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FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDERS | DENISE ENNETT | AS-SEEN-ON-TV EATERIES

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MARCH 2020

CRAIG O’NEILL’S 50-YEAR CAREER IN BROADCASTING IS NO JOKE BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE

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MARCH 2020

FEATURES 28 DIARY OF A DJ: CRAIG O’NEILL By Stephanie Smittle

39 A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDERS

By Leslie Newell Peacock

MIC DROP: Ante Yana (pictured) was among the semifinalists for the 2020 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, which enters the finals March 14 at the Rev Room.

9 THE FRONT

BRIAN CHILSON

Q&A: State Rep. Denise Ennett The Inconsequential News Quiz: Mayflower Redux Edition Orval: Class warfare The Month (or so) That Was: Neighborhood ugliness, shooting at Walmart Big Pic: Volunteers of Little Rock

19 THE TO-DO LIST

Musicians Showcase, Valley of the Vapors, Cher, Professional Bull Riders, John Moreland, Amanda Shires

25 NEWS & POLITICS

Trump will not be re-elected By Ernie Dumas

68 CULTURE

Q&A: Katie Campbell With Werner Trieschmann

79 FOOD

‘Triple D’ multiplies business By Kelley Bass

83 CANNABIZ

Little Rock gets its first dispensary By Lew Gasnier

88 CROSSWORD 90 THE OBSERVER Turn down the decibels 4 MARCH 2020

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SPECIAL SECTIONS: 51 BEST DOCTORS 62 WHOLE HEALTHCARE

ON THE COVER: Craig O’Neill, photographed by Rett Peek.


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PUBLISHER Alan Leveritt EDITOR Lindsey Millar CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mandy Keener SENIOR EDITOR Max Brantley MANAGING EDITOR Leslie Newell Peacock ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Stephanie Smittle ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rebekah Hall CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Benjamin Hardy, Mara Leveritt PHOTOGRAPHER Brian Chilson DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL STRATEGY Jordan Little 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, Terrell Jacob and Damian Poole 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)

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FOR SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE CALL: (501) 375-2985 Subscription prices are $60 for one year. VOLUME 46 ISSUE 7 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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THE FRONT Q&A

DEVELOPING THE DISTRICT

STATE REP. DENISE ENNETT ON STRONGER NEIGHBORHOODS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TENANTS’ RIGHTS. Denise Ennett, an active community member and mother of three, won a special election and a runoff to fill the final term of former state Rep. Charles Blake, who resigned from the House District 36 position in May to serve as chief of staff for Mayor Frank Scott Jr. She’s running against Russell Williams III in the March 3 Democratic primary to keep the District 36 seat.

now, I’m not saying that it’s not, but [we need to be] refocusing and revinesting in neighborhoods. We have a lot of renters, and what I’ve noticed, and been noticing for years, [is that] we’re the only state in the nation that doesn’t have tenants’ rights. I’ve spoken with people on both sides, and the realtors will say, “It’s not easy being a landlord when you have people who tear up your property.” And then you have the tenants saying, “Well, [with] your property, there’s mold, I can’t open up the door, the heat doesn’t work, the plumbing is off.” So there has to be some middle ground there.

What has your experience as District 36 representative been like since you were elected in September? I’ve had some of my colleagues really help me get acclimated to being at the Capitol. I knew after I won those two elections last summer that I was going to have to run again, I knew that in the back of my mind, but until I actually had to sign up again, it really hit me: Oh, I have to do this all over again. So now, I’m in the throes of working as an elected official and campaigning at the same time.

How do you plan to work with other representatives to reinvest in neighborhoods? It should be a bipartisan issue. We have the Arkansas Housing Trust Fund that hasn’t been funded in years, so finding a way to fund that ... can make housing affordable for people. Jericho Way, they’re building houses in my district, so that’s exciting. They’re leading the way. … So that’s private and public money. [It’s important to] find a way to make that work, because at the end of the day, if you work hard, you deserve a decent place to lay your head. If you have a family, they need to have some stable footing. And if you’re moving around all the time, it affects your school, it affects your education, it affects your employment, it affects your health. And the quality of your life is not good.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned about being an elected representative? Without sounding vain, when I wake up in the morning, I have to have my face on and just have that mindset that I’m going to run into one of my constituents. I’m learning how to always kind of be “on.” I always run into somebody that I know, or somebody in another part of town that knows me, so I always feel like I have to be on. Even with my family. What have you learned about District 36 since your election? A lot of my district is rural [District 36 runs from downtown to the county line on the south, below Hensley], and I’ve been really intentional about going to certain areas in Pulaski County and listening to their voices, because they have trains there, they have planes there, they have these environmental things there, and I think for a while, they’ve felt neglected. I get most of my calls and emails from that area. It’s my hope that I can help bridge some of those gaps and help them down there as much as I can. Are you hoping to fill any of those “gaps” with any specific legislative efforts? There are some pockets of the county that lack economic development, and that has been a concern with some constituents. “We don’t have this in this area, why can’t we have these things here?” Neighborhoods [are] one of my things: strong neighborhoods, reinvesting in some of these older neighborhoods. … I have parts of Southwest Little Rock, and that area used to be vibrant. And

Denise Ennett Age: 42 Birthplace: Little Rock Favorite pump-up song for campaigning: “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone Favorite place to take kids to play: Lorance Creek Natural Area in Little Rock.

You recently stood with Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) and District 34 candidate Ryan Davis at their press conference about an incident with residents in Little Rock’s Capitol View neighborhood. What are your feelings about that altercation? I was there [on the night of the incident] but I left before that ensued. … Not being there, I can’t fully speak on it, but [I’m] just thinking about how people value other people’s lives. And even if the person didn’t know Vivian was an elected official, it doesn’t matter. How do we value people’s lives? … When that ensued, I thought about my family. I have three kids. I have two boys. I have one with special needs. I’m always worried about [whether] I can just let them roam in somebody else’s neighborhood without them being harassed, or [asked] “Who are you? Why are you here?” I always worry about that. It’s a constant, always. You want to raise your kids to be upstanding citizens, but you know some of the injustices that are out there, so you want to protect them, but I know that I won’t be there for everything. So, I’m sorry that that happened to both of them. — Rebekah Hall ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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THE FRONT

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THE FRONT

INCONSEQUENTIAL NEWS QUIZ

burning-hot shell casing out of your bra. I LOVE BOOKS

1) Recently there was some news about the Pegasus Pipeline, which has been mothballed since the line ruptured in March 2013 and inundated a residential neighborhood in Mayflower with tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil. What’s the news? A) The repaired pipeline is now used exclusively to move brown gravy to KFC restaurants nationwide. B) Exxon released a statement saying that, in hindsight, it was really embarrassed about “that whole localized environmental apocalypse thing back in 2013.” C) As part of a legal settlement, anyone who got cancer from the spill can get a free box of donut holes at any participating Exxon truck stop (some restrictions apply). D) The company that purchased the line in 2016 informed Central Arkansas Water that the pipeline is being tested and inspected, suggesting that it may eventually be returned to service. 2) Former University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema recently got a new job. What’s the former head Hog doing now? A) Full-time Fred Flintstone cosplayer. B) He’s the new editor-in-chief of Portly Unshaven Schlub Monthly. C) He and Chad Morris are joining the World Wrestling Federation as tag-team heels The $20 Million Dollar Losers. D) He signed on as a member of the coaching staff for the New York Giants. 3) A sign of the ongoing financial troubles experienced by shopping malls nationwide was recently on display at West Little Rock’s 340,000-square-foot Promenade at Chenal shopping center. What happened? A) The Apple store there had to downgrade its Genius Bar to a Did OK For Bryant High School Bar. B) Every shoe at DSW is now tethered to a cinderblock with a chain. C) Snatch-and-grab shoplifters felt so sorry for the owners that they’ve started returning stuff. D) According to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the shopping center — reportedly valued at $79 million when it opened in 2008 — recently sold for $10 in cash “in lieu of foreclosure.”

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4) Candayce Tabron, 33, of Little Rock was recently sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to several charges related to a September 2018 drive-by shooting in Little Rock. According to police, which of the following was a real aspect of the case? A) The drive-by was in retaliation over a playground argument between Tabron’s 8-yearold son and the victim’s 8-year-old son and was allegedly committed while Tabron’s two kids, ages 8 and 13, were in the backseat. B) While investigating the case, detectives found two spent 9-millimeter shell casings at the scene, and later found a third, matching

shell casing in Tabron’s bra when she was searched following her arrest. C) At the time of the shooting, Tabron was on probation related to a November 2014 incident in which she bit the owner of a Roosevelt Road beauty supply shop after allegedly being caught shoplifting hair extensions. D) All of the above. 5) Robert Campbell, a member of the Arkansas State Plant Board since 2015, resigned from his seat in a hurry recently. What was the cause for his resignation? A) He had pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly zucchini. B) He was found to have been harboring a talking, man-eating extraterrestrial plant named Audrey 2. C) He’s entering rehab for a dicamba-huffing addiction. D) He posted an ill-advised video to Twitter, apparently filmed while he was driving, in which he said that a man he met at a gas station had offered him free beer in exchange for touching him inappropriately — an offer Campbell said he had refused. 6) UA Little Rock is taking drastic measures in an attempt to make up for millions in projected budget shortfalls, with Chancellor Christina Drale recently asking UA System trustees to allow the university to do something unprecedented to save money. What did Drale ask to do? A) Between semesters, all UA Little Rock freshmen will be leased to the state Department of Transportation as indentured road crew workers. B) The school’s Ottenheimer Library will be henceforth be known as the Colonial Wine and Spirits/Flyway Brewing Library and Beer Garden. C) English majors will cut out the middleman and be assigned fast-food jobs upon enrollment, with their wages payable directly to UA Little Rock. D) She’s seeking permission to lay off tenured faculty members. 7) The Little Rock School District recently closed all schools in the district for two days, citing a flu epidemic as the reason. According to those in the know, what was the real reason for the unexpected two-day holiday? A) Trump’s ongoing trade war has caused nationwide chalk shortages. B) Superintendent Michael Poore went in for his yearly noggin wax-and-polish and that takes time, man. C) Somebody dropped a deuce in a urinal at Central High, and a districtwide taskforce was called together to root out the culprit. D) Over 250 teachers and staff simultaneously called in sick, likely as part of a “sick out” to protest union-busting and other anti-LRSD efforts by the state Board of Education. ANSWERS: D, D, D, D, D, D, D

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THE FRONT

THE MONTH (OR SO) THAT WAS

NEIGHBORHOOD UGLINESS, SHOOTING AT WALMART, CLOSED SCHOOLS ‘SICK OUT’ Little Rock public schools were closed Feb. 10-11 after more than 250 teachers called in sick, the district said. The Little Rock Education Association would neither confirm nor deny reports that teachers were calling in sick to protest the state’s interminable takeover of the school district.

FORREST CITY GUN VIOLENCE Two police officers were shot and a suspect was killed in a Feb. 10 incident at a Forrest City Walmart. The officers were responding to a report of a man threatening people at the store when the man pulled out a gun and shot them. Police Detective Eugene Watlington was airlifted to a Memphis hospital, where he underwent surgery and was hospitalized in intensive care; Lt. Eric Varner was treated at Forrest City and released. The gunman, Bobby Joe Gibbs, was fatally shot in the exchange of gunfire in the store.

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ARKANSAS TIMES

SUN SETTING? The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Authority has so little confidence that the heralded Sun Paper Industry Mill will come to pass that it is marketing the property it was to be built on as “the former Sun Bio site.” The project, which was last estimated at $1.6 billion, has been in the works since 2016, but apparently the Trump administration’s trade war with China and uncertainty of the future of tariffs has caused the stall on that project, as well as two other Chinese ventures in Arkansas, one in Forrest City and another in Danville. NEW YOUTH LOCKUP MANAGER COMING Youth Opportunity Investments, which has managed four juvenile lockups since July 2019, will end its contract with the state June 30. DHS is searching for a new vendor. In a news release, the agency said there has been a decline in the lockups’ population thanks to efforts by the state to reduce lengths of stay and ensure that only those juveniles who need it are placed in residential treatment. “We understand that having centers that are not at capacity has a financial impact on YOI. However, DHS has prioritized having youth treated in their communities when it is safe to do so because it is the right thing to do,” the release said.

AUTHOR DIES Charles Portis, 86, famed for his book “True Grit,” hailed as one of the greatest pieces of American fiction, as well as “Dog of the South” and other novels, died after a long illness. WEED IN LR Little Rock’s first dispensary of medical marijuana held a soft opening on Valentine’s Day. Majority owner of Harvest House of Cannabis, located at 900 S. Rodney Parham Road, is Henry Wilkins V. A second Little Rock dispensary, Herbology, and another in Sherwood, Natural Relief Dispensary, had not opened by press time. Harvest House was originally named Natural State Wellness Dispensary. A representative for Harvest Cannabis Dispensary in Conway, an unrelated business, said the Conway dispensary has filed suit in Faulkner County protesting the use of “Harvest” in the name. WORK REQUIREMENT STILL A NO-GO The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed a lower court order that struck down Arkansas’s controversial Medicaid work requirement. The three-judge panel called the decision by Alex Azar, secretary of the federal Health and Human Services Department, to approve the plan “arbitrary and capricious” and found it to be in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The National Health Law Program, along with Legal Aid of Arkansas, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Jenner & Block law firm brought the case on behalf of Medicaid enrollees affected by the work requirement. State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she was “disappointed” with the ruling on the work rule, which caused more than 18,000 Arkansans to lose their health insurance. The decision will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

BRIAN CHILSON

CONFRONTATION IN CAPITOL VIEW State Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) called for a Citizens Review Board investigation of an incident in the Capitol View neighborhood, when police approached her and candidate for the legislature Ryan Davis with their guns drawn as the two stood in the street by their cars. Flowers and Davis (pictured above), who’d left a party at a home on the street and were standing talking by their cars, called police after residents on the street emerged from their homes and began cursing and yelling at Flowers and Davis to leave the area. One woman told them to “drop dead” and a gunshot was heard. When police arrived, Bill Kopsky, host of the party Flowers and Davis had attended, ran to them, identifying the legislator and candidate as his friends and saying he was going to call his city board representative. Police then talked to at least one of the neighbors. Flowers and Davis have also filed a complaint about the incident with the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office.

HUNTING AND FISHING ON DECLINE The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued a “special news release” about the threat to funding from the decline in hunting and fishing license and related tax revenues. Fishing licenses issued for residents declined by nearly 70,000 in the past five years; 30,000 fewer hunting licenses were issued in fiscal year 2019 compared to 2014. Fishing and hunting has been on the decline since the 1980, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study reported; Arkansas increased revenues for Game and Fish and Parks and Tourism with an 1/8 cent conservation tax approved by voters in 1996. The press release also noted “monumental challenges” presented to its properties by “shifting trends in rain and flooding,” a euphemism for climate change.


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MARCH 2020 15


THE FRONT BIG PIC

VOLUNTEERS OF LITTLE ROCK

Meet some of the capital city’s most important volunteers, nominated by the organizations to whom they’ve dedicated their support. BY REBEKAH HALL

“With every rally we hold, every free gun lock we hand out, and every Students Demand Action group we organize, I am confident we will save lives.” MOMS DEMAND ACTION/LRSD Alyce Zottoli, Central High School teacher Age: 35 Volunteering since: Fall 2017 “I began volunteering with Moms Demand Action after losing an eighth-grade student in an act of domestic gun violence. I have committed myself to educating and activating our community about the realities of gun violence.”

SALVATION ARMY Don Steely Age: 81 Volunteering since: 1996 “It has been my good fortune for the last 24 years to be able to participate in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. This allows volunteers to experience the feeling of doing good for others, as it provides gifts to several thousand needy children in Central Arkansas.”

TRUST TREE Dre’ya Allen Age: 17 Volunteering since: Summer 2019 “I want to help empower young girls through something I’m good at: art. I got to see shy girls who wouldn’t talk at first come out of their shells and be exuberant, confident girls!”

BRIAN CHILSON

“I’ve dedicated a lot of time to working with the dogs and making sure they never forget what it’s like to live in a home.”

OUR HOUSE Gordon Geesaman Age: 24 Volunteering since: October 2018 “I believe the programs offered by Our House embody the love and support that all of us deserve.”

16 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

JERICHO WAY Jesse Gatewood Age: 72 Volunteering since: 2017 “No matter how you feel about homelessness, I believe the laboring starts with me. People who come through Jericho Way’s doors, no matter what problems they bring, the staff are ready to tackle them head-on.”

HUMANE SOCIETY OF PULASKI COUNTY Madeline McCain, pictured with her dog, Riley Age: 22 Volunteering since: September 2018 “I volunteer to make sure the dogs who never get adopted, who constantly get overlooked, still know what it’s like to be loved and be part of a family. And honestly, they give you as much love (if not more) as you give them.”


ARKANSAS FOODBANK Nancy Butler Age: 62 Volunteering since: October 2018 “After my stroke I felt so useless, lonesome and didn’t want to leave the house. After I found the Arkansas Foodbank, I look forward to not only going there, but I can’t wait to go and I usually work more hours than I signed up for!”

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THE VAN Mark Deal Age: 62 Volunteering since: 2014 “I originally got involved because I couldn’t shake the image of a man sleeping on the sidewalk in the middle of winter that [founder Aaron Reddin] had posted about on The Van’s Facebook page. After that I was hooked. I don’t really see this as volunteering; it’s just part of who I am now. There’s a big difference in empathizing, worrying about, donating or supporting homeless organizations and knowing some of these folks by name. Names are powerful things, names make it personal. They grab onto a little piece of your brain and heart and won’t let go.” ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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18 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES


the TO-DO list BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE , LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK AND ELLIE BLACK

ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE: FINALS SATURDAY 3/14. REV ROOM. 8 P.M.

LARKIN POE SATURDAY 3/14. UA-PTC CENTER FOR

HUMANITIES AND ARTS (CHARTS). 7:30 P.M. $45-$65 RESERVED SEATING, $10-$20 GENERAL ADMISSION. Nashville-by-way-of-Atlanta duo Larkin Poe consists of sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell (pictured, at right), who also happen to be great-great-great-grandsomethings of the great American writer Edgar Allan Poe. It’s easy to see why they lean into their ancestry: Their sound is dark, gritty and a little bit ominous, from the twangy “Mississippi” (“I’ve got pain and misery/goin’ down to Mississippi”) to the rousing “Good and Gone” (“When I’m gone, good and gone/don’t you grieve, just sing along”). With their Southern Gothic vibe, Larkin Poe is on the rise: Their most recent album, “Venom & Faith,” was nominated for a 2020 Grammy in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, and they’ve backed acts like Elvis Costello, Conor Oberst and Keith Urban. They’ve been releasing albums since 2010, but you might want to see them at CHARTS before they start playing sold-out stadiums. Get tickets at charts.uaptc.edu. EB

COURTESY OF BIG HASSLE MEDIA

ANTE YANA BY BRIAN CHILSON

Inaugurated in 1993 by the now-defunct Spectrum Weekly and handed over to the Arkansas Times around 1997, the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase has been reliably eclectic in its third decade, offering sets from seasoned local ensembles, side projects from longtime music veterans and talented upstarts honing their stage offerings for the first time. This year, 16 semifinalists played 30-minute sets at Stickyz Rock ’n’ Roll Chicken Shack, making new fans and surely shattering records for the highest dose of saxophone in showcase history. When the Arkansas Times went to press, three of those semifinal rounds were complete, with Won Run, Tiny Towns and Ante Yana (pictured, at left) landing at the top of their respective rounds. They, along with the winner of round four and a “wild card” band (the top-scoring second-place finisher across all four rounds), will take the stage at the Rev Room Saturday, March 14, to compete for a chance at an award package that includes prizes from Trio’s, Yadaloo Music Fest and Palmer Music Co., plus performances at Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, the Arkansas State Fair, FestiVille Jacksonville, Thursday Night Live at Murphy Arts District and more. SS

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MARCH 2020 19


COURTESY OF OXFORD AMERICAN

“UMPY LUNDERSPHERE,” COURTESY OF CLAIRE HELEN ASHLEY

the TO-DO list

JOHN MORELAND SUNDAY 3/15. SOUTH ON MAIN. 7 P.M. $30-$36.

Watching the latter installments of Ken Burns’ “Country Music” documentary series, it gets pretty easy to convince yourself that lyrical couplets hit their prime somewhere around 1972, and that it’s been rough goin’ ever since. Listening to John Moreland is a pretty strong counterargument. The Tulsa native (pictured above) has a knack for crafting rhymes that sting, and wrapping your attention around a ballad like “Cherokee” or “It Don’t Suit Me” doesn’t so much conjure love’s universals as it resurrects for the listener acutely specific ghosts, there and suddenly gone in the span of three and a half minutes. On his latest, “LP5,” Moreland’s potent as ever, but his finger-picking gets interpolated with electronic effects and (gasp) drum machine loops. Like Moreland, the opener for this installment of the Oxford American concert series, Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (of Water Liars), is a songwriter grappling with transition. The tonal backdrops for his latest, “Take Heart, Take Care,” were a newfound stability and sobriety. “I had, more than anything else, good things to say, and ironically I was unsure of how to say them,” he said in a press release. “I’d spent so long yawping at perceived darkness both real and imagined, internal and external, that I was in a sense starting from scratch, learning to express something good in a way that didn’t feel cheap or silly or disingenuous to me.” Get tickets at oxfordamerican.org/ events. SS

20 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS: ‘BAD BOY MOWDOWN’ FRIDAY 3/6–SATURDAY 3/7. SIMMONS BANK ARENA. 7:45 P.M. (FRIDAY) AND 6:45 P.M. (SATURDAY). $14– $109.

