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EDITORIALS
Revitalizing
downtowns
Leslie Richardson, a Beebe resident who is concerned about the future of her city’s charmingly all-American downtown, recently asked city officials to approve her application to join the Arkansas Downtown Network. The organization awards local businesses grants to improve their storefronts, supports other beautification projects and even offers general business advice to help revitalize downtown areas that were once the heart of economic activity before big-box stores changed things forever.
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Communities
rebounding
Many communities here are growing again after the Great Recession, but not all of them. According to Metroplan, Lonoke County gained 3.1 percent to 70,490 residents, with Austin gaining nearly 10 percent, Ward 7.5 percent and Cabot 3.3 percent, while Lonoke added only seven residents. England lost about 1.5 percent and Carlisle lost 1.1 percent.
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Racial balance
remains issue
Jacksonville could get its own school district as soon as this year, but desegregation monitoring could continue indefinitely.
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Our choice
for VA home
Why should Cissy Rucker, director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, pick Jacksonville for the site of the proposed $22 million veterans’ home?
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Young girl asks Santa for a very special gift

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.
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For Cash,
debut in the Rock
Rosanne Cash made her Little Rock debut at a soldout show Nov. 23 at South on Main Restaurant, which is bringing world-class performers to the southern end of downtown in the space where Juanita’s used to be.
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Piano trio
thrills LR
audience
About 180 lucky people heard the great jazz pianist Marcus Roberts play for almost two hours last Saturday night at the South on Main Restaurant in Little Rock.
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Ex-sheriff
kept eye
on Titans
Not long after former Lonoke County Sheriff J.O. Isaac arrived at Little Rock Air Force Base in the late 1950s, he joined the 308th Missile Wing, which was just getting organized.
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How a break
in grid case
led to arrest
The man who is accused of trying to blow up electric grids and power lines around Lonoke County asked his lawyer during his appearance in federal court Tuesday if the pitcher of water in front of them was poisoned.
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Titan disaster anniversary book’s centerpiece
Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control: Nuclear Wea-pons, the Damascus Incident and the Illusion of Safety” (Penguin Press, $36) is a well-researched and an incredibly detailed account of the dozens of nuclear accidents in the U.S. over the past 50 years — especially involving the Titan II missiles, whose dirt-covered silos remind us of a more dangerous time.
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Colonel calls on
public’s support
Col. Patrick Rhatigan, the commander of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, welcomed a visitor to his office Wednesday afternoon. The civilian receptionists were gone, along with the other civilian workers since the government shutdown Tuesday.
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Fleecing
by FEMA
a scandal
Tommy Bond, the veteran Jacksonville engineer, solves people’s zoning problems, disputes with government officials and even disagreements between neighbors.
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Record set
in killing of
PB senior
Monroe Isadore was 107 years old when he was gunned down by Pine Bluff police officers in his home Saturday afternoon. He’s probably the oldest man to die with a gun in his hand with bullets coming at him from people who are supposed to serve and protect.
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Power lines hit
often across U.S.

Whoever sabotaged the extra-high voltage transmission lines last week in Holland Bottoms in Cabot knew what he was doing.
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Principal is walking tall at JHS
(This column from July 2012 won first place in the Arkansas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.)
Jacksonville High School was in awful shape last July when Henry Anderson took over the failed school in a failed school district.
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New from Mosaic: Coleman Hawkins
For 30 years, Mosaic Records has reissued beautifully packaged box sets of important jazz and blues on CDs and vinyl. The series, usually limited to 5,000 copies per set, comes in distinctive pizza-size black boxes with a large photographs on the front and silver lettering on the spine. Each Mosaic set has an oversized booklet with stunning black-and-white photos and scholarly liner notes.
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Waiting for Big Brother
Rep. Tim Griffin, the Second District Republican, issued a statement a few days after we criticized our congressional delegation’s silence over widespread domestic surveillance of our phones and e-mails by the National Security Administration and its subcontractors.
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No secrets kept
from these guys

The FBI is hoping it can recover from two fumbles in April — letting the two Chechen terrorists out of its sight in Boston and apparently fingering the wrong man in the Mississippi ricin case.
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Cruelest month
The FBI is hoping it can recover from two fumbles in April — letting the two Chechen terrorists out of its sight in Boston and apparently fingering the wrong man in the Mississippi ricin case.
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Neville's nostalgic
doo wop CD

