Monday, January 26, 2015

CLASSIFIEDS >> 1-24-15


LOOKING FOR a lady name Nan who worked at an attorney's office in Cabot 4 years ago. Please ask her to call Ann at (501) 940-2141.

ARKANSAS HEAT Elite looking for 6th and 7th grade boys to play basketball. Call Coach K, (501) 960-3415.

WANTED 10 HOMES to advertise siding, windows or roofs  for our 2015 advertising remodeling program. Save hundreds of dollars. Payments $89/month. All credit accepted.To qualify CALL NOW !! 1-866-668-8681.

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

Can You Dig It? Heavy Equipment Operator Training! 3 Week Program. Bulldozers, Backhoes, Excavators. Lifetime Job Placement Assistance with National Certifications.
VA Benefits Eligible! (866) 740-4564.


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

BARGER - A to Z minor home repair - Lonnie Barger, cell (501) 519-1485, home (501) 676-7182.

DirecTV Only $19.99 per month - Free premium channels HBO, Starz, Cinemax and Showtime for 3 months and Free Receiver upgrade! NFL 2014 Season Included. 1-800-516-5067.

DISH TV Retailer. SAVE! Starting $19.99/month (for 12 months.) FREE Premium Movie Channels. FREE Equipment, Installation and Activation. CALL, COMPARE LOCAL DEALS!  1-800-393-5829.

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.


$725 WEEK, no experience, air quality testing, 10-15 openings. Must be 18 and have reliable transportation. Paid weekly. Call for interview, Mon.-Fri., 9 am-5 pm, (501) 605-1303.

DELIVER PROMOTIONAL items to local businesses. Earn cash to pay off your holiday bill. Car required. (501) 985-1133.

WANTED: ENERGETIC people. Listen to music while you work. Part-time. Call 985-1133.

DRIVERS: $3000 orientation completion bonus! $3000 driver referral bonus! Great pay (new hires, minimum $800 work guarantee)! CDL-A OTR experience required. 1-888-335-1785.

POLICE OFFICER - The City of Austin is taking applications for a full time Police Officer position. Applications should be 21 years or older, no felony convictions, and a High School graduate or equivalent. In addition the Police Department is accepting applications for Part-Time Police Officer positions. Must be Part-Time II certified. Applications can be picked up at the Austin City Hall located at 3181 Highway 367 N, Austin AR  72007 between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30 PM. The deadline for accepting applications will be the 23rd of January, 2015 at 4:30 pm. The City of Austin reserve the right to reject any application.

Part-time Children's Coordinator position available with Jacksonville First United Methodist Church. Position is responsible for planning curriculum and programming for ages Pre-K - 5th Grade. Experience working in or leading children's activities preferred. Send resume to

PART-TIME DRIVERS needed for the following Central Arkansas Development Council's Lonoke SCAT office. Must have valid Arkansas driver's license with safe driving record and able to work a flexible schedule, excellent oral/written communication and customer service skills required. Able to handle: sensitive/confidential information and work in a fast paced environment preferred. Pre-Employment Drug Screening and Criminal Background Check required. To download an Employment Application go to Employment Applications are retained on file for (1) one year. You must contact HR if application was previously submitted and you want to be considered for the above position or for more information call 501-315-1121. "Equal Opportunity Employer."

LITTLE HUNNY'S In-home Day Care in Ward is seeking a part-time caregiver for ages 6 wks.-12 yrs., 8:30-12:30. Experience and high school diploma/equivalent necessary. (501) 843-7663.

OFFICE PRO Needed. Arnett Realty and Investments is seeking dependable person to assist broker and agents w/contracts, listings, marketing, etc. Fast-paced environment. Must be a self-starter and multi-tasker. Real Estate license/experience a HUGE plus! Addtl. training provided. Send resume to

HVAC SERVICE Tech needed. Experience preferred. Benefits available. Fax resume to (501) 941-3920 or apply in person at 15 Commercial Drive, Cabot. M-F, 8 am-4 pm. No calls please.

SAFETY COORDINATOR - Steel Construction/Fabrication company seeking a Safety professional for shops in LR AR. Min. of 2 yrs. Safety and/or 5 yrs. Construction Exp.  required. Current Red Cross approved First Aid 7 CPR Certification. EMT certification pref. Must have knowledge of Microsoft Office. Current Drivers license with Exc. driving history is required. Competitive salary/benefits pkg. Call 1-800-925-4565 or email resume:

NIGHT NURSE - FULL TIME, 7pm - 8am For large healthcare facility. Apply in person at: NeuroRestorative Timber Ridge, 5000 Hwy 298, Benton, AR 72019, 501-594-5211 ext. 8236 OR resumes can be emailed to:, EOE.

Earn $100,000. 1st Yr. Income selling funeral ins. to seniors. Daytime market. Leads furnished. Complete training. Daily pay. Health/Dental provided. Call 1-888-713-6020.

DRIVERS- TRUCK DRIVER TRAINEES NEEDED! Learn to drive for Stevens Transport! EARN $750 PER WEEK! No Experience Needed! We will get you trained! 1-888-778-0459.

25 DRIVER TRAINEES NEEDED NOW! Become a driver for TMC Transportation! Earn $700 per week! No CDL? No Problem! Training is available! 1-888-248-1948.

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


1957 GMC 2-ton flatbed truck, partially restored, $3,500. (501) 743-2580 or (501) 843-1443.

1972 FORD Ranchero 500, partially restored, $3,800. (501) 743-2580 or (501) 843-1443.

BACK CHROME bumper for pickup, Mr. Pickup brand, $100 obo. 982-1220.

2009 DODGE Ram 1500 Quad Cab 4x2, 40,000 miles, 5.7L V8, towing pkg., hard Tonneau cover, step bars, 2-tone white/gray, $18,200. (501) 231-1936.

2012 TOYOTA Prius Hybrid, excellent condition, immaculate interior, 30,500 miles, 50 MPG, fact. warranty, 1-owner, non-smoking, GPS, touch screen, bluetooth, Pandora, metallic white, $18,500. (405) 517-4777.

2014 HYUNDAI Santa Fe Sport 2.0 turbo, 27 mpg, excellent condition, 1-owner, non-smoking, tow hitch, fact. warranty, metallic white/gray leather, 26,500 miles, $23,800. (405) 517-4777.

1997 CAMARO, roller motor bad, lots of new parts, $1,650. (501) 941-0427, Cabot.

2003 YUKON XL, white, 5.3L, 193,000 miles, one owner, excellent condition, $8,095. (501) 796-8785.

NISSAN TRUCK rims, 1 set and 2 others, chrome plated, 14" wheels. Make offer. (501) 882-2142.

2000 TOYOTA Celica, new tires, needs engine work, $2,000 or trade for good working lawn mower. (501) 882-2142.

ANTIQUE 1982 Silverado, rebuilt A/C, new paint, reupholstered seat, 180,000 miles, 1 owner, 305 engine, good condition, $2,500. 416-5799.

2003 YUKON XL, white, 193,000 miles, $9,200. (501) 796-8785.

2008 CHEVROLET Cobalt, heated leather seats, sunroof, excellent condition, very clean, $7,500 obo. (501) 835-1740.

3 STUDDED winter tires, 205/15s, mounted on white S10 wheels, almost new, $175. (501) 983-1445.

2012 FORD Fiesta, red, good condition, low mileage, $12,000. (501) 516-0008.

2006 HONDA Civic coupe, black, $1,500. Call/text: (501) 605-6826.

2008 HONDA Odyssey, fully loaded, $4,000. Call/text: (501) 605-6826.

2001 NISSAN Sentra 4-door, auto., low miles, good gas mileage. (501) 988-0530.

JEEP WRANGLER 4-Dr. hardtop, extra clean; Ford 530 Diesel, white, 4-Dr., extra clean. (501)454-7501.

NISSAN/TOYOTA BED extender, $70 obo.; Solo saddle seat for Honda cycle and back rest, $75 obo. 843-4890.

MERCEDES 10 of 99 c230 Kompressor, 165,000 miles, great engine and transmission, $4,000 obo. (501) 882-2142.

2004 CHEVY Venture Mini-van, clean, very good condition, new battery, $1,800 cash. (870) 854-3893.

2005 CHEVY Silverado 2500 heavy duty extended cab pickup. 765-7853.

2002 CHEVROLET 4WD Ext. Cab Z71 pickup, 223k miles, burgundy, avg. cond., A/C/defrost/heat work, good tires, $3,900. (501) 605-7116, Cabot.

2 TIRES, Michelin, 225/55/17, good condition, $60 for both. 982-8722.

'76 DODGE Power Wagon, extra wheels and tires, (501) 288-0850.


KAWASAKI DIRT bike, 60cc, green, great condition, $1,200 obo. (501) 422-9173 or email

'89 ALPENLITE camper, 22', self-contained, central heat and air, stove/oven, super nice, $4,500 obo. (501) 472-8402.

SET OF 4-wheeler tires, good condition, 25-812, 25-1012, $100. 16" tires, 225/60/R16, good condition, $100. (501) 590-3360.


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

LAWN MOWER, Yard Machine, Kohler motor, 46" cut, $275. (501) 983-1445.

BEAUTIFUL, COLORFUL Hydrangeas, 14-16", 50¢ ea. (501) 268-3886.

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


LOST: JAX. area, wedding band w/gold design, also, ring w/4 stones. $100 REWARD. 988-2525 or 580-2438.

FOUND: 1/6/15, amall dog, Shih Tzu/Pomeranian type, East Cleland Rd., Cabot. (501) 766-2570 to describe and claim.

FOUND: ORANGE Tabby cat, Northeastern Ave., Jax. 982-5670.

