Wednesday, March 23, 2005

NEIGHBORS>> Whiz kids

About 4,000 people eased on down the road to Cabot to attend performances of “The Wiz” at Cabot High School last week.
“The Wiz” has been both a 1975 Broadway musical and a 1978 film adaptation of the play.

Both are based on “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” novel by L. Frank Baum.

“The best thing about our productions is, when the curtain goes up, it’s all student run,” said Jane Balgavy, director of forensics, theater and debate at Cabot High School.

“They do the best job of preparing and getting ready.”

Student directors were Amanda Price and Jolene Pitt. Ticket director was Leeann Boyd.

Although the movie version was set in urban Brooklyn, Cabot’s version still takes place in Kansas, but there was no ruby slippers for this Dorothy played by Nikki George. She sported rhinestone pumps.

The primary cast included Keith Ballentine as the Scarecrow, Taylor Self as the Tinman and Ryan Madding as the Lion, Emily Summers as Auntie Em, Corey Spangler as Uncle Henry, Jessica Bradley as Adaperle, P.J. Jordan as The Wiz, Kyle Hardy as the Gatekeeper, Megan Houston as Evillene, Andrew Mobbs as Lord High Underling, Amber Mitchell as the Messenger and Josh Lee as the Winged Monkey.

The tornado cast, dancing across the stage with streamers in a calaphony of cataclysmic action, included Brooke Chaney, Lauren Fuller, Laura Green, Jessica Hale, Megan Houston, Jobeth Jackson, Sherellle Moise, Ashley Petit, Aly Roberts, Cesiley Sullivan and Samantha Walker.

The Munchkins cast included Hayden Balgavy, Katie Brooks, Daniel Carron, Megan Clark, Brooke Davenport, Jesse Davis, Courtney Fairchild, Jerry Gorman, Tori Houston, Christina Huynh, Erin Larsen, Jessica Lindsey, Amy Love, Anthony Micco, Kayla Miller and Sammy Petit.

The poppies cast included Kaycee Carmical, Whitney Dodson, Lindsey Frizzel, Jennifer Gray, Marley Huckabee, Jordan Meyer, Amber Mitchell, Laura Neumann, Ariana Ocampo and Jordyn Voegele.

The Yellow Brick Road cast included Brooke Chaney, Jessica Hale, Jobeth Jackson, Sherelle Moise, Ashley Petit, Cesiley Sullivan, Samantha Walker and Courtney Gorman.

Cast members appearing as The Winkies included Anthony Micco, Katie Brooks, Jerry Gorman, Tori Houston, Hayden Balgavy, Taylor Brown, Megan Clark, Brooke Davenport, Jesse Davis, Courtney Fairchild, Lindsey Frizzell, Lauren Fuller, Jennifer Gray, Lauren Green.

Also Marley Huckabee, Christina Huynh, Erin Laren, Jessica Lindsey, Amy Love, Jordan Meyer, Kayla Miller, Laura Neumann, Ariana Ocampo, Sammy Petit, Chris Pounders, Aly Roberts, Faith Terry and Jordan Voegle.

The Emerald City Citizens cast included Sam Walker, Sarah Ransom, Samantha Young, Brittany Beach, Daniel Carron, Brooke Chaney, Courtney Gorman, Jerry Gorman, Michelle Gorton, Jessica Hale, Carley Hays, Tori Houston, Leeann Hutson, Sarah Hylano, Jobeth Jackson, Bethany Kemper, Ashley Meleney, Anthony Micco, Sherelle Moise, Hayden Balgavy, Sammy Petit, Rebecca Roy, Cesiley Sullivan, Britanny Sumler, Faith Terry and Samantha Walker.

The Mice Squad included Caleb Barnhart, Adam Flemming, Joey Joslin and Reece Owens and the The Crows included Adam Flemming, Taylor Brown, Josh Lee, Corey Spangler and Chris Pounders.

No musical is complete without live music. The all student orchestra was conducted by Chuck Massey.

Performers include Tony Hall, Katie Estes, Daniel Gates, Kevin Jeriggan, Zac Taylor and Neil Spurlin on trumpet, Tiffany Abbott and Haty Bittle on clarinet,Veronica Harrell on violin, Janet Lee on cello, Shelli Mann, Johnathan Hill and Elton Tevebaugh on saxophone, Christi Sturdy on baritone, Tyler Troutman and Hayden Scott on percussion, Cory Nelson, Justin Gray, Joel Head and Aaron Willis on trombone, Erin Patterson and Amy Baldwin on horn and Michelle Mantione on flute and piccolo, Kevin Lenners and Dylan Huchel on guitar,Cory Nelson on bass and faculty member Laura Vaughn on piano.

Brandon Boykin was assistant to the conductor.

Gwen Brooks was the technical director, choregrapher and assistant director was Ashley McMahan, costume designer was Debra Catton.

“It’s just great to see teamwork like this with such a large production,” Balgavy said.

In April the students will perform a touring production of “School House Rock” based on the catchy Saturday morning public service announcements.

The students will also host the “Pirates and Princesses” theater shop for elementary students interested in theater.

