Sunday, December 31, 2006
Major break in Janie Ward murder
As you might expect, the news is not altogether good.
The 47-year-old witness was sought out in early October by Teri Whitcraft, a producer for the ABC News Justice Unit, which is preparing a documentary on the case to be aired in the spring. In turn, Whitcraft said that she promptly contacted Williamson, who then drove to Harrison, where the witness gave him an interview on camera. Afterward, I'm told, Williamson told the witness that he wanted to take her statement under oath within a matter of days. Yet to my knowledge, as of last week, more than two months afterward, that had not occurred. It's unclear why Williamson did not place the witness under oath at the time of that interview. Time may well be a factor. Since providing her statement to Williamson, she has told me that sheÂs twice been threatened in the presence of a witness by a woman in a green car and has been followed by a man who told her that he was a private detective.
The Ward family has never given up and Mike Masterson has been relentless. Where are our public officials? In Arkansas, we expect to be lied to and robbed by elected officials and their flunkies. Is murder also now acceptable?
Lyncho audio "on demand"
The interiview with Kurt Voigt, author of "Year of the Dog," was one for the time capsule. We get all the appropriate background on Mitch Mustain's mon, Gus, Houston and the fine people at Notre Dame. There is a bunch more. This is one of my best and a MUST for every Arkansas Razorback fan.
The Resident Moral Theologian, Dr. Mark Quay, came by to review the top stories, as rated by the Religion Newswriters Association. It was big fun. Honest. Great hour.
Stephens Media Group columnist David Sanders and I talked about the late President Ford, supposed liberal media bias (ugh!) and ethics.
Congressman Vic Snyder stopped by and the discussion was far ranging. We got into Iraq, North Korea, military staffing, and good old fashioned politics.
Here is the much anticipated Oaklawn preview with Mark the Magician. Horse race fans check it out and head over to his web site for all the latest picks.
Arkansas Travelers Manager, Bill Valentine, is always a scream. He talks about Razorback football; Damean William and the Springdale parents. Valentine is all over the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. He talks about the new park and the best restaurants - including Luigi's on Chicot Road. You need to hear this one!
Author, reporter, and activist Mara Leveritt came by and talked about her recent opportunity to go through the records Dan Harmon kept as Saline County Sheriff while he was also a drug kingpin. We talked about the train deaths, the West Memphis Three and the high cost of phone calls for prisoner's families.
Ben Mays is on the State Board of Education and he says that Arkansas public schools spend over $200 million dollars anually in inter-school sports. This is money that comes from the funds intended for educational purposes. Ben thinks that local school districts should stop covering up the true cost of athletics. We also spent a few minutes on the Charter School story. Why do some get approved, and other's don't? This hour simply rocks.
John Deering, the Democrat-Gazette's crack editorial page cartoonist had a few things to say about a few things. We talked about taking the Christmas Trees down in the SeaTac airport, putting Santa hats on the Little Rock nine, and the latest developments in cartooning on the web. Carole Kramer gets in the act and it is a very cool hour.
Was the American Civil War the first "modern war?" I am sure you have spent many hours discussing this stimulating topic and it occupied me and Dr. Carl Moneyhon from UALR for one hour.
Our Assistant Resident Moral Theologian, Bill Elkins, came by the studios recently to talk about the "emerging church." We also got into "faith and reason:" along with a little romp over why men don't like church. This hour was highlighted by a telephone call from the President of the Pat Lynch Fan Club in Florida.
It was a two-hour non-stop laughfest when the two Arkansans from "Deal or No Deal" showed up with me. Meet Brooks Leach and Ronnie Fewell! You will laugh yourself silly. Enjoy BOTH hours. Each has been edited and runs for about 44 minutes. Hour #1. Hour #2.
Video of Saddam Hussein being executed
Friday, December 29, 2006
On-time Friday summary (for a change)
Roby Brock, of SuperTalkArkansas and TalkBusiness.net reports that Gov.-elect Mike Beebe has cast doubt on prospects for a highway construction program during the 2007 legislative session. Beebe also said the more than $250 million needed for public school renovations next year should come for the state's bulging budget surplus and that his plan to phase out the state sales tax on groceries is not negotiable.
Gov. Mike Huckabee plans to use $2 million to pay for new cancer, diabetes and obesity research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, leading two of the state’s top budget officials to question the governor’s financing mechanism for the programs.
Arkansas joined 12 other states in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a case consumers brought against the insurance industry's use of credit scoring in determining auto insurance rates. In two separate cases, plaintiffs claimed Safeco and GEICO violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act by not sending out adverse action notices when a consumer's credit information resulted in the consumer receiving a higher rate.
The slowdown in the Arkansas housing market continued last month but at a reduced pace, reflecting an encouraging national picture. The decline in Arkansas home sales slowed in November, off 6.6 percent from the corresponding month last year.
Little Rock leaders appointed a team of City Hall lawyers and financial advisers Thursday to investigate the city’s troubled Convention and Visitors Bureau, but refused to consider removing members of the Advertising and Promotion Commission, including City Board member Dean Kumpuris, from the Commission.
North Little Rock’s City Council unanimously approved tax-increment financing districts Thursday for two major developments, one of which is a Bass Pro Shop, while promising it won’t ignore the needs of the city’s school district. TIF districts subsidize private businesses out of school district funds.
The winner of a contested Quorum Court race in Jefferson County will be sworn in as scheduled Monday, Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt ruled Thursday.
Rep. Dawn Creekmore filed a bill Wednesday that would allow victims of identity fraud to prevent credit-reporting agencies from releasing credit histories to prospective lenders.
A German company has tentatively agreed to purchase a North Little Rock DVD manufacturer in the process of closing, but with no assurances that the remaining work force of 400 will be retained.
Searcy’s unemployed workers will be glad to know a small drop has landed in the job market bucket as TitleVue, Inc., a software development company, has announced it is hiring 40 new data entry workers. 600 Whirlpool workers became unemployed last week.
A teenager is dead after the motorcycle he was driving collided with a pickup driven by his father in rural Baxter County. Samuel B. Roth was killed near the Roth family home in the Buford community. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery identified the pickup’s driver as the youth’s father, Steven J. Roth, who was not injured. Neither father nor son was aware that the other would be driving on the gravel road when the accident happened.
Benton County deputies drew their guns Tuesday night on four boys they thought were armed and dangerous, a report said. The boys, ages 11 and 13, were dressed in black and carrying toy guns that appeared to be real,
State and local police are gearing up for a busy New Year’s Eve, announcing plans for increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints looking for drunken drivers.
Too close to home
Where are all the men of good will anyway? The men of ill will are packing and I have a theory on what might help. The problem is that society does not deal with violent behavior seriously. Bad guys go through the revolving door and do not fear prison. They are so impulsive, they never even think about execution.
When somebody hurts a fellow human being, they are all out of bounds and have already forfeited the right to live among the rest of us. People who shoot, or stab, or hit should be doing so much jail time that, if they ever get out, they will be too old to cause any more harm. The result is less violence, fewer murders, no pressure for capitol punishment.
Get serious about violence. It’s that simple.
(Broadcast December 28, 2006)
I got some wonderful new clothes and a great new police scanner. I say “police scanner” so that you will understand that it is a radio monitor, not something you use to make copies of documents. I use the scanner mostly to listen to railroad traffic. It is reassuring to hear the great high-priority Z-trains of the Union Pacific go screaming through and coal trains come rumbling down full and headed back to Wyoming empty. There is a reassuring rhythm to the operation of the railroad.
Lots of folks listen to police and fire calls on those scanners, and sometimes I do too, but what’s the point. Unless the house next door is going up in smoke there is no real surprise in the slow demise of human behavior. Heck, some days you expect that a man really will bite a dog.
I hope your Christmas was perfect too. I am terribly blessed and really looking forward to the Hogs and Wisconsin. A little escapism is not a bad thing.
(Broadcast December 27, 2006)
In all the early morning rush..
Thursday December 28, 2006
Central Arkansas banks are increasing security after a recent wave of robberies that bankers say is unprecedented in its violence. A bank robber killed a 25-year-old teller Saturday, and on Tuesday, a group of robbers exchanged gunfire with police then led Little Rock officers on a chase through a residential neighborhood.
Appearing on the Pat Lynch Show, Congressman Vic Snyder told listeners that Democrats will demand more accountability from administration officials on military affairs. He said that the revival of the investigative functions of the House Armed Services Committee is not a partisan “gotcha’” weapon and compared it to Harry Truman’s WWII oversight committee.
President Bush will have to answer some tough questions from Congress if he wants approval for a massive increase of American troops in Iraq, Sen. Mark Pryor, said Wednesday.
Brian Walker of Atkins is dead after he lost control of his three-wheel all-terrain vehicle and struck a tree. He was dead at the scene from head trauma.
