Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Betty Sue Hamrick, 67, of Cabot, passed away Sept. 27 in Jacksonville. She was born Dec. 13, 1937, in Swifton to the late Orvil and Mary Opal Jackson.
Also preceding her in death is a son, Jeffery Lynn Hamrick; granddaughter, Miranda; and brothers, John Lloyd and James Olen Jackson.
Survivors include three sons: Cecil Hamrick and wife Elizabeth, Donnie Hamrick and wife Cammie and Mike Hamrick and wife Donna; one daughter, Karen Latourrette and husband Robert all of Austin; two sisters, Olene Whitley of North Little Rock and Mary Lou Franks of Texas; two brothers, William Jackson of North Little Rock and Jerry Wayne Jackson of Missouri; seven grandchildren: Chris Latourrette, April Absure, Dana Hamrick, Donnie Hamrick, Jr., Angie Neal, Jeffery Hamrick and Kimberly Pool; three great grandchildren: Alexis Marie Absure, McKenzie Hamrick and Arial Elizabeth Neal.
Visitation will be held 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Christ Worship Center in Cabot with Rev. Thomas Heffner officiating. Inter-ment will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot. Arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Joanetta Steppe Nichols was called home on Sept. 26.
She met Carlene at the pearly gates for the reunion that she awaited. This sweet, loving, and thoughtful daughter, mother, grandmother and friend to so many will be greatly missed by all. Joan’s hugs, kisses and keen sense of humor will keep everyone thinking of her always. She is one of the shining stars that have been called to serve with the Lord. Joanetta was born in Madisonville, Ky., to Mattie and John Steppe on Dec. 21, 1934.
She was preceded in death by her father, John Steppe; stepfather, Melvin Larkin; and her husband and childhood sweetheart, Carlene C. Nichols. She is survived by her mother, Mattie I. Larkin; children, Kimala J. Forrest, Carletta and husband Jerry Wilson, all of Jack-sonville; Rochone and wife Cathy Nichols of Arlington, Texas; grandchildren, Aramy and Qualenta Forrest, Cortessa, Jerica and Jeremy Wilson, and Ashley and Adreanna Nichols; an aunt, Lillian Lyles; an uncle, Billy and wife Nita Malone; and a half sister, Rosemarie Crenshaw as well as a host of cousins, many relatives and friends.
Joan cherished her long friendships with Grace and Samuel Mills and Mary and Roland Corporal. A very special friend and confidante, Micheal Forrest was cherished by Joan for his dedication and love for she and Carlene.
Joan was baptized at Zion Temple, AME in Madisonville, Ky., where she sang in the choir and served Christ until she left for college.
She graduated from Rosenwald High School and continued her education attending college at Tennessee State A & I, presently Tennessee State University, where she graduated in 1955 with a BSE in business education. Joanetta was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
She and Carlene were married in 1956 and raised a family together for 47 years. Joan worked for civil service for many years teaching pre-kindergarten on Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan.
After returning to the United States, Joan taught in North Carolina before moving to Arkansas in 1973, where she received a MSE in educational administration in 1984. She began her career with PCSSD in 1972 at Sylvan Hills Junior High as a typing teacher and dean of students; Jacksonville High School as assistant principal and Sylvan Hills High School as assistant principal, until retiring in 2002.
Family visitation will be held on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home located at 1504 J.P. Wright Loop Road in Jacksonville.
The funeral will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. St. Mark Community Church of Jacksonville on the corner of N. First and Martin Streets. The family requests in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Joanetta Nichols Scholarship Fund at Arkansas Bank and Trust in Jacksonville that will be given to the Jacksonville and Sylvan Hills High campuses. Pallbearers are Sammy Trantham, Rich Rodgers, Chris Dobbins, Michael Dobbins, Paul Twitty and Wayne Niles.
Honorary pallbearers are Eze-kiel Johnson, James C. Nichols, Jr., Johnny Nichols, Aramy Forrest, Jeremy Wilson, Eric Johnson, Jerry Wilson, Micheal Forrest.


Edwin Pruitt, 86, of Beebe was born Sept. 18, 1919, to Elmer and Irene Henry Pruitt, and he passed away Sept. 24. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing and gardening. He loved and served his family and community through his unselfish acts of kindness and generosity.
He is survived by one daughter, Judy Welch and husband Tommy, and one son, Jim Pruitt and wife Sandra both of Beebe; a daughter-in-law, Joyce Corbin of Searcy; 14 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mary Lou Osborne of Searcy and Norma Jean Green of Wheaton, Ill.; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 1/2 years, Reba Nell Pruitt, and a son, Larry Pruitt, Sr.
Funeral services were held Sept. 27 at Antioch Community Church with burial in Antioch Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105-1942.


Michael Ryan Elliott, 30, of Cabot passed away Sept. 27. He was a member of Boy Scout Troop 201, and earned the Eagle Scout award in 1993. He was a 1993 graduate of Cabot High School and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1998 with a degree in computer science. He was a team leader at Deluxe Video.
He is survived by his mother and stepfather, Linda and Bill Thompson of Ash Flat and his father and stepmother, Bill and Charle Elliott of West Fork; maternal grandparents, Dorothy Williams and Gene Taylor of Ward; one brother, Darren Elliott; one step-brother Louis Wayne Thompson, both of Cabot; a niece, Sydney Elliott and a host of uncles and aunts.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Jennifer Elliott and grandparents, Milton and Annetta Bryant of Lonoke and George Williams of Ward.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe. Memorials may be made to the Pulaski County Humane Society, 14600 Colonel Glenn Road, Little Rock, Ark., 72210.


