Wednesday, December 07, 2005



Little Rock Calendar of Events

Food distribution
The Central Arkansas Development Council announces the distribution of food commodities on Wednesday, Dec. 14 beginning at 9 a.m. at the following locations:
Ward Chamber of Commerce, Woodlawn, Austin City Hall, England Old Fire Station, Cabot Church of Christ, Lonoke County Fairgrounds, Allport City Hall, Humnoke City Hall and Carlisle old gym.
Food items may include canned vegetables, canned meats, canned fruits and dry staples such as rice, cereal, peanut butter, beans, potatoes and powdered milk. Eligibility requirements must be met (based on the 130 percent of the federal poverty guidelines).
The mission of CADC is to improve the quality of life and build strong communities in Arkansas.
For more information, call Evelyn Reed at 501-778-1133.


City Council minutes
City meetings, times and dates

Lights contest
Cabot City Beautiful is sponsoring the annual "Lights of Cabot" contest. Signed certificates and yard signs will be awarded to the best holiday lighting displays in each of the four residential wards in Cabot. There will also be a certificate and sign awarded a business with the best holiday lighting display.
Nominations of the displays can be made by calling (501) 843-0796 or (501) 843-8160 or by e-mailing
Judging will take place between Dec. 10 and 17. Certificates will be presented Dec. 18.

Art show
The Cabot Middle School North art show will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Artwork by students will be on display and refreshments will be available.
The students have worked hard preparing entries for the art show.
The fifth grade artworks will be exhibited in the fifth grade hallway and the sixth grade artworks will be exhibited in the sixth grade hallway. The students have been working under the direction of Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Hicks.

Christmas pageant
The children of Cabot United Methodist Church will present the "Light of the World" Christmas Pageant on Sunday, Dec. 11 at t 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. The pageant will immediately follow ADVENTure from 5 to 6 p.m. and the church-wide Christmas potluck at 5:30 p.m., both in the Family Life Center. All are invited to attend these events.
Families will be able to make Christmas crafts together at ADVENTure, while enjoying a time of fellowship with friends at the potluck. For more information, call the church office at 501-843-3541.

Toys for Tots drive
D’Andrea for Congress is hosting a Toys-for-Tots drive on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The program’s sponsor is the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
Participants are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to Coffeelicious at 102 N. First St. in Cabot during the drive time.
Toy donors are invited to eat cookies and drink hot chocolate and will be entered in a drawing for a lunch for two.
Santa will also be present.

Toy drive
The ‘Christmas for Kids’ is collecting toys and monetary donations now until Dec. 16.
Drop off boxes will be located at elementary and middle schools for toys as well as Express Printing, K-Mart, all Community Bank locations and the Cabot Star Herald.
Monetary donations can be mailed to "Christmas for Kids" at 459 Stagecoach Road, Cabot, AR 72023.
Donations of money can also be brought to the Warehouse at 310 G.P. Murrell Drive in Cabot, in industrial park off Hwy. 367 while heading toward Austin.
For more information, contact Bill Holden at 743-3560, Randy Holden at 743-6171, Shelley Montoya at 605-3403 or Rita Stewart at 743-3560.

Road the Bethlehem
The 19th annual ‘Christmas Road to Bethlehem’ is a four-mile community-wide project about the nativity story.
Each home has lighted life-size Biblical figures and a Bible verse in the yard. The manger scene is at Bethlehem United Methodist Church. The road is located off of Hwy. 31 North in Lonoke County and will be open from Saturday through New Years Even from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Open houses will be held Monday, Dec. 12 to Saturday, Dec. 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Programs for open house are:
Dec. 12: Lonoke County Council on Aging; Dec. 13: Glen Poole and the Pearsons; Dec. 14: Bethlehem Carriers of the Light; Dec. 15: Christ Worship Center Church; Dec. 16: The Hickory Hill Blue Grass Gospel Singers; and Dec. 17: The Gospel Tones.
Host families will be available from Monday Dec. 12 to Saturday, Dec. 17 as well. Families will be as follows: Monday: the Cox family and Roy and Ruby Kittell; Tuesday: Tommy and Bert Liles family and Todd and Tammie Tedford; Wednesday: Mary Liles and the Rickey Phillips family; Thursday: Joel and Marilyn Lewis and Jack and Martha Reagan; Friday: the Abshure family; and Saturday: Therese O’Donnell family.
All are invited to have refreshments with church members in the fellowship hall following each evening’s programs.
For more information, call Jeaneane Nipper at 501-676-2510.


City’s community calendar

Dog park fund-raiser
The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation has approved the installation of a fenced dog park located at wooded area at the south end of Dupree Lake in Dupree Park, according to Cathy Brand, Program Service Manager of the parks and recreation department.
The park will allow dogs to run off leash, allowing for exercise and socialization. Other central Arkansas cities have established successful dog parks, and Jacksonville will be joining more than 700 other parks nationwide.
An online public discussion board for the dog park has been established and a copy of the dog park proposal has been posted to that Web site address.
One of the first fundraisers to help defray costs of the installation of the park will be Dec. 10, when pet owners can have professional holiday portraits of their animals taken for a minimum donation of $10.
Photos will be taken at the The Jacksonville Animal Shelter at 217 South
Redmond Road. Donors will receive a 5"x7" print ready for framing.
For ore information, call the shelter at 982-2916.
JHS fashion show
The ‘Just Be Yourself — Fun and Fabulous Fashion Show" will be held on The Stage at Jacksonville High School on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Models will be coaches, teachers, students and families of Jacksonville High School.
An evening of fun, fashion and entertainment will also feature the Price Crew, the JHS Drumline, Ashley Miller and Ajoy and Kierah.
Admission is $2 for students and $3 for adults.
The event will raise money for the Journey in to Excellence project. For more information, contact Patricia White or Debbie Skidmore at 982-2128.

