Wednesday, March 29, 2006

TOP STORY >> Pryor wants new planes for air base

Leader staff writer

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. said Thursday that the Depart-ment of Defense needs a smaller version of the C-130J even better suited to the kind of military actions being fought in the Middle East and that pilots and crews for those planes should be trained at Little Rock Air Force Base, like all other C-130 crews.

In a sitdown visit with Leader publisher Garrick Feld-man, Pryor discussed topics ranging from Republican attacks on the judiciary, to the occupation of Iraq, the FEMA trailer boondoggle at Hope and even payday lenders before he made his offhand C-130 remark as he waited to climb into the van that serves as his mobile office.

Pryor said the smaller C-130 was the Army’s idea, but that there currently was no design or production in sight.
“It would be a twin-engine plane,” said the senator, “about two-thirds the size of the full-sized plane and capable of hauling about one-third the cargo.”

“For a lot of missions it would make sense,” he said. “I’d like to make sure it comes to Little Rock Air Force Base.”
The new planes would be welcome at the base and in the community.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s final recommendation calls for an in-crease of only six C-130s at the base, and an early estimate of 4,000 new jobs has been reduced to 284 to 600 new jobs.


Pryor, who was state attorney general when the General Assembly passed a law effectively exempting payday lend-ers from the state’s usury laws, said he had been unfairly pilloried in the statewide daily as author of that bill.

Within a month of taking office, he said, payday lenders approached him to support legislation even more favorable.
“I said I would oppose the bill unless it would be regulated,” he said. Regulation was made the job of the Board of Collection Agencies, and Pryor said he remained neutral.

The law that did pass had three important provisions, he said. First, it created a regulatory scheme and allowed consumers go to the attorney general. Second, it restricted lenders from rolling over loans, thus keeping borrowers perpetually on the hook. Third, it required transparency to the customers, so they knew what their interest rate would be.

He said interest rates should not exceed the 17 percent allowed by the state Constitution, but he wondered where people in need would get the loans they needed to tide them over.

“We had a half-dozen cases against (payday lenders),” he said. “Where practices were egregious, we ran some out of the state.”

“It’s partly a legal problem, partly a social problem,” Pryor said.

He said the banks, savings and loans and credit unions, who complained the loudest, also said they weren’t prepared to make small loans to high-high risk borrowers.

Pryor said Iraq continued to be the largest and most immediate problem for Congress and the president.
“The good news is that the soldiers are rebuilding infrastructure and schools and the country is getting some elements of democracy,” he said.

But on the negative side, “The Iraqi security forces haven’t shown they can handle things on their own,” he said. “Some say a civil war already has started. If we pull out now, there will be chaos pretty quick,” he added.

He said Iraqi leaders needed to understand that the U.S. commitment of troops is not open-ended.
“The problem with Bush’s Iraq rationale—it didn’t prove very sound regarding weapons of mass destruction. The connection with Al Qaida is disproven, but the bottom line, we’re there, we have to win…to help establish democracy.”
“I really wish we’d been more patient upfront,” he said, “then we’d have ended up with a broad-based coalition.”
“More than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died,” said Pryor. “The chickens are coming home to roost.”

As it is, the Iraqi constitution is flawed, he said. The Shiites are the winners, the Sunnis and the Kurds the losers.
Of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s contention that hostile criticism of that and other courts by former Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Tex., and other right-wing Republicans has moved the country toward a dictatorship, Pryor said the judiciary needs to protect the Constitution.

He alluded to experts who have said that the executive branch is always the greatest threat to the Constitution and liberties granted within, followed by the Congress with the judicial branch the least threatening of the three.


“This is probably going to be a good year at the ballot box for Democrats,” Pryor said of the 2006 midterm elections.
He said Democrats should pick up seats and even control of one or both houses of Congress, as well as several governorships, the one in Arkansas among them.

But, he warned, anger or dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush and the war is not enough.
“The Democratic challenge…people need reasons to vote for us,” he said. “We’re starting to see that crystallize with the Democrats,” he said.

Pryor was critical of Bush’s FEMA director, Michael Chartoff, who, he said, ordered $800 million worth of the wrong kind of trailers and now can’t move them to relieve hurricane victims unless FEMA waives its own rules about putting mobile homes in a flood plain.

Pryor said FEMA should have ordered travel trailers that could be set up in a front yard and easily plugged into the electrical grid.

Pryor said Chartoff’s FEMA was not prepared in the way President Bill Clinton’s FEMA director, James Lee Witt, was when responding to emergencies.

Pryor said he and Cong. Mike Ross had filed a bill ordering FEMA to waive its flood-plain restriction and get the trailers—11,000 of them are stored at Hope—where displaced victims could use them.

