New mayor in town
Gary Fletcher was sworn in as mayor of Jacksonville on Tuesday, and he’s set himself an ambitious agenda for the next 16 months before he must face the voters again
in November 2010.

[FULL TEXT]


Ken and Lu
On the whole, we don’t begrudge anyone, the deserving or the undeserving, a well- paying new
job in these parlous economic
times. We only trust that it was not achieved at our — that is, the public’s — expense.

[FULL TEXT]


Power plant put on hold
The Arkansas Court of Appeals labors in obscurity, reviewing how the trial courts perform in the daily grime of criminal justice and how well
the agencies of government
follow the law.

[FULL TEXT]




Pope installs commander from LRAFB
Col. John McDonald, the top commander at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina who had once been a squadron commander here, lost the confidence of his superiors and was dismissed from his post a week ago Friday, apparently for showing poor leadership.

[FULL TEXT]

Brother tells of shooting at D.C. museum
School groups and other tourists are back at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

[FULL TEXT]

Private still hurting after terror attack
Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula wasnt feeling well enough to attend the funeral of Pvt. William Long on Monday.

[FULL TEXT]


How shooting victim survived attack at LR recruiting station
Jacssonville soldier, his body riddled with bullets, comes home to recuperate from injuries.

[FULL TEXT]

Koko sang ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ to us
Koko Taylor, the Queen of the Blues, appeared at the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival in Greenville, Miss., last September.

[FULL TEXT]

A survivor in shooting
doing well

Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, who was a fullback and a linebacker for the Jacksonville Red Devils in 2007, is recovering from gunshot wounds after a terrorist attack Monday at an Army recruiting station in Little Rock.

[FULL TEXT]

Chrysler, GM have obligation to preserve jobs
If General Motors and Chrysler go through with plans to close 40 percent of their dealerships, 187,000 jobs will disappear — which is more than the number of people Chrysler and GM employ at their plants.

[FULL TEXT]

Some crime less serious than others

George Biggs, who resigned last week as director of the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department, hardly served any time in prison for killing a man 18 years ago in Texarkana, Texas.

[FULL TEXT]

Second top 10: More of our favorite blues records
After our recent column about our top 10 blues records, here’s a list of our next 10 favorites. (The first installment appears on our music blog at www.arkansasleader.com.)

[FULL TEXT]

Alamo ploy is an effort to hide past
With all the economic problems around us, you may not have noticed that the imprisoned evangelist Tony Alamo is about to go to trial on child-abuse charges.

[FULL TEXT]

Homeowner facing threat
of foreclosure
He built a house in Prairie County about five years ago and paid his mortgage every month until the economy went bad.
Now he’s fighting to keep his mortgage company, Countrywide Financial, from foreclosing on his home.

[FULL TEXT]

Bailouts costly,
but do not let
them fleece us

The federal government could soon take over more failing financial institutions, including the giant Bank of America, which has several branches in the area.

[FULL TEXT]

Ex-legislator pleased
tobacco tax passed

Former Rep. Sandra Prater, D-Jacksonville, who had introduced a bill for more trauma centers in the state when she was still in the legislature, is glad the tobacco-tax increase was approved in the Senate this week and in the House the week before.

[FULL TEXT]

Tobacco lobby sends Dr. Death from Texas
Dick Armey of Texas, the former Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives who’s now a pitchman for Big Tobacco, came to Little Rock yesterday to lobby against raising the tax on tobacco.

[FULL TEXT]

Beebe battles deadly tobacco lobby in ledge
Gov. Mike Beebe led a rally at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock on Monday for his proposed 56-cent tax increase on tobacco to pay for health services, including a statewide trauma system.

[FULL TEXT]

When your stockbroker ignores you
In some cultures, people who have betrayed others are so ashamed that in extreme cases they will end their lives for doing you wrong.