Live nativity
Bethel United Methodist Church will have a live nativity open to the public from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each night of Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11.
This is an annual event sponsored by the Bethel congregation in hopes of spreading the message of Jesus. The nativity is a drive-through or walk-through, featuring live animals and scenes of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth.
Bethel church is located at 7417 Jacksonville-Conway Road in Jacksonville.
Traveling north on Hwy. 107 approximately four miles past the back gate of the LRAFB to Jacksonvillle-Conway Road on the left.
Signs will be posted.

Christmas trees for sale
The Jacksonville Lions Club began selling Christmas trees on Saturday, Dec. 3 in the parking lot of the Jacksonville Shopping Center and will run continue until Thursday, Dec. 22. All funds raised from this sale, as do all funds raised by the Lions Club, will help people in need in our community, the county, and the state.

Tour of Homes
The Junior Auxiliary of Jacksonville will host their annual Christmas tour of homes from 2-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11.
The following homes are included on the tour: Mr. and Mrs. John Vanderhoof, Mr. and Mrs. Gid Branscum, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Carlisle, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Sherman.
Tickets are $10 and all proceeds benefit the underprivileged children of Jacksonville. For ticket information please call Mandy Watson at 501-982-1241 or 501-766-4979. Also tickets can be purchased at Double R Florist and Aspen Leaf.

Christmas open house
The city of Jacksonville’s annual Christmas Open House will be held at city hall on Friday, Dec. 16 from noon to 3 p.m.
The ceremony to present year pins and certificates to city employees will begin at 2 p.m. in the council chambers. Everyone is invited to stop by for refreshments.


City meeting times and dates

Chrismas musical
First Baptist Church of Sherwood’s sanctuary choir, orchestra and drama team will present the Christmas musical based on the birth of Jesus called ‘One Incredible Moment’ on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the worship center.
All are welcome to attend this free event at 701 Country Club Road in Sherwood. Call 835-3154 for more information.



Tammy Lynn Campbell, 32, of Cabot, passed away Dec. 4. She was born March 23, 1973, in Polk County, Fla., to the late Arles and Janie Goodnight. Survivors include her husband, Tony Campbell; two daughters: Shae Lynn and Kaylee Lynn Campbell all of the home; mother and father-in-law, Marian and Gene Campbell; two step brothers, Sonny Walls and Billy Goodnight; and one step sister, Liberty Mansshack; along with many more family and friends. Visitation will be held today from 1 to 9 p.m. with the family receiving friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Thursday at Hilltop Baptist Church with Bro. Milburn Hill officiating.
Interment immediately following at Sumner Cemetery. Arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


James “Jim” Wood, 49, of Cabot, passed away Dec. 5. He was born on June 13, 1956, in Little Rock to Jack L. Wood and the late Martha Baker Wood. Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Kathy Wood; daughter, Brandy Michelle Wood; father, Jack L. Wood; and brother, Gary Wood all of Cabot; along with many other family and dear friends.
Visitation will be held Thursday from 1 to 9 p.m. with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Bible Church of Cabot with Pastor Mark Eisold officiating. In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorials be sent to the Cabot Animal Shelter. Arrange-ments by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Sharon Kay Allen (Owens), 58, of Austin departed this life Dec. 4.
She is survived by her husband, David Allen of Austin; three siblings, Jessie Owens of Austin, Ruth Ann Thompson of Little Rock and Brenda Burr of Ward; three children, Cyndy Rogers of Ward, Greg Pruett, Sr. of Austin and Kevin Pruett of Ward; one stepson, Brendan Allen of Melbourne, Australia; four grandchildren, Greg Pruett Jr. and Jordan Pruett, both of Austin, Shaylece Pruett and Dawson Rogers, both of Ward; three step-grandchildren, Chelsey Shelton and Logan Shelton, both of Austin and Cole Rogers of Ward.
Funeral services will be 1 p.m. today at Austin Church of Christ, with burial in Stoney Point Cemetery. Funeral arrangements by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.


Dale Lynn Curry, 50, of Lonoke died Dec. 3.
He was born Aug. 17, 1955, in Carlisle. Preceding him in death were his parents, Charles and Margaret Curry. He is survived by his two sons, Adam Bryce Curry of Jonesboro, and Jonathan Dale Curry of Wynne. He is also survived by a brother, Ken and wife Cindy Curry of Cookeville, Tenn.; sister, Anita and husband Joey Wilson of Lonoke; two nieces and three nephews and close friend Frances Lynn Byrd. Curry was a member of Lonoke First United Methodist Church.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Lonoke First United Methodist Church with interment following in Lonoke Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lonoke First United Methodist Church. Arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.


Kathryn Pauline Moseley, 73, of Cabot, passed away Dec. 2. She was born June 23, 1932, in Beebe to the late James Henry Dearman and Mrs. Lillie Mae Dearman. Also Preceding her in death is one brother, Jerry Sloan Dearman.
Survivors include her husband of 46 years, Billy Moseley of Cabot; two daughters, Sandy Howard of Jacksonville and Sheila Pierce of Benton; one son, Gary Dobbs of Pahrump, Nevada; mother Lillie Mae Dearman; one brother, James Franklin Dearman of Sheridan; 10 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and one great-great grandson.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Church of Latter Day Saints in Jacksonville. Interment immediately followed at Stanfill Cemetery.
Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

EDITORIAL >> Mays to add class to board

A transcendent concern about public education is not ordinarily the grounds that governors use to choose people for the state Board of Education, the policy-making agent for Arkansas public schools. A 10-year appointment to the board is usually a reward for political support. Gov. Huckabee had even appointed champions of home schooling to the board overseeing public education.

So it was cheering this week to read of the governor’s appointment of Ben Mays of Clinton to the board. You may remember Mays, a veterinarian who has served 22 years on the school board at Clinton, the county seat of Van Buren County.

He is the maverick who has insisted that the state do a better job of monitoring how local schools spend their money, particularly on athletics.

He has been trying for years to get a good accounting of how much his own school district spends on athletics, which, of course, is at the expense of teaching.

The football field is holy ground for school districts, as it is at most colleges. Athletic costs are distributed throughout the budget, so it is hard to establish how much schools spend on sports as opposed to academics. Rep. Betty Pickett, D-Conway, sponsored a bill this year to put a cap on state spending on school athletic programs, but it got nowhere. Mays testified for it.