SPORTS>> Lady Devils run-rule Sylvan Hills in shutout

IN SHORT: Jacksonville stays perfect with win over Lady Bears

Leader sports editor

They’re two games into the season, but they still don’t know how good their defense is going to be, the Jacksonville Lady Red Devils that is. Only two members of the team have fielded a ball in play so far this season, due to the dominant pitching of sophomore hurler Jessica Bock.

Bock followed her seven-inning perfect game against Searcy in the season opener, with a six-inning perfect game in a 10-0 win over Sylvan Hills last Friday to improve to 2-0 overall and in conference play.

Bock faced 18 batters and struck out 16 of them while the Red Devil offense made better use of their base hits in game two of the season.

The Jacksonville ladies picked up 14 hits in both of their wins so far this season, but brought six more runs across the plate against the Lady Bears than they did against Searcy.

“We got more timely hitting this time,” Jacksonville coach Phil Bradley said. “We got a lot of hits in the first one, we just left a ton of runners stranded. We didn’t do that this time, which was good to see.”

The Lady Devils scored three runs in the top of the first inning to take the lead for good.

Five consecutive base hits did the damage for Jacksonville. Bock led off with a triple to left field. Freshman Taylor Norsworthy brought her in with a single. Whitney Belew then singled and catcher Whitney Conrade brought in a run with a fourth base rap.

Somer Grimes made it five hits in a row to drive in the third and final run of the inning.

The top five in the Lady Red Devil lineup accounted for 11 of the team’s 14 base hits.

“That’s where we did the damage,” Bradley said.

“We’re struggling to find our spots in the bottom half of the lineup, but we are making contact, so there are some signs that we could be pretty tough from top to bottom.”

Jacksonville added two runs in the second, one in the third and fourth, two in the fifth and invoked the run rule with a single tally in the sixth inning.

Bock hit another triple in the fifth inning to drive in two runs and finish 2 for 5 on the day.

Norsworthy led Jacksonville with three hits in four at bats. Belew, Conrade and Grimes each went 2 for 4 in the victory.

Both teams had games scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of this week, but those games were rained out.

Sylvan Hills is scheduled to travel to Forrest City on Thursday while Jacksonville will host archrival Cabot Thursday at Dupree Park, if the weather permits.

“There’s already standing water in the outfield,” Bradley said Tuesday.

“If it rains anymore it’ll soon be Dupree Lake instead of Dupree Park.”

SPORTS>> Red Devils sweep up Falcons

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils pulled off a doubleheader sweep of crosstown rival North Pulaski on the soccer pitch Monday night in a non-conference matchup. The games were played through a driving rainstorm which eventually turned into a thunderstorm in the second half of the boys game, causing an early stoppage to the contest with the Red Devils leading 5-0.

The two Jacksonville victories completed a four-game season sweep against North Pulaski, avenging the Falcon sweep of Jacksonville last season.

The Lady Red Devils got four goals from senior Jessica Beaver to down the Lady Falcons 4-0 in the first game of the night.

“Jessica played a great game,” Jacksonville boys and girls coach Bill Vasquez said. “We played pretty well. The conditions were difficult for both teams but we came through with a few plays and got the win.”

The Lady Red Devils scored twice in the first half on corner kicks. In the second half, one direct kick early in the second half made it 3-0. The final goal came from a nice series of passes down the field that culminated in Beaver scoring from just outside the box to set the final margin.

The Jacksonville boys spread the wealth around a bit more than the girls. Four Red Devils teamed up to score the fifth goal, with only Alex Krick getting multiple goals in the game. Manuel Alvadrez scored in his first game back after missing the previous match against Cabot. Brandon Klar and Lamar Perry also scored one goal apiece to pace the Red Devils.

“The guys did a real good job too,” Vazquez said. “The teamwork was nice, they played together well.”

The win gives the Jacksonville boys a 6-3 overall and a 2-1 conference record while the girls improve to 4-5 overall and stand 1-2 in league play.

Jacksonville is off for two weeks until a conference matchup with Cabot on April 4.

The North Pulaski boys fall to 2-9 overall, but are still in the AAAA-Southeast conference race at 2-1. The NP ladies are 5-6 overall and 1-1 in their conference race.

The Falcons and Lady Falcons also take two weeks off before getting back to league play on April 5 on the road at Greene County Tech.

EDITORIAL>> Deltic flexes it muscle

Today we may get a verdict on whether the economic muscle of one big corporation can trump the vital interests of 360,000 people. All the evidence so far suggests it can in the Arkansas legislature in 2005.

The City, County and Local Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, chaired by Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, finally will hold a hearing this morning on a bill that will curtail the power of the Central Arkansas Water utility to protect the region’s water supply by condemning land on the slopes above its shores.

Deltic Timber Corp., which wants to build a luxury subdivision overlooking Lake Maumelle, got the bill through the Senate in near record time before House Speaker Bill Stovall thwarted its pell-mell passage through the House. Word early this week is that the company’s phalanx of lobbyists has lined up votes to pass the bill if it reaches the House floor but is a vote or two shy of getting it out of the committee.

