Wednesday, February 22, 2006

OBITUARIES >> 2-22-06


Helen Louise Parnell Cochran, 85, died Feb. 17. She was a member of Hamilton Baptist Church.
Survivors include her husband of 69 years, John R. Cochran (Bob); one son, Butch Cochran (Theresa) of North Little Rock; two daughters, Roberta Daniels and Esther Matthews of Sherwood; six grandchildren, David , Donny and Billy Daniels of Sherwood , Christie Johnson of North Little Rock, Pamela Lott of Jacksonville and Matthew Cochran of Maumelle; seven great-grandchildren and one great great-grandchild; two sisters, Gracie Cochran and Carolyn Reaves of Carlisle; one brother, Roy Matlock of California and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents John Ed and Daisy Parnell.
Funeral services were Tuesday at Hamilton Baptist Church with interment in Hamilton Cemetery, arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke.
Memorials may be made to Hamilton Baptist Church or Cemetery.


James Hoyt Wilkins, 85, formerly of North Little Rock, died Jan. 14 in the Carolina House of Buffton, S.C.
He was born in McGee on Nov. 11, 1920, and was the son of Hoyt Jefferson Wilkins and Isabell Abbot Wilkins.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Bluffton, S.C.; a 32nd degree Mason, Rotarian and past president, Baptist deacon and Sunday school teacher, served on the city council of DeSoto, Mo., graduate of North Little Rock High School, officer and superintendent of shops for Union Pacific Railroad in DeSoto, Mo., and served in the Navy during WWII.
At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife, Frances Petty Wilkins of Bluffton, S.C.; his son, Rev. J. Dennis and wife Marsha Wilkins of Bluffton, S.C.; his sisters Marjorie Herman of San Francisco, and Emmy Dunlap of Whiteoak, Texas; four grandchildren James Sallis, Laura Phipps, Jayne Green-wood, Meredith Turner and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Nancy Caroline Sallis, one brother Aubrey Wilkins and one sister Irene Haney.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Funeral Home chapel. Interment followed at Sumner Cemetery.


James “Jimmy” Anthony Zerilli, 76, of Jacksonville, died Thursday at Rebsamen Medical Center in Jacksonville. He was born Dec. 5, 1929 in Detroit, Mich., to the late Nick and Christine Bommarito Zerilli. He served in the Army during WWII. On Oct. 28, 1995 he married Charlene Roberts in Hamtramck, Michigan. Mr. Zerilli was preceded in death by his son, Jackie Zerilli.
Mr. Zerilli is survived by his wife, Charlene of Jacksonville, four children, Joseph Anthony Zerilli of Las Vegas, Nevada, Phillip and Nick Zerilli both of St. Claire Shores, Mich., Christine VanCow-enberge of McComb Township, Mich.; four stepchildren: Christine McCarary of Taylor, Michigan, James Dye, Robert Dye and Michael Dye, all of Roosevelt, Michigan: 10 grandchildren: Daria Zerilli, Antoinette Zerilli, Michael Van Cowenberge, Jimmy Van-Cowenberge, Johnny Van Cow-enberge, Tiffany McCarary, Tyler McCarary, Damien Dye, Brianna Dye and Bridgette Dye.
Funeral services were Tuesday, at Wujek-Calcaterra Funeral Home in Sterling Heights, Mich. with Father Ron Essman officiating. Interment will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit, Mich. Local funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Leland Leslie Dailey, 82, of Cabot died Feb. 17. He was born June 15, 1923, to the late Leslie and Mimmie Koerth Daily. He was a retired Church of God minister and carpenter. He served in the Army during WW II where he was a medic and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Leland was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Lendell Dailey and a sister, Melcenia Phoenix.
He is survived by his wife, Violet Oressa Stone Dailey of Cabot; son John Leslie Dailey of Pine Bluff; daughter, Sherry Joan Wilkins of Cabot; two sisters Dorothy Carpenter of Fort Smith, Leona Underwood of Perkinston, Miss.; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Monday at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. A. Davis officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Lois Evatt Stewart Brown, 85, of Jacksonville, died Feb. 17, 2006.
She was born May 24, 1920 to the late Dr. John and Rose Brewer Evatt in Furlow. She was a homemaker and a member of Zion Hill Baptist Church as well as a past member of the Eastern Star. She was the youngest of 13 children and a poet as well as a self-taught pianist and the family historian.
She was preceded in death by her parents, 12 brothers and sisters and two husbands, Otis Stewart, Sr. and Tom F. Brown.
Mrs. Brown is survived by her son, Otis Stewart, Jr. and two daughters, Carolyn Holt and her husband Billy and Barbara Fox Green who was her primary caregiver, all of Jacksonville. Eight grandchildren: Matthew Stewart of Searcy, Sandra Hammons and her husband mark of Cabot, Scott Stewart and his wife Merika of Oklahoma, Clay Stewart of Gentry, Cynthia Jeffers of Jacksonville, Melissa Thower and her husband Shawn of Jacksonville, Kenneth Fox and his wife Mary of Jack-sonville and David Fox and his wife Kristi of Little Rock as well as 22 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Funeral service was Monday in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Brothers Cliff Hutchins and Terry Fortner officiating. Burial will follow in Concord Cemetery in Furlow.


