Friday, June 02, 2006

EDITORIAL>> Let Justice do its job

Congress picked a fine time to become unhinged over the Bush administration’s trampling upon the Constitution: when government agents are getting too close for comfort to the security of politicians. Americans are right to be cynical about this overblown constitutional crisis.


House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in history we were reminded this week, is also the most partisan in a somnolent sort of way. People go to sleep shaking his hand. But the speaker was an inferno after the Justice Department sent agents carrying a warrant into the offices of U. S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who is under investigation for soliciting bribes. They carried away boxes of files and hard drives from the congressman’s computers.


Joined by the other Republican leaders and the less voluble Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Hastert said the administration was eviscerating the separation-of-powers doctrine. Republicans were talking about impeaching the attorney general, who himself was supposed to be telling President Bush that he would resign if he were forced to kowtow to Hastert.


Poor George Bush must have been baffled at first at the uproar over an incident that he had expected Republicans to applaud.


After all, taking down a Democratic congressman for corruption would change the subject in Washington, where the influence-peddling and bribery scandals emanating from the Republican lobbyist kingpin, Jack Abramoff, keeps catching more and more Republicans in its sticky web. But, to scotch the revolt, Bush told the Justice Department to close Jefferson’s files for 45 days while a compromise was found.


The congressmen said the warrant and the search of Jefferson’s offices violated the Constitution, which provides that members of Congress are immune to arrest while in session or coming and going for congressional sessions and prohibits questioning them for their speech or debate. They point out that the search of Jefferson’s offices marked the first such executive incursion into a member of Congress’ office in history. That may be, but they read far more into the Constitution than it says or that anyone has any grounds to infer. Jefferson is suspected of having committed criminal acts. FBI agents videotaped him taking a $100,000 bribe to use his office to promote a business deal in Africa. Most of the money was subsequently found wrapped and stuffed in his home freezer. That is when the Justice Department got a warrant to search his office as well.


What the founders intended was to prevent the president and his agents from interfering with a representative’s or senator’s ability to represent his constituents at a congressional session, not to prevent a well-grounded search for evidence of criminal activity.


Here are the questions that Hastert and every American need to ask: Is the same protection available to any other American and, if not, why should a congressman be entitled to greater protections than every other citizen?


It isn’t, and he shouldn’t be.


Rep. Barney Frank, the liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, had it right. The Constitution, he said, “should not in any way be interpreted as meaning that we, as members of Congress, have legal protections superior to those of the average citizen.”
Justice Department sources told a television network that Hastert was under investigation himself in the expanding Abramoff probe, implying a reason for the alarm of the speaker and other Republicans over the raid of Jefferson’s offices. They want to pre-empt such incursions when the gumshoes get to them. Hastert hotly denied that he was a target or that he was acting from self-preservation.


Congress has drowsed under the imperial presidency. The president appended statements to bills that he signed reserving the right, nowhere found in the Constitution, to ignore the law if he wished. Congress shrugged. When it was discovered that the administration was intercepting telephone and computer messages of millions of Americans, in violation of acts of Congress and the Constitution, Hastert and his men thought it was not such a big deal. They are crafting legislation to give the administration at least statutory authority to do what they have been doing covertly and illegally for three years. Now they want Americans to stop this administration’s usurpation of power and prevent law enforcement officers from doing their lawful duty to investigate a crime.


President Bush can recover some standing with Americans if he tells congressional leaders that he will tell the Justice Department to do their duty.

TOP STORY>> Three republicans get recounts

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Two Lonoke County JPs, apparently turned out of office in an intraparty feud, say they distrust the results of a
troubled vote count and will have recounts, as will a Cabot alderman.

At the petition of three Republican candidates, one of whom lost by a single vote, the Lonoke County Election Commis-sion has scheduled recounts in their races for 10 a.m., Saturday, June 10 at the county courthouse, according to Jean McCanliss, commission chairman.


Carl Schmidt, who lost 586 to 585 to Virgil Teague Jr. in a Republican primary race for Cabot alderman Ward 2, Position 1, was the first to ask for a recount.


Two members of the Lonoke County Quorum Court, who lost to candidates fielded and supported by the conservative Republican Assembly, say their races were close enough and the election irregular enough, to ask for hand recounts of the ballots.


The cost of a recount is 25 cents per ballot.


Dist. 12 JP Gina Burton, who lost her race to newcomer Casey VanBuskirk by only six votes, 115 to 109, decided Tuesday evening to challenge the count.


Burton said that her decision to ask for a recount stemmed from the closeness of the race combined with the irregularities in counting the ballots in Lonoke County.


Ballot counting was stopped about six hours after the May 23 primary ended because of problems in the programming of the optical scanner, and despite attempted fixes by the contractor, ES&S, the ballots went uncounted until last Saturday, when the paper ballots were hand counted.


The county election commission certified those counts Thursday.


Dist. 13 JP Marty Stumbaugh decided he also would challenge his loss to newcomer Mark Edward, 151 to 125.


Both Stumbaugh and Burton say they've kept quiet long enough about ultra-conservative Cabot Republicans who worked to oust them for their occasional independence.

Stumbaugh added that he might run as an independent for Cabot mayor. Filing is still open in Cabot for office seekers.


His brother Stubby Stumbaugh is stepping down from the mayor’s office and is running for Congress against Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett.


Stumbaugh said he was disturbed that the amount of his loss so far has increased from 18 votes to 26. “How did that happen?” he asked.


He blamed Randy Minton and JP Lynn Clarke by name for contributing to his defeat, although Stumbaugh said his promotion to shift commander at the Cabot Fire Department had kept him too busy to campaign door to door.


“I want to show the (counting) inconsistencies. (The commission) refused to count by hand Tuesday night, Thursday and Friday and I'm leery."


Stumbaugh said Minton and his followers turned on him after Stumbaugh voted to let residents consider a new county tax instead of trying to take money from the cities, including Cabot, to repair and expand the jail.


“I didn’t support his reapportionment,” Stumbaugh said.


Minton, a former state representative, holds no elected office.


“With everything that went on, too many things went awry,” Burton said.


“I want to know that the vote is accurate,” she added.


Burton said that her break with the Republican Assembly, including Minton, Pete Pedersen and Constable Vince Scarlatta, among others — had become personal, exacerbated by her winning the Lonoke County Republican Party chairmanship over Larry Clarke and later Minton's loss of the chairmanship by a single vote to Chuck Graham, a more mainstream Republican.
“It's got to the point that someone's got to stand up, and I'm there,” Burton said.

TOP STORY>> Paper ballots used for runoff

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER and JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writers

IN SHORT: Pulaski, Lonoke and White counties will put aside electronic voting for
June 13 contest.

Among the counties not depending on electronic touch-screen voting machines for the primary runoff election already underway are Pulaski, Lonoke and White, none of which reported heavy voting in the May 23 primary election.


In the first week of early voting for the primary runoff elections which began Tuesday, 265 people had cast ballots at the courthouse as of Thursday afternoon.


Beginning Monday, voters may cast paper ballots in the runoff at any one of the eight satellite locations as well, according to Susan Inman, director of the county election commission. Among those voting locations are the Jacksonville Community Center and the Bill Harmon Recreation Center in Sherwood.


Of the 259,494 registered voters in Pulaski County, 179,134 of them considered active voters, about 38,140 voted in the primary, according to County Clerk Pat O’Brien.


Statewide races on the Democratic runoff ballot pits state Rep. Tim Wooldridge against Bill Halter for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor and city attorney Paul Suskie and state Rep. Dustin McDaniel for the Dem-ocratic nomination for attorney general. Martha Schoffner and Mac Campbell are in a runoff for Dem-ocratic nominee for state treasurer.

In addition to the three state-wide Democratic primary runoffs, voters in parts of Sherwood, McAlmont and Jacksonville can settle the runoff for Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Dist. 10 between the incumbent Rev. Robert E. Green, Sr., and former justice John Mass.


Although all early voting sites will be active, the IvoTronic touch-screens may not be in use again (in Pulaski County) until early voting for the Nov. 7 general election, according to O’Brien.


In the Pulaski County primaries, 29,021 Democrats voted as well as 8,877 Republicans and 242 nonpartisan voters. The turnout for a primary in a non-presidential voting year was pretty average, according to O’Brien.


In the 2004 primary, 38,584 residents voted but two years later, that was closer to 53,000, O’Brien said.


“There will be a lot more voting in the general election,” he said.


About 75 early ballots had been cast in Lonoke County’s Democratic primary runoff by late afternoon Friday, according to county clerk Prudie Percefull.


While only about 7,000 of the county’s 31,798 registered voters participated in the May primary, Percefull said that’s about the state average.


In the primary, 5,186 residents voted on paper ballots and another 1,800 people voted using the touch-screen IvoTronic.
Although the first week’s early voting runoff numbers seemed low, there is only one local runoff of significance.


Alderman Wayne McGee and former Alderman Jim Parks were the top vote getters in a race that turned Lonoke Mayor Thomas Pri-vett out of office and all but ignored Roy Henderson.


But because no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, the runoff is necessary.


McGee, a local businessman, got 42 percent of the 1,053 votes cast for mayor and Parks got 34 percent.


About 22 percent of the county’s registered voters participated in the primary. “We’ve had better ones, but we ran about the state average,” said Percefull.


White County officials say even though the 8,332 voters in the primary make up less than one-fifth of the 43,163 registered voters in the county, the turnout was a good one for a primary.

Early voting also is going about as expected with 124 voters so far for runoff elections for the state offices of attorney general and treasurer as well as two city offices in Bald Knob.


The only problem so far, said Leslie Miller in the voter registration office, is the one shared by neighboring counties: ES&S didn’t get the software ready for the voting machines in time, so they have been forced to use paper ballots.


“We’re hoping it’s ready for the runoff,” Miller said.

