Friday, July 21, 2017

SPORTS STORY>>Mistakes doom Gwatney in first round

Five errors help Russellville win state playoff game

By RAY BENTON 
Leader sports editor

CONWAY – The Gwatney Chevrolet Senior American Legion team booted, dropped and threw away its first-round state playoff game Friday at Hendrix College. Errors throughout the contest helped Russellville’s cause as the Patriots beat the Chevy Boys 11-3.

But it wasn’t just the defense that didn’t perform. Jacksonville blew two prime opportunities early, and it proved crucial.

“It was ugly,” said Jackson-ville coach Bob Hickingbotham. “We threw that one away at first base when we had the kid picked off. We dropped two routine balls in the outfield, two of them. We had double plays set up perfect, and we can’t make a throw to second base. We miss ground balls. It just wasn’t our day. That’s all you can say.”

The Chevy Boys loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second inning. Brandon Hickingbotham reached on an E4 and Jordan Wickersham singled to left field. Caleb Smith then laid down a perfect bunt for a single to fill the bases.

But Tyson Flowers and Jayden Loving struck out before Axton Ramick hit a hard grounder to third. There, Russellville’s Michael Mullen snagged the ball as he fell into his back, and leisurely rolled over and touched third base for the final out of the inning.

Russellville scored two runs in the bottom of the second off starting pitcher Brandon Hickingbotham. Nick Hagerty and Mullen hit back-to-back, one-out singles, and Hickingbotham’s pick-off throw to first was wild, allowing Hagerty to score. Craig DeFrancisco walked to put runners on first and third, and a double steal made it 2-0.

Jacksonville’s Trent Toney and Caden Sample reached on a walk and single and moved into scoring position on a bunt by Hickingbotham, but Wickersham’s hard line drive on the next at-bat went right to shortstop Tim Scroggins to halt the rally.

Russellville added three more runs and knocked Hickingbotham off the mound in the third inning with three singles and a walk. Wickersham took over pitching duties and struck out two-straight batters to end the inning, but the Patriots started hitting him hard in the fourth.

After a fly ball to right field to start the bottom of the fourth, the top of the Russellville lineup was on point. Leadoff hitter Joel Barker singled and scored on a triple to the wall in right-center field by Jacob Sharp.

Greyson Stevens singled to score Sharp, and then Stevens scored on another triple, this one directly over Sample’s head in right field, by cleanup hitter Carter Thessing. Hagerty then hit a deep fly ball to right to score drive in Thessing and give the Patriots a 9-0 lead.

Gwatney got on the board in the sixth inning after Ian Long and Foster Rash threw Russellville off balance and kept further damage from accumulating.

Hickingbotham hit a one-out single and Wickersham reached on an E5 that put both runners in scoring position. Caleb Smith then singled to score Hickingbotham, and Flowers’ fly ball to right field scored Wickersham to make it 9-2.

The Chevy Boys got it to 9-3 in the top of the seventh with a short two-out rally. Sample singled and Hickingbotham doubled down the right-field line to score Sample all the way from third base.

Rash continued to keep Russellville from adding to the scoreboard, but Jacksonville left the bases juiced in the eighth inning as well.

Back-to-back errors in the bottom of the eighth, one at shortstop and another dropped ball in right field, allowed two runs and set the final margin.

In all, Jacksonville committed five errors to go with Russellville’s 14 base hits. The Gwatney bunch hit the ball hard throughout the game, but couldn’t find the gaps when it counted. Jacksonville had seven total base hits, with Sample and Hickingbotham getting two apiece.

Jacksonville will play last night’s late game loser by Mountain Home and Bryant at 1 p.m. today at Hendrix.

SPORTS STORY>>Titans get better at Southside team camp

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

BATESVILLE – The Jacksonville Titans football team split up for a pair of camps on Wednesday. Most of the varsity squad went to Batesville for a full contact team camp, while the rest of the team traveled to Rose Bud for a 7-on-7 meet.

At Southside High in Batesville, Jacksonville’s offensive execution was suspect early, but got better as camp progressed. Xavier Scott made the first big offensive play. He took a quick swing pass from Sharvarius Curley on a read option play against Southside and went 35 yards down the right sideline for the score.

On Jacksonville’s next offensive series, Curley kept on the option and squirted through a clogged up line of scrimmage for a big gain.

The first half of the camp, teams would trade three-play series no matter how much yardage was gained or lost.

After a break, teams came back for a more game-type competition. That’s when Jacksonville started executing better. Starting against Newport, the Titan defense gave up one first down before stopping the Greyhounds. Jacksonville’s offense then gave up an initial sack, but quarterback Harderrious Martin found Mason Wallace for a 24-yard connection on the next play. After another sack, Martin scrambled for a big gain to the 5-yard line, but the Titans failed to punch it in from there after two dropped passes in the end zone.

Newport scored on just one of its four possessions against the Jacksonville defense.

After moving to the other side of the field, Jacksonville lined up against Southside-Batesville again and went on defense first.

The Southerners hit a 10-yard screen to start, but Marquez Casey and Trey Allison combined for a sack on the next play. Southside picked up a first-down on the next play with a 15-yard completion to the left sideline, but Martin picked off a pass at the goal line on the next play to give his team possession.

Once again, Curley and Scott hooked up on the same play as before, the read option screen, and Scott again exploited Southside overplaying the run to score from 40 yards out.

On Southside’s next possession, Jack-sonville’s Deboious Cobbs blew up a screen pass for a 4-yard loss on the first play. On the next play, Jacksonville appeared to have stopped Southside for a short gain on an inside run play. The Titans, as was the custom throughout the camp, let up when run was stopped and did not throw the running back to the ground. Southside’s coach yelled at his player to keep going and he scored with no one trying to tackle him.

After a brief discussion among coaches about the nature of the camp, whether to tackle to the ground in such instances, Jacksonville accepted the play and went back on offense.

It didn’t last long, Martin threw an interception over the middle on the first play, but the defense picked him up.

Southside picked 8 yards on back-to-back read-option handoffs, then got another 8 yards on a double inside handoff. But the Cobbs made another big play with an interception at the goal line.

The teams closed camp with a series of goal line situation possessions. Jacksonville, which only had 23 players at the camp and almost everyone played both ways, began to tire.

With each team getting three possessions starting at the 10-yard line, then moving to the 5, and then the 3, no matter what happed on the previous play, Jacksonville failed to score at all against Southside, and then only once against Newport.

The scoring play was a 5-yard run up the middle by Shawn Ellis.

The defense wasn’t bad in goal line. It gave up one score to each team out of six combined possessions. Casey recorded two more sacks during the final portion of the camp.

SPORTS STORY>>Cabot pulls away for win

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

CONWAY – The Centennial Bank Senior American Legion team plowed through first-round opponent Arkadelphia at the state tournament on Friday at the University of Central Arkansas.

