Thursday, May 21, 2015

TOP STORY >> For air base, commitment always there

Col. Patrick Rhatigan, who is stepping down next week as commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, says he’s retiring from the Air Force at a time when the air base continues to modernize and better meet the needs of airmen.

Despite the many difficulties ahead, Rhatigan said the commitment never wavers and the air base continues to do well as it approaches its 60th anniversary this fall.

Rhatigan became 19th Airlift Wing commander in July 2013. His successor, Col. Charles E. Brown Jr., takes over the 19th Airlift Wing in a change-of-command ceremony next Wednesday morning. Brown is vice commander of the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Brown was previously commander of the 62nd Airlift Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base.

“My time at Little Rock Air Force Base was a time of unprecedented change in our Air Force,” Rhatigan said. “From sequestration to government shutdown to force management, our airmen and civilians have endured the continued turbulence of fiscal restraints and uncertainty. Yet, we buckled down every time to accomplish the mission safely and effectively. Combat airlift is the heart of this base, and I could not be prouder of the men and women of Team Little Rock and their incredible resilience and dedication to the mission.”

Rhatigan focused his leadership on three primary priorities during his time here: Mission, airmen and partners.

MISSION

When Rhatigan arrived, the 19th Airlift Wing was beginning its transition from C-130H models to C-130J models.

By the end of 2014, the wing transferred 28 of the C-130H legacy aircraft to 13 different units and now has 23 of the 28 C-130Js planned for assignment to the base.

“During this large operational muscle movement, there was zero dip in mission accomplishment,” he said.

The base hosted the first-ever Air Mobility Command unit-effectiveness inspection in September 2013, earning an overall effective rating for the wing.

The inspection concluded only days before the government shutdown on Oct. 1, 2013.

“Again, Team Little Rock airmen covered down and rolled right into the next challenge,” the colonel said.

Under Rhatigan’s leadership, the 19th Airlift Wing had nearly 400 airmen and 11 C-130 aircraft deployed at any time in support of operations in Europe, Africa, South America, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

Construction has started on a new 12,000-foot runway and adjacent landing strip that were built in the 1950s. The project will cost $107.9 million and will be completed in April 2017.
The base celebrated a historic end-of-year funding for 2014, receiving $204 million for many of these renovations and upgrades.

One of the biggest challenges during Rhatigan’s tenure was modernizing the infrastructure of the base.

After his arrival, the roof on the base theater collapsed, the bowling alley had similar issues and the pool could not open (as it was still in its 1955 original design).

The roads needed repairs. The barricades at the gates needed updates for security and safety measures.

The base pool is opening for Memorial Day weekend.

AIRMEN

The wing held the first-ever LRAFB Facebook Town Hall. This was also a first for Air Mobility Command.

“This four-time repeat event was a convenient, virtual way to include the Team Little Rock community in discussing issues that directly affected the 17,000 base personnel,” Rhatigan said. “From medical to infrastructure to morale and welfare, the town halls covered a myriad of topics and gave airmen and their families a direct line to wing leadership.”

One of the greatest successes happened just this April 3, when the $3.7 million Walters Community Activity Center opened. The new facility is dedicated to one thing: taking care of Team Little Rock’s airmen.

The center is a multifunctional gathering place from airmen and their families. Centrally located on base, airmen now have one-stop access to the library, the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the Community Activity Center, classrooms, study rooms, computer rooms, free Wi-Fi and, coming soon, a new coffee shop.

“Not only is this facility an incredible quality-of-life project, it’s also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) facility.”

The construction of the WCAC also led to the demolishment of five outdated buildings that saved the Air Force $875,000 annually.

The Leadership Pathways program got wings during Rhatigan’s time here. This resilience program is dedicated to airmen and families. More than 60 classes were offered in 2014 and attended by more than 21,000 personnel, Rhatigan said.

The commander focused efforts into the Air Force Chief of Staff’s highest priority — sexual assault prevention and response.

Rhatigan facilitated growth and new voice to the SAPR program through small group talks, guest speakers, publishing prevention and victims’ stories and wing stand-down days. Airmen spoke up and LRAFB saw a 100 percent increase in reporting and five reports switched from restrictive to unrestrictive reports.

“This is when I always say leadership matters. The dedication of our airmen, from group commanders to frontline supervisors, to creating a climate of dignity and respect is why we’ve seen this program continue to improve.

“And, ultimately, we can help the victims who now feel safe to come forward and seek help,” Rhatigan said.

The airmen of the 19th Airlift Wing won four Department of Defense, 11 Air Force, 99 Air Mobility Command and 21 national organizations awards.

The 19th AW also earned the 2014 Jimmy Doolittle Award from the Air Force Historical Foundation for sustained, significant contributions to Air Force history as well as the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the first time since 2007.

“We know it’s not about the awards, but this is a living example of how Team Little Rock airmen get it done,” the commander said.

“Even during these challenging budget and manning constraints, our team continues to excel in everything we do,” Rhatigan said.

PARTNERS

• In April 2014, after the E-4 tornado struck Vilonia, Team Little Rock responded by establishing local donation points and overseeing the bed-down of FEMA within three hours.

Then, with only three days of notice, the wing welcomed President Barack Obama on the flightline to support his visit to the community and victims of the tornado.

• Recently, Little Rock Air Force Base was submitted as a trial base for the Air Force’s Integrated Wing concept.

This concept is part of a series of efforts by the Air Force to operate more efficiently in the future.

“The great news: Team Little Rock is already living total force integration every day through formal associations between the 19th Airlift Wing (AMC) and 913th Airlift Group (Air Force Reserves) and informal agreements with the 314th Airlift Wing (Air Education and Training Command) and 189th Airlift Wing (Air National Guard),” Rhatigan said.

• The Public-to-Public and Public-to-Private Partnership Program (P4) has flourished for Team Little Rock with Rhatigan’s leadership.

Eight joint initiatives/projects were identified that would see an estimated $4 million annual positive financial impact.

The Air Force’s Strategic Master Plan calls for a vision of Installations 2023, where bases will be a hybrid of military assets and community resources. Through P4, LRAFB is leading the way.

“We’ve already privatized our food, housing, electric and are working on privatizing water. The goal is to lower costs and increase our capabilities,” Rhatigan said.

“The unwavering support of our community partners has been the foundation of Little Rock Air Force Base since its inception in 1955. The community’s established concerted efforts and partnerships with Team Little Rock helped pave the way forward into the P4 program.

“Before I depart, it’s a rewarding feeling to know this program will continue to succeed and lead LRAFB into the future, toward a true hybrid base,” Rhatigan said.

First Lt. Amanda M. Farr, acting chief of public affairs at the 19th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, contributed to this report.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CLASSIFIEDS >> 5-20-15

ANNOUNCEMENTS

MEDICAL BILLING TRAINEES NEEDED! Become a Medical Office Specialist at Ayers! NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED! Online training gets you ready. HS Diploma/GED and Internet Required. 1-888-734-6717 Licensed by ASBPCE.


SERVICES

HARRELL LAWN Service, specializing in hedge trimming, flower beds, mowing and edging. (501) 259-1607.

D and D Lawnmower Service - ALL-TIME SPECIAL: oil change, filters changed, blades sharpened, grease job, spark plug, clean-up, $135. Includes pickup and delivery. (501) 843-8800 or (501) 628-7011.

BROWN'S LAWN CARE specializing in lawn maintenance. "Let us do the work while you rest." Senior/military discounts. Serving Jacksonville and Cabot. Please call (501) 658-8572.

Dish Network - Get MORE for LESS! Starting $19.99/month (for 12 months.) PLUS Bundle and SAVE (Fast Internet for $15 more/month.) CALL Now1-800-393-5829.

REDUCE YOUR CABLE BILL! Get a whole-home Satellite system installed at NO COST and programming starting at $19.99/mo. FREE HD/DVR Upgrade to new callers. CALL NOW 1-800-474-0423.


HELP WANTED

WANTED: EXPERIENCED trim carpenters, hanging interior doors, running ceiling molds, trimming windows and baseboards. 40 hours/week, work rain or shine. Transportation furnished from shop, but still need valid license. (501) 681-9938.

Immediate Hire - $725 a week. Are you self-motivated? Are you looking for a new career? Local company has 10-15 openings for air quality testers. No experience necessary. Call for an interview at (501) 605-1303.

Jacksonville First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville, AR, is looking for a part-time Youth Minister working 25 hours per week with youth ranging from 6th - 12th grade. We are seeking the right person who will bring the energy and enthusiasm needed to reach out to our community. If interested, please send your resume to info@jacksonvilleumc.com.

CDL DRIVERS WANTED, LITTLE ROCK, AR. Drivers needed to move pipe for local company days, nights, weekends, 12 hr./day, 5-6 days/wk., $12.50/hr., paid weekly, Class A CDL, health card req'd., min. 1-2 yr. experience, clean MVR, must pass pre-employment drug screen. Call Liz @ (501) 766-8626 or Jason @ (870) 816-6360 for info.

FULL TIME receptionist/assistant needed. Must have good people skills and be computer knowledgeable. Serious inquiries only. Fax resume to (501) 882-2372.

Kids Unlimited Learning Academy is looking for a PRN registered nurse. Daily activities will include administering medication, monitoring g-tube feeds and providing other nursing services to children from 6 weeks old to age 6. Contact Broc Arender for more information: 501-941-3500 or brocarender@mykidsunlimited.com

DRIVERS: CDL-A: Lots of miles. Recent Grads welcome, tuition reimbursement up to $5,000, home weekly, no slip seat. No touch, newer equipment. Excellent benefits, including BONUSES. 855-219-4838.