If you take the state daily paper, you’ve seen the full-page advertisements explaining how safe and pure the water will be when Deltic finishes the sprawling development called The Ridges at Nowlin Creek. Modern technology and strict rules will prevent builders and homeowners from polluting the lake, the ads say.

The company will have as many hired authorities as it needs today to persuade people that the water that will be sucked into the intake valve down the slopes from the subdivision will be absolutely pristine.

Experts from the state Health Department and from a Massachusetts consulting firm say it’s not so, that the stormwater containment planned by Deltic is not suitable for the rocky slopes.

The water company — that is all of us, the water users — will have to build expensive plants to cleanse Maumelle water, now some of the purest in the United States.

Let’s assume that Deltic is right and that it can control forever the runoff from the 220 homes and other structures on the ridges by regulating the fertilizer and other chemical applications. It would take a sizable police force to enforce it, but maybe Deltic could somehow extend its control once the land is in the possession of private homeowners. What about the next developer across the valley, and the next and the next? The water company could not exercise eminent domain to stop anyone else.

Central Arkansas taxpayers spent a fortune building this pristine lake in the wilderness above the metropolitan area so that they could be assured of pure water for a century. Now one corporation wants to exploit, for its own profit, the gorgeous scenery created by the public’s investment.

There is nothing close about this issue.

All the money spent to influence government policy is on one side, all the virtue on the other. Keep this roll call for future use.

FROM THE PUBLISHER>> Committee must not let Deltic dirty our water


Rep. Will Bond, the Jacksonville Democrat who is chairman of the House Committee on City, County and Local Affairs, opens hearings today on a brazen attempt by developers to muddy our drinking water while they would build $1 million mansions in the Lake Maumelle watershed.

The lake is the main water source for central Arkansas, but developers like Deltic Timber would pollute the water with rows of McMansions and great lakeview vistas, leaving the rest of us with ever diminishing options for clean water.

Bond, who has been one of the few bright lights during this grim legislative session, will give the developers a fair hearing, but there’s no reason to roll out the red carpet for Deltic and their ilk, whose corporate irresponsibility shows contempt for the people of Arkansas.

Central Arkansas Water, the umbrella group charged with meeting the long-term water needs of the area, has tangled with Deltic for months over who should control the area near the lake.

Deltic has taken full-page advertisements in the state daily, but those ads will fool only the most gullible. Deltic claims it believes in clean water and could control pollution, but the company is just muddying the waters with its expensive public relations campaign and reliance on junk science.

A national consultant group, which has studied the issue with the help of scientists and engineers, has backed Central Arkansas Water, which has unanimously opposed Deltic’s power grab.

Deltic has seduced the state Senate into taking away CAW’s right to control development in the watershed.

Deltic wants the House to do the same, but central Arkansas legislators are almost unanimous in their opposition to development because of the pollution it would cause.

The House must hold the line against development in the watershed for the greater good of central Arkansas.

The fear is that Deltic has bought off legislators from outside central Arkansas, which is seldom popular with rural legislators, especially since many of them lost their school districts in consolidation, thanks in no small part to lawmakers from around here.
Deltic is hoping to win over the House sooner or later. But even if it achieves victory during this session or two years from now, Deltic faces a monumental court fight as it seeks to pollute Lake Maumelle.

If the Legislature fails us, surely the courts will restore common sense on this issue and tell Deltic to go build homes somewhere else. We’d offer a toast to that with a tall glass of delicious Arkansas water.

TOP STORY>> PCSSD could spend $25M on improvements

IN SHORT: The distressed school district is seeking federal and state aid to build a new structure on the middle school campus and fund several academic programs.

Leader editor

The Pulaski County Special School District, which has been struggling financially and losing students for years, is seeking $25 million in state and federal grants for innovative programming and an ambitious construction program, including a new building for the middle school campus that will be segregated by sexes for the core curriculum.

Marvin V. Jeter III, assistant superintendent for learning services, told a general membership luncheon of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that the district is submitting several innovative ideas to both the U.S. and state education departments, which he hopes will result in up to $25 million in funding not only for the middle school but also for academies at the two high schools and for other programs.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if next year we’ll be seeking funds for the high school,” Jeter said. “There are a lot of funding sources available for innovative education.

“If we continue to do things the same way, we’re not going to get better,” Jeter told the chamber.

The district is applying for as many as 27 grants to help pay for new school buildings and programs, he said.

Many of the buildings in the district are aging and in disrepair and few improvements have been made in the Jacksonville area, which were among the reasons area residents had tried to form their own school district until a federal judge shot down that idea.
Jeter said the district wants to build a $5 million media center and cafeteria between the two gymnasiums on the middle school campus, which includes both the old junior high and middle schools. If the grant application is approved, the funds would come from the U.S. Department of Education’s discretionary building fund.

There’s a $5 million cap for the proposed new building, but Jeter said an architectural firm has done a drawing of the building at no charge and could build the structure for under $5 million. The building would also include classrooms and drama and choral performance spaces.