TOP STORY>> Dead soldier from Beebe comes home

BY JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Bobby West is the second one to die from his hometown in recent combat.

A second soldier from Beebe has been killed in the war on terror in less than a year.


Army Spec. Bobby West, 23, was killed in Baghdad on Tuesday, when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while he was on foot patrol with his unit.


West, a graduate of Beebe High School, had been in Iraq five months when he was killed. His unit was scheduled to leave Iraq this fall.


He was part of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas.


Lance Cpl. Steven Valdez, 20, was killed Sept. 26 at Camp Blessing in Aghanistan’s Pesh Valley. A machine gun operator assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Valdez was running to his post when shrapnel from a mortar round struck him in the neck.


To date, 33 Arkansans have been killed and 278 wounded in both wars.


A total of 2,749 American military personnel have died and 19,001 have been wounded, according to information put out by the Department of Defense.


At press time, West’s body had not arrived in Beebe, and no funeral arrangements had been made at Westbrook Funeral Home in Bee-be, which will receive the body.


It also is unclear whether the IED that killed West was detonated by pressure when he walked on it or was set off by a cellular phone by someone close enough to see the results.


An Army spokesman in Fort Hood said Friday that the incident is under investigation.


Family members are referring questions to the Army so they may grieve in peace, but Margie Little, West’s aunt, said it is frustrating that so many thousand American service people are in harm’s way, fighting an enemy who by Ame-rica’s standards seem cowardly in their war tactics.


West’s older brother Patrick West, 25, was just 45 miles away from Baghdad when his brother was killed, Little said, adding that he tried to call his mother, Linda West of Beebe, but a blackout because of the death prevented calls in or out.


Both Bobby and Patrick West enlisted after the terrorist attack on New York and the Pentagon.


Patrick, with the 101st Airborne, is supposed to be home in time for his brother’s funeral.


The army spokesman at Fort Hood gave this list of medals Bobby West has earned: Army Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

TOP STORY>> Aldermen vote against Sherwood getting land

BY PAUL PETERSON
Leader staff writer

ON SHORT: Jacksonville adopts resolution opposing property annexation to Sherwood and receives $25,000 in scholarship funds from Waste Management.

The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously Thursday to oppose proposed annexation of unincorporated land east of Bayou Meto, which serves as a “natural boundary” between the cities of Jacksonville and Sherwood, and as far north as one mile behind Little Rock Air Force Base.


Resolution 594, opposing annexation of “certain real property” into Sherwood, maintains Jacksonville’s planning jurisdiction over the proposed boundaries, including master plans by water and wastewater utilities to extend obligatory services within them.


The resolution cites unnamed land-owners who have filed petitions at the Pulaski County Courthouse and deems their proposed annexation as “neither productive nor beneficial.” Sherwood has not sought to annex the land.


Citing a 20-year study by Jacksonville water and wastewater officials, council members agreed that the city could provide water and sewer service to the tracts of land with the water plant currently in operation, and that Sherwood would face difficulty providing water and sewer services because of a large land ridge within and outside proposed annexation boundaries.


Jacksonville and Sherwood city engineers were not available for comment as of press time Friday regarding landowner identity, proposed square mileage or what determining factors are influencing landowners’ preference to incorporate into Sherwood instead of Jacksonville.


The matter, however, will ultimately be decided Tuesday, June 20, before a judge in Pulaski County Quorum Court chambers at a hearing scheduled for 10:45 a.m. Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim, City Clerk Susan Davitt and other city representatives will be called upon at the hearing to voice the city’s opposition to the potential annexation.


In other business, George Wheatley presented a check to Alderman Robert Stroud awarding the city scholarship funds totaling $25,000 for the eighth consecutive year on behalf of Waste Management.


“As long as I’m with Waste Management, you can count on that $25,000 every year,” Wheatley said.


Absent at roll call were Gary Fletcher and Robert Lewis.


A Reed’s Bridge Battlefield study presentation on the agenda was canceled because of equipment unavailability and will be rescheduled for a future council meeting.


Swaim encouraged those in attendance to view an AETN program scheduled Sunday evening on PBS that will feature a history of the Jacksonville Ordnance Plant.


Following the opening prayer, father-son trio Raymond, Neal and Danny Graham, of Boy Scouts of America Troop 355, led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

TOP STORY>> Library site cleanup

BY SARA GREENE
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Couple may have to spend $25,000 to remove gasoline tanks before construction can begin on Main Street in Jacksonville.

It may end up costing Paul and Dee Shaeffer as much as $25,000 to clean up the site of their Texaco station on Main Street in Jacksonville before turning over the property they had sold to the city for construction of a new library.


This week, workers began digging up and removing the underground gasoline storage tanks at the Texaco station to prepare the site for an environmental inspection.


“As part of the land deal, the sellers agreed to remove the tanks and get the site inspected by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality,” Jack-sonville Mayor Tommy Swaim told The Leader.


Doug Szenher, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, said each gas station cleanup inspections include water and soil and water testing of the property.


”We test the ground below where the tanks were to see if any significant amounts of contamination is in the soil or ground water,” Szenher said. Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), says building on the site of the gas station shouldn’t pose any health risks for library employees or patrons.


“The ground will be tested, and assuming it meets all the test requirements, it should be fine,” Roberts said. The Shaeffers agreed to sell the last full-service gas station in Jacksonville two weeks ago as part of a land deal for the new city library.


The city also has agreed to buy the adjacent building from Mrs. Mike Abdin which housed Dis-count Tobacco and Fish Net Mis-sions thrift store on the west. The two lots, totaling slightly more than an acre, will cost the city $380,300. The city is negotiating the purchase additional property, including a building and lot owned by the Dougherty family on the east side of the block.


In July 2004, Jacksonville residents approved a one-mill property tax increase to pay off $2.5 million in bonds to build the new library building.


The new library building will be approximately 13,500 square feet. The building and property will be owned by the city while CALS provides the employees and materials.


Once the land is cleared of existing structures, CALS will host several public meetings before designing the building.


“We’ll have several meetings in Jacksonville to see what the residents would like the library to look like and what materials they want inside,” Roberts said.


Jacksonville’s existing library at 308 W. Main was named the Esther D. Nixon Library in 1992 to honor of Jacksonville’s first librarian.


The 9,265-square-foot Nixon library was built in 1969, making it one of the oldest and smallest buildings in CALS. The average CALS building is 5 years old and has about 14,000 square feet.


In 2004, the Nixon library was closed for a month while a leak in the roof was repaired.


About 200 books and several computers were damaged from the leak.

TOP STORY>> Several races shaping up in Sherwood for November

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: With Bill Harmon
retiring, voters will decide on whether Dan Stedman or Mike Presson should be the new mayor. There are also races on for
aldermen and clerk-treasurer. The city will also begin its transition from two-year terms to four-year terms for aldermen this election.

Come January, someone other than Bill Harmon will be Sherwood mayor for the first time in over a decade, with Alderman Dan Stedman and restaurateur Mike Presson competing for the honor.


Because Sherwood city elections, like those in Jacksonville, are non-partisan, there were no primaries. Sherwood electors will choose their city officials during the Nov. 7 general elections.


Presson, 53, owns and operates Press 1s Pizza, 8403 Hwy. 107. A Sherwood resident since 1960, the Sylvan Hills High School graduate says he’s been in and around politics for past 20 years, but this is his first run for office.


Presson’s serving his third term on the Sherwood Parks and Recreation Commission and has been involved as an officer in the PTA and area baseball, associations he believes gives him a good base of support. He says he would
continue the path Harmon has blazed.


Stedman, 57, served as a lieutenant colonel in Arkansas Air Force and Air National Guard for 28 years.


He teaches introduction to management and state and local government at ASU-Beebe. A small business owner, Stedman has served on the Sherwood City Council since appointed in April 2002. He was elected to a full term in 2004. He has been president of the Chamber of Commerce, the Sherwood Rotary and the Sherwood Civil Service Commission.


“The hallmark of citizenship is public service,” Stedman says. “I’d like to see the city continue to grow in a progressive way.”
Sherwood begins its transition from two-year terms to four-year terms for aldermen this election. The Position 1 Position 2 seats will be for two years.


Beginning in 2008, all terms will be for four years, meaning that half the seats will be up for grabs each two years after that.


CLERK/TREASURER


City Clerk Virginia R. Hillman faces a challenge from Sharon McMinn.


Hillman, 42, is seeking her second full term. She has worked for the city nearly half her life, in the city clerk’s office, accounts payable, vehicle insurance and planning and engineering.


She holds double master’s de-grees from Webster University in public administration and human resource development and is an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix.


McMinn, 55, has a voice and music school, where she coaches pageant contestants. She has worked as a paralegal and for the city of Sherwood since 1980. She said she has all the qualifications for the job.


McMinn also founded the Epi-lepsy Education Association for the state.


Sherwood city attorney Steve Cobb is running unopposed for reelection.


Robert J. Walla, an officer for a large municipal fire department, is challenging incumbent Becki Vassar for the Ward 1, Position 1 alderman seat.


Vassar, 62, a former teacher, runs a truck-leasing business with her husband Larry. She’s been on the council more than 20 years, “and I enjoy every minute of it,” she says. She considers herself an advocate for senior citizens and is proud of the senior citizens center she helped create in Sherwood.


Walla, 46, says he’s been involved in public service all his “grown-up life.”


“We need some new ideas in Sherwood,” he said. “We need to get that North Belt Loop through Sherwood built. Sherwood’s been a stumbling block.” Walla also would like to see a widespread recycling program in town.


HARMON VS. CHASTINE


Charlie Harmon and Greg Chastine will face off for the Ward 1 Position 1 seat being vacated by Stedman, the mayoral candidate.


Harmon is the son of the current mayor, and Chastine cut his teeth as an organizer of the grassroots movement that stopped the North Belt Freeway from plowing through several subdivisions.