Two people are shot while driving along West Belding Street in Hot Springs shortly after 7pm Wednesday night. Police say one man was shot in the hand and leg and a female was shot in the head. Right now-police are looking for two suspects.
Lawrence County sheriff ’s deputies arrested L. F. Nance of Strawberry Wednesday and plan to pursue charges of cruelty to animals against him after an animal-rescue group found scores of dead pigs, chickens and goats on his property last week.
The Fayetteville pilot who died in an airplane crash Dec. 18 had trouble seeing in the fog as he tried to land at Fayetteville Municipal Airport, Drake Field, a passenger injured in the crash said Wednesday.
A circuit judge says he will rule by 5 p.m. today on a request to block the New Year’s Day swearing-in of John Graves as District 12 justice of the peace on the Jefferson County Quorum Court. Judge Rob Wyatt, who heard arguments on the request Wednesday in Jefferson County Circuit Court, made it clear that plaintiff Mike Burdine will not be the new District 12 justice of the peace.
A victory at the polls by a West Memphis City Council member who died before the election leaves the person appointed to fill the vacancy as the office-holder for the coming term, according to a state attorney general's opinion. A majority of voters in West Memphis voted for Harold Thomas, who died Aug. 11. Thomas, the incumbent, defeated challenger Donn Fowler by 249 votes in the Nov. 7 general election.
Mark Stodola, Little Rock’s mayor-elect and a registered lobbyist at the state Capitol for several years, said Wednesday he will continue to lobby before the Legislature for private clients.
The Lawrence County businessman who successfully orchestrated an election on whether to allow the sale of alcohol on property he owns in neighboring Greene County says he plans to sell beer and barbecue at a yet-to-be-constructed convenience store on the banks of the Cache River.
Plans for a new high school to serve the Maumelle and Oak Grove communities moved a step closer to fruition Wednesday when the School Board for the Pulaski County Special School District accepted the donation of 83 acres as a possible site for the building. James Freeman of Texarkana, chief financial officer for Dillard’s, is donating the undeveloped Maumelle property west of portions of Arkansas 365 and Interstate 40 and east of Counts Massie Road.
Five of seven counties in western Arkansas are home to a higher percentage of overweight and obese adults than state and national averages, according to the results of a random telephone survey conducted nationwide.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
EMERGENCY City Board Meeting... LIVE
So they are taking no comments from ordinary people. Figures.
Kumpuris is presenting.
And the city board just accepts that Barry Travis purchased a $25,000 car for $1,500? am I misinterpreting this? Joan Adcock asked about the auto allowence of other LRCVB employees and, naturally, Dr. Dean did not have the info.
An inordinate amount of time is being wasted with the LR - Houston comparison. Apples and Oranges. Let us grant that LR has more revenue and faciliites which must be operated. Move on.
Keck is questioning.
Q: Is there now a policy on appropriate travel and entertainment expenses.
A: 12 AmEx cares in use in 2003. It is now 3. Employyes use personal credit care to pay for room dinner or whatever. Employees fill out a form for reinvursement with details. "Conformity is not 100%" One credit card is being taken away and a travel agency is being employed. Kympuris is now filibustering on how each expense may not have a direct immediate result. Most of us understand this. Move on.
Cazort is asking about proportions of expense types versus number of emploees.
A: Vanilla answer. Is disproportionate. More is spent on dining and entertainment.
Q: about car allowences and reinbursement.
A: policy is in place. Do we do a good job of keeping it? no.
Q: biding guidelines
A: no answer.
Q: Has the finances of the A&P been discussed with the commission members?
A: every month (Daily chiles in)
Q:: Have personal expenses on an A&P credit card been paid back?
A: will have to find out
Q: Adcock asks whether any money comes back to the City?
A: Kumpuris says we never get more money than we can spend. Revenue stable till Clinton Library came in but has gone up by $7 million. Has gone back into funds which needed to be repleted. This has to do with state turnback funds. Very obtuse question and answer.
Q $7 Million over 3 years is $21 million....
A: Really not $21 million...big math answer..."surplus" dollars?
Adcock is trying to find out if, and when, city government might get actualy revenue from the A&P revenue funds. I think this is based on the sharp increase in revenue.
Adcock: the City is not getting a dollar from the A&P
Stewart questions now.
Q: Is staff responsible for the "mistakes?"
Bruce Moore answers ..
City HR Dept handles those functions for A&P. When there is a vacancy, City HR advertises and screens applicants. City Attorney is reviewing practices. Also purchasing procedures. Those procedueres have been in place and have not been folllowed. None of our City Hall employees were involved.
What will change?
Daily passes around a proposed resolution which might be acted on today.
Kumpuris... A&P tax receipt has gone up (I think) 2 million a year...very confusing...
Wyrock ... technical budget question about LRCVB
A: Kumpuris - almost 2,8 million to 3.5 for Sales and Marketing. Finance and Adm Apros 3 million
Q Who enforces polcies
A: Dan Byrne
Q: why were the polices not followed?
A: may not have been in every instance...yadayadayada...
Q there is someone between Dan and the person spending AP money?
A: Supervisors approve
Q: 21 people in Sales and Marketing, how many supervisors?
A: don't know
Q; What experience does Mr. Byrne have with public funding?
A this led ot a lof ot these problems. Dan is from the private sector. When ......
Q: how long has he been there?
A: less than 2 years
Kumpuris contiues.. he cane in during a period hwen we had one agency which we were spending allthe money with...almost $1 million ... we shoud develop expertise internally..."we" is the staff
Q: never saw any bids?
A: Dailey.. just saw recommendations on contracts
Kumpuris... was spreading funds around...now done according to policy...
Q: how did you get that info to the commission... how did you know that?
A: what we talked about was the principle of whether ot have a large group or expertise as needed...I can not tell you if I ever thought why we are not seeing a contract...the princple was discussed on how we do it.. the biggest lapse in the system... never a time where bidding was done correctly... no question it was not done the right way.
Q: was are Sales and Marketing salaries and paerks
A: would have to look it up
Q: all audits.. contain affirmative statememnt.. "all state laws on bidding were complied with"...do you know if management ever requested legal advice?
A: no I don't
Q: does the commisison have an attorney?
A: yes... (did not say who?)
Adcock to Moore
Q: are City HR and AP following all practices...including repremands and dismissal?
A: not that I am aware of... odd answer and question. Could I have misunderstood?
Moore... AO not a dept of city.. we do not make hiring and firing decisions... we are the conduit...
Q: has AP requested info in repremands or dismissal
A: Dailey - no
Resolution authorizes city attorney to interact with AP to investigate. What authority does the city have to force the AP to act as we wish them.
Carpenter offers a memo to board.
Legislature passed the AP Commission Act.. set up how Commission is organized...Money can not flow from AP to the city general fund by statue. We can not run the AP commission and impose the tax. City is mandated to create the commision and approves commissioneers.
Two attorney general opinions say the AP does not have to follow city policy. "Does not make sense." Carpenter says this opinion violates the Home Rule Act. (this is getting thick). Carpenter says he belives the AP is bound by city policies. (He makes a good argument. Somebody down there makes sense.)
State law does not provide for removing commissioneers.
Cazort...asks Carpenter to explain resolution...
Carpenter... references DG stories...outcry by editorial page and opinion writers...letters to editor...most of the problems seem to be failure to comply with fiscal and purchasing polcies....resolution...internal working group...manager, finance director, and city attorney...find out if there are violations? why are they there/ remedy? get suggestions...
Carpenter draws a comparison to AP contracts and towing contracts.. (now, THAT is unsetteling.)
Would allow businesses (eg, restaurants) to rotate in getting business.
Cazort.. what power does the city board have to get compliance from AP?
Carpenter: removal of commissioneers or director
Kumpuris... start having boards have a lawyer in Tom Carpenters office...
Cazort... they need to put out bids for legal service...
Kumpuris...City Atty could hire other attorneys to do the work.
Cazort...bidding practices for advertising and restaurants ....
Wyrick... abut removing members of AP commission...not followed fiscal and purchasing processes...why would that not constitue removal now?
Carpenter... there is no procedure in the AP stature, so we would have to set a cause and allow commisisoners to set a defense... remove commissioneers could breach covenents made with bond holders and could impact city bond rating... urges caution
Cazort... how to fill positions... discusses with Carpenter
Keck...amend resolution...beyond purchasing procedueres and practices....also include leases and services... travel and entertainment policy...reinbursement guidelines...
Bruce Moore....Tues major software conversion project... will need all of January to comply with resolution...Jam 30 deadline....passed...
Adcock.. public wants quick action... is there anything to assure things will be different at AP?
Daily... during the next 3 days that will be the case... light is shining brightly...
Adcock would like everythign put on hold...including WLR lease...and Kurin Hall...could this board sned a letter to put things on holld till the report comes back...
Daily... get Bruce to send letter to Dan...put that attitude in writing..