Mary M. Morse, age 56, of Little Rock, passed away Feb. 19, 2006 and was preceded in death by parents Ralph and Grace Morse.
Survived by one brother, Ralph Tigre; two sisters and special friends, JC May of Heber Springs and Sandy McMath of Little Rock.
 Private services scheduled at Arkansas State Veteran’s Ceme-tery. Arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Naoma Grace Hill Banks, 71, of Cabot, passed away Feb. 19. She was born Dec. 15, 1934, to Shirley and Lola Hill in Lincoln, Neb.
Banks was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Austin Banks and one grandson, Rodney Spence.
She is survived by two sons, Garry and wife Patti Banks of Cabot, Sherman and wife Tammy of Cabot; one daughter, Sharon and husband Michael Spence of Austin; one sister, three brothers, four grandchildren, Todd Banks, Angela Cooper, Tylor Banks and Courtney Banks; three great-grandchildren Kendall Scott, Landon Cooper and Treavor Banks.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home in Cabot.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home chapel with Jim Edwards and Melborne Hill officiating.
Arrangements by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Ray L. Hylton 98, of Jack-sonville died Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006 at V.A. Hospital in Little Rock. He was born Oct. 30, 1907, in Barry, Ill., to Lafayette and Lucille Leonard Hylton. Mr. Hylton served in the Army during WWII and Korean War.
He retired from the armed services after 30 years. In 1957, Mr. Hylton began a 44-year career as a security guard with the Pinkerton Agency until he retired in 2001. He was a lifetime member of Amer-ican Legion #1 in Little Rock and a lifetime member of V.F.W. Post #4548. Mr. Hylton was preceded in death by his three wives, Freida, Ethel and Beatrice and a granddaughter, Christine Watkins.
He is survived by four children, Michael Hylton of Kansas City, Mo., Everett,  Johnny Lee and Jimmy Hylton of Joplin, Mo., Betty Jean Watkins of Humans-ville, Mo.; 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; niece, Patsy and her husband, Don Reynolds of Jacksonville; great nephew, Don Reynolds Jr. of Cabot.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Moore’s Jackson-ville Funeral Chapel. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. The family would like to express their heartfelt appreciation to Everette Hodge, his caregiver for the last three years and to the V.A. Home Health Care Program.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Sandra K. Baldwin, 62, of Cabot, passed away at her home on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006.  She was born on Sept. 19, 1943 in Marion, Ind., and was a graduate of Dun-kirk High School in Dunkirk, Ind.
Her father, Willard Singer preceded her in death.  Mrs. Baldwin was a loving daughter, mother, grandmother and wife who loved to watch her grandchildren participate in their many activities and she will be deeply missed.
She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Col. David L. Baldwin; daughter, Diana Baldwin Jacobsen of Conway; son Chris Baldwin and wife Michelle of Cabot; mother, Roberta Singer Bastian and step-father Ben Bastian of Cabot; three grandchildren, Christopher Jacob-sen, Ashley and Jessie Baldwin.
Funeral services will be at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Moore’s Jack-sonville Funeral Home Chapel with Brother Jerold Posey officiating. Funeral arrangements by  Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Susan M. Greene Slaughter, 64, of Jacksonville died Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006. She was born August 2, 1941 to the late Howard S. and Mary I. Wenger Greene. Mrs. Slaughter was a member of St. Jude’s Catholic Church as well as the Retired Air Force Veteran’s Wives Club. She was a sales associate at Wal-Mart as well as a homemaker.
Mrs. Slaughter was preceded in death by her husband, Larry L. Slaughter.
Surviving Mrs. Slaughter are three children: Michael Slaughter of Jacksonville, Kathy Stallings and her husband David of Cabot and Roxann Hollingshead of North Little Rock. Her sister, Judy Sellers and her husband Dr. Bob Sellers of Council Bluffs, Iowa as well as eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren also survive her.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Blake Martin officiating. Burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Park.


Tanya Danielle Hayden-Hogge of Elizabethtown, Ky., formerly of Jacksonville died Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 at her home where she fought a long and courageous battle against cancer. She was 39 years young. She was born at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery Ala. on May 27, 1966.
She leaves behind a husband of 15 years, Robert Wayne Hogge; three daughters, Andrea Michelle, Erica Marie, and Rachel Leigh; her parents, Richard and Marie Hayden of Jacksonville; sister and brother in law,Tamara Denise and Brett Swenson of Defiance, Ohio; nephew and niece Anthony and Morgan Swenson; mother and father-in-law, Janet and Robert Janet Hogge of Poquoson, Va.; sister and brother-in-law, Susan and Shane Zasimowich and their son, Shane all of Poquoson, Va.
Tanya graduated from Jack-sonville High School in 1984. She also graduated from the University of Idaho at Mosow in 1989 with a B.S. degree in music. Following graduation she entered the Army where she served five years with the 62nd Army Band in El Paso, Texas. and the 14th Army Band in Anniston, Ala. She met her husband, Robert Hogge in the 62nd Army where he was also a band member. They were married in El Paso, Texas, in 1990. After leaving the Army in 1994, she went back to college where she enrolled in computer technology studies. In 1999 she went to work for UPS Air Service. She was devoted to her job and her friends at UPS and loved them and her time there. Her daughters were her heart and she loved them deeply. Tanya was loved by many and her life mattered. She will always and forever be loved and missed by her family and friends.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Chapel. Burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Please sign the on-line guest book at  
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