For the uninitiated, the PBR is emphatically “NOT a rodeo” (nor is it in any way related to Pabst Blue Ribbon). What is it, then? According to the website, it’s “two hours of pyro, music and the most intense bull riding action on Earth, filled with heart-pounding, bone-crushing action, and a star-studded lineup of the world’s best riders and animal athletes.” It may also be your first and last chance to see the legendary riding champ Ryan Dirteater, of Hulbert, Okla., perform: Not only is this his first ride in Little Rock, but 2020 will be his final season. For the kids, the Miniature Bull Riders (Professional Bull Riders, but children) will also be performing. Catch round one on Friday night and round two on Saturday night; get tickets at verizonarena.com. EB

CHER SATURDAY 3/14. SIMMONS BANK ARENA. 8 P.M. $30 GENERAL ADMISSION, $500 VIP.

From her “I Got You Babe” days to her delightfully incomprehensible tweets today, Cher has cemented a place in the zeitgeist as one of the most beloved performers of all time. On her “Here We Go Again” tour, featuring Nile Rodgers & Chic (formerly known as just Chic, of “Le Freak” fame), she will once again rise like the phoenix to remind us that, as she told her mother upon being asked when she would settle down and marry a rich man: “Mom, I am a rich man.” With her glitzy costumes, brazen attitude, timeless setlist and signature powerhouse voice, there’s no doubt that Cher will continue to stake her claim as the very picture of glamour and flamboyance. Be there or be square. EB


‘88.3 FM & THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE’ MONDAY 3/23. WHITE WATER J.T. Tarpley’s documentary on the role of KABF, 88.3-FM, founded in 1983 by the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), features ACORN founder Wade Rathke and local figures and supporters Judge Wendell Griffen, Zach Pollett, Kevin Kerby, Paul Kelley, John Cain, Pat Rogers-Ward, Jessica Akers and others. Tarpley, a former writer for the Arkansas Times who is a filmmaker and graduate assistant in the School of Journalism at the University of Arkansas, will take part in a Q&A for this local premiere, slated for two screenings at the White Water Tavern. Among other issues, the film, two years in the making, addresses the Little Rock School District takeover by the state Department of Education. LNP

BEGONIA BY MAYA FUHR

TAVERN. 6:30 P.M. AND 9:15 P.M.

VALLEY OF THE VAPORS INDEPENDENT MUSIC FESTIVAL THURSDAY 3/19-MONDAY 3/23. LOW KEY ARTS,

IMDB

MAXINE’S, ARKANSAS SCHOOL FOR MATH AND SCIENCES, POCKET THEATER, KOLLECTIVE COFFEE + TEA. FREE-$35.

ARKANSAS TIMES FILM SERIES: ‘THE CANDIDATE’ TUESDAY 3/17. RIVERDALE 10 CINEMA. 7 P.M. $9.

No doubt, political electioneering has proved itself one of the most reliable wells from which to draw cinematic spark. Michael Ritchie’s “The Candidate,” a satiric 1972 Robert Redford vehicle with an Oscar-winning screenplay by Jeremy Larner, does exactly that, darkly. It’s a deep dive into the chess-like machinations of the American political process and — every bit as cynical as its fellows “Wag the Dog” and the ill-fated “House of Cards” — an inquiry into whether any of that wildly expensive election hoopla matters at all. “The Candidate” is the next film in the Arkansas Times Film Series, curated by Omaya Jones. Get tickets at riverdale10.com. SS

Something of an “anti-festival” lovingly produced by Hot Springs artists, musicians and weirdos of all stripes, Low Key Arts’ annual Valley of the Vapors is both a musical marathon and community frolic. It’s also a supremely chill framework in which to fall in love with roughly 10 bands in the span of six hours, and to bop around quirky downtown Hot Springs in the process. This year, there are “secret”/location-TBD shows from Thanya Iyer, Billy Moon and Weird Music; a book reading from Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks); workshops on virtual audio effects and guitar pedal building; and sets from a host of bands from Arkansas and elsewhere — Bird Bones, White Mansion, Bera Bera, Benadriil, We Are the Asteroid, Crush Diamond, Carinae, Various Blonde, Faux Real, Control Top, Begonia (pictured), Super City, Lung, Skull Family, V.V. Lightbody, Corridor, Deeper, Kevin Krauter and a ton more. An opening reception on Thursday, March 19, at the Pocket Theatre, co-presented by the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, is a must for Sonic Youth fans. Stuart Swezey’s documentary “Desolation Center,” about Reagan-era guerilla art and music movements, will be screened, as well as the Sonic Youth concert film “Daydream Nation.” Swezey and Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley will be in attendance. Get tickets and a full lineup and schedule at valleyofthevapors.org. SS

17TH ANNUAL WORLD’S SHORTEST ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE TUESDAY 3/17. DOWNTOWN HOT SPRINGS. 6:30 P.M. FREE. Although certainly a parade in spirit, there are a full 98 feet along which the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade traverses, and that means it behaves a little less like a parade and a little more like a block party. This year, somewhere in the sea of green that blankets downtown Hot Springs for the annual festivities, you’ll find OG MMJ posterboy Cheech Marin performing the duties of Grand Marshal, 6:30 p.m., and actor Danny Trejo (“Breaking Bad,” “Sons of Anarchy”) as parade starter; a Blarney Stone Kissing Contest, 4:30 p.m.; a rally from the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, 5:30 p.m.; and Foghat bringing the “Slow Ride” vibes, 8 p.m. See details at shorteststpats.com. SS ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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AMANDA SHIRES SUNDAY 3/22. REV ROOM. 8 P.M. $23-$25. Somewhere along the line, Amanda Shires began to make it gloriously plain that she was no wistful wallflower with a fiddle. Maybe it was the raucous guitars and the “Let’s get on with the shitshow” vibe of her record “To the Sunset.” Or the time she showed up at the Country Music Association Awards show with the words “Mama Wants to Change That Nashville Sound” on her pink tank top. Shires, who lends vocals and fiddle to her husband Jason Isbell’s outfit The 400 Unit, talked candidly with NPR in 2018 about those frictions in her trajectory. “When you do look at the charts and there’s maybe one woman on it — I’m talking about Top 40 country — it’ll be like a slow, sad, needy woman song. And it’s real frustrating, I think. And you know what else happens with that? As a result, when you do festivals and stuff, they don’t pick the women because they have to have upbeat songs. So it’s a weird Catch-22, I mean, from where I’m standing.” Luckily, the folks at the Rev Room are a little more forward-thinking than that, and manage to lure the effervescent Shires to Little Rock as often as possible. Get tickets at revroom.com. SS

‘THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME’ WEDNESDAY 3/25-SUNDAY 4/19. ARKANSAS REPERTORY THEATRE. $20-$80.

Presented as a play within a play, Simon Stephens’ award-winning “Curious Incident” provides insight into a different kind of perception with the story of Christopher Boone, a teenager who is a mathematical wizard but doesn’t do well with people. The second in The Rep’s spring season, the play is based on the best-seller by British author Michael Haddon. On stage, it’s won seven Olivier Awards in the U.K. and a best play Tony Award in the U.S. telling the story of Christopher’s decision to investigate the death of his neighbor’s dog. A special March 24 performance will benefit the Arkansas Autism Resource & Outreach Center; tickets for that performance range from $50-$100. LNP 22 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

LEESA CROSS-SMITH, COURTESY OF OXFORD AMERICAN

AMANDA SHIRES BY ALYSSE GAFKJEN/ALL EYES MEDIA

the TO-DO list

SOUTH WORDS: LEESA CROSS-SMITH TUESDAY 3/31. CALS RON ROBINSON THEATER. 6:30 P.M. FREE.

Leesa-Cross Smith — whom you may know through her books, or from “Ain’t Half Bad,” her popular essay on Sturgill Simpson published by the Oxford American — is the final reader for the OA’s new South Words reading series. In addition to her OA publications, Cross-Smith is the author of “Whiskey & Ribbons” (which was, among other honors, listed on Oprah Magazine’s “Top Books of Summer”), “Every Kiss a War” and “So We Can Glow,” a collection of short stories forthcoming from Grand Central Press on March 10. OA contributing editor Kevin Brockmeier moderates, and a book sale and signing follow the discussion. EB


“I lost my grandson to senseless gun violence.

I believe that Mike Bloomberg can truly make a difference.” - Kim Macon-King, Little Rock

HERE’S WHAT MIKE BLOOMBERG WILL DO FOR CENTRAL ARKANSAS: ■ FIGHT GUN VIOLENCE by requiring real background checks,

keeping guns out the hands of violent and mentally unstable people and banning assault weapons

■ STRENGTHEN HEALTH CARE by creating a public option,

bolstering the Affordable Care Act, banning surprise medical bills and lowering drug costs

■ FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE with plans for Clean Transportation,

Clean Power and Communities and Smart Infrastructure

Mike will get it done. Mike Bloomberg walking in MLK Marade, 1/20/2020

www.mikebloomberg.com

Paid for by Mike Bloomberg 2020

Early voting starts February 18th! Go to www.voterview.ar-nova.org to find your polling place!


MARCH EVENTS MOVIES

MUSIC CALS RON ROBINSON THEATER

CALS RON ROBINSON THEATER

Little Rock School District All-City Jazz Band

Dolemite (R)

Chris Smither

THU | MAR 5 | 6 PM | FREE

FRI | MAR 6 | 7 PM | FREE FRI | MAR 20 | 7 PM | 20 $

Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die SAT | MAR 21 | 8 PM

| $15 ADVANCE/ $20

DAY OF SHOW

Rodney Block presents The Gospel According to Jazz

FRI | MAR 27 | 8 PM | $15 ADVANCE, $20 DAY OF SHOW

TUE | MAR 3 | 7 PM | $5

We Were Soldiers (R) Batman (1989, PG-13)

SAT | MAR 7 | 6 PM | FREE

BingoFlix: The Human Tornado (R) TUE | MAR 10 | 7 PM | $5

Full Metal Jacket (R)

THU | MAR 12 | 6 PM | FREE

Dolemite is My Name (R)

SPEAKERS

Leesa Cross-Smith

OXFORD AMERICAN SOUTH WORDS SERIES TUE | MAR 31 | 6:30 PM | FREE CALS RON ROBINSON THEATER

TUE | MAR 17 | 7 PM | FREE

ART EXHIBITIONS

Guy Choate with Evan Hallmark

MAR 13 | 5-8 PM | THE BOOKSTORE AT LIBRARY SQUARE

Mid-Southern Watercolorists 50th Annual Juried Exhibition MAR 13 | 5-8 PM | THE GALLERIES AT LIBRARY SQUARE

USED BOOK SALE

Friends of Central Arkansas Libraries Used Book Sale

THU | MAR 12 | 5-7 PM (FRIENDS MEMBERS ONLY) FRI | MAR 13 | 10 AM-6 PM SAT | MAR 14 | 10 AM-4 PM MAIN LIBRARY BASEMENT

The Deer Hunter (R)

THU | MAR 19 | 6 PM | FREE

Born on the Fourth of July (R) THU | MAR 26 | 6 PM | FREE

THE LIBRARY, REWRIT TEN.

Library Square | 100 Rock St. | Little Rock | 918.3000 | CALS.org

Our New Midtown Location Is Open

Taking same day or next day appointments

Your Skin deserves the best

COME GET YOUR SPOT CHECK!

Aaron S. Farberg, M.D.

Katlyn R. Anderson, PA-C

Emilee T. Odom, PA-C

500 South University, Suite 708 • Little Rock • 501-221-2700 • arkansasdermatology.com 24 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES


NEWS & POLITICS THE ELECTION WILL BE ABOUT TRUMP: And not those running against him, unlike in 2016.

HOPE FOR DEMOCRATS TRUMP WON’T BE RE-ELECTED. BY ERNEST DUMAS

F

inally, we are well into the nominating season and two things about 21st century presidential politics remain unchanged: a manic media and the manna of money. (The alliteration is easy, so please forgive.) From the beginning of the debate season almost a year ago with that massive field of Democratic candidates, nearly all of us in the media have been breathlessly sizing up the real contenders — those with big money or ready access to it — and pushing them to the fore. They were Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg and the media’s task was to get them to go after each other over the smallest pretext, like an ancient private remark. Reporters, moderators and commentators love a good fight as much as you do. The Democratic Party went along, putting billionaires and their friends or else ideologues with noisy followers on the debate stage while people who had shown actual voting strength in competitive states and a real record of governing, like the westerners Michael Bennet and Steve Bullock, were kept off the stage until their candles were extinguished. They were neither rich nor had connections with the plutocracy. Either Bennet or Bullock would have destroyed Donald Trump, but they were too boring. What the Democrats actually need in November is boring — the dullness of competence and moral fiber.

Now that Michael Bloomberg, a politician with the same elastic morals and endlessly shifting political creeds as Donald Trump, has dumped nearly a half-billion dollars into media advertising in a few weeks to pump his poll numbers, he will be on the stage and all the moderators will bring him into the sniping. He will fit very well. I set out to get on record early this season with a prediction of some kind, with a fifty-fifty chance of being able to boast that, for a change, I was right, in the most vital election of our lifetimes. Four years ago, I early on thought Trump was almost a shoo-in for the Republican nomination in a field of pretty smart candidates because I had been enamored for years with his facility for transforming immorality, corruption, greed and self-aggrandizement into stardom. He was the showman in the race, collecting the media’s attention and the public’s fascination with his crazy ramblings every day. A media star is always going to win the Republican nomination, even in left-coast California, which elected the muscled buffoon Arnold Schwarzenegger and the pleasant actor Ronald Reagan to inept terms in Sacramento. So my prediction is that the Democrat will win the presidency. In the unlikely event that Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee, I’m a lot less confident of the prediction. He is Donald Trump’s vain hope. I arrive at the conclusion by simply recapituARKANSASTIMES.COM

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lating the last election. I thought Hillary Clinton, although she never demonstrated a trace of the essential instincts for defending herself in the malicious world of politics, would defeat Trump because the polls showed that a significant majority of Americans believed that Trump was morally and intellectually unfit to be president, as Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz said. But Trump had a strategy that, with unusual luck and the help of the Russians, actually worked. From the moment that Clinton sewed up the nomination against a socialist who disavowed the Democratic Party, Trump’s campaign harped on one theme: that Clinton was a crook who was under investigation by the FBI and that if she were elected, the president of the United States would be marched out of the White House in leg irons. It was a forbidding thought for everyone. Crowds loved it, and in every town every day he led them in chants of “Lock her up.” Then Jim Comey, the Republican director of the FBI, did something he was not supposed to do: reveal that the investigation of her emails had been completed and that agents and lawyers in the Justice Department had found no wrongdoing. He went ahead and castigated her for poor judgment in using a private email server while she was at the State Department, like nearly all other Americans and as did nearly the entire George W. Bush administration, including his secretary of state, did for five years, 2001–06, until they were discovered. (They used the Republican National Committee server and then tried to destroy 22 million emails.) The FBI’s job is not to quantify poor judgment by public officials, or else it would need to increase its staff and budget at least tenfold and just forget about crime. Clinton enjoyed a big lead in the polls but then Comey reversed himself and announced that he was reopening the investigation because new

TRUMP AND ALL THE VOTERS WILL FINALLY HAVE TO FACE THE FACTS ON RUSSIA AND UKRAINE.

26 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

emails had been found. She sank in the polls to a tie the week before the election. Many voters decided that this was the last straw. Russians were pushing conspiracy theories on social media and encouraging Bernie voters to vote for the Green Party candidate or else Trump. They supplied the 70,000-vote margin of victory for Trump in the three northern industrial states. Comey clumsily corrected himself before the election, but it was too late. Clinton won the popular vote by exactly the polling margin, but Trump won, thanks to the extra voting power given to unpopulated rural states by the electoral college and Clinton’s disdain of the three industrial states. Things have changed very little. Most Americans — not Arkansans — think Trump is an uninformed liar who led a disgraceful personal life and a dishonest professional one, bankrupting one business after another while cheating contractors, employees, clients, his wives and the government. The Democratic battle will have to sort itself out, perhaps all the way to the convention. The eventual winner is anyone’s guess, except I don’t think it will be Bernie Sanders, bless his angry old soul (he’s four years my junior). Then the campaign will be about Donald Trump, no matter how much he tries to focus it on the rival, the media or a secret state. Trump has only one thing going for him, outside his 35 percent dedicated following: He has not wrecked the economy. He inherited the most resilient economy in history with near full employment. Barack Obama had inherited the worst economy since Herbert Hoover’s — it was shedding 2.5 to 3 million jobs a month — and he cut the payroll taxes of every working American, stopped the financial free-for-all and enacted a modest stimulus (he built Little Rock’s giant interchange at Interstates 430 and 630) to gin up the economy in every state. Trump may have ginned it up a little by running up massive deficits and giving rich businessmen and investors a huge tax cut. Otherwise, he has created a long series of foreign and domestic crises, settled each for next to nothing and then declared victory. Witness NAFTA, the tariff wars, North Korea, the Saudi assassination, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Trump and all the voters will have to finally face the facts on Russia and Ukraine, which form the narrative of his presidency. Any sentient Democrat ought to be able to distill the clear message from all those investigations, largely done and exposed by Republicans. Although the president was not personally charged, the Mueller report (Mueller is a lifelong Republican) made it clear that Trump obstructed justice on a massive scale to stop the Russian investigation. The Justice Department probe, supervised at every step by Republicans, indicted 34 people and three companies who were involved in the Russian corruption and


election interference, including five Trump campaign people and personal associates. A slew of them are in prison or fighting commitments and all of them are counting on pardons — after the election if not before. That does not include all the indicted Kremlin agents, who will make sure never to be caught on U.S. soil unless, of course, Trump is re-elected and could pardon them, too. Meantime, he is pardoning or commuting the sentences of corrupt high rollers — a tip to all his buddies to hold on because their time is coming. All the Arkansas Republicans in prison or heading there because of the state corruption probes are counting on the relief. Watch for it late this year. The madness clearly has not reached its nadir, although it reached some kind of peak in the Bill Barr meltdown in late February. For a year, Barr had been carrying out Trump’s wishes to blunt the myriad investigations of him. And then Trump exposed the poor man by cheering on Barr’s bizarre intervention to keep Trump’s old pal and co-conspirator Roger Stone out of prison. Trump’s tweets made it clear — he wanted to make it clear — that the Justice Department was following his wishes, not the independent mandate of the law. Exposed so purposely by his own boss, Barr was threatening to resign and was advised to do so by more than a thousand former federal prosecutors and Justice professionals. Remember that Attorney General Barr is the master of the pardon political strategy. After Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, was indicted by a grand jury and Republican prosecutor for participating in the illegal sale of weapons to Iran by the Reagan administration and channeling the money to rebels trying to overthrow the government of Nicaragua, Weinberger’s diary disputed President George H.W. Bush’s denial that, as vice president, he had any connection to or knowledge of the law-breaking. Barr persuaded Bush, who was in a tight race with Bill Clinton, that Weinberger, fearing prison, needed to know before the trial that he would be pardoned. Weinberger got the word. Bush lost the election to Clinton anyway, but Weinberger got the pardon immediately afterward and never had to stand trial or to give them Bush. This time, Barr has spent his year as AG blunting or heading off investigations of Trump — first the Mueller probe and then a CIA whistleblower’s revelation that Trump was violating the law and blackmailing an allied country, with our tax dollars, to force it to announce an investigation of Joe Biden that would run through the 2020 election. Polls at the time showed Biden would beat Trump handily. Barr also directed Justice Department investigations that Trump wanted — another of Hillary Clinton (quietly folded after the prosecutor found nothing to the yarn that she gave a uranium company to Russia) and of Rudolph Giuliani’s accusations involving Biden’s boy. And then to be exposed and humiliated by his own boss! Surely, no Democrat can mess up that scenario.

WARDROBE READY? WALK IN TO WICKS.

“BEYOND THE STRUCTURE” New works by Jeff Horton

Opening Reception Saturday, March 7, 6 to 9 pm Show runs through March 28

Suspended Structure, 48”x38”

BOSWELL MOUROT FINE ART

Tues. - Fri. 11 to 6 • Sat. 11 to 3 and by appointment 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd • Little Rock, AR 72207 • 501-664-0030 • www.boswellmourot.com ARKANSASTIMES.COM

MARCH 2020 27


HOW CRAIG O’NEILL WENT FROM BEING LITTLE ROCK’S CLASS CLOWN TO ITS MR. ROGERS. BY STEPHANIE SMITTLE

28 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES


RETT PEEK

‘ACTIVIST NEWSMAN’: Craig O’Neill, disc jockey turned TV anchor turned philanthropist.

