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Commission recommends space for Arkansas Capitol’s upcoming ‘monument to the unborn’ • Arkansas Advocate

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Commission recommends space for Arkansas Capitol’s upcoming ‘monument to the unborn’ • Arkansas Advocate


The Arkansas Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission agreed Tuesday to recommend that the Secretary of State approve its proposed location for a “monument to the unborn” on the Capitol complex.

Act 310 of 2023 authorizes the Secretary of State to decide where to place “a suitable monument commemorating unborn children aborted during the era of Roe v. Wade.” The law states that Arkansans had at least 236,243 abortions while Roe v. Wade was in place from 1973 to 2022.

Lakey Goff, the artist behind the idea of a “living wall” of flora and fauna for the monument, proposed placing the monument in the grassy space behind the Capitol and to the north of the Supreme Court building, near a set of picnic tables. Goff and the commission spent last month’s meeting debating two other possible locations before deciding to compromise.

The monument is likely to occasionally draw crowds, such as the annual March for Life led by abortion opponents, so the monument should be placed in a highly accessible space, commissioner Michael Harry said.

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“I think this new location can accommodate that, whereas the other two locations could not have,” Harry said. “It would have been a logistical nightmare.”

Several areas of the Capitol grounds are “no-monument zones,” but Goff said she ensured the space is legally available for a new monument before proposing it.

Commission recommends design for ‘monument to the unborn’ at Arkansas Capitol

Goff also said the land is important “spiritually” because it was once the site of a prison that housed both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

“We are anointed to redeem this land by preaching the good news of Jesus, finding the broken part and setting the captives free,” Goff said. “…People will be set free from this living wall monument.”

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Secretary of State John Thurston will have the final say on the monument’s location.

The commission chose Goff’s design in December from a pool of nine monument designs submitted for consideration. Goff said the idea was partially inspired by a similar installation at New York City’s Liberty Park, which overlooks the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

The state will not use public money to construct the monument because Act 310 established a trust fund to raise money via gifts, grants and donations. Fundraising for the wall began last month, and Goff said she is aware of someone who has promised to be a monthly contributor.

Construction is not allowed to begin until 10% of the necessary funds have been donated, Harry said.

Goff told the commission she estimates construction will cost “very roughly” between $250,000 and $500,000.

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Little Rock contracting firm Nabholz will be the project manager for the monument, and landscape architects from Development Consultants, Inc. of Little Rock will work on the project, Goff said.

Some commissioners expressed concern about whether the trust fund will accumulate enough money to complete the monument, which will include waterfall sounds from an underground sound system. Republican Sen. Kim Hammer of Benton, who co-sponsored Act 310 in the Legislature, said he would give the commission a “personal commitment” that construction would not begin until the trust fund has enough money for completion.

Bill to create anti-abortion monument at Arkansas Capitol heads to governor’s desk

Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, also sponsored Act 310 and was also present at Tuesday’s meeting.

In 2019, Bentley sponsored the state’s near-total abortion ban that went into effect upon the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

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Hammer co-sponsored a 2015 law authorizing the construction of the Capitol’s Ten Commandments monument, which has been the subject of ongoing federal litigation. Several plaintiffs have claimed this monument violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits government entities from favoring an establishment of religion.



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Arkansas

Razorbacks Flip Baylor Offensive Line Commitment

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Razorbacks Flip Baylor Offensive Line Commitment


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas has flipped the commitment of Kash Courtney, a class of 2025 consensus three-star offensive lineman from Carthage High School in Carthage, Texas. Courtney originally verbally committed to Baylor in October when current offensive line coach Eric Mateos was still on staff in Waco.

Courtney announced his decision on X (formerly Twitter) and thanked Baylor coach Dave Aranda for the “support for the love shown throughout this process”

Listed at 6 foot-4, 285 pounds, Courtney started as a sophomore on Carthage’s 16-0 Texas 4A D-II state championship team, and also competed in track in high school, according to 247Sports.

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Highlights of the season can be found here.

Courtney took an official visit to Arkansas May 31 and flipped his commitment 2 weeks later. He is the second offensive line commitment in the class of 2025 along with Blake Cherry from Owasso, Okla.

The interior offensive lineman is ranked as the 97th in his class at the offensive tackle position according to 247Sports. Along with Baylor, he chose Arkansas over Duke, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UTSA and West Virginia.

