The Leader

How did we go from 10 percent to 3,000 percent interest on loans?
A populist state like Arkansas, which once had the lowest usury rate in the nation — 10 percent was the interest limit until 1982 — now allows payday lenders to charge outrageous interest rates — often several hundred percent interest. [FULL TEXT]

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 22, 2006

Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh (left) filed for Congress in Dist. 1 against Rep. Marion Berry, who filed for re-election, as did Cong. Vic Snyder.

Stumbaugh files
IN SHORT: Mayor Stumbaugh learns he has no opponent for Congress in the Republican primary. [FULL TEXT]

Tempers flare as charges are flung
IN SHORT: First day of filing gets off to hot start with an even more heated exchange between independent county judge candidate Dennis Gillam and White County Judge Bob Parish. [FULL TEXT]

Swaim could run again
IN SHORT: Aldermen wish the Jacksonville mayor, who said in 2002 he wouldn't run again, would make up his mind. [FULL TEXT]

Payday lenders aren't leaving yet
IN SHORT: The state's largest payday lender has parted ways with its out-of-state bank, but the lender gets licenses to keep doors open in Jacksonville and in other areas around the state. [FULL TEXT]


From left, Cabot rugby players Jason Aist, Josh Gauden, Kevin Beers, Ben Aaron, Dominic Martin, Patrick Lewis and Chris Rodriguez warm up during practice with a running drill across the field.

Pirate ruggers in the area
IN SHORT: High-schoolers start rugby team in Cabot with Pirate mascot. [FULL TEXT]


Jacksonville shortstop Whitney Conrade sets up to make a catch during the Lady Red Devils' 10-0 victory over Sylvan Hills on Friday night.

Girls got game
IN SHORT: The Jacksonville softball team won four games and the Jacksonville tournament championship this weekend to improve to 7-0 overall so far this season.

Cabot flies by Lady Lions with late rally
IN SHORT: The Lady Panthers softball team scored six runs in the fifth inning to take command of Friday evening's AAAAA-East matchup at Searcy. Cabot won the game 11-3 to improve to 7-3 so far this season. [FULL TEXT]





Previous Issues

Whitewater, RIP
Whitewater, which started one day in 1992 in a downtown Little Rock office and expanded into the costliest and looniest investigation in American history, ended Monday morning in the most appropriate way. The U. S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Jim Guy Tucker, who was tricked by prosecutors into pleading guilty to cheating on taxes that he did not owe. [FULL TEXT]

Rewriting history
Guilt by association is a slimy tactic whether it is undertaken in the judicial or political system. Its employers should not be allowed to get away with it. [FULL TEXT]

Adequate school funds
Sometime before he summons the legislature into special session Gov. Huckabee should read the Arkansas Supreme Court decision that required it.[FULL TEXT]

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]



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