Columns by Garrick Feldman


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. [FULL TEXT]


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. [FULL TEXT]


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]


Her niece one plane ahead of fatal flight

Hedy Wuelling, who runs the Jacksonville Animal Shelter, follows the news of the downed Malaysian airliner on Dutch websites because she's from Holland. [FULL TEXT]


VA isn't the only problem

It's never a good time to visit a government office, where they're usually understaffed and busy. You might stand in line for 20 minutes at the post office, but you can always come back later — unlike thousands of sick veterans who sit for hours waiting for medical attention at VA hospitals. [FULL TEXT]


New records from Thelonious Monk, Rosanne Cash

Alfred Lion, a refugee from Nazi Germany, founded Blue Note Records in New York on Jan. 6, 1939, when he recorded the boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade (Lux) Lewis after hearing them at the historic "From Spirituals to Swing" concert at Carnegie Hall in New York the month before. [FULL TEXT]


Young girl asks Santa for a very special gift

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]


For Cash, debut in the Rock

Rosanne Cash made her Little Rock debut at a soldout show Nov. 23 at South on Main Restaurant, which is bringing world-class performers to the southern end of downtown in the space where Juanita's used to be. [FULL TEXT]


Piano trio thrills LR audience

About 180 lucky people heard the great jazz pianist Marcus Roberts play for almost two hours last Saturday night at the South on Main Restaurant in Little Rock. [FULL TEXT]


Ex-sheriff kept eye on Titans

Not long after former Lonoke County Sheriff J.O. Isaac arrived at Little Rock Air Force Base in the late 1950s, he joined the 308th Missile Wing, which was just getting organized. [FULL TEXT]


How a break in grid case led to arrest

The man who is accused of trying to blow up electric grids and power lines around Lonoke County asked his lawyer during his appearance in federal court Tuesday if the pitcher of water in front of them was poisoned. [FULL TEXT]


Titan disaster anniversary book's centerpiece

Eric Schlosser's "Command and Control: Nuclear Wea-pons, the Damascus Incident and the Illusion of Safety" (Penguin Press, $36) is a well-researched and an incredibly detailed account of the dozens of nuclear accidents in the U.S. over the past 50 years — especially involving the Titan II missiles, whose dirt-covered silos remind us of a more dangerous time. [FULL TEXT]


Colonel calls on public's support

Col. Patrick Rhatigan, the commander of the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, welcomed a visitor to his office Wednesday afternoon. The civilian receptionists were gone, along with the other civilian workers since the government shutdown Tuesday. [FULL TEXT]


Fleecing by FEMA a scandal

Tommy Bond, the veteran Jacksonville engineer, solves people's zoning problems, disputes with government officials and even disagreements between neighbors. [FULL TEXT]


Record set in killing of PB senior

Monroe Isadore was 107 years old when he was gunned down by Pine Bluff police officers in his home Saturday afternoon. He's probably the oldest man to die with a gun in his hand with bullets coming at him from people who are supposed to serve and protect. [FULL TEXT]


Power lines hit often across U.S.

Whoever sabotaged the extra-high voltage transmission lines last week in Holland Bottoms in Cabot knew what he was doing. [FULL TEXT]


Principal is walking tall at JHS

(This column from July 2012 won first place in the Arkansas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.)
Jacksonville High School was in awful shape last July when Henry Anderson took over the failed school in a failed school district. [FULL TEXT]


New from Mosaic: Coleman Hawkins

For 30 years, Mosaic Records has reissued beautifully packaged box sets of important jazz and blues on CDs and vinyl. The series, usually limited to 5,000 copies per set, comes in distinctive pizza-size black boxes with a large photographs on the front and silver lettering on the spine. Each Mosaic set has an oversized booklet with stunning black-and-white photos and scholarly liner notes. [FULL TEXT]


Waiting for Big Brother

Rep. Tim Griffin, the Second District Republican, issued a statement a few days after we criticized our congressional delegation’s silence over widespread domestic surveillance of our phones and e-mails by the National Security Administration and its subcontractors. [FULL TEXT]


