The Leader

Payday lenders still in charge
A couple of local women wept during a meeting of the Joint Senate and House Judiciary Committees at the Capitol Thursday as they talked about their nightmarish experiences with so-called payday lenders in Jacksonville. [FULL TEXT]

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]



MARCH 15, 2006

Former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell (right center) and his wife Kelly walk from arraignment at the Lonoke County Courthouse Monday to the Sheriff's Office, where each was booked on additional drug and theft charges.

Defendants in scandals spend time at hearings
IN SHORT: In a sex and drugs case that has rocked the Lonoke community, the Campbells and two bail bondsmen plead not guilty and are slated to appear for pretrial motions on Thursday. [FULL TEXT]

Council shaken by more charges
IN SHORT: Stunned by lurid tales of sex and drugs involving its former police chief, the Lonoke City Council grilled the acting chief over alleged irregularities Monday. [FULL TEXT]

C-130 repair costs rise
IN SHORT: The Air Force will have to pay $9 million for each plane to fix microscopic cracks on the wings of its aging cargo fleet, or about $297 million on aircraft assigned to LRAFB alone [FULL TEXT]

At the head of the table Pam Carter, data systems manager for the Cabot School District, discusses a book with fourth-graders (counter-clockwise from Carter) Brianna Loya, Sabrina Fench, Annie Brida, Briana Thornton, Kassidy Taylor and Katie Calhoun. Carter is at the school as part of Magness Creek's Chat 'N' Chew lunch reading program.

School reading program
IN SHORT: Magness Creek weekly reading event involves students, community leaders and lunch. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville senior Lavar Neely is guarded by Cabot's Michael Lowery. Neely was named to the All-Conference and All-State teams while Lowery made All-Conference from the AAAAA-East.

Several local players named
to All-State/Conference
IN SHORT: Basketball season is over, but the honors and accolades are just starting to roll in. [FULL TEXT]

Beebe ladies win two, lose one at MSM tournament
IN SHORT: The Beebe Lady Badgers came away with wins over Malvern and North Little Rock during last weekend’s Mount St. Mary’s tourney in Sherwood, but lost to Benton. [FULL TEXT]





Previous Issues

Huckabee train slows
After nearly a year of circuit riding in the early presidential precincts of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, our former preacher turned politician got his chance on the big stage Saturday.[FULL TEXT]

Halter is no Bumpers
Bill Halter got out of the Arkansas governor’s race Thursday, reflecting greater wisdom than the young Rhodes scholar had demonstrated in his brief political career. Halter said he was persuaded that he would have to savage Mike Beebe to have any chance of winning the Democratic nomination and he was loathe to run that kind of campaign.[FULL TEXT]

Bill Harmon: A class act
Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon will not seek re-election this November after nearly a quarter century in public service. He made the announcement at last week’s Sherwood City Council meeting, following a “good news” state of the city address.[FULL TEXT]

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. [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]


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