Bobo Shinn and other Columbia County Cold Case Files

The Banner-News is currently hard at work on the second in our series of Cold Case Files – this time, examining the disappearance of Magnolia man David Hunter, who, as some readers may recall, is the brother of former Columbia County Sheriff Gordon Hunter. That story is far from complete, but when it’s finished, it’ll be followed by yet another cold case file. It is our hope that in time, these and other unsolved local cases will be resolved and that closure will be brought to the families of the missing and murdered, and we always appreciate the public’s help in writing these articles.

In the meantime, we also always like to keep our readers updated on developments in local cold cases, and this time, we have an update to provide on the unsolved case of the disappearance of Mary Jimmie ‘Bobo’ Shinn of Magnolia. A reader sent us a link to a new website dedicated to Bobo’s disappearance. We’ve reviewed the website, and on it, we found not only the series we wrote earlier this year about her disappearance (which is also available for free viewing on the Banner-News website at, but also a compilation of our blog posts on the case and photos that pertain to it.

The site also includes posts from private individuals regarding Bobo and her disappearance, though we cannot verify where those comments originated, nor can we verify the accuracy of any of those individual’s comments.

We are also uncertain about who created the website, but we do appreciate the additional publicity it brings to a case that we deeply hope will one day be solved. (Note to those who have followed the case: A shortened version of the Banner-News series on Bobo was recently picked up and redistributed nationally by the Associated Press and has appeared in media outlets as far away as Georgia. An editorial written by the Banner-News about the case was also picked up and redistributed by the Associated Press and was republished in newspapers across the South. The series and case were also the subjects of a recent editorial by our sister newspaper, the Texarkana Gazette, which was also republished in other media outlets across the South. In addition, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, also our sister newspaper, published not long ago a column by reporter Jay Grelen, author of the newspaper’s ‘Sweet Tea’ columns, about the series.) For those readers who would like to visit the site and review it for themselves, we’re confident its creators would not mind us sharing the link here:

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Next Navy combat ship to be named USS Little Rock

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus says the next freedom-class littoral combat ship will be named the USS Little Rock, reports the AP. Mabus made the announcement Friday. The ship will be the second to carry the name of the state’s capital city.

The first USS Little Rock was originally a light cruiser that served after World War II. It was one of six to be converted later a guided missile cruiser before being decommissioned in 1976. It’s now in a museum in Buffalo, N.Y. The littoral class ships are designed for close to shore missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare.



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Ark. to get $19M in public housing grants

Arkansas will get more than $19 million in grants from the federal government for public housing, as officials acknowledge that housing authorities across the country need much more help, reports the AP.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Friday that 105 housing authorities across Arkansas would split the grants. HUD says the funding can go toward improvements like new roofs and upgrades to make plumbing and electrical systems more energy-efficient.

Little Rock’s housing authority will receive $1.7 million. North Little Rock will get about $1.4 million. Sandra Henriquez, an assistant secretary of HUD, says in a news release that Friday’s announcement only scratches the surface. She says housing authorities need nearly $26 billion in funding to make their buildings safe and livable.


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CCAPS, Animal Care Hospital sponsor low-cost spay/neuter clinic

Did you know that unspayed cats can go into heat at just four months and that they can give birth to three litters of kittens each year? Did you know an unspayed dog can give birth to as many as 20 puppies each year? And did you know that here at the Banner-News, our Diary receives calls almost every day about unwanted cats and dogs being dumped off by their owners across our county?

Well, here’s your chance to do something about it. Spay or neuter your dog and/or cat this month through a low cost spay/neuter clinic being hosted by the Columbia County Animal Protection Society and Dr. Raymond Whitehead at the Animal Care Hospital. The cost is $68 this month, which is a great deal. So sign up today by calling Animal Care Hospital at 234-3601, or CCAPS at 234-7297.

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Louisiana Tech preps for football season opener

Kickoff for the first game of the 2011 Louisiana Tech football season against Southern Mississippi may still be more than a month away, but for the proud and passionate fans of the Bulldog Nation, the season really begins on August 16 at 6 p.m.

