The Leader

State should reject plant
In the closing argument for a permit to build a coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County, the lead attorney for Southwestern Electric Power Co. pleaded with the state Public Service Commission Monday not to put the company and its customers at risk by denying permission to build the plant.

Huck GOP’s best hope?
The national media has discovered our man Mike Huckabee, and the pundits from David Brooks of The New York Times to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek are writing glowingly about his charm, wit and middle-of-the-road positioning in the field of Republican presidential candidates.

Boozman hurts kids
Stung by the defections from the Republican Party for its spendthrift and reckless ways on his watch, President Bush picked a fine time to suddenly get frugal: when the health of children is at stake. [FULL TEXT]

Richard Allin, RIP
Richard Allin died Thursday, although we had already adjusted some years ago to abiding the mornings without his gentle wit. [FULL TEXT]

Giving away natural gas
Sand and gravel miners pay three times the taxes that producers are charged. [FULL TEXT]


Department plays games with scores
The state Education Department last Friday sent out a poorly written press release that bragged about how much progress public schools are making, although if you read far enough into the press release, you realize schools are doing less well than the year before.

Quillin’s relatives stand by their man
Ron Quillin’s mother-in-law wasn’t too happy with my column Wednesday about the former Pulaski County comptroller who’s in prison for stealing more than $40,000 to finance an affair with a lady friend who was doing business with the county.

Emails out, but in-laws still pay up
It was nice of Ron Quillin’s in-laws to mortgage their home so he could repay Pulaski County more than $42,000 he stole while he was the county comptroller, but after they saw the infamous emails he sent to his girlfriend printed in the papers, they must wonder if the bum is worth keeping as a son-in-law.

It doesn’t take long to get out of prison
You’ve probably noticed how criminals get their names in the papers over and over again.

It’s Biscuit time in Helena
The Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in downtown Helena — formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival, although it’s still the Biscuit for most fans and it’s still free — will kick off next Thursday with several strong acts and will continue through next Saturday with plenty more good music, and there’s still lots more across the river the following afternoon in downtown Clarksdale, Miss.

Classmates meet, recall friendship
Ernest Green, perhaps the best known of the Little Rock Nine, was walking up a couple of flights of stairs at Central High School after Tuesday’s ceremony marking the integration of Central 50 years ago this week.

No troops when you need them
Most people in Little Rock resented the arrival of the 101st Airborne Division to ensure the integration of Central High School 50 years ago — many of those troops were flown into Little Rock Air Force Base — but almost exactly the year before, I would have welcomed the 101st into my native Hungary.

All voices need to be heard now
No one at the Little Rock School District or at Central High School will tell us if the city will honor white students and their teachers who stood up to the bigots outside Central High School when Gov. Faubus tried to keep nine black kids out of their neighborhood school 50 years ago this month.

Recognizing others who were there
Gene Bowman of Jacksonville is one of about 4,500 people who’ve received invitations to a ceremony Sept. 25 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration crisis at Central High School in Little Rock.

Pizzeria closes after move and owner’s surgery
The state Highway Department is completing work on an on-ramp at Hwy. 67/167 in north Jacksonville, where the Pizza Company did pretty decent business for more than a decade.

Sad news hits us hard this August
A death in the family and deaths of friends have made us think about mortality.

My father: A witness to 20th Century
When my father passed away at the age of 85 late in the afternoon on Aug. 5, one of the doctors at the emergency room at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami called my brother Steve with the terrible news.

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]














October 24, 2007

Rodney Craig Jr., 3, of Brinkley holds a red balloon he got while at Sherwood Fest Saturday as vendor Zikar Eid of Sherwood looks on. Sherwood Fest was a big hit over the weekend with hundreds of people and vendors showing up for the day. The weather was good and the day went without a hitch.

MEMS will get funding
IN SHORT: Sherwood and Cabot agree to pay more in subsidies to ambulance service after cuts in Medicare payments. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot mayor faces expulsion
IN SHORT: Local GOP will also consider expelling alderman for not supporting partisan elections. [FULL TEXT]

Top cop: We need to build jail cells
IN SHORT: Jacksonville police chief says too many criminals go free for lack of prison space. [FULL TEXT]

Parties still far apart on golf course
IN SHORT:The owners of the North Hills Country Club and Sherwood are at a loggerhead over the property’s purchase price, according to City Attorney Steve Cobb.

Restrictions upset payday lenders
IN SHORT: Military cash cow loans dry up as Pentagon and state impose interest limits. [FULL TEXT]

Beebe will bring check for armory
IN SHORT: Gov. Mike Beebe will be in Cabot at 11 a.m. Thursday to present Mayor Eddie Joe Williams with a check to help pay for the land where the new National Guard armory will be built. [FULL TEXT]



Beebe quarterback Charlie Spakes sets to take a snap from center Jacob Sullivan. The Badgers play Nettleton this Friday.

Beebe preparing mentally
IN SHORT: The Badgers are officially clinched for the 5A state football playoffs, but can still improve their seeding in the final two weeks of league competition. [FULL TEXT]

Zebras concern Cabot
IN SHORT: The Panthers will need a big offensive game to overtake a much-improved Pine Bluff team this Friday. [FULL TEXT]

Freshmen, NP Falcons set records
IN SHORT: Despite troubles early in the year, the jr. Falcons have recovered for big wins. [FULL TEXT]


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