Noel Forrest Wilson, 94, of Conway, formerly of Jacksonville, died Sept. 25 at Conway. He was born Oct. 27, 1910, and lived his childhood in El Paso. It was there where Noel met his wife, Lois, the love of his life and partner through 71 years of marriage.
Noel was a loving father to his children, Delores Bowman and her husband Carl of Las Vegas, Nev., Linda Hamlett and her husband Ed of Nashville, Tenn., Jim Wilson and his wife June of Little Rock and to Merwyn Wilson, who preceded him in death.
His grandchildren, Robert Beck, Sue Kitrick, David Bowman, Chip Hamlett, Andrew Hamlett, Eddie Craven and Whitney Loibner shared in many loving moments with grandpa working in the yard, growing beautiful flowers and fishing at his many special places in Jacksonville and on Lake Conway. His great-grandchildren, Nathan and Nicholas Bowman, Dylan and Reese Craven and Wilson and Campbell Loibner will miss the opportunity to enjoy the stories and humor he was well known for but will know his love from the life he shared with their parents and their grandparents.
Noel grew up on the family farm in El Paso, working with his brothers and sisters as part of a close family. As a young man he was an all-district basketball player and captain of the White County All-Star team.
He served our country as a medic in World War II. In 1954, Noel moved the family to Jacksonville where he was active as a deacon and superintendent of sunday school of First Baptist Church. He was instrumental in the growth of that church through its building program in the 1960s and he touched many with his leadership in all areas of the church and community.
Noel loved people and had a special love of singing. He entertained many with his voice even in his last days, singing for those who gave him care. He was a man of strong personal faith and will be missed by the family and friends he leaves behind.
Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Graveside services will follow at Bayou Meto Cemetery in Jack-sonville under the direction of Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe.


Floyd Donnie Wheeler, 65, of Beebe died Sept. 25. He was retired from Gurdon Industries and Am Train.
He is survived by two sons, Charlton Wheeler and wife Kara Beth, and Alvin Wheeler and wife Cindy, all of Beebe; three grandchildren, Melissa Faught, Terry Webb, and Caroline Wheeler, all of Beebe; seven great-grandchildren, Chase Weatherly, Madison Weatherly, Makenah Weatherly, Tea Webb, Brittany Faught, Natalie Faught and Stuart Faught.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe. Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Beebe Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation, 113 Emerald Lake Dr., Searcy, Ark., 72143.

NEIGHBORS >> New fire trucks boost Beebe, Cabot

Leader staff writer

The Beebe Volunteer Fire Department has unveiled the newest addition to its fleet, a 2005 Freightliner fire truck with a 4,500-gallon capacity.

“This new truck enables us to pump more than 3,000 gallons of water on a fire if we’re somewhere in the fire district where there aren’t fire plugs,” Chief William Nick said.
The truck has a 2,000-gallon tank and 2,500 gallon drop tank. The drop tank can be left at a fire while the engine goes to get more water.

The $129,500 truck was purchased from S and S Fire Tankers of Indiana using Act 833 funding. Act 833 of 1991 funds Arkansas fire department improvements.

The money comes from a percentage of fire insurance premiums divided among the state’s 75 counties according to population. It is one of the largest sources of money to rural or volunteer departments in the state.

“We’ve been applying for grants over the past two years to get a new truck,” Nick said.
“We decided to go ahead and use our Act 833 money. This pretty much taps us out for the next year or so.”
The new tanker replaces a 1973 International fire truck with a 1,500-gallon tank. Nick says the department is hoping to sell the 1973 fire truck.

“We ran it out to a house trailer fire and with our brush truck this weekend for a grass fire,” Nick said.
The Beebe Volunteer Fire Depart-ment also has two 1999 GMC Ferrar fire engines with 1,200 gallon tanks, a Fire Cat engine with a 1,000-gallon tank, a 1967 Ford pumper truck with a 750-gallon tank and a 1997 Ford brush truck with a 250-gallon tank.

Last week, Cabot dedicated a new fire truck, a 2005 Pierce Contender, to senior city council member, Alderman Bob Duke.

He was honored with a plaque on the new fire truck for his 30 years of service to the city. The Cabot City Council voted to honor Duke with the plaque earlier this year.

“I was just completely shocked,” Duke said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that.”
Duke also received the first annual Charlie Templeton Award for community leadership earlier this year.
“All those years of service were just because I love Cabot,” Duke said. The $215,000 fire truck holds 1,050 gallons of water.

The Cabot Fire Department now has seven engines at four fire stations throughout the community. Because of the extreme conditions in which these trucks are operated the longest life span of a fire engine is about 20 years.

SPORTS >> Red Devils needing little things for win

Leader sports writer

The Jacksonville Red Devils will try to rebound from their conference-opening loss to Mountain Home last week when they travel to Jonesboro to take on the also 0-1 Hurricane.

The 13-7 loss to the Bombers was the second consecutive lackluster performance from a Red Devil offense that showed signs of explosiveness in the first two weeks of the season.

Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley believes the defense, which was supposed to be the weakness heading into the season, is playing well right now, while the offense is sputtering.

“ Defensively, we’re playing well enough to win,” Whatley said. “ Offensively we’re not. We’re not consistent. We’ve got people playing like heck when the ball is in their hands, and when it’s not, we’re not carrying out our assignments. Until we do that, we’re not going to move the football. We’re not doing the little things that get you wins. We have to learn the little things are big.”
Jonesboro is also struggling through the early part of the season.

After beating Camden Fair-view 27-25 in the season opener, the Hurricane have lost 28-0 to Wynne, downed a bad Poplar Bluff team, then lost 14-9 to Forrest City last week in their league opener.
Despite the less-than-stellar showing so far, Whatley says there is plenty to be concerned about with Jonesboro.

“Jonesboro is Jonesboro,” Whatley said.
“They’re big, they’re very physical like always. They’ve got two quarterbacks that they’re using, and they’re both very athletic and do the things they do very well. They’re going to try to spread you out, and they’re going to try to pound it at you. It’s pretty basic football.”
Whatley believes the Jones-boro defense gives his offense something to work with, he just needs his offense to take it.

“On defense they’re not going to let you behind ‘em, which is why it’d be nice to throw it underneath a little bit,” Whatley said.

The head Red Devil didn’t say his quarterback is ignoring the short pass patterns in his complex offense.
“We’re just not there yet,” Whatley said. “But hey, we’re going to practice this week and work on that, just like we’ll work on a lot of things we didn’t do well. We’re going to get better.”

SPORTS >> Blue Devils coming strong

Leader sports editor

Cabot and West Memphis meet up this Friday at Panther Stadium. While Cabot’s overall record isn’t as impressive as it usually is this time of year, this battle between the two perennial AAAAA-East heavyweights is no less huge as any other year.