The Cabot squad struggled for a few innings with Arkadelphia starting pitcher Braydon Todd, but once the hitters found their footing, it turned into a blowout as Cabot won 10-5.

Meanwhile Arkadelphia could never figure out Cabot starting pitcher Caleb Wilson, who went eight and two-thirds innings.

He gave up just one run on four base hits through eight innings, but fatigue began to set in in the ninth inning and Arkadelphia got four runs off four hits before Dylan Billingsley came in to face the final three batters.

Neither team scored through the first four innings, and Cabot finally broke that cycle in the top of the fifth. Rail Gilliam drew a leadoff walk. Michael Crumbly then drilled a hard ground ball that ate up shortstop Alec Ruble for an E6 that left runners safe on the corners.

Jack Broyles got the game’s first RBI with a fly ball to deep center field to put Cabot up 1-0. With two outs, leadoff hitter Blake McCutchen was hit before Caleb Harpole hit into another E6 that scored Crumbly.

Arkadelphia got its first run in the bottom of the fifth on singles by Deven Horn and Ruble, but Cabot added four runs to its lead in the top of the sixth.

Brodey Schluter started it with a leadoff walk, but he was still standing on first base after two fly balls to center field. That’s when Arkadelphia’s defense went slightly awry.

Though there were no official errors scored, two times the second baseman, center fielder and right fielder let a routine blooper fall in between them.

The first was off Crumbly’s bat, and Broyles followed that with two-RBI singles to left field. Wilson then hit a pop fly to the exact same spot at Crumbly, and again no one called it and no one caught it, making it a single for the nine-hole hitter.

McCutchen then drilled a line drive down the left-field line that the speedster turned into an RBI triple for a 6-1 Centennial Bank lead.

Cabot went three up, three down in the seventh, but added four more in the bottom of the eighth for a 10-1 lead, but should have ended it if not for a base running mistake.

Again, the big inning started with a leadoff walk, this time by Gilliam. Crumbly lined out to center field, but Broyles singled to score Gilliam, who had stolen second base. Wilson and McCutchen made it three-straight singles to load the bases.

Caleb Harpole and Brian Tillery made four and five in a row.

Harpole’s shot drove in one run and Tillery’s brought in two more, but he was thrown out trying to sneak into second base after the throw went home to try to get McCutchen.

Without that, it would have been two on with one out, and Cabot needing just one more run to end the game on the mercy rule. But the inning ended on the next at-bat when Schluter struck out.

Arkadelphia’s bats finally came alive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth after Wilson hit 107 pitches. Arkadelphia hit three-consecutive singles before a triple and another single set the final margin.

Wilson left the mound after the triple. Billingsley then gave up a single and a walk before striking out Todd to end the game.

Cabot will play last night’s winner between Paragould and Benton at 7 p.m. today at UCA.

EDITORIAL>>PCSSD board risking havoc

Jerry Guess is no longer superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, and it’s a cryin’ shame.

It didn’t have to be that way. Hours before the special board meeting called to consider firing the lawyers, school board president Linda Remele said she hoped it could be fixed.

The unfixable part, it turns out, was Guess’ refusal to work with different lawyers if the board fired two of its current desegregation lawyers, with whom he had a long and successful history.

A syllogism is a logic construct and this syllogism states: “If A, then B.” “A,” “Therefore, B.”

Whether out of friendship and loyalty, just plain stubbornness or some principle of the thing, Guess told the board Tuesday night he wouldn’t work with other lawyers if they fired Allen Roberts and his associate Whitney Moore — which they did by a vote of 6-1 — and as day follows night, he was fired immediately and unanimously.

The Roberts Law Firm, with Guess, helped lead the way on PCSSD’s desegregation efforts and, in a related matter, the successful detachment of a new Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District.

Nearly every patron in both PCSSD and Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District owes Guess, and by extension, Roberts and Whitney Moore, a huge debt of gratitude.

Guess and Roberts are a couple of good ole boys from Camden, and they worked together previously to create a desegregated Camden-Fairview District, with John Walker the opposing counsel.

Guess wielded far more power than a superintendent would normally and with the commissioner, decertified the PCSSD unions, altered the pay structure and, with Roberts, cut deals that finally ended the state’s annual desegregation payments of tens of millions of dollars a year to PCSSD and the Little Rock and North Little Rock school districts, while opening the long-sealed door to a standalone Jacksonville district.

After firing Guess, the board hired Dr. Janice Warren, promoting her from assistant superintendent for equity and student services.

Warren is well liked and respected by the staff as a person and an able administrator, and has no doubt already met with her cabinet by now to allay concerns and normalize the working environment.

Roberts and Guess operated the heavy machinery that has been slowly extricating the district from its desegregation problems.

As for Walker, he has been a champion for desegregation in public schools, occasionally with hyperbole and at the expense of common sense. For maybe 20 years he has slow-walked desegregation in Pulaski County, but on occasion, when he sees benefit in agreeing and moving forward, he can turn on a dime.

Some PCSSD board members said Guess, Roberts and Moore caved into Walker, because two cases may have created an opportunity for PCSSD to negotiate its way into unitary status. That would release the district from court supervision. U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, who now oversees both cases, had previously ordered Walker and PCSSD attorneys to see if they could agree that the district was unitary in the final three areas — facilities, discipline and student achievement. Otherwise, he said, prepare to go to trial next year.

Guess, Roberts and Moore filed a motion in the Little Rock/Doe case seeking a continuance to give them time to negotiate with Walker on unitary status. That could wrap things up in months instead of years. PCSSD would be unitary, free of court oversight.

But the motion was filed without consulting the board, and the long-term effect could result in changed boundaries and dissolution of PCSSD.

Some PCSSD board members said that Walker was using his leverage to get Warren — a black woman — hired as assistant PCSSD superintendent last month, but a split board denied Guess’ recommendation to hire Warren.

“We may not be as in control as we thought we were,” Remele said.

Ironically perhaps, it was Warren the board hired Tuesday evening to replace Guess.

“Jerry Guess taught me 11th-grade English and was the newspaper adviser at Fairview High School,” said journalism professor Donna Lampkin Stephens. “He cared about me, encouraged me and pushed me, sometimes beyond my comfort zone…I am forever grateful to have had him as a mentor. He deserved better than what he got,” she said.

“Jerry Guess cares about each child getting a quality education,” his brother John posted online. “Each child. Not just well-to-do children, not just children that look like him, and not children that can run a football.”

The PCSSD school board should proceed with caution.

TOP STORY>>Cooling center opens in heat wave Monday

The Jacksonville Senior and Wellness Activities Center, 100 Victory Circle, will open as a cooling center starting Monday for anyone needing respite from the heat wave as temperatures soar into the 90s and heat indexes top 100 over the next few days.