Harmon, 43, is a real-estate attorney for Dillard’s Inc. “I’ve lived in Sherwood over 40 years, my hometown.”


He said he was raising his children in Sherwood and thus has a vested interest in continued, controlled growth of the city. This is his first run for elected office. He served as a Sylvan Hills Fire Department commissioner. “I’m coming into office with no preset agenda,” he said.


Chastine, 44, owns GFW Computer Services, a company that repairs computers, sets up and services networks and does Webpage design and development. He lost his first race for alderman two years ago. He is vice president of the Arkansas Better Business Bureau. Trained by IBM and NCR, Chastine is pursuing a degree in business at Pulaski Tech. He’s lived 18 years in central Arkansas, the last 12 of them in Sherwood.


Running unopposed for reelection are aldermen Butch Davis, David Henry, Sheila Sulcer, Mart-ina Brooks, Keith Rankin and Steve K. Fender.

OBITUARIES

Gary Boyles


Gary L. Boyles, 55, of Lonoke, went to be with the Lord Thursday, June 1 after a long battle with cancer. He was born March 23, 1951 in Little Rock.


Gary was a dedicated employee of Remington Arms, Inc., in Lo-noke where he worked for 34 years making his way up to shift supervisor. He was a proud graduate of Lonoke High School and a dedicated Jackrabbit.


He played on the 1969 state champion teams in baseball and basketball and was captain of the undefeated Jackrabbit football team. Gary also ran track, played in the band and was president of his class. Gary would say, “The way of a leader is long and hard.”


Gary attended Arkansas Tech where he played football before starting his career at Remington Arms Inc. Gary was a member of the Masonic Lodge No. 51 in Lonoke and Lonoke First United Methodist Church.


He was an avid outdoorsman and loved to have time with his friends.


Most of all Gary was a devoted husband, a loving father and proud son. Gary was a team player and was loved by all.


He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Jimmie Cheek Boyles; his daughter, Tammy Rowe of Sher-wood; one son Matt Boyles and daughter-in-law Janette, and a grandson to be of Lonoke; his parents, Pete W. and Regina Boyles of Lonoke; brothers, Harrell (Renee) Boyles of Bryant and Brad (Debbie) Boyles of Arlington, Texas; sisters, Tanya (Ted) Hensley and Tina Boyles of Lonoke and several nieces and nephews.


Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Lonoke First United Methodist Church with ar-rangements by Boyd Funeral Home of Lonoke.


Burial will follow at Concord Cemetery.


The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lonoke First United Methodist Church.


Helen Garner


Helen Louise Garner, 63, died May 31.


She is survived by her husband Ricky Lee Garner; children, De-wayne Haynes of Illinois and Tina Warsa of Arizona; four grandchildren; one brother, Daniel Mixon of Illinois; and a sister, Marie Wilson of Pocahontas and many other relatives.


Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Highland Cemetery, Highland with arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home of Lonoke.


Jack Bookout


Jack Bookout, 66, of Beebe, died Wednesday, May 31 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.


He was born Nov. 21, 1939, in Lawrence County, to Van and Ruby Dobbs Bookout.


He was an engineer for Union Pacific Railroad for 42 years and a member of Midway Assembly of God Church at Walnut Ridge.


Jack is survived by his wife, Jean Bookout; two daughters, Kimberlie Harris and husband Benjy of Newport and Shannon Owen and husband Jeff of Harri-son; four grandchildren, Tyler Harris, Logan Owen, Tara Harris and Emily Owen.


Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Meadow-brook Memorial Gardens, Beebe.


Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, Arkan-sas Division, Inc., 901 N. University, Little Rock, Ark., 72207.


Robert Rogers


Robert Rogers, 72, of North Little Rock passed away on Wed-nesday, May 31 in North Little Rock.


He was born August 16, 1933 in Hughes, a son of the late Charles and Tula Hendrix Rogers. He is also preceded in death by his first and second wives, a son and four brothers.


He will be remembered as an outdoors man who loved to fish.


Survivors include his son, Steven Rogers and wife Duwanna of Jacksonville; two daughters, Brenda Nalley of Whitehouse, Texas, and Glenda Wayson of Little Rock; a sister, Linda Turnage and husband, Clint of North Little Rock; a brother, Leon Rogers and wife Faye of Malvern; seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, friends and other family.


A graveside memorial service will be held at 10 a.m., Monday at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville with Rev. John Lindsey officiating.  


Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

SPORTS>> Cabot splits with Catholic’s LR-ASO

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: The Cabot American Legion team won one and lost one to the Catholic High legion team Wednesday night.

The Cabot AA Home Depot American Legion team won only one out of four games through the first part of the week. A visit to Stuttgart on Saturday saw Home Depot drop both ends of a doubleheader 7-2 and 10-1.


Cabot hosted Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday, splitting a twin bill with the Rockets. Home Depot took game one 4-2, but Catholic rallied back in the nightcap to take the win 3-1 in a two-hitter for the Rockets.


After two innings of the opener, the game was tied at 1-1. Cabot added two runs in the bottom of the third inning, while holding Catholic to only one run in the third.


It would be the only other run for the Rockets in the contest, as pitcher Justin Haas took the win, allowing six hits and giving up one earned run through six innings while striking out three batters. Colin Fuller relieved Haas for the final inning, securing the win for Cabot. Home Depot added one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning to set the final margin.


Sam Bates took to the plate only once for Cabot in game one, but was very effective, driving in two runs. Justin Free was 2 for 2 with an RBI, and Logan Lucas was 1 for 3 with an RBI. Cabot finished the game with five total hits.


Game two would not go quite as smoothly for Cabot. The Home Depot boys only managed two hits in the entire game.
The only run for Cabot came in the top of the fourth inning, when Fuller drove in Haas with an RBI for the score on a Catholic fielding error.


Wade and Drew Burks were the only Cabot batters to walk away with hits in the game. Catholic broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth with two runs to take the win.


The AA Home Depot team earned a record of 1-5 through the opening week of play after Wednesday losses to Conway.
Next up for Cabot will be the 7-Up Classic in Paragould. Home Depot played Benton last night after Leader deadlines in the opening round of the tourney.


After the weekend tourney at Paragould, the Home Depot team will return to weekly action starting Tuesday at Sylvan Hills. Cabot will then host Hot Springs on Thursday.

SPORTS>> Determined baller achieves dream

BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

IN SHORT: Jacksonville High graduate Airic Hughes turned down academic scholarships from major universities to realize his dream of playing college basketball. Hughes will play for Ecclesia.

Things have been working out for Jacksonville’s Airic Hughes lately. He finally broke into the starting lineup for the Red Devil basketball team this year. He helped them to a third-place conference finish and helped them get back into the state playoffs. He just graduated eighth in his class, and most recently, he was offered a scholarship to play college basketball.
He accepted that offer and Friday signed with Ecclesia College in Springdale. The 5-foot-8 sharpshooter was the fourth player to sign with the first-year program that will compete in the Nationall Christian College Athletic Association.


He joins Calvin Woods of CAC, his cousin Keith Richardson Jr. of LR Central, and Malcom Jones of Muskogee, Okla.
Hughes had already been accepted into several universities based on his academic acumen, but he has always wanted to play basketball at the next level. After two years of toiling on the junior-varsity squad, his work ethic and determination ultimately culminated in the honor grad achieving his dream.


“I knew if I got an offer from a smaller school I was going to take it,” Hughes said of his decision to play for Ecclesia rather than attend one of the larger, more acclaimed institutions that accepted him. “I didn’t know if it was going to happen, but when things started working out that way, I knew it was what I wanted to do.”


Hughes has receieved some interest from other colleges for basketball, but has yet to receive any other official offers. He waited a few weeks to commit to Ecclesia, just to see if any other offers would come.


“There are some schools that are saying they’re interested in me, but coach (John) Parker made the offer, and I didn’t want to make him wait too long,” Hughes said.


Several factors went into Parker’s decision to sign the small guard. It all started with a tape of Jacksonville’s season-opening win over North Little Rock. It was Hughes’ first start of his career, and he led the team with 18 points, including four three pointers.


“I liked his shot when I saw that tape,” Parker said. “He doesn’t hold it too long and he shoots it well.”
Parker called Hughes the next day and told him he was very interested, and asked him to visit and work out. The workout was the clincher.


“I had him do some things that he wasn’t used to, things that challenged him quite a bit,” Parker said. “What I saw was that determination and attitude of never giving up that coach (Jerry) Wilson told me about. He just wasn’t going to let it beat him. He stayed with it until he got it. I had been told how determined he was and how hard he worked, but it made a big difference to see it for myself. He’s an impressive young man that obviously puts everything into whatever he takes on. We can use players like that.”


Sheer grit wasn’t the only thing that impressed Parker. Hughes played basketball pretty well during the workout as well.
“He also shot it very well while he was here too, so that just affirmed what I saw in the tape. It proved to me that it wasn’t just a one-game hot streak or anything like that. He’s able to do that consistently. ”


Ecclesia won’t just offer its players a chance to play basketball, they will also have the opportunity to go on missions. Parker says interested students could go to China next year, and could even be involved in helping out with Olympic preparation if Bejing is awarded the next games.

“Those are opportunities that not a lot of schools can give players,” Parker said. “The Olympic thing may or may not happen, but there will be opportunities to go lots of different places and do great mission work.”


Hughes already has plans to spend this summer in an unfamiliar environment. He will be working construction in Florida with friend and teammate Will Christian, but plans to keep working on his basketball skills and staying in shape. He’s already improved his strength dramatically since his senior season ended, adding nearly 60 pounds to his bench press.


“I report up there in August or September,” Hughes said. “I’m looking forward to it; I plan to be ready.”

