Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Morning News reports that both Washington County and Fayetteville face budget constraints

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of Sheriff's Department's mower trailer at the Senior Center.

Last week, the Sheriff's department mowed the large open area around the Senior Activity Center on South College Avenue.
That, of course, costs taxpayers money, but it happens to be county money spent to take the tops off the already short grass in the part of Walker Park where the center was built at city expense.
Did the County Judge or the Sheriff authorize that needless mowing of city property when fuel prices were at or above $3.50 per gallon?
Photo by Aubrey Shepherd
Please read the Washington County budget story in
The Morning News
County revenue lags behind rise in cost

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Attorney Salaries' Raise Budget Questions

By Christopher Spencer
FAYETTEVILLE -- A request for a 67 percent raise for an attorney in the Washington County public defender's office led county leaders to ask Tuesday for list of all county-employed lawyers' salaries.
Jerry Paddock, chief deputy public defender, asked the county budget committee to finance a jump in one attorney's salary from $36,000 to $60,000 in 2009. A second attorney would have her salary raised from $36,000 to $44,000.
Committee chairman H.L. Goodwin said he couldn't support such a massive pay raise when other county employees were getting an average salary increase of 3 percent next year.
The county shares costs for the public defender's office with the state, explained Paddock. The county pays for two attorneys and the state pays for the other eight. The average salary of attorneys in the office is $60,000, he said.
Raising the two county-paid attorneys brings them more closer to the compensation received by the state-paid staff, Paddock said. It also helps the county retain qualified attorneys in those positions, he said.
Committee member Joe Patterson said he would have like to have known about the salary increases before $53,000 was approved earlier this month to redecorate the public defender's new offices in the Terminella building. Patterson said some of the money dedicated to new furniture could have been spent to bolster salaries.
The committee tabled Paddock's request and asked he work with other county staff to develop a list comparing responsibilities and salaries of all county-employed attorneys.
Other budgets requests were approved, including Paddock's request for about $12,000 for computers, a digital projector and other equipment. The prosecuting attorney's office received an additional $10,000 to replace aging computers.
Circuit Judge William Storey asked for and received $50,000 to pay for increasing jury fees because of an increase in multiday trials. He had to ask earlier this year for an additional $20,000 and said, with this request in the 2009 budget, he will not have to come back later to ask for money. Most of that money will be reimbursed by the state, he said.
About $54,000 was set aside for programs aimed at curbing crime and other behavioral problems among children. These diversion programs work with problem children, and often their families, to teach life skills.
The requests approved Monday leave the county's general fund $1.27 million in the red. County leaders say they will make the general fund balance before the end of the year.
All decisions by the budget committee are tentative pending final approval at the end of the year.

Committee Against Federal 'Bailout'
Washington County's budget committee approved a resolution Monday against the national economic 'bailout' plan in its current form.
County attorney George Butler said he will draft the resolution today and have the document sent to 3rd District John Boozman, R-Rogers, and U.S. Sens Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, both D-Ark.
The resolution approved by the committee asks congressional delegates to incorporate the following points in any economic relief package:
• That market values reflect real worth, not bundled assets where high-risk loans are blended with more secure loans.
• Elimination or reduction of the capital gains tax
• Lowering the tax on corporations
• Use insurance policies and loans rather than financial gifts to aid economic recovery
• That no one should benefit financially from the economic problems
• Freeze mortgage foreclosures and try to aid homeowners in rehabilitating defaulted home loansSource: Staff Report

The Morning News reports that the city administration continues to refuse to offer a balanced budget for council approval

A year ago, the mayor presented a budget that would have required deficit spending or a tax increase. But the council had several long public meetings with departmental leaders and finally agreed to freeze hiring and to make various cuts without a millage increase or a sales-tax raise or a dip into the reserve fund.
This year, the mayor expects the council to do the same thing. It does appear to be his turn to balance the budget. Everyone sees areas where more money is needed.
Please read The Morning News story about the city-budget issue at
City council says it is mayor's turn to present a balanced budget
The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Without A Balanced Budget, Council To Suspend Talks

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- In the next few weeks Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody would like to begin holding Saturday workshops to discuss the 2009 city budget.
It's just not so clear how much talking -- or decision-making -- will go on during those meetings.
"I'm not going to discuss the budget until the mandate by the council that the administration bring us a balanced budget come forward," said Bobby Ferrell, a City Council member from Ward 3.
"I'll show up if I have to. I'll take part. But I won't vote," said Ferrell during Tuesday's council agenda session.
His position could be sensed around the board table.
"We gave you a resolution to give us a balanced budget," council member Lioneld Jordan told Coody.
"We've asked for a balanced budget every year," Shirley Lucas, the other council member from Ward 4, chimed in.
In August the council voted 5-3 to require that the administration submit a proposed balanced budget, which does not dip into reserve funds.
"I find it rather interesting that we get slapped in the face every time we ask for a balanced budget," Ferrell said after the Tuesday meeting.
Since then, Coody brought the council a budget which would dip $535,000 into the city's surplus.
Coody was unwilling to propose a tax increase or cut service and or jobs. And -- in short -- if the council members wanted a balanced budget, they should be the ones to make the cuts or raise the taxes.
"If you don't like what you were given, you change it," Coody told the board Tuesday.
However, what can't be ignored is the upcoming general election, where Coody will face five other candidates for re-election to a third term. And one of those candidates is Jordan, who wouldn't directly say how much discussion of the budget is due to happen before Election Day. But after the meeting he reiterated his firm position that Coody's administration should make the decisions needed to bring forward what the council asked for.
"He was given a legislative directive to bring forward a balanced budget, and until he does, there's nothing that's going to be heard," Jordan said.
The hope among city officials is that the trend in sales tax collections will continue on its current track. The city's tax figures are trending 4.24 percent above projections, said Paul Becker, Fayetteville's finance director.
The impact to the budget puts the general fund $185,000 above where officials expected it would be at this time. And the capital improvement program is up by $230,000.
"Essentially, we're pretty much on course," Becker said. "I believe our revenue projection will hold at the projections."

Pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 30, 2008.

The Morning News reminds potential Benton County voters to register by Monday

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Voter Registration Ends Monday

The deadline to register to vote in Nov. 4 elections is Oct. 6, according to a news release from the Benton County Clerk's office.

Voter registration applications are available at the county clerk's office or may be printed from the county Web site at www.co.benton.ar.us. Early voting starts Oct. 20 and ends Nov. 3, the release said.

Voters may vote early from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at any county clerk's office. On Nov. 3, early voting will end at 5 p.m.

In addition to the general election Nov. 4, voters will cast ballots in the nonpartisan judicial runoff election, Pea Ridge and Highfill volunteer fire departments' fire dues elections and Siloam Springs and Garfield annexation elections.

For more information, contact the county clerk's office at 215 E. Central Ave. in Bentonville at 271-5704.

Green Infrastructure group to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday

Please use the following link to see the assigned
Homework for Green Infrastructure meeting

The date for our first Design Team meeting has been set for Thursday evening, October 2, 2008 at 7:00 pm and will be held at the Mt Sequoyah Conference and Retreat Center's Cafeteria. Directions to the meeting location can be found on the Center's website: http://www.mountsequoyah.org/Home.html (the Cafeteria is Building #41 on their map).

If you would please, prepare for the work by reading the document "Green Infrastructure: Smart Conservation for the 21st Century" found at the following link: http://www.conservationfund.org/sites/default/files/GI_SC21C.pdf This monograph concisely summarizes the main Green Infrastructure text: Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities.

Our agenda in brief: we will be looking at some basic concepts of Green Infrastructure Planning, hearing from representatives of the communities in the study area regarding Green Infrastructure issues and areas of interest, and organizing ourselves to gather public input and to produce the Green Infrastructure network maps and reports that will later be compiled into our finished products.

Here's to our collaborative effort!


Barbara Elaine Boland
Green Infrastructure Planning, Project Coordinator
Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association

Monday, September 29, 2008

Northwest Arkansas DU Dinner - 6 p.m. Thursday October 2nd, 2008

Northwest Arkansas DU Dinner - Thursday October 2nd, 2008
Please join us at the Fayetteville - Northwest Arkansas Chapter Ducks Unlimited banquet on Thursday October 2nd, 2008 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Doors will open at 6pm.

Special advance purchase prices on tickets are available online. Please click on the Buy Tickets link below to take advantage of the special ealry bird prices.

Please forward this email to your friends and fellow duck hunters who would like to attend this DU event. Help support the only waterfowl organization helping preserve Arkansas' waterfowl hunting heritage.

CAT channel Cox 18 in Fayetteville for September 21-27, 2008

CAT 18, public-access television schedule through October 4, 2008

Government Channel was put back on schedule before 9 a.m. today

Government Channel program schedule for Sunday September 27 through the coming Saturday


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Please use link below to find this week's government channel schedule. Sunday schedule didn't happen because of technical difficulties

Government Channel program schedule for Sunday September 27 through the coming Saturday

Government channel has been running KUAF along with its calendar of upcoming events since about 9 a.m. Sunday. When staff members come to work on Monday morning, I am confident they will put it back on schedule.
There is no way to make up whole day of scheduled programs, but maybe anything you saw on the schedule and wanted to see will be running again this week. Please check the schedule for the rest of the week. Outages during the weekend aren't frequent.

Recording inmate calls brings questionable evidence to prosecutors

Michelle Bradford's story in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette brings up powerful questions about inmate rights.
Our justice system seems to be skirted by officials in many ways.