SAT 2-18-06 EDITORIAL >> Don’t buy off Industries

For once, we have to agree with Asa Hutchinson’s reflexive criticism of one of Mike Beebe’s ideas. The attorney general says if he is elected governor he will ask the legislature to appropriate $50 million every two years that he could use to close the deal on a new plant in Arkansas or to pay a company not to leave Arkansas. Hutchinson, the certain Republican candidate for governor, said Beebe’s idea was backward.

It is at least not fresh. Many other states, mostly in the South and Midwest, have ways of bribing industries to situate new plants within their boundaries. One of them is a pot of money to offer companies that are looking around for a plant site. Such funds invariably get used, which then becomes prima-facie evidence that the incentive actually works and produces new jobs for the state.

But empirical evidence that state giveaways to corporations add payrolls is much slimmer. Corporations with a long view do not make site decisions based on a one-time gift or instant emoluments. They move or build based on the proximity to raw materials, product markets, abundant and inexpensive energy, water, transportation and trained workforces. A gift of a few million dollars is little incentive if those other factors make its products less competitive over the long haul. State and local taxes are very small factors because the differentiation in tax rates is rendered minuscule by the deductibility of key state and local taxes on federal returns.

If the state appropriates $50 million of taxpayers’ money every two years, though, you can be sure that businesses will line up at the governor’s door to take it. Businesses that expect to build or expand a plant in Arkansas will play hard to get. They can talk about picking up stakes and going somewhere else. The game has been going on for 50 years and the states keep ratcheting up the stakes with the hard-earned dimes of taxpayers.

When Toyota picked West Texas as the site for a new truck plant rather than Crittenden County, Ark., and sites in Mississippi and Tennessee, Arkansas industrial-development officials mourned that Arkansas just couldn’t match Texas’s rich package of incentives. But Toyota officials let it out that they could not afford to go anyplace but Texas because that was the heart of the light-truck market that it was trying to penetrate. Energy costs in east Arkansas also are a trifle non-competitive.

Ambient air-quality standards also were a problem. A $50 million piggy bank would not have brought the plant to Arkansas.
Arkansas has a pretty broad array of incentives already, including a new one, adopted by the voters two years ago, to issue bonds, amortized by tax receipts, to enlist a big corporation. But that process would take a few weeks. Beebe says the governor needs a pot of money that he could give away immediately to close a deal when time was of essence.

The appeal was that it would be a substitute to the legislative pork barrel that is the now-scandalous General Improvement Fund. Legislators last year gave themselves $52 million for little projects in their districts that would buy political support for the next campaign. We’re not sure even that Beebe’s is a better idea than that. At least you have a hunch that most of these little projects would not be done without the state money. You could never be sure of the bribe to a business to come or stay.
Hutchinson instead offered a variation. He would take the $50 million every two years and send it to state universities for research and workforce education. It is a mildly better approach to economic development though barely more promising of results if the goal is a big workforce expansion.

If the issue is how spend $50 million or so of surplus money that the state discovers from time to time when it underbudgets, there is a far more urgent need, one that the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously said the state was obligated by its own Constitution to fulfill: replacing and repairing the crumbling public schools. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if a candidate simply promised to use every dime the state could spare to give children a safe and modern learning environment? It is too simple. Anyone could think of that.

WED 2-22-06 EDITORIAL >> Rewriting History

Eager to establish his credentials as a tax-cutter and economic wizard, Asa Hutchinson got a little crossways with history last week. Hutchinson, the expectant Republican nominee for governor, told the North Little Rock Rotary Club that he arrived in Congress in January 1997 just in time to help the Republicans repair the federal fiscal system, turn the nation away from bloated budget deficits and head it toward balanced budgets and surpluses.

Anyone who could do that makes a good argument for being governor of Arkansas, although the state government does not have a problem with deficits. The state government never runs deficits because it can’t. But we could use that kind of savvy in the chief executive’s office, couldn’t we?

The trouble is, Hutchinson’s ac-count doesn’t square with history.

Here, exactly, is what he said, according to the account in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

“When I went to Congress in 1997, we had a $200 billion deficit. We had deficits as far as you could see in the future and we hadn’t had tax cuts in 16 years. Well, we wanted to enact tax cuts to spur our economy on, to put more trust and confidence and money in the entrepreneurs of our country. We did that, and people said you’ll never be able to pay for the needs and address the problems of the deficit. Well, we enacted tax cuts and balanced the budget three years ahead of time and reduced that $200 billion and balanced the budget.”

