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SAFETY FIRST: But V.L. Cox finds a second use for her mask: To show her support by the Mattachine Society, one of the earliest gay rights groups in the United States.
18 DISPATCHES FROM THE COVID-19 FRONT
A nurse describes the ICU scene; a pediatrician is quarantined; a man in the furniture business helps the state find PPE; a grocery store owner sends masks; a child thanks health care providers. By Leslie Newell Peacock
29 ARKANSAS TIMES ALL-STARS
A salute to our 26th team of stellar high school seniors.
9 THE FRONT
The Inconsequential News Quiz: It’s Good to be Tiger King Edition Big Pic: Mask-erade
13 THE STAY-AT-HOME TO-DO LIST
Livestreaming local bands, websites to shelter with, ASO online, virtual film series, meteor shower and more. 4 MAY 2020
16 NEWS & POLITICS
The plague and “The Plague.” By Ernie Dumas
Artist Oluwatobi Adewumi draws on African roots. By Tara Stickley
The eradication of Texas tick fever and its parallels to today’s pandemic. By Blake Perkins
64 CROSSWORD 66 THE OBSERVER
Some dispensaries offering medical marijuana to go, instore safety measures. By Matt McNair
ON THE COVER: Dr. Nicole Massoll consults with a visitor to UAMS’ drive-through COVID-19 screening. Photo by Brian Chilson.
For 140 years, you’ve known UAMS as the state’s health care leader… where the brightest minds deliver advanced treatments. Now more than ever, you depend on UAMS to care for not only you and your family, but your friends, your coworkers and more during this unprecedented time in history. Fighting COVID-19 has been a challenge worldwide, but we are dedicated to doing everything we can to beat this virus. More than a hospital. More than a health sciences university. And more than cutting edge research. UAMS is an integrated health system — one that serves all of the state, ensuring better access and, ultimately, a better state of health for each and every Arkansan. For the latest COVID-19 information and resources, visit UAMShealth.com/coronavirus. UAMShealth.com
62nd Annual Delta Exhibition Artists
PUBLISHER Alan Leveritt EDITOR Lindsey Millar CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mandy Keener SENIOR EDITOR Max Brantley MANAGING EDITOR Leslie Newell Peacock ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Stephanie Smittle CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Benjamin Hardy, Mara Leveritt PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Chilson DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY Jordan Little
CYNTHIA KRESSE “Fenceline and Chicken House” pastel on paper, 24” x 24”
LOUIS WATTS “Olive Branch (Ship Minerva Series)” graphite on paper mounting on panel, 8” x 6”
ROBIN HAZARD “A Little Pot of Oregano” oil on canvas, 60” x 48
ADVERTISING ART DIRECTOR Mike Spain GRAPHIC DESIGNER Katie Hassell DIGITAL MARKETING SPECIALIST Lucy Baehr DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING Phyllis A. Britton ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Brooke Wallace, Lee Major and Terrell Jacob ADVERTISING TRAFFIC MANAGER Roland R. Gladden IT DIRECTOR Robert Curfman CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Anitra Hickman CONTROLLER Weldon Wilson BILLING/COLLECTIONS Charlotte Key PRODUCTION MANAGER Ira Hocut (1954-2009)
RAY ALLEN PARKER “Bodhi’s Mom” oil on canvas, 48” x 36”
ANAIS DASSE’ “Hog Hunting” mixed media on paper
BOSWELL MOUROT FINE ART For further information and appointments call 501-664-0030 or 501-454-6969 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd • Little Rock, AR 72207 www.boswellmourot.com • www.arkansasartscenter.org/delta
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FOR SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE CALL: (501) 375-2985 Subscription prices are $60 for one year. VOLUME 46 ISSUE 9 ARKANSAS TIMES (ISSN 0164-6273) is published each month 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 $60 for one year. For subscriber service call (501) 375-2985. Current single-copy price is $5, free in Pulaski County. Single issues are available by mail at $5.00 each, postage paid. Payment must accompany all 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. ©2020 ARKANSAS TIMES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
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MAY 2020 7
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INCONSEQUENTIAL NEWS QUIZ
IT’S GOOD TO BE TIGER KING EDITION
PLAY AT HOME, WHILE STARING INTO THE ABYSS, WHICH ALSO STARES INTO YOU.
2) Officials in Arkansas have been working overtime in recent weeks trying to save reckless idiots from themselves during the coronavirus epidemic. Which of the following are real stories of officials taking drastic measures to keep the dumb safe? A) The National Park Service had to close the Buffalo National River to the public after thousands of morons from all over the country swarmed the area and made social distancing there impossible, even outdoors. B) Mayor Frank Scott Jr. of Little Rock had to issue a warning and beef up the city’s curfew after large crowds of weekend revelers congregated in a parking lot at the intersection of University Avenue and Colonel Glenn Road, allegedly holding burnout contests and drag races with their cars.
C) The Arkansas Department of Health had to try to track down around 40 people who attended a “Quarantine Party” at a Russellville home where one of the residents exposed to coronavirus was isolating. The resident later tested positive for the virus. D) All of the above. 3) A few weeks back, police in the Lonoke County town of Austin announced the closing of a big case. What was it? A) They dropped charges filed against a woman who had allegedly chopped up her husband and fed him to one of her many big cats, citing a lack of evidence other than a man’s watch embedded in a dried tiger turd. B) A rash of banshee and sasquatch sightings in the area turned out to be local residents who had not been able to visit barbershops and hair salons due to the coronavirus lockdown. C) They arrested several elderly Trump supporters who had sought to “own the libs” by photographing themselves licking handrails, stripper poles and public restroom door knobs. D) They successfully recaptured a kangaroo that was on the loose after escaping from a Mobile Petting Zoo. 4) Citing the coronavirus epidemic, the state recently announced something that will be of benefit to the 47,000 Arkansans and counting with a card that allows them to buy, possess and use medical marijuana. What did the state do? A) The state is now offering free online classes on how to roll a joint that doesn’t come out looking like a witch’s finger. B) Officials reported that a patch of cannabis grown on the grounds of the Nuclear One power plant near Russellville allows those who smoke it to manipulate the fabric of time.
C) They announced that a recent study by Dr. Calvin Broadus of the University of California at Long Beach found that the quality of cannabis grown in Arkansas has improved dramatically in the last six months, with random samples now averaging 31 percent more sticky and 49 percent more icky. D) For the duration of the crisis, expiration dates on medical marijuana cards have been suspended, and doctors are allowed to approve new patients for cards through no-contact “telehealth” sessions. 5) With the quarantine-driven smash success of Netflix’s docu-series “Tiger King,” reporters reached out to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge near Eureka Springs — a 450-acre nonprofit that takes in and rehabilitates many previously exploited, neglected and trafficked big cats — to ask the owners’ opinion on the documentary and its incarcerated star, Joseph Allen “Joe Exotic” Maldonado-Passage. What was their take on Joe? A) That somebody probably should have taken away his Hot Topic Credit Card a looooong time ago. B) That marriage should be between one man and one woman, or one heavily armed gay man and the two guys he enticed into marrying him with tigers and street drugs. C) That based on that tiger who tried to eat Joe’s foot on camera, the dude has some delicious feet. D) They kinda hate his ass, calling him an “animal exploiter” who only uses big cats to make money. TWIST: All you cool cats and kittens will be glad to hear the refuge approves of Carole Baskin and her organization Big Cat Rescue, which they called “a true sanctuary” that has worked to end the exotic animal trade. ANSWERS: D, D, D, D, D
1) Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently broke through wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage with news of his involvement in a federal court matter. What was that about? A) A father-son dispute between Mike and John Mark Huckabee over who was the true inventor of “Shark Tank”-favorite Huckabee’s Fat Again Slacks (“The Slacks With a Drawstring!”). B) A desperate attempt by neighbors to stop Huckabee from nude sunbathing on his deck during the coronavirus quarantine. C) Jesus Christ filed for a restraining order against Huckabee because He’s tired of people assuming they’re friends. D) Huckabee was one of 14 property owners who sued Walton County, Fla., because the county’s emergency closure of beaches to help stop the spread of coronavirus had cut off beach access, including the beach in front of Huckabee’s multimillion-dollar waterfront mansion. A judge denied Huckabee’s attempts to get back to sand and surf.
MAY 2020 9
THE FRONT BIG PIC
ARKANSAS TIMES SENT OUT A MASK ASK. YOU RESPONDED. In early April, the COVID-19 conversation made its way into the sewing room, when Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith showed up at the state’s daily coronavirus briefing sporting a face mask his wife made for him. Governor Hutchinson soon appeared in mask, too — first, a sunny yellow beach print that alternated flip flops with vintage sunglasses, then a cozy gray and white plaid number. Messaging about wearing masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 had been inconsistent in the month of March, but by the time the first April showers fell on Arkansas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was recommending their use “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” Advertisements for anti-microbial masks popped up overnight. People took selfies in makeshift face shields fashioned from Instant Pot lids. A run on Amazon’s supply of elastic ensued, as did a host of conversations about how systemic racism imposes an entirely new set of risks for people of color wearing masks. The Arkansas Times asked to see your masks, and here’s what you came up with.
VICKI HENDRIX SIEBENMORGEN
BEV LINDSEY AND JACK
10 MAY 2020
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MAY 2020 11
Includes Whiskey Samples and Pork Dishes
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21 | 6-9PM | LITTLE ROCK | RIVER MARKET PAVILIONS Enjoy Whiskey samples from Basil Hayden, Knob Creek and Jim Beam Black. Pork dishes from some of the finest restaurants in central Arkansas
PROCEEDS BENEFITING ARKANSAS UNITED LIVE MUSIC!
12 MAY 2020
BEAM - SUNTORY SOUTHERN GLAZERS WINE & SPIRITS
STAY AT HOME TO-DO LIST
BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE, GUY LANCASTER AND KATY HENRIKSEN
LIVESTREAM LOCAL BANDS
RACHEL AMMONS BY BRIAN CHILSON
Something terrific is happening as local bands turn their attention to meeting listeners online: We’ve basically ended up with a collection of on-demand sets with a superbly chill house show vibe, and a chance to tip local bands directly, in real time and maybe when they need it most. Bijoux, John Paul Keith, Rachel Ammons (pictured), DeFrance, Rodney Block, Monsterboy, Mark Currey, Brian Nahlen and Bonnie Montgomery were among the many sharing performances in mid-April, and by the time you read this, the offerings will only have gotten more robust. Listen to Shoog Radio from noon to 2 p.m. every Tuesday on KABF-FM, 88.3, to get a rundown, keep an eye on the live-streaming coming out of Wolfman Studios, or just find your favorite local musician online and let them know (with Venmo, even) that you’re listening. SS
OPENCULTURE.COM Use the quarantine to experience lectures from the likes of iconoclast inventor and thinker Buckminster Fuller or Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. Take free university courses on topics ranging from astronomy to history. If you’ve ever wanted to dive deep into the topic of the CIA in the Third World, or to hear beat poet Allen Ginsberg read his 1959 poem “Howl,” now’s your time. Open Culture’s trove also boasts access to 1,150 free movie streams, free eBooks, and language classes, plus the chance to unearth gems like a coloring book edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu,” or a “5-Hour, One-Take Cinematic Journey through Russia’s Hermitage Museum, Shot Entirely on an iPhone.” KH
UBU. COM Its premise is simple. Its tag line is: “All avant-garde. All the time.” What began in 1996 as an archive for visual and concrete poetry, ubu.com is now a massive catalog of sounds and visuals. A search for Yoko Ono yields 101 results that include her 1966 experimental film “Eye Blink,” and a search on Patti Smith’s name turns up her “Poem for Jim Morrison & Bumblebee,” part of a project called “Dial-A-Poem” that also includes works by the likes of Terry Southern, William S. Burroughs, Laurie Anderson and John Cage. Or maybe you’d like to watch avant-garde composer Harry Partch’s 1965 piece “Delusion of the Fury,” described on Ubu as a “totally-integrated, corporeal, microtonal, elemental work of ritual theater, incorporating almost all of Partch’s hand-built orchestra of sculptural instruments.” This is THE rabbit hole of rabbit holes for all things avant-garde on the internet. KH ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 13
STAY AT HOME
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MID-DAY MUSIC MOMENTS First things first: If you haven’t yet cued up Arkansas Symphony Orchestra principal cellist David Gerstein’s rendition of Georg Goltermann’s “Romance for Four Cellos” (and, in this case, one Great Dane named Phyllis) — part of ASO’s “Bedtime with Bach” quarantine series — do that now. Then, check out the ASO’s adjacent noontime series of “Mid-Day Music Moments,” where you’ll discover Arkansas’s own William Grant Still’s “Mejorana y Socavon,” and a performance of Bonnie Montgomery’s lush ballad “Comets,” arranged for strings by ASO Assistant Concertmaster Katherine Williamson. SS
STARE AT THE SKY The May 2020 astronomical calendar includes a supermoon on May 7, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower May 4-5 and, on May 23, the approach of the newly discovered (and freakishly bright) comet Atlas to a mere 70 million-ish miles away. Follow the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society on Facebook, set a browser bookmark for earthsky.org and plan to spend a few quarantined nights on a picnic blanket, blissing out on the cosmos. SS
14 MAY 2020
SHELTER-IN-PLACE VIRTUAL FILM SERIES 2 P.M. AND 6 P.M. SUN. FREE. Some of the state’s movers and shakers in the film world are producing a weekly documentary screening series, hosted by a different Arkansas organization each week and “designed to bring together home audiences, students, subject experts and special guests for community-building conversations around a diverse set of topics.” Through a screening platform called Ovee (ovee.itvs.org), viewers can participate in panel discussions and polls about each film’s creation and subject matter. In April, Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement hosted a screening of “True Conviction” and the Arkansas Minority Film & Arts Association screened “Meet the Patels.” May’s screenings include “For Sama,” hosted by the Arkansas Cinema Society on May 3; “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World,” hosted by Just Communities of Arkansas on May 10; “Music in Arkansas: Origins,” hosted by Arkansas PBS (formerly AETN) on May 17; and “College Behind Bars,” hosted by Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective in two parts on May 24 and May 31. “There is something about the experience of ‘going to the movies’ that allows us to experience and be open to perspectives other than our own,” APJMM co-convener Kwami Abdul-Bey said. “We are excited about using the technology of virtual screenings to bring powerful stories — and sometimes the people behind them — into the homes of so many Arkansans over the next two months and hope they will inspire meaningful and productive conversations about not only our shared past, but also our hopeful futures.” Films are screened at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. each Sunday. To register for the series and adjacent discussion, visit facebook.com/SIPVFilmSeries. SS
MAKE A BLOCK FOR HISTORIC ARKANSAS MUSEUM’S VIRTUAL COMMUNITY QUILT The Historic Arkansas Museum is nodding to the state’s quilting tradition with a “virtual community quilt,” made up of squares submitted by families across Arkansas. Submissions, HAM’s press release states, can be made from any art supplies you’ve got on hand, and “can reflect a unique story, a family tradition, or simply whatever brings someone solace and strength during these times of isolation.” They must, however, be in the shape of a square. To submit, get a clear photograph or scan of your square and send it to email@example.com, or direct message the museum’s Facebook page. There is no deadline set yet for submissions, “but a final day to submit will reflect the lifting of statewide social and travel restrictions, at which time a final day will be announced by the museum.” When the museum reopens, the virtual community quilt will be unveiled. SS
ALVIN IRBY/BARBERSHOP BOOKS
BARBERSHOP BOOKS STORYTIME SERIES Educator and comedian Alvin Irby — a Little Rock native and Hall High graduate — pioneered an early literacy program in barbershops all over New York City called Barbershop Books, and now Irby is reading some of his favorites to young learners online. Tune in to the Barbershop Books Facebook page with the kids at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Friday to hear Irby recount tales like Jef Czekaj’s “Hip and Hop, Don’t Stop!” or Gaia Cornwall’s “Jabari Jumps.” SS
UCA COMMUNITY OF MUSIC INSTITUTE: DRUMS BY DISTANCE THURSDAY 5/7, 5/14, 5/21, 5/28. If you like the idea of a drum circle, but aren’t so hip to that whole “playing drums in front of people” part, you’re in luck. UCA Community Institute of Music is airing virtual drum circles every Thursday night on the organization’s Facebook page; grab a djembe (or hey, a saucepan) and find your inner fanga. SS
One of my favorite online discoveries has been the website LibriVox.org, which offers free public domain audiobooks, all of them recorded by volunteers across the world. “Public domain” means those works not copyrighted, which typically pertains to everything from around the 1920s or earlier, though a quirk in copyright law means that some works from the 1950s are in the public domain, and all government documents are. LibriVox is home to many of the classics of literature, with enough Jane Austen and William Shakespeare to choose from, but the real treasures are those delightful period works that remain obscure today — “Hilda Wade, a Woman with Tenacity of Purpose” by Grant Allen, for one, a series of stories centered upon a mystery-solving London nurse. Feeling like burning down the system, but need to scrub the bathtub? Then put in your earbuds and listen to Emma Goldman’s “Anarchism and Other Essays” whiley you work. If you like the golden age of science fiction, there is Harry Harrison’s “Deathworld” and “Planet of the Damned,” two interplanetary romps read by steely voiced volunteers. And it’s not all fiction. There is a wealth of philosophy, history, science, biography, theology and much more, in an array of languages beyond English, including Bulgarian and Welsh. But what might make LibriVox a good resource in these times is the fact that it is volunteer driven, which means that you can take part, either as a reader, a book coordinator or a proof listener, checking the recording against the original text. So if you have a reasonably good microphone and a quiet enough room, you can help to build up this library of audiobooks for the whole world. GL
MAY 2020 15
NEWS & POLITICS
‘THE PLAGUE’ TODAY WONDERING HOW IT WILL END. BY ERNEST DUMAS
TRUMP: His ignorance has been on display for the world to see amid the pandemic.