The Panthers enter Friday’s game 1-3, while West Memphis is 4-0, but don’t tell West Memphis coach Lanny Dauksch that his team is a big favorite.

“I just don’t see that,” Dauksch said. “This Cabot team is outstanding. It’s just as good as any Cabot team I’ve ever seen. They’ve had some injuries and some bad breaks and their record’s not that good, but we’re not going to be looking at that. We see what this team is capable of, and to me, it’s capable of anything any other Cabot team has ever done.”

Dauksch knows first hand that a 1-3 start doesn’t mean the end of the season. His own Blue Devils started 1-3 last year before getting a big win over Cabot that healed a lot of wounds and kick started a run to the state championship game.

“We know what it’s like to have a ton of bad things happen to you right out of the gate,” Dauksch said. “This is still a very good team. We have a new coach on our staff this year, and when we were watching film, he said he couldn’t believe this team was 1-3. I said that’s what we’re all thinking.”

West Memphis suffered some bad luck two weeks ago when starting running back Marquette Williams went down with a strained quadricep muscle during a hard-fought win over Helena-West Helena Cen-tral.
Williams was forced to sit out last week’s game against Sylvan Hills, but backup Corrian Hall went wild, carrying just 13 times for 221 yards.

Dauksch said Williams will not play unless it’s certain that he’s 100 percent, but that he’s very comfortable with Hall in the backfield.

“He has played well all year filling in in spots,” Dauksch said. “We weren’t really expecting that kind of game from him, but we know he can handle the job.”

The Blue Devils have played well defensively this year, but the head coach believes this week presents a test his team has not taken as of yet.

“We haven’t played anyone like Cabot, and probably won’t all year,” Dauksch said.
“They run that T and there’s no surprises. But nobody has really stopped ‘em much. One thing we’ll have to do better than in the past is not give up the big plays. They’ve always broken big ones on us.
“They’re going to drive the ball, there’s no question about that. When they’re driving it and popping big ones on you, you’ve got trouble. We’re going to try to keep some back and keep that from happening this year.”

EDITORIAL >> Huck and grubbing

Gov. Huckabee and his friends have had to be reminded too often that, whatever good you do, public service should never be an opportunity for private gain.

After first the Arkansas Times and then the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette made an issue of it, the official state Web site of the Governor’s Mansion has stopped selling goods for the profit of the private association of Huckabee friends that seeks to make the mansion a fancier dwelling for the first family.
They stopped selling the goods, the governor’s office explained, not because of questions about the ethics of it but because sales had been poor. The Web site was seeking to sell books by the governor and music CDs recorded by Huckabee and a friend who receives a high state salary for administering the mansion. Some of the same goods also have been for sale in the mansion’s gift shop.

A legislative audit questioned the legality of state property being used to hustle money for any private association or people.

Legislative auditors also questioned the mansion administrator’s paying members of his family $3,375 from tax receipts for “contract labor” at social events at the mansion. Spokesmen for the governor first said family members submitted low bids for the work but later withdrew that explanation.
This is penny-ante stuff compared with the first family’s heavy use of the mansion’s appropriated funds for personal items before the Arkansas Times nailed them several years ago. Now we don’t know how the funds are used.

Neither Gov. Huckabee nor his friends are getting rich off these enterprising little gambits, but public officials set an example of high probity in the use of money set aside for the official quarters, for official travel and entertainment and the private gifts they accept. We remember when Dale Bumpers was governor, political opponents suggested that Bumpers might be using mansion funds for personal items. It turned out that he had kept a ledger and receipts for every dime. A dogged Associated Press reporter chased down one questionable item, a few bucks for a gift. It had gone to, yes, an orphanage.

EDITORIAL >> Casino czar we deserve

Let us acknowledge that the proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize casino gambling and a state lottery and put state Rep. Charles Ormond of Monticello in charge of both is the perfect gambling amendment and the perfect denouement for Ormond’s dazzling lawmaking career.

Attorney General Mike Beebe approved the wording of the ballot title Monday, meaning that Ormond is free now to circulate petitions and see if he can get 81,000 signatures of voters, which would put the amendment before the voters in the 2006 general election.

Yes, Ormond is the author of the amendment and also its principal beneficiary, although he insists that the people are the real legatees because they will know that gambling will be run right with him in charge by law through the year 2017, when he apparently would step down at the age of 84. The proposal names Ormond as the undisputed and unrestrained czar of all gambling activities in Arkansas. The state would be required to pay him a good salary and stay clear while he makes the decisions about where casinos will go, who gets the franchises, how a lottery would be run and just about everything else. The legislature could never interfere. Neither could anyone else because all the decision-making would be kept secret by law. He and a little commission that would help him could condemn private property for the use of casinos. Debt collectors could not get to them. No one could sue them.

People will give Charles Ormond that power if they get a chance, Ormond says, because they know that he is the one incorruptible person in Arkansas who can be trusted to control gambling wisely and honestly.
In its own way, Ormond’s proposition is the first refreshingly honest gambling proposal to be put forward in 42 years of efforts by one gambling interest or another to legalize gambling and give itself the inside track on the potential gambling fortunes in Arkansas. The others have done it adroitly and subtly. Ormond is unabashed. So his is the perfect proposition. We will know exactly who we do not want to get rich when we vote against it.

Ormond also is term-limited and, at long last, a breathing testament to the worth of that badly sullied doctrine.

TOP STORY >> Police promotion comes under fire

Leader staff writer

Former Beebe Police Chief Dennis Briggs’ arrest came on the same day that former Mayor Mike Robertson, now a city alderman, took Mayor Donald Ward to task during a city council meeting Monday for what Robertson says was the questionable hiring of another police officer.
Though neither Ward nor Robertson have formally announced their intention to run for mayor in 2006, both say they likely will run.

Police Chief Jess Odom hired Alton Boyd, a 30-year veteran law-enforcement officer, as animal control officer after the position was put under his department about a month ago.
Boyd had worked for Odom when he was White County sheriff.

Two days after Boyd went to work in animal control, Odom hired him as a sergeant in the Beebe Police Department.

Some on the council called the move a promotion within the department, and City Attorney Mark Derrick agreed. But Robertson says there is no way a person can be promoted “from dog catcher to police sergeant.”
The animal control position was advertised as required by state law. In fact, it was advertised twice — once to hire Boyd, who lives in Searcy — and a second time to hire Horrace Taylor, a former Beebe council member. But the police sergeant position wasn’t advertised.

