The Leader

How you can make big bucks at home
Does Arkansas need two people to head the state's emergency management agency? Right now we have Wayne Ruthven, the outgoing head of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, still collecting $6,600 a month while he supposedly works out of his home till the end of the year, and John Brackin, the interim chief, making about the same amount of money. [FULL TEXT]

Administration runs into trap door overseas
Every administration has its defining moment that symbolizes its successes or failures – from John Kennedy's "Ich bien ein Berliner" to Ronald Reagan's "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," from Richard Nixon's "I'm not a crook" to Bill Clinton's "I did not have sex with that woman," from George H.W. Bush throwing up in Japan to George W. visiting Beijing more than a decade later and getting stuck in front of a door that would not open. (Maybe it was the first Bush's immortal words, "Read my lips, no new taxes," that got him defeated.) [FULL TEXT]

Nightmare on Elm St.
no movie for family
of victim

Until 30–40 years ago, schizophrenics like Howard H. Neal, Jr. were kept in mental institutions, but most states decided a long time ago it's cheaper to give the mentally ill anti–psychotic medication than have them locked up. Neal, a convicted sex offender, is in custody for the murder of a 5–year–old Jacksonville girl, Jasmine Peoples, in a house on Elm Street in the Sunnyside neighborhood. He's also charged with kidnapping and third–degree battery. Neal has had problems with the law for a long time, but he has spent little time in jail. [FULL TEXT]

The great Helena
blues festival

The King Biscuit Blues Festival is no more: A New York outfit claims it bought the name decades ago for a syndicated radio show, apparently under the impression King Biscuit is some kind of flower. But they couldn't kill Arkansas' musical gift to the world. The festival came back with a roar last weekend – renamed the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival – despite the wind and cold. (If they can rename the 19–year–old festival, can't they move it up just one week, when the weather's usually still warm? Last year's festival, alas, was a washout). [FULL TEXT]

Nothing new on ivory–bill
The long–running CBS news program "60 Minutes" did a feature Sunday on the ivory–billed woodpecker in the Big Woods near Brinkley, adding nothing new to the subject, although viewers in this part of the country probably suspected that Ed Bradley, one of the show's long–time correspondents, didn't quite know where he was or whether he spent much time here. [FULL TEXT]

General tells how
to build bases fast

Brig. Gen. Kip Self can build an air base faster than I can write a column. Self, who last month became commander of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, has been busy preparing for this weekend's big open house that will attract some 200,000 people as the air base celebrates its 50th anniversary. [FULL TEXT]

Monk–Coltrane masterpiece
The most important jazz CD of the year – no, make that of the decade, or even of the century, for that matter – was recorded almost 50 years ago but was just recently discovered in the vaults at the Library of Congress. [FULL TEXT]














NOVEMBER 30, 2005

New future for Chopstick Restaurant?
Mikel Brooks, right, helps rebuild the old Chopsticks restaurant in Jacksonville.

Berry insists he'll run
IN SHORT:.Cong. Marion Berry, D-Gillette, who was in Cabot on Monday at the request of the Arlene Cherry Memorial Library, said he has heard rumors that he is not running again for the First District seat he has held for nine years, and those rumors are false, he insists. [FULL TEXT]

Sherwood is keeping close eye on PCSSD
IN SHORT: Saying "Something's fixin' to happen in the Pulaski County Special School District," Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon Monday evening appointed a task force to monitor the complex situation in which the troubled district finds itself.

Raises proposed in Beebe
IN SHORT: Beebe Mayor Donald Ward presented a $2.7 million budget to the city council Monday night that contains the first pay raise for city employees in three years.

Lawyers to appeal loss of suit
IN SHORT:Consumer activist Todd Turner will appeal to the state Supreme Court Circuit Judge Barry Sims' ruling Friday in favor of payday lenders, their so-called regulators and the law exempting their transactions from Arkansas' usury laws, he vowed Monday.

Base pleased with funding
IN SHORT: A pair of new projects next year are aimed at helping improve the working and non-working environment at Little Rock Air Force Base. The base will be receiving $6.4 million next year for an improved dining facility to replace the existing facility, which is aged and undersized. The new dining facility will also house a community center mailroom.