16 MAY 2020
hile the country and the world seem to be within a few months of reaching a low plateau, though maybe not an end, to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clearer that the plague of 2020 will be the defining big event of all our lives. Even for those untouched by its tragedy, it will remain memorable in the same way that we can summon up in searing detail events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, if we were more than infants at the time. Things changed forever in the life of the country and its democratic institutions and in everyone’s perspective about their land — not the level of patriotism necessarily, but in our national confidence and how we expected those institutions to work. It will be the same with — let’s go ahead and call it the Trump Pandemic, because he has worked hard for and earned the sobriquet. The experts are speculating every day about how the pandemic will change the country, the world and our individual lives — a retrenchment of the interconnected global economy that the United States, starting with Richard Nixon, largely built; the growth of authoritarianism in even democratic societies, including the United States; the speeding loss of individual privacy that supposedly was protected by the Constitution; and last, for perhaps either good or ill, the loss of naïveté about what sci-
ence has in store for us through the climate and the enduring scourge of germs. The last came especially hard for Donald Trump, although it is still not obvious that the lesson will ever sink in. Like many Americans, he didn’t absorb his biology class’ unit on the Earth’s carbon cycle. The arrival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus sent old literature majors, especially from the ’50s generation, to the bookshelves to retrieve musty paperbacks of “The Plague,” the 1948 novel that probably won the Frenchman Albert Camus the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957 and that was required reading in courses on the modern novel. Camus had studied the history of the bubonic plague, known as the “Black Death,” which killed a third of the people on the European continent and a fourth of the people of London in the 1600s. He carried that knowledge to a fictional siege of the modern Algerian port of Oran on the Mediterranean coast. Narrated by a fictional French doctor, the story recounts the appearance of bloody rats dying on the streets and then the transfer of the infection, through gnats, to people. Townspeople, along with the leaders, first denied its existence and then its seriousness until it raged out of control. “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world,” the doctor wrote, “yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.” Anyone who reads Camus today, especially if they live in the congested boroughs and hospitals and prisons of New York, New Jersey or New Orleans where corpses are thrown onto sidewalks and into mass trenches, will think they are reading some of the daily accounts in March and April. It is a study of the psychological effects of a plague, the lockdown of a whole society and the singular relationship of love and death. The doctor explores the impact of the plague on six of his friends, who are compelled to abandon their own life pursuits and loves and join him in the gruesome and thankless job of treating or ministering to the dying and the loved ones who are separated by the town’s mandatory quarantines. The doctor, who lost his beloved wife, and a visiting journalist survive. The others die, including a gentle priest who had publicly mourned that the plague was God’s vengeance upon a sinful society. Mistakes that were made at first proved to be deadly, the doctor bruited, but they were the result of ignorance and doubt, not planning. “The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence,” he said. It was “an ignorance that fancies that it knows everything.” Camus could be describing our predicament today, and not just Donald Trump, who just happens to have made himself the central fig-
ure in the plague worldwide, by a truly heroic campaign of self-promotion. His shortcomings, documented over and over in his own dauntless daily public appearances and tweets, were not by plan or stealth, as some of his sharpest critics would have us believe, but simple ignorance. His mammoth failings as a leader arise not from any ideology or stealth. Trump just didn’t know much. He knew little about the world, history or his government, as his chief of staff, the other old generals or his early Cabinet members learned at the Pearl Harbor celebration, Penta-
as a threat to his re-election and then by almost daily reversals. One day he sees the virus, the economic calamity it causes, or the economic reclamation as first a political plus and then as a negative. Seeing the coming economic recovery as a plus for his re-election, he demanded that he be the boss and then, a day later, fearing the perils of blame for a recurrence of the virus or else the failure of recovery, he wanted the governors and locals to take the blame. Either way, his own political welfare was always the object. So the propaganda war, which includes much of the media, is over who is to blame for all the failures — the proven ones and all those that are sure to follow. The United States, the most powerful, affluent and advanced nation in the world in every field, has more infections and more deaths than much of the rest of the world combined, although it is on the other side of the globe from the China province where it began and was for a while hidden by the world’s most powerful dictatorship. History will eventually apportion the blame, as it always does, and Donald Trump and many others will share in it. Its effect on the forthcoming election is already apparent. Ignorance, not malevolence, is behind most great tragedies. Three thousand deaths in the 9/11 attacks might have been avoided if George W. Bush had paid attention to his daily security briefings about a terror attack from the air and Saudi flight training. Three hundred soldiers and diplomatic people might have been saved from the attack on a military peacekeeping force in Lebanon in 1983 if President Reagan had taken greater care in sending them there with virtually no security arrangements. Trump may merit no greater blame than Bush or Reagan should have shared. They got none. What is important is that we — and especially our leaders — have learned something from the COVID-19 crisis. Effective treatment and probably a vaccine for the COVID-19 are coming, but no one knows if it will be permanent like the measles vaccine or whether the endless mutations of the virus will prove to be evasive and far deadlier. Camus’ doctor ended his account of the plague with a warning that could be aimed at us. He described the jubilant crowds in the city upon the sudden realization that the plague had disappeared with greater suddenness than when it came. The crowd did not know but could have learned from the books. The plague bacillus (like a coronavirus) never dies. It lies dormant for years in bedrooms, bookshelves, trunks, cellars and unbeknownst places “and the day would come, when for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rise up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”
TRUMP HAS MADE HIMSELF THE CENTRAL FIGURE OF THE PLAGUE. gon briefings or on scores of other occasions. His first secretary of state, who was picked for the job because of his reputed friendship with Vladimir Putin, was reported to have called the president a moron and never denied it. If you don’t trust science at all, unless it’s your doctor telling you how to avoid a deathly illness, why would you have paid any attention to the world’s scientists warning of coming pandemics when ancient viruses slip the bonds of the animal kingdom like bats and rodents and latch onto human cells? Why would he have taken notice of the H5N1 threat in 2005 or the more serious H1N1 swine flu in 2009? Or the Ebola scare, when President Obama organized Europe and other advanced nations to help track and stamp out the Ebola infections in Africa before they spread across Africa and into the United States. Those were deadlier diseases than COVID-19 and, luckily, were tamed before they did much harm in America. What makes COVID-19 scarier, of course, is that it is transmitted so easily, not by sex or intimate contact with another human or diseased animal but by simple proximity and touch. Trump is not alone in having dismissed the threat or hid it until it was too late, in China, other nations around the globe or in the American states. He made it his virus by seeing it first
MAY 2020 17
ALL QUIET ON THE
THE SOCIALLY DISTANCED SCENE: The pandemic has changed the way we look. Restaurants move to curbside pickup. Playgrounds are empty. Emergency vehicles give light shows to cheer hospitals. The state House of Representatives meets in Jack Stephens Arena. Main Street is empty of traffic. Grocery stores limit entry. A tearoom moves onto Kavanaugh Boulevard. Hospitals take temperatures of the few allowed in. Governor Hutchinson said in April that he make a decision on reopening certain businesses on May 4.
18 MAY 2020
STORIES BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK PHOTOGRAPHY BRIAN CHILSON
MAY 2020 19
LAYING ON OF HANDS
A NURSE TALKS ABOUT TENDING THE SICKEST OF THE COVID-19 SICK.
20 MAY 2020
IN FULL PPE: Elizabeth Sullivan and UAMS’ health care workers must don protective gear when working with COVID-19 patients.
s we endure the spread of the viral plague COVID-19, we fall into two groups. In what might be called the civilian group, we are for the most part staying distant, trying to avoid virus-filled droplets — perhaps even an exchange of air — that can make us very sick, even kill us. We’re walking and talking — unless foolhardy — 6 feet from one another, and trying to stay home. Then there is the other group, those whose jobs require them to touch and tend the most severely afflicted, trying, with no proven medicine, to make them well. In Arkansas, nearly 250 of them have become infected themselves, some in the course of their work taking care of people whose disease is still lurking unannounced, some from inadequate protective wear. As of April 20, one in three were nurses and one in five were certified nursing assistants, licensed health care workers or unlicensed health care workers. Nearly one in 10 were doctors. It takes mental, physical and emotional strength to tend to patients in critical care. It also takes a measure of courage when those patients have been infected by a virus about which little is known except that it is highly transmissible. It comes with loneliness, as caregivers separate from family to protect them from what may have been picked up in the hospital. “Right now, I kind of equate it to, if this was a war and I was a soldier,” Elizabeth Sullivan, a registered nurse for 12 years at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, said. “This is what I would be doing.” Sullivan, 39, is clinical services manager for an intensive care unit but is on the front lines, seeing patients sequestered in the COVID-19 unit because, she said, she would never ask her staff to do what she would not. In an early April interview, Sullivan described the patients she
sees in the all-RN-staffed E4 Medical Neurology Unit, for people with strokes, brain bleeds and other medical needs, including those on mechanical ventilation. “When [COVID-19 patients] come in, they truly are struggling to breathe,” she said, and intubation is usually necessary. Before the medical team puts a patient on a ventilator, they explain what will happen and try to get a sense of who their patients are. “We try to talk to them, ask them, ‘Tell us your story,’ ” Sullivan said. The nurses explain that they want to be able to help their families as well as the patient, to establish a bond. “We let them know we are doing everything we can,” Sullivan said. “There is a lot of fear. The patients are coming in asking for help.” Because the risk of transmission of the virus is so high, family members cannot visit the ICU, even if the patient is at death’s door. But there is communication: Nurses and attending physicians call and take calls. “They can ask questions and still participate in the plan of care,” Sullivan said. The patients may be heavily sedated, unable to communicate, but family members are able to see them: UAMS provided iPads to nurses caring for COVID-19 patients, so families could connect by FaceTime. *** The 2014 outbreak of the terrible virus Ebola, which included infections in the U.S., introduced to the nonmedical world the substantial gear medical personnel had to wear to keep from being infected with the hemorrhagic disease. UAMS’ emergency room doctors demonstrated for the press the moon-suit protocol for health care providers: an N95 respirator mask (equipped with a with breathing valve), a plastic face shield, head wrap, gloves, Tyvek suit, surgical gown. The virus never materialized in Arkansas, so the sight of medical providers suited up like astronauts to guard against death remained academic rather than real. The N95 mask, plastic face shield, headwrap, gown and gloves are back in the time of coronavirus, personal protective equipment that even the layman now knows as PPE. Health care providers coming into contact with COVID-19 patients must wear the uncomfortable gear to protect others and stay healthy themselves, and must change the gear every time their procedures bring them into contact with their patients’ body fluids. Sullivan estimated that the “burn rate” — how much of the disposable gear is tossed — adds up to, on average, six to 10 gowns, six to 10 N95 masks and 20 pairs of gloves a day per person. The lack of such PPE has been an urgent issue nationwide, as the federal government has left the states to fend for themselves in what has been a highly competitive rush for supplies. It was not until April 12, more than a month into the virus’ appearance in Arkansas, that a substantial amount of state-procured PPE — mostly gowns and gloves — arrived, around 15 percent of the PPE that the
state is spending $75 million on. Sullivan said personnel in the ICU have been “getting everything we need for every patient” and there are hourly checks to make sure they’re not short of PPE in the ICU. UAMS has not yet had to resort to sterilizing and reusing masks, as has been the case in New York. “I feel so safe coming into work,” she said. *** Nine of the 28 beds in UAMS’ E4 unit are in negative pressure rooms, outfitted to keep air from inside circulating out and into the rest of the ICU. “We have not had to fill them all,” Sullivan said; only five COVID-19 patients were in ICU as of April 22. The beds serve not just COVID-19 patients, but, in the interest of safety, persons displaying symptoms of COVID-19 who have been tested but are still awaiting results. If their tests come back negative, they are moved out. UAMS had six COVID-19 positive patients who were not in ICU as of April 22, and 17 suspected cases. The hospital’s surge strategy, which included altering the rooms on the ninth floor of the Central Hospital into negative pressure rooms and plans to take over operating rooms, can provide a total of 247 beds strictly for COVID-19 patients should the need arise. Before she heads to work at 7 a.m. for her 12-hour shift, Sullivan is screened, as is everyone, medical and nonmedical alike, who enters buildings on the UAMS campus. Her temperature is taken and questions are asked about her exposure and travel. The PPE provided to ICU staff allows them to answer “no” to the question about direct contact with a person known to have COVID, though they have certainly been closer than most people. Dr. Steppe Mette, UAMS Health CEO, said the outbreak in New York has emphasized how crucial a high-functioning team of caregivers is to patients’ survival. “They need to be there for each other, function as a unit,” he said, and to know all the protocols. Difficult days dealing with “the unknown,” as Sullivan called it, has caused lots of tears, she said, but the comfort of a hug is forbidden. Elbow bumps, kicking each other’s feet and walkie-talkies that allow them to talk to one another when separated into patient rooms help keep up morale. “This is just so … this whole situation is nothing anyone thought we’d ever do when we signed up to be a nurse,” she said. “But I can tell you knowing that I get to do this with the co-workers that I have, it makes it so much better.” Though some who are skeptical of how dangerous COVID-19 is — after all, 80 percent of people infected with the virus become only mildly ill, and some never show symptoms at all — have compared it to the flu, in critical care, it is nothing like the flu, Sullivan said. Most of the patients coming into critical care have already tested positive. They’ve begun to get into trouble — that happens around week five into the infection, Sullivan said — and at that stage begin to “decompensate” with ex-
traordinary rapidity into pneumonia. “They look like they might be doing well one minute and the next minute so sick they could go into cardiac arrest,” Mette said. Hence the need for early intubation for the very sick, Sullivan said; 90 percent of COVID-19 patients in her unit are on mechanical ventilators. Patients on the vent may try to fight the machine, trying to take breaths when the ventilator is not. To synchronize their breathing with the machine, they’re sedated and then given a paralytic medicine that creates a coma-like state. Most are given blood pressure medication and some need what is called proning: That is, they’re placed on their stomachs to improve oxygen flow. That takes a “small army,” said Mette — nurses, physicians and respiratory therapists — to flip them on their bellies. “It helps expand their lungs and get those little alveoli to open so they can breathe,” Sullivan said. Proning is labor intensive: Patients can’t be left on their
BECAUSE THE RISK OF TRANSMISSION OF THE VIRUS IS SO HIGH, FAMILY MEMBERS CANNOT VISIT THE ICU, EVEN IF THE PATIENT IS AT DEATH’S DOOR. NURSES AND ATTENDING PHYSICIANS CALL AND TAKE CALLS FROM FAMILIES, AND USE FACETIME. bellies, so the team must turn them back to front, over and over. Proning — and even small things like bathing — can reduce the COVID-19 patient’s oxygenation and blood pressure, so the team has to be vigilant. “For flu, we don’t have to prone, and most flu patients don’t have to go on the vent. They don’t end up so sick, and they tolerate turns and bathing better,” Sullivan said. A nurse in the COVID-19 unit is assigned as a don and doff officer (also known as the “dofficer,” Sullivan said) to make sure nurses remember to put on PPE before going into his or her patient’s room. “Sometimes your patient looks like they’re going to go bad, and as an ICU nurse it’s your natural inclination to just run in there” to the patient’s room, Sullivan said. “You can’t do that, or you’ll end up being the next patient.” It takes about 30 seconds to put on the PPE. When a patient is trying to pull their tubes out or has managed to become disconnected from the breathing machine, that “feels like a long time,” Sullivan said. “Especially when it’s not what you’re used to doing.” ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 21
“This virus has really taken us all by surprise, I think, because there are so many things that we try that don’t help,” Sullivan said. “A lot of what we can do is just support them through that, knowing that you are doing all you can, but wishing you could do more.” UAMS has treated one or two patients with hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that President Trump is enamored of, Mette said, but “we’re hesitant because there’s no proof that it works. The evidence for it is slim, and it’s fraught with potential side effects.” The decision to provide any medication, Mette said, is made in discussion with the patient. “The physician must weigh the risks and potential benefits for each patient.” Hydroxychloroquine is not for patients on life support, nor is it for patients with blood disorders, like sickle cell anemia. UAMS has also treated one patient with tocilizumab, a rheumatoid arthritis drug used to dampen what Mette said was the “exuberant inflammation” caused by the virus. Using CPR on a COVID-19 patient — chest compressions cause the expulsion of droplets and the process is “risky business,” Mette said — is a challenge that is being discussed at hospitals across the country, and some are considering a do-not-resuscitate order regardless of a family’s desire. “If the likelihood of surviving CPR is remote, to nil, it becomes unethical to put health care workers at risk,” Mette said. And if care is futile, he said, why put patients through it? Mette said he hoped that UAMS would not be confronted with such a challenge. The average stay for COVID-19 patients in critical care is about two to three weeks. Recovery time at home is “pretty considerable,” Sullivan said. “Their lungs are very very sick.” As of April 22, UAMS had treated 34 patients and sent home 23. Three died. None who were released needed to be readmitted. *** Medical personnel treating COVID-19 patients are quarantining themselves from family; isolating within the home is too risky. Some, Sullivan said, are staying in campers on their property so they can watch their children play in the yard. “One of our nurses, he has twin girls and they’re like a year old, and he hasn’t seen them in three weeks,” Sullivan said. Mother and twins have gone through UAMS’ drive-through screening to bring him lunch. “He really struggles. It’s very emotional,” she said. Still, she said, “morale is really high right now.” She’s not seeing any burnout. “It could be a possibility, but everybody is doing really really good.” When Sullivan goes home, it’s to an empty house. Her husband and two children moved in March to a house on Lake Ouachita, near other family, and “they even took the dog,” she said. They stay in touch with “lots of FaceTiming,” she said: “They tell me every day how much they miss me, that they’re proud of me and that they love me.” Sullivan’s son is a senior; he will have no graduation ceremony. Her daughter will have to celebrate her 14th birthday in April without her mother. “It’s hard, but it’s a short-term inconvenience for something that could save their life,” Sullivan said. She will stay away from family until the crisis is over. 22 MAY 2020
HOW THINGS LOOKED IN MID-APRIL
A NOTE TO NURSES: Saketh Lingisetty, 11, made origami notes for the nurses with whom his father, Dr. Chandra Lingisetty, works.