Robertson said it should have been and that furthermore, city code says the council must approve hiring in the police department.

Robertson told the council that he meant no disrespect to Boyd, but the council should have been involved. It should have been able to review all applicants’ employment files and make an informed choice.
However, he didn’t mention Briggs’ arrest during the meeting.

“Now knowing what can happen to a person, I think it’s important to get these personnel files. But I didn’t think it appropriate to bring it up about Briggs during the meeting,” he said Tuesday.
Instead, Robertson talked to The Leader after the meeting, a conversation witnessed by Ward, who was aware that Briggs had been charged with forgery, but not that he had been arrested.
Ward repeated comments he had made during the meeting, saying he trusted his police chief to hire the best people available and that nothing about the way Boyd was moved into his current position was improper.
The city council in 1999 adopted a police policy handbook that supercedes the authority of the city code that says the council is supposed to hire police officers, he said.

Robertson says if the council did that it would have been by city ordinance, and it’s not in the updated code book that he has.

Ward says he doesn’t micromanage.
He hired Odom because he is capable of managing his department. Besides, he said, Boyd has the experience to be a sergeant. And with the exception of Sgt. Corey Simmons, every other officer in the department was hired after Odom became chief in 2001.

TOP STORY >> Ex-Beebe police chief charged

Leader staff writer

Dennis Briggs, who was police chief in Beebe during much of Mayor Donald Ward’s first term in office, was arrested in Shelby County, Tenn., Monday for allegedly forging former Mayor Mike Robertson’s signature to dozens of magazine subscriptions.

Robertson, who was instrumental in getting Briggs arrested, said Tuesday that trying to get the subscriptions stop-ped and clearing up his credit record after he refused to pay the bogus bills had consumed about a year of his life.

Hiring the handwriting expert who id-entified Briggs as the person who filled out all those order forms cost about $2,000. But today, only one unwanted magazine is still arriving every month at Warehouse Furniture on Dewitt Henry Drive, the business his family owns.

“You can absolutely cause somebody 24-hour misery,” Robertson said about the ordeal.
As for hiring Briggs in the first place, Mayor Ward said he didn’t ask for a copy of his personnel file (which shows suspensions for multiple rule infractions) but hired him based on his application and letters of endorsement including one from a judge.

When Ward decided that Briggs was not the person he wanted as police chief, he fired him, the mayor said.
“If I’d have known he was that shady, I’d have never hired him,” Ward insisted.
Robertson said his trouble with the forgeries started last year.

“Somewhere around March or April of ’04, my dad came into work and he was carrying a Playboy. He had gotten it in the mail and it was from me. And I got the bill.

“A few days later I got one and it was a gift from my father to me and he got the bill. A few days later a man across town called to say he had my Penthouse…It had my name on it and his address.
“What can you do but apologize and tell people that you don’t know what happened?” he said.
Robertson said the magazines and the bills for them kept coming for a year. He said it appeared that someone had gone into a bookstore and ordered every magazine there in his name.

Eventually, collectors started calling and then vendors who do business with Warehouse Furn-iture started asking for financial reports, he said.

He went to the sheriff, county prosecutor and finally to the U.S. Postal Service, looking for help, he said. Eventually his break came in the form of a filled-out magazine subscription card that was returned for lack of sufficient postage. He took it to a handwriting expert from the State Police Crime Lab who took clients on the side, he said. He also gathered samples of people he suspected.
Ward says his writing was included in the samples, but Robertson would neither confirm nor deny that allegation. He did say he suspected it was a city official.

Robertson said he included Briggs’ writing because he thought the writing on the card resembled samples of Briggs’ writing that were in a file he kept on the ex-police chief. The magazines, about 100 different ones, were turned over to a postal inspector whose investigation is still going on, he said.
White County Sheriff Pat Garrett said Tuesday that Briggs has bonded out of jail and refused to sign the waiver of extradition. It will take a governor’s warrant to get him out of Tennessee.

That process has already been started, he said, adding that Briggs knows how the legal system works and has bought a little more time in Tennessee by refusing to sign.

TOP STORY >> Bank doubles branches with its acquisition

Leader staff writer

First Arkansas Bank and Trust, headquartered in Jacksonville, will officially merge Nov. 1 with First Team Bank in Heber Springs, giving the bank branches in Heber Springs, Greers Ferry, Marshall, Damascus, Center Ridge, Greenbrier, Guy, Quitman, Concord and Pangburn.
All the new locations will become First Arkansas Bank branches.
“First Arkansas Bank and Trust’s customers will have access to automatic teller machines and branches near Greers Ferry Lake and other popular vacation destinations in the area,” said Larry T. Wilson, chairman and chief executive officer and president of First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

“We feel their (First Team Bank’s) customers will be excited by the new accounts and services that will be available to them, such as having a full-service mortgage company, a trust department and complete online banking capability,” Wilson said.

“This is an exciting time for both banks. We look forward to extending our bank family, and the opportunity to serve their communities in the same way we have served the Cabot and Jackson-ville market for years.”
Meanwhile, the bank is partnering with Lamar Outdoor Advertising by donating old vinyl billboard graphics to areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

These vinyls will be used as cover from the sun during relief efforts and as tarps and temporary roofs on houses devastated by the hurricane.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce has also established a Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund at First Arkansas Bank and Trust to aid in the relief efforts to this devastated region. Donations may be made to this fund at a bank location.

Chartered in 1949, First Arkan-sas Bank and Trust currently has 12 locations in Jacksonville and Cabot. First Team Bank, formerly Cleburne County Bank, was established in 1903. The merger creates assets of nearly $500 million and deposits of over $350 million for First Arkansas Bank and Trust.
On Nov. 17, First Arkansas Bank and Trust will be in Pulaski County Circuit Court’s 13th Division to argue against the state banking commission’s decision to allow Bank of the Ozarks to open a branch in Jacksonville.