LOST/POSSIBLY STOLEN from Hwy. 5 out of Cabot, 11/12/14, Maltipoo, solid white, female, 8 yrs. old, answers to Holly. REWARD OFFERED. (501) 454-7466.

LOST: HUSKY/GERMAN Shepherd mix, 1 yr. old, bright blue eyes, from Pride Gap Rd., Cabot. (501) 286-5198, text or leave msg.

FOUND: PUPPY on Charlie Olds, Ward. (501) 351-3940.


FERTILIZED BERMUDA, 4x5, net wrapped. String wrapped 1st and 2nd cut mixed hay. Can deliver. Also, garden manure for sale and bushhogging for hire. (501) 416-8107.

17" CUSTOM-MADE mule saddle, $600. (501) 628-7085.

BIG DOG, housebroken, guard dog, Lab. mix, up to date on shots, neutered, can be aggressive. (501) 676-2939.

FREE TO good homes: 3 female Calico cats, all spayed, 1 declawed. (501) 982-6028.

10 COCKATIELS, beautiful colors, $35 ea. to good homes only. (501) 286-7451, Cabot.

FREE DOG to good home, black lab., 7 mos. old. (501) 256-1763.

COCKATIEL w/cage, $100. (501) 533-8016.

BEARDED DRAGONS, born Nov. 24th, different colors, males and females, $50 ea. (501) 259-8485.

FREE CATS to good owners, indoor/outdoor/barn. (501) 941-8939.


CUSTOM-MADE INSULATED drapes, queen bedspread, dust ruffles - 15 pcs., pd. $1,200. Asking $175. (501) 268-3886.

ORGAN, Baldwin Orgasonic, good condition,  $75. (501) 266-2732, Lonoke.

HUBCAP COLLECTION, approx. 170, all kinds, $150 obo. (501) 288-4833.

PRO BOX 412, $40. (501) 628-7085.

BUILDING MATERIAL: dbl. marble sink w/Delta faucets, dbl. stainless steel sink w/Delta faucets, storm door w/hinges, ceramic tile, countertop, cabinet doors w/drawers w/orig. handles, 2 sheets of sub-flooring. (501) 628-7085.

2012 JAZZY Select Elite power chair, exc. cond., new batteries, $5,600 new, sell for $2,000. (870) 854-5543.

CHAIN LINK fence, 6'x35' long, $50; 4'x30' long, $40. No hardware or pulls. 982-1220.

SINGER TREADLE sewing machine, great condition, works, $200. (501) 676-3547.

BOWFLEX TREADMILL, barely used, $350. (501) 819-0353.

NORDICTRACK EXP 1000 treadmill w/performance track console, folds and rolls for easy storage, inclines, manual included, $275. (501) 605-2541.

150 GAL. pot belly propane tank, would make great wood stove for shop, $300. (501) 454-6641, Carlisle.

GOOD USED MX gear - boots, helmet, parts and tires, $25 and up. (501) 743-5024.

SEGA GENESIS controller and power supply cord, Super Pad by Performance, $5 and up. (501) 255-4186.

ANTIQUE TYPEWRITER, $25; Singer sewing machine, in cabinet, used very little, good condition, $100; Bissell carpet cleaner, good condition, $50. Cash only. (501) 743-1014, Beebe.

5-PC. WICKER set, love seat, rocker, chair, lamp and table, $250. 843-8259.

CAMPER SHELL for short bed pickup, maroon, $200. 843-8259.

FINE CHINA by International Silver Co., "326 Springtime", $50. (501) 259-2046.

BUCK STOVE insert, $200. (501) 413-7366.

LADIES 2-PC. coverall set, sz. large; men's 2XL coverall set, $35 ea. (501) 983-1445.

7' ARTIFICIAL tree in basket, green and white leaves, $25 obo. (501) 843-4890.

FISH TANK, 25"x13"x20", $12; 3 bicycles, 2 girl's, 1 boy, 16"-20", all 3 for $35; brand new bread maker, no instruction booklet, $30; lots of clothes, $1-$5. (501) 843-4890.

INSULATED DRAPES, olive green design, 72"x84" barely used, keep the cold out, $40. 743-7087.

NEW HOME sewing machine and accessories, still under warranty, sews like a new one, $100. 743-7087.

SAGE COLORED drapes, polyester, 72"x84", $20. 743-7087.

ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIR, good condition, extra set of batteries, $300 obo. (501) 422-1494, Ward.

4 Thomas the Train battery operated engines, 4 train cars, Colin the Crain and 60 pcs. of track, $40. (501) 843-0970.

DECK BOX, waterproof, $75 negotiable. (501) 712-6375, Jax.

COIN OPERATED LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT FOR SALE - 20 Top-loading Washers, 6 front-loading washers, 10 Dryers, Hot Water Heater, Large Water Tank, Bill Changer, 870-448-3061.


BURGUNDY LIFT chair recliner, good condition, $100. (501) 912-0046.

SWIVEL CHAIR, light blue, $50; recliner, $100. Both recently reupholstered. (501) 864-7117.

KING-SIZE BED, 1 yr. old mattress. (501) 676-2803.

2 GLASS-TOP round end table, lg. glass top cocktail table, excellent condition, $200 cash for all 3. (501) 858-9530.

QUEEN-SIZE HIDE-A-BED, Simmons Maxi-pedic mattress, exc. cond., no pets, non-smoker home, $2,500 cash. (501) 676-6109.

ANTIQUE CRUSHED velvet, emerald green, 3-pc. Victorian living room set, excellent condition, no pets, non-smoker home, $600 cash. (501) 676-6109.

GIRL'S WHITE 5-pc. bedroom suite - dresser, desk, chair, hutch, night stand, full-size bed. Pics avail., $600. 835-3650 or 519-1541.

KENMORE REFRIGERATOR, almond, side-by-side, ice and water in door, $400. (501) 982-5671.

BED, TWIN size, sturdy metal w/slide and tent, $125. (501) 266-2732.

STOVE, WHIRLPOOL, white, electric, needs 2 burners, $80. (501) 266-2732, Lonoke.

BAR STOOLS, black  wrought iron, tan swivel seat, 3 @ $30 ea. (210) 748-4170.

REFRIGERATOR, top freezer, ice maker, black, 4 yrs. old, like new, clean, $275 cash. (210) 748-4170, Sherwood.

ELECTRIC DRYER, $35. (501) 533-0169.

LOVE SEAT, Ashley, sage, very good condition, $100 obo. (479) 644-0654.

VINTAGE, CRUSHED velvet full headboard, small wooden drop-leaf breakfast table w/2 chairs, glass and metal shelves, $75 ea. (501) 259-2437.

BEAUTIFUL baby bed, adjustable, $75. (501) 676-6956.

ELECTRIC OVEN w/cook top, runs great, $150. (501) 676-6956.


Medical/Office/Retail For Lease 2400 sf. This space has a large showroom, two restrooms, a copier room, five offices or treatment rooms plus additional space as waiting areas or records. Was formally Global Eye Clinic. Great location at major intersection. Plenty of traffic and visibility. For Showing or additional information, contact Vowell Realty, 501-605-1212.

SALE OR lease - West Main, Jacksonville - 10,000 sq. ft., high traffic area, many uses, (479) 214-3155.

209 ELM, Cabot. Commercial Office/Retail, 880 sq. ft.; 105 E. Park, Carlisle. 2 Commercial Office/Retail units, Unit A, 1650 sq. ft., Unit B, 350 sq. ft. Call (501) 590-2438.


BEAUTIFUL PIECE of land for sale. 17 acres. Located in Ward. Call (501) 286-0698.


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.

Jacksonville - $0 Deposit - 1, 2 and 3 bedroom MH's in nice, quiet, safe park, $400-$600 per month. "One bedroom includes utilities."  Call (501) 472-4100.

COZY STUDIO apartment with wood burning fireplace in Jacksonville. Appliance filled kitchen. Starting at $295 plus utilities. No children or pets. Military discount available. Camp Construction, (501) 982-0434.

2 BEDROOM mobile home, 12x50, $325 month, $75 dep. Tenant pays all utilities, 2105 Hamilton St., Jax. Also, 2 bedroom, all electric, 505 South Rd., $350 month, $75 dep. Tenant pays water and electric. 749-9882.

CABOT: NICE older home, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, carport, deck, fenced backyard, CH and A, carpet/vinyl, utility room, $625 month, $300 deposit. 1 yr. lease. 608 S. Grant St. (501) 843-7812.

3 BEDROOM, 2 bath rent house, 1100 sq. ft., 201 6th Street, Cabot. $675 month, $400 deposit, no pets. Contact (501) 288-4177 for more details.

FOR SALE or Rent: 35 Carriage Cove, 3 BR/2 BA, 1425 sq. ft.; 255 Richfield, Jacksonville, 4 BR/2 BA, 1352 sq. ft.; 200 Third St., Ward, 2 BR/1 BA, approx. 1100 sq. ft.; 3639 Hwy. 367, Austin, duplex, 2 BR/1 BA, 900 sq. ft. Call (501) 590-2438.

SPORTS EVENTS >> 1-24-15

The second annual Beebe Badger Alumni Basketball game will be held Saturday, Jan. 31 at Badger Arena. The game is sponsored by the Beebe Badger Booster Club and tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.


The Lake Dardanelle State Park, in conjunction with Mt. Nebo State Park and FrogWatch USA, will host a frog listening workshop on Feb. 27-28 at Lake Dardanelle State Park. The workshop is free, and will teach how to identify all area frog and toad calls in the first session. Attendees will also learn to mimic calls, why frogs are important, why they are in trouble and what can be done to help them. For more information, contact Sasha Bowles at 479-890-7477.