“We’ve lost sight of our priorities, blinded by the light and the passion of Friday night sports fun,” Mays averred.
In response to complaints by Mays and a new state law requiring a report on athletic spending, the state Education Department finally produced an accounting early this year.

It reported that schools spent $61 million on sports in the previous year. Mays did not buy it. About half the districts left a blank space for athletic spending on such things as utilities, indicating they spent nothing on those items, he said.

Mays, who is not a Republican and would not confess to even voting for Huckabee, was surprised by his appointment, although he said he had liked some of Huckabee’s bold stands on school issues.

Ben Mays will be good for that stuffy board and good for the schools for a long time. Gov. Huckabee must be thinking about his legacy.
This should improve it.

EDITORIAL >> Referendum scare tactics

There are many debatable issues surrounding the interstate highway bond issue that will be on the ballot at a statewide special election Tuesday, but Gov. Huckabee apparently hopes you will not bother with them. “It comes down to this,” Huckabee said. “Do people like better highways?”

If you do, he said, you vote for the rolling borrowing authority for the state Highway Commission. If you like the rough roads you experienced on the interstate system before 1999, you should vote no.

That is a ridiculous statement, just like his reasoning that people should allow the commission to borrow money from now on without the voters’ approval because it would save taxpayers the cost of all those million-dollar special elections. The law actually anticipates that people vote on bonds at general elections, where there would be NO additional cost to taxpayers.

The governor’s characterization of the issue asks you to believe that all the interstate improvements in recent years are the result of the issuance of three series of general-obligation bonds in 2000 and 2001 totaling $575 million, which shortly will have been spent. But that is not the case.

Well before the Highway Commission got the cash from the bonds, an accelerated interstate rebuilding program had begun with stepped-up federal assistance and state matching. Those orange barrels were everywhere. Remember when Gov. Huckabee himself warned motorists that they would soon be seeing even more of the pesky but reassuring barrels?

Even since the bonds were issued, 35 percent of all the interstate work has been by the usual pay-as-you-go method rather than the bond proceeds. The Highway Commission supplemented the $575 million in bond proceeds with other federal and state tax revenues to the tune of about $330 million. If the bonds had not been issued at all, the state would have another $75 million a year to pour into construction. That is the money that pays off the bonds.

The point is that without highway bonds the vast majority — perhaps 80 percent or more — of those 356 miles of interstates that have been repaired or else are under contract would have been finished by now on the pay-as-you-go method that Huckabee says means just shoddy roads. And, if that were the case, the state would not still owe some $525 million to bondholders, which the state will be repaying through 2012.

Now, you can consider the real arguments pro and con.

EDITORIAL >> Throw them out of here

Jesus threw them out of the temple, but the Arkansas courts do not want to be so rash about it. We’re talking about usurers and specifically those who charge the poor and the desperate 300 percent interest, the payday lenders, who have storefront businesses all over this area.
Since 1999, when the legislature passed a law authorizing cash-cashing companies to charge people any kind of fee for a payday loan, Arkansas courts have tossed the issue from one to the other. Do charges that amount to 300 percent interest or more violate the state’s constitutional bar to interest rates higher than 17 percent?

Of course they do. The courts never had an easier question if they embrace the doctrine of stare decisis, that precedent rules. For half a century, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled sternly that banks, retailers and any other commercial entity that extended debt to people could not disguise interest as fees or special charges to get around the usury law. The late Justice George Rose Smith insisted that the Constitution was worthless if its clear purpose could be so easily ducked.

A challenge to the usury practices of the payday lenders reached a trial court once again, and last week Pulaski Circuit Judge Barry Sims ruled that the act authorizing the practices was constitutional. The act says the fees charged by the companies are not to be counted as interest but as, well, just fees. If the legislature says the charges are not interest then they must not be interest, in the judge’s view. He wants the plaintiffs to take their case back to the State Board of Collection Agencies still another time to determine whether the interest-rate law is violated, but he says the statute is constitutional. The board will rule again for the lending companies.

A person writes a check to a payday lender for, say, $500 and the company gives the person $450 in cash and agrees not to cash the check for a week or two. The person likely can’t redeem the check at the end of the period and has to keep borrowing. In a few weeks the borrower has paid the lender more than the amount of the original check.

Todd Turner, an Arkadelphia lawyer, has filed more than 30 lawsuits against the lenders and the Board of Collection Agencies. Some have resulted in settlements and others in judgments exceeding $4 million. But Turner’s clients got none of the judgments because the lenders closed or filed bankruptcy. The cases have bounced around among the trial courts, the Arkansas Court of Appeals and the Arkansas Supreme Court without a final determination of the central issue, whether the fees amount to interest and are, as a result, unconstitutional.
Now it will go one more time on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court, where we hope this time that the justices will heed the moral importunities of Justice Smith and end a practice that grinds the faces of the poor.

SPORTS >> Raiders top Bison to win Medallion

Leader sports editor

Riverview controlled Saturday night’s encounter with Carlisle in Newport, and as a result brought home the championship trophy from the Medallion Classic with a 64-48 victory.

The Raiders had a good first quarter, and never trailed afterwards for the win.
The first quarter has been good to the Raiders all season, save a slow start in the Medallion’s semifinal round when Riverview squeaked past Brinkley.

“That’s been our quarter all year for some reason,” Riverview coach Danny Starkey said. “We’ve just been coming out ready to play. I’m not sure why they’ve been so focused to start games, but they have been. I’m just trying not to mess it up.”

While Riverview’s offense was steady in the early going, it was its defense that maintained control of the game. Carlisle’s leading scorer, Adam French, was held to just six points the entire night by a rotation of Raider defenders.

“We did a good job on him,” Starkey said. “Cory was on him most of the time, but we had a lot of guys step in and play good defense when we needed them to.”

While Cooperwood drew the task of handling the Bison’s best scorer, he did plenty of his own scoring. French, nor the rest of the Bison, had an answer for the 6-foot-4 postman all night. Cooperwood finished with a game-high 31 points, but he wasn’t the only Raider that was a threat to score.

