Friday, December 01, 2006

SPORTS >>Devils plan for Saturdays

IN SHORT: Four of Jacksonville’s seniors have the possibility of playing college football after a strong 2006 season for the Red Devils.

Leader sports writer

The senior offensive backfield for the Jacksonville Red Devils raked in some impressive stats during the 2006 football season, and the accolades are still pouring in.

After winning a share of the 6A East Conference title, quarterback Daniel Hubbard, along with tailbacks Justin Akins and Lee Robinson and reciever Norvel Gabriel have all been named to the All-Conference team.

The trio is also looking to play football on Saturdays starting next fall. Robinson is hopeful to hear from Auburn University after sending a highlight tape. He was pleased with the year he had during the 2006 season.

“I did good on defense,” Robinson said. “And I helped the offense out a lot.”

Akins and Hubbard have both received offers from Tulsa. Both players like the idea of playing for a Division I school.
Gabriel was not available for comment, but has also had university interest from Arkansas State, along with several other major schools.

Hubbard also has interest from Mississippi State and Oklahoma State. He says regardless of where he ends up, he wants it to be close to home.

“I had a lot of fun this year,” Hubbard said. “We won more games this year, and won the conference title. I wish we would have gone a little bit further in the playoffs, but we still had a great time.”

Along with interest from Tulsa, Akins has also been in contact with Arkansas, Missouri State and the University of Arkansas. Although some might perk up at the thought of a Red Devil playing at the U of A, Akins says not to hold your breath.
“They want me as a defensive back at Arkansas,” Akins said. “I don’t want to do that, I’m trying to run the ball.” Akins says of all the interest out there, he is leaning towards Tulsa.

Akins was also happy with the outcome during the ’06 season, and with his own growth and improvement.
“It was a good year, I played harder than last year,” Akins said. “I ran the ball harder and broke a lot more tackles this year.”
Although they were stopped in the first round of the playoffs their junior and senior years, the class of 2007 senior offensive backfield will be remembered for some time to come as the group that started the Red Devil passing attack.

“We were Jacksonville’s first passing team,” Hubbard said. “We weren’t a pure passing team because we had Justin and Lee, but we were the first to run out of the new offense.”

Akins says the group of seniors has stuck together through the tough times and shown a lot of character over the last three years.

“We have had a lot of camaraderie,” Akins said. “This year, everybody got along. There were no fights. We were down in a lot of games, but we all stuck together. In the second half, we would just come out and get after it. We played as a team and didn’t let anything come between us.”

The four players were also named to this year’s All-Conference team, making the senior class for 2007 one of the most sucessful in Red Devil football for several years. The legacy left by this group will undoubedly be a yard-stick for future classes of Jacksovnille football.

SPORTS >>Late three lifts Jackrabbits over Dogs

IN SHORT: A last-second three pointer for Lonoke moved the ‘Rabbits into the final round of the Searcy Bank Classic.

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke Jackrabbits advanced to the finals of the Searcy Bank Classic Thursday with a dramatic win over the Morrilton Devil Dogs. Lonoke guard Bradley Spencer hit a three pointer with five seconds remaining, and a running jumper by Morrilton was too hard off the back of the iron, giving the Jackrabbits a 52-51 victory over the Devil Dogs.

“That was a good win for us,” Lonoke coach Wes Swift said of his team. “We’re young and we’re still making a lot of mistakes, but this is the kind you learn from. Winning at the last second like that against a good team like Morrilton is big for a young team.”

Spencer’s shot came off a pass from Tyrone Dobbins after a missed runner by Kylon Boyd was rebounded by Stanley Staggers. Staggers passed from inside out to Dobbins on the baseline, who found Spencer at the top of the key. Spencer wasn’t wide open for the shot, but took it anyway and drained it, nothing but net.

Morrilton immediately called timeout, but the clock ticked all the way down to two seconds showing. After a lengthy discussion, five seconds were put on the clock, and Morrilton inbounded the ball from under the Lonoke basket.

Sophomore point guard Josh Toney took the pass about 80 feet from the basket, and dribbled the length of the court. He got an open look at a running jumper from about 12 feet, but it banged off the back of the iron as time expired.

“We wanted to force them to throw it in the backcourt and we did that,” Swift said. “After that we wanted to force them up the sideline, but we made a mistake and gave him the lane up the middle of the court. He (Toney) did the rest. That kid can play and worked himself in position for a good shot. We were fortunate it didn’t go in.”

The game was back and forth with neither team taking much of a lead throughout the contest. Lonoke led at the end of every period, but trailed at some point in every quarter except the second.

Leading 16-14 in the second frame, the Jackrabbits went on a 7-0 run to take their biggest lead of the night at 23-14. Two steals by Amir Fleming on consecutive Morrilton possessions spurred the rally and forced Devil Dog coach Trent Tipton to call a timeout with 2:48 left in the half.

The timeout proved fruitful, as Morrilton scored the last six points of the half to go into intermission trailing by just three points. The Devil Dogs also scored the first five points of the second half to take their first lead since early in the first quarter at 25-23 with 6:54 left in the third.

From that point, the game was as tight as could be. Neither team led by more than two points until Morrilton took a three-point lead at 50-47 with 1:05 remaining in the game.
That came on a Toney layup, and he followed it with a steal and another layup attempt, but missed what could have been a game-clincher.

Instead, Lonoke got the ball, and dominated the boards to stay in the game. Shots weren’t falling, but the Jackrabbits were getting offensive rebounds and second chances.

Boyd went to the line and hit one of two to make it 50-48 with 45 seconds left.

Dobbins got a steal on the inbounds pass and was fouled going up. He also hit one of two to make it a one-point game. Staggers rebounded Dobbins’ second miss-ed free throw and passed to Spencer, who was called for a charge on his way to the basket.

The ’Rabbit defense stepped up again and forced another turnover on the inbounds pass when Toney stepped on the baseline. Lonoke called timeout with 32 seconds on the clock. The play called in the timeout created an open shot, but Spencer missed it. Boyd got the rebound, but missed his putback attempt. The subsequent scramble for the rebound went out of bounds of the Jackrabbits with 26 seconds left. Lonoke fouled Josh Trezvant with 25 seconds to go. Trezvant hit one of two for a 51-49 lead, setting up Spencer’s game-winner.

Spencer led a very balanced Lonoke attack with 11 points. Dobbins added nine as the second-leading scorer.
Toney and teammate Preston Hill scored 16 each to accound for the bulk of Morrilton’s scoring.

The Jackrabbits will play in the tournament championship game tonight against last night’s winner between Searcy and Van Buren.

SPORTS >>Panthers knock off Catholic Rockets

IN SHORT: Cabot defeated its 7A-Central Conference mates in the semifinal round of the CAC tourney Thursday night in Maumelle.

Leader sports writer

Though not as easily as the Lady Panthers did, the Cabot Panthers made their way into the finals of the Ortho Arkansas Invitational tournament at the Diles Activities Center on the campus of Central Arkansas Christian with a hard fought 65-56 win over a pesky Little Rock Catholic team. The win gives the Panthers a record of 3-1 and puts them into Saturday night’s finals against the winner of last night’s late game between Lake Hamilton and Little Rock Christian.

The Lady Panthers advanced to the finals of the girls bracket thanks to Mother Nature, as Marshall decided to forfeit the game due to impending winter weather. Cabot will play CAC in the finals on Saturday.

The Panthers got the only real momentum in the contest with three-straight three pointers from sophomore standout Adam Sterrenberg in the final 1:23 of the third quarter. Sterrenberg’s tres took Cabot from a 44-41 deficit to a 50-49 lead by the end of the frame. All nine points came from the same spot on the court, and accounted for around half of Sterrenberg’s game-leading 19 total points.

The Rockets held the lead for most of the first half, applying the pressure to Cabot post Alex Sharpe, making the 6’8” senior ineffective on both ends of the court. Sharpe played much farther out in the second half, and began to find his way to the boards and the hoop both. Sharpe finished right behind Sterrenberg on the final points tally with 18.

Sixth man Justin Haas saw court time through most of the contest, with Austin Johnson and Shawn Trammell rotating in and out of the lineup with sub Trey Rosel.

The Rockets took the early advantage, rushing out to a 9-2 lead by the 4:34 mark of the opening quarter. Catholic struck with four straight baskets, including a three-pointer from Garrett Guinn and back to back jumpers for Jake Bequette.

The Panthers stayed alive initially on free throws. Cabot hit 7 of 7 attempts at the line in the first quarter, making up all but four points of the team total in the period.

The shooting from the floor improved in the second quarter, and Cabot managed to pull to within one point with 5:58 left in the half at 18-17. A pair of Sharpe free throws gave the Panthers their first lead of the contest moments later, followed by a three pointer from Austin John-son that made the score 23-19.

Three bad shots on the ensuing Cabot possession allowed the Rockets to take back the lead, but a shot from Trammell in the final seconds tied the score at the half 33-33.

Sterrenberg and Sharpe got to work in the third quarter. Sharpe came alive under the goal, pulling down four defensive rebounds in the frame that would have been second shot attempts for Catholic a half earlier.

Sterrenberg drove in the paint for his first two points of the third, but his other three goals in the period all came from behind the arc.

The Rockets were still in the hunt with only 1:50 left in the game. La’Norris Dukes closed the gap to three with an inside jumper to make it 59-56. Trammel was sent to the line with less than a minute to go, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Sharpe grabbed the re-bound, but couldn’t convert.

Guinn went to the line for Catholic moments later, but also missed his first one-and-one. This time it was Sam Bates that came away with the rebound for Cabot, and the Rockets quickly fouled him to stop the clock. Bates put both free throws away, and put Catholic down by five with less than 30 seconds left in the game.

Dukes led Catholic with nine points. Michael Drake added eight points for the Rockets. Sterrenberg led the Panthers offensively with 19 points. Sharpe finished with 18 points for Cabot. The Panthers will face either Lake Hamilton or Christian in the finals of the Ortho Arkansas tournament today at 7:30 p.m.

SPORTS >>Wildcat girls top Tigers, advance

IN SHORT: The Harding Academy girls escaped Pangburn with a win to move into the title game of the White County Classic. They will play Rose Bud at 6 p.m. tonight at Pangburn.

Leader sports editor

The Harding Academy ladies scratched and clawed their way to another win in the White County Classic Thursday night in Pangburn. The Lady Wildcats slipped past the host school 45-43 to earn a trip to Saturday’s final against Rose Bud.