The Rotarians surely wondered: “Wait, balanced budgets? Isn’t the country running mammoth deficits now, and aren’t they projected for ‘as far as you can see in the future’? And haven’t the same Republicans been in charge of government?”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Hutchinson’s first error was claiming that the United States ran a $200 billion deficit in 1997. The deficit that year was only $21.9 billion, the smallest one since 1974. The tax cuts that Hutchinson spoke of were enacted at the end of July, two months before the fiscal year ended. The deficits, which peaked at $290 billion in President George H.W. Bush’s last year, had been going down by big leaps every year afterward, starting after the tough budget package (spending cuts and tax increases for the well-to-do) that President Clinton pushed through Congress in the spring of 1993. By July 1997, the government had finally turned the corner and was running in the black. Fiscal 1998, which began Oct. 1, 1997, produced the first surplus since 1969 and the largest one in history. By 2000, Clinton’s last year as president, the surplus hit $236 billion.

Hutchinson later said he was not saying that the deficit was exactly $200 billion in 1997. He meant that there were forecasts back then that all the deficits combined over the next five years could total $200 billion.

His point, nevertheless, was that the tax cuts the Republicans put through in 1997 ended deficit spending and caused a big economic surge that produced balanced budgets and surpluses. Supply-side theorists may believe that, but it is nonsense. The tax cuts for the wealthy were phased in over several years and their full impact was not supposed to occur until 2002.

The package also included smaller tax cuts for the middle class that Clinton insisted upon, major non-defense spending cuts and a costly new children’s health-insurance program that Clinton demanded. By 2002, President Bush and Hutchinson and his colleagues had adopted a new tax-cut program and the nation was running annual deficits again that dwarfed those of the halcyon Reagan-Bush days.

If easing taxes on investors’ earnings a little in 1997 produced such wonders, why did even bigger tax cuts for the same people in 2001, 2002 and 2003 lead to staggering deficits, job losses and a sluggish economy? And can we expect the tax cuts that he promises as governor (he has mentioned one: a tax loophole for energy-using manufacturers) to be as fruitful?
He will get to those questions maybe if the Rotarians will invite him back.

SPORTS >> Lonoke gets good draw for regional

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke boys and girls basketball teams begin play tonight in the Class AAA Region 3 tournament in Clinton. They are part of the four teams from the 6AAA that meet up with the top four finishers in the 5AAA conference’s district tournament. That event didn’t finish until last night after Leader deadlines. Regard-less of the outcome of that tournament, things worked out about as well as possible for the Lonoke boys.

The Jackrabbits got into the regional by upsetting DeWitt in the second round of the 6AAA district tournament, and will face the winner of tonight’s matchup between Clarksville and Pottsville in the finals of the 5AAA district.

The reason that’s good for Lonoke is because Atkins and Dardanelle were the top-two finishers in the conference regular season, but were both upset in the semifinals of district.

Clarksville pulled the ball out of play and lulled Atkins to sleep for a 25-19 victory. The score at halftime in that game was 2-0 Clarksville. The score after three quarters was 6-3 Clarksville. Pottsville upset an athletic Dardanelle team by packing the middle and forcing the Sandlizards to shoot outside, which they did poorly en route to the loss.

Lonoke coach Wes Swift admits that Lonoke got a good draw in the first round, but stops far short of saying it means chalking up a win in tonight’s 8:30 p.m. matchup in Clinton.

“We match up better with them because neither team is going to dominate us inside,” Swift said.

“That can happen with a small team like ours at times, but I don’t see either of those teams doing that. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy win. We’re still going to have to bust our butts to beat either team. We’re not good enough not to. We can’t coast and beat anybody. Both teams have things that they do well, and we’re going to have to be ready for it.”
Despite what happened in the Atkins game, Clarksville is the more up-tempo team of the two teams in the final. The Panthers play man and run-and-jump most of the time.

Point guard Calvin Simms is the centerpiece of the offense, and he’s a dangerous slasher and streaky shooter.
Pottsville plays mostly 2-3 zone, and dares teams to shoot from outside.

“Monday we practiced for Pottsville, today we’re going to practice like we’re going to play Clarksville,” Swift said Tuesday morning.

“I know this, Wednes-day night is going to be the most intense shoot-around you’ve ever seen.”

Pulaski Academy’s upset of top-ranked Little Rock Christian in the final of the 6AAA tournament means the Jackrabbits will likely have to face the Warriors for a fourth time in the second round. LRCA’s size presents the biggest matchup problem for Lonoke of any team in the tournament.

The Lady Jackrabbits also don’t know who they are playing, but it will be either Dover or Clarksville.

The Lonoke ladies are in that position because of an upset loss to PA in the semifinals that forced them to accept the No. 3 seed.

Dover won the conference, but Lonoke girls coach Nathan Morris isn’t sure they are the best team. The Lady Pirates and Panthers split during the regular season, but Clarksville surprisingly lost to Pottsville in the season finale, giving Dover the top seed in the district tournament.

“Most of the coaches I’ve talked to say that Clarksville is the harder team to beat,” Morris said.

“They’re more athletic and they have the best post player in the conference. They’ve also got three shooters around her. Dover plays awfully well and they’re extremely patient. Some would call it stalling, but I call what they do just being extremely patient. They’re looking for the best shot available, and they’ll take it whenever it comes.”
Regardless of who his team plays, Morris says his strategy will be similar.

“We’re going to go out and try to put pressure on the ball and get it inside,” Morris said.