Inmate phone calls not private
Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/238596
FAYETTEVILLE — Interrogation room confessions aren’t the only way a crime suspect’s words can come back to haunt him at trial. With jails across the country using automated recording systems to monitor inmate telephone calls, a suspect’s idle chit-chat can become incriminating evidence. In Washington County, defendants charged in connection with the April 2007 deaths of Kendall Rachell Rice and Kevin Barkley Jones incriminated themselves during telephone calls from the jail to relatives. Despite objections from defense attorneys, a judge ruled the calls don’t violate a defendant’s right against selfincrimination.
Deputy prosecuting attorney David Harris has spent hours listening to recorded inmate calls looking for evidence. In one case, an inmate who was in jail for five months made 700 calls, each of which lasted up to 15 minutes.
“The process [of listening to calls ] took forever, and we didn’t find a thing,” Harris said. “It’s like fishing in an ocean. It’s so labor-intensive we don’t have the time or resources to do it in every case.”
The Washington County sheriff’s office uses a digital recording system that tracks and stores calls that inmates make from pay phones at the jail.
Inmate are assigned a PIN code that tracks calls, which police and prosecutors can access via a secure Web site, said Cpl. Jak Kimball, information technology manager at the sheriff’s office.
The system has other features, like blocking certain numbers and detecting threeway calls, which aren’t allowed, Kimball said.
In a 24-hour period last week, the jail’s 530-some inmates made roughly 10, 000 collect calls, Kimball said. “The numbers are incredible,” he said. “You get inmates who are extremely bored, and that’s what they do: call people.”
Prosecutors also played telephone calls at trial from capital-murder defendant Gregory Christopher Decay telling his mother and brother how he shot Rice and Jones at their Fayetteville apartment last year. Decay, 22, is awaiting execution after a jury convicted him in April and handed down the first death sentence in Washington County in more than 20 years.
Decay’s co-defendant Jesse Lee Westeen, 21, was sentenced last week to 50 years in prison for being an accomplice to first-degree murder.
Prosecutors had telephone calls Westeen made to relatives, admitting he drove Decay to the couple’s apartment knowing Decay said he was going to shoot and kill them.
Tim Buckley, an attorney for Westeen, argued the jail’s process of recording the calls is a “silent form of interrogation.” He argued to exclude the calls as evidence on the basis Westeen had the right not to self-incriminate.
Inmates are told by a judge at an initial appearance that they’re allowed to call friends and family, which gives the impression they can speak freely without legal ramifications, Buckley said.
The recorded AT&T message an inmate hears at the beginning of the call that says it “may” be monitored or recorded, isn’t good enough, Buckley said.
“It sounds like a customer service or a quality assurance message,” he said. “We argued it ought to be a stronger warning.”
Circuit Judge William Storey ruled against Buckley’s argument, finding the recording process isn’t an active interrogation; therefore, it doesn’t require a Miranda rights warning.
John Wesley Hall Jr., a Little Rock defense lawyer who is president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said Buckley’s argument is one that has consistently failed.
“There’s been dozens of cases, and all the rulings are that the recorded message is adequate warning,” Hall said.
Jail calls also yielded evidence in the 2006 trial of Jerry Perez who was convicted of robbing a Fayetteville restaurant with a BB gun.
Jurors heard a call Perez made from the jail, saying he should have “killed the f ****** witnesses” in the case.
The jury handed down the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison for robbery and theft.
The Pulaski County jail doesn’t track calls by inmate PIN code anymore.
Jail Maj. Shawn Smith said there were too many problems with inmates sharing and stealing PIN codes.
Police and prosecutors who want to search for evidence in calls have to check large blocks of data identified by area code or telephone number, Smith said.
“It’s a little like finding a needle in a haystack,” Smith said. “The main reason we have the ability to monitor calls is to keep the jail safe and secure. It’s not to benefit law enforcement investigations.”
The Washington County system has a potential flaw: It doesn’t distinguish calls inmates make to family and friends from calls they may make to their attorneys. Having prosecutors or police hear a defendant’s call to his attorney could violate attorney-client privilege, especially if trial strategy is discussed. Courts have upheld importance of the attorney-client privilege, and violating it can be a serious breach. Kimball and prosecutors said no one has alleged an attorney-client conversation was recorded improperly at the Washington County jail.
Most attorneys meet in person with their clients in one of the jail’s visitation rooms, he said.
“The public defenders and all the defense attorneys know the calls are recorded,” Kimball said. “They don’t talk about their clients’ cases over the phone. They come to the jail, where we have private areas for that.”
Capt. Mike Conger of the Sebastian County sheriff’s office said it’s pretty much the same arrangement in that jail in Fort Smith.
“Ninety percent of the attorneys come over here in person,” Conger said. “They usually advise their client up front by letter to set up a time they can discuss trial strategy face-to-face.”
For attorneys who have offices near the jail, the arrangement’s not bad, but in big cities where attorneys have long drives, it can be a problem.
In California’s San Diego County, defense attorneys were outraged this summer when they learned telephone calls they had with their clients were recorded improperly at the jail, The Associated Press reported last month.
There have been similar reports of attorney-client breaches in Florida, Michigan and Dallas, the report states.
In California and other states, it’s illegal to record attorney-client telephone calls.
In Arkansas, it’s legal to record any call as long as one party knows it’s happening.
Harris, the prosecutor, said he hasn’t encountered an inmate-attorney conversation while reviewing jail calls.
“If I did, I’d stop listening immediately,” he said.
Hall said, ideally, jail staff should screen the content of calls before they are turned over to prosecutors.
“You have to trust the prosecutor, but it could be tempting, like, ‘Boy, I’d sure like to hear that one, ’” he said.
Some jail systems don’t record attorneys’ telephone calls at all.
The Benton County sheriff’s office’s system allows the jail to identify attorney telephone numbers to be excluded from recording.
“We have no way to listen to those calls,” said jail commander Capt. Hunter Petray.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Faces on the square September 27, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photo of Bob Jordan and Jim Bemis and photo of Ruby Abel and Abel Tomlinson.

Painted lady on zinnea in the World Peace Wetland Prairie peace-circle garden on September 23, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of painted lady butterfly on zinnea on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 23, 2008.

For Painted lady information
please click the link.
For Painted lady and Red Admiral information please click the link.

October treats ripening fast

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of nearly ripe persimmon on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 25, 2008.

