The Leader

ADEQ friend of polluters
We confess to a vague uneasiness over the comments made by officials of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality when it comes to pollution in the state. The department is not concerned at all about the proposed expansion of the Two Pine Landfill in Jacksonville.

Usurers lose another round
The cat that is the payday lending industry perished Thursday for the eighth time by our calculation. It should be getting its affairs into order, for its ninth life ought to be short, maybe until summer.

Tale of two chairmen
Asa Hutchinson and Sheffield Nelson, who once shared the chairmanship of the Arkansas Republican Party and repeatedly frustrated ambitions for high office, re-emerged this winter from the shadows of history. We like the reincarnated Nelson better.

Nelson has right idea
Do we detect weariness on the part of Gov. Beebe, who has been trying to get the big gas companies and their robots in the legislature to agree to return to the people of Arkansas a small share of the mammoth income from Arkansas’ vanishing gas resources?

Which one’s lucky party?
Eight and a half months before the election, Republicans have identified their candidate and the Democrats are not close. For the first time in a quarter-century, Democrats are apt to go to their convention not knowing for sure who the nominee will be. Which is the lucky party?

Huck: Our happy warrior
The merriest man in America beyond a doubt is Mike Huckabee.

McCain up, Hillary down
A year ago, as this interminable presidential campaign was taking shape, the easy bet was that Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton would battle for the office this fall. Half of that expectation has now been realized, but the other half seems more and more unlikely.

Huck seeks spot on ticket
His presidential ambitions if not his campaign terminated by the voters on Super Tuesday’s national primary, Mike Huckabee today begins a more calculating phase of his quest for national power, the Republican nomination for vice president.

Beebe could write initiative
Gov. Beebe is cautious and methodical to a fault, which is the hallmark of his long political ascendance, but later if not sooner he seems always to get to the right place, or pretty close. This week, he said he might write his own initiated act to raise the severance tax on natural gas and place it on the general election ballot.[FULL TEXT]

Texas fights polluters!
No state government anywhere, unless it is Arkansas, is supposed to be kinder to the big energy companies than Texas.

Better ranking
School rankings come out by the dozens every year and Arkansas lands all across the spectrum, making it hard to draw much elation or sorrow from any of them.

Vote bashes big media
Election nights are refreshing even when they are personally disappointing because they keep reassuring us about who ultimately is in charge. It is not the cacophonous media but the voters.

Requiring photo IDs
Arkansas has a sad but improving history of voting fraud, but the solution is not less democracy as a few Republicans lawmakers advocate.

Whose tax cuts?
We tire of pointing it out, but someone needs to keep the record straight.

Huckabee can rejoice
Whatever happens hereafter to his campaign for president, Mike Huckabee must forever be accorded recognition for having pulled one of the most improbable political upsets in a century.

Water users get soaked
Between the lawyers and the reporters who record their pleadings, the legal jousting over building subdivisions west of Lake Maumelle leaves most of us baffled.

Don’t know geography
An endless succession of blunders once he attained center stage in the presidential race suggests that our man Mike Huckabee needs to stick to what he does best, one-liners and clemency, and leave foreign policy to others.

Pure fiction from Rollins
When he famously directed Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984, Ed Rollins showed a knack for creating agreeable fancy about the president’s leadership.

Huck should tell the truth
Every politician, like most of the rest of us, has a terrifying secret that he fears would turn the public against him if the word got out. In Mike Huckabee’s case, it is his record.


Huck prays for miracle after losses
An obvious sign that his presidential campaign is sinking and out of money, Mike Huckabee is throwing the national media off his plane and bus and will probably soon abandon Florida, placing all his bets on Super Tuesday on Feb. 5.

Huck’s main adversary is not running
Mike Huckabee’s most formidable opponent is not running for president.

Central book is suddenly more timely
Ralph Brodie dropped in at the Jacksonville Rotary Club on Monday to talk about his book, “Central in Our Lives: Voices from Little Rock Central High School, 1957-59.”

Hillary hurt, Huck boosts McCain for nomination
Until a year ago, Mike Huckabee was an obscure governor from a small state that has a knack for producing national political figures.

Aretha releases record of the year
Record of the year: Aretha Franklin’s “Rare and Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul,” a two-CD set from Rhino that discounters sell for about $15, which is a bargain. [FULL TEXT]

What little girl wanted for holiday
(This is a reprint of a previous Christmas column.) When my friend Jack Sallee was with the Jaycees in Fayetteville, they’d put an ad in the paper at Christmastime, saying that for $2 you could have Santa come to your place.

Huckabee impressive, unenduring
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee is way up there in the polls, pulling almost even with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the Republican presidential nomination, although Huckabee badly trails all potential Democratic nominees.

Pearl Harbor marks 66th anniversary
(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989 and is reprinted to mark the 66th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.)

County too poor for sick inmates
Beebe police recently arrested James E. (Big Ed) Fuller for selling crack cocaine out of his apartment.

Tough vet able to cry and smile
When you saw Bill Greer, he usually smiled like all his brothers.

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]














February 27, 2008

Jacksonville resident Joey Price stands near his property with the Two Pine Landfill behind his shoulder. A proposed expansion of the site would extend into an open area behind him, which is near several homes and Dupree Park, where children play.

Garbage in their front yard
IN SHORT: Neighbors of dump don’t want an expansion; a public hearing could be a possibility. [FULL TEXT]

City still has no answers about fee
IN SHORT: Cabot’s special committee has more questions about impact fees at meeting. [FULL TEXT]

Ex-worker accused of theft from city parks
IN SHORT: A former bookkeeper charged with stealing more than $8,000 over two years as State Police investigation launched. [FULLTEXT]

Telemarketer ends Sherwood calls
IN SHORT: Survey calls came from Tulsa as residents prepare to vote on issue.[FULL TEXT]

Cabot schools cutting back
IN SHORT: Reduced summer school planned and new construction could stop if a millage increase isn’t passed, district officials warn patrons. [FULL TEXT]



The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits show off their East Region championship plaque after they beat host Bald Knob on Saturday evening. Lonoke opens 4A state tournament play this Friday in Dumas.

Lady Rabbits hold on
IN SHORT: Dane Lottner scored 19 points in the final quarter as the Owls hung on to beat Atkins.[FULLTEXT]

Lonoke boys add regional crown, look to state title next
IN SHORT: Lonoke senior Bradley Spencer is a large part of the reason the Jackrabbits think the 4A state title is within their grasp. [FULL TEXT]

Lady Devils’ coach looks to next year
IN SHORT: Late Bomber bomb sends game into OT as Jacksonville settles for 3 seed.[FULLTEXT]

Beebe girls season ends
IN SHORT: Panthers drop to fifth seed after falling to Russellville.[FULLTEXT]

Devils drop Hurricane
IN SHORT: Riverview went cold and fell to Conway St. Joseph in the
quarterfinals of the Region 2 regionals.


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