auction with heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. $25

31 Come shop and celebrate Arkansas and our world-class craftspeople

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EVERYONE MUST PAY TAXES FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24 AT 6:30 PM In Spanish with English subtitles



FRIDAY MARCH 31, 6 P.M. TO 9P.M. Preview Party and Private Shopping event at War Memorial Stadium.

Brought to you by War Memorial Stadium and the Arkansas Times

Wine, Beer, Heavy Hor d’oeuvres and Silent Auction Tickets $25 at Please purchase your tickets online early. Tickets are limited.

SATURDAY APRIL 1 10A.M. TO 7 P.M. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC Visit with Arkansas artisans and see some of the finest work in America. Textiles, metal, glass, fine art, jewelry, wood, food and more!

Admission only $5 at the door! Food and drinks available for purchase.

For more information call Vickie Hart, 501 529 7624 or email at


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FEBRUARY 16, 2017


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MICHEL LEIDERMANN, President (Minority Business - AR State Vendor) • Mobile: (501) 993-3572




IN THE MATTER OF A Child ALLEGED TO BE A Child IN NEED OF SERVICES HR - DOB 2/9/2001 (Minor child) AND Katie Dodd, Mother Tony Ronnbeck, Father (Parents)


TO: Tony Ronnbeck; NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to the above noted parent whose whereabouts are unknown, that the Indiana Department of Child Services has filed its Verified Petition Alleging the child to be in Need of Services, in accordance with I.C. 31-34-9-3, and that an adjudication hearing has been scheduled with the Court. YOU ARE HEREBY COMMANDED to appear before the Judge of the Dubois Circuit Court, 1 Courthouse Square, Jasper, IN 47546 - 812-481-7020 for an Initial Hearing on 4/17/2017 at 3:00 PM. At said hearing, the Court will consider the Petition and evidence thereon and will render its decision as to whether the above named minor child is a child in need of services and shall enter adjudication accordingly. Your failure to appear after lawful notice will be deemed as your default and waiver to be present at said hearing. UPON ENTRY OF SAID ADJUDICATION, A DISPOSITIONAL HEARING will be held in which the Court will consider (1) Alternatives for the care, treatment, or rehabilitation for the child; (2) The necessity, nature, and extent of your participation in the program of care, treatment, or rehabilitation for the child; and (3) Your financial responsibility for any services provided for the parent, guardian or custodian of the child including child support. YOU MUST RESPOND by appearing in person or by an attorney within thirty (30) days after the last publication of this notice, and in the event you fail to do so, an adjudication on said petition and a dispositional decree may be entered against you without further notice. Dated this 31st day of January, 2017 Bridgette Jarboe, Clerk Evan Biesterveld, 33960-63 Attorney, Indiana Department of Child Services, 1045 Wernsing Rd., Jasper, IN 47546 Office:  812-482-2585 FEBRUARY 16, 2017


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FEBRUARY 16, 2017


Arkansas Times - February 16, 2017  

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