OBITUARIES >> 3-29-06


Futha Cone Magie, 81, of Cabot, died March 27. He was born Oct. 12, 1924 in England to Albert Hugh and Rose Beauchamp Magie.
He was a member of Cabot United Methodist Church since 1955 and served as a Sunday school teacher, member of the administrative board and on church committees.
His newspaper career began at age eight when he was a carrier for the Arkansas Gazette in England. In high school he edited his school newspaper, The Lion, and swept floors at the England Democrat.
In 1945, Magie married Elizabeth Anne “Betty” Rice of Lonoke. He served aboard the U.S.S. Pocomoke in the Navy during World War II and used his G.I. education benefits to study journalism at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
Upon graduation in 1949, he went to work for the Madison County Record in Huntsville, published by Orval Faubus, who later became governor. After a short while, he took a job publishing newsletters for the Arkansas Farm Bureau, then the Iowa Farm Bureau, followed by the American Farm Bureau in Washington.
In 1955, Magie and his wife returned to Arkansas and founded the Cabot Star newspaper in Cabot. Within a few months, the Magies purchased the Cabot Herald and merged the two into the Cabot Star-Herald, which has been published by the Magie family for 50 years.
The Magies added the Lonoke Democrat, the Carlisle Independent, the Jacksonville Patriot and the Sherwood Voice to their family newspaper operation.
Magie worked with State Rep. Bill Foster and local leaders to guide highway officials to extend Hwy. 321 to Hwy. 5.
He loved his home state and proudly served 17 years on the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commission, during which time, a 1/8-cent sales tax was passed by Arkansas voters that continues to provide money for state park improvements.
He was a delegate in the Arkansas Constitutional Convention in 1979, and was a member of the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and Cabot Masonic Lodge.
His career highlights include serving as Arkansas Press Associ-ation president, and both he and his wife were named Arkansas Journalists of the Year in 1991. Last year, the Magies were inducted into the Lemke Journalism Alumni Society Hall of Honor at the University of Arkansas.
Magie was preceded in death by his twin sons, Larry Cone and Gary Louis, and a brother, Leland Beauchamp Magie.
Survivors include his wife, Betty, of 61 years; two daughters, Shelly Magie Moran of Siloam Springs, and Connie Magie Buckingham and husband Mike of Van Buren; one son, Mark Magie and wife Susie of Cabot; seven granddaughters, Kelly Terwege and husband Mike of Garland, Texas, Leslie Pacheco and husband Ernie, Elizabeth Buckingham and Meagan Magie of Fayetteville, Sarah Buckingham of Conway, Emily Buckingham of Van Buren, and Mallory Magie of Cabot; two great-grandchildren, Scarlett and Jack Terwege of Garland, Texas; three brothers, Albert Hugh Magie and wife Grace of Heber Springs, Dr. Jimmie John Magie of Conway, and Richard Casey Magie of Winnelli, Australia; and a dedicated newspaper staff.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home. Funeral services are planned for 1 p.m., Thursday at Cabot United Methodist Church followed by interment at Concord Cemetery in Furlow.
Pallbearers will be Magie’s nephews.
Memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Arkansas, Cabot United Methodist Church, Arkan-sas Newspaper Foundation, or the charity of your choice.


Diana Lynn Stevens, 48, of Austin passed away March 27 in Searcy.  She was born on Dec. 30, 1957 in Jacksonville, to Kenneth and the late Shirley Hamby.  
She is survived by her husband, John Stevens Jr. of Austin; father, Kenneth Hamby of Texarkana; daughter, Nina Stevens of Lonoke; sons, John and wife Rebecca Stevens III of Austin and Joey and wife Alicia Stevens of Beebe; sister, Sharron LaBruno of N.C.; brothers, Kenneth Allen Hamby of Little Rock and Charles Hamby of Cabot; grandchildren, Skyla, Jose, Marcus and Katelynn.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Moore’s Jackson-ville Funeral Home Chapel followed by interment in Chapel Hill Me-morial Park.
Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Frank Meredith Averett, Jr., 59 of Sherwood died March 27 in North Little Rock. He was born October 18, 1946 in Nashville, Tenn., to the late Frank M. and Margaret Lumsden Averett, Sr.  Frank served in the Army and was a member of the Hobby Club.
He is survived by his wife, Pamela K. Averett of Sherwood; foster parents, Buck and Dixie Buchanan of Cabot; two sons, Arthur Cave of Tucson, Ariz., and Orville Cave II of Pensacola, Fla.; daughter, Tamela Cain of Jacksonville; two half-sisters, Annette Simmons and Scarlet Messick and seven grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Moore’s Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville.
Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednes-day at the funeral home.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to cancer research.
Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Delmer Lee Corbin, 76, of Cabot, died Tuesday March 28.
She was a homemaker and a member of Bible Missionary Church in Cabot.
She is survived by her three daughters and sons-in-law, Char-lotte and Mark Brown of Cabot, Lydia and Wes Mills of Kensett and Paula Jones-McFadden and husband Mark of Cabot; one sister, Ruby Mickle of Jacksonville; eight grandchildren, Timothy and Mat-thew Brown, Britney Horner, Amber and Ashley Cathey, Madison and Preston Jones and Colton “Pump-kin” McFadden.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the Bible Missionary Church in Cabot with the Revs. Ed Manis and Andy Buege officiating.
Burial will be in Wattensaw Cemetery.
Family will receive friends from 6 p.m. to 8p.m. Thursday at Cabot Funeral Home.