Students in grades 6-8 will attend the middle school campus, which includes the current middle school, where girls will be going, and the old junior high, which becomes the middle school for boys. Ninth graders will go to one of the high schools.

The in-school detention would be moved from its current location at the old Siam restaurant to a wing of the junior high school.
The school district also qualifies for a $200,000 annual grant for three years to help pay for new academies at Jacksonville and North Pulaski High schools.

The district has proposed establishing an aviation and aeronautics academy at JHS in conjunction with Henderson State University and Central Flying Service. Pulaski Tech and UALR are also interested in the program. Graduates would get their exams for a commercial pilot license at the age of 18, Jeter said.

North Pulaski High School would not only have an ROTC academy in association with the air base but also promote a food and hospitality program through its award-winning Simply Delicious restaurant and the Arkansas Hospitality Association.
In addition, NPHS has a strong arts program, which could evolve into an entertainment academy.

Forty percent of high school students are pursuing their specialties, and the new academies would encourage the other 60 percent to specialize. “Next year, you’ll be seeing some exciting things happen,” Jeter told the chamber.

“Help us get the message out.”

Separating boys and girls in the middle school wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago, he said, because courts have opposed the idea, but courts have recognized that there are advantages for separate schools during the middle school years.
The district must make changes because of a rising dropout rate between middle school and high school, as well as because of disciplinary problems and falling achievement scores.

“We must have an educated citizenry to preserve democracy,” Jeter said. “It’s very important that we keep expectations high,” he added. “There is no reason to expect less from our students.”

In an after-lunch meeting with the chamber board of directors, Jeter apparently eased concerns of those who wanted to make sure the new plans would continue with the announced retirement of School Supt. Donald Henderson.

The district has started a search to replace Henderson, the third superintendent in five years.

Jeter told the chamber board there would be only one assistant principal at each school, but that central office personnel would be available as needed.

“He solidified a lot of things,” said Bishop James Bolden III, Jacksonville’s representative on the school board, after the meeting.
He said some chamber members volunteered to help if they could.

Leader reporter John Hofheimer contributed to this report.

TOP STORY>> Military looks to close bases bases

LRAFB in good shape as another BRAC review gets underway

Leader staff writer

Little Rock Air Force Base is well positioned to survive the next wave of base closings, officials say, but still…

The economic impact of Little Rock Air Force Base at Jacksonville upon central Arkansas in 2004 was over half a billion dollars, according to information released earlier this month, and the thought of losing the base could drive leaders into a cold sweat.

By May 16, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should have submitted his list of recommended closings to the Base Realignment and Closure (Brac) commission, with the commission’s final list due by Sept. 8.

The president and Congress then have until Nov. 7 to accept or reject the list, and communities across the country are waiting to see who’s on that list.

“I believe that Little Rock Air Force Base is in great shape as we head into this new round of base closings,” Cong. Vic Snyder said Tuesday. 

“The dedication of the new fire station on Monday is another example of the tremendous investment that has been made in the last few years.  There is great community support for this base of which the Air Force is very much aware. 

“I am also very pleased that former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi has been named head of the (Brac) commission.  He is a Vietnam veteran and a fine man, a real straight-shooter known for his sense of fair-play,” Snyder said.
“Everybody says Little Rock Air Force Base is safe,” said Sen. Mark Pryor on the 50th anniversary of the base.

Cautioning against too much optimism, Pryor said, “That scares me. We’ll redouble our efforts to promote the base. People at the Air Force and Pentagon say the base is in good shape. It has a proven track record. But I’ll continue to push behind the scenes.”

“I don’t want to seem over confident, but we can compete with any base in the world,” said Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim Monday at the dedication of the base’s new fire station. He’s serving his second term as head of the base Community Council. “We’ll score high.”

Swaim said a number of states, including Florida, California and Mississippi, had hired lobbyists, including former military and former congressmen. To help keep its bases, Mississippi has spent $900,000, the mayor said.

While others had hired expensive lobbyists, Swaim said he and three or four others had traveled a lot of miles the last couple of years promoting the base.

“We have good contacts. We felt that because we know officials, we know how to sell the base. Others active in pressing the base’s case include Larry Wilson, Paul Latture and Carmie Henry, Swaim said.

The base’s unique role as trainer of all U.S. military C-130 pilots, crews and ground-crews would seem to ensure its continued existence, they say.

In recent years, the Air Force has spent millions of dollars preparing the base to also train crews for the new C-130J. In fact, the C-130J training center alone cost about $50 million.

Although the government may not buy any more of the new aircraft, people still have to fly and maintain those already purchased.

Over four previous rounds of closings, dating back to 1988, 97 bases have been closed, along with hundreds of smaller facilities, yielding savings of nearly $30 billion through 2003, according to a report in the New York Times.

TOP STORY>> Gas prices continue to climb above $2

IN SHORT>> The record is shattered as managers here predict the cost per gallon could reach $2.50.

Leader staff writer

Looking for cheap gasoline?

It won’t be found anywhere between Sherwood and Beebe, as all stations surveyed were over the $2 mark.