Wilson says Jacksonville’s economy can’t support a new bank.
Donnie Farmer, a Jacksonville native and senior vice president of Bank of the Ozarks, is slated to manage the new branch at 901 W. Main St., on the site of the vacant Long John Silver’s restaurant. Little Rock lawyer Shirley Jones is representing First Arkansas Bank and Trust. “We’re going to aggressively pursue this because we think they (the banking commission and Bank of the Ozarks) are wrong,” Jones previously told The Leader.

Bank of the Ozarks submitted its Jacksonville branch application to the Arkansas State Bank Depart-ment in December 2004.

First Arkansas Bank and Trust filed a formal protest against the application with the department in January.

Arkansas Bank Commissioner Robert H. “Bunny” Adcock and the Arkansas State Bank Department examined the application, protest and responses before approving the application in May. First Arkansas Bank and Trust reviewed Adcock’s report approving Bank of the Ozarks’ application and filed an appeal in Pulaski County Circuit County in June asking the court to reverse the approval.

TOP STORY >> Former Air Force officer escapes Rita

Leader managing editor

A few weeks ago, John Felsher was busy helping victims of Hurricane Katrina find food and shelter.
Felsher and his family are now evacuees themselves.
A former Air Force public affairs captain stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base from 1990-1993, Felsher is back in the area after seeking refuge from Hurricane Rita, a storm which battered Felsher’s Lake Charles, La., neighborhood on Saturday.

“I never dreamed we would be evacuees, needing the same things that people who were in the path of Hurricane Katrina needed,” said Felsher, who is the outdoors editor at the Lake Charles American Press newspaper. “We were giving (Hurricane Katrina victims) food and helping them. Now, we’re asking for the same help.”

Felsher said he and his family first decided to ride out the storm when the target area appeared to be west of Lake Charles. When the storm shifted, they changed their mind and eventually opted to make the drive to Arkansas.

“We fit everything we could in our truck and left,” Felsher said.
He has no idea about the extent of the damage to his house in Louisiana.
Felsher, his wife, Dawn, sons Daniel, 15, Steven, 13, and two dogs — a golden retriever and labrador retriever — made their way to Jacksonville on Friday after getting in touch with McArthur Assembly of God Pastor Larry Burton.

“I remembered Pastor Burton from when we used to live here, so I called and he said there was a family in the church who would provide a home for anyone who came up from Louisiana,” Felsher said. “So, he got in touch with Mark and Tiffany Henry, who live in the Ward area, and we decided to come up and meet with them.”

Felsher and his family have been staying with the Henrys since Friday evening.
“They’ve been extremely generous to us and have opened their doors to us,” Felsher said. “It’s a little cramped, but we have a roof over our head and food on the table. They’ve been very, very good to us.”
Felsher and his family were in the path of Hurricane Rita after moving to Louisiana almost 10 years ago, when his 12-year Air Force career came to an end.

“I was a captain and was in Seoul, Korea, in 1996, when I got a letter saying I’d be a civilian in 60 days,” Felsher said. “I got caught in the drawdown of the Clinton administration.”
Someone who spent most of his teenage years as an outdoors writer in Slidell, La., Felsher returned to the newspaper scene after leaving the military when he was hired in Hammond, La.
Two years later, he got his current job and moved to Lake Charles.

The status of that job, and his duties as host of “John Felsher Outdoors” radio show are uncertain due to the storm.

“We haven’t been able to contact anyone from Lake Charles,” Felsher said. “I don’t know what the extent of the damage is and I don’t know what happened to the newspaper. I doubt they are publishing right now because there aren’t any phones or electricity.”

So what now?

“As far as the long-term goal, I don’t know yet,” Felsher said. “I’m looking for something to do around here to get some immediate cash … doing something as far as writing or public relations goes would be nice.
“We have to go back to Lake Charles to at least see what the damage is and try to rebuild the house, but after that I don’t know. We fell in love with this area when we were here before, so I guess we could relocate here. I just don’t know.”

TOP STORY >> A church feels fury of area's twisters

Leader staff writer

Debra Betts of Searcy was finishing up the church bulletin at West View Missionary Baptist Church on Hwy. 36 about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when she first heard the sounds that a violent storm was outside.
“I’m sorry, but it didn’t sound like a train,” Betts said. “It was just different.”
Regardless of the sound, the aftermath proved what Betts heard was a tornado.

After an afternoon cookout at the church, Betts decided to stay to work on the bulletin at the west end of the building. After receiving a cell phone call from her husband telling her about the tornado warning, Betts noticed it had become eerily quiet. Then she began to hear faint noises.
“The building started shaking so I went to the bathroom then the lights went out,” Betts said, adding she prayed that the church and the surrounding neighbors would be spared.

After a few moments, Betts tried to open the bathroom door but it was stuck tight from the air pressure.
“I heard this sound, like a big sigh of relief,” Betts said.

She left the bathroom and made her way to the front of the church. Windows were broken and one of the double doors was missing off the front of the building. Her 1985 Chevrolet van had been scooted around onto the sidewalk.

“People have asked me if I was scared and really I wasn’t because I didn’t hear anything,” Betts said. “When I got home I was a little shaken but I had some ice cream therapy.”
West View Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jess Burkett spent most of Monday and Tuesday assessing the damage.

“What the wind didn’t damage, the rain did,” Burkett said. “We’re trying to clean up our pews and get them into storage.”

Rain dripped through the damaged roof, soaking insulation in the ceiling that dripped down walls into the church’s rooms.

Church officials do not yet know the dollar amount of the damage.
“It will probably be three weeks or more before we know the cost of the repairs,” Burkett said.
Sunday services were held at neighboring Bethel Missionary Baptist Church at 2504 W. Pleasure Ave. and will continue to be while the church looks for a building to have services in during the time it will take to repair the damage to the church building.

“We want to pray for our neighbors around the church that had much greater losses than we did,” Burkett said.

The tornado was a Fujita Scale F-2 and was spawned by Hurricane Rita making landfall along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. It touched down at Honey Hill Road off Hwy. 36 in Searcy.
The National Weather Service estimates it had a sustained 155-mph wind that cut a 9-mile long, half-mile wide path of destruction from Honey Hill Road northwest to Whid Brown Lane where the twister dissipated.
The Fujita Scale ranks tornadoes from F-0, classified as a gale tornado with 40 to 70 mph winds, up to F-6, classified as an inconceivable tornado with 319 to 379 mph winds. Saturday’s F-2 tornado was classified as significant meaning it had 113 to 179 mph winds.