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I

n 1991, two days before the Arkansas

Razorbacks played the Texas Longhorns in Little Rock, Craig O’Neill — then a morning disc jockey at KURB-FM, 98.5 — made perhaps his greatest prank call. Adding a little good ol’ boy charm to his baritone, O’Neill called the University of Texas athletic department pretending to be Gilbert McElroy, groundskeeper at War Memorial Stadium. “We got a small problem up here, and I just wanted to know how to handle it. … Last night, our boy that marks the field on the AstroTurf, the sun was going down, and it was getting real dark and, naturally, we don’t want to have to turn the lights on to mark the field, and his deadline was last night. … he didn’t realize what he was doing, and he was puttin’ y’all’s name in our south end zone, and he added an extra S.” “... How do you mean?” asked the Texas athletic department official. “What I mean is, it’s T-E-X-A-S-S, and we don’t have enough time to take that off. ...” ... (Audibly, in the background: “Son, see if you can find the coach. Right now. Right now, go get him!”) “If you can’t straighten this off, I think we’ve got a serious problem here.” “Well, one thing we can do is put two lines down the middle of that S and make it a dollar sign. What do you think of that?” “I guess anything is better than nothing, but I think that’s a pretty poor solution to this problem. Can’t you just white the whole thing out? Just white it out. Just paint the whole thing out.” “Well, it may not be dry by gametime. If your boys score or our boys score, they are going to get that paint all over them. Also, that can cause welps to break out on your skin. You ever rubbed up against that stuff?” “We certainly don’t want to say ‘Tex-Ass,’ do we?” “No sir. … I think our dollar sign idea is our best bet.” “That doesn’t sound like a reasonable solution.” “Well, it does to me.” “… Is this the best you folks up in Arkansas can do?” “For right now, it’s the only thing — unless you think we ought to add an extra “s” to Arkansas. Make it even.” 30 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

SATURDAY-SUNDAE: Craig O’Neill serves up a signature sundae as a promotion for KARN-AM 920 (top) in 1974, and poses in the KKYK-FM 103.7 studio (above) with then-THV11 anchor Joe Quinn. By the time “McElroy” reveals that it’s a gag, the UT staff member’s so relieved he can’t muster up the energy to stay mad. There’s a deliciousness to a prank phone call when it’s carried out nimbly. In the hands of a committed improviser like O’Neill, it’s a highwire act for the delight of comedy voyeurs: Can he keep them from hanging up? Can he stomach the ruse if the person on the other end is excruciatingly polite? Can he string them along to comic effect without eliciting tears — or a police report? Among the most beloved subjects of those KURB prank calls: LaShonda Reed, whose irritation at O’Neill’s shiftless “cable man” char-

acter crescendos to the verge of eruption until the reveal, after which follows a few beats of silence, then Reed’s final admonition: “Craig, WHAT are you doing, you honky fool?!”

N

ow, that prank caller is one of the most recognized faces in the state, and one of the most revered figures in Arkansas media. He’s established a record as a tireless advocate for youth literacy. He’s raised millions of dollars for Arkansas nonprofits. He played a character called “Bull” in “Pass the Ammo,” a 1988 satire starring Bill Paxton and Tim Curry. He DJed a birthday party at the White House


CLASS CLOWN: Randy Hankins, who would later go by the name Craig O’Neill, poses for his senior portrait (below, at right) at Central High School in 1968.

MAN WITH A MINOLTA: Craig O’Neill videotapes the festivities at a family wedding (top), and runs the Diet Pepsi 10,000 meter run in the early 1980s (above).

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ROLLIN’ ON THE RIVER: O’Neill serves up rolls on the Arkansas Queen riverboat for a KKYK-FM, 103.7, promotion (left). At right, the collection of T-shirts O’Neill received from emceeing fundraisers spans the length of Little Rock’s Broadway Bridge in 1998.

for Hillary Clinton. His famously large lips have been embroidered on a ballcap promoting the TV station he works for. There’s a Craig O’Neill bobblehead. And, lest anyone think he can’t take what he dishes out, O’Neill was a prominent and ruthless contributor to the script for his own charity roast (or “toast,” as the program reads), a 1988 ball to benefit the Pulaski County chapter of the American Diabetes Association. Johnny Carson dialed in remotely, and then-Gov. Bill Clinton decreed O’Neill the official “Arkansas State Pest,” adding that, “When Hillary and I found out he was a product of Arkansas schools, we decided to make education our No. 1 priority.”  *** “He’s just so disarming,” KTHV, Channel 11 (“THV11”) news anchor Dawn Scott told us. “He’s like, ‘Here I am. Don’t take a shot at me; I’ll take a shot at myself first.’ There’s a trust that comes with that, in a weird way. You wouldn’t think a jokester would evoke so much trust in people. But I think because he’s so real, they do. I feel like in our world today, people want authenticity so badly. They want real and they want authentic. And he is that. He’s the embodiment of that.”  Consider, for example, the “faux funeral” thrown for O’Neill at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home in 2017, part of an obituary writing exercise for journalism students. After judging the contest, O’Neill, nodding to the pile of funeral programs printed for the workshop, quipped, “You could reuse these. Save some cash,” the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Scott didn’t necessarily regard O’Neill’s humor the same way 20 years ago, when he made 32 MARCH 2020

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the transition from radio to TV. For many in Central Arkansas, inviting Little Rock’s goofball DJ to the TV newsroom seemed, if not an outright stunt for ratings’ sake, at least risky. Whether his booming bass timbre would translate to gravitas in front of the green screen was questionable. And could he muster up a modicum of restraint, or would THV11’s sportscasts take a turn for the slapstick when O’Neill launched into his time-tested parody of Roger Miller’s “Chug-a-lug?”     A Northwestern alum who’d go on to win an Edward R. Murrow Award and a regional Emmy for her work on the Arkansas foster care system, Scott had been tasked with introducing O’Neill as the station’s newest sports guy on a Jan. 1, 2000, broadcast, when the Arkansas Razorbacks faced off against the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. “Full disclosure,” Scott told me, “I thought to myself, ‘What are we doing? Are we gonna turn this place into one big joke?’ ”  But then, something sort of remarkable happened. O’Neill surprised everyone. He didn’t shoehorn a stand-up routine into his sportscast. Nor did he transform superficially into some Walter Cronkite knockoff. He just put on a suit, paired it with tennis shoes and began shapeshifting into the TV version of the Craig O’Neill that we know now, and he made us feel like that version had been there all along. 

N

ot that it happened overnight — O’Neill had grown accustomed to filling fourhour blocks on the radio, and the TV scripts he wrote in the aughts had to be cut down substantially. THV11, for its part, made room for O’Neill to do his “wacky sports anchor” thing: A holiday promo spot from that era positions

O’Neill as the leader of a group of Christmas carolers who, instead of singing the likes of “Silent Night” whip out plastic Hog Hats and burst into “WHO LET THA HOGS OUT?! WHO?! WHO?!,” a parody of the Baha Men’s turn-of-the-century dance hit. The commercial’s tagline: “Sports is fun again!” Two decades later, on the nightly news, O’Neill — promoted from sports anchor to news anchor in 2008 — and Scott finish each other’s sentences. If one of them gets lost on the teleprompter for a moment, the other picks up the thread. “He knows where I’m going with something, I know where he’s going with something,” Scott said. “It’s weird.” *** O’Neill, a native of Little Rock, got his start on Sept. 3, 1969, when he strode into KBTM, a small Jonesboro station near Arkansas State University. He was a sophomore at ASU, slated for a TV/radio communications major, but a clear star in the school’s theater department. By this point, KBTM seemed to O’Neill like the break of a lifetime. He’d aspired, after all, to be “the next Johnny Carson” ever since his days at Pulaski Heights Elementary School. O’Neill had gotten the attention of station owner Alan Patteson, and scored shifts working the afternoon slot and jockeying up the religious programming on Sunday morning. Newly equipped with an outlet, O’Neill let loose with the litany of untested jokes he’d been carrying around for years, dosing his drive-time blocks heavily with patter — puns, topical material, nascent impressions of celebrities. “I just remember that first month,” O’Neill said, “I thought I was gonna do it all.” Patteson, O’Neill recalled, “called sometime


within that first month and said, and I quote, ‘I’m spending a dime of my own money to call you on a payphone to tell you to shut up.’ ” He didn’t shut up, but he toned it down enough to skirt being fired. O’Neill married his college sweetheart, Jane, and moved back to Little Rock in 1972, where he took a job at KARN-AM, 920. He’d spend six years there, two in advertising sales, and he’d get a lasting alias. O’Neill’s real name is Randy Hankins, which his manager at the time thought sounded “too country,” O’Neill told the Arkansas Times in 2011. “He had worked with a guy in Seattle named Craig O’Neill and thought that was a cool name, so he gave it to me.” Along with the moniker, O’Neill would assume a morning shift at KLAZ-FM, 98.5, in 1978, where he honed the prank call shtick, and then join KLAZ newsman Eric Brown in leaving KLAZ for KKYK-FM, 103.7, in 1981. O’Neill would stay at KKYK until 1991, and spend the following decade at KURB-FM “B 98.5,” where he’d pull off the ”T-E-X-A-S-S” stunt, among dozens of others, some of which have been compiled and preserved on CD, with O’Neill narrating interludes between tracks.

L

ast year, O’Neill celebrated his 50th year in broadcasting. “He was a force in this radio business,” Bob Robbins of KMJX-FM, 105.1 “The Wolf,” said in a tribute video THV11 aired to mark the anniversary. “Be honest?” Robbins said of O’Neill’s crossover into TV: “I was real happy. I thought, ‘He won’t be competing against me now.’ ” That a young O’Neill would find his way into ASU’s radio and television department — and into a career in media — is, in a lot of ways, inevitable. He has the sort of wide-open facial features that opera directors and Shakespeare companies seek out, capable of telegraphing explosive emotion and subtle mood shifts alike. He’s a sharp listener. He can shift tones elegantly, delivering a headline about a body dumped along a rural road seconds before pivoting gracefully to a feel-good piece about a police officer standing in for a second-grader’s late father at a daddy-daughter dance.  “His voice is deep and commanding,” Scott noted. “You listen when he talks.” He’s funny and wildly improvisatory, but able to exercise careful control over how he uses humor — doing a tightrope walk to maintain the artifice on a prank call gone rogue, opening the goofy floodgates when he emcees at a fundraising gala, reining things in when he’s delivering the evening headlines.  In his early radio days at KLAZ, O’Neill jotted down all his jokes and skits on 8.5 x 11 sheets of looseleaf paper. Most were factoid-based, written out in full in elegant cursive: “There are seven strains of caterpillar in Florida that like poison ivy. Researchers say they may eventually reduce the world’s supply. So go out and get that poison ivy while you can!” Lots of them were localized for Arkansas audiences: “Sixty-five percent of high school students of today do not know who the gov-

ernor of their home state is. ... When I went to school you were made to recite all the state officials, from governor on down. But now 65 percent … If our governor, Richard Pryor, knew that, he’d be appalled!” Others were rehearsed enough that he’d use a sort of Craig-specific shorthand: “Close encounters of the third grade,” “I can talk to animals,” “trying to pull the wool over our sheep,” “I’ve invented freezedried butter.” Those comedic sensibilities began to take form over “tuna fish in a can,” he said. “Packed in oil. On Wonder bread.” O’Neill’s parents divorced when he was 12 years old, and he and his siblings lived for a time with their grandparents. He found comfort in listening to the radio and, like most kids that age, found comfort in snacking while he did it. “The trouble is,” he said, “my grandfather — who did the cooking — was an Army retiree, and protected the pantry like it was Fort Knox. I had to wait for him to go to bed at around 10:15 at night to get the tuna fish and the white bread. Well, if you’re gonna have a snack, you’ve gotta have something to watch. So I would sit and watch ‘The Tonight Show’ with Johnny Carson. And within two weeks, three weeks, I had forgotten about the tuna fish and the white bread. I wanted to be Johnny Carson.” No doubt some of Carson’s cadence and swagger made its way into O’Neill’s delivery, but their extracurricular activities share little resemblance. Carson was a drinker; O’Neill’s never touched the stuff, save for the time he got queasy from a sip of communion wine. When Carson wasn’t doing comedy, he avoided large parties. O’Neill, on the other hand, emceed 9,000 of them over the course of nearly five decades, fundraising at galas and charity balls in his trademark tuxedo and Air Jordans. Estimates of what he raised hover around the $40 million mark. When he received an honorarium for the work, he’d send it to AR Kids Read, or to Hearts and Hooves — an organization that teaches children and adults with disabilities to ride and handle horses. O’Neill got so many T-shirts from Arkansas nonprofits as tokens of appreciation that he lined his collection up as a stunt in 1998. They stretched across downtown Little Rock’s Broadway Bridge, and then some.  O’Neill “retired” from emceeing fundraisers in 2017, shifting his energies in the last three years to conducting a “reading tour” at local schools, donning character voices and trotting out his best dad jokes

multiple times a week to read books to kids in Wooster, Sherwood, Lake Village, Brinkley and elsewhere. There’s no mention of all that do-gooding in O’Neill’s early “goal setting” journals, though the habits he developed then clearly laid the foundation. Now part of the “Craig O’Neill Collection,” a section of the archives at the University of Central Arkansas, his old journals and radio scripts sit in the same room with Jimmy Driftwood’s Grammy. Typed out on continuous-feed word processor paper — the kind people used before printers became sentient beings — O’Neill’s notes read like a “habits for success” list, with subcategories in which to track progress: “Family,” “Physical,” “Career,” “Intellectual,” “Spiritual,” in that order.  “To have quiet time with Jane daily,” one

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MARCH 2020 33


REPORTING FOR DUTY: Craig O’Neill dons a suit and a pair of Air Jordans for his shift at THV11. journal reads. “To be there every day for the children … when they come home and when they go to bed. To visit with my brother and sisters, grandparents and parents monthly. … To attend church at least 26 times this year and all ecumenical series (unless out of town).” These days, O’Neill keeps three journals. The first is a notebook into which he writes stream-of-consciousness-style every morning for three pages without stopping — a practice he’s engaged in since 1996, when he read Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” Jane does it, too, and evidence of the creativity it must foster fills every inch of the couple’s home in the Heights. There’s a fairytale front door, a piano and an heirloom squeezebox, an elaborate diorama sculpture Jane built, inspired by Hurricane Katrina and Harvey Fierstein. Craig and Jane bought the place in 1976, for $37,500. They raised their two children there and, along the way, Jane’s vibrant paintings began to take over the walls, washing the rooms in whimsy. Jane’s eyes are the kind that smile, and her art is grounded in images of comfort and peace — a girl daydreaming in a fantastical forest, a round-faced angel cradling a group of women in feathery wings. Out back, Jane’s sculptures liven up the yard, even in the stasis of winter. She offered up an origin story of a particular duo of statuettes. “When we were dating,” Jane told me, “‘Laugh-In’ was real popular, and Arte Johnson would come up to Ruth Buzzi — he was a little old man, and she was a little old lady — and he’d say, ‘Hey, little girl, want a Walnetto?’ And Craig would always say that to me, and on one of our first dates, for Valentine’s, he took the wrapper off of a Hershey bar and wrote ‘Walnetto’ on it.”  “We play off each other,” O’Neill said. “That creative energy that she brings and I bring, it just feeds itself. The sparks are endless.” The second journal tracks the success of the lottery numbers he plays every week. The third is a log detail of his fitness routine. At 70 years old, O’Neill works out six days a week for 45 34 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

minutes a day, doing a mixture of cardio and weights, and tracking his progress by “playing a little game with a chart,” he said. “I just have fun with it.” There’s a joy and a spark to O’Neill’s height and physicality. He’s a fan of costumes; he has his face painted green and dons green Spandex and faux fur to play the part of The Grinch for the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library’s annual Grinchfest. When “The Ellen Degeneres Show” premiered on THV11, O’Neill traveled to L.A. to interview Degeneres on her own set and, in what O’Neill insists is a mistake her crew rues, stole the preshow camera outtakes with a generous sampling of selections from his repertoire of dance moves, Young MC’s “Bust a Move” blaring through the studio’s loudspeakers. It’s unabashedly joyful, the sort of thing a new dad might do to solicit a laugh from his kids — or in this case, a studio audience and subsequent viewers of the YouTube clip, in perpetuity. Early in his career, though, O’Neill struggled with his body image, something he’s been open about for decades. In an article in Weight Watchers magazine from 1981, O’Neill talks candidly about how easy it is for a radio DJ — especially one whose routine involves getting up at 3 a.m. — to develop an unhealthy relationship to food. Even in the context of a diet magazine, O’Neill manages to pepper his testimony with hyperbole and one-liners: “I had to put on my suntan lotion with a paint roller,” “I never met a restaurant I didn’t like,” “I had to let the sleeves out on my graduation gown.” 

A

ll that intention and goal-setting aside, it’s a wonder O’Neill hasn’t pivoted his career yet again, when anyone who knows him well can tell you his compass tends to point soundly toward another medium: books. O’Neill’s favorite book, he says, is always the last one he read. In late January, he was knee-deep in Jonathan Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind,” a 2012 barnburner by a social psychologist who catalogued moral systems around the


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ARKANSAS TIMES

world and boiled them down to six fundamentals that Haidt said could help us understand why liberals and conservatives are so rancorously divided these days. Before Haidt, it was Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon.” “For most of my career,” O’Neill said, “I’ve been going to schools and doing a little act called ‘The Imagination Muscle,’ urging kids to read.” About 20 years ago, just after he’d started at THV11, he was driving back to Little Rock from Sheridan after a school visit one day when it hit him. “I realized,” he said, “I’m telling these kids to read, and I’m not reading.” Ever the statistician, he reports that he’s clocking about 42 books a year now, over three times what he logged in those early aspirational journals. O’Neill schedules his reading time like a monk: half an hour every weekday morning, an hour and a half on Saturday and Sunday.  “In 2014,” he said, “a co-worker — as a fundraiser for his child at Catholic High — sold me a year’s subscription to Entertainment Weekly. Third issue I got? ‘The 100 Greatest Novels Ever Written.’ I cut it out, put it in a binder, and I started reading at 100. I’m now at Book 50. The No. 1 book is ‘Anna Karenina.’ I looked ahead.” Haidt’s book wasn’t a pick from that list; his name came up when I’d asked O’Neill how he, as a person whose career has coincided with some of the most earth-shattering changes to communication in human history, felt about social media and the dominance of the smartphone. Technology, O’Neill worries, is outpacing morality’s ability to govern it. He recited Haidt’s definition of a moral system, which argues that cooperative societies work, to a large degree, because we’re willing to suppress some individual inclinations in favor of holding the whole humankind thing together. O’Neill wondered if maybe, just maybe, social media didn’t do such a great job of Haidt’s whole “suppressing the individual” bit. What’s more, O’Neill has tried to flip that script with his Twitter account, which is a series of dispatches called “Arkansan of the Day.”  “Here’s the thing,” he said. “We have a narcissism problem in our country that can get acute, and I regard social media as an outcropping of that problem. So I decided, “What if the only thing you posted — instead of what you had for dinner, the movie you saw, the vacation you’re on — what if you just used it to highlight someone who’s an unsung hero? Or someone who does something special for people? And you only used it for that? What about


that? That, to me, is the best use of social media, and in the end, that Arkansan of the Day — even though on Twitter, it’s just a few lines — maybe it can ignite some sense of community.” In his work, as in his Twitter feed, O’Neill doesn’t have much trouble “looking for the helpers,” to borrow a phrase from another hero of his, Fred Rogers. O’Neill recalled a particularly difficult shift on air in 2014, when powerful tornadoes leveled much of Vilonia, a town still rebuilding itself after a tornado swept through it three years earlier.  “When I first got there, it was the day after, and devastation was everywhere. And there were policemen there from Texarkana who had driven up to volunteer to work security in the perimeter of the damage zone. I just choked up.” I asked Scott, in a separate interview, whether she recalled having seen O’Neill report under pressure. She mentioned, among other instances, that same day in Vilonia, and the comfort she felt when O’Neill came to relieve her from a 12-hour shift of continuous reporting. “We cried on air. People were telling us their stories live. People were being reunited with their pets while we’re interviewing them, and they’re crying, and we’re crying with them. And that’s not fake. I don’t fake that. He doesn’t fake that. … There’s a heart so big inside of that man, and I think that is what drives his storytelling. So it doesn’t matter where you live, whether you’re rich, you’re poor. It doesn’t matter what you come from, he — it’s almost like he cuts through all of that and speaks directly to your heart. And I think that’s incredible. It’s an incredible gift.” Fifty years in, the retirement question is clearly on O’Neill’s mind; he’s quick to say he hasn’t set a date for his last day at THV11, but that it’s on the horizon.

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*** O’Neill’s politically progressive leanings are no secret, but like most newscasters, he plays it pretty moderate on air. Still, he thinks of himself as an “activist newsman.” “We read these stories,” he said, “but I want to work at making this a better place. I want to fight against childhood obesity, the problems with the environment, misunderstandings on both sides — left and right. I want to fight against brutality. I just want these things to go away.”  For most of his life, Craig O’Neill wanted to be Johnny Carson. Or, more accurately, Randy Hankins wanted to be Johnny Carson. I asked if he still did. He said no. As it turns out, the long reading list Hankins maintains included a contentious 2013 memoir by Carson’s longtime lawyer and fixer Henry Bushkin, in which Bushkin depicts Carson’s bitter divorces and struggle with alcoholism, and intimates that Carson died alone in a hospital — estranged from family and friends, isolated from the throngs of fans he kept at a distance. “You know, in the end,” Hankins/O’Neill said, “Johnny Carson would probably prefer to be me, rather than the other way around.”  ARKANSASTIMES.COM

MARCH 2020 37


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ARKANSAS TIMES


A Field Guide to the Birders LET THEM TAKE YOU UNDER THEIR WING, FUTURE FEATHERQUESTERS. BY LESLIE NEWELL PEACOCK

I

f spring migration is nigh, can bobolinks be far behind? The approach of April fills the hearts of Arkansas’s bird lovers. Here come the painted buntings! Warblers! Scissor-tailed flycatchers! Rose-breasted grosbeaks! “Rose-breasted what?” If “what” is your question, here is your answer: The (male) rose-breasted grosbeak is a fat-billed, black-headed, white-bellied bird with a splash of deep rose across the breast as if someone hit it with a paintball. But if your question is “Rose-breasted where?” then that means you want to see one. The Arkansas Times is here to help. Around 422 species have been seen in Arkansas (the number changes as new species are sighted or lumped or split taxonomically). Some live here, some travel through every year, some are lost and as shocked to see you as you are to see them. North American bird populations are down by a tragic, staggering 30 percent since the 1970s, which is why you need to see them now before they, and the world with them, have gone to hell in a handbasket. The first thing you have to do to see a bird is open your eyes. We all know those things with wings are in our yards, on our wires, at the neighbor’s feeder, but we may not bother to actually see them; they may just register in our minds as “bird.” So really look at the bird. As the saying goes, the eye can’t see what the mind doesn’t know. Then consult a field guide, like the Sibley guide or Roger Tory Peterson’s. It’s also a good idea to find a birder.