Overall, Beebe had the most inexpensive gas in the area, ranging from $2.029 to $2.049, with an average of $2.034.

The Citgo station in Beebe, as of Tuesday, would actually sell its unleaded gasoline for $1.999, if the customer used the Citgo cash card.

One gas station manager in Jackson-ville said Tuesday, “Yesterday we were at $1.99, now we are at $2.09. I’m hardly making a penny a gallon. It’s scary,” she said. Said another Jacksonville convenience store manager, whose store is selling gas at $2.099, “Rumor has it that gas could hit $2.50 by July.”

A manager of a convenience store in Cabot said their price was $2.029 “but that could change at any minute.”

As of Tuesday, the state’s average, according to the American Automobile Association, was a record $2.013 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, almost six cents lower than the new national record average of $2.072.

Locally, Beebe is averaging $2.034, while Cabot averaged three cents higher at $2.064. Jacksonville’s average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $2.081, while Sherwood was at $2.096.

In the state, two metropolitan areas are still slightly under the two-dollar mark, according to the AAA. Fort Smith is at $1.977 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, while Pine Bluff is averaging $1.993. The Little Rock-North Little Rock area is at $2.012, Texarkana is at $2.018 and Fayetteville is averaging $2.042.

As gas prices go above the $2 mark, police say they have not seen any increase in drive-offs.

Even the Lonoke and Beebe police departments, each of which have been reporting one or two each week for several months, say there have been no increases in gas drive-offs as prices rise.

“By and large you may have a few spur-of-the-moment people, but I don’t think rising gas prices are going to make it go up all of a sudden,” said Capt. Charles Jenkins of the Jacksonville Police Department, referring to gas drive-offs. “I think your law-abiding citizen will always pay for gasoline no matter what the price is.”

Jenkins said the departments would probably maintain the same levels of patrols until a gas shortage arises and long lines begin to form. Even then, he said monitoring gas drive-offs would fall secondary to ensuring crowd safety, as people become agitated from waiting in the lines.

He and Sgt. Dwayne Roper, of the Cabot Police Department, noted the gas stations use many crime prevention techniques and deterrents that help keep drive-off numbers down. The gas stations use options like prepaying inside, using credit and debit cards at the pumps, posting notifications that surveillance cameras are in use, and posting notifications of the consequences of driving away without paying for gas.

“What people have to understand is, it is a crime,” Jenkins said.

As of Tuesday, only seven states were averaging below the $2 mark. They were Georgia ($1.987), Louisiana ($1.997), New Jersey ($1.904), Oklahoma ($1.997), South Carolina ($1.955), Texas ($1.978) and Virginia ($1.992).

TOP STORY>> Committee hearing on water rights

IN SHORT>> Despite an intensive lobbying effort and full-page ads in the statewide daily, Deltic Timber’s effort to win legislation enabling it to build 170 pricey homes uphill from the Lake Maumelle reservoir could die in a Wednesday morning meeting.

Leader staff writer

Deltic Timber already faces “an uphill battle” to get its Senate Bill 230 out of the House City, County and Local Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning, according to the committee chairman, Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville.

About 200 people gathered Tuesday on the state Capitol steps in a lunchtime rally against the bill.

Now, in a review released Monday, consulting engineers have concluded that the Lake Maumelle land Deltic wants to develop is too steep and the soils too erosive and too impermeable to adequately protect that important drinking water reservoir from erosion, silt and chemical runoff.

And a state Health Department review finds the Deltic proposal deeply flawed.

Central Arkansas Water provides drinking water to Sherwood, Jacksonville, Gravel Ridge and Cabot, as well as Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Deltic wants to build about 170 lake-view homes—The Ridges at Nowlin Creek—uphill from the lake, near the intake structures for the water treatment plant.

Central Arkansas Water (CAW) retained Geo-Syntec Consultants to assess the proposed development.

In a proposed “stewardship agreement,” Deltic plans to use low-impact development (LID) storm-water management to keep polluting runoff out of the lake, but GeoSyntec says it probably won’t work.

“There are no known LID residential developments in the U.S. designed to protect water quality,” wrote Steven P. Roy, author of the report. “Such a development in this setting with steep slopes and erosive soils will very likely result in sediment and nutrient impacts in the lake.”

Because CAW opposes the plan, Deltic slipped through the Senate a bill that would strip CAW—alone among all water districts—of its authority to regulate the land, including the authority to condemn land by right of eminent domain and buy it.
But public opinion, public officials throughout the area, environmentalists and others have spoken out against the bill and the development in a number of public settings, most recently at the Tuesday rally.

The Deltic bill would transfer regulatory authority from CAW, substituting a stewardship agreement between Deltic and the Arkansas Soil and Water Commission.

The state Health Department finds the plan “fundamentally flawed,” according to a report made available by Harold Seifort, director of the department’s engineering division.

Neither the commission nor the developer has legal responsibility for or experience with complying with federal drinking water regulations, according to the state Health Department. The stewardship agreement wouldn’t even require input from CAW or the Health Department.

