Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sensible transportation policy

One of my favorite interests is transportation, especially railroads. This is an area which has been sadly neglected around here. let me correct that with a recent speech from former transportation secretary Gil Carmichael.

Yep, he does deal with Amtrak, but that is not "topic 1." He talks about the successes of private companies in developing freight shipping patterns that are efficient fast and safe. He also brings government into the picture, but as a partner and not the leader.

What would America be like if we could have a national transportation policy that was market driven instead of the mess created by the powerful airline and trucking lobbies?

Good for thought. Enjoy.


Marion and Me

Although I screwed up the recording (total rookie mistake - I AM an idiot and, according to the wise provisions of the Arkansas Constitution of 1874, should not be allowed to vote) there are a few noteworthy items from the conversation.

He credits Speaker Pelosi with a more open process than when the Democrats last controlled the House in the early Clinton administration.

Laments how the Schedule D Medicare drug benefit is being handled and contends that seniors are spending more on medicines now. He also says that drug stores are being hit hard by slow pay from the gov, as reported yesterday in the Jonesboro Sun.

Thinks that Iraq is the most serious thing to happen to America since WWII and that we need to have better international relations to deal with it.

Optimistic about biofuels and, surprisingly to me, says that the anticipated increase in grain use for fuel will not force food prices up.

Friday, March 30, 2007

... and Lyncho is an idiot too

I'm the guy that messed up my recording of an interview with Congressman Marion Berry. It was nothing that would have shaken the foundations of Arkansas poltiics, but still....

OK, Brummett isn't, at least technically, an idiot. He's just a meathead who does not sufficiently appreciate the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

And you're not much better, Max Brantley! Questioning improvements in War Memorial Stadium? Have you no conscience? Have you no respect?

This is yet more proff that Arkansas NEEDS to keep the prohibition for "idiots" voting in the constitution.

Next week on the Pat Lynch Show

Coming up next week on Pat Classic

Senator Blanche Lincoln at 9 Monday morning

State Rep. Steve Harrelson with his final legislati wrap-up at 9:30.

Highlights of Pat's extended interview with Congressman Marion Berry.

The American Idol Viewing Team

Our usual contributions from Roby Brock on business and Gary Campbell on sports.

much more, so check back Here.

Pat Classic is on the Super Talk Arkansas Network (at right) and streaming "live" on

The free "on demand" archive

When you surf over to, you will find informative and entertaining segments ready for your free listening and downloading. Roby Brock talked with me about the new windmill blade plant. I have an interview with the Arkansas Twisters folks as they get ready to open the arena football season down in Georgia. Bud Jackson has some political insights. Bill Valentine was a scream and even got around to ripping beer distributors.

John Brummett is an idiot

Most of us have long suspected that all is not well on John's upper stories, even though he does occasionally lapse into semi-consciousness and rise up against the sinister forces which constantly afflict everyday Arkansans. Nonetheless, it is frequently apparent that somewhere back in infancy, John must have been dropped on his head, or something.

Others might argue that dropping baby Brummett on its' head would have no ill effects since there is not much inside anyway. Let's leave that for later.

John Brummett's latest outburst of silliness is a willful cruel and offensive harangue against the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame carried on his blog. Look here, John, I wasn't good enough to play ball either, but some of us are making the conscious effort to adjust. Here is a bit of his venomous and hate-filled attack on this laudable institution and notable tourist destination.

This bill just hands over a hundred grand to a group that exists mostly to honor aging ex-Razorbacks with an annual cocktail reception. The outfit now has a foundation to raise money privately, but that mustn't be going too well, thus the taxpayers are forced into the breach.

It just so happens that my current work circumstances caused me to attend this year's induction ceremony. It has grown to such an extent that the event was held on the floor of Alltel Arena. My old friend, the late Jim Elder, was inducted along with 11 other notable sports figures. Another famous broadcaster, Paul Eels was brought in last year before his tragic passing.

The facility will be opening within the month and will include great interactive exhibits and, I am told, the exact replica of Mr. Elder's office. I can not wait to stand in that wonderful space once again.

John Brummett's brooding resentment is never far from the surface. He has one final vindictive parting shot.

Maybe the House will amend it at least to restrict the money's use to capital expenditures to erect the museum. Ideally it'd stomp the sucker flat. But I'm dreaming now. I'm coming next time with this Newspaper Hall of Fame — a hundred grand from your pocket to mine to throw an annual party honoring tired old journalists, present company included.

The question arises, who would vote to include John Brummett on anything? John, where's your love for the helmet?

John, if only you had made something of yourself, you might have gotten a football scholarship to a mediocre university, been mistreated by the coaches, and received abusive emails from idiot boosters. It's not our fault you're ruined yourself and are not eligible for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

That Newspaper Hall of Fame you described might be a good idea, but it would need some sort of federal grant just to pay the bar bill.

On a more serious note, my old neighbor John Woodruff would go into that Newspaper Hall of Fame in the first round. I hated to hear of his passing.

And, for those of you commie wimp sensitivity-obsessed delusional morons who are uncomfortable with the word "idiot," that is exactly the reason I used it in the headline. Since you want to take that delightful expression out of our state constitution, I plan to use it on every possible opportunity.

Small victtory against payday lenders

The full state house voted and the industry backed bill which pretends to regulate payday lenders has been defeated.

David Dunn brought it up and said it was doing "something" to reign in the industry. David Johnson spoke against, followed by Janet Johnson, and Betty Pickett, and Will Bond from Jacksonville.

Bond observed that the proposed law would be contrary to the Military Services Protection Act, a state law that prohibits discrimination against service people. Payday lenders would be explicitly exempted from compliance with that law. In other words, it is OK to cheat the men and women in uniform.

27 - 57, so there will be no fake window dressing.

Friday summary

Former U.S. Attorney H.E. “Bud” Cummins expressed disappointment over how he and seven other prosecutors were ousted last year, saying the Department of Justice’s failure to insulate them from outside political pressure was “most disturbing.” He told an audience at the Clinton School of Public Service that the purge of prosecutors was, to his knowledge, unprecedented and took him by surprise.

A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is having unintended side effects threatening the future of many independent pharmacies because of slow and late payments, according to 1st District Rep. Marion Berry.

Gov. Mike Beebe says he is leaning heavily toward splitting up the state’s health and human services agencies — merged only two years ago — as he was given authority to do under legislation approved by lawmakers earlier this year.

Legislation to establish a tax exemption for windmill blade manufacturers targets a specific company that is considering locating in Arkansas. A spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe confirms a story from TalkBusiness.Net editor Roby Brock.

The Arkansas Senate approved a bill embodying the plan for distributing more than $4 billion a year in state general revenue to the state government agencies during the next two fiscal years, a measure that legislative leaders say makes public schools the state’s top priority.

A co-chairman of the Joint Budget Committee says that a plan the committee approved to spend the state’s $919 million surplus contains several “constitutionally suspect” projects. Gov. Mike Beebe says he has left open the possibility of using his veto power or directing state agencies not to disburse the money to the projects.

A bill setting standards for developing merit-pay plans passed the House Education Committee, but a bill giving more state money to some school districts for salaries ran into trouble.

The House Judiciary Committee rejected a proposal to enhance criminal penalties for harassment and certain other crimes when “prejudice against the victim” is involved.

For the second time in seven days, a state Senate committee has blocked House Speaker Benny Petrus’ ethics legislation.

A bill that would punish a person for knowingly harboring an illegal alien won the endorsement of the House Judiciary Committee, despite sharp questioning from committee members who were concerned the legislation would shift enforcement of a federal issue to Arkansas prosecutors and judges.

The Arkansas House of Representatives will recommend to the people an amendment that would remove antiquated language on elections from the Arkansas Constitution. Its passage came a day after the Senate approved a proposed amendment that would allow the Legislature to convene annually.

Gov. Mike Beebe hopes to leverage some of the cash in the state’s budget surplus to start a voluntary program to pay farmers and ranchers to make environmental improvements in the Illinois River watershed in Northwest Arkansas.

An admitted methamphetamine cook testified, in day 16 of the public corruption trial, that former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and Bobby Junior Cox, a bail bondsman, recruited him to cook and plant drugs on someone in hopes that person would turn in a fugitive who had jumped a substantial bond posted by Cox.

A Madison police officer with a lengthy criminal history was convicted of domestic battery on his estranged wife by St. Francis County District Court Judge Steve Routon. Victor Crawford has a long history of criminal offenses dating back to the early 1990’s. The records show that he has been found guilty by the District Court for violent crimes including third-degree battery in 1992 and third-degree assault twice in 1994.

A five-month long investigation culminated Thursday with the arrest of 77 illegal aliens working on construction projects in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Arkansas and Oklahoma law enforcement agencies are expected to attend the funeral of officer Daniel Cruz Martinez Jr. which begins at 10 a.m. today at the Fort Smith Convention Center Auditorium. According to police reports, Martinez was shot and killed Friday night by Richard Englebright while attempting to help Donna Stevens retrieve her 3-year-old son from a Fort Smith residence.

Central Arkansas Water and Deltic Timber Corp. have finalized the sale of company land once planned for an upscale residential development. The utility closed the $8,175,000 deal on Wednesday and now owns the land near Lake Maumelle’s southern shore.

The Arkansas RiverCatz Basketball team owes the Pine Bluff Convention Center more than $23,000, and the Royal Arkansas Hotel & Suites about $5,000 for services and events and has not paid the city’s promotions taxes for several months, according to the Pine Bluff Commercial.