SAT 3-29-6 EDITORIAL >> Smoking on front-burner

Who says political expediency makes bad government? Reversing years of resiliency for the tobacco industry, Gov. Huckabee said this week that he will ask the legislature at a special session next month to outlaw smoking in most of the workplaces of Arkansas.

Nine years into his incumbency, why would the governor suddenly propose a rigid antismoking law at a special session that is supposed to deal with school funding?

Could it have anything to do with his effort to carve a niche for himself as the good-health candidate in the Republican presidential stakes? Of course it does, but why should we care about his motives?

Last year, Huckabee changed his mind about not banning high-fat foods and soft drinks in public school vending machines, disappointing the bottlers and vendors who had been big financial supporters. The public benefited.

Several years ago, the state Board of Health adopted a rule banning smoking in restaurants because the secondhand smoke impaired the health of employees and customers.

Gov. Huckabee agreed that it was a health threat, but he vetoed the rule.
He would have borne all the anger from smokers and the tobacco industry.
Now lawmakers will share the onus with him if the smoking bill passes.

But he will not be running again for state office. The government regulation will sit no better with small-government conservatives than his other expanded-government initiatives, but it will burnish his credentials as the politician who might do something about the health crisis.

The workplace-smoking ban is not a certainty in the Arkansas Legislature, which has been loath to impose rules on businesses.

It will be argued that government is becoming too much the nanny by trying to control personal habits and dictating the working conditions in private businesses, decisions that should properly be left to owners and managers.

But for more than a century, government has taken a hand in protecting safety and health in the workplace, from restaurant kitchens to assembly lines, and the public accepts that role and relies upon it. Protecting the air that workers breathe is a logical extension now that the invidious effect of secondhand smoke is incontrovertible. Next, Gov. Huckabee will tell us that he is for a single-payer universal health insurance system.

That will be the day he leaves the Republican Party. For now, let us wish him Godspeed with the smoking ban.

WED 3-29-6 EDITORIAL >> Labor’s strange tribunes

Gov. Huckabee has another compelling reason to call the legislature into special session next week: the minimum wage.
Do not be mistaken. The governor and his party are not champions of a minimum wage and neither, for that matter, is the Arkansas Legislature, though it is dominated by Democrats. But they are all united behind raising the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.15 an hour. Motives are mixed. If Huckabee calls the legislature into session, it is the one proposal certain of enactment.

Voters are not likely to look behind the motives of all these latter-day tribunes of the working stiff, but that is just as well. The result is the same: a little relief for 127,000 or so of the state’s poorest laborers and their families.

They will owe their good fortune not to the governor or the lawmakers who will make it happen, but to a coalition headed by a North Little Rock Methodist preacher. The group is circulating petitions to put the minimum wage into the Arkansas Constitution. Their amendment would raise the minimum wage in Arkansas to $6.15 the first of the year and then adjust it each year to inflation. Polls show overwhelming support for the measure. Similar wage floors have passed easily in other states from Nevada to Florida.

Arkansas business and political leaders do not want automatic minimum-wage raises in the Constitution, so they propose to raise it immediately by statute if the labor coalition agrees to stop their petition drive. An agreement was struck, but it lasts only until the middle of April.

The constitutional strategy has worked around the country. Since Republicans took over Congress and most state legislatures in the 1990s, the minimum wage flattened. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage is back at 1970 levels. But the threat of constitutionally mandated wage floors has brought business groups and even Republicans around to a proposition that they loathe philosophically.

Michigan’s Democratic governor just signed a liberal minimum-wage bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. It will raise the floor in that state from $5.15 to $6.95 on Oct. 1 — 80 cents an hour above the Arkansas proposal —and require further raises through 2008. Labor supporters agreed to halt their drive for a constitutional amendment similar to the one circulated here.

But there is a more compelling reason for Republicans than keeping a pro-worker law out of state constitutions. They view the petition drives for constitutional amendments as a backdoor way to turn out voters sympathetic to Democrats at the general election this fall. The amendment campaigns seem to have that effect, in the same way that the gay-marriage amendment campaigns ginned up the vote for Republican candidates, from George Bush down, in 2004. Republicans were beneficiaries of the gay-marriage amendment drive that year. They do not want to give Democrats a similar advantage in 2006 by leaving a wage amendment on the ballot.

All those minimum-wage workers at nursing homes, processing houses and food emporia will not ask why the people in power suddenly looked out for them.

WED 3-29-6 EDITORIAL >> Choosing between kids and pork

Tomorrow is the deadline for legislative leaders to assure Gov. Huckabee that he runs no risk if he calls the General Assembly into session next week to rework public school funding for the current budget cycle. He wants assurances that both the Senate and House of Representatives will pass new school appropriations and funding formulas, or else he will not summon legislators to Little Rock.

