Restaurants going wet

Jacksonville and Sherwood voters on Tuesday made it a lot easier for restaurants to boost revenues and for cities to attract national chains.


State readies
Medicaid cuts

Significant changes to the state's Medicaid expansion program proposed by Governor Hutchinson --- including work requirements and a change in eligibility that would remove tens of thousands of Arkansans from the rolls --- were slated to begin Jan. 1. The state is still waiting for federal approval necessary to move ahead.


Medical marijuana

Nearly a year after Arkansas voters narrowly approved legalizing medical marijuana, state regulators have been slow to implement the program.


Revisions advance for conceal carry

The Arkansas State Police is working on changes to concealed carry regulations to enforce the intent of Acts 562 and 859, which the legislature approved earlier this year.


Protecting rule of law

The two indictments and a guilty plea Monday in Robert Mueller's widening probe into Russia's alleged meddling in last year's presidential election has silenced just about every Republican in Congress.

Holocaust survivor's
final journey

Hurricane Irma was forecast to hit Miami last Sunday, and my 91-year-old-mother, who'd been in failing health in recent years, was getting weaker every day. She'd lived through four hurricanes after she and my father moved to Florida, and it was as if she did not want to go through another awful storm.

Robert Hall: Veteran,
educator, letter writer

Robert Hall, 98, died last weekend in Jacksonville after his health deteriorated in recent months. He was an opinionated letter writer, an unabashed progressive who believed government should provide opportunities to poor and middle-class families like his own and help them become productive citizens.

Administration finds itself in bunker mode

Bombshells at the beleaguered White House keep going off about every hour, which now include allegations of obstructing FBI investigations to spilling top-secret intelligence to the Russians.

Alamo: He
left a trail
of misery

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.

Prison visit
with Ledell
Lee in 1994
still haunts

Ledell (Skip) Lee of Jacksonville, an accused double murderer and multiple rapist, was eager to tell his side of the story from behind bars at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit.


Lee executed,
Williams next

Jacksonville killer dies from lethal injection, another scheduled Monday.

Appeals filed

for Lee and Williams

Judge denies Lee's claim he was wrongly convicted at his trial; Williams' lawyers say he's too sick for lethal injections.

FBI bares spying

by Russians

FBI director James Comey's announcement at a House intelligence committee hearing Monday that the bureau is investigating allegations of Russian interference and possible collusion with Trump's campaign in last year's presidential election comes as no surprise.

Executions set
for local killers

Williams and Lee were convicted of killing two women in Jacksonville.

Mattis defends
our free press

A special shoutout to our military brass for staying focused on the challenges facing the United States around the world despite the many distractions in Washington. Special thanks to Secretary of Defense and former Marine Gen. James Mattis, who over the weekend disagreed with his boss and spoke kindly of the media, saying he does not consider the press "the enemy of the people."

Flynn's rookie errors

An embattled White House is looking for a permanent replacement for its ousted national security adviser who lasted just three weeks on the job after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador in Washington in December.

Rep. Hill
is critical of policy

Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) is the first Arkansas congressman to criticize the way the indefinite travel ban from Syria and a 120-day ban from six other Moslem countries were implemented last weekend, creating a constitutional show-down in the federal courts that could go on for several months.

Keeping the faith
under fire in Baghdad

This time of the year, Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock), a retired Army colonel, remembers serving in Iraq almost nine years ago and celebrating the holidays with Christian and Jewish American soldiers often under dangerous conditions.

Little girl tells Santa

her wish for Christmas

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.

Retracing history
to Budapest

Yuri Andropov, the former Soviet leader who made Vladimir Putin a lieutenant colonel in the KGB back in the 1970s, called in the Red Army tanks through my hometown in northeast Hungary in November 1956. Andropov, who was the Soviet ambassador to Budapest, was putting down a popular uprising that started a month earlier.

Assault on free speech

Donald Trump has been threatening to sue The New York Times for printing allegations that he groped several women going back 30 years.

Art of deal fading fast
for Trump

If the polls continue to show a widening lead for Hillary Clinton --- she's now 14 percent ahead --- there will be no art of the deal for Donald Trump this November.

Trump visit to church

Donald Trump made a carefully scripted visit last Saturday to Great Faith Ministries, a black church in Detroit, where he called for a new civil rights agenda to raise America's black population from a life of crime and poverty.