The victory was a big one, and the tone of the game was probably a precursor to the two conference games HA and Pangburn are scheduled to play against each other later this year. Academy assistant coach Rusty Garner was pleased to escape with a win.

“That is one of the toughest places to play that we go to,” Garner said. “And Pangburn is very good this year. They’re loaded with guards and there’s going to be some major battles now that we’ve got them in our conference.”

The game ended with a series of made free throws, a fitting end to a game that featured 56 foul shots between the two teams, but an aberRation in a game that saw Academy make just 13 of 26, and Pangburn had 18 of 30 foul shots made.
With 46 seconds remaining, Academy’s Traci Wynn hit two freebies to put her team up 43-41. Academy then fouled Pangburn’s Kayla Sandersfeld with 20 seconds left. She hit both shots to tie it up.

Sandersfeld then fouled Katie Koch, who nailed both of her free throws with six seconds remaining to set the final margin.
Pangburn attempted a 30-plus-foot jumper at the buzzer that wasn’t close.

“It was an ugly game, but that’s really what we wanted,” Garner said. “We didn’t want to get to running with them and into a transition game. Their guards are too many and too good. We wanted to slow the pace and we did that. We would have liked to hit more free throws, but we got the type of game we wanted.”

They almost got too much of a bogged-down pace. Three Lady Wildcats fouled out, including both leading scorers Jennifer Kee and Liz Ashley. Kee finished with 14 points and Ashley scored 11. Kara White also fouled out for Academy, while the Lady Tigers saw two players foul out.

“We go six, maybe seven deep,” Garner said. “We were already to the point of playing people that don’t play much. And we had two more with four fouls. If they would have blown the whistle on us one more time I don’t know what we would have done.”

The biggest lead of the game was held by Pangburn at halftime, and it wasn’t much.

Lady Tiger Brittany Reeves hit a running jumper from just outside the lane at the end of the second quarter to give her team a 19-15 lead at intermission.

That was the only time in the game either team led by more than three points.

“It was just a battle,” Garner said. “It’s so tough to win there, but I thought our girls did a great job of handling that atmosphere. We only had six turnovers, so we’re very pleased with that.”

The win lifted the Lady Wildcats to 4-1 on the year, while dropping Pangburn to 12-2.

The Academy boys lost to the Tigers in the other semifinal. The Wildcats dropped their first game despite having six players, including two starters, still on the football team, but they dropped it badly. The Tigers ran away with a 77-58 win.

To add to Academy’s trouble, leading scorer Alex Beene played with an injured ankle. He hit five three pointers and scored 19 points, but couldn’t keep up on defense against the Tigers’ extremely fast-paced style.

“I played him and probably shouldn’t have,” Academy boys coach Rick Beene said. “Defensively he just couldn’t do anything and they were really pushing. They get up and down the court really well and they shot it really well. We just played bad too. It wasn’t very pretty.”

Junior forward Lance Carr led all scorers with 27 points.

“He and Alex combined for about 90 percent of our points, and we’re going to have to be more balanced than that,” Beene said. “We had been in our first two games, but not in this one for some reason. We’ll get better once we get everybody here. We’ve only got seven players total right now and that makes it really tough.”

EVENTS>>Fall 2006

Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) will help Lonoke county residents learn how to save and budget with the free CADC Make Your Money Work class that involves the FDIC “Money Smart” curriculum. A class will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the CADC Lonoke office, 117 S.E. Front Street. The class is open to the public free of charge. Information about the CADC IDA program will also be provided. IDA’s are matched savings accounts that can help individuals start a business, learn how to purchase a home, and attend a school of higher education. A certificate will be awarded after completion of class topics. Classes to be covered include Bank On It; Borrowing Basics; Check It Out; Money Matters; Pay Yourself First; Keep It Safe; To Your Credit; Charge It Right; Loan to Own, and Your Own Home. For more information, contact Angel Clingmon at 501-676-0019.

The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Teen Council is sponsoring a food drive to benefit the Jacksonville Care Channel until Friday, Dec. 15. Drop off non-perishable food items at the Martin Street Youth Center or at the Jacksonville Community Center.

The Jacksonville Chapter of the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP) will meet at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 at the Jacksonville Senior Center, 100 Victory Circle. There will be a potluck meal. Billy Ann Meyers, State AARP president, will install the new officers for 2007. Everyone 50 years of age and older is invited to attend and join.

The Lonoke County Retired Teachers Association meets at noon, Monday, Dec. 4 at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Cabot. The group will visit the nursing home at 1:30 p.m. to sing Christmas carols and hand out Christmas cards. All retired school personnel are invited to attend.

The Cross Point Quartet will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday at Grace Chapel Church on Smyrna Road in Lonoke. For more information, call Willie Gold at 676-3572 or Tommy Austin at 804-0442.

There will be a free chili supper at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 at South Bend Fire and Rescue, 4414 Hwy. 294 between Jacksonville and Lonoke. Photos with Santa Claus will be taken for $5 each.

Bill Bufford, commander of the Arkansas State Police bomb squad will be the speaker at the Cabot Rotary Club meeting at noon, Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Colton’s Steakhouse.

The first annual Trail of Trees auction will be held at noon Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Rebsamen Medical Center’s Education Building. There will be 30 beautifully decorated 4.5-foot-tall Christmas trees to bid on. All funds go to support Rebsamen Medical Center’s volunteer auxiliary.

The 20th annual Christmas Road to Bethlehem will be open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. tonight until New Year’s Eve. Homes along a four-mile stretch of Bethlehem Road in Lonoke County will feature lighted, life-size Biblical figures along with Bible verses to tell the story of the nativity. The road ends with the manger scene at Bethlehem United Methodist Church. There will be open house programs with music and fellowship from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 11 through Jan. 1.

There will be a silent auction for pre-decorated Christmas trees at the Harmon Recreation Center, 508 Sherwood Ave., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. The Sherwood Christmas parade will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday on Kiehl Avenue. The theme is “Let there be peace on Earth.”
Mayor-elect Danny Stedman will be the parade’s grand marshal.
A reception for all entrants will be held at the Sherwood Senior Center, 2301 Thornhill Dr.
For more information, contact the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce at 835-7600.

The Pulaski County Quroum Court Ways and Means Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Quorum Court meeting room at the Pulaski County Administration Building.

First Baptist Church of Sherwood’s choir, orchestra and drama team will present “A Christmas Prayer” at 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10 at the church 701 Country Club Road. The 3 p.m. performance will be interpreted for the deaf. For more information contact 835-3154.

There will be a free breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at South Bend Fire and Rescue, 4414 Hwy. 294 between Jacksonville and Lonoke. Donations will be accepted.

The Sharon’s Parents Association Group at Sharon’s School of Dance, Gymnastics and Cheer will have a chili cook-off from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15 at 213 N. James St. in Jacksonville.
Tickets are $2.50 at the door or $2 in advance. There will be games, a used purse auction and food. For more information contact Joanna Craig at 628-4523

EDITORIALS>>Lake View not over

No one should have been surprised this week when the Arkansas Supreme Court extended its jurisdiction over the Lake View school case another six months, but the principal parties to this unending nightmare were shocked beyond belief. It is further evidence of the heedlessness that has kept this issue in the courts almost continuously for a quarter-century.
Gov. Huckabee declared that he was “disgusted” by the Supreme Court’s order giving the state (the governor and the legislature) six months to prove that it has finally complied with the state Constitution’s ancient requirement that it provide a suitable and equal educational program for every child in Arkansas.

The governor said the court was “out of control” and “out of compliance.” But he failed to observe that two of the five out-of-control justices were his own appointees. One, a close personal friend, had been his own counsel before he appointed her to the Supreme Court and the other, a friend from his Texarkana days, was appointed to sit only on this case.

Attorney General Mike Beebe, the governor-elect, was only slightly more circumspect than Huckabee in denouncing the court. It was Beebe’s omissions as the state’s attorney that brought the court decision, although the court politely did not single him out. But Beebe and all the other lawyers involved in the case on the state’s side, including the governor’s current counsel, should have known that they had been derelict this year in not supplying the court with the evidence of their compliance.

The Supreme Court found a year ago that the legislature and the governor had failed to follow their own prescription for funding the public schools, adopted into law in 2004, and gave them until yesterday to comply. In the spring, Huckabee called the legislature into session and together they enacted higher appropriations and a few other steps to comply.
Huckabee declared that they had done an adequate job of addressing the needs and so did a few lawmakers. They went home and neither the governor, the legislature nor their attorney, Mr. Beebe, bothered to respond to the court.

Here is what the court’s majority said Thursday: You may well have met the constitutional standards, but we have no way of knowing. This court can act only upon evidence, not media stories or proclamations by the governor and legislators. What exactly did you do and how did it affect the schools’ needs? Beebe complained that the Supreme Court never told his office and the defendants that they had to furnish the court evidence of its work, as it had after the first legislative session that dealt with the school issue. But a second-year law student knows that Supreme Court justices cannot base a ruling upon what each of them hears on television or reads in a newspaper. The court cannot dismiss a grave constitutional case, as Beebe and Huckabee expected, without a sentence of evidence.

So the justices appointed the same masters, two former Supreme Court justices, to ferret out the evidence of just what the legislature and the governor accomplished in the spring and report to the court by May 31 on the actions by the state and the effect they had on the schools.

Beebe and the legislative branch are ordered now to supply the documentation that they should have supplied as a matter of course without having to be told.

Although the court took pains to say that it was not extending its jurisdiction so that it could monitor what the legislature does on education in the regular session that starts next month, it will do so unavoidably.

Under its own timetable, the legislature must address major parts of its compliance plan in January. The state has not yet complied with the court’s order in 2002 that it supply schools, especially the poorest ones, with modern facilities.

The legislature will have nearly $1 billion in surplus funds, and at least a third of that can easily and ought to be set aside for school modernization.

By its own law, the legislature also is obliged to fund fully the needs of education for the next two years before it appropriates a dime of operating money for anything else.

We suspect that it would not be done unless the highest court is looking over the shoulder of the new governor and lawmakers. So the dereliction of the executive and legislative branches in failing to oblige the law with the evidence of what they had done may in the end be a good thing.

OBITUARIES >> 12-02-06

Barbara Rice
Barbara Ruth Adcock Rice, 73, of Rosebud formerly of Beebe, died Nov. 29.