This is a strange brand of leadership. Refuse to play the game until you know what the score will be. But Huckabee has a small, if too rigid, point. He need not waste the taxpayers’ money or his own political capital on a session if there is absolutely no chance of material progress toward complying with the state Supreme Court’s order to fund public schools at a level that promises to give every child an adequate education.

As of yesterday, Speaker Bill Stovall could reassure Huckabee that the House would deliver the necessary votes, but Senate leaders could not promise him a majority or even close to it. A few senators support the supplemental funding for this school year and the next devised by the interim Education Committee, others want even more money to close the gap between rich and poor schools and their teachers and to protect already poor schools that are losing students and state aid, and others are still mad that the Supreme Court ruled that they had not done their constitutional duty to fund education adequately. A few of those do not want to give education one more dime.

Prominent in the last category are Republican legislators, and Gov. Hucka-bee committed himself to try to convert his own flock to the cause of better education. We will learn tomorrow how much sway the governor has with his own party. Perhaps no more than President Bush now enjoys with congressional Repub-licans, but we hope the governor has preserved more capital with his party.

It ought to be an easy sell. The case that the legislature grossly underfunded the schools for the biennium was overwhelming. While the Supreme Court was closely divided on whether to hold the legislature’s 2005 work unconstitutional, no justice posited that it was sufficient. A minority simply believed that the judgment should be left with the legislature unless a new challenge was filed.

Moreover, tax collections for two years have been running far ahead of projections and ahead of budgeted spending for all the government. So unless the money is diverted to the schools, it will pile up in the treasury to furnish lawmakers with another trough of money for pork-barrel spending in 2007 and beyond. The General Improvement Fund is a sort of tax-financed re-election chest for lawmakers. That is the lagniappe that so outraged Mike Wilson of Jacksonville that he brought suit last year to void the appropriations, stopping just two of them, but it remains a strong incentive for legislators to vote against education. Gov. Huckabee should remind his lawmaking friends that the public interest dictates something else.

Meantime, he should not demand 100 percent assurance of passage of school legislation before calling the session. It is the nature of the legislative process to produce compromise, and that is what will happen if people of goodwill are brought together for good purpose.

SPORTS >> Cabot sweeps West Memphis

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers improved to 6-0 in the AAAAA-East conference by sweeping a road doubleheader at West Memphis Monday.

The Panthers won by scores of 8-4 and 7-3, and improved to 10-4 overall on the season.
“We got two big ones out of the way here,” Cabot coach Jay Fitch said. “West Memphis isn’t too bad, and it puts us 6-0. I’ve won 11 games twice, but I’ve never started 6-0, and we have a pretty good chance of making it 8-0 next week. That’ll be big if we can pull that off. Eight wins should get you in the tournament.”

Cabot got the win on the strength of excellent hitting up and down the lineup, starting with sophomore shortstop Sam Bates.
As the visitors in game one, Cabot got on the board first with two runs in the top of the second inning. Bates led off with a double to right field. Second baseman Justin Free singled for the first of his three hits in the game to drive in Bates. Free then scored on a fielder’s choice RBI by freshmen Drew Burks.

West Memphis scored a run in the bottom of the same inning, but Bates came up with two outs in the third to again make it a two-run margin. Bates hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot to the opposite field to make it 3-1.

The Panthers suffered a major scare in the bottom of the third. A comebacker caught Cabot pitcher Justin Haas in the neck. Haas initially complained about losing feeling in his arm, but after a delay of several minutes, continued his game-winning performance.

“That kid is so gutsy,” Fitch said. “Pound for pound he’s probably the toughest kid out there. At first I thought it hit him in the face, but we got out there and he said he couldn’t feel his right arm; I got a little worried about him. They gave him four or five minutes to see how he felt and everything turned out fine, but he’s a tough one.”

Haas got out of the inning without allowing a run, and the Panther offense got back on a roll in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Colin Fuller led off with a single to left field. Burks followed with an RBI single to make it 4-1.

The Panthers put together a three-run fifth that put the game away. Bates led off with a walk and Free singled. Logan Lucas was hit by a pitch and nine-hole hitter Corey Wade hit a two-RBI single to right.

The third run came across when Fuller’s grounder to second base was mishandled.

West Memphis’ Brandon Anderson hit a three-run home run off Haas in the bottom of the sixth, but that ‘s as close as the Blue Devils would get.

Free added the final run with a solo shot, the first of his career, over the fence in left-center field.
Free went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

Haas went the distance, giving up five hits and striking out four Blue Devils. Fuller took the mound in game two and threw a two-hitter over six innings. Bates took the mound late and got the save.

Cabot took the lead with one run each in the first and second innings. First baseman Chris Gross got an RBI for the first run of the game.

West Memphis tied it with two runs in the top of the fourth, but Cabot answered with a run in the bottom of the same inning. The Blue Devils again tied it 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Panthers put the game away with another big sixth-inning rally.

This time Cabot plated four runs to set the final margin.
Free and Lucas started things off with back-to-back singles. Fuller grounded out but moved the runners to second and third. That set up a two-RBI double by Burks. Gross followed Burks with his own RBI double. Daryl Murphy was hit by pitch, and Kyle West singled to score Gross and set the final margin.

