Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NEWSPAPER BOSS BUSTED IN ARKANSAS

The managing editor of the Baxter (Ark.) Bulletin was arrested Wednesday and accused of helping her brother evade the law. The managing editor of the News-Leader has been named acting managing editor in Baxter.

According to the Baxter Bulletin:
"Managing editor Kandra Branam has been relieved of her responsibilities pending resolution of the criminal charges against her," said Bulletin publisher Betty Smith. "Cheryl Whitsitt will become acting managing editor. Because this is both a pending legal matter and is a personnel matter, we will not comment further."

Authorities allege Branam knew that her brother, Thomas R. Wells, 41, assumed the false identity of Donald Dahlke, an infant who died in Baxter County in 1969.

Wells was arrested Jan. 29 in Marion County after allegedly fleeing from police and driving a vehicle while intoxicated. He had been living in Branam’s house before his arrest and allegedly received mail under the false name at her address, Montgomery said.

Wells is wanted out of Colorado on a warrant and allegedly assumed the identity in hopes of not being found and taken back to Colorado, Montgomery said.

“I did not know my brother was a fugitive,” Branam said, when returning a call for comment. “The only thing I did wrong was try to help my brother.”
Branam is free on $50,000 bond.

Whitsitt joined the News-Leader in 1987 and became managing editor in 2002, according to Gannett. The company owns the News-Leader and the Bulletin. We can tell you that Whitsitt is one of the great ones. The News-Leader needs her.

12 comments:

Sniderman said...

This is a BIZARRE story that isn't even close to complete through the Gannett paper. Do you have the press release? It's better than the story.

Anonymous said...

Oh, great! Whitsitt was about the only editor at the News-Leader with local knowledge. Now the place is almost totally in the clutches of Gannettoids from god-knows-where!

Anonymous said...

I'm so confused. Tell me Cheryl is only leaving temporarily!!!!! Please??? Is Gannett making her go???

Anonymous said...

Or is this a one way ticket out of Donhowdyville?

Anonymous said...

Gannett hypocrisy shines through in this sordid tale. Be sure to note the clammy quote from the Bulletin's publisher: "Because this is a pending legal matter and a personnel matter, we will not comment further."

Would such a blunt refusal to discuss details, coming from a key figure in virtually ANY other story, stop The News-Leader from whining about being "stonewalled" by its sources?

Not a chance!

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, this isn't "Donhowdyville," it's Mountain Home, one of the fastest-growing cities in Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:34 -- I think Anon 8:42 may have been referring not to Mountain Home but rather to the environs of the NewsLeader, where the G-man in charge is Don Wyatt, a truly pathetic excuse for an executive editor.

Anonymous said...

Sniderman, why don't you post this jewel of a press release?

Anonymous said...

I still haven't heard if this is a permanent change! Ron???

P.S. Love Donhowdyville. That's priceless.

RON DAVIS said...

Anon 531: God, I hope it's not a permanent move.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl's reassignment is definitely temporary.

Anonymous said...

Relax, everyone. Cheryl's definitely a pro, and a good person, too, but she's hardly the Joan of Arc of local journalism. It's not as though her absence or presence in Springfield will ever save the paper from its continuing slide.