The Grammy Award-winning singer Aaron Neville has a nice new CD out on the venerable Blue Note label, “My True Story,” which is the New Orleans singer’s tribute to doo wop.
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Big bankers cheated military
The bankers who illegally foreclosed on about 1,000 military families are paying billions of dollars in fines for their criminal behavior. These bankers cheated service members and their families even if they were current with their mortgages.
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Byrd dies, Shorter soars
Donald Byrd, one of finest jazz trumpet players of the second half of the 20th Century, died earlier this month at the age of 80.
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Young girl asks Santa for a very special gift
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.
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Men who fell
from the top
to doghouse

At what point does a potential national-security scandal become more like a “Saturday Night Live” sketch in search of a punchline?
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Tempers fly
in front of voters

Jacksonville Alderman Terry Sansing’s mother stood all week in front of the Jacksonville Community Center, where early voting had started Monday.
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Showdown at Alma
key to massacre

People in Crawford County often talk about a Mormon leader’s murder near Alma in 1857 and the slaughter of a group of Arkansans in Utah a few months later known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
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Memories stay alive in old-timers’ group
The old-timers meet most afternoons at McDonald’s inside the Jacksonville Walmart.
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First and last Vietnam casualties
Marine Pfc. James (Ricky) Maxwell of Center Ridge in Conway County was buried last week in Morrilton.
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Bain invested in LR 'medical-waste' firm
If you’re wondering why Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the investment company he founded, it’s not just because he bought businesses that cost thousands of American jobs after factories closed down and work was outsourced to China and other countries.
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Principal is walking tall at JHS
Jacksonville High School was in awful shape last July when Henry Anderson took over the failed school in a failed school district.
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Diners go online
in fight over eateries

A food fight involving three Jacksonville restaurants has been simmering for months, if not years, and now has spilled over to Facebook, where the comments are as strong as the morning coffee.
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Levon Helm, 1940-2012
Levon Helm, the drummer for The Band who passed away Thursday at the age of 71, helped open Alltel Arena in 1999 with Ronnie Hawkins, his longtime mentor, and a fellow Band member, the organist Garth Hudson.
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You have to admire Jeff Long
Jeff Long, the Razorbacks’ athletic director, restored Arkan-sas’ good reputation when he announced Tuesday evening that he had fired the execrable Bobby Petrino as the head football coach.
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A memorial honors those who served in Vietnam
(This column appeared on March 4, 1987, in the first issue of The Leader. We’re reprinting the column as we mark our 25th anniversary.)
Wanda Shireman of rural Jack-sonville remembers when she heard the news that her son, Paul Jr., had died in Vietnam.
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Invaders swoop in
at sunset

On Saturday afternoon, children and their parents were walking down the street in Beebe’s Windwood subdivision near where blackbirds roost at night on West Center Street.[FULL TEXT]

Young girl asks Santa
for a very special gift
(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]

Shovel-ready work:
Look when you dig

Residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood in Jack-sonville are breathing easier now that the relocation of utility lines is nearly completed before the start of the Graham Road widening project. [FULL TEXT]

Arkansas bluesman
left mark
The great Hubert Sumlin, Howlin’ Wolf’s longtime guitarist, died last weekend at the age of 80. He’d been in poor health for several years — he carried an oxygen tank with him during performances — but he was a down-to-earth character who grew up in east Arkansas before he headed for Chicago some 60 years ago. The Rolling Stones will pay for his funeral. [FULL TEXT]

Eyewitness remembers
Pearl Harbor
(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989, and is reprinted to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He died in 2001.)
Most people think of retired Col. McLyle Zumwalt as one of the organizers of Pathfinders, which trains the developmentally and physically disabled in Jacksonville.
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Vietnam vet is in military
hall of fame
Lex (Butch) Davis of Sherwood was among the first 15 inductees into the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame at the Agora Center in Conway on Friday. This column appeared here in February 2007.
Butch Davis sat at a round table near the corner where the Singing Sergeants entertained in the big gym on Little Rock Air Force Base, which was honoring its top personnel at the annual awards banquet Saturday night.
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Colonel won’t be home for Christmas
President Obama said Friday all U.S. troops would leave Iraq at the end of the year.
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Designers snub
Civil War buffs
Earlier this year, a couple of interior designers from Europe named Simon Davies and Tomas Cederlund came here for an episode of their show “Home Takeover” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
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State won’t rescue cities
like schools
Cities across Arkansas are going broke in the double-dip recession. Alexander down in Saline County is questioning a former bookkeeper about shortages in two city funds.
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Comparing pardons by governors
(This column won first place in the Arkansas Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest. Winners were announced Saturday during the APA’s convention in Hot Springs. The column was published in The Leader on Oct. 19, 2010.).
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A Murdoch News Corp.
should hire

