New Year's resolutions

Happy New Year to our readers and the communities The Leader covers. May 2016 be fortunate and filled with blessings, good health and sustenance. We've been reflecting on the big stories that kept us occupied in 2015 so we thought we'd offer a few New Year's resolutions and goals for our hometowns.

The season
for giving

Two generous gifts brightened Christmas for youngsters in the area. The Defense Department has awarded $250,000 to the Jacksonville Lighthouse charter schools to improve educational opportunities for students at K-12 school on North First Street and the middle school Flightline Academy on the air base.

Body cameras
for our police

State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) presented a $5,000 check to the Jacksonville Police Department at a recent city council meeting.

Lives they lived (RIP)

Several notable deaths have appeared in the obituary pages just before the holidays, including the passing of distinguished local veterans who served their country with distinction. We had the fortune to know many of them. They were unpretentious elderly gentlemen who never bragged about their accomplishments.

Little girl tells Santa a wish for Christmas

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. [FULL TEXT]

in an age of
daily terror

It didn't take long for another ISIS sympathizer to infiltrate the U.S. by way of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and an online engagement arranged in terrorist heaven.

House returns $500
oil contribution

His loyalty is to Mayflower and not to ExxonMobil, legislator says.

Planting of tree
is symbol of hope

President Clinton on Friday helped dedicate a small sapling taken from the chestnut tree outside Anne Frank's window in Amsterdam and now planted in 11 cities in the U.S.

Base always on missions, target same

Commander says LRAFB a role model for others to emulate.

Next 60 years at LRAFB

Investment in runway proves base national asset, Brown says.

Colonel: Guards will get medals

Ceremony next week for airmen whose quick action prevented a potential massacre.

Deja vu: Refugees
from '50s to today

The scenes of Syrian refugees stranded last week at the two main train stations in Budapest brought back memories of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, when my family took a train from Budapest to the Austrian border in December ahead of the Soviet army that had crushed the uprising.

Lucille: mystery woman

A marker at the Twist Plantation in Cross County commemorates a fire that broke out during a fight at a dance hall where B.B. King was playing with his band.

Musicians who made
stars shine

Legacy/Sony Entertain-ment has issued "Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City," a two-CD compilation to coincide with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's exhibition celebrating the music of several gifted studio musicians who backed not only Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash but many other stars who helped create the Nashville sound in the 1960s and beyond.

Lehoczky: A class act and witness to history

Istvan (Steve) Bela Lehoczky, the patriarch of the Hungarian-American community in Little Rock, passed away July 10 at the age of 82.


Pardons by Beebe
not as bad as Huck's

(This Nov. 15, 2014, political column won first place in the Arkansas Press Association's Better Newspaper contest for large weeklies.)
Gov. Mike Beebe has had a good record on pardons until this week, much better than Gov. Mike Huckabee, his predecessor.


The last time
King of Blues
sang at home

B.B. King, who passed away in his sleep in his Las Vegas home Thursday night at the age of 89, had been frail for years. Yet he kept performing until last fall, always willing to meet his fans and pose for pictures and sign autographs.

Mother recalls
end of horror

My 89-year-old mother spoke on Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday at the assisted-living facility in Florida where she lives. She spoke for 10 minutes about the horrors of the concentration camps, as did another survivor, a man who is a couple of years older than my mother.


Son of Delta:
Be a winner

Lloyd E. Shefsky is a retired international lawyer and entrepreneur who was born in Arkansas, raised in Chicago and is now semi-retired in Florida. He's still lecturing, consulting and writing books about living the American Dream through hard work, personal vision and playing by the rules.

Arkansas ain't ready
for reform

Paddy Bauler, who represented Chicago's 43rd Ward for 35 years, must be the patron saint of Arkansas legislators. [FULL TEXT]

Little girl tells Santa a wish for Christmas

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. [FULL TEXT]

Prison reform pushed

The Department of Correction wants $100 million for a new prison, but Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) thinks that's a waste of money.

Pardons by Beebe
not as bad as Huck's

Gov. Mike Beebe has had a good record on pardons until this week, much better than Gov. Mike Huckabee, his predecessor.

Lennox, Hutcherson on Blue Note; Impulse back

Annie Lennox's new CD, "Nostalgia," from Blue Note includes a stunning version of "Strange Fruit," an anti-lynching song usually associated with Billie Holiday, who recorded it in 1937.

Is a life worth

a million dollars?

Almost half the parolees in Arkansas who serve a fraction of their sentences commit more crimes soon after they're freed.