Jacksonville High School softball is hosting The Devil Made Me Do It 5K fundraiser at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14. Early registration fee is $25 for adults and $15 for students. Race-day registration fee is $30 for all. “The Devil Made Me Do It” T-shirts are guaranteed for all early registered runners and available while supplies last on race day.

Participants may pick up race packets from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 at the JHS fieldhouse. Race day packet pickup will be from 7:45-8:45 a.m. Awards will be given for first, second and third-place male and female finishers in four categories by age. There will also be an award for overall wheelchair winner.

For more information, contact Stephanie at 501-772-4562 or email


The JYBA will hold registration for the spring season from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 14, 21 and 28. Players must be 4 years old by April 30 to register and all youths ages 4-15 are invited to sign up. Registration will be at the Jacksonville Middle School fieldhouse on School Drive. First-year players must provide a birth certificate, school or hospital record, passport or military ID. For more information, call 501-982-8650 or 501-410-2778.


Jacksonville High graduate and Tampa Bay Buccaneer Clinton McDonald will host Fortitude Through Family and Friends Fun Day at the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club on April 3. The event will include fun games and competitions, and participants will get to meet and hang out with the players that will be coaching at the third annual Iron Sharpens Iron Football/Cheerleading Camp at Jacksonville High School on April 4.

Admission to the Fun Day is $5 for everyone 5 years old and up. Under 4 is free. Early registration for the football camp is $40 and $30 for cheer camp. Day-of registration is $5 more. For more information, visit facebook:macc/lid or call 501-773-0917.


The Jacksonville High School baseball camp will be held Feb. 2-6 at the JHS indoor athletic facility. The camp is for baseball players of all ages and will be divided in ages 10-under and 11-up. Cost is $75 . Camp times for 10-under is 6-7 p.m., and 7:30-9 p.m. for 11-up. Registration will be on site at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2, the first day of camp. For more information, contact Jacksonville baseball coach Larry Burrows at 501-772-3162.

OBITUARIES >> 1-24-15


Dr. Thomas Henry Wortham, formerly of Jacksonville, was born Jan. 12, 1927, in Waldo (Columbia County) to Daisy Nell Alsobrook Wortham and Marvin Winston Wortham.

Dr. Wortham died on Jan. 20. He was lovingly referred to as “Boss” by many.

He graduated from Magnolia High School, where he met his future wife, Betty Jean Moore. He served in the Navy from 1944-1946 as a corpsman. After the war ended, he hitchhiked to Fayetteville from Little Rock to begin college.

He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1951, then received his medical degree in 1953 from UAMS, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He also was awarded the Faculty Key as the outstanding student for four years of medical school and received the Joseph Roberts Award as the Outstanding Scholar for the four years of medical school. Tom and Betty were married in 1953 and moved to St. Louis to start Tom’s residency.

Upon its completion, they settled in Jacksonville.

Dr. Wortham helped expand medical and other community services in Jacksonville to meet the demand after the opening of Little Rock Air Force Base. He ran a thriving family practice clinic for 43 years. He rallied community support for funding of a hospital and then helped establish Rebsamen Medical Center. He served in many capacities at Rebsamen before retiring as vice president in 1999.

Dr. Wortham helped develop the coronary care unit at Rebsamen, as well as one of the first paramedic ambulance services. As a member of the Board of Corrections for 10 years, he was a catalyst for major improvements in prison health care.

He also served on many UAMS boards and committees and volunteered as a clinical preceptor for College of Medicine residents and students, as well as the UAMS Family Medical Clinic.

He was an avid Razorbacks fan and a scholarship donor. He was also a pilot, flying his family to many destinations and was a member of the Flying Physicians Association. He also performed FAA physicals for 35 years.

Dr. Wortham was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Dr. James T. Wortham; a sister, Mary Patricia Parrish; his wife of 56 years, Betty Jean Moore Wortham, who died in 2009, and his son, Thomas, who passed away in 2001.

He is survived by his son, Clay Alan; a daughter, Jan Ellen; grandchildren, Thomas Seth Wortham and Corissa Withrow Wortham, and a host of family and friends.

The family thanks Hospice Home Care and Dr. K. Morgan Sauer, who took excellent care of Tom in his final days.

A memorial service was held Jan. 24 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Trinity Presbyterian or a charity of the donor. Arrangements are by Little Rock Funeral Home.


Nancy Jane Price, 71, of Jacksonville went to be with her Lord on Jan. 22.

She was born Aug. 9, 1943, in Russellville to the late Lonnie Moore and Ollie Moore Caviness.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Julia Fowler, and one daughter, Marilee Rodefer.

Mrs. Price spent most of her years on earth loving her husband and their three children. When their children were born, her focus and her husband’s turned to raising their children and taking them to baseball and football games.

She was always mothering the other players. They fondly called her “Momma Price.”
As the kids grew up and started their own families, Larry and Nancy took to traveling. She called them “adventures.” You never knew where they would end up until she would call to tell you about it.

She worked many years at Walmart in Jacksonville as the sporting goods manager. Then she worked at the Outdoor Superstore until it closed. Her specialty was hunting and fishing supplies.

Nan, as she was called by her grandkids, was an absolute joy for her to hear. She was so proud of each of them. She loved to tell everyone about her grandkids and her great-grandson.

She was a baptized believer that Jesus is the son of God.

In her final hours before the Lord took her home, she was surrounded by her loved ones.
She is survived by her loving husband and best friend of 50 years, Larry Price; two sons, Larry Price Jr. and his wife Brenda and Jerry Ray Price and his wife Stephanie; two brothers, Ken Moore and Sammy Caviness; five grandchildren, Mikki, Trey, Jaclyn, Jackson and Jasper and one great-grandchild, Tristen.

A memorial service was held Feb. 1 at Cabot Church of Christ with Robert Coe officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718 Oklahoma City, Okla. 73123.

Arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home and Crematory.


The Lord called Noah Eugene (Gene) Jones, 82, away on Jan. 23 to be with him in Heaven.

Gene was born on May 16, 1932, in Fayetteville to Vernace Cosby Jones and William (Willie) Jones.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister-in-law, Jeraldine Jones, and a nephew, Kelly Stacy.

He was survived by his loving and devoted wife of 60 years, Geneva Lee Davis Jones, of the home; one son, Bobby Gene Jones and his wife Stacy; two grandsons, Christopher Brian Jones and his wife Christina of McKinney, Texas, and Cory Clayton Jones of Cabot; three great-grandchildren, Remi Madilyn, Logan Marie and Liam Christopher Jones of McKinney, Texas, and two step-grandsons, Ian Kenton Jackson and Garrett Edmund Jackson of Beebe.

Noah was a retired and disabled veteran of the Navy serving aboard the USS Pittsburgh during the Korean War. He also was a retired postal clerk of 31 years. He was a member of the American Legion.

Gene was a good Christian man and a member of Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church of Ward. He and Geneva put God first and family next. Gene was a people lover, loved square dancing and calling for over 25 years. Other interests were golf, fishing, crafting jewelry, other crafts and an roller skating.

His family thanks the staff of Des Arc Rehabilitation and Nursing Home for the loving care they had given him since his admission on May 5. We would like to thank the entire staff to include everyone from the cleaning, kitchen, nurses, nurse’s aides, maintenance, laundry, therapy, office and director who played such a large part in his care and comfort. Lastly, we would like to thank Arkansas Hospice staff for its kindness.

Visitation will be from 6 until 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 at Moore’s Funeral Home in Cabot. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Dayspring Missionary Baptist Church in Ward with interment in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


W.E. Dean Cannon, 77, of Cabot passed away on Jan. 22.

He was born April 30, 1937, in Corinth, Miss., to the late Namon and Myrtle Cannon.

He was a retired Army veteran who served during Vietnam. He was also a member of the VFW, American Legion, was a Master Mason and a member of Jacinto Masonic Lodge 216 in Jacksonville.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Cannon; one daughter, Debbie Ulmer and her husband Buddy; one stepson, Jimmy P. Williams and his wife Merry, and grandsons, Christopher Ulmer and Andrew Nicholson, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home. 

Entombment will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park with Military Honors and Masonic Rites. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Jacinto Masonic Lodge 216, P.O. Box 333 Jacksonville, Ark. 72078.


Jessie James Hallman Sr., 69, of Beebe was born to James and Erviel Cox Hallman on Aug. 27, 1945, and died from Lymphoma cancer Jan. 22.

He is survived by wife, Michele Hallman; children, Jessie Jr., Michael Ray, Pamela, Eric and his wife Cassy, Andrew and his wife Heather, Christopher and his wife Ashley; grandchildren, Jessica and her husband Drew, Shawna and her husband Zack, Arianna, Joshua, Haley, Allie, Keaton, Aubrey and Spencer James; great grandchildren, Nevaeh and Emorie, and lots of other people who called him Papa. He is also survived by lots of friends and family who loved him.

Jessie James was preceded in death by one brother and three sisters.

Memorials may be made to the Lymphoma Foundation.

The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 at First Baptist Church in Beebe with the funeral 4 p.m.

Cremation arrangements are by Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.


Joshua Rene Garcia, 24, of Ward, went to be with his Lord on Jan. 22. He was born Oct. 7, 1990, in Deming N.M.

He was preceeded in death by his father, Robert Garcia, and both grandmothers, Alice Hillman and Mae Garcia.

Joshua is survived by his children, Brayden Garcia and Madelynn Garcia both of Cabot; mother and step-father, Kimberly and Matthew Hendrix of Ward; two brothers, Jonathan Garcia, Jeremy Garcia, both of Ward; sister, Jazmyne Hendrix of Ward; step brothers, Aaron Hendrix of Vilonia and Britt Hendrix of Ward; both grandfathers Al Hillman and wife Brenda of Forrest City, Louis Garcia of Deming, N.M.; step-grandparents, Bruce and Sue Hendrix of Vilonia; two best friends, like brothers, Armando Telles and Justin Rosin, along with a host of other family and friends.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday Jan. 26 at Grace Fellowship Church in Cabot. Interment will be at Arkansas Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Freddie General Fowler, 87, of Ward was born Dec. 4, 1927, at Ingram (Randolph County) to John and Gladys Fowler and died Jan. 19.