Burks, West, Gross and Free each had two hits in the game.

The Panthers will play at North Pulaski next Monday in a non-conference game. They will get back to league play next Tuesday against Forrest City.

Two wins in that doubleheader will make Cabot 8-0, with the meat of the league schedule remaining. The Panthers close against Jonesboro, Sylvan Hills and Searcy.

“That’s the top three the last couple years, so we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Fitch said. “Eight wins probably gets us in (the state tournament) but you want to finish strong. I think there’s a lot of parity in the league this year, so 11 wins will win it for somebody. We’re just going to play it out and see what happens. I think we’ve got a good club here.”

SPORTS >> Jacksonville drops third twin-bill

Leader sportswriter

It was another tough conference twin-bill for the Jacksonville Red Devils on Tuesday, as they dropped two games to Jonesboro at Dupree Park. The Golden Hurri-cane took both games by scores of 8-0, with a no-hitter pitched by Jonesboro pitcher Cody Powell in game two. It would make the sixth straight conference game lost by Jacksonville.

“They played like they have 11 seniors on their team, and we played like we’re young,” Jackson-ville coach Larry Burrows said. “Their pitchers made it tough on us. They hit spots and changed speeds. Our young guys have had some playing time; we just have to play better than that.”

Jacksonville’s pitching struggled in the first game. Starting pitcher Cameron Hood was replaced by Jordan Payer in the top of the first inning after Hood walked three straight batters. Payer stayed in until the top of the fifth inning, when Eric Berry stepped in to finish the game from the mound.

A two-run home run from Jonesboro’s Murray Watts gave the Hurricane an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Payer saved further Jonesboro runs, striking out his first batter with the bases loaded to end the top of the inning.

Adam Ussery got the first of only four Jacksonville hits the entire night in the bottom of the second inning with a shot to left field. Jonesboro starting pitcher Watts got one of his total 10 strikeouts against Payer to leave Ussery on base at the end of the inning.

Adrian Baker would be the next Red Devil to hit in the bottom of the fourth inning with an infield shot for a single. Baker did not stay on long, however, as Jonesboro tagged him out while trying to steal second to end the inning.

The top of the fifth inning was very productive for the Hurri-cane, as six Jonesboro runners made it in for scores. After Payer gave up two runs in the inning, Berry took over pitching duties for Jacksonville. Two more hits off Berry would result in four more Jonesboro runs before the end of the session.

A single to right field from Blake Mattison in the bottom of the fifth and a centerfield shot from Hood in the bottom of the sixth inning were the final two hits for Jacksonville in the game.

A pop up from Jake Ussery ended Mattison’s chances for a score in the fifth, while a pop up from Baker and a strikeout on Adam Ussery ended the Red Devils’ chances in the sixth.

Seven walks and an error in the top of the second inning were the only opportunities offensively for Jacksonville in the second game. Starting Hurricane pitcher Powell recorded eight strike outs on his way to throwing the no-hitter.

After a single score in the bottom of the first and two runs in the bottom of the second, Jonesboro added more runs in the third and fourth innings to put the game out of reach for Jacksonville.

The loss gives Jacksonville a record of 5-8 overall and 0-6 in the AAAAA-East conference.
The Red Devils will face Sylvan Hills in a conference doubleheader next Tuesday in Sher-wood after taking the remainder of this week off for spring break.

NEIGHBORS >> The tables have turned

Leader staff writer

The time has come for Brooks Nash to take the HOT SEAT

In 1961, Brooks Nash, a member of the Cabot school board and retired principal, became one of the first lettermen on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock basketball team back when the school was called Little Rock University.

He will be the guest of honor at the Cabot Scholarship Foundation’s 11th Annual Roast and Toast at Cabot Junior High North cafeteria at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18.

The annual event is the primary fund-raiser for the Cabot Scholarship Foundation. It will be catered by Back Yard Burgers.
“In 1960, we were an independent league and we’d play against teams like Carter Buick and the Chore Boys,” Nash said in an interview.

“It’s neat to reflect back on being one of the first lettermen in 1961,” he said.
He met and married fellow teacher-to-be Donna Jenkins, his wife of the past 43 years, before graduating from Little Rock University in 1965. He taught school for two years at McClellan High School and two years at Cloverdale Junior High before opening Minute Man Hamburgers on the corner of Capital and Broadway streets in Little Rock.

“There was just more money to be made in cooking hamburgers,” Nash said. About six years later, Nash realized he was missing spending quality time with his children, daughter, Brooklynn, and son, Mike. So he started teaching in Cabot.
“The best advice I ever got from my dad was never cut off your nose to spite your face,” Mike Nash, 35, told The Leader.
“I never understood any of his advice. He used big words and it all went way over my head,” says Brooklynn Grimm, 36.
The Nash family moved to Cabot, where Brooks started working as a social studies teacher at Cabot High School. Students voted him the Cabot High School Teacher of the Year in 1977.