Point guard Tony Hall dropped in 23 points for the Raiders, leaving the rest of the team to combine for 10.
“Those two have been, and will be our two key guys,” Starkey said. “But you know the good thing about this team is, whenever one of those two isn’t having a good game, someone else steps up. We’ve had that all year. We didn’t really need it Saturday, but we have before, and we will again. This group plays like a team, and thinks like a team. That’s really what’s gotten us this far.”

The Raiders jumped out to a 17-10 lead by the end of the first and the margin remained in that range until the very end of the game when the Bison were forced to foul to try and get back in it.

Riverview led 32-22 at halftime and 43-34 at the end of three.
“They sure wouldn’t go away,” Starkey said. “I didn’t think we played that great, but not bad either. I think we were tired. We had a little tougher draw than they did and we were a little wore out.”

Carlisle will get a chance to redeem itself later this week when Riverview visits the Bison’s home gym on Friday.
The win lifts the Raiders to 14-1 overall.

The Lady Raiders didn’t fare as well, and dropped to 9-6 after losing badly to Batesville.
The Lady Pioneers had not played well all season, but came out hitting everything they put up against Riverview.

SPORTS >> Lady Rabbits win Bank

Leader sports editor

At 8 p.m. Saturday evening, the Lonoke girls basketball team may have felt more like it just completed a Greco Roman wrestling tournament rather than a basketball tournament. Either way, the Lady Rabbits took home the championship trophy from the Bank Classic at Searcy High School with a 33-32 victory over Mountain View in the title game.

The Lady Yellowjackets pushed, shoved, pulled, leaned bumped and elbowed the entire game, but the Lady Rabbits played through for the razor-thin win.

It was the second rough game Lonoke had played in the tournament, battling a similar style against Ozark in the semifinal round.
The Lady Hillbillies were just warmup for what Lonoke faced Saturday.

“That’s how they play,” Lonoke coach Nathan Morris said. “They aren’t very big so they play physically to try and make up for it. I think we did a pretty good job of doing what we do They took us out of sync a little bit, but we battled and we utilized our height advantage. We did a decent job.”

The win lifts the Lady Rabbits to 7-0 on the season as they head into conference play this week.
Mountain View led 8-7 at the end of the first quarter and 16-14 at halftime. Lonoke turned up its defensive intensity in the third and held MV to just one field goal. It came just 30 seconds into the quarter, and the Lady Jackets did not score another bucket until 6:10 left in the game.
Despite holding its opponent to just one free throw for over nine minutes, Lonoke was not able to pull away.
The Lady Rabbits led 25-19 at the end of the third, but couldn’t add to that by the time MV scored again.

With 1:34 left in the game, Jacket point guard Bethaney Turner got a steal and a layup to trim the margin to 32-30.
Lonoke’s Libby Gay then missed two free throws, and MV’s Morgan Knapp hit two free throws tie the game at 32-32 with 43 seconds to go.
Gay penetrated the lane for Lonoke and got an open look, but missed the layup. Mountain View returned the favor when Emily Cartwright missed a short jumper in the lane.

Gay got the rebound and got the ball to Meaghan Kelleybrew, who fouled driving to the basket with three seconds on the clock.
She hit the first and missed the second, and MV called timeout with 2.2 seconds showing.

The Lady Yellowjackets threw the ball all the way to halfcourt on the inbound play, and quickly called another timeout with 1.4 on the clock.
The eight tenths of a second that ticked off the clock drew the ire of Mountain View coach Gary Simmons, who felt it ran too long and let his feelings be known.

It was all for naught though.
Mountain View executed the play Simmons called in the timeout. The was designed to get Turner an open, mid-range shot. Turner came off two screens and was open, but let the pass slip through her hands and roll out of bounds as time expired.
Turner led all scorers with 13 points. Knapp added eight for Mountain View.
Jenny Evans led a balanced Lonoke attack with nine points.

Lonoke shot below 50 percent from the free throw line for the second consecutive game, hitting nine of 20 from the charity stripe.
MV made seven of 12.

The Lady Rabbits again dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Jackets 30-16.

Lonoke played Glen Rose in the conference opener last night after Leader deadlines. The Rabbit boys and girls will continue 6AAA play Friday on the road at Little Rock Christian Academy.

NEIGHBORS >> Christmas on Main Street

Cabot, Beebe and Ward hold weekend parades

Crowds surely got into the holiday spirit over the weekend as area communities held Christmas pa-rades Saturday and Sunday. Organizers of each were happy with the crowds, number of entrants and overall atmosphere.

It was beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas Sunday afternoon as Cabot residents bundled up to brave temperatures in the mid-40s for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony and parade.

The parade’s theme was “A Storybook Christmas” and more than 68 entries provided two-hours worth of holiday spirit for both young and old.

“We live about two blocks away from here, so it was easy to walk,” said Lindsey Ingram, who was standing on the corner of West Main and South Second streets with her husband, Matt, and their children Elijah, 6 and Matthew, 4.

“We moved to Cabot about a year-and-a-half ago so this is our first parade. We’re enjoying the parade so far, it’s quaint,” Lindsey Ingram said.

Ann Pummill, a dispatcher with the Cabot Police Department for the past 23 years, and Lewis Cimino, the newest member of the Cabot Fire Department, representing Cabot’s first responders, were the grand marshals for the parade.

“Staging the parade from the Home Depot parking lot area worked beautifully,” said Sue Wagner of Cabot City Beautiful.
The Cabot Advertising and Promotions Commission, Cabot Parks and Recreation Department and Cabot City Beautiful were sponsors for the holiday tradition.

“I think the cold weather kept a lot of people away,” Wagner said.
“At one point, a float stopped and caused a lag between the rest of the floats.”
After the parade, volunteers worked for about an hour, turning a stage to face the Price Cutter food store at 801 W. Main.
Cabot High School’s ninth-grade band, Lisa’s Dance Studio, Celina Miranda, Living Waters Church children’s choir and the gospel group, By His Grace, provided holiday entertainment at the tree lighting.