“Our size makes us a matchup problem for either team, especially Dover, and if we can get it in the middle, they’re going to have to foul us or let us score. We just have to execute, which is something we didn’t do in our last game. So hopefully we’ll play a lot better than we did then.”

The Lady ‘Rabbits will play at 7 p.m. tonight. A win means another likely matchup with CAC, who faces the 5AAA No.4 seed Atkins in the first round. That game will be at 7 p.m. Friday.

The region’s final round begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with the girls third-place game.

The boys third-place game will be at 2:30.

The girls championship game is set for 7 p.m. and the boys will start shortly thereafter.

SPORTS >> Panthers beat FC, remain in East race

Leader sports writer

Forrest City did not hit a shot from the floor during the first 11:59 of the contest, as Cabot upset the second-ranked Mustangs 56-42 Friday night at CHS. The Lady Panthers kept their conference record perfect with a 71-49 win over the Lady Mustangs.

The visiting Mustangs’ shooting percentage in the first half was a dreadful three for 22, including 1 of 6 three-point attempts. The Panthers held Forrest City to only four points in the first quarter, all of which came from foul shots. Cabot took a 10-point lead at the end of one, and never let the Mustangs get any closer than within five points the remainder of the game.

“We’re giving ourselves a fighting chance here,” Panthers coach Jerry Bridges said. “We’re going to go play hard and see what happens. We’ll see if we can sneak in a spot; we’ve still got a chance.” Bridges added.

Josh Whatley and Chad Glover got Cabot out to the early lead with strong moves to the basket inside. Guard Justin Haas added a three pointer, and Cabot rushed out to a 7-0 advantage by the 4:03 mark of the opening frame.

To add to Forrest City’s troubles hitting the mark, they were also being out-rebounded by the Panthers, particularly Whatley. Whatley pulled down five boards in the opening period alone, and would go on to grab a game-high 10 rebounds by game’s end.

A pair of free throws from Marcus Britt and Stephan Weaver were the only points for the Mustangs in the first quarter, giving the Panthers a 14-4 lead heading into the second.

Forrest City finally got a goal with 4:01 left in the first half, off a basket from Kelsey Stewart. The Mustangs managed more offense in the second stage, but still shot poorly from the floor, hitting 3 of 11 shots. One of the shots was a three pointer from Weaver with less than two minutes remaining in the half to pull Forrest City to within nine, 23-14 at halftime.
While Cabot used the outside shooting of Haas to help build the lead in the first half, the Panthers went almost exclusively inside in the final half.

Glover got several good looks underneath the basket, scoring six points in the fourth quarter. Matt Shinn, Whatley and Michael Lowery also worked easy jumpers inside, as Cabot went on to secure the huge conference win.
“They are good shooters, they had a bad shooting game,” Bridges said.

“It was a combination, they could have shot better, but we also played good defense. We just didn’t give them many free ones.”

Bridges also thought the student section made a difference in the game, and was complimentary of them and their job on senior night.

“Our student body is the best cheering for any team I have ever had. They give us a lot of energy, and we want them to know we appreciate them.” Haas led the Panthers with 16 points and five assists. Glover added 10 points for Cabot. Forrest City was led by Stewart with 13 points, followed by Britt with 11. The win gives Cabot a 6-7 conference record.
The Lady Panthers had it tougher than the boys on Friday, at least for one half.

Forrest City threatened to end Cabot’s undefeated reign at the top of the East standings in the first two quarters, taking a 32-30 lead at the half.

The Lady Mustangs continued to hold the lead until Jamie Sterrenberg hit a three pointer at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter to tie the score at 34-34. Kim Sitzmann gave the Lady Panthers the lead for the first time since the opening five minutes of the contest with a pair of free throws moments later. Sitzmann then added two more with a steal and lay up to put Cabot up 38-34. Forrest City tied the score one more time in the third, but Cabot went on a 14-3 run in the final 3:28 of the quarter on their way to another conference win.

Sitzmann led the Lady Panthers with 30 points, eight rebounds, six steals and three assists.

Maddie Helms added 12 points for Cabot. Forrest City was led by Cassandra Jackson with 27 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and one blocked shot. With the win, Cabot improves to 22-3 overall on the season and 13-0 in the conference.

NEIGHBORS >> Published Poetry

Leader staff writer

Poetry written by a dozen students and two teachers at Cabot High School has been published in “Anthology 2005” published by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts.

“Last year when I started teaching the unit on poetry, I could see some of the students were really struggling with it so we started out with refrigerator-magnet poetry,” said Kelly Dollarhide, an English teacher at Cabot.

According to, Dave Kapell, who founded Magnetic Poetry in 1991, was suffering from writer’s block while trying to compose song lyrics. Kapell wrote down interesting words on pieces of paper and glued them to magnets he placed on his refrigerator.

Before long he noticed that when friends were over they would move the magnets around to create poems. Kapell made kits with words on magnets to sell at a craft fair and since then Magnetic Poetry has sold more than three million poetry kits. The original kit contain 440 magnets. Now there are kits for romantic poems, erotic poems, pet poems and more.