A plumbing company apprentice sued his former employer Thursday, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was fired for not attending church. The lawsuit was filed by Clifford D. Randel of Benton County. Randel claims he was wrongfully terminated and is seeking $50,000 in punitive damages from Allied Plumbing and Drain Service in Siloam Springs.

A bill strengthening penalties for cockfighting and other events pitting animals against each other ran into a roadblock in Congress on Wednesday. Sen. Tom Coburn, a Republican from Okla., says he has blocked the bill that would make it a felony to transport animals across state lines for purposes of participating in fights.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caution urged on state agency bonds

About a year-and-a-half ago there was a special election to provide for a revolving bond authority to maintain the interstate highways. Although it seemed like a good idea, the truckers persuaded voters that the lack of a sunset provision would somehow bring about the end of democracy. At the time, the truckers seemed delusional and completely motivated by self-interest. In retrospect, they might have had a point.

The legislature is sending the governor a bill that would allow for a special election on whether the state Natural Resources Commission may issue up to an additional $300 million in general obligation bonds. Although news reports are a bit vague, this one has a bad smell of a bond issuing authority that never ends. It turns out that this sort of thing is more common that we imagined and there are other instances in state government of such eternal authorizations.

Everything the highway department does is pretty much open to public inspection. We know where the roads are being built. Some of these other smaller agencies need some scrutiny and the governor and lawmakers may want to take that into consideration. Without sounding like some sort of troglodyte, the people should have the last word on general revenue bonds.

(Broadcast Mrch 29, 2007)

Bucks for Business

Roby Brock is breaking a story from the legislature about a bill that has quietly made its' way through and would give substantial incentives to an unknown company that makes blades for windmills. You can hear the entire interview on my home page,

Pat Lynch on NPR at 1:20 PM

Apparently, the topic will be the appointment of Tim Griffin as federal prosecutor. Should be fun. If there is a change, I will update here.

UPDATE: Neal Oman does a fast paced professional program Lots of preperation goes into an interview. I promise I was interviewed for longer than I spent on the air. Highly entertaining show. It was fun.

Thursday summary

Sen. Jim Argue, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, rightly criticized local-level school officials Wednesday, saying they were “mucking up” one of the state Legislature’s top achievements, extra funding to help low-income students. Argue exposed superintendents scheme to use that money for teacher salaries instead.

A House of Representatives committee that overwhelmingly voted for a bill seven weeks ago that would have killed payday lending in Arkansas passed another bill Wednesday that is supported by payday lenders and includes no meaningful protection from interest rates of up to 3000%.

Little Rock voters will have another option to boost their mayor’s power under a bill that now awaits Gov. Mike Beebe’s sure signature. The state Senate voted 33-1 to let voters in Arkansas’ city-manager cities grant their mayors some executive duties.

Legislation to create the state’s first felony charge for animal cruelty failed on both ends of the state Capitol on Wednesday as supporters of competing bills couldn’t come to agreement.

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will open a branch campus in Fayetteville with a $2 million appropriation from the state's revenue surplus, according to two Northwest Arkansas delegation members and the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas. The university had no statement as of Wednesday.

Jerry Cox, the head of a Christian conservative group that helped draw legislation to ban gays and unmarried couples who live together from fostering or adopting children in Arkansas, says it might try to put the measure on the 2008 general election ballot.

Roy L. Densmore, a Monticello man already on probation for possession of child pornography in 2004, pleaded guilty Monday to the same crime. Circuit Judge Sam Pope sentenced Densmore to 20 years in prison, 10 years for each of two counts of possession of child pornography. The sentences must be served consecutively.

The mother of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell, a next-door neighbor to Campbell and his wife, and a Little Rock pawnbroker testified about the theft of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from the neighbor’s home in day 15 of the public corruption trial being heard in Cabot.

Julie Roehm, a marketing executive fired by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. late last year, accuses the company of a “smear campaign” against her. n a statement released by her attorney, Roehm says Wal-Mart made “selective use of e-mail, taken way out of context” as part of its effort to discredit her.

If Arkansas wants a viable biofuel industry, the state had better get ready to pay for it. That is the message from a shareholder of Stuttgart-based Patriot BioFuels, Mike Shook, speaking to food processors at the 101st Ozark Food Processors Association convention in Springdale.

The Small Business Administration will be making $1.7 million in low-interest disaster loans for 23 Desha County home and business owners affected by Feb. 24 tornadoes.

El Dorado and three companies that want to build a joint pipeline to ferry treated wastewater to the Ouachita River filed an appeal Wednesday challenging a state permit granted for the project as too stringent.

Conway public school administrators are mulling a return to corporal punishment at a time when the number of paddlings in Arkansas schools is on the decline.

A borrowed trailer where volunteers have been feeding breakfast to the homeless will stay under the Broadway Bridge at least one more month, City Manager Bruce Moore said Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thursday on the Pat Lynch Show

* Arkansas is back in the hunt for a major manufacturing plant. Roby Brock has the story at 9 on Thursday morning.

* The American Idol Viewing Team laments Chris a bit after 10.

* David Sanders has more onTim Griffin's "puppy love" at 10:30.

* Mark the Magician's Oaklawn preview at 10:55.

* Highlights from Senator Mark Pryor's latest comments on Iraq at 8:45

* I have all the Arkansas weather and news beginning at 8:06.

In defense of Katie Couric

This is a little embarrassing, but here goes anyway. This is on the level. Usually, this is where you hear the voice of wisdom; but today, get ready for the voice of experience.

That darned internet will get you confused and befuddled if you are not careful. That is exactly what happened with a link off the Drudge Report purporting to be a representation of Katie Couric’s questions for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth on 60 Minutes.

Couric is under a lot of pressure in the anchor desk because she is not Bob Scheefer. Couric is also being nitpicked to death, which is rather common in the crazy world of electronic media. The specific allegation is that Couric was too hard on the cancer stricken Elizabeth.

Couric once lost a spouse to cancer and it is supposed that she should show more “empathy.” One of the malicious items planted in cyberspace is an edited montage of Couric asking what sounds like a two-minute question. I thought it might have been on the level. The editing was just that good. Fool me once and I already look like a bozo.

Now that I have better acquainted myself with the transcript, it is my opinion that Katie Couric asked some hard question, and that is her job. It is the Edwards’ job to answer them as long as John wants to be President of the United States.

(Broadcast March 28, 2007)

Arkansas looking for another big manufacturer

Our pal Roby Brock has the skinny on his BIZBLOG. Once again, we seen to be giving away the store, but that is apparently how the game is played. Read all about it.

Wednesday summary

Despite the untimely departure of several key players and the offensive coordinator, and controversy over cell phone records related to an offensive email directed to former quarterback Mitch Mustain, Arkansas Razorback coach Houston Dale Nutt has secured a $160,000 annual raise (over $3,000 weekly) increase. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports his annual compensation at $1,209,644.

Arkansas' personal income rate grew 4.7 percent between 2005 and 2006, but the state still fell one spot to 48th nationwide in per capita income, according to preliminary federal figures. Personal income in 2006 grew to $27,935 ($537 weekly) per capita.

80 year-old Athletic Director Frank Broyles, forced to announce his retirement earlier this year, says he has, in effect, offered the basketball job to his No. 1 candidate even though he had not spoken to him. Stan Heath, fired from the job earlier this week, had twice taken his team to the NCAA tournament and done nothing to bring disrepute upon the University.

The future of Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley, the SEC Freshman of the Year, remained unclear Tuesday while guard Sean McCurdy pushed ahead with a request to transfer.

A House committee has rejected, for the second time, a bill requiring drivers hauling gravel, sand or rock on public roadways to place a tarp over their loads.

A bill to levy a 1 percent tax on retail beer sales was approved Tuesday by the House Rules Committee.

An effort to start a state housing trust fund for the homeless failed in the Joint Budget Committee.

A “hate crime” bill passed by the state Senate would provide enhanced penalties based on “prejudice against the victim” if that prejudice is based on behavior or characteristics “that could be identified by the perpetrator.” The penalties apply in cases of criminal mischief, criminal trespass, harassment and harassing communications.

The Arkansas Senate unanimously voted Monday to send to the governor a bill that would allow for a special election on whether the state Natural Resources Commission may issue up to an additional $300 million in general obligation bonds. Unless the General Assembly authorizes a greater amount to be issued during a biennium, the total principal amount to be issued during any biennium would be limited to $60 million.

Gov. Mike Beebe says that the General Improvement Fund projection has grown from $844 million to $919 million, making more money available for projects around the state.

A proposed ban on homosexuals adopting or fostering children collapsed in the Arkansas Legislature on Tuesday, failing twice to win the approval of a House committee.

State Police Director Col. Steve Dozier prefers the state buy a new airplane that the governor would use. Governor Beebe flew commercial to a Democratic Party function in Phoenix last weekend and the Party paid the cost. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee flew more than 1,500 hours on the plane, costing taxpayers nearly $600,000 since 2002, including flying to political functions such as the 2004 Republican National Convention.

The Arkansas Senate passed a resolution Tuesday authorizing a subcommittee to accept public and private contributions and commission a bust in honor of the late Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller in the state Capitol.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is seeking a divorce from his wife. McDaniel filed the divorce case in Craighead County Circuit Court. The petition says McDaniel and his wife, Amanda, separated on January 16th, a week after he was sworn in as attorney general.

The entire Fort Smith School District is on alert status for not meeting certain goals under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. While there are no consequences of being warned by the state Department of Education that the district is on alert status, it does cast a light on the largest urban school district in western Arkansas.

