The Leader

Coal burning filthy idea
Every year, three electricity-generating plants in Arkansas that burn Wyoming soft coal cough into our atmosphere about 30 million tons of carbon dioxide. One molecule of the stuff will hang around in the atmosphere for 50 to 200 years to contribute to the overheating of the planet. [FULL TEXT]

Where taxes go
As expected, the Jacksonville City Council last week approved a two-cent hamburger tax that starts this fall and will benefit the city’s parks and several of its attractions, such as the military museum and Reed’s Bridge Battlefield site. [FULL TEXT]

A law we don’t need
Women everywhere can feel secure in the knowledge that starting this week they will be safer when they venture into the virtuous confines of Arkansas. Or not.

Judge’s ruling rescues FOI
Pulaski Circuit Judge Mary Ann McGowan is our nominee for public servant of the year: For the third time, she has defended the state’s Freedom of Information Act to the letter, ruling that Pulaski County must release just about every e-mail between a former employee accused of stealing public funds and a woman he romanced while she did business with the county.

Mayor Hillman
Virginia Hillman, Sherwood’s new mayor, was all smiles Wednesday after she was sworn into office, accepting congratulations from supporters and other people of goodwill who wished her well. [FULL TEXT]


Is Villines trying to hide more disgrace?
It’s hard to figure out why Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines has opposed the release of emails written by a disgraced former employee — unless Villines thinks they will make his office look bad and raise questions about what his workers are doing when they’re on the clock.

Americans who make a difference
While we visited the other day with Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne Schatz, the commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, and later with members of a local church, they reluctantly mentioned some extraordinary things they’ve done — one in the line of duty, the others going overseas with a church group.

Local TV closes in on killing
When it comes to local TV news, they say if it bleeds, it leads.

Kids, dope don’t mix with driver
He’s been driving a bus for the Pulaski County Special School District for 22 years, and this summer he drives a van for special-education students who attend a summer program at the Jacksonville Middle School for Boys.

Stax marks 50 years of great music
If you remember Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft,” the Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” Eddy Floyd’s “Knock on Wood,” Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” Booker T. and the MGs’ “Green Onions” and the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night,” you would have enjoyed a concert last month in Memphis commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stax record label.

Air strategy saving lives
Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne Schatz is in his office at the headquarters of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, where he’s the commander, and he reaches for a dagger he’d brought back from Qatar a couple of years ago, when he was in charge of running airlifts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Payday series wins award in competition
(The Arkansas Press Association awarded The Leader first place in the Better Newspaper Contest for our in-depth reporting on payday lenders. This column from March 22, 2006 was part of that series.)
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.


Next move may be up to federal prosecutor
When the FBI completes its public-corruption probe into former Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh’s administration, interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin in Little Rock could be the one who decides whether to file charges against Stumbaugh and his cronies.

How city wiped out vet’s investment
A veteran of Vietnam, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, Jim Eggert bought two commercial buildings in Jacksonville, but the closing of the Graham Road rail crossing killed business. He’s put his property up for sale, but he’ll have to take a huge loss.

Famed photographer had roots in area
If you turn off Hwy. 5 at Cabot near the freeway and drive down Cleland Road for less than a mile, you’ll come to Mt. Pleasant Road.

U.S. prosecutor demoted over bullying e-mail
Witness in Campbell trial used his government computer and official title to try to intimidate newspaper with threat of a $50 million libel suit and takeover of The Leader.

Why didn’t feds take this case?
You may have wondered while you were following the corruption trial of Jay and Kelly Campbell in Lonoke County why the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock didn’t prosecute the couple, along with two shady bail bondsmen, who will be tried later.

Politics at local level rough, just ask mayor
“All politics is local.”
— Thomas “Tip” O’Neill,
— longtime Speaker of the House
The political pros know that voters are more passionate about local issues than about national politics, even in time of war.

You cannot judge a book by its cover
The cover of Elizabeth Jacoway’s book on the Central High School integration crisis reproduces one of the most famous photos of the civil rights era. [FULL TEXT]














August 8, 2007

Concrete slabs bear silent witness to a stalled housing privatization effort at Little Rock Air Force Base. No work has been done on the new homes since May 7, and the company has since filed bankruptcy and a complex reorganization is under way.

Base builder bankrupt
IN SHORT: Lawmakers express their concern over construction failures with Little Rock Air Force Base housing. [FULL TEXT]

August’s hot days call for caution
IN SHORT: Sherwood senior center director recalls family deaths related to heat.

Beebe mayor fires police chief
IN SHORT: Council members learned of dismissal details at a special meeting on Monday. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville principal seeks LRSD board seat
IN SHORT:Local administrator joins four-way race to unseat the controversial incumbent. [FULL TEXT]



The Cabot football team jumped right into full contact, game-type scrimmaging, and the coaching staff likes the athleticism from its young squad of underclassmen.

Tougher regimen no problem at Beebe
IN SHORT: The Badger football players have responded well to the new system and more strenuous schedule of new head coach John Shannon. [FULL TEXT]

Sylvan Hills searching for linemen
IN SHORT: The Bears have strong skill numbers, but need some more help on the interior. New coach Jim Withrow is trying to avoid having linemen work both ways, but says it may be impossible for some. [FULL TEXT]

Jackrabbits show new system is taking hold
IN SHORT: Lonoke players are getting the basics of coach Jeff Jones’ new system down well in early practices. [FULL TEXT]


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