Privatization is no answer
What does it take to bury a bad idea? The Legislative Council last week undertook a study of turning Arkansas’ prisons over to a private company, an idea suggested by Rep. Johnny Hoyt of Morrilton.
[FULL TEXT]

Baker’s ethics
Only in the Arkansas state government could a lawmaker use a vacuous legal opinion from a spineless state agency to justify unethical conduct.
[FULL TEXT]

The shame of foster care
If you are young and vulnerable, the state can be a welcome nanny, unless you happen to be in Arkansas. Then your trouble may be only beginning.
[FULL TEXT]

Road bonds will cost more
Arkansas highway officials evinced some mild concern last week about the collapse of the federal highway trust fund, which accounts for a big part of the state’s shrinking highway building and maintenance program.
[FULL TEXT]

New district goes forward
There’s still a lot of hard work to be done, but it appears increasingly likely that Jacksonville and the rest of north Pulaski County will soon carve a stand-alone school district from the far-flung environs of the Pulaski County Special School District, and with the approval of the PCSSD School Board at that.
[FULL TEXT]

Colleges and scholarships
It sounds counterintuitive, this idea of the state higher-education director to limit the money that state universities can spend on merit-based scholarships. Is not our cherished goal to send as many youngsters as possible to college?
[FULL TEXT]

The man who couldn’t
stay out of trouble
After he went to prison for six years for tax evasion and cheating his followers out of millions in wages, Tony Alamo should have thought about retiring from his phony Christian cult and stayed on the right side of the law.
[FULL TEXT]

Family speaks after son killed in shootout with police
Steven Smith’s family buried their schizophrenic son Friday morning, four days after he’d been fatally shot in their house by Jacksonville police following a five-hour standoff.
[FULL TEXT]

Gwatney: He found his voice in politics
Not long after he was shot at Democratic Party headquarters just before noon on Wednesday, Bill Gwatney’s family and friends knew his wounds would prove to be fatal.
[FULL TEXT]

British girl who survived bombs, German scientist
who made them

Christine Diffie of Jacksonville was just a little girl back in England during the Second World War, when German bombs and rockets fell from the skies and families were split up and sent to the countryside where it was considered less dangerous, especially for children.
[FULL TEXT]

Gala honors Jordan centennial
The old house on South Main Street in Brinkley is falling apart, and there’s only a handmade sign in the front yard to remind passersby that this is where Arkansas’ most important musician was born.
[FULL TEXT]

Hustlin’ Lu should give back bonus and resign
Luther Hardin, the tireless self-promoter who’s itching to run for governor after Mike Beebe finishes out his second term, should give back the $300,000 bonus he received from his pliant board of trustees just for staying on as president of the University of Central Arkansas.
[FULL TEXT]

Soul singer Green keeps streak going
Soul singer Al Green, the minister of love who was born in eastern Arkansas, keeps spreading his message of happiness and good vibes with his third CD from Blue Note, “Lay It Down,” which evokes the exuberance of his 1970s Hi Recordings.
[FULL TEXT]

Experienced lawmakers know right from wrong
Sen. Jack Crumbly of eastern Arkansas can keep his seat despite “flagrant fraud” that helped him get elected, but two veteran senators are outraged that their colleagues voted last week to let him stay in the Senate.
[FULL TEXT]

Hillary’s loss reminiscent
of stumble by Bill in ’80

Hillary Clinton is giving up her dream of becoming president anytime soon, but she said on Tuesday she’d consider the second spot on the ticket.
[FULL TEXT]

Tornado gets too close for
comfort

Sen. Bobby Glover was in his car early Friday afternoon when a storm roared into Carlisle. He was just a couple of blocks away from the old railroad depot on Main Street, where he has his insurance office, and he was worried about his daughter Robin and was desperate to find her.
[FULL TEXT]

LR lawyer caught in subprime meltdown
Before there was a subprime meltdown, thousands of homes were sold to buyers who couldn’t afford the mortgages that went with them and middlemen lined their pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and fraudulent expenses.
[FULL TEXT]

Huck prays for miracle after losses
An obvious sign that his presidential campaign is sinking and out of money, Mike Huckabee is throwing the national media off his plane and bus and will probably soon abandon Florida, placing all his bets on Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.
[FULL TEXT]

Huck’s main adversary is not running
Mike Huckabee’s most formidable opponent is not running for president.
[FULL TEXT]

Central book is suddenly more timely
Ralph Brodie dropped in at the Jacksonville Rotary Club on Monday to talk about his book, “Central in Our Lives: Voices from Little Rock Central High School, 1957-59.”
[FULL TEXT]