Birders are better than books at helping you find the birds. Almost all are enthusiastic about sharing their passion with new avian aficionados, and their fine-tuning is essential to accurate identification. They’ll teach you how to pish up (that’s a sound, psh) a common yellowthroat warbler, how to tell a distant caracara from a trash bag. But how to identify a birder? Consider: Is there a woodcock in their freezer? Is their car littered with muddy boots, bird books, tortilla chips and cans of bug spray? Do their faces light up at the forecast of a big storm or hurricane winds? Do they frequent sewer treatment plants? Have you ever seen them saying psh, psh, psh to a bush? Do they slow nearly to a stop in the middle of a country road/city street/interstate highway when a hawk flies over? If the answer is yes to those questions, you may have a birder on your hands. Here’s another way: a field guide to the birders. Like any field guide, ours tells you where to find birders (habitat), how to identify them (field marks), where they go to see birds (range), what you might hear them say (song) and a narrative to inspire you to join the flock. Follow along with a bird guide and look up the birds they talk about. Note: Those mentioned here are just a smattering of Arkansas’s best birders. There are hundreds; to include them all would require volumes. ARKANSASTIMES.COM

MARCH 2020 39


The Arkansas Times Field Guide to the Birders

JOAN REYNOLDS

Joe Neal

JOE NEAL

Upland sandpiper

40 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

Life history: Fort Smith native, retired wildlife biologist for the USDA Forest Service, author of “The Birdside Baptist” and other books. Habitat: “Northwest Arkansas City” (his description of the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers-Bentonville corridor), prairies. Range: Oklahoma on the west, Missouri (Prairie State Park) on the north, the Buffalo National River on the east and the Arkansas River Valley and Ouachita Mountains on the south. Field marks: Winter plumage is a “Birder’s Buddy” vest and a green duck hunter’s cap. Song: Western Arkansas-Eastern Oklahoma bass twang. Binoculars: Swarovski EL 10x32. Favorite place to bird in Arkansas: Tallgrass Prairie in Oklahoma (it’s a mere 361 miles from Fort Smith, nothing if you want to see a prairie chicken). Best place to bird in spring after a downpour and when he’s short on time: Lake Fayetteville, Wilson Springs Preserve, Woolsey Wet Prairie Sanctuary (all 5 miles from his house). Favorite bird: Upland sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda). Life list: Around 500 species. “You can’t beat an upland sandpiper,” Neal said. The tall, skinny, big-eyed shorebird is the “ultimate grassland bird,” he said, and “very charismatic.” Its call has been described as a wolf whistle, and its trill is a sopranic rise and fall. Lucky for Neal, he can hear them call as they fly over his Fayetteville home during their spring migration to North Dakota and Canada. “Northwest Arkansas is mostly famous for the Hogs — they are a fairly recent addition,” Neal said, “and secondly famous for the Ozarks.” But it once had enough prairie that the upland sandpiper nested there. The prairies are disappearing thanks to development but you can still find upland sandpipers in migration in the Arkansas River Valley, Chesney Prairie in Siloam Springs and in western Benton County. Neal’s own bird guide was the late and much admired University of Arkansas biology professor Doug James, with whom Neal authored “Birds of Arkansas: Their Distribution and Abundance.” “He totally changed my life,” Neal said, and was responsible for turning hundreds of Arkansans on to the delight of birds.


American redstart

CAMERON ROGNAN, COURTESY OF THE CORNELL LAB OF ORNITHOLOGY

Life history: Freelance writer, native of Conway, fled nest for Little Rock, author of “A Birder’s Guide to Arkansas” and “Angry Birds: 50 True Stories of the Fed Up, Feathered, and Furious.” Habitat: Mid-century brick, Hall High School neighborhood. Range: Worldwide. Field marks: Bearded, near wine on territory, often seen in wrinkly blue jeans and in company with mate, Hope Coulter. Song: A trumpet trying to sound like a flugelhorn. Binoculars: Leica Ultra 10x42. Favorite bird: American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla). Favorite place to bird in Arkansas: Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge. Life list: Around 2,800 species. Mel White has birded all over the world, thanks to a career freelancing for National Geographic and other publications (he’s also a past editor of the Arkansas Times). But he doesn’t have to leave his yard to see good birds, and he says that’s true for everyone. “I don’t think people realize how many birds they can see if they just pay attention in their own neighborhood. You don’t have to drive two hours to go birding,” he said. White and his wife, Hope Coulter, like to sit on their deck in spring “with our wine and our binoculars.” When the American redstart, a black and orange warbler that often fans its tail just so you can find it, shows up in spring, “it’s a nice little reminder that we haven’t totally screwed up the world,” he said. Tiny brown-headed nuthatches, which sound like rubber duckies when squeezed (according to Cornell Lab ears), visit their pines; a great-horned owl has nested nearby, as have proprioceptive Cooper’s hawks, “all right here half a mile from Park Plaza.” His yard list alone, which includes flyovers, totals 122 species. White has had such terrific experiences in the field as having a lammergeier (an African vulture) fly so close to him on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro that he could hear the wind over its wings, and an early morning up-close-and-personal visit by an ornate hawk eagle on top of a Mayan pyramid in Belize. Seeing nature unedited — and not on a “stupid TV show” — is the reward of birding, he said: “You saw it and it really happened and it was nature and nature works so beautifully.” But it was his childhood copy of the “Burgess Bird Book for Children” and his recognition of a scarlet tanager in Boyle Park as a college student that triggered the birding habit. (Coulter’s “spark bird” was the red-billed, blue-capped, yellow-legged purple gallinule she saw in the bayou in back of her home in Alexandria, La., White said. She thought it had escaped from the zoo.) If you want to see a bunch of different birds in Arkansas, White said, there’s no place like the Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge on the Arkansas River near Dardanelle, hands down his favorite Arkansas birding spot: “Think about it. It’s got the Arkansas River with pelicans and eagles, it’s got grasslands for stuff like Northern harrier in the winter.” There’s swamp, for prothonotary warblers and red-headed woodpeckers; thickets for painted buntings; sparrows in the brushy fields. White suggests Cook’s Landing in North Little Rock and the River Trail — where one can find such showy birds as Baltimore orioles and scope out big birds like gulls and herons and cormorants — as a nonfrustrating place for beginners who might give up if their only previous experience was a neck-throbbing search for a high-in-the-canopy parula warbler.    

HOPE COULTER

Mel White

‘I don’t think people realize how many birds they can see if they just pay attention in their own neighborhood.’ ARKANSASTIMES.COM

MARCH 2020 41


The Arkansas Times Field Guide to the Birders

‘Once you start looking up close you get really fascinated with them.’

SONAM WANGMO

Pooja Panwar

PAUL HURTADO, SHAREALIKE 2.0 GENERIC

Blackburnian warbler

42 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

Life history: Native to the foothills of the Himalayas, dispersed to Arkansas in 2015, pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Habitat: Deciduous and pine forests, also frequently found in classrooms at UA Fayetteville (teaching assistant). Range: Grasslands of Missouri, Ozarks of Arkansas. Field marks: Covered in sound-recording equipment. Song: Silent so she can hear better. Binoculars: Nikon Monarch 10x40. Favorite bird: Blackburnian warbler (Setophaga fusca). Favorite place to bird: Whitney Mountain near Beaver Lake. Life list: Around 900 species. The writings and reputation of the late University of Arkansas professor Dr. Doug James was the lure that brought Panwar from India all the way to Arkansas, where as a graduate student she’s studying whether bird song can be used to measure the health of the environment. (She’s still analyzing her data, but so far it looks like the poorer the habitat, the quieter the birds.) Panwar quit a career as a software engineer because she was “missing so much just going outside and observing more birds,” a favorite pastime since childhood. One of her best outings in Arkansas was finding red crossbills, “really cool birds” with a bad overbite. Red crossbills are irruptive — they don’t always show up in Arkansas — and in 2016, Panwar and a colleague had the first confirmed sighting of a breeding pair in the state, high in a pine tree. Though her research is showing the sad impact of development, the surprises that birding brings is “what keeps me going,” she said. She suggests that if you feel the call of birding that you put up a birdfeeder. “Once you start looking up close you get really fascinated by them.”


Karen Holliday

Life history: Native to Nebraska, dispersed to Central Arkansas, retired from the Bureau of Legislative Research. Habitat: Shore of Lake Willastein in Maumelle. Range: Worldwide, found in 54 countries so far. Field marks: Rufous hair, otherwise camouflaged. Song: Woooooo pig sooieee. Binoculars: Eagle Optics 10x42. Favorite birds: Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula). Favorite place to bird: Craighead Forest Park (Jonesboro) for warblers, Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge for waterfowl and shorebirds. Life list: Around 3,000 (378 in Arkansas). Karen Holliday holds the keys to the avian kingdom for Arkansans wanting to know a bit about birds. As the field trip coordinator for the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas, Holliday leads field trips to see birds once a month (except December) and all are welcome. Though she can boast of seeing 378 species in Arkansas (and a total of 3,000 worldwide), she shares, rather than shows off, her bird knowledge. She has even created a happy dance — sort of a hula-hoop twist that she demonstrated for this writer in Starbucks — that she uses on field trips to celebrate a newbie’s first sighting of a particular bird (aka a “lifer”). Like all who love to get out in the woods to see birds, she loves sighting wildlife, like the river otter she watched play in a stream deep in the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge. You don’t have to be a member of ASCA to join a field trip, and you don’t even have to have your own binoculars. Holliday has spares, and a good attitude, making sure everybody gets to see all the birds out there. Find the trips at wp.ascabird.org.

GLENDA SIMMONS, COURTESY THE CORNELL LAB OF ORNITHOLOGY

Baltimore oriole

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The Arkansas Times Field Guide to the Birders

DAVID BERGER

Sandy Berger

Life history: New England native dispersed to Fort Smith, substitute teacher at Fort Smith’s Northside High School for 20 years. Habitat: Find along Arkansas River, Alma sewer ponds. Range: Northwest Arkansas, including Oklahoma on west, Fort Chaffee on the south, Frog Bayou on the north, irruptive to Trinidad and Tobago. Field marks: Zip-off hiking pants, burgundy shirt with a whooping crane on it, New England Patriots sweatshirt in winter. Song: “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” Binoculars: “Cheapo” Atlas Radian 8x42. Favorite bird: Chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica). Favorite bird family: Shorebirds. Favorite place to bird in Arkansas: Arkansas River Valley, Frog Bayou, Kibler Bottoms, Alma sewer ponds. Life list: Around 600 species.

Sandy Berger is living proof that if you keep your eyes open you will see unusual things. Like the brown booby she saw last October flying over the Arkansas River with a flock of Canada geese. The seabird landed 30 feet from her. Or the Western kingbird, which when she located it years ago was the first reported in Sebastian County. She sees so many birds — rarities and residents alike — because she looks for them “every chance that I can get.” Berger, whose love for birds took flight in Arkansas (“It was just in me waiting to get out”), said one of her favorite places to go is also the easiest: Sunnymeade Park in Fort Smith, which has a walking trail that passes by the Arkansas River. In the high grass there last fall, she found a Nelson’s sparrow, a little bird with an orange wash on its breast, taking a break from its travel

south to its winter coastal home. Like all good birders, Berger also loves a good sewer pond — not every great place to bird is scenic (see Brownsville Sanitary Landfill on the Texas Coastal Birding Trail) — and the one at Alma produces such specialties as long-tailed duck (formerly oldsquaw, a name that ruffled feathers), least terns and black-crowned night herons as well as Berger’s beloved American pipits, Lapland longspurs and horned larks. Berger also attributes her health to birding: In 2002, a place on her neck rubbed by her binoculars strap swelled, and stayed swollen for months. She finally went to a doctor, who diagnosed her with Hodgkin lymphoma. After two years of chemotherapy treatments, she was declared clear. “I say [birding] saved my life,” Berger said.

NICK SAUNDERS

Chestnut-sided warbler

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ARKANSAS TIMES


Kennyandladonna

(a.k.a. Kenny and LaDonna Nichols) Life history: Native to Arkansas, formerly seen with miniature poodle. Habitat: Nest above Lake Dardanelle. Range: Worldwide. Field marks: Always as a pair. Binoculars: Bruntons, 10x42. Favorite bird: Blue grosbeak (Passerina caerulea), Baltimore oriole, etc. Favorite birding place: Prairie County minnow farms, “when the light’s low and the shorebirds are peeping and cheeping.” Life list: 1,612 (386 in Arkansas).

Kennyandladonna, as they are known in the birding community, started looking at birds as a way to get closer to Kenny’s grandmother. After Kenny’s mother died when he was just a boy, his grandmother, a passionate birdwatcher, was so devastated she could not bring herself to visit the family in Arkansas. She and Kenny kept touch with infrequent phone calls. But Kenny wanted more. He and LaDonna decided they would study birds so they’d have something to talk to his grandmother about on the phone, and got a birdfeeder. On Jan. 1, 1991, a yellow-bellied sapsucker came to the feeder and Kenny called his grandmother. “I kind of shocked her,” he said. “I kept keeping a list, and when I saw something new I’d call her and tell her.” Thus were family ties strengthened and the pair, who can find super rare birds as easily and often as most people find Northern cardinals, were off and running. They had to be off, because Kenny ran out of birds at

the feeder. He knew from the National Geographic field guide his grandmother gave him that there were many more to see than come to a feeder. So he asked his grandmother, who’d once lived in Searcy, where to go and she told him she’d always found a blue grosbeak past an old red barn outside town. Because that was so long ago, Kenny doubted they’d have success. But he and LaDonna went and looked just in case and, sure enough, there was a grosbeak on the fence past the barn. “We really got hooked,” Kenny said. Flash forward to May 1, 2016, the year of the Great Oriole Descent on Arkansas. There had been a storm the night before. By morning at their lakeside home, “every tree was covered, ” with orioles, blue grosbeaks, tanagers and other songbirds: They were migrating by the thousands past Lake Dardanelle. Finding trees dripping with colorful birds outside your front door and family ties: two good reasons to take up birding.

BRIAN E. KUSHNER, COURTESY THE CORNELL LAB OF ORNITHOLOGY

Blue grosbeak

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The Arkansas Times Field Guide to the Birders

Mitchell Pruitt

Life history: Native to Jonesboro, noted for keen eye early in life, dispersed to Fayetteville to get a doctorate in biology. Habitat: Urban (downtown Fayetteville), found in flocks of young birders at the University of Arkansas. Range: Ozark Mountains. Field marks: Long-legged, wears image of owl on cap. Song: Notoriously silent. Binoculars: Eagle Optics 10x42. Favorite bird: Saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus). Favorite places to bird: Ozarks, Craighead Forest Park, Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge (Crittenden County). Life list: 917 worldwide (331 in Arkansas). By the time he turned 17 in 2010, Mitchell Pruitt, a student at Valley View High School in Jonesboro, had seen between 150 and 200 bird species in Arkansas. In 2011, he decided to do a big year, a midnight Jan. 1 to midnight Dec. 31 chase to see as many species as he could. For Pruitt, that meant checking out of school to see rare birds; for his parents, it meant lots of driving. The year took him to every corner of the state, including to the OK Levee on Lake Millwood, where he and birder Charles Mills walked for three miles in the hot summer sun to see a tricolored heron only to find it by Pruitt’s truck when they returned (see Kelly Chitwood, p. 47). His big year count of 311 species was the fourth highest in the state, and he hadn’t even graduated from high school. Pruitt, 25, has continued to make ornithological history with his research into saw-whet owls in Arkansas. In 2014, his under-

graduate advisor, the late UA biology professor Kim Smith, wanted a student to help him determine if, as suspected, saw-whet owls migrated through Arkansas in fall. Saw-whet owls, wee black and white things that breed in the boreal forests of the north, “are notoriously silent in winter,” Pruitt said, and though they had been sighted in Arkansas, they weren’t much studied. Pruitt and Smith set up mist nets at the Ozark Natural Science Center outside Huntsville “and the first night in the field we captured a bird.” His work has confirmed that saw-whets winter in Arkansas. He’s returned every year since to continue the study; this fall will be his sixth at the mist nets. “I encourage people not just to think about birds as this individual thing — ‘There’s a cardinal at my feeder’ — but [see] there’s a cardinal and a chickadee and a titmouse and how they fit together ecologically.”

MITCHELL PRUITT

Saw-whet owl

46 MARCH 2020

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Kelly Chitwood

Life history: Native to El Dorado, musician and graphic artist for El Dorado Packaging. Habitat: Rural hilltop on 11 acres off U.S. Highway 63. Range: Arkansas, also stages with females of species for forays to birding spots outside the state. Field marks: Fluffy and robust, gray streaks on head. Song: Loud southern drawl. Binoculars: Swarovskis EL 10x42. Favorite bird: “I brake for painted buntings (Passerina ciris).” Favorite place to bird: Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, Columbus (Hempstead County), Boxley Valley at Ponca (Newton County). Life list: 395. When Kelly Chitwood was a girl, a him ask me, ‘Would you hold this for me white pelican landed in her school yard. while I go get my camera?’ ” and hand The injured bird was rescued by Game her a green snake. Now, Chitwood’s and Fish biologists, but not before the daughter happily handles green snakes. children named her Nanette. So Chit“Anything like that you can share with wood was interested in birds from an a child … maybe that will come back early age. But it wasn’t until 15 years around.” ago when she got Lasix surgery to corLike all birders worth their salt, Chitrect her very poor vision that she had wood has braved sleet and snow to see what she calls “an epiphany.” Yankee snow buntings who strayed to “When I had that done, I swear my Lake Millwood — after a freezing 5-mile vision was so good I could see the leaves hike on the OK Levee, Chitwood repulsating. That’s when I became curious turned to find them close by her car, as about the warblers — I could see them so luck would have it (see Mitchell Pruitt, much better.” She decided she wanted p. 46) — and survived a hot, thirsty to identify “everything that I could climb 8 miles up the Chisos Mountains see.” She wants young people to see, as in Big Bend National Park to see the well, because “children today are now Colima warbler. (“People were dropping completely brought up with their faces like flies,” she said.) She missed the on tablets and phones” rather than on warbler, she said, so “I went ahead and the delights of nature. She took her bought the T-shirt.” There was also the own daughter along on field trips to see possibility of running into another kind birds. “Now, when you go out with Delos of creature in nature: Matthew McCoMcCauley,” a Pine Bluff birder, Chitwood naughey, said to frequent Big Bend. said, “he’s going to find a snake. I’ve had “That would be one to tick off the list,”

JOE NEAL

Painted bunting

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The Arkansas Times Field Guide to the Birders

Dan and Samantha Scheiman

Life history: Conservationists dispersed to Arkansas from points north and east.

JOE NEAL

Cedar waxwing

‘When I wasn’t looking at him, I was looking at shorebirds, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, Mississippi kites. It was very exciting’ 48 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

Habitat: Amid native plants at a Hillcrest bungalow. Range: North and South America, expanding to Newfoundland. Field marks: Patches from national parks, wildlife refuges, etc., on rump (of cargo pants, Dan); oversized sweaters and caramel-colored boots (Samantha). Song: “Birdhouse in Your Soul” by They Might Be Giants (Dan); “I’m Like a Bird” by Nelly Furtado (Samantha). Binoculars: Swarovskis (10x42 for Dan, 8.5x32 for Samantha). Favorite bird: Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum, Dan); roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja, Samantha). Favorite place to bird: Stuttgart airport (Dan); Craighead Forest Park (Samantha). Life lists: 1,732 (363 in Arkansas, Dan), 1,625 (340 in Arkansas, Samantha). Shortly after moving to Little Rock for graduate school, Samantha contacted Dan Scheiman through the birder listserv maintained by the University of Arkansas to ask for a ride to Bald Knob for an Audubon bird-watching trip. “When I wasn’t looking at him, I was looking at shorebirds, roseate spoonbills, wood storks, Mississippi kites. It was very exciting,” she said. Not only did she find life birds, she found a life partner. (This writer can vouch for this mating strategy.) Once a year, the couple rises before dawn to take part in the Audubon Arkansas Birdathon, a competition to see what team can find the most species in a 24-hour period. The pledges they collect support the nonprofit, where Dan Scheiman is bird conservation director. Picture it: You get up just as most people are falling asleep, fill a thermos with coffee and a bag with lots of snacks and head out into the dark hoping to find whippoorwills and nighthawks and owls. You spill your coffee on a friend’s bird guide. You turn the snack bag upside down on the floor of the car. You yawn during the afternoon doldrums. Yet, you keep on going, aiming to get at least 100 species in Pulaski County. “It’s a pretty special day,” Samantha, who is a grants coordinator for the state Natural Heritage Commission, said. Often, Dan will go out looking for just one bird, and when he finds it clue you in. Last year, as he was buying seed at Wild Bird, he was shown a photograph of a bird and asked to identify it. Dan looked at the photograph and exclaimed, “This was in Arkansas?” It was a brambling, a European and Asian finch with a quizzical expression thanks to a band of white feathers around its eyes. He went to the home where the bird was being found, saw it and got the word out. “I don’t think he [the owner of the property] was quite prepared for the influx of birders from all over the state,” Dan said. To see a winter visitor from the Canadian tundra, head to the Stuttgart airport to see Smith’s longspur. It takes a lot of walking, and its winter plumage is nothing to get excited about, but people come from all over to see it. Dan’s advice to the interested: Study your field guide for expected species so you’ll know what you’re looking at when you find them. Go birding with an experienced birder and learn from them. Start with your yard birds, give them long looks. Then “expand your horizons.”