She was born July 10, 1934, at Gravel Hill, to Wasco T. and Eva Lee Griggs Adcock. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd Rice and her parents.

She is survived by two sons, Perry Rice and wife Belinda of Rosebud and Donal Rice and wife Lisa of Rogers; four grandchildren, Morgan Sides of Brookhaven, Miss., Cody Rice of Rosebud, Roger Rice of Frederick, Maryland, and Adam Rice of Rogers.

Funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.

Harlen Bass
Harlen Wayne Bass, 61, of Duffield, Virg., died Nov. 27.

He was born July 30, 1945, at Searcy, to Quenton “Dick” and Mae Falen Bass. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Johnny Kieth Bass.

He is survived by his wife, Lilia Mae Purvis Bass; two daughters, “Frog” Jerrie and husband Jackie Barnette and “Toad” Terrie and husband Johnny Fritz, all of Duffield, Virg.; one stepson, Joe Geovanni; five grandchildren, Joshua Wayne Peterson, Chad-wick Dean Fritz, Ashley Nachole Petersen, Cody Allen Fritz and Tyler Blake Barnette; one sister, Laurie Firth and husband Harold of Ward, three brothers, Gregory Lee “Greg” Bass of Ward, Richard and wife Lilian Bass of Clinton and Dale and wife Patricia Bass of Beebe; and one sister-in-law, Pat Bass of Ward.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Butlerville Cemetery.

Lillie Dearman
Lillie Mae Dearman, 93, of Cabot passed away Nov. 29. She was born April 25, 1913 in Woodruff County to the late Franklin and Mary Holder.

She was preceded in death by her husband, James Dearman; son, Jerry Sloan Dearman; daughter, Kathrine Moseley and three brothers and four sisters.

Survivors include one son, James Dearman of Sheridan; 10 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; 12 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild along with many other family members and friends.

Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, in Sumner Cemetery at Cabot. Funeral arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service.

Eugene Gann
Eugene E. Gann, 62, of Jacksonville peacefully passed away Nov. 30, at his home. He was born June 15, 1944 in St. Louis, Mo., to the late Joseph F. Gann and Mrs. Edith May Smith Gann.

Two sons, Eugene E. Gann Jr. and Charles Lloyd precede him in death. He was of the Pentecostal faith and he enjoyed wrestling, watching TV and listening to gospel music.

He is survived by his loving wife, Betty Lee Gann of the home; mother, Edith Gann of Truman; 16 children, three brothers, four sisters and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with the Rev. Royce Lowe officiating. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park.

Visitation will be Sunday, Dec. 3 afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Redginald Story
Redginald “Redgy” G. Story, 56, of Floyd after a lengthy illness, was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on Nov. 27. He was owner and operator of Story Transport.

He was an Army veteran of Vietnam and a member of Floyd Assembly of God Church. He was a lover of the outdoors and enjoyed horses. He loved his four dogs, B.J., Tinker Bell, Shiloh and Jessie.

He is survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 25 years, Anne; his mother and stepfather, Betty and John Birch of Judsonia; his father, Haston Story of Floyd; two brothers, Ronnie and wife Sissy Story of Romance and Randall and wife Melinda Story of Floyd; two sisters, Diannia and Robert Crum of Searcy and Debi and Michael Maddox of Manitou Springs, Col. and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Fansler and Carlton and Vachy Story and one uncle, Harston Story. Funeral was Dec. 1, at Floyd Assembly of God Church with burial in Floyd Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were by Westbrook Funeral Home at Beebe.

Kurt Dale
Kurt Dale, 95, of Beebe died Nov. 28. He was born Sept. 18, 1911, at Kabelvag, Norway, to the late Jergen and Olga Johnson Erdahl. He was an Army veteran of the Second World War.

He is survived by his wife, Viola Dale of Beebe; two sons, Roger Dale and Robert Dale, both of Beebe; one daughter, Audrey and husband Rick Dunn of Beebe; three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and one brother, Sigurd and wife Karen Erdahl.

Cremation arrangements were by Westbrook Funeral Home at Beebe.

Carrol Fletcher
Carrol Lee “Sonny” Fletcher, 67, died Nov. 27 after a long battle with cancer. He was born Oct. 4, 1939, the only child of the late Henry and Mable Mashburn Fletcher. He was a 1956 graduate of Carlisle High School.

After graduation, he served in the Air Force from 1957-1959. He graduated with honors in 1971, from Harding College with a bachelor of arts degree in Bible. During his years at Harding, he was a minister for the White Oak Church of Christ and Harmony Church of Christ.

After graduation, he served as minister for the Hazen Church of Christ, and the North Main Church of Christ in Malvern.
In 1977, he became minister of evangelism for the Sylvan Hills Church of Christ in Sherwood, where he remained for 29 years. He retired Oct. 1, due to his health. He had a great love for the Lord, His Church, and people.

During his years as a minister and elder, he went on numerous mission trips to England, Russia, Cuba, Jamaica, Anguilla, and many other places in the United States. He was a great example of a Christian man who touched the lives of many during his ministry.

His hobby was running his Beagle dogs and raising registered Beagle puppies. He loved to watch sports, especially the Razorbacks, and his grandchildren playing various sports

He will be greatly missed by his wife of 45 years, LaVerne “Allison” Fletcher of Sherwood; children, Alison Bussard of Sherwood, Angela Stevens and husband Mark, of Arlington, Texas, and Phil Fletcher and wife Pam of Palestine, Texas; seven grandchildren; Meagan and Logan Bussard, Joshua, Jacob and Carley Stevens, and Dylan and Delaney Fletcher; mother-in-law, Azalee Allison of Jacksonville; four brothers-in-law, James Allison and wife Sue of Florida, Carroll Allison and wife Bonnie of Green Forest, Bob Allison and wife Ella of Jack-sonville, and Ronnie Allison of Bigelow.

He is also survived by a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

The funeral was Nov. 30 at Sylvan Hills Church of Christ, officiated by Greg Clark, Allan Qual-mann, and Robert Wingfield.
Burial followed in Hamilton Cemetery in Carlisle. Funeral arrangements were by Boyd Fun-eral Home in Lonoke. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Sylvan Hills Church of Christ, 117 West Maryland Avenue, Sher-wood, Ark. 72120.

Nancy Davis
Nancy June Davis, 47, of Ward, passed away Nov. 22. She bravely fought a series of illnesses for many years. Nancy always put her family of five children first even over her own health. Nancy was preceded in death by her daughter Sarah.

She is survived by her husband, Dave Davis; four children, Eric Anderson, Jennifer Freeman, David Anderson and Alex Davis; father, Bill Sorg; mother, Margret Nixon; step-father, Grady Nixon; brother, Tom Sorg; sister, Jennifer Burns; grandmother, Millic Weise and grandchildren, Joshua, Michael, Jordan and Jessie among others.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Children’s Hospital or St. Jude’s in Memphis. Services were Nov. 27, at Trinity Lutheran Church. Arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

Jeffery Rodriquez
Jeffery Scott Rodriquez, 30, of Cabot passed away Nov. 24.

He was born June 28, 1976 to Thomas Rodriquez and Monica King in San Jose, Calif.

Survivors include his parents, Monica and William King of Cabot and Thomas Rodriquez of Calif.; four sisters, Tia McCloud and Joy Warren, both of Ward, Angel King and Chelsea King, both of Cabot; along with many other family members and friends.

Funeral services were Nov. 26 at Wesley Chapel Church with burial in Wesley Chapel Cemetery at Quitman. Funeral arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

Cecil Gibson
Cecil Lee Gibson, 85, of Jones-boro died Nov. 30 at NEA Medical Center.

He moved to Evening Shade in 1947, where he served as a State Representative in Sharp County and taught Vocational Agriculture for 17 years. He moved to Jack-sonville, where he retired as District Director for ASCS. He then moved back to Jonesboro in 2003. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, the VFW, American Legion, DAV, Retired Federal Employees, the Masonic Lodge, and was a past persident of the 206th Coast Artillery Corps Association. He was a Second World War veteran.

He is survivored by his wife, Bernice Gibson; one son, Mike Gibson of Osceola; two daughters, Deborah Biggerstaff of Easley, SC and Margie Lamb of Beebe; one brother, Wayne Gibson of Springfield, Mo.; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Dora Lee Gibson.

Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Roller-Farmers Union Chapel with Pastor Marck Gibson and Pastor Otto Hillis officiating. Burial will follow in Gibson Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 101 N. First Street, Jacksonville, Ark., 72076.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>It's cold, but Africa is too hot just now

The cold weather blew in from the southwest, but we escaped an ice storm, which is not uncommon around here in early December.

Grocers may have run out of bread and cheese dip, but it’s warm enough now for folks to restock their pantry for the next six weeks or so, or until Ground Hog Day, when we’ll know for sure when spring is on its way. We’ve had fine weather this fall as temperatures often climbed into the 70s, although it hasn’t been as warm as it is in Africa, where our friend Tommy Robinson is thinking about doing some business.

We’ve found out the former congressman will not go to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a while, even though he says he has a $12,000 a month lobbying contract with the newly elected president, Joseph Kabila.

“It’s dangerous for Americans over there,” Robinson told us.

It’s dangerous not only for Americans, but for the Congolese, too.

The DRC is in the midst of a civil war that so far has killed four million people. I wouldn’t be looking for a job there, but Robinson thinks he can advise the government on how to land business deals here.

A lot of people will say Tommy is a great talker and as a businessman he’s had more flops than an old Broadway producer looking for his first hit.

Robinson is trying to dig himself out of bankruptcy and hopes to get a fat check from the president of the DRC, a country in dire straits like much of Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East, where conflicts are raging and millions are dying.
Nations are at war with themselves from Baghdad to Beirut, from Sri Lanka to Afghanistan, from Sudan to Ivory Coast, from Colombia to Chechniya.

I should have asked the former congressman (and former Pulaski County sheriff and Jacksonville police chief), when he thought it might be safe to travel to Africa, but I don’t think any sensible American should go abroad anywhere anytime soon.

I don’t think we can be much help to foreigners right now. The civil war in Iraq gets much worse, and there’s no end in sight to the fighting, despite recommendations from the Baker Commission that the U.S. should hand over more security to the Iraqis themselves.

Well, good luck on that. Come to think of it, that may be a job for Tommy Robinson, who could tie up all the bad guys in Iraq around the palm trees and let the improvised explosive devices take care of the rest.
But I don’t think the Baker Commission will accept that as a viable solution, but Tommy might.