He was an Army veteran, former downtown Little Rock business owner and mechanic.

He was a member of Austin Church of Christ. Freddie loved his church, his family and was a very devoted husband and loving father.

He is survived by his daughters, Belinda Fowler, Bonnie Bumgartner, Mary Barnett and Sylvia Malek; a stepdaughter, Dr. Sonjia Michaels, 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Claudia Fowler, and a stepson, Ernie Fell.

Memorials may be made to the Ashleigh Holmes Fund, Hancock Bank, 200 E. 9 Mile Road, Pensacola, Fla. 32514.

A funeral service was held Jan. 24 at Austin Church of Christ. Burial in Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

Arrangements by Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.


Catherine Marie Bissett, 67, of Ward went to be with her Lord on Jan. 22 in Ward. She was born June 21, 1947, in Cleveland, Ohio, to the late William and Margaret Kowalski Shannon.

She was also proceeded in death by a sister, Sharon Harris.

Catherine married Ronald on Dec. 12, 1987, in Aragon, Ga. After Ronald was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in 1990, she worked as office manager at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce for a few years.

They purchased a home in Ward. She then worked as office manager at Cabot United Methodist Church Child Development Center and retired in 2012.

Catherine is survived by her husband, retired Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Edward Bissett of the home; a stepson, Jason Bissett of Jonesboro; a stepdaughter, Michelle Jones of Canton Ohio; three sisters, Mary Margaret Pidek of Pinfield, N.Y., Patricia Keling and Ellen Tizzano, both of Cleveland, Ohio; a brother, William Shannon, of Cleveland, Ohio, and four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a host of other family and friends.

Cremation arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Martha Dedmon Osgood, 71, of Onawa, Iowa, passed away Jan. 15. She was born Sept. 1, 1943, in Huntsville, Ala., to the late James and Margie Dedmon. She grew up in the Cabot area and graduated from Cabot High School.

She is survived by three children, David Osgood and his wife Kathy of Colorado Springs, Colo., Anna Marie Osgood of Onawa, Iowa, and James Osgood of Fort Dodge, Iowa; four grandchildren, Jessie and Martha Osgood, of Onawa, Iowa, Kaitlin and Dylan Osgood of Colorado Springs, and one sister, Rhoda Bell Burgess of Austin.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles A. Osgood; a son, Joseph A. Osgood; a sister, Anna L. White, and four brothers, James, David, Wendell and Andy Dedmon.

A memorial service was held Jan. 15 in Onawa, Iowa.

EVENTS >> 1-24-15


State Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) will speak at the Cabot AARP’s potluck dinner at 6 p.m. Monday at the Cabot Senior Center, 600 N. Grant St.

Members and prospective members are invited. For more information, call 501-492-1456.

 An exercise class for seniors is being held at the Cabot Senior Center from 10 until 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The exercises, which can be done standing or sitting in a chair, focus on balance, range of motion and strength.

Participants should wear comfortable clothes. The center is at 600 N. Grant St. For more information, call 501-492-1456.


The Beta Psi chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a group of women educators, will meet at 5 p.m. Monday at the home of JoAnn Williamson, 11 Shady Lane in Jacksonville.

“The program will be broken pottery jewelry to heal broken lives,” according to the announcement. A potluck salad supper will be served.

For more information, call Paula Armstrong at 501-834-3855.


The 16th Section Crime Watch Organization will have its monthly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27 at the 16th Section Community Center on Hwy. 319 in Austin.


The Jacksonville Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association will meet at 5:45 p.m. Monday at the police station, 1400 Marshall Road.

For more information, call Eleanor Loyd at 501-412-4115 or e-mail her at


The Miss Greater Jacksonville Scholarship Pageant and the Outstanding Teen Pageant will be held Feb. 28 at the Jacksonville Community Center. These pageants are preliminary competitions for the Miss Arkansas and Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen Pageants, which will be held in July in Hot Springs.

Participants must be residents, students or work full time in Faulkner, Grant, Lonoke, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski or Saline counties for at least the last six months.

Contestants in the Miss pageant must be 17 to 24 years old.

Outstanding Teen contestants must be 12 to 17 years old.

Entry forms are available online at and at

To be held the same day is the Miss Greater Jacksonville Junior Pageant. These contestants will compete in beauty, with optional areas of competition in talent and photogenic portions.

Age groups include Baby Miss, 18 months and under; Toddler Miss, 19-35 months; Wee Miss, 3-4; Tiny Miss, 5-6; Little Miss, 7-9, and Petite Miss, 10-12. The deadline to register is Feb. 20.

For more information, call Sharon Boyd at 501-982-3898 or email


Routine bridge maintenance will require a lane closure from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on I-40 near Carlisle, according to the Highway Department.

Traffic will be controlled using barrels and warning signs. Crews will repair concrete on the soffit of the Hwy. 13 overpass.


The Jacksonville Garden Club will meet at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2413 Northeastern Ave., in Jacksonville. For more information call 501-533-7708.


The Lonoke County Retired Teachers Association will discuss the re-organization and future plans of the association during its next monthly meeting at a new location — Mount Tabor United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall — at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2.

All retired school personnel are encouraged to attend. Nonperishable food items will be collected for a local food pantry.

Attendees are also asked to bring finger foods.


First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville will hold its annual community chili cookoff from 5 until 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15 in the church’s Family Life Center, 220 W. Main St.

Entry fees are $25, which will provide a table and electricity. “We encourage you to also put on your creative hat when decorating your table. Trophies will be awarded for Best Chili and Best Booth. Also, bring your sweet tooth because there will be a silent auction for dessert items,” according to the announcement.

Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $5 for children. For more information, or to register, call Shelley Petefish, 501-351-3523.

Individuals, organizations, businesses and clubs are encouraged to attend.


Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held five times a week at the Lonoke County Christian Clinic, 502 Richie Road in Cabot.

Closed discussions are held at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. An open discussion is held at 8 p.m. Fridays, and an open-book study is held at 10 a.m. Saturdays.

A closed meeting for women is held at 6 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, visit

• Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held in the Presbyterian church on the ASU-Beebe campus. Open meetings are held at 8 p.m. Monday, and closed meetings are held at 8 p.m. Thursday.

• Meetings for friends and family of alcoholics are held in Jacksonville at 4 p.m. every Sunday at 119 N. Spring St.

• Meetings for friends and families of alcoholics are held in Cabot at 7 p.m. every Tuesday at 301 S. Pine St.

Call 501-438-1189 for more information.

Friday, January 23, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Asa’s healthy state of mind

It could have been no surprise to anyone, except the new lieutenant governor, that Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants to continue to insure more than 200,000 Arkansans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the infamous Obamacare. What may have been surprising to many is that the conservative Republican did so not grudgingly but warmly.

Hutchinson announced Thursday that he would ask the legislature to appropriate money for the expansion of Medicaid at least through the end of 2016, when the state will assume 5 percent of the costs from the federal government. He hopes by then to have a plan to make broad changes in Medicaid—all its services, not just the so-called “private option” plan for insuring poor adults—that will expand access and also improve care and lower costs.

In announcing his long-expected support for the private option, Hutchinson said the overarching concern should be the human aspect—people who need medical care and the means to pay for it—not the political, ideological or even budgetary issues. He told stories about people who had been helped, their lives changed, by getting Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. He acknowledged that like all Republicans, he had opposed Obamacare but noted that he had lost that fight.

Hutchinson’s position had been widely presumed since he had refused during the long campaign to adopt the standard Republican campaign position of opposing Obamacare and the private option or to adopt any other position on it. But Hutchinson’s long career in government at the national level told you that he was not much of an ideologue and that, like his predecessor, Mike Beebe, he leaned to the practical rather than to the ideological.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin apparently got different vibes. Moments after the governor’s speech at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, which is heavily dependent upon continuation of the expansion of insurance under Obamacare, Griffin issued a statement praising Hutchinson for shutting down the private option and halting insurance for low-income people.

Obamacare, if we may use its Republican label, is supposed to insure, ultimately, more than 25 million Americans who are not insured, most of them because it is too expensive. About half of them are to enroll in a private insurance plan chosen from a market set up by the federal government or by the states. If their incomes are between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, the federal government will subsidize their premiums, on a sliding scale.

The private option—the label adopted by the plan’s Republican authors—is the part of the Affordable Care Act that covers people whose incomes are so low that they cannot afford any part of a health-insurance policy, those whose incomes are below 138 percent of the poverty line. In Arkansas, the legislature in 2013 chose to let most of those people select a plan from the market and have the government pay the premiums. Those who are grievously ill are covered by regular Medicaid, where the government pays the costs directly but at lower hospital and doctor reimbursement rates.

More than 200,000 low-income adults have signed up for Medicaid coverage in Arkansas. By the end of March, more than 300,000 Arkansans will be covered by insurance for the first time—the most dramatic improvement in the uninsured rate in the country. Hutchinson, with no seeming reluctance, told about the dramatic improvements for hospitals, where unreimbursed charity care is rapidly disappearing, and about people whose desperate situations had been reversed by getting insurance and the treatment that had previously been denied because they couldn’t pay for it. He might have mentioned the sharp reduction in the number of Arkansans going on the federal disability rolls since the central features of Obamacare went into effect in October 2013.