Where to Find the Birds Besides your own backyard, here are a few hotspots recommended by the Audubon Society of Central Arkansas (and a personal recommendation by the author): Gillam Park: This former city park south of Interstate 440 on Springer Boulevard is managed by Audubon Arkansas. Its trails are great for migrating warblers and vireos and other perching birds. Knoop Park: Take the park’s trail that circumnavigates the waterworks to see migrating warblers, bluebirds, chimney swifts and barn swallows, summer residents like indigo buntings and vireos, fall sparrows and, if you’re lucky, an owl. Two Rivers Park: Find all manner of birds in the varied habitats — marsh, open fields, piney woods — at this city-county park between the Little Maumelle and the Arkansas River. It’s accessible by state Hwy. 10 and the River Trail. Murray Park, the Big Dam Bridge, Cook’s Landing: Baltimore orioles nest in the sycamores, cliff swallows build their mud nests under the ramp to the Big Dam Bridge, fall migrants pass through the park, sparrows find a winter home here. From the bridge, see gulls, cormorants, great blue herons, terns and occasional rarities. Audubon has counted more than 200 species on the North Little Rock side of the Big Dam Bridge. Find ducks, grebes and geese on the Arkansas River backwater on Cook’s Landing Road, warblers along the creekside Isabella Jo Trail. Lake Maumelle: Sadly, gone are the pre911 days when you could set up a scope in the parking lot by the dam and see ducks, loons, eagles, grebes, herons and gulls. Fortunately, there are several other viewing areas on Lake Maumelle, including Bufflehead Bay (0.2 miles west of Hwy. 10 and the Chenal Parkway) and Loon Point (7.8 miles). Thibault Road, Frazier Pike, Dam Site Road and David D. Terry Lock and Dam: This is one of this writer’s favorite birding routes. Birds this writer has seen from Thibault Road (Fourche Dam Pike off I-440) and the road to the dam include a merlin (regularly found in a particular tree in migration), sandhill cranes, bobolinks, dickcissels, scissor-tailed flycatchers, rusty blackbirds, red-headed woodpeckers, thrushes, grosbeaks, vireos, warblers, painted bunting … . You get the picture. You can also find out where birds are being seen statewide by signing on to the University of Arkansas’s listserve ARBIRD-L@ listserv.uark.edu, where birdwatchers post their sightings.

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Congratulations to all the Best Doctors in Arkansas At UAMS, we are honored that more than half of these experts are UAMS College of Medicine physicians who practice at the UAMS Medical Center, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, as well as hospitals and clinics across the state. In addition to recognition by their peers, our doctors are highly rated by the patients they serve. Using our online tool, you can see reviews and comments from UAMS patients. Providing information to help you choose the best doctor is one of the ways we are ensuring you have thorough information to make informed decisions about your health care. From common injuries and illnesses to the most complex conditions, our specialists are highly trained and skilled to provide the best in medical care.

Visit UAMShealth.com/provider or call 501-686-8000


BEST DOCTORS IN ARKANSAS

Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, Best Doctors is a global benefits provider and medical information services company that connects individuals facing difficult medical treatment decisions with the best doctors, selected by impartial peer review in over 450 medical specialty/ subspecialty combinations, to review their diagnosis and treatment plans. Best Doctors’ team of researchers conducts a biennial poll using the methodology that mimics the informal peer-to-peer process doctors themselves use to identify the right specialists for their patients. Using a polling method and proprietary balloting software, they gather the insight and experience of tens of thousands of leading specialists all over the country, while confirming their credentials and specific areas of expertise. The result is the Best Doctors in America® List, which includes the nation’s most respected specialists and outstanding primary care physicians in the nation. These are the doctors that other doctors recognize as the best in their fields. They cannot pay a fee and are not paid to be listed and cannot nominate or vote for themselves. It is a list which is truly unbiased and respected by the medical profession and patients alike as the source of top quality medical information.

Best Doctors is a part of Teladoc Health, Inc., the global leader in virtual care successfully transforming how people access and experience healthcare. Teladoc Health partners with the world’s leading employers, health plans, and health systems to offer patients across the globe access to care for a broad spectrum of needs. As part of Teladoc Health, Best Doctors focuses on improving health outcomes for the most complex, critical and costly medical issues. More than a traditional second opinion, Best Doctors delivers a comprehensive evaluation of a patient’s medical condition – providing value to both patients and treating physicians. By utilizing Best Doctors, members have access to the brightest minds in medicine to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Through its global network of Best Doctors and other critical services, Teladoc Health is expanding access to high quality healthcare, lowering costs and improving outcomes around the world. The company’s award winning services are inclusive of telehealth services, expert medical services, mental health services, integrated clinical solutions, and platform and program services.

These lists are excerpted from The Best Doctors in America‰2019-2020 database, which includes close to 40,000 U.S. doctors in more than 450 medical specialty/subspecialty combinations. The Best Doctors in America‰database is compiled and maintained by Best Doctors, Inc. For more information, visit www.bestdoctors.com or contact Best Doctors by telephone at 800-675-1199 or by e-mail at research@bestdoctors.com. Please note that lists of doctors are not available on the Best Doctors Web site. Best Doctors, Inc., has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but does not warrant that the information contained herein is complete or accurate, and does not assume, and hereby disclaims, any liability to any person or other party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause. BEST DOCTORS, THE BEST DOCTORS IN AMERICA, and the Star-in-Cross Logo are trademarks of Best Doctors, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries, and are used under license. Copyright 2020, Best Doctors, Inc. Used under license, all rights reserved. This list, or any parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without written permission from Best Doctors, Inc. No commercial use of the information in this list may be made without the permission of Best Doctors, Inc. No fees may be charged, directly or indirectly, for the use of the information in this list without permission. Best Doctors, Inc. is the only authorized source of the official Best Doctors in America® plaque and other recognition items. Best Doctors does not authorize, contract with or license any organization to sell recognition items for Best Doctors, Inc. Please contact Best Doctors at plaques@bestdoctors.com with any questions. For more information or to order visit usplaques.bestdoctors..com.

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CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY LAURA P. JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1418 COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY J. RALPH BROADWATER, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Surgery Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 7th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8211 CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE JOHN B. CONE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Surgery Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 4th Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-1033 CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE VICTOR MANDOFF University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Anesthesiology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6114 DERMATOLOGY RANDALL L. BREAU Arkansas Dermatology Medical Towers Bldg, Ste 860 9601 Baptist Health Dr Little Rock, AR 72205 501-975-7455 DERMATOLOGY SCOTT M. DINEHART Arkansas Dermatology Medical Towers Bldg, Ste 860 9601 Baptist Health Dr Little Rock, AR 72205 501-975-7455 DERMATOLOGY CHRISTOPHER SCHACH Ozark Dermatology Clinic 4375 N Vantage Dr, Ste 305 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-443-5100 DERMATOLOGY KEVIN ST. CLAIR Ozark Dermatology Clinic 4375 N Vantage Dr, Ste 305 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-443-5100 DERMATOLOGY HENRY KEUNG WONG University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Dermatology Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000

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GERIATRIC MEDICINE ANN T. RIGGS Baptist Health Internal Medicine Clinic - North Little Rock 3201 Springhill Dr, Ste 100 North Little Rock, AR 72177 501-955-4530 HAND SURGERY G. THOMAS FRAZIER, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Orthopaedic Clinic 600 Autumn Rd Little Rock, AR 72211 501-320-7763 HEPATOLOGY MARY K. RUDE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Gastroenterology Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5545 INFECTIOUS DISEASE ROBERT W. BRADSHER, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Infectious Diseases Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-603-1616 INFECTIOUS DISEASE MICHAEL SACCENTE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Infectious Diseases Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-603-1616 INFECTIOUS DISEASE KEYUR S. VYAS University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Infectious Diseases Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5585 INTERNAL MEDICINE ROBERT HOWARD HOPKINS, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Internal Medicine Clinic - South Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 INTERNAL MEDICINE ALLISON M. JOHNSON Washington Regional Medical Center Internal Medicine Associates 688 Millsap Rd, Ste 100 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-463-3070

INTERNAL MEDICINE ANNA M. KENDRICK Pinnacle Internal Medicine 1400 Kirk Rd, Ste 210 Little Rock, AR 72223 501-404-2384 INTERNAL MEDICINE ROBERT CHARLES LAVENDER University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Internal Medicine Clinic - South Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 INTERNAL MEDICINE MICHAEL SACCENTE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Infectious Diseases Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-603-1616 INTERNAL MEDICINE SARA GHORI TARIQ University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Internal Medicine Clinic - South Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 INTERNAL MEDICINE MITZI ANN WASHINGTON PrimeCare 400 S Main St, Ste 100 Searcy, AR 72143 501-279-9000 MEDICAL GENETICS JENNIFER HUNT University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5170 MEDICAL GENETICS JENNIFER LAUDADIO University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6535 MEDICAL GENETICS G. BRADLEY SCHAEFER Arkansas Children’s Northwest Division of Medical Genetics 2601 Gene George Blvd Springdale, AR 72762 479-725-6995 MEDICAL ONCOLOGY AND HEMATOLOGY JOSEPH M. BECK II Doctor’s Bldg, Ste 512 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-666-7007


MEDICAL ONCOLOGY AND HEMATOLOGY ISSAM MAKHOUL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Medical Oncology Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 7th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8530 NEPHROLOGY JOHN M. ARTHUR University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Renal Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-661-7910 NEPHROLOGY JAMES T. HENRY Baptist Health Renal Care-Fort Smith Baptist Health Medical Plaza 1500 Dodson Ave, Ste 280 Fort Smith, AR 72901 479-709-7480 NEPHROLOGY NITHIN KARAKALA University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Renal Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 NEPHROLOGY MICHELLE W. KRAUSE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Renal Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 2nd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 NEPHROLOGY ROBERT F. MCCRARY, JR. Arkansas Renal Group Hot Springs Diagnostic Associates 115 Wrights St Hot Springs, AR 71913 501-321-9803 NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY JOHN DIAZ DAY University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Neurosurgery Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8757 NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY ALI F. KRISHT CHI St. Vincent Arkansas Neuroscience Institute 6020 Warden Rd Sherwood, AR 72120 501-552-6412

NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY T. GLENN PAIT University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Neurosurgery Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5270

Our experienced and professional physicians and staff are committed to providing comprehensive and quality health care.

NEUROLOGY ROBERT LEROY (LEE) ARCHER University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Neurology Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 5th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5838

for being included in the 2019-2020 Best Doctors in America® List.

Congratulations Dr. Dan Watson

NEUROLOGY BRADLEY S. BOOP Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic 10001 Lile Dr Little Rock, AR 72205 501-227-8000 NEUROLOGY ROHIT DHALL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Movement Disorders Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 5th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5838 NUCLEAR MEDICINE JAMES E. MCDONALD University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Radiology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5740 OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY NANCY R. ANDREWS COLLINS University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Women’s Health Clinic Pyramid Place, Ste 900 11300 Financial Centre Pkwy Little Rock, AR 72211 501-686-8000 OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY ALEXANDER F. BURNETT University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Gynecology Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8522 OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY ANDREW A. COLE Conway Obstetrics and Gynecology 2519 College Ave Conway, AR 72034 501-327-6547

904 Autumn Road Ste. 200 Little Rock | 501-227-6363 autumnroadfamilypractice.com

ONE OF THE BEST REASONS TO CHOOSE

OUR HOSPITAL Dr. Kenneth Martin: Voted Best in Orthopaedic Surgery Dr. Martin is just one reason why, year after year, more patients choose to make Arkansas Surgical Hospital their hospital. Make Arkansas Surgical Hospital your hospital by calling (877) 918-7020 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Physician Owned. Patient Focused. 877-918-7020

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MARCH 2020 53


OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY STEPHEN RAY MARKS 4505 East McCain Blvd North Little Rock, AR 72117 501-904-2904 OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY PAUL J. WENDEL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Women’s Health Clinic Freeway Medical Tower, Ste 705 5800 W 10th St Little Rock, AR 72204 501-296-1800 OPHTHALMOLOGY J. DAVID BRADFORD Retina Specialists of Arkansas 5 Saint Vincent Cir, Ste 201 Little Rock, AR 72205 501-978-5500 OPHTHALMOLOGY WADE BROCK Arkansas Oculoplastic Surgery 9800 Baptist Health Dr, Ste 500 Little Rock, AR 72205 501-223-2244 OPHTHALMOLOGY JENNIFER T. SCRUGGS Baptist Health Eye Center 9800 Baptist Health Dr, Ste 600 Little Rock, AR 72205 501-221-0123 OPHTHALMOLOGY CHRISTOPHER T. WESTFALL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jones Eye Institute 4105 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5822 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY SHAHRYAR AHMADI University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Orthopaedic Clinic 10815 Colonel Glenn Rd Little Rock, AR 72204 501-686-7000 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY C. LOWRY BARNES University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Orthopaedic Clinic 2 Shackleford W Blvd Little Rock, AR 72211 501-614-2663 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY WAYNE BRUFFETT Ortho Arkansas 800 Fair Park Blvd Little Rock, AR 72204 501-663-3647 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY G. THOMAS FRAZIER, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Orthopaedic Clinic 600 Autumn Rd Little Rock, AR 72211 501-320-7763 54 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY KENNETH A. MARTIN Martin Orthopedics 5320 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-975-5633 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY DAVID GORDON NEWBERN Ortho Arkansas 800 Fair Park Blvd Little Rock, AR 72204 501-663-3647 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY RICHARD W. NICHOLAS, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Orthopaedic Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 7th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY THOMAS S. ROBERTS Regional Center for Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Bldg 1, Ste 302 525 Western Ave Conway, AR 72034 501-504-6649 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY RUTH L. THOMAS Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital Orthopaedic Clinic 4300 W 7th St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-257-4656 ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY JOHN L. VANDER SCHILDEN University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Orthopaedic Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 1st Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-7823 OTOLARYNGOLOGY JOHN L. DORNHOFFER University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 3rd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5878 OTOLARYNGOLOGY MAURICIO MORENO University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 6th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200

OTOLARYNGOLOGY GRESHAM RICHTER Arkansas Children’s Hospital Vascular Anomalies Center Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000

PATHOLOGY JENNIFER HUNT University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5170

OTOLARYNGOLOGY BRENDAN C. STACK, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8224

PATHOLOGY FRED G. SILVA II Arkana Laboratories 10810 Executive Center Dr, Ste 100 Little Rock, AR 72211 501-604-2695

OTOLARYNGOLOGY JAMES Y. SUEN University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 6th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200 OTOLARYNGOLOGY EMRE VURAL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 6th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 PATHOLOGY NANCY K. DAVIS Advanced Pathology Solutions 4850 Northshore Ln North Little Rock, AR 72118 501-225-1400 PATHOLOGY JERAD M. GARDNER University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Dermatopathology Service 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-4539 PATHOLOGY MURAT GOKDEN University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology Division of Neuropathology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5173 PATHOLOGY NERIMAN GOKDEN University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5170

PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY D. MELISSA GRAHAM Advanced Allergy & Asthma Doctors Bldg, Ste 215 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-420-1085 PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY JIM M. INGRAM Little Rock Allergy and Asthma Clinic 18 Corporate Hill Dr, Ste 110 Little Rock, AR 72205 501-224-1156 PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY STACIE M. JONES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Division of Allergy & Immunology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1060 PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY TAMARA T. PERRY Arkansas Children’s Hospital Division of Allergy & Immunology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY AMY M. SCURLOCK Arkansas Children’s Hospital Division of Allergy & Immunology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGY JESUS (JOJO) APUYA Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100 PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGY ANNA-MARIA ONISEI Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100

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PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGY ARU REDDY Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-2933

PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE XIOMARA GARCIA-CASAL Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGY MICHAEL L. SCHMITZ Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100

PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE M. MICHELE MOSS Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGY M. SAIF SIDDIQUI Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100

PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE PARTHAK PRODHAN Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY THOMAS H. BEST Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE RONALD C. SANDERS, JR. Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Critical Care Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1845

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY RENEE ADAMS BORNEMEIER Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC CRITICAL CARE STEPHEN M. SCHEXNAYDER Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Critical Care Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1845

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY BRIAN K. EBLE Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC DERMATOLOGY JAY M. KINCANNON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Dermatology Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY EUDICE E. FONTENOT Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE LAURA P. JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1418

PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY ELIZABETH A. FRAZIER Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479 PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY M. MICHELE MOSS Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479 PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGY PAUL MICHAEL SEIB Arkansas Children’s Hospital The Heart Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1479

PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE REBECCA A. SCHEXNAYDER Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Emergency Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1050 PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE STEVEN W. SHIRM Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Emergency Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1050 PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE KENDALL LANE STANFORD Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Emergency Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1050


Congratulations Dr. Dinehart And Dr. Breau On Being Selected To The 2019-2020 Best Doctors in America® List!

YOUR SKIN DESERVES THE BEST!

Dr. Scott M. Dinehart

501-791-7546

• •

Little Rock / Mohs Surgery

North Little Rock

Conway

Little Rock General Dermatology

Heber Springs

Searcy

Cabot

Russellville

Little Rock Midtown

Stuttgart

Specializing in skin cancer Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery Fellowship at Duke University Over 15 years on Best Doctors List Program director of only Mohs training program in Arkansas Founder of largest dermatology group in Arkansas 

Dr. Randall L. Breau • • • • • •

Specializing in skin cancer Fellowship trained at MD Anderson Cancer Center Board certified in ENT and Dermatology Over 8 years on Best Doctors List Partner in largest dermatology group in Arkansas  #1 in Medical School Class

arkansasdermatology.com

Champions For Children

Kids aren’t smaller versions of adults. They need pediatric specialists who work with children every day and understand how they grow and heal. Congratulations to the more than 50 Arkansas Children’s physicians on the 2019–2020 Best Doctors in America® List.

archildrens.org/bestdocs

#ChampionsforChildren

L I TTL E RO CK • SP RI NG DA L E • J O N E S B O R O

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PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE TONYA MARIE THOMPSON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Emergency Medicine 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1050 PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGYONCOLOGY DAVID L. BECTON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Hematology and Oncology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGYONCOLOGY CAROLYN SUZANNE SACCENTE Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Hematology and Oncology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGYONCOLOGY ROBERT L. SAYLORS III Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Hematology and Oncology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGYONCOLOGY KIMO C. STINE Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Hematology and Oncology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE JOSE R. ROMERO Arkansas Children’s Hospital Infectious Diseases Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1416 PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE JESSICA N. SNOWDEN Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Infectious Diseases 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-3381 PEDIATRIC INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY CHARLES ALBERT JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Radiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1175 PEDIATRIC MEDICAL GENETICS G. BRADLEY SCHAEFER Arkansas Children’s Northwest Division of Medical Genetics 2601 Gene George Blvd Springdale, AR 72762 479-725-6995 58 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

PEDIATRIC MEDICAL TOXICOLOGY LAURA P. JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Pharmacology and Toxicology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1418 PEDIATRIC ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY RICHARD E. MCCARTHY Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Orthopaedics 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC OTOLARYNGOLOGY CHARLES MICHAEL BOWER Arkansas Children’s Northwest Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology 2601 Gene George Blvd, 3rd Fl Springdale, AR 72762 479-725-6995 PEDIATRIC OTOLARYNGOLOGY GRESHAM RICHTER Arkansas Children’s Hospital Vascular Anomalies Center Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC PAIN MANAGEMENT MICHAEL L. SCHMITZ Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Anesthesiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100 PEDIATRIC PULMONOLOGY AMIT AGARWAL Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pulmonary Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC PULMONOLOGY ARIEL BERLINSKI Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pulmonary Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC PULMONOLOGY JOHN LEE CARROLL Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pulmonary Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1006 PEDIATRIC PULMONOLOGY SUPRIYA K. JAMBHEKAR Arkansas Children’s Hospital Sleep Disorders Center 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000

PEDIATRIC RADIOLOGY CHARLES ALBERT JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Radiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1175 PEDIATRIC RHEUMATOLOGY JASON A. DARE Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Rheumatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC RHEUMATOLOGY TERRY O. HARVILLE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-7511 PEDIATRIC SLEEP MEDICINE JOHN LEE CARROLL Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pulmonary Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1006 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ ADOLESCENT AND YOUNG ADULT MEDICINE ELTON R. CLEVELAND Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Neonatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE ROBERT W. ARRINGTON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Neonatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1028 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE BRYAN L. BURKE, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Section of Neonatology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1397 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE R. WHIT HALL Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Neonatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-603-1255 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE ROBERT E. LYLE Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Neonatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1100

PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE REBECCA H. MORAN Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 2710 Rife Medical Ln Rogers, AR 72758 479-338-8000 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE CLARE C. NESMITH University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Section of Neonatology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72202 501-296-1397 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE ASHLEY S. ROSS III Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Neonatology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE BILLY RAY THOMAS University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Section of Neonatology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1397 PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST/ NEONATAL-PERINATAL MEDICINE TERRANCE ZUERLEIN Baptist Health Medical Center Division of Neonatalogy 9601 Baptist Health Dr Little Rock, AR 72205 501-225-8821 PEDIATRIC SURGERY M. SIDNEY DASSINGER Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Surgery 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1446 PEDIATRIC SURGERY RICHARD J. JACKSON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Surgery 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRIC SURGERY SAMUEL D. SMITH Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Surgery 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1446 PEDIATRIC UROLOGY STEPHEN J. CANON Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Urology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000

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PEDIATRICS/GENERAL CHARLES S. BALL Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics 3380 N Futrall Dr, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-7322 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL DEBRA D. BECTON Arkansas Children’s Hospital General Pediatrics Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1202 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL HANNAH BEENE-LOWDER Arkansas Children’s Hospital General Pediatrics Clinic 1 Childrens Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL LAUREEN BENAFIELD Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics 3380 N Futrall Dr, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-7322 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL BRYAN L. BURKE, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Section of Neonatology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1397 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL VINCENT CALDERON, JR. CHI St. Vincent Family Clinic 4202 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72204 501-562-4838 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL MEREDITH A. DENTON Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics 3380 N Futrall Dr, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-7322 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL HORACE L. GREEN The Children’s Clinic of South Arkansas 1420 W 43rd Ave Pine Bluff, AR 71603 870-534-6210 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL JON R. HENDRICKSON Pediatric Partners 7303 Rogers Ave, Ste 201 Fort Smith, AR 72903 479-478-7200 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL ANTHONY DALE JOHNSON Arkansas Pediatric Clinic 16115 Saint Vincent Way, Ste 320 Little Rock, AR 72223 501-664-4117