The senior center’s safe room will double as a cooling center from noon till 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

“The city of Jacksonville will monitor the weather to determine how long the cooling center will need to remain open. The center is expected to stay open in prolonged periods of extreme heat and humidity,” according to the announcement.

City officials encourage residents to check in on neighbors, especially people at risk of complications from extreme heat.

“This includes adults over 65, children under 4, and those with disabilities or existing medical conditions. People who exercise outdoors should pace themselves and schedule workouts to avoid the mid-day heat,” according to the announcement.

They also remind residents to provide pets with ample water and be alert for signs of heat exhaustion in pets, and never leave people or pets in parked cars. For more information, call the seniors center at 501-982-7531.

TOP STORY>>Historic district awards dinner

By JEFFREY SMITH 
Leader staff writer

Twenty Jacksonville residents are up for five awards in the first-ever citizen of the year banquet hosted by the Jacksonville Historical District at the community center at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The banquet includes dinner, the awards ceremony and a silent auction.

Each individual was nominated by a friend, peer or co-worker and the winners will be announced at the banquet.

Four residents are up for Citizen of the Year. They are Lauren Martin, Larry Wilson, Dr. Alan Storeygard and Jerry Sanders.

Martin, with Double R Florist, has helped with the Father-Daughter Banquet, Jacksonville City Fest Pageant and more.

Wilson donates to Arkansas Run for the Fallen, Wreaths Across America and Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Storeygard is member of the Sister Cities Council and sponsor of the annual IBLA Foundation, which brings classical music performers from around the world to Jacksonville.

Sanders is the founder of the Pencil Store and organized the JHS All-Class reunion.

Harold Gwatney and Charles Hale Jr. are up for the Veteran of the Year award.

Gwatney is a former adjutant general with the Arkansas National Guard. He has been active with the Boys and Girls Club and helped start the Pencil Store, which provides school supplies to Jacksonville students and schools.

Hale is an Army and Air Force veteran. He volunteers weekly as a den leader with Cub Scouts.

Andy West and Kristen Kennon are vying for Realtor of the Year. West has donated funds, time and energy to many organizations and helps with many of the city pageants.

Kennon is the president of the Jacksonville Sertoma Club and an active board member of the Boys and Girls Club.

Five Jacksonville business people have been nominated for Independent Business of the Year.

They include Michael Lebron, who is active with the Stuff the Limo project, which provides toys for needy children in the area; Joan Zumwalt, who is responsible for the expansion of Pathfinders and is a strong force behind the military museum, and Steven Powell, who started the first licensed mobile salon in Arkansas and travels throughout the state providing free haircuts to seniors, the homeless, low income people and people with disabilities.

Also up for the award are Allen and Karen West and state Rep. Bob Johnson (D-Jacksonville).

The Wests donate time, money and supplies to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and have helped low-income families in the city. Johnson volunteers at the senior center and works with the Jacksonville Historical District and Sertoma.

Volunteer of the Year honors will go to one of seven people: Johnny Hicks, LaConda Watson, Laura Walker, Valerie Perry, Judy Van NewKirk, Linda Lowe or Nicole Ford.

Hicks is active in the community-policing programs in Sunnyside and Jacksonville Towers. He also provides candy and toys to children.

Watson is a Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District board member, director of the Boys and Girls Club and is active in the community.

Walker is vice president of the Jacksonville Sertoma Club and volunteers and helps in a number of city and community projects. Perry is also a Sertoma Club member and volunteers at the Jacksonville Senior Center.

Van NewKirk is active in the local Cub Scouts, serving as a den leader and cub master. Lowe created a park behind her church and provides transportation to the store, doctor appointments and church for those who do not have a car or can no longer drive.

Ford volunteers with the AR Read Program during the school year. She also works with the reading program at the Boys and Girls Club several days a week.

The night of honors will also feature a silent auction as a way to raise funds for the historical district. Items include a mini Hot Springs vacation, a gun safe, a wine bag, a weed eater, a chainsaw, jewelry and a jewelry box, among other items..

Tickets are available from Jacksonville Florist, Time to Shine, Alderman Barabara Mashburn or Lida Feller.

TOP STOR>>KICKING THE HABIT

Treating addiction with medication at UAMS
Story and photo by CHRISTY HENDRICKS, Leader staff writer
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series.

Dr. Nihit Kumar works with opiate addicts at the suboxone clinic at UAMS on Thursdays and does research on addiction on Fridays. He is also a specialist in adolescent mental health and child and adolescent psychiatry. The suboxone and methadone clinics are both housed in the Psychiatric Research Institute at the hospital. Both clinics treat opiate addicts. He works with other doctors on researching and treating opiate addiction.

“Folks that are opioid users are at a very high risk for overdose deaths,” Dr. Kumar said. “With meth you get really psychotic and you can die on it, but with opioids’ chemical composition, opioids are more likely to kill you than meth. It slows your breathing. When you start combining alcohol with opiates, or say Xanax or valium, with opiates, it’s definitely fatal.”

Why is the risk of overdose deaths high for opioid users? Because addiction to opiates is hard to kick.

“When a patient with opiate abuse transitions to buprenorphine, it’s not easy to transition them right away,” Dr. Kumar said. “There’s a lot of research going on here about what is the best way to transition to medication-assisted treatment.” Buprenorphine is one of several medications used in opiate addiction treatment and research.

“People say, ‘Well, you’re putting them on another medication while they’re using medication, so what’s the big deal?’” Dr. Kumar said. “It’s more about changing your life rather than depending on something. When people are addicted to a substance they are engaging in certain behaviors related to that addiction. They are constantly thinking about that substance. They are chasing the high.”

Withdrawal from opiates is extreme and often leads to relapse. “Those withdrawals are extremely bad, its almost feels like a bad flu. They have cravings, all the nausea, vomiting, irritability,” Kumar said. “You feel really sick. It is not life threatening, but when they go through these withdrawals its very hard for people to resolve themselves. Some people do it. Say you manage to get through these three or four days, five days. You’re done with it but you still have the cravings to use.”

The cravings, according to Kumar, trigger the memory of using. “Those cravings are pretty strong. Without medication, it is very hard for a recovering addict to maintain their sobriety without relapsing back on opiates. The relapse rate is in the 90 percents without medication assisted treatment,” Kumar said.

Addicts often obtain opiates through illegal means. They begin to ignore family, friends and even their job. Dr. Kumar says these behaviors are related to the addiction. “When they transition to a medication, we give it to them as a prescription. It is legal. They take it as prescribed,” he said.

This allows patients in the addiction clinics to start improving their lives. They are no longer chasing the high.

“The success rates in general for addiction treatment aren’t very good. That’s why there’s a push to increase success rates to get them on medication-assisted treatments. The success rates of those who try to quit without treatment is even lower,” Dr. Kumar said.