Magic Springs Development Co. has signed an agreement to sell its Hot Springs amusement park to a real estate investment trust. CNL Income Properties of Orlando, Fla., will close on the purchase before April 30. It will then lease Magic Springs & Crystal Falls back to Magic Springs Development, which will continue to run the park.

Testimony in the Lonoke corruption trial was limited to phone company representatives talking about call records and to a Lonoke shop owner discussing his suspicion that Kelly Campbell stole $500 from his store. Day 14 of the corruption trial was delayed while prosecutors reshuffled their witness list.

A Seligman, Mo., man will spend 15 years in prison for sexually assaulting a Lake Atalanta jogger in July. Billy Gene Davis, 36, was a convicted sex offender when he assaulted a 19-year-old woman jogging around the lake on July 22, 2005 in Rogers. A law passed in 2001 will keep him in prison for his entire sentence because he is a repeat offender.

Fort Smith lawyer Oscar Stilley, who went to jail in February after the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered that he serve 30 days for a contempt-of-court finding, will remain in the Sebastian County jail a bit longer while he gathers financial records required by the courts.

A Craighead County woman faces criminal charges after she allegedly stole a teddy bear from the arms of a 3-year-old child on March 22. Judge Keith Blackman found probable cause to charge Tonya Marie Taylor of Bono, with breaking or entering in connection with the incident.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stan Heath, fare thee well

I was almost feeling sorry for Stan Heath until I realized that he was about to get a $900,000 payoff for his contract. Let me tell you that, when a guy gets canned in radio, the severance is typically somewhat less. Nolan Richardson may still be living on the Razorback Foundation for all I know. He had a huge contract, but that would be appropriate for the only Razorback coach of a major sport to win a true national championship. It is still a darned shame about Stan.

There was this huge conversation about whether calling Coach Heath “classy” was some sort of cheap white guy put down. Heck, most of us on this side of the microphone would love to be thought of that way. Heath’s ethical and honest behavior is in stark contrast to some others.

We need to remember that, no matter what boosters and recruiters say, college athletics is not about developing better human beings. It is about making richer human beings out of the entertainment industry sharks that surround the so-called student athletes. It is all entertainment.

Feeding Christians to the lions may have been more bloodthirsty and repulsive, but it is more honest thatn big time college sports. And, yes, I watch - just like the rest of you.

(Broadcast March 27, 2007)

Mike Masterson commnets on Heath firing

Mike Masterson and I covered a lot of ground, but the "good stuff" was on the Stan Heath firing. We even had a great laugh on Nolan Richardson. Of course, we got on the Janie Ward murder case, and then we wandered off on "situational ethics," which i favor. This segment is available for free download and listening on my home page,

The Twisters are ready for a great season and I spent time with the President, Jack Lankford, and head coach John Gregory. Check it out too.

Remember that the show streams "live" weekday mornings starting at 8 with a look at state news and weather on

The show runs 9 -11 on most of our STAN stations (listed on the right hand column).

Tuesday summary

Razorback basketball coach Stan Heath is out. Bob Holt reports in the Democrat-Gazette that Arkansas soon will be paying three head basketball coaches. That includes Nolan Richardson, Stan Heath and whoever is hired as the Razorbacks’ next coach. Richardson has been receiving $500,000 per year as his buyout since being fired March 1, 2002. He is due to be paid through June 2008.

Three attorneys with strong in-state Republican ties confirm they are in the running to replace Tim Griffin as chief federal prosecutor in the Eastern District of Arkansas. Jason Hendren of Little Rock, the son of U.S. District Judge Jimm Hendren, former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Betty Dickey, and State Rep. Michael Lamoureux, of Russellville, have been in discussions with Congressman John Boozman's office.

A bill to make cruel treatment of dogs and cats a felony was defeated in a House committee Monday. Joining Arkansas Farm Bureau in in supporting the torture of animals were: Reps. James Norton, R-Harrison; Stan Berry, R-Dover; Lenville Evans, D-Lonoke; Scott Sullivan, D-De Queen; Roy Ragland, R-Marshall; Eddie Cooper, D-Melbourne; Monty Davenport, D-Yelleville; and Bill Sample, R-Hot Springs.

The House on Monday approved a $456 million appropriation for public school improvements, along with a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize annual legislative sessions.

the Senate passed legislation that makes all school districts eligible to receive some money and approved a revolving loan fund for building facilities in high-growth districts.

“Enhanced” education funding will get more protection from possible revenue shortfalls the next couple of years under a revised proposed state general revenue budget. Joint Budget Committee Co-chairman Sen. Shawn Womack of Mountain Home, says the move is a message to the state Supreme Court that the state is giving a high priority to education.

A bill aimed at preventing what supporters call “forced abortions” failed to clear an Arkansas Senate committee on Monday. It’s Senate Bill 871 by Sen. Sharon Trusty of Russellville.

The state Senate passed a measure Monday to create a “milk stabilization board,” moving the state one-step closer to regulating the milk industry and possibly helping dairy farmers distressed by high fuel and grain costs.

Senate Bill 795 by Sen. Henry Wilkins of Pine Bluff, places an excise tax on liquor and wines and would raise $10 million a year. Of that, 70 percent would go to drug abuse prevention and treatment, 24 percent to programs that help abused spouses and children and 6 percent to support the Arkansas State Police abused child hotline. It passed 20-0 and goes to the House.

In day 13 of the public corruption trial in Cabot, current and former Lonoke police officers testified about department policies and procedures, as well as alleged impropriety by former Police Chief Jay Campbell during his tenure as head of the department.

A circuit judge dismissed felony theft counts against the former West Helena mayor and five ex-aldermen, saying the prosecuting attorney had failed to properly document the charges and had neglected to have a judge sign the subsequent arrest warrants. Circuit Judge L.T. Simes III, presiding in Phillips County Circuit Court, stated in a 14-page order that affidavits filed by the prosecutor’s office in support of the arrests lacked findings of probable cause that felonies had been committed, as required by state law.

A woman apparently became entangled in a trotline during a weekend fishing trip to Lake Cargile and she and two others drowned after their boat capsized. Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith identified the victims as Tina Petty, her husband, Joseph “Tony” Petty and her brother, Tim Moses all of Morrilton. The sheriff said the three were not wearing life jackets.

A 40-year old Jonesboro man and a 3-year Paragould child died this weekend in two separate accidents involving all-terrain vehicles, reports from Jonesboro police and the Arkansas State Police both said.

Arkansans have been hit with foreclosure notices at the rate of one for every 103 houses in the past 12 months, according to RealtyTrac of Irvine, Calif. Nationwide, there was one foreclosure for every 88 houses during the past 12 months.

Work could begin in June on the first phase of the $1.2 million Russellville Regional Airport taxiway relocation project. Airport officials hope work can begin in June. The project’s first phase is expected to take six months to complete.

Genetically engineered crop field research will suffer because of the contamination of U.S. long-grain rice supplies by traces of unapproved transgenic rice, according to one Arkansas researcher.

Portions of four streets in North Little Rock’s historic Argenta neighborhood will be offlimits to parking during baseball games and other events once Dickey-Stephens Park opens.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Will Iran use American tactics?

One of the big things since we last visited is Iran’s seizure of 14 British sailors, apparently inside Iranian waters. To put it bluntly, this is a mess and we had best all hope this is not an omen of things to come.

It is reported that the Brits admit being outside of Iraqi waters and that Iran plans to file charges. Without getting into the finer points of international law, I think we all ought to consider, first, that England has been a staunch ally of the United States in this ill-advised adventure and surely deserves better. We all ought to remember exactly who it is that we are dealing with.

While Iran is probably not an international menace, a certified nut is in charge over there. Yes, even nuttier than the other buffoons and medieval tyrants that hold sway in that part of the world. What if Iran decides to use torture? What if Iran says that despicable tactic is justified because we do it at secret bases around the world. What if Iran should get their grubby bloodthirsty hands on American service personnel?

How would you feel about your sons and daughters being mistreated, and it being justified because of a misguided and stupid American policy? There is plenty of reason to worry and it would seem that things are getting worse fast.

(Broadcast March 26, 2007)

Lynch reacts to Heath firing...

Tuesday morning on STAN!

8:06 All the statewide news and weather with Roby's Business Minute.

9:06 Mike Masterson from the Democrat-Gazette.

10:06 Pat on Stan Heath

10:30 Jack Lankford, President of the Arkansas Twisters, and head coach John Gregory.

Copper theft, the cool new crime

You will hear more about this today. Little Rock police are checking all public school buildings this morning after substantial damages were discovered to heating and cooling units at Pike View Elementary. It's part of a new ugly trend. If you're a professional thief, you need got to steal something.

Monday morning summary

The House has placed the $456 million school facilities appropriation bill on hold at the request of Rep. Bill Sample of Hot Springs who says that he campaigned for a millage hike in the Lake Hamilton School District last year and, based on information from that the Department of Education, he told voters the state would kick in about $4.17 million to be used for building repairs. The millage passed by just 29 votes. Now, Sample says, he is being told that the district will receive just $3.8 million.

The Arkansas House passed a bill that would allow for a voter-approved bond issue of up to $750 million as a way to pump more money into school building improvements and help bring the long-running Lake View case to an end.

The state House of Representatives passed Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposal to establish a pilot merit-pay program in up to 12 Arkansas public school districts.

Arkansas’ House of Representatives is one of three chambers nationally to pass a bill aimed at forming an “interstate compact” to elect the president of the United States by popular vote.

A bill to change the requirements for third parties to get on Arkansas' ballot is likely to result in a lawsuit against the state if it is signed into law in its present form, according to both supporters and opponents of the measure. "This is going to land the state in court again, and I believe the secretary of state's office could easily protect the state from litigation on this issue," said Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU.