TOP STORY >>Sherwood meth lab is broken up

Leader staff writer

Pulaski County deputies celebrated National Methamphetamine Awareness Day by busting up a meth lab operation in Sherwood early Thursday afternoon.

While waiting for about three hours to obtain a search warrant, deputies detained three women outside a residence at 8017 Greer Road. The search led to the arrests of all three women.

“They were apparently in the process of a cook and we did take a small amount of the substance out of the house,” John Rehrauer, spokesman for Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, said.

Donna Gaye Hill, of 8017 Greer Road, Sherwood, and Peggy Sue Zajac, of 804 W. 22nd St., North Little Rock, were both arrested on one felony count each of maintaining drug premises, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture and endangering the welfare of a minor. Their bonds were set at $95,000 each.

Zajac was believed to be living at Hill’s residence, Rehrauer said.

A third woman, Jamie Pruss, 30, of North Little Rock, also faces multiple drug-related charges, but she was not charged with endangering the welfare of a minor because she was not living at the residence.

The child was not present at the time of the meth lab bust.

“But there was enough evidence to support that the child was living at the residence,” Rehrauer explained.

Initially, two Arkansas Department of Community Corrections officers were conducting a routine check on a parolee at Hill’s house. The parolee was identified as Hill’s daughter, but she was not there.

Once inside the residence, DCC officers noticed items consistent with manufacturing meth in the kitchen. The DCC officers also detected a strong chemical odor.

“One of the DCC officers and a deputy became somewhat dizzy from the fumes,” Rehrauer said.
Precursor chemicals involved in a meth cook include red phosphorus found on matches, an agricultural fertilizer containing ammonia and pseudoephedrine used to counteract cold symptoms.

Meth labs unleash toxic fumes posing dangers not only for the people involved with it and their families, but also professional toxic waste disposal crews and law enforcement officers.

Future tenants at homes where meth cooks took place are also at risk from toxic chemical residue. About five or six pounds of hazardous waste is generated from cooking up one pound of meth.

Some of this hazardous waste ends up being dumped onto the ground, in sewers or waterways, according to officials at Meth is a highly addictive stimulant, which affects a person’s central nervous system. Meth can be snorted, swallowed or injected.

TOP STORY >>Insurer says it will pay district

IN SHORT: Insurance company defends the length of time it is taking to settle with Cabot Junior High North.

Leader deputy managing editor

The insurance company for the Cabot School District defended itself this week against charges it isn’t moving fast enough settling the district’s claim for Cabot Junior High North, that burned to the ground Aug. 10.

“This isn’t a car claim, this isn’t a $200,000 home, this is a multimillion dollar school. A settlement of this magnitude takes time but it shouldn’t be too much long-er,” said Ann Watson, vice president of Great American Insurance Co. of Ohio.
“We feel the timeline this process has taken so far is not unreasonable for a school of this size,” Watson said.

Cabot School District has a blanket policy of $100 million for all the school buildings in the district.

The policy covers full-replacement value of the buildings. Full-replacement value is what it would cost to rebuild any of the buildings at current construction prices.

For example, when it was built Cabot Junior High North cost $9 million. That same building today would cost $14 million to $15 million and that is how much money the district hopes to get from the insurance company.
The district pays $123,000 annually for the coverage from Great American. The policy also covers cost of contents and personal property.

abot School District comptroller Kelly Hayes said he didn’t even want to estimate how much those claims are going to be when they’re filed with Great American.

Watson said Great American representatives were on site immediately but their own examination of the building had to wait until the Cabot Fire Department finished in-vestigating the cause of the fire. Great American’s engineers concluded their study of the building Oct. 19. Now the company’s construction consultant is examining the engineer’s report to see if it is possible to save any of the concrete exterior walls or demolish the entire building.

Cabot School District Super-intendent Frank Holman’s concern is for the well being of students.

“Our community pulled off a miracle after the fire, getting the portables set up and getting students in the classrooms. Great American can rebuild the building or give us the money. We just want them to act in good faith to get our students into quality classrooms,” Holman said.

It is expected to take two years to rebuild Cabot Junior High North. Holman said what money the district has received from the company isn’t enough to make a dent in the costs the district has incurred since the fire.

“They gave a us a $1 million advance after we showed them we spent more than $1.5 million. So far we’ve spent about $2.5 million,” Holman said.

While Watson said the district has not filed a formal dispute with Great American, Holman says the district is running out of patience.

“We’ll have to look at other ways to get the school built back and deal with this legally if we have to,” Holman said.
Ignited by a faulty light fixture, the fire destroyed the eight-year-old Junior High North building and delayed the first day of school five days for ninth graders and 10 days for seventh and eighth graders.

More than 30 trailers housing two classrooms each were set up between the tennis courts and the Cabot Junior High North gym for the 1,200 displaced students. It is costing the school district $40,000 per month to rent trailers to house the displaced students.

TOP STORY >>Borrowers could get help

IN SHORT: Despite progress, critics propose new laws and new style loans to combat abuses by payday lenders.

Leader staff writer

More Arkansas payday lenders are licensed and regulated than a few months ago, but opponents of the so-called predatory lenders hope to pass new laws come January aimed at driving the moneychangers from the Natural State.

Payday lenders had special legislation written in 1999 to allow them to circumvent the state’s 17 percent interest rate cap.
They have regularly charged at least 300 percent interest. Since then, the lenders have lobbied successfully to defeat attempts to put teeth into existing laws that would limit their activities.

Not only have they been reluctant to be licensed or regulated by the state, but with the help of Gov. Mike Huckabee, they have stacked the five-member regulatory board with two employees of payday lenders, according to Hank Klein, a leading critic.

Gary Frala, who works for a payday lender and is a member of the Arkansas Board of Collection Agen-cies, voted successfully to ex-empt companies claiming affiliation with out-of-state lenders from being regulated here. Klein calls Frala’s action a conflict of interest and violation of state law.

The high interest lenders say they are filling a void left by banks and credit unions by making small, expensive, short-term loans to help consumers out of a momentary financial crunch.

The credit unions are working on an alternative to help borrowers through a rough patch, according to Klein, founder of Arkansans Against Abusive Pay-day Lending and retired CEO of Arkansas Federal Credit Union.
As currently envisioned, it would loan consumers $1,000, half of which goes into a savings account, the other half toward their short-term need.

Then they pay off the entire loan at maybe 17 percent instead of at least 304 percent, and when the loan’s paid off, they have $500 in a savings account.

The Jacksonville payday lenders or check cashers make short-term loans of as much as $900 to Arkansans for two weeks at annual interest rates ranging from 306 percent to 464 percent despite the state’s 17 percent usury cap, according to an AAAPL study released at a press conference at the state Capitol Nov. 15.

All of the four payday lenders or check cashers in Jacksonville now are licensed by the state but just two are regulated, and only one of those actually abides by state regulations, according to information provided by Ar-kansans Against Abusive Pay-day Lending, AAARL.

The two American Check Cashers stores, owned by W. Cosby Hodges of Fort Smith, claim affiliation with Mount Rushmore Loan Co. in South Dakota and hold that they are bound by that state’s more lenient banking rules.

Hodges, who owns 20 or more high-interest lenders in the state, and Robert Srygley, of Springdale, who owns or manages 32 more are the incorporators of the Mount Rushmore Company, which critics say is just a shell company, a front that allows them to lend under South Dakota law.

Two associates of Hodges and Srygley are among the five directors on the state Board of Collection Agencies, which regulates such lenders.

Frala, treasurer of 32 payday lenders in Arkansas, voted to exempt the company he works for from state regulation in January 2005.

Frala’s term expires January 1, 2007, meaning Huckabee will have the opportunity to appoint him to another four-year term.
Denise Stewart’s term ex-pires January 1, 2009. She is director of operations for Cosby’s American Check Cash-ers. So far, lawsuits seeking to declare such lending unconstitutional have ricocheted around the courts, bounced back and forth between Judge Barry Sims’ circuit court and the state Supreme Court.

AAAPL failed in its efforts to make the lenders comply with interest rate caps in the last regular session of the General Assembly, when two bills failed to get out of committee.

They are drawing up similar legislation for another run this time, according to Mark John-son, a lobbyist for the American Association for Retired People. AARP is one of many groups in AAAPL.

Johnson said he expects the bills to have plenty of support this time around.

One bill, which would create a criminal usury penalty of $300 per instance, will be sponsored by state Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home and state Rep. David Johnson, D-Little Rock, according to Johnson.

It is nearly identical to the bill sponsored last session by Sen. Tim Wooldridge, D-Paragould and Rep. Jay Martin, D-North Little Rock.

“The second bill is a little more complicated,” said Johnson. “We were hoping for guidance from the Supreme Court.”
They are still working on language for that bill.

In reporting some success, Klein noted that while there were 275 cash advance or payday lending stores operating in Arkansas last March, only 66 of them were both licensed and regulated.

In the follow-up study released last week, more than half of them were licensed and regulated.
But while a dramatic increase in that number is progress, they all continue to make loans in apparent violation of the 17 percent interest cap.

TOP STORY >>Spending priorities proposed by justice

IN SHORT: Pulaski County JPs hope to see more than 1,100 jail beds if funds are available.

Leader staff writer

Area mayors have said that they would again chip in to keep 80 additional Pulaski County Detention Center beds available, at least through June, according to JP Bob Johnson, head of the county budget committee, but until they have firm commitments, the budget will only reflect the 800 beds to which the county itself is committed.

Johnson said that Sheriff-elect Doc Holladay had participated in preparation of the budgets for the jail and sheriff’s office.
Johnson said the budget his committee would recommend at the Dec. 19 quorum court meeting had no significant departures from last year’s budget.

According to Johnson, the jail budget would again be about $19 million to $20 million and the committee and the quorum court were looking for money to reopen the 250-bed work-release center, but “I don’t know where the money is coming from.”

Otherwise, county departments have submitted budgets equal to or less than last year’s, Johnson said. He had high praise for the department heads who work to keep expenses down.

“Our goal was to spend less in all departments,” he said. “We’ve come pretty close.
“All department heads have been very frugal and have spent less than allocated.”

With acting comptroller Tim Scott anticipating 2007 revenues of about $57 million, the budget committee will finalize its numbers, then recommend employees’ raises for the first time in several years when the quorumcourt considers the budget at its December meeting, Johnson said.

But the county will hold the line on hiring additional employees, Johnson said, and that’s created a bit of a flap in the case of two juvenile services employees partially funded in the past by a grant.