A CHILD THANKS THE ANGELS Saketh Lingisetty’s father, Dr. Chandra Lingisetty, is a hospitalist at Baptist Health in Little Rock who has been involved in the treatment and plans for care for patients with COVID-19. Saketh, who is 11, has been curious about the virus, and has always been interested in his father’s career. Now he sees his father coming home, showering right away, self-isolating in his office, talking to Saketh on the phone even when he’s home. Saketh was also among the first Arkansas students whose school was closed, after the father of a classmate at Pulaski Academy was exposed to the first positive case March 11, in Pine Bluff. “So he asked, ‘Why are we responding this way, not going out?’ ” Dr. Lingisetty said. When he learned about the viral infection, Saketh remembered once having a virus himself, with high fever and vomiting. Understanding that, “he thought it would be an extraordinary thing for the nurses” to care for patients in Baptist’s COVID-19 unit. Saketh said he wanted to do something for the angels. “Why angels?” Lingisetty asked his son. “When I had a viral infection and was so miserable and had fever, it was bad. I couldn’t take it,” Saketh told him. The nurses taking care of such patients every day were amazing, he said, “and they’re angels.” He told his father they were risking their lives “when everybody is staying home scared.” Saketh asked his father how many COVID-19 patients they were seeing at Baptist — which Lingisetty said was four or five at the time — and wrote five notes, and asked his father to deliver them. The notes, folded like origami, read: “Dear Angels, My heartfelt thank you for your dedication and services. Saketh.” Saketh, who meets with other children on Sundays for what his father said were “life value coaching and lessons” and who helps his family serve breakfast at the Salvation Army once a month, did something “godly and noble,” his father said. The notes made the nurses’ day, Lingisetty said. “A couple of them teared up. It’s amazing how these little kids, they know, they are observing.” Saketh didn’t write his father a note. “I told him I was jealous, why are you not thanking me?” Lingisetty said. “I live with you every day,” came the reply.
MAY 2020 23
STUCK AT HOME: Pediatrician Dr. Ashleah Courtney expected to become infected with COVID-19 eventually, but was surprised it came so soon.
MD IN QUARANTINE:
ASHLEAH COURTNEY TALKS ABOUT COVID-19 SYMPTOMS, RECOVERY AND RELEASE.
24 MAY 2020
n April 11, 17 days after Dr. Ashleah Courtney was sent home from Arkansas Children’s Hospital because she’d been exposed to a person with COVID-19, she and her husband, Paul Dickson, got the OK to leave isolation. “We went and picked up wine and beer, and got cookie dough from Loblolly, and went to Slim Chickens … . We’re the worst,” she said, laughing. “And we got Lost Forty’s Flake Baby strawberry brunch rolls. … Oh, and we got one of the cocktail kits from Local Lime. I’ve never been so happy to be in the car.” Courtney is a third-year pediatric resident who was working in the ER at Children’s (masked, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines) when she was told she needed to quarantine. On March 26, “I had a bit of a sore throat and a headache,” and attributed it to pollen and the fact that when she’s in the ER she forgets to eat and stay hydrated. “So it was not out of the ordinary,” she said. But at around 3 a.m. on the following morning, “I was having trouble sleeping and was checking my temperature every hour, and eventually it got to 100.4.” She called the COVID-19 screening hotline at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “At that point, we were still pretty limited [on tests]. I’m a healthy 30-year-old and I didn’t want to take a test from someone who needs it,” but because she is a health care provider — a priority group for testing — she was advised to come through the testing drive-through, which UAMS created out of a converted parking garage to handle the thousands of Arkansans who wanted to know if they’d been infected. When she got to the drive-through, “my temp was normal, which was weird,” she said. But as a resident physician, she needed to be screened. The “swabber,” as UAMS calls the nurses wielding the test swabs in the drive-through line, explained to Courtney that she would be inserting the swab up her nose and into the back of her nasal passages. “And I said, ‘Oh, I do this to small children all the time,’ ” to which the swabber replied, “ ‘Then this is your payback.’ ” “I was told it would be 14 days of quarantine regardless of whether I showed symptoms. It took two days to get the results.” When she found out she had COVID-19, she posted about her diagnosis on Facebook. An excerpt: “I was being cautious around all of my patients at work. And I was especially excited about the prospect of volunteering/shadowing one of my infectious disease mentors at the health department next month to help with contact tracing for the virus. I thought we were doing things right. Then, I was officially sent home and placed under quarantine (and Paul by association, of course). … “The medical and public health side of me knows that statistically we will probably be okay. But the human in me is totally not okay. The human side of me has emotions running in about 100 different directions. I’m anxious about what our
illness will look like over the next week. I feel guilty about exposing my husband, even though it wasn’t a surprise and was something we knew would happen eventually. I feel angry that I was exposed so soon. I feel isolated and stigmatized. I don’t want people to look at the positive numbers and make the blanket assumption that we haven’t done everything we could to avoid this. “I was going to say the biggest thing I ask of you all is encouragement. But that’s not entirely true. The biggest thing I’m going to ask of you is to listen to the experts. Please if you take nothing else from what I’ve said, realize how incredibly important social distancing and self isolation is in our fight to prevent the further spread of this virus.” Courtney and Dickson, a civil engineer, had talked about what they believed was the inevitability of getting the new coronavirus. Courtney is headed to New Orleans — a hot spot for the disease — in June to do a fellowship in pediatric infectious disease, and the couple were thinking infection was preordained, that it would “happen regardless. … I was just surprised it happened so soon.” “The first 12 hours were probably the worst, with fever and muscle aches and chills. The cough came later,” she said. Though her husband was not tested, like Courtney he suffered cough, fatigue and body aches. “It was just shocking how dramatic the loss of taste was. For a week. … It’s just very odd to eat when you can’t taste anything.” She lost six pounds. The most difficult thing about her illness, she said, was anxiety. In early April, three resident physicians in the U.S. had died of the virus. “I was worried when one of us would start showing [severe symptoms],” which usually occur around five to 10 days after infection. For her mental health, she decided to limit how much she read about the illness, and was relieved when she and her husband passed the halfway mark with no greater sickness. Some people have turned to hobbies, like knitting or gardening, to pass their isolated hours. Courtney’s hobbies? “Going out to eat,” she said, sighing. “That was one of my hobbies.” Like the rest of the world, Courtney and Dickson turned to Netflix to endure their lockdown, finding distraction in “Tiger King” and “Ozark.” Though she knew she needed to quarantine, and in her Facebook post urged people to take COVID-19 seriously, Courtney said she felt a “little guilty” not working. “I think health care providers feel a sense of duty.” Though she feels well, has been symptom-free for some time and her third COVID-19 test was inconclusive, a fourth test showed some virus still remained. She was not surprised. In the case of rhinoviruses, “if you reach back into the depths of someone’s nose two and a half inches,” which is the length of the swab, she said, you’ll find evidence of virus for a long time. COVID-19 tests, which analyze RNA, are particularly sensitive. Still, she’ll have to test negative before she can return to work, and before she can donate plasma, which she wants to do. It’s hoped that plasma with COVID-19 antibodies can help people with the disease recover, and if that is the case, her plasma would be invaluable in coming months, when she moves to Louisiana in June, which as of April 20 had nearly 25,000 cases of the disease.
CASH SAVER’S LIFESAVERS: N95 MASKS
At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Arkansas, the Baptist Health system got a surprise donation of one of the most crucial items it needed to keep staff and patients safe: 1,200 N95 respirators, masks that filter out the tiniest particles of virus. That’s not a big number — hospitals are going through hundreds of them every day. But when you’re struggling to buy them, because not enough are being made and because the price has been jacked up by suppliers, any number is welcome. The masks almost ended up in the dumpster, said Ruth Tippett, who with her husband, Ricky, owns the Cash Saver grocery store in Heber Springs. In 2014, Tippett was in Cleveland for heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, and the city was in an uproar because a nurse infected with Ebola had traveled there from Dallas. Tippett said the warehouse that supplied her small grocery store “did a deal” on facemasks; alarmed, she purchased 10 cases. She made a display in the store of the facemasks, “and then, of course, Ebola disappeared. … I couldn’t give them away,” she said. Her attempt to protect the people of this Cleburne County town from Ebola, she added, was made fun of for years. Tippett put the masks back in boxes and stored them on the top of the freezer in the back of the store, and, fortunately, her husband never got around to pitching them. Then Tippett heard Governor Hutchinson, on an early COVID-19 broadcast, talk about the need for personal protective equipment. “I told my husband, I really feel like we need to be donating some of these masks. Our local hospital is a Baptist, and my granddaughter was born at big Baptist [in Little Rock],” Tippett said. The boxes came down from the freezer, and the Tippetts counted 1,400 masks. They kept 200 for the business, gave the Heber Springs Baptist hospital 200 and provided the rest to Baptist Health in Little Rock. Tippett said business was chaotic at the Cash Saver for the first couple of weeks of the pandemic. “People were fighting over things,” she said. So she started limiting supplies and is now offering pick-up at the door for the elderly. “Our team, we’re pretty close knit. Everybody has pulled together. … I see a lot of pride” at the store, she said. When she talked to the Times at the first of April about what was selling, Tippett said, “The big thing is Lysol and dried beans. Toilet paper is still pretty scarce.” ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 25
HOW TO BUY PPE FROM CHINA
UAMS FORGES UNUSUAL ALLIANCE WITH IRONWORKS CEO.
26 MAY 2020
orky Baker owns Stone County Ironworks, right there on the square in Mountain View. He also owns two other companies, Urban Forge, the customized furniture sister to Stone County Ironworks, and Urban FX, which sells lighted art objects and street lighting. You might say he’s in the business of blacksmithing. He’s also ventured into the business of acquiring gloves and gowns for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “I was pressed into service,” Baker said, jokingly, to the Arkansas Times. Necessity is the mother of invention — and it doesn’t hurt to have a little serendipity thrown in — which is how a man who makes a living in forged iron furniture got into medical supply procurement. As the COVID-19 outbreak moved into mid-America, Baker learned from his dentist son that there was a serious shortage of masks. Three days later, Baker got a call from the manager of a factory in China that supplies electronics for his lighting business. The Chinese government had ordered it to convert to making masks. Here was a need and here, Baker saw, was a way to fill it, thanks to his business connections in China. He and his son Andrew, a co-owner in the Baker companies, decided to call around to providers in Arkansas to see what the local demand was. “It blew up in our face,” Baker said. A nursing home chain reported being down to 11 masks. A private hospital, which relied on surgery revenue to stay open, said it was 50 days away from
THE PROCURERS: UAMS supply chain vice chancellor Curtis Broughton (left, above), UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson and Governor Hutchinson met the PPE delivery trucks on Easter Sunday. They were assisted in the effort by Corky Baker (left), CEO of Stone County Ironworks. running out of cash. Ambulance companies and pharmacies were desperate for supplies. “There were people calling and begging at the hint that we might have a source of supplies. They were crying on the phone. It was very emotional,” Baker said. So, going to their connections in China, Baker began “wrangling” supplies. “It’s hard to find factories who will sell to us,” he said, because of various Chinese trade edicts. At one point, “We had one guy say, ‘I won’t sell you these masks because I don’t want to disappear from my family,’ ” he said. So, Baker said, he used what he called “guerrilla” tactics to disguise the destination of the products he was buying, getting smaller factories from various parts of China to ship goods to the city of Guangzhou for staging rather than directly to the U.S. He and son Andrew placed an order for masks large enough for distribution, gratis, in Stone County. He declined to provide the purchase price — though he acknowledged it was expensive — because “this is not about self-promotion.” Volunteers distributed the masks at Urban Forge to anyone in Stone County who wanted them. Enter Curtis Broughton, UAMS assistant vice chancellor for supply chain. UAMS has taken on the job of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals and clinics across Arkansas with a purse of $75 million from the state of Arkansas. That’s a lot of money, but it takes a lot of PPE to keep medical personnel safe from infection from patients and other providers. “There’s a very challenging political culture
inside of China,” which is the global supplier of PPE, Broughton said. He was reaching out to people on the ground in China, and getting “a number of solicitations” from those who said they had goods to sell, “ ‘I have 5 million masks.’ There’s a lot of scams and fraud. We knew we had to go in a different direction, to find somebody who was not in health care but willing to put in the hours.” Not sticking to regular health care supply chain methods “allowed us to procure large quantities of PPE for Arkansas that some other states who went the traditional route don’t have. We didn’t want to go to the well with everyone else, so instead we went to the creek.” As it happened, Baker knew someone who knew UAMS Health CEO Dr. Steppe Mette, who put Baker in touch with Broughton. “They [the Baker family] didn’t know much about medical supplies and gowns and gloves,” Broughton said. But Baker had contacts, Broughton had contacts and “we spent countless nights, all hours of the nights, talking to manufacturers we had relationships with.” Baker used what he called “hunter-finders” in China looking for producers, sources to contact. “At 3 a.m., you’re falling asleep at the computer, but you push yourself to type 20 more emails,” Baker said. “We had so many hooks in the water.” Baker and son vetted the producers, determining “Is this factory legit? Are they certified to produce, do they have a license? What is their production capacity and pricing? This acquisition process, we took a very unconventional ap-
proach,” Baker said. UAMS, too, vetted products — and it vetted the Bakers “extremely well,” Broughton said. The result: On Easter Sunday, a chartered wide-body McDonnell Douglas MD-11 carrying a payload weighing 90,000 kilograms landed in Memphis, Tenn. Six FedEx tractor-trailer trucks delivered its cargo, boxes holding 9 million pairs of gloves and 700,000 isolation gowns, to Little Rock. The supplies were later taken to a staging area at the Arkansas Heart Hospital for pickup by hospitals. Baker described the scramble to get supplies in what he called the “Wild West” atmosphere of commerce in post-COVID China as cutthroat: Suppliers would sell to whomever came up with the money first, despite promises made to buyers. “The ventilator that cost $5,000 three months ago is now $58,000. Masks that [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo bought for $7 a piece are normally 50 cents.” Baker is not working to provide the N95 respirator masks that have been in such short supply. He said a broker he tagged the “infamous Mr. Wu” was willing to provide — “at great expense” — 200,000 KN95 masks, which medical literature said were equivalent to the more widely known N95 respirators. And just as they were about to put them on a plane out, the Food and Drug Administration issued an order prohibiting their use. “Two weeks later they said they were just kidding,” is how Baker colorfully put it. “I don’t think the FDA was trying to cut off the supply. They were trying to protect American people. But the decision was in error.” The order never went through. Asked if Arkansas had enough N95 respirators, Broughton said he did not believe any state in the U.S. had enough masks. UAMS has ordered 2 million KN95 masks, through channels unrelated to the Bakers. Arkansas was the first state to charter a plane to get supplies out, Broughton said, and he credited Governor Hutchinson and UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson with the chutzpah to do it. (The New England Patriots’ charter flight that brought PPE to Massachusetts landed April 2, but that was privately paid for.) The price tag was $800,000. The shortage of PPE is one thing, Broughton said, but just as serious an issue is the difficulty in shipping products out of China. “Logistics is not getting the publicity that product is getting. There’s only so much transport aircraft that can come out of China. We have seen prices for aircraft go through the roof,” he said. Broughton’s learned that it may be faster to have products arrive by boat, and that’s how future shipments will arrive. And products will keep arriving, Broughton said. “The great thing for Arkansas taxpayers is we now have [guaranteed] production time. We can start putting things in large containers and start shipping them to Arkansas. By negotiations that happened with us and the Baker family and partners overseas, we will be able to obtain product.” ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 27
MOVE ALONG: Highway signs reflect Governor Hutchinsonâ€™s executive order prohibiting short-term stays from recreational out-of-state visitors.
28 MAY 2020
Top of the Class
MEET THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS IN THE STATE. ROBBIE HENRY: The LISA Academy West standout plans to study computer science at Rice University.
The 2020 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team, the 26th team the Times has honored, is made up of debaters, musicians, scientists and championship athletes. There’s rarely a B on the transcripts of these students in not just this, their senior year, but in any year of their high school careers. This year’s Academic All-Stars are exceptional in yet another way: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these seniors will not process to receive their diplomas at the end of their school year. Nor will the Times be able to honor them with a ceremony, as has been our tradition. But their superlative high school careers will not be forgotten. Read on for stories of inspiration in these troubled times.