SPORTS >> Youngster making presence known

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer


IN SHORT: In only his first full year of driving hobby stocks, 16-year-old McRae resident Blake Jones already has a feature win under his belt. The young driver races his F3 hobby-stock car weekly at Beebe Speedway.


In a short period of time, 16-year-old Blake Jones of McRae has made a name for himself on the local racing circuit. In his first full season in the hobby-stock class, Jones has already racked up a feature win, along with several top-five finishes.
Many youngsters in his situation would be on cloud nine, but Jones is an unusually free spirit for his age.


“I don’t get excited about too much of anything,” Jones says in a demeanor sounding twice his actual age. “I just try to take things as they come.”


As a member of one of local racing’s most successful families, Jones has been going to Beebe Speedway since his grade-school days. He got the call to race the F3 hobby car late last season from car owner and uncle Steve Fox, when his cousin Eric Denappoli could no longer drive the car due to work obligations.


“I said, ‘Yeah, I want to drive’,” Jones said. “We knew we would have to talk my mom into it first. It took a little time for her to make up her mind, but we finally talked her into it.”


Since that time, Jones’ mother Jackie has become his biggest fan. She can be seen in the pits at Beebe on any given weekend cheering her son on during the heats and hobby features.


Jones credits a lot of his early success to teammates Randy Weaver and Jason Young, the drivers of the F1 modified and F1 e-mod for the Fox team. Both drivers have track championships under their belts, and have given advice whenever needed.
“I’ve learned quite a bit about motors from them,” Jones said. “I always go to Randy and Jason before the races to ask them about setups and stagger and things like that. They have definitely helped me out a bunch.”


A lot of younger drivers have visions of becoming the next big NASCAR superstar, but not Jones. His future plans include attending college, and pursuing a degree in accounting.


“I just want to be one of those week-to-week racers,” Jones said. “I eventually would like to end up in the modified class. They are quite a bit faster, and they are not too expensive.


“With late models, you pretty much have to travel with a tour to make all the races. With a modified, you can race them every week at Beebe or I-30, or wherever.”


When asked about his first feature win earlier this year in which he outlasted notable veterans such as Eddie Hoyer and Tracy Clemons, Jones was his usual unexcitable self.


“I probably didn’t deserve to win that race,” Jones said. “I was happy that I won, but I realize there were guys out there who are a lot faster than me. I just don’t think I’m that good.”


For someone who lacks confidence in his own ability, Jones showed promise his first time out in a racecar. During a ‘B’ main transfer race late last season, Jones was leading during his first weekend behind the wheel with three laps to go when a rear-end failure took him out of contention.


Jones is the first to admit he still has some learning to do. Although he has come a long way in a short time, Jones says he still needs to develop more patience behind the wheel. He also says that he still has a steep learning curve in understanding setups and track conditions.


If Jones continues to race through his adult years after starting at such a young age, he could become one of the longest- running veterans in central Arkansas racing. Just don’t act like it’s a big deal in front of him if he does.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

EDITORIAL 05-31-06 >> We're making real progress

A study by the Rural School and Community Trust concluded last week that the effect of a school consolidation law enacted in 2004 was to close 47 schools, primarily schools that were predominantly black and poor. The head of the rural school advocates that paid for the study said she was “shocked” that the study told the group what it wanted to hear.

Tiny rural schools in the Mississippi Delta region, the poorest and often predominantly black, were the ones most often closed after legislation required school districts with 350 or fewer students to be annexed or consolidated. Rep. Will Bond of Jacksonville was a prime sponsor of the law.

The advocacy group that hired the study, which fights school consolidation, thought those results showed discrimination and were proof that children in those districts were penalized.

The administrators of those little districts who lost their jobs may have a gripe, but for the children it is a victory that most of them will one day have cause to celebrate, not mourn. For 60 years, Arkansas has been consolidating these tiny districts and sending children to high schools that offer them far more opportunities. That and not mere economics was the reason, we like to think, that the legislature in its wisdom decided again to consolidate districts with fewer than 350 students. An initiated law by Arkansas voters in 1948 at once shuttered 1,165 schools smaller than 350. It is the single greatest advance in public education in Arkansas, which has precious few advances to hail.

Who really could be shocked that the schools most likely to be closed after administrative consolidation would be in the Delta? The all- or mostly black schools were so poor of resources that they could not offer a solid curriculum, compete for good teachers or provide modern facilities or equipment, and they begged for closing. Three-fourths of the majority-black schools in districts under 350 were closed.

Little Gould south of here, very poor and overwhelmingly black, closed last fall and the kids went to nearby Dumas, a thriving district with a solid program. The superintendent at Dumas said patrons at Gould supported the merger. Wise they are. Their children will one day thank them. We have been in that circumstance ourselves.

This is not an argument over which is better, a big school or a small school. There is much to be said for educating students in units that are small enough to maintain community and to recognize individual achievement. But these are not reasonable compact units. The schools are so small and generally so poor that they can never give children, at least secondary students, more than the most meager fare. There is one caveat. Taxpayers willing, the state could provide far greater subsidies to those schools to overcome their deprivation. There is no evidence that Arkansas taxpayers are so obliging.

After the mergers, not one of the children from the little schools is now attending what anyone could rationally call a large school. The consolidated schools are still small and rural — ever been to metropolitan Dumas or Barton? — and in some cases children are only marginally better off than they were because the merged schools are still relatively small and poor. But still better off.

Advocates for Community and Rural Education want to turn the consolidation act into a tragedy in hopes of rolling it back or discouraging more. Let us resist making this small stride for the neediest kids in our care a setback and compliment our lawmakers— and the good Gov. Huckabee — when they do something right.

TOP STORY >> Lonoke County JPs lose amid a Republican feud

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Defeated Lonoke County JP Gina Burton accuses top Republican Randy Minton of a vendetta against her and some other party members, and she may ask for a recount.

Whether or not Cabot Republicans were punishing brethren on the Lonoke County Quorum Court who occasionally strayed from the party line, candidates endorsed by the ultraconservative Repub-lican Assembly prevailed in three close races in last week’s primary.

One incumbent who lost, Dist. 12 JP Gina Burton, said late Tuesday afternoon that she may ask for a recount in her six-vote loss to newcomer Casey VanBuskirk and said, “I think the Republican Assembly made the difference.

“It is not about county government, it’s about a personal vendetta—getting even. Maybe this is the reason Mr. (Randy) Minton has lost some elections,” said Burton. “I’ve tried to be discreet and professional, but it is a personal vendetta (against) Marty (Stumbaugh) and me and Patrick Hutton.

“Unfortunately, Randy was not in this alone,” she said.

Burton lost to VanBuskirk, 115-109; JP Larry Odom turned back Hutton, 171 to 156, and first-timer Mark Edward beat Stumbaugh, 151-125.

Unless Burton wins a re-count, VanBuskirk will face Democrat Patty Knox for the District 12 seat in November.
The Lonoke County Election Commission met and adjourned Tuesday without certifying the results of the election and is slated to reconvene for that purpose Thursday morning, according to Larry Clarke, the Republican commissioner.
A week after the primary, Clarke is not yet ready to breathe a sigh of relief. “I’m not going to be glad until Thursday morning,” he said.

Meanwhile, early voting for the June 13 primary has begun at the Lonoke County Courthouse. The only local races are the Democratic runoff for Lonoke mayor between Jim Parks and Wayne McGee and the runoff for Lonoke Township constable between Steve Davenport and George C. Baily.

A number of other Republican incumbents on the quorum court were unchallenged in the primary, but the Republican Assembly suffered one major defeat when Eddie Joe Williams beat Bill “Pete” Pedersen nearly 2-to-1 to represent the Republicans in the Cabot mayor’s race in November. Williams will face three independent candidates.

In other contested JP Republican primary races, Dist. 2 incumbent Jannette Minton (Randy Minton’s wife) beat Vincent Ables, 97-19, and will face former JP Larry Ridgeway, a Democrat, in November.

In Democratic JP primaries, Roger Lynch (375 votes) avoided a runoff in a three-way race, beating Nita Colclasure (199 votes) and Fred Ibbotson (102 votes) for the District 8 Quorum Court seat.

Kyle Lackie got just enough votes to avoid a runoff for the District 10 seat. Lackie (466 votes) beat Virgil Turner (287 votes) and incumbent Norman Walker (158 votes.)

Neither Lynch nor Lackie has opposition in November.

In District 6, incumbent Alexis Malham (R) will face Harry Roderick (I) and Chris Skinner (D) in November.

Unchallenged in the primary or in November are Jodie Grisham Troutman (D), District 1; Donna Pedersen (R), District 4; Lynn Weeks Clarke (R), District 5; Robert Sonny Moery (D), District 9, and Mike Dolan (D) District 11.

COUNTYWIDE

In Lonoke County Democratic primaries for county office, Pat McCallie (2,796 votes), turned back Scotty Belford (476) and Dany Clement (1,429). McCallie, who has no competition in November, will be sworn as collector on Jan. 1.

Coroner Sherry Stracener (3,521 votes) routed her opponents Darriel Ezell (717 votes) and LeRoy Wood (384 votes.) She’ll be sworn in to a new term in January.

Also unopposed now or in November are County Judge Charlie Troutman, Circuit Clerk Deborah Oglesby, Treasurer Karol DePriest and Assessor Jerry Adams, all Democrats.

Sheriff Jim Roberson (R), who took the job from Charlie Martin (D) in 2002 and turned back a challenge from Martin in 2004 will face him for the third time in November, each man having won their primary.

Republican Cassandra Pitts will face Democrat Dawn Porterfield in a run for the county clerk’s office, from which Prudie Perceful is retiring.

Republican Surveyor Samuel E. Smith faces a November challenge from William “Randy” Gipson.

TOP STORY >>Williams winnner in mayoral primary

BY JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Ex-Cabot alderman, citing his managerial skills, beats Pedersen and will face several independents in the fall.