Parade awards were presented during the tree-lighting ceremony. The award for best animal/equestrian entry was presented to Heavenly Hounds, an organization where people and their dogs visit nursing homes and hospitals to provide therapy to patients.
Other award winners included:
• Best business entry: Lisa’s Dance Studio
• Best church entry: The Worship Center
• Best civic/school entry: Cabot Garden Club
• Best general entry: Rebsamen Medical Center
• Mayor’s choice: New Life Church
Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh and Liz Massey of KTHV, Channel 11 were emcees for the event and led the crowd in singing Christmas carols before throwing the switch to light Cabot’s Christmas tree, a 40-foot cedar donated by C. M. Gordon.

A lack of participation has plagued Beebe’s lighted Christmas parade in recent years, but not this year.
Organizers are calling Saturday night’s parade their best so far with 35 entries and a large crowd lined up along the parade route from Badger Drive to the downtown area and back.

The winners were chosen by judges from Cabot and Searcy who ranked their top three overall favorites and also the best in each of the four categories: religious, civic, commercial and educational.

Beavers Dental Clinic came in first overall and won the commercial category for their portrayal of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on the Island of Misfit Toys from the classic Christmas cartoon. Their float was complete with all the characters including a furry white Bumble and the lion king who reigned there.
Other award winners included:
• Second place: Williams’ Chiropractic Clinic
• Third place: First Baptist Church youth ministry
• Civic group: Beebe Fire Department
• Education group: Arkansas State University-Beebe

Balmy, un-Christmaslike temperatures in the upper 70s didn’t keep the crowds, or Santa Claus, away from Ward’s Christmas parade and tree-lighting ceremony Saturday afternoon.

There were 17 entries in the mile-long parade route that started on Hwy. 367, went down Hickory Street and ended at the Ward City Complex.

Rep. Bobby Glover, Ward Mayor Art Brooke, city employees and Carla’s Dance Co. were among those participating in the parade. The grand marshal of the parade was Liz Massey, of KTHV, Channel 11. The Grand Marshal’s Choice Award went to Cub Scout Pack 328 and Boy Scout Troop 999’s float depicting the nativity scene.
Other awards presented included:
• First place: Ward utilities
• Second place: Team Ward
• Third place: Cornerstone Assembly Church
The Ward Library held an open house in conjunction with the parade and tree-lighting ceremony.
“I thought the people enjoyed it,” said Joann Brooke, parade organizer.
“The only complaint I heard was that it started late.”

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Eyewitness to attack on Pearl Harbor

(This column about the late McLyle Zumwalt first appeared here on Dec. 9, 1989 and is reprinted to mark the 64th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.)

Most people think of retired Col. McLyle Zumwalt as one of the organizers of Pathfinders, which trains the developmentally and physically disabled in Jacksonville.

Many people remember him as the commander of Little Rock Air Force Base from 1966 to 1970, when he retired to go into business and helped build Pathfinders into the largest private organization of its kind in the state.

But even those who know him well probably don’t realize how much he accomplished in the military.
He trained bombing crews and commanded several bases, but it might astonish you to discover that he played a role in the nation’s atomic program.

In 1945, while he was assigned near Albuquerque, N.M., he provided air support for the Manhattan Project, which developed the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While attached to the Manhat-tan Project, Zumwalt worked with Gen. Leslie Richard Groves, who headed the atomic program and kept the temperamental scientists in line.

Zumwalt met most of them: J. Robert Oppenheimer, the genius who was torn over the awesome power he was about to unleash; Dr. Edward Teller, the hard-charging Hungarian immigrant who later developed the H-bomb and had no qualms about it (and was the driving force behind Star Wars, which terrified the Soviets and eventually led to their downfall), and scores of other scientists who rallied around Gen. Groves and got the job done.

America had made its mind up to win the war, and nothing less than unconditional surrender was acceptable. That happened just over three years after America’s humiliation at Pearl Harbor, when the Axis powers seemed invincible.

Zumwalt is a Pearl Harbor survivor, and he spoke at the state Capitol marking the anniversary of that attack when America was caught off guard and yet quickly recovered and marshaled all of its resources to defeat two great totalitarian powers.

Since the Capitol rally was organized by the group Arkansas Peace Through Strength, the Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance had a clear message: America must not leave itself defenseless.

“We were unprepared to go to war at the time,” Zumwalt told us. “We were trying to build a fighting force in the Pacific and in the U.S., and if the Japanese had destroyed our carrier fleet, they would have had control of the Pacific.”
That didn’t happen.

“We were rebuilding as fast as we could come up with the equipment,” Zumwalt said. “Pearl Harbor solidified every American.”
The U.S. was caught off guard, but the devastation that was Pearl Harbor did not please the admiral who had organized the surprise attack.
“He said, ‘I’m afraid we’ve awakened a sleeping giant,’” Zumwalt recalled.

It was just before 8 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 at Hickman Field outside Pearl Harbor when 2d Lieut. Zumwalt, 22, saw the first Japanese plane approach the airfield and drop torpedo bombs on the flight line below.

More than 360 other planes followed in two waves over a two-hour period. Zumwalt, who had been in his apartment when he noticed the first plane approaching, immediately ran to the air strip and saw airmen dying all around him.
There had been extra guards on duty to prevent sabotage on the ground.

“The thing that made it so devastating is that we had reinforced sabotage alert,” Zumwalt said. “We had more airmen there. The aircraft were parked so we could get maximum security.”

Instead, the planes were sitting ducks as the Japanese continued their ferocious bombing.
“They strafed us from almost plane level, and they left us when they ran out of ammunition,” Zumwalt said. “The base commander was trying to save planes and was caught on the ramp, and the only protection he had was how close he got to the pavement.”

Zumwalt went on, “I was the officer guard for a week prior to Sunday, and I got acquainted with most of the men. Most of the security people were lost in the first attack. I knew most of those boys.

“The flight line was the worst place to be,” Zumwalt continued. “You’re trying to function for two hours moving the airplanes and moving the wounded, but the Japanese kept coming. They were hitting all their targets. They lifted the roof off a large maintenance depot. We lost 188 planes and 63 were damaged. We had 30 planes left.”

