Little Rock Look Back: A. M. “Sandy” Keith

On March 4, 1924, Alexander M. “Sandy” Keith was born.  He would serve as Little Rock’s sixty-third mayor in 1979.

Growing up in Little Rock, he graduated from Little Rock Catholic High and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He served in World War II as Lieutenant (jg) United States Naval Reserve.

Keith was a certified public accountant, who during his career worked mainly with the firm, Keith, Allen & Pickering. In addition, Keith spent more than a dozen years in public service in Little Rock. Elected to the Little Rock City Board of Directors in 1971, Keith served three consecutive terms.

He was elected Mayor in 1979, wishing to serve only six months in the post, when the ordinary term of office for the Mayor was two years. So he resigned the position after six months. (His grandfather, also known as Alexander M. Keith, served two terms on the Little Rock City Council in the 1800s.)

Following his twelve years on the Little Rock City Board of Directors, Keith was appointed to the Pulaski County Board of Equalization.

During his career, Keith also served as president of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants, and was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Council. He also served on the Arkansas Board of Accountancy. In addition to these, Keith served as Chairman of the St. Vincent’s Infirmary Facilities Board, and as a director of the Benton Savings and Loan. He was a member of the Economic Opportunity Agency, Pulaski County Board, and the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Committee.

At his death in 2008, he was survived by his wife, Leah, three children and six grandchildren.

31st Annual POPS ON THE RIVER sponsored by Arkansas Democrat Gazette; including performance by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

popsonriverPops on the River, presented by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is the state’s largest Fourth of July celebration and takes place this year on Friday, July 4th in downtown Little Rock.

Pops on the River, in it’s 31st year, is FREE to the public and will begin at noon outside the main gates of the First Security Amphitheater in the River Market Pavilions with a Kid’s Pavilion and Car Pavilion. The event will also have a marketplace with shopping, food trucks, a car show and other activities below the River Market Pavilions.

2-8:30pm – Military Appreciation Tent

All Military members (active, retired or dependents) are encouraged to check-in to receive a discount card to many of the vendors at Pops on the River. Other giveaways including t-shirts and koozies will be available while supplies last.


12:00pm – 8:30pm – Kids Pavilion (East Pavilion) sponsored by Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Join the fun at the pavilion with free bounce houses, crafts, games and activities for the kids. Free Hiland Dairy milk for the kids.

Join us as we Salute the Troops – kid’s are invited to write a letter or color a picture to send to a service man or women serving overseas. Sponsored by St. Vincent.


12:30pm – 1:45pm – Jeremy Geyer performs (Pavilion Plaza)


2:00pm – 8:00pm – Caricatures by John Deering (Kids Pavilion)

John Deering is the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s editorial cartoonist. The fee of $10 goes to support Our House Children’s Center.


2:00pm – 4:00pm – Uncle Sam (Kids Pavilion)

Uncles Sam visits the kids and will perform magic tricks and make balloon animals.


2:15pm – 3:30pm – Valley Ray performs (Pavilion Plaza)


4:00pm – 5:15pm – Northeast Northwest performs (Pavilion Plaza)


5:30pm – Gates to amphitheater open

Chairs, blankets are encouraged. Open amphitheater seating is available, but limited. You can purchase reserved seating for $10 in advance online. No coolers or outside food or drinks. No pets or fireworks allowed.


5:30pm – 8:30pm – Smile Photobooth presented by Delta Dental (Kids Pavilion)

Take July 4th themed pictures in the fun photobooth and leave with a free photostrip. You can also view and get a digital copy of your photo at


5:30pm – 9:30pm – Salute to the Troops. Sponsored by St. Vincent (Riverfront Park)

Record a video message to our men and women in the military in our Salute the Troops tent. Free t-shirts to the first 100 who record their videos.


6:30pm – The Oh Say! Can you Sing? Finalists perform. (First Security Amphitheater)

Help the judges decide who will sing the National Anthem with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and win $500. See the finalists online now at


7:00pm – Air National Guard Band of the Southwest (First Security Amphitheater)

The Air National Guard Band of the Southwest, historically known as the 531st Air Force Band, has over a sixty year history of sustaining the traditions and heritage that has become the hallmark of military bands. This forty-member concert band will provide patriotic and Americana music, from Sousa to Broadway to Motown.