PEDIATRICS/GENERAL CARL WESLEY KLUCK, JR. Arkadelphia Clinic for Children and Young Adults 2850 Twin Rivers Dr Arkadelphia, AR 71923 870-246-8036 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL R. ALAN LUCAS Arkansas Pediatrics of Conway 2710 College Ave Conway, AR 72034 501-329-1800 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL LORI E. MONTGOMERY Arkansas Pediatric Clinic Doctors Bldg, Ste 317 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-4117 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL EDUARDO R. OCHOA, JR. Arkansas Children’s Hospital Section of Community Pediatrics 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-4000 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL CHRISTOPHER SCHLUTERMAN Pediatric Partners 7303 Rogers Ave, Ste 201 Fort Smith, AR 72903 479-478-7200 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL BRENT (BRENTLY) SILVEY Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics 3380 N Futrall Dr, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-7322 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL A. LARRY SIMMONS Arkansas Children’s Hospital General Pediatrics Clinic 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1202 PEDIATRICS/GENERAL JAMES S. SWINDLE Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics 3380 N Futrall Dr, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-7322 PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION KEVIN J. COLLINS Rehabilitation Medicine Consultants of Arkansas 6020 Warden Rd, Ste 200 Sherwood, AR 72120 501-945-1888


PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION KEVIN M. MEANS University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinic 501 Jack Stephens Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-7738 PLASTIC SURGERY THOMAS R. MOFFETT, JR. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Associates 11300 N Rodney Parham Rd, Ste 210 Little Rock, AR 72212 501-663-4100 PLASTIC SURGERY KRIS B. SHEWMAKE 10801 Executive Center Dr, Ste 101 Little Rock, AR 72211 501-492-8970 PSYCHIATRY JEFFREY L. CLOTHIER University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute 4224 Shuffield Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-8200

PSYCHIATRY PEDRO L. DELGADO University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute 4224 Shuffield Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-8200 PSYCHIATRY LOU ANN EADS University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute 4224 Shuffield Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-8603 PSYCHIATRY TIM A. KIMBRELL Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center Mental Health Clinic 2200 Fort Roots Dr North Little Rock, AR 72114 501-257-3131 PSYCHIATRY IRVING KUO Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center Mental Health Clinic 2200 Fort Roots Dr North Little Rock, AR 72114 501-257-3131

PSYCHIATRY LAWRENCE A. LABBATE CHI St. Vincent Infirmary Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit 2 Saint Vincent Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-552-5777 PSYCHIATRY JEFFREY M. PYNE Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center Mental Health Clinic 2200 Fort Roots Dr North Little Rock, AR 72114 501-257-3131 PSYCHIATRY G. RICHARD SMITH University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Psychiatric Research Institute 4224 Shuffield Dr, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-8169 PSYCHIATRY JOHN SPOLLEN Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center Mental Health Clinic 2200 Fort Roots Dr North Little Rock, AR 72114 501-257-3131

RADIATION ONCOLOGY MICHAEL L. TALBERT CARTI Radiation Oncology at Baptist Higginbotham Outpatient Center Bldg, Ste 150 9500 Kanis Rd Little Rock, AR 72205 501-312-1733 RADIOLOGY ALBERT S. ALEXANDER Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY TERESITA L. ANGTUACO University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Division of Body Imaging 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5762 RADIOLOGY F. KEITH BELL Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914

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RADIOLOGY C. WILLIAM DEATON Arkansas Vein Center Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914

RADIOLOGY STEVEN E. HARMS Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) The Breast Center 55 W Sunbridge Dr Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-6266

RADIOLOGY LEO F. DROLSHAGEN III Mercy Imaging Services 7301 Rogers Ave Fort Smith, AR 72903 479-314-6200

RADIOLOGY CHARLES ALBERT JAMES Arkansas Children’s Hospital Department of Radiology 1 Children’s Way Little Rock, AR 72202 501-364-1175

RADIOLOGY JONATHAN F. FRAVEL Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY DANNA F. GREAR Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) The Breast Center 55 W Sunbridge Dr Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-6266

RADIOLOGY AARON L. JANOS Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY PHILIP J. KENNEY University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Radiology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6901

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RADIOLOGY BRITTON B. LOTT Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) The Breast Center 55 W Sunbridge Dr Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-6266 RADIOLOGY W. JEAN MATCHETT Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY ROGERICH T. PAYLOR Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-2614 RADIOLOGY CHRISTIE B. PHELAN Northwest Breast Imaging Center at Willow Creek 5501 Willow Creek Dr, Ste 103 Springdale, AR 72762 479-750-6660 RADIOLOGY KELLY A. PIERCE Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) The Breast Center 55 W Sunbridge Dr Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-6266 RADIOLOGY KEVIN L. POPE Medical Associates of Northwest Arkansas (MANA) The Breast Center 55 W Sunbridge Dr Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-442-6266 RADIOLOGY RAJESH SETHI Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY HEMENDRA R. SHAH University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Radiology 4301 W Markham St Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6901 RADIOLOGY KATHLEEN M. SITARIK Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914

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RADIOLOGY AARON M. SPANN Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY DAVID E. TAMAS Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RADIOLOGY SHANNON R. TURNER Radiology Associates (RAPA) Doctors Bldg, Ste 101 500 S University Ave Little Rock, AR 72205 501-664-3914 RHEUMATOLOGY SETH MARK BERNEY University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Rheumatology Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 1st Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-5586 SURGERY GARY W. BARONE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Solid Organ Transplant Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 3rd Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6644 SURGERY JANINA B. BONWICH University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Department of Surgery Outpatient Center Bldg, 4th Fl 4301 W Markham Street #520-1 Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6086 SURGERY CHRIS M. CATE The Surgical Clinic of Central Arkansas Hickingbotham Outpatient Center, Ste 501 9500 Kanis Rd Little Rock, AR 72205 501-227-9080 SURGERY JOHN B. CONE University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Surgery Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 4th Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-526-1033

SURGERY MICHAEL J. CROSS Breast Treatment Associates 1792 E Joyce Blvd, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-582-1000 SURGERY WAYNE A. HUDEC Ozark Surgical Associates 3017 Bob Younkin Dr, Ste 101 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-521-1484 SURGERY MAURICIO MORENO University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 6th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200 SURGERY RONALD ROBERTSON University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Surgery Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 4th Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6086 SURGERY EMRE VURAL University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 6th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8000 SURGERY JOHN W. WEBB CHI St. Vincent Surgery Clinic Medical Office Bldg, Ste 201 1 Mercy Ln Hot Springs, AR 71913 501-609-2229

SURGICAL ONCOLOGY RONDA S. HENRY-TILLMAN University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200 SURGICAL ONCOLOGY KENT C. WESTBROOK University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 2nd Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-296-1200 THORACIC SURGERY JAMES S. COUNCE Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery 3276 N North Hills Blvd Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-587-1114 THORACIC SURGERY ROBERT C. JAGGERS Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery 3276 N North Hills Blvd Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-587-1114 VASCULAR SURGERY MOHAMMED M. MOURSI University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Vascular Surgery Clinic Outpatient Center Bldg, 4th Fl 4110 Outpatient Cir Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-6176

SURGICAL ONCOLOGY J. RALPH BROADWATER, JR. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Surgery Clinic 4018 W Capitol Ave, 7th Fl Little Rock, AR 72205 501-686-8211 SURGICAL ONCOLOGY MICHAEL J. CROSS Breast Treatment Associates 1792 E Joyce Blvd, Ste 1 Fayetteville, AR 72703 479-582-1000

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Congratulations DR. ROBERT F. MCCRARY, JR. on being selected to the 2019-2020 Best Doctors in America® List.

From all of us at MEDEVCO

Congratulations to Jim Mark Ingram, M.D. on being included in the 2019-2020 Best Doctors in America® List.

18 Corporate Hill Dr. Suite 110 (501) 224-1156 • 1-800-514-4343 www.littlerockallergy.com

A Special Advertising Section

Arkansas Times would like to congratulate all of our Best Doctors of 2019-2020.

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MARCH 2020 61


A Special Advertising Section

WHOLE HEALTH CARE A LOCAL RESOURCE GUIDE TO MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALTH.

Take a look at these health care professionals that help make a difference in our everyday lives.

UAMS HEALTHNOW

Provides 24-Hour Digital Health Care UAMS HealthNow is a 24-hour digital health service by UAMS Health that provides convenient, real-time care for Arkansas patients via internet-enabled mobile devices or computers. Arkansans can connect at any time via live video and see a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Health provider who can offer a wide range of personalized care. The cost is $55, which is due at the time of service. UAMS HealthNow will not bill insurance, but some insurers will reimburse patients who file directly with them for it. To access UAMS HealthNow, visit UAMSHealth.com/HealthNow. “Often effective treatment or preventing serious illness means responding to a patient’s symptoms soon after they appear,” said Curtis Lowery, M.D., director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. “Making it possible for a patient to consult with a UAMS Health nurse or physician through a live, internet video connection means being able to do that without significant delay. We’re removing yet another barrier to access, which is especially important in rural and underserved parts of the state.” Patients will easily be able to continue their care or have lab work done at the main campus or a nearby UAMS clinic.

ARKANSAS SURGICAL HOSPITAL

Arkansas Surgical Hospital, a nationally recognized facility, provides patient-focused care for the treatment of orthopedic, spine and sports-related injuries, including total joint replacements. The physician owners have control over every aspect of patient care, from the design of the facility to the equipment used during various procedures. As a part of this patient-centered focus, the hospital offers a unique experience, including 41 inpatient suites with a separate room for family members to rest while patients recover. An on-site chef and room service allow patients to select meals prepared specifically for them. Their goal is to make patients feel welcome and comfortable because they believe that people heal better when they are at ease. “Surgery can be stressful, but your stay with us shouldn’t be.” Arkansas Surgical Hospital provides more orthopedic, spine and sports injury treatments and total joint replacement procedures than any other facility in the state. They are one of only 22 hospitals in the nation recognized as a “Top Patient Recommended” hospital based on patient experience scores from CMS. Additionally, Arkansas Surgical Hospital received the Guardian of Excellence award from Press Ganey, as recognition of their high patient satisfaction scores. From their experienced physician owners to the exceptional staff around them, every individual at Arkansas Surgical Hospital is dedicated to overall patient care. 62 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

A Special Advertising Section


ARKANSAS DENTAL CENTERS

Don’t lump Arkansas Dental Centers in with other “chains” of dental practices. “We understand that patients want the personalized experience of visiting their neighborhood dentist. We also know that dentists prefer to spend time with patients rather than bookkeeping,” founder Dr. Chad Matone, DDS, says. Founded in 2014, Arkansas Dental Centers is a network of 14 independently operated offices that have been vetted for quality by industry professionals. Offering a range of services, including general family dentistry, teeth whitening, alignment, restoration, implants, oral surgery and sedation, they are proud to offer comprehensive dental care throughout Central Arkansas. “Different patients have different needs,” Matone says. “We believe everyone deserves a healthy smile, and our offices are happy to help make that reality for Central Arkansans.” Arkansas Dental Centers has locations in Benton, Brinkley, Conway, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Lonoke, Malvern, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Monticello and Sheridan. For more information, go to arkansasdentalcenters.com.

A Special Advertising Section

ARKANSAS HEALTH AND NUTRITION

People can lose weight on any diet. It’s keeping the weight off after you want to stop dieting: That’s the challenge. Arkansas Health and Nutrition, 900 S. Shackleford Road, understands that diets are for short-term results. Learning to live and eat healthy is for the long term. We provide comprehensive education, coaching, nutrition and support to help people achieve — and maintain — a healthy weight. We teach you the ins and outs of nutrition in order to live a more fulfilling life that you can enjoy instead of despise. How is Arkansas Health and Nutrition different? We work with the individual and have face-to-face interaction. We constantly provide you with the education you need to live a healthy lifestyle. All of our programs also come with a support system when you attend classes. For more information, go to gethealthyar.com.

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STOP WONDERI NG. GET YOURSELF TESTED. Sc hedul eonl i nef orSTDt es t i ngand t r eat ment :ppgr eat pl ai ns . or g

Good Shepherd Community

Providing quality, affordable living for seniors since 1979

O

ur mission is to provide a quality, affordable living experience to the elderly in a faith-based community committed to the dignity of our residents. Good Shepherd Community sits on a 145-acre park-like campus located off Aldersgate Road in the heart of Little Rock and provides convenient access to medical, financial and retail business districts. It’s affordable housing without sacrificing community or service!

CALL TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION! 501-224-7200 www.goodshepherdcommunity.com

Don’t Miss the 2020 NURSES GUIDE Coming this May.

ARKTIMES.COM 64 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

A Special Advertising Section

CARELINK

With 10,000 people turning 65 every day in the United States, more people are finding themselves taking on the role of caregiver for an aging family member. CareLink knows the challenges that come with caregiving, especially for a family member, which is why it strives to alleviate the stress and worry many people experience. Whether it’s assisting with the needs of an older person through Meals on Wheels or allowing a caregiver to focus on their own health needs through respite care and fitness classes, CareLink is here for caregivers and their families. Headquartered in North Little Rock since 1979, Carelink, Central Arkansas’s Area Agency on Aging, helps older people and their families overcome the challenges of aging by connecting with the older community when and where they need it most. For more information about helping a family member, call 501-372-5300 or visit CareLink.org.

METHODIST FAMILY HEALTH

Since 1899, when we began our legacy of care as the Arkansas Methodist Orphanage, Methodist Family Health has helped rebuild the lives of Arkansas children and families who have been abandoned, abused, neglected and are struggling with psychiatric, behavioral, emotional and spiritual issues. Today, Methodist Family Health’s continuum of care includes the Methodist Behavioral Hospital in Maumelle; two psychiatric residential treatment centers in Bono and Little Rock; qualified residential treatment program homes throughout the state; therapeutic day treatment programs in Little Rock and Benton; Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services (Arkansas CARES) in Little Rock; communityand school-based counseling clinics throughout the state; and the Kaleidoscope Grief Center, which is focused on helping grieving children and their families. Our mission is to provide the best possible care to those who may need it. If you or someone you know needs help, call us at 866-813-3388 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, email Info@MethodistFamily.org or visit MethodistFamily.org.


A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FOR ONLY 99.99/MONTH

Mon-Wed 4-6 pm. 900 S. Shackleford Road, Little Rock, AR 72211 501-490-9088

BEST DIET/ WEIGHT LOSS CENTER

ARKANSAS DERMATOLOGY AND SKIN CANCER CENTER

Arkansas Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center, with locations in Little Rock, Midtown, Conway, North Little Rock, Heber Springs, Cabot, Stuttgart, Searcy and Russellville, is committed to providing the highest level of expertise in both general dermatology and the treatment of skin cancer. Whether we are addressing your skin cancer concerns or informing you of the latest skin care tips, our top priority is to ensure that your experience with our practice is second-to-none. Our talented team of physicians and physician assistants recognize that every patient has different needs, and we pride ourselves in the courteous service we deliver to each person who walks through our doors. With a wide range of medical and cosmetic dermatology procedures delivered by a team of skilled and experienced professionals, our patients can be confident they are receiving the highest standard of care available. We are committed to patient education and will take the time necessary to ensure you are thoroughly informed of your treatment/procedure details and the results that can be expected. We work together to establish happiness, self-esteem, comfort and healthy skin for our patients. Your skin deserves the best, and we thank you for choosing us to keep your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come! For more information, go to arkansasdermatology.com.

Nestled in a secluded forest of evergreen and oak, Woodland Heights is the premier senior living community in the region. We are setting the standard for independent living, assisted living, and memory care in a community setting. Our focus is on your quality of life, so you can enjoy each day – your own way. From social dining and recreation opportunities, to personal care services that can assist with daily life – it’s all here. Being a part of a community of care and support while being surrounded by friends is the best of all worlds. We welcome you to join us at Woodland Heights.

8700 Riley Dr. • Little Rock

501-224-4242 8700 Riley Dr. v Little Rock, AR 72205

woodlandheightsllc.com 501-224-2424

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MARCH 2020 65


EVERGREEN ACUPUNCTURE

CHANGING LIVES WITH COMPASSIONATE BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE Welcoming patients from across the region

Our treatment programs include: • Acute care for children and adolescents (ages 4 to 18) • Acute care for adults (ages 18 and above) • Dual diagnosis treatment • Detoxification program • Partial Hospitalization Program for adults • Intensive Outpatient Program for adults

We are here to help when you need us. Call us today at 800-264-5640.

With limited exceptions, physicians are not employees or agents of this hospital. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the non-discrimination notice, visit our website. 201203-0903 02/20

SPIRITUALITY

“Relaxing” is not the first thought that many people have when hearing about acupuncture, the use of tiny needles to treat ailments, but that is how most patients of Martin Eisele, L.A.C., describe their experience. The sterile, disposable needles are so small that several can fit into the hole of a hypodermic needle, and Eisele’s patients get great results. Acupuncture is great at treating pain anywhere in the body, from head to feet, and it’s better for you than pain pills. Most of Eisele’s patients have tried prescriptions, physical therapy, chiropractic, even surgery, and have found no relief until they try acupuncture. Acupuncture is a part of traditional Asian medicine, and it treats much more than pain. Patients come in with problems involving breathing (asthma, allergies, coughing), digestion (abdominal pain, constipation, IBS), infertility, skin issues, autoimmune disorders, stress/ anxiety and many other problems. There are no major side effects with acupuncture, but there are side benefits. Patients find they are calmer and more centered, have more energy, better sleep and better digestion. Many patients have treatments on a regular basis because of how good it makes them feel. For more information, call 501-663-3461 or go to evergreenhealth.net

RHEA DRUG

After you drop off your prescription, browse for great gifts you won’t find anywhere else. You never know what you’ll find! As a traditional pharmacy since 1922, we take care of all of your prescription needs, including delivery. We accept all major insurance coverage and Medicare Part D plans. As a neighborhood gift shop, we have something for everyone. We even throw in free gift wrapping!

PREMIER GASTROENTEROLOGY

A Crucial Component of Our Continuum of Care

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ARKANSAS TIMES

MethodistFamily.org A Special Advertising Section

In the past, most health care innovation focused on developing new medical devices, diagnostic procedures or drug therapies, areas in which the U.S. has excelled. While results have been impressive, the focus has been relatively narrow. In the future, experts agree, innovation in health care needs to produce exponential change in the delivery of services to patients, which will in turn create improvement in population health and wellness and have a direct impact on local economies. In preparing to open its practice, Premier Gastroenterology identified two primary needs requiring an innovative approach: a need to improve community access to health care and the need for health care/community integration, resulting in an economic benefit to the local community. By integrating multiple specialties and services into the new medical plaza, at 10915 N. Rodney Parham Road, Premier creates efficiencies and improves the patient experience. Additionally, in the new location Premier has the luxury of using an efficient new clinical pod design that will improve efficiency of the clinical staff so patients spend a shorter amount of time in the exam room. For more information, call 501-747-2828 or visit pgalr.com.


Rhea Drug Store

A traditional Pharmacy with Eclectic Gifts Serving Little Rock since 1922 2801 Kavanaugh Little Rock 501.663.4131

ACUPUNCTURE WORKS! GOOD SHEPHERD RETIREMENT COMMUNITY

The Good Shepherd retirement community offers a variety of housing choices for seniors, including options for low-income seniors. Good Shepherd has 500 apartments on five properties. Transportation, fine dining, exercise rooms, libraries, beauty shops and cable TV are just a few of the many amenities the residents can enjoy. Residents can also feel secure with emergency alert pendants and after-hours and weekend security on duty. Residents have many opportunities to socialize by just opening their apartment door, but Good Shepherd’s Activities Department makes it easy for residents throughout our community to engage with their neighbors in a variety of settings. Whether it’s exercise class, lectures, movie matinees, games or simply dining together, all activities support the residents in their emotional, physical and spiritual health and foster an environment full of community fellowship. There are puzzle and card tables throughout the facilities where people congregate, seating nooks for visits with friends, the chance to stroll down to Fisher’s Lake with a walking buddy, events planned by the Activities Department that can range from a card game, to an outing to a museum, and even chance encounters in the hall that lead to a cup of coffee and conversation. For more information, go to www.goodshepherdcommunity.com.

C A LL TO D AY TO F I N D O U T H OW A T R A D ITI O N A LLY T R A I N E D A CU P U N CT U R I S T C A N H E LP Y O U ! Specializing in Traditional Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine • Cupping, Moxabustion, Ear Needles/Beads, Dry Needling • Effective pain relief and healing from many ailments without drugs or surgery • Scientifically proven, safe and relaxing

MARTIN EISELE, L.Ac.

2 VAN CIRCLE, SUITE 1 • LITTLE ROCK 501-663-3461 • WWW.EVERGREENHEALTH.NET

STAY

happy

When Carrie isn’t caring for her husband, she’s taking care of her own health at her local wellness center so she can keep taking care of her loved one. Help the family caregiver in your life stay happy and healthy.

501.372.5300 | CareLink.org

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CULTURE

A Q&A WITH KATIE CAMPBELL, NEW LEADER OF THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER CHILDREN’S THEATRE

If you were to look back at the last 30 years or so of the Little Rock theater scene, you’d find very few constants, given the mercurial nature of live theater. However, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre has remained steady and steadfast: Theatergoers who happen to have age-appropriate children know what kind of colorful theatrical magic the company has generated season after season. This is a time of transition for the Children’s Theatre. Thanks to the renovation of the Arts Center (still a couple of years away from completion), the Children’s Theatre does not have a stage to call home. In addition, longtime Artistic Director Bradley Anderson resigned in 2019. Associate Artistic Director Katie Campbell has taken over on an interim basis. Campbell’s interesting array of skills — improv, puppetry, acting, directing — make her an intriguing choice to lead the Children’s Theatre.