Dollarhide entered poetry by her students, short poems as ‘fillers’ to go between essays and longer poems in the anthology, paying the $5 entry fee for each submission out of her own pocket. English teacher Cyndie Sebourn also entered her students’ work in the anthology and both teachers entered their own poems.

“Students fear being condemned for expressing themselves about something they feel passionate about,” Dollarhide said. “I was walking in the clouds when I found out they had been published a couple of weeks ago.”

The students from Cabot High published in “Anthology 2005” include Ally Cagle, Osker Campbell, Jack Spells, Lee Harrison, Jessica Seat, Corey Jackman, Daryl Murphy, Daniel Charlton, Jared Walls, Joey Coaley and Steven Davis.
“I’m so proud of our students,” Dollarhide added.

Another student published from Cabot Middle School North is Dollarhide’s daughter Abby.
“It’s nice to have mom and daughter published in the same book,” Dollarhide said.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Pizza shop forced out for on-ramp

Virgil and Leigh Wilson have spent more than a decade building their pizza business on T.P. White Drive in Jacksonville, but the state Highway Department has told them they must vacate the premises and start all over again someplace else.

The Highway Department will put in an on-ramp at Hwy. 67/167 on the site where the Wilsons’ Pizza Company restaurant now stands on the north part of town.

At most, the Wilsons might get $20,000 for relocation expenses, but they think that’s not nearly enough. It will take them years to re-establish themselves elsewhere, and they will lose thousands of dollars before they get back on their feet even if they find a suitable location.

The Wilsons don’t own the building — the Highway Department will negotiate with the owner separately — but the couple had hoped to sell the business in a few years and retire.

But now they can’t afford to retire. Virgil Wilson, who is 62, might have to work another 10 years before he can sell out.
Randy Ort, a spokesman for the Highway Department, says the state isn’t trying to hurt anybody’s business, but the Pizza Company happens unfortunately to be in the middle of the planned northbound on-ramp, which will accommodate traffic coming from both directions on T.P. White Drive.

Federal law sets limits on compensating businesses, and since federal funds will pay for the ramp, the state cannot pay more than the $20,000 maximum.

The Wilsons have nothing against progress, but they’re unhappy at the way the Highway Department is pushing them out and, as far as they’re concerned, offering them only token compensation.

“They’ll hire movers to move the equipment,” he says. “They’ll pay for electricians to put in three-phase electricity. They might pay for a new sign.”

“They haven’t changed the funding formula since 1987,” Wilson says, referring to the way the state figures small businesses should be compensated.

In other words, the formula hasn’t changed in almost 20 years. Any reasonable person would think the Wilsons have built a business worth at least $50,000, but Ort says there’s no way the couple will ever get that much money from the state.
“I’m not asking to get rich,” Wilson says. “I’m asking them to be fair about it.”

“The thing that bugs me is that we’re going to have downtime before we can reopen someplace else,” Wilson continues. “They won’t pay for that. We’ve got key employees we’ll have to keep paying before we find a location. It’ll cost me $40,000 to $50,000.”

Wilson still works 80 hours a week, and his wife about 50 hours. He himself makes 200 pizzas a week and gives a lot of them away to Little League teams, schools and newly arrived airmen.

Although others have tried and failed running a restaurant there, only the Wilsons have succeeded at that location. But they don’t own the building, so they have nothing to show for their hard work except an eviction notice from the state.
“I fought for this country,” says Wilson, an Army veteran. “I’ve been shot at. I even have a Bronze Star.”

Yet the state will not recognize the sweat and equity the Wilsons have poured into their business. Corporations get millions of dollars in incentives to come to Arkansas, but small businesses seldom get more than a pat on the back for creating jobs, paying taxes and helping the community.

“If you’re going to move me after 11 years, there should be some compensation. The governor spends $400,000 on his airplane, and we get almost nothing,” Wilson says.

TOP STORY >> PCSSD’s plan causes concerns

Leader staff writer

No one seems to like the idea, but athletics, cheerleading, dance and some other extracurricular activities will become after-school activities for at least one year at Pulaski County Special School District junior high and high schools, part of the price of extricating the district from its fiscal distress.

Students, coaches and parents will just have to bite the bullet next year, Superintendent James Sharpe told district school athletic directors at a Friday meeting. Choir and band are unaffected.

“We’re planning for the worst, but hoping to do something to ease the pain,” said Sharpe Tuesday evening. “We are continually working to ease the impact.”

Parents, teachers and athletes had asked the school board to reconsider its action, but unless the district can turn around its failing finances by the end of the next school year, the state Education Commission may take extraordinary action, perhaps having the state take over the district.

The district’s fiscal-distress recovery plan, accepted by the state Department of Education, cuts about $5 million a year from expenses. Of that amount, moving the activities to after school is projected to save the district about $829,000.

Because it’s part of the official recovery plan accepted by the Ed-ucation Department, the board is powerless to reverse that action without approval and that would require cutting $829,000 from elsewhere from a budget already stripped bare, according to Julie Thompson, department spokes-man.

She said the district had inquired about changing the plan, but had not followed up, apparently resigned to the situation for now.

Sharpe told district athletic directors that he understood their frustration and the problems generated by the imposition of after-school athletics, but that nothing could be done about the problem for at least the 2006-2007 school year.