Stewart... does working group include Moore and HR?
Recommendations will come back to city board second meeting in Feb.
Reading resolution....adopted....Daily is ready to leave....
Moore is listing members of the AP commission term expiration date.
Wyrick... we are leaving these commissioners in place?
Daily.. the way to handle that...need executive session..
Wyrock moved...to remove commissioneers
Keck..no...Fortson.. no... Kumpuris... no...Daily... no TIE...
(forces of darkness win again)
Cazort is in the chair. Daily left.
Fortson.. called for independent investigation.. (completely glowwed things over)
Adcock to Fotson...last week you pointed to documents sayhting policies were followed... what happened..
Answer... auditing procedures were unclear... may have relied on employees representations...
discussing two new members to be named to AP in January...
Moore...Corn Hall... confident an agreement will be put in place...had a meeting yesterday...agreement with QQA (quapaw quarter assn?)
More of the same.... what is that coming down on my head? Is it raining?
SO SORRY ABOUT THE SPELLING!!!
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Vic Snyder interview
Work day Wednesday
Curlin McClain of Little Rock was shot in the neck during a Christmas Eve robbery and died just before midnight at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. It marked the 58th Homicide in the capitol city this year. Less than a mile away, 25 year-old James Garrison was shot to death Saturday while he was working as a teller at a Metropolitan National Bank Bank.
Five men are in custody after Little Rock police shot and wounded a man during a series of crimes Tuesday afternoon that started with a carjacking, progressed to include a bank robbery and ended with a standoff outside a house in southwest Little Rock.
Arkansas circuit judges have increasingly reprimanded the Department of Health and Human Services for its failures in child-neglect and abuse cases in 2005 and 2006, resulting in thousands of dollars in fines and lost opportunities for more federal funding.
The candidate who lost his race for a seat on the Jefferson County Circuit Court, but has contested the Nov. 7 election results in court, is trying to keep his victorious opponent from being sworn in Jan. 1. Mike Burdine, who lost by 17 votes to John Graves, has asked Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt to issue an injunction that would keep Graves from taking the oath of office as District 12 justice of the peace.
Over the next 10 months, Little Rock Air Force Base and the Arkansas National Guard’s 188th Fighter Wing will acquire many of the new planes allocated to them in the Base Realignment and Closure recommendations, but unfunded personnel changes and mandatory troop drawdowns will leave some units understaffed.
Arkansas’ homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks will receive $1,355,196 through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program. The money will go to 54 Arkansas counties. The awards range from $193,307 for Pulaski County to $6,461 for Little River County.
A Jonesboro man is facing felony charges after he allegedly crashed his wife's car into a parked vehicle, sped off and eventually knocked down a utility pole. Four people were injured, including two of his passengers, one of whom was ejected from the vehicle and abandoned.
On Jan. 2 Little Rock will join more than two dozen cities across the country that offer the popular 311 system. Residents who are tired of potholes, broken street lights, uncollected garbage and stray animals will be able to air complaints and demand help by dialing 3-1-1.
Wal-Mart confirms that it will relocate its west Little Rock store to Shackleford Crossing under construction at Interstate 430 and Shackleford Road. The company plans to open a Supercenter in 2008, after which it would demolish the Wal-Mart at 700 S. Bowman Road and construct a Neighborhood Market, Wal-Mart’s grocery store, there. The Sam’s Club will remain.
Stealing the baby Jesus from the Eureka Springs nativity is an annual prank, but the Police Department really does want it to stop. This year, two women untied the statue from its manger Tuesday night and fled. Three police cars responded when 70-year-old Virginia Voiers was caught while riding away in a van with family members - and the statue. Voiers paid a $75 fine after pleading no contest to misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Ford dies under suspicious circumstances
The cover-up continues.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Here is the part of her brief letter which caught my attention.
I believe that has become a situation where the public relations damage will prohibit me from being helpful.
Apparently Ms. Reingold believes that she has a public relations problem. It is as if the fine Democrat-Gazette stories were somehow wrong. They, of course, were not. Her restaurants took in more than $114,000 in LRCVB business during her tenure. Does anybody seriously believe this to be an accident?
The regular practice of the Commission was to avoid the competitive bid process, which is against the law. Self-Dealing is rampant.
Yes, there is a public relations disaster and each member must resign.
The State Police, or the FBI Public Corruption Unit, should investigate the operations of the Advertising and Promotion Commission to determine if there has been criminal wrongdoing.
Taxpayers deserve to know.
I do not believe that the Pulaski County Prosecutor or the Attorney General have the ability to do this kind of investigations. The FBI would be well suited because of its' vast knowledge and experience in this area. Many of the suspect transactions were conducted on the telephone, over the internet, and in interstate commerce. This is a federal matter.
Several of you have done exactly that, and there are some cool Christmas digital photographs on the Pictures page of my personal web site.
We hardly knew you, Bob Harrison
On this day, I remember my dear friend, Bob Harrison, who left this life on December 22, 2002. He was a friend, even when I was on the ropes and it might cost him something. Bob was probably the most talented person to ever sit behind a microphone in Arkansas. That is easy to say once a man is dead, and a bit ironic considering Bob’s well-known insecurities.
He hosted the all news morning show with Sharon Lee for years and did the oldies thing for a while. Bob will also be rememberd as a former Arkansas Sports Broadcaster of the Year. His Travelers games were so entertaining, I had to listen. Harrison went to Chicago and was, no fooling, a huge star on an African-American station.
But all of this is the usual radio smoke blowing. Let me tell you that he was a loving and devoted dad. He loved to cook and entertain. We once worked on a radio production of “A Christmas Carol.” He was the nephew and I was, of course, Scrooge. He would often call or write and start off saying, “Uncle.” I miss him terribly. If only he know how important he really was. If only.
(Broadcast December 22, 2006)
The grace of saving
Rich Huddleston, the executive director, has not officially called on the State to set up a rainy day fund, but has come awfully close. Huddleston is right. We teach our children to save, so why should government not hang on to a few nickels for the unexpected?
Let me ‘fess up here and admit that I have changed my mind, and one reason is the large, and growing, state surplus. It would be far better to bank some of that cash than to spend it. This is especially true since some lawmakers have a hidden agenda to starve government of necessary operating funds. They believe that if you cannot kill social programs directly, get ‘em through the back door.
Of course, a careful look at some of our highways, or the Alexander center for children, or the state prisons, should tell you that there is no surplus. We have a world of serious unmet needs, and most of them are no-brainers. Remember, the state has taken the main responsibility for public education and that means spending lots of money on teacher salaries and keeping up buildings. Saving is smart.
(Broadcast December 21, 2006)
The Chairman of the Bureau, a Ms. Reingold, benefited to a sum of $114,000 being spent at her restaurants in the past year. A Mr. Allen allowed the department to rent space from his family for tidy sums. When Bruce Bennett, a local attorney, raised questions, he was ousted from the Commission. It is little wonder that folks in the real Arkansas despise Pulaski County? Today, I agree with them.
The Democrat-Gazette reporter, C. S. Murphy, relied heavily on the Freedom of Information Act to pry this story lose from under the shabby boards where it lay hidden from public view. Guess what? The Convention and Visitors Bureau has been working to get itself exempted from the FOI law. Now we know why.
The State Police should investigate and the prosecutor should strongly consider criminal charges. The offenders should resign or be removed. Pronto. Period.
(Broadcast December 20, 2006)
Friday, December 22, 2006
Lots of listening available on my home page
The two-hour Christmas Special is online!
The interiview with Kurt Voigt, author of Year of the Dog, was one for the time capsule. We get all the appropriate background on Mitch Mustain's mon, Gus, Houston and the fine people at Notre Dame.
You should hear the Oaklawn preview with Mark the Magician.
Arkansas Travelers Manager, Bill Valentine, is always a scream. He talks about Damean William and the Springdale parents. Valentine is all over the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. He talks about the new park and the best restaurants - including Luigi's on Chicot Road.
Author, reporter, and activist Mara Leveritt came by and talked about her recent opportunity to go through the records Dan Harmon kept as Saline County Sheriff while he was also a drug kingpin. We talked about the train deaths, the West Memphis Three and the high cost of phone calls for prisoner's families.
Ben Mays is on the State Board of Education and he says that Arkansas public schools spend over $200 million dollars anually in inter-school sports.
John Deering, the Democrat-Gazette's crack editorial page cartoonist had a few things to say about a few things. We talked about taking the Christmas Trees down in the SeaTac airport, putting Santa hats on the Little Rock nine, and the latest developments in cartooning on the web.
Leifel Jackson and the staff of Our Club in North Little Rock have a great story about helping young inner-city boys and girls stay out of trouble. Leifel talked about his battle with drugs and gangs. He is also doing a toy drive for kids that do not get a lot. Give him a hand. His number is (501) 541 1417.