“We filed for White County to be declared a disaster area by the governor’s office Monday,” White County Judge Bob Parrish said.

“Remember if a tornado comes to Arkansas, it comes to White County,” he said, summarizing the county’s history with tornadoes.

Parrish credits the White County Office of Emergency Services with coordinating a quick response to the twister.

“I think our crews did an outstanding job. We had personnel out to the area ten minutes after the tornado struck,” Parrish said.

White County road crews will help pick up debris from along the roadsides in the area.
Tamara Jenkins, deputy coordinator for the White County Office of Emergency Services, said about 20 homes sustained damage. She estimates that about six of those homes sustained extensive damage.
“We had no injuries which was fantastic,” Jenkins said. “Public safety is our first priority after a storm. We make sure everyone is safe and found,” Jenkins said.

Volunteer firefighters, first responders and employees from the White County Sheriff’s Department spread out across the area to check for injuries.

Currently the White County Office of Emergency Services is working with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Man-agement to help the underinsured and the non-insured residents get financial assistance for property damages.

“We put out 11 warnings and have verified five tornadoes,” said Joe Goudsward, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Little Rock.

Storms over the weekend dumped 3.21 inches of rain at the Searcy Airport, making a small dent in the 7- to 9-inch rainfall deficit for the year.

TOP STORY >> Rippin’ Rita packs punch

Leader staff writer

A storm survivor tells of ordeal in his mobile home.
An F-2 tornado smacked Mike Hale upside the head with the door of his mobile home Saturday evening, blew the home to smithereens, spewing debris everywhere, and left Hale momentarily dazed about 30 feet away under a piece of wall.

Tornadoes spun off from Hurricane Rita also destroyed four other Lonoke County homes and left about 60,000 Arkansas Entergy customers — about 2,560 of them on the Jacksonville network — without power for several hours on Saturday night and Sunday.

Power had yet to be restored to some El Dorado and Magnolia area customers Tuesday, according to David Lewis, Entergy Arkansas spokesman.

Hale said that one second he was walking down the hall of his Lonoke County mobile home, the next he was outside, on the ground.

“The rain hit my face and I had dirt in my eyes,” the 45-year-old welder said Tuesday afternoon. “That was one wild ride. I was so glad to be alive. It was like a rodeo.

“I never heard anything,” added Hale, whose injuries were limited to a few bruises.
Hale said he was insured for the balance he owed on the mobile home, but that was probably the limit.
Will he live in a mobile home again?

“I got to get another trailer. I’m a poor boy and now I’m really poor, I lost it all,” he said. “I’d like to live in an earth (sheltered) home right now.”

Hale’s currently living next door with friends and his truck is in the shop with minor damage.
Meanwhile, high winds and 5.5 inches to 8 inches of rain Saturday ruined as much as 15 percent of the Lonoke County cotton crop and left much of the rest of it degraded according to Coy-area farmer Laudies Brantley.

Those high winds and heavy rains were likely responsible for three accidents on I-40 between the Kerr Road exit and Lonoke, according to Jimmy DePriest, Lonoke County Director of Emergency Services.
DePriest said the National Weather Service had identified the winds that destroyed or badly damaged property as an F-2 tornado.

“The people I talked to had insurance,” said DePriest. “They are talking with their insurance companies.” He said most of those from the destroyed homes were staying with friends or relatives, but he said one was being put up in an area motel by the American Red Cross.

There also was damage to a roof and a shed at a home northwest of Jacksonville near Republican Road.
Generally the uninsured damage in a county must exceed $120,000 before the county qualifies for federal relief, said DePriest.

He said Wayne Ruthven, director of the Arkansas Depart-ment of Emergency Manage-ment, would combine damage reports from Lonoke, White and Faulkner counties to qualify for the relief.

Most of the areas losing power were in the southern half of the state, Lewis said, with the hardest-hit areas being El Dorado, Little Rock, Stuttgart, Magnolia and the Jacksonville network pretty high up on the list.

The Jacksonville network includes the Cabot area and part of Lonoke.
DePriest confirmed that the Entergy network in Lonoke was down Saturday night, while the First Electric Cooperative customers across the street had power.

Bad luck brought the tornadoes to central Arkansas, but good luck followed, according to Entergy’s Lewis.
Although Entergy had sent all available linemen and equipment south to help with the relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas, a caravan of contract repair crews en route to Texas was passing through just as the storms hit Arkansas, he said.

That enabled the utility to respond with ample resources, he said.
The Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management kept busy Saturday evening following up on reports of damage and tornadoes, but the damage was pretty much limited to downed tree limbs and power lines, according to Kathy Botsford, director.

Little Rock Air Force Base reported no storm-related damage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TOP STORY >> Base could help after hurricane

Leader staff writer

Even as international relief flights continue to bring food, supplies and equipment to Little Rock Air Force Base every day, a dozen crews and C-130s of the 314th Airlift Wing are standing by to support operations necessitated by Hurricane Rita, according to Lt. Jon Quinlan, the base public information chief.

Quinlan said the planes could participate in air evacuation, moving cargo or people and supplies — typical C-130 missions.

“We have the ability to deploy any time and anywhere to respond quickly to any situation around the world,” said Col. Andy Hamilton, 314th Operations Group commander. “We feel it is important to use this capability in times of emergency.”

Nationwide, about 3,400 members of the 82nd Airborne Division are on standby, according to published reports, as well as many Air Force planes and dozens of helicopters.
As of Friday evening, Hurricane Rita was a Category 3 hurricane and was expected to hit the Texas-Louisiana coastline early today.

“Little Rock Air Force Base and the Air Force have unique capabilities that allow us to support the relief efforts. We stand ready to respond if called upon,” Hamilton said.

Once the order to support is given, aircrews and their planes will be in the air in a matter of hours.
Quinlan said the planes could participate in air evacuation, moving cargo or people and supplies — typical missions of the C-130..