DRIVERS: IMMEDIATE Openings! $3,000 orientation bonus! Regional and OTR receive great pay, (new hires minimum $800 wk. guarantee)! CDL-A 1 yr. experience. Call today: 1-855-314-1138.

CLASS A CDL driver needed with experience pulling long end dump trailers and dry vans. Must have GOOD driving record. Must have at least 3 years experience. Home every weekend. Home terminal Beebe, AR. (501) 690-2015.

Want A Career Operating Heavy Equipment? Bulldozers, Backhoes and Excavators. Hands On Training! Certifications Offered. National Average 18-22hr. Lifetime Job placement. VA Benefits Eligible!1-866-362-6497.

Machine Operators: Manufacturing exp. A MUST. Apply online @CSSAR.COMand call501-801-8061.

DECKHANDS AND COOKS! Marquette Transportation Co. Now Hiring! Competitive Pay/Benefits/401K. 1-yr. Physical labor exp. Preferred. Apply online at: www.marquettetrans.com,  EOE/M/F/V.

Route Drivers: In-state routes. No overnights. Requires CDL A $11-$14/hr plus benefits. Apply online @CSSAR.COM and call 501-801-8061.

DRIVERS - Bowerman Trucking, EXPERIENCED CLASS A DRIVERS NEEDED - OTR Dry Van - Guaranteed Home Wkly, $1,000 Sign-On Bonus, Fully Pd Odometer Miles, Pd Vacation, Health/Medical/Dental, No California / NY City
800-928-4503.

DRIVER TRAINEES! Drive for Schneider! Local, OTR and Tanker jobs at Schneider National! NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED! EARN $800+ PER WEEK! Local CDL Training! 1-888-528-5548.

DRIVERS - DEDICATED Runs Available. 100% Customer Dedicated Freight. $1100/wk. Avg. WEEKLY HOME TIME. TOP-PAY and BENEFITS; Mthly BONUSES and more! CDL-A, 1yr. Exp. Req'd. EEOE/AAP LIMITED POSITIONS AVAILABLE. 866-370-4476. www.Drive4Marten.com.

DRIVERS - AVERITT EXPRESS Start Pay: 40 to 43.5 CPM + Fuel Bonus! Get Home EVERY Week + Excellent Benefits. CDL-A req. Recent T/T Schools Grads Welcome. Call 888-602-7440 or apply @ AverittCareers.com. Equal Opportunity Employer - Females, minorities, protected veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

DRIVERS - We support every driver, every day, every mile! No experience? Some or LOTS of experience? Let's Talk! Call Central Refrigerated Home. (855) 610-8784. CentralTruckDrivingJobs.com.

Butler Transport- Your Partner in Excellence. CDL Class A Drivers Needed. Sign on Bonus! All miles paid. 1-800-528-7825 or www.ButlerTransport.com.


LAWN and FARM EQUIPMENT

SUMMER GRASS Pricing! Bermuda, $1.25/sq yd, Meyers Z-52 Zoysia - $2.50/sq  Prices are COD on full truck loads in the LR area. Call 800-458-4756.


YARD SALES

CHURCH YARD sale, come early for best selection. Where: Oak Grove Baptist Church in Austin (off 321 spur). When: May 22nd and 23 rd. Time: 7 am until ? Watch for signs.

MOVING SALE, 5/21-23, 8 am-2 pm, 3546 E. Main St., Cabot. Furniture, household, books, collectibles, etc.

MOVING SALE, 5/23 and 24, 9 am-7 pm, 604 Cheryl Ln., Jax. Everything goes, rain or shine. Electronics, furniture, etc. Prices negotiable. 993-6412.

NEIGHBORHOOD SALE, 5/22 and 23, 7 am-? Westhaven Place, Cabot.

2-FAMILY YARD sale, 5/22 and 23, 2860 Peyton St., Ward (1 block north of Dudes Place)

3-FAMILY YARD sale, 5/22 and 23, 8 am-2pm, 500 N. James St., Jax. Lots of baby clothes and odds and ends.

YARD SALE, 5/22, 7 am-2pm, 9 Evergreen Rd., Cabot.


AUCTION

AR ONLINE Real Estate Auctions Bidding starts May 22. Nominal Opening Bids from $500 West Helena, Forrest City, Mountain Home, North Little Rock. williamsauction.com 800.982.0425 AR Broker: Daniel Nelson Re Lic: PB00069547.


VEHICLES and ACCESSORIES

2006 FORD Taurus, V6, black, cold air, clean, new tires, $4,000. (501) 831-3098.

1995 NISSAN extended cab EX hard body pickup, V6, working A/C, $2,200 obo. 882-2142.

BRAND NEW Roadmaster universal tow dolly w/electric brakes, $1,200. (501) 352-1914.

1997 HONDA Civic 4-door sedan, 180,000 miles, $2,800. (501) 259-3312.

PARTING OUT: '92 S10 Blazer, 4WD, auto. trans. and transfer case. Most parts avail., $30 and up. (501) 982-6600.

1991 FORD F150 SWB, 5-speed, 144k miles, limb damage, $2,500 obo. (501) 676-5624.

2000  MAZDA, needs battery to start. (501) 744-4021.

1993 CADILLAC Sedan Deville, 73,000 miles, one owner, $3,000. (501) 681-3700.

TIRE, LIKE new, P225/75/15 on rim, $45. (501) 259-2046.

94 TOYOTA pickup and 86 Porsche 944. (501) 941-4098.

NEW TEXAS Tiger car haul trailer, 83"x18' steel diamond plate, tandem axle, 7,000 lb. load, elec. brakes. (501) 269-4103.

TIRES (4), Michelin 265/60/R18, good condition, $80. (501) 605-7144.

SET OF Cooper Cobra GT 235/60/15, real good tires, $45 ea. (501) 882-2142.

2000 CHEVROLET Silverado, 4WD, 4-Dr., Z-71, very good condition, runs great, (501) 259-8978 or (501) 772-3654.

2000 CHEVROLET Astro van, good condition, runs good, good tires, (501) 259-8978 or (501) 772-3654.


RECREATIONAL VEHICLES

KAWASAKI 2005 Vulcan Classic 800, lots of chrome and extras, pics. avail., $3,200. (501) 676-3358.

LOWE BOAT, 14'x36"x18", HD trailer, ELX start, 15 hp. Johnson, excellent condition, garage kept, 2 big seats, full carpet. (501) 843-6005, Cabot.

07 HD Ultra Class; FLHTCU, 18,800 miles, aftermarket pipes, highway pegs, AM/FM radio/CD player, 96 ci., 1584cc, 6-spd. transmission plus extras, $12,750 obo. (501) 658-3216.

2008 GOLDWING Trike, 4,000 miles, garage kept, $28,500. (501) 425-5644, leave msg.

VTX 1300S Honda, 2005, 11,500 miles, adult driven, garage kept, saddlebags, windshield, chromed out, must see! $4,500. (501) 941-4754, El Paso.


LAWN and FARM EQUIPMENT

WANTED: NEWER model riding or push mower, must be good price, pay cash. (501) 843-5376.

TRACTOR - FERGUSON 30, 2WD, good condition, runs great, $2,000. (501) 286-0698.

2013 SCRAPPER riding mower, 30" cut, less than 10 hrs. on engine, $800. (501) 350-5118.

JOHN DEERE self-propelled walk-behind mower, runs great. (501) 628-7011.

MTD, 6 hp., 18 tiller, like new, $500. (501) 454-1736.

KUBOTA LAWN tractor, older model, $800 obo.; Troybilt lawnmower, $200. 882-2142.

TROYBILT 22 push mower, runs and looks good, $55. (605) 7772, Cabot.

TROYBILT 21 bagger, self-propelled, Honda engine, runs and looks good, $140. 605-7222, Cabot.

YARDMAN 42 cut, older model, new battery, $300. 983-1445.

255 CASE International 3-cylinder diesel w/5 Kubota finishing mower, $1,300. (501) 882-7192.

27 TON log splitter, towable, Troybilt, used 3 summers, $850. (501) 206-9318.

JOHN DEERE front end loader, model 45 SN #1, 2-cylinder, newer bucket, all brackets, cylinder and hoses, $350. (501) 454-4900.


ANIMALS, PETS and SUPPLIES

PRICE REDUCED - good mixed hay, 4x5 rolls, some string-wrapped, some net wrapped and garden manure for sale and bush hog for hire. (501) 416-8107.

LAB./BEAGLE/DACHSHUND MIX puppies, 1 males, 1 female available for adoption at Jacksonville Animal Control, (501) 413-5821.

FREE, 2 gentle dogs, Basset Hound mix and Australian Shepherd mix. (501) 388-2465.

LAMANCHA GOATS, 1 wether, 1 doe, 6 mos. old, $50 ea. or $80 for both. Call/text (501) 743-5079, Stephanie.

QUAIL, ALL sizes. (501) 230-6525.

FREE TO loving home, 3 mature, spayed female cats. 982-6028.

VERY LOVING and playful 10 mo. old black lab w/white stripe under chest, free to loving family. Moving, must find home. (501) 247-0484.

SADDLE, 15" seat, $275. 983-1445.

FREE LABRADOR, 1 yr. old, (501) 749-9429.


