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Arkansas abortion ballot initiative rejected –



Arkansas abortion ballot initiative rejected –

Bankers boxes filled with more than 100,000 signatures in support of putting an abortion measure on Novembers ballot were dropped off at the Arkansas State Capitol on Friday. On Wednesday, the state’s attorney government said they did not have the required accompanying documents. Photo courtesy of Arkansans for Limited Government/Facebook

July 11 (UPI) — Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston has rejected a petition to put an abortion rights measure on November’s ballot over organizers failing to submit all required paperwork.

Arkansans for Limited Government has sought to put an amendment on the general election ballot to enshrine unlimited access to abortion services up to 18 weeks of gestation into the state’s Constitution. On deadline Friday, they wheeled banker boxes containing some 100,000 signatures into the Arkansas State Capitol to qualify.

“Delivery day dump,” it had said last week in confirmation on Facebook. “Feeling overwhelmed by the energy and excitement from everyone who worked so hard to get this done.”

On Wednesday, Thurston, a Republican, said in a letter to the group that its organizers failed to provide a statement identifying paid canvassers by name and another indicating that a copy of the secretary of state’s handbook on initiatives and referenda had been provided to each paid canvasser who had the requirements for obtaining signatures explained to them.


“You did not submit any statements meeting this requirement. By contrast, other sponsors of initiative petitions complied with this requirement. Therefore, I must reject your submission,” Thorn wrote in the letter.

He continued that even if their failure to submit the documents did not require for their application to be rejected, it would mean that signatures collected by paid canvassers could not be counted, and because of that their application would not meet the required 90,704 signatures.

According to his letter, the group submitted 101,525 signatures, of which 14,143 were collected by paid canvassers. With the reduction, they would have a total 87,382 signatures collected by volunteers, which is 3,222 signatures short.

“Even if I could accept your submission, I would be forced to find that your petition is insufficient on its face for failure to obtain the required 90,704 signatures,” he said.

Arkansans for Limited Government called the disqualification “ridiculous” and that they provided Thurston’s office with a list of their paid canvassers and all required information associated with their employment.


It said in a late Wednesday statement that they worked with his office “during every step of the process” and it was his office that supplied them with the affidavit paperwork they used.

“At multiple junctures — including on July 5 inside of the Capitol Building — we discussed signature submission requirements with the secretary of state’s staff,” it said.

“Until today, we had no reason not to trust that the paperwork they supplied us was correct and complete.”

It also accused Thurston of making “an unfounded legal interpretation” of Arkansas law in order to declare its application incomplete.

“More than 101,000 Arkansans participated in this heroic act of direct democracy and stood up to loudly proclaim their support for access to healthcare. They deserve better than a state government that seeks to silence them,” it said while vowing to fight the disqualification.


Meanwhile, Arkansas state Sen. Ben Gilmore, a Republican, declared Wednesday “a great day for life in Arkansas.”

“The secretary of state’s office officially rejected the Arkansas abortion amendment, and it will not appear on the ballot in November,” Gilmore said on X.

“Life is the most basic God-given human right and Arkansas will continue to protect the lives of our unborn children.”

Since the conservative-leaning Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade in June 2022, repealing federal protections for abortion, there has been a movement to protect access to the medical practice via state-level legislation and constitutional amendments.

This year, up to 11 states may have abortion measures on the ballot, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which is focused on healthcare policy.


Pro-abortion organizers in Arizona and Nebraska last week also said they had enough signatures to put a similar abortion measure on their states’ November ballots.

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HawgBeat – The toss-up games Arkansas needs to win in 2024



HawgBeat  –  The toss-up games Arkansas needs to win in 2024

With fall camp just a few weeks away for the Arkansas football team, HawgBeat will take a look at crucial “toss-up” games on the Razorbacks’ 2024 schedule.

Breakout Candidate: Cam Ball

These are matchups that — at least on paper — can go either way and will prove pivotal in the Hogs’ momentum and success throughout the year.