Now, the big question is how persuasive the new governor will be with his party, which now controls both legislative houses by big margins. Many of the legislators ran on the promise of killing the private option. A perverse sentence in a 1934 constitutional amendment has been interpreted as allowing a small minority of legislators—referred to generically as the tea party—to block funding of any program they don’t like. Can Hutchinson persuade enough of them to preserve funding for the program that he considers vital to the state’s health and to the state budget? Our guess is that he can.

If he can’t, more than 200,000 people will lose their insurance and ability to get health care on July 1, community hospitals and the state medical center will find themselves suddenly in dire straits and the governor and the legislature will have to find lots of money somewhere to cover a giant hole in the state budget when the federal government returns a large Medicaid program to the state.

Aside from the reflexive hatred of anything associated with the unpopular president, the opponents’ chief argument is that the state will be required to shoulder 10 percent of the costs of the Medicaid expansion after 2020 and that the state will be unable to afford it and will cut off all those people who will have come to depend on it. Better to cut them off now, apparently, before they become accustomed to getting medical care when they need it.

Here is the mystery: If the threat of paying 10 percent of that program is so frightening, what about the rest of the Medicaid program? No Republican flinched in 1997 and afterward when Gov. Mike Huckabee launched a far bigger Medicaid program—covering most of the state’s children. He claimed it as his biggest achievement as governor. More than 400,000 children are covered now, at much greater expense than the Obamacare program, and the state pays not 5 percent or 10 percent but nearly 30 percent of all those costs. Why is paying 5 or 10 percent scarier than paying 30 percent of an even bigger program?

As we’ve said before, it makes no sense. Apparently, it makes no sense to our pragmatic new governor either.

TOP STORY >> Funeral for doctor Saturday

Leader editor in-chief

Dr. Thomas Henry Wortham, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 88, worked as a physician well into his 80s, retiring in 2013 after a 60-year career in medicine — mostly in Jacksonville.

Wortham, who became a physician at the age of 26, was a small-town doctor most of his life. He was unassuming, taking care of patients, delivering babies, making house calls and teaching generations of medical students.

He was born Jan. 12, 1927, in Waldo (Columbia County) to Daisy Nell Alsobrook Wortham and Marvin Winston Wortham.

Wortham graduated in 1944 from Magnolia High School, where he met his future wife, Betty Jean Moore. He served in the Navy from 1944-1946 as a corpsman.

His ship was headed for Japan in the summer of 1945 when it turned back after the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, his daughter Jan recalled.

“He loved what he did,” his daughter said. “He loved Arkansas. He said you had to talk Arkie to your patients so they could understand you.”

She said her father’s mother raised three children as a single mom. Another son, James, also became a doctor.

After the war, Wortham, then 19, hitchhiked to Fayetteville from Little Rock to begin college on the GI Bill.

He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1951, then received his medical degree in 1953 from UAMS, graduating magna cum laude.

He was also awarded the Faculty Key as the outstanding student for four years of medical school and received the Joseph Roberts Award as the outstanding scholar for four years of medical school.

Tom and Betty were married in 1953 and moved to St. Louis to start his residency.

After his residency, the Worthams moved to Jacksonville in 1956, the year after the opening of Little Rock Air Force Base.

Dr. Wortham ran a thriving family practice clinic for 43 years in Jacksonville.

Dr. Wortham helped expand medical and other community services in Jacksonville to meet the health needs of a growing military community.

As president of the Jackson-ville Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Wortham shook hands with President John Kennedy when he landed at the air base on his way to the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam in October 1963.

The doctor rallied community support for funding a local hospital and then helped establish Rebsamen Medical Center, which opened in January 1962. He served in many capacities at Rebsamen before retiring as vice president in 1999.

Dr. Wortham helped develop the coronary-care unit at Rebsamen, as well as one of the first paramedic ambulance services. Appointed by Gov. Dale Bumbers to serve as a member of the Board of Corrections for 10 years, he was a catalyst for major improvements in prison health care, too.

He also worked without pay as the medical director for the Jacksonville Fire Department.

He served on many UAMS boards and committees and volunteered as a clinical preceptor for College of Medicine residents and students, as well as the UAMS Family Medical Clinic. He worked at the clinic for 13 years, retiring in 2013 at the age of 87.

Dr. K. Morgan Sauer, one of his students, took care of Dr. Wortham at hospice. Dr. Sauer said Dr. Wortham had taught him how to deal with grief.

He was an avid Razorbacks fan and a scholarship donor. Dr. Wortham was also a pilot, flying his family to many destinations and was a member of the Flying Physicians Association. He performed FAA physicals for 35 years.

A memorial service will held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, one may donate to Trinity Presbyterian or to the donor’s charity.

Jan Wortham, his daughter, said her father will be buried at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville next to his wife, who died in 2009.

TOP STORY >> Undertaker shuts, giving up license

Leader staff writer

The state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors levied a $10,000 fine and accepted the voluntarily surrendered licenses of Arkansas Funeral Care in Jacksonville and its owner on Friday.

The board will not pursue criminal charges, such as abuse of corpse, as part of the agreement. Owner LeRoy Wood will not be able to reapply for a license in the future.

Criminal charges could still be filed if police determine a crime has been committed. The agreement also states any investigation of the home’s embalmer, Ed Snow, will be handled separately.

The decision was based on testimony from inspector Leslie Stokes that the board heard during an emergency teleconference on Wednesday.

The board shut down the home after finding that it had violated several state laws, including one that requires bodies to be refrigerated, buried or cremated within 24 hours.

A board member asked Stokes if she had photographed the conditions, and the inspector said she had.

Stokes reported that Arkansas Funeral Care’s cooler was “filled beyond capacity with bodies” on Jan. 12. There were about 25 bodies in the cooler, she reported.

Thirty-one bodies were removed from the home after Wednesday’s vote. They were sent to the state Crime Laboratory and the Pulaski County coroner’s office.

On Friday, Wood’s legal counsel proposed a $5,500 fine, but that offer was rejected in favor of the stiffer punishment. He has 60 days to pay the $5,000 levied against him, $2,500 levied against the home and $2,500 levied against its crematorium.

Wood also agreed to refund all the families for services that were paid for but not provided.

The Little Rock conference room the board met in Friday was crowded with people.

Several spoke about their bad experiences with Arkansas Funeral Care while one woman defended Wood and his business.

Patricia Parchman, one of the home’s customers, said she was unsure whether the ashes she had in an urn at home were her son’s remains.

She said the sides of her loved one’s body were sunken and his face was black when his body arrived at the church for a planned open-casket funeral.

One of the board members told her there was no way to test the ashes for DNA.

Parchman’s husband said, “What’s going on? You know, can you answer that to all these families that have got these feelings? Even an apology is not going to take care of that. This is lifelong and everlasting.”

Parchman implored, “Where’s the love?”

Both asked for a stiffer penalty before the board increased the fines.

Jason Ray, who had also been a customer, accused the home’s staff of throwing family heirlooms from the hearse at the cemetery where his mother was buried.

But another woman, who didn’t identify herself, said she had known Wood for years and had attended a lot of funerals he had performed. “They were all good. I don’t know what’s happened in all of this, but he has been a good man and has helped a lot of people,” she said.

The next speaker said the home lost her loved one’s death certificate and that she would have to pay for a cremation again.

Another woman said her family was pressured to pay for services the same day the board shut the home down.

A disabled veteran said he wasn’t satisfied with how Arkansas Funeral Care handled his wife’s funeral. “I’d hate to think that he did this to any other vets in this country who have given their lives for this country and for him. May God have mercy on you.”

One other former customer also spoke. She said the body of her brother-in-law leaked fluids into his casket during an Arkansas Funeral Care service.

Several whispers in the room indicated families might pursue civil lawsuits against the home.

Stokes said Wednesday she had observed at least seven bodies outside the cooler that had not been embalmed and four bodies in the prep room. One body in the prep room was embalmed but uncovered, the inspector reported.

In the center of the cooler, one body was stacked on top of another that was on a cot, she said. Stokes said another body strapped to a cot outside the cooler was “decomposing” and “obviously leaking body fluids.”

She also reported seeing what appeared to be blood splatter on the walls, bodily fluids on the floor and ashes mixed in a barrel containing pieces of flooring.

The doors to the embalming room and holding facility were unlocked, Stokes added. She said she was able to enter both without alerting any of the staff.

Stokes inspected the business Jan. 12-16, after former employee Mike Jones filed a complaint with the board.

Jones alleged that there were bloodstains on the prep room’s walls and 24 bodies stacked outside the cooler. He also accused the embalmer, Ed Snow, of cremating two bodies at once and signing off an apprentice who is licensed but doesn’t know how to embalm.

Wood and Snow denied all of Jones’ allegations in a written response to the complaint.

The board reportedly received a second and similar complaint from Darriel Ezell, owner of Clinton Funeral Service in Clinton, on Jan. 16. But that was not discussed at Friday’s hearing.

Stokes said during the teleconference that she asked Snow on Jan. 12 whether stacking bodies in the cooler was an ethical practice. His response was that they would be moved when the home got a cot, according to the inspector.

And Stokes added while addressing the board on Wednesday, “I have never encountered this on any previous inspection that I have been on at any other funeral home.”

Jeff Smith, president of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, released a statement this week calling the findings “shocking and disturbing” and offering the assistance of other caring and loving funeral homes to the families that were involved.

TOP STORY >> Building to succeed

Leader staff writer

Pinnacle Structures in Cabot is marking its 20th year in business.

The pre-engineered metal building systems manufacturer opened in 1995 with six employees in a double-wide trailer on South Second Street. It has since grown to 130 employees. Pinnacle Structures operates two shifts 24 hours a day, five days a week.

The facility on Hwy. 321 has expanded three times. The company had $36 million in sales last year. Pinnacle Structures has sold metal buildings all over the country, including the Carolina coast, Alaska and California.