Persimmons ripening on World Peace Wetland Prairie will be dropping soon. Don't eat the firm ones. Only the soft ones are sweet enough to eat. For more information, click on
American persimmon tree, Diospyros virginiana

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mayoral candidates facing public at Sierra Club's forum at the University of Arkansas

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mayoral-candidate forum sponsored by the Sierra Club on Thursday September 25, 2008, at the University of Arkansas law school's courtroom.

Candidates in consensus on ‘going green’
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69497

Fayetteville mayoral and alderman candidates are in favor of sustainability, being environmentally friendly and creating a city that will lead the nation in “ green ” development. But not all the candidates agreed on exactly how to do so.
The Ozarks Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club hosted a forum Thursday night for all candidates to weigh in on the environment issue. Recycling, environmentally friendly development, public transportation and green ordinances were among the topics discussed.
Mayoral candidates present included Incumbent Mayor Dan Coody, Walt Eilers, Steve Clark, Lioneld Jordan and Sami Sutton. They squared off for their fifth debate in a month. Candidate Adam Fire Cat was not present.
Northwest Arkansas Times report on Sierra mayoral debate

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Morning News reports that developer was arrested again on suspicion of drunken driving

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Police Again Arrest Developer For Drunken Driving

FAYETTEVILLE -- Developer Brandon L. Barber was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of driving drunk.

After Barber's arrest, police discovered he has two felony warrants in Las Vegas.

Barber, 32, of 3122 E. Township St. was charged in Las Vegas on Sept. 10 for theft and insufficient funds, said Officer Jay Rivera, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman.
For the rest of the story, copy and paste http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2008/09/25/news/092608fzbarberdwi.txt
or click on
Barber again arrested on suspicion of drunken driving

The Morning News reports that school-board supports new high school on old site

The Morning News

New High School Gets Green Light On Current Site

By Rose Ann Pearce
FAYETTEVILLE -- A 21st century high school will be built on the current site of Fayetteville High School.
Please click on
High school to be rebuilt on site to read the rest of the story of copy and paste the code below:
After more than two years of contentious, often divisive discussion, the Fayetteville School Board authorized the school district's administrative team "to conceptualize and present a plan for a 21st century pre-K through 12 school system that includes one new high school on the existing site."

Thursday's vote was unanimous, climaxing 26 months of conversation, research, study and community input that divided many patrons into one of two camps, one supporting the current site and the other in favor of selling the property and building at a new location.

Governor's commission on global warming tentatively says NO to new coal-fired power plants

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Panel Tentatively Endorses Ban On New Plants

By Peggy Harris
LITTLE ROCK -- An Arkansas commission studying ways to reduce global warming tentatively endorsed a ban Thursday on new coal-fired power plants, saying a proposed $1.5 billion facility in Hempstead County shouldn't open until at least 2020.

The preliminary proposal would allow the John W. Turk Jr. plant near Fulton to open eight years later than planned, when new "sequestration" technology presumably would be available to capture harmful carbon dioxide emissions and store them in the ground. The plant could open sooner if the technology becomes available.

Under the proposal, the $1.3 billion Plum Point plant being built near Osceola could open as planned in 2010 but operators would have to retrofit the plant with the new anti-pollution technology once it becomes available.

Any other new coal-fired power plants in Arkansas would have to have the new technology when they open.

Currently, sequestration is not in use at any commercial power plant in the country. But the new technology is among the many innovations being discussed nationally and worldwide to reverse global warming.

State Rep. Kathy Webb, who chairs the Governor's Commission on Global Warming, said the draft proposal was one of about 50 the group has analyzed over the last several months with the help of consultants. The panel expects to have its final recommendations in a report to Gov. Mike Beebe by Oct. 31. Legislators could consider the measures when they meet in regular session next year.

Webb, D-Little Rock, said the proposed ban has been among the most controversial of the draft recommendations.

Coal-fired power plants and automobiles are the leading producers of carbon dioxide, the chief culprit of global warming. They also are a primary generator of electricity in the U.S. and considered essential to economic growth.

Commission members from the energy industry Thursday voiced opposition to the proposed ban.

Gary Voight, chief executive of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, said scrapping plans for new plants would mean using "dirtier" inefficient plants that produce more pollution and fail to meet consumer demand.

He said a ban would effectively make it more difficult for utilities to produce electricity economically and free up more money to invest in energy-efficient technology. In addition, Voight said, the Arkansas Public Service Commission has already imposed conditions on Southwestern Electric Power Co. to address pollution at the planned 600-megawatt plant in Hempstead County.

"This is a bad plan. It's retroactive regulation," said Voight, whose cooperative plans partly own the SWEPCO plant. "The commission has already ruled that SWEPCO must evaluate all carbon sequestration and capture technologies as available in the future so this (proposal) is pointless. It's a waste of time, and we should all vote against it and get it off the table."

Other commissioners spoke of the seriousness of global warming and the need to take strong action.

"This is what Congress is talking about. This is what a lot, a lot of scientists are concerned about. New coal plants, we're talking about moratorium until sequestration," said Art Hobson, a physics professor at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Commissioner Kevin Smith, the former state senator from Stuttgart, said without a moratorium Arkansas could become "the new Pittsburgh -- not the Natural State." And commissioner Rob Fisher, executive director of The Ecological Conservation Organization, said the proposal was the most important recommendation the panel could make.