MISCELLANEOUS

CUSTOM-MADE INSULATED green drapes, queen bedspread, coral dust ruffle - 15 pcs., pd. $1,200. Asking $165. (501) 268-3886.

FREE LANDFILL - filling in pond. Will take rocks, bricks, blocks, dirt - NO wood or garbage. Go north on Porter Rd. at Johnson Chapel Store, Hwys. 38 and 86, west of DesArc. (870) 854-5094.

FISH BAIT, got rice tail slick, Hwy. 38 and 86, go north on Porter Rd., west of DesArc. (870) 854-5094.

GLASS VASES, all sizes, 25¢-$2 ea.; pictures frames w/pictures, all sizes, 25ó-$5 ea. (501) 843-4890.

Apple iPhone 5s, 16 GB, AT and T, black and silver, excellent condition, no scratches, etc. Complete in box w/ear buds and charger plus an Otter protective cover, $350 cash. (501) 605-2712, leave msg.

REPAIR and operator manuals for John Deere and Allis Chalmers tractors. (501) 416-8107.

3 PT. DRAW bar for Allis Chalmers D-17. (501) 416-8107.

TIN, new rainbow color, 10" and 12"x36" wide. 843-6354.

6.5 HONDA cement mixer, 3 yd. 288-0850.

FULL-SIZE CASIO keyboard w/CD player, $50. (501) 982-2688.

HUFFY 26 bicycle, wide tires, black and white, never ridden, $125 obo. 882-2142.

NEW, AUTOMATIC hospital bed w/mattress, $450; new bed lifter, $200. (501) 982-8064.

I WILL come to your property and clean up - large items, riding mowers, junk welders, large amounts of tin, washer, dryers, freezers. Call (501) 786-0981.

KIRBY SELF-PROPELLED vacuum, $125 obo.; antique stool, iron base, $50; window shade, 28 wide, $20. (501) 882-2142.

PS2 SLIM model w/memory card and all hookups and games, $100 cash. 993-6412.

37 ROMANCE paperback books, $3. (501) 580-1805, Beebe.

BARBIE DOLL collection, never removed from boxes, $10 and up. (501) 580-1805, Beebe.

250 USED cinder blocks, some clean, some have mortar, 75¢ ea. Buy one or buy them all. (501) 286-2758.

LADIES CLOTHING, 18W/20W to 1X, cheap. (501) 255-4186.

MEN'S DRESS blazers, 46 reg., like new, price negotiable. (501) 941-1714.

2 GALLON buckets of Thompson's Water Seal, $40; 2 buckets of roofing for flat or metal roofs, white, $50 ea. (501) 882-2142.

SUMMER BLOW-OUT!!! on Premium Siding, Windows and Metal Roofs. HUGE SAVINGS!!! Never before, never again will improving your home be so affordable. 100 % financing, No money down, Payments $79/mo. Let your home be the showcase of your area. Call Now!!!866-668-8681.


FURNITURE and APPLIANCES

HAIER DORM refrigerator, great for school, $45. 985-2244.

QUEEN SIZE bed and mattress, heavy duty, solid wood, excellent condition, pd. $1,500, sell for $600. (501) 288-0638.

LARGE CHINA cabinet and hutch, touch lighting, good condition, $700; black leather love seat, very good condition, $175. (501) 615-5615.

HANDMADE BAR w/brass foot rail, $1,000; upright piano, $500; framed pictures, multiple sizes, $5-$45. (870) 761-8543.

NEW 28" Samsung HD LED TV, mounted console stand, $140 cash firm. 993-6412.

COUCH and love seat, sage green, great condition, $400. (561) 236-4574, Jax.

JENN-AIR MICROWAVE, model #JMB8000BDB, works fine, have all parts, fits 30 opening, over stove, black, $100. (501) 553-4613.

LARGE ENTERTAINMENT cabinet, honey oak w/double curios, $400. (501) 580-1805, Beebe.

CAMBRIDGE PECAN wood spinster piano, great condition, plays great, recently tuned, $750 obo. (501) 941-8595.

ENTERTAINMENT UNIT, very nice, handmade, dk. wood, fits 26" TV, retractable doors w/storage, $300 obo. (501) 941-8595.

DINING ROOM, French provincial table w/6 chairs, buffet and China cabinet, $1,000. (501) 529-2331.

FRIGIDAIRE STACKABLE washer and dryer, like new, $150. 743-7087.


WANTED

WANTED: 5' bush hog. (501) 609-5473.


RENTALS

Jacksonville Mobile Homes for rent. Quiet safe park, internet security cameras, 2 or 3 bedrooms, kitchen furnished. Water/sewer, trash dumpster and yard care furnished. (501) 982-5267.

IN BEEBE: very nice, 2 Bedroom/2 Bath apartments. All utilities paid including basic cable. Washer and dryer furnished. $700 month. Twin Lakes Apartments. Call Lisa at 278-0498.

COZY STUDIO apartment with wood burning fireplace in Jacksonville. Appliance filled kitchen. Starting at $345 plus utilities. No children or pets. Military discount available. Camp Construction, (501) 982-0434.

Jax. - 1 bedroom campers, all utilities, $450 month. Also, 2 and 3 BR MH $450-$600 month + deposit. All located in a quiet park. (501) 472-4100.

16x80, 2 bedroom mobile home, has separate garage and storage area, on 3 acres of land. Sell or lease. Will carry note with 1/3 down. $45,000. On Hwy. 31 North, Woodlawn Community. (501) 605-9122.


HOUSES FOR SALE

3 BEDROOM, 1 bath house and lot for sale in Ward, $17,000 cash. Call (501) 454-2079.


MOBILE HOMES

MOBILE HOME, 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath, sunroom, large fenced lot, all utilities hooked up, close to Remington and 161, $13,900. Call (501) 680-7777 or (501) 753-8528.

WANT TO BUY A HOME? Have past Issues? We make home buying EASY! Call 501-653- 3204.

SPORTS EVENTS >> 5-20-15

OBITUARIES >> 5-20-15

MICHAEL WILSON

Michael Francis Wilson, 67, of Austin went to be with his Lord on May 1. He was born Jan. 11, 1948, in Malone, N.Y., to the late Henry Wilson and Martha O’Jeda Wilson.

Michael enjoyed spending time with his family and enjoyed fishing. He will be missed by all who knew him.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Patrick Wilson.

Michael is survived by one daughter, Tammy and her husband Mike Nicholson Jr.; three grandchildren, Alexis and Brooklynn Nicholson, Sean Lackie and an unborn grandson, Ethan Nicholson; three brothers, Henry, James and Ross Wilson; a sister, Arlene Mitchell, all of New York, and a host of other family and friends.

A memorial service will be at noon Friday, May 22 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in Sherwood. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


BARNEY VAUGHAN

Barney Raymond Vaughan, 62, of Beebe was born on Aug. 30, 1952, in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) to Daniel Lee and Ada Mae Vaughan, and he went to be with the Lord on May 16.

Barney was a resident of Beebe for more than 40 years. He married his beloved wife, Wanda on May 7, 1976. He worked as a logger for most of his life, and he was also a devoted student of the Bible. Barney enjoyed helping others and was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman and gardener.

He is survived by his children, Ellen of North Dakota, Donna of Beebe, Tommy of Beebe and Charlotte of Judsonia; one brother, Daniel Vaughan of Beebe; three sisters, Lois Cosby and Donnie Cosby, both of Middleton, Tenn., and Mary Elaine Varnell of Senath, Mo., along with many other family members and friends.

Barney was preceded in death by his wife and parents; four brothers, David, Richard, Leonard and Elbert Vaughan, and three sisters, Dorothy Anderson, Alice Bentley and Lucy Vaughan.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with burial in Beebe Cemetery.


DONALD DALBOSCO

Donald Charles Dalbosco Jr., 58, of Beebe went to be with our Lord on May 16.

He was born June 11, 1956, in El Paso, Texas, the son of Donald Charles Dalbosco Sr. and Vera Mihailovich Dalbosco.

Don is survived by his parents; his wife, Diana Hawks Dalbosco; his children, Donnie and Sharla Dalbosco; his stepchildren, Krystal Ireland Reneau, Alisha Hawks Young and Tabitha Wilson; his siblings, Jennifer Dalbosco and John Dalbosco; two special aunts, Linda Dalbosco and Barbara Rodgers, three nieces and two nephews, seven grandchildren and numerous other family and friends.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 21 at the funeral home. He will be laid to rest at Augusta Memorial Park in Augusta.


IMOGENE TRICKEY

Imogene McGloflin Trickey, 99, of Cabot died May 16.

She was born Jan. 3, 1916, in Benton to the late Nathan and Lela Cox McGloflin.

Mrs. Trickey was a member of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church and an avid quilter. Her love for quilting reached far beyond her imagination. Dresses were made for girls in Africa from quilting fabric that Mrs. McGloflin and her family donated to a church missionary.

She was employed by the Cabot Star Herald and worked well after her 90th birthday.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Trickey was preceded in death by her husband, Burl Gedie Trickey, and two brothers, Harold and Sam McGloflin.

Mrs. Trickey is survived by her sister, Lela Roberts, of Jacksonville and a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces and great-nephews.

Visitation will be from 1 until 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 20 with the funeral beginning at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.

Burial will follow at Mount Carmel Cemetery under the direction of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


JAMES POUNDS JR.

James Russell Pounds Jr., 64, of Cabot went to be with his Lord and Savior on May 17.