A bill that would have increased welfare payments to grandparents who have legal custody of their grandchildren was voted down by a House panel Friday.

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop an immigration policy that includes a guest-worker program.

The House Rules Committee rejected a bill that would allow people to voluntarily restrict themselves from buying alcoholic beverages. The legislation also would have required retailers to “card” every person buying alcoholic beverages regardless of their age.

Little Rock, Pulaski County Special and Fort Smith are among 18 school districts warned by the Arkansas Department of Education to meet student achievement goals on state tests this spring or face penalties.

The Pine Bluff Commercial reports tons of debris have been hauled off from Dumas, making the tornado-marred landscape look better, injuries are healing, many businesses are back in operation, and the kids will be playing ball in a few weeks. Arkat, a local pet food manufacturer and major employer, was destroyed and very few of the Arkat employees have returned to work

A Fort Smith police officer is dead after helping a mother retrieve her child from a residence where she previously had a run-in with her ex-boyfriend. Officer Daniel C. Martinez was shot in the head Friday evening and Donna Stevens was shot in the back, shoulder and elbow. Richard Englebright, the suspect and the brother of Stevens’ former boyfriend, fled from the home in a car and killed himself before Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers found him near Spiro, Okla.

Gravette school officials reprimanded a former teacher in early January for continuing contact with a student, according to a letter obtained by the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas from the school district. Police arrested the teacher, Casey Helms, Wednesday in connection with a felony charge of first-degree sexual assault after he admitted to investigators he had a consensual sexual relationship with the 17-year-old student.

Two admitted drug dealers testified Friday in day 12 of the Lonoke corruption trial, one describing Kelly Campbell as his best customer for Ecstasy pills and the second saying he sold crack cocaine for then-Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell. Judge John Cole issued an order requiring Lonoke City Council members to discuss a recent executive session concerning a local police officer who is also a potential prosecution witness with the defense attorneys.

Scott Widen pulled his two children out of school so they could say goodbye to Fred and Grinch before a Rogers veterinarian euthanized the sickened cats on Monday. Widen said after Menu Foods failed to return one of more than 100 phone calls, he filed a federal lawsuit Friday against the company he believes is responsible for the cats' deaths.

2-year-old Faith Reed, whose family lives near Rison in Cleveland County, is dead after a utility vehicle she was riding in ran off into a pond near the Monticello Speedway on Saturday night, Reed had been sitting in a Polaris Ranger, a golf cart-size utility vehicle, with her mother, Elizabeth, about 11 p.m. when the vehicle suddenly accelerated and ran into the pond.

A suit filed by two Pulaski County residents, citing “deceptive marketing practices,” alleges that Arkansans are buying overheated motor fuel that is costing them millions of dollars in lost energy.

Fourteen residents opposed to Entergy Arkansas Inc.’s proposed electric substation in west Pulaski County have filed a lawsuit to block its construction.

After three and a half years of serving local students, Focus Learning Academy, an open-enrollment charter school in Conway, will soon be closing. Leroy McClure Jr., who applied for the charter, says it has been difficult for the school to carry out its mission because of a decline in enrollment which led to decreased funding.

North Korea has granted visas to a few Americans for a visit to the country at the end of April - led by Arkansas tour guides. It’ll be the second try for Little Rock-based Poe Travel, which gained permission last year for a September visit only to have the country revoke the visas after flooding caused a famine.

In an initial court appearance, bond for Earnest Gail Lail, 67, of Salisbury, N.C., was set at $5 million. He remains in the Crawford County Adult Detention Center. Authorities in Fort Smith and Alma said they intended to seek aggravated robbery warrants today for Lail for robberies earlier this year. He may be a suspect in a North Little Rock incident. Lail’s has served approximately 40 years in federal prison for multiple bank robberies.

Welcome back Marie!!

The lovely Marie spent some time last week visiting her children in Michigan. Above is what she encountered, and almost participated in Saturday morning. This happened within the first hour of her return trip. She was originally about four cars behind the trucks. I am feeling a lot better now that she is back.

The Kalamazoo Gazette had this report.

Two die in I-94 crash

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A father and son were killed in an accident involving two tractor-semitrailers and three passenger cars that shut down part of Interstate 94 for more than five hours Saturday.

Several police and fire departments responded to the crash on westbound I-94 near Portage Road and found two of the vehicles engulfed in flames and some people pinned inside their vehicles.

The accident is still under investigation, but Michigan State Police Sgt. James Bennett said it appeared one of the trucks rear-ended a car carrying Raymond Lee Harvey Sr., of Sherwood, and Raymond Lee Harvey Jr., of Colon, who were killed in the crash.

``It appears the semi-truck driver failed to realize traffic came to a standstill in front of him,'' Bennett said.

The speed of the tractor-semitrailer was not known. Bennett said four or five other people were treated for injuries. He did not know the extent of the injuries. Bennett said a completed investigation report will be filed with the Kalamazoo County prosecutor, who will determine whether legal action will be taken against parties involved in the wreck.

The interstate was shut down from around 11:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as police cleared the scene. Traffic was routed off I-94 at the Sprinkle Road exit, west on Cork Street and back onto the highway at South Westnedge Avenue.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Situational ethics

Mike Masterson, the internationally renowned Democrat-Gazette columnist, will be on my radio program next Tuesday, so I was boning up. Mike wrote one heck of a column yesterday about how the press often gets religion all wrong.

I was intrigued that Masterson twice used the word “orthodoxy” to define a set of religious beliefs and used quotes that also included it. Everybody seemed to be making fair use of the word, although there was not one mention of the creeds, the councils, or the church fathers.

Although I find myself generally agreeing with Mike, I rise with a friendly little amendment, and I promise it won’t hurt anything. Masterson also went off on “situational ethics,” as some sort of curse on modern man. Of course, the scriptures are full of “situational ethics.”

For example, when Jesus’ disciples get in trouble for plucking grain on the Sabbath, Jesus answers with the story of how David used the holy bread in the temple to feed his guards. Paul has a long discourse on eating food sacrificed to idols. Look it up and get a lesson in situational ethics and how to deal with the “weaker brother.”

The reason I even bring this up is that, while we are not allowed to make up the rules as we go along, man was created with a mind to make moral judgments. That is why we need the church to help form our consciences.

Most folks I know are all against “situational ethics” until it comes to their own divorce.

(Broadcast March 23, 2007)

Still more hot audio

I have added the Bud Jackson interview from this morning to the website. There are so very entertaining segments available right now, including Gary Campbell's piece on Houston Nutt's cell phone records.

I have also added the interview with Greg Yeilding, Executive Director of the Rice Growers Association. He has an interesting story about the rice check-off program.

There is also a fantastic hour with Bill Valentine online. I had a great time with Little Rock lawyer Les Ablondi. The Rex Nelson interview was one for the ages. Mike Blakley from teh zoo does a great job. Jim Lynch attended last week's community meeting on city government. These are just a few highlights of the FREE "on demand" section. You can listen "live" or download to your mp3 player.

Friday summary

A $1 million bonus that has been in the works since Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt turned down an offer from Nebraska in 2004 is now part of his financial package. UA Chancellor John White outlined details of the bonus in a letter to Razorback Foundation President Chuck Dicus. Despite the departure of the offensive coordinator and several star players, White described the payment as a reward that “recognizes specific and extraordinary achievement” in accordance with NCAA bylaws.

An anti-Wal-Mart television commercial charging the world’s largest retailer with blocking efforts to make ports more secure has begun to air nationally. The commercial contends that Wal-Mart is the major force blocking use of scanning equipment on all incoming containers to guard against terrorist deployment of nuclear weapons.

Wal-Mart’s former vice chairman, Tom Coughlin, isn’t entitled to a multimillion-dollar retirement package he negotiated before the world’s largest retailer learned that he had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company, an attorney for Wal-Mart told the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday.

El Dorado-based Deltic Timber Corp. paid its highest-ranking executive about $1.1 million in total compensation in 2006, according to its annual proxy statement filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A tax relief amendment backed by Arkansas' senators opens the door for Congress to consider reducing estate taxes. Sen. Mark Pryor was a co-sponsor of the legislation to make permanent a number of tax cuts set to expire at the end of the decade, including an exemption from inheritance taxes for estates of up to $3.5 million.

One of the backers of a ban on adoption and foster parenting by homosexuals has accused the governor and speaker of the House of working behind the scenes to kill the legislation. Jerry Cox, executive director of the Family Council, says House Speaker Benny Petrus assigned the bill to an unfriendly committee, House Judiciary, in an effort to defeat it. He said Gov. Mike Beebe is putting pressure on lawmakers with vague comments about the bill’s constitutionality.

Gov. Mike Beebe’s pilot program for merit pay for teachers in school districts received a wholehearted endorsement from a legislative committee Thursday after business interests and union officials got together to support the bill

Ethics legislation by House Speaker Benny Petrus is being blocked in a Senate panel. The State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee adopted a motion by Sen. Bobby Glover of Carlisle, to table House Bill 2384. He questioned the House’s “sincerity” in passing the bill.

A House committee passed a bill that would dissolve a workers’ compensation fund that pays lost wages to certain disabled workers. The Second Injury Trust Fund, as it is called, uses tax revenue to compensate a handicapped employee who is injured on the job. The $4.6 million fund now pays lost wages to 109 people.

A House panel recommended a bill to expand the state's current graduated driver's license requirements for teenage drivers. Senate Bill 196 by Sen. Jimmy Jeffress of Crossett restricts young drivers from late-night driving, having passengers in their car and from using cell phones while behind the wheel.