Sharpe said that if money somehow became available at the end of this fiscal year, he would try to bring those extra-curricular activities back into the school day, according to Jacksonville High School athletic director Jerry Wilson.

“We’re going to suck it up for a year,” said Wilson, “but we’re going to lose kids and we’re going to lose coaches over this.”
Thompson said Tuesday that it was possible that the school district could escape fiscal distress designation by the end of the next school year, meaning the board could put athletics, cheerleading and the other electives back into the school day without approval of the state.

The biggest problem is caused by the lack of facilities, Wilson said. Competing for after-school time and space in the gymnasiums and fields will be cheer and dance squads, ninth-grade girls and boys teams, and girls and boys teams for grades 10-12.

If one team was practicing from 4 to 5:30 p.m., one from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and yet another from 7 to 8:30 p.m., students could be at school for a long time, said Wilson. Providing supervision could be a problem, he said.
He also wondered how the late-staying students would be fed.

That’s among the problems we don’t have answers for yet, Sharpe said Tuesday.

“We’re told it’s a one-year deal,” said Denny Tipton, Sylvan Hills High School athletic director. “The bottom line is the kids.”
If the district and the schools want to improve test scores, keeping students as late as 10 p.m. before sending them home to do homework may not be the answer, he said. It is unrealistic to think teenagers would use the afternoon and evening time not spent practicing hitting the books, he added.

Tipton said that when Little Rock and North Little Rock tried after-school activities, participation dropped off. “After one year, they had to change back,” he said.

It’s also going to be tough on coaches, many of whom will get to school at 7:30 a.m. and leave after 10 p.m. He said some coaches could move on to less-demanding districts.

“Ours will be the only programs within 100 miles of Little Rock without an athletic period,” Tipton said. “That will make it hard to compete.

“Nobody’s happy,” he added. “We’re hoping that it all will be worked out.”

He joined Wilson in saying the schools and coaches would do the best job they could, remain positive and hope for the best.

TOP STORY >> Icy storm threat falls short

Leader staff writers

The much-anticipated winter storm didn’t materialize. While extra help was ready to go, hospitals, wrecker services and utility companies didn’t have the problems they anticipated.

“It was not nearly as bad as we expected,” said Billy Hall of Ivy Hall Wrecker. “We were still busy, about twice as busy as we normally are.”

For the most part, people spent this past weekend at home as the power, and, more importantly, the heat, stayed on.
James Thompson, a spokesman for En-tergy Arkansas, said Tuesday that his company started planning for the storm five days before it was supposed to hit. Crews all over the state and in Texas were on standby. A command center was ready to go.

And contractors who clear away tree limbs were on notice that their services might be needed. There were a few outages around Hel-ena and Pine Bluff, Thompson said, but considering that Entergy has 673,000 customers across the state, it could have been a lot worse if the storm had been as bad as predicted.

“We plan for the worst and hope for the best,” he said. “This one just turned out thankfully to not be an outage event.”
Thompson said no one was really worried about snow and sleet. It’s the wind that tangles lines covered with ice and brings down tree limbs that rip them from the poles.

In 2000, back-to-back ice storms in December required crews from all over the country to help restore power, he said. The cost associated with that undertaking which including feeding and lodging all those workers was staggering.

But this time, the storm was expected to hit all over the state, so crews stayed at home and waited to see if and where they would be needed. So the only extra expense it caused was the overtime for the employees who put together the plan, he said.

“Our numbers were not elevated at all,” said Kristen James, the marketing coordinator for Reb-samen Medical Center in Jack-sonville, who said extra personnel were ready to go. “They didn’t call in any of the extra staff and they didn’t see anymore car accidents than normal.”

Most people, it seemed, used the storm as an excuse to stay in.

“I think everybody stayed at home,” Larry James of Jacksonville Starter and Alternator said. “And they didn’t do anything.”
James added that his wrecker service wasn’t, “busy at all.”

Around the state, driving conditions overall were much improved after two days of snow, sleet and single-digit wind-chill temperatures, Highway Dept. spokesman Randy Ort said. Three traffic fatalities were blamed on the weekend storm.
“Things are getting a whole lot better,’’ Ort said Monday. “We’re not totally out of the woods, but temperatures are rising and that’s helping a lot.’’

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

TOP STORY >> Suspect is arrested in weekend’s homicide

Leader staff writer

A suspect in Saturday’s deadly shooting at a Jacksonville apartment turned himself in to the Jacksonville police Tuesday.
Tavoris M. Bone, 25, of 3711 Henderson Road, came to the police station early Tuesday with his lawyer. Bone was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree criminal attempt to commit murder and is being held in the Pulaski County Jail.
The murder was the first of 2006 in Jacksonville.

The police were also talking to Shanga Ridgeway of Jacksonville as a “person of interest” in the shooting, but he was not charged with any crime as of late Tuesday.

According to police, the shooting occurred in the Manor House Apartments, Apt. 24, 1705 Redmond Road.
The dead man was identified as Anthony Parker, 20, of that address. A friend of his, who was also at the apartment, Cameo Simmons, was shot once below the ear and was alive when police responded.