Was the American Civil War the first "modern war?" I am sure you have spent many hours discussing this stimulating topic and it occupied me and Dr. Carl Moneyhon from UALR for one hour.
Our Assistant Resident Moral Theologian, Bill Elkins, came by the studios recently to talk about the "emerging church." We also got into "faith and reason:" along with a little romp over why men don't like church.
It was a two-hour non-stop laughfest when the two Arkansans from "Deal or No Deal" showed up with me. Meet Brooks Leach and Ronnie Fewell!
Big Christmas Broadcast of 2006
Your digital Christmas pictures will also be added sometime today, so please be sure to send 'em in no matter where you live. I would get a kick out of indoor, outdoor, train, pets, kids photos with a holiday theme.
Finally, the hour with Mark the Magician will be posted today.
Festive Friday summary
Thomas Eakins’ masterpiece The Gross Clinic will remain in Philadelphia after a fundraising drive matched a joint $68 million offer by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
This week’s Sports Illustrated will be a hot item in the Lepanto, Tyronza and Hughes areas. The Game of the Year issue is ready for newsstands. The winner? East Poinsett County 73, Hughes 72. The high school football battle of the Warriors and Blue Devils, both winless going in, was honored with a 9-page spread in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated.
State Sen. Bobby Glover has proposed legislation that would set up a procedure to recall the state’s constitutional officers, lawmakers and judges from office. The Carlisle Democrat’s Senate Bill 13 was filed 19 days after the state Supreme Court ruled that it will keep jurisdiction over the Lake View school-funding case, but he said he would have filed the bill no matter how the court ruled in that case. Judges “are part of the political process, and they shouldn’t be any different than anyone else,” Glover said.
Several lawmakers unveiled legislation Thursday that would authorize a $300 fine for anyone convicted of knowingly charging an annual interest rate above 17 percent in a transaction involving a consumer loan.
State Rep. Sharon Dobbins on Thursday introduced a bill that would discourage state prisons from shackling pregnant inmates while they’re in labor, and require that soft shackles rather than metal manacles be used if restraints are necessary.
A legislative panel has balked at recommending increasing the $133,290-a-year maximum-authorized salary for the executive director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System to $145,000 in the next fiscal year.
Rep.-elect Dan Greenberg, RLittle Rock, filed a bill Wednesday that would prohibit buildings paid for with public money from being named after living people.
The state’s chief information officer, Doug Elkins, informed his employees late Wednesday that he’s leaving state government in the next few weeks. Gov.-elect Mike Beebe told Elkins during a meeting earlier in the day that he wouldn’t be reappointed.
Citing “significant” service problems in Northwest Arkansas unless soaring electricity demand is met, the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. told state regulators Thursday that it plans to build a $30 million power plant near Elkins, southeast of Fayetteville
International Paper Co. has agreed to sell five wood-products mills - including its plywood and lumber complex in Gurdon - to Georgia-Pacific for approximately $237 million.
Defense contractor Raytheon Co. plans to sell its aircraft business for $3.3 billion to Hawker Beechcraft Corp., a new company formed by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Onex Partners. In October, Raytheon announced a $16.3 million expansion plan for the aircraft finishing plant at Little Rock National Airport. The facility employs 645 people.
A Benton man shot and killed his ex-wife and her boyfriend about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday and then turned the pistol on himself, taking his own life. Police identified the gunman as Steven Potter, who went to the house of his ex-wife, Jessica Morgan near Haskell and waited outside until she returned home. When Morgan arrived with her boyfriend, Brad Abercrombie of Conway, Potter walked up and shot Morgan as she got out of her Jeep Cherokee. Potter then shot Abercrombie, who was still inside the vehicle.
A Monticello man is under arrest after doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital found the man’s 4-month-old twin sons suffering from a number of new and healing injuries, including fractured bones. Jeffery Roehm likely will be charged with two counts of first-degree battery,
Authorities charged a Mountain Home man with two counts of negligent homicide in a Dec. 3 traffic accident that killed a Gassville couple. Christopher Maclin was “severely intoxicated” when his car collided head-on with John and Ann Whitfield. Maclin’s blood alcohol level was recorded at .20 percent, more than double the legal limit.
An incident that occurred in the area between Ward and Wallace streets in Marvell was similar to an old West shoot out. Police Chief Charles Walker reported that several gunshots were exchanged between several parties, and the incident has lead to the arrest of six individuals with an anticipated four more in the works.
Synthetic turf is scheduled to be installed at Blakemore Field in the Van Buren School District by February, according toSuperintendent Merle Dickerson. The school board voted unanimously to accept a bid of $618,885 from Hellas Construction of Austin, Texas.
The Jonesboro Sun reports Craighead Electric Cooperative customers can expect a pleasant surprise in the mail this month. The not-for-profit electric cooperative is refunding nearly $700,000 to individuals who were electric co-op customers in 1976-77. A statement released by the cooperative indicates $679,728 in capital credits are being returned to its members.
CareLink, the nonprofit organization that operates Meals-On-Wheels in central Arkansas, is warning the elderly to be wary of scam artists claiming to raise money for the program.
Linda Cailouet reports in the Democrat-Gazette that Socks, the Clintons’ famous cat, who has lived in both the Arkansas governor’s mansion and the White House and who once served as grand marshal of the Little Rock Holiday parade, is still alive and well at 15, living with Clinton’s former executive assistant Betty Currie at her home in suburban Maryland.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Time for a little Christmas fun! UPDATED!
Anyway, how about we start taking Christmas photos? Outdoor scenes, house decorations, public Christmas trees, church scenes, your indoor decorations, let your imagination run wild and get the shutter snapping! I will post the photos on my home page, lyncho.com.
Marie and I are headed out tonight for a Christmas light spree, so I will be posting tomorrow morning. You are more than welcome to join me!
Why don't we do this for the next few days. We could have some serious fun between now and New Years. Send the photo attachments to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATE: The first entries have begun to arrive, and will be posted later today. Surf over to lyncho.com and be sure to send your Holiday digital snapshots!
Thursday sunrise summary
Arkansas’ businesses with up to 500 employees now can enroll in a program that will help pay their employees’ health insurance premiums with money from Medicaid and Arkansas’ tobacco settlement money. The program, ARHealth-Net, offers a basic benefits plan to take effect Jan. 1. It could cover as many as 80,000 people by late 2008.
The president of Entergy Arkansas says that the utility has no obligation to support other Entergy Corp. units should Entergy Arkansas exit a four-state, cost-sharing pact as planned by December 2013. The remarks by Hugh Mc-Donald set the stage for a potential showdown with Louisiana regulators, who asked federal regulators Monday to block Entergy Arkansas’ departure from the pact.
President Bush signed a wide-ranging bill that included hundreds of tax breaks on imported goods, including some benefiting Wal-Mart. The Bentonville retail giant will save on eliminated or reduced tariffs for clock radios, rubber floor mats and nail clippers among other items.
The last Maytag dryer to be made in Searcy will go down the line tomorrow, the Friday before Christmas. Whirlpool announced the plant closing in May after it bought Maytag.
A member of the Memphis Rotary Club who thought he was slated to become the Downtown organization's first black president has resigned, calling the decision not to elevate him to the post racist. Henry Hooper, an insurance salesman and one-time candidate for Shelby County sheriff, was passed over for the club's 2008-09 presidency in a recent election.
The state Court of Appeals has reversed a Workers' Compensation Commission ruling that denied benefits to a Jacksonville man who was injured while driving to work. John D. Jones was injured while driving to his place of employment, a Domino's Pizza he managed in Bryant, after attending work-related meetings in North Little Rock and Little Rock.
Benton County's assessor should have cheaply provided data requested in 2002 by an Oklahoma company, according to a court decision. A reasonable fee is $30 -- not $5,000 as the assessor required, according to an order issued by Benton County Circuit Judge Xollie Duncan following up on a November bench trial.
A proposal to allow Little Rock and other cities to let people roam selected areas with beer or other alcoholic beverages in hand now has safeguards that Little Rock officials hope will mollify concerns.
Pulaski County will have to pay the state 10 percent interest on top of whatever amount it owes for back state sales taxes collected on thousands of trash bills but never remitted to the state,
The investigation of Monday night’s fatal airplane crash near West Fork is keying on the single-engine plane’s failed approach to Fayetteville Municipal Airport at Drake Field. The National Transportation Safety Board, is focusing on possible mechanical or operational errors during the final approach.
Arkansas needs to develop a system - outside the usual court system - for dealing with mentally ill people accused of crimes, a task force examining the issue recommended to lawmakers. The group is proposing that the state set up separate mental-health courts to deal with people with psychiatric disorders suspected of committing criminal acts.
A judge has delayed a hearing on the mental condition of a DeQueen woman accused of killing her three children so defense lawyers can arrange another psychiatric evaluation of their client.