Pinnacle Structures was started with $150,000 from three investors — the late Gerald Shock, Steve Tipton and Jerry Jones (not the Dallas Cowboys owner).

The company receives shipments of steel. Then, using rollers, benders and welders, makes beams, purlins, wall panels, downspouts, gutters and trim.

The building is put together like a large kit by contractors or buyers.

Some examples of Pinnacle Structures buildings are the Cabot School District’s Freshman Academy, Mountain Springs Elementary, the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, the Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex in Jacksonville, the Cabot Fire Department station on Hwy. 5 and several hundred Dollar General stores.

The company produces metal buildings for churches, schools, fire stations, aviation, gas and oil industries and for agricultural uses. Engineers are also on staff to design buildings for customers.

“We have had steady growth since the recession,” company president Will Feland, a former prosecutor and judge, said.

Sandra Covington, vice president of administration, said many employees have worked at Pinnacle for five to 10 years. Feland said payroll was $7.7 million last year, making quite an economic impact on local businesses.

He said the benefits package, along with company stock, helps retain employees. A third of Pinnacle Structures’ stock is owned by employees.

Feland said there is a sense of pride employees have from owning part of the company.

Josh Fairchild, vice president of technical services, said, “Pinnacle Pride is our motto. We know we aren’t the biggest. We don’t have the fanciest equipment, but we feel like we have the best people. I put our guys up against any competitor. (Our workers) have the ‘can-do, will-do’ attitude to put out a quality product. You see it in the faces that work here.”

Covington added, “We are proud that we are very community-minded as a company.”

Feland said, “We’ve donated over $2 million over the past 20 years. We have an outreach called Pinnacle Outreach. We are funding a rape crisis center in Helena. In the last year, we gave a minivan to Partners Against Trafficking Humans.”

He continued, “We donated the building for Lonoke County Safe Haven and the kitchen equipment. We are active in fundraisers. We donated a pavilion for Open Arms Shelter in Lonoke. We donated a building to Jacksonville High School for an indoor workout facility and many churches. During Christmas, the employees adopt a family (in need).”

Pinnacle Structures is credited by the International Accredited Service, the highest standard of quality production in the industry. It is also a member of the Metal Building Manufactures Association.

Pinnacle Structures is open to the public. And the Metal Store next door to the factory sells metal building supplies.

TOP STORY >> Hutchinson praised by lawmakers

Leader senior staff writer

“Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee,” and it was hard to find any lawmaker who didn’t like Asa Hutchinson on Friday, after the new governor said he wants to fund private option through 2016 while convening a legislative task force to help restructure Arkansas Medicaid.

That universal support on the divisive issue of private option may signal that, like the parable about the six blind men and the elephant, everyone brought their subjective interpretation to the governor’s speech and took away a unique understanding.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said state Rep. David Hillman (D-Almyra). “I think there will be some tweaks to what we’ve got — some minor modifications to (the private option law) we passed two years ago. By the time new appropriations run out Dec. 31, 2016, we’ll have a good handle on if it’s working as we want, and we’ll know about modifications by the new Congress.”

But Donnie Copeland (R-Little Rock) says those currently on private option need to start making plans now because, by Jan. 1, 2017, private option will be history.

“We need to make sure the 210,000 people are no longer on Medicaid,” he said.

Copeland, who said, “I loved 95 percent of what (Hutchinson) had to say,” intends to introduce a bill to send letters out to those recipients so they know the government won’t be helping any but the disabled and others unable to fend for themselves.

“That is fair to me, to let them know the program is going away,” Copeland said. “Most ought to be able to get quality care at a fair price.”

Copeland said his goal was to cover people who can’t work. “I want my tax dollars to go to help them, not the healthy people with no impediment to work.”

In support of the governor’s plan, Sen. Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) on Thursday filed SB96, “The Arkansas Health Reform Act of 2015,” which would create at 16-member task force to find innovative reforms.

Area lawmakers could play a large role in drafting those recommendations. Both Senate President Pro tempore Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) will be on the task force and each will appoint six other members.

Both have supported private option in the past, and Dismang was an architect of it.

In addition, Hendren, as Senate majority leader, and Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis) Senate minority leader, will be on the task force.

House Majority Leader Ken Bragg (R-Sheridan) and Minority Leader Eddie Armstrong (D-North Little Rock) would also be on the task force.

“I feel good about (the prospects of) both,” Dismang said Friday morning about SB96 and funding for private option.

The Arkansas Health Reform Act of 2015 requires only a simple majority of both houses to pass, but reauthorization of private option would require a super majority — 75 percent of each house, he said.

Dismang said he hadn’t polled the membership yet on SB96, and he wasn’t sure if the formal introduction would be in the senate or the house.

“The goal will be to start the process, hopefully, Monday morning,” he said.

Rep. Joe Farrer (R-Austin) was a staunch opponent of private option two years ago. On Friday, he said he’d vote to reauthorize it through 2016 while the task force works to realign Arkansas healthcare.

“To me, it ends the private option the way it should be ended. It doesn’t kick everyone off. We’ll come up with a plan that meets Arkansas’ needs.

“This gives us a task force to fix the plan,” he said. “You can’t put another system on top of a broken one and make it work.

“I’m pushing to get on the task force,” he said.

Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) said, “We need to do what’s best for entire state. We agreed when we went down this road to look at the data. Uninsured care is down. Hospital reimbursements are up.”

Through 2021, the federal government is picking up 100 percent of the tab, he said, other than some administrative costs. “We need to make recipients more responsible,” he said, and provide preventative care.

He said private option has “better chances today than 30 days ago,” noting that Hendren, who introduced the health reform bill, was a big opponent of private option last year.

Williams predicted a short session, with two signature pieces of legislation proposed by the governor — his $100 million middle-class tax cut and his health-care reform bill — both well on the way.

“I was very pleased at the tone he took,” said Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock). “The governor said, ‘I fought it and lost,’ but all the Republicans and half the Democrats hate Obamacare. I’m pleased he wants to take a look at the whole thing. My vote has always been for keeping hospitals open. I’m confident our bill will pass.”

House said he’d like to see block grants to the states with a lot of flexibility. “It’s easier to fund private clinics directly to provide the necessary care,” he said, than to work through private insurance companies.

Rep. Bob Johnson (D-Jacksonville) said the governor was staying level-headed and making sure that “if we quit the program, there’s an alternative that’s good for those on private option. The voices I hear say private option and tax cuts both are going to pass.”

Rep. Karilyn Brown (R-Sherwood) said, “I think his approach was rather measured. Even people who don’t support Affordable Care and private option know you just can’t go around pulling the rug out from under people.”

She said lawmakers need some time to work out an affordable solution. “We have some smart people in the legislature, and I feel confident that we’ll come up with something good.”

Brown said she was pleased that Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell’s letter seemed to support the governor’s goals.

Rep. Camille Bennett (D-Lonoke) said, “I think he did an excellent job of walking us through the problem.

“I’m really encouraged,” she said. “I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. He did a real good job of…highlighting the desperate need to help people who were uninsured. It was the right thing to do. He repeatedly talked about our duty.”

Rep. Tim Lemons (R-Cabot) said, “I’m still in the process of reviewing the speech.”

In his speech to a packed auditorium at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Hutchinson said the private option solution to Medicaid expansion was innovative, but that it had divided the state and dominated the political debate.

“Hear me clearly,” Hutchinson said. “We’re going to continue the private option through 2016 and create a Health Reform Task Force that will make recommendations for the future. It should explore options to modernize the entire Medicaid program currently serving the indigent, aged and disabled. It should minimize or eliminate the need to raise additional revenues for that purpose.”

He said he had two nephews in the General Assembly, both thoughtful conservatives, and that one voted for private option and one against.

The governor said private option has benefited about 210,000 Arkansans, most of whom had been uninsured, as well as urban hospitals, such as UAMS, and rural hospitals.

Hospital visits by uninsured patients fell by 47 percent, he said.

When the state becomes responsible for 10 percent of the costs in 2021, that will amount to about $200 million a year.

“Do the benefits that we recognize exist outweigh the costs,” Hutchinson asked, saying the question caused a political divide and wrapped the state around a political axle.

“The phrase ‘private option’ itself has become politically toxic,” he said. “The goal is to have affordable, competitive, market-based solutions on the conservative principles of choice, competition, improved quality of care and consumer responsibility.

“In 2015, the state is going to save roughly $88 million, which is a combination of shifting traditional Medicaid in some categories to the private option, which is 100 percent paid for at the present time. It is also a savings because the reduction of uncompensated care payments to several agencies — from UAMS to the Department of Correction, the Department of Health, Community Health Centers — have saved the state about $33 million,” Hutchinson said.

“I want our social programs in Arkansas to be an incentive for people to work,” he said. “Arkansans want to work, and, when they work, they should get ahead. And, when they work real hard, they should climb up the economic ladder.”

He called for incentives for preventive care. “People need to own more responsibility for their health-care decisions. We need the emphasize the role of the private sector and charity care.”

He called for development of telemedicine to increase the quality of health care in rural areas.

He said the insured, the hospitals and health-care providers cannot face a traumatic cliff every year when it comes to renewing private option. “We need more consistency. We need more reliability. We need more predictability. So we can plan.

“I want to assure…all Arkansans that I want us to have a system that is compassionate, affordable, fits Arkansas and provides access to care.”

He wants more flexibility, including the authority for block-grant type waivers.

He wants to strengthen the employer-sponsored health- insurance market and increase employment of healthy recipients of healthcare services.

Hutchinson would also like to provide access to health services in rural areas.

He wants a report from the task force by the end of 2015 and to have solutions in place by Dec. 31, 2016, when private option would expire.