Why use opiates and opioids to treat pain?

“Opiates are the best painkillers we have. But when it comes to chronic pain, opiates in the long-term aren’t very effective,” he said. “The brain changes that happen with addiction – it doesn’t matter what substance you use, are the same brain changes.”

Addiction affects all parts of the brain, according to Dr. Kumar. “We think of addiction as any other illness, for example, heart disease. Heart disease has multiple causes, there’s not just one cause,” he said. “Addiction has many causes. Genetic factors – if addiction is in the family, you’re more likely to get addicted if you use a drug. There are environmental factors. If someone has a genetic risk factor but they never use substances, they won’t get addicted. Mental illness is kind of the same way. It has those same risk factors. What classifies addiction as a mental illness is that it has a lot to do with the brain.”

Dr. Kumar says there is often a concurrence of biological and genetic risk factors in addicts. “Mental illness also changes your brain in terms of the neurochemistry. You can see how they are related,” he said. “If you look at the population data, there is a high degree of co-occurring – people with addictions have mental illness and people with mental illness have addictions. Almost 60 to 70 percent of patients with opiate addiction have a co-occurring mental illness.”

The average age of patients seen in the addiction clinics are between 18 and 45 years of age.

While the clinic does see some heroin users, most of their patients are addicted to prescription pain medicines.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

OBITUARIES >> 7-22-17

MARY REES

Mary Lorene Garvin Rees, 84, of Searcy went to be with her Lord on July 20.

She was born Jan. 2, 1933, in Jacksonville to the late Ed and Lena Garvin.

She was preceded in death by her son, Coy Allen Rees, and her husband, Coy Rees.

Mrs. Rees was a member of First Assembly of God in Jacksonville. She will always be remembered as a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She is survived by her son, Michael H. Rees (Debbie) of Lakeview and Monica L. Ashenberger (Mark) of Searcy; grandchildren, Jason Rees, Ambur Welsh, Amanda May, Richard Ashenberger, Blake Ashenberger; one sister, Myrtle Ezell of Cabot; one brother Vernon Garvin of Oregon, and 11 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 23 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with a visitation one hour prior to the service.

Arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home, 501-982-2136. Sign the online guestbook at www.mooresjacksonvillefuneralhome.com.

EVENTS >> 7-22-17

TRAIL OT TEARS TALK AT MILITARY MUSEUM

Daniel Littlefield, director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, will deliver a lecture titled “Descendants of African Americans and the Trail of Tears,” at 1 p.m. next Saturday at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History, 100 Veterans Circle.

The program is sponsored by the Arkansas Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association, a national support network for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail that focuses on the history and recognition of Indian removal routes through Arkansas.

Designated as a national historic trail by Congress in 1987, the trail commemorates the forced removal of the Cherokee people from their homelands in the southeastern United States to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) in 1838-1839.

AMERICAN LEGION POST 71 MEETING THURSDAY

American Legion Post 71 in Cabot will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Post, 114 N. First Street. A pre-meeting meal will begin at 6 p.m.

All members and their spouses are welcome. Ladies may join the auxiliary meeting, and daughters can join the junior auxiliary.

“If you are a veteran and are interested in joining or a son of a veteran, come on by. If you are a motorcycle rider, there’s a Legion Riders Chapter, too,” according to the announcement.

For more information, call 501-203-5715 or visit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday or from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

CABOT CHAMBER DIRECTOR AT AARP ON MONDAY

Cabot Chamber of Commerce Director Amy Williams will speak to Cabot AARP at 6 p.m. Monday at the seniors center, 600 N. Grant St.

Cabot AARP meets the fourth Monday of each month for a potluck meal and short business meeting.

For more information, call 501-492-1456.

CITIZENS POLICE ALUMNI MEETING ON MONDAY


The Jacksonville Citizens Police Alumni Association will hold its monthly meeting at 5:45 p.m. Monday at the Jacksonville Police Department on Marshall Road.

All alumni are invited to attend. For more information, email flamingoqueens@comcast.net.

16TH SECTION CRIME WATCH MEETING ON TUESDAY

The 16th Section crime watch will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the community center on Hwy. 319, according to board member Sandra Weatherly.

Fire Chief Andrew Williams and board member Tommy Sentell will speak about what the fire department does and the importance of the fire department board.

VBS SET FOR JULY 30-AUG. 2 IN JACKSONVILLE 

Jacksonville First Assembly of God, 221 N. Elm St., will hold a vacation Bible school for elementary-age children from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 30 through Aug. 2. There will be puppets, songs, Bible stories, games, food, contests and Church Mouse.

For more information call 501-982-5018.

CABOT LIONS CLOTHING DRIVE CHALLENGE  AUG. 12

The Cabot Lion’s Club will hold a clothing drive challenge Saturday, Aug. 12 to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and Open Arms Shelter. New or gently worn clothing, coats, belts and shows (infant through adult sizes), as well as backpacks and suitcases will be collected.

Donations can be dropped off at the Cabot Farmers Market at the ReNew Community Church parking lot, 1122 S. Second St. in Cabot.

For more information, call 501-920-2122.

LONOKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE COLLECTING FANS

The Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office is collecting fans and window-unit air conditioners to help people in need beat the summer heat. Priority is given to the elderly and families with small children.

People who need fans can call the sheriff’s office at 501-676-3000.

Donated fans can be any size, style or oscillating. Fans can be delivered to the sheriff’s office at 440 Dee Dee Lane in Lonoke and at police departments in Lonoke County or call the sheriff’s office to arrange for pick-up.

GROUP FIGHTING HOMELESS IN CABOT TO MEET 

Central Arkansas Team Care for the Homeless, known as CATCH, will meet at 9 a.m. next Saturday at First Baptist Church in Cabot, 204 N. Third St.

For more information, call Allen Miller at 501-203-5715.

HAM RADIO-CLUB MEETING ON AUG. 13 IN CABOT 

Small Town Amateur Radio Service, a ham-radio club known as STARS, will hold its monthly meeting at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 at American Legion Post 71, 114 N. First St. in Cabot.

The group meets on the second Sunday every month.

For more information, call 501-203-5715.

CLASSIFIEDS >> 7-19-17

ANNOUNCEMENTS

ATTN HOMEOWNERS! COMPANY NEARING SUMMER QUOTA! If you need METAL ROOFS, SIDING OR WINDOWS TAKE NOTE! “ONLY A LIMITED amount of homes are now needed for the summer program. Up To $25,000 is available thru a No money down” loan program for these improvements. Payments from $89/mo. Senior/Military discounts apply. wac ACT NOW!! 866-668-8681.