Johnson said the grant had expired and Judge Rita Gruber had asked the county to pick up the slack for the first few months of 2007 until the grant could be reinstated. That is the recommendation of the budget committee, he said.
“We understand the importance of the juvenile services program,” Johnson said. Otherwise, “we could have had to fire those employees January 1.”

Johnson said the employee raises were particularly important because health care co-payments were going up.
“We’ve tentatively approved all the budgets,” Johnson said.

By state law, counties may only budget 90 percent of anticipated revenues, so the 2007 budget will be about $52 million, Johnson said.

The county also will carry over about $5 million from last year’s budget, which will be used on one-time capital expenses, Johnson said, such as a new roof for the County Administration Building and new digital sound and recording equipment for the courts.

TOP STORY >>Region hoping for gas pay-off

IN SHORT: Geologist says $340 million has been spent exploring the Fayetteville Shale in White County and elsewhere.

Leader deputy managing editor

Doug Hanson, a geologist with the Arkansas Geological Commission, told the Jacksonville Rotary Club that exploration into natural gas deposits below White County isn’t going to turn Searcy into the next Houston anytime soon.

In the last two years, companies — including Southwest Energy, Chesapeake Energy, Shell Exploration and Production, Maverick Oil and Gas and Hallwood Petroleum —have invested more than $340 million to explore the Fayetteville Shale, a natural- gas deposit between 200 and 3,000 feet below ground that stretches from Batesville to Fayetteville running under parts of White, Van Buren, Faulkner, Cleburne, Conway, Prairie, Jackson, Independence, Woodruff, Monroe, Phillips, Lee, St. Francis and Cross counties.

Short-term economic benefits are being seen from the infrastructure being created for the gas companies and the drill crews who need places to live and stores to shop at.

Construction crews are expected to make their way into the area to build a pipeline from the wellheads to transport the natural gas to refineries in other states.

Jim Haynes, president of Community Bank in Beebe, said he anticipates natural gas exploration and production will be a financial boon for the area.

“We haven’t seen any royalty income yet, but we’re excited about what it can do with the creation of new jobs. There will be jobs created to build the pipeline and good paying jobs for people wanting to work on the gas wells,” Haynes said.
This week Hanson told Jack-sonville Rotarians that more than 80 test wells have been drilled into the 350 million year old rocks that make up the Fayetteville Shale.

The test wells east of Hwy. 67/167 have not shown much promise because it seems the gas has leaked out of the shale.
Based on the interest of gas companies in the White County, the test wells to the west of Hwy. 67/167 including those around Beebe and Searcy seem to be more productive.

Buck Layne, director of the Searcy Chamber of Commerce, says several gas companies have leased office space in town and this week Union Drilling of Fort Worth, Texas, leased a 10-acre site off Mill Road in Searcy for an undisclosed amount.
“They have offices and a site to erect the drilling rigs to take out into the county,” Layne said. The facility will also repair the drilling rigs.

Chesapeake Energy of Oklahoma City is building a $1.5 million regional headquarters at the intersection of Hwy. 36 and Hwy. 310 west of Searcy.

Chesapeake is also constructing several reservoirs on the property.
Natural gas drilling uses a million gallons of water to help clear mud, dirt and sand away from the hole being drilled.

Disclosure: This reporter has leased mineral rights in White County.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

SPORTS >>Falcons, Devils get wins Monday

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski freshmen got a pair of relatively easy wins Monday night in their home opener against Pulaski Rob-inson. The girls cruised by Joe T. 32-14, and it wasn’t even that close. The boys got a tussle early on, but pulled away from the Senators for a 52-34 victory. The Lady Falcons had the game easily in hand at halftime, allowing coach Cordell Flowers to substitute freely throughout the second half.

The first group ran up a 27-4 lead by the end of the second quarter. Brianna Cash led a balanced scoring attack with eight points. Laura Dortch scored seven while Ashlyn Carney added five. Breyana Trent, Macie Fellows and Holly Hall scored four each to round out the scoring.

North Pulaski’s Kyron Ware led the Falcons charge in the boys game. He scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the first half, and in a tremendous show of consistency, scored 11 more and had seven boards in the second half, bringing his game totals to 22 points and 15 rebounds while also picking up six steals. The Falcons pulled ahead right away and took an 11-7 lead into the second quarter. The Senators came back and briefly took a one-point lead in the second quarter, but two quick buckets by Ware and running jumper by Agee put control back in the hands of the home team. Again Robinson came back to tie the game just before halftime, but a late flurry led by Agee’s five points sent the Falcons into halftime with a 24-18 lead.

Robinson’s run near the end of the second quarter proved to be its last salvo. The Falcons stretched their lead to as many as 12 points in the third quarter, then took command of the game and secured the win with an early run in the fourth. Agee contributed 13 points for the Falcons while Michael Evans scored eight. Daniel Otry led the Senators with 17 points and nine rebounds. The wins lift the Falcons and Lady Falcons to 2-0 on the year. They will travel to rival Jacksonville next Monday.

The Red Devils got their second win in a row and improved to 2-0 in conference play Monday night by knocking off Central Arkansas Christian 54-38. The Mustangs controlled the action throughout most of the first half. The visitors held a 14-13 lead after one quarter and a 25-23 lead at halftime. That changed along with Jacksonville’s defense in the second half. Red Devil coach Roy Jackson came out of the zone he ran in the first half, and put his players in man to start the second. Equally as important, the Red Devils began hitting outside shots and took 36-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

That forced CAC to come out of its zone. When it did, Jacksonville’s guards took over the game and led the Red Devils to the win going away. “When they had to try to press, our quickness was just too much for them,” Jackson said. “It really goes back to the third quarter though when they just clamped down on defense. They just played harder than they did in the first half and gave CAC all kinds of trouble. They were really making it hard for them to score.”

Cailen Davis led the way with 14 points. Deshaun McClure added 13 while Deonta Swain scored 11 for the Red Devils, who improved to 2-2 overall.

SPORTS >>Wildcats and Saints don't play favorites

Leader sportswriter

Someone’s undefeated season will come to an end this Friday night when Harding Academy travels to Springdale to take on Shiloh Christian in the semifinals of the 3A state playoffs. Both teams fought their way through the top part of the bracket, which has proved to be by far the most competitive one.

The Wildcats moved to the semifinal round with a convincing 45-29 win over Lafayette County last week at home; the Saints held off Bauxite after building a commanding lead early in the game to advance with a 35-21 victory. The Saints have been listed as the heavy favorites in the game, but neither coach looks at the game as favorite vs. underdog, but rather a battle between two squads with perfect records.

Shiloh Christian coach Josh Floyd believes his team will be faced with one of its toughest opponents to date. “First of all, we have a lot of respect for coach Shoemaker and the Harding Academy program,” Floyd said. “They have had a lot of success over the years, and we know they will be bringing a lot of tradition with them this Friday.” When asked if he views his team as the favorites to win, Floyd quickly dismissed the predictions made in his team’s favor.

“I don’t think so, I look at it as two 12-0 teams playing to advance,” Floyd said. “If you look at their record, there has been a couple of close games, but most of the scores have been blowouts, so they have been taking care of most of their opponents pretty easily.”

Although he says it is a different situation to be considered the underdog, Harding Academy coach Tommy Shoemaker says it doesn’t change his strategy for Friday. The head Wildcat says he only wants his team to play at the top of their ability, and let the chips fall where they may. “It’s a little different angle for us,” Shoemaker said. “I don’t get too hung up in all that stuff, though. We are just going to prepare the best we can. If we go out and play good enough to win, that’s good. If not, that’s just the way it is. As long as our kids go out and give a great effort, we will take the result either way.”

The Wildcats’ opponent last week had to travel over three hours to make their way to the HA campus to play. This week, it will be Harding Academy that will make the nearly four-hour trek to the SC campus. Shoemaker doesn’t think the long trip will have a negative effect on his team. In fact, he welcomes the journey as a change of scenery, not to mention the festive mood at the game itself.

“I’m not too worried about the trip,” Shoemaker said. “It will be good for us to travel. We’re pretty used to it, really. We have a lot of conference opponents that we have to travel quite a ways to play. It’s really just a little bit further than going to Barton or Yellville or someplace like that. It’s going to be a huge crowd and a lot of excitement, and I think that will be good for our kids.”

Floyd believes the mood at the game will generate excitement for his team as well. “The top part of the bracket has been tough,” Floyd said. “It’s been a tough bracket. Whoever wins will have earned their way, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a good atmosphere for a playoff game.” Floyd is not concerned about one particular aspect of the Wildcats offensively, but rather all aspects. One thing that does concern specifically is the speed they possess on the defensive side.

“They do a lot of things well,” Floyd said. “Their offensive system is different from what we’ve seen in a lot of teams. They don’t rely on just one thing; they run the ball and pass the ball well, so we will have to be ready for that. “Defensively, they have some really fast guys out there. They have only given up about 15 points a game. They are really athletic, there aren’t any slow guys out there on the defense at all.”

Shoemaker also points at the defense as one of the most vital keys in the game. “We just have to go out and do what we do,” Shoemaker said. “We have to execute. We need to play great defense, I think that is going to be the key between who wins and who loses.”

SPORTS >>Cabot sweeps SH at Ortho

Leader sportswriter

Cabot swept Sylvan Hills in the first round of the Ortho Invitational tournament at Central Arkansas Christian Monday night.
The Lady Panthers routed Sylvan Hills 67-38 in a mercy-ruled decision, but the boys game was anything but a rout. The Bears gave the Panthers all they wanted in the narrow 43-40 Cabot win. The Panthers made 10 out of 12 free- throw attempts in the final quarter, and they would need every one of them to hold off the inexperienced-but-stubborn Bears. Chris Wallace came within inches of forcing the game into overtime with a three-point shot from the right side at the buzzer, but the ball just bounced off the rim, giving the win to Cabot.

Cabot sophomore Adam Sterrenberg had been lights out from the charity stripe in the final frame, hitting six consecutive foul shots to keep the Panthers out front. His final foul shots came with only five seconds remaining in the game after picking up the rebound of a bricked three-point attempt from Sylvan Hills senior Tyler Thomason. His first six were perfect, but Sterrenberg’s final two shots fell short, and the Bears rebounded for one final attempt. The Cabot bench breathed a sigh of relief when Wallace’s shot bounced away, allowing the Panthers to escape with the victory and improve their season record to 2-1.