BY RHETT BRINKLEY, HEATH CARPENTER, GRIFFIN COOP, NOËL GIERINGER, DWAIN HEBDA AND STEPHEN KOCH
MAY 2020 29
KEELING BAKER Age: 18 Hometown: Little Rock High School: Little Rock Central High School Parents: John and Kristine Baker College Plans: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
KEELEY AUSBURN Hometown: Maumelle School: Maumelle High School Parents: Jeremy and Danielle Ausburn College Plans: Hendrix College, Conway VANESSA ARAUJO Hometown: Springdale High School: Springdale High School Parents: Patricio and Marta Araujo College Plans: Brown University, Providence, R.I. Vanessa Araujo is fulfilling her father’s dreams as well as her own. Vanessa’s father, Patricio, grew up in Mexico, where he got only an elementary school education before moving to the United States. Two years ago, he applied for permanent residency in the U.S. and Vanessa wrote an inspiring letter on his behalf that his attorney credits as a major factor in the application’s success. “He was the one who inspired me to go to college,” said Vanessa, who will be the first in her family to attend college when she enters Brown University in the fall. “He told me I could do anything in the U.S.” Vanessa has proved her father right. She is ranked first out of 607 students at Springdale High School and excels in the International Baccalaureate program. Excited by the possibilities of science, Vanessa plans to pursue biomedical engineering and computer science in college. “I like [science], because there is so much out there that we have yet to discover,” Vanessa said. “There is endless possibility.” Vanessa has also been active in the community, where she raised money for cancer research through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is leading a Teens for Jeans drive to provide clothes for teens in homeless shelters. As Vanessa has excelled in and out of the classroom, she knows her father is pleased with all she has accomplished. “He’s just really proud of me,” she said. “I think it’s like his dream come true. He never got to attend school, so I get to do that for him.” GC 30 MAY 2020
In addition to holding an incredible academic record, Keeley Ausburn is also the author of a one-act play based on her own childhood and has directed her peers in the story. But of all the accomplishments of her high school career, Keeley is most proud of her work with the Peaceful Syrian Initiative. Keeley founded the student advocacy group after learning of Syria’s struggles from Natalie Larrison of Little Rock, the outreach director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force and the main coordinator of the Wisdom House Project, a secret school for orphans in Idlib, Syria. “I had to do my part,” Keeley said. Not only did Keeley begin to volunteer, but she decided she wanted to motivate her peers to get involved. The Peaceful Syrian Initiative has done just that: made change in the world and allowed Keeley to see her friends and classmates “light up at a new opportunity for activism.” Keeley plans to maintain her advocacy as she attends Hendrix College this fall. She wants to continue educating Arkansans about the Syrian civil war and to study abroad while pursuing her studies in political science and English literature. After Hendrix, her sights are set on the Clinton School of Public Service and law school to continue to work to fight for human rights. One secret to accomplishing so much and caring so deeply about the difficult issues of our world? Baking. Keeley says she’s able to relax some by “consuming [herself] in a recipe,” whether cakes, custards or delicate macarons, and sharing the delicious treats with her friends. NG
By the time he set foot in the halls of Central High School, Keeling Baker had already formed a simple model for success in life: an unyielding work ethic. “My parents instilled in me from a young age that you’ve got to work as hard as you can,” he said. “You can take the lazy route and just get through, but you can really change some lives if you put all your effort into it.” That hard work paid off at Central. He was elected student body president and was special teams captain for the football team. A National Merit Finalist, Keeling also served as president of Central’s Young Democrats Club, was a member of the National Honor Society and recipient of the James Street Exceptional Sportsmanship Award. He was elected lieutenant governor at Arkansas Boys State, an accomplishment that mimics his life’s ambition to go into public service, as does his extensive community service. These roles include serving as junior counselor at Camp Aldersgate and as a student aide at the Summer Laureate University, and volunteering with Tree Streets, a local organization that plants trees to improve Little Rock neighborhoods. He said he gauges success by how much one benefits others as well as oneself. “Helping other people is what I’ve always tried to do. The No. 1 thing that you can do is live the fullest life. Doing well by yourself is extremely respectable and a completely honorable thing to do. But what’s even more honorable and respectable is to do well for yourself, get to a level and then use that to help other people.” DH
Congratulations to Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts senior Victoria Hwang of Maumelle on being named an Arkansas Times Academic All-Star! Victoria is not only a talented musician but also is one of the state’s top young researchers. She was recognized as Arkansas’ only 2020 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholar in the nation’s most prestigious high school science and mathematics competition. ASMSA offers hundreds of young Arkansans each year an experience that combines the best parts of both high school and college in a unique community of learning. It is the only school in the state to provide advanced course opportunities in STEM, arts, and entrepreneurship in an on-campus residential experience.
Engage in courses designed to challenge bright minds. Grow as a student while earning more than a year of college credit.
Ignite your potential by attending one of the nation’s top public high schools! ARKANSASTIMES.COM
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ANH CAO Hometown: Bentonville School: Bentonville High School Parents: Hiep Cao and Sherry Lingenfelter College plans: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., or Yale University, New Haven, Conn. BRADLEY BALTZ Age: 17 Hometown: Pocahontas High School: Pocahontas High School Parents: Kyle and Karen Baltz College Plans: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. When Bradley Baltz was in eighth grade, he ranked among the lowest in the weight room of any athlete at the school. He dedicated himself to his training and, after four years, he’d risen to post the second-highest weightlifting marks of anyone on the school team. It’s a typical response from the talented senior, when faced with a challenge. “My main thing is work ethic,” he said. “Anything I do, if I put my full effort into it, then I will be successful at it at least in some aspect. I participate in a lot of sports and there’s some years where I focus more on some sports than others and those years I always do better.” In addition to three varsity letters and being named All-State in football, Bradley also lettered three years in baseball and is an accomplished competitive trap shooter. He graduated Pocahontas High School with a 35 on the ACT and a super score of 36. Multiple years in the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America and student council are just a few items on Bradley’s stellar resume. He was also a key player in four state Odyssey of the Mind championship teams. There, he developed into a master of design, creating vehicles for competition that landed the team a third-place national ranking each of the past two years along with individual creativity and engineering awards. This year, he taught himself to code, specifically to improve his designs. “I always try to make sure when I do an activity, I put my maximum amount of effort into it,” he said. “If I can’t do that, then I don’t do [the activity]. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person.” DH 32 MAY 2020
When Anh Cao went to a debate camp the summer before her sophomore year, she not only started her path to the Olympics of high school debate, she found a place to shine and give back to others. Anh’s interest in joining Team USA for debate soon led her to the world championship team, representing America in the prestigious event in Bangkok. This monumental trip was a highlight of Anh’s experience on Team USA. While awaiting the team’s prize for making it to the quarterfinals, Anh received the additional honor of ranking in the top 10 for individual debaters. In the male-dominated world of debate, Anh became the highest-ranking young woman at the world championship — just a year after joining the team. Anh said that this moment was a “difficult, strenuous experience” but also exciting and fulfilling. Her place on Team USA led to more travel to Germany and Singapore as team captain during her senior year. Anh and a teammate knew that “debate can be something besides arguing about issues” and so they created a day camp, Project Dialogue, to work with younger Asian-American students. Not only did they educate these younger students, they donated the camp’s proceeds to charities, including the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter and the ACLU. With Project Dialogue, Anh reflects that “our defining characteristic isn’t championship titles — it’s creating life-changing opportunities.” NG
CLAIRE FRANCO Age: 18 Hometown: Tontitown High School: Springdale Har-Ber High School Parents: Jon and Monica Franco College Plans: Hendrix College, Conway Since Claire Franco was a child she’s always wanted to help people. As a teenager, she wants to do that by defending them in court. “The law is meant to protect and uphold society, but it’s also meant to represent the majority of the people,” she said. “I’ve just seen how there’s a lot of people who seem to be looked over and who don’t have fair representation. I want to be someone who tries to help fix that. I’m really inspired by the civil rights lawyers of the ’60s and people who fight for those who don’t have a voice and fight for the underdogs.” She’s off to a good start. She’s ranked first in her class with a 4.22 GPA. She’s an AP Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Finalist and she’s won several awards in debate, including first place at the Arkansas Mock Trial Regional Competition. She also participated in Arkansas Student Congress and won the Mary Ingalls Award for Parliamentary Procedure. Claire participated in stagecraft for four years and was the student scene designer chosen to design her school’s fall production. She was also a member of the winning team at the Arkansas State Thespian Festival’s Scenic Design Challenge. Claire also plays the clarinet and has been in the All-Region Band for five years, where she received five solo superior ratings and five ensemble superior ratings. Claire says she’s looking forward to voting in the presidential election in November. Voting “is really the only way that we as average citizens have a say in the political arena,” she said. “So it’s important; if you want to see some kind of change, you have to step up and make a statement. This is the most basic form of that. And I have been watching the world around me for so long, and I’m so excited to finally have my voice heard.” RB
ROBBIE HENRY Age: 17 Hometown: Little Rock High School: LISA Academy West High Parents: Robert and Cherika Henry College Plans: Rice University, Houston Robbie Henry credits the STEM-forward curriculum of LISA Academy for putting him on the path to a career in computer science. “I got a much more focused education on mathematics and science [at LISA Academy], which are important for computer science,” he said. “We have really small class sizes so it’s easy to get better education and more personal connections with the teachers, which I think is really important.” Robbie became interested in computer science early in his high school career and has been a standout in that field ever since, fueled by a strong work ethic and initiative. “I took a computer science course first when I was in ninth grade. That’s where I learned about coding. It was really fun for me and relaxing,” he said. “I enjoyed it more than anything I’ve done before, so I really want to make that into a career for myself.” From that simple beginning, Robbie participated in the exclusive MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC) Program last summer. The six-week curriculum included the study of physics and neuroscience and culminated with a presentation at an MIT symposium. During his senior year, he’s been a part of the high school underwater robotics team. Other accolades include receiving a letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., denoting he ranked in the top 50,000 out of over 1.5 million students who took the 2018 PSAT. He was also elected president of his school’s National Honor Society and is a College Board AP Scholar. He’s also a co-founder of the school’s gardening club; board member of LISA Health Committee; and served in Volunteer Jaguars, through which he completed campus improvement and beautification projects. DH
VICTORIA HWANG Age: 18 Hometown: Little Rock High School: Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts Parents: Charlie and Madison Hwang College Plans: Undecided Victoria Hwang’s interest in biology started as a child when she learned that family members suffered from various medical conditions. “I wanted to know what was happening, why it was happening and what solutions were available?” Once she got to the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, she was exposed to more in-depth classes that heightened her interest in the subject. She researched glioblastomas — the most common primary brain tumors. Her approach involved removing proteins that help the tumor cells go through the replication process. For her research, she was awarded the top prize at the West Central Regional Science Fair and an automatic bid to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Anaheim, Calif. She was a semifinalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, selected as one of the top 300 high school senior researchers in the nation. She and some ASMSA friends also decided to enter the Governor’s Cup, a business plan competition. “We thought it would be interesting to see how we could bring our specialties in the STEM field and look at it in terms of entrepreneurship.” They made it to the finals, the first high school team to make it that far in the competition. Victoria, whose parents immigrated to the United States from South Korea in the ’90s, has also seized the opportunity to connect with her family history and culture. After learning about the Korean War in school — as well as from her grandparents’ firsthand accounts — Victoria sent letters of appreciation to Arkansas veterans of the Korean War. Some of them even wrote her back. A lifelong violinist, Victoria placed sixth chair in the All-State Orchestra. She was also a volunteer at CHI St. Vincent’s Oncology Unit. In a touching moment, Victoria met a glioblastoma patient. “It put in perspective what my research could do, how it could really impact the patient if I’m able to continue,” she said. RB
JED JOHNSON Age: 17 Hometown: Little Rock High School: Episcopal Collegiate School Parents: Jim and Suzanne Johnson College Plans: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Many high schoolers distinguish themselves in one particular area; Jed Johnson has taken a much broader approach, excelling in sports as well as in the classroom and taking part in learning opportunities outside school. “I like to develop all aspects of myself,” he said. “I would hate to leave one part underdeveloped or under-explored just in case I was missing out on something great. So, I put myself out there a little bit, to see what I like and see what I enjoy instead of just focusing on one thing.” During his high school experience, Jed was an All-State runner on Episcopal’s cross-country squad, played baseball for four years and was part of its state championship golf team. He also helped lead the school Quiz Bowl team to a state title and served on ECS’ Honor Council. Jed said a major highlight of his high school career came last summer as a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Summer Research Fellow, serving as a lab technician in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. “I am intrigued by the critical thinking it requires and its ability to answer fundamental questions about the real world,” he said. “Over the course of the summer, I designed experiments, learned how to handle live cancer cell lines, attended lectures and presentations, developed my scientific skills and had a blast along the way. … Medical research, I discovered, is an avenue for me to pursue my passion for science while effecting positive change in the lives of others. I look forward to studying biology and continuing medical research in the years to come.” DH
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MADELINE JOHNSON Age: 18 Hometown: Cabot High School: Cabot High School Parents: Chris and Charlotte Johnson College Plans: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Madeline Johnson understands the importance of community. She earned the President’s Volunteer Gold Service Award for 250 hours of community service over the course of a year. During her junior year, she dedicated over 90 hours to leading craft activities at a local nursing home, an endeavor called “An Art Display to Make the Day.” She was one of 400 student ambassadors chosen to attend the Hugh O’Brian World Leadership Congress in Chicago. It was there that she was “moved by the universal idea that one should think globally and be unafraid to take community action, not based on the grandeur of service, but the meaningful effects it has on its community members.” A Girl Scout since second grade, she’s now a Gold Award-winning ambassador. “Girl Scouts opened my eyes to both the importance of camaraderie and also service to the community as well,” she said. Madeline was a member of U.S. Sen. John Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet. She was on a team of 12 on the cabinet. “After coming together we realized a huge problem in Central Arkansas was the current opioid epidemic.” Her team “talked to pharmacists, medical professionals and even some individuals who have been personally impacted by the crisis to see how that’s manifested over the years, as well as conducting empirical research.” She also volunteers at an animal shelter. Despite all of her work in the community, she was able to maintain a 4.26 GPA and earn a perfect score on her ACT. She’s a National Merit Finalist and an AP Scholar with Honors. She plans to study political science with a minor in Spanish on a pre-law track at university. “The experience in Senator Boozman’s Congressional Youth Cabinet really opened my eyes to the power of policy-making and legislation and just the law route in itself,” 34she MAY 2020 said. ARKANSAS RB TIMES
ISAAC KHOUNBORINE Age: 18 Hometown: Springdale High School: Springdale High School Parents: Sonny Khounborine and Oudone Phanthao College Plans: Hendrix College, Conway, or University of Arkansas, Fayetteville A gifted thinker and standout academic, Isaac Khounborine looks forward to a future in which he uses his considerable talent for the benefit of others. The senior has served as an ambassador for the Holocaust Conference in both his junior and senior years. He also volunteers at a homeless shelter, where he stocks and organizes items, and tutors students, something he found particularly rewarding. “It’s one thing for me to be excelling at school and education, but I also take joy in seeing others that also succeed and exceed,” he said. “In the tutoring, I want people to also feel that same joy. Whenever I help others out, it just feels gratifying.” In the classroom, Isaac has excelled at the International Baccalaureate program at Springdale High. As part of his IB internal assessment, he developed a program that helps fellow students review AP material in a game-like way, improving the learning experience. He’s weighing his college options, and says he’s grateful for the opportunities his high school experience has given him. “I will miss my interactions with my friends and teachers I’ve come to know over the past four years,” he said. “It’s been a long journey, and the fact that I’ve known the people in this small International Baccalaureate community since ninth grade, it’s kind of sorrowful to let that all go. In the future, I really want to use my talents to make a better world.” DH
ANNE LI Age: 17 Hometown: Little Rock High School: Little Rock Central Parents: Xuyang Li and Hui Zhang College Plans: Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. Anne Li is the co-founder of Allgirlithm, an organization she started with two students she met at an artificial intelligence conference at Stanford the summer after her high school freshman year. The goal of Allgirlithm is to make A.I. more accessible beyond tech hubs. “We have an outreach program,” she said. “We created a curriculum for a 20-week high school club. We connect with people around the world and help them start clubs and events at their own schools.” She’s also the captain of the Zero Robotics Team at Central High. “The goal of Zero Robotics is to program a satellite to perform different maneuvers, so I think it’s a really good learning experience for students new to programming.” Anne won the Congressional App Challenge by designing an app that uses temperature data to alert users when they’ve left their children in the car, and she traveled to Washington, D.C., to present her app to Congress. An op-ed she wrote on women in STEM was published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “Women in STEM are very underrepresented,” she said. “I think a lot of women are interested in tech, but a lot do end up leaving the industry.” Anne is a National Merit Semifinalist and an Apple Worldwide Developers Scholarship recipient. She’s ranked second in her class and earned a perfect score on her ACT. She plans to study Symbolic Systems at Stanford. “It’s basically a major that’s built around computer science, but it also involves linguistics, philosophy and a couple other interdisciplinary things. One of my goals is to combine technology with the humanities,” she explained. “Throughout this quarantine, I’ve been talking to a lot of my future classmates on our Facebook group. Seeing all of their interests — some of them are passionate about LGBT issues, some are passionate about feminism and all these different things — it makes me feel hopeful for the world. I’m really excited to be able to interact with people with very diverse interests.” RB
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ETHAN MAROTTE Age: 17 Hometown: Conway High School: Conway High School Parents: Mary Ruth and Jeff Marotte College Plans: Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa. If you think a record-setting state swimming champion is a student with only swimming on his mind, then you haven’t met Ethan Marotte of Conway. Yes, he has been swimming competitively for more than half his life. But when he turned his attention to acting, he nabbed the lead in the Conway High School production last year of “Newsies.” “Prior to swimming in meets, I usually have a few butterflies in my stomach, but nothing could have prepared me for how nervous I was on [the play’s] opening night,” he said. “However, as soon as the overture began to play, my anxiety morphed into an excitement that I had never experienced before.” He dipped a toe in acting at a young age, but said he “kind of fell out of it. I wasn’t one to put myself out there.” When he “kind of quit thinking about what people thought of me,” it was a sea change, he said. Ethan is looking forward to heading to Swarthmore this fall. “I’m swimming for them. I just clicked with the swim coaches there,” he said. “Unfortunately, being a [NCAA] Division III school,” he noted, “they don’t offer athletic scholarships.” But Ethan won’t be confined to merely being a swimmer at Swarthmore. “I’m definitely going to act in college. I think the perk of attending a small liberal arts college is you are able to explore,” he said, “and you’re encouraged to.” Despite his 4.39 GPA, Ethan said he’d liked to have explored more classes in high school than he did. “I really regret taking as many AP classes as I did. I wish I’d taken some drawing classes, or debate. You don’t have to declare your major until sophomore year at Swarthmore. And that’s good, because I’m an indecisive person. I kind of want to try a lot of things.” Hence, Ethan’s advice to underclassmen? “Don’t strive for a perfect GPA. Challenge yourselves, but follow your passion.” SK 36 MAY 2020
AHMED MOUSTAFA Age: 17 Hometown: Bentonville High School: Bentonville West High School Parents: Amal Soliman and Rida Moustafa College Plans: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville For a high school senior with a GPA of 4.61, Ahmed Moustafa is already looking beyond university. “College is a stepping stone,” he explained. “I treat it as stairs going uphill.” Ranked first in his class of 446 at Bentonville West High School, Ahmed was in the first class to attend all four years at the new facility. He remembers his early days there as a freshman: “The school was brand new, and there was a great sense of community. We were underdogs!” Born in Virginia, Ahmed has lived in Arkansas since seventh grade. “But both my parents came from Egypt, from two rival villages,” he said. He visits Egypt with his parents every few years. “It’s definitely a culture shock,” he said. “But after I visit, I’m reinvigorated by how I want to treat people.” His name translates to “the thankful one,” he notes, and he wants this to be part of his identity. Outside of school, Ahmed volunteers at the Bentonville Public Library, the local Islamic center and the local food bank. “When I think of my legacy, I don’t imagine a world of influence or status, but one of actions and commitments,” he said. “I want to not just achieve academically, but to strive for knowledge, and have curiosity,” he said. As for his college years, Ahmed will be staying close by and attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville “for financial reasons and family reasons,” and plans a dual major of computer science and mathematics. “Modern times are transitioning — someone who wants more cohesiveness in America would normally go into politics, but it’s technology and science where this really happens,” he said. “My goal is to be a vanguard of computer science. Wars are being fought over data. Information predicts the future. People fighting for this data can lead to unforeseen risks. I want to protect the sanctity of computer science,” he said. His advice to younger peers: “You can’t rush it. And don’t prioritize the results. It’s more about the journey. It’s the extracurriculars that are important; the academics will come. Focus most of your time on understanding those around yourself — prioritize those connections.” SK
MICHAEL O’HEARN Age: 18 Hometown: Little Flock High School: Rogers Heritage High School Parents: Joel and Sheri O’Hearn College Plans: Brown University, Providence, R.I. “Before I started high school, I remember being absolutely terrified,” Michael O’Hearn of Little Flock said. “It was the thought that I wasn’t smart enough. Up until that point in my life, school had always been so easy and predictable, but when I looked at my brother’s calculus homework, my mind would swirl with terror at my ability to comprehend it.” With a perfect ACT score and GPA of 4.3, which put Michael in the top five of his class of 469 at Rogers Heritage High, he needn’t have worried. “My teachers have challenged me to think broadly and take risks,” he explained. Thinking broadly is what Michael does. Academics? Check. Swimming? Sure. Orchestra? Why not? He’s not entirely sure of what he’ll major in yet, but for now he’s thinking pre-med. “The first year, I just want to transition into being a college student,” he said. He’ll attend Brown this fall. “I wanted to apply to some Ivy League schools just to see if I could get in,” he said. “I felt like Brown spoke to me, and I also really liked the location.” A National Merit Finalist and an award-winner in both swimming and orchestra, Michael also finds time to do volunteer house painting, lawn care and home maintenance in the community. He also tutors students to take the ACT. “You definitely want to get involved, that’s a big thing, and show commitment,” he said. “I tried a lot of things out, then I stuck with a few things that were important to me, like orchestra, swimming and Quiz Bowl. Focus on what you’re passionate about.” As a graduating senior with lots of extracurriculars and volunteering under his belt, Michael can laugh now at his terror regarding entering high school. But he doesn’t find his fears at the thought “completely irrational. My success has not been because of natural ability. It’s because I have learned to work hard for my goals, and, thanks to the help of many excellent teachers along the way, I will continue to do just that.” SK
Congratulations JOSIE ZAKRZEWSKI! In addition to her many accolades, we are proud to have had an Academic-All Star spend more than 500 hours volunteering for Mayor Joe A. Smith’s North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council!