Wendi Deng Murdoch, who jumped to her husband’s defense when a British comedian threw a shaving-cream pie at the mogul yesterday, is the one Murdoch who deserves to run the beleaguered media empire.
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Soulful sounds still amaze
The Bo-Keys are keeping the Memphis sound alive with their brash, funky music and vocal backing from great soul singers like Otis Clay, William Bell and Percy Wiggins.
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Gutsy newspaper
goes after villains

A tenacious investigative reporter, a great editor and a courageous newspaper — Nick Davies working under Alan Rusbridger at the British Guardian — helped bring down the most powerful media company in the world: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, now exposed as a criminal enterprise, with several present and former employees facing prison sentences for hacking into cell phones and computers for more than a decade.
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Sylvan Hills grad helps revive Memphis sound
Last month in Overton Park in Memphis, the young trumpet player on stage left was blasting away with the Bo-Keys, an eight-man band that has revived the soulful sounds of Memphis from the 1960s and 1970s.
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High school here ranks with Delta
Three failing high schools down in the poverty-stricken Delta received multi-million-dollar federal grants last week. So did Jacksonville High School, the only one that’s not in the Delta.
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Arkansans praised
around the world

The water’s receding. Most roads are open and homes are drying out. The cleanup continues as the worst flooding in decades moves south, although pockets of Arkansas remain underwater. Neighbors have helped each other cope with the disaster, although some were hurt and at least one person was killed in our area. Little Rock Air Force Base had a close brush with calamity as it survived a tornado that struck homes and several C-130s.
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Sad to see old bridge torn down
Scott Fryer took his family Saturday to inspect Fryer’s Ford Bridge, which had served the rural community near Solgohachia in Conway County since 1890.
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Bluesmen from Delta
passing on

Joe Willie (Pinetop) Perkins, who was the oldest living bluesman and Grammy winner until he passed away Monday at 97, sat recently in a wheelchair in a little alcove just offstage at Stickys Chicken Shack in the Rivermarket District in Little Rock.
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Dictator fooled
by coverage?
Did Fox News goad President Obama into taking action in Libya?
Every hour until the missiles started flying, Fox showed Obama goofing off: Doing everything except his job, but there was a reason to the March madness, and it had nothing to do with basketball.
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Hate speech is protected,
court decides
(The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to demonstrate at military funerals. This column about the Kansas-based group, which demonstrated in Beebe nearly five years ago, appeared on Aug. 2, 2006.)
Members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., were again busy this week picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, but lawsuits filed by families who have lost their loved ones could stop the church group from taunting grieving relatives. [FULL TEXT]

Ex-Stax chief still has soul
Al Bell, the former Stax Records executive, is back in the spotlight with a new Web site, All Bell Presents American Soul Music, where you can hear classic Stax artists and new soul singers who are keeping the Memphis sound alive. [FULL TEXT]

Minihan: No break
for wing since 9/11
Col. Mike Minihan, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, sent off 40 airmen and a couple of C-130s into combat before the storm hit last weekend. [FULL TEXT]

From this poor little girl, special request for Santa
(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]

Base could depend on Snyder as real friend
Rep. Vic Snyder, a Democrat who is retiring from Congress at the end of the year, is getting some heat from Republicans for wasting time on the House floor to praise this community’s support of Little Rock Air Force Base. [FULL TEXT]

Panama president
ex-UofA roommate

John Mason, a Jacksonville real estate broker, was in Fayetteville with his wife Ien for homecoming weekend on Oct. 30, when the Razorbacks played Vanderbilt. [FULL TEXT]

Our error given wide circulation
We’ve received lots of calls, comments and complaints over an error in Wednesday’s paper about a Christmas program in Cabot. [FULL TEXT]

Comparing pardons
by governor

Did you see Gov. Beebe’s latest list of pardons? Last week, he announced his intent to pardon a handful of small-time criminals, emphasis on small-time. [FULL TEXT]