A Gravette High School drama teacher is under arrest after admitting he had sex with a female student. Casey Helms was arrested in connection with a felony charge of first-degree sexual assault. Helms is being held in the Benton County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

Although probation officers said it might not be permissible and prosecutors promised to appeal, a federal judge sentenced former Newport Alderman Pinkey McFarlin to three years’ probation, to be served at a halfway house. McFarlin pleaded guilty in November to a single charge of conspiring to distribute crack cocaine in exchange for prosecutors dropping 26 other charges for which he was on trial.

A 14-year-old stands charged in the stabbing death of his mother’s live-in boyfriend Thursday in Pulaski County’s first homicide of the year. The 14-year-old son was taken into custody and charged as a minor with first-degree murder. The boy was being held without bail in county custody.

A 17-year-old Conway High School-East student was taken into custody for firearm possession after taking a loaded handgun to the school.

Tulsa police are reaching out to Pulaski County residents in the search for the family of a man who died in Tulsa last week. Kirk M. Staggs slumped against the steering wheel of his car as seizures gripped him near the entrance of a Tulsa casino March 14. Staggs died after arriving at a hospital. Since then, Tulsa police have gotten nowhere in the hunt for anyone who might know Staggs.

The termination of a lease agreement involving Summit Medical Center leaves the future of the Van Buren facility in question for the time being. Crawford county has 22 years remaining on its lease to HMA, which adds $775,000 annually to the county budget.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lyncho goes Leviticus

There are a few things bothering me today. Let’s get on with it.

Former Vice-President Al Gore testified before a Senate committee about global warming and Republicans were annoyed because he supposedly got special privileges, including being allowed to speak for thirty minutes with an opening statement. Of course, allowing oil company executives to testify before the Senate without being under oath is just business as usual.

President Bush does not want congress to subpoena his top political strategist, Karl Rove. The president does not want a “witch hunt.” Of course, his party would never use that kind of tactic on a popular Democrat president.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is thinking of running for president and he says that the private lives of candidates should not be allowed. That means we cannot ask about his divorces or the affair he had while leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Hypocrisy is nothing new, but you would think they could learn a little finesse.

The family values crowd might do well to learn a little about the Golden Rule.

No, not that one. Of course conservatives live by the one that says those who have the gold rule.

I have in mind the one that tells us to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us. That would work in politics too.

(Broadcast March 22, 2007)

Coming up on Pat Classic

• On Friday's show, poltiical insider Bud Jackson is back with the scoop on the anti-Hillary spot and the latest on Obama.

• State Rep. Steve Harrelson has the legislative update Monday morning.

• Twisters President Jack Lankford brings head coach John Gregory over at 10:30 Tuesday morning.

• Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson is on Tuesday morning.

Legal beagles

Les Ablondi, one of my favorite local lawyers, visited this morning and we chatted about the state of radio and the Lonoke corruption trial It is my opinion that things are not going well for the prosecution, but what do I know? We also discussed Scotch whiskey and collection agencies. You can listen in the "on demand" section of Of course, all of my interviews there are available to download FREE as mp3 files.

Thursday summary

The vice president of the private company that runs the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility told a House committee Wednesday that he plans to hire a law enforcement officer to investigate every incident at the lockup. One of the latest abuse allegations involves a 14-year-old mentally ill boy who told the advocacy group, the Little Rock-based Disability Rights Center, that an employee broke his arm in early February while restraining him. The boy was not diagnosed with a broken arm until Feb. 27.

Arkansas tailback and Heisman Trophy candidate Darrenn McFadden spent an “overwhelming” afternoon at the state Capitol on Wednesday. He was honored with resolutions noting his accomplishments in both the House and Senate, and he posed for dozens and dozens of pictures with legislators, Capitol staffers and tour groups.

The Joint Committee on Constitutional Amendments voted Wednesday to advance proposals for annual legislative sessions and to clean up outdated language from the state constitution to the House and Senate. Faris' resolution would remove terms such as L"idiots," in reference to mentally disabled people, from the constitution's provisions concerning voting and elections.

The Arkansas Senate on Wednesday completed legislative action on a bill that would allow voters to decide whether to give the state authority to issue $575 million in bonds for interstate improvements.

Arkansas car owners could see a $12-a-year hike in their insurance premiums under an amended bill to create and fund a new trauma system in the state.

Web sites selling tickets above face value would be allowed to operate if they have the permission of event promoters and the venue, under a bill advanced by a House panel.

A bill that would prohibit state environmental regulators from investigating anonymous complaints sailed through a House committee despite concerns that it would have a chilling effect on whistle blowers and expand the reach of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The Russellville School Board will give the district’s junior-high and high-school students more opportunities to excel in math by offering more math courses The board agreed to the proposal that would give students the option of taking Algebra I during a two-year program, Parts A and B, instead of in one year.

Janice Blevins and Thelma Ray Jones have told the the Public Service Commission that the natural-gas-fired 60-megawatt plant the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. hopes to have running by June 15 at Elkins will disrupt their lives. Already, Jones said, she’s preparing to move.

A Pea Ridge man is under arrest in connection with a 1985 murder in Las Vegas. Charles Reese Conner went to the Probation and Parole Office in Bentonville, not realizing he would be met by Arkansas State Police officers who had an arrest warrant for him. Police were able to process a sample of Conner's DNA from his registered sex offender file to a DNA sample collected at the 1985 crime scene and got a match back earlier this month.

In telephone conversations played for a Lonoke County jury, Kelly Campbell asked a state inmate about his sexual fantasies and declared that, if what she did with him was rape, “That is not too bad a thing.” The tapes were played during the 11th day of testimony in the trial of Campbell; her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell; and Bobby Junior Cox, a bail bondsman. The three are accused of conspiring as part of a criminal organization aimed at getting money, sex and drugs.

Van Buren police are investigating whether a man arrested after a bank robbery Wednesday afternoon participated in a string of similar robberies in western and central Arkansas. Ernest Gail Lail of Landis, N.C., was arrested after he drove his car into a pond during a police chase after the First Community Bank of Crawford County was robbed.

A Fort Smith woman faces charges after she allegedly lied to Jonesboro police about being raped. She is the second woman in less than five weeks to tell local authorities she was raped before evidence indicated otherwise. Tracey Lynn Cutts was arrested after she was taken to St. Bernard’s Medical Center to have a rape test performed She then confessed that she had lied.

Prosecutors dropped rape and child pornography charges against a Bentonville man. Todd Wayne Hall was to face trial next week on charges of rape and five counts of possessing child pornography. Prosecutors began meeting with the reported victim in May 2006, but in January, the person began to digress and refused to talk about allegations. Prosecutors say although images of child pornography were found in the temporary internet file of Hall's computer, the state can't prove he viewed the illegal images, the motion states. Federal prosecutors also looked at the case but didn't seek an indictment.

A group of 10 Springdale Police officers are receiving special training for a newly formed Crime Suppression Unit. Officers will initially work part-time during their shifts, but will combine to have a full-time unit, primarily to combat gangs and graffiti in the city.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board unanimously approved a Bradford man’s application to manufacture wine in Jackson County. Winemaking has been a hobby of Donley G. Helms’ for the past five or six years, and he now hopes to capture a niche marketing specialty wines - muscadine and blackberry, for example - to restaurants and a few liquor stores.

Louisville women’s basketball coach Tom Collen is in town interviewing for the vacant Arkansas job, Women’s Athletic Director Bev Lewis said late Wednesday afternoon.

The devil's instrument

P. T. Barnham once said there is no such thing as bad publicity. Yesterday, I got plenty of coverage on several Razorback internet discussion boards and even a couple of gracious mentions on Drive Time Sports. It concerned a guest appearance by Gary Campbell, a broadcaster and sports guy up in Northwest Arkansas.

Gary made strong reference to some emerging information concerning Houston Nutt’s cell phone records. The timing of communications between Nutt and Teresa Prewett, on the very day she sent the abusive email to then-quarterback Mitch Mustain, suggests that the head coach may not have been so totally in the dark as he has contended. Remember also that Wally Hall reported that Mrs. Nutt forwarded the atrocious email with a note of her own about how funny it was. Of course, the evidence is completely circumstantial, and even I would prefer to think the best of Coach Nutt.

Many of the reactions about me were somewhat negative, and some were positive. I would like to gently remind Randy Rainwater that, while I have occasionally been wrong, I have never gone off by the seat of my pants. That suggests a level of professional carelessness that I am sure he did not mean to infer. Like it or not, my broadcast career spans 38 years and almost 24 of them in Little Rock.

(Broadcast March 21, 2007)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bow down to American Idol

Melinda Doolittle rules! The American Idol Viewing Team met this morning. David Sanders, Drew Pritt and Grant Cary are full of opinions and you can listen free on!

Wednesday morning summary

While the leadership of the Arkansas House remains adamant on leaving by March 30, the leader of the Senate has introduced a resolution to keep the session going one week longer.

A House committee rejected a bill requiring drivers hauling gravel, sand or rock on public roadways to place a tarp over their loads.

The Joint Budget Committee endorsed a recommended $456 million for academic facilities Tuesday and got its first glimpse at a list of local project funding bills totaling $2.7 billion.

Advocates for victims of domestic violence hope state lawmakers will set aside money for shelters and other programs this session, but opposition is building to a proposal to get some of that funding from higher taxes on liquor and wine.

The Arkansas Senate and House passed competing bills that would create Arkansas’ first felony offense of animal cruelty. The measures differ in the definition of the offense. The House bill is favored by the Farm Bureau and Poultry Federation.