You’re from North Carolina and moved to Little Rock in 2007. What prompted the move? In 2006, I heard about the AACCT from a fellow actor I worked with in Pennsylvania who also worked at the Children’s Theatre at the time. Later that year, I came to visit Little Rock, where I saw the Tony-nominated musical “A Year with Frog and Toad.” I was so impressed with the Arts Center, the caliber of the production, and the community of artists, that I was eager for the opportunity to audition for the company the following season. Fortunately for me, in 2007 I was hired by Children’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Bradley Anderson as a company actor after attending the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions in Memphis. I moved here with the expectation that I would stay for a couple of years before moving on to the next acting gig. But I wanted to stay when I fell in love with Arkansas, 68 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

BRIAN CHILSON

BY WERNER TRIESCHMANN

KATIE CAMPBELL: Believes theater can be life-changing for children.

the Children’s Theatre’s mission and philosophy, and the incredibly talented people that make up the vibrant arts scene in Little Rock. When did you become interim artistic director of the Children’s Theatre? For five years I was a company actor and teaching artist with the Children’s Theatre. Those were formative years for me as a theater artist and I had wonderful opportunities to grow as a collaborator, actor, teacher, designer, deviser, stage manager and director. Having a company of resident artists creating productions in-house, from top to bottom, taught me so much about the art of making plays. I had a keen interest in directing, which Bradley encouraged, and he gave me the opportunity to direct touring shows, a studio show and a mainstage production prior to my leaving for graduate school in the fall of

2012. After graduate school in 2014 I returned to the AACCT energized and excited to continue creating innovative work for youth and family audiences. In 2016 I became a staff member of the Arts Center as one of the associate directors of the Children’s Theatre. This team of associate directors works with the artistic director on season planning, company direction and goals. When Bradley Anderson retired in December of 2019, after serving over 40 distinguished years at the helm, I became interim artistic director. I hope to honor him and the Children’s Theatre by building upon his extraordinary legacy. What attracted you to this pretty specific type of theater? One of the main reasons I feel so connected to theater for young audiences is that I have great access to what I was feeling and thinking as a


Chris James

Eat, Drink & Be Literary!

Pub ! h s i r e P

¢

It’s

or

¢

Poetry, fiction and memoir readings, live in the big room at Stickyz Rock-N-Roll Chicken Shack.

Saturday, April 25 at Stickyz Rock -n- roll Chicken Shack 7 until 9PM

Hosted by:

Chris James

e Founder of Th ion nect Roots Art Con

Enjoy a great evening with authors, poets, rappers and all things artsy, fun and sad. Same great service, food and drink at Stickyz Rock - n- roll Chicken Shack.

arktimes.com

Pub or Perish is a related free event of the Six Bridges Book Festival presented by Central Arkansas Library System April 23-26. Author Panels • Book Signings • Special Events ARKANSASTIMES.COM

MARCH 2020 69


child. I remember having such complex feelings and emotions concerning all matters of my childhood, from the depth of friendships, to the injustices I felt in life at school, adventures on the playground, the death of family members, the joys of discovery and the intensity of crushes, to the pride of hard work and grit paying off, to the whole spectrum of human emotion one feels as they grow into a young adult. The theater was a place where I felt seen and heard as a child. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing theater teacher in middle school who allowed us to explore the multifaceted inner workings of our hearts and minds by exploring plays that addressed the complexity of the world as well as plays that allowed us to escape into a land of pure fantasy. I faced several hardships in my youth, and the theater gave me a community of love and hope. Knowing what a life-changing and positive impact theater can have on a young person, because I lived it, has been a driving force in my career. As an adult, I have the opportunity to advocate for young people and their right to see themselves and their lives equitably represented on the stage. Oftentimes, theater for children is only framed through the lens of education or that the program will make them future artists or supporters. I believe that children are deserving of artistic experiences that speak to them, not because they will be future adults, but because of who and what they are right now as young people.

ing, their ability to weave a cohesive narrative collaboratively, their wit, and the utilization of their unique voice from a teen perspective. The Rodeo is in its 13th season, and it has been so rewarding to see several of the alumni grow into colleagues. You have serious credits as a puppeteer. Do you incorporate this skill in Children’s Theatre shows? I do have a great love of puppetry. It is a varied, beautiful and ancient art in its own right. While I have done some puppeteering, a majority of my experience is in directing and designing puppets. Puppetry has long been a part of the Children’s Theatre’s approach to telling stories, but I do bring a lot of enthusiasm for incorporating puppetry when it arises.

One of my favorite shadow puppetry forms uses old-school overhead projectors. My thesis project in graduate school was creating a show in this form and I brought those skills to the AACCT’s production of “The Snowy Day and Other Stories,” based on the books of Ezra Jack Keats. It utilized three screens, three live actors, five overheads, six puppeteers and close to 80 puppets. Lauren Lusk, the props designer, also built two exceptional “Willie the dog” puppets for the show. “Snowy Day” remains one of my all-time favorite productions that I have directed, for the music, text, style, quality of work and commitment that everyone involved in the show brought to the production. Additionally, “The LAW FIRM, PLLC LAW FIRM, PLLC Growing up, were you a theater kid? Hobbit,” which closed our season last year, used LAW FIRM, PLLC a variety of styles of puppets designed by severMy mother was very al members of the company, including shadow Richard H. Mays, formerly of Williams & Anderson PLLC, relocated his office toactive 2226in community and ichard H. Mays, formerly of Williams & Anderson PLLC, hashas relocated his office to 2226 Environmental Law dinner theater growing up, so I wenthis to office see plays Cottondale Lane, Little Rock (adjacent toMays, the Arkansas Bar Center), continue his Richard H. formerly Williams & and Anderson PLLC,his has relocated to 2226 mask trolls, bunraku-style Gollum, hand-puppet ottondale Lane, Little Rock (adjacent to the Arkansas Barof Center), and will will continue Cottondale Little Rock (adjacent to the my Arkansas Bar Center), andencourwill continue his purse, lantern-style spider and a large-scale practice emphasis all through childhood. She also Oil, gas andLane, natural ractice withwith emphasis on: on: practice with resources lawemphasis on: aged imaginative play at home, and my older dragon puppet. Luckily, I am not alone in my • Environmental Environmental LawLaw brother and I often put on shows for her. One affinity for puppetry at the Children’s Theatre, Eminent domain • Law • natural resources law Oil, Oil, gasgas andand natural resources lawEnvironmental of our favorite at-home productions was “Star and I look forward to what projects may lie Flooding and Levees • Oil, gas and natural resources law • Eminent domain Eminent domain Wars,” where we would get inside upturned ahead for us. domain litigation • Flooding Levees •GeneralEminent Flooding andand Levees stools-turned-starfighters to reenact our favorite • Flooding and Levees • General litigation Real Estate and Business General litigation battle scenes. It wasn’t until middle school that I You have a couple of shows on the 2020 sched• General litigation transactions • Estate Business RealReal Estate andand Business transactions • transactions Real Estate and Businessstarted transactions doing theater in any formal sense. I was ule as touring shows. How is the renovation of active in theater departments at every school I the Arts Center affecting programming? esents individuals, citizens groups environmental organizations in cases against nts individuals, citizens groups andand environmental organizations inenvironmental cases against Richard Mays represents individuals, citizens groups and organizations in cases against Richard Mays represents individuals, citizens attended afterward, until eventually graduating ncies, such asgovernmental the Army Corps ofsuch Engineers and the Federal Administration, s, such as the U.S.U.S. Army Corps of Engineers andU.S. theArmy Federal Highway Administration, agencies, as the Corps ofHighway Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration, groups and environmental organizations in from highpipeline school and the North Carolina School Children’s Theatre on Tour has been a staple chelectrical as electrical utilities, oil and gas companies, national companies and companies such asproduction electrical utilities, andand gas production companies, and national pipeline companies as utilities, oil and gas production companies, national pipeline companies cases against governmental agencies, and oil and of the Arts senior year drama program. of our programming for many years, and this regarding private and public-works projects harmful to landowners and the environment of Arkansas. nd public-works projects harmful to landowners and environment of Arkansas. public-works projects harmful to landowners and the the environment of Arkansas. companies regarding private and public-works season we have been delighted to expand that projects harmful to landowners and the You are theFirm co-founder of Armadillo Rodeo, the program to include an additional tour while the Richard Mays Law Richard Mays Law Firm Richard Mays Law Firm environment of Arkansas. youth improv group. Are kids natural impromain stage is being renovated. Two of our tours Overfor years of fighting and the environment and the rights of individuals. fighting environment the rights individuals. sars of of fighting for fifty thethe environment andfor the rights of of individuals. Referrals welcome. visers? have completed their statewide run (“Wynken, Referrals welcome. Referrals welcome. Blynken, and Nod: A Play for the Very Young” RICHARD MAYS LAW FIRM 2226 Cottondale Lane • Suite 100 •Working Little Rock, ARArmadillo 72202 • 501-891-6616 with Rodeo is one of the bigand “A Christmas Carol”), while one is current2226 Cottondale Lane • Suite 100 • Little Rock, AR 72202 • 501-891-6616 26 Cottondale Lane • Suite 100 • Little Rock, AR 72202 • 501-891-6616 Over fifty years of fighting for the environgest joys of my career. The teens in the troupe ly on the road (“Arkansas Story Porch”), and ment and the rights of individuals. are driven, kind, dedicated, talented and absoanother will hit the road (“Wind in the Willows”) Referrals welcome. lutely hilarious. I think young people are natural in the spring. In addition to touring, there are storytellers, and at the heart of good improv is opportunities for the public to see these produc2226 Cottondale Lane • Suite 100 a good story. I’m surprised at every rehearsal tions at the [Hillary Rodham Clinton] Children’s Little Rock, AR 72202 • 501-891-6116 and performance at their grasp of storytellLibrary and at our Riverdale location.

RICHARDMAYS MAYS RICHARD

RICHARD MAYS

70 MARCH 2020

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jus just


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A SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION BY VISIT HOT SPRINGS AND OAKLAWN RACING CASINO RESORT

TUESDAY, MARCH 17 ST. PATRICK’S DAY! 3 p.m. Entertainment District opens O’Kelley’s Pop Up Pub opens. 4 p.m. $500 Karaoke Contest begins at O’Kelley’s Pop Up Pub 4:30 p.m. Blarney Stone Kissing Contest Arkansas Blarney Stone

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders MONDAY, MARCH 16 5 p.m. Entertainment District opens The Pink Piano Show performs at O’Kelley’s Pop Up Pub. Free!

Cheech Marin, grand marshal

6:25 p.m. Official measuring of the parade route

7 p.m. Brian Martin performs on the Bridge Street Stage. Free!

6:30 p.m. World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins, Bridge Street

8 p.m. Blues Traveler concert on Bridge Street Stage. Free! Danny Trejo, official parade starter 72 MARCH 2020

ARKANSAS TIMES

5:30 p.m. Festivities Kick off with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Bridge Street

8 p.m. Foghat performs on the Bridge Street Stage. Free!


March 12-14 AAA State Basketball Finals 2020 Hot Springs Convention Center, Bank OZK, 134 Convention Blvd. Gear up for the 2020 state finals! We will be posting updates closer to the date on our Facebook Page, so check us out daily. For more information go to www.ahsaa.org. March 14 The Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. Live racing at Oaklawn Thursday-Sunday, post time 1:30 p.m.

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MARCH 2020 73


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LIVE MUSIC IN SILKS BAR AND GRILL MARCH 6-7 Electric 5, 10 pm – 2 am

MARCH 13-14 Mayday by Midnight, 10 p.m.–2 a.m. MARCH 20-21 The Ace’s Wild Band, 10 p.m.–2 a.m. MARCH 27-28 Wesley Pruitt Band, 10 p.m.–2 a.m.

SPECIAL EVENTS MARCH 7 Jockey Meet ’N’ Greet 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. MARCH 17 St. Patrick’s $4.99 dinner special with your Oaklawn Rewards card, or get the dinner for $1.99 when you earn 75 points from Friday through the promotion day! Plus, enjoy $3 Oaklawn shamrock cocktails and domestic drafts!

MARCH 29 $54,000 Frenzy. Up to 18 guests will have a chance to a share a guaranteed $54,000 in cash. Guests must swipe their valid ID or Oaklawn Rewards card at a racing promo kiosk on Sunday, March 29. Swipe Friday-Saturday, March 27-28, for extra entries. Must be present to win.

MARCH 21 Oaklawn’s 2nd Annual Car Show in the infield.

MARCH 29 Birthday Bash: Guests with a March birthday can enter drawing with up to 75 winners (3-7 p.m.), free gift at Player Services and free cake/refreshments (3-5 p.m., Lagniappe’s).

MARCH 25 Drawing for a $1,000 Lauray’s Gift Card (9 p.m.), free entries every Wednesday.

MARCH 30 Drawing for Carnival Cruise at 6 p.m., free entries every Monday.

MARCH 26 Drawing for a $1,000 Visa Gift Card (6 p.m.), free entries every Thursday.

MARCH 31 Race to the Finish drawing, 4 p.m. Five guests will be drawn to win free play.

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LIVE MUSIC IN POP’S LOUNGE MARCH 5, 12, & 19 Jacob Flores, 5-9 p.m.

EVERY FRIDAY IN MARCH Cliff & Susan’s Pink Piano Show, 5-9 p.m. MARCH 26 John Calvin Brewer Band, 5:30-9:30 p.m.


Arkansas Times local ticketing: CentralArkansasTickets.com

UPCOMING EVENTS

MAR 5-8, 12-15

MAR 7

The Studio Theatre Junie B. Jones

The Weekend Theater Black & Gold 2020

MAR 12

The Mixing Room Preservation Conversations:

Solar 101 for Historic Places, Seal Solar by Heather R. Nelson and Josh Davenport Seal

MAR 19

St. James United Methodist Church Arkansas Chamber Singers 40th Anniversary Spring Concert

MAR 29

Main Street Barkus On Main 2020

Go to CentralArkansasTickets.com to purchase these tickets and more! Arkansas Times local ticketing site! If you’re a non-profit, freestanding venue or business selling tickets thru eventbrite or another national seller – email us phyllis@arktimes.com or lucy@arktimes.com – we’re local, independent and offer a marketing package!

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MARCH 2020 75


FOOD & DRINK

GIO BRUNO: Shows off the restaurant’s classic toasted ravioli brother Vince prepared for the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” show.

A

‘TRIPLE D’ BY THE NUMBERS CENTRAL ARKANSAS RESTAURANTS EXPERIENCE THE ‘DINERS, DRIVE-INS AND DIVES’ BUMP. BY KELLEY BASS PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN CHILSON

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fter visiting more than 1,000 restaurants in several hundred cities in 48 states over the last 14 years, Guy Fieri and his production team know exactly what they are looking for when they seek an eatery to feature on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” the popular, Emmy-nominated show Fieri (pronounced Fee-eddy) hosts on the Food Network. You can’t convincingly argue that any of the six restaurants from Little Rock and North Little Rock that have been featured on the show — Bruno’s Little Italy, Flyway Brewing, La Terraza Rum and Lounge, North Bar, The Root Cafe and the Fold Botanas and Bar — fit the definition of a “diner,” a “drive-in” or a “dive.” But those who operate the eateries were thrilled to be categorized as such — particularly when counting the money that flowed in after their episodes aired … and re-aired … and re-aired. Four consecutive episodes in Season 29 of “Triple D” (as host Fieri calls in) featured these eateries in October and November 2018. “In June (2018) we got an email from the show’s producers saying, basically, ‘we’re coming to Little Rock and you are being considered,’ ” Gio Bruno remembered. The first step the co-owner of the legendary Bruno’s Little Italy had to take was answering a few questions: 1)   Have you ever been on TV before? 2)     Do you have more than one location? 3)     Are your menu items made from scratch? 4)     What menu items are frozen? 5)     Are you the owner, the chef or both? 6)   What are the top three sellers on your menu? 7)     How many seats do you have? 8)     When did you open? And if those questions didn’t paint a clear enough picture of the show’s intentions, the email’s author tightened the focus: “They were looking for dishes that take a lot of prep and restaurants that take their time and care to do things from scratch,” Vince Bruno, chef and Gio’s younger brother, said. “They told us they value small, affordable, family-run joints.” A couple more emails and phone calls later, Bruno’s Little Italy had officially been selected


to be featured on the show. That confirmation in late August came only three days before the crew of “Triple D� (as Fieri calls it) — rolled into town. And there were plenty of hoops to jump through — like closing your restaurant if you’re open at lunch (Bruno’s isn’t) and using that time to crank up your kitchen, mobilize your waitstaff and serve lots of “customers� who in fact are invited guests for these private meals served on two different days of shooting. There are many familiar faces in the Bruno’s episode — Charles Almon, a longtime customer at past locations and the first customer when Bruno’s opened on Main Street in October 2013, and Frank Cox, a decades-long friend of the family and restaurant who played guitar in local band the Groan-Ups when Gio was the lead singer. Who is not there during all of this is Fieri. While his crew spent two very long days at Bruno’s, the star was there about 90 minutes total, when he worked in the kitchen as Vince Bruno painstakingly prepared his restaurant’s classic toasted ravioli appetizer and the equally classic Lasagna Imbotito. (The recipe on the show’s website might scare off anyone thinking about recreating it: It takes two and a half hours of prep and two hours of cooking.) The experience, timeframe and schedule the Brunos detailed is the same that representatives of the other five featured restaurants reported. And all also celebrated their premiere night with a huge watch party on-site. “We rented big TVs and put them on that wall,� Gio Bruno said, pointing toward the wall on the northern end of his cozy restaurant. “When the show came on, everything stopped — including service.� *** One could argue that the six were doing pretty well before the Food Network rolled into town in August 2018. But representatives of all confirm that appearing on the show has been a huge boon to their business. “We immediately saw an uptick in business,� Gio Bruno said. “It jumped the very next day, and then it rose some more. It was probably about two weeks after it aired the first time that we had the biggest bump from it. “Since we were on television, our slowest night sales have jumped by $1,000 a night,� Bruno said. “We get a bunch of out-of-towners in the hotels near here. No matter where they are from, if they are downtown, they eat with us. Guy brings them. “There was a guy in the [U.S.] military in Afghanistan. He emailed us after seeing us on the show. We sent him a Bruno’s T-shirt, and he sent us a T-shirt. It’s crazy that someone that far away saw you and loved what you do. That’s what it’s all about really. “And we get a bump every time it re-airs. About half the people who say they saw us on the show are from out of state. And we have plenty of people who say, ‘I’ve lived in Little Rock all my life, but I’d never eaten here until

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Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority is celebrating its diverse, highly qualified and skilled workforce during Women’s History Month by celebrating the “Women of Water� (WoW). The utility has ramped up efforts to showcase its workforce of women for the second year as part of the month-long celebration. LRWRA is also expanding recruitment areas and trying some new techniques to reach a diverse pool of applicants. “A diverse and inclusive workforce brings a diverse prospective which will only make us a better organization,� said Greg Ramon, CEO at LRWRA. “We are committed to creating a more inclusive workforce.� It is women like Valerie, asset management coordinator, Ava, collection systems analyst, Linda, human resources specialist, Amiles, laboratory technician, and Jessica, mechanic technician, whom the utility is highlighting in March to encourage women and teenage girls to consider a career in a great industry. They are LRWRA’s 2020 Women of Water, a celebration of women and the important roles they play in the water industry. You may see their faces and stories in your social media feeds throughout the month of March. “From the office to the pipelines, women have an exceptional impact on our success,� Ramon said. “We’re honored to foster an environment where everyone makes a difference, and Women’s History Month gives us a great opportunity to celebrate our diverse team. We want to tell our story with the hopes that those who have never considered our industry will give us a closer look.� LRWRA exists to preserve and replenish the environment by reclaiming our most valuable natural resource, water. The reclamation and treatment services protect both public health and the environment.

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THE ROOT’S JACK SUNDELL: He calls Triple D’s Instagram post of his pimiento cheeseburger “the gift that keeps on giving.”