JHS cleanup
IN SHORT: The Devil Dustin Dirt Bustin Jacksonville High School Cleanup Day on Nov. 19 was organized by Debbie Skidmore and Patricia White and involved approximately 50 students, parents and faculty. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot's 6-foot-6 postman Alex Sharp, 41, and 6-3 Josh Whatley, battle North Pulaski's 5-8 Rodric Rainey for a rebound Monday night during the Panthers' 45-28 victory over the Falcons in the first-round of the Ohio Arkansas basketball tournament at Central Arkansas Christian High School.

Cabot towers over NP
IN SHORT: A solid team performance in the second half propelled the Cabot Panthers to a 45-28 win over North Pulaski in the opening round of the Ortho Arkansas Invitational basketball tournament at CAC on Monday night.

Dragons end Wildcats' title hopes with breakaway run
IN SHORT: Harding Academy's perfect season came to an end with 2:11 left in the game Friday when Junction City's Justin Hoof ran 86 yards to put the Dragons ahead for the first time in the contest. Prior to Hoof's breakaway run, the HA defense had contained Hoof well, holding him to 23 yards on 11 carries.


NOVEMBER 23, 2005

Above, David Walton(from left), with Cabot Fire Department, Cary Hobbs with Cabot City Beautiful, Buck Bing with Buck's Tree Service and Cam Steel, president of Cabot City Beautiful set up the Cabot community Christmas tree late Sunday afternoon. The tree was donated by Mr. and Mrs. C.M.Gordon. The tree was taken from an area at Stagecoach and Campground raods in Cabot.

FEMA funding ends soon
IN SHORT: "Right now, we're trying to find a house to rent," said Wade Morgan, 26, who has hunkered down at the Holiday Inn Express in Lonoke with his 2-year-old son and his son's mother and said he was looking forward to a fresh start.

Roundup of holiday activities
IN SHORT:.Many area churches have spent the past couple of weeks preparing and distributing food baskets for needy families and at least one church will host a Thanksgiving Day meal for those in need on Thursday. [FULL TEXT]

District official defends himself
IN SHORT: Marvin H. Jeter III said Monday that the reason he was not rehired at Forest (Miss.) Municipal School District was that he championed racial equality and also allowed an integrated prom, which displeased the superintendent.

Cabot developers frustrated
IN SHORT: Five Cabot-area developers were among those who attended a hearing called to air grievances against the actions of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality which has stepped up enforcement of federal EPA storm-water runoff regulations.

Ruling favorable to payday lenders
IN SHORT:A circuit judge in Little Rock upheld Arkansas' payday lending law Tuesday. Opponents who challenged the six-year-old law said they would appeal Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims' ruling that the Check Cashers Act of 1999 is constitutional.

Polantz to run for mayor
IN SHORT: Cabot Alderman David Polantz is in his fifth term on the city council. Now, he says he wants to be mayor. Polantz has been among those known for months to be considering running, but he would never say how serious that consideration was, only that he was praying about it.


Honoring a new American
IN SHORT: Sue Hiipakka is proud to be an American. Born in Germany, she's even prouder after a special day was hosted in her honor after she became a U.S. citizen earlier this month. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville freshmen guard Dezmon Blair tries to shoot over North Pulaski's Carlos Donley during the Falcon's 42-39 victory Monday night.

NPHS freshmen upset Red Devils
IN SHORT: The North Pulaski freshman Falcons came from behind in the second half to pull off a minor upset Monday night in Metro Conference play with a 42-39 victory over crosstown rival Jacksonville.

SH girls fall to FC; JHS tops hurt NP
IN SHORT: The Sylvan Hills girls basketball team dropped to 1-2 Saturday with a hard-fought loss to Forrest City in the Heavenly Hoops Classic hosted by Mount St. Mary at the UALR Fieldhouse.


NOVEMBER 16, 2005

Darrell Morgan (left) and C.W. Maple load a Civil War M1861 rifle carriage onto a trailer to be taken to Woodstock, Ga., to be restored. The 800-lb. cannon, made in 1864, sat on the lawn of the Lonoke County Courthouse.

Cannon to get makeover
IN SHORT: The cannon from the Civil War era in front of the Lonoke County Courthouse is on its way to Historical Ordnance Works in Woodstock, Ga., to be restored.