8:30pm – The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, presented by Delta Dental (First Security Amphitheater)

Conducted by Philip Mann. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performance is one not to miss.


9:15/9:30pm – Fireworks

Celebrate our nation’s independence with the Pops on the River Fireworks finale – shot over the Main Street Bridge and visible to all of downtown Little Rock.

Ark Democrat-Gazette Pops on the River tonight

popsonriverPops on the River, presented by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and sponsored by Arkansas’ Best Chevy Dealers, will take place Thursday, July 4, at the First Security Amphitheater. The event holds true to its roots by continuing to offer free family entertainment with a performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and a fireworks finale, but has expanded over the years to include more activities and events for festivalgoers.

Salute the Troops, which is sponsored by St. Vincent, is a three-part campaign to honor the men and women in the armed forces. Throughout the day, a letter-writing station will be set up for children in our Kids Pavilion (open noon-8:30 p.m.) where letters can be written (or pictures drawn) to the troops serving overseas through the A Million Thanks campaign. From 5:30-9:30 p.m., a Salute the Troops tent will be sent up to record video messages to the troops. The videos will appear on Those who are not able to make the event can upload their own video to the website through July to honor these men and women.

Other events/attractions at this year’s Pops include The Chevy Car Pavilion will feature the newest lines of cars and trucks. The Kids Pavilion, sponsored by Arkansas Children’s Hospital, will include bounce houses, games, crafts, live music, face painting and caricatures by John Deering, cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Also at the event is a classic car show, a marketplace for shopping and, of course, food trucks with traditional (and not so traditional) fair food. Live music will be played throughout the day and evening, including local acts Mister Morphis, Kirk Anderton, the Oh Say! Can You Sing? contestants and the Happy Tymes Jazz Band.

The gates will open to the First Security Amphitheater at 5:30 p.m. for the other planned entertainment that is the backbone of the event, including Arkansas Symphony Orchestra concert, sponsored by Delta Dental, will begin at 8:30 p.m. with Music Director Philip Man conducting. Fireworks, sponsored by St. Vincent,  will begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. and are shot off the Main Street Bridge. This year’s show will be 30 minutes to mark the 30th anniversary. Fireworks used at Pops are 100 percent made in the U.S.A.

Festivalgoers are asked to take their best shot for a chance to win a $250 gift card from Bedford Camera and Video. Photos of Pops can be submitted to and it’s monthly challenge for a chance to win.

Transportation and free parking are provided for festivalgoers. The route includes stops at the Clinton Presidential Center, the U.S. Post Office, the Arkansas Arts Center and the River Market, where the event will be held. Free parking is available at each trolley stop, and trolley service is free.

The following roads will close between 5 and 11 p.m.: Rock, Ottenheimer, Commerce and the Main Street Bridge.

The event is free to the public. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the festivities. Amphitheater seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. The public can reserve amphitheater seating for only $10 prior to the event through the Pops on the River website. No fireworks, food, drinks, coolers or pets will be allowed in the park.

The event’s benefiting charity this year is Ronald McDonald House Charities. The event is supported by sponsors Arkansas’ Best Chevy Dealers, Delta Dental, Chick-fil-A, Bedford Camera and Video, St. Vincent, City of Little Rock, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Hiland Dairy, Downtown Little Rock Partnership and Flynco.

Sculpture Vulture: St. Vincent


This week’s Sculpture Vulture features sculptures on the campus of the St. Vincent Medical Center. On either side of the main entrance to the hospital are marble sculptures. One is of the hospital’s namesake St. Vincent de Paul and the other is of Jesus Christ.

The statue of St. Vincent depicts him with two children. In his left arm, he holds a small boy and is looking down at a young girl with outstretched arms. The statue was given in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Young.

Opposite the statue of St. Vincent is a statue of Jesus Christ. It depicts him standing with arms raised.