Former Cabot Alderman Eddie Joe Williams won over Bill Pete Pedersen, 847 to 476, for a place on the November ballot as the Republican candidate for mayor.

Williams attributes his strong win to his management experience with the railroad that he stressed during his campaign.
“I think people were looking for a manager,” he said. “They want someone who can take care of a large budget and work with people.”

Although he left management several years ago and went back to work as an engineer, Wil-liams campaigned on his time as regional director of transportation for the Union Pacific Railroad. According to his campaign Website, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of the Eastern part of the railroad, extending from Chicago to Alexandra, La.

He supervised more than 30 managers and 1,000 employees and oversaw the operation of more than 100 trains a day in seven switching yards.

Pedersen used an old political joke to express his feelings on his loss to Williams.
“As bad as I did, I need to carry a gun,” he said.

Pedersen, who served many years on the Lonoke County Quorum Court, said he was surprised that he lost almost 2 to 1.
“I got what I thought was a lot of support from a lot of people,” he said. “I guess those people didn’t vote.

“We live in a society where people feel like they’ve got to be entertained,” he went on to say. “People vote for the man with the best dog and pony show. Honesty and integrity don’t mean anything anymore.”

Asked if he would support Williams in his campaign against the three independent candidates who have announced and are expected to file between July 20 and Aug. 9, Pedersen said he would not.

“It will be a cold day…,” he said.

The announced independent candidates for Cabot mayor are Alderman David Polantz, Alder-man James Glenn and former Lonoke County Justice of the Peace Kenny Ridgeway.

Pedersen cautions voters not to take campaign ads and rhetoric at face value.

“Check it out,” he said. “Not everything politicians put in their ads is true. Sometimes it’s distorted.
“Like my grandpa said, ‘If a man will lie to you, he will steal from you,’” Pedersen said.

Since most Cabot voters are Re-publicans, Williams knows he is in a strong position, but he said he plans to conduct his campaign from now until the November election the same way he did for the primary.

He will continue to stress his management experience and he will continue to attend “meet and greets” in homes of supporters who hope to strengthen his position.

If he wins in November, he says he intends to schedule what he is calling a “traffic summit” so city and county leaders can start talking to state and national leaders about what can be done about traffic congestion in Cabot.

The lone Republican race for Cabot City Council isn’t over yet. Although Virgil Teague apparently won 586 to 585 over Carl Schmidt for the Ward 2, Position 1 seat now held by Patrick Hutton, Schmidt has asked for a recount.
Schmidt said that when he left the Lonoke courthouse Saturday, he was tied with Teague and that the votes had been posted incorrectly.

He said he worked too hard on the campaign to let it go at that, so he is paying more than $300 for the recount to settle the matter.

“I’ll be the first to shake the man’s hand if it turns out he’s won,” Schmidt said.

TOP STORY >> Privett is ousted as Lonoke mayor

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Voters registered their discontent with the controversial official and will decide in a runoff June 13 whether Alderman Wayne McGee or Jim Parks, the top vote-getters in last week’s primary, should be their next mayor.
June 13.

Although he couldn’t be sure until the votes were finally counted late Saturday, Lonoke city voters turned Mayor Thomas Privett out of office last week, his association with indicted former Police Chief Jay Campbell apparently outweighing his leadership and advances on a number of important projects.

In his stead, voters will choose in the June 13 Democratic primary runoff between Alderman Wayne McGee and Jim Parks, a retired businessman. The winner will be mayor in January. McGee was the top vote getter with 438, followed by Parks with 362, Privett with 215 and Roy Henderson with 38 votes.

COUNCIL PRIMARIES

In two contested alderman’s races, former quorum court member Woody Evans unseated incumbent Jackie Moore, 60 to 37, and incumbent Pat Howell turned back a challenge from his predecessor, Bob Butler, 61-33.

Evans and Howell have no opposition in November.

Privett said he was disappointed that his efforts to bring a new I-40 interchange to Lonoke, annexing land to the city and working with the chamber of commerce and others toward bringing manufacturing jobs to town was insufficient for reelection.

But in the end, voters apparently wanted a change, finding Privett tainted not only by his association with Campbell, but by his use of inmate labor at his home.

Campbell resigned in Feb-ruary after being indicted on several theft and drug-related felonies. Privett himself faces a misdemeanor charge related to the inmate labor.

Privett said he’d be an active mayor, continuing to work to bring more jobs and prosperity to the town until the new mayor is sworn in in January.

McGee said Tuesday that he was excited by his top showing, but that the key to victory in the June 13 runoff would be getting his voters back to the polls. Early runoff voting started Tuesday at the Lonoke County Courthouse.

TURNOUT KEY

With only their race and a constable’s runoff locally, both McGee and Parks say turnout may be quite low.

McGee said he thought voters just wanted change. Of the mayor’s entanglements with Campbell and the courts, he said, “I’m sure that had something to do with it. It played a part in my deciding to run.”

McGee said he’d continue the work Privett had advanced to make the town more prosperous.

“I want to continue to try to bring business in but I don’t want it to get out of hand,” he said. “Controlled growth. I don’t want to do anything that would take away from the downtown area.”

He said work with sewer lines and to get the new school open would be top priorities.

Parks said he was confident that concerned citizens would return to the polls to choose the person and leadership style they think can move Lonoke forward.
McGee has lived in Lonoke all his life, but Parks says he’s been in town 33 years. Now retired, he has time to run the town in a professional manner, he said.
Parks’ priorities include the new overpass and continuing work to bring industry, but he also wants a budget and budget process that requires more accountability.

He said it needs to be prepared like county government prepares its budget, showing the amount spent year-to-date and compared to previous years.

BUDGET SAY

Privett said Tuesday that when the city begins its new budget process, he’d bring in the primary winner, who will replace him in January, allowing the new mayor a hand in preparing the budget.

Privett said that he’s disappointed to have lost the primary, but not surprised. “I analyzed it several weeks ago,” he said. “I knew it would be difficult.

“People expect you to get out and ask them for their votes, and I was busy with city business, some of which I can’t talk about yet, and with this other businesses.

“I didn’t get a lot of help from the media either,” he added.

“The city will still be a good place, and I think in the last three and a half years we’ve made it a better place.”

OTHERS

Others slated to be sworn in as Lonoke aldermen in January without opposition are Jane Derning and incumbents Efrem Z. Jones, Raymond Hatton, Michael Flo-rence and Phillip Howell.

In the District 4 alderman seat being vacated after 16 years by Dick Bransford, Republican Robert (Bob) Combs faces Democrat Kenneth Pasley.

Incumbent Jack Wall Mc-Crary is unopposed for city treasurer, and City Clerk Billie U. Uzzell also is unopposed for reelection.

TOP STORY >> Roberson, Martin rematch

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: It may not be a Thrilla’ in Manila or a Rumble in the Jungle, but if past experience is a predictor, the third matchup between long-time opponents Jim Roberson and Charlie Martin promises to be exciting.

With their primary wins last week, the stage is set for a third consecutive spittin’ match between Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson and the man he wrested the hat from in 2002, Charlie Martin.

Roberson, 58, easily won the Repub-lican primary last week with 1,625 votes, outdistancing Keith Butler (178 votes) and John W. Staley (397).

Butler, a Lonoke High School graduate, studied electrical engineering and works as a food distribution route manager. Staley, 26, is a Jacksonville policeman and an Austin resident.

Martin, 57, had a serious challenge in the Democratic primary from Sam Cham-berlain, Jr., 49, a seniors master sergeant with the Arkansas Air Guard and husband of Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain.

Martin won the primary 2,356 to 2,215.

Both men were at the Lonoke County Courthouse, copying voting results from the giant total board during the counting. Although both men say they are friends, Chamberlain refused to say he would endorse Martin against Roberson in the November election.

Chamberlain, in his first political race, said he’s learned a lot, he’s young and he’ll be back.

If past elections are any indication, the race between Roberson and Martin could be contentious.

Last time, Roberson accused Martin’s brother David of picking a fight with him and arrested him.

David Martin died in a nursing facility this month, a few days before the election, his brother said.

Charlie Martin served as the Lonoke County sheriff for six years before Roberson retired him in 2002.
Both men say they stand on their records.

Martin started his law-enforcement career in 1971 as a part-time Jacksonville police officer, later working full-time for eight years. In 1988, Martin became a Lonoke County deputy and won the sheriff’s race in 1996.

Roberson said that on his watch, he has increased the number of deputies and the quality of the patrol fleet.

“When I came in, I only had a pile of keys and one old computer,” he said. His department now has all new computers.

He said he’s proud of the programs he’s started, such as the Senior Citizen Awareness program, which makes a computerized well-being call every day, said Roberson.

It replaces a similar system that was not automated.

The sheriff’s office also provides and installs child-safety seats free and has received grants to pay some deputies overtime to work nothing but DWI cases.

Typically in these elections, Martin gets a lot of support from the south part of the county, while Roberson gets his winning edge from Cabot, a Republican stronghold.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> A dubious distinction for the county

BY GARRICK FELDMAN
Leader publisher

This is really amazing: We’re a twice-weekly newspaper, and we still have late-breaking election news a week after the primaries.

We knew the winner on “Ameri-can Idol” before we knew the local election results. Don’t ask why, but the winner of the Idaho governor’s race popped up on my computer screen minutes after the polls closed there, and they’re two hours behind us.

It’s taken almost a week for Lonoke County to add up the votes. No one can remember any county taking this long to count the votes, especially in a primary with a low turnout. Certification would take a while, but not the counting.

We thought we’d get the Lonoke County election results in Wed-nesday’s Leader — except that we were thinking of last Wednesday rather than today — a week after the primary, which is a record of sorts.

We usually get the election results in Wednesday’s paper after a long night of waiting for the counting to end, but last week’s tally took so long, we still didn’t have results for our Saturday edition.

