I filled in hosting this week’s edition of Arkansas Week on AETN, focusing largely on the escalation of violence in Little Rock. The city has seen a 24 percent increase in violent crime from a year ago, but what finally prompted action from Gov. Asa Hutchinson was an outbreak of gunfire at a Little Rock nightclub early Saturday, July 1, with 25 people being shot. Amazingly no one died. Hutchinson announced the creation of a multiagency partnership that includes the FBI, Arkansas State Police and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office working to get a handle on the situation. I opened the program interviewing Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, then talked with our panel made up of political science professor Heather Yates from the University of Central Arkansas, Wes Brown of Talk Business & Politics, and Independent journalist Steve Brawner. The program will be aired tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., or you can watch the program below.
I’ve got several new events coming up related to my book Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas. First, I’ll have a book signing at Barnes & Noble, 4000 McCain Blvd in North Little Rock on Saturday, June 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Then on Wednesday, August 2, I’ll be hosting a lecture about the history of the Rock Island as part of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies’ Legacies & Lunch program at 12 p.m. in the Darragh Center at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library, 100 Rock Street in Little Rock. That will be followed by a book signing.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve recorded an interview for a half-hour episode of Barnes and… with Steve Barnes which will air on the Arkansas Educational Television Network on July 17 at 6:30 p.m. It will feature many of the historic photographs included in the book.
I’m nearing the debut of my first episode in a podcast series I’ve been producing, which will probably run about 15 episodes and feature segments from about two dozen interviews I’ve recorded over the years with former employees of the Rock Island and others with a connection to the railroad. Look for that by the first week in July.
One final note, I only recently bought a copy of my own book through iBooks on my iPad and was impressed at the quality of the photos. You can double click an image and then zoom deep inside the historical photos. The book is available for sale at most major bookstores in central Arkansas, as well as online retailers like Amazon, but if you’d like to get it for a digital device, I was very pleased with the quality. To learn more about my book, find a link to watch a previous lecture I gave at the Clinton School of Public Service and more, click here.
Arkansas’s plan to execute eight death row inmates over an 11-day period has generated a lot of attention from around the world. While courts removed two of the men slated to die, international media outlets continue following the story carefully. Shortly after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a stay for the executions, I reported live on Israeli television network i24NEWS to discuss the latest. You can find a link to watch the broadcast here. I mentioned in the interview that we were still waiting for a ruling from a federal judge, and that ended up coming down the next morning, also staying the executions. The state is now appealing those decisions.