The Leader

Dubai buys off Bill, but not Hillary
Sen. Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former president, should get their heads together and decide where their family stands on handing over control of our ports to an Arab company.[FULL TEXT]

Author says ivory bill is alive here!
Last weekend’s Call of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker Festival drew hundreds of birdwatchers to Brink-ley, where ornithologists remained upbeat about the bird’s existence after several reported sightings over the past two years.
“The ivory bill lives!”[FULL TEXT]

Pizza shop forced out for on-ramp
Virgil and Leigh Wilson have spent more than a decade building their pizza business on T.P. White Drive in Jacksonville, but the state Highway Department has told them they must vacate the premises and start all over again someplace else.[FULL TEXT]

Huckabee just as bad as mayor
How come Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett faces charges of using inmate labor to put up Christmas lights at his home and at a friend's house, but Gov. Huckabee can use murderers to do chores around the Governor's Mansion.[FULL TEXT]

No wonder Lonoke jail so popular
No wonder the Lonoke jail is always overcrowded. There's a party atmosphere over there, according to Prosecuting Attorney Lona McCastlain, who accuses the police chief and his wife of serving up more than just baked beans and day-old bread for the prisoners.[FULL TEXT]

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]













MARCH 08, 2006

Cabot is improving its crowded roads, but Lonoke County officials are now willing to do more for the city that as been growing rapidly for decades.

Cabot tries to ease traffic congestion
IN SHORT: Cabot residents who don’t want to battle Hwy. 89 traffic to get to the new Wal-Mart Supercenter will eventually have a direct route off Hwy. 5, courtesy up to this point of the Lonoke County Road Depart-ment. [FULL TEXT]

Fight against meth far from over
IN SHORT: A celebration in Little Rock Monday over the decline in meth labs across the state could be misleading. [FULL TEXT]

Crime is down in Lonoke
IN SHORT: Even as former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, his wife Kelly Campbell and a pair of bail bondsmen prepare for arraignment in Lonoke County Circuit Court Monday, statistics show that crime in the city during Campbell’s last full year was down 24 percent. [FULL TEXT]

Who watches lenders?
IN SHORT: Arkansas has 275 cash advance or payday lending stores, of which only 66 are licensed and make any pretense of being regulated by the state, according to a study to be released Wednesday morning by Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending (AAAPL). [FULL TEXT]

Iraqi airmen proud of C-130s
IN SHORT: When the U.S. government gave three C-130 cargo planes to the new Iraqi Air Force, Iraqi airmen celebrated by slaughtering sheep and marking the planes with blood. [FULL TEXT]

Lore of ivory-billed woodpecker sparks lovefest
IN SHORT: Amateur naturalists and wildlife biologists and some genuine wilderness lovers gathered together in Brinkley in late February for a love- fest in honor of the “Lord God” bird, the ivory-billed woodpecker. [FULL TEXT]

Naturalists can obtain a four-color guide
IN SHORT: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and 12 partners have produced “Birding and Watchable Wildlife,” a guide to help wildlife enthusiasts catch glimpses of creatures in their natural surroundings. Also provided are viewing tips and viewing ethics. [FULL TEXT]

Remembering Dakota
IN SHORT: Those left behind will never forget him. Hundreds attended celebration services for Henry Dakota Hawkins Sunday afternoon at First Baptist Church in Cabot, a testimony to the many lives he touched. After beating acute myeloid leukemia last spring, Dakota passed away at his home last Thursday morning. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot sophomore Lauren Walker rolls off a pick during the Lady Panthers' loss to North Little Rock Saturday in the state semifinals .

Lady Panthers beaten in semis
IN SHORT: An amazing run came to an end on Saturday afternoon at the UALR Stephens Center when the Cabot Lady Panthers lost their AAAAA semifinal game to North Little Rock 50-39. Cabot led from the tip-off until 2:57 left in the first half, when the Lady Wildcats took their first lead of the game. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, it would be the only lead change in the entire contest. [FULL TEXT]

Mentor gone, but won’t be forgotten
IN SHORT: Jacksonville lost one of its most dedicated supporters last week when Jacksonville Softball Association director Sam Ashabranner died at the age of 61. [FULL TEXT]





Previous Issues

Health plan first in nation
We knew Mike Huckabee pretty well. When he is not in out-of-state Republican precincts bashing gays, abortion and Democrats, Gov. Huckabee is a big-government liberal working to preserve and expand the welfare state. But we frankly were surprised this week by the news that the Bush administration had signed off on a big expansion of government health care, even if it is to be undertaken exclusively in our little state. We thought we knew Bush, too. He has been trying in other ways to slash government health insurance for the poor, not enlarge it. [FULL TEXT]

Ruling goes against TIF
Circuit Judge Kim Smith deserves the state’s thanks for striking down a scheme to divert school taxes for downtown business development in Fayetteville. Judge Smith ruled in the only way that the law really permitted but that big development interests refuse to acknowledge. [FULL TEXT]

Beebe sues payday lenders
Hats off to Attorney General Mike Beebe, who asked a circuit court this week to close a hybrid check-cashing business at Jonesboro that is charging up to 520 percent interest. Money in a is a particularly blatant scam so the attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor feels secure in going after one of its outlets. [FULL TEXT]

Would UAE let us run their ports?
President Bush picked a fine time to worry about ethnic profiling: when the safety of the nation’s ports is in peril. The man who has inflamed Arab passions against the West more than anyone since Pope Urban II and Peter the Hermit organized the First Crusade is terribly afraid that not allowing the sheik of Dubai to run major U.S. ports will cause Muslims to distrust us and not want to do business with American corporations. Bush’s trade representative is trying to negotiate a trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which is keenly wanted by major businesses. [FULL TEXT]

‘Not just NO, but HELL NO’
When you first heard that the U.S. has hired a company owned by the United Arab Emirates to help run some of our nation’s ports, a couple of thoughts probably crossed your mind: Why can’t a superpower watch its own ports without foreign help, and where is the United Arab Emirates located, anyway? [FULL TEXT]


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