"If we don't pass this option, everything else we do is pointless," he said.

The commission endorsed the recommendation by a vote of 11-10.

Kacee Kirschvink, a spokeswoman for SWEPCO, said the Turk plant would be one of the cleanest coal plants in North America. She said it would use "ultra-supercritical" technology that requires less fuel and produces less carbon dioxide. In addition, she said, the plant could be retrofitted for newer technology once it becomes available.

"It would not be good public policy to change the rules now after much planning and investment has been done to meet the energy needs of SWEPCO's customers," she said.

Shreveport, La.-based SWEPCO wants to open the plant in 2012 and has begun site work, while awaiting an air-quality permit from state environmental regulators. SWEPCO is a part of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.

David Byford, a spokesman for Plum Point developers Dynegy Inc., said the commission proposal was in the early stages and Dynegy might comment later after further study.

Web Watch:

Arkansas Governors Commission on Global Warming


Sierra Club mayoral debate from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight

Sierra Club Candidate Forum this Thursday‏

The Ozarks Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will host a local Candidate Forum this Thursday, September 25th, 6:00-8:00 pm in the Courtroom (WATR 240) at the UA Law School. Candidates for City Council and Mayor will address environmental issues related to Fayetteville city government and take questions on the topic.

Public invited. Free parking in the deck south of the Arkansas Union after 5:00. Enter from Stadium Drive.

Pipevine swallowtail (Battus philinor) active at World Peace Wetland Prairie circle garden

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of pipevine swallowtail nectaring on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 24, 2008. The host species for the eggs and caterpillars of the Battus philinor are the Aristochia macrophylla and Aristochia serpentaria.

For information about the host plant for the pipevine swallowtail found in our area, please see
Virginia snakeroot, Aristolochia serpentaria

Northwest Arkansas Times reports on economic-development discussion by mayoral candidates

FAYETTEVILLE MAYORAL RACE : Candidates question Coody’s economic policies
BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69455

Economics was a recurring theme as five of Fayetteville’s six mayoral candidates sparred for voter support Wednesday at a candidate forum at the Fayetteville Public Library.
It came up as an answer, by at least one candidate, to every one of the seven questions asked by moderator Mary Alice Serafini, president of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, the forum sponsor.
Adam Fire Cat, Steve Clark, Mayor Dan Coody, Walt Eilers and Lioneld Jordan debated economics, experience and leadership style. Candidate Sami Sutton was taking a test in one of her university classes, according to Serafini.
Throughout the debate, Coody reminded the audience of the positive changes in the city during his years as mayor, while the other candidates pointed out what they saw as problems with the current administration.
“ If you’ve been here longer than eight years, you know that Fayetteville is in better shape now than it was eight years ago, ” said Coody, who offered audience members a list of accomplishments ranging from the revamping of the citywide sewer system to an antilittering campaign.
The others didn’t agree.
“ I’ve watched Fayetteville grow, but in the last eight years, I’ve seen that Fayetteville is a boat that has holes in it, ” Eilers said.
He said the city doesn’t have an economic development plan, but it does have a towing problem, a hospitality drain, a homeless problem and an attainable housing problem.
A broader tax base and a vibrant economy is what’s needed, he said.
“ I’m not convinced things are going well. ” said Clark, who said the city has to expand its economic base and create jobs. He placed the blame directly on Coody’s administration.
He said Coody’s administration talks about economic development but hasn’t followed through.
Jordan agreed that the city needed to work on a good, strong economic plan and said it should be measured by jobs.
For Fire Cat, the economy was also the issue. He told residents, “ We need to let our finances catch up to our aspirations. ”
He said it is his perspective that the city is too far in debt to take care of itself in case of natural disaster and he wants to fix that problem.
Fire Cat would also like to look into other festivals which could bring in tax revenue like Bike, Blues & BBQ.
Coody maintained that Fayetteville has a vibrant and solid economic base, that began with the partnerships that led to creation of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council.
Later, Clark argued that was an important first step, but the city hasn’t gone beyond it.
The mayor said the sustainability push started by his administration has made the city recognizable nationwide and is one of the reasons people are coming here. He said he appreciated Jordan and the council supporting the sustainable initiatives brought forward by his administration.
Jordan stressed the need for strong core services, such as fire, police and safety, while cutting out frills. The city needs to recruit green businesses and the best way is through training, he said.
“ You have to bring in a solid, balanced budget every time, ” he said.
He said the city could help its businesses by showcasing them on the city Web site.
Eilers declared that the election is about leadership style. He said voters had to decide whether to continue the course or to look for a different way to run the city in a more effective and businesslike manner.
“ I offer that alternative, ” Eilers said.
Jordan said he offered voters a passion and love for the city, and an open mind. He said he would be a listener and a good servant.
“ When you vote for me, you won’t be just voting for me, you’ll be voting for yourself, because I’m going to make the mayor’s seat your seat, ” Jordan said.
“ I’m here to stand up for your individual freedoms, ” said Fire Cat, who said he would fight to protect those freedoms.
Clark said Fayetteville is no longer a sleepy little town; it is on the national stage. He said he has the skills, the experiences and relationships to be an excellent mayor, as well as a willingness to make tough decisions.
“ We have to have leadership that believes in action and not excuses, ” Clark said.
“ These are times when leaders are going to have to stand tall, make the difficult decisions and go forward to put this city back at the place that it once was when it was the best place in the United States of America to create a job, ” he said.
“ Fayetteville is a unique, wonderful community. It didn’t get this way by accident. We’ve made it better and better over time, ” Coody said, citing leadership by the administration and council, public involvement and an excellent staff.
He said he has brought a balance to city hall, controversies have stopped and the city has progressed in ways that he thinks surprised many folks.
“ I see a lot of potential to make Fayetteville even better than it is, and we have a long list of things yet to accomplish. We’ve been successful so far, and I want to keep that momentum going, ” Coody said.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com
Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of mayoral candidates at the Fayetteville Library on September 24, 2008.

