Welcome, new chief

A search committee last week chose Geoffrey Herweg, 53, the deputy chief of the Lovington, N.M., police department, as Jacksonville's next police chief. He will succeed Kenny Boyd, who has been with the department for 29 years, the last three as chief. Boyd announced his retirement earlier this year after serving with distinction in various capacities.


David Solomon,
1916-2017, RIP

Sad to hear that David Solomon, the longtime Helena lawyer and civic leader, passed away last week at his home at the age of 100. Everyone in the Arkansas Delta thought he was a mensch (a Yiddish word for someone of great character and integrity). Mr. Solomon worked for the Helena school board and the hospital pro bono for many years and was a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission, serving as its chairman in 1984-85.


No repeal, replace yet

An inexperienced president and a House speaker who could not count ensured defeat of a signature healthcare bill that Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail would cover everyone for a lot less money and with better features than Obamacare.


Obamacare repeal stuck

The House of Representatives will vote on a Republican health-care bill on Thursday, but passage is uncertain as critics in the president’s own party balk at a plan that would hurt the working class and working seniors who voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.


FBI bares spying

by Russians

FBI director James Comey's announcement at a House intelligence committee hearing Monday that the bureau is investigating allegations of Russian interference and possible collusion with Trump's campaign in last year's presidential election comes as no surprise.

Executions set
for local killers

Williams and Lee were convicted of killing two women in Jacksonville.

Mattis defends
our free press

A special shoutout to our military brass for staying focused on the challenges facing the United States around the world despite the many distractions in Washington. Special thanks to Secretary of Defense and former Marine Gen. James Mattis, who over the weekend disagreed with his boss and spoke kindly of the media, saying he does not consider the press "the enemy of the people."

Flynn's rookie errors

An embattled White House is looking for a permanent replacement for its ousted national security adviser who lasted just three weeks on the job after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russian ambassador in Washington in December.

Rep. Hill
is critical of policy

Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) is the first Arkansas congressman to criticize the way the indefinite travel ban from Syria and a 120-day ban from six other Moslem countries were implemented last weekend, creating a constitutional show-down in the federal courts that could go on for several months.

Keeping the faith
under fire in Baghdad

This time of the year, Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock), a retired Army colonel, remembers serving in Iraq almost nine years ago and celebrating the holidays with Christian and Jewish American soldiers often under dangerous conditions.

Little girl tells Santa

her 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.

Retracing history
to Budapest

Yuri Andropov, the former Soviet leader who made Vladimir Putin a lieutenant colonel in the KGB back in the 1970s, called in the Red Army tanks through my hometown in northeast Hungary in November 1956. Andropov, who was the Soviet ambassador to Budapest, was putting down a popular uprising that started a month earlier.

Assault on free speech

Donald Trump has been threatening to sue The New York Times for printing allegations that he groped several women going back 30 years.

Art of deal fading fast
for Trump

If the polls continue to show a widening lead for Hillary Clinton --- she's now 14 percent ahead --- there will be no art of the deal for Donald Trump this November.

Release medical records

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump said this week they will release "detailed medical records" amid rumors about Hillary's health, especially in the wake of her near-fainting spell at Sunday's 9/11 ceremony in New York.

Trump visit to church

Donald Trump made a carefully scripted visit last Saturday to Great Faith Ministries, a black church in Detroit, where he called for a new civil rights agenda to raise America's black population from a life of crime and poverty.

More newly discovered Evans music

The brilliant jazz pianist Bill Evans passed away at the age of 51 on Sept. 15, 1980, leaving behind an impressive body of recorded work from the mid-1950s until just a couple of weeks before his death.

Trump seen as quitting

Prominent Republicans are pressing Donald Trump to abandon his run for the presidency and let Michael Pence, his running mate, take over the top spot as the GOP standard bearer falls further behind Hillary Clinton with just 90 days to go till the election.

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.

Neighbor gets
out alive from
club shooting

Chris Hansen used to live in Jacksonville on Oak Street near The Leader before he moved to Orlando.

Fines seen

in Wynne

Wynne's city coffers are filling up since District Judge Joseph Boeckmann Jr. became the focus of a state investigation last fall over allegations that he was forgiving fines for sexual favors in his Cross County court in east Arkansas.

Holocaust ceremony

A group of eighth graders from the Flightline Academy on Little Rock Air Force Base entered the Walters Community Center auditorium on Thursday morning for a Holocaust Remembrance Day service.

Huckabee, Rubio ---
now what?

Donald Trump, the billionaire real-estate developer and entrepreneur with a checkered past and raucous political rallies, is rapidly moving toward the Republican presidential nomination with a string of primary victories yesterday and on Super Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]

Another Grammy for Tony

Tony Bennett recently won another Grammy award --- his 18th --- in the best traditional pop vocal category for "The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern" (RPM Records/Columbia). The octogenarian Bennett (he'll be 90 in August) is accompanied by the brilliant jazz pianists Bill Charlap and his wife, Rene Rosnes, who is the second pianist on "The Song Is You" and "Look for the Silver Lining." [FULL TEXT]

Man who stood up
to Castro

Eduardo Diaz was assigned to Little Rock Air Force Base in 1966 and has lived in Cabot most of the time since he left the Air Force in 1970. [FULL TEXT]

Millage hike

is needed

Jacksonville residents are fortunate that U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr., a brilliant jurist, is overseeing their move toward independence from the Pulaski County Special School District after decades of turmoil. [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]


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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April 1, 2017

Suspicious package exercise
Air Force Senior Airman HTyler Kelley, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, uses an X-ray device to inspect a simulated suspicious package at Little Rock Air Force Base. The X-ray device aids EOD personnel in producing diagnostics on suspicious packages.

Compromise made on noise walls
IN SHORT: Businesses won't be covered up in Jacksonville. [FULL TEXT]


Cabot to stage big Civil War re-enactment
IN SHORT: Michigan Battery G to stage battle on Hwy. 89 April 28-30. [FULL TEXT]


Behind mother's love
IN SHORT: Enlisting for child's chance. [FULL TEXT]

Sylvan Hills' Michael Coven beats a throw to Jacksonville first baseman Kyle Williams during the Bears' doubleheader sweep at Dupree Park on Tuesday. Sylvan Hills has won five-straight and stand at 17-2.

Bears get sweep at JHS

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills' keeps its second win streak going, beating Jacksonville two times on Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot girls overcome errors in league win

IN SHORT: Lady Panther softball gives away two early runs, but bounces back to defeat Conway.

Mound dominance leads to Cabot win

IN SHORT: Panther throws two-hitter through eight. [FULL TEXT]

Brilliant goals lift Panthers' soccer teams

IN SHORT: Cabot boys and girls make dazzling plays in 7A-Central sweep of Conway High on Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]

Sylvan Hills girls beat Jacksonville twice

IN SHORT: Lady Bears get bats going early, cruise to pair of wins at Dupree Park. [FULL TEXT]

A different breed
Jacksonville Animal Shelter manager Wuelling has drastically reduced the annual number of animals euthanized. [FULL TEXT]

At the surrender in Tokyo Bay
World War II veteran Thurlow Fernandez, 94, of Sherwood witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay when the defeated empire signed a peace treaty aboard the USS Missouri at 9 a.m. Sept. 2, 1945. [FULL TEXT]