We’re proud of our very own, home-grown
Josie Zakrzewski! From Crestwood Elementary, to Lakewood Middle, to North Little Rock Middle, to North Little Rock High School.
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ETHAN PECK Age: 18 Hometown: Austin High School: Cabot High School Parents: Amanda and Jason Peck College Plans: Rice University, Houston With an affinity for programming, mathematics, literature, music and more, Ethan Peck of Austin says the key to academic success is enjoying the learning process. Ranked No. 2 in his class of 767 seniors at Cabot High School, Ethan acknowledges he “always was set on doing well with grades.” He’s a National Merit Scholar, a Governor’s School attendee, an Arkansas State Coding Competition qualifier, AP Scholar with Distinction and an All-State Wind Symphony and All-State Chamber Orchestra member. “I’ve enjoyed high school, for the most part,” he said. “I kind of like branching out and trying other things,” Ethan said. “My mom had been pretty big into band when she was in high school,” and it was she who encouraged his participation in music. He’s since become one of the top young bassoonists in the state. “For the most part, I’ve done concert band music,” he said, “but I’ve enjoyed doing chamber music, and I’ve really enjoyed playing orchestra. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to major or minor in it.” He’ll be too busy. Instead, he’s going to study computer science or electrical engineering in Texas at Rice University this fall. Even for a scholar with a perfect ACT score, Ethan said applying to Rice was nerve-racking: “It was very scary. I by no means expected to get in.” To add to the anxiety, Ethan said he’s “been interested in Rice since eighth grade — and I was excited about the idea of attending college even before that.” He’s been watching virtual information sessions put out by the university, which is planning on being open this fall. As for his class at Cabot High, he said, “We’re not exactly sure about commencement.” As for his younger classmates back at CHS, Ethan advises something both basic and hard to achieve: “The biggest thing for me was I set goals early on and kept working towards those.” SK
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KAUSHIK SAMPATH Hometown: Fayetteville High School: Fayetteville High School Parents: Sam Kumar and Geetha Ramaswamy College Plans: Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Yale, New Haven, Conn.; Stanford, Palo Alto, Calif.; or University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Kaushik Sampath loves a challenge, especially when it comes to science. Kaushik has performed protein research at the University of Arkansas, he’s synthesized a therapeutic molecule at Boston University, he’s qualified for Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair and he’s participated in the national Science Bowl twice. His excellence in the classroom has also earned him the top rank in Fayetteville’s senior class. “He has been given a gift, and I told him with that gift brings great responsibility,” Staci Petrich, a Fayetteville High School counselor, said. After participating in Science Bowl, Kaushik was inspired to use the downtime during the coronavirus pandemic to practice his chemistry skills. “I’m really interested in chemistry’s applications to not only discovering drugs but also developing drugs,” Kaushik said. Kaushik plans to study biomedical engineering or chemistry in college. He is particularly interested in the use of artificial intelligence and computer algorithms to assist in finding drugs that can be beneficial to society. “I’m interested in helping to make the algorithms be more efficient and also create better ones.” he said. A well-rounded academic, Kaushik also wrote a history paper on the impact of the Civil War on the Cherokee Nation that was published in an academic journal. “I am really interested in history as well,” Kaushik says. “I think, for me right now, I’m more interested in pursuing a STEM career, but history is also an interest of mine.” Kaushik attributes his success to the intellectually engaging environment at FHS. “It’s a challenge not only to stand out amongst the great students there, but also to perform well there with the expectations the teachers have upon students.” GC
PRIYA THELAPURATH Age: 18 Hometown: Bentonville High School: Bentonville West High School Parents: Vish and Sangeetha Thelapurath College Plans: Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. “Judges were more likely to focus on the small hole in my tights or the volume of my voice … than the content of my argument,” Priya Thelapurath writes in her Academic All-Stars essay of her experience on the debate team. “On the debate stage I was told to ‘quiet down’ and be ‘less aggressive’ in cross examination, while my male competitors were praised for talking over me and ‘taking control of the round.’ ” Instead of buckling under the frustration, Priya channeled the injustice into action. In 2018, she founded LOUDwomen, a program teaching debate skills to girls in fifth through eighth grade while addressing gender issues. “We talk to them about what they may face and what to do if they experience sexism,” she explained. Galvanized by both her award-winning love of debate and a three-week University of Chicago summer program where she received a scholarship to study gender studies and sociology, Priya now has plans to scale: “We created a website with resources for other schools and posted essays with the Bentonville mayor, school superintendent and executives at Walmart — all women who wrote about experiencing sexism.” Bringing on a younger peer to help continue the work, Priya has plans for an ambassador program for Arkansas schools in which student leaders will use the LOUDwomen resources to raise awareness for female students and increase debate participation in their schools. She even hopes to take the program to Harvard (though she is considering Yale University, too), perhaps interviewing professors and incorporating debate in some form. With a 4.56 GPA, a 35 on the ACT, an associate degree from Northwest Arkansas Community College and a laundry list of honors such as the national AXA Equitable Excellence scholarship under her belt, Priya is no stranger to success. She plans on studying sociology and gender studies, and eventually attending law school, potentially with a focus on public policy or government work. Because she loves “political parody and satire,” Priya admits to thinking that a potential dream job would be running Weekend Update on “Saturday Night Live.” “I rewatch past skits with Michael Che and Colin Jost,” she said. With her ambition, savvy, activist spirit and sense of humor, Priya Thelapurath may well represent the zeitgeist for the ’20s. HC
CARLIE WATTIGNEY Age: 17 Hometown: Monette High School: Buffalo Island Central High School Parents: Johnny and Sarah Wattigney College Plans: University of Central Arkansas, Conway Carlie Wattigney solves jigsaw puzzles and gardens with her family in her downtime: “I like looking for the clues … and working with my hands. It’s meditative and stress-relieving. Gardening is also a way to share something with family — aunts, uncles and grandparents.” Though she has the easy-going disposition of a smalltown person, Carlie has outsized ambition. With 1,595 people and a graduating class of 53, Monette (Craighead County) has served as the backdrop for her values and the inspiration for her desire to see more: “We’re close,” she said. “Everyone knows everyone. We’re all connected, and the community has always been helpful and supportive.” The senior has also turned the scholar’s gaze back on her working-class farming community to better understand her heritage. Along with a couple of classmates, she collected oral histories about pre-mechanized farming in Monette for her school’s EAST program, creating a virtual map with videos and interviews that were featured on the Smithsonian’s website. “I never realized the hardships the community went through, all the labor that went into shaping the lands into farmland, starting irrigation and founding a town,” she said. Though she credits a teacher for instilling in her a passion and curiosity for science, Monette offers few professional connections and limited resources. “I noticed information on the ACT that I had never been presented in my math classes,” she said. “I went to outside sources and studied for over 20 hours for the math portion … raising my math score by four points from 29 to 33.” As a volunteer at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, she sought to make professional connections and get a firsthand glimpse of her future life. In the fall, she’ll head to the University of Central Arkansas to study biology with medical school in her sights, potentially focusing on internal medicine. This is a goal she connects to the values instilled in her by her parents: “They taught me to be a caring and compassionate person, ready to serve,” Carlie said. HC
“I knew when Ethan Peck walked into my classroom in August that he was exceptional, and he never made me doubt that opinion. He has worked long hours and juggled multiple assignments to achieve this milestone. Congratulations, Ethan! I wish you nothing but the very best as you begin this new journey.” — Mrs. Medlin
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MAY 2020 39
2020 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Finalists These students made the final round of judging for the 2020 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star team. MARIE BORDELON Rogers Heritage High
ETHAN JONES Har-Ber Springdale
SARAH WARE Episcopal Collegiate School
BRAD CAMPBELL Rogers High School
CONNOR MAURER Bryant High School
KENDALL WEBB Lakeside High School, Hot Springs
KENNETH CLARDY Fort Smith Southside High School
LAUREN GRACE PERRY Pulaski Academy
COLTON GATTIS Greenwood High School JOSIE ZAKRZEWSKI Age: 17 Hometown: North Little Rock High School: North Little Rock High School Parents: J.T. and Angela Zakrzewski College Plans: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville “Overcommitted, but passionate” describes many high school seniors, but for Josie Zakrzewski, it translates into community service, independent learning and a polymath’s curiosity. After self-studying the prerequisite chemistry course for AP Chemistry and enrolling in a college trigonometry class to take AP Calculus AB, she has been teaching herself AP Calculus BC. This drive solidified after Josie taught herself, at 15, enough conversational French for a family vacation to Quebec. “I’m interested in the world around me, and I wanted to be able to connect with people,” she said. “What better way than in their own language?” Her zeal for learning and connecting doesn’t exist in a vacuum. For “fun,” she started a YouTube channel teaching school peers and students around the country how to prepare for AP classes and exams. In addition, in more than 500 hours volunteering for the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council, she has worked at an animal shelter, at nursing homes during the holidays, and even served a stint as the Easter Bunny for the Burns Park Easter Egg Hunt. If that weren’t enough, she takes commissions as a graphite portrait artist and, to “relax with friends,” she helps lead her Drama Forensics team, writing and directing two first-place-winning reader’s theaters while winning titles in her own solo and duet performances. Though theater is a passion she hopes to continue as a hobby, Josie has medical school in her future. With an embarrassed chuckle, she admits that watching the “Call the Midwife” television series piqued her interest. “It’s fascinating seeing how much we have progressed in women’s health,” she said. Turning down Duke University in North Carolina for the University of Arkansas, she plans to pursue a career in maternal fetal medicine, with hopes of focusing on high-risk pregnancies. HC 40 MAY 2020
ANA REIF Fayetteville High School
Here are the students nominated to be Academic All-Stars. BAUXITE MARYANN GUNDLACH Bauxite High School
PRIYA THELAPURATH Bentonville West High School
BRETT PENNINGTON Bauxite High School
BERGMAN COLE HELTON Bergman High School
BEEBE ALEXANDER HOLLAND Beebe High School ABBY MOORE Beebe High School BEE BRANCH GRACE BEAVERS Southside High School DILLON HALL Southside High School BENTON AUSTIN COLEMAN Harmony Grove High School JOSEPHINE WELLS Harmony Grove High School BENTONVILLE ANH CAO Bentonville High School AHMED MOUSTAFA Bentonville West High School
CAROLINE JACKSON Bergman High School BRYANT DALLAS BLANK Bryant High School CONNOR MAURER Bryant High School CABOT MADELINE JOHNSON Cabot High School ETHAN PECK Cabot High School CADDO HILLS LEVI SHERMAN Caddo Hills High School CALICO ROCK EMMA MITCHELL Calico Rock High School CLAYTON THOMPSON Calico Rock High School CAMDEN TAKARI GLOVER Camden Fairview High School
RILEY KLOBER Camden Fairview High School CONCORD BRYAR COUSINS Concord High School JAYLYN JEFFERSON Concord High School CONWAY ETHAN MAROTTE Conway High School ADRIENNE ROBINSON Conway High School CORNING KATIE CLIFTON Corning High School JARED SELIG Corning High School DE QUEEN ASHLYN CHAMBERS De Queen High School LUIS VERDIN De Queen High School DIERKS TRISSTON ICENHOWER Dierks High School HALLE MOUNTS Dierks High School EL DORADO GAYLA HINTON Parkers Chapel High School
FARMINGTON JONATHAN BRYE Farmington High School KATIE JANSSON Farmington High School FAYETTEVILLE ANA REIF Fayetteville High School KAUSHIK SAMPATH Fayetteville High School ALEXANDRA SETSER Fayetteville Virtual Academy FOREMAN KENZIE COWAN Foreman High School FORT SMITH KRISTOPHER BAILEY Northside High School KENNETH CLARDY Southside High School SHIELO LARANJO Southside High School REBEKAH KREHBIEL Northside High School KRISTEN SHERRILL Southside High School
GREENWOOD SAVANNAH FAUX Greenwood High School
The Pocahontas School District is proud of
COLTON GATTIS Greenwood High School HAMBURG CARSON CLARK Hamburg High School
MARY LAUHON Hamburg High School HARRISBURG SARA BUCKLEY Harrisburg College & Career Preparatory School
for being named a 2020 Academic All-Star. Congratulations!
PRESLEY WITT Harrisburg College & Career Preparatory School HARTMAN KRISTINA MCCAIN Westside High School HATTIEVILLE TAYLOR ZIMMERMAN Wonderview High School HOT SPRINGS RYAN BROWN Cutter Morning Star High School MADISON EASLEY Lakeside High School VICTORIA HWANG Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts
KARA KINKAID Cutter Morning Star High School A.J. NAVARRO Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts KENDALL WEBB Lakeside High School HOXIE SARAH RIGGS Hoxie High School JOHN WASHBURN Hoxie High School HUNTSVILLE KENDRA POOR Huntsville High School KOLTON SHEPHERD Huntsville High School JACKSONVILLE BLAIR WOODS-JONES Jacksonville High School
LR CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL AND LRSD ARE PROUD OF YOU! ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 41
JONESBORO AVERY AQUINO Valley View High School ERIN GEORGE Nettleton High School MYCHAL GOLDEN Nettleton High School THERESE JONES Academies at Jonesboro High School JUDSONIA ABIGAIL MULLINS White County Central High School
Congratulations Academic All-Star Robert Henry! LISA Academy leads the way in helping students succeed in school and in the workplace. Our STEM curriculum focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Learn more and apply now at lisaacademy.org.
LIMITED SEATS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR FALL 2020 LISA WEST ELEMENTARY Little Rock | K - 5
LISA WEST MIDDLE SCHOOL Little Rock | 6 - 8
LISA WEST HIGH SCHOOL Little Rock | 9 - 12
LISA NORTH LISA NORTH ELEMENTARY MIDDLE-HIGH SCHOOL North Little Rock | 6 - 12 Sherwood | K - 5 lisaacademy.org
LEAD HILL GAVIN DICKEY Lead Hill High School LINCOLN KIARA BISHOP Lincoln High School CLARK GRISCOM Lincoln High School LITTLE ROCK CATHERINE ALTHOFF Mount St. Mary Academy KEELING BAKER Little Rock Central High School ANNA BERTELSEN eSTEM HARPER CHAMBERS Pulaski Academy BROOKE GREEN Little Rock Christian Academy ROBERT HENRY Lisa Academy West JED JOHNSON Episcopal Collegiate School
STAY INFORMED. SUBSCRIBE TODAY.
arktimes.com 42 MAY 2020
MICHELLE KAMANGA Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School ANNE LI Little Rock Central High NADIN LOPEZ J.A. Fair High School ADAM MANN Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School
CELEBRATE YOUR 2020 GRADUATING CLASS! Our seniors this year face a very different graduation experience than they envisioned. That’s why we at the Arkansas Times would like to offer schools the platform to publicly recognize graduating high school students through a special June section dedicated to these fine young men and women.