About 60 airmen volunteered to help unload Beaumont, Texas, nursing home patients from two Air Force C-130s that landed at Little Rock’s Adams Field about 1:30 a.m. Friday, Quinlan said.
They assisted Baptist Medical Center staff in offloading critically ill patients. He said he didn’t know how many patients were involved, but that typically each C-130 could carry about 35 patients on litters.
Some of the patients were on oxygen or had IV medications. They were triaged and moved to the hospital, he said.

Many of the patients were fearful and confused, he said.
“We had to learn a lot really quick,” said Tech Sgt. Freddie Andrews, of the 314th Civil Engineering squad. “We were carrying patient litters, hooking up oxygen tanks and basically doing whatever needed to be done. We just tried to comfort them as best we could.”

So far, 37 planes from 25 countries have delivered 1,914 tons of relief aid, according Quinlan, including Meals Ready to Eat from Great Britain. Those MREs are considered suspect because there’s an embargo on beef from Great Britain because of Mad Cow Disease.

The base also has flown missions in support of Hurricane Katrina relief.
It served as a safe haven for specialized C-130s from Hurlbert Field in Florida during Hurricane Katrina and currently houses C-21s formerly assigned to Keesler Field, all but destroyed by that hurricane.
Right now, the base is home to at least 245 airmen and dependents, many from Keesler, but also some soldiers as well.

Some are staying with base families, said Quinlan, and some at separate base house. Others are staying at economy motels.

Little Rock Air Force Base’s family support center has been converted to help evacuee families, with supplies of donated food and toiletries.

“The outpouring of support from the base and community groups is impressive,” Quinlan said. “It looks almost like a grocery store.”

TOP STORY >> Second wave of refugees

Leader staff writers

Residents fleeing the Gulf Coast in advance of Hurricane Rita started making their way to central Arkansas Friday afternoon, filling up hotel and motel rooms and giving local volunteers another opportunity to provide assistance.

At midday Friday, hotel rooms in Jacksonville, Cabot, Beebe and Lonoke were home to several evacuees.
“I have no idea how many there are in all,” Buffy Zelnick of Cabot KARE said Friday afternoon. “All the hotel rooms are booked by Hurricane Rita evacuees. They’re not here yet, but the rooms are booked.”
Zelnick said she had spent most of Thursday night trying to find shelter for three groups from Louisiana, about 60 in all. More were expected.

Rooms were going fast in other parts of the area, too.
“We have about 18 to 20 rooms with families from Texas,” said Ray Patel, general manager of the Jacksonville Days Inn at 1414 John Harden Drive.

The Best Western Inn at 1600 John Harden Drive in Jacksonville had half of its 67 rooms filled. At the Comfort Inn at 1850 John Harden Drive about 20 of the hotel’s 58 rooms were available. More than 60 people from Texas were checked into the Jacksonville Inn on Hwy. 67/167.

In Beebe, hotel rooms are full of evacuees from the Lake Charles area of Louisiana waiting to see how Hurricane Rita will affect their homes. Beebe KARES coordinator Julie Hill said she expected about 100 evacuees from Louisiana and Texas Friday night.

“There are quite a few of these people who know there may not be anything to go back to,” Hill said.
The scene is the same in Lonoke. Mayor Thomas Privett said all mo-tel rooms are full and about 100 were turned away Thursday evening. Rooms are booked for days ahead, he said. After Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29 about 400 evacuees sought shelter in Jack-sonville. Since that time, the city, along with various churches and civic groups, have been coordinating meals, housing and jobs for those displaced by the storm.

Already geared up, they are prepared to do it again for the new evacuees coming in from Texas and Louisiana. “Just like Katrina we’ll be offering evacuees bags of toiletries and necessities if needed,” said Mary Lou Gall, coordinator of the Jacksonville hurricane relief center on South James Street.
“The … evacuees are welcome to eat at our area churches that are providing dinner until the end of the month,” she said.

Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon said his town wasn’t expecting an influx of people fleeing Hurricane Rita over the weekend.

“We are moving folks out from our shelter at Missionary Baptist Church on Brockington Road,” Harmon said. The shelter is housing about 50 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. “We’re ready for more if they show up,” Harmon said.

Some evacuees are staying at the Zion Hill Baptist Church in Cabot, Zelnick said. Among them is a 3-day-old baby.

Zelnick said her group stands ready to help as long as they are needed. “Our target date (for ceasing operation) right now is sometime after the first of the year,” she said.

Hill, along with her husband Paul Hill, the Beebe clerk-treasurer, said they knew of at least 25 to 30 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina still in the area.

Beebe KARES operates a hotline for people needing assistance and wanting to give assistance. Julie Hill said donations of non-perishable food, water and cash are needed. The organization will have booth at Beebe Fall Fest Saturday and donations may be made there.

Privett said the city of Lonoke is giving the evacuees free tickets for fair rides and for the fair rodeo. And he intends to fry turkey for them at the community center Saturday.

The hotline number for Beebe KARES is (501) 882-9303. The hotline number for Cabot KARE is (501) 605-0931.

EDITORIAL >> Be sure to read the fine print

Could government ever be so idyllic as Gov. Huckabee described it this week when he announced a special election Dec. 13 to reauthorize $825 million of debt for higher education and highways?
“It’s not asking taxpayers to make any more investments; it’s not asking them to cough up any more money,” Huckabee said at a news conference at the Governor’s Mansion. “. . . Frankly, there shouldn’t be any controversy about it.”

If there ever was one, here surely was the free lunch. Hundreds of miles of refurbished Interstate highways regularly for as long as we all shall live and $150 million of new buildings and equipment at state colleges and universities, and none of it will cost you the taxpayer a red cent.

The coalition of supporters do not plan to spend much on advertising to persuade voters because the program is so obviously swell that people will need no persuasion. They will march eagerly to the polls to vote for both bond propositions. At least that much — voters’ likely approval — seems evident.
The economic forces that are capable of arousing public skepticism are backing the proposals. The transportation and contracting industries, the higher education lobby and the financial industry are lined up behind the plan and were there to nod their approval of the governor’s announcement.
Nearly everyone, and certainly that would include us, wants to see improvements in higher education and the road system.

But Arkansas’ historic fiscal policy is undergoing dramatic change, and it needs serious and frank discussion before that change occurs. We ought to have expected a more candid recitation of what the bond votes will mean than the rosy and risk-free scenario that Gov. Huckabee and the supporters outlined.
Voters will be asked to reauthorize $250 million in college savings bonds that have been marketed since the state began issuing the notes for colleges and universities some 15 years ago.