Hillary hurt, Huck boosts McCain for nomination
Until a year ago, Mike Huckabee was an obscure governor from a small state that has a knack for producing national political figures.
[FULL TEXT]

Aretha releases record of the year
Record of the year: Aretha Franklin’s “Rare and Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul,” a two-CD set from Rhino that discounters sell for about $15, which is a bargain. [FULL TEXT]

What little girl wanted for holiday
(This is a reprint of a previous Christmas column.) When my friend Jack Sallee was with the Jaycees in Fayetteville, they’d put an ad in the paper at Christmastime, saying that for $2 you could have Santa come to your place.
[FULL TEXT]

Huckabee impressive, unenduring
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee is way up there in the polls, pulling almost even with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination, although Huckabee badly trails all potential Democratic nominees.
[FULL TEXT]

Pearl Harbor marks 66th anniversary
(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989 and is reprinted to mark the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.)
[FULL TEXT]

County too poor for sick inmates
Beebe police recently arrested James E. (Big Ed) Fuller for selling crack cocaine out of his apartment.
[FULL TEXT]

Tough vet able to cry and smile
When you saw Bill Greer, he usually smiled like all his brothers.
[FULL TEXT]

Parties still looking for their savior
While Republicans and Democrats are slugging it out over who should get their party’s presidential nomination — for many, the choices aren’t all that terrific, which is why minor candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are pulling up from the rear —the good news for Lonoke County Republicans is they have squelched a rebellion to humiliate the mayor of Cabot and an alderman.
[FULL TEXT]

Department plays games with scores
The state Education Department last Friday sent out a poorly written press release that bragged about how much progress public schools are making, although if you read far enough into the press release, you realize schools are doing less well than the year before.
[FULL TEXT]

Quillin’s relatives stand by their man
Ron Quillin’s mother-in-law wasn’t too happy with my column Wednesday about the former Pulaski County comptroller who’s in prison for stealing more than $40,000 to finance an affair with a lady friend who was doing business with the county.
[FULL TEXT]

Emails out, but in-laws still pay up
It was nice of Ron Quillin’s in-laws to mortgage their home so he could repay Pulaski County more than $42,000 he stole while he was the county comptroller, but after they saw the infamous emails he sent to his girlfriend printed in the papers, they must wonder if the bum is worth keeping as a son-in-law.
[FULL TEXT]

It doesn’t take long to get out of prison
You’ve probably noticed how criminals get their names in the papers over and over again.
[FULL TEXT]

It’s Biscuit time in Helena
The Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in downtown Helena — formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival, although it’s still the Biscuit for most fans and it’s still free — will kick off next Thursday with several strong acts and will continue through next Saturday with plenty more good music, and there’s still lots more across the river the following afternoon in downtown Clarksdale, Miss.
[FULL TEXT]

Classmates meet, recall friendship
Ernest Green, perhaps the best known of the Little Rock Nine, was walking up a couple of flights of stairs at Central High School after Tuesday’s ceremony marking the integration of Central 50 years ago this week.
[FULL TEXT]

No troops when you need them
Most people in Little Rock resented the arrival of the 101st Airborne Division to ensure the integration of Central High School 50 years ago — many of those troops were flown into Little Rock Air Force Base — but almost exactly the year before, I would have welcomed the 101st into my native Hungary.
[FULL TEXT]

All voices need to be heard now
No one at the Little Rock School District or at Central High School will tell us if the city will honor white students and their teachers who stood up to the bigots outside Central High School when Gov. Faubus tried to keep nine black kids out of their neighborhood school 50 years ago this month.
[FULL TEXT]

Recognizing others who were there
Gene Bowman of Jacksonville is one of about 4,500 people who’ve received invitations to a ceremony Sept. 25 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration crisis at Central High School in Little Rock.
[FULL TEXT]

Pizzeria closes after move and owner’s surgery
The state Highway Department is completing work on an on-ramp at Hwy. 67/167 in north Jacksonville, where the Pizza Company did pretty decent business for more than a decade.
[FULL TEXT]

Sad news hits us hard this August
A death in the family and deaths of friends have made us think about mortality.
[FULL TEXT]

My father: A witness to 20th Century
When my father passed away at the age of 85 late in the afternoon on Aug. 5, one of the doctors at the emergency room at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami called my brother Steve with the terrible news.
[FULL TEXT]

Is Villines trying to hide more disgrace?
It’s hard to figure out why Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines has opposed the release of emails written by a disgraced former employee — unless Villines thinks they will make his office look bad and raise questions about what his workers are doing when they’re on the clock.
[FULL TEXT]

Americans who make a difference
While we visited the other day with Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne Schatz, the commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, and later with members of a local church, they reluctantly mentioned some extraordinary things they’ve done — one in the line of duty, the others going overseas with a church group.
[FULL TEXT]