“Maddie Johnson is a phenomenal young scholar. Her intellectual curiosity, social consciousness, and positive attitude have impressed us all at Cabot High School. While she makes learning look effortless, she demonstrates an amazing work ethic. As her AP Literature teacher, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her beautiful writing and incredible insight.” — Ginger Forster
CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE TODAY TO LEARN MORE.
GO WELL TRAINING ARKANSAS’ HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
ur new INTEGRATED HEALTH SCIENCES BUILDING, opening fall 2021, will foster an interprofessional educational
environment that replicates real-life health care scenarios, as well as provide room for 50 additional nursing students. Beyond that? More than 90% of our health care graduates remain in the state to practice.
Go here. Go anywhere.
MAY 2020 43
DEVAN MISHRA eSTEM
LINDY HULL Mena High School
ELIZABETH DURNING Ozark High School
JOSHUA NGUYEN Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys
MONETTE THOMAS MCFALL Buffalo Island Central High School
PARAGOULD GAGE BLANKENSHIP Paragould High School
CLAIRE FRANCO Har-Ber High School
COLE PARKER Arkansas Virtual Academy
CARLIE WATTIGNEY Buffalo Island Central High School
ELIZABETH NOEL Greene County Tech High School
JACK HERTZBERG Shiloh Christian School
LAUREN GRACE PERRY Pulaski Academy
MORRILTON EVAN MOBLEY Morrilton High School
KAITLYN STODDARD Paragould High School
ETHAN JONES Har-Ber High School
FISHER WOOD Greene County Tech High School
ISAAC KHOUNBORINE Springdale High School
PARIS ROBYN GOSSARD Paris High School
BREANNA MAPES Shiloh Christian School
HAGEN SANCHEZ The Baptist Preparatory School BRENNA STEWART Arkansas Virtual Academy JARED VARGAS J.A. Fair High School SARAH WARE Episcopal Collegiate School NESIBE YELEN LISA West High School MCCRORY LAYLA HEDDEN McCrory High School MAGAZINE HANNAH GREEN Magazine High School
GRACE WILLIAMS Morrilton High School MOUNTAIN VIEW TIMOTHY CURRAN Mountain View High School LAUREN FUTRELL Mountain View High School NASHVILLE KEVIN NAVA Nashville High School MADELYN PINKERTON Nashville High School NEWPORT KAYLA FITE Newport High School
XENG YANG Magazine High School
NORMAN TAYLOR ALLEN Caddo Hills High School
MAGNOLIA KEVIN ZHAO Magnolia High School
NORTH LITTLE ROCK JOHN ALDRICH Lisa Academy North
LUKE TRUSTY Paris High School
STAR CITY BRIANNA LUKER Star City High School
PEARCY PEARSON HAFER Lake Hamilton High School
STRAWBERRY ABBY ORRICK Hillcrest High School
KAITLYN STOKER Lake Hamilton High School
NICHOLAS POWELL Hillcrest High School
POCAHONTAS BRADLEY BALTZ Pocahontas
TRUMANN JACKSON WALTON Trumann School District
PRAIRIE GROVE KADE MITCHELL Prairie Grove High School
WALDRON SETH HUNT Waldron High School
PRESCOTT CADE POOLE Prescott High School
BAYLEIGH LIPHAM Waldron High School
ROGERS MARIE BORDELON Rogers Heritage High School
MALVERN RICHARD MICHAEL Magnet Cove High School
KABRION ERVIN North Little Rock Center of Excellence
MARION ANNA FOSTER Marion High School
SAM LOONEY North Little Rock High School
BEN BURDESS Rogers New Technology High School
JAN PENROD Central Arkansas Christian School
BRAD CAMPBELL Rogers High School
AYANNA RAULSTON North Little Rock Center of Excellence
NATALIE COLLINS Rogers New Technology High School
TESSA SPEARS Central Arkansas Christian School
RIYA GANDHI Rogers High School
JOSIE ZAKRZEWSKI North Little Rock High School
MICHAEL Oâ€™HEARN Rogers Heritage High School
OZARK BRYANT BURNS Ozark High School
SPARKMAN CODIE TUPA Sparkman High School
MARMADUKE REESA HAMPTON Marmaduke High School MAUMELLE KEELEY AUSBURN Maumelle High School BRICK GORE Maumelle High School MENA CALEB HOLMES Mena High School
44 MAY 2020
SPRINGDALE VANESSA ARAUJO Springdale High School
WOODLAWN RILEY AUD Woodlawn High School
The Arkansas Times would like to thank these sponsors for their support of the 2020 Academic All-star Team.
North Little Rock High School
Pocahontas School District
U O Y K N A H T ARKANSASTIMES.COM
MAY 2020 45
MAY 2020 KICKS OFF NATIONAL NURSES WEEK & THE YEAR OF THE NURSE AND MIDWIFE. NOT ONLY THAT, IT’S FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE’S 200TH BIRTHDAY! These celebrations honor nurses for the vital work they do. We would like to educate the public about the roles nurses play in health care — as advocates, patient educators, rehabilitators and so much more! Thank you nurses for all of your efforts — especially during this world-wide pandemic. Your selflessness has not gone unnoticed and we are so happy to be able to thank you during this special month.
COVID-19 Update: We are taking precautions. Our clinic staff and providers are committed to ensuring the safest environment for our patients. We have strictly enforced screening measures for all our patients and staff. Schedule TeleDerm today! A new, great way to stay up to date with your skin care needs. Whether you need a quick follow up or a refill on your medications, we are here for you! Enjoy your telederm visit with your provider from the comfort and safety of your own home. Follow us on social media. For important clinic updates and to stay up to date with our promotions and giveaway packages, follow us on all of our social media platforms.
METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH
This April marks the WHO’s 70th World Health Day. The health organization has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife for the critical roles these professionals play in our health care. The global response to COVID-19 has called many of these healers to fight on the front lines with great risk and personal sacrifice. WHO states: “Quite simply, without nurses, there would be no response.” This year and every year, Methodist Family Health appreciates the untiring support the nurses throughout our statewide continuum of care provide the children we serve. If you’re a nurse who loves children, we invite you to join us. Visit MethodistFamily.org and click on “Careers” for information and job listings.
46 MAY 2020
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Here’s To The Ones Making Good Things Happen
Together We’re Stronger
Compassionate Care for over 130 Years. Together, with compassionate physicians, caregivers, volunteers and the generosity of many, we are striving to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Offering the most comprehensive primary and specialty programs, we are committed to being the best place to receive care. You’ll find one of our clinics in your neighborhood providing comprehensive care with the latest diagnostic tests and treatments. Visit chistvincent.com to learn more.
VIRTUAL VISITS ARE AVAILABLE Call your provider’s office to learn more
MAY 2020 47
ARKANSAS HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION’S QUALITY TEAM
Hospitals must prioritize quality and patient safety in times of crisis, just as they do in times of calm. But a crisis like the present one certainly raises the stakes, as hospitals face unprecedented demands and a kaleidoscope of new challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the past 20 years, hospitals throughout the U.S. have created operational cultures that prioritize quality and patient safety. The nurses on AHA’s Quality Team have worked closely with Arkansas’s hospitals to build in a sturdy framework of processes, tools and information that has produced major gains in quality measures — as well as patient safety and engagement — throughout the state. Through the work of this team of nurses, our state’s hospitals gain access to national best practices and make important networking contacts for in-state collaboration. From our very hearts, we salute every person who is caring for patients, and we give thanks for the network of support that surrounds them. But beyond our thanks, we offer our total support. We have your backs, and we will continue to do all we can to support your crucial work, in times of crisis and beyond.
The AHA Quality Team works with hospital quality improvement teams, raising the bar on patient safety and quality in the state. From left: Cindy Harris, administrative assistant; Cindy Crump, MBA-HM, BSN, RN, quality specialist; Nikki Wallace, BSN, RN, quality specialist; and Pamela Brown, BSN, RN CPHQ, vice president of quality and patient safety.
JEFFERSON REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
IT TAKES A TEAM Daily operations at Jefferson Regional changed forever on March 11, 2020, when we diagnosed the first patient in the state with coronavirus, or COVID-19. While this particular virus had never been seen before, our nursing staff responded immediately with the same level of diligence and compassion they exercise with every patient. Training and experience came together as protocols were put into place, and exceptional care was provided for patients while our nurses protected themselves and the rest of the staff. Most importantly, they worked together through this pandemic as a team, receiving support and assistance from every area of the hospital. We have all learned a lot through this experience, not only about caring for COVID patients, but that absolutely anything is possible if you work together. It’s proof of what we’ve always known: Jefferson Regional is an amazing place to work!
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOR MEDICAL SCIENCES
As we celebrate Nurses Week and the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” — honoring our founder, Florence Nightingale, and the 200th anniversary of her birth — we offer our heartfelt appreciation to our dedicated UAMS nurses and staff. They go above and beyond, not only during this unprecedented time in our history, but each and every day, providing expert care and compassion for those who need it most. We are honored to be on the same team. If you want a nursing career where nurses are valued and supported at the hospital recognized by the U.S. News & World Report as No. 1 in Arkansas, choose UAMS! For more information, go to nurses. uams.edu. You can “Live Chat” with one of our Nurse Recruiters, or contact us by email at Nurserecruitment@uams.edu. A 25K sign-on Bonus is available for a limited time only for experienced nurses who meet eligible criteria for critical areas. 48 MAY 2020
A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Coronavirus Also Affects Minds Our expert counselors are available by phone to help Arkansas children and families in this unprecedented time.
THANK YOU! We appreciate all of our healthcare workers who are fighting
COVID - 19.
Call 887-778-1197 info@MethodistFamily.org
OUR SUPERHEROES WEAR MASKS AND SAVE LIVES, TOO. Providing education, advocacy, community and resources to Arkansasâ€™s hospitals and health systems for 90 years.
501.224.7878 | arkhospitals.org A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
MAY 2020 49
ARKANSAS TIMES #SUPPORTSLOCAL AND WE HOPE YOU WILL TOO.
CURBSIDE In the Heights
Join your Cheers Friends and your Favorite Food Introducing
UNCH and UNCH MENU
“CHEERS SOCIAL DISTANCING TO GO MENU”
day 11:00 am ~ 4:00 pm
Simple Patio Pick Up and Go ORDER FROM OUR FULL LUNCH AND DINNER MENU
First Impressions www.CopperGrillLR.com, 11 a.m. Salads – 8:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday
Cheese WE ARE ree Pepper Relish, roasted garlic, ttered baguette slices. 8.95
Grilled Salmon Salad Nicoise CASSEROLES AND SOUPS ALSO OFFERING FAMILY-STYLE
ed with pepper and sesame seeds, panved on crispy wontons garnished with h scallions. Paired with wasabi, wasabi d ginger. 10.50
ith roasted Poblano pepper and sautéed ved with tri-colored tortilla chips and 8.25
Traditional Nicoise Salad on baby Spinach with a grilled Salmon Filet and garnished with green beans, GarlicRosemary roasted new potatoes, pine nuts, tomatoes and red onions; served with Balsamic Vinaigrette. 15.95
Fresh Mozzarella Salad Fresh Mozzarella cheese served atop a bed of mixed greens, seasonal tomatoes and sprinkled with crumbled Feta cheese; served with Balsamic Vinaigrette. 7.95 Seasonal Salad Mixed greens with Maytag Bleu cheese, Mandarin oranges, fresh strawberries and spiced pecans complimented with Sherry Vinaigrette. 8.95
Homemade Mac and Cheese Balls Shrimp Salad c and Cheese with apple-wood smoked Local Organic Kale topped with Arkansas tomatoes, fresh peño encrustedDISCOUNT in Panko bread crumbs WINE & BEER TO-GO! Look for a familiar to give a recommendation! We’ll be there! strawberries, shaved fennel,face mangos and you red onions with h blackberry dipping sauce. 8.25 Sherry Vinaigrette. 11.95
CALL TO ORDER 501.375.3333
awfish Cakes Cobb Salad t and Crawfish mixed with sautéed bell Spicy Blackened Chicken STAY or Grilled Chicken Breast a HOPE TO SEE YOU SOON! SAFE AND EATonWELL! bed of mixed greens with bacon, avocado, Arkansas allots; served with a Green Tomato tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, red onions, mushrooms and picy remouladeCOPPER garnish. GRILL 8.95 IS FEEDING LITTLE ROCK’S FIRST RESPONDERS bleu cheese crumbles; served with bleu cheese dressing. ese & Bacon Jam 11.95 Your donations to our GoFundMe help keep our staff working i jar with a layer of sweet and spicy Pistachio Encrusted Goat Cheese Salad and provide first responders working the frontlines. ed with baguette slices. 7.50 hot meals toWarm Served on mixed greens with sliced pears, crispy bacon We’ve fed thousands – help us keep going. and garnished with toasted walnuts and Parmesan chego www.gofundme.com/f/copper-grill-feeds-little-rock-first-responders cheese; served with Champagne Vinaigrette. 8.95 encrusted Manchego cheese drizzled vinaigrette and served with garlic Chicken Salad te slices. 8.95 Southern tradition! Our Homemade Chicken 3RDA &great CUMBERLAND • DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK Salad with crunchy vegetables, golden raisins, fresh herbs tossed in our horseradish Aioli atop a bed of mixed h vegetables and creamy cheese with greens surrounded with fresh vegetables; served with 50 MAY served 2020 ARKANSAScrispy TIMES alapeño for spice; with Champagne Vinaigrette. 8.95 25 Copper Green Salad Fries
Drive or stroll by with the dogs!! 2010 N Van Buren St, Little Rock Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday Order, cruise in, pick up order and grab a beverage and go. Your favorite menu items and a few new treats from Tanner’s kitchen, like scratch Tamales!!! WINE AND DRINK SPECIALS Join Chris, Samantha, Alan, Tiffany, Cherise and all of your favorite staff members
CALL FOR CURBSIDE PICK UP OR DELIVERY AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL RESTAURANTS.
CALL FOR CURBSIDE PICK UP! 501-603-0238 Like us on
to get daily updates.
We can craft anything within a 24 hour notice. Call to preorder for the weekend.
Missing your farm-to-table fix? TRY THE ROOT’S FARM-TO-TAKEOUT! NOW OFFERING LOCAL GROCERIES!
WE HAVE WINE AND BEER SPECIALS TO GO. 605 N. Beechwood • Hillcrest
We want to thank everyone for their continued support. #bacistrong
Stop by the Root and pick up farm-fresh groceries from the farmers and producers we buy from: eggs, meat, spring mix, strawberries, and more! The Root is now offering curbside takeout and delivery HOURS OF OPERATION: Tuesday - Sunday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Groceries available all day Breakfast available 8 - 11 am Lunch available 11 am - 2 pm Dinner available 5 - 8 pm
GIVE US A CALL TO PLACE YOUR ORDER: (501) 414-0423 Thank you, Little Rock, for your amazing support and generosity thus far!! We will all get through this!
MISSING YOUR FAVORITE, FRIENDLY SERVERS?? They are now perky order takers and fleet carhops for your curbside take out! Check out our simple, no-hassle online takeout ordering system! Look for discount beer and wine specials
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES...ARE IN!
8201 Cantrell Road Little Rock Pavilion in the Park 501.221.3330 | www.TriosRestaurant.com
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MAY 2020 51
CROWNS, CULTURE SHOCK AND QUARANTINE A CONVERSATION WITH OLUWATOBI ADEWUMI.