POWs recall their
World War ordeal

The former POWs who were shot down over Romania during the Second World War arrived at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in their tour bus a little after 11 a.m. Thursday. [FULL TEXT]

Annexation plan: Many in area say they're against it
People who live north of Jacksonville near Hwy. 67/167 met at a church Monday evening to fight the city’s plan to annex the area.[FULL TEXT]

Lighthouse plans to build middle and high schools
The headline in Saturday’s Leader: “Cabot schools about to hit 10,000.”[FULL TEXT]

J’Accuse: Smearing
of general

Air Force Gen. John D. Lavelle, who died more than 30 years ago, after he was falsely accused of insubordination, is a four-star general again. [FULL TEXT]

Petraeus salutes
camp liberators

It was 65 years ago Monday that Beryl Wolfson helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in southeastern Germany.
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Marker recalls fire at Twist

There's finally a marker honoring B.B. King in Twist in Cross County, where the great blues singer escaped from a fire at nightclub with his guitar and named it Lucille.
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Justice Jim fought tough final battle
Arkansas bloggers were the first with the news of Justice Jim Johnson’s suicide over the weekend. The local TV news on Sunday ignored his passing, probably because no one in the newsroom knew who he was. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot man in raid
on POW camp in 1970
Mst. Sgt. Paul Poole, who helped to liberate Americans from a Vietnamese prison camp, died last week. [FULL TEXT]

Trial could get Muhammad
his death wish

Last June, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed a soldier from Conway and injured another soldier from Jacksonville in front of a recruiting station in Little Rock.
[FULL TEXT]

What a little girl asked
from Santa

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]

Tuskegee legend
at holiday reception

A tall elderly man stood in a far corner in a large banquet room at Little Rock Air Force Base on Sunday afternoon during the holiday reception hosted by the wing commanders.
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Gas shut off
as hospital bills pile up

A couple in Beebe have been without heat for several months after the natural-gas company took out their meter because they were not paying their bills.
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Huckabee our worst governor?
Who is Arkansas’ worst governor? Is it Orval Faubus, who defied federal authorities i in 1957, when he wouldn’t allow nine black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock? He brought shame and ridicule on the whole state, but at least no one was killed. Or is Mike Huckabee our worst governor ever?
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For complete news coverage, buy The Leader today!

January 4, 2014



Year ends with drama

IN SHORT: Dastardly deeds, deserving deeds and district decisions delivered us into December. Among the dastardly was a saboteur who cut and damaged area electrical lines and grids. Among the deserving were numerous groups helping the less fortunate. And Jacksonville got the decision it wanted to form a new school district while Sherwood did not. [FULL TEXT]


Council reworks loan for budge

IN SHORT: Refinancing deal helps Jacksonville’s cash flow, mayor says. [FULL TEXT]


Hopson’s estate will get $75,000
IN SHORT: Ex-PCSSD superintendent wanted $500,000 for dismissal. [FULL TEXT]


Read all about it: WWII ends
IN SHORT: Collection of California newspapers recalls time after victory. [FULL TEXT]



Red Devils win SEARK tournament
The Jacksonville boys beat Little Rock Central 68-50 on Monday to win the Southeast Arkansas Holiday Invitational tournament in Monticello. Devin Campbell, 3, led the Red Devils with 14 points. Tyree Appleby, 1, added 13 and Tedrick Wolfe, 4, scored 11. Jacksonville plays at Mills on Tuesday.


Cabot drops Beebe final
IN SHORT: Pulaski Academy goes on an 11-0 run in fourth quarter of tournament championship game.
[FULL TEXT]

Technical fouls spell doom for Beebe girls

IN SHORT: Lady Badgers’ coach and leading scorer help Lady Bearcats take tournament crown.
[FULL TEXT]


Lady Bison take third in tournament
IN SHORT: Carlisle girls missed the finals by one point, and then blasted Bradford in last game.
[FULL TEXT]


North Pulaski loses first place to Cards
IN SHORT: Falcons falter in championship game of Camden-Fairview tourney.
[FULL TEXT]


 

IN THIS ISSUE
Subscribe to The Leader for these and other stories found in the printed edition:
• Small towns continue to see growth
• Aerial view of damage by beavers
• Nixon Library programs this month
• Educators installed in chapter
• Jacksonville sets MLK celebration
• Judge won't relent on bounties
• Historical music video on YouTube

Photos available

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