Lonoke County has always tallied its votes at a snail’s pace — “Can’t anybody count around here?” had been the refrain at the courthouse on election night for years — but now the county has the dubious distinction of being the last one in Arkansas to have tabulated the results. Lonoke County came in behind Phillips County, one of the poorest in the state, which sent its results to the secretary of state on Friday night.

The votes were finally added up on Saturday in Lonoke County, but since it was a holiday weekend, hardly anybody was paying attention by then. Now it’s midweek, and you can check out the results in our election special – and you ‘ll probably read it here first.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels is blaming the meltdown on Electronic Systems and Software, the vendor which supplied Arkansas with the voting machines and scanners, but someone should show Daniels out the door for not checking the equipment ahead of time.

Arkansas could use a secretary of state who can make sure the equipment he buys will work at election time. But you’ve got to hand it to the folks in White County: Officials there dug into their own pockets and bought enough electronic voting machines so that they didn’t have to rely on paper ballots.

The system worked beautifully: The results were in around midnight, while Pulaski County, which also had computer problems, didn’t have results until the next morning, after officials counted ballots by hand.

They’re blaming the problems on fancy electronic voting machines and scanners that supposedly count the ballots but didn’t until the contractor reprogrammed the software.

While Lonoke County officials were caught completely off-guard, in White County, election officials spent several hundred thousand dollars and tested their equipment before the primary.

Lonoke County officials insist they couldn’t get any more voting machines besides those that were bought with a federal grant. That’s understandable: Cabot has pockets of wealth, but much of Lonoke County is far from rich, which might explain why it trailed even poor Phillips County in the vote counting. Neither had enough electronic machines, but better preparation would have eliminated most of the problems with the vote counting.

Anyway, congratulations to the winners in Lonoke County, even if they had to wait almost a week before they found out the results.

Even the losers thought they might be winners for four days after the polls closed.

The next time, why don’t we all vote on our computers and have instant results?

If we can renew our tags online, why not retain or dump our politicians the same way?

Tabulating would go faster and would keep poll workers from looking over your shoulders to see how you voted.

NEIGHBORS >> Museum has foothold in downtown Lonoke

BY JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Lonoke museum grows, seeks volunteers and donations to continue service to the community.

Period kitchen, parlor and workshop scenes fill the display windows at the new and evolving Lonoke County Museum, housed in the old automobile dealership on Hwy. 70.

“We’ve had lots of response from the windows,” says Cheryl Miller, executive director. After having seen them, area resident Joe Brewer brought three truckloads of carpenter, farm and blacksmithing tools.

“We had no notion the display would look so good,” she said. “Shirley Tomlinson made the curtains,” said Miller, whose husband Jackie is manager of the Pettus Cotton Gin and doubled as electrician and carpenter.

“Diane Finley put the window displays together with just the right touch,” Miller said.

After spending more than a year trying unsuccessfully to lease various properties owned by the city and located on the old railroad right of way, the Bennett family made a gift of the old building to the museum board just a year ago. The board and various volunteers have been busy renovating ever since.

The plan for the main room is to line the walls with the fa├žade of a typical 1800s Lonoke County town, similar to the treatment at the Grand Prairie Museum in Stuttgart.

They fixed up the north wall, which has no insulation in it, in part by creating display windows and insulating their interior walls, Miller said.

The main entry room needs carpet. Miller’s office is cheerful, well lit and functional and the adjoining genealogy room has a tall wall of bookshelves and will house a computer.

The roof is patched and the museum board hopes to land a grant for a new roof to keep its displays safe.

“We’re going to have to get a window (air conditioning) unit or two,” she said, until the museum can afford central heat and air.

Miller said the ductwork already was in place.

She said she hoped to have both the front display and the genealogy room completed soon.

Miller said that as usual the museum needs money and volunteers.

TOP STORY >> Rock Hard Rollergirls: Members sought for new state team

BY SARA GREENE
Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Women's roller derby team seeking new members to compete against other state teams.

Women’s roller derby–competitive roller skating between teams– is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the efforts of the Rock Hard Rollergirls, a central Arkansas team practicing twice a week at Skateworld in Jacksonville.

“We know we can get hurt doing this but we don’t care,” said Amber Stevens, one of the Rock Hard Rollergirls organizers. Stevens has already injured her tailbone, but it doesn’t keep her from skating. She bought a tailbone guard and tied her skates back on for a recent reunion at Skateworld.

Stevens was inspired to start a central Arkansas roller-derby league by “Rollergirls,” a short-lived reality television series following members of the Texas Roller Derby.

Other leagues have sprouted across the state including Northwest Arkansas Rollergirls in Fayetteville and the River Valley Rollergirls in Fort Smith. Roller rinks were an important part of many teenager’s social life in the late 1970s and early 80s. As inline skating became popular, skaters tended to hit the streets instead of the local rink.

“The transition from inline skates to quad skates isn’t hard at all,” Stevens said.

The Rock Hard Rollergirls team is currently recruiting women 21 and over and is working with trainer Rick Langston of Skateworld.

“We’re working to build everybody’s speed and endurance right now,” Langston said.

Stevens says she’d like to see the team grow to about 12 or 15 members.

Roller-derby rules vary from league to league. Generally, two teams of five skaters wearing protective gear such as helmets, mouth guards and elbow and kneepads take up positions alongside each other in a pack formation. Each team consists of blockers and a jammer. A signal is given and the pack of blockers start skating. A second signal is given and the jammers start skating.

Jammers navigate through or around the pack, then lap around the back of the pack. The first jammer to get through the pack is dubbed lead jammer and may stop the skating at any time by signaling the referees by what is known as “calling off the jam.”

Scoring commences when the jammers lap around the track and pass through the pack a second time. One point is scored for each member of the opposing team passed by an inbound jammer. Blockers try to stop the opposing jammer from passing them, while defending their own jammer whom they can assist by pushing or pulling in an attempt to advance them through the pack. The jam concludes after a fixed period of time or when the lead jammer calls off the jam. Until then, both jammers are free to lap the pack again and again.

Physical contact between players is frequent and sometimes violent. Roller derby skaters generally adopt gimmicks such as team costumes as well as stage names. Stevens, a stay-at home-mom, uses the name “Tara Niploff” at the rink. Andy Holms, a graphic artist in Little Rock, has adopted the moniker “Doma Skatrix.”

Team practices are on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m. at Skateworld. Full gear such as helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, wrist guards and mouthpieces are required to practice. Quad skates are available to rent.

For more information e-mail amberstevens21@hotmail.com.

SPORTS >> Bruins win two games in event at Burns Park

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills’ Class A American Legion team beat Sheridan and Benton, but lost to Conway in the North Little Rock Colts’ Memorial Day baseball tournament this weekend at Burns Park.

Sylvan Hills finished the American Legion Class A Memorial Day tournament with wins over Sheridan and Benton, and a Saturday loss to Conway. The Bruins earned the No. 3 seed from pool B overall in the tourney, but stormy weather hit Burns Park on Monday just as they were about to take to the field to play Fayetteville in the finals.

The tournament started with two Saturday games for Sylvan Hills. The early morning game against Sheridan was a thrilling 10-8 comeback win for the Bruins, but the afternoon game against Conway was a difficult one. Several starters were not present for the contest due to graduation at SHHS, and Conway took advantage with a lopsided 13-5 run-ruled win.
The Bruins only played one game on Sunday, taking a solid 8-3 win over Benton after the Sport Stop team committed six errors in the first five innings to give Sylvan Hills the early advantage.

The early Saturday game against Sheridan was one of the most closely contested games of the entire tournament. Sheridan held a slim lead over the Bruins until the fourth inning, when Sylvan Hills dished out six runs to take an 8-4 lead.

Sheridan answered in the fifth inning with four runs to tie the game at eight runs apiece. As time expired in the bottom of the fifth, Ross Bogard hit a two-run home run to score himself and Hunter Miller, clinching the opening-round win 10-8 for Sylvan Hills.

The Saturday late game against Conway was not quite as competitive. The Wampus Cats racked up seven hits and eight runs in the bottom of the first inning to put the Bruins in a hole that they could never climb out of. Sylvan Hills made enough of a rally to cut Conway’s lead to 10-5 at one point, but the ‘Cats had three runs in position when the time limit was met, and were allowed to score those runs to end the game under the run-rule at 13-5.

Sylvan Hills went scoreless in the game until the top of the third inning, when shortstop Jessie Everett knocked it over for a home run.

The Bruins trailed 10-1 until the following inning, when Conway left fielder Spencer Jones lost a pop up from Eric Bryant in the sun, allowing Cody Wood and Ryan Wood to score.

Two more runs were added for Sylvan Hills in the fifth inning with RBIs for Chris Eastham and Ryan Wood.

It appeared that the Bruins had turned a blowout into a more respectable result after solid defense in the third and fourth innings, but another breakdown in the fifth inning allowed three more runs for the Wampus Cats.

After scoring two of those runs, Conway still had the bases loaded. The final run enforced the eight-after-five run rule to end the Bruins’ frustrating game.

Sylvan Hills needed a win over Benton Sunday to secure a top- three spot in the finals, and got it with an 8-3 decision over a flat Sport Stop squad.

The Bruins loaded the bases in the top of the second inning. An infield single for Ryan Wood, coupled with a fielding error from Benton shortstop Bo Fulcher allowed T.C. Squires and Cody Wood to cross the plate for the first two Sylvan Hills’ runs of the game.

Bogard added another run in the third inning, and Everett and Ryan Wood increased the lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning off of RBIs from Ryan Wood and Miller.

Another double from Everett in the top of the fifth scored Chris Dalton and Eric Ryan to set the Bruins’ final margin. Sylvan Hills gave up two runs to Sport Stop in the bottom of the fifth, but it would not be enough.