He was born in Hughes (St. Francis County) on Aug. 8, 1950, to James Russell and Rosie Haycraft Pounds.

James lost his father and grandfather in a tragic accident before he was born.

He spent a lot of time with his maternal grandparents, Floyd and Effie Haycraft. One of James’ fondest childhood memories was spending time with his grandparents, who worked for the actor John Wayne at his ranch in Arizona, where it was common to have Sunday lunch with the actor.

James married the love of his life, Kathy Dianne Anthony, on June 2, 1968. He was a loving and caring son, husband, brother, father and grandfather.

He proudly served in the Army, serving two tours in South Vietnam. He was also a 32nd degree Mason and a Shriner.

James was a godly man, who loved to preach at Cabot Nursing and Rehab. His true passion was witnessing to people. He loved spending time with his family, camping and fishing, and especially his grandchildren.

James had several careers in his life from being a truck driver, pawn-shop owner and heavy equipment operator, but his passion was using his track hoe helping his friends with work around their homes.

James will be missed by all who knew him, but especially his church friends from the Apostolic Revival Church, where he was a member.

He was preceded in death by his father and grandparents and one brother, Henry Lee Ross Jr.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy Dianne Anthony Pounds; sons, James Russell Pounds III and Stephanie, Jerry Thomas Pounds and his wife Kira; his mother, Rosie Pounds Cattaneo; four sisters, Mary Starks and her husband Benny, Beatrice Mason, Doris Coulter and husband Robert, and Brenda Border; six grandchildren, Jimmy, Brandon, Katelyn, Samantha, Logan and Ethan; two great-grandchildren, Jenna and Abby, and host of other family and friends.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 20 at Apostolic Revival Church in Ward. Burial will be at noon at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


JOSHUA MASSEY 

Joshua Allan Massey, 31, of Beebe passed away on May 15.

He was born Feb. 21, 1984, in Little Rock. He worked as a utility man for Best Enterprise in Cabot. He always put his family first, especially his daughter.

He was preceded in death by his son, Matthew Bryan Massey; one brother, Joseph Ryder, and his grandfather, Claude Massey.

He is survived by his loving wife, Tasha Massey; one daughter, Aryonna Massey; one son soon to be born, Mikah Blake Joshua Massey; his father, Gary Randall Massey; his mother, Suzette Criswell; siblings, James Massey and Jillian Price Rodriguez; his grandmother, La Verne Massey, Jeremy Ryder and his best friend, Matt Souza.

Visitation will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Saturday, May 23 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

A graveside service will be at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 24 at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville. Arrangements by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home and Crematory.


CECIL BENTON

Cecil L. Benton, 88, of Jacksonville passed away May 17 at his residence.

Born on Nov. 9, 1926, he was the son of William Henry and Lennie Myrtle Staples Benton. He was a farmer and a member of Chapel Hill Baptist Church in Jacksonville. He served in the Merchant Marines, Army and Air Force.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Karen Gross, five brothers and five sisters.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, LaVerne Vaughn Benton of Jacksonville; a daughter, Cecilia Benton of Nashville, Tenn.; one sister, Tommie Ross of Colombia, Mo., and one granddaughter, Lauren May.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday, May 22 at Cherokee Village Baptist Church in Cherokee Village with Larry White officiating.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until time for services. Burial will follow at the Saddle Cemetery near Ash Flat.

EVENTS >> 5-20-15

SUNNYSIDE GROUP STARTING ACTIVITIES

The Sunnyside Addition in Jacksonville holds neighborhood-watch meetings on the first Monday of the month at the Jacksonville Senior Center, 100 Victory Circle.

“Come out and learn how to make our neighborhood safer for everyone,” according to an announcement from Jacksonville Pride, a beautification group that is organizing the meetings.

Jacksonville Pride is also holding a contest for the prettiest yard in Sunnyside now through June 30. Winners will receive a $200 Walmart gift card. “So let’s get those yards looking good, people,” said an announcement. Participants are asked to post a picture of their yard on the group’s Facebook page before the contest ends.


CAR SHOW MAY 30 AT KNIGHT’S IN JACKSONVILLE 

The Rock City Cruisers car club will hold its third annual car and bike show at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 30 at Knight’s Super Foods in Jacksonville, 315 S. James St.

Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. and will feature one for Knight’s Favorite of the Show and best Backyard Builder for cars and motorcycles. The entry fee is $20 for the first vehicle and $10 for each additional vehicle per participant.

Proceeds will be donated to local charities.

The show is free to the public. In case of rain, the event will be held from 1 until 5 p.m. Sunday, May 31.

For more information, call Knight’s at 501-982-3841, 501-315-3881 or 501-568-2358.


CHURCH WILL DEDICATE NEW YOUTH CENTER TODAY

First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville will dedicate its newly renovated Youth and Activity Center at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Bishop Gary E. Mueller and Mayor Gary Fletcher will preside over the ceremony. A free meal will be served at 5:30 p.m. before the event. The church is at 308 W. Main St.


SHERWOOD BUSINESS GROUP MEETING TODAY

The Sherwood Young Professionals will hold its monthly lunch meeting at 11:30 a.m. today at Jo Jo’s BBQ, 112 Country Club Road.

For more information about the organization, which is part of the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, call Darrell Brown at 501-425-4037 or visit Facebook.com/SherwoodYP.


METEOROLOGISTS SPEAKS MONDAY TO CABOT AARP

Channel 11 meteorologist Tom Brannon will speak at the Cabot AARP’s potluck supper at 6 p.m. Monday at the Cabot Senior Center, 600 N. Grant St.

For more information, call 501-492-1456.


RE:NEW CHURCH WORSHIP FESTIVAL SET FOR JUNE 5

Re:new Church in Cabot will hold a free “Cabot Night of Worship” event from 6 until 9 p.m. Friday, June 5.

There will be local bands, food vendors and more, according to a news release. Those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. The church is at 1122 S. Second St.


CABOT AMERICAN LEGION’S MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE

The Cabot American Legion Post 71 will hold a Memorial Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Veterans Park Community Center, which is at 508 N. Lincoln St.


ATTORNEY GENERAL’S STAFF WILL VISIT JACKSONVILLE

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will hold mobile office hours in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

Staff members from her office will be in Jacksonville City Hall’s council chambers, 1 Municipal Drive, and also at the Lonoke Community Center from 1:30 till 3:30 p.m.

The event intends to assist constituents who are having consumer issues and help them file consumer complaints against scam artists. Staff will also be available to answer questions about the office and the other services it offers constituents.


LONOKE LIONS CLUB SUMMER FESTIVAL ON JUNE 6

The Lonoke Lions Club will hold its annual summer festival from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at the Lonoke County Fairgrounds.

The event, called Summerfest, will include a car show, arts and crafts vendors, food and a battle of the bands.

Proceeds will go to the Lions Club, the Family Resource Center and the Wade Knox Children’s Advocacy Center.

For more information, call 501-940-8454 or 501-231-6006.


DUNKARD CEMETERY NEAR AUSTIN SEEKS DONATIONS 

Dunkard Cemetery, which is located about three-and-a-half miles outside of Austin, is seeking donations to help with its upkeep.

People with relatives buried there are asked to send donations to Ronnie Decker, 2200 Ed Haymes Road, Austin, Ark. 72007.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TOP STORY >> New Sherwood library step closer

By RICK KRON  
Leader staff writer

Sherwood will have $3.9 million to actually build its new library and close to $1 million to purchase the four to six acres needed for the facility, according to Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System.

Roberts made the announcement at an organizational meeting of the land selection committee Monday night at the city’s current library.

The committee should have the site selected by the end of summer.

Roberts said plans call for a new 14,500-square-foot library, which would be 6,000 square feet larger than the city’s current facility, the Amy Sanders Library.

He said voters approved a temporary 1.3 millage increase in November to issue $6 million in bonds. The estimated annual cost to taxpayers is about $39 on a $150,000, or the cost of two new hardback books a year. The tax will end when the bonds are paid off, which Roberts said typically takes about 12 years.

He told the committee that breaks down to $3.9 million for the building, a $195,000 contingency fee, $274,000 for extra architectural and engineering expenses and $435,000 for furnishings, leaving $980,200 for purchasing the land.

“If we get the land for less than that, the savings can be used on the building or another aspect of the library, but it must be used on the library,” Roberts said.

The committee will advertise for site possibilities through the newspaper, the city website and the CALS website.

Alderman Ken Keplinger, one of the seven members, suggested that all site suggestions get turned in by 5 p.m. June 19.

Roberts said it would take about a week for CALS to develop a list from the sites turned in.

He then said committee members needed to visit the sites before meeting to rank them.

Once the committee ranks the sites based on such criteria as visibility, city growth patterns, access and price, Roberts said the architects and engineers will rank the sites based on technical criteria, including the ease or difficulty of preparing the site, utilities and soil conditions.

“Often the committee’s picks mesh with architect’s rankings,” he added.

Roberts suggested the committee narrow the selection to three or four. “No site will be perfect, so it will be a compromise and what is best for the city,” he said, noting that if three or four sites are in the running that often helps reduce the price.

Roberts pointed out that, at times, the library system has had land donated to them, but the cost of preparing the land because of flood issues or soil conditions actually made it more expensive than going out and buying a good piece of land.

The committee decided that all site suggestions be sent to the library, and they are hoping to start with 30 or 40 possibilities.