No secrets kept from these guys

A couple of guys in their 20s have embarrassed America’s trillion-dollar military and intelligence apparatus by leaking secrets that were supposed to stay inside the National Security Agency and the Pentagon. [FULL TEXT]


Cruelest month

The FBI is hoping it can recover from two fumbles in April — letting the two Chechen terrorists out of its sight in Boston and apparently fingering the wrong man in the Mississippi ricin case. [FULL TEXT]


Neville's nostalgic doo wop CD

The Grammy Award-winning singer Aaron Neville has a nice new CD out on the venerable Blue Note label, "My True Story," which is the New Orleans singer's tribute to doo wop. [FULL TEXT]


Big bankers cheated military

The bankers who illegally foreclosed on about 1,000 military families are paying billions of dollars in fines for their criminal behavior. These bankers cheated service members and their families even if they were current with their mortgages. [FULL TEXT]


Byrd dies, Shorter soars

Donald Byrd, one of finest jazz trumpet players of the second half of the 20th Century, died earlier this month at the age of 80. [FULL TEXT]


Young girl asks Snata for a very special gift

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]


Men who fell from the top to doghouse

At what point does a potential national-security scandal become more like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch in search of a punchline? [FULL TEXT]


Tempers fly in front of voters

Jacksonville Alderman Terry Sansing's mother stood all week in front of the Jacksonville Community Center, where early voting had started Monday. [FULL TEXT]


Showdown at Alma key to massacre

People in Crawford County often talk about a Mormon leader's murder near Alma in 1857 and the slaughter of a group of Arkansans in Utah a few months later known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. [FULL TEXT]


Memories stay alive in old-timers' group

The old-timers meet most afternoons at McDonald's inside the Jacksonville Walmart. [FULL TEXT]


First and last Vietnam casualties

Marine Pfc. James (Ricky) Maxwell of Center Ridge in Conway County was buried last week in Morrilton. [FULL TEXT]


Bain invested in LR 'medical-waste' firm

If you're wondering why Mitt Romney is distancing himself from the investment company he founded, it's not just because he bought businesses that cost thousands of American jobs after factories closed down and work was outsourced to China and other countries. [FULL TEXT]


Principal is walking tall at JHS

Jacksonville High School was in awful shape last July when Henry Anderson took over the failed school in a failed school district. [FULL TEXT]


Diners go online in fight over eateries

A food fight involving three Jacksonville restaurants has been simmering for months, if not years, and now has spilled over to Facebook, where the comments are as strong as the morning coffee. [FULL TEXT]


Levon Helm, 1940-2012

Levon Helm, the drummer for The Band who passed away Thursday at the age of 71, helped open Alltel Arena in 1999 with Ronnie Hawkins, his longtime mentor, and a fellow Band member, the organist Garth Hudson. [FULL TEXT]


You have to admire Jeff Long

Jeff Long, the Razorbacks' athletic director, restored Arkan-sas' good reputation when he announced Tuesday evening that he had fired the execrable Bobby Petrino as the head football coach. [FULL TEXT]


A memorial honors those who served in Vietnam

(This column appeared on March 4, 1987, in the first issue of The Leader. We're reprinting the column as we mark our 25th anniversary.)
Wanda Shireman of rural Jack-sonville remembers when she heard the news that her son, Paul Jr., had died in Vietnam. [FULL TEXT]


Invaders swoop in at sunset

On Saturday afternoon, children and their parents were walking down the street in Beebe's Windwood subdivision near where blackbirds roost at night on West Center Street. [FULL TEXT]


Young girlasks Snata for a very special gift

(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. [FULL TEXT]


Shovel-ready work: Look when you dig

Residents of the Sunnyside neighborhood in Jack-sonville are breathing easier now that the relocation of utility lines is nearly completed before the start of the Graham Road widening project. [FULL TEXT]


Arkansas bluesman left mark

The great Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's longtime guitarist, died last weekend at the age of 80. He'd been in poor health for several years — he carried an oxygen tank with him during performances — but he was a down-to-earth character who grew up in east Arkansas before he headed for Chicago some 60 years ago. The Rolling Stones will pay for his funeral. [FULL TEXT]