Cabot coach Jerry Bridges wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance in the game, but was relieved to come away with a win over a Sylvan Hills team that according to Bridges was much better than advertised. I guess coach (Kevin) Davis wants to cry about losing all of his starters from last year,” Bridges joked. “We may not have played well, but they had a lot to do with it. We had a bunch of shots go in and out early. I would rather win ugly than lose pretty any day, and this was a win. We are a young team just like they are, and we’re going to have our nights when things don’t go right, and this was one of them. I apologize to everybody that paid money to watch that.”

Although the sloppiness from both teams offensively made the game a low-scoring affair, the narrow interval between the two teams throughout the duration made up for the lack of scoring highlights. Cabot enjoyed its largest lead of the game in the opening minutes of the game after jumping out to a 6-0 advantage, but the Bears quickly caught up, and the game stayed within one or two scores for the remainder of the contest.

Sophomores Sterrenberg and Austin Johnson gave the Panthers the initial lead with three early baskets. Sterrenberg scored first when Jacob Trammell got a steal from Sylvan Hills senior T.J. Shelton and got the assist. Johnson then hit two straight. The first was a put-back of an Alex Sharpe miss inside; the second was a steal that he took coast to coast for 6-0 lead at the 6:12 mark of the opening quarter.

Sylvan Hills didn’t let the Panthers steal the momentum early, answering with a basket from Richard Harper, followed by two points from Thomason to cut the Cabot lead to two. Sylvan Hills tied the game near the end of the frame, and took the lead at the end of the quarter with a free throw from Shelton.

The second quarter was relatively drama free until the final minute, when Bridges drew a technical foul after disputing a walking call against the Panthers. Wallace hit one of the two technical foul shots, but the Bears did not convert after getting the ball at half court after the foul, and Cabot held on to the lead at halftime 17-16.

Sylvan Hills’ only lead in the game would come with 4:22 left in the third quarter when Shelton hit an inside shot to put the Bears up 22-20. Johnson answered right back to tie for Cabot, and Trammell put them up once again with a pick on the inbounds pass from Tony Robinson. Trammell took the steal all the way for the basket, giving the Panthers a 24-22 lead.
It was Trammell that regained the lead for Cabot in the third, but he almost gave that lead away with 1:42 left in the game. Trammell was called for the offensive foul after serving an elbow in the chest to P.J. Ross after Ross’ coverage at mid-court frustrated the Cabot ball handler.

Ross hit both free throws, cutting the Panthers’ lead to 39-37. Cabot went into stall mode, eating up precious seconds that Sylvan Hills needed to take the tying or winning shot. Ross finally committed the foul on Sterrenberg with 36 left, fouling him out of the game. Sterrenberg hit both ends, but Robinson quickly nailed a three pointer on the other end of the court to make the score 41-40 with 27 seconds left.

Trammell took to the stripe during the next series, making both shots to put the Panthers back up by three. Thomason then bricked a three-point attempt off the glass, and Sterrenberg came up with the rebound. He quickly drew the foul, but missed both shots at the line, and Wallace came up with it.

Sterrenberg led all scorers for Cabot with 17 points, including 8 of 10 from the free throw line. Johnson added 12 points for the Panthers, and Trammell led defensively with four steals in the game. For Sylvan Hills, Shelton led offensively with 11 points and seven rebounds. Thomason added nine boards for the Bears.

The Panthers will take on Little Rock Catholic on Thursday. The Rockets advanced to the second round with a 64-40 win over host team CAC on Monday. The Bears will take on the Mustangs in the first round of the consolation bracket on Thursday.
The Lady Panthers had a much easier time on Monday, downing the Lady Bears 67-38 in a mercy-ruled game. Cabot jumped out to a 19-9 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Cabot starters only played until the 4:36 mark of the third quarter, when the JV squad came in to finish the job. Jamie Sterrenberg and Shelby Ashcraft shared leading scorer duties for Cabot with 16 points each. For Sylvan Hills, Rochelle Dobbins led the way offensively with 13 points.
The Cabot ladies will take on Marshall in the winners bracket on Thursday, Sylvan Hills moves to the consolation bracket to face Little Rock Christian.

SPORTS >>Red Devils outrun Falcons

Leader sports editor

You couldn’t tell it from Victor Joyner’s comments afterward, but Jacksonville ran away from North Pulaski late in its mat-chup with its crosstown rivals. The Falcons scored the last 10 points of the game, but it was only enough to cut the final margin to 55-43 after the Red Devils dominated the latter part of the third quarter and the first half of the fourth.
Jacksonville’s Antwain Robinson hit a three pointer with 5:06 remaining to give the Red Devils their first 20-point lead; Damien Akins hit a stickback moments later to cap the Red Devil scoring.

Jacksonville won the game comfortably despite 26 turnovers, and that is what had the head Red Devil upset after the game.
“We didn’t run any of our sets,” Joyner said. “The guards didn’t get into anything. We had 26 turn-overs, and they hardly even pressed us. We turned it over just trying to get into our sets. We didn’t get to a second option until late when we made that run. When we settled down there for four or five minutes, we ran away. But we didn’t execute 90 percent of the time. We are in some serious trouble if the guards don’t start executing.”

The guards may not have executed well, but one of them shot well. Robinson hit three of five from beyond the arc, and finished with a game high 16 points. The Red Devils were 5 of 11 from three-point range on the night. Joyner was disappointed, but also suggested that patience is due his team for the time being.

“We got a lot of young players, and most of our older ones haven’t played before,” Joyner said. “It’s going to take a little time for us to get used to being on the big stage. We also got Kajuan (Watson, the lone returning starter who missed most of preseason with a broken hand) who still isn’t really in shape yet. Norvel Gabriel hasn’t got football out of him yet. We’re going to get better. Either that or we’re just not going to be very good.”

Joyner credited North Pulaski’s gambling defense, rather than his team’s offensive execution, for the 22-point fourth-quarter lead. “We shot a lot of layups because they were going for everything,” Joyner said. “When we didn’t turn it over to them, we had guys open close to the basket. I commend them for their effort. They (the Falcons) played hard, but if we would have executed, this wouldn’t have been a game.”

North Pulaski coach Raymond Cooper agreed with Joyner’s assessment of his team, but not of Joyner’s team. “I was not satisfied with our effort at all,” Cooper said. “So what if we played hard. We did not play hard within the confines of what we do. We did go for everything and we weren’t supposed to be doing that. We may have forced 26 turnovers, but for every turnover we forced, we doubled that in mistakes. We talked about being focused on executing a game plan, and all we did was went out there and gambled on everything.”

Jacksonville jumped scored the first four points of the game, and led 8-2 when North Pulaski called a timeout in the first quarter. The margin was 15-8 at the end of the first, and reached as much as 19-8 before North Pulaski made a run.
Quinn Cooper hit a three pointer with 2:32 left in the half that cut Jacksonville’s lead to 24-19, but the Red Devils scored the next six straight points, including a dish and dunk from point guard Terrell Eskridge to Antwain Lockhart, over the next 35 seconds to quickly reclaim control.

North Pulaski added one free throw before the half to go into intermission trailing 30-20. The second half started exactly the way the first half ended, with Jacksonville scoring six points to North Pulaski’s one. That gave the Red Devils a 36-21 lead and forced Cooper to call another timeout with 5:44 left in the third. NP spent the next five minutes cutting the deficit down to 39-29, but Jacksonville went on a 16-4 run that started with Robinson’s second three pointer with 14 seconds left in the third.

Watson was the only other Red Devil in double figures with 11 points. Cooper led the Falcons with 11. Neither team shot free throws well. Jacksonville hit six of 12 while NP hit nine of 18.

The win lifted Jacksonville to 2-1 while the Falcons fell to 1-1. The Red Devils will travel to Central High of Memphis Friday. The Falcons will be off until next Tuesday when they travel to Oak Grove. The Jacksonville ladies also got a win Tuesday, defeating the Lady Falcons 52-17. The Jacksonville post players dominated the action. Senior Tarneshia Scott scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while junior Maria Livings scored 11 points and pulled down 14 boards. Jacksonville had 37 team rebounds to just 15 for NP. Tamara Rhodes led the Lady Falcons with six points.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

TOP STORY >>Hunters share bounty with poor

IN SHORT: Donations of extra meat have provided more than one million meals to the needy.

Leader staff writer

Deer season is going strong, and so is the giving.
As area hunters are bagging their limit of legal bucks and does, many are also helping to feed other less fortunate area residents through the Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (AHFH) program.

Managed and administered by the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, AHFH has provided one million meals to the state’s most needy citizens since its start in 2002, according to Bob Barringer, a volunteer who heads the program.

“It’s going really well this season. We probably have three tons (equal to 6,000 pounds) in now and that’s from a very small percentage of our processors reporting in,” Barringer said.

The success of the program depends upon the generosity of hunters to donate venison and other wild game, cooperation from meat processors throughout the state, support from local food distribution organizations, such as the Arkansas Rice Depot and the Arkansas Food Bank, and the financial contributions of businesses, churches and others.

The Arkansas Food Bank distributes to local organizations like Fish Net Missions, Jacksonville Care Channel, and Pathfinder, Inc. The Arkansas Rice Depot serves 68 food pantries in Pulaski County, nine in White County, and five in Lonoke County.
Barringer said the program is a win, win, win situation for all involved.

“It’s a bonus for the hunter because they can fully pursue their sport and not have to worry about what to do with the meat,” Barringer said.

“It’s a win for the people of Arkansas that need help from time to time because they can’t get fresh meat that often; this gives them the opportunity to have meat on the table at Christmas.

It’s also a win for the state and the Game and Fish Commission because it maintains a healthy deer herd.”
There are 30 meat processors statewide that accept and process venison and other wild game from hunters for the program, including The Buck Stops Here in Jack-sonville and the Cabot Meat Market.

Greg McNerlin, owner of the Cabot Meat Market, 119 North Adams Street, said involvement in the program grows every year as more and more hunters learn about it.

“The end of hunting season is when we get the most deer meat donated because the hunters have already gotten all the meat they wanted to keep,” McNerlin said. “I think it (AHFH) is a great thing.”

The processors are paid to prepare the meat for distribution, which is then wrapped, frozen and boxed for distribution to a local participating charity. Only organizations can receive the meat, not individuals.  