Mark Fisher, an Arkansas inmate serving 70 years on robbery and theft charges, has been charged with murder after authorities in Pennsylvania said they recently matched his DNA to a cigarette butt found at the scene of a home invasion about four years ago.
A father and son are expected to be charged with robbing the First Western Bank in Caulksville on Tuesday. Bill Doyle Barnes of Decatur and William Chauncey Barnes of Fort Smith were arrested in Charleston less than an hour after a man walked into the bank in Caulksville, a western Logan County town of about 200, about 1:35 p.m. and left with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Jackson, Ms. Public Schools has fired Principal Michael Ellis after an audit allegedly found payroll "improprieties." Ellis' termination comes after he and his wife, an assistant principal in the district, made claims that Ellis was sexually harassed by Superintendent Earl Watkins over the course of several months this year.
A Bee Branch dog breeder likely will face 201 charges of animal cruelty next month stemming from her arrest last week and the seizure of more than 200 dogs from her property in Van Buren County.
The sloth bear exhibit had expanded by two Wednesday morning when a Little Rock Zoo animal keeper reported for work. Nocona, a 12-year-old sloth bear, gave birth to two cubs sometime after midnight.
Conway has taken the first step towards starting a dog park. The Parks and Recreation Commission passed a unanimous recommendation to the City Council.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday brings the annual Pat Lynch Show Christmas Special 9 to 11.
Congressman Vic Snyder is on when the show returns "live" Wednesday morning at 9.
Log on to SuperTalkArkansas.com or listen on one of our outstanding STAN stations.
KDXE 1380 AM - Little Rock
KSMD 99.1 FM - Searcy/Batesville,.
KWCK 1300 AM - Searcy
KAPZ 710 AM - Bald Knob/Augusta
KAWW 1370 AM - Heber Springs/Clinton
KNBY 1280 AM - Newport
WDSK 1410 AM - Cleveland, Ms./Dumas
WRKG 95.3 FM - Greenville, Ms./ Lake Village
WAI-Radio.com - Worldwide
Wednesday early summary
Arkansas’ Benchmark and End-of-Course exams, which are given to more than half of the state’s 450,000 public school students in any given year, have earned a stamp of approval from the federal government.
A legislative subcommittee is recommending a $1.6 million budget increase for the attorney general’s office, money Attorney General-elect Dustin McDaniel says he’ll use to give staff attorneys a raise, hire expert witnesses, and fulfill a campaign promise to add a bureau to help Arkansans with health care and insurance questions.
Putting money into an account for spending when income or revenues are at a low ebb makes sense for state government just as it does for an individual or family budget, leaders of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families said Tuesday.
Uncertainties over how much Pulaski County owes in back sales tax to the state almost led county officials Tuesday night to shutting down county government Jan. 1.
Hino Motors Ltd., which operates a new parts plant near Marion, reports that its overseas sales are growing - something that is necessary if the Japanese truck maker is to create hundreds of additional jobs in east Arkansas.
Louisiana utility regulators have filed a complaint against Entergy Corp. for any damages that occur if Entergy Arkansas Inc. withdraws from a decades long pact to share the production costs of Entergy power plants in four states.
A Fayetteville man died and three people were seriously injured late Monday night when their single-engine plane crashed about two miles north of West Fork.
Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons is investigating Russellville school officials’ handling of an alleged sexual assault on a school bus to determine any wrongdoing. Claiming a lack of cooperation from the alleged victim’s mother, local police gave up on the investigation. After a month-long inquiry by the Arkansas State Police, Gibbons filed second-degree sexual assault charges — a Class B juvenile felony —against two boys accused of the assault.
Police have filed a request for manslaughter charges against a teenage driver in connection with a Muldrow traffic accident that resulted in a death last week. 18 year-old Alyssa McPeak was allegedly drunk when her car crossed the center line and struck Glenda Kamber head on, resulting in Kamber’s death and the paralysis of one of McPeak’s passengers. Charges will also be filed against a 38 year old man who purchased the alcohol.
The suspect in the Oct. 30 slaying of an elderly southwest Arkansas couple is expected back in Howard County by week’s end after a Wisconsin judge approved extradition to Arkansas. Calvin A. Bennett had been profiled the night before on the television show America’s Most Wanted.
Bill Rufus of Little Rock, a former pastor at Tomberlin Baptist Church in England, was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison for admittedly buying himself a house with the proceeds of an insurance check intended for the church.
A home repair scam is targeting older women in White County. At least two homes have been entered by well dressed, polite, older men claiming to be measuring homes for energy saving improvements. Once inside, they steal whatever cash and valuables may be available.
Mississippi State University has sent letters to 2,400 students and employees notifying them they soon may be victims of identity theft. The letters, which went out Monday, say their Social Security numbers and other private information were "inadvertently" posted to a publicly accessible Web site.
The purported theft of a truck and cattle trailer led Hempstead County sheriff’s deputies to arrest a Fulton man on charges accusing him of stealing cattle throughout the county over the past eight months. James Autrey Smith allegedly received more than $38,000 in livestock auctions of the stolen cattle.
Get Barney's bullet
Now, I know that will come as a blinding revelation to the folks in Damascus, but there are limits. Based on what I see whenever Marie and I head north from Little Rock, the existing limits must be quite generous. I suppose that us fast paced city folks are a precipitous danger to the children and livestock of the more rural parts of the state.
But seriously, it is true that some of us are a little heavy on the pedal and local law enforcement certainly ought to “nip it in the bud.” The point is, honest to goodness; we work hard and pay enough taxes that most folks just want to be left alone. Here’s a radical idea. Tax the local folks for the streetlights and community centers.
It isn’t just one town. Arkansas has plenty of areas where motorists are at the mercy of local cops and their hometown judges. It might be a better idea to tighten restrictions on revenue from traffic tickets. That is a bill I would love to see introduced. Of course, that would make too much sense.
(Broadcast December 19, 2006)
While I hate to rain on anybody’s parade, I am afraid I whipped up a deluge. Let me summarize. The overarching business in Washington is Iraq and President Bush seems ready to study it to death while he “stays the course.” For the President, he has the added benefit of talking about new strategies, while doing the same things and, of course, blaming Democrats for his failures. We are still living in a very partisan world.
Democrats may get to investigate some of the Iraq war corruption, but I doubt it. Republicans are swooping over Senator Time Johnson’s sick bed like vultures just waiting to take back the Senate by whatever means necessary.
Things are little better at home. There is just little reason to be optimistic about the governor-elect. That is especially true since the worst element, the so-called “Brotherhood”, is about to take over the State Senate. Their motto is “public education be damned, full speed ahead with our pork barrel spending.”
We still live in a great country. God Bless America, Merry Christmas and Go Hogs!
(Broadcast December 15, 2006)
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Bill Valentine ...
Tuesday summary in the rain
Fayetteville Sen. Sue Madison says Arkansas should close the Alexander Youth Services Center. Madison hopes that officials with the state’s Youth Services Division will recommend closing and rebuilding the center in Alexander - at an estimated cost of $66 million. She says the money could come from the state’s $843 million projected budget surplus.
House Speaker-designate Benny Petrus tells Roby Brock of TalkBusiness.net, he's not sure repealing the sales tax on groceries is the best way to help low-income Arkansans. Petrus promises to fight the sales tax cut.
Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt, whose annual financial package ranks eighth among the SEC’s 12 football coaches, is getting a contract extension through the 2012 season and an undisclosed raise from his current compensation of $1,049,644.
The largest developer of the Fayetteville Shale will drill between 400 and 450 wells in the play next year, part of an $875 million investment the company plans to make in northern and western Arkansas' natural gas-laden formation in 2007.
Employees at Wal-Mart’s China headquarters have set up a Communist Party branch, the company and party said Monday, amid a campaign to expand the ruling party’s presence in foreign companies.
Five years after the fact and a month after the November general election. County Clerk Helen Bradley mailed out new voter registration to voters in Justice of the Peace District 12, informing them they had been moved from Precinct 20 to Precinct 66 as a result of the 2000 Census. But none of these voters were able to make a choice Nov. 7 between the two men running for the District 12 seat on the Quorum Court. That election is the subject of a lawsuit.
State Sen. Jim Argue recovered well from surgery following a heart attack and will probably return home today, Senate Secretary Ann Cornwell says.
Pulaski County officials are meeting Wednesday with state finance administrators to determine how much money the county owes in back state sales tax that was collected but not remitted on several thousand trash bills in 2004 and 2005.
Fueled by a jump in murders and rapes, the number of violent crimes in Little Rock increased over the first six months of 2006, a FBI report released Monday shows.
Police arrested an escaped jail inmate late Monday who was found hiding in an El Dorado house, but two other men authorities consider dangerous remained on the lam after breaking out of the Union County jail earlier in the day.
Police are now conducting a homicide investigation into the death of a 52-year-old Earle woman, whose body was found inside her burned trailer last week, Crittenden County sheriff’s investigator Thomas Martin said Monday.