More newly discovered Evans music

The brilliant jazz pianist Bill Evans passed away at the age of 51 on Sept. 15, 1980, leaving behind an impressive body of recorded work from the mid-1950s until just a couple of weeks before his death.

Mother recalls
end of horror

My 89-year-old mother spoke on Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday at the assisted-living facility in Florida where she lives. She spoke for 10 minutes about the horrors of the concentration camps, as did another survivor, a man who is a couple of years older than my mother.

Neighbor gets
out alive from
club shooting

Chris Hansen used to live in Jacksonville on Oak Street near The Leader before he moved to Orlando.

Fines seen

in Wynne

Wynne's city coffers are filling up since District Judge Joseph Boeckmann Jr. became the focus of a state investigation last fall over allegations that he was forgiving fines for sexual favors in his Cross County court in east Arkansas.

Holocaust ceremony

A group of eighth graders from the Flightline Academy on Little Rock Air Force Base entered the Walters Community Center auditorium on Thursday morning for a Holocaust Remembrance Day service.

Huckabee, Rubio ---
now what?

Donald Trump, the billionaire real-estate developer and entrepreneur with a checkered past and raucous political rallies, is rapidly moving toward the Republican presidential nomination with a string of primary victories yesterday and on Super Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]

Another Grammy for Tony

Tony Bennett recently won another Grammy award --- his 18th --- in the best traditional pop vocal category for "The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern" (RPM Records/Columbia). The octogenarian Bennett (he'll be 90 in August) is accompanied by the brilliant jazz pianists Bill Charlap and his wife, Rene Rosnes, who is the second pianist on "The Song Is You" and "Look for the Silver Lining." [FULL TEXT]

Man who stood up
to Castro

Eduardo Diaz was assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base in 1966 and has lived in Cabot most of the time since he left the Air Force in 1970. [FULL TEXT]

Millage hike

is needed

Jacksonville residents are fortunate that U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr., a brilliant jurist, is overseeing their move toward independence from the Pulaski County Special School District after decades of turmoil. [FULL TEXT]

Little girl tells Santa a wish for Christmas

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]


in an age of
daily terror

It didn't take long for another ISIS sympathizer to infiltrate the U.S. by way of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and an online engagement arranged in terrorist heaven.

House returns $500
oil contribution

His loyalty is to Mayflower and not to ExxonMobil, legislator says.

Planting of tree
is symbol of hope

President Clinton on Friday helped dedicate a small sapling taken from the chestnut tree outside Anne Frank's window in Amsterdam and now planted in 11 cities in the U.S.

Base always on missions, target same

Commander says LRAFB a role model for others to emulate.

Next 60 years at LRAFB

Investment in runway proves base national asset, Brown says.

Colonel: Guards will get medals

Ceremony next week for airmen whose quick action prevented a potential massacre.

Deja vu: Refugees
from '50s to today

The scenes of Syrian refugees stranded last week at the two main train stations in Budapest brought back memories of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, when my family took a train from Budapest to the Austrian border in December ahead of the Soviet army that had crushed the uprising.

Lucille: mystery woman

A marker at the Twist Plantation in Cross County commemorates a fire that broke out during a fight at a dance hall where B.B. King was playing with his band.

Musicians who made
stars shine

Legacy/Sony Entertain-ment has issued "Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City," a two-CD compilation to coincide with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's exhibition celebrating the music of several gifted studio musicians who backed not only Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash but many other stars who helped create the Nashville sound in the 1960s and beyond.

Lehoczky: A class act and witness to history

Istvan (Steve) Bela Lehoczky, the patriarch of the Hungarian-American community in Little Rock, passed away July 10 at the age of 82.


Pardons by Beebe
not as bad as Huck's

(This Nov. 15, 2014, political column won first place in the Arkansas Press Association's Better Newspaper contest for large weeklies.)
Gov. Mike Beebe has had a good record on pardons until this week, much better than Gov. Mike Huckabee, his predecessor.


The last time
King of Blues
sang at home

B.B. King, who passed away in his sleep in his Las Vegas home Thursday night at the age of 89, had been frail for years. Yet he kept performing until last fall, always willing to meet his fans and pose for pictures and sign autographs.

Mother recalls
end of horror

My 89-year-old mother spoke on Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday at the assisted-living facility in Florida where she lives. She spoke for 10 minutes about the horrors of the concentration camps, as did another survivor, a man who is a couple of years older than my mother.