Dalton took the win for the Bruins, allowing three hits and giving up two walks while striking out five batters through six innings. Eastham relieved Dalton for the seventh inning, giving up one walk and no hits to secure the win for Sylvan Hills.
The Bruins finished the game with eight runs, seven hits and two errors. Benton had three runs, three hits and six errors. The Bruins were scheduled to play Fayetteville in Monday’s finals, but Mother Nature took the win, ending the tourney a day early with rain storms.

SPORTS >>Searcy gets just one of four at NLR tournament

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: Searcy found winning difficult in the Class A Memorial Day tournament at Burns Park. A 8-5 win Saturday over Vilonia was its only victory.

Searcy’s B&B Oil American Legion A team struggled at last weekend’s Memorial Day tournament at Burns Park. A Saturday win against Vilonia was the only win in four games for Searcy in the tourney, as they dropped three other games against North Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jacksonville.

The tournament started out tough for B and B, with a Friday-night rout at the hands of host team North Little Rock 12-1. Searcy recovered from the blowout to play its strongest game of the tournament against Vilonia with an 8-5 win Saturday afternoon.

Vilonia took the early lead in the game, leading 3-2 after the first inning. Runs from Jordan Bradley and Jordan Roberson in the bottom of the first inning narrowed a three-run lead for Vilonia down to one.

Searcy took that lead away in the bottom of the third with three runs to put them up 5-2. Bradley and Jason Jennings both scored on passed balls, and Roger Glaude scored on a fielding error to give B&B Oil the advantage.

They extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth with runs from Jonathan Luthe and Bradley. Bradley hit a triple to right field to score Luthe, and scored himself off a one-hopper to right field from Jennings. Jennings scored the final run for B&B when Glaude doubled to left for the RBI.

Searcy finished the game with eight runs, seven hits and two errors. Vilonia had five runs, eight hits and three errors. Royce Smith took the win at the mound for Searcy, going all seven innings to earn the victory.

Searcy found it difficult to hit off of starting Jacksonville pitcher Cameron Hood Sunday. Hood allowed two hits the entire game.

A fielding error allowed Kendall Chasteen and Jennings to score in the bottom of the fifth.

SPORTS >> Gwatney A team goes unbeaten at Memorial

BY JASON KING
Leader sports writer


IN SHORT: The Jacksonville Class A American Legion team went 2-0-1 at North Little Rock’s Memorial Day tournament.

It was a successful tourney for Gwatney Chevrolet in this year’s Memorial Day single-A American Legion tournament at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park. The Chevy boys took wins over Vilonia and Searcy, and tied with Fayetteville in the Saturday night game to earn the No. 2 seed in Monday’s rained-out finals.

Jacksonville started the tournament Friday night with a 9-3 win over Vilonia. Vilonia took the early lead scoring two runs in the first inning.

Gwatney’s first run of the game came off an unassisted run from Shane Graham. Graham reached with a base on balls, and stole his way to third base before scoring off a wild pitch. Vilonia held on to a 2-1 lead until the fifth inning, when Jacksonville’s offense came to life.

Darius Christopher started things off for Gwatney in the inning by reaching with an error, and scored on a single RBI from Travis Twitty. Another fielding error allowed Shane Graham to reach first. Graham would score on a passed ball, before Cameron Hood and Adrian Baker added scores after both being walked.

Vilonia added its final run in the sixth inning, but Jacksonville answered with two more runs from McMunn and Twitty in the sixth to secure the win.

Saturday’s late game with Fayetteville was the closest Gwatney came to a loss in the entire tournament, but time was called at nearly 1 a.m. with the score tied at four runs apiece. Fayetteville had also tied with North Little Rock 5-5 earlier in the evening.

Jacksonville’s most dominant performance in the tourney came in the Sunday game against the Searcy B & B Oil team. Gwatney took the win 8-2, with a fielding error allowing the only two Searcy runs of the game.

Cameron Hood took the win for Gwatney, going the entire six innings on the mound. Hood allowed two hits and walked three batters while striking out five.

Adam Ussery scored first for Jacksonville in the top of the first. Ussery was walked by starting Searcy pitcher Chad Cates, and stole his way to third before scoring on a passed ball.

Cates struggled on the mound for Searcy, walking three of the first four Jacksonville batters in the top of the third inning. Ussery, Hood and Adrian Baker all received the free pass to first, loading the bases for Jacksonville with only one out. A sacrifice fly from Twitty allowed Ussery to tag up for his second run of the evening, giving Gwatney a 2-0 lead after three innings.

Hood sent B & B Oil three and out in the bottom of the third, and Jacksonville then took to the plate for the game-sealer in the top of the fourth.

Gwatney once again loaded the bases on Cates to start the inning. A ground-rule double from Hood over the centerfield wall scored Clayton Fenton and Christopher. Searcy then finally put Cates out of his misery, sending Jordan Roberson in as relief pitcher.

A fielding error by shortstop Roger Glaude on a grounder from Baker scored Shane Graham and Hood for a 6-0 lead.
Hood’s hopes for a shut out were dashed in the bottom of the fifth inning, when a hard toss from Hood to first baseman Baker for the third out was missed, scoring Kendall Chasteen and Jason Jennings.

Jennings was the third Searcy pitcher to throw to start the sixth inning, and gave up two runs. Hood got his third RBI of the game with another double to score Ussery once again, before scoring himself on a passed ball that would have been a strikeout on Josh Graham. Graham made it all the way to second on the mishap, as Hood’s run set the final margin in the contest.

Jacksonville and North Little Rock both ended bracket-A play with two wins and a tie for the best records of the tourney, but the Colts received the No. 1 seed by allowing less runs than Gwatney in their three games to earn the tiebreaker. It was all for naught, however, as the Memorial Day rains forced the cancellation of the finals.

Jacksonville’s record now stands at 3-1-1 after week one.

SPORTS >> North Pulaski displays new look in spring

BY RAY BENTON
Leader sports editor

IN SHORT: North Pulaski’s football team spent spring practice working on new offensive and defensive sets that they will use in the upcoming 2006 football season.

North Pulaski closed out its spring practices last Thursday with a lively scrimmage that gave the Falcon coaching staff something to look forward to next fall.

The Falcons will have to deal with the uphill battle of being youthful in most positions, but there’s depth at some key spots.
Most notably, North Pulaski has no shortage of backfield players. Charles Baker is the returning starter and has taken most of the hand-offs in practice, but he’s joined by a good group of ball carriers.

“Baker has looked good,” NP coach Tony Bohannon said. “He’s been strong and hitting the line pretty hard. Right now he’s the workhorse.”

Others like Daniel Thurman, Houston Regan, Alex Thomas, sophomore Stanley Appleby and newcomer Desmond Thomas have also had their moments toting the ball.

The numbers dressed out for practice varied. At least 35 worked out every day. The team peaked at 51 for one practice.
“There’s just a lot of things that interfere this time of year,” Bohannon said. “Some of them legit, some are questionable. We’ll make a team out of the ones that want to be here.”

Another area that Bohannon was pleased with was the offensive line. The line has been a weakness in the past couple of years, but Bohannon believes it will be stronger this year, just in time for the Falcons’ return to a run-oriented offense.

“We weren’t big enough or deep enough to try to run at people last year, but I think we might have the hosses in there that can make some holes for us this year,” Bohannon said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can carry the ball, so if we get the line up to snuff we ought to be able to move the ball down the field this year.”

“One of the brightest spots on the interior during spring drills was senior Jeffrey Bogard. Bogard also looked good at defensive end.

“He had himself a really good four or five days of practice,” Bohannon said. “We’re excited about him.”

Chris Matthews, J.J. Thomas and Cary Toomer have also made some holes on the inside. One more piece of the puzzle is still needed though.

“I feel real good about those four,” Bohannon said. “If they can stay healthy and we can find one or two more, we will be ready to go.”

Senior Shoin Hand returns to the team as a speedy wideout with good hands. He was the team’s fastest player last year before leaving the team for unspecified reasons. His return is a big plus according to Bohannon.

“He gives us a deep threat if we need it,” Bohannon said. “He might take some hand-offs too.”

Bohannon hinted at one of the areas that still needs some work- quarterback.

The leading candidate after spring practice was surprising.

“If we started tomorrow we’d go with Michael Fleshman,” Bohannon said of his sophomore. Junior Jason Regnas and Appleby also took snaps, but neither was present for every practice.

Many of the same names were mentioned when talking about the defensive side of the ball. The biggest news about the defense is that it will be switching to a 5-3 set, a change from last year’s 4-4.

“We’ll still run a 4-4 because we’ve got all those wide-spread teams in this conference,” Bohan-non said of NP’s move to the 5A-East. “Our base set will be the 5-3.”

The Falcons will go to the Razorback football camp June 11, then return to begin league 7-on-7.

OBITUARIES >> 05-31-06

MARCIA JEAN CHEATHAM

Marcia Jean Cheatham, 60, of Scott, passed away May 26.  
She was born March 23, 1946, in Little Rock to the late Bernest “Rab” Overton and Lorene Carpenter Overton. She graduated from North Little Rock High School in 1964.
Also preceding her in death were her husband, Robert Herschel Cheatham and one brother, Wayne Overton.
Survivors include two sons, Mike and wife Clara Hughes of Keo and James Cheat-ham of Car-lisle; a daughter, Lisa and husband Jeff Goodman of Scott; two brothers, James Over-ton of Beebe and Boyd Overton of Paragould; five grandchildren, Michael-Ryan and Caitlyn Hughes and Daniel Cheatham of Keo, Melissa and Andrew Goodman of Scott; two very special best friends, Bonnie Mae and Mildred; two uncles, Charles Ouzts and Floyd S. Hines Sr.; along with numerous other family members and friends.
Visitation will be held from 1 to 9 p.m. today with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Toltec Baptist Church in Scott with Bro. Ron Pierce officiating. Interment will follow at Arkan-sas Memorial Gardens in North Little Rock.
James Overton, Boyd Overton, Michael-Ryan Hughes, Michael Hughes and Jeff Goodman are active pallbearers, and Charles Ouzts, Stanley Fleming, Tommy Goodman, Daniel Cheatham and Andrew Goodman are honorary pallbearers. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


WESLEY CHAD MAY

Wesley Chad May, 17, of McRae, drowned May 28 at the lake at Heber Springs.
He would have been a 2007 graduate of Beebe High School. He played football, ran track and played in the band. He was an employee of Heritage. Chad is survived by his father, Dwayne May of McRae; his mother, Wendy Conway of Kensett; one brother, Joel May of McRae; grandparents, Sonny and Linda May of McRae and Virginia Prestige of Greenville, Texas, and lots of aunts and uncles. His family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the family home, 450 Tweedy Road, McRae, Ark., 72102.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Westbrook Fu-neral Home in Beebe. Burial will be in Weir Cemetery.