A Pulaski County circuit judge has denied bail for three men charged in a deadly July shooting at McCain Mall after hearing testimony that one of the defendants had been stalking the victims through the mall and phoning updates to the man accused of pulling the trigger.
A 17-year-old boy is in custidy after confessing to setting a fire that burned nearly 4,000 acres of timber in Ashley County earlier this year. Joel Holland will be charged as an adult with two felonies - arson and unlawful burning.
Demeche Shaun Lofton of Nashville pleaded guilty to firstdegree murder in the May slaying of Heather Littleton, a community college student, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
More than 50 Germantown High School students were injured in a chain reaction crash involving four school buses and a car on Germantown Road near Memphis Monday afternoon. None of the injuries was life threatening.
A $1,500 park bench stolen from the Fort Smith National Historic Site was recovered Monday when a visitor at a nearby park spotted it abandoned in a field.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Hurry up Monday summary
A surprise late-afternoon announcement Friday that J. Timothy Griffin will become the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas drew the ire of U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, whose spokesman said the maneuver amounts to “basically circumventing the normal process.”
Some Arkansas cities want the leeway to issue more traffic tickets, and the Arkansas Municipal League will ask the Legislature to amend the state's speed trap law to appease them. The league, which represents cities across the state, included a proposed amendment in a legislative package presented to lawmakers last week.
An ad hoc committee of legislators is to meet with the state attorney general's office this week to determine how to address a Supreme Court ruling that said the Legislature violated the state constitution by appropriating $400,000 for local projects in Bigelow, which is represented by Senator Bob Johnson who leads the State Senate’s so-called “Brotherhood” faction.
State Sen. Jim Argue is resting in a Little Rock hospital after undergoing an angioplasty after suffering a heart attack Sunday morning, a family spokesman said.
he U.S. Department of Education has approved Arkansas’ plan for ensuring that all core courses in the state’s public schools are taught by teachers who have bachelor’s degrees, hold state certificates and can demonstrate competence in the subjects they teach.
The state Department of Education’s top attorney is researching the legality of charter schools offering enrollment preferences to certain students. Several of the planned schools want to give enrollment preferences to children of their employees, board members, trustees and other volunteers when space is limited.
The Arkansas State House of Representatives will have 34 new members, which is one-third of the total, when the legislative session begins in January.
Southland Park Gaming and Racing will not appeal any decision denying it tax breaks for a $40 million renovation project, Barry Baldwin, the park’s general manager, said Friday.
Former Springdale Police Chief Gary Payne is dead at age 54. Paramedics found Payne dead of a single gunshot wound to the head at his residence Friday morning,
Authorities say that an electrical problem is the cause of a fire that destroyed the Holly Grove school and gymnasium. The town has around 80 students in K through 6th grade and recently merged with Clarendon.
Citing Federal privacy laws, the Russellville school district has denied requests to see the video tape of an alleged October 6 assault by two males on a female student aboard a school bus. Requests were made by both the Russellville Courier and an lawyer for the alleged victim. The district is seeking an Attorney General’s opinion.
Two Glen Rose High School students who allegedly threatened students at the school were interviewed by Hot Spring County authorities and State Police and released to the custody of their parents.
Benton Panthers boys head basketball coach Joe Wise was not in attendance at the first Everett Motors Saline County Shootout on Friday night at Benton High School's arena. Wise was placed on administrative leave through the holidays, pending the outcome of a Benton school board meeting in early January, a Benton High School official said.
With test drilling complete on more than 5,000 acres spanning several counties, German oil and gas company Activa Resources AG said Friday it plans to drill 15-20 wells in White County on its slice of the Fayetteville Shale.
Eduardo Aquino has appealed his conviction for animal cruelty. Aquino was arrested Sept. 30 after officers found a dying pig in the back yard of Aquino's in Springdale. Aquino said he had bought the pig for a cookout and decided to butcher it himself. Aquino was arrested on the misdemeanor charge and issued citations for two city ordinances, skinning an animal in city limits and having swine in city limits.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The furniture being moved all around, and we don’t have that much, is really inconvenient. That has been happening since last weekend. Marie is really on top of this. Maybe Bush should send her to straighten things out in to Iraq. I cannot tell you how many bottles of Coca-Cola she has laid in, but if there is a blizzard any time soon, we will have something to drink. It may not be very good for us, but we will not die of thirst.
Dusting is a huge project. I never notice that kind of thing when I go anywhere, so I don’t know if all that hard work was really necessary. She even cleaned out the frig. Let me tell you, that was very needed and I can only imagine that she wore the special bio-chemical hazmat cleanup suit. Heck, it is mostly my fault.
The invitation list has been done for weeks, but I may have left somebody out. If you came last year, just drop on it. If you came two years ago, you might want to check.
(Broadcast December 15, 2006)
The high cost of high school athletics
Anyway, the legislature has passed some laws which require school districts to account for how they spend. So far, the financial statements for the year, which ended at the end of last June, have yet to make their way to the Board’s attention. Major corporations are able to close books on multi-billion dollar international businesses in a couple of months. Mays expects the newest numbers to come out in February. They usually show up in the form of a grid, and it typically has lots of blanks.
Districts are deliberately avoiding the bad news on sports and goofing up the rest due to sheer incompetence. You have probably heard about the ugly exchange with the superintendent of Earle who is about to become a State Senator, despite not taking competitive bids on tens of thousands of dollars worth of projects. Forrest City Rep. David Dunn nailed it completely. Earle School District just does not want to obey the law. That school district is not alone and this kind of thing must stop.
(Broadcast December 14, 2006)
Friday, December 15, 2006
Jolly Friday Summary
A North Carolina developer of an electronic poker room, while promoting an invitational tournament planned for Southland Park Gaming and Racing, referred to the West Memphis greyhound racetrack as a “casino” in a media release. Shelby McCook, manager of the Arkansas Racing Commission, said in a telephone interview with the Democrat-Gazette, “We do not refer to our track facilities as ‘casinos,’”
Arkansas Aluminum Alloy, an aluminum-recycling plant in Hot Springs where two men died in an October explosion was cited in a 2004 blast that sprayed several hundred pounds of molten metal into the air, federal records show.
Loosening state regulations in an effort to solve a shortage of licensed plumbers and electricians could result in decreased quality and safety in those industries, a journeyman plumber and a master electrician told a legislative panel Thursday.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled a $400,000 state appropriation for streets and sewers in Bigelow to be unconstitutional local legislation, a ruling likely to restrict the approval of “pork” projects in legislative districts. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Bob Johnson of Bigelow, who led a successful push in the Senate last year to carve out more state money for local projects, and leads a State Senate “clique” known as The Brotherhood.
A twice-convicted Texas child molester, who lived under an assumed name in Sherwood until his arrest, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for having oral sex with a 12-year-old boy. A Pulaski County jury returned the guilty verdict in 12 minutes after watching separate videos of 41-year-old Eric Wayne Kelley performing the act on another teenage boy and fondling a third. It took jurors 36 minutes to impose the life sentence.
Three Fayetteville residents have been charged in the death of a toddler last month. Police said the child was repeatedly abused. The boy's caregiver, Lorita Lanej, 23, is charged with capital murder and could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. The parents, Elmitha Saito and Junious K. Annamare charged with permitting abuse of a minor.
The Fort Smith Police Department will begin an internal investigation to probe the circumstances and cause of the slaying of a local woman during a shootout Tuesday.
North Little Rock police shot and severely wounded a naked 31-year-old man early Thursday morning, saying he had fired at an officer with a revolver. Willie Lee Shavers Jr. was hit at least once by gunfire from two officers. Shavers’ wife, Laura Shavers, says her husband didn’t have a real gun, but a BB gun that belongs to her son. She said he stood with his arms raised in front of the officers, telling them if “y’all gonna shoot me, y’all are wrong.”
A decomposed body found in the White River in Baxter County is thought to be that of a man wanted on a rape charge, Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said. A driver’s license found with the body belongs to Larry Otis Gebhart, a suspect who fled police on foot after the alleged November 5 abduction and rape.
The Hot Spring County Sheriff's Department has launched an investigation into accusations that a pair of sophomore students threatened others at Glen Rose High School. According to students who attend the school and their parents, two 10th-grade students drafted a “hit list,” with names of students and faculty, including the junior cheerleading squad. They also claim that the two who made the threats dress in trench coats and carry guitar cases around, which scares the other students.
The proposed 2007 salary budget for Pine Bluff Transit is higher than last year because of the impact of the living wage ordinance voters approved in the November referendum, but the municipal agency has no plans to purchase new buses next year, said Revawn Johnson, assistant manager of the city bus company.