The entire deer is ground up during processing. This is done for two reasons according to Barringer.
The first is because everyone knows how to cook ground meat; the second because packages of ground meat are easier for distributing agencies to hand out.

The Buck Stops Here, 15509 Hwy. 107 in Jacksonville, also processes deer meat for AHFH, turning it all into ground hamburger because it goes a lot further that way.

According to Traci Berry of The Buck Stops Here, they donated 1,100 to 1,300 pounds of meat last year for the program, which they have been part of for the past four years, adding they “like doing something to help the community and those less fortunate than us.”

“We’ve had gobs of people donate. And they can donate just a couple of pounds if they want, not necessarily the whole deer,” Berry said.

To donate a harvested deer to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry, hunters should field dress the deer and take it to a participating meat processor; tell the processor the deer is to be donated to AHFH, and either pay for the cost of processing (usually $45-60) or have AHFH pay the processor.

If the hunter wishes to donate the entire deer, AHFH will pay the cost of processing, Barringer said.

However, AHFH encourages hunters to pay for the processing themselves as a tax-deductible donation (AHFH is a 501 C 3 charity), to enable the program to put more food on the table for those who need it most.

If the hunter only wants to donate a few pounds of venison, the hunter pays the cost of processing.

TOP STORY >>District seeks insurance help

Leader deputy managing editor

With no word yet from Great American Insurance Co. of Ohio on when or how much money the Cabot School District will get to begin rebuilding Cabot Junior High North, Cabot School District Supt. Frank Holman spent Monday and Tuesday in Little Rock asking legislators and state officials what can be done to speed up the settlement process.

The school burned to the ground Aug. 10, just two weeks before the start of school, but the insurance company still hasn’t paid the school district.

“We’re still trying to see what we (legislators) can do to help move the settlement along,” Sen. Shane Broadway, D-Bryant, told The Leader on Tuesday.

Broadway is the chairman of the Academic Facilities Oversight Committee and the Joint Committee on Educa-tional Facili-ties.

“Our goal is to get the children out of the portables as soon as we can,” Broadway said.
Matt DeCample, spokesman with the state attorney general’s office, said the school district hasn’t requested an official opinion in the matter.

“They shared some materials with us through the state Department of Education, but they did not seek an official opinion from this office,” DeCample said.

As The Leader reported last week, until the district knows how much money it will get from its Ohio-based insurance provider, nothing can be done to start the rebuilding of Cabot Junior High North.

All other construction planning hinges on how much money is needed to rebuild the school.

The cost to rebuild Cabot Junior High North has been projected at about $15 million and estimated construction time is two years.

The district was originally told the building was a total loss and a settlement check would be on the way by mid-October.
Since then, Great American has said 90 percent of the walls, the foundation and air conditioning units of the gutted building are usable.

That doesn’t seem right to Brooks Nash, chairman of the Cabot Board of Education’s buildings and grounds committee.
“That’s the craziest thing I ever heard of. I’m sure those walls were weakened by the fire. We can’t put kids in there because it wouldn’t be safe,” Nash said.

“FEMA is more decisive than these folks have been,” Nash said, referring to the Federal Emer-gency Management Agency’s slow response after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast last August.

The fire, started by a faulty light fixture, destroyed the $9 million, eight-year-old Junior High North building and delayed the first day of school five days for ninth graders and 10 days for seventh and eighth graders.

More than 30 trailers housing two classrooms each were set up between the tennis courts and the Cabot Junior High North gym for the 1,200 displaced students.

The trailers cost the district about $40,000 a month.
Great American Insurance did not return reporters’ calls Tuesday.

TOP STORY >>Cabot to see budget cuts

IN SHORT: City facing a $1 million shortfall as carryover from previous years keeps falling and may hinder police and firefighters.

Leader staff writer

A group of current council members, incoming council members and the incoming mayor met in Cabot Monday evening to discuss an $8.5 million draft budget that shows proposed spending at $1 million more than the expected revenue. But that wasn’t the biggest concern since the simple fix is to not give the department heads all they are asking for.

At least some of the 11 new firefighters with salaries and benefits of $548,000 and 12 new police officers with salaries and benefits of $456,000 are almost certain to be cut.

The real problem is the estimated end of the year cash carryover of $45,000 which is down from $95,000 a year ago, $597,000 in 2004 and $900,000 in 2003.

The remedy for the rapid decline is not as simple. The group can take no action until after the first of the year but the talk around the conference table at city hall was about personnel cuts and holding off on equipment purchases.

“There are going to be some hard decisions to make,” said Alderman Eddie Cook, who chaired the committee at the request of Mayor-elect Eddie Joe Williams.

“What has to be done, has to be done,” said Alderman-elect Ed Long.

In addition to Williams, Cook and Long, attending the meeting were City Clerk Marva Verkler, Finance Director Dale Walker, Aldermen Eddie Cook, Odis Waymack and Tom Armstrong and Aldermen-elect Becky Le-master, Lisa Brickell and Virgil Teague.

Williams said he wants the cash carryover for 2007 to be at least $300,000, which means every department will be required to set some of its budget aside as savings.

Walker, who has paid the city bills for four years, said it is essential for department heads to not only live within their budgets, they also must have a schedule for spending that fits with the city’s revenue stream.

Walker was hired after Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh won the office four years ago over former Mayor Joe Allman.
One of Stumbaugh’s first acts was to have the council strip Verkler of her bookkeeping duties and give them to Walker, who answered directly to him.

A few months later, when Verkler was helping her daughter-in-law after the delivery of her son, the mayor asked the council to also take away her check-writing duties and give them to Walker, saying it would expedite the bill-paying process. Verkler still had to sign the checks before they could be mailed. Verkler sued the mayor but later dropped her complaint.
The new mayor will ask the new council to restore Verkler’s duties and place Walker in her department.

Verkler and Walker have worked together some over the past year and both are agreeable to the proposed reassignment.
Last year’s budget contained $250,000 for overlaying streets. That money was reassigned to other projects and no streets were overlaid. Cook was especially concerned because he said street overlay money was the only part of the 2006 budget he was pleased with.

Verkler told the group that one of the reasons the street department is short of money is it no longer receives half of the $1.6 million collected from the county sales tax. In recent years, the money was rerouted, she said.

Stumbaugh said earlier this month that he would help Wil-liams during this transition period. He will present his 2007 budget on Dec. 1 knowing it will only be the working document for the new mayor and council.

The group decided to meet again on Dec. 11. Cook said all members of next year’s council are welcome to attend.
By state law, the budget is supposed to be adopted by Feb. 1, but the group agreed that if necessary, they would pass a resolution continuing the old budget until March 1.

TOP STORY >>County, city are at odds over jail

IN SHORT: Expansion plans in Lonoke County create tension between local, county officials.

Leader staff writer

After a delay of several months blamed on their architects, Lonoke County wants the city planning commission and council to sign off quickly on jail expansion plans and issue a building permit that critics say would allow part of the jail into the right-of-way of two streets.

The planning commission last week deferred any action until it got an opinion from Randy Grice, the city attorney, concerning whether the city could allow the second intrusion on to its property even if it wanted to.

“This is exactly the reason I ran for office,” said Alderman Pat Howell, who said the county built a 911 center out into the street and blocked off an alley without any sort of public hearing or action.

“What they did was allow the county on to city property,” he said.

Howell and Mayor Thomas Privett raised their voices during the discussion.

Howell said the city in the past allowed the county to build to the edge of the sidewalk, but that “they built 10 feet beyond the sidewalk.”

“Where are we going to give away part of the street next?” Howell asked.

Nobody in the free world has built under power lines, but they did,” said Howell.

“They are trying to build in the street right-of-way,” said commis-sion member Fay White. “We let them do it once, are we going to let them do it again?”

County Judge Charlie Trout-man said Wednesday that the county just wants to expand the existing jail to house an additional 20 prisoners by squaring up the current structure, which juts out into the right-of-way on Third Street and on Wright Street.
“We took (the plans) to the city, and the mayor’s going to try to rush it through,” Troutman said.

“I know Pat’s bent out of shape. As far as the property we own and amount of money, it’s our only option,” Troutman added.
“If they get away with this,” said Howell, “what’s to stop other residents and builders from ignoring the city’s laws and boundaries?”

A motion was made by Planning Commissioner Brook Knox to ask the city attorney to find out if the city could legally deed part of its right-of-way or street to the county.

“It limits access to us,” said John Tackett, who lives across Third Street from the jail. He complained that Wright Street also was turned into a one-way street without any sort of public hearing. “It’s not what’s best for my family. At what point do you say no and what are the criteria?”

Commission member Dorothy Kirkemier said the commission should accommodate the city if possible, saying she didn’t want to see the Lonoke County jail turning loose prisoners the way the overcrowded, often-closed Pu-laski County Detention Center often does.

Repairs and the proposed expansion are paid for from $300,000 in General Improvement Funds courtesy of state Sen. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle, state Rep. Susan Schulte, R-Cabot and state Rep. Lenville Evans, D-Lonoke.

So far, the jail has a new roof, new stainless steel, inmate-resistant fixtures and plumbing repairs.

Troutman said he hoped the trio would be able to get another $300,000 to this next legislative session to finish the jail expansion and to complete conversion of the old John Deere building into county offices.

TOP STORY >>Runoff races decide winners

IN SHORT: Austin Mayor Chamberlain and Searcy Mayor LaForce are re-elected, while Michael Lincoln is elected White County judge.

Leader staff writer

Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain has been re-elected to a third term, beating out challenger Barry B.J. Weathers II in a runoff election Tuesday.

“I thank the people of Austin for getting out in the rain to vote and I will keep working for them,” she said.
Chamberlain, who has been mayor of Austin since 1998, received 125 votes, or 57.87 percent, while Weathers received 91 votes, or 42.13 percent.

In White County, Republican Michael Lincoln won the White County judge’s race with 5,756 votes (50.8 percent), while independent challenger Dennis Gillam lost with 5,573 votes, or 49.2 percent of the 11,509 total votes cast.

“I’m not surprised I won,” Lincoln said. “I thought my opponent’s negative campaigning worked against him. I expect a smooth transition and will work with current Judge Bob Parish on the county budget.”

Lincoln also said he would work with recently elected White County Sheriff Ricky Shroud to finish transferring prisoners into the new county jail.

Incumbent Belinda LaForce, a Democrat, won the Searcy’s mayor’s race with 2,115 votes (50.2 percent), narrowly edging out her opponent, former Alderman Dale Brewer, a Republican, who received 2,098 votes (49.8 percent).

