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Smart Talk Jan. 27

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Unlovely news The free-spirited, free-circulation, locally owned Lovely County Citizen has gone corporate. Bill King, co-publisher of the lively Eureka Springs newspaper, confirmed that it has been sold to Rust Communications, for a price that King said he couldn’t disclose. Rust Communications, headquartered in Cape Girardeau, Mo., owns a rival weekly at Eureka Springs, the Times-Echo, as well as newspapers in several other Arkansas cities, including Berryville. King said it was uncertain whether the Times-Echo, a more conventional newspaper, would continue publication. But the Lovely County Citizen will continue in its colorful, sometimes controversial, style, King said. He has been hired as editor and publisher, and another of the old Citizen’s three owners, photographer John Rankine, also is staying. The third founder, co-publisher Mary Pat Boian, is moving on, King said. The Lovely County Citizen had filed a lawsuit to overturn the state law that prevents free newspapers from carrying the legal advertisements that local governments are required to publish. The Times-Echo, a paid-circulation newspaper, has carried the legal advertisements in Carroll County. The suit will now be dropped, King said. He said that “as far as I know,” the Citizen will continue as a free-circulation paper. That suggests the Times-Echo will continue publication too, since free-circulation papers can’t carry legal ads, and those ads can represent considerable revenue for a small paper. Liver transplants near The hiring of a specialist in liver disease has brought the liver transplant program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences closer to reality, College of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece says. Dr. Wael Refai of Oklahoma City will work with surgeon Dr. You Min Wu, hired in August 2004 to run the program. Reece said a third physician was recently interviewed for the program, and that UAMS may begin performing liver transplants “within a few months.” Viewpoint January brings year-in-review lists from virtually all media and Arkansas Baptist News was no exception. It picked the top 10 news stories of 2004 “based on overall news value and significance to Arkansas Baptist life.” And No. 1 was: “Gay marriage initiatives nationwide and the success of marriage amendments in Arkansas and other states.” Without those amendments, no telling how many Baptists would have turned gay and gotten married.

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