If the Drew County Quorum Court follows a Drew Memorial Hospital Board recommendation, voters here will be asked to approve a three-quarter-cent county-wide sales tax increase to fund a proposed $21 million hospital expansion.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Thursday sunny summary
Pulaski County election officials want state legislators to close a gap in election law that they say opens up the possibility for double voting. Voting rolls are printed and distributed before early voting ends, which makes it possible to vote on a Saturday or Monday before an election and again on Tuesday.
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s efforts to provide $300 million in initial incentives to help land a German steel plant in her state died Wednesday. The Louisiana House of Representatives voted again not to raise constitutionally mandated spending limits. Potential sites, which could provide up to 3,000 jobs, in Mobile, Alabama and Osceola, Arkansas are still under consideration.
A hair and skin products manufacturer plans to build a $60 million facility in Jonesboro that will employ up to 400.
The City of North Little Rock intends to establish tax increment financing districts by year’s end for the Bass Pro Shop in the Dark Hollow wetlands and a residential development west of Pike Avenue. TIF’s finance private development at the expense of local school districts.
Little Rock city director Dean Keumpris privately called fellow directors this week to say he planned to ask them publicly to consider the controversial Granite Mountain land swap next week. Kumpuris mentioned the phone calls during Tuesday night’s City Hall agenda session, and Wednesday, he defended them as a “courtesy” to fellow city directors whom he didn’t want to “surprise.” Under the state Freedom of Information Act, “seriel” private meetings of public officials are illegal.
A sales tax to support struggling Pike County Memorial Hospital passed by a 3-1 margin.
Motivated by high prices, Arkansas wheat farmers have planted about 750,000 acres of wheat this fall, more than twice as many as last year, according to agronomist Jason Kelley.
State environmental regulators have upheld a decision to reject permit requests for two companies seeking new gravel-mining operations along Crooked Creek.
A man imprisoned shortly after the birth of his son cannot be forced solely on that basis to give up his parental rights and allow the guardian to adopt his child, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
The state Court of Appeals has ruled that workers' compensation benefits do not serve the same purpose as retirement benefits, so a state statute limiting permanent total disability to 260 weeks for people injured after they turn 60-years-old is unconstitutional.
A legislative committee has recommended the merger of the state Department of Information Systems and the state Office of Information Technology, agencies that have combined budgets involving about $75 million a year and 270 jobs.
The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is testing a new system that officials hope will allow doctors to know what’s happening inside a chest-pain patient’s heart before the patient arrives at the hospital.
The Mid South Delta Initiative reported Tuesday that 64 citizens from 17 counties in the Arkansas Delta will serve on work groups to develop a plan aimed at improving the economic and social lives of the region’s residents.
A Benton County woman was convicted Wednesday of raping a 13-year-old boy and exposing him to HIV. An 11-man, one-woman jury recommended Donna Sue Mars, also known as Donna Turner, serve a 10-year sentence for the rape and six years for the HIV exposure. Each was the minimum sentence provided.
Authorities charged a 16-year-old boy with negligent homicide Wednesday in the shooting death three weeks earlier of a 13-year-old Batesville boy in Judsonia. Prosecuting Attorney Chris Raff filed the charge in the juvenile division of White County Circuit Court. Raff said he could not name the suspect, nor discuss details of the case, because state law prohibits the release of such information when it involves youthful offenders.
Preston Burt, a 19-year-old Arkansas State University freshman from Memphis, faces five misdemeanor charges for operating a tattoo business on campus that served more than 100 customers.
Herbert Caldwell Jr. of Elkins was arrested in connection with domestic battery and installing a booby trap in his home which shocked a woman. According to reports, Elkins connected a device used on electric fences to his bedroom door.
Thieves broke into 55 cars Friday night in Sherwood, stealing an assortment of items like cellular telephones, purses and a laptop computer.
A woman died in a mobile-home fire Wednesday morning, authorities said. Police withheld her name pending notification of family, but said she was in her 50s.
Jacksonville High School in the Pulaski County Special School District is one of 20 schools across the country to win $60,000 in Samsung technology and Microsoft software as part of a nationwide essay contest on the value of technology.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The Pat Lynch Show is very busy these days.
• Former gangster Leifel Jackson is on Thursday morning. He is running a great program at Our Club in North Little Rock will be talking about his toy drive. Listen and GIVE!
• Political consultant Bud Jackson (formerly of the Bill Halter campaign) is set for Friday at 9. His firm has been chosen by Draft Obama to produce a new :60 TV spot entitled "Believe Again" that will air in New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. The ad, which features still photos and soundbites from Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), is intended to encourage people to draft Obama into the 2008 Democratic Primary Election.
• Activist and author Mara Leveritt is on for Monday morning. These days she is hacked over the cost of inmate phone calls. You can also be fairly sure she will talk about the West Memphis Three.
• Travs manager Bill Valentine will be all rested up from baseball’s winter meeting and his is on Tuesday, December 19 at 10.
• Congressman Mike Ross is a very likely addition to the “in studio” major guest roster next week. He and the Blue Dogs are just back from the White House.
New audio "on demand"
The interview with Kurt Voigt, author of "Year of the Dog," was a terriffic interview and you can hear it (and download as an mp3 if you want) for free.
My hour with the Democrat-Gazette's cartoonist John Derring was extremely cool. Carole joined part of the show and we talked about the removal (and restoration) of Christmas trees at SeaTac airport, putting Santa hats on the Little Rock nine, and the latest internet related developments for cartooning.
Civil War expert, Dr. Carl Moneyhon from UALR, was entertaining and insightful. His segment is posted.
The Arkansas dudes from "Deal of No Deal," Brooks Leach and Ronnie Fewell, were a million laughs. The two hour visit is available in two files. It is a huge laugh.
Happy as hogs
Since their sons made significant career decisions based upon the representation of the Head Coach, it seems perfectly reasonable to go straight to the top for an explanation of Arkansas’ offense. Of course, Arkansas should run more of a passing game, but that is difficult with two rather shaky quarterbacks. Please understand that Mitch Mustain, as far as I know, has never complained about the program in public.
The famous quote in the book came from a year ago and Mitch said exactly what most other hog fans at the time were saying, so don’t crucify him. His mom is often made out to be some kind of nut, but I think she is only guilty of having a good business head and loving her son.
So the Arkansas Razorbacks are engulfed in controversy after a 10 and 3 season while getting ready for a January 1 bowl game in Orlando. Isn’t success interesting? It is almost as painful as defeat. I hope Gus Malzahn gets to open up the play calling next season and I hope the young men stay, because Houston Nutt is not going anywhere so long as the powers that be have all the power.
(Broadcast December 13, 2006)
Hold the phone!
Just in case you do not know, the cost of these services is really shocking. It is almost $7 for 15 minutes and all calls are, of necessity, collect. This obviously puts a tremendous burden on poor families that already have a lot going wrong. I will be the first to concede that most of the folks in prisons are not worth talking to, but these are family members – presumably even children.
The state makes good money on the deal and so does the company. Now, understand that I am a capitalist and I have no objection to anybody making money – even a lot of money. Still, there is such unfairness in this situation in which neither the inmate nor the innocent family members have any choice over what can be an enormous bill.
The state officials are thinking this contract over and it seems to me that they should seriously consider asking the telephone provider to come down with the price on those calls. An ordinary sense of justice and decency seems to require that much.
(Broadcast December 12, 2006)
The Plane Truth
The Governor is often right on things, such as public education and I think his leadership there could be sorely missed. Then there is the darker side of Mike. His use of the state police airplane was the subject of a weekend report and it appears that he is spending fewer hours in the friendly skies. So why does the plane transport Mrs. Huckabee at all? Why do the State Police or the Governor not keep a log of when and where the plane travels along with a statement of the business purpose of the trip?
The Governor’s background as a preacher causes him to be oblivious to the often-obvious conflicts of interest which arise in his acceptance of gifts. This is one area where the new Governor, Mike Beebe, could shine. Let’s institute an articulated policy on that airplane, and let the sun shine in on state government.
(Broadcast December 11, 2006)
Here is the Wednesday summary
Arkansas stands to reap a windfall from natural gas exploration in the Fayetteville shale, but attempts to raise the state severance tax could run off developers, according to Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy in remarks to the Little Rock Rotary Club.
The Little Rock School District is asking a federal judge to disqualify civil-rights attorney John Walker from participating in forthcoming court hearings regarding the district’s compliance with its desegregation obligations. District attorneys claim that Walker, who represents the class of black students known as the Joshua intervenors, violated court orders and rules by talking with a school administrator concerning whether the district had accurately reported the academic performance of African-American students.
The former main Little Rock Public Library will undergo a $41 million conversion into a high-tech operations facility to partially accommodate about 100 new jobs and serve as one of two primary data centers for Entergy Corp.’s four-state system.
One Arkansas State University student may be taking graphics arts studies too far. According to university police records, a 19-year-old student has become an unlicensed tattoo artist on campus, inking perhaps 100 students. No charges have been filed.