HOW TO BECOME A HOME INSPECTOR IN 30 DAYS OR LESS! NEXT CLASS STARTS SOON!!!! Courses offered: • HOME INSPECTION • COMMERCIAL INSPECTIONS Home Inspection Continuing Education Courses. TO BE A HOME INSPECTOR YOU MUST: • Have 80 Hrs Classroom Training • Take 2 Exams • Provide proof insurance. Call 501-796-3627 or e-mail abc@tcworks.net for details or visit: www.abchii.com. Arkansas’ ONLY - Home Inspection Training Facility.


SERVICES

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

FOR ALL of your carpentry and remodeling needs - metal roofs, decks, privacy fences, doors, windows, floor repairs and coverings. 25 years of experience. Call (501) 266-0410.

PERSONAL TOUCH Lawncare. All push mowing, blowing and edging. Call anytime (501) 772-3240.


HELP WANTED

FREE SUBSTITUTE TEACHER TRAINING SEMINAR- Training BRADFORD Area Schools - Training Bradford Area Schools, Monday, July 24th†Bradford School District Training 9a-12p at Bradford Elementary (504 W. Main St., Bradford). Applicants Must: 1. Be at least 21 years of age 2. Have a High School Diploma (minimum) 3. Pass FBI background check - Please Call for Instructions! Bring Driver’s License, SS Card, Proof of HS Diploma or College Transcript. For Info. Call 1-800-641-0140. SubTeachUSA.com.

IMMEDIATE HIRE, International company, with over 25 years in business, has 10-15 openings in local office. We are looking to expand our operations and need people to help advertise for our company. No experience needed. $350-$725 week to start. Call for interview, (501) 605-1303.

HELP WANTED: Female caregiver. Housekeeping, light cooking, must be energetic and love cats. Needed immediately. Call Doris, leave message. (501) 743-8129.

LAWN CARE and Gen. Apt. Maintenance help needed in Jacksonville. Email: respond@lead-ar.com or fax 501-375-3141.

MAINTENANCE MAN needed. Apply in person Best Western Inn, Jacksonville, 1600 John Harden Drive.

HEAD HOUSEKEEPER/Laundry Person needed, full-time. Apply in person, Best Western Inn, Jacksonville, 1600 John Harden Drive.

EXPERIENCED KENNEL help and sales (puppies). Arky Barky’s, 9714 Hwy. 107/JFK, Sherwood. Call Pat: (501) 944-6158.

BOOKKEEPER, PART-TIME AR/AP/Payroll, great office staff to work with. Apply at Goodsell Truck Accessories, 401 Municipal Dr., Jacksonville, or send resume to: info@goodselltruck.com

CABINET MAKER, installer and door maker needed. Experienced only need apply. Call (501) 944-5259 between 7 am and 5 pm.


YARD SALES

GARAGE SALE, 7/21 and 22, 7 am-noon, 222 Southwood Ln., Cabot. Furniture, decorator items, etc.

YARD SALE, 7/21 and 22, 7 am-1 pm, 93 Seven Gables Rd., Austin (off Dogwood). Cleaning out closets.

INSIDE SALE, 7/21 and 22, 304 WIllow Ave., Ward. Appliances, furniture, tools, ladders and much more.

BIG GARAGE sale, 7/22, 8 am-3 pm, 10204 Hwy. 89, Furlow/Jax. Furniture, kitchen and glass items, clothes, motorcycle apparel and more.

SEVERAL FAMILY yard sale, 7/21, 8 am-? 208 N. James, Jax. Tools, ladder, dishes, glider rocker, exercise equip., lots, lots more. Rain cancels.

YARD SALE, 7/21 and 22, 7:30 am-1 pm, 10 Linda Cv., Jax. Baby equipment, toys, variety of clothes and much more.

MULTI-FAMILY GARAGE sale, 7/21 and 22, 7 am-? 3223 Hwy. 367, Austin (Church of Christ parking lot.)


AUCTIONS

EQUIPMENT and TRUCK AUCTION - July 22, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m. 102 Hwy 134, Garland City, AR. Cab tractors, mini excavators, dozer, backhoes, extend-a- boom forklifts, ATV, farm and hay equipment, 30KW gen. set, Ferris zero-turn mower, 2005-2016 Dodge trucks (dsl and gas), trailers, automobiles, and much more! Go to www.nuttauction.com or call (903) 824-0581 or (903) 824-3445 for information. Terms: Cash or Check (unknown buyer must have bank letter) Buyers Premium: 5% on items up to $5,000 and 2% on items $5,001 and above. AR# 1030.

LARGE PUBLIC ESTATE AUCTION - THE FINEST FRENCH AUCTION WE’VE HAD - Sunday, July 23rd Special 9 A.M. START TIME. 1504 S. Leslie Street, Stuttgart, AR 72160. Over 800 lots of the finest quality items you will see at auction! Featuring French, American, English, and designer classic home furnishings.  Homeowners, Shopkeepers and Dealers are welcome!  TERMS: Cash and checks with a 10% buyer’s premium. All major credit cards accepted w/additional 5% transaction fee. All sales final, as-is. www.pondersauctions.com for pics and full terms.  J.E. Ponder, 870-673-6551 or 870-672-1731 (cell). AALB #787. Preview: Sat.,July 22nd 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., July 23rd 8 a.m. until sale.


VEHICLES and ACCESSORIES

UTILITY TRAILER, 5x14, single-axle dovetail ramp, good condition, $750. (501) 266-2732.

WARN PREMIUM 8,000 lb. electric winch w/remote and all hook-ups, unused, like new, USA made, $450. (501) 843-2187.

2013 TOYOTA Camry, 14,700 miles, very clean, $14,400. (501) 605-1701 or (501) 681-3859.

CENTURY CARGO cover for Ford F150, 6.5’ styleside bed, Mahogany color, $500. (501) 676-5687.

1980 FIAT Convertible, all orig., good body and paint, no motor, clean, have transmission, $1,200 obo. (501) 352-1196.

LARGE 3 core radiator and shroud, like new, $150; radiator out of ‘90 Toyota pickup, $75; clutch for riding lawnmower, $100. (501) 983-1445.

1996 MERCEDES motor, great condition, $650. (501) 676-0750, Dave.

2006 SATURN Vue, 4-cyl., 1-owner car, A/C and heat, 192k miles, good tires, sunroof. (501) 350-4693, leave msg.

‘98 CHEVROLET Silverado 1500 LWB, $2,500 obo. (501) 882-2142 or (501) 606-1314.

(4) 1964 Malibu super sport hubcaps, original, $100 for set; (4) 14” chrome wire basket wheels, 5-hole, slotted, $300 for set. (501) 207-3409.


RECREATIONAL VEHICLES

‘04 SPORTSCOACH motorhome, 38’, 2 slides, all bells and whistles, extra clean, low mileage. (501) 982-7916.

