The Leader

Road system's cold reality
The choice between pleasurable fancy and disagreeable reality is hard for leaders to make any time. It is especially hard when people are imbued with the notion that taxes are way too high and led to expect their lowering, not raising. [FULL TEXT]

Hospitable to Mexicans
It turns out that we have Mike Huckabee, along with taxpayers and a northeast Arkansas developer, to thank for that new Mexican consulate over in Little Rock. [FULL TEXT]

Watch out for deer
Paragould Daily Press — Yes, it’s deer season again. But no, we aren’t talking about on what days one may hunt, or with what weapons.

Wal-Mart does right
Wait, for a change there is some good news on the health-care front and it is Arkansas originated. How often do you get to say that?

Gas tax for schools
Pick almost any issue between Mike Beebe and the good Republican Sheffield Nelson and the governor in our sights would own the higher ground.

Nelson’s severance tax
The last time we heard from Sheffield Nelson he was helping the Bush-Cheney re-election effort in Arkansas and working closely with his best political friend, Mike Huckabee, who put him on the state Game and Fish Commission. [FULL TEXT]


Parties still looking for their savior
While Republicans and Democrats are slugging it out over who should get their party’s presidential nomination — for many, the choices aren’t all that terrific, which is why minor candidates like Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are pulling up from the rear —the good news for Lonoke County Republicans is they have squelched a rebellion to humiliate the mayor of Cabot and an alderman.

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]














November 17 , 2007

North Pulaski High School 12th grader Nathan Cox takes extra care washing his hands at school. The school districts in the area are reminding students to wash their hands and use sanitizer to protect from harmful bacteria that can be passed from one person to another.

Schools clean up as staph virus spreading
IN SHORT: Beebe High School student has less dangerous strain as state officials advise caution. staph infections. [FULL TEXT]

Metroplan: Road projects in jeopardy
IN SHORT: Executive director McKenzie warns North Belt Freeway, Hwy. 67/167 construction could be in trouble without new revenues. [FULL TEXT]

Pay raises for mayor, chiefs in the works
IN SHORT: Discussion to continue on $8.2 million budget, which could include increases for Williams and department heads. [FULL TEXT]

Council may end fees for builders
IN SHORT:Cabot aldermen have second thoughts about doubling impact levies as residential construction slows from a previously torrid pace.

Lonoke JPs pass $6.1M ’08 budget
IN SHORT: With little discussion, the Lonoke County Quorum Court on Thursday night approved a $6.1 million budget for 2008, including 3 percent pay raises for county employees. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot, builder settle dispute over $29,619
IN SHORT: The Cabot City Council has told Mayor Eddie Joe Williams to pay a $29,619 bill still owed Kullander Construction for work on the community center in exchange for the construction company not charging the city for additional work on the parking lot and sidewalks to make that new city building comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. [FULL TEXT]



Sylvan Hills senior quarterback Hunter Miller drops back for a pass in the first quarter of the Bears’ semifinal game against Lake Hamilton Friday night at Wolf Stadium in Pearcy, where the Wolves took the win 44-16.

Wolves slash Bears Friday
IN SHORT: The Bears come up short Friday night in the Class 6A semifinals. [FULL TEXT]

Gravette runs away with win in playoffs
IN SHORT: Lions went up 21 in the first quarter en route to a 39-14 victory over the Jackrabbits Friday night in the second round of 4A football. [FULL TEXT]

Panthers sweep Eagles in two exciting endings
IN SHORT: Both games went down to the wire Tuesday night in Vilonia, but the Panthers and Lady Panthers were able to pull out the non-conference wins. [FULL TEXT]


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