Eyewitness remembers Pearl Harbor

(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989, and is reprinted to mark the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. He died in 2001.)
Most people think of retired Col. McLyle Zumwalt as one of the organizers of Pathfinders, which trains the developmentally and physically disabled in Jacksonville. [FULL TEXT]


Vietnam vet is in military hall of fame

Lex (Butch) Davis of Sherwood was among the first 15 inductees into the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame at the Agora Center in Conway on Friday. This column appeared here in February 2007.
Butch Davis sat at a round table near the corner where the Singing Sergeants entertained in the big gym on Little Rock Air Force Base, which was honoring its top personnel at the annual awards banquet Saturday night. [FULL TEXT]


Colonel won't be home for Christmas

President Obama said Friday all U.S. troops would leave Iraq at the end of the year. [FULL TEXT]


Designers snub Civil War buffs

Earlier this year, a couple of interior designers from Europe named Simon Davies and Tomas Cederlund came here for an episode of their show "Home Takeover" on the Oprah Winfrey Network. [FULL TEXT]


State won't rescue cities like schools

Cities across Arkansas are going broke in the double-dip recession. Alexander down in Saline County is questioning a former bookkeeper about shortages in two city funds. [FULL TEXT]


Comparing pardons by governors

(This column won first place in the Arkansas Press Association's Better Newspaper contest. Winners were announced Saturday during the APA's convention in Hot Springs. The column was published in The Leader on Oct. 19, 2010.). [FULL TEXT]


A Murdoch News Corp. should hire

Wendi Deng Murdoch, who jumped to her husband's defense when a British comedian threw a shaving-cream pie at the mogul yesterday, is the one Murdoch who deserves to run the beleaguered media empire. [FULL TEXT]


Soulful sounds still amaze

The Bo-Keys are keeping the Memphis sound alive with their brash, funky music and vocal backing from great soul singers like Otis Clay, William Bell and Percy Wiggins. [FULL TEXT]


Gutsy newspaper goes after villains

A tenacious investigative reporter, a great editor and a courageous newspaper — Nick Davies working under Alan Rusbridger at the British Guardian — helped bring down the most powerful media company in the world: Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, now exposed as a criminal enterprise, with several present and former employees facing prison sentences for hacking into cell phones and computers for more than a decade. [FULL TEXT]


Sylvan Hills grad helps revive Memphis sound

Last month in Overton Park in Memphis, the young trumpet player on stage left was blasting away with the Bo-Keys, an eight-man band that has revived the soulful sounds of Memphis from the 1960s and 1970s. [FULL TEXT]


High school here ranks with Delta

Three failing high schools down in the poverty-stricken Delta received multi-million-dollar federal grants last week. So did Jacksonville High School, the only one that's not in the Delta. [FULL TEXT]


Arkansans praised around the world

The water's receding. Most roads are open and homes are drying out. The cleanup continues as the worst flooding in decades moves south, although pockets of Arkansas remain underwater. Neighbors have helped each other cope with the disaster, although some were hurt and at least one person was killed in our area. Little Rock Air Force Base had a close brush with calamity as it survived a tornado that struck homes and several C-130s. [FULL TEXT]


Sad to see old bridge torn down

Scott Fryer took his family Saturday to inspect Fryer's Ford Bridge, which had served the rural community near Solgohachia in Conway County since 1890. [FULL TEXT]


Bluesmen from Delta passing on

Joe Willie (Pinetop) Perkins, who was the oldest living bluesman and Grammy winner until he passed away Monday at 97, sat recently in a wheelchair in a little alcove just offstage at Stickys Chicken Shack in the Rivermarket District in Little Rock. [FULL TEXT]


Dictator fooled by coverage?