“The biggest requirement is that the land has to be within the city limits,” Roberts said. “And then the acreage and the price cannot exceed $980,000.”

Mayor Virginia Young re-emphasized the need to have at least four acres. “We’ve already built on a small size and don’t want to do that again,” the mayor said.

Keplinger said, wherever the library ends up, he wants to “make it easier for Gravel Ridge to come to the Sherwood facility than Jacksonville.”

Members of the committee include Keplinger, Bonnie Bratcher, William Paul Cummings, Planning Commissioner Lucien Gillham, Dr. Kelly Sanders, Martha Van Pelt and CALS Board of Trustees member Lupe Pena-Valdez, who will act as the chairman.

TOP STORY >> Dividing assets by Jacksonville, PCSSD expected

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Jacksonville-North Pulaski and PCSSD may settle the division of assets and liabilities in time for consideration when U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall holds his status hearing on Aug. 21, PCSSD attorney Allen Roberts told the judge Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Joshua Intervenors’ lawyer John Walker told Marshall that the minority group won’t support the detachment unless they have assurances that the Jacksonville-North Pulaski County School District will move forward with an ambitious plan to build new facilities and rehabilitate others and fairly elect a school board.

Moments later, JNP attorney Scott Richardson told the judge Jacksonville already has its own district thanks to a multi-party agreement that Walker and others signed off on a couple years ago and actions taken by the state Board of Education and the court.

The district has already been created, Richardson said. It’s working on refining its facilities planning beginning July 1 with Charles Stein, the current director of the state transportation and facilities planning division. Stein retires from PCSSD June 30 and starts contract work with JNP the next day.

The new district has already submitted a rough draft facilities plan itself and another, with narrative, under the umbrella of PCSSD, according to JNP Chief of Staff Phyllis Stewart.

The district plans to submit a new facilities plan, with Stein’s guidance, at the first possible opportunity, and matching money could be available from the state during the 2017-19 funding cycle.

The state is expected to pay at least 50 percent of all qualifying construction and remodeling for JNP, because it’s a relatively poor district.

ELECT BOARD

Walker wants Jacksonville to elect its own school board, then secure construction funding through the state facilities partnership program — things they can’t do unless they are a functioning, detached district.

JNP is currently operating with an appointed board, but will have board elections in September.

Meanwhile, PCSSD had planned a complete makeover of its facilities, including two new high schools and two elementary schools, but the millage increase to fund a $220 million program failed at the polls last week.

PLAN B

Instead, PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess told Marshall that the district would proceed with Plan B, which will issue second-lien bonds to help raise $55 million to replace Mills High School and to move Fuller Middle School to the refurbished Mills building.

In other matters, Marshall ruled that, for now at least, JNP would not be a party to the existing desegregation suit before him, but that in some circumstances its lawyers could brief the court and address issues related to desegregation.

RAIDED TREASURY

Still on the issue of facilities and the failed millage increase, Walker noted that Maumelle was an affluent community that had “already raided the treasury.”

He asked Guess how the Maumelle patrons had voted on the issue. “Maumelle rejected it by 84 percent.”

“They got theirs and then dramatically rejected improvements for the rest,” Walker said.

On the issue of unitary status, PCSSD attorney Brittney Moore said the failure of the millage increase scuttled efforts to solve the facilities piece of the unitary solution.

The district also has yet to become unitary in student discipline, staffing and monitoring.

She said the district was working next on staffing, which will depend in part on how teachers and support staff are divided for the JNP detachment.

DONALDSON SCHOLARS

The Donaldson Scholars Program at University of Arkansas at Little Rock and also Philander Smith College was making good progress in helping at-risk students, founder Charles Donaldson testified, but instead of the 600 PCSSD students it had hoped to work with, only 140 signed on.

This is part of the solution in the academic scholarships piece.

TOP STORY >> Mom upset over reckless driving

By SARAH CAMPBELL
Leader staff writer

At Monday’s Cabot City Council meeting, a mother asked that neighborhoods be made safer after describing how a 16-year-old driver “joy riding” nearly struck her three children in front of their home.

Also, an ordinance lifting the ban on fireworks was read for a second time. It must be read a third time before it can be approved, and aldermen appear to be split on the matter. No one spoke for or against the ordinance.

Teresa Winningham was inside her house on Confederate Drive when she heard screaming and “squealing tires.”

She said, about seeing the car spun around and a brick mailbox next door that the teen had destroyed, “My heart dropped. I thought my children were underneath that vehicle.”

Cypert told Winningham the city would do all it could to address her concerns.
Options include installing “speed-calming devices” like bumps or rumble strips, signs prohibiting through traffic and an electronic radar sign Cabot police bought recently because accidents like that have become more common.

The mother lives in the Shiloh Subdivision, where the mayor said he had already requested greater police presence to enforce the speed limit.

Winningham told The Leader she is willing to consider every available course of action and would circulate the petition required to get speed bumps or strips there.

The mayor said two-thirds of the homeowners must sign in favor of a “speed-calming device,” a 24-hour study must show that there are enough people driving over the limit there, and the city must find an appropriate place to install one.

Cypert said speed bumps or strips couldn’t go in front of a driveway, mailbox or between two driveways set too close together. The city will also decide what type of “speed-calming device” to install, he noted.

City Attorney Jim Taylor added that he would look into charging the teen with endangering the welfare of a minor. He has already received a reckless driving citation.

Winningham told The Leader her 20-year-old son had to grab both and throw one of his younger brothers — ages 3 and 5 — to get them out of the car’s path.

The family recently lost a cousin who was killed after being struck by a driver in his Arizona neighborhood, so the accident hit close to home, Winningham and her husband told the mayor after the meeting.

All three of the couple’s children were playing Frisbee in the front yard around 3:30 p.m. May 6, the mother said, when the teen driver lost control of his car after “squealing his tires around the turn” to impress a friend in the passenger’s seat.

Winningham said the teen, whose permit was suspended, wasn’t the first to cut through her neighborhood and come close to hitting people.

Another teen driver recently struck a car parked on the street about 10 feet from kids who were waiting at a nearby bus stop.

Cypert thanked Winning-ham for bringing her concerns to the council’s attention and said, “We’re sorry you had to go through this traumatic event. I can only imagine how you felt and what the neighbors thought.”

He also suggested partnering with the school district to educate students and parents that they shouldn’t cut through neighborhoods.

In her comments, Winningham noted that there aren’t sidewalks or bike trails in her subdivision. But, the mayor explained, that mistake couldn’t be remedied.

The developer should have included sidewalks, and possibly bike trails, in his plans, but the city didn’t press the issue, Cypert said. Winningham said she understood.

After the meeting, the couple also told him they were concerned about former Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh appearing at the scene of the accident and speaking with the police officer who wrote the citation.

Cypert said he had already heard of and followed up on that. He reassured the Winninghams that the former mayor was just a family friend of the teen and had asked the officer to issue a citation.

In other business:

• Winningham was the only resident who spoke at the meeting, although a crowd was expected to comment on the proposed lifting of the city’s fireworks ban.

It appeared that about half the council wants the ban and the other half doesn’t, as a two-thirds vote is needed to suspend further readings required before it can be adopted and become law.

The vote on a motion to do that was 5-4, with Cypert breaking the tie. But a sixth vote for suspending the readings was needed, the city attorney said.

The council voted on adopting the ordinance, but the city attorney clarified that the motion hadn’t passed as they thought and stopped the vote before a roll call that would have showed where everyone stood.

The ordinance will have to be read again, for a third time, at next month’s meeting before it can be adopted or voted down. However, it was amended from allowing fireworks on New Year’s Eve and July 1-5 to allowing them New Year’s Eve and July 3-5.

• The council passed, with no discussion, a resolution authorizing the mayor to negotiate selling the Richie Road Gym to ARcare.

Mayor Bill Cypert said earlier this month that ARcare had offered $375,000 for the building, parking lot, two baseball fields behind it, the easement and 10 feet of property immediately behind the gym, 502 Richie Road.

ARcare is a private, nonprofit corporation developed to provide affordable care to meet the primary medical and dental needs of residents in rural Arkansas, according to its website.

ARcare wants to open a clinic at the Richie Road site and share the facility with the Lonoke County Christian Clinic, which has been leasing the gym for $1 per year since 2008.

The Christian nonprofit has about $150,000 in loans to pay off, the mayor told the council previously. The loans funded renovations to the old gym that raised the property’s value, and the Christian clinic should be compensated for them, Cypert said then.

The city may still get about $225,000 from the sale that could be used for ongoing parks projects, like improvements to the municipal pool or the under-construction Cabot Sports and Aquatic Complex, the mayor said previously.

• The council approved, with little discussion, an ordinance authorizing the issuance of a $450,000 promissory note so that Regions Bank can provide financing needed to purchase a fire truck. The interest rate is 1.64 percent.

An emergency clause was added because ordinances that are approved without one go into effect after 30 days rather than immediately.

A portion of the city’s taxes designated for fire apparatus will be used to make payments on the loan.

EDITORIAL >> Jack McNally fraud, thief

Jack McNally, the disgraced former Lonoke County assessor, was arrested for fraud last week after a lengthy investigation that began long before last May’s Republican primary in which he was defeated by Jerrell Maxwell after two terms.

McNally snuck into office with few credentials by running as a Republican when the party cleared out Democrats from nearly all county offices. He was a code-enforcement officer in Cabot under Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh.

McNally promised to reform the tax code during his campaign, something no county assessor has the authority to do.