Former boss planned to let Jeter go
IN SHORT:.Marvin H. Jeter III, Pulaski County Special School District's assistant superintendent for learning services, resigned from his most recent job as a school administrator in Mississippi before his former superintendent could recommend nonrenewal of his contract, and there is some indication that the PCSSD failed to check his references at that school. [FULL TEXT]

Routes offered for loop project
IN SHORT: Nearly 500 North Pulaski residents attended public meetings on potential routes being considered to complete the missing North Belt Loop link through or around Sherwood on Monday and Tuesday, and as expected the predominant theme was "not in my backyard."

Beebe mayor won't seek second term
IN SHORT: Beebe Mayor Donald Ward announced before about 40 city leaders Tuesday that he will not run for re-election next year.

Grandson unhappy with fire response
IN SHORT:A fire caused by a lightning strike on Hwy. 319 near Ward destroyed an elderly woman's home and all her belongings Saturday night, but her grandson says he believes something could have been saved if the fire department had responded sooner and called for backup.

GOP candidates square off
IN SHORT:The two Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives' seat in the First District both live in Cabot and both know each other, but no one would go so far as to call it a friendship.

Cabot superintendent gets state's top honor
IN SHORT:Frank Holman, superintendent of the Cabot School District, was presented the Arkansas Superintendent of the Year Award during the board of education meeting Tuesday night.

The gift of shade
IN SHORT: Five trees, two red oaks and three red maples, have been planted at Central Elementary School in Cabot as part of the Arkansas Forestry Commission's Shade Trees On Playgrounds (STOP) program. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville Lady Red Devils sophomore Morgan Waits takes a shot in traffic during Jacksonville's loss to Mount St. Mary's Monday in the opening round of the MSM hosted Heavenly Hoops tournament at the UALR Fieldhouse. The Lady Devils will play Forrest City at 5:30 p.m. tonight in the second round.

Local teams unblessed at MSM
IN SHORT: Three area teams played in the first round of the Heavenly Hoops Basketball Classic at the UALR fieldhouse Monday, and all three lost their opening games.

Perryville presents strong test for Harding
IN SHORT: The Harding Academy Wildcats are on to the second round of the AA state playoffs this week after a high-scoring opening-round win over the Earle Bulldogs 56-44. The Wildcats (11-0) will host the Perryville Mustangs (9-1) at Alumni Field in Searcy.


NOVEMBER 9 , 2005

IN SHORT:Robert Decatur and other members of the storied Tuskegee Airmen may have been welcomed home as second-class citizens rather than conquering heroes after the end of the Second World War, but 60 years later, after a long and distinguished career at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement, he was received with respect, enthusiasm and two standing ovations at North Pulaski High School on Tuesday as he spoke to about 200 students.performed well. [FULL TEXT]

Housing will force freeway to switch
IN SHORT: New developments force the State Highway Department to reassess which way the second phase of the North Belt should go.

PCSSD to discuss closings
IN SHORT: School board may close Homer Adkins and Scott elementaries, but will first hold public meetings

C-130Js set for intense testing
IN SHORT: New transport planes will take part in a combat exercise in Fort Polk, La.

Runoff clouds Cabot pond
IN SHORT: Visitors complain that runoff from the construction of a nearby subdivision has polluted the small pond and fewer people are fishing there as a result.


Bulldogs big favorites
IN SHORT: Fourth-seeded Red Devils feel they can beat nationally ranked Springdale

Beebe cross country wins state
IN SHORT: The Beebe boys' cross country team won the class AAAA state championship Saturday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

NOVEMBER 2 , 2005

C–130J fleet is evaluated
IN SHORT: A team from Edwards Air Force Base is evaluating the four C–130J transport planes at Little Rock Air Force Base as the Pentagon seeks to determine if the planes are combatworthy. Although two C–130Js are assigned to the war in Iraq, critics inside and outside the Pentagon say the new aircraft has fallen short of expectations, although top Air Force generals insist the planes have performed well. .