The governor also said he was encouraged by a letter of support for many of his goals from the secretary of Health and Human Services.

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils run away in fourth

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski Falcons didn’t just stay close with Jacksonville for a half; they led most of the first two quarters. But a long scoring drought eventually turned into a Jacksonville rout as the Red Devils dominated the fourth quarter for a 72-47 victory Tuesday at JHS.

North Pulaski jumped ahead 24-19 when De’Marik Brown sank two free throws with 4:51 left in the second quarter after a steal.

The two teams traded two baskets each for the next minute, leaving the Falcons with a 28-23 lead with 3:50 on the clock. After a second-straight penetration into the lane by two different Falcons, Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner switched his defense from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone, and North Pulaski’s offense stalled.

“They kept getting into the lane because we weren’t playing good defense,” said Joyner. “They were just dribbling around us and there was no help, or it was late. I think we took them lightly. I switched to a zone and they didn’t hit from outside. I still don’t feel like we were playing very good defense until about the fourth quarter, which is something we’ve been doing a lot lately. They just didn’t make their shots.”

The Falcons continued to play good defense after Jacksonville switched to the zone. North Pulaski had four possessions with the five-point lead, but couldn’t score.

Jacksonville’s Devin Campbell finally ended Jacksonville’s two-minute scoring drought with a bucket that made it 28-25 with two minutes left in the second quarter. Craig Watson came off the bench and scored four-straight, all from the free-throw line and both trips after steals. The Red Devils took a 31-28 lead into halftime, and both teams came out struggling in the third.

Neither team scored for more than half of the third quarter. The score remained 31-28 until Tedrick Wolfe hit a layup on a designed inbounds play with 3:48 remaining in the thirdquarter. Watson added another bucket for Jacksonville to make it 35-28. North Pulaski (3-12, 1-4) then missed a wide-open layup and four-straight free throws before Brown finally hit a 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining in the third to end a nearly 10-minute dry streak.

Jacksonville ended the period with five-straight points in the last 30 seconds on a drive by Campbell and a 3-pointer by LaQuawn Smith, giving Jacksonville a 40-31 lead and the momentum.

“My guys played their hearts out all night long,” said North Pulaski coach Roy Jackson. “Coach Joyner did a good job of using his bench and his role players did a good job for him. We just got tired in the fourth quarter. I didn’t go as deep down my bench and I usually do and maybe I should have.

“I just have to find ways for us to score against the zone. When we played against PA we didn’t do too good about their zone, or against Fair and their zone. I’ve got to try to find somebody who can get inside that we can throw that ball to. That zone just gets longer and longer when you don’t have anybody inside. But it was nine points going into the fourth quarter. That score was not indicative of the game. It was a lot closer game than that. But you know what they say, sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles.”

Jacksonville made its first five shots of the fourth quarter in rapid succession – the last two were 3-pointers by Watson and Lakalon Huskey. That gave the Red Devils a 52-35 lead and forced an NP timeout, but it didn’t stem the tide.

Wolfe and Campbell continued to get open on the low post, and three more Red Devil bench players drained 3-pointers. For the second time in three games, eight different players made 3-point baskets for Jacksonville, and none of them were by Campbell, who leads the team in 3-pointers made this season.

“I don’t know that I’ve had a team with this many guys who can stand around that perimeter and make shots,” Joyner said. “We’ve had a lot of good shooters come through here, but I don’t know if we’ve ever had this many all on one team.”

North Pulaski went 1 for 15 from the field and 0 for 4 from the foul line in the third quarter, and 5 of 32 from the floor in the second half.

Jacksonville (16-2, 5-0) finished the game hitting 26 of 63 shot attempts, including 9 of 26 from outside the 3-point arch. But the Devils were 11 of 21 in the fourth quarter and 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

Campbell led all players with 15 points and eight rebounds. Wolfe added 14 points and six boards while Watson scored nine for Jacksonville. Breon Baker led North Pulaski with 11 points.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot close to upset at Central High

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot girls led by two at halftime of Tuesday night’s 7A/6A-East game at Little Rock Central, but foul trouble and Central’s Kiara Williams both contributed to the Lady Panthers’ demise in the second half, as the Lady Tigers beat Cabot 47-38.

After two quarters of play, the Lady Panthers led 21-19. Twenty-four seconds into the third quarter, Cabot took a four-point lead on a midrange jumper from the corner by CoCo Calhoon.

With 6:32 remaining in the quarter, Central’s Williams cut the lead to one with an and-1, and after that, it was all Lady Tigers. After Calhoon’s jumper, Cabot (14-5, 2-2) could only manage one more bucket in the third quarter, and Central (15-1, 4-0) was able to take a 31-25 lead into the fourth.

It helped Central that Cabot starters Alyssa Hamilton and Danielle McWilliams sat the last couple minutes of the third quarter because of foul trouble.

In the fourth quarter, Hamilton and McWilliams got back on the floor and made an immediate impact as Hamilton sank a short jumper eight seconds into the quarter, which cut the Lady Tiger lead to 31-27.

By the 5:13 mark of the fourth, Cabot got Central’s lead down to two, 34-32, and that run was capped with a pair of free throws by Hamilton. However, on Central’s ensuing possession, Hamilton picked up her fifth foul, and the Lady Tigers took advantage.

By the three-minute mark, Central pushed its lead to six, with the score 41-35, and the Lady Tigers held the ball once they got it past half court. Cabot was unable to force a turnover, so Cabot’s Anna Sullivan was forced to foul Central’s Alaysia Ready with 1:40 to play.

Ready went to the line and missed her first free throw, but made the second, which pushed the Lady Tiger lead to seven.

Cabot point guard Leighton Taylor answered with a 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining, which made the score 42-38.

Cabot coach Carla Crowder immediately called timeout to set up a defensive strategy, but Central scored the last five points of the game to set the final score.

The Lady Panthers opened the game with a 6-0 lead on baskets by McWilliams and Sullivan, and two free throws by Calhoon. Central, though, ended the quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 10-8 after one.

Like the first quarter, Cabot opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run to regain the lead at 14-10. Both teams struggled to take care of the ball throughout the first half. The Lady Panthers had 11 first-half turnovers and Central had 15.

Cabot’s lead remained at four toward the end of the first half, but Williams sank a pair of 1-and-1 free throws with 6.8 seconds left in the first half, which set the halftime margin at 21-19.

The Lady Panthers finished the game 12 of 36 from the floor for 33 percent. Conversely, the Lady Tigers made 14 of 38 shots from the floor for 37 percent. From the foul line, Central made 18 of 27 free throws for 67 percent, while Cabot made 13 of 16 for 81 percent.

Each team took better care of the ball in the second half and each team finished the night with a total of 17 turnovers. Central, though, did a better job on the boards, as it outrebounded Cabot 25-13.

Williams led all scorers with 14 points. She was the only Lady Tiger to score in double figures. Hamilton was the only Lady Panther to score in double figures. She had 13 points.

Calhoon had nine points for Cabot. Taylor scored five points. Sullivan scored four. McWilliams scored three, and Sarah Davis and Rachel Allgood added two points apiece.

The Lady Panthers continued conference play last night at Mountain Home after deadlines, and they’ll play another 7A/6A-East game Tuesday at home against Jonesboro. Tuesday’s game at Panther Arena will tip off at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke gets big sweep on road

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits snapped a five-game losing streak and a four-game losing streak in conference on Tuesday, getting a much-needed road win, 34-27 over Southside-Batesville. The Southerners controlled the tempo, but Lonoke handled it well. With perimeter play limited, the Lady Rabbits looked inside, where Amanda Sexton and Eboni Willis combined for half of Lonoke’s points.

“It was a good road win against a team that played us close at home,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “We got a little bit of a lead and we held. We made our free throws. We’ve had big leads at times this year and not held them. So it was good that we hung onto this one. A month ago we might not have done that.”

Lonoke led just 14-13 at halftime, and stretched that to 24-19 by the end of the third quarter.

“It was definitely more of the pace they wanted to play,” Morris said. “But we’re proud of the fact that we can go either way. Against a CAC or somebody like that, we might want to be the one to slow it down. We wanted to speed Southside up and get them uncomfortable, we just weren’t able to do that. But we were able to still be effective and beat them and their game.”

Despite a record that’s not as good as preseason expectations, Morris’ overall expectations haven’t changed for his team that returns everyone from last year’s state quarterfinal run.

“I think every coach in this league, to the man, with maybe the exception of Heber Springs, every coach thought he had a much-improved team from last year,” Morris said. “And even the Heber Springs coach felt good about the team chemistry and was optimistic coming in. Now everybody can’t see that optimism bear out, because everybody is better. Somebody has to lose. But top to bottom, these nine teams are as tough a group as anybody out there has in 4A.

“I’m not counting my girls out down this stretch. We’re going to get back at some people that maybe picked on us earlier. I’d rather play a tested schedule and have some losses on that record when I get to regional, than have a real impressive record and realize all of a sudden you hadn’t played anyone. I still think this team can make some noise in the postseason.”

Sexton led Lonoke with nine points while Willis had eight.

The Lady Jackrabbits are now 10-9 overall and 4-6 in the 4A-2 Conference.


The Lonoke boys also got a needed road win over the Southerners, 46-33. The win came despite a horrid first half for the Jackrabbit, in which they scored seven total points, including just one point in the second quarter.

The home team went into halftime with a 16-7 lead, but things changed dramatically in the second half.

Lonoke tied the game at 21 by the end of the third quarter, then dominated the fourth period for the victory.