“This entire approach does not take into account the cumulative impact of even minimal changes in runoff water quality,” the report said.

Deltic’s consultant, Dr. Mun-sell McPhillips, “could not identify a similar development, in existence for a sufficient period of time (10-15 years), where such a stewardship plan overseen by a developer/property owner’s association and a state agency was shown to be effective in preventing water quality degradation of a public water source,” the health department report said.

The Health Department report concludes that E. coli, total organic carbon and other potential problems, including pesticides and herbicides, wouldn’t be sufficiently monitored.

Finally, it concludes that CAW’s recourse under the stewardship plan is weak and potentially ineffective—particularly where water quality degradation results in major capital expenses for water treatment.

Similarly, GeoSyntec finds Deltic’s plans vague and unconvincing.

“The Deltic report…is missing detailed plans and specifications against which to evaluate claims and expectations,” according to GeoSyntec.

Deltic’s report lacks detailed plans and specifications, a drainage calculation package, a storm-water pollution prevention plan, or a storm-water discharge permit.

Instead of traditional storm-water control structures, which are expensive and not very suitable for this lake view development, Deltic proposed to use Low Impact Development designs and storm water controls to lessen the development’s impact on the lake, according to Roy, who specializes in water resources management, storm-water management and environmental impacts from land use activities. A 2004 study by the Cadmus Group found the low permeability of the soils and slopes greater than 15 percent to be “significant impediments” to the LID management Deltic proposed.

Roy also found Deltic’s proposal to lack virtually all specifics and data necessary to evaluate the suitability of its LID management.

“The report is conceptual only and does not provide sufficient documentation, engineering design and stormwater calculations to prepare an evaluation on whether the development can mimic pre-development runoff conditions.”

Roy said Deltic provided no details on specific LID controls, their location, the amount of drainage area and the volume of runoff they would receive, the amount of drainage that would bypass LID features, sizing and design criteria, water quality and quantity performance standards and contingencies for operational failure of LID controls.

Roy’s report concludes that Deltic didn’t document the experience of its engineers in LID design and doesn’t support its claim that the project would not present a water quality threat to Lake Maumelle.

OBITUARIES>> March 23, 2005

Aaron B. “A.B.” Rogers, 87, of Jonesboro, died Sunday morning at NEA Medical Center in Jonesboro.

Born in Evening Shade, he lived in Detroit, Mich., for 45 years before moving to Jonesboro in 1986.

He was a retired mail trans-port contractor, transporting the mail between Detroit and Lansing for 29 years.
He was a member of the Valley View Church of Christ, and was an Army veteran of WWII.

Survivors include his wife, Maudie Robertson Rogers; one son Robert Rogers of Cabot; one daughter Barbara Jaress of Jonesboro; one brother O.C. Rogers of Memphis and four grandchildren Debbie Smith of Hobe Sound, Fla.; David Jaress of Monroe, Ga., Todd Rogers of Maumelle and Tami Lewis of Lebanon, Tenn., and nine great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at Emerson Memorial Chapel with Stanley Rogers and David Gibson officiating. Burial will follow in Jonesboro Memorial Park.

Active pallbearers are Cecil Wilkerson, Jay Gwin, Rufus Stidman, David Young, Dr. Frank Oldham and Jim Craft. Honorary pallbearers are Delmer Hudson, Dr. Joe Brockwell, Charles Randle, Randy Simpkins, Terry Smith, Charles Ross, Bob Nichols and Dr. Steve Woodruff.

For lasting memorials, the family asks that considerations be given to the Valley View Church of Christ Building Fund, 1903 Kellers Chapel Road, Jonesboro, Ark. 72404.

Clara I. Howard, 87, died March 21.

She was born in Cleburne County and formerly lived in Hidgen and Searcy. She was a life long member of the Church of Christ.

Survivors include her husband of 26 years, Eugene “Gene” Howard; one daughter, Voncille Houser of England; one brother, Chester Ingram and wife Wilma of Sherwood; three granddaughters, Sherrie Rogers of Texas, Melissa Earnest of Pine Bluff and Cindy Barr of Fort Smith; five great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren and a step-daughter, Jeanie Stane of North Little Rock.

Funeral Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel, Lonoke, with interment in Union Valley Cemetery, Coy.
The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Nancy Mildred Sunderman, 67, died March 22. She is survived by her husband, Robert “Red” Sun-derman; four children, Christopher Chappue of Austin, Marty Chap-pue of Missouri, Diane Chappue of Oklahoma and Robert W. Sunderman of Florida; one brother, William Wilson of Virginia and one grandson. She was preceded in death by a son, Paul Chappue.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel in Lonoke.

Memorials may be made to the Arkansas Heart Association.

Carl Hill, 90, of Beebe, went to be with the Lord March 21.

He was a retired farmer, a veteran of World War II and a member of Union Valley Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Lillie Ruth; his son, Joe Bill Hill of Jacksonville; his daughter, Glenda Stueart and her husband Sam of Benton; his granddaughter, Stephanie Yarbrough and her husband Ruven.