Arkansas football announces 2024 SEC Media Days attendees


HawgBeat has already pondered over the toughest home and road games that head coach Sam Pittman and the Razorbacks will have to face over the coming months, but now it’s time to analyze tilts against Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.


Sept. 7: Arkansas at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon II may be the best RB in the country. (© Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports)

The Razorbacks and Cowboys haven’t met on the football field since 1980, when head coach Lou Holtz led Arkansas to a 33-20 victory over Oklahoma State in Little Rock. All-time, Arkansas leads the series 30-15-1 with the last five matchups going the Hogs’ way.

That trend will be tested in 2024, as the Cowboys are coming off a 10-4 overall 2023 season and return star running back Ollie Gordon II along with seventh-year quarterback Alan Bowman.

Both teams will likely be 1-0 heading into this Week 2 matchup after cupcake openers, and excitement should be high because a win for either program will kickstart momentum heading into conference play.


Looking back at 2023, Arkansas had a similar opportunity against BYU at home. The Hogs dropped that one 38-31 which then led to a six-game losing streak. It’s safe to say that head coach Sam Pittman can’t afford for that to happen again.

Can offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino get the wrinkles ironed out with quarterback Taylen Green for a tough Big 12 road tilt? The answer to that question may go a long way in determining what kind of success Arkansas will have in 2024.

Sept. 28: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M

Is Texas A&M QB Conner Weigman the real deal?
Is Texas A&M QB Conner Weigman the real deal? (© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports)

The Southwest Classic is set to end in 2024, but the Razorbacks and Aggies will battle it out one last time in this trophy game. Despite a nine-game winning streak from 2012-20 by Texas A&M, Arkansas still holds a 42-35-3 all-time advantage. The Aggies defeated the Hogs 34-22 in their 2023 faceoff.

New defensive-minded head coach Mike Elko will have to prepare for Petrino, who was Texas A&M’s playcaller under former head coach Jimbo Fisher last season. The storylines run deep in this matchup, and there’s no doubt it’ll be another nail-biting finish.

By this juncture, Texas A&M will have already played Notre Dame at home and Florida on the road, so the Aggies will be battle-tested. On the other hand, Arkansas will have met Oklahoma State and Auburn away from Fayetteville. Both programs will have tough “ex-SEC East” games the following week in Missouri (Texas A&M) and Tennessee (Arkansas) as well.


Quarterback Conner Weigman returns for his third season in College Station after tossing eight touchdowns with 979 yards in 2023. The former top-50 prospect will lead a new-look offense with playmakers like running back Le’Veon Moss and receivers Noah Thomas and Moose Muhammad III.

The Hogs may be 2-2 heading into this game, and dropping below .500 before the brunt of your SEC schedule is a recipe for disaster. Travis Williams’ defensive unit will need its legs for this end-of-an-era battle.

Oct. 26: Arkansas at Mississippi State

MSU safety Corey Ellington will give Arkansas fits in the secondary.
MSU safety Corey Ellington will give Arkansas fits in the secondary. (© Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports)

Everyone unfortunate enough to watch last season’s 7-3 offensive-lite edition of Arkansas-Mississippi State is hoping to see some fireworks in Starkville this year.

The Bulldogs hired Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby to run the show and the last few matchups in Mississippi have been higher scoring one way or another, so fans likely won’t see only 10 total points scored in this one.

Pittman and new offensive line coach Eric Mateos will meet against former Arkansas assistant Cody Kennedy, who will be coaching up a front line to protect starting quarterback Blake Shapen (Baylor).


Shapen didn’t put up gaudy numbers with the Bears, but he had a respectable 2,188-yard, 13-touchdown campaign with only three interceptions. Defensively, Mississippi State returns talented pass rusher De’Monte Russell and safety Corey Ellington, but that side will be different without former head coach Zach Arnett.

This is a game that Arkansas fans expect to win and it will probably be the easiest road matchup of the year. If the Hogs can’t get the Bulldogs in this 50-50 before facing the likes of Ole Miss, Texas and Missouri, it’ll be a rough November in Fayetteville.