Son of Delta:
Be a winner

Lloyd E. Shefsky is a retired international lawyer and entrepreneur who was born in Arkansas, raised in Chicago and is now semi-retired in Florida. He's still lecturing, consulting and writing books about living the American Dream through hard work, personal vision and playing by the rules.

Arkansas ain't ready
for reform

Paddy Bauler, who represented Chicago's 43rd Ward for 35 years, must be the patron saint of Arkansas legislators. [FULL TEXT]

Little girl tells Santa a wish for Christmas

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]

Prison reform pushed

The Department of Correction wants $100 million for a new prison, but Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) thinks that's a waste of money.

Pardons by Beebe
not as bad as Huck's

Gov. Mike Beebe has had a good record on pardons until this week, much better than Gov. Mike Huckabee, his predecessor.

Lennox, Hutcherson on Blue Note; Impulse back

Annie Lennox's new CD, "Nostalgia," from Blue Note includes a stunning version of "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching song usually associated with Billie Holiday, who recorded it in 1937.

Is a life worth

a million dollars?

Almost half the parolees in Arkansas who serve a fraction of their sentences commit more crimes soon after they're freed.

Killer at our front door

Arron Lewis stood near the front door at The Leader one evening last month, and he knocked on the big glass window when he realized the door was locked.

Killer in Cabot's schools
3 times

Glen Martin Green, the killer serving a life sentence without parole, worked in Cabot schools three different times this year.

Cabot ends prison labor in schools

After a report here Saturday that a convicted murderer worked at Cabot Junior High North last week as a prison trustee, school officials decided Monday to ban prison labor in the district. [FULL TEXT]

Killer worked at Cabot school gym

A murderer who is serving a life sentence without parole was installing a wall mat this week at the Cabot Junior High North gym as part of a prison work-release program. [FULL TEXT]


When firm's comptroller
steals $1.1M

AGL Corp., the small Jacksonville manufacturer of laser equipment used for construction around the world, had been struggling for years. The company had trouble making a profit. There were layoffs and rumors about the plant shutting down. [FULL TEXT]

Genocide threatens minorities

A huge humanitarian disaster was unfolding last month while the western world and much of the media looked away. They focused on a tiny area on the Mediterranean controlled by a group of Moslem fanatics, who have held their own people hostage while provoking another senseless war with Israel. [FULL TEXT]

Strategy put own people in line of fire

A ceasefire seems to be holding in Gaza after a month of hostilities that killed and wounded 10,000 Palestinians – while fewer than 100 Israelis were killed and injured – in the wake of another monumental Arab military failure. [FULL TEXT]

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November 18, 2017

Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District board members LaConda Watson (from right), Ron McDaniel, Ava Coleman, Col. Jennifer Allee, Daniel Gray, Marcia Dornblasser and Dena Tony, along with Jacksonville High Principal LaGail Biggs and Superintendent Bryan Duffie shovel dirt Thursday.

Ground broken for high school
IN SHORT: Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District officials dedicate start of construction of $66 million campus. [FULL TEXT]

Supremacist sent to Virginia
IN SHORT: Man from Butlerville is extradited for his alleged role in Charlottesville rally. [FULL TEXT]

Christmas parades roundup
IN SHORT: Area communities have scheduled their Christmas parades. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot's defense gangs up to stop Bentonville running back Preston Crawford for a short gain during Friday's quarterfinal loss at Tiger Stadium.


Panthers ousted by Bentonville

IN SHORT: Cabot season ends with loss in quarterfinals against 7A-West champions. [FULL TEXT]

Beebe girls dominate Benton

IN SHORT: Lady Badgers build big lead in first half, and then hang on for win in season and home opener Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]

Sylvan Hills makes final at Joe T.

IN SHORT: Lady Bears have yet to be challenged in the Pulaski Robinson Invitational tourney. [FULL TEXT]


Lonoke County Fair 2017
The Eagle 16 Ferris Wheel was one of many rides and attractions at the Lonoke County Fair held last week at the county fairgrounds.

Callie Messick, 12, and Aubrey Messick, 10, philosophize as they enjoy a ride in the Eagle 16 Ferris Wheel at the Lonoke County Fair.

Hallie Hankins shows off her Polled Hereford bull that won Grand Champion and Best in Show in the Lonoke County Livestock Show.