A bill to tax users, possessors and traffickers of illegal substances, even if they were not convicted by a court, failed to get approval from the House Committee on Revenue and Taxation.

A House panel on Tuesday endorsed a bill to increase the fine for driving while intoxicated from $300 to $400 and to use the additional $100 to help fund community health centers.

Proponents of a proposed statewide beverage container deposit program told lawmakers the program would encourage recycling and reduce litter, but opponents said the program would place unfair burdens on the beverage industry and consumers. The House Rules Committee heard testimony but took no action on House Bill 2771 by Rep. Johnnie Roebuck of Arkadelphia.

Rep. Chris Thyer presented legislative colleagues with a list of their General Improvement Fund projects, some of which he views as “clearly constitutional,” some as probably unconstitutional, and some he’s not sure of.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Richard Taylor has ordered Jo-Ann Goldman, a Chapter 13 trustee in bankruptcy court in Arkansas, to be removed from her position in all cases in the state, a rare occurrence for the court. Taylor cited several reasons for Goldman’s removal, including making false testimony under oath, the improper distribution of settlement proceedings and her “pattern of elevating her personal self-interests above her duties as a trustee.”

Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock declines to say exactly how many Arkansas employees it has laid off in recent days, but a written statement suggests the company has been eliminating more positions than is typical.

Crawford County authorities said an inmate attempted to escape their custody after appearing in court Monday. As Eric Brian Brito of Van Buren was led outside in handcuffs, he made a dash for freedom, running toward the vehicle of 18-year-old Van Buren resident Joshua Ryder, who allegedly conspired in the escape attempt.

Authorities are searching for an inmate who walked away from work detail Tuesday, two months before his release date. Quindell Christopher, left his job cleaning up the grounds at the Mitchell Boys and Girls Club.

A woman is in the Benton County Jail after authorities said she threw her infant daughter and the baby hit a chair. Amanda Lea White is accused of throwing her 1-month-old baby six feet across a room.

Bryant High School’s assistant band director is facing = four counts of first-degree sexual assault after a parent called school officials with concerns about his relationship with a student. Joseph Bresnahan of Conway is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy at his home over the past three months. First-degree sexual assault is a class A felony that carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison.

A convicted sex offender was acquitted of rape after he tearfully testified that his accuser made the complaint after he refused her request to take photographs of her in her underwear. Frank Andre Williams of North Little Rock told jurors that he had been on parole about eight months when his 17-yearold neighbor reported to authorities that he had raped her at knife-point in 2006.

The Little Rock Board of Directors agreed Tuesday to borrow up to $5.9 million for a slate of city cars, building projects and computer software.

The city of White Hall has decided not to pursue a joint venture allowing the city’s proposed community center to be constructed along with Jefferson Regional Medical Center’s planned wellness center.

About 6,800 tickets go on sale today to the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament at Alltel Arena on March 21 and March 23, 2008.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock plans to stage a production of The Full Monty beginning June 8 and continuing through July 1.

Northwest Arkansas' soon-to-be Double-A minor league baseball team, the Naturals, sold more than 500 season tickets during its first day of sales on Tuesday.

The little foxes

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column in the Democrat-Gazette concerning the Special Masters role in overseeing the ongoing session of the General Assembly. Since everybody has been playing nice and things have been going well, it probably seemed a bit irrelevant. If everything ends all right, who cares about the little nitpicking technicalities of the separation of powers?

At the time, it looked as if the Masters would gather information for the judicial branch while the legislative was still at work, and no real harm would be done. Things may very well turn out perfectly and the Lake View case may end with a thud. I hope so more than anybody.

The sticking point is this. The Special Masters have expressed guarded concern about the funding for improvements for school facilities. Big counties, like Pulaski, Washington, and Sebastian, do not get much under the so-called wealth formula, but each has enormous needs for repairs and new buildings. Now, there will be a temptation to consult with the Masters, who work at the will of our State Supreme Court, to give guidance during the process. That is bound to make somebody angry and open this ugly wound. Courts, and their surrogates, do not make laws.

(Broadcast March 20, 2007)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"I love Pat Lynch to death.."

Thanks Randy Rainwater, host of Drive Time Sports. I appreciate the free publicity. Randy made comment today concerning my show this morning referenced in the post below. I also love you to death, double-R, so please take this in a spirit of friendship. I have never, ever under any circumstances flown off on the "seat of my pants" with a story for the sake of attracting an audience.

If anybody can contradict this, please come forward. It is always my goal to be "fair and balanced."

And I thought the purpose of broadcasting was to attract an audience. I am profoundly grateful for Rainwater's kindness and I have no hard feelings about anybody working for my former employer, Signal Media, 1037 The Buzz (or The Point, for that matter).

UPDATE - 4:50PM A caller has challenged Randy to get the facts. Randy says he has read some of it. Randy suggests that the info could be damaging. Does that mean that I might not have gone off on the "seat of my pants?" Understand, I am not trying to interpret the meaning of the cell phone records. Let other smarter people do that.

Home is where the heart is

Sandra Wilson, Arkansas' most zealous advocate for homeless folks, has called out for some help in this legislative session. Of course, radio guys are always one paycheck from joining the homeless, so here is her message.

Representative Lewellen and Members and Friends of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition:

Representative Lewellen, I am back in Little Rock and I am forwarding your call for support to the membership of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition.

I have talked with Jay Martin, Sara Braswell, and Regina Wilson and I understand that now is the time that we need support for passing House Bill 2496. I have been talking with the Arkansas Homeless Coalition about the need for support at the appropriate time, and that time is now. Homelessness is increasing in Arkansas, and will continue to increase until measures are taken to assist our citizens who cannot afford to live in housing.

Arkansas severely needs a Housing Trust Fund that will assist homeless people through the development of housing that is affordable. Many Arkansans cannot pay the cost of rent, mortgage, or utilities based on the average wage paid here in Arkansas, and based on the disability amount of just over $600. Affordable housing is a MUST to help individuals and families get out of homelessness, and stay out of homelessness. I have attached Representative Lewellen's House Bill and a link to the contact information for the 86th General Assembly. I am asking ALL of you to start making telephone calls and sending e-mails to the State Representatives and Senators. Tell them that you are asking them to support House Bill 2496 because people who are disabled, veterans, children, and families should not be forced to live on the streets and under bridges in our state. Let them know that we are not willing to wait another two years until another legislative session convenes to 'perhaps' address the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

We are almost out of time to get this legislation passed in this session. Please take action now to tell our state government that we want homeless people to receive help NOW!

Sandra R. Wilson
Arkansas Homeless Coalition

Fresh hot audio

(and about damn time too!)

There were a couple of outstanding interviews on today's program. If you missed the short conversation with Jim Lynch, it was rather revealing. Jim was in attendance at the first community meeting about giving the mayor more power. To put it mildly, things did not go well. The conversation is about 10 minutes and is posted on my home page,

Things are in a state of turmoil in Fayetteville. Who has FOI-ed Coach Nutt's cell phone records? Looks like he was in conversations with the author of the abusive email addressed to Mitch Mustain. Gary has all the latest poop, including Stan Heath. Of coruse, the listening and downloads are free.

(Late) Tuesday summary

Wal-Mart claims in a court filing that two of its former top marketing officials engaged in a sexual relationship during the selection of new advertising agencies and sought jobs with one of the agencies they ultimately recommended. The legal brief directly contradicted the statements the executives have made since they were fired late last year.

Gov. Mike Beebe is making an additional $250,000 allocation from the Governor’s Disaster Fund to help people in four southeast Arkansas counties affected by the tornadoes and severe storms of Feb. 24.

A bill that would require the state to seek an increase in reimbursement for mental health service providers cleared a Senate committee on Monday, despite protests that there was no money or need for the measure.

The purchase of medical malpractice insurance covering the Fayetteville Veterans Nursing Home would be banned under a budget amendment adopted Monday, specifically rejecting a condition set by Washington Regional Medical Center in the home's lease.

Sen. Sue Madison wants state pension systems to dump their investments with companies that do business in Sudan, where the U.S. government has labeled as genocide the attacks in the Darfur region.

The House and Senate on Monday passed competing bills to expand Arkansas' drug court program.

Some appropriation bills seeking to channel state money from an anticipated $843 million surplus into local projects will be lumped into a "clearly constitutional" category to be voted on this week by the Joint Budget Committee, a committee co-chairman said Monday.

The family of a mentally retarded man who died in a state institution would receive $150,000 and a man wrongly imprisoned for five years would get $200,000 from the prosecutors’ budget under measures recommended by legislative committees Monday.

A south Arkansas girls' basketball coach accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student appeared before a judge Monday. Chad David Smith of Delight is charged with first-degree sexual assault. Smith appeared calm in a Pike county courtroom Monday, accompanied by his attorney. He pleaded not guilty to the felony charge, which carries a penalty of six to 30 years in jail.

Anthony Shane Scott, a state inmate who admitted in previous testimony to having a sexual relationship with Kelly Campbell, described her as desperate, obsessive and willing to do anything to keep their relationship going. The statements came in the ninth day of testimony in the trial of Campbell; her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief JayCampbell; and Bobby Junior Cox, a bail bondsman. The three are accused of conspiring in a criminal organization aimed at getting drugs, sex and money.

A former Paron High School janitor, apparently upset by the prospect of the school’s closure, pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of threatening the Bryant school superintendent last year and was sentenced to four years’ probation

Arkansas is continuing to see more tourists - 23 million in 2006 compared with 21.8 million in 2005. Collection of the 2 percent tourism tax increased 9 percent from $10.2 million in 2005 to $11 million in 2006.