Visitation will begin at noon Wednesday at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Union Valley Baptist Church with burial in Stoney Point Cemetery.

Arrangements are by Westbrook Funeral Home.

Lance Alan Shaw, 31, of Mt. Vernon was born March 27, 1973, and went to be with the Lord March 18.

He was an electrician, an avid deer hunter and sportsman.

He was a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.

A wonderful husband, father, and friend, he is survived by his wife Jodi, his daughter, Ella “Makinley” and his son, Colton Briar both of the home; his father, Robert “Bob” Shaw, Sr. of Vilonia; his mother, Nancy Alberson and her husband George of Romance; his in-laws, Lloyd and Shanna Doss of Quitman; his brothers and sisters, Renee’ Lloyd Ridling, Kimberly Talley, Robby Shaw, Sherry Alberson, Paula Reshel and Kay Leitstra; his paternal grandparents, C.W. and Opal Shaw of Vilonia and his faithful dog, “Skeeter.”

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents.

Visitation will begin noon Wednesday at Westbrook Funeral Home, Beebe with family receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Victory Baptist Church in Cabot with burial in Hawthicket Cemetery at Mt. Vernon. Arrangements are by Westbrook Funeral Home.

Monday, March 21, 2005

TOP STORY>> Battle against Deltic is still on

IN SHORT: A showdown on Deltic Timber’s efforts to strip Central Arkansas Water of its authority to regulate surrounding land use goes to the House of Representatives after a water commissioner withdrew her moratorium resolution on Friday which could have helped Deltic.

Leader staff writer

M. Jane Dickey, a Central Arkansas Water commissioner, withdrew from consideration Friday her resolution for a two-year moratorium on both developing and condemning land on the slopes of the Lake Maumelle reservoir while a previously planned management study is conducted.

CAW, which owns the Lake Maumelle reservoir that provides drinking water for customers in Jacksonville, Cabot and Sherwood, as well as Little Rock and North Little Rock, has refused to let Deltic Timber develop about 175 pricey, lake-view homes on 1,300 acres near water treatment intake structures on the lake.

The fight now moves to the House Committee on City, County and Local Affairs, where it has languished for weeks, but is due for consideration on Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, has said he’s inclined to vote for clean water, but that he’ll give the matter a fair hearing.

“I want to hear from the scientists,” Bond said.

Deltic is now said to be supporting Rep. Benny Petrus, D-Stuttgart, for the House speaker seat Bond has said he’ll seek next term.

Deltic slipped through the state Senate the bill that would strip CAW—and only CAW—of its power to regulate and to take lands by eminent domain.

Sen. John Paul Capps, D-Searcy, and Sen. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle, were among the 11 senators opposed to Senate Bill 230.

Dickey could not be reached for comment late their primary water source.

CAW says the extra cost of treating water if Deltic builds subdivision near its Lake Maumelle intake site is reason enough to retain the right to condemn the property and buy it from Deltic to keep development out.
Senate Bill 230, which would strip CAW of its condemnation powers, goes before the House City, County and Local Government committee for a hearing on Wednesday.

But CAW is not the only water utility in the area that is trying to keep costs down by increasing its customer base. Com-munity Water Systems of Greers Ferry takes its water from that lake and distributes it locally. The utility also has built a pipeline to Faulkner and Cleburne counties and hopes to build one to Lonoke County.

That proposed project, called the Lonoke-White Project has been ongoing for almost 15 years but is now involved in a lawsuit that has it on hold until a court decides whether signed contracts are binding and who actually owns the intake site and waterline rights-of-way, CWS or the cities and water associations that were supposed to buy the water.

The members of that water project are Ward, Austin, Highway 319 Water Association, Bayou II Water Association, Grand Prairie Water Association and Mt. Vernon/Enola.

If a jury eventually says the members of the project not CWS are the owners of the intake site and waterline rights-of-way, Ward Mayor Art Brooke says the members will form their own water district and use their property, which cost $3 million, as leverage in an association with the Mid Arkansas Water Alliance.

MAWA, spearheaded by CAW, is currently involved in attaining a long term water supply for all its members.

Brooke says Lonoke-White members have talked to CAW about using the property if the jury decides in their favor.

The members of the Lonoke-White Project would then have ownership in their water supply not just be customers, he said.

CAW officials have said that although SB 230 has been amended so no other water utility is affected, any joint project possibly would be.

Regionalism, the combining of financial re-sources to benefit many and save money for all, is a call that many cities in central Arkansas have answered. But not Beebe.

Once the “White” in the Lonoke-White Project, Beebe became a member because of the prevailing theory that ground water would soon dry up and the only recourse would be to use surface water.

That association and why it ended was addressed Tuesday evening during a Beebe Planning Commission meeting on a proposed annexation that would double the size of the city.

Area residents wanted to know why Beebe pulled out of a project that was supposed to guarantee all the water the city would need. Don Beavers, an engineer who works for the water and sewer commission, answered that Beebe has enough water for the next 15 to 30 years.

Dwight Oxner, Beebe water and sewer manager, elaborated on that statement on Friday saying, “It’s hard to plan for more than 20 years at a time,” he said. “But every five years or so we update our 20-year-plan and all indications are that we’ve got plenty of water.”