‘EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO COMES HERE FROM OUT OF TOWN TELLS US THEY’RE HERE BECAUSE THEY WATCHED THE SHOW.” — Hank Cook of North Bar

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ARKANSAS TIMES

I saw it on TV.’ “Every single night we have people who order our lasagna because they saw it on TV and decided they had to try it. And the uptick on toasted ravioli has been big. But if I see someone eating it as an entree, I know they saw it on TV!” *** The number of out-of-town visitors who have flocked to the featured restaurants likely reflects two things: 1) the popularity of the Flavortown mobile app (99 cents in the app store), which plays off the name of the fictional town of which Fieri serves as self-elected mayor. The app lets users search by state for a list of each restaurant in the 48 states where “Triple D” has taped segments (wondering which two he’s missed? the Dakotas); and 2) Little Rock’s/North Little Rock’s geographic location at the Interstate 40/Interstate 30 interchange, through which an estimated 210,000 vehicles pass every day. And some of them stop to grab a bite to eat. Fieri has featured 13 restaurants in Alaska, more than twice as many as Arkansas, but ask those owners how many out-of-towners have stopped in when they were just passing through. Hank Cook of North Bar — “I run the place, make things happen, but I don’t have a title” —

says he took the advice of the show’s producers and put a national map on the restaurant’s wall so “Triple D”-driven visitors can stick a pin to mark where they live. “Every single person who comes here from out of town tells us they’re here because they watched the show,” Cook says. “That app is the thing — they see we are here, and they stop off. We are near lots of hotels, too.” The rerun schedule is something Cook says he doesn’t even try to keep up with. “But we’ve been here on a Wednesday night and wondered why we are so busy, and someone will tell us, ‘I saw you on the show,’ and we’ll say to each other, ‘I guess it re-aired.’ ” *** Jack Sundell and his crew at The Root Cafe have kept a closer watch on when Episode 6 of season 29 will next air, because they want to be prepared. “That Saturday [after The Root’s episode debuted] was our busiest day ever, not by some crazy percentage but still a new record,” Sundell says. (It’s been broken since.) He and catering manager Kevin Hamman noted that the next reruns were airing Valentine’s weekend, and those would be the 15th and 16th times the


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feature has been shown. (“They usually come in pairs,” Sundell notes.) “Every time it happens, we see more website traffic,” Hamman says. “Our website hits double, more or less. And the photo views will really spike. They watch the episode and Google our name. We see it happen.” Sundell points out that “Triple D” has more than 9.9 million Instagram followers, so it’s no surprise when the shortened version of the video showing The Root’s pimiento cheeseburger being prepared was posted on Instagram it got more than 330,000 views and 186 comments. “It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he says. About that pimiento cheeseburger: It was featured only as a special until Fieri’s team chose it for the show. It quickly made its way onto the regular menu. “Our cheeseburger has always been our topselling item,” Sundell says. “Now the pimiento cheeseburger as its own thing is fairly competitive [as a top seller].” Like the others, The Root also welcomes lots of out-of-towners driven there by the show. “We see a big spike on days people typically travel, like around Fourth of July or Thanksgiving,” Sundell says. *** Ren Scott, front-of-house and social media manager at Flyway Brewing, says she thinks the restaurant’s transition from an artisan-pretzel-only menu to a full array of excellently done bistro fare is likely what qualified Flyway to land on Fieri and company’s radar. The show still featured two of the five Flyway pretzels — all of which remain very popular — but they also went for Gina’s Famous Gumbo Fries, a dish made possible after the restaurant added a fryer. It’s the creation of chef Georgina Jones Price, a graduate of the culinary school at UA Pulaski Tech, and after the dish was featured on “Triple D,” Gina won both categories in the gumbo contest at the 2019 Harvestfest fall event in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Scott says the rush of business from being on the show was a little slower coming to Flyway. “We had gotten a little bit of warning that it might not be immediate, and there was no real boom on the first day. But probably in December or January [the segment debuted in early

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MARCH 2020 79


October], people started telling us they came here because they saw the show. Some said they wanted what was on the show. Some of them couldn’t remember what was on — but they wanted it.” And, like the others, the Food Network has sent new locals Flyway’s way. “We’ve been here a little over four years now, and local people still come [after seeing the show] and say, ‘We didn’t know you were here.’ ”

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*** Alex Smith, chef and co-owner at The Fold Botanas and Bar, knows exactly when her restaurant felt the effects of being one of Fieri’s featured restaurants. “Actually, the very next day a couple drove down from Kansas City and took a detour to stop here,” Smith says. “And we were really busy the next day, which was a Saturday,” says Bart Barlogie, Smith’s partner in The Fold. “And they wanted to take a picture of Alex,” who, by the look on her face when he brought that up, suggested she wasn’t really into that sort of thing. “Really, the way we were able to tell” the impact from the show, says Smith, who also handles The Fold’s financials, “was by looking at the sales increase from years before. “And we started seeing a trend: When the show was aired as a repeat on Thursday night, our weekend was bonkers! We sort of lost track after six months, but, oh my gosh, it was on so many times.” And when Smith did realize a rerun was coming up, she’d say, “The show’s going to be on. Let’s staff accordingly.” *** “They’re like groupies,” general manager Sarah Bolanos said about the out-of-towners gathered outside the locked door of La Terazza Rum & Lounge before it opened at 11 a.m. one Saturday in early October 2018. While she hoped they would be groupie-level fans of her restaurant after their lunch, Bolanos was referring to these folks’ obsession with “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” host Fieri and, therefore, the restaurants he features, including hers. All the people queued up to get into La Terraza that morning were from out of town, several living many hundreds of miles away, and the show had premiered only 15 hours ago. “Hello, it’s only the next day,” she remembers thinking. Like many of the other restaurateurs who were featured on “Triple D,” Bolanos also has been visited by locals who didn’t even know La Terraza had been open three years before being on the show. She and her team also feel the bumps in business that accompany every re-airing of their episode. “The last rerun was three weeks to a month ago, and we had people coming the next day — locals and folks from out of town — asking us about being on the show … and congratulating us,” Bolanos says.

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• Toasted Ravioli ($9) • Lasagna Imbotito ($18) North Bar 3812 JFK Blvd., North Little Rock

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MARCH 2020 81


BEN SEWARD

MEET ARKANSAS'S CULTURAL TREASURES! MEET ARKANSAS'S CULTURAL TREASURES!

AND VISIT THE UNIQUE COMMUNITIES THAT NURTURE THEM. AND VISIT THE UNIQUE COMMUNITIES THAT NURTURE THEM.

Visit Arkansas’s world class artisans inin the pages of of Visit Arkansas’s world class artisans the pages ARKANSAS MADE MAGAZINE Coming April, 2020 ARKANSAS MADE MAGAZINE Coming April, 2020 WeWe travel Arkansas to enjoy herher beauty, butbut travel Arkansas to enjoy beauty, she’s more than just a pretty face. Arkansas she’s more than just a pretty face. Arkansas is home to amazing artisans…glass blowers, is home to amazing artisans…glass blowers, ceramic artists, metal workers, knife makers, ceramic artists, metal workers, knife makers, quilters, finefine artists….the listlist is endless. quilters, artists….the is endless. Arkansas Made helps Arkansans andand tourists Arkansas Made helps Arkansans tourists connect with these amazing artisans andand thethe ART connect with these amazing artisans ART TOWNS communities they live in. We introduce visitors TOWNS communities they live in. We introduce visitors ARTISTS’ to incredible craftsmen likelike Paul Michael in in ARTISTS’ to incredible craftsmen Paul Michael SPACES SPACES Lake Village, Miller’s Mud Mill in Dumas and Lake Village, Miller’s Mud Mill in Dumas and knife maker BenBen Seward in North Arkansas. knife maker Seward in North Arkansas. If you would like to introduce your business, If you would like to introduce your business, craft or community to atodiscriminating craft or community a discriminating audience that appreciates oneone of aofkind audience that appreciates a kind authenticity, contact Phyllis Britton at the authenticity, contact Phyllis Britton at the Arkansas Times (phyllis@arktimes.com) forfor Arkansas Times (phyllis@arktimes.com) Arkansas Made advertising information. Arkansas Made advertising information.

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CANNABIZ

BRIAN CHILSON

CLEAN AND MODERN: Harvest House of Cannabis looks good, unlike most of its competition.

THE CHIPOTLE A OF CANNABIS HARVEST HOUSE OF CANNABIS ARRIVES IN LITTLE ROCK AND TAKES WEED UPSCALE. BUT IS THAT ENOUGH? BY LEW GASNIER

brief 1,193 days after the voters of Arkansas approved medical marijuana by a decisive majority, the first legal medical marijuana dispensary in Little Rock opened, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Who knows why it took so long for Little Rock to become legally cannabisized, even though we’re the state’s largest, most populous and potentially most profitable market? I don’t know, just like I don’t have a clear sense of why the newly opened Harvest House of Cannabis, at 900 S. Rodney Parham Road, was able to beat Herbology just up the street to the punch, even though Herbology announced and then missed a flashy planned grand opening all the way back in November and even ran a billboard announcement or two, as we recall. Mysteries abound in the Arkansas marijuana biz these days.

When Harvest House of Cannabis announced it was planning to open Feb. 14, I was dispatched by the Times to bring back a full report on what legal weed had wrought in the capital city. The nutshell of it is: Harvest House of Cannabis was a truly mixed bag for Yours Truly, though it takes a bit of explanation to say why. The first thing you notice about Harvest House of Cannabis (other than the fact that even the most smokedout among us might be able to lob a baseball and nearly hit the parking lot of the soon-to-open Herbology dispensary, just up the street at 7303 Kanis Road — a development that could lead to some delicious price wars in the future, fingers crossed) is the way it looks. Love ’em or hate ’em for their personalities and prices, the majority of the dispensaries in Arkansas, with few exceptions, are the result of repurposing something ARKANSASTIMES.COM

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THIS IS NOT YOUR WEED DEALER GONE MOSTLY LEGIT. else, be it a former cinder block restaurant, a storefront or a quickie metal building. While it’s probably a lot more cost-effective to do it that way, the result is that most dispensaries just don’t look that great in my experience. Most of them make up for the lack of calls from Architectural Digest in various quirky ways that have their own charms, but from a design viewpoint, Arkansas dispensaries are about as visually exciting as your average cut-rate tobacco store or laundromat. Harvest House of Cannabis, by contrast, is new construction and pains were clearly taken to make it look great: clean and modern, impossible to miss in chromium yellow and slate gray, with perfect landscaping, plenty of frosted glass and the name spelled out on the side of the building in crisp black Helvetica. The place just looks upscale, something like you’d expect a boutique weed dispensary in Malibu to look. As someone who loves great design, I must admit that I was a bit smitten. It’s a feeling that follows you through the doors, where I was met by an aggressively chipper young woman with a clipboard. I filled out the basic details on myself while perched in one of the thoroughly modern black chairs in the waiting area. Unlike a lot of dispensaries where the waiting area is literally walled off from the dispensary floor, Harvest House of Cannabis is all about glass on the inside. You can look right into the sales floor while you’re waiting to be ushered in. Again, that’s something where a lot of dispensaries in the state are just at the mercy of their floor plan, but I appreciated the effect at Harvest House of Cannabis. Physical transparency makes for a feeling of metaphorical transparency, I suppose, which I can almost hear some architectural consultant telling the owners of Harvest House of Cannabis while sweeping a hand over artful renditions full of sketched and faceless customers. Harvest House of Cannabis has dispensaries in eight states and is moving into more, and once you’re inside the Little Rock outlet, you can feel that sense of franchise about it, with everything from the literature, to the forms, to the decor apparently the result of some focus group

or committee, every object and surface designed to push the buttons in your head marked “safe,” “hygienic,” “professional,” “natural” and “happy.” This is not your apartment-dwelling weed dealer gone mostly legit, which is definitely the vibe at some dispensaries I’ve visited. This is the Chipotle of cannabis. The yellow paint scheme and the polished concrete floors carried that feeling of careful, corporate and clean right into the dispensing area, full of modern tables and display cases that all gave off that same classy and curated vibe. On one wall were loads of tasteful schwag: water bottles, lanyards, rolling trays, T-shirts, all with the Harvest House of Cannabis logo in crisp, black font. After awhile, my paperwork submitted and my dog-eared medical cannabis card with the curling lamination handed back, I was ushered into the dispensary proper, where I was met by my budtender, who identified himself as Zack, or more likely Zach. Zack or Zach, tattooed and hipster-bearded, was a font of enthusiasm and knowledge about the products on display, steering me in the direction of vape cartridges when I commiserated about my puny lungs, and into an OG Kush cart when I talked about how that strain in particular works for my head even when smoking flower doesn’t work with the rest of me. He even threw in a battery and charger with the vape cartridge, which saved me a few bucks and which can be reused. Throughout the entire transaction, Zach was great, one of the most knowledgeable budtenders I’ve met so far. No complaints there. One drawback I saw was that Harvest House of Cannabis has its menus constantly cycling through on a pair of big flatscreens over the sales counter. While waiting for the price of the OG Kush cart to come up, Zach and I had to stand there, necks craned, waiting. It took a bit for the menu to roll through all the options, and I thought that for the sake of the visually or otherwise impaired, it would probably do well to pay a few bucks to print out a list of their wares and prices on actual dead tree paper. Make it yellow if you must. The other drawback to Harvest House of Cannabis — something I’ve experienced at a few


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other dispensaries — is that it only sells prepackaged cannabis as of this writing. In the age of coronavirus and killer flu, there’s likely something plenty smart about not going the route some dispensaries do, keeping their cannabis in old-school Mason jars where anybody can stick their nose in for a big ol’ whiff of the kind-kind. That said, there is — for our money — something right about seeing and smelling the bud as it is weighed out in front of you, as opposed to being handed to you in a hermetically sealed jar or baggie. Maybe the latter fits with the vibe at Harvest House of Cannabis, but we always find it nice to actually see the goods (Note: A friend of ours who went into Harvest House at a different point in the weekend was told by her budtender that the dispensary planned on getting some tethered clear jars for the tables so customers can at least see the texture and perhaps catch a smell of a sample of the product they’re buying). Overall, the feeling of Harvest House of Cannabis, while hitting all the right notes when it comes to a truly upscale cannabis-buying experience, felt a bit sterile to me. Maybe I’ll change my tune on repeat visits, especially if it cooks up a few offers I can’t refuse as other Central Arkansas dispensaries come online. But for now, I can’t quite be called a fan, my appreciation for its lovely decor aside. Call me old-timey and stuck in the black market past, call me crazy, but I just want a hint of danger when I’m buying cannabis, that feeling of doing something just a wee bit illicit. Buying marijuana from Harvest House of Cannabis feels as illicit as buying a bottle of shampoo from Target. And yes, that’s probably a great thing overall, a fact on which I will accept your hate mail with joy, because I also recognize that it is time for cannabis to come out of the shadows and be seen as medicine instead of an illegal drug to get a weekend thrill. And yes, in that way, Harvest House of Cannabis succeeds, being as clean, well lit and freshly swept as a Walgreens or CVS drug store. Harvest House of Cannabis is probably the future, while your average mom-and-pop independent cannabis dispensary, if such a thing can be said to exist, is probably the past. You may absolutely love that clean, efficient feeling, their color coordination and carefully manicured fonts and tasteful furniture. But it’s probably just not for me right now. And with a couple two-dozen conversations with real patients about what they want — the five biggest considerations of patients, in my experience, being cost, cost, selection, cost and cost, not necessarily in that order — I genuinely wonder how far great decor and an Apple-store feel will carry Harvest House of Cannabis in Little Rock with your average medical marijuana patient as well, especially if those prices don’t come down at least a smidge. Again, though: Your mileage can and will likely vary, and to each his or her own.   

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STRESSED OUT

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BY WILL NEDIGER EDITED BY WILL SHORTZ

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Will Nediger, of London, Ontario, is a professional crossword constructor and writer of trivia questions. He’s a regular contributor to National Academic Quiz Tournaments, which supplies questions for quiz-bowl tournaments at the middle-school, high-school and college levels. Since 2000, Will has had more Sunday crosswords in The Times (14, including today’s) than any other Canadian. — W. S. No. 0112

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Across 1 Stuffs with bacon, say 6 Convention handouts 10 Second of the 10 biblical plagues 15 Mission-driven org. 19 Underway 20 Congress person 21 Ancient neighbor of Lydia 22 Intl. group founded in 1960 with five members 23 “We can’t hear you in the back, Johannes!”? 26 Winter leaf covering 27 “Oops, my bad!” 28 Fixtures at most airport lounges nowadays 29 Boston ____ (Sam Adams offering) 30 Place to fill up in Canada 31 Not just -er 32 Canal trouble 35 Triage sites, briefly 36 Brown in a Food Network kitchen 37 Not leave alone 38 Put on a production of a classic Sondheim musical? 41 Subjects of “birds and bees” talks 44 Knowledgeable about 45 Pirate’s chant 46 Scottish cap 47 What composers do when they add the finishing touches? 50 Lets out 52 Put away, as a sword 53 “What’s the ____?” 54 Place to park at the bar 55 Police, informally 56 Comedian Andre with a self-named Adult Swim show 59 Russian assembly 61 Super-duper 65 Western Hemisphere grp. 66 What workers at the sticker factory do? 70 ____ Royal Highness 71 Words before “Remember” and “Forget” in song titles 73 Shooter of arrows 74 Code part 75 Brown in the kitchen 76 Scarfs (down) 79 Do some pogoing 81 French France 83 Jackson nicknamed the “Queen of Gospel” 86 Shorten words like “forecastle” and “boatswain”? 89 Equal 90 Stretching muscle 92 Certain yearling 93 What a private detective might photograph 94 Ignore what you have in reserve while taking inventory? 97 Morn’s counterpart 98 Assignment that might have a page limit 99 #MeToo ____ 88 MARCH 2020

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13 Samoa salesperson 14 Worth heeding 15 Utterly useless 16 Nonbeliever, now 17 Not always available 18 Nascar and FIFA, e.g. 24 Ibex’s perch 25 Brinks 33 Google Play buys 34 Big snapper, informally 35 Book of Mormon book 36 Ready for romance 37 Trim, in a way 39 Spectacle 40 “I totally forgot!” 41 End result 42 Take up again, as a case 43 Like foods said to be good for hangovers and bad for skin complexion 44 In ____ (not yet delivered) 48 Singer who was in 2018’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” 49 Has as a mount 51 Right-angled joint 54 “Quién ____?” (Spanish “Who knows?”) 57 Fateful day in 44 B.C. 58 No purebred 60 Cosmo, e.g. 62 What’s the big idea? 63 Dimensions

64 Something you don’t want to be under 66 Noodle, for example 67 Colleague 68 Put on the books 69 Giving up time 72 Carrier until 2001 75 Rudder’s place 77 Place 78 Dispersed, as a search party 80 Retro Chrysler 82 Corroborates 83 Did some gambling 84 Former Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand 85 Defenders in the Battle of Trenton 86 ____ Nostra 87 Film director Nicolas 88 Tangent introducer 91 Funny 95 Watched a kitty 96 Target of an air freshener 97 Series finale abbr. 101 Baseball’s Chase 102 Confederate in an audience 103 Ridged fabric 104 Syrian strongman 106 Doesn’t just sit 107 Writers might click them 109 Sporty roof feature 112 Solemn statement 113 Poetic “before” 114 Feel bad


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THE OBSERVER

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ...

T

he Observer is about to hit the back slope of our 40s come this July, and as our dear old Pa and Granny and every other well-seasoned adult in our life tried to tell us back when we were in the carefree summer grasshopper portion of our existence, the idiot lights to our body are starting to wink on, one by one. At first it was just a nagging thing here or there, a weather elbow or achy back when we didn’t sleep just right. Lately, though, things have been accelerating. As we once heard a comic say: You know you’re in your 40s when the doctor starts using those magic words “There’s not much we can do about it.” We’ve hit the maintenance phase now, having lived all those years in the golden June when damn near everything you might have happen to you could be fixed by a pill or a powder, laying off the tater chips and beer for a while or getting a new pillow. Ah, the salad days! If we’d have known it was going to count, we’d have probably eaten a few more salads. The Observer doesn’t usually dish much in this space about the health buggaboos we’re going though. We’ve all got our problems after all, and many have it much, much worse than Yours Truly, so who are we to complain? Still, we offer the following as a PSA so you don’t manage to fall over the same cliff as Your Old Pal, the Fool Card made flesh, which appears to be our lot more and more. See, what happened was back right before Thanksgiving. The Observer used a rotary spindle sander for about an hour. We’ve used that same damn sander for hours at a time before, a thousand times, just like we’ve used saws, routers, drills, mowers, grinders, 90 MARCH 2020

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vacuums, equipment of all sorts and horsepowers, whining at decibels from bearable to wine-glass-shattering. And in all the years we’ve been doing that, just like we did back in November with that spindle sander, The Observer used no hearing protection. But ever since that day, for almost three months now as of this writing, every waking moment, every second, while driving or trying to cast off to sleep, reading a book or as we write these very words, The Observer has had a persistent ringing in our left ear. Depending on factors that we haven’t been able to quite puzzle out yet, though we’ve tracked and jotted down and journaled everything from barometric pressure to daily salt intake to the amount of caffeine we’ve swallowed to keep us upright, the sound varies a bit for reasons unknown, ranging from crickets on a warm summer evening, to — when it’s bad — a shrieking teakettle. For a solid month there, including all the way through Christmas until we finally learned to let it fade mostly into the background and not think about it, the unceasing sound consumed pretty much every bit of joy in The Observer’s life. It filled in every crack and crevice, until we worried at times that it would drive us completely around the bend, and that is no lie. You have no idea how much you crave the sound of silence until you lose it. As doctors and specialists and suffering commiserators have told us now in triplicate: Once you have tinnitus, there is pretty much nothing that can be done. It either stays or goes as it came, on its own timetable. With the exception of certain rare cases, there is absolutely no cure. There’s no pill you can swallow

for it. There is absolutely no reliable treatment or yoga position or quack remedy to fix it. There is nothing whatsoever to be done, other than to be told: “Learn to live with it,” which is a hell of a lot easier said than done. The Observer’s case is apparently pretty mild compared to some poor bastards out there, and we have been able to learn to mostly tune it out these days, completely forgetting about it for hours at a time before we absentmindedly think, “Is it still there?” and then there it is again, loud as ever, pouring in like the hot lead, like the sound of a sudden scream in the dusk. Without Spouse and Junior — the latter of whom confided in his Old Man that he has had a ringing in his ears since he was a child; a fact that would have likely got his little ass shipped to the Mayo Clinic had his very protective mother and father known it back when he was in short pants — it’s genuinely questionable whether we would have made it through. That said, The Observer has made great strides in three short months, and we’re confident there will come a day when we don’t think about it at all. All this is to say: Please do us a favor and protect your hearing, kids. At a concert, at the club, using tools or equipment: If you’re doing something that makes you have to talk above a normal speaking voice, you are risking your ears and you are risking what The Observer has endured and is enduring, and may endure for the rest of our days. If it’s loud, get some earplugs or leave. Trust Your Old Pal when we say: You absolutely do not want to experience this for a minute, much less months, much less forever. So listen. Because Yours Truly knows of which we speak.


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