BY TARA STICKLEY
‘BE THE LIGHT’: Of his 2017 work,”Illumination,” Adewumi said, “If you want to be big, or you want to be the light, you’re the only person stopping yourself.” 52 MAY 2020
luwatobi Adewumi, now a resident of McNeil (Columbia County), was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, to the Yoruba tribe. He began making art on a wager — one that resulted in his winning a national arts competition in high school, setting him on a steep path of artistic self-actualization. He is self-taught, and his influences are diverse: the croquis he grew up around in his mother’s fashion design studio, the frank self-portraiture of Rembrandt, the stark light of Caravaggio’s paintings. Among contemporary artists, Adewumi’s sources of inspiration include the Nigerian multimedia artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, the epic-scale pluralist painter Kehinde Wiley and the Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali. In 2015, an arts residency in New York brought Adewumi to the United States. While traveling south for an exhibition of his work, he met the Arkansas native who would become his wife and would propel his move to McNeil, where he lives and works. An exhibition of his intimately scaled, mixedmedia portraits was on view at ACANSA gallery in February and March. We talked with Adewumi in February and caught up with him again in late March to see how he was adjusting his artistic practice to the coronavirus pandemic. Find the full interview at arktimes.com/rock-candy. Was it easy for you to assimilate after the move to McNeil? Did you feel embraced? A little bit. … When I came from Nigeria, I was getting used to New York. … I don’t like crowds, but I love the creative space in New York. … I was getting used to that kind of environment when I [met and] started talking to my wife. … I’m used to New York, and boom, I have to come here. … That was like starting over a third time. When I [eventually] moved here, it was like a double cultural shock. What was the most shocking thing when you arrived in New York? It’s a big city where any dreams can happen. … New York is a place where if you do your work well, you don’t even have to hustle your way up — your work is gonna just speak [for itself]. … I met Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes. … You know when you meet people you listened to growing up? This is Swizz Beatz! This is Pusha T!” … In that kind of space, you can meet anybody anytime. Just do your work and let it go — it’s going to flow like that. So that’s what I was getting used to when I left [for McNeil]. … So right now it’s like starting all over again … in this Southern space, which is closed. … You get a lot of no’s. What were your formative years in Nigeria like? I’m from Oyo state, but I moved from Oyo state to Lagos state. … So I’m in between [the two]. My childhood was a little bit of fun and a little bit of discipline — no one wants a child to be an artist. They want you to be a doctor or engineer — those white-collar jobs. … I wanted to study architecture, and I couldn’t get in. … So I ended up studying computer science. But throughout my first year [of studies], I told my parents to stop paying my tuition, and I paid my tuition … with my art. So my parents were like “Hmmmm.” They were like “Ooooo, how can he do that?” And I got some big-time jobs. Can I ask you about your process? In viewing your work, I became interested in how the adornment happens in the negative space around the subject. You leave some of the most decorative spaces as just bare paper coming through. I didn’t want to take away anything from their [the subjects’] shine. I didn’t want anything to distract you. So I didn’t want to bring in too many colors; I just wanted to play with space, contrast — using the paper as light itself. … I want you to look at this and see the subject, not the background. Are these people you know well? These are my people. Most of them are from Nigeria. … They’re friends or people I work with as models, but they are normal, everyday people. … I sit with them and get a little bit about their
story, take some pictures, add some jewelry if I have to. I wanted the image [“Metalgod”] to look like the old fighters [in Nigeria], and when they do this face painting, they’re ready to go to war. I wanted that same image — that’s why he’s looking so mean. Before we set it [the portrait] up, I was talking to him about how he likes to be portrayed. I told him what the work was about, and then we shot [the photos]. I did a sketch of him before all of this. So there’s a whole lot of work and process to get what you really want. This one [“Illumination,” at left] is about illumination — being the light. It has to do with the mind … and fighting what’s in your head. You have to be the light: There’s nobody that’s going to save you. The only thing that’s stopping us as humans is our [thoughts]. If you want to be big, or you want to be the light, you’re the only person stopping yourself. The only block is yourself. I want to ask you about the women you depict. It’s almost exclusively women in this show of portraiture, right? Yeah, their faces, moods, gestures, just strike me a little bit more than male counterparts. So most of the time, I tend to lean towards the female rather than the male models. There’s a tendency in Western art history to seat women as objects of beauty. Are you following that trajectory of depicting women because they’ve been placed as signifiers of beauty, or because their voices are underrepresented? I kind of lean towards beauty — to me, beauty carries more weight. Women have some kind of energy. … To me, they speak volumes more — beauty can be part of it … but I can speak about them in more ways than the male counterpart. [They’re] more expressive. Will you talk a little bit about why scarification is a theme in your work? When I was doing this body of work, I was thinking about some cultural practices and values that I left back in Nigeria. … I wanted to go back a little bit to talk about my history and open up some conversations about it. The scarification/tribal marks series is [about] one of the core practices in Nigeria. It’s going out of date, but it’s a core practice for some of the ethnic groups in Nigeria. I was thinking about why they do it and how it started. Some say they do it for beauty; some say they do it to distinguish tribes. Some say it’s for a spiritual cause. … I think it started in [ancient] Egypt. … I don’t know what they thought about scars in
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MAY 2020 53
‘DOUBLESIDED’: As this piece suggests, Adewumi, now a resident of rural Arkansas, maintains a connection to his native Nigeria through his art.
54 MAY 2020
terms of beauty. It’s an [open] question for me. … I’m not saying I’m against it, but when they scar the kids they are so young, so most of the time they don’t have their consent … and it’s there for them forever.
“Only a poet can see this clearly, be this honest, and still hope this much.”
— Douglas A. Blackmon, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
...It’s just like getting a tattoo or body piercing [here]. I found out that they used to do black tattoos, too — my grandma has some on her hands. Most of the time, they considered it to be in fashion, and if you don’t have a certain class or money, you won’t be able to do it. I think some families like to do it just to identify with a clan. It’s just like the hair [style] in that painting “My Crown.” It’s the kind of hair that normal people can’t afford to do. … It gives you some kind of class [marker].
“Johnson has laid the healing tools in our hands, and left instructions. This is how it starts.”
— Cornelius Eady, Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
How is life in Nigeria now? Economically, it’s bad. The gap between the rich and the poor is so wide. … I think if politically Nigeria is upright and good — they do what that they have to do — Nigeria can be one of the best countries in the world. One of the profound experiences I had when I was in West Africa, in Ghana, was that as I would be walking through my rural town, and everyone would be calling me obruni (“from beyond the horizon”) — they’d say “obruni, come chop with me” — they would always invite me to come eat with them.
Available Wherever Books and Ebooks Are Sold www.pegasusbooks.com Distributed by Simon & Schuster ISBN 978-1-64313-466-6 J. Chester Johnson received the Citation of Distinguished Alumnus, 2010 from the University of Arkansas and Arkansas Alumni Association.
Africans like doing that. What is your relationship to Nigeria now? That’s something I was thinking about when I was doing this series, too. There’s no way you can forge your future, determine who you’re going to be … without looking back. … You can’t pull it out of my history — I’m always connected. Are there any stereotypes about Nigeria or West Africa that you would like people to understand aren’t true? That Africa is a country. That Africa is a place they see on TV. … [That] the kids have flies on them. … And there are some rich, stylish Nigerians. Nigerians are some of the most fashionable [people]. It is such a rich culture. Nigeria has something like 250 languages, and I only speak one. There are a lot of languages, a lot of ethnic groups, a lot of beautiful places. I think I’ve only been to 10 or 15 states in Nigeria, and we have 36. [What follows is from a subsequent conversation with Adewumi held March 26.] A lot has changed since our last conversation. Does anything about the pandemic reframe your artistic practice? I work from home already. The effect it has had is that everyone is in panic mode. … It looks as if everyone wasn’t prepared, even the so-called developed nations. It looks as if we invested in other things rather than preserving ourselves, the environment, our future. Everyone is in shock. Corona has been around since 1963, but this is a new strain. It’s just sad that we were not prepared for it. But some countries are rising to the occasion and taking important steps. It has shifted my focus. It’s making me think about something besides what I was working on before. I don’t want to put it in any context yet, but it’s about being prepared for anything. It’s just a big lesson for everyone.
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MAY 2020 55
TICKS, COWS AND THE WAR ON CONTAGIONS
A FORGOTTEN HISTORICAL PARALLEL TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. BY BLAKE PERKINS
COURTESY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, USDA NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY
DIPPING COWS TO ERADICATE TEXAS TICK FEVER: At a U.S. facility circa 1920-1930.
n early 1922, federal, state and local officials battling the contagion of Texas tick fever had assigned Charles Jeffrey and his co-worker Lee Harper with the tough task of enforcing a livestock quarantine and cattle tick eradication program in rural Independence County. As they and their horses hiked along a dirt road early one March morning to supervise a mandatory pesticide dipping on Hutchinson Mountain, a hidden assassin fired a shotgun from the woods, killing Jeffrey and wounding Harper in the arm. Over the next couple of weeks, as authorities rounded up suspects, defiant nightriders in the area dynamited dipping vats and torched barns to express their vehement oppo-
sition to the quarantine order and eradication program. Jeffrey’s murder, which remains an unsolved case to this day, was part of a broader “Tick War” that erupted throughout the South as many locals, panged by the economic costs, inconveniences and a populist antipathy toward government elites, resisted federal and state efforts to halt the spread of the disease. As horrific and violent as some opponents became in Independence County and a handful of other extreme cases, much of the local resistance to the federal quarantine and tick eradication program was actually quite rational. There have been plenty of hot takes over the last few weeks comparing the COVID-19 out-
break to the Great Influenza of 1918 and other major epidemics in history. But the often overlooked efforts in the United States to eradicate contagious animal-borne diseases such as Texas fever and bovine tuberculosis during the late 19th and early 20th centuries offer just as compelling historical insights for our current situation. In their 2015 book “Arresting Contagion: Science, Policy, and Conflicts over Animal Disease Control,” economists Alan Olmstead and Paul Rhode recount Congress’ creation of the Bureau of Animal Industry within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1884 and how its numerous wars against animal and human diseases “evolved to overcome great obstacles,
COURTESY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, USDA NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LIBRARY
TICK WAR INSTIGATOR: Tick fever, a cattle contagion, pitted the Bureau of Animal Industry against poor Arkansas cattlemen.
MAY 2020 57
DANIEL SALMON: The founding director of the federal Bureau of Animal Industry.
including ignorance, rampant disease denialism, constitutional impediments, knotty jurisdictional conflicts, and strong grassroots resistance.” Despite great impediments, the BAI proved remarkably effective and played a pioneering role in making the United States “a world leader in controlling contagious animal diseases” in the early 20th century. Even so, it certainly had its problems, and its disease-control measures contributed to significant socioeconomic inequities in the process, further fueling the intensity of local resistance. Led by a capable, professional cadre of veterinarians and other scientists, the BAI made remarkable progress in understanding, controlling and eliminating a host of contagious diseases. It discovered Salmonella (named for the agency’s founding director, veterinary scientist Daniel Salmon), made the first-ever use of an artificially heat-killed culture for vaccine production, identified the hookworm parasite that was ravaging Southern society, and scientifically proved that an arthropod vector (the cattle tick) transmitted a microorganism that was responsible for spreading Texas fever. Its work on vector-borne Texas fever, moreover, advanced the science of and future breakthroughs in combating malaria, yellow fever, typhus and African sleeping sickness, among other diseases. Between the 1890s and the end of World War II, the BAI’s campaigns wiped out seven major diseases in the United States: contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, fowl plague, foot-andmouth disease, glanders, bovine tuberculosis, dourine fever and Texas fever. The agency’s work to eradicate animal contagions mutually benefited both veterinary medicine and human health care. The eradication in 1940 of bovine tuberculosis, which passed to humans through milk, for instance, saved not only thousands of cows but also roughly 25,000 people a year from deaths related to the disease. Efforts to control and exterminate contagious animal diseases exposed the gross inadequacies of individualism, localism, volunteerism and 58 MAY 2020
market-based solutions. “A laissez-faire regime relying on the tort system and local police powers could not protect life and property against animal contagions,” Olmstead and Rhode write. “Contrary to popular assertions, local representatives were not more efficient managers than far-away federal bureaucrats when it came to arresting livestock contagions.” Noncompliance and outright resistance to federal quarantine measures and eradication programs were fierce, as opponents determined that policies “ran counter to their own interests or ideology.” The issue required collective and concerted leadership and action — at times even coercion — at the national level, the likes of which had never been known in the United States outside of war. Congress empowered the animal health agency “with authority to impose domestic and international quarantines, to advance scientific knowledge, and to conduct eradication campaigns within states.” While most historians usually focus on the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, the Meat Inspection Act of 1891, and a slew of congressional legislation during the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, the urgency
for rigorous accountability and oversight at the federal level in implementing programs and disbursing government assistance. This is necessary to ensure a fairer and more equitable distribution of both burden sharing and much needed aid, which is not only socially responsible but also important for incentivizing cooperation and minimizing noncompliance. The BAI’s disease-control campaigns often fell short on these fronts, especially when it went too far in compromising with and delegating authority to corporate interests and political elites at the state and local levels. The BAI’s work to control Texas fever by eradicating cattle ticks in the Southern states was a case in point. The agency issued an order in 1891 to quarantine cattle in the South to protect northern stockyards from the spread of the tick-borne disease, which effectively placed a painful embargo on Southern cattlemen and stock dealers. Southern business interests and political leaders, including Arkansas’s U.S. Sen. James Berry, were outraged initially. But the lure of federal dollars for agricultural economic development had converted them into strong
NONCOMPLIANCE AMONG THE POOR WAS RAMPANT. to combat livestock contagions and the creation of the BAI in 1884 “represented a landmark in the history of federal regulation and the rise of science policy” and has a “better claim to represent the birth of significant federal economic regulation” in the United States. Though the BAI’s “successes have led later generations to take these accomplishments for granted and to forget the scientific and political challenges that had to be overcome,” Olmstead and Rhode contend that “few nations were as successful as the United States in converting science into effective public policies to control animal contagions” in the early 20th century. The agency’s record in combating contagious diseases, their research concludes, proved that “successful large-scale government interventions were possible,” that “preparation was crucial,” that “leadership mattered,” and that “incentives mattered” for encouraging the cooperation and compliance of everyday citizens. The BAI’s war on contagions is “a story of achievements that are now largely taken for granted.” Notwithstanding the BAI’s stellar contributions to scientific progress and disease control in the United States that we take for granted today, the history of its eradication efforts also underscores — in a very timely manner for our own COVID-19 situation — the essential need
supporters of the BAI’s efforts by 1906, when Congress appropriated monies to eradicate ticks and improve the cattle industry in the South. At least in part to make the program more politically palatable to powerful Southern interests, the BAI surrendered most coordination and oversight to local officials and the demands of large-scale cattle growers. The consequences were often disastrous. Poorer and smaller cattle growers, whose native “scrub” cows proved far less vulnerable to the symptoms of Texas fever than the fancier pure-breeds raised by better-off producers, perceived the tick eradication campaign as little more than a corrupt scheme engineered by wealthier and privileged agriculturalists and their bought-and-paid-for politicians to feather their own nests. Old populists like Tom Watson of Georgia railed against the unfairness of the tick eradication campaign, as did the Working Class Union and many agrarian socialists. Noncompliance among poorer, working-class farmers was rampant, and a handful even resorted to violent resistance to such “injustice.” One farmer in Stone County cussedly remarked that “This will be a lonesome old place to live when the tick eradicators get all the … ticks eradicated … . The one Tick they are after is a big round tick. I call it a Dollar … The poor we have with us always.” BAI officials typically attributed such resis-
tance to disease-control measures to plain ignorance, back-country stubbornness and an irrational opposition to science in rural communities. These assertions weren’t entirely unfounded, to be sure, but there were also real, rational reasons for defiance at play. Larger landowners and cattle growers did, indeed, stand to gain the most economically from the program’s greater protection of their pure-bred livestock in the first place, and most of the federal financial assistance offered by the BAI tended to flow to them, instead of poorer and smaller farmers who needed the aid and incentives most. The latter lacked the necessary labor, capital and farm infrastructures to feasibly manage the quarantine, conduct mandatory cattle dippings in arsenic-based pesticides every two weeks, and otherwise comply with the order. Moreover, to raise the required revenue for the BAI’s matching federal grants, state and local officials in Arkansas opted to impose a regressive flat tax on each cow, burdening smaller, cash-strapped farmers much more than the larger, wealthier cattlemen who felt that the benefits of the tax far outweighed the expense to their own business operations. Bigger operators within the cattle industry also sought to use the situation to consolidate greater market share by pushing harder to close the open range or “commons,” where livestock foraged and roamed unrestrained (and carried ticks) across unfenced property boundaries. Closing the open range and requiring fences to raise livestock only on owned or leased property promised to drive thousands of small producers with little or no land out of the business altogether. The urgency to control the disease, then, unintentionally helped to widen the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Olmstead and Rhode remind us of the inevitability that “all policy innovations have involved winners and losers.” But learning from the successes and failures of the past should help us, even in moments of crisis like our own, to construct and manage policies that produce far more winning and much less losing than was true for those who came before us. As was the case in the BAI’s fight against animal-borne contagions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, future historians will look back on the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and determine that the times needed “leaders who perceived the seriousness of the disease threats and designed bold and pragmatic policies to promote effective collective action.” Early on, we’ve seen a dearth of these qualities at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but it’s hoped wiser heads of science- and humanitarian-based leadership can right the ship and help write the next chapter of progress in the long war to “arrest contagion”— and do so in a way that works more equitably for people across the socioeconomic spectrum. Blake Perkins is associate professor of history at Williams Baptist University and the author of “Hillbilly Hellraisers: Federal Power and Populist Defiance in the Ozarks” (University of Illinois Press, 2017).
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The Best of Arkansas Contest will go on! For a quarter century, the Arkansas Timesâ€™ Best of Arkansas issue has published our readersâ€™ favorite businesses and more. This year is a little different, thanks to that virus that has closed our favorite restaurants, shut down our favorite galleries, and made it impossible to get a haircut. So maybe more than ever before, our readers want to tout the places they love and want to see recognized. The Best of Arkansas goes on!
Voting is open at
arktimes.com/bestofark and will continue into June.
FIND THE RESULTS IN OUR JULY ISSUE.