UALR has acquired 237 volumes of primary documents on the Middle East. They range from British intelligence reports on Iraq to prayers Muslims have used on pilgrimage to Mecca to correspondence about the formation of Israel. The volumes contain exact copies of the original documents. In contrast most university libraries in the South offer only retyped information, which may be edited to fit or emphasize a certain point.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Your cheatin' heart ...

It is funny how old names come popping up in the news. Folks in Pulaski County have duly noted the most recent troubles of a former Little Rock school superintendent. Among all of them, old Hank Williams (real name, honest) was certainly one.

He is most notable for successfully privatizing school bus operations. He saw to it that an outfit named Laidlaw got the contract. It was a bloody fight, but when Williams moved on to Kansas City, he became prominent in national advertising for the same big school bus company. To me, it seemed rather odd, but I am a suspicious guy.

By the way, Kansas City public schools are almost universally regarded as being among the worst in America. Further, local and state taxpayers have spent billions on the system with the only result that a few bureaucrats have padded their bank accounts. Williams ultimately left K. C. for greener pastures, but the folks in suburban St. Louis caught on pretty quick. They were all over the state to perform an audit, and now Williams is under several felony indictments.

Nobody can say that Hank Williams is guilty, for sure, but there will be a trial. Public corruption is a crime and I do appreciate a community that takes it seriously, even if I do not happen to live in such a place.

(Broadcast March 19, 2007)

Very early Monday summary

Wal-Mart claims to be dropping its bid to establish a bank after months of debate over whether the world’s largest retailer should be allowed to gain the added financial power of a federally insured bank. Wal-Mart was accused of lying about its’ by a key congressman last week after memos to banks renting space in the retailers stores were made public.

Special masters Bradley Jesson of Fort Smith and David Newbern of Little Rock appointed by the Supreme Court to review legislative response to the Lakey View decision, say the state attorney general’s office and school districts seem to agree that the legislators have made education the top funding priority. But Jesson and Newbern’s report also said “an important question remains” with respect to how the state determines its share of the expense for academic facilities.

State legislative leaders say they expect to reach agreement soon on this year’s edition of the Revenue Stabilization Act, a key law in the state government budget. It will regulate the flow of state revenue to state agencies for the next two fiscal years.

Of the 34 proposed constitutional amendments that have been introduced in the current legislative session, eight remain alive for possible referral to the voters in 2008, including one that would authorize a state lottery.

Senate Bill 811, passed by the Senate last week, would direct the state office that enforces child support orders to refer some of the most egregious cases to local prosecuting attorneys. More than $600 million in child support is owed to Arkansas custodial parents, but fewerthan 50 parents were prosecuted in 2006, said Sen. Sharon Trusty, a Republican from Russellville who is sponsoring the bill.

Arkansas college and university sophomores will no longer be required to take standardized exams before advancing to junior-level courses. A law signed by Gov. Mike Beebe last week eliminated the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency Exam, also known as the Rising Junior Exam.

State Rep. Bryan King of Berryville, agreed Friday to drop House Bill 2298, which would have allowed some farmers to spread chicken litter as fertilizer while waiting for state-mandated plans meant to protect watersheds.

More than $5 million in claims against the state are pending before the state Legislature, including a $200,000 wrongful conviction claim that’s been the subject of much debate among lawmakers. It’s the first time the state Claims Commission has recommended the Legislature pay a former prison inmate for being wrongly convicted.

An attorney for Faulkner County’s anti-alcohol forces suggested they switch their focus to backing new legislation rather than continuing to fight losing battles against individual requests for private-club liquor permits. David Hogue of Conway says the time may have come to consider a compromise that would allow liquor-by-the drink, but not package stores, in the mostly dry county.

The committee investigating the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau says the troubled city agency needs a series of new policies and more controls. Still, committee Chairman John Plegge said, “We haven’t found any smoking guns.” Plegge said he doesn’t believe, for instance, that anyone did anything intentionally wrong by giving longtime bureau chief Barry Travis a $25,500 retirement gift last year.

Former Little Rock School District Superintendent Henry Williams has been accused of funneling thousands of dollars into his personal accounts from the school district he led in suburban St. Louis. Williams, who was relieved of his duties as superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District, was charged with two felony counts of stealing and three felony counts of attempted state income-tax evasion and faces up to 37 years in prison if convicted.

A Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission panel Friday recommended a broad review of a 10-year-old policy that guides the purchasing practices at the state’s largest airport.

The state panel that oversees judges’ conduct voted on Friday to hold a formal disciplinary hearing into whether state Appeals Court Judge Wendell L. Griffen violated rules intended to safeguard the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.

A small-town Arkansas mayor will face a $500 fine after taking a city-owned car filled with re-election campaign signs into neighboring city, then calling for a police cruiser to drive him home after the car broke down. The Arkansas Ethics Commission fined Gould Mayor Lloyd Parks for breaking state law twice during the October incident.

The Rogers School Board will hear a committee's recommendation for adoption of a new science textbook for high school that invites students to “critically analyze the theory of evolution in order to understand both the theory and how the evidence that supports it falls short.”

Antwain Robinson, a starter at defensive end in 13 Arkansas football games last season, was arrested Sunday on a shoplifting charge, according to authorities in Washington County.

A Fayetteville couple, charged with battery and accused of holding their children under hot, running water, pleaded not guilty in Washington County Circuit Court. Johnny L. Harper and Natasha M. Adams are charged with battery and permitting the abuse of a minor.

A Hope woman accused of stabbing a Tyson Foods co-worker over an argument about cutting up chickens now faces a second-degree battery charge. Zula Allen is accused of stabbing Arletha Williams in the back. Williams, who suffered a punctured lung, underwent surgery at Howard County Memorial Hospital.

The controversy over traces of Liberty Link found in the Cheniere long grain rice variety last year has expanded in recent weeks to include Clearfield 131. That discovery will affect rice producers in Northeast Arkansas where the Clearfield and Cheniere variety had been planted on several thousand acres, area agriculture officials said.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

FEMA frolics

Congress has conducted hearings on the FEMA inactivity down in Dumas. Rep. Mike Ross was in attendance and Governor Beebe testified. The national media has exposed yet another episode of Bush administration misconduct trending from incompetent toward outright negligence.

In the bigger picture of protecting the inherited estates of the super-wealthy and assisting big businesses getting filthy rich on the Iraq war, what happens to a few ordinary American citizens is not all that important to this particular White House. The galling part of the Dumas story is the weeks of foot dragging indifference.

It is probably not a very good idea to be offering advice to tone-deaf bureaucrats, but here goes anyway. When FEMA saw a big tornado with plenty of damage, it might have seemed to care. If some pinhead moron up in Washington could not quite decide if it was a real disaster, perhaps it would have been possible to release a few of the eight-thousand trailers being stored just a hundred miles down the road. They are going to rot anyway, so what would it hurt to part with a few as a sign of good faith?

And, in the same spirit, if I might offer some unsolicited advice to my storm ravaged neighbors in Dumas. Change the name of your town to Baghdad.

(Broadcast March 16, 2007)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hog Hoops Friday Summary

Waving a copy of an e-mail that he said was proof that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had lied to him and other senators, Sen. Mark Pryor called for Gonzales' resignation in a Senate speech Thursday. Sen. Blanche Lincoln also publicly urged for Gonzales to leave, two days after learning of the e-mail that outlined the Justice Department's plan to skirt the Senate confirmation process and install a new federal prosecutor in Arkansas.

A key congressman is accusing Wal-Mart of “a pattern of deception” regarding potential plans to enter the consumer banking business. Wal-Mart denied the charge. U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor, a Republican from Ohio, based his allegations on the contents of a Wal-Mart memo e-mailed to banks that lease space to operate branches in Wal-Mart stores.

Democrats from Arkansas blasted the Federal Emergency Management Agency Thursday over its response to violent storms that struck the state last month. A different perspectives stemmed mainly from the Bush administration’s decision to deny Arkansas’ request for a federal disaster declaration while accepting Alabama’s.
“FEMA is an incompetent bunch of nincompoops that simply can’t run their agency,” said Rep. Marion Berry.

Gov. Mike Beebe traveled Thursday to Washington on a private plane donated by a Little Rock businessman instead of the state police aircraft, the governor’s office said. Beebe, who was scheduled to testify before the House Homeland Security Committee, flew to Washington on a jet owned by Tom Schueck, the owner of Lexicon, Inc.

Former U.S. Rep. Tommy Robinson and his wife, Carolyn Robinson, plan to buy the assets of The Liquor Store of Brinkley Inc. for $175,000 in cash, according to a motion filed March 8 in their Chapter 7 liquidation cases. Carolyn Robinson owned the assets of the store before a bankruptcy trustee took possession.

A Senate committee Thursday settled on recommending proposed constitutional amendments that would broaden legislative authority on local spending, clean-up of the state constitution's election provisions to keep third parties off the ballot, and guarantee the right to hunt and fish.

Legislation making bouncing checks for $500 or less a misdemeanor won a House committee's endorsement Thursday, though opponents argued the bill would encourage the writing of more bad checks. The House Judiciary Committee advanced House Bill 2340 by Rep. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, which would amend the current hot check law, which sets a $200 threshold.

The Senate Education Committee turned back an attempt to overhaul the way Arkansas funds higher education, heeding warnings from university officials who said the state’s relatively new method shouldn’t be thrown out yet.