2007 KAWASAKI Nomad 1600 trike, all new tires, loaded, 14,500 miles, $7,000, pics available. (501) 658-1802.

1994 EASY Go Marathon golf cart, completely rebuilt, new batteries and many more extras, $2,000. (501) 985-3111 or (501) 258-1095.

YAMAHA MOTO200 4-wheeler, needs work, but not locked up, good project, $100 rim or possible trade for gun. (501) 796-3901 or (501) 580-9950.

14x18x36 BOAT w/9.8 Mercury motor, tilt trailer, $1,000 obo.; 12’ boat w/new trailer and trolling motor, $600; 2007 Bear 4x4 w/winch, $2,000; 2 Ford pickup bed trailers, 1 w/camper shell, $300 for both. (870) 854-5094, leave msg.

14’x36” ALUMACRAFT flat bottom boat (1992) w/15 hp. elec. start Evenrude motor (1994) and trailer (1977), $1,625 cash. (501) 831-2772.

ARROWGLASS 18’ bass boat, 150 hp., Mercury depthfinder, new trolling motor, nice condition, $3,500. 772-4354.

2001 HONDA Shadow 750, 14,530 miles, needs front fender and light cover, runs and drives great, $2,000. (501) 983-1445.


LAWN and FARM EQUIPMENT

GRASS CATCHER, older Club Cadet, $100. (501) 983-1445.

RIDING LAWNMOWER, Murray, rear engine, 30” cut, good condition, $375. (501) 983-1445.

FARM PRO, 2003 tractor, looks good, runs good, $3,700. (501) 983-1445.

JOHN DEERE lawn cart, brand new, $100. (501) 658-0767.

MURRAY RIDING lawnmower, 16.5 hp.,, 42” cut, $350. Sears riding lawnmower, 21 hp., 42” cut, $200. 843-5475.

JOHN DEERE RX95 small mower, runs great, needs drive belt, $200 obo. (501) 882-2142 or 606-1314.

SUMMER GRASS SAVINGS - Bermuda $1.35/sq yd, Meyers Z-52 Zoysia $2.50/sq yd. Call 800-458-4756. tiptopturf.com (Double Springs Grass Farm) Prices are COD on full truck loads in the LR area.


ANIMALS, PETS and SUPPLIES

ARKY BARKY’S now open - great selection of beautiful puppies, guaranteed. Also, doing grooming and doggie supplies. 9714 Hwy. 107/JFK, Sherwood, (501) 819-6094.

WHELPING BOX, 44x44, solid wood, $65. (501) 266-2732, Lonoke.

USE HAPPY Jack Mange Medicine to treat mane dandruff on horses. WOODS FEED STORE (843-6121). (kennelvax.com)

BLACK and tan American hound dog, free to good home, 5 mos. old. (501) 200-2656.

MEDIUM, FEMALE Chihuahua, rusty color. (501) 605-2242, Cabot.

(2) 9 month old lovebirds w/cage. (501) 606-1090.


MISCELLANEOUS

Panther Creek Carports - BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  Rated for 90 mph winds and 20 lbs snow loads, Factory Direct, $598 through Sept. 30th,  Free Delivery, 10’x20’x7’, Call 1-501-835-7222. OD Funk Manufacturing Inc. Sherwood, AR, Since 1976.

Beatles porcelain music boxes, Franklin Mint, limited edition, one plays Hard Days Night and the other, I wanna hold your hand, mint cond., $20 ea. (501) 982-2688, Jax.

GUITAR, SPECTRUM 38” concert style, acoustic, in box, case, pick and electronic tuner, $35. (501) 266-2732, Lonoke.

2 BICYCLES - Trek Domain 2, $650, Trek Navigator 200, $150. (501) 944-5795, Jax.

RARE, BEAUTIFUL, antique art nouveau metal plaque, bust of woman w/flower in hair from London. Can be hung or set on easel, 11.5” diameter, $45. (501) 983-4168.

PROFORM TREADMILL 540 LS, $210; Total Gym 1000, $185; Gold’s Gym Cycle Trainer 300 Ci, $145, mint condition. (501) 941-4785.

FREE FIREWOOD, elderly couple need removed, you cut, you haul....mostly trunk. (501) 726-3657, McRae.

MOBILE HOME parts: doors, skirting, bathtubs, windows, screens, faucets, showers, sinks, locks, roof coating, steps, range hoods, also, portable building doors, shop doors, carport and portable building anchors, (501) 241-2032.

BIRD CAGE on stand, $75; different sizes Federal Express circuit breakers, $5 ea. (501) 983-1445.

GARTH BROOKS 6 CD box set, “The Limited Series”, new condition, great gift, $25. (501) 983-4168.

3 DRAGONS by M. Pena, Peacock, hatching and coiled emerald dragons, pd. $115, $50 for all. (501) 983-4168.

BOWFLEX BLAZE, gently used, like new, $400 obo. (605) 787-0501, Searcy.

SANSUI SP 2500 speakers, real wood, 2 pair, $300 ea. or $500 for both. (501) 606-1314.

WIND-UP COLUMBIA record player, great condition, plays 78s, circa late 1800s, $350; 7-drawer Treadle sewing machine, $250. (501) 207-3409.

TEA POTS, $4; rare Beatle picture in wood frame, $15; nice black iron rectangular stool, newly reupholstered, $30. (501) 983-4168, Jax.

BIG MAN electric scooter w/truck lift, $1,350. 982-7916.

PHILLIPS OXYGEN consecrator, simply-go model E-1392, $1,000. 982-7916.

MARCY STATIONARY bike, excellent condition, $75; Nordic track, CXT model 980 elliptical, excellent condition, $125. 985-2244.

KOHLER PORCELAIN double sink w/Delta brass fixtures, good condition, $100. 843-5376.

HOT TUB, large, seats 5-6, cover and chemicals included, always been covered under patio, works great, $3,400 obo. (870) 552-5100, Austin.

HOSPITAL BED w/trapeze and special mattress, $500 cash firm; Portable power sewing machine, $500 cash firm. (501) 985-9991.

1994 HALLMARK Beatles ornaments (full set), $45 cash; musical, animated nutcracker and nutcracker cookie jar, $10 ea. (501) 983-4168, Jax.


FURNITURE and APPLIANCES

BEAUTIFUL 3-PC. entertainment center w/2 lighted speaker towers, pics. avail., $100 firm. (501) 676-8911.

TABLE, RATTAN, round, glass top w/4 chairs, very good, clean condition, pics. avail., $50. (501) 676-8911.

SOLID WOOD furniture, no scratches, dresser, armoire, nightstand, medium brown, $100. (501) 613-7588.

LARGE 3-PC. entertainment center, very good condition, $300. (501) 580-4176.

2 SOFAS, $50 and $80 ea.; entertainment center, $30. (501) 676-5851.

SOFA, $50; 2-pc. bookshelf and desk, $50; 4 wooden bar stools, $100. (501) 940-9009.