Fort Smith Police say a 2-year-old girl was shot in the head Monday, possibly by a 3-year-old brother, and an 8-month-old girl was left alone at home when her mother’s boyfriend took the rest of the family to a hospital. The girl was not seriously injured, all three children have been placed in custody by the Department of Human Services.
A Fort Smith, Oliva Stewart, was fatally shot Tuesday outside an apartment complex during a shootout between police and a man armed with a sawed-off shotgun. The incident began when police pulled over a car and a man emerged with a sawed off shotgun.
Authorities continued to search Tuesday for a work-release inmate who walked away from a construction site near Texarkana - the fourth such inmate to escape this year.
The Garland County sheriff ’s office initiated an online notification system Tuesday that allows residents to conduct computer searches for sex offenders living in their neighborhoods.
Donna Sue Mars of Bentonville has gone on trial on charges of having sex with a 13 year-old boy and exposing him to the JIV virus.
Brewer Lake contines to rise and Conway Corp. announced Tuesday that it has lifted mandatory watering restrictions, which have been in effect for customers since Aug. 1.
The superintendent of the Earle School District, who is a state senator-elect, drew the ire of a state representative from Forrest City on Tuesday after he told lawmakers that the district failed to solicit bids on four projects totaling about $55,000 due to “human errors.”
Hartford Mayor Melba Fox-Hobbs, Hartford Alderman George Decker and a would-be alderman, Brenda Layne, have sued the Sebastian County Election Commission, calling for a new election in the mayoral and two alderman races.
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation of Fayetteville, which gave the University of the Ozarks $7 million in 2001, has gifted $2.96 million that will endow the maintenance and operations of the the 34,000-square-foot teacher education and communications center that opened on the Ozarks campus in 2002.
Linda Caillouet reports in “Paper Trails” that ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which earlier visited Arkansas to remodel the Northwest Arkansas home of missing-children activist Colleen Nick, is looking for another worthy family in the state.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
New "on demand" audio
Also, State Board of Education member Ben Mays visited today and we talked about Charter Schools and how local school districts cover up the real cost of athletics. Mays says that the total cost is $200 million anually. That hour is also in the Audio Highlights section.
Cool Tuesday Summary
Kelly James of Dallas, whose mother lives in Bryant, is among three climbers who remain stranded on Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Rescuers plan another attempt to find the men today after being thwarted yesterday by blizzard conditions, including 85 mile an hour winds. Lou Ann Cameron of Bryant told the Benton Courier that James called his son Sunday afternoon on a cell phone from a snow cave on the north face of the mountain.
In its first round of hearings on charter school applications, the state Board of Education on Monday approved a new charter school, rejected two others and postponed making a decision on four other petitions.
A newly designed driver’s license and identification card issued to people under the age of 21 will help store clerks, bartenders and police more quickly identify those too young to buy alcohol, Gov. Mike Huckabee said Monday. The new cards bear all the same identifying information as the old one but with the information arranged vertically on the card rather than horizontally.
State Senator Kim Hendren filed a bill that would reduce the income tax liability of each person required to file an Arkansas income tax return by 3 percent for two tax years. Hendren says his bill is aimed at paying back taxpayers who paid a 3 percent income tax surcharge imposed by the Legislature in 2003 to avoid further state budget cutbacks. The surcharge was repealed in 2005 after tax revenues rebounded.
The Democrat-Gazette reports that partygoers at Gov. Mike Huckabee’s Christmas gala on Saturday can give as much money as they want to his political action committee because it’s incorporated in Virginia, a state that allows unlimited contributions. Arkansas’ donation limit to PACs is $5,000 a year.
North Little Rock residents will pay 38 percent more to turn on their lights in the new year, plus see several other costs go up as approved with the 2007 city budget Monday.
The sale of the former main Little Rock Public Library is to be announced this morning by Gov. Mike Huckabee and officials from Entergy Arkansas Inc. and Science Applications International Corp.
Grass will be for parks and not parking if an ordinance before the Springdale City Council passes. The council will hear the first reading of a law to ban parking on lawns in residential zones. The council plans to leave the ordinance on its first reading to make sure the public has time to comment.
The state medical examiner ruled the death of a 2-year-old Little Rock girl last week was a homicide, bringing the total number of slayings in the city to 56 this year. Dionne Phillips’ stepfather, Lathon Jordana, pleaded innocent last week in Little Rock District Court on a first-degree domestic battery charge while the child was still listed in critical condition. She died later in the day.
Three armed men walked into a Simmons First National bank branch in Little Rock Monday morning, fired two shots into the ceiling and took an undisclosed amount of money. The three left in a white 2000 Mercury Sable. 17 year-old Ray Lewis was arrested moments later driving the car.
A suppression hearing is planned Thursday in the drug and theft case against Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott, who claims a statement given to police should be suppressed because she was deceived and false promises were made to her. Police arrested Scott on Aug. 18 at her Rogers home and said she confessed to ingesting prescription drugs she took from the homes of deceased people.
Jackson, Ms. firefighters have responded to at least 38 fires in four days, including a fire Monday morning that left an elderly woman with first- and second-degree burns.
Police in Cleveland, Ms. are investigating the appearance of four counterfeit $20 bills at a local Radio Shack store.
Officials believe they have found the carcass of Manny the manatee, who made his way to Memphis and sparked a massive search and rescue effort to return the mammal to warmer waters.
Damascus man Shannon Payne has been selected from over 150 contestants to participate in the 2007 Rose Parade by riding on a float with other organ donors. He was nominated by his mother Kathy Payne, through the Ride of a Lifetime essay contest, in thanks for saving her life. Shannon donated his kidney to Kathy after hers began to fail. The contest is sponsored by Astellas Pharma U.S., Inc.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Here is the latest information on upcoming guests. There have been some changes, so pay attention.
• Kurt Voigt, author of Year of the Dog is on Tuesday morning at 9. This is the story of Springdale High’s championship season and the hunting of Mitch Mustain.
• State Board of Education member Ben Mays will spout his loony opinions about why school districts should keep track of athletic expenses on Tuesday at 10.
• Democrat-Gazette editorial cartoonist John Deering is in the spotlight Wednesday morning at 10.
• Former gangster Leifel Jackson is running a great program at Our House in North Little Rock. He also will be talking about his toy drive. Listen and GIVE!
• Travs manager Bill Valentine will be all rested up from baseball’s winter meeting and his is on Tuesday, November 19 at 10.
Monday morning early summary
Arkansas Medicaid has saved the state and federal governments about $20 million in less than two years by screening which drugs can be prescribed for recipients, program officials say.
Circuit Judge L.T. Simes dismissed a lawsuit contesting the runoff for the District 16 state Senate seat Friday, saying the plaintiff, state Rep. Arnell Willis, had failed to question enough votes to change the results.
Abon Tili of Springdale is facing capital murder and rape charges in the death of a 10-year-old girl by the Washington County Prosecutor's office. Tili is being held without bond.
A Jefferson County jury has convicted Jimmy Frizielle, a former Pine Bluff police officer, of conspiracy to commit capital murder for concocting a murder-for-hire plot in fall 2004. The trial judge imposed the recommended six-year sentence.
Timothy Wallace, wanted on double-murder charges in Saline County, could be free to walk Canadian streets if the federal government in Ottawa allows him to stay in that country. Fugitives may request to remain in Canada if they fear persecution, torture or the death penalty, if returned.
A correctional officer has been fired at the Benton Work-Release Unit after authorities said she had sex with an inmate, prison officials confirmed Thursday. The dismissal marks at least the fourth time this year that a Correction Department worker has left the agency under similar circumstances.
Sheila Walters had the luck of the draw Friday afternoon and became mayor-elect of Trumann by virtue of a tie-breaker in her 730-730 logjam with incumbent Ronnie Harrison. Shortly after the Poinsett County Election Commission certified three additional military ballots that drew the candidates even,
An agreement with an Alabama company to provide phone service to prison inmates has been temporarily blocked, something that happens only to about 1 percent of state contracts. Inmate advocates hailed the freeze, saying Global Tel-Link, the company awarded the contract, didn’t reduce the $6.60 price for a 15-minute collect call, a cost they say burdens low-income families.
Entergy Arkansas Inc. customers in 2005 saw a record low number of power failures for the state’s largest electricity provider.
The state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union has sent letters to all Arkansas public school superintendents offering guidance on issues involving religion and public schools. The three-page letter addresses the issues of whether there is a place for religious holidays in public schools and whether schools can make religious materials available to students.
Almost 18 years to the day after it was the site of one of Memphis' most horrific accidents killing 8 people, the Interstate 40-240 interchange in Midtown has been rebuilt and will be fully open to traffic this week, state officials say. Crews during the past several days have been wrapping up a three-year, $53 million project designed to eliminate dangerous curves and accommodate heavier traffic loads at the interchange.