He seemed to have little understanding of the job even after taking office. He also seldom reported to work, according to a former deputy who was fired for telling her boss to help her. She had worked for the county since 1999. She said McNally’s wife told her that she wished he would go to work because he mostly stayed at home on the couch watching TV all day.

After she was fired, other county officials were not pleased and soon found another job for her at the county courthouse.

McNally was also a no-show during Lonoke County Quorum Court meetings, where justices of the peace would often note his absence and commented that his input was needed for them to do their jobs.

As a code-enforcement officer, his professional record was even worse. He was suspected of stealing from vacant homes. In one case, he allegedly removed property, which was never recovered, from a backyard because he said he needed to mow the lawn. Lawnmowers were reportedly stolen, as well as barbecue grills and even a swing set.

No charges were ever filed, probably because then-prosecutor Lona McCastlain knew it would be difficult to prove. Firing McNally would have been an easier solution, but he wasn’t let go by the city until Eddie Joe Williams became mayor.

Former Cabot Alderman Odis Waymack knew McNally was not an honest city employee. Commenting on McNally’s arrest, Waymack told us, “I think he should have been arrested back in ’06 when he stole all that stuff. I think he’s always been a bully, forcing his way in. He’s just a thug as I see it.”

Waymack presumably told McNally as much when the two were involved in a scuffle at a candidates forum in Cabot back in 2010. Both men were convicted of disorderly conduct, but it’s hard to believe that Waymack — a legally blind octogenarian — was as responsible for the fight as McNally.

McNally went on to win that race by defeating Jerry Adams, who lost because he was a Democrat. But more accusations against McNally followed.

McNally was investigated for pocketing money from collection jars he distributed in the area to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. It would not have been the first time he ripped off veterans.

Last week’s arrest came after law enforcement discovered McNally did not disclose that he was a convicted felon when he filed to run for office. He pleaded guilty in 1986 to stealing nearly 5,000 military field coats from a government contractor.

That conviction made it illegal for him to vote, run for office or possess a firearm. A state investigator took away his gun when he was arrested. McNally claims he believed the conviction was expunged, but nothing in court records indicate that was ever done. He’s also accused of illegally using a county credit card for personal use.

Voters did the right thing when they turned him out of office last year. If he has any supporters left, they can join him at 9 a.m. July 6 in Lonoke County Circuit Court for plea and arraignment.

SPORTS STORY >> Bears fall in semis to defending champs

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

HARRISON – Sylvan Hills’ run in the 5A baseball tournament came to an end Saturday just one game away from playing for a state championship. The Bears fell 10-4 to defending state champion White Hall after building a 3-0 lead in the first two innings. The Bulldogs, the No. 4 seed from the 5A-South, have won two of the last three state championships, each time as a four seed. They will play tournament host Harrison on Saturday in this year’s championship game.

Sylvan Hills’ four starting seniors were phenomenal in the tournament. Marcus Long took over on the mound in the first round after Hunter Heslep was hit in the head by a thrown baseball, and shut down the Batesville Pioneers to clear the way for a comeback victory. Blake Maddox held 5A-South champion Watson Chapel to one run in the quarterfinal round.

In the semifinals, Heslep broke his left foot on his first at-bat, fouling three pitches off the top of it, but finished the game and went 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, not knowing the foot was broken until X-rays revealed the extent of the injury the next day.

Lukas Burrow hit almost .500 for the tournament, including two doubles and scored four runs. Outfielder Nathan Thomas went 6 for 10 at the plate in the tournament with four doubles.

“I’m really proud of my seniors,” said Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton. “They really pushed the team concept and helped these kids learn and get better. We’d lost in the first round five years in a row. They helped us break that and get started on another run. Hopefully these juniors, sophomores and freshmen we had in the dugout will learn from it and keep going. A few of them told me they could almost taste it. I told them don’t forget that and bring that back with you next season.”

Because he had only thrown three and a third innings on round one, Long had six and two-thirds innings left of his three-day allowed total. He picked up right where he left off in the first two innings. The senior southpaw struck out four in the first two frames as the Bears built their lead.

Heslep hit the RBI base hit in the first inning. In the second, Thomas hit a two-run double to put the Bears up by three.

Tipton, though, felt like the strike zone changed on Long later in the game, rendering him less effective.

“They stopped giving us anything on the outside,” said Tipton. “Marcus isn’t going to overpower you. Marcus’ forte is hitting his spots perfectly. If you make him throw right down the middle he’s not going to be as effective.”

White Hall scored four runs on four hits in the fourth inning to take the lead, but in the fifth, things fell apart for the Bears.

White Hall scored five runs on just three hits in an inning that included two Sylvan Hills errors and a home run by Kirk Baugh that made it 9-3.

In the quarterfinal round, Sylvan Hills beat 5A-South champion Watson Chapel 8-1. Maddox got the complete-game victory, giving up seven hits while striking out five and walking three.

Sylvan Hills (19-12) scored one run in each of the third and fourth innings before blowing the game open with six runs in the sixth. Carson Sanders hit a two-run double, the first of three-straight doubles by the Bears. Burrow hit one to drive in Sanders, and Thomas followed with another one to score Burrow.

“We made a good run and I think we learned a lot about how to play the game of baseball towards the end,” Tipton said. “We learned it’s going to be a battle. Early in the season it seemed like we went into every game wanting to blow people out, and when it didn’t go our way, it was a big letdown. But when you play good teams, you’re going to win by one or just a couple of runs most of the time, and things can turn at any time.

“And they didn’t quit. When you’re up and you’ve got all that excitement and energy, and then all of a sudden you’re down and it looks like it’s not going to happen, it’s tough. But they kept battling and I’m proud of that. Give White Hall credit, too. They’re the defending state champions and they played like it. We got them down early and had all the momentum, and they didn’t quit. They played like you’re supposed to.”

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils get upset by host of tournament

By RAY BENTON 
Leader sports editor

HARRISON – The senior heavy Jacksonville Red Devils entered the 5A state baseball tournament as one of the favorites and with hopes of winning a second state championship in four years. But that was hope was burst against an even more senior-heavy team and tournament host Harrison. The Goblins scored all of its runs in one huge inning and upset the 5A-Central champions 7-3 Friday in the quarterfinal round.

Offensively, the story for Jacksonville was one of missed opportunities. The Red Devils also scored all three runs in the seventh, but had at least one runner in scoring position in all but two innings. They put runners at second and third in the fifth and sixth innings, but came away empty.

“Even down like that, I felt like if we could’ve pushed any of those runs across in the fifth or sixth, we would’ve come back and won it in the seventh,” said Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows. “If you’re down 7-2 instead of 7-0, even that changes things when you start putting runners on base like we did in the seventh.”

Jacksonville (23-7) loaded the bases with no outs in the final inning, and while it did manage to manufacture ways to get those base runners across the plate, it didn’t come up with another base hit to keep the rally going.”

The decisive fifth inning was all Harrison. Jacksonville committed no errors, though there was one fly ball to right field that should have been an out had Laderrious Perry not slipped and fell on the wet outfield grass. Other than that, the Goblins simply had a great inning.

Two drag bunts were placed perfectly and at unexpected times for base hits. The bunting strategy forced the Red Devil infield to play in, resulting in hard ground balls that got through that otherwise would not have had the infield been playing at normal depth. And when small ball put runners on, the Goblins came through with power.

The inning included three doubles into power gaps that each drove in at least one run. One, a two-run shot to left-center field, came on an 0-2 pitch just as it seemed Jacksonville might begin to get out of the jam.

“It wasn’t like we were kicking it around,” Burrows said. “They just executed everything they did. We talked about pulling (pitcher James) Tucker, but we only had one bad pitch. That 0-2 changeup was the only pitch I wish we had back. Other than that he was throwing good pitches. He’s good. He was hitting his spots. They were just hitting it.”

Tucker went back to the mound in the sixth and retired Harrison in order, including two strikeouts before being replaced by Brandon Hickingbotham in the seventh.

Harrison’s roster included 13 seniors on a team that expected to compete for a state championship this year. Though the Goblins had a disappointing regular season that resulted in a third-place finish in the 5A-West, they’ve been the best-hitting team in the tournament so far.

The seven runs against Jacksonville was the Goblins’ lowest total in the tournament. They beat Hot Springs Lakeside 9-7 in the first round, and mercy-ruled Magnolia 11-1 in five innings in the semifinals, ending that game with back-to-back home runs.

“I didn’t realize they had that many seniors, but they played like an experienced team,” Burrows said.

The head Red Devil says goodbye to eight of his own seniors, including seven who have been at least part-time starters for three years.

“It hurts,” Burrows said. “It hurts. My heart breaks for them because I know they wanted to win that championship together. But at the same time, my heart’s full because of them. It was a great group, a fun group. They worked hard, won a lot of games and we had a lot of fun.”

SPORTS STORY >> CHS ladies dominate state MOC

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

The Cabot girls’ track team got a modicum of revenge Saturday in Russellville, where the Lady Panthers dominated the Arkansas High School Meet of Champions.

The Lady Panthers lost the 7A state championship by a half point to Bentonville the week before, but outscored the Lady Tigers 92-46 on Saturday, easily beating the rest of the competition and doubling up the point total of the second-place Lady Tigers. Bryant took third with 36 points, and Class 6A teams Parkview and Lake Hamilton tied with 35 to finish fourth and fifth.