War goes well, Self tells base council
IN SHORT:.The top commander at Little Rock Air Force Base says the war in Iraq is going much better than the way the media are portraying the fighting there. Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander of the 314th Airlift Wing, told members of the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council on Monday that progress is being made in Iraq despite the bloodshed there. "Every day, Iraq improves," Self said. [FULL TEXT]

He'll stay in race despite attacks, Stumbaugh says
IN SHORT: Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh says he is not worried that the recent report about his personnel record while an officer with the Little Rock Police Department will hurt his race for Congress. If anything, he believes the residents of Arkansas' First District will see him as someone who has made mistakes but has tried to learn from them someone like themselves.

City takes PCSSD fight to state
IN SHORT: As the Pulaski County Spec–ial School District on Tuesday handdelivered the latest revision of its fiscaldistress improvement plan to the state Department of Education, some Jacksonville leaders met with Gov. Mike Huckabee's education adviser while district administrators prepared to satisfy a Freedom of Information request from a Jacksonville businessman.

Hurricane relief centers closing doors
IN SHORT: After serving 900 evacuees, the Hurricane Katrina Assis–tance Center on James St. in Jacksonville closed its doors Saturday, but help is still available by scheduling appointments through the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. The volunteer staff at Cabot KARE (Katrina Assistance Relief Effort) located in the old Knight's grocery store, is also thinking about closing that center on Nov. 17.

Cabot shelter breaks ground
IN SHORT: The groundbreaking in Cabot Monday marked the end of a long wait for a new animal shelter that has been requested by animal lovers there for more than five years. "It's been a long time coming," Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh said about the yearlong delay in getting started that was the result of the council refusing to rezone the site on Kerr Station Road where the old shelter is located. "It's just sad that so many animals were needlessly killed."

Jacksonville's Daniel Hubbard, left, and Cabot's Dustin McElyea will likely meet up more than once on Thursday at Jan Crow Stadium when the Red Devils and Panthers face off in their annual regularseason finale matchup. Jacksonville has turned the tide of recent years and will enter the game playoffbound and the favorite to win.

Traditional rivalry still heated
IN SHORT: When it comes to Week 10 of the high school football season, one thing is certain, that Cabot and Jacksonville will meet up in a very meaningful football game. Circumstances such as playoff seedings or eligibility may change. Those circumstances may even be meaningless, as is the case this year, but the game itself won't be.

Wildcats to settle 6AA title at Des Arc
IN SHORT: TEveryone figured that the regular–season finale for Harding Academy would likely be all about preserving an undefeated record and securing another conference championship. There was the possibility that Hughes could slip up on the Wildcats to make it a more interesting race, but few expected their week 10 matchup with Des Arc to be quite as big as it is.






More debt for colleges?
Colleges and universities will never have an overabundance of buildings and facilities, not in this poor state, and borrowing is as good a way to get them as there is, except one. That would be to build them with the cash you have on hand and avoid the lengthy debt and interest. [FULL TEXT]

Forgotten Americans
Here's a thought this holiday weekend: Why isn't anybody around here looking out for the little guy or gal these days? The fat cats in Washington are helping themselves to billions of dollars worth of special projects – from bridges to nowhere to museums to local notables – but here we are, working longer and harder, and we're still sending too much of it to Washington and Little Rock and spending what's left at the gas pump. [FULL TEXT]

Murtha's clarion call
It can be recorded that on the sere autumn day of the 17th of November in Washington, D.C., the great American tragedy of Iraq reached its denouement when the end if not the absolute solution could be seen clearly. [FULL TEXT]

Highway scare tactics
Lots of legislators have needed reassuring since learning that the highway bond law they enacted last spring asks voters to surrender their voice on future highway debt, so Gov. Huckabee and the state Highway and Transportation Department applied the balm this week. [FULL TEXT]

Bond idea still dubious
Here is the key question that everyone should be asking about the big interstate highway bond issue that will be on the ballot at a special election on Dec. 13: Why are we paying for a special election in the Christmas season rather than, say, the regular general election of 2006, or 2008 or even 2010? [FULL TEXT]

Much ado about nothing
This state would be a far better place if we could capture and redirect the energy expended by politicians in the tireless pursuit of the frivolous and the futile. A few Republican lawmakers were at it again Thursday, trying to frighten people into believing that the government was going to take their humble dwellings or farms and give them to private developers if lawmakers did not come to their rescue. [FULL TEXT]


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