League of Woman Voters' mayoral debate rousing success

Please click on images to ENLARGE view of the candidates in action

The Morning News

Local News for Northwest Arkansas

Mayoral Candidates Want To Grow Green

By Skip Descant
FAYETTEVILLE -- If anyone's wondering if Fayetteville's next mayor has a generous streak of green environmentalism running through him or her. The answer is a pretty solid yes.

At least except for Adam Fire Cat.

"I am not green," he said flatly Wednesday night at a mayoral forum sponsored by the Washington County League of Women Voters at the Fayetteville Public Library.

"It's a good thing to aspire for," mayoral candidate Fire Cat added, and who derided what he labeled as the "smugness" of the environmental movement.

But other candidates at the forum repeated their desire to explore hillside preservation, increase recycling opportunities, clean-tech jobs and alternative transportation.

"Any logical person would move in that direction," candidate Walt Eilers said, of the various mass-transit ideas being tossed around, such as a better bus system and light-rail.

Candidate Steve Clark has repeatedly stressed the need for a 200-acre to 300-acre technology park near Drake Field.

"We have to prepare and then go looking for what we want," Clark said.

Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody and Eilers believe cities can provide the infrastructure incentive, but large technology parks are the job of the private sector.

"Private industry will step up to this market," Coody said.

"It is not the city's job to build the business parks," Eilers stressed.

Lioneld Jordan, an alderman from Ward 4, and a mayoral candidate, would use the city's Web site to promote business and industry a well as grow training for the clean-tech jobs.

When asked about the city's biggest accomplishment across the last three years, Coody tipped his hat to the "professionalism of the city staff," along with highlighting Fayetteville's near-complete north-south trail system.

But his point was to recognize Fayetteville's role in the "new economy," by which he means the green economy.

"Fayetteville is in a unique position and the window of opportunity is not going to stay open for long," Coody said.

Jordan credited Fayetteville's commitment to infrastructure by building roads and fire stations as a big accomplishment for the city.

"This whole thing is about people and taking care of their lives and protecting their safety," Jordan told the roughly 250 people packed into the library meeting room.

Eilers said the city's sustainability program is noteworthy and needs to expanded.

Clark praised the creation of the Fayetteville Economic Development Council.

"We've taken a very important first step," Clark said, and added the next mayor needs to aggressively grow Fayetteville's economic base.

"Magazine articles don't put food on anybody's table," he said, taking a stab at some of the media publicity the mayor often points to as a measure of Fayetteville's success.

"If you don't have a decent economic tax base, it goes nowhere," Clark said.

Fire Cat credited the motorcycle rumbling heard just outside as evidence of the type of festivals Fayetteville has grown and should continue. He would stage huge outdoor concerts at venues such as Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"How about Kiss," he through out, to more than a few laughs.

Candidates said it's also time revisit the impact fees developers pay to city government, and that these costs should be graduated according to how far out the development is located. Also, bigger homes are assessed more fees than smaller homes. And waivers or other provisions need to be made for affordable housing.

"We have just got to think outside the box," Jordan said.

Sami Sutton, also a mayoral candidate, did not attend the Wednesday night forum.

Wednesday night's mayoral debate scheduled for 9 a.m. today and again at 6:30 p.m. on Government Channel, City 16, on Cox Cable


The mayoral debate at the public library on Wednesday night is to be broadcast at 9 a.m. Thursday on City 16 and again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (TODAY).
For later showings, please use the link above.

For comments and discussion of the debate, please see


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mayoral candidates to face public at 6:30 p.m. today at city library

Fayetteville Mayoral Candidate Forum and Membership Meeting
Wednesday, September 24
Fayetteville Public Library, Walker Room
Co-sponsors: The League of Women Voters and the Fayetteville Public Library
6 to 6:30PM: League recruitment reception for anyone interested in membership
6:30-8:00PM: Fayetteville Mayoral Forum
Candidates: Mayor Dan Coody, Alderman Lioneld Jordan, Walt Eilers,
Steve Clark, and Sami Sutton
Moderator: Mary Alice Serafini, President of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas
8 to 8:30PM: reception with the candidates
The forum will be televised on the Fayetteville Government Channel.

Check Fayetteville Government Channel 16 schedule for broadcast times for these and other candidate forums. For more information about any of the forums,
contact Bettie Lu Lancaster at 521-4069.

Ducks Unlimited Banquet October 2, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE.

Native thistles a big late-summer nectar source for pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 23, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos of pollinators on the natural area of World Peace Wetland Prairie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pollinators find flowers plentiful on World Peace Wetland Prairie peace circle, butterfly garden and nature area on September 23, 2008

Please click on image to ENLARGE photos of pollinators on World Peace Wetland Prairie butterfly garden and peace circle on September 23, 2008.