HOGS FEED:

• ESPN Gives Calipari Reason to Find Chip on His Shoulder

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• Calipari draws familiar foe in ACC-SEC Challenge

• Arkansas AD Damaged PGA, British Open Trophy While Disrespecting Golf Legend

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Central Arkansas Water: Main break on Spring Street in Little Rock, temporary road closure

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Central Arkansas Water: Main break on Spring Street in Little Rock, temporary road closure


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Crews with Central Arkansas Water have repairs underway after a water main break in Little Rock.

CAW said that a 16-inch water main near South Spring Street had a spontaneous break Thursday afternoon, adding that repairs are estimated to take six hours.

Due to the break, CAW is reporting southbound traffic near Frontage Road and Spring Street going south to West 12th Street is being redirected temporarily.

Repair crews are working to repair the break, the agency reported.

CAW advised that customers in the area will have discolored water due to the break and should avoid washing clothes during the discoloration.

Anyone looking for more details on the road closure can call the CAW Distribution Dispatch Center at 501-377-1239.





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Arkansas football positional previews: Can running backs rebound from 2023?

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Arkansas football positional previews: Can running backs rebound from 2023?


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — There are 11 weekends remaining until the return of Arkansas football.

The Razorbacks open the 2024 season in Little Rock against UAPB. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Arkansas is coming off a disappointing 4-8 campaign that saw offensive coordinator Dan Enos get fired midseason and the eventual departures of KJ Jefferson and Raheim ‘Rocket’ Sanders, two faces of the program.

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More: Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson eager to capitalize on fresh start with Arkansas football

More: Arkansas football game time windows, kickoff vs. Texas announced by SEC

In response, the Hogs hired Bobby Petrino and hit the transfer portal, bringing in plenty of newcomers for what feels like an all-important season for head coach Sam Pittman.

Over the next month, the Southwest Times Record will run positional previews twice a week, asking two questions and providing one bold prediction. We tackled the quarterback position earlier this week.

Here’s a look at the running backs entering 2024.

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Is there a clear starter at running back for Arkansas football?

Ja’Quinden Jackson and Rashod Dubinion are the leaders in the clubhouse for the starting role. Both players worked with the first team during the spring game, but Jackson handled most of the carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.

Jackson ran for 797 yards while battling an ankle injury last year at Utah. He only had nine catches out of the backfield, but he looked to be a receiving threat and a capable pass blocker during the spring. There was a revolving door at the starter’s spot in 2023, and Pittman would like some consistency at the position this season.

Dubinion is entering his third year in the program. Everyone struggled behind the offensive line last season, but Dubinion led Arkansas running backs in all-purpose yards and had some nice moments in the passing game, including a clutch 14-yard touchdown reception on the road against Alabama.

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Jackson enters fall as the projected starter, but Dubinion will ensure competition rages throughout camp.

How long till Braylen Russell makes an impact?

The burly freshman was one of Arkansas’ top recruits in the previous cycle and impressed coaches the moment he stepped on campus. With tree trunks for legs, Russell displayed strength between the tackles and a certain athletic touch in the receiving game this spring.

Russell will be a prominent piece of the offense at some point in 2024, and it could come early in the season. Luke Hasz received similar hype coming out of his freshman preseason, and the Hogs unleashed the dynamic tight end against BYU in their first big matchup of 2023. Russell could be on a similar timeline.

One bold prediction: Hogs increase rushing output by 1,000 yards

The Hogs ran for 1,668 yards in 2023. In the year prior, Arkansas ranked eighth in the country with 3,075 yards.

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The offensive line, a new offensive coordinator and some better injury luck will all propel Arkansas to a season total closer to 2022’s output. After the top three, Arkansas has quality depth with FSU transfer Rodney Hill.

Petrino will hunt explosive plays in the passing game, but a rugged ground attack will still be the backbone of the offense under Pittman. Arkansas will run for more than 2,675 yards, which would have ranked 22nd in the country last year.

What the coaches said this spring

The running back group is going to be real competitive, I think, with R-Dub and JJ probably competing for the starter. If we were playing a game at the end of the week, they would be the ones competing for that starter. The youngster, Braylen, has done a great job. He’s big. He’s really physical. He’s got great hands. It’s all new to him, so there’s times he has a far-away look in his eyes when he doesn’t know the play or can’t picture it in his mind, but he’s got a chance to be special. 

— Offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino on the running back room toward the end of spring practice.

Projected depth chart

  • Ja’Quinden Jackson, redshirt senior
  • Rashod Dubinion, junior
  • Braylen Russell, freshman
  • Rodney Hill, redshirt sophomore
  • Tyrell Reed Jr., sophomore



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