BEAUTIFUL OLD wine and liquor safe cabinet w/lighted mirrored top section, wonderful accent to any room, $100 firm. Pics. avail. (501) 676-8911.

32” FLAT screen TV, new in box, $75. (501) 200-2656.

SMALL SOFA/SETTEE, with metal backsplash, multi-color material, must see, $70. (501) 605-2242, Cabot.

GIRL’S TWIN bedroom suite, dresser, nightstand, mattress, excellent condition, smoke free home, $400. (501) 541-8394.

TIFFANY TODDLER bed, up to 55 lbs., white, complete bed, $75. 982-5856.


LOTS and ACREAGE

Land for Sale: 1.88 Acres on Dana Lane, Cabot, Mobiles Allowed. $18,000; 1 Acre at 129 Morgan Road, Jax.,  Mobiles Allowed. $10,000; Tract 1 Moss Lane, Austin, 5/8 of an acre. $25,000; Fast growing area. Possible Commercial Potential, 2 Acres Hwy 107, Enola, No Restrictions. $17,500; 63.5 Acres Caudill Road, Enola, Timber, Pasture and Pond, $3,350 per acre. Vowell Realty and Auction Company, 501-605-1212.


RENTALS

SHERWOOD,  AR – Nice 3 BR 2 BA home, apx 1500 s.f., on large corner lot, no maintenance  exterior, huge walk in closet in master and one BR, extra storage, double garage,  Double gate to back yard on side, Privace fenced, Avail August 1st. Call/leave message, 501-590-1716, $750 deposit, $1150 per mo., discount for military. Will consider sale. (just 10 min. from LRAFB).

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, one room studio apartments in Jacksonville. Bed pulls down from wall in Living Room in front of wood burning fireplace. Includes appliance filled kitchen. Starting at $325 plus utilities, deposit $200.  No children or pets. Camp Construction, (501) 982-0434.

NEWLY REMODELED house for rent or sale. No down payment if qualified. 1750 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath, office, den, living room, fireplace, atrium/bonus room, 2-car garage, school bus stop, 5 miles to back gate of base, near Kellogg Valley area, nice place for kids. No pets. $800 month, references required. Call (501) 400-4727 or (501) 864-9954.

211 LARIAT Drive, Austin, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, all electric, $1,000 month, $850 deposit, 1 year lease, pets allowed with non-refundable pet deposit. Call (501) 941-5274 or (501) 944-2258.

35 CARRIAGE Cove, Austin. 1458 sq. ft., 3 bedroom, 2 bath, fenced-in backyard, storm shelter, garage. (501) 590-2438.

NORTH PULASKI county - 2 bedroom, 1 bath, fenced backyard, storage building, central heat and air, quiet neighborhood, 2 people limit. Rent $500, deposit $500. (501) 804-1495.


HOUSES FOR SALE

BEAUTIFUL HOME in Cabot! Please see full ad w/pics on MilitaryByOwner.com, search by MBO402659. Call or email us before it’s gone!

FSBO! 5627 Bayou Meto Loop, Cabot 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1300 sq. ft., fenced, $109,000. In Macon, 10 min. from LRAFB. Updated: new paint, new roof, new hardwood floors. MUST SEE! (501) 580-0912, www.zillow.com

FOR SALE: 2008 mobile home on 15 acres. 296 Arrowhead Rd., McRae. 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 storage buildings, $110,000 firm. (501) 605-6199 or (501) 605-6379.


MOBILE HOMES

Have a title to your Car, Boat, or Mobile home? Get a new home with any trade-in! Call 501-653-3205.

VERY CLEAN 3 BED 2 BATH Singlewide for sale! call 501-653-3202.

SPORTS EVENTS >> 7-22-17

CHAMBER TRAP SHOOT ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Trap Shoot will be held Friday, Sept. 8 at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex on Graham Road. Proceeds from the event will go towards funding the chamber’s year-round programs.

Pre-registration is underway and deadline is Sept. 1, but day-of registration will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. Registration cost is $25 per shooter, or $15 for anyone who just wants to come for lunch, which also begins at 11:30 a.m. Shooting starts at 1 p.m. Sponsorships are also available. Drink sponsorship is $350. Food and trophy sponsorships are $500 and event sponsorships are $1,500.

Fees cover lunch and two rounds of shooting. All shooters must provide two boxes of certified ammunition as well as ear and eye protection, which can also be purchased at the range. For more information or to obtain a registration form, contact the chamber at 501-982-1511, or visit welcome@jacksonvilearkansas.com.


JACKSONVILLE FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS REGISTERING

The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation’s adult flag football league is now registering teams for the fall season. Registration cost is $350 per team and deadline for registration is August 31. League will begin Sept. 10. All rosters must be accompanied by full payment to ensure league reservation. Fees include three paid referees, equipment and t-shirts for the league winner. Games will be on Sunday afternoons and begin at 1 p.m. There will be 8-10 regular-season games, depending on the number of teams, and a one-week playoff. Find a registration form at www.cityofjacksonville.net/516/Football.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Boxing’s greatest mystery

By RAY BENTON 
Leader sports editor

This column originally appeared in the June 8, 2016 edition of The Leader. It recently won a first place award for best sports column at the Arkansas Press Association awards banquet.

Muhammad Ali is an American hero. Many heroes are loved almost as much for their flaws as for their greatness. Not so with Ali. He was a great, but flawed man whose tangled past has gone ignored.

America is uncomfortable with complexity, and Ali was nothing if not complex.

Ali, who died Friday at the age of 74, was a great boxer and a man of conviction. His dedication to his convictions made him an inspirational figure during the civil rights movement. He gave up three years of his athletic prime by having his boxing license revoked for refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War.

He once talked about how all the great leaders in the past, especially religiously motivated ones, suffered persecution and came out of it greater and stronger leaders, and then he showed that kind of resolve.

But when Muhammad Ali was at the height of his popularity and his voice on social injustice was strongest, he was wrong when he chose the violent and hate-mongering group, the Nation of Islam, as the platform for his stance.

Ali came under the influence of the then militant Malcolm X as a burgeoning 19-year talent, but didn’t publicly declare his allegiance to the NOI until the day after he beat Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship three years later. That was also the day he changed his name from Cassius Clay to the poetical and musical sounding name by which he’s forever remembered.

Famous fight doctor Ferdie Pacheco, Ali’s personal physician and cornerman, said the NOI’s influence on Ali was “the most complete manipulation of a person I’ve ever seen.”

That Muhammad Ali was member of the Nation of Islam is a well-documented fact, but people seem to avoid telling the plain truth about that organization, at least when it comes to “The Greatest.”

Ali did not promote equality. He promoted the superiority of the black race and racial purity. The Nation of Islam is on the list of hate groups provided and tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center, itself a major figure in the civil rights movement.