Killer at our front door

Arron Lewis stood near the front door at The Leader one evening last month, and he knocked on the big glass window when he realized the door was locked.

Killer in Cabot's schools
3 times

Glen Martin Green, the killer serving a life sentence without parole, worked in Cabot schools three different times this year.

Cabot ends prison labor in schools

After a report here Saturday that a convicted murderer worked at Cabot Junior High North last week as a prison trustee, school officials decided Monday to ban prison labor in the district. [FULL TEXT]

Killer worked at Cabot school gym

A murderer who is serving a life sentence without parole was installing a wall mat this week at the Cabot Junior High North gym as part of a prison work-release program. [FULL TEXT]


When firm's comptroller
steals $1.1M

AGL Corp., the small Jacksonville manufacturer of laser equipment used for construction around the world, had been struggling for years. The company had trouble making a profit. There were layoffs and rumors about the plant shutting down. [FULL TEXT]

Genocide threatens minorities

A huge humanitarian disaster was unfolding last month while the western world and much of the media looked away. They focused on a tiny area on the Mediterranean controlled by a group of Moslem fanatics, who have held their own people hostage while provoking another senseless war with Israel. [FULL TEXT]

Strategy put own people in line of fire

A ceasefire seems to be holding in Gaza after a month of hostilities that killed and wounded 10,000 Palestinians – while fewer than 100 Israelis were killed and injured – in the wake of another monumental Arab military failure. [FULL TEXT]

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January 2, 2016

Ryley Pannell (left) and Cole Johnson check out the flood water standing on Tori Lane in the Windwood subdivision in Beebe on Tuesday.

Flood cleanup underway

IN SHORT: Evacuees from a Beebe subdivision return after recent deluge. [FULL TEXT]

Kickoff set Tuesday for millage vote

IN SHORT: The Jacksonville Education Corps will kick off the campaign in support of the upcoming millage election at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the community center. The meeting will be open to the public. [FULL TEXT]


Looking back on 2015 (Part 4 of 4)

IN SHORT: In this final of four articles looking back at The Leader's front-page headlines of 2015, the last quarter of the year featured everything but snow. There was talk of lawsuits, a tragic accident, unmade payments, pushes for millage hikes, holds on executions, possible hospital shenanigans and a dry county looking at going wet. [FULL TEXT]

Looking back on 2015 (Part 3 of 4)

IN SHORT: The summer of 2015 was not all about the deadly hot weather, but also about Jacksonville's new school district, problems at North Metro and more C-130s at Little Rock Air Force Base. [FULL TEXT]

Looking back on 2015 (Part 2 of 4)

IN SHORT: Formation of the new school district topped the headlines during the second quarter of the year, along with the state's report card on individual schools and districts. Funding, both positive and negative, for LRAFB was also in the news often from April through June. [FULL TEXT]

Looking back on 2015 (Part 1 of 4)

IN SHORT: Jacksonville's new school district dominated the news during 2015, but there was a lot more than school news happening in Cabot, Sherwood, Lonoke, Beebe, Jacksonville and parts in between.
Take a look at these front-page headlines from The Leader during the first three months of the year in this first of four quarterly reviews of 2015.

Beebe's Libbie Hill scores during the Lady Badgers' 51-47 loss to Riverview on Wednesday.


Beebe ladies almost beat number one

IN SHORT: Riverview rallies from 11 down in fourth to win tourney. [FULL TEXT]

'Rabbits go 2-1 at Goldfish Classic

IN SHORT: Lonoke boys win third-place game, Bison teams both lose Wednesday. [FULL TEXT]

England beats Lonoke in final

IN SHORT: Lady Jackrabbits can't overcome big early deficit in the championship game of own tourney. [FULL TEXT]

Badgers hang tough in tournament play

IN SHORT: Beebe boys lose last two games, but play close with top teams. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot girls finish sixth of 32 teams

IN SHORT: Lady Panthers turn in good performance in Mansfield, Texas tournament. [FULL TEXT]

Tech. Sgt. Eric Sims, a 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hydraulic systems craftsman, stands in the back of a C-130H at Little Rock Air Force Base. Sims received the 2014 Air Force Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Maintenance Award.

Exceptional airman wins AF honor

IN SHORT: Tech. Sgt. Eric Sims recognized for outstanding maintenance. [FULL TEXT]


Letter from the front

IN SHORT: A young soldier from Lonoke County, who became a judge and prosecutor, fought in World War. [FULL TEXT]

Rebirth of Jacksonville's heart

IN SHORT: An effort is underway to return the city's original train station. [FULL TEXT]