POT AND THE PANDEMIC
MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES OFFER DELIVERY, ADD NEW IN-STORE SAFETY MEASURES. BY MATT MCNAIR
s Arkansas continues to grapple with the social and economic convulsions wrought by the COVID-19 outbreak, television screens and news feeds are filled with stories and images of health care workers risking their own health for the benefit of their fellow citizens. For the most part, though, there has been a conspicuous absence in that narrative of one particular strand of health care professional: the budtender. Like nurses, doctors, janitors, grocery clerks and the myriad other frontline workers receiving (well-deserved) praise in the local and national media, the Arkansans working in the medical marijuana industry also don gloves and masks each and every day, striding to the front lines of a pandemic to continue providing a vital health care service to our most vulnerable friends, family and neighbors. A crucial difference, though, is that unlike a pharmacist at the corner apothecary or anesthesiologist in a hospital emergency room, workers in Arkansasâ€™s medical marijuana industry are operating within
MAY 2020 61
a system that did not exist until last year. Though the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment was approved by Arkansas voters in November 2016, dispensaries did not open to the public until May 2019. As such, a new industry, operating under new regulations and not a little bit of scrutiny, had less than a year of institutional knowledge on which to draw when the state’s economy ground to a near halt. DELIVERY OPTION State restaurants (by order) and grocery stores (by choice) have turned to takeout and delivery to advance social distancing and slow the spread of disease. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board prohibits curbside pickup and drive-through service for medical marijuana. But patients possessing a valid Arkansas medical marijuana ID card may opt for delivery of their prescriptions. But, while all licensed dispensaries are allowed to offer delivery service, very few of them do. The state requires that dispensaries have two employees in the vehicle and the product securely locked in a container throughout transport to legally deliver a prescription. In addition, the vehicle must be unmarked, with no reference to either product or establishment. Those requirements have hampered dispensaries from offering this service, according to Dan Roda, CEO of Abaca, a local fintech company that connects cannabis and hemp businesses with banks and other financial service providers. As of this writing, only three dispensaries offer a comprehensive delivery service. (A fourth, 420 Dispensary in Russellville, is working to implement delivery service.) Serving both rural and urban areas, Greenlight Dispensary in Helena-West Helena offers the most expansive medical marijuana delivery service in Arkansas. Greenlight, an outlet of a national chain of dispensaries of the same name that opened June 27, 2019, began to offer delivery in August, Greenlight Delivery Manager Terrance Calhoun said. Delivery is a popular option for Greenlight’s clients, General Manager Holley Stuart said, and the dispensary is now delivering seven days a week (up from four). It filled 57 delivery orders during the first three weeks of April 2020. Notching the first delivery of medical marijuana in the state, Greenlight is also the first dispensary to offer delivery statewide. For farflung patients wishing to take advantage of Greenlight’s statewide service, however, a bit of extra planning is necessary. Prescriptions may only be delivered to a qualified patient or designated caregiver, at a residence. According to regulations, “residence” is defined as a house or apartment, and excludes not only commercial businesses, but also hotels, motels, inns, dormitories and any other location a patient or caregiver might be. Offering delivery statewide requires Greenlight to maintain a wide array of pricing, with deliveries scheduled according to region. Each region has a certain day of the week for scheduled deliveries, and each carries different mini62 MAY 2020
mum-purchase requirements and delivery fees. Clients may find their region, as well as its associated minimum-purchase and delivery fees, using the Greenlight Delivery chart, or by calling 870-714-6119. Greenlight accepts payment upon delivery, and will accept all orders placed by 5 p.m. the day before delivery is scheduled to a client’s region. Only debit cards are accepted as payment. ReLeaf Center, in bustling Bentonville, has been offering delivery since its first day of operation Aug. 7, 2019. The COVID-19 outbreak and attendant social-distancing policies, however, have caused “a spike” in delivery requests, according to Julie Harris, a ReLeaf employee. The spike, Harris said, has put the dispensary on the lookout for new employees, and although filling a position with knowledgeable persons during an unprecedented and disruptive time is not an easy task, Harris sounds the kind of determined note one is likely to hear on the frontlines of the ongoing crisis. “We’re doing the best we can,” she says, “playing the cards we’ve been dealt.” According to its website, ReLeaf is delivering Monday through Saturday. The minimum order for delivery is $100, and the delivery fee is $5 for anything within five miles, and $1 per mile for each additional mile, with a maximum delivery radius of 40 miles. ReLeaf will accept cash or debit card upon delivery. Patients requesting delivery must have been to the ReLeaf storefront at least one time prior to delivery, and all delivery customers are urged to place their delivery by 10 a.m. the day of the request. In contrast to ReLeaf in fast-growing Bentonville, Fiddler’s Green in Mountain View serves one of the most remote areas of the state. The aptly named dispensary — Mountain View is famous as a bastion of Ozark folk music, with impromptu bluegrass and old-time music jams a common sight on the town square — began delivery service about three months ago, according to employee John McNair (no relation to the writer). He said the timing, which more or less lines up with precautions taken to thwart the spread of COVID-19, was “more of a coincidence” than a direct reaction to the pandemic. But because demand for delivery grew, Fiddler expanded its workforce. Along with adding jobs to the local economy, the delivery service is important to Fiddler’s clientele, McNair said, as the combination of illnesses that often limit mobility or compromise immune systems and long, winding drives make delivery the best and safest option for many rural patients. Fiddler’s Green offers delivery Monday through Thursday, and McNair estimated the dispensary makes 10-12 deliveries per day. Fiddler’s Green delivers over a wide radius that covers all of North Central Arkansas, and will deliver as far east as Jonesboro. A minimum purchase of $125 is required for delivery. Deliveries outside the Mountain View area carry a $25 delivery fee and are scheduled according to region. Clients should contact Fiddler’s Green at 870-269-8600 to determine its delivery schedule. Payment is made upon delivery. Fiddler’s Green accepts cash, debit cards and credit cards.
ONLY GREENLIGHT DELIVERS STATEWIDE.
NEW CHALLENGES, NEW OPPORTUNITIES All medical marijuana service providers contacted for this story described a concerted effort by their dispensaries and industry as a whole to meet head-on the challenges posed by the ongoing public health crisis. Workers are wearing masks and gloves, and along with handling a surge in delivery requests, they’re helping their clients maintain a safe distance from one another through limiting numbers of patients inside the store, marking the floor (and spaces outside) to indicate 6 feet of distance, and prohibiting clients from handling or getting close to products until after purchase. Unfortunately, that has done away with the client experience of closely examining or smelling product, but the workers we spoke with considered it a necessity for safety. Although these extra precautions are not listed in the rules governing the industry and do not appear to have been mandated by either the Arkansas Department of Health or the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, Abaca CEO Roda said “this has always been an industry that is very focused on hygiene and health, so it wasn’t surprising for me to see operators all be so proactive. They want to keep operating and they want to keep serving patients — that’s the bottom line.” That attitude seems to permeate the industry, with dispensary employees proudly noting the extra steps they have taken to protect their clients absent additional government directives. According to Greenlight’s Terrance Calhoun, the lack of a rule book dictating what is to be done in a unique crisis can be seen as a positive, with the medical marijuana industry “establishing ourselves” while at the same time establishing protocol. “It’s a good thing we’re new,” says Calhoun, because “we can solve problems as we go,” and should another crisis come, “we’ll know what to do already.”
MAY 2020 63
BRING YOUR ‘A’ GAME
BY BRENDAN EMMET T QUIGLEY EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ Brendan Emmett Quigley of Brookline, Mass., has been creating puzzles for The Times since 1996, when he was a senior at college. This is his 170th regular crossword for the paper. For the past 12 years he has played for the Boston Typewriter Orchestra, a percussion ensemble whose only instruments are old typewriters. You can check them out on YouTube. Brendan’s the member with glasses and a beard and who is follically challenged on No. 0329 top. — W.S.
Across 41 42 43 44 45 1 Half of a 1960s folk-rock group 6 Action 50 51 52 53 54 55 12 Car thief’s tool 19 Govt.-backed investment 57 58 59 60 20 Another name for the cornflower 22 Vacuum tube with five active 62 63 components 23 What the church’s music director 65 66 wanted to do? 25 Stick in a church 26 Difficult problem 68 69 70 71 27 “I’m With ____” (2016 campaign slogan) 28 Broadband overseer, for short 76 77 78 30 Up 31 Nasty words 79 80 81 82 32 Truism about unwanted sound? 35 Dull 83 84 85 86 87 39 Indian term of address 40 Call ____ early night 89 90 91 92 41 Sch. on the Mississippi River 44 Robustness 45 Pounds 96 97 98 99 47 Chatter 50 Greatly dismay one of the Beatles? 103 104 105 106 55 Picture cards 56 Carousel figure 109 110 111 112 113 57 Staple in Creole cooking 58 West Indies city that’s home to Lynden 114 115 Pindling International Airport 61 Classic Halloween costume 117 118 62 Affirmed under oath 63 Literary character whose house is uprooted by a tornado 64 Shade similar to claret 65 Times when your archenemy shows 114 Former Indianapolis arena 34 Suffers (from) up? 115 Didn’t go out 36 1887 Chekhov play 68 Decorative throw 116 America’s foe in an 1898 war 37 Spots at the card table 71 Quaint giggle 117 Noted satellite of 1962 38 “____ bit confused” 72 In a daze 118 Some green sauces 41 Director von Trier 76 Native of Hrvatska, e.g. 119 Very small 42 Gush 77 One of the Ramones 43 Hairstyle that calls for a lot of spray 78 Dipped in egg and bread crumbs, Down 45 Do some prescheduling then fried 1 Some book-fair organizers, for short 46 Ending with “umich.” 79 Consider 2 “The Good Doctor” airer 48 Black birds 80 Unimpressive brain size 3 Arouse 49 Actor Noah of “ER” 81 What the antigovernment activist 4 Class Notes subjects 51 Prophet believed to be buried in the does? 5 Get into with little effort Cave of the Patriarchs 83 Acct. holdings 6 One who asks “Got your ears on?” 52 Eye luridly 84 Setting of a 1903 Victor Herbert 7 Rio hello 53 Foreign language seen on U.S. money operetta 8 Significantly 54 In mint condition 87 Spanish letter with a tilde 9 Take from the top? 56 Avatar 88 Little kid 10 Nut seen on the back of a dime 59 Park place? 89 ____ doble (dance) 11 ____ chi ch’uan (martial art) 60 Extremely dry 91 What’s not a good fit? 12 Liven (up) 61 Symbols of change, in math 92 Halloween haul 13 Billionaire Blavatnik 63 Protected on a boat 96 “Aye” or “Oui”? 14 Recites, as a spell 64 Bathroom sealant 100 Anne of fashion 15 Sight from Catania, in brief 66 Ravaged, as mosquitoes might 103 Pertaining to the lowest possible 16 Frontman whom People magazine 67 Spoke aloud level once named “sexiest rock star” 68 Rock band whose lead guitarist 104 Rep.’s opponent 17 “Methinks … ” notably dresses in a schoolboy uniform 105 One of the N.H.L.’s original six 18 Matches 69 Actor Armisen teams: Abbr. 21 Co. that might hire influencers 70 Flies into a violent rage 107 Scholarly 24 Radiation units 73 Sci-fi bounty hunter 109 Facing a judge 29 TV show with the theme song Boba ____ 111 Geronimo, when his beard was just “Won’t Get Fooled Again” 74 Golfer Aoki coming in? 33 Sch. whose mascot is Brutus Buckeye 75 Reach out with one’s hands? 64 MAY 2020
46 56 61 64 67 72
77 Susan of “L.A. Law” 78 Abolitionist Horace 80 Spot for cannonballs 82 Part of a Victorian social schedule 84 Who wrote, “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper” 85 Enticing smells 86 In mint condition 90 Some honors 92 Polishing aids 93 Flatpack retailer 94 Go by 95 Mexican wrap 96 Cancel early 97 Former secretary of state Cyrus 98 Psychotherapist Alfred 99 Diminish 101 Like Machu Picchu 102 Some fruit-flavored sodas 106 ____-free 107 Caustic cleaners 108 Not allow 110 Residency org. 112 Trivial content 113 Benefits plan, maybes
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ANSWERS TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE D R I Q D E W
A D I O S B I G
R E N U
A C T I
T U R N P G E R A F O L F A S A G S E A C I M I S U E T N N S R C A Y S L U S Y T A L E N Y
D I M E S
T C O A C E J O T U M A N E A D O B B I P E E T I T I Z E T Y M S T A O T H E M R S D I E T O A R O S T I B E E I A N E R
A N I L
T E L L
A Y B A B Y A H P O O T U T F A K M E C S N A K B I B A
I V E M A X A T E Y Q U C U S E A Y E F T T T H E H O V I A D E S W E R E S S G O C T T H A Z O O N U S S T R A N R O N O O L O G T O N S
S S P L A I N P S I H O O U D R S E O M D I A T
L A N C E R S T E I N S
N F R E I E V S L A H D Y A
I N D E X
M U P I S H T A X A M O E B A E
L E I P Z I G O D O I N C E T I E T R T M Y
M A R L E Y
S W I F T
O D U E C E H O O O O
N O O B
MAY 2020 65
hile The Observer was never quite a “people person,” more likely to spend time with characters in books and films than with fleshand-blood folks unless they’re kin or married into our little circle, we find that we have come to miss shared social experiences quite a bit during this thing, locked down as we are here in The Observatory with Spouse and Junior, two crazy cats and whatever volunteer critters are making those scratching, skittering noises we’ve heard coming from the crawlspace. Never have we so wanted so badly a fast-forward button that we could press, sacrificing however many months it will take for the world to get back to some backhanded compliment of normal in exchange for the boring life we gobbled up with no more thought than bread as late as three months ago. How sweet a boring Thursday at work would be, we think — one of those days that just piled up and eventually blew out of the mind like leaves. How quickly we would agree to give a year off the end of our life, however far away or near that might be, to return to those days that just coast along behind one another like boxcars rattling across the Plains. The Observer wants to go to movies and eat over-buttered popcorn seated next to strangers and shush assholes talking to their girlfriends in the dark, and remember the days when it was us who was the one whispering to someone in the halflight from the screen. We want to go to the State Fair and eat a footlong corn dog, even though some moron accidentally
66 MAY 2020
brushed his elbow against it. We want a parade, a festival, a congregation, and to be lost in their midst. We want to feel that warmth you feel in a crowd again, that sense of shared experience and shared purpose. We want to drink beer with others, and just be around people having a good time being around people. Say amen if you feel us. We crave crowded sidewalks and standing in line. We crave people holding the door open, and having an excuse to say thank you to a stranger for their kindness. We long for sitting in packed waiting rooms, and center seats on airplanes. We long for overcrowded buses rushing through the dim nowhere between towns, and packed bleachers on long summer nights. We sit in The Observatory, close enough to UAMS that we can hear the ambulances crying all night and the MedFlight helicopters beating their owl-wing tattoo through the air, ferrying the sick and the dying, and we long to be near strangers, and to have them be near us. When this is over, The Observer swears we’re going to do a lot more of that kinda thing: the going and the visiting and the being together with people we don’t know, just for the hell of it. The best moments in life, we realize now, are so often about just showing up and giving those moments space to happen. We will do more of that when this is all over. We will be marked present and accounted for more often. By then, we’d bet a dollar against a dirt dauber nest that all who survive this will feel like they’ve been raised from the dead. In a way, that is a silver lining,
albeit one that is tarnished nearly black. Over a month now into our personal lockdown, nobody in or out of The Observatory without CDC-approved hand-washing techniques and a thorough wipe down of all foreign objects brought through the airlock from Outer Space — Junior tasked with hauling in, Spouse with wiping down and Yours Truly with putting away — The Observer is haunted by a recurring dream many nights: standing in a huge crowd, unafraid, as the National Anthem plays somewhere in the distance and we all wait for the moment when we can get on to whatever it was we paid to come here to see. That’s it. That’s the whole dream, had many nights running now: a sea of strangers, all of us standing there, our hands so close to hands that they might almost touch, all of us listening to that last note held, the one that goes “... and the home ... of the ... braaaaave.” Take care of yourself, brothers and sisters. Wash your hands. Tell the folks you love that you love ’em. Remember to save a thought or prayer for the regular ol’ folks out there risking everything for people whose names they will never know — the doctors and the nurses and the cops and the firefighters, but also the people working a day in the grocery store or pharmacy or drive-thru when they’d probably rather be home, holed up, where it’s safe. Above all, be brave and selfless, as so many of us can be when the chips are truly down. The Observer smiles from afar upon your good works, and will continue to do so until we can all be together again.
A CALL FOR ARKANSAS ILLUSTRATORS, ARTISTS AND CREATIVE FOLKS: Please help us get the word out and forward this to your artist and illustrator friends and colleagues. The Arkansas Times wants to join with artists in an effort that will make money for both of us during the tough economic times inflicted on us by the COVID-19 crisis. Our idea: to collaborate on The Arkansas Coloring Book. It won’t make either of us rich, but it will make a tiny bit of money and give artists some publicity. Why a coloring book? Because we’re staying home more and bored. Because we need to distract our kids. Because for adults, coloring can be a form of meditation. Some adults will not want to stay within the lines. (Those will mostly be Arkansas Times readers.) And 100 years from now, people will look back at the vintage books they find in the attic and exclaim, “Main Street looked like that?!” Or “I wonder where that sculpture was?!” Or “Weren’t these artists fantastic!” Or “I wonder why Granny didn’t stay in the lines?” HERE’S HOW IT WILL WORK:
The Arkansas Coloring Book will be Arkansas-themed. You decide the subject of the illustration you want to submit. Make it in black and white so an adult or kid can color it. You can make it a single illustration, a cartoon panel, a scenic location, a local landmark, it’s up to you. You can relate it to the quarantine if you like. But in some way connect and represent your hometown or an Arkansas theme. The Arkansas Times staff will select the illustrations for the book, which will include 30 drawings. We will promote The Arkansas Coloring Book on arktimes.com (700,000 unique monthly visitors), in our publications (the Arkansas Times magazine, Savvy Kids magazine, Arkansas Wild and Bike Arkansas), on Facebook (50,000-plus followers) and Instagram. Lots of promotion, in other words. We will split revenue (minus hard expenses) 50-50 between the Arkansas Times and the artists. Several Arkansas-owned bookstores and gift shops have expressed an interest in the book and in those cases, we will split the wholesale price. We will publish in July and send you a check monthly for your share. We think we can sell the book as a fundraiser for about $30 but we are still working on the pricing. In these tough times, we’ve seen the many ways people have reached out to help those who are struggling economically. We believe that includes local, independent journalism and Arkansas artists helping to create this unique piece of Arkansiana.
TAKE PART IN THE ARKANSAS COLORING BOOK, COMING IN JULY
HOW TO ENTER:
Please email your illustration (black and white only) in an EPS or PDF file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENTRY DEADLINE IS 5 P.M. FRIDAY, MAY 29. The book will feature your illustration on a 8-by-10-inch page. Please provide the name you would like to have as credit, plus your website, twitter handle, Instagram handle and anything else you would like to include for folks to reach you. Please also send a three- or four-sentence sentence bio of yourself along with a photo if possible for our contributor page. Be sure and include your address so we can mail you the monthly check.
MANY THANKS! 501.375.2985 arkansastimes.com
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