In Beebe, John Johnson won the Ward 3, Position 3 alderman position with 370 votes (63.03 percent), beating out challenger Garland Kirkpatrick, who received 217 votes (36.9 percent).

Chamberlain said Austin had the best turnout in the Lonoke County runoff elections with 199 voting at the polls, in addition to early voting.

In signs placed before runoffs, Chamberlain urged residents to re-elect her over “youth and no experience” re-ferring to 25-year-old Weathers, who has never held public office.

During the Nov. 7 election, Cham-berlain received 44 percent of the vote (105 votes) and Weathers received 35 percent (85 votes). The third mayoral candidate was Jer-emy C. Reed, who garnered 21 percent (51 votes).

Republican Mike Reveley is the new constable for Ward township. Reveley received 32 votes, or 66.67 percent.
Michael E. Kin-dall brought in 16 votes, or 33.33 percent.

In the Nov. 7 election, Reveleyreceived 43 percent of the vote (284 votes), and Kindall earned 39 percent of the vote (259 votes). James W. Williams Sr. was the third candidate, receiving 117 votes (18 percent).

The previous Ward township constable was James Williams.

The Lonoke District 4 alderman seat went to Wendell Walker, an independent, who received 68 votes, or 54.84 percent. His opponent, Democrat Kenneth Pasley, received 56 votes, or 45.16 percent.

In the regular election, Pasley got 35 percent of the vote, a total of 64 votes, and Walker got 34 percent of the vote, a mere one vote behind Pasley.

The third candidate, Repub-lican Robert Bob Combs, received 58 votes.

The District 4 seat was previously held by Richard Bransford, who had been alderman for a number of years but chose not to run again, according to Lonoke County Clerk Prudie Percifull.

This was Percifull’s last election, as Dawn Porterfield was elected to the seat in the Nov. 7 elections.

“It’s going to be hard to walk away,” Percifull said. She has been serving the residents of Lonoke County as county clerk for eight years.

Runoff elections were held for these races because none of the candidates received 50 percent or more of the vote during the Nov. 7 regular election.

OBITUARIES >> 11-29-06

Carmel Washburn
Carmel Liles Washburn, 85, of Sherwood went to be with her Lord on Nov. 27.

She was born in Antioch, on Jan. 23, 1921, to Thomas Nelson “Net” and Annie Eliza “Annie” Claiborne Liles.

She was preceded in death by her parents; loving husband, the Rev. Vic-tor Owen “Whis” Washburn; brothers, William Bunyan and wife Iris Blanche Price Liles, Arthur Thomas “Dick” and wife Mary Garner Liles; and sisters, Hettie Blanche Liles and husband William Louis “Bill” Harrell, and Annie Zorah “Zoe” Liles and husband Manuel Floyd Harlan.

She is survived by her loving daughter, the Rev. LaNita Anne Washburn Daniels; her devoted son-in-law and caregiver, Donny Joe Daniels and many family members and friends.

She earned her bachelors degree in education from State Teachers College and her masters in guidance counseling from Har-ding University. She continued her education throughout the years above her formal degrees. She enjoyed yard work and gardening, reading, gatherings, church work, singing and playing the piano.

She was a teacher and principal at Antioch, a teacher at Quitman, and a teacher and guidance counselor at Beebe, as well as senior class sponsor, among many other activities in the school systems all totaling over 41 years of service and leadership.
She was a leader and member of Antioch United Methodist Church most of her life, such as teaching Sunday school for over 65 years and being chairperson of the official board for over 40 years. She was active in many White County churches where she and her husband faithfully served as well as in Pulaski County.

She selflessly gave herself completely to others, opened her heart to many people throughout her life and did all she could to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, be an inspiration to others, help others as much as possible, and make others’ lives better in some way.

If one listens, her voice can still be heard singing, teaching, encouraging, comforting, counseling, or laughing and the sound of her piano playing still drifts through the air. As long as she is in our hearts, she will be with us.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 at Antioch Community Church with burial in Antioch Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be sent to Antioch United Methodist Church, c/o Burnette Harrison, 1702 Cedarwood Drive, Beebe, Ark. 72012.

Donna Bray
Donna Carol Bray, 49, of Ward died Nov. 25.

She was a certified dietary manager and a member of the Dietary Managers Association.

She worked 11 years as pastry chef for Central Arkansas Hospital.

Donna was a member of Cabot First Baptist Church. She served as youth director at Calvary Baptist Church and had a love for children.

She was preceded in death by her father, Carl Bray; and grandparents, John and Ruby Baker and Charles and Addie Bray.
She is survived by her mother, Betty Bray of Ward; two sisters, Cheryl and husband Mike Tyler of Pocahontas and Carlyn Bray of Ward; two nephews, John Carl Tylor of Olive Branch, Miss., Jason and wife Leann Tyler of Corning; and one great-nephew, Duncan Tyler of Corning.

Funeral services were Nov. 28 at Cabot First Baptist Church, with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.
Arrangements were by Westbrook Funeral Home of Beebe.

William Glover
William Atlas Glover, 95, died Nov. 25.

He is survived by two sisters, Jettie Jeffcoat and Katie Wahl of Little Rock and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Lonoke Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Glover Cemetery. Arrangements are by Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Caney Creek Baptist Church.

Helen Morris
Helen Marie Anna Morris, 74, of Jacksonville was summoned to the Lord on Nov. 22.

Born March 24, 1932 in Harvey, Ill., to Alice Marie Christ and Herman Jay Dee Edward Hodge, she was the second of 10 children.

Helen valued life, family and friends.

She loved the Lord and was a member of McArthur Assembly of God in Jacksonville.

Her gentle spirit reflected in her blue eyes and warm caring smile. We will deeply miss her.

Helen was preceded in death by her daughter, Joy Gail; one daughter-in-law, Patrice and her loving parents.

She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Ralph P. Morris; sons Ralph, Jr., and Terry D. Morris; daughter-in-law, Sharon Morris; brother, Jay Hodge; five grandchildren, Danielle, Jarid, Beau, Shaleen and Jordan; five great-grandchildren, Carissa, Devon, Amber, Nathan and Austin.

A memorial service was held Nov. 27, at McArthur Assembly of God Church with Bro. Larry Burton officiating.

Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot .

Raymond Willfong Jr.
Raymond Lesley Willfong, Jr., 58, of Austin passed away Nov. 23.

He was born Feb. 7, 1948 in Little Rock to Raymond Willfong, Sr., and the late Ozella Willfong.

Survivors include his wife Betty Willfong of Austin; six children, Carrie Emler of Topeka, Kan., Kelly Perry of Austin, Raymond Willfong, III, of Wichita, Kan., Antonio Ramirez of Cabot, Angelica Griffith and Carlos Ramirez, both of Ohio; father, Raymond Willfong, Sr., of North Little Rock; sister Patricia Cox of Mabelvale; and nine grandchildren along with many other family members and friends.

Private memorial services are being held for the family.

Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

Gerald Yielding
Gerald Travis Yielding, 69, went to be with the Lord on Nov. 23.

Travis was a lifelong resident of North Little Rock and Sherwood and a member of Highway Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Peggy; daughters, Paige Redd and husband Bob of Jacksonville, and Pamela Hamby of Sherwood; son, Trav and wife Tricia of Little Rock; brother, Kenneth Yielding, and sister, Peggy Bevans, both of North Little Rock; two granddaughters, Gracie and Tessa Yielding, and a step-grandson, Jamie Redd.

Travis was preceded in death by his parents, G. T. and Hazel Yielding and step-grandson Bobby Redd.

Funeral services were held at Highway Baptist Church with Rev. Bill Elliott officiating on Nov. 28 with burial immediately following in Rest Hills. Arrangements were made by North Little Rock Funeral Home.

Jackie Crow
Jackie Ruth Crow, 68, of Sherwood went home to be with the Lord Jesus on Nov. 26.

Born Aug. 3, 1938, at El Paso to the late Mary Ellen Boatman and Luther Roy Boatman, she was the third of nine children.
Jackie loved her family and friends.

She loved the Lord and was a member of Grace Chapel at Lonoke. Her kind spirit was reflected in her smile. We’ll miss her deeply.

Jackie was preceded in death by her husband, Richard H. Crow, four brothers and one sister.

She is survived by a daughter, Tami and husband Charles Grable of North Little Rock; sons, Carlos and wife Diane Smith and Bart and and wife Ruth Smith, all of Cabot; sisters, Floella Overton of Clifton, Texas, and Glenda Bettis of Lonoke; brother, Luke Boatman of Texarkana; six grandchildren, Brad Smith, Jerrad Williams, Kristi Williams, Jeremy Smith, Codi Smith, Corey Smith; and two great-grandchildren, Clay Smith and Lauren Smith.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Westbrook Funeral Home with burial in Grissard Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Arkansas Child Fund, 8404 Hwy. 107, Sherwood, Ark. 72120 or to the American Cancer Society (Lung Cancer), 901 N. University, Little Rock, Ark. 72207.

Charlotte Williamson
Charlotte Anne Williamson, 66, of Jacksonville died Nov. 27 in North Little Rock.  

She was born July 1, 1940 to the late Eddie and Ruby Hooks Stuckey in Little Rock.  

Charlotte was a member of Zion Hill Baptist Church, Teamsters Union and Monday Morning quilting group.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Eddie Lee Stuckey, and sister, Irmagene Stuckey.

Charlotte is survived by her husband, Charles Williamson of Jacksonville; children, Michael Treat, Mark Treat, and Ronda and husband Andrew Kew, all of Cabot.

She is also survived by sisters, Murlene Stuckey of Sheridan and Alsie Glover of Cabot; brother, Bill Stuckey of Jacksonville; and grandchildren, Michelle Treat and Christian Treat.  

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 in Sumner Cemetery with Terry Fortner officiating. Funeral arrangements are by Cabot Funeral Home.

Mary King
Mary Alice King, 81, of Beebe died Nov. 26.

She was born April 22, 1925, at Butlerville, to Newt and Gracie Cates.

She was preceded in death by four brothers, Dotson, Simalee, J. C. and Albert Cates.

She is survived by her husband, U.B. King; son, Leroy Ramsey and wife Delores of Beebe; daughters, Joyce Willox and husband Richard of North Carolina; Alice Chambers, Neva Roe, Linda Weeks, all of Beebe; and Kathey Harper and husband William of Ward; 22 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at West-brook Funeral Home with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.