Out in the harbor, the destruction was just as terrible. Four battleships were sunk and others damaged. Thousands of servicemen were dead and wounded.

“We only had one B-17 left,” Zumwalt said.

There were a few more of the less sophisticated B-18s left.
“The next day, we took off. I flew out in a B-18, which had three .30-caliber guns you cranked up manually,” he said, giving you an idea how much catching up the country had to do.

Eventually, the fighting forces caught up with the enemy and delivered stunning blows in the Battle of Midway and Wake Island and Guadalcanal, where Zumwalt saw action.

“We had broken the Japanese code,” he said, “and we were able to be alerted that they were approaching. We didn’t know exactly when and where, but we knew they were coming.”

Things had changed since Pearl Harbor, but its lessons are no less valuable than they were in 1941. Just ask the survivors.

TOP STORY >> Lonoke tax would go to city parks

Leader staff writer

No organized opposition has materialized to a two-cent hamburger tax proposal that Lonoke voters will see when they go to the polls Tuesday, according to Mayor Tom Privett.

The money, which would be earmarked for improving Lonoke parks, could amount to $100,000 a year at first, then more as the town grows and when a second interstate cloverleaf is built, Privett said.

Currently, the city council subsidizes the parks to the tune of about $75,000 a year, so some or all of that money could be available for other city needs.

Because the money is for park improvements, including lights for several ball fields, Privett has talked to local coaches asking them to support the measure and to ask parents of players to vote for it as well.

In addition, those who use the community center would benefit from the tax.

Several area churches and some school officials also support the new tax, which Privett said would be paid primarily by travelers passing by on I-40.

He said supporters also have worked from a list of active voters — those most likely to vote — asking for their support. Privett said he was confident the tax would be approved, but added that if a lot of people turn out to vote down the proposed statewide tax authority for highways and higher education, that the negative voting could spill over to hurt the city’s hamburger tax.

Privett said the land behind the community center was city owned and that tennis courts, an exercise trail and perhaps parking could be constructed with new tax money.

The ball fields also need new concession stands and the large open ditch running west of the ballpark road should be covered.
Meanwhile, the new walking trail on the railroad right of way running from downtown Lonoke to the ball field still needs lighting, benches, trees and more amenities, Privett said.

“We are one of the few cities from Little Rock to Memphis that do not have this tax,” the mayor said. “Cabot, Little Rock, North Little Rock. It’s on the ballot in Conway, Brinkley, Forrest City and Carlisle, I think.”

Privett said that Ken Patel, who owns two motels on the I-40 exit, is not “totally happy” with the tax, which would affect restaurants and motels primarily, but “is not adamantly against it either.”

Privett said that a study has shown that 85 percent of the revenue raised by a hamburger tax is money that comes in off the interstate, “which is not a burden on our people,” Privett said.

Privett said the money would also allow the city to develop additional parks as the city grows.

TOP STORY >>Fifth C-130J arrives at air base

Leader staff writer

Lt. Gen. Dennis Larsen, vice commander of the Air Education and Training Command, piloted a new C-130J to Little Rock Air Force Base Tuesday from the Lockheed Martin plant in Marietta, Ga. The plane is the air base’s fifth active-duty C-130J, aircraft No. 3147.

“I spent about 20 minutes in a simulator, we had lunch and I flew this plane on its first mission here,” Larsen said. “That’s how easy this plane is to fly.”

It is the first of three C-130Js scheduled for delivery to Little Rock Air Force Base during December. The base will take delivery of two additional C-130Js on Dec. 15 and 21.

“Congress will decide how many more we get after that,” said Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander of Little Rock Air Force Base. The base currently has 83 older C-130E aircraft.

“As we get in more J’s, we’ll reduce the inventory of E’s so our aircraft fleet numbers stay stable,” Self said.
“This is, after all, the C-130 center of excellence,” he added.

Larsen presented the keys to the new C-130J to Sgt. Ben Hannah, a crew chief with the 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron during a brief ceremony in a hangar at the base.

“The biggest improvement, to me, is the heads-up display,” Larsen said.
The heads-up display is a fold-down piece of plastic, about an inch thick on which maps, radar and other tactical information is projected.
“As far as improvements for the mission, that engine and propeller design lets the J fly longer, further and higher,” Larsen said. “This plane is fantastic.”

Guests for the ceremony included Gen. Don C. Morrow, the adjutant general of Arkansas; Col. Travis D. Balch, commander of the 189th Air National Guard Airlift Wing housed at Little Rock Air Force Base, and base personnel.

The 314th Airlift Wing will use the new C-130J to train aircrews and maintainers on how to operate this newest version of the Hercules.
Published reports put the cost of each plane between $63 million and $83 million. About 117 of the planes were in the original order with Lockheed Martin.

The Defense Department submitted a recommendation to Congress to stop buying C-130Js, but the Air Force’s fleet of C-130s is aging without a suitable substitute in sight. Pressure from the military and congressional leaders has ensured continued production of the C-130Js.

Under Larsen’s supervision, AETC trains and educates more than 370,000 C-130 students and serves as the headquarters for Little Rock Air Force Base.

Larsen has more than 4,100 flying hours in aircraft such as the A-7 Corsair, F-4 Phantom, F-16CJ Wild Weasel and F-117A Night-hawk. Larsen was the fifth operational pilot to fly the F-117A Nighthawk.

TOP STORY >> ‘I’m not a racist,’ teacher responds

Leader staff writer

The Homer Adkins Elementary teacher accused of making inappropriate racial and religious comments to her students may still be in the classroom, but she’s not yet out of the woods.

“What I said in the classroom is not what was said in the newspaper,” teacher Phoebe Harris said Monday, before declining to say what she had told the students.

Harris allegedly told the students at the Jacksonville school that blacks were cursed and de-scended from the devil, according to an account from Laura Johnson, mother of a black child in that class.

As proof of that, Harris said, “The school board’s through investigating, and I’m still teaching.”