Local TV closes in on killing
When it comes to local TV news, they say if it bleeds, it leads.
[FULL TEXT]

Kids, dope don’t mix with driver
He’s been driving a bus for the Pulaski County Special School District for 22 years, and this summer he drives a van for special-education students who attend a summer program at the Jacksonville Middle School for Boys.
[FULL TEXT]

Stax marks 50 years of great music
If you remember Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft,” the Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” Eddy Floyd’s “Knock on Wood,” Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” Booker T. and the MGs’ “Green Onions” and the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night,” you would have enjoyed a concert last month in Memphis commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stax record label.
[FULL TEXT]

Air strategy saving lives
Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne Schatz is in his office at the headquarters of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, where he’s the commander, and he reaches for a dagger he’d brought back from Qatar a couple of years ago, when he was in charge of running airlifts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
[FULL TEXT]

Payday series wins award in competition
(The Arkansas Press Association awarded The Leader first place in the Better Newspaper Contest for our in-depth reporting on payday lenders. This column from March 22, 2006 was part of that series.)
A populist state like Arkansas, which once had the lowest usury rate in the nation — 10 percent was the interest limit until 1982 — now allows payday lenders to charge outrageous interest rates — often several hundred percent interest.

[FULL TEXT]

Next move may be up to federal prosecutor
When the FBI completes its public-corruption probe into former Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh’s administration, interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin in Little Rock could be the one who decides whether to file charges against Stumbaugh and his cronies.
[FULL TEXT]

How city wiped out vet’s investment
A veteran of Vietnam, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, Jim Eggert bought two commercial buildings in Jacksonville, but the closing of the Graham Road rail crossing killed business. He’s put his property up for sale, but he’ll have to take a huge loss.
[FULL TEXT]

Famed photographer had roots in area
If you turn off Hwy. 5 at Cabot near the freeway and drive down Cleland Road for less than a mile, you’ll come to Mt. Pleasant Road.
[FULL TEXT]

U.S. prosecutor demoted over bullying e-mail
Witness in Campbell trial used his government computer and official title to try to intimidate newspaper with threat of a $50 million libel suit and takeover of The Leader.
[FULL TEXT]

Why didn’t feds take this case?
You may have wondered while you were following the corruption trial of Jay and Kelly Campbell in Lonoke County why the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock didn’t prosecute the couple, along with two shady bail bondsmen, who will be tried later.
[FULL TEXT]

 

 

September 24, 2008

Ward Jamboree winners Seth Trostel, 8, watches as Dottie Trostel digs for a stuffed animal after a successful day at the annual Ward Jamboree on Saturday. There were lots of games and prizes.

Bankers reassure depositors
IN SHORT: They stress that their institutions are doing well and deposits are FDIC-insured. [FULL TEXT]

Prosecutor for Lonoke County is resigning
IN SHORT: McCastlain will join her husband in Europe, where he will serve in the National Guard as a colonel. [FULL TEXT]

The man who couldn’t stay out of trouble
IN SHORT: After he went to prison for six years for tax evasion and cheating his followers out of millions in wages, Tony Alamo should have thought about retiring from his phony Christian cult and stayed on the right side of the law. [FULL TEXT]

Roads still sticky issue in Sherwood
IN SHORT: Roads still sticky issue in Sherwood. [FULL TEXT]

Advance America shutting its doors
IN SHORT: Advance America of Jacksonville, one of several cash-advance centers in the state forced to reduce interest rates they charged customers, announced Tuesday it will shut its doors in Arkansas Oct. 31. [FULL TEXT]

Stepmom accused in death
IN SHORT: Two women from Jacksonville are in jail, accused of abusing children.
[FULL TEXT]

Base readies for air show
IN SHORT: Little Rock Air Force Base’s open house is set for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18 and 19 and is open to the public. [FULL TEXT]

 

 

Sports

Jacksonville Red Devils Patrick Geans provides one of the few highlights for Jacksonville when he scored from a yard out in a 31-19 loss to Mills last Friday. The Devils host Mt. Home Friday.

Red Devils try to shake off upset
IN SHORT: Jacksonville opens 6A-East Conference play with Mountain Home. [FULL TEXT]

Bears take on another giant foe
IN SHORT: White Hall presents size, solid running attack in league opener. [FULL TEXT]

Panthers aren’t taking 0-3 Wampus Cats for granted
IN SHORT: Cabot takes undefeated record on road to open 7A-Central play. [FULL TEXT]

Jackrabbits look to build on momentum
IN SHORT: Fresh off upset of CAC, Lonoke hosts Heber Springs to start 2-4A play.
[FULL TEXT]




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