The most gratifying win for the Lady Panthers came in the 4x400-meter relay, the race in which Bentonville stole the 7A title on the last event with a time it had never come close to achieving before. The Lady Tigers beat Cabot by .57 seconds at the state meet, running a 4:00.82, almost six seconds faster than its best time before that meet. On Saturday, that same Bentonville team ran it in 4:19.61 to finish ninth and out of the points.

The Cabot team of Tori and Lexi Weeks, Danielle McWilliams and Tristyn Edgar almost broke the state record with a school record time of 3:55.96.

“It felt good beating them,” said Cabot senior Tori Weeks. “Especially in that one event, the 4x400. We lost state by a half a point and we really wanted to beat them. I thought that last race everyone of us ran the best we could.”

Rainy conditions weren’t ideal for record-setting, but Cabot senior Lexi Weeks still broke her own pole vault record for the third time, clearing 14-feet, two-inches. She broke the state record last week by clearing 13-7, and broke her all-time best record of 14-0 as well on Saturday.

Tori Weeks took second in the pole vault with a jump of 13-6. She was also second in the triple jump after winning the Class 7A state championship. She came up six inches short of her school-record jump at state with a leap of 37-1, but it wouldn’t have mattered for her placement Saturday. Parkview’s Jada Baylark became the first girl in Arkansas high school history to jump 40-feet, blowing away the old record by almost a foot and a half with a jump of 40-7 1/2.

Baylark also beat 7A champion Lexi Weeks by a hair in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing in 14.67 to beat Lexi’s 14.82. Baylark also won the 100-meter dash.

Lexi Weeks set a new school record in the 400-meter dash, breaking her mother Amy’s 30-year-old school record of 57.24 with a time of 56.96.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Lexi Weeks of breaking her mother’s record set in 1985. “I just started running the open quarter last year and didn’t break 58, but this year I had gotten close to it. I always had a problem getting out fast so this time I made sure I did that. But then coming around the last stretch, this girl from Crossett who I had never raced against started gaining on me and I barely beat her at the end. But I know if she hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have broken the record. She pushed me to finish strong and that’s why I got it.”

Lexi also admitted that breaking her mother’s record has been a goal since she began running the 400-meters as a junior.

In her first year of competing in the event, she came close to breaking 58 seconds, and felt like 57.24, which was also a state record at the time, was within her reach the following year.

“All year she’s been really supporting me,” Lexi said. “I guess maybe in a way she wanted to keep it, but she was really happy for me. She was screaming and cheering so it was nice. She was happy her own daughter was the one to break it.”

Tori Weeks and McWilliams finished first and second in the 300-meter hurdles. Tori broke another school record in the event with a time of 44.6, and McWilliams ran it in 46.02, beating her state meet time by .6 seconds.

Tori and Lexi now hold a combined 11 school records, including two relay records they hold together. Tori holds five event records, including the triple jump, 300 hurdles, 800-meter race and the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.

Lexi holds five event records, including pole vault, long jump, 400-meter and the two relays, plus the school record in total points in the heptathlon. They finished second and third in the 2014 heptathlon.

Cabot senior Micah Huckabee won the 1,600-meter race by a good margin, finishing five seconds off her personal best, but still beating everyone else by at least 14 seconds with a time of 5:04.83. Huckabee did not run in the 3,200, but her 11:21 time at the 7A meet would have won on Saturday by nine seconds.

Cabot took second in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 49.07, just .21 seconds behind Conway. The girls’ 4x800-meter relay team finished seventh for two points.

The Cabot boys’ team scored 11 points on Saturday. Brayden Mercantel got six of them with a third-place finish in the 1,600-meter race behind Texarkana’s Tyler Braswell and Harrison’s Seth Waters. Senior Brandon Jones took seventh in the discus with a throw of 141.06. Sophomore Britton Alley finished eighth in the 200-meter dash, and the 4x400-meter relay team finished in eighth place for a point.

Other local athletes to perform well included Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter’s Jordan McNair, Lonoke’s Justin Meadows and Beebe’s Connor Patrom. McNair, the two-time Class 1A 100-meter dash champion, took fourth on Saturday behind Henri Murphy of Dollarway and Timothy Stuckey and Andrew Bishop of Texarkana.

Meadows finished second behind Fayetteville’s Caleb Cooper in the triple jump. Cooper’s jump of 45-10 was just 6 1/2 inches better than Meadows.

Patrom, the 5A state long jump champion, finished eighth on Saturday.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot brushes off Van Buren, earns title bid

By GRAHAM POWELL
Leader sportswriter

ROGERS – A two-hitter by Cabot junior Kaitlyn Felder and a Rachel Allgood home run helped catapult the Lady Panthers to a 4-0 win over Van Buren in the semifinals of the Class 7A state softball tournament Saturday at Veterans Park.

The win sets up a third meeting this season with North Little Rock in the Class 7A state championship game at 10 a.m. Friday at Bogle Park in Fayetteville.

Cabot (27-4), the No. 1 East seed, swept NLR (20-8), the No. 2 East seed, in their two 7A/6A-East Conference games in late April.

In Saturday’s semifinal against Van Buren (24-5), the No. 2 Central seed, the Lady Panthers scored their first run in the bottom of the second inning on Allgood’s solo home run that sailed over the fence in right field.

The one-out bomb helped set the tone for what was to come in the third and fourth innings.

“I think it woke us up a little bit and got things going, knowing that we could come out and score some runs,” said Cabot coach Chris Cope of Allgood’s home run, “and it kept us going for about three innings.”

Cabot added to its lead in the bottom of the third with two more runs. The Lady Panthers took a 2-0 lead on a one-out single up the middle by three-hole hitter Megan Goodnight.

Shortstop Heather Hill scored from second on the play, after singling earlier in the inning and Goodnight went to second base on the throw home. Goodnight scored two batters later on a two-out single to right field off the bat of Erin Eckert, which put the Lady Panthers up 3-0.

Cabot scored the game’s final run in the fourth inning. In that inning, Macee Abbott reached on a fielder’s choice at second base. Parker Steadman came in to run for Abbott. Steadman advanced to second base on a passed ball, and scored on a two-out double to deep right center by Hill, which set the final score.

Felder gave up Van Buren’s only two hits of the game the next inning, but that was the only time the Lady Pointers threatened to score. In the top of the seventh, Felder retired the side, striking out the final two batters, to end the game and send the Lady Panthers to the program’s second-ever state championship game.

“Felder came out and had a great outing and kept them off balance,” Cope said. “She did well and our defense made some good plays behind her and she did what we asked her to do.”

Felder gave credit to the defense behind her after the game, and said her curveball is what helped keep Van Buren’s hitters off balance.

“Nobody could touch the curve and the backdoor curve,” said Felder, “and the defense backed me up really well.”

Felder threw all seven innings and finished the complete game with nine strikeouts, allowing just two walks and the two hits. Cabot had eight hits total for the game. Goodnight led all batters, going 3 for 3 with three singles, an RBI and run scored.

Hill was 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored, and Felder, Eckert and Allgood had one hit each.

Cabot got to Saturday’s semifinal with an 8-4 come-from-behind win over Springdale Har-Ber in Friday’s quarterfinal round. The Lady Panthers trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but reeled off seven-straight runs in that inning to beat the No. 3 West seed Lady Wildcats and advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

North Little Rock has won the last two Class 7A state softball championships. The Lady Charging Wildcats got to this year’s finals by beating No. 6 West seed Fort Smith Northside 8-5 in the first round Thursday, No. 1 West seed Rogers 2-0 in the quarterfinals Friday, and No. 1 Central seed Bryant 6-1 in the semis on Saturday.

Cabot beat NLR by scores of 6-1 and 6-5 in their late April meetings, but Friday’s game has everything riding on it.

“You couldn’t ask for a better match-up,” Cope said. “We’re going to see what happens on Friday.”

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers Bogle bound


By GRAHAM POWELL
Leader sportswriter

On Friday morning at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, the Cabot High School softball team will look to do something the program’s never done before, and that’s win a state championship.

In order to achieve that goal, the Lady Panthers will have to knock off the defending two-time Class 7A state champion North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats for a third time this season. First pitch of Friday’s championship game is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Cabot comes into Friday’s game with a stellar 27-4 record. The Lady Panthers entered the Class 7A state tournament as the No. 1 seed from the 7A/6A-East Conference, while NLR, who has a 20-8 record this season, is the two seed from the East.

The two teams met twice this season. On April 21, Cabot beat NLR 6-1 at Burns Park in what was the 7A-East Conference opener, and on April 23, the Lady Panthers completed the season sweep over the Lady Charging Wildcats with a narrow 6-5 win at the CHS softball field.

Friday’s game will be the CHS softball program’s second-ever trip to the state finals. The Lady Panthers’ only other appearance was in 2000, where they finished as state runner-up to Rogers. That year was only the state’s second for fast-pitch softball at the high school level.

On paper, the Lady Panthers go into Friday’s game as the favorite, but NLR will be the team going in with the championship experience, and several of those current NLR players have been big contributors for those state championship teams the last two years.

“You would think they would have an advantage,” said third-year Cabot head coach Chris Cope. “They’ve been there the last two years. They know how to win a state championship. It’s the first time for our girls, but I think our girls believe they have a chance.

“We’ve made it this far, so I think it’s anybody’s game now. We’re giving ourselves a chance by being there.”

Despite NLR coming into Friday’s game with the big-game experience on its side, NLR head coach Anthony Cantrell doesn’t see it as a big factor.