The Pulaski County Special School District board hasn’t considered the matter, but district officials, including Beverly Ruthven, director of elementary education, and Brenda Bowles, director of diversity and multicultural education, met with two parents last week and forwarded their information to the department of human resources, both administrators said Monday.
“We collected the information and turned it over to Rhonda Harnish,” Bowles said.

“I am not a racist,” Harris said Monday. “Nobody who knows me thinks I’m a racist.”

Harris refused, however, to say what it was she told fourth graders in a class she was teaching about two weeks ago.
“I’m not answering your questions,” she said.

“I better not answer that,” she said when asked if it was true that she was the wife of a Baptist preacher.

The district planned to interview Harris and conclude the investigation possibly as early as Tuesday evening, then recommend what if any disciplinary action is appropriate, said Interim Super-intendent James Sharpe. He said Bowles, Ruthven and Harnish of the human re-sources department were the in-vestigators.

The district will deal fairly with Harris, acc-ording to school policy and state and federal laws, said Sharpe, but the results would not be made public.

“My decision will be based on those three factors,” he said.

Sharpe said if Harris had made the remarks attributed to her by the accusing parents, such behavior would be inappropriate.
Harris told Johnson, one of the parents, that Horace Smith with the Office of Desegregation Monitoring had told her it was all right to teach that message to the children.

Johnson said her son told her that Harris warned the students that she would be fired if they repeated what she was going to tell them. Johnson said Harris told the children they would go “down there where it’s hot,” if they don’t pray.

“I did not give her permission to teach that,” Smith, himself a black man, said on Thursday. “She asked me how to teach about skin color and I advised her to discuss melanin, human migration and adapting to various climates.”

He said she then asked about religion and, thinking it a new topic, he told her, “We can’t teach religion, but we can teach about religion, its importance in society and different beliefs, but we cannot teach about a religion.”

TOP STORY >> Parents say keep school

Leader staff writer

Warren Dupree Elementary School has one of the highest literacy and math proficiency rates among district schools, patrons told Pulaski County Special School District administrators and board members Tuesday night.

Dupree is among those schools targeted for possible closure or reconfiguration as Pulaski County Special School District officials work to cuts costs in accordance with the fiscal distress improvement plan approved by the state’s Education Department this week.
A second Dupree meeting is slated for at 6 p.m. Monday.

That’s why more than 100 parents, grandparents, students and other patrons packed the school cafeteria on Tuesday night, intent upon keeping their school open.

That’s about twice the number of parents who attended similar meetings at Scott and Homer Adkins elementary schools in November.
The closures and reconfigurations should save the district about $600,000 a year.

The district is considering elementary schools with enrollment of 300 or less.

Five local elementary schools are among the nine under consideration for closure. They are Adkins, Arnold Drive, Dupree, Harris and Tolleson elementary schools.

School board president Pam Roberts told the group that the board could decide the fates of the schools being considered for closure at its monthly meeting on Dec. 13, but Interim Superintendent James Sharpe has said that no decision would be made until after thorough examination.

Roberts and board members Carol Burgett and Rev. James Bolden III joined Sharpe on the stage at Tuesday’s meeting.
Eddie Bunch, who pastors a Carlisle Church but lives in the district, presented a slide show bolstering the school’s claim to academic proficiency and other attributes. According to benchmark tests, two thirds of the students are at least proficient in literature and more than half in math. Compared to many other schools, those scores are stellar.

The average daily attendance at Dupree is about 295, but students have been shipped off to Clinton Elementary in Sherwood, he said.
“Give us back our kids from Clinton,” said Kathy Price, a parent. “I feel like Jacksonville’s being picked on.”

One mother said her 8-year-old has special needs and is at his third elementary school, but the first where he gets the extra attention he actually needs. “What are y’all going to do with my baby?” she asked.

Another woman tearfully said, “My husband and I are foster parents. We have six or eight kids at a time, including an autistic child. I have kids who have already lost everything they had.”

“You’re trying to treat our students as a business decision,” said one mother.
Many parents praised Shyrel Rose, the principal, for her care and attention. One grandmother told the officials that approximately 700 new homes were planned or under construction nearby, many of them certain to have elementary-aged children.

Parents complained about the late notification of the meeting. The district sent out its announcement Friday. In addition to Tuesday evening’s meeting at Dupree, district officials and some board members have met twice with patrons of Homer Adkins and Scott elementary schools.

According to its fiscal distress improvement plan, approved last week by the state’s Education Department, the district will close or reconfigure two elementary schools from a list of those with low enrollment, according to Sharpe.

One advantage of closing Dupree would be the relative ease of transporting its students to neighboring schools. District officials have said they would take transportation costs into account while determining which schools to close.

TOP STORY >> Districts could be changing borders

Leader staff writer

Even as contractors launch a quarter-million-dollar feasibility study that could result in the reconfiguration of Pulaski County’s three school districts, some residents of both Jacksonville and Sherwood each would like to have their own stand-alone district.

Alternatively, some would like a Jacksonville-Sherwood-northern Pulaski County district — or anything but the current setup.
William Gordon Associates of Saluda, N.C., already has started visiting with Pulaski County Special School District administrators, who said Monday that the Gordon group representatives had asked them not to comment to the media.

Currently, they are said to be gathering information on the condition of the buildings in the county’s three districts — Pulaski County Special School District, Little Rock School District and North Little Rock School District.

“They’ve just been hired, just begun rounding up information and visiting with schools and collecting reports,” said Julie Thompson, spokesperson for the state’s Education Department. “The process is getting started. “

She said the consultants are to finish their study and report back to the legislature by June 30.

The study could recommend two districts, one south of the Arkansas River and one north, or three districts, which would likely be one south of the river, one north of the river and a separate Jacksonville district.

The money for the feasibility study was included in the state’s Education Department budget by state Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, and re-quired the department to commission the study.

Bond was active with the Jacksonville group — Educating Our Children — that unsuccessfully sought a separate school district about two years ago.

Rev. James Bolden III, Jack-sonville’s outspoken school board member, has championed a separate district for the town, and now he’s joined by Ronnie Calva, the Sherwood school representative, who would like to see Sherwood with its own school district.