Northwest Arkansas Times reports that Planning Commission approves parking lot at Mountain and College

Please click on image to ENLARGE view of site of former Mountain Inn in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas.

City planners OK parking lot on Renaissance site
BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/News/69402/
The Fayetteville Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit Monday for a temporary parking lot of up to 67 spaces at the Renaissance Tower site until construction of the condominium / hotel project resumes.
“For now, we’d like to have something to replace the large hole in the ground, or ‘ the pit’ as we refer to it, ” said Austin E. Rowser, project engineer at Appian Centre for Design Inc., an architecture and engineering firm working with the developers.
The Renaissance Tower site, at the corner of College Avenue and the Mountain Street, has been called an eyesore by city officials and has been the subject of at least two special reports to City Council in part because of its dilapidated condition.
Removing the foundation pit, the chain link fence and construction debris around the project are among the conditions required by commissioners for approval of the temporary lot.
Further, if Renaissance Tower is not completed or building permits have not been obtained by Dec. 20, 2010, the temporary parking lot will have to meet permanent parking lot requirements. It is to be brought into compliance with all Unified Development Code requirements for a permanent parking lot within four months, including street trees, interior parking lot trees and tree islands, bike racks and sidewalks.
The December date is the date by which developers John Nock and Richard Alexander are to have permits issued for the hotel.
A conditional-use permit is good for a year.
In their vote, commissioners required a performance bond of 150 percent of the estimated cost for construction of landscaping and sidewalks. The performance bond must be paid before grading or parking permits are issued for the temporary lot.
For the temporary lot, commissioners required bike racks, repair of the curb on Mountain Street and College Avenue along the project frontage, that damaged pavement on Mountain Street be repaired to provide two striped lanes, removal of all construction debris, grading, planting seed or sod and evergreen shrubs as a buffer, and removing the existing foundation pit.
They did not require trees for the temporary lot because those would be removed when the hotel is built. They did not require sidewalks for the temporary lot as they would likely be damaged during construction of the hotel and would have to be replaced.
Commissioners did require the bike racks because they could be easily removed and reused.
Dede Peters, who owns ddp gallery across the street from the pit, said she sincerely hopes there will be some free parking on the lot because of the many inconveniences the unfinished hotel / condominium project has caused neighbors.
"It’s almost for sure it’s not going to be a free lot, ” Steve Aust, who works with Nock and Alexander, said.
He said he did not know what percentage of the lot would be public pay parking and what percentage would be reserved parking. Aust said he thinks the majority of the spaces will be pay parking.
Peters also voiced a concern about maintenance.
“I’d like to know the investors’ plan for maintenance, especially since the $ 10, 000 paint job is already peeling and the current lot is not properly maintained, ” she said.
Peters said she also wants repairs to Mountain Street all the way to East Avenue, signs replaced and entrances and exits clearly marked. She was told the commission has no control over maintenance.
City Attorney Kit Williams said if there was street damage the city should fix it to make it safe then try to send a bill if they can determine how the damage was caused. He said it is also the city’s responsibility to make sure signs are in good repair.
Questions of access, potential use of the alley and the exact number of spaces led Commissioner Matthew Cabe to call the conditionaluse permit request a moving target. However, Jeremy Pate, director of current planning, explained that the item before the commission was one of use. He said details are not always worked out when conditional-use permits are approved.
Pate said the parking lot will have to be considered by city planning and engineering staff before it can be built.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fran Alexander's Northwest Arkansas Times column explains reasons she supports Lioneld Jordan for mayor