Ali even spoke at a Ku Klux Klan meeting in 1975 to talk about their common ground with the NOI, that being that races should not mix in sex and marriage.

Ali also experience and exhibited a change of heart as profound as the one by Malcolm X, but he was given decades to do so without the proper demand for answers or apology.

When Malcolm X had his epiphany that the hate preached by the NOI was wrong, Ali turned his back on his once close friend. He has since said that was one of his biggest regrets.

Strangely, the same year he spoke at the KKK meeting, and revamped his years-long character assassination of ring rival Joe Frazier – one that far exceeded the boundaries of decency – he himself renounced his membership in the NOI. But renunciation is not the same as denunciation, and Ali didn’t do that until his autobiography came out in 2004, and even that failed to measure up to the word paintings Ali was so capable of creating with his oratory skills.

That denunciation also contained a confession that forever went unquestioned.

In that book, Ali wrote, “The Nation of Islam taught that white people were devils. I don’t believe that now; in fact, I never really believed that.”

If he never believed the main tenants of NOI teaching, why did he do all the things he did and give so much legitimacy to a hate group?

Ali remains a mystery.

He got to address his relationship with a hate group 30 years later on his own terms. He got to address the horrible way he treated Joe Frazier, the man without whom Ali would be no legend, 35 years later, and again on his own terms.

Frazier was the man who had gained the heavyweight championship while Ali was serving his three-year ban for refusing to enter the draft for the Vietnam War.

Tired of hearing that he wasn’t the legitimate champion, Frazier publicly lobbied on Ali’s behalf to have his license reinstated. When it was, Ali knocked out Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena, (two extremely rugged and talented boxers in their own rights) and quickly re-establishing himself in the minds of American sports fans that he was the real heavyweight champion.

In the fashion he had developed early in his career, Ali began insulting Frazier during pre-fight press conferences and any other chance he got. But he went further with Frazier.

He turned black America against Frazier, even though Frazier’s life was much more exemplary of the struggles of black people than Ali’s.

Frazier was, literally, the son of a sharecropper in South Carolina. He was from the Deep South. He was darker skinned, and that meant something in those days. He moved, like many blacks in the Deep South, to the north. In his case, to Philadelphia, where he continued to live in abject poverty.

Ali was raised in a middle class neighborhood in Louisville, Ky.

Frazier should have been seen as inspirational in his own way. He wasn’t political, but he displayed a determination to succeed that was inspirational to a 10-year old boy who was turned on to old boxing films by his grandfather.

Frazier did not have the size, footwork or athleticism of Ali, but he had toughness matched by few in sports history.

Instead, Ali labeled Frazier “a good negro” a condescendingly racist term often used by old white’s back then to describe black people they liked.

Frazier, vastly outmatched in a battle of words with an orator like Muhammad Ali, wasn’t able to stop the groundswell of hate that was developing towards him by his own people because of Ali’s antics.

He was, in the eyes of many black people, the “Uncle Tom” that Ali said he was. Ali even said, “Anybody black who thinks Frazier can whup me is an Uncle Tom.”

Bryant Gumble, now an HBO superstar but then a fledgling sportswriter, dubbed Frazier “The white champion in black skin.”

It’s called the “Fight of the Century.” It was the greatest fight of all time. The $5 million purse was the largest ever for a prizefight. Burt Lancaster was the color commentator and seemingly every celebrity in the world was ringside. Frazier beat Ali via unanimous decision in 15 grueling rounds, putting a stamp on the victory by decking the iron-chinned Kentuckian in the final round with his patented left hook.

He also put Ali down in round 11, but the referee didn’t rule it a knockdown, though he did, for reasons never explained, give Ali nine seconds to recover from the blow.

Two judges had it 9-6 for Frazier while one had it 11-4.

Ali had made promises of contrition if he lost. Instead, he was a no-show at the post fight press conference, and never publicly admitted defeat. He cried racism and said the white judges cheated him.

Frazier, himself roughed up and needing medical attention, did make a brief appearance at the press conference. With one eye closed, simply said he just wants Ali to “take back all those hurtful things he said about me.”

Ali did the opposite. For five more years he insulted Frazier at every opportunity. Throughout the buildup of their second fight, one which was legitimately controversial in which Ali got the decision, and ramped it up to an unprecedented level for the third and final meeting, the Thrilla in Manila.

There he redoubled both his hatred for white people and his character assault on Frazier. He told one stunned, white reporter, “He’s the other type of negro. He’s not like me….Joe Frazier’s worse than you to me. That’s what I mean when I say “Uncle Tom. I mean, he’s a brother. One day he may be like me, but for now he works for the enemy.”

Ali won that fight, another brutal affair that pushed both men to the physical and mental brink, when Frazier’s longtime friend and trainer Eddie Futch refused to let him answer the bell for the 15th round.

In a strange, and unjust twist of irony, Frazier fought his cornerman to let him continue while Ali, who wanted to quit, was forced by his cornerman to stand up and get out there. When Futch took the drastic step of cutting Frazier’s gloves and telling the referee it was over, Ali won the fight by TKO.

Ali apologized 30-plus years later for the way he treated Frazier, but never did face to face. He did, very soon after the third fight, give Frazier credit for being a valiant fighter.

“I was thinking at the end, why am I doing this? Ali would say. “What am I doing here against this beast of a man? It’s so painful. I must be crazy.”

Ali did finally say, decades later, that he was sorry he hurt Frazier.

“Joe Frazier is a good man, and I couldn’t’ have done what I did without him. He couldn’t have done what he did without me. And if God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier fighting beside me.”

But Ali’s previous ridicule and marginalization of Frazier had lasting effect. At the turn of the century, Ali topped ESPN’s list of the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century at No. 1. Frazier didn’t make the list at all. One would think if one man is the best athlete of an entire century, the man who beat him when they were in their prime and took him to death’s door two other times, would at least deserve a spot in the Top 100.

Ali’s own religious beliefs are a conundrum. When he renounced his membership in the NOI, he became a Sunni Muslim, a mainstream sect of Islam. In 2005, his daughter Hana Yasmeen told Beliefnet that her father had become “more spiritual than religious,” and had embraced the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the founder of the Universal Sufi religion.

Most orders of Sufism are considered mystical Islamic sects, but Universal Sufism rejects any religion that adheres to a single book, which Islam does – the Koran.

Other friends say he worked to convert people to Islam until his death.

Ali remains a mystery.

What is certain is that Ali, for all his faults, was an inspiration in a time in American history when oppressed people needed inspiration, when prejudiced people needed shocked into a better world view and an unfair system needed change.

Muhammad Ali deserves the respect, admiration and honor he’s receiving in death, but we do our culture and our own souls a disservice when we ignore the sins of our heroes.