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Remembering Monte | Arkansas Democrat Gazette



Remembering Monte | Arkansas Democrat Gazette

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas football team held opponents to an average of 7.9 points in 1977 to rank third nationally in scoring defense, but the Razorbacks were even stingier against Oklahoma’s vaunted Wishbone offense.

Arkansas capped the season by beating the Sooners 31-6 in the Orange Bowl, played on Jan. 2, 1978 in Miami to finish 11-1 and ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll.

Monte Kiffin was in his first season as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator for Coach Lou Holtz and devised a new scheme that shut down No. 2 Oklahoma, which came into the Orange Bowl averaging 32.9 points.

The surprise Kiffin sprung on Oklahoma was having nose tackle Reggie Freeman play as an outside linebacker and shadow Sooners quarterback Thomas Lott while defensive tackles Dan Hampton and Jimmy Walker — both All-Southwest Conference players in 1977 and All-Americans as seniors in 1978 — tied up the offensive linemen and used their speed against the Sooners’ bulk to gain the advantage.


“It was ingenious what Monte Kiffin did with Reggie, and it stopped Oklahoma dead in their tracks,” said Hampton, voted into the College Sports Hall of Fame in 2024. “There’s no bigger Exhibit A of how amazingly creative Monte Kiffin was. He was amazing.”

Kiffin, who helped Arkansas to a 30-5-1 record as defensive coordinator from 1977-79 before becoming North Carolina State’s head coach and going on to a lengthy NFL coaching career, died Thursday at age 84 in Oxford, Miss. Since 2020 he had been an analyst for his son, Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin.

“It was a shock to see that Monte had passed on,” Walker said. “I just remember him being so full of energy at Arkansas, and even after he left.

“Football lost a great coach and a great person.”

Kiffin was in the midst of his 13-year run as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive coordinator when he spoke to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette at the Senior Bowl in January 2005 about his time with the Razorbacks.


Designing the “Tampa 2” defense is Kiffin’s claim to fame along with helping the Buccaneers beat the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003, but he clearly enjoyed talking about Arkansas.

“I used to love playing in Little Rock at old War Memorial Stadium,” Kiffin said, his face lighting up with a big smile. “When they turned the lights on down there and everybody was screaming, ‘Wooo, Pig! Sooey!’ man, you talk about getting excited. That was awesome.”

A defensive lineman at Nebraska and native of Lexington, Neb., Kiffin was the Cornhuskers’ defensive coordinator from 1969-76 and helped them win back-to-back national championships in 1970-71.

“Beating Oklahoma the way we did in the Super Bowl ranks right up there with winning the national championships at Nebraska,” Kiffin said. “That game was one of the greatest thrills I’ve ever experienced.”

Kiffin laughed when told he said “Super Bowl” rather than “Orange Bowl” while talking about Arkansas beating Oklahoma.


“Well, it was a super game for Arkansas,” Kiffin said. “I guess calling it ‘super’ shows how big it was to me.”

Hampton, a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2002 after a 12-year career with the Chicago Bears, said the Razorbacks never questioned Kiffin changing the defensive scheme for Oklahoma.

“We weren’t sitting around in our hotel rooms in Miami thinking, ‘This is nuts. What the hell is Monte doing?’ ” Hampton said. “If he would have said, ‘Jump out of the hotel,’ we would have said, ‘Which floor?’

“We bought in and it worked out perfectly. Had Reggie ever played outside before? No. He was a nose tackle. But Monte put him out there in space, and Reggie became player of the game.”

Freeman had six sacks and was the Orange Bowl’s Defensive Most Valuable Player.


“I wish everybody could have played for Monte Kiffin,” Hampton said. “He was that great.

“He had this infectious, crazy, wild-eyed look, and you’d see him and get excited and want to go out there and play 8 feet off the ground for him. Those two years I played for Monte was as fun as fun could get.”