CROSS CURRENTS : The real deal
Fran Alexander frana@nwarktimes.com
Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008
URL: http://www.nwanews.com/nwat/Editorial/69388
What is the starting point ? Where do we begin our evaluations that lead to our perceptions ? Do we make judgment calls on people based on how they treat others or just on how they treat us in particular ? Are our opinions of candidates reached via their actions or decisions on issues, or do we rely on the gut response we have toward their personalities ? Do we take the time to figure out our own motives and behaviors before we choose others to represent our values ?
In sorting through my own assessments of Fayetteville’s mayoral choices, my checklist has stayed consistent with what I wrote in my April 21 article, “ And they’re off ! ” when there were only three runners in this race.
First and foremost, I want someone who bases his or her “ actions on an internally consistent framework of principles, ” the best definition of “ integrity” I’ve located so far. Next, from the experience side of the score care, I want someone who knows in his or her bones what it means to be on the citizens’ side of the City Council’s podium, asking questions or expressing heart and soul concern on an issue. I also want a candidate who has served on city committees or on the council, gaining not just experience in dealing with the public, but also a familiarity with how the city works or fails to work. Equally important, when candidates have served in some capacity, the rest of us have had a chance to get to know them from hearing them discuss, justify and vote their values. That’s what “ vetting” is all about.
Only two of the six candidates for the city’s top job have been active in city matters for years. If you don’t know incumbent mayor, Dan Coody, and Alderman Lioneld Jordan by now, you haven’t been paying attention to what goes on in City Hall and need to do some homework before you go vote.
Having traveled through a seemingly endless assortment of issues over almost eight years with my eyes on these guys, my support goes to Lioneld Jordan. The basic boiled-down reason is I know who he is. I know who he is now, who he has been for eight years, and who he will be in the future because of his “ internally consistent framework of principles. ”
If we disagree, Lioneld discusses our differences one-onone, but votes his conscience. A fellow I know here in town told me, “ I come from a corporate culture where a man was not judged by whether he made mistakes; he was judged by how he behaved after he made them. In my view, Lioneld would have done very well in that culture. ”
I’ve never known Lioneld to back-peddle, back-slide, or back-stab. Oh, he can get fed-up, fired-up, and want to bite nails in half at times, but you can always predict he’ll work his way through the rough spots using the same tools he always uses: determination, consistency, and responsibility. And, he apologizes if he thinks he got something wrong.
Jordan is also full of curiosity and always eager to learn, characteristics that have been very gratifying to me when we discuss environmental problems and protections. He extensively researches items that come before the City Council, which can entail reading volumes of documents. This means his decisions do not come from seat-of-the-pants guesswork or knee-jerk reflex.
Management of the University of Arkansas’ oldest and most-loved core buildings gives this candidate more of an on-the-ground knowledge of how to keep the nuts and bolts of physical infrastructure functioning than perhaps any other mayoral candidates we have seen in decades. His 120 hours of business management training, 80 hours of supervisory training, 1, 500 hours of apprentice schooling through the Department of Labor, and 20 hours of diversity coursework combined with his work experience have given him an educational foundation in managing both the structural and the human sides of problems. And, his long involvement with labor issues has provided him the real-life basics of dealing with a workforce. Using this background in his role in the political realm, he has been chair of the Street Committee for four years and spent seven years on the Water and Sewer and the Equipment committees, just three of the seven working groups on which he has served.
Jordan, if elected, wants to use his monthly Ward 4 gatherings as a pattern for town hall meetings for each ward in the city, taking government to the people in their part of town at least three or four times per year. One of his supporters told me, “ He wants to make sure that no one is missed, that everyone has a chance, no matter what side of the tracks they are from. Everything else will flow from there. I love the idea of the town hall meetings, and I know Lioneld will follow through with them. ”
Outside city business, Lioneld reads for pleasure, especially history and literature. When he quotes Emerson, Roosevelt and Eugene O’Neill, his favorite playwright, to make a point, you get the impression that he’s not just been reading comics in his spare moments. He does, however, take the time to delve deeply into the joys of Razorback devotion.
Probably the most telling attribute about Jordan’s character and seriousness about his role in city government is a little something not many people know. One evening after a council meeting was over, I saw him pick up a dollar bill from his desk and put it in his wallet. I teased him that being alderman did not pay very well. He laughed and agreed, but then added that he tries to remember to put a dollar in his view during council meetings to remind him of Truman’s motto, “ The Buck Stops Here. “
If the voters truly want to be able to trust their representatives, then Lioneld Jordan is the real deal. The experience that citizens have had with him is “ experience you can trust. ”
Fran Alexander is a local resident and an active environmentalist.
Copyright © 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact: webmaster@nwanews.com

Amphibian: Tadpole becomes a frog on September 22, 2008, 60 feet from World Peace Wetland Prairie

Please click on image to ENLARGE photo of tiny tadpole becoming a tree frog about 60 feet from World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 22, 2008.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

International Day of Peace celebrated on Fayetteville Square by OMNI Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology

Please click on images to ENLARGE photos from OMNI Center gathering at the Peace Fountain at the Fayetteville Town Center to commemorate the United Nations Sept 21 International Day of Peace

Please click on image below to see Katherine Guendling, minister of Unity of Fayetteville, speaking of the significance of the U.N.'s setting September 21 as the annual International Day of Peace.

For more photos of OMNI Center members assembled on Saturday, please scroll down a couple of posts.

Government channel schedule from September 21 to September 27, 2008

Direct link for this week's schedule for City 16 on Cox Cable. Please copy and paste.
or click the following link:
Sept 21-27, 2008

Giant swallowtail, fritillaries nectaring on World Peace Wetland Prairie on September 20, 2008

Please click on images to ENLARGE

Please click on images to ENLARGE.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Today's faces from the square

Please click on images to ENLARGE.
Top photo: Longtime city manager Don Grimes.

Second photo: Dick Bennett and Al Vick.

Third photo: Dick Bennett and Miller Williams

Fourth photo: Dan Hale of the Arkansas Democrat/Gazette and Andy Shupe of the Northwest Arkansas Times.

The royal oak, the namesake tree of Royal Oak Parkway on the former Aspen Ridge construction site, disappeared last week without ceremony

Please click on image to ENLARGE view NW from South Hill Avenue.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hill Place developers moving earth and grading rapidly in preparation for new infrastructure for construction of apartment buildings

Please click on image to ENLARGE view west across Hill Place student-apartment development. The yellow-dirt area leading uphill a bit to left of center in the top photo is the trail that is used frequently by the public to walk across the Town Branch (above the big culvert being considered for removal). The City Council on Tuesday set a council tour of that area for 29 or 30 September in preparation for discussion at its October 7, 2008, meeting. Should the council decide to require that the developers remove the culvert, a simple and relatively inexpensive way to maintain the public stream crossing would be to move the pedestrian bridge currently straddling the Town Branch a bit more than 100 yards to the southeast to replace the road above the stream where the culvert is now. That pedestrian bridge is to be removed from its current site and replaced by a traffic bridge as infrastructure is built for the Hill Place student apartments.