Louisiana Tech alums, fans and friends will gather once again at the Monroe Civic Center to celebrate the upcoming football season and the achievements of the university at Happening XXX, presented by Argent Financial Group.  The highly-anticipated annual event celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and will welcome Grammy Award-winning country music star and Louisiana Tech alumnus Kix Brooks as its featured speaker.  Continue reading

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News from the Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce

The Magnolia-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce is now selling ads for the ‘Welcome to Magnolia’ book that’ll be published in the fall. The book will be distributed at local businesses and merchants, the courthouse, City Hall, the Chamber and to new residents of the city and county. If you’d like to place an ad in the book, call Anna Smith at the chamber at 234-4352, or e-mail her at

Also, 2011 Magnolia Blossom Festival T-shirts and hats are still available for purchase at the low, low price of $5 each. Adult and kid sizes are available. Visit the chamber today to pick yours up!

Be advised, too, that Leadership Magnolia is now accepting applications for the coming year. Call the chamber at 234-4352 to get information on how to get enrolled!

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Miss Arkansas preliminaries continue in Hot Springs

From Miss Arkansas Public Relations: Bethany Bell, Miss Crowley’s Ridge, won the Preliminary Artistic Expression in Talent award; Kristen Glover, Miss Ouachita Baptist University won the Preliminary Presence and Poise in Evening Gown Preliminary award; and Miss Apple Blossom Dorothy Shepherd won the Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit Preliminary Award on Thursday, the second night of preliminary competition at the 2011 Miss Arkansas Pageant at Summit Arena in Hot Springs.
Each of the winning contestants won an $800 scholarship provided by JPMS Cox, Charles & Amanda Farmer and Venue.
Emcee and former Executive Director Rick Pruitt, along with Miss Arkansas 2010 Alyse Eady, of Fort Smith, was on hand Thursday night to present these awards.  Continue reading
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AG&FC releases fishing report for Lake Columbia, others

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has released its weekly fishing report for Southwest Arkansas, including Lake Columbia! Read on to find out what’s biting and where this weekend . . .

Continue reading

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Attorney for plaintiffs in Bayou Bistro case anticipates appeal

Thanks so much to Jim Julian, the Little Rock attorney for the plaintiffs in the Bayou Bistro case, who spoke with us a little while ago and advised that he anticipates that his clients will elect to appeal Circuit Judge David Guthrie’s just released ruling to the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

You’ll find Julian’s full comments in tomorrow’s print edition of the Banner-News in an updated version of the Breaking News article now posted on our website, but we can tell you in advance that Julian “anticipates” an appeal. He referred to the ruling in Nov. 2010 in which the Court of Appeals remanded the case to Circuit Court after determining that there had been an insufficient finding of fact by the ABC in granting the permit, and he notes that Guthrie’s ruling has not really changed that much since his original ruling in the case. Julian expects his clients, based on their previous position on the matter, to appeal to the Court of Appeals to determine whether or not the ABC exceeded its authority in granting the permit.

Again, you’ll find much more detail in tomorrow’s Banner-News, but in the meantime, stay tuned to the Blog and to our Facebook page for regular posts and updates on this and other local, state and national news!

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Presidential hopeful Ron Paul releases first TV campaign ad

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul is using his first campaign television ad to promote his long-time opposition to raising the federal debt limit, according to an AP report.

In the ad released Thursday and set to run in early primary states, the Texas congressman criticizes both Republicans and Democrats for striking deals in the past and says Congress should not compromise this time. Paul also notes that he always has voted against raising the federal limit on borrowing.

“In the ’80s, they did it to (Ronald) Reagan, a debt ceiling compromise, Democrats promising spending cuts, but delivering only tax hikes,” the ad says. “The ’90s brought more compromises, more broken promises and more new taxes. … Will our party’s leaders repeat the mistakes of the past?”  Continue reading

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