Bill Lawson died last week. I heard about it like I do many local happenings and events: on Facebook. Notices started to pop up with notes like “ RIP, Bill” late last week.


Bill Lawson was editor of this newspaper or at the least the Maumelle Monitor version of it before it was folded into what it is today. He thought Maumelle should have its own paper and still did to the day he died. I asked him just this past May what he thought about the merged papers.


“There is more than enough news copy to maintain a 24- to 36-page newspaper on a regular basis,” he said. “Maumelle readers were hungry for news of all sorts. The police beat with a list of who was arrested and charged with various crimes along with burglary and theft stories was the most popular section.


“As a growing city, there were always ample stories from City Hall about Council actions, Planning Commission activities and other governmental agencies actions.


“I also always argued that the average Maumelle resident was more politically active and interested in community involvement than [residents] in any other Arkansas community.


“I am certain that Jeremy Peppas has special plans for Maumelle and it won’t get lost inside a {North Little Rock} newspaper. I miss seeing everyone and covering all the events within this community.”


I met Bill about 30 years ago when I was still in the advertising business and he was working at the Big Blue insurance company in government relations. I can’t quite recall the exact position he held, but I believe it also involved the marketing area because I would see him at meetings of the Arkansas Advertising Federation, where he eventually would be elected governor of the 10th District of the Federation, which included Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. I remember you had to run for the office like one would for a government position. It was kind of a big deal.


When he was editor of the paper, I remember his encounter with an Arkansas state trooper. He is identified as a photographer, but he was the editor. Here’s an excerpt of the story:


Stephens Media photographer Bill Lawson was arrested December 10th by [trooper] Weindruch at the scene of a house fire in Maumelle, prompting Lawson to file a complaint against Weindruch. Lawson was arrested and handcuffed, then released at the scene with a citation for obstructing government operations. Prosecutors quickly dropped the charge. Lawson complained that Weindruch was abusive.


Bill usually didn’t back down.


We would talk regularly but infrequently in recent months, but if you followed Bill on Facebook, you knew exactly where his heart was and his position on all things, including heated exchanges on politics with him usually leaning a little to the left.


He was constantly posting about veterans, his family, his church, deaths of loved ones and friends and his hometown of Marked Tree. One of his final posts was on July 10 and particularly poignant.


“Love my Lord. Love my church. Love my family of a wife, three sons, the daughters-in-law, six grandkids, Love my Earthly Father Jess and Mother Omega, now both in Heaven. Love this song: “Oh Victory in Jesus.”


Well done, good and faithful servant!


Former City Attorney JaNan Arnold Davis to enter already crowded judge race


As most politicians do, JaNan Arnold Davis took to social media to announce that she will make an election announcement: “I’m excited to tell my friends that in the coming weeks I will be making a big announcement and launch my campaign for [judge of] Little Rock District Court Criminal Division. Thanks to so many for your encouragement and support! Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post and stay tuned!”


I’m not sure why she chose to announce that she was going to announce, but initial responses were very positive to her pre-announcement.


Davis was Maumelle’s city attorney for 13 years and is now an attorney with the Holt Rainwater Sexton law firm. The judicial position opened up after Judge Alice Lightle announced her retirement, effective in April of this year. Hugh Finkelstein was appointed to finish her term, which will expire in December of next year. Finkelstein can’t run for the office.


Davis will be running against at least three other female attorneys: Peggy Egan, a deputy public defender; Deputy Prosecutor Melanie Martin, and Little Rock attorney and former public defender LaTonya Austin. It wouldn’t surprise me if others jump into the race. It is a considered a good position to launch a career for higher level judiciary positions. The position pays about $146,000.


Judicial campaigns are different from most campaigns. All of the candidates are no doubt getting their camps in order and soliciting support from other attorneys who often will determine the success of a candidate by the amount of money they will give. The bigger firms usually support all of the candidates.


Davis, who is popular in Maumelle, will run a vigorous campaign. With four candidates, it is likely to be an expensive campaign to win. We’ll let you know when she makes the real announcement.


Foodie note


It appears that Gigi’s Soul Food and Lounge has gotten off to a good start, with several positive remarks about their food and service on Facebook. They are now open Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. for lunch, dinner till about 9 p.m., and then music. They are closed on Sunday. Send me your reviews.


See you on the Boulevard. Stop the violence.


Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at neal.moore@sbcglobal.net. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.