After that, Brooks Nash became the assistant principal at Cabot High School for two years before becoming principal of Cabot Junior High North. He retired from the district as principal in 2001. He was elected to the school board in 2004.
During retirement, Brooks spends his time with his family including grandson, Tyler Grimm, 2, as well as family dogs Baron Van Wolfgang and Duke. He manages rental property in Little Rock and watches television–mostly football and ‘Days of Our Lives.’

“Dad is obsessive about ‘Days.’ You do not call the house between 1 and 2 p.m.,” said Brooklynn Grimm.
“As he gets older, Dad gets more and more like Frank Costanza on ‘Seinfeld,’” jokes Mike Nash.

Both Mike and Brooklynn followed in their parents’ footsteps by becoming educators in the Cabot School District.
Mike Nash teaches U. S. history and Brooklynn teaches elementary school part-time.

“Brooks served the children in our community for many years,” said Don Elliott, former school superintendent and chairman of the Cabot Scholarship Foundation. “As a principal, he was well-liked by teachers and students alike. As a teacher, he made social studies interesting.”

Tickets for the roast and toast are $25. Reservations for tables of eight are available for $150.
In 2005, the foundation provided $28,000 in scholarships to more than 20 recipients.

Elliott said the organization hopes to give out more than $30,000 in scholarships this year. Scholarship recipients are an-nounced at the roast.

The Cabot Scholarship Foun-dation is a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. In many cases, employers will meet em-ployee donations to scholarship foundations.

Donations to the foundation are often in memory or in honor of a friend or loved one. Those donations have ranged from $5 to $25,000.

In addition to Elliott, other members of the Cabot Scholarship Foundation board are Nina Butler, Fred Campbell, Tracy French, Carole Jones, Carolyn Park, John C. Thompson and Steve Tipton.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Journalist put down deep roots

Cone Magie, who passed away Monday at the age of 81, was one of those newspaper publishers who are so closely identified with their communities that it’s hard to imagine one without the other.

Magie, who published the Cabot Star-Herald for half a century with his wife Betty, helped shepherd that community’s dramatic growth.

They thrived and prospered, but what most people don’t realize, except maybe for the old-timers, is that Cone, like many of the town’s residents, wasn’t originally from Cabot.

He was born toward the other end of Lonoke County, down in England, and moved around several places before he found his life-long calling, when he and his wife started the Cabot Star in competition with the Cabot Herald.

J.M. Park, the longtime Cabot banker, recalled Tuesday that many residents were unhappy with the Herald, which was closely allied with the town’s longtime mayor.

“We had our political wars in Cabot,” Park said. “The mayor was in office for a long time. He was a little bit dictatorial. People felt the paper leaned a little too much toward the mayor.”

The Star helped usher in a new era in Cabot, and the Magies soon bought out the Herald.
“They were two of the hardest-working people I’ve ever encountered in Cabot,” Park said. “They were community-spirited. I hold them in very high esteem. I admire what they have accomplished.”

Cone quickly became an insider and, really, Mr. Cabot: He was the eyes and ears of the community, and no smart politician would run for office without first consulting him.

Cone knew them all, including Rep. Bill Foster, the Sage of England. The two helped convince the Highway Department to build Hwy. 321, which is named after Foster.

Cone was a lifelong Demo-crat, active in politics (he served on the state Parks and Tourism Commission) and supported Bill Clinton, which made him an FOB (Friend of Bill).

Only two Arkansas publishers are listed as having slept over at the White House during the Clinton years (although others may have slept there who are not on the official list): Betty and Cone Magie and Charlotte and Melvin Schexnayder of Dumas, old-school newspaper people who felt comfortable mixing socially with the people they wrote about.

During Clinton’s second inaugural, Cone paid me a backhanded compliment when I introduced him to my daughter Rebecca.
“How does someone as ugly as you have a beautiful daughter like her?” he asked.
“Thanks, Cone,” I mumbled.

Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home on Second Street is in charge of the funeral. Visitation is from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. The funeral is at 1 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church in Cabot followed by interment at Concord Cemetery in Furlow.

TOP STORY >> Most area schools meet spending cap

Report Issued

All area school districts, except England, appear to be safe under Gov. Mike Huckabee’s proposed cap on administrative costs as a percentage of total budget, according to a state Education Department’s administrative cost report for the 2004—2005 school year.

But based on categories used to determine a district’s total administrative cost, Cabot and Searcy spent more supervising and administrating athletics than they did on improvement of instructional services. Supervisory and administrative costs of athletics and improvement of instructional services are two of 12 categories the education department used to calculate a district’s total administrative expenses.

All figures, according to Don Stewart, who prepared the report, are from information provided to the state by the individual districts.

Under the athletic supervisory category, Cabot listed $46,130 in administrative expenses, while Searcy has $36,358 coded to that category. Lonoke and Carlisle have no expenses listed, while Beebe has $31,256 in expenses in the athletic category.
Cabot, Beebe and Searcy all report more in their central office athletic fund than does Pulaski County Special School District, which only has $23,928 in that fund.