Certain sex offenders would be prohibited from living within 2,000 feet of a public park or youth center under a bill endorsed Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee. The committee also endorsed bills to charge jail inmates for their keep and protect domestic abuse victims from discrimination.

The Senate passed legislation to increase restrictions on teenage drivers Thursday, along with bills that would expand college scholarship programs.

A Senate panel on Thursday approved a measure that would strengthen penalties for moving animals across state lines to engage in animal fighting.

A Dollarway School Board member who lobbied against a recent millage increase said Thursday that he will contact the state attorney general’s office about challenging the millage election because voters were provided erroneous information. After a Dollarway School Board meeting, board secretary Gene Stewart said he would call the attorney general’s office today to discuss options regarding a challenge to Tuesday’s election.

A Bentonville woman arrested Wednesday in the bathtub drowning of her baby daughter admitted to police she drank wine, rum and beer before climbing in the bathtub with the 7-month-old child, and described the death as "all her fault." Melanie Cummings is charged with manslaughter.

Advocates investigating a claim of abuse by a teenager at the Alexander Juvenile Correctional Facility say employees failed to help the boy even as his screams could be heard behind a closed door in an office without a surveillance camera, according to a report released to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A West Memphis police officer who was involved in an accident on a city street that killed a 16-year-old driver has been fired for unrelated reasons, authorities said. Officer James Wright lost his job after photos showing him pointing a gun at the camera began circulating at the Police Department, Chief Bob Paudert said.

The man who shot and killed another man with a shotgun before being killed by a Little Rock police officer late Tuesday was serving out his federal prison sentence at a local halfway house. Kendrick Webb, who killed Eli Sanders III, 25, had been finishing his sentence on a bank robbery conviction at City of Faith in Little Rock.

The much anticipated opening of the new Jefferson County adult jail is one step closer as the first correctional officers that will staff the facility were welcomed aboard Thursday.

A Craighead County woman will serve 48 months in prison after being convicted of two counts of manslaughter in Craighead County Circuit Court. Kimberley Mitchell was convicted of causing the death of her 3-year-old son and her 26-year-old sister following a 1-vehicle accident on May 31. Caleb C. Garner and Victoria Mitchell died as a result of injuries they sustained in what witnesses described as an alcohol related accident.

Entergy Arkansas Inc. customers stand to gain a three month respite from higher electricity bills after the utility asked state regulators Thursday for a 16 percent rate reduction. Customers of Southwestern Electric Power Co. customers can also expect lower bills. Those rates would remain in effect until July, when federally mandated payments and a base rate increase now being examined by the commission are projected to return monthly bills to near their current rate.

Razorbacks face USC in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wa. this afternoon.

Jermain Taylor’s scheduled May 19 fight with Sergio Mora is history, again. But Little Rock’s middleweight world champion is still going to make a title defense May 19, and this time against a fellow title-holder. According to Lou DiBella, Taylor’s promoter, Taylor will meet IBF junior middleweight champion Cory Spinks at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. The fight will be on regular HBO, not pay-per-view.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Busy Thursday summary

A House oversight committee will hear from Gov. Mike Beebe today about the much-criticized federal response to last month's Desha County tornadoes and the government's denial of financial help to storm victims.

Revelations about the Bush administration's handling of a U.S. attorney firings provoked Sen. Mark Pryor's harshest criticism yet of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Wednesday amid a mounting scandal that involves a federal prosecutor in Arkansas.

Pryor said he was wading through about 200 pages of e-mails released Tuesday that detail the administration's plan to forego the normal Senate confirmation process to install former White House aide Tim Griffin as interim U.S. attorney in Little Rock.

A program based at the Pine Bluff Arsenal that provides training for emergency responders would be protected from massive budget cuts under a Senate bill approved Tuesday

Federal prison officials confirmed Wednesday that an inmate brawl at the medium-security federal prison in Forrest City left at least two convicts injured enough to be taken to a local hospital.

Gov. Mike Beebe signed two public school funding increases totaling $121.7 million into law Wednesday, a move that parties in the Lake View case say could help bring the long-running school funding case to a close.

Gov. Mike Beebe says his campaign pledge to support legislative efforts to reinstate a state ban on gays serving as foster parents did not include a ban on gay adoptions.

The state House of Representatives has passed a package of ethics legislation sponsored by the House speaker, despite eleventh-hour opposition from the chairman of the state Democratic Party.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed legislation that would create Arkansas’ first felony offense of animal cruelty, over the objections of farmer and rancher representatives who say it goes too far.

A legislative committee rejected a bill aimed at preventing the state from requiring vaccinations against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer. House Bill 2560 would have eliminated the state Board of Health’s power to mandate immunizations against sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV.

A bill to increase the state's excise tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack to raise money for health programs and discourage smoking failed to clear a House committee.

Voters may be willing to extend legislators' terms if lawmakers are willing to give up some of the perks of office, according to Rep. Will Bond of Jacksonville. Bond has filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would extend terms to a maximum 12 years in both the House and Senate. Senators now are limited to two four-year terms and House members are limited to three two-year terms.

The State Plant Board has voted unanimously to make permanent its emergency rules that ban the planting of Cheniere rice in 2007 and 2008, and required all rice used for planting in 2007 to be tested for Bayer CropScience’s Liberty Link traits.

The Dollarway School Board tonight is expected to discuss possible repercussions of having issued incorrect information about a property-tax increase that voters narrowly approved Tuesday. Complete but unofficial returns indicated just over 51 percent of the voters — in a count of 399 - 378 — supported the hike to 42.3 mills.

The possibility of corporal punishment and the Conway School District's policy on drug testing and cell phones - along with the newfangled mixed bag of cameras, MP3 players and text messaging functions that go along with them - was up for discussion at the regular meeting of the Conway School Board.

Little Rock police are invesgating four homicides from early Wednesday morning. So far, Little Rock has recorded eight murders.

A 7-month-old baby is dead after drowning in the bathtub and her mother is in jail on a charge of manslaughter. The Bentonville woman has a history of drinking, passing out and leaving a child unattended, according to court documents. Melanie Cummings was arrested following the death of her daughter, Brooklynn. A bond hearing is planned this morning.

Shane Scott, a former Act 309 prison inmate, says, he frequently answered “booty calls” for sex with Kelly Campbell in a Lonoke park’s press box, referee room or concession stand. The statements came during the eighth day of testimony in the trial of Campbell; her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell; and Bobby Junior Cox, a bail bondsman. The three are accused of conspiring as a criminal organization seeking money, sex and drugs.

A federal judge denied a motion to stay filed by Oscar Stilley, meaning the local attorney must remain in the county jail until Saturday. Stilley is serving a 30-day term in the Sebastian County Detention Center for a contempt-of-court finding in September 2004, after he failed to follow a Circuit Court order to submit financial documents relating to his ability to pay sanctions for filing meritless lawsuits dating back to 2000.

All the suspense of naming Springdale's new minor-league baseball team finally ended Wednesday afternoon in the Holiday Inn when it was announced the "Northwest Arkansas Naturals" won by popular vote.

Today is the deadline to file state and federal corporate income tax returns.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ah, Spokane!

If you are one of the folks traveling to Spokane for the NCAA tournament, you are in luck. That was my home for a number of years. My first talk show was up there, so let me set you straight right now.

There are some decent eating places. Clinkerdagger’s is a fine place for red meat types. The Onion Bar and Grill is an old Lyncho hangout. Try the deep fried onions. Cyrus O’Leary’s is another swell dinner place. Domini’s has huge sandwhiches. It is on Sprague Street downtown.

Most of the good places will be close to downtown. Spokane has a sensible public transportation system and a lively center city. Gonzaga University is located in Spokane, so stop by to see Bing Crosby’s statue. The river goes through the middle of town and you used to be able to ride over in a gondola car.

Say hi to my friends, Mike Fitzsimmons, Chuck DeBruin, and Martha Lou Wheatley. Stick around for St. Patrick’s Day Saturday, if you can. I recall it being a lot of fun. Careful if you go to the I-Hop. I got 86-ed there once upon a time. A certain young lady and me were requested to depart from the Windows bar overlooking the Spokane Falls. I was much younger then. Stop off at the Davenport Hotel and see if that moth eaten stuffed bear is still in the lobby.

Have fun.

(Broadcast March 15, 2007)

Thursday's show

I have a few items of interest for those following the fate of federal prosecutor Tim Griffin, including some sharp comments from Senator Pryor. The American Idol Viewing Team will convene at a bit past 10.

The highlight of the show is at 9 when Vance Strange brings in San Diego Chargers scout Tom McConnaghey. He is just back from pro day in Fayetteville.

Footsy anybody?

There is a big public corruption trial going on just up the road from here in beautiful downtown Cabot. The former chief of police, his wife, and a bail bondsman are on trial for a number of alleged offenses. I would never presume to pass judgment. That is why we have jury trials, and they are mostly right.

Have you been following this thing? Without descending to an adolescent fascination on such matters, I am amazed at the ingenuity of some folks looking for someplace (anyplace?) to do what comes naturally. Let’s see. The woman and a state prison inmate working at the county jail supposedly used the closets, cars, RV’s, and just about any other location to get in as much as possible. Now, this is either an amazing fete of endurance and cunning or a delightful fantasy. Either way, it likely will soon become a Lifetime movie.

If I get the story right, the female pursuer is said to have even gone after the gentleman when he was taken back to the big house. All of this began with a game of footsy. That’s interesting because I never thought of it as a game, though I guess most of us know what winning looks like. I don’t know if anybody is guilty or not, I just love a good story.

(Broadcast March 14, 2007)

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