Old-fashioned newspapering | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 10, 2008

Old-fashioned newspapering

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 6:54 AM

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's heavy investment in reporting staff was evident this morning with a healthy list of news stories you won't find anywhere else. Credit where richly due. Among those worth noting:

* How about that wildly abusive publicly funded travel by the head of the state Teacher Retirement System? And how about the willingness of pitbull legislators to forgive him? Nice that he has found a way to get to his "real" home -- in Massachusetts -- on the state's dime. Oh, OK, now that he's been caught, he'll cover the final commuter leg of the trip himself. Big deal. And multiple trips to New Mexico? They have telephones at his office?

* Then there's the wastrel mayor of Alexander, loading up on expensive air freshener so she can cadge a George Foreman grill out of the supplier.

* Shades of J.R. Starr. There's Meredith Oakley with an indignant column on the unfortunate presentation made by a couple of Supreme Court justices in behalf of a judicial pay raise. A pity play by people making about $140,000 a year was not a good strategy in one of the country's poorest states.

* Finally, and the talker of the day, is the Paper Trails column on the latest uproar caused by former state Sen. Bill Walker's pampered daughter, who continues to roil the cheerleading squad at Central High School. God help principal Nancy Rousseau. The young Walker apparently still has yet another year in high school to go. The child would not appear to be the sole problem. Cheerleader practice attended by meddling moms who intervene in teen talk is a recipe for disaster, too. I think I see now why I got such a weird response from Rousseau when I inquired about things at Central during a brief encounter last weekend.

The Little Rock School Board and administration were informed yesterday that this story was coming, according to internal e-mails I receive. The district's unavailability for comment for the article is, thus, more unfortunate. It's time to toss several people off the cheerleading squad, sounds like. And tell the moms to stay away from practice, too.

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