By comparison, North Little Rock has $151,672 in expenses in the athletic category and Little Rock has $303,812. “In districts where the athletic director wears dual hats, his salary and other expenses may be coded into a different fund,” Stewart said.

Cabot and Searcy list no expenses under the category of improvement of instructional services. Carlisle and England also have no expenses under that category, but have no expenses listed in the athletic category either.

PCSSD has $1.15 million in expenses listed under the supervision of improvement of instructional services category, while Beebe lists $119,256 in expenses.

Stewart’s report, the first of its kind to be generated for the state, tried to reflect the cost of central office administration. “We did not include the cost of principals or any other administrative personnel working at the building level,” Stewart explained.
He said many of the districts have been miscoding information and will use the results of this report to more accurately code their expenses. “I think our next report, which will be generated in September for 2005-2006, will be much more accurate and valid,” Stewart said. The governor’s idea is to cap “administrative expenses” at 7 percent of districts’ total budgets to ensure that more money is available for classroom instruction.

In the Education Department’s report, prepared by Stewart, PCSSD spent 5.13 percent of its 2000-2005 budget on administrative expenses.

Cabot was at 4.24 percent, Lonoke at 6.24 percent, Beebe at 6.14 percent, Carlisle at 5.33 percent and Searcy at 5.53 percent.

England School District, according to the report was the only area district above the proposed cap, at 7.35 percent. The governor hasn’t specified which costs would be considered administrative for purposes of complying with the cap, and there is no uniformity among districts as to which costs fall under which categories. For instance, Cabot doesn’t consider the salaries of administrators and staff as administrative costs, while some districts do.

“There’s going to have to be more specificity in what’s included,” said Julie Thompson, spokesman for the Education Department. For in-stance, “an assistant superintendent for instruction can be coded as an administrative or instructional expense.”

The state report used information reported by the districts in the categories of support-services-general administration, support services-business, supervisory operations and maintenance of plant facilities, supervisory costs of student transportation services, support services-central office and supervisory costs of attendance and social services work. The report also added in the supervisory cost of athletics, guidance services, health services, psychological services, improvement of instructional services and speech pathology and audiology services.

John Archetko, interim chief financial officer of the PCSSD, said the 2004-2005 school year budget did not include additional cuts necessitated by the district’s designation as being in fiscal distress.

Archetko said that through continual belt tightening at the central office, “I’ve lost four or five people in six years. They’ve been paring back for four or five years.”

“I think we are well under the cap with our current budget, but until we find out what the governor classifies as ‘administrative expenses’ we don’t know for certain,” said Frank Holman, superintendent of Cabot School District. School districts are waiting to see what extra expenses–such as bus transportation, operations and maintenance for facilities as well as support services–may be included in the governor’s legislation.

With the new legislation, seven percent of Cabot’s $52.6 million budget would result in about $3 million for administrative services.

“Every time you put funding in a matrix, it takes away flexibility,” Holman told The Leader. For example, Cabot School District may need a higher percentage of funding than other districts for transportation because of the large number of students bused in.

“I think we’ve always done a good job of funding classroom instruction,” Holman said.
Stewart admits the information in his report may contain inaccuracies. “We can only go by what the districts code as their expenses,” he said. But at this point, the state will use the figures generated in the report to look at districts, such as England, coming in above the 7 percent cap figure.

Leader staff writers Rick Kron, Sara Greene and John Hofheimer contributed to this report.

TOP STORY >> Mayor honors teen’s work

Leader staff writer

Sherwood Mayor Bill Harmon Monday night recognized a North Little Rock East Campus student for collecting about 1,400 backpacks, suitcases and other bags for use by foster children as they move through the system.

When a Sherwood family adopted Katya Lyzhina, 16, from Russia, she traveled with all her possessions in a plastic trash bag, a situation she found less than dignified.
She wants the children taken from their homes to escape that particular humiliation, according to her mother, Jan Scholl. Scholl is director of the North Little Rock Mayor’s Youth Council. That’s why she started “Baggage Claim.”

Lyzhina also helped fix up a house for use by Katrina victims.

In other action, the council unanimously rezoned property at 7815 Hwy. 107 from residential to C-3 commercial, but allowed the resident to remain at the property for two years.
The council also found four mobile homes at the corner of Jamesway and Hollomore to constitute a public nuisance.

Having been declared a nuisance, the owners have 30 days to tear down or remove the structures after the city posts a notice.
The annual Easter Egg Hunt was set for 2 p.m. April 16 at Sherwood Forest, and the Arkansas Lady Razorback softball team will host Louisiana-Monroe in a doubleheader beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Sherwood Sportsplex.

The council also reappointed Mayor Harmon, David Henry, Angela Nicholson and Rosetta Ramsey to the retirement board.
The council also appointed Freddie Hudson and Ray Har-rison to five-year terms on the Planning Com-mission and Board of Adjustment, terms ending May 31, 2011.