MITCHELL SMITH

Mitchell Alan Smith, 38, of Lonoke, passed away May 27. He was born Feb. 8, 1968, in Huntington Park, Calif., to Marvin Smith and Mary Jane Ellis Bay. Survivors include his mother and stepfather, Mary Jane and Dennis Bayles of Lonoke; father, Marvin Smith of San Antonio, Texas; five children: Mitchell, Jane, Traci, Anthony and Russell; brother Michael and Suzanne Smith of Minnesota and aunt Betty Earnhart of California.
Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday with the family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Monk Cemetery in Ward with arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


JOHN JACKSON SR.

John Henry Jackson, Sr., 92, of North Little Rock, died May 28. He was a World War II Veteran who served as a medic in the Army in the Fiji Islands. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of Trinity Methodist Church on Lynch Drive. John loved to watch Arkansas Razorback football and baseball at Travelers Field. He loved fishing at the White River with Arkansas veterans and he loved to dance. He always had a smile and kind words. He loved to spend time with his family. He attended the Nazarene Church on Hwy. 107.
John was preceded in death by his first wife, Vida Combs Jackson.
He is survived by his wife, Wanda Jackson of Jacksonville; one son, John Jackson, Jr. and wife, Debbie of Cabot; one stepdaughter, Beverly Cole of Jacksonville; two grandsons, Travis and Justin Jackson of Cabot, and one sister, Alcidean Liles of Beebe. His family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at West-brook Funeral Home in Beebe.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at Westbrook Funeral Home with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.


CHARLESY HALEY SR.

Charles Eugene Haley Sr., 73, of McRae, left his earthly home to be with the Lord on May 27.
He was born May 19, 1933, to Carson and Dora Mapps Haley at Luxora. His hobbies were rebuilding guns, fishing, gardening and woodworking. He retired from Harding University and was a founding member of Gracepoint Church at Beebe. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Cecil Horace Haley and Carson Mayfield Haley. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Shirley Vernon Haley; two sons, Charles Haley, Jr. and wife Charlotte of McRae, and David Haley and wife Shirley of Beebe; one daughter, Diane McCollum and husband Tom, of McRae; five grandchildren, Bethany Manuel and husband Eric of Cave City, Seth McCollum and wife Jaunte’ of McRae, Megan Haley of Beebe, Cole Haley and Caitlin McCollum both of McRae; three great-grandchildren, Cris and Amy Reeve and Elijah Manuel. His two surviving sisters are Vernice Wilson of Pocahontas and Louise Vincent of Glendale, Ariz.
Family will receive friends from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.


DONNIE WATSON

Donnie Cleveland Watson, 45, of Cabot, passed away May 29. He was born Aug. 10, 1960, in Mendota, Ill., to Joyce Parish and the late Carl Watson. Also preceding him in death is one son Chad Watson; paternal ggrandparents, Lawrence and Grace Watson and maternal grandparents, Sherman and Onie Parish.
Survivors include his wife Donna; daughter, Ashley; two sons, Adam Watson of Cabot and Eric Jones of Fayetteville; his mother and stepfather, Joyce and Charlie Win-gate of Cabot; sister, Phyllis Henry of Searcy; brother, Steve Watson of Romance, and two stepbrothers, Tommy and Richard Wingate of Cabot; along with many loving aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday night. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Christ Worship Center with interment following at Romance Cemetery.
Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


CHRISTINE STUDER-REHBACH

Christine Jeanette Studer-Reh-bach, 48, of Cabot, went to be with the Lord on May 26. She was born April 5, 1958, in Oakland City, Ind. She was preceded in death by her father, William Edward Studer; a grandson, Jonathan Jackson; and two grandfathers, Clarence Martin and John Eckert.
She is survived by her mother, Beulah Ray and step-father, H.L. Ray of Cabot; a son, Toby Rehbach and a daughter, Amy Jackson, both of Jacksonville; four grandsons, Justin, Jordan, Jeffery and Skyler; two brothers, Bill and (wife) Pat Studer of Jacksonville and David and (wife) Amy Studer of Cabot; a sister Katina Ray of Cabot; two grandmothers, Naomi Eckert of West Baden Springs, Ind., and Elizabeth Martin of Winslow, Ind., and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.
Funeral services were held May 28 at Mt. Springs Baptist Church in Cabot with arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


CARL STECKS

Tireless farmer, perfectionist, devoted husband, father of three, traveler, self-taught from the eighth grade, Carl Frederick Stecks went to be with the Lord at the age of 91 from a stroke and subsequent pneumonia. He was born Nov. 25, 1914, to Carl Gustave and Minnie Bock Stecks in Stuttgart. He was the son of early Arkansas settlers who introduced rice farming to the communities of Almyra and Crocketts Bluff.
He attended the Prairie Dell School, a one-room school north of Al-myra and a three mile walk from the family farm. In 1932, the Stecks family moved their machinery and livestock to a farm be-tween Lonoke and Scott. With wife and children he was named Farm Family of the Year for Arkansas in 1963. Carl and wife of 68 years, Ida Mae, retired to Sherwood where he lived at the time of his death. Preceding him in death were his beloved wife; parents; and brothers, William H. Stecks and Ervin G. Stecks.
Survivors are his sister, Eunice Watson; children, Carl “Freddie” Jr. and Jane Stecks, Michael and Jo Anne Stecks, Brenda and Randall Smith; grandchildren, Carl Stecks, III, and sons, Carl, IV, and Ethan; Gregory Stecks; Leigh and Brendan Quirk and children, Lily, James and Ernest; Kevin and Alecia Stecks and daughter, Haven; Michael Stecks, Jr., and daughter, Kennedy; Ami Stecks, Sarah, Stephen, Ben and Eric Smith.
Funeral services were held Tues-day at Lonoke United Methodist Church with interment in Lonoke Cemetery with arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke.
Serving as pallbearers will be his grandsons. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lonoke United Methodist Church, Lonoke County Library, St. Jude Children’s Hospital or a charity of choice.


ELMER SHUBERT

Elmer Durward Shubert, 87, of Cabot passed away May 26.
He was born April 19, 1919, in Mt. Pleasant to the late Carl Carroll and Mary Frances Carmichael Shubert.
Shubert was a lifelong member of Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church. He was a Petty Officer First Class in the Navy from 1938 to 1945. He served our country in the Second World War in the South Pacific and was an Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Va.  
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, A. Aleene Chancey Shubert and his second wife, Murrel Moran Shu-bert; as well as two sisters, Dorothy Brannon and Elzera Gwin. He is survived by his children, Dwight Shu-bert of North Little Rock and Kathy Ragar of Cabot; one sister, Maude Brannon of Cabot; two grandchildren, Heather Wagner of Monticello and Dr. Brent Ragar of Boston, Mass. He is also survived by one niece, Barbara Raley of Sherwood, and four nephews, Thomas Bran-non and Vernon Brannon, both of Cabot, Wayne Brannon of Jack-sonville, and Kenny Gwin of San Diego, Calif. Funeral services were held May 28 in the chapel of Cabot Funeral Home. Burial followed at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.


IRMA JEAN BOYD

Irma Jean Boyd, 71, of Austin, went to be with the Lord on May 27. She was born July 2, 1934, to the late Russell Edison Davis and Ila Davis Johnson.
She was a member of Austin Station Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School for many years. She served as acting mayor of Austin, city recorder and served on the Austin City Council. She was the editor of the Austin News for the Cabot Star Herald for many years. She was a member of the Nail Benders for Jesus and Grannies On The Go. She was a homemaker and a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.
She is preceded in death by her father, Russell Davis and brother Leland Davis.
She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Kenneth L. Boyd; two sons, Benjamin Boyd of Mississippi and Kenny Boyd of Austin; three daughters, Marilyn Trammell of Mt. View, Carolyn Oakes of Ward and Vickie Harmon of Austin; her mother, Ila Johnson of Beebe; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; two brothers, Jim Davis of Vilonia and Gary Davis of Beebe; three sisters, Laveda Freeman and Rachel Campbell, both of Beebe, and Deb McCormack of Little Rock.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Austin Station Baptist Church, with burial in Sylvania Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Rebsamen Home Health, 1400 Braden St., Jacksonville, Ark., 72076; Arkansas Hospice, 5600 West 12th St., Little Rock, Ark., 72204, or Austin Station Baptist Church, P.O. Box 130, Austin, Ark., 72007.


ALEX 'POP' BORYSCHTSCK

Alex “Pop” Boryschtsck Sr., 81, of Cabot, passed away May 26.
Survivors include his son Alex, Jr.; grandson Alex Shane Boryschtsck, two great-grandchildren and his caregivers Alisha and Brian Brooks.
Memorial services were held Tuesday at Holiness Tabernacle in Cabot.
His family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Holiness Tabernacle. Arrange-ments were by Thomas Funeral Service, Cabot.