Capt. Charles Jenkins, with the Jacksonville Police Department, called the wound to Simmons serious, but not life-threatening. He was transported to Rebsamen Medical Center and has since been released.

Police responded to the apartments, after a woman called 911 and said police “needed to get someone over on Redmond Road.” As police were trying to get an exact location from the caller, another call came in about a shooting at the apartments.
Police made contact with Sharonda Stevenson, of 213 Belluvue Circle, at the apartments, who said that two people were involved.

Although the murder is the first one of the year in Jacksonville, it is the second one in six months.

In October 2005, a 5-year-old girl died when a ocal man took her and others hostage in a Jacksonville apartment.
Howard Neal Jr., 23, was charged in December with capital murder, kidnapping and first-degree battery in the smothering death of the 5-year-old girl in October 2005.

Jasmine Peoples, the 5-year-old North Little Rock girl, was discovered dead under a pile of heavy furniture in a Jacksonville apartment after Jacksonville police ended an unsuccessful 45-minute negotiation by breaking into the home of Neal’s sister, Crystal Pickens, at 314 Elm St., and arresting him.

Peoples apparently suffocated, but it was unclear at the time whether it was accidental or on purpose. Neal also allegedly attacked Ronald Redden, 29, of Whatley Loop with a screwdriver during the incident. Redden escaped over a fence and across the railroad tracks, where he was discovered bleeding from the head and was transported to Rebsamen Medical Center and then airlifted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, where he was treated and released.

TOP STORY >> Developer abandons Cabot project

Leader staff writers

The Rockwood Heights Commer-cial Subdivision in Cabot is “dead,” according to John Moore of Little Rock’s Blue Cube Development LLC after the Cabot City Council voted 5-1 on Monday night against rezoning 11.15 acres along Hwy. 89 and Rock-wood Road owned by J.B. and Gladys Smith from residential to commercial.

“We don’t think we’re going to be doing anything with that property,” Moore told The Leader on Tuesday. “We think there’s a lot of potential in Cabot, but we’d probably be shy about developing there after this.”

The matter is now dead for at least a year unless the Smiths decide to develop it as a residential subdivision before it is again eligible for rezoning. The rezoning turned controversial when about 100 Rockwood residents showed up for the December council meeting to protest the rezoning that had been recommended for app-roval two weeks earlier by the planning commission.

The residents told the council they didn’t even know the rezoning was a possibility until it went before the commission. More than 170 homeowners organized to fight it by forming the Rockwood Residents and Property Owners Association and hiring Stephen R. Giles, a Little Rock real estate attorney.

“They listened,” Jerald Garner, president of the association, said of the council vote on the rezoning that failed. “To me, that was city government at its best.”

Alderman Odis Waymack, who said during an earlier meeting that no one could stop the commercial development along Highway 89, voted for the rezoning.

“The city has reached a point where it can no longer serve just a few persons’ interests at the exclusion of the majority of its citizens,” said state Rep. Susan Schulte (R-Cabot), who lives in the area of the proposed development.

The Monday night council vote means that for a while the residents won’t have to worry about any businesses sprouting up at the entrance to their subdivision.

“No one should take credit for stopping it,” Garner said. “It should be put down in the books as government working for the people.”

Garner said he believes the advantage to organizing is that there are more eyes to keep a watch over their community. If zoned commercial, the property is estimated to be worth $2 million.

Garner says he is sure that the property will come up for rezoning again, and he knows that the city needs to grow commercially for the tax revenue.

But the residents didn’t know what would go on the site and that was what concerned them the most, he said.
The developers told the residents that they had one commitment to the proposed subdivision, a 12,000-square-foot Crye-Leike Realtors office, but they didn’t have buyers for the other lots.

“It’s rezoning 11-plus acres at the corner of a local street and a state highway only because the developer says ‘I’ve got a user for one lot,’” Giles said.

Garner told the council that residents still had concerns about traffic, light pollution at night and noise caused by a commercial development.

“We’re not against the betterment of Cabot. What we are not for is doing a C2 zoning without taking care of the already congested and horrific traffic that is going on there,” Garner said.

Moore told council members Blue Cube was planning a 15-foot natural buffer zone of trees along with a six-foot tall privacy fence around the development for privacy and a bill of assurance to be signed by any business in the commercial subdivision.
“The (Rockwood) housing association was arguing details but at the end of the day they just didn’t want the development,” Moore said.

In other business, the city council voted not to enter into eminent domain proceedings to take about a quarter acre from Larry Nipper so the city can widen and straighten Elm Street as a way to alleviate traffic off Hwy. 89.

“I have a hard time taking a man’s property and not giving him what he’s asking for it,” said Alderman Jerry Stephens.
The land appraised at $18,600 as residential property, but Nipper had it rezoned commercial. The city had the property appraised for $60,000. The city council offered Nipper $66,000 for the property which is the appraised value plus 10 percent.

At a previous council meeting, Nipper said two different appraisers told him it was not enough and he was asking $85,000 for the property.

Nipper respectfully declined the offer.

“I felt the price they were offering is not in line with the other commercial property being sold in Cabot,” Nipper said. “I was surprised. I thought they were going to take my land.”