Beebe gets its water from five wells located inside and outside the city but all in the Alluvial Aquifer. Tests performed by the Arkansas Soil and Water Con-servation Commission and engineers hired by the city show that the aquifer has dropped only one inch in 50 years, he said.

Cabot also was a member of the Lonoke-White Project but did not sign a contract with CWS, opting instead for CAW.

Beebe’s departure was a problem because that city’s low income level was to be the source of government grants. But when Cabot pulled out, it became impossible to build the project as planned with an intake structure on Cove Creek. That intake structure was included in the contract that is now being contested in court.

Only Grand Prairie and Bayou II have sued CWS. Spokesmen for those water associations say that since the structure is not included, the contract is not valid.

EDITORIAL>> Biggest scandal at the Legislature

Scandals do not have to originate in secrecy.

They can be open and aboveboard from the first.

That is the case with the biggest scandal in state government in recent memory, the wholesale theft of $50 million or more from the state’s general improvement fund to bolster the re-election prospects of sitting legislators.

Calling it theft for political ends does not put too sharp a point on it, we believe. The state has monumental needs, starting with a court-ordered modernization of public schools.

Yet a band of lawmakers — the number ultimately will embrace about all of them — wants to carve away a large part of the $200 million or so available for this vital work for political largesse.

Legislators get chunks of the money, up to $1.5 million each to settle on little projects in their districts to curry favor with local groups: money for rural volunteer fire departments, clubhouse roofs, swimming pools, you name it. Legislators often get their pictures taken handing out the checks.

The practice began in 1997 and it has gotten more brazen each year because public outrage has been absent. It ought to be called what it is, public corruption, and people should let their lawmakers know about it.

Unless you’d just rather pay higher taxes to pay for the real business of the state.

EDITORIAL>> Huck caves in on gambling

Here is an acknowledgement that we woefully underestimated the efficiency of the Arkansas Legislature in the age of term limits. In barely more than a week a bill to legalize casino gambling made it from the fertile brains of racetrack officials to the statute books.
When there’s shady work to be done before people catch on, even the neophytes of this Legislature know how to cut through the parliamentary maze and make hasty law. A phalanx of lobbyists helps.

SB 999 by Rep. Bob Johnson will allow the owners of the state’s two pari-mutuel tracks, at Hot Springs and West Memphis, to open betting parlors where people can wager on electronic games of chance, sometimes known as slots. To get around the little matter of constitutional prohibitions, the games will have to involve “skill.” The state Racing Commission, always an eager friend of the tracks, will decide what meets that test. It’s assumed that video poker and blackjack will meet the threshold.

The bill sailed through the Senate and House of Representatives because the betting parlors can be established only after local elections, which is assumed to be automatic in Hot Springs and West Memphis. The local-option feature will allow lawmakers to shrug when people back home ask about their vote. We just voted to let folks over there decide.

That was a ruse for Gov. Huckabee, too, who denied any claim to leadership. The governor was out of town when the House approved the bill, but he wasted no time when he got back announcing that he would let the bill become law without his signature lest any of the interests behind the bill get aggravated that he might be a roadblock to gambling. He said he personally opposed casino gambling and believed the bill to be terrible government but, after all, local people would get to vote on it first.

Besides, Huckabee said, what could he do? He was just a governor without much influence in a legislature that was overwhelmingly Democratic. He said it would be pointless for him to veto the bill because both houses would promptly have overridden his veto. His letter to the legislature said he and lawmakers had gotten along famously this session, and he did not want to jeopardize that relationship by vetoing a bill they liked.

This is what passes for leadership in the year of our Lord 2005.

We remember the last time this happened — and this is almost a reincarnation. It was 1967, a Republican was governor and the House and Senate were 97 percent angry Democrats. The legislature late in the session quickly passed and fired to Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller a bill to legalize casino gambling in Garland and Crittenden counties, which would be regulated by a state Crime Commission. It was whispered in the legislative quiet rooms that the governor had agreed to sign the bill or let it become law without his signature. Earlier, he had sent state troopers barging into the casinos and they had confiscated and smashed the slots. He said he would do that as long as the law barred gambling.

But Rockefeller surprised them. He vetoed the bill. He said the people of Arkansas had expressed their opposition to casino gambling (they have done it four times since 1964), and he would not sit idly by and let it happen without a vote of the people.
Do you know what? The Legislature did not override his veto, although only a simple majority in both houses would have done it. Shamed by the governor’s moral stance, legislators begged the sponsors not to try to override the veto. They did not want to get on record again. Who knows? It might have worked for Huckabee, too.

Actually, the governor’s letter spelled out all the reasons that the bill should have at least been seriously debated. It is of dubious constitutionality, the taxes on the betting handle might well need to be much higher than the 20 percent that the bill specifies, and the state might have collected tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars — for school buildings, for example — by putting up the lucrative gambling franchises for bid rather than assigning them free to the current track owners.

When it comes to leadership, we miss the good old days.