“I don’t think so,” said Cantrell. “I think any time you beat somebody the way they beat us, they’re obviously going to be the favorite coming in, which they ought to be. They’ve had a great year. Head-to-head, they kind of handed it to us twice.

“Having said that, having that experience may give us a little bit of something as far as what to expect on how things go.”

Neither team has an edge over the other in experience. Both teams are loaded with experienced players, but not all are seniors. The Lady Cats have six seniors on their team, and all six have been major contributors for NLR in their time there.

Those seniors are Lydia Belew, Rachel Gregory, Morgan Seaton, Ashton Bobbitt, Bailey Harris and catcher McKenzie Escovedo, who’s one of the best hitters and catchers in the state.

Other key players for NLR are juniors Sydney Parr and Hannah Lovercheck. Parr, the team’s second baseman, is one of best leadoff hitters in the state with exceptional speed, and sophomore Reagan Sperling is another speedster that led the Lady Cats with five hits in the two April games against Cabot.

Cabot has four seniors, and several talented underclassmen. The most decorated Cabot senior is pitcher/first baseman Megan Goodnight.

Goodnight, an Arkansas Tech signee, transferred to Cabot from Conway for her senior year, and leads the Lady Panthers in batting with a .459 average. She has 50 base hits, 44 RBIs and nine home runs – all of which are team-highs.

Goodnight has also scored 28 runs this season, which is tied for third-most on the team, along with fellow senior Lane Justus. Goodnight and the rest of her classmates suffered through some struggles early in the season, but Goodnight said the quick turnaround can be attributed to hard work and coaching.

“He definitely pushed us,” said Goodnight of her head coach. “We did two-a-days and he really pushed us – him (Cope) and coach (Sean) Coker and coach (Allison) Astin. They’ve really been awesome coaches. These girls, they’ve really influenced me, and they’ve just made me work harder than I thought was possible.”

Goodnight’s senior teammates are Justus, center fielder Erin Eckert and right fielder Shauna Attendorn. All four seniors have contributed to the team’s success, and have done so in different ways.

Justus has spent the bulk of her senior season as a courtesy runner, with speed being one of her biggest strengths. Attendorn has made most of her plays in right field, while Eckert has made plenty of plays both in the field and at the plate.

Eckert has 29 base hits this season, 23 RBIs, 27 runs scored and a batting average of .362. Her fielding percentage in center field is .958.

The three seniors that have been with the program since their freshman year have been a part of one of the biggest turnarounds possible. Cabot won just three games during their freshman year, but when Cope took over head-coaching duties the next year, the team’s win total grew to double digits.

The Lady Panthers won even more games the next year, and have won 27 out of their 31 games played this season.

“I definitely saw us getting better each year,” said Eckert. “You could see us slowly getting better and we knew we had a chance this year.”

“Our freshman year, we only won three games,” said Justus. “So now being in the finals is real big for us. It’s good to have all of us (seniors) together for this last year, especially after the experience we had freshman year.”

The Lady Panthers know the challenge will be great on Friday, but the opportunity to win a state championship will be like a dream come true.

“They’ve been there before and we haven’t,” Goodnight said, “but it’s something we’ve always dreamed of. I mean, we’ve all been playing since we were like 6 (years old), and it’s a dream come true really.”

Though the senior Lady Panthers have been a big part of the program’s turnaround, the same could be said for the team’s underclassmen.

Six of the Lady Panthers’ regular starters in the field are juniors and below. Junior shortstop Heather Hill continues to make strides towards a promising career at the collegiate level.

Hill has a .427 batting average this season, which ranks second on the team. She has 38 base hits, six home runs, 35 RBIs and a team-high 36 runs scored, and she’s a vacuum at shortstop with a .963 fielding percentage.

Other juniors that have played exceptionally throughout the season are second baseman Rachel Allgood, third baseman Macee Abbott and catcher/pitcher Kaitlyn Felder.

Felder earned the win in the circle in the Lady Panthers’ semifinal win over Van Buren on Saturday. She threw a two-hitter that game, finishing with nine strikeouts, but she’s done a lot of damage at the plate this season as well.

Felder, the Lady Panthers’ cleanup hitter, has a .363 average this year, five home runs, a team-high 24 extra base hits (37 base hits total), and 33 RBIs. Allgood hit a solo home run in the semifinals against Van Buren. It was her third homer of the season.

Allgood is hitting .377 this season with 29 base hits, 22 RBIs and 27 runs scored. Abbott has 14 base hits and the same number of RBIs this year, and 22 runs scored.

Sophomores Hannah Montgomery and Lauren McCluskey are the other two regular starters for Cabot. Montgomery plays first base when Goodnight pitches, and when Goodnight plays first base Montgomery stays in the lineup as the designated player.

Montgomery is hitting .310 at the plate this season and has 22 base hits. McCluskey, the team’s left fielder, is hitting .303 with 30 base hits and a whopping 35 runs scored.

Ashlyn Spears is a freshman for the Lady Panthers, and has played well in whatever role she’s been given this season. She’s batting .379 this season, going 11 for 29 at the plate, with four of those hits being doubles. She’s also scored 24 runs.

In the field, Spears plays catcher whenever Felder pitches and Spears even has a win in the circle this season.

Cabot has totaled 280 base hits this season and an overall team batting average of .341. The Lady Panthers’ ability to hit the ball is something Cantrell is well aware of.

“They hit it up and down the lineup,” Cantrell said of Cabot. “One through nine, they hit it as well as anybody we’ve seen in a long time. So that’s the big thing – up and down the lineup they can hit the ball wherever you throw it.”

Cope echoed the same thoughts regarding NLR’s biggest strength.

“Every time they step in the box, they can hit it,” Cope said of NLR. “They’ve got some speed on the bases, but their biggest thing is they can hit it. Every one of them, from one-to-nine hitters, they all can hit it and all have a chance. And their pitcher, she does a good job as well, and they know how to win.”

Depth in the circle has been another strength for Cabot this season. Goodnight has been the ace this year for the Lady Panthers, with a 15-3 record and an ERA of 1.50. She’s also struck out a team-high 77 batters this season.

Felder is the strong No. 2 for Cabot. She has a perfect 8-0 record this year with an ERA of 0.77. She’s struck out 60 batters this season and has given up just six earned runs in the 11 total games she’s pitched.

McCluskey and Montgomery have also earned wins this season in the circle and both are ace-worthy pitchers that are capable of being successful at the position whenever called upon to do so.

Cope has been the head coach of two state championship teams in his coaching career. He won a state championship at Class 4A Dardanelle in 2007 before winning a state title at Class 6A Searcy in 2011, but said this team is the first he’s had that’s deep at pitcher.

“This is the first school that we’ve had depth at pitcher,” Cope said. “At any one time, we’ve pitched three or four different girls, and we have five – a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and senior, and they’ve all been a big part of our success.

“If somebody’s been struggling, somebody’s come in and they’ve taken their place. So that’s been a big factor for us as well.”

North Little Rock also has depth at pitcher, but the Lady Cats’ ace is Gregory, who pitched in the team’s state championship win a year ago. Gregory also pitched both games against Cabot this year.

“She’s our one,” Cantrell said of Gregory. “She pitched in the championship game last year and she’ll probably start this game again this year, but we’ve got a couple of different kids that have come in and pitched for us.

“Rachel’s kind of been our workhorse. At state tournament time, she kind of focuses a little bit more. She pitched really well in the last two games of the state tournament against Rogers and against Bryant. So, hopefully we can parlay that into a good performance Friday against Cabot.”

Having each won a pair of championships as coaches, Cope and Cantrell know how to prepare their teams in the week leading up to a championship game, and the key for Cope is treating it like it’s any other week.

“My philosophy is to keep it as business-like as we always have,” Cope said, “keeping our same routines in practice and since we know them a little bit, maybe work on some different things and fine-tune some things, but at this point we’re just going to keep it business as usual.”

Both teams overcame their share of challenging playoff games in order to get to Friday’s championship game. Cabot, who earned a first-round bye by getting the top East seed, came from behind to beat Springdale Har-Ber 8-4 in last Friday’s quarterfinal round at Veterans Park in Rogers.

The Lady Panthers trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning of that game, but reeled off seven-straight runs in that inning to beat the No. 3 West seed and advance to Saturday’s semifinals, where they beat No. 2 Central seed Van Buren 4-0.

The Lady Charging Wildcats got to this year’s finals by beating No. 6 West seed Fort Smith Northside 8-5 in the first round Thursday, No. 1 West seed Rogers 2-0 in the quarterfinals last Friday, and No. 1 Central seed Bryant 6-1 in the semis on Saturday.

Both coaches agreed that the formula for success on Friday is simple.

“We’re going to have to put the ball in play and see what happens,” Cope said. “Our bats have to come alive and we have to score some runs against them.”

Cantrell expressed the same strategy.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to need to score more runs,” Cantrell said, “and I know that’s kind of a cliché, but you’ve got to score more runs than they do.

“Coach Cope I guarantee you will have his group prepared, and hopefully mine will be, too, and I think it’s going to be a treat for all the people that can get out and come watch the game at 10 o’clock on Friday.”

Cope is proud to be one of the two teams representing the 7A/6A-East Conference, and central Arkansas.

“It’s always exciting when your conference has some success in the state tournament,” Cope said, “and it shows how tough your conference is. Now one and two is playing for the state championship, and it’s great for central Arkansas.”