People can buy the bonds and at their maturity they will have money for their kids’ tuition, or a new car.
The proceeds of the bonds give colleges and universities money for construction. The state will issue $250 million in bonds, which will retire $100 million of existing bonds and give the schools the other $150 million.

At the same time, voters will be asked to give the state Highway Commission permanent authority to issue highway bonds whenever it chooses from now on as long as the cumulative debt does not exceed $575 million, the ceiling on bonds established when the state undertook its current Interstate rebuilding program in 1999.

While it is true, as the governor observed, that the current taxes will continue to service the bonds, it is a trifle misleading to imply that they will not cost anything.

Without the fresh bond issues, all those current taxes that are now diverted to pay interest to investors would be used for other purposes — the public schools, for example, and improvement to the primary and secondary roads of the state and cities and counties. Some $25 million a year now is taken from the state’s general revenues to pay bondholders.

That would revert to the schools, colleges, prisons and indigent health care when the bonds are repaid.
In about eight years, if highway bonds are not reauthorized, some $100 million a year will be available to work on crumbling primary and secondary highways, roads and streets. Those are no small considerations for the taxpayer, particularly rural dwellers who do not see much of the Interstates.

Voters may want to think about other priorities. The state is under a mandate to bring its moribund public schools up to date, including school buildings that are judged to be about the worst in the country. A legislative study concluded that $2 billion needed to be spent on school buildings. Yet the state will be saying on Dec. 13 that colleges and highways are the priority, not the public schools. Go to any college town in Arkansas and compare the facilities at the institution with the school buildings in the outlying communities.

The state has a $150 million surplus and expects another $200 million over the current biennium.
It is spending a sizable portion of that money on sleazy pork-barrel projects. All of that one-time money could soundly be spent on any or all of these capital needs: public schools, colleges and highways.
Had the legislature and governor been of the mind, all the fine ideas of the college presidents could have been financed from those monies and avoided the new debt that Huckabee now so earnestly pleads for voters to create.

We should take a particularly skeptical attitude about the governor’s plan to give the state highway commissioners a permanent line of credit of $575 million.

That would be a radical reversal of traditional Arkansas fiscal policy were it not for the constitutional amendment adopted last year that allows the state bond agency to have what amounts to a permanent line of credit to help big manufacturers that might set up business in the state.

Since 1934, Arkansas’ public policy has been to avoid debt. Orval Faubus at the peak of his power could not persuade voters to embrace highway and higher education debt. For a couple of decades after the McMath highway bonds were retired in the 1960s, Arkansas was essentially debt-free.

It was a policy that did not serve the state particularly well because a poor state needs to invest. Arkansas may be well served by these proposals, but we first need an honest debate about it with all hands on the table.

Monday, September 26, 2005

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Monk-Coltrane masterpiece

The most important jazz CD of the year — no, make that of the decade, or even of the century, for that matter — was recorded al-most 50 years ago but was just recently discovered in the vaults at the Library of Congress.

The CD is “Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall” (Blue Note/ Thelonious Records), who performed together for just a few months in 1957, but the music they created ranks with the best in jazz : Monk and Coltrane are as important as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and a handful of other jazz greats.

Monk pushed Coltrane to new creative heights: The last phase of Coltrane’s career, which lasted only another decade, was a logical outcome of his brief association with Monk.
The pair pulled all their musical ideas together — Monk the brilliant teacher, Coltrane the serious student who would surpass his master — crafting a sound that was as intense and as beautiful as anything in modern music.

What extraordinary music they made together, and expertly recorded, too.
From the first note you can hear Monk and Coltrane pour their hearts out, their music is as recognizable and original as an Ellington composition or as a Charlie Parker solo.
The Carnegie Hall concert — with Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums — contains some of the most amazing music of the 20th Century.

Recorded in November 1957 for the Voice of America, this music by two giants of jazz was lost for more than 40 years before it was found in the vaults at the Library of Congress last February. What we get is a piece of musical history as important as the best jazz you’ve ever heard.
The concert, a benefit for a Harlem Community Center, also included performances by Billie Holiday (who did not want to be recorded), Dizzie Gillespie, Ray Charles, Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker and Zoot Sims, who did two shows that night.

You could get in for as little as $2, which comes out to about a quarter per performer, half that if you stuck around for free for the second show. Talk about a bargain and hearing a piece of history.
The CD includes performances from both the early and late shows.

The duo played mostly Monk’s now-famous compositions, starting off with “Monk’s Mood” and ending both shows with “Epistro-phy” (the second version is incomplete). This is the kind of music you can’t get enough of: Two geniuses of jazz playing at their peak.

No fewer than seven writers sing the praises of this extraordinary CD in the liner notes, including Amiri Baraka (formerly Leroi Jones, who connects modern jazz to the nascent civil rights movement), Ira Gitler (who, like Baraka, had heard Coltrane and Monk play at the Half Note club the summer before the Carnegie Hall concert), Stanley Crouch (who points out that Monk and Coltrane were both from North Carolina, which may have strengthened their musical bond), Ashley Kahn (the author of a book on Coltrane and Miles Davis, who would soon record “Kind of Blue” together), as well as Monk biographer Robin G. Kelley and Coltrane biographer Lewis Porter and, not least, Larry Applebaum, recording lab supervisor at the Library of Congress who discovered the tapes marked “Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957,” and, digging further, found a box labeled “T.Monk.” For that, he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom, no less.

Monk and Coltrane didn’t record much else together. There’s a mono recording of them at the Five Spot from that historic summer of 1957 called “Live at the Five Spot: Discovery” (Blue Note).
A remastered version of that CD at the correct speed is included in Monk’s “Complete Blue Note Recordings,” an essential part of any jazz collection.

You can also hear them on “Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane” (Jazzland), which in-cludes Wilbur Ware on bass and Shadow Wilson on drums, as well as two numbers with Coleman Hawkins on tenor and Gigi Gryce on alto and Ray Copeland on trumpet. Another essential jazz record.

“Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall” is a must for those who love jazz and the surprises it offers, and even if you own just a couple of jazz records, you must get this release.