Arkansas lost four key players on offense for the Orange Bowl — running backs Ben Cowins and Michael Forrest and receiver Donny Bobo were suspended by Holtz for disciplinary reasons and All-American offensive lineman Leotis Harris suffered a knee injury in practice — and Oklahoma was made an 18-point favorite by oddsmakers.

“I remember us having free time in Miami and going to the malls in our red and white jogging suits,” Walker said. “People would run up to us with their pads and pens for autographs thinking we were Oklahoma players, because we had basically the same colors.

“When they learned we were from Arkansas, they didn’t want anything to do with us. They’d say, ‘Oh well, never mind.’


“We couldn’t wait to play Oklahoma, because nobody gave us a chance. But we knew how impactful our defense had been throughout the year, and we knew Oklahoma was going to have problems with us.

“As we watched film, Monte would point out things we could exploit, and we realized that Oklahoma played against teams like Ohio State and Nebraska with big, physical defensive linemen. They hadn’t played against teams with linemen as quick and fast as we were.”

Walker also recalled how Kiffin coached mental toughness.

“The biggest thing that impressed me with Monte was mind over matter,” Walker said. “I remember when we had a bowl practice in Fayetteville before the Orange Bowl and it was December and really cold. Monte took off his shirt and said, ‘Hey, it’s all in your mind that it’s cold.’

“We thought, ‘Man, he’s crazy.’ But to me, it worked because I stopped thinking about being cold during practice.”


Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman in 2021 recalled meeting Kiffin in 1978. Kiffin scouted a game between Pittman’s Grove (Okla.) High School team that played Miami (Okla.).

“Miami was No. 1 and we were No. 100 in the league below them, and they ended up beating us 21-16,” Pittman said. “They scored late in the game.

“Coach Kiffin came into our locker room and talked about the fight and the grit of the Grove Ridgerunners.”

Larry Beightol was on Holtz’s Arkansas staff with Kiffin as the offensive line coach. Beightol, who died in April at age 81, also was a long-time NFL assistant coach.

“Monte’s the best defensive coordinator I’ve ever coached against or been around,”Beightol said in 2009. “He’s head and shoulders above the other guys.”


Kiffin credited Harold Horton — Arkansas’ defensive line coach in 1977 — with making a major contribution to the Orange Bowl victory.

“We won because our defense controlled the line of scrimmage, and that was because of Harold’s guys,” Kiffin said in 2005. “Harold was a great coach. Not good — great.”

Horton played for the Razorbacks, was an Arkansas assistant coach from 1968-80 and later an administrator with the Razorback Foundation.

“I highly respected Monte Kiffin as a coach and as a person,” Horton said. “I enjoyed being around Monte. He would always be the first guy at work every morning, and I was the second, because I wanted to be where he was.”

Horton’s son, Tim, a former Arkansas player and assistant coach, told the story of his father and Kiffin having a disagreement before Kiffin’s first spring practice with the Razorbacks.


Harold Horton, who had been coaching linebackers, moved to the defensive line position so Kiffin could coach linebackers.

“At Nebraska, Monte coached the flipper technique to get off blocks using your forearm,” Tim Horton, now an assistant coach at Air Force, said in recalling stories he heard from his father, Kiffin and Beightol. “Dad believed in using the hands technique, where you get your hands inside of a blocker’s pads and then you create separation by slinging him around.

“Going into spring practice, Monte told Dad, ‘Hey, I’ll let you try that hands technique the first day or two, but then we’re going to change and do it my way with the flipper technique.’

“The first contact drill in spring practice, the defensive line tore up the offensive line. Just demolished them. After practice Monte came up to Dad and said, ‘Harold, I think we’ll use that hands technique.’ “

Hampton said that during team meals, Kiffin often got lost in his thoughts.


“Monte was kind of like the nutty professor,” Hampton said. “He’d be sitting there at dinner and everybody’s talking about this and that, and Monte would be off looking into space.

“You’d say, ‘Coach, you alright?’ He wouldn’t say anything, and then after a while, he’d say, ‘Yeah, I’m thinking about this defense.’