[FULL TEXT]

Apartments given
a new lease on life

The Jacksonville apartment building whose owners let the building go to hell — broken windows just about everywhere and utilities shut off because the owners wouldn’t pay their electric and water bills — is under new management and is getting a new lease on life.

[FULL TEXT]

It’s the year of the blues,
or how blue can you get?

This has been a tough year for almost everyone, and things could get worse in 2009. Times are bad, or in the words of the immortal bluesman B.B. King, “How Blue Can You Get?”

[FULL TEXT]

Little girl left Santa
very sad
(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]

Arkansan key player
in machine

Back in the 1950s, the Chicago political machine picked a young black lawyer who was born in Blytheville to run for the state House of Representatives after reapportionment gave the city an additional district.
[FULL TEXT]

Pearl Harbor survivor
tells of '41 attack

(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989 and is reprinted to mark the 67th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.)
Most people think of retired Col. McLyle Zumwalt as one of the organizers of Pathfinders, which trains the developmentally and physically disabled in Jacksonville.

[FULL TEXT]

Preacher’s jail ministry
is real close to home

It doesn’t look like Tony Alamo, the self-styled evangelist and accused child molester, will be home for the holidays.
[FULL TEXT]

Pastor retires after
42 years with church

Two years after he had cancer surgery, Lyndon Whitledge has retired as pastor of North Jacksonville Missionary Baptist Church, where he was the minister for 42 years and at its predecessor, Unity Baptist Church, which was in the Sunnyside section of Jacksonville.
[FULL TEXT]

Why Obama must hold Hillary close
President-elect Barack Obama is said to be considering Hillary Clinton for secretary of state to discourage her from challenging him for the Democratic nomination in 2012.
[FULL TEXT]

Unexpected blowout as nation veers to left
The election of Barack Obama as president is as dramatic as the election of Ronald Reagan a generation ago.
[FULL TEXT]

McCain hopes stock rally will save candidacy
The pundits were saying last week that the only way John McCain could win the presidential election was if the stock market went up 3,000 points. Well, who knows?
[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, living out his golden years in a double-wide trailer somewhere in the Ozarks, not far from his native Missouri, singing “Volare” to himself as the sun went down.
[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]

 

 

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June 27 , 2009

Jacksonville Mayor
Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher (middle) is being congratulated by Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson, who swore him in at the community center. Looking on are Fletcher’s wife, Glenda, and his mother, Marie.

Fletcher is sworn in
IN SHORT: City’s new chief tells residents they are family and says he loves them.
[FULL TEXT]

Prostitutes swept off Hwy. 161
IN SHORT: Pulaski County deputies arrest streetwalkers and clients. [FULL TEXT]

Council won’t buy property
IN SHORT: Jacksonville aldermen withhold support for Reed’s Bridge Society. [FULL TEXT]

Fourth of July celebrations on tap
IN SHORT: Many patriotic activities are scheduled for Jacksonville, Cabot, Sherwood, Beebe, Ward and Floyd. [FULL TEXT]

Ward library now fisherman friendly
IN SHORT: Families can now borrow poles thanks to the state Game and Fish. [FULL TEXT]


Sports

Scrapp Fox
Little Rock’s Randy Weaver hot laps on the track in his F1 car in April. Weaver will be among a strong contingent competing in the seventh annual Scrapp Fox Memorial Modified Championship at Beebe Speedway this Friday night. Rain forced a postponement of the race on June 13-14.

Race a go after two-week delay
IN SHORT: Big modified event at Beebe plagued by rain seventh straight year. [FULL TEXT]

Cook tunes up for Scrapp Fox with a victory
IN SHORT: Hobby stock triumph goes to Jacksonville’s McDougale. [FULL TEXT]

Bruins go one up, one down
IN SHORT: Lock hurls Optimist Club to first-game win with eight-hitter. [FULL TEXT]

Gwatney juniors, seniors endure tough weekend
IN SHORT: Younger Chevy Boys manage win over NLR. [FULL TEXT]




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