“I’d prefer a separate Sherwood district,” Calva said. “The mayor appointed a committee to see about that. That committee will hold its first meeting Wednesday.

“I think there’s probably a movement among parents and people in the community. I believe Sherwood has the right to have its own district. If I can’t accomplish that, then we want the best we could do and I do what I can to move it along.”

Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon last week appointed a four-person committee to monitor the school district situation.
He suggested that Jacksonville might have been more successful in its previous attempt to break away from the PCSSD if it had included Sherwood.

“We worked our (plan) off a feasibility study with three different boundaries,” rem-embered Dr. Greg Bollen, “and none were Sherwood.”
Bollen was chairman of EOC.

An anonymous donor funded that study, said Bollen, but it didn’t cost $240,000.
“Geographically, we pretty well should be separated from everybody,” Bollen said.

He said Jacksonville is already desegregated, not just in its schools but also in its neighborhoods.
“I’m thrilled they are doing a study,” Bollen said.

“I’m confident that they are going to find this should be done. Jacksonville has been getting the short end of the stick for 20 years.”
Bollen said if Jacksonville ever does get its own district, he expects there to be a trust fund of as much as $1 million to fund needed things.
Bond said he expected the consultants to suggest a plan satisfying the requirements of the school desegregation plan and achieving unitary school status.

Bond said Jacksonville had some different issues than Sher-wood.

“If you’re living in Jacksonville, it’s easy to go seven miles and get into Cabot School District,” Bond said.
“We have some bigger challenges on facilities.”

Bond said the two middle schools, Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville Elementary School, North Pulaski High School and Homer Adkins all need replacing.

Bond also said he thought the Sherwood schools were closer to the North Little Rock District and might be a more suitable match.

TOP STORY >> Budget in Cabot shaping up for '06

Leader staff writer

As Cabot Police Chief Jackie Davis sat down at a conference table at city hall Monday evening to begin justifying the budget he had submitted for council approval, Alderman Eddie Cook leaned forward in his seat and proclaimed a loud “no.”

“Just practicing,” he told Davis, but Cook never used the word again. The council’s budget committee had nothing but praise for Davis’ department, and if they disapproved of the expenditures he proposes for 2006, they didn’t show it.

Davis’ presentation came about midway in a budget committee meeting that started at 4 p.m. and lasted until 8:30 p.m.
Each department head took a turn explaining what they need and why from a budget with a format the committee is hopeful will be standardized and completely understandable by the time it is submitted later this month to the full council. One purpose for the marathon meeting was to work out the glitches in the format.

The full council must accept the new budget by Feb. 1, but the budget committee, chaired by Alderman David Polantz, is hopeful that it will be approved well in advance of that deadline. A second meeting to discuss the budget has been set for 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The $7.4 million operating budget Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh submitted for council approval by the Dec. 1 deadline, is about $4 million less than the 2005 budget, not because revenue is down but because the water department, the city’s biggest money-maker, will be turned over to a commission on Jan. 1.

This year’s budget is only for the general fund and street fund. If water and sewer were included as they have been in the past, the budget would be almost $13 million compared to $11.4 million in 2005. The increase is largely due to last year’s increase in water rates that have generated about $1.5 million in revenue not needed for debt or other expenses.

The police chief is asking for almost $2.5 million, about $400,000 more than in the 2005 budget. Part of the increase is for five new positions — three police officers and two dispatchers .

Davis proposes creating a captains position that would be equivalent to an assistant police chief, adding one lieutenant and an additional patrol officer.

He is hopeful that adding two dispatchers will help the high turnover rate (50 percent so far in 2005) that plagues his department.
“The dispatchers’ workload has become phenomenal,” he said, adding that in addition to dispatching officers, the work includes answering phone calls from the public and tending prisoners in the jail.

“Five years ago, you had mostly drunks. Now the majority are violent criminals,” he said.
The committee suggested that hiring more than two dispatchers would help and Davis responded that the dispatch room wasn’t big enough for more.

The committee suggested in-creasing the salary which starts at $9 an hour.

Peggy Moss, director of human resources, responded “If you in-crease the dispatcher, you’re going to risk getting it too close to the police officer” that has a starting salary of $10.41.

Davis agreed that would create problems within the department because the officers go to the police academy and they work the streets, a more dangerous job.

Davis also is asking for $50,000 for an automated finger printing system that would connect to the state system and ultimately to the FBI system.

The system would give identifications from fingerprints within 20 minutes, he told the committee and the committee didn’t say “no.”
Fire Chief Phillip Robinson proposes a budget of $1.7 million which includes adding three firefighters and promoting six firefighters to lieutenant. He told the committee that he would like to start acquiring more comfortable gear for his firefighters, but not in 2006.

Robinson’s request for a new fire station and truck in the area of Magness Creek and Greystone will likely remain unfunded in 2006.
Robinson told the committee that he believes land for the station will be donated, but even then the station alone would cost a minimum of $1 million. But unless it is built soon, the city could risk higher insurance rates because that area is not adequately covered. “This is the year we’ve got to find the land and get this thing started,” Polantz said.

Public Works, headed by Jim Towe, will be cut in half as of Jan. 1, 2006, after city voters approved the creation of a Water and Wastewater Commission to run those two departments. Towe’s budget was the largest last year. This year total expenses are down to $358,562. He is asking for two new trucks to replace two that he says are not likely to last another year.

Towe also appealed to the committee to restore his salary to one that he said would be more equitable for the three years of dedicated service he has given the city. Last year his salary was about $60,000. In the proposed budget it was cut to $50,000.

Since the city engineer, which is under the public works director, will be paid $55,650 in 2006 if the budget passes as proposed, Towe said he deserved at least that amount.

The committee agreed and the salary was changed.

Alderman Odis Waymack, who does not serve on the committee but attended the meeting, said he believed Towe could do the work of the city engineer, since no city engineer on staff with the city has ever used his engineer’s credentials on a city job.

Towe conceded the truth of Waymack’s statement, but he said in 2006, the city engineer would design five, one-lane bridges that are to be constructed on First Street using bond money secured by a one-cent tax approved by city voters.