Did Fox News goad President Obama into taking action in Libya?
Every hour until the missiles started flying, Fox showed Obama goofing off: Doing everything except his job, but there was a reason to the March madness, and it had nothing to do with basketball. [FULL TEXT]


Hate speech is protected, court decides

(The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to demonstrate at military funerals. This column about the Kansas-based group, which demonstrated in Beebe nearly five years ago, appeared on Aug. 2, 2006.)
Members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., were again busy this week picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, but lawsuits filed by families who have lost their loved ones could stop the church group from taunting grieving relatives. [FULL TEXT]


Ex-Stax chief still has soul

Al Bell, the former Stax Records executive, is back in the spotlight with a new Web site, All Bell Presents American Soul Music, where you can hear classic Stax artists and new soul singers who are keeping the Memphis sound alive. [FULL TEXT]


Minihan: No break for wing since 9/11

Col. Mike Minihan, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, sent off 40 airmen and a couple of C-130s into combat before the storm hit last weekend. [FULL TEXT]


From this poor little girl, special request for Snata

(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. [FULL TEXT]


Base could depend on Snyder as real friend

Rep. Vic Snyder, a Democrat who is retiring from Congress at the end of the year, is getting some heat from Republicans for wasting time on the House floor to praise this community's support of Little Rock Air Force Base. [FULL TEXT]


Panama president ex-UofA roomate

John Mason, a Jacksonville real estate broker, was in Fayetteville with his wife Ien for homecoming weekend on Oct. 30, when the Razorbacks played Vanderbilt. [FULL TEXT]


Our error given wide circulation

We've received lots of calls, comments and complaints over an error in Wednesday's paper about a Christmas program in Cabot. [FULL TEXT]


Comparing pardons by governor

Did you see Gov. Beebe's latest list of pardons? Last week, he announced his intent to pardon a handful of small-time criminals, emphasis on small-time. [FULL TEXT]


POWs recall their World War ordeal

The former POWs who were shot down over Romania during the Second World War arrived at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in their tour bus a little after 11 a.m. Thursday. [FULL TEXT]


Annexation plan: Many in area say they're against it

People who live north of Jacksonville near Hwy. 67/167 met at a church Monday evening to fight the city's plan to annex the area. [FULL TEXT]


Lighthouse plans to build middle and high schools

The headline in Saturday's Leader: "Cabot schools about to hit 10,000." [FULL TEXT]


J'Accuse: Smearing of general

Air Force Gen. John D. Lavelle, who died more than 30 years ago, after he was falsely accused of insubordination, is a four-star general again. [FULL TEXT]


Petraeus salutes camp liberators

It was 65 years ago Monday that Beryl Wolfson helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in southeastern Germany. [FULL TEXT]


Marker recalls fire at twist

There's finally a marker honoring B.B. King in Twist in Cross County, where the great blues singer escaped from a fire at nightclub with his guitar and named it Lucille. [FULL TEXT]


Justice Jim fought tough final battle

Arkansas bloggers were the first with the news of Justice Jim Johnson's suicide over the weekend. The local TV news on Sunday ignored his passing, probably because no one in the newsroom knew who he was. [FULL TEXT]


Cabot man in raid on POW camp in 1970

Mst. Sgt. Paul Poole, who helped to liberate Americans from a Vietnamese prison camp, died last week. [FULL TEXT]


Trial could get Muhammad his death wish

Last June, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed a soldier from Conway and injured another soldier from Jacksonville in front of a recruiting station in Little Rock. [FULL TEXT]


What a little girl asked from Santa

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]


Tuskegee legend at holiday reception

A tall elderly man stood in a far corner in a large banquet room at Little Rock Air Force Base on Sunday afternoon during the holiday reception hosted by the wing commanders. [FULL TEXT]


Gas shut off as hospital bills pile up

A couple in Beebe have been without heat for several months after the natural-gas company took out their meter because they were not paying their bills. [FULL TEXT]


Huckabee our worst governor?

Who is Arkansas' worst governor? Is it Orval Faubus, who defied federal authorities i in 1957, when he wouldn't allow nine black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock? He brought shame and ridicule on the whole state, but at least no one was killed. Or is Mike Huckabee our worst governor ever? [FULL TEXT]