Leader Blues

Friday, October 10, 2008

TOP STORY > >Prosecutor named for Lonoke County

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Gov. Mike Beebe has named a former prosecutor long active in the Cabot community to serve out the balance of Lona McCastlain’s term as District 23 prosecuting attorney.

Will Price Feland, 56, who is a lawyer, a businessman, a minister, former president of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce and a Lonoke Exceptional School board member, will replace McCastlain.

She resigned effective Dec. 31 to accompany her husband Bruce, a colonel in the Army National Guard, on an overseas assignment.

Bruce McCastlain, who serves fulltime in the National Guard, was promoted Sept. 14 from lieutenant colonel to full colonel. He got his orders for Europe Sept. 17, she said.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased if I had (picked him) myself,” McCastlain said Thursday. “He’s professional and will serve the people well. He did it before and I know he will do it again.”

“I served in the office as deputy prosecutor, then was elected for four terms,” Feland said Friday. In 1992, he did not seek reelection, going into seminary instead.

He said he wanted to assure continuity of the office.

Because he’s appointed to the position, he’ll not be eligible to succeed himself at the end of his term. He will serve until Dec. 31, 2010.

McCastlain said Feland was one of just a couple of people she recommended to Beebe for the position.

Feland is pastor of the First Christian Church in Sherwood and has a business, Pinnacle Structures in Cabot.

He said he would visit McCastlain’s office to ensure a smooth transition before taking over Jan. 1.

“My hope would be to maintain the staff. I’ll meet with them next week. I want to maintain a very professional environment,” he said.

He said he would be getting a feel for what staff members are charged with what responsibilities, and what cases are likely to go into the first of the year.

He will have to reacquaint himself with the county’s law enforcement community, which has turned completely over since he left 17 years ago.

“I’m looking forward to a very smooth transition,” McCastlain said. “I don’t think he’ll come in and upset the apple cart, but that’s up to him.”

She said there are a couple of murders pending and a full docket.

“I told the governor I’d be leaving the position in good hands,” she said.

Feland is a former Cabot School Board member.

He is also a member of the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

McCastlain was a tireless advocate working for battered and sexually abused women and children, and Feland said his office would remain active in prosecuting such cases.

His wife, Martha, was on the school board for 10 years. His son Price, 27, works for Sen. Mark Pryor, and his daughter Nancy is a Cabot School teacher.

Feland is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and of the University of Arkansas Law School at Little Rock. He is also a certified public accountant.