The Leader

Staffers see too many relatives die
Several Leader staffers lost their relatives during the holidays, two of them killed in car wrecks, while another relative died suddenly from a heart attack. As we were talking about the unusually high number of sudden deaths in The Leader family, word came that the 93-year-old mother of bluesman Charlie Musselwhite was strangled in Memphis during a home break-in. Musselwhite's father died a few days later in a nursing home.[FULL TEXT]

Big Jack Johnson: Great Bluesman
Big Jack Johnson has been playing at Red's Lounge in Clarksdale, Miss., for the last couple of weekends, and if you hurry down there, you might still catch the great bluesman tonight as he rocks the juke joint down with his powerful guitar playing and soulful singing that's as deep and satisfying as anything you'll hear today anywhere in the Delta.[FULL TEXT]

How bodies come home from Iraq
(Relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq are often surprised to find out that their loved ones are returned home on commercial airplanes. This column first appeared here on May 26, 2004). A couple of weeks ago, passengers on an airplane flying into Little Rock heard a pilot telling them that an officer was escorting home a soldier returning from Iraq. [FULL TEXT]

Eyewitness to attack on Pearl Harbor
(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989 and is reprinted to mark the 64th 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]

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]


JANUARY 4 , 2006

Wildfires, Could they happen here?
IN SHORT: Are wildfires like those spreading through Oklahoma and Texas possible in central Arkansas? Yes, say local fire officials. "And it's getting worse every day," said assistant fire chief Mark Mahan with the Sylvan Hills Fire Department. [FULL TEXT]

Zoning hearing attracts crowd
IN SHORT: Residents of Sun Terrace subdivision in Cabot will have to wait one more month for a decision from the planning commission about whether property on their side of Hwy. 89 will be rezoned from residential to commercial.

Budget is still issue to county officials
IN SHORT: Although Pulaski County substations at Gravel Ridge and McAlmont have lost five road deputies between them because of budget cuts, Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson of Jacksonville says the only way he could support any new tax would be to address area law enforcement problems across the board.

Water works is in business
IN SHORT: Cabot Water Works, the new name for the water and sewer departments that are now separated from the city and in the hands of an autonomous commission, opened this week with no problems.

Female police officers are in full force
IN SHORT: Nearly a quarter of the Jack-sonville Police Department's force is female, more than any other local city, with 16 of the department's 80 officers being women. But other area cities are catching up.

Specialist could get axe
IN SHORT: Beebe economic development director Marjorie Arm-strong found out before Christmas that she might not have a job this year. Beebe Alderman Janice Petray says she wanted to do away with Armstrong's job last year during budget time but held off out of respect for those who opposed her, in-cluding the mayor and the economic development commission.

Town could get theater
IN SHORT: Could a multi-screen movie theater be coming to Jacksonville? The Leader has learned that a 10-screen cinema is in the works for the city, possibly being planned for the north side of Jackson Square Shopping Center on South James, next to Knight's Super Foods.

Cabot Police Department; An inside look
IN SHORT: To protect and serve a growing population of nearly 20,000 residents, the Cabot Police Department is developing new operating procedures, improving technology and adding personnel. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot guard Jamie Sterrenberg, 4, played a key role in the Lady Panthers' championship run at the Lendel Thomas Classic in Harrison.

Cabot girls take Goblin title
IN SHORT: The Cabot Lady Panthers made their third consecutive trip to the finals of an invitational tournament this season when they faced Harrison in the championship game of the Lendel Thomas Classic last Friday. Only this time, they won.

Carlisle, Tech win tourney in Beebe
IN SHORT: Several area teams took part in the First Security Bank/White County Medical Center Christmas Classic in Beebe last week. All five teams representing White County came away with at least one win in the tourney, with the Riverview Lady Raiders and Harding Academy Lady Wildcats both winning two out of their three games.






Previous Issues

Rename Arkansas?
In the old days it was considered graceless to name government projects for the boss. Such honors were bestowed rarely and posthumously or at least after the leader's career was over. At the end of his 12 years as Supreme Leader of Arkansas, in 1966, Gov. Orval E. Faubus arranged, so it was said, for a new state mental health facility that would perch on the hill above West Markham Street in Little Rock to be named the Orval E. Faubus Administrative and Intensive Treatment Center. Faubus disclaimed putting any pressure on the State Hospital Board to name the building after him. But he need not have bothered. [FULL TEXT]

Convene special session
Solemn pronouncements by Gov. Mike Huckabee generally leave one with two impulses, cheering and scoffing. So it was with the governor's disclosure last week that he had set certain conditions that will have to be met before he will call the General Assembly into session to deal with the school crisis. [FULL TEXT]

Payday lenders Democrats' friends
It is the least surprising and most surprising news of the month: The payday-lending industry has settled more than $20,000 on the Democratic Party of Arkansas. The Arkansas Business newspaper reported that development this week. Least surprising because it will come as a shock to no one to learn that an industry that gets its way in the legislative halls spends some money on political campaigns. [FULL TEXT]

Holiday spirit missing in D.C.
Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 2005 in Washington, D.C., finds little children, the sick, the meek and the poor in spirit more out of fashion than ever before in our nation's capital. The disciples are decidedly out of fashion, too, having been replaced by the less sentimental Grover Norquist and Ayn Rand. [FULL TEXT]


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