Lonoke’s Jawaun Bryant was the only player in the game to score in double figures, finishing with 18. He scored 16 in the second half and nine in Lonoke’s 25-point fourth quarter. Nick Bates scored eight and Isaac Toney six for the Jackrabbits, who are now 7-10 overall and 4-6 in conference play.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Eskridge tastes fruit of his labor

Leader sports editor

A tale of perseverance if ever there was one. Terrell Eskridge, a 2008 Jacksonville graduate, a point guard who had no scholarship offers out of high school and has been out of high school for almost seven years, signed a professional basketball contract last week to play for the Belmopan Red Taigaz (Tigers) of the Elite League in Central America.

Since the end of his junior year at Central Baptist College, Eskridge has had a single-minded goal of playing professional basketball somewhere.

He hired a personal trainer the summer before his senior year, worked himself into the best shape of his life, turned in a great senior season for coach Wes Sullivan at CBC, and tirelessly promoted himself throughout and after his senior year was finished.

But all that is just the end of his journey into professional athletics. The story is a long one, filled with rejection and disappointment, and marked by an iron-willed determination and belief in himself.

The journey started with a fortuitous, some might call it providential, event when Eskridge transferred from Little Rock Central to Jacksonville his junior year – fortuitous because the change in schools also meant a change of position on the basketball floor. It was also Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner’s first year at JHS, and he immediately recognized an ability that went unrecognized at Central.

“I had never played anything but forward before,” said Eskridge. “First day of tryouts at Jacksonville, coach Joyner told me I was going to play point guard. I said I’d never played point guard in my life. He said well you’re playing it now.”

Joyner said it was an easy decision, one he made within about three minutes of watching the 6-footer play.

“He could handle the ball and he had great court vision,” said Joyner. “He could see everything. He was also pretty vocal and the kids responded to him. He was a leader on the court. That’s about everything you need in a point guard, so that was an easy decision. He didn’t get to play on any of our really great teams, but he helped us turn things around. It was our first winning season in a few years and we built from there.”

Joyner also wasn’t too surprised to see his first JHS point guard make it to this level.

“He worked hard and he was easy to coach,” Joyner said. “We butted heads a few times early on. He had to learn to do things my way, but ultimately it was two pretty smooth years. He was always the kind that had a little drive in him that most people don’t have.”

Eskridge started for Joyner for two years, but garnered no scholarship offers. He went to work after high school and did not attend college in 2009. When his brother Cortrell got a scholarship offer from Navarro Jr. College in Texas during the 2008-2009 season, Terrell decided to enroll at Navarro in the spring semester of 2009 and try to work his way onto the team in order to play with his brother in the 2009-2010 season. But he got no scholarship offer and decided to come back to Arkansas and enroll at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, giving up on his basketball career.

HSU coaches wanted him to walk-on, but he chose not to.

“I’m glad I didn’t because there were a lot of guys they brought in as walk-ons, and they didn’t keep any of them,” Eskridge said. “So it really would’ve been a waste of time.”

It may also have again been the guiding hand of providence.

After a year at HSU, Eskridge was back home in Little Rock for the summer break in 2010, and began playing pick-up games at Arkansas Baptist. Many ABC players played in the games and Buffaloes’ coach Charles Ripley noticed Eskridge’s ability on the floor.

“Coach Rip just came up to me and said he thought I could play for his team and wanted me to come play for him,” Eskridge said.

Arkansas Baptist does not give scholarships, but Eskridge enrolled and became the starting point guard for the Buffaloes the next two seasons. From there, four years after graduating high school, Eskridge finally got his first basketball scholarship at CBC in Conway.

“That was a long time coming,” Eskridge said. “It wasn’t a full scholarship, but I was going to make it work because that was the first time someone offered me anything to play – like there was value in having me.”

Neither the team nor Eskridge, by his own account, had a very good year his junior season. After it was over, and chance run in and subsequent conversation with a person whose name he couldn’t even remember, sparked a sudden drive in Eskridge that now will lead him to Central America next week.

“I was talking to this guy at the gym and he said he had played overseas a couple of years,” Eskridge said. “I asked him how you get into something like that, and he just said you have to make highlight films and just promote yourself, get your name out there. So I thought well, let me go on and get serious about this if I want to do something with basketball.

“I hired a personal trainer and came back a whole lot stronger and in better shape. I did a lot of research on playing overseas, talked with people. Got stat sheets and learned how to make films. After every game I would get the film and make a highlight tape and put it out there on social media or wherever I could send it.”

He also got a new coach at CBC that year in Wes Sullivan, who heaped praise on his point guard.

“What people need to understand about Terrell is that he worked like no one you’ve ever seen,” said Sullivan. “And he stayed at it. He worked every morning, every night. He was in the gym every single day for hours at a time, just working.

“One of the things that so many other coaches, when we’d play teams at the higher levels, would always say is how impressed they were with my point guard. Teams couldn’t keep him out of the lane and couldn’t understand why. They’d say to me, ‘he doesn’t seem that quick, how does he keep getting in there? But he’d just keep getting in the lane, and keep getting in the lane. And he had such good vision; he made everyone out there better. It was a rebuilding year for us, first year with a new coach, and we struggled at times. But it would’ve been a disaster without him. He was that important to us. And whatever he accomplishes, people need to understand, he earned it all. This is a guy that went from not eligible, to eligible, to starting, to graduating and now getting a professional job. There’s just not enough I can say about him.”

It was a lot of work, but with very little return for a long time. Eskridge got many responses, but the positive ones were from college coaches who mistook him for a high school player and wanted to offer him scholarships.

He hired, and soon fired, an agent who he felt was just collecting pay and not working. Several scam artists from people supposedly representing leagues or teams, but who always seemed to need money up front solicited him. And he was simply told he wasn’t good enough by others.

But he kept trying.

“It was discouraging, but I took the rejection as motivation,” Eskridge said. “There are a lot of scams out there, I can’t even tell you. And I went to a couple of legit tryouts in Atlanta and Las Vegas, and nothing came of it.

“What really kept me going was I look back and I know I really didn’t try that hard in high school. When I didn’t get the scholarship offers I just thought well maybe I wasn’t good enough. But after coming all this way, I thought I should’ve tried harder back then. I didn’t want to just give up and go on wondering all over again if I should’ve tried harder.”

Then, back in early December, while struggling through one of many sleepless nights, the kinesiology major and full-time substitute teacher in the Conway school district, who had not posted or sent out a highlight film in weeks, decided to take one more crack at it. He began searching social media for leagues, and posted his on a couple of pages.

Soon after, Belmopan head coach Bernie Tarr contacted him, but he kept the conversation secret for a long time.

“We’d been talking since December, but I’d been scammed so many times, I didn’t want to say anything until I knew it was legit. Then last Friday, they actually sent me a contract. I fly down there either this weekend or early next week. The season starts in 21 days, so I’m still kind of in shock.”

Even with all the hard work, Eskridge knows getting this far doesn’t happen without some support to counter all the rejection. He got it primarily from three sources.

“My little brother Cortrell, coach Sullivan and my momma (Latonia Marion) are the three people who always believed in me. So I want to thank them.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

EDITORIAL >> Schools need Improving

The bad news is that, mathematically, the Pulaski County Special School District is shortchanging Jacksonville schools again when it comes to facility dollars.

The good news is it’s not missing the mark by much, which is much more fair than the city schools have seen from the district in the past.

Even better news is a promise from Derek Scott, the district’s executive director of operations, who has said the district will support Jacksonville schools right up to the moment of separation. A former colonel, Scott has a reputation for not speaking unless he can back it up.

Whether this spirit of cooperation and fairness, which has been getting stronger over the past two years, is the result of two divorcing parents wanting to look good for divorce court or a district finally putting children over politics – it is most welcomed.

Out of the $7 million slated by the district for what it calls sustainment, restoration and modernization projects, the Jacksonville schools are getting about $1.94 million in work, about $500,000 less than they should since they comprise 38 percent of the PCSSD’s campuses. But add another $425,000 in infrastructure projects specifically needed because of the impending split and it’s just a little shy of even.

Just about every school in Jacksonville will be touched to some degree by this year’s remodeling, repair and sprucing up crews.

Scott said, at this point, even more work will be done on the city schools next year before the final separation is declared.

If the school facilities are improved as promised, bringing in a safer and more pleasant climate for students and teachers, then this divorce is what everyone needed.

Some of the projects on the district’s list have already been completed or are close to being finished.

According to the list of 68 projects, Warren Dupree will get a major overhaul to the tune of about $500,000 to include added walls to some of its open space, taking care of the potholes that are so large they can cause vehicle damage, new paint, carpeting and a spiffing up of the outside. Scott says, when the district is done with the work, Dupree will have the look of a new school.

Jacksonville High School is getting about $400,000 worth of work done, including parking lot, retiling and brightening corridors, new auditorium flooring and drainage work to prevent the flooding that caused the need for the flooring work.

Murrell Taylor Elementary is also in the midst of about a $300,000 restoration and modernization project, which includes replacing the flooring throughout the school, a new and expanding parking lot, new heating and air for all classrooms, a new intercom system and improved security access.

Pinewood Elementary will see a $60,000 improvement in the parking lot.

The new school district will be bounded by Sherwood and Faulkner County on the west, Faulkner County on the north and Lonoke County on the east. The southern boundary is Jacksonville’s southern city limit and Wooten Road to Lonoke County.

The schools in the new district with an enrollment of about 4,000 students are: Arnold Drive Elementary, Bayou Meto Elementary, Homer Adkins Pre-K, Jacksonville Elementary, Murrell Taylor Elementary and Pinewood Elementary.

Also, it will include Tolleson Elementary, Warren Dupree Elementary, Jacksonville Middle School, North Pulaski High School and Jacksonville High School.

Some of these schools will be torn down, and new ones could replace them when Jacksonville leaves PCSSD. A new millage rate will be needed.