“He was picturing what we needed to do as a defense to combat whatever play the offense had coming at us.

“Monte Kiffin was one of a kind and just a glorious, glorious coach. God bless him.”

Walker said he appreciated that Kiffin cared about his players away from the field.


“He’d come to the dorm and visit us and make sure we were doing OK,” Walker said. “Stuff that a lot of coaches just wouldn’t do, but that Monte did.”

Monte Kiffin at a glance

BORN Feb. 29, 1940 in Lexington, Neb.

DIED July 11, 2024 in Oxford, Miss (age 84)

AS A PLAYER Defensive lineman at Nebraska 1959-63. Had short stints professionally with the Minnesota Vikings, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Rifles and Brooklyn Dodgers 1964-66.



Nebraska graduate assistant 1966-68, defensive coordinator 1969-76

Arkansas defensive coordinator 1977-79

North Carolina State head coach 1980-82 (16-17 overall record, 8-10 ACC)

Green Bay Packers linebackers coach 1983


Buffalo Bills linebackers coach 1984-85

Minnesota Vikings linebackers coach 1986-89

New York Jets linebackers coach 1990

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator 1991, linebackers coach 1992-94

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator 1995


Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator 1996-2008

Tennessee defensive coordinator 2009

Southern California defensive coordinator 2010-12

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator 2013, assistant head coach for defense 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive assistant 2016


Florida Atlantic defensive assistant 2017-19

Ole Miss player personnel analyst 2020-23

NOTEWORTHY Defensive coordinator for Nebraska’s back-to-back national championship teams in 1970-71 … Helped Arkansas to a 30-5-1 record as defensive coordinator, highlighted by 31-6 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl to cap the 1977 season … Credited with developing the “Tampa 2” defense … Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator when the Buccaneers beat Oakland in the Super Bowl to cap the 2002 season … Only assistant coach inducted in the Tampa Bay Ring of Honor … Father of Ole Miss Coach Lane Kiffin.

    Monte Kiffin was in his first season as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator when the Razorbacks defeated Oklahoma 31-6 in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 1978. The Sooners came into the game averaging 32.9 points per game, but Kiffin’s defensive scheme shut the Sooners down. “There’s no bigger Exhibit A of how amazingly creative Monte Kiffin was,” defensive tackle and 2024 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Dan Hampton said. “He was amazing.” (Democrat-Gazette file photo)
  photo  Former Arkansas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin died Thursday. Jimmy Walker, an All-American defensive tackle for the Razorbacks, said his former coach cared about his players on and off the field. “He’d come to the dorm and visit us and make sure we were doing OK,” Walker said. “Stuff that a lot of coaches just wouldn’t do, but that Monte did.” (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

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Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission hosts Day of Kindness at Baseline Bilingual School in Little Rock



Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission hosts Day of Kindness at Baseline Bilingual School in Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission hosted a special day at a Little Rock school focusing on the true meaning of kindness and its importance.

The commission hosted its Day of Kindness at three different schools in Little Rock on Friday, one being Baseline Bilingual School.

Students started off learning a chant that teachers say they use as a daily affirmation.

“Hate and unforgiveness in our world has to stop,” the students chanted as they repeated after their teacher.


School leaders say they’re using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a blueprint, saying that kindness and compassion start from within. 

“Kindness is taught to children at an early age then it follows them through their educational journey, and this is something they’re able to carry on into their life,” Baseline Bilingual School Principal Ida Wells said.

 Wells has been teaching students about different acts of kindness daily, and on Friday students learned about having compassion for those who come from different walks of life. 

“How would you show kindness to a homeless person?” Wells asked as she taught her students. 

“We did an art lesson, and we did a journal lesson on if you were an ant how you would respond to the grasshopper that’s homeless now,” Wells said.


It’s a lesson that Giuliana Gallo said made her closer to her classmates. 

“First we start playing more often I ask them if they want to be friends and they all say yes,” Gallo said.

Students received Kindle Fires followed by a pizza party concluding their day of kindness. 

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