TOP STORY >> Three will challenge Privett in Lonoke

Leader staff writer

Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett, who has drawn at least three primary opponents in his first reelection bid, said Monday that they may have thought he wasn’t going to run again or that misdemeanor charges filed against him alleging that he had prisoners do personal work weakened him.

“They may think I’m vulnerable,” said Privett.

He has been charged with theft of services for having Act 309 inmates at the Lonoke Jail help with his home garden, hang his Christmas lights and work on an air conditioner.

“I’ve already admitted it to the 309 oversight committee,” said Privett, who will be arraigned April 4.
He said he would nonetheless ask for a jury trial, saying he wanted to tell his story.

Privett has a working relationship with each of the three announced challengers in the Democratic primary.
Jim Parks, who ran unsuccessfully against Privett in 2004, is on the city public safety committee. Roy Henderson helped the mayor with the city’s response to Katrina refugees and Wayne McGee is a sitting Lonoke alderman.

Privett said a couple of his opponents may have thought he wasn’t going to seek reelection, but that he had started several projects that he wanted to see through for the town.

Privett has worked long and hard to help attract a manufacturer to Lonoke and pressed to get the town a new I-40 interchange at Hwy. 89.

He said the two were closely related and that Lonoke might already have landed an auto-parts manufacturer if the interchange had been built or assured.

The new interchange design would have a two-way loop to bring traffic on and off westbound I-40 and another on-off loop for eastbound I-40 traffic.

“We met with the Highway Department last week and they gave us their choice,” said Privett.

As for bringing new industry to a site adjacent to the proposed interchange, Privett said representatives of another auto-related industry had flown in by helicopter last week to meet with leaders and see the site.

TOP STORY >> Finalist for chief left job under a cloud

Leader staff writer

Although his resume won’t reflect it, one of the five finalists to be the next Lonoke chief of police was forced from his job as Blytheville chief of police in February, in part for using the “n” word during the course of a drug taskforce operation, according to articles published in the Blytheville Courier News.

In a negotiated settlement with the city, Royce Carpenter ceased his official duties in February, but including accumulated vacation and leave, he will be paid through mid-October.

The settlement between Carpen-ter and the city requires officials to describe his performance and circumstances of his leaving in “neutral terms,” the Courier News learned through the answer to a Freedom of Information request.
Lonoke Mayor Thomas Privett said Tuesday, however, that Blythe-ville Mayor Barrett Harrison had given Carpenter a very good recommendation.

Other terms of the agreement call for Carpenter to receive his regular salary while on extended leave of absence until Oct. 14, 2006 and allow him to retain his title during that time. Asked about that Tuesday, Privett said he had been unaware of the controversy or circumstances surrounding Carpenter’s departure from the Blytheville chief’s job.
“It sounds like there are some internal problems,” he said. “There’s definitely a shadow there.”

Privett said the interviews already were set up and that Alderman Michael Florence was checking Carpenter’s Blytheville references while he had asked state Sen. Bobby Glover to help find people to talk to in Camden, where Carpenter was chief for 20 years.

The 10-person search committee is slated to interview Carpenter and the four other finalists for Lonoke police chief on Thursday. Privett has said he hopes to name a new police chief next week.

Carpenter’s detractors say he left under significant scrutiny and criticism for an abusive management style, raising the ire of some on the city council.

His supporters say he inherited “a mess” when he took over the position with a mandate to clean it up and that many of his problems stemmed from internal resistance to changes he made.

The incident with the racially insensitive language was not directed toward anyone, but part of a term used to describe a situation, according to reports.

In a Feb. 12 press release, Carpenter pointed to the declining number of crimes, saying, “The direction in which I was leading the department was correct and good for the city and its residents.”

Lonoke received 29 applications from around the country as well as from Jordan, South Africa and Great Britain, Privett said.
Lonoke has been without a permanent police chief since Jay Campbell resigned in February after Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain filed drug- and theft-related felony charges against him.

Capt. Sean O’Nale, the interim chief since that time, is not a candidate for the job.
The other finalists include Don Black of Tuckerman; Rick Sliger, chief of the of Eagle, Colo., Police Department; Nicholas Finer of Kinston, Ala., and Bobby Tanner of San Bernadino, Calif.

The Colorado and California applicants each had ties to Arkansas, Privett said.
Both Black and Finer continue as police chiefs. No information was readily available by press time about Sliger and Tanner.
Privett said the names of the applicants were removed from the information passed on to the search committee, and each of the 29 was rated by each of the commissioners.

By law, the mayor has the authority to hire the police chief, but he said his recommendation would probably be the same as the committee recommendation. Privett will then ask the city council to endorse his decision.

He said different committee members had different priorities. Some stressed the importance of a new chief’s personality in dealing with the public, his experience and also experience as a successful supervisor.

TOP STORY >> Candidates continue to file

Leader staff writer

Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, filed Monday for re-election in Dist. 56.
The lawmaker said his top priority would be trying to make sure that senior citizens can live in their homes as long as possible.

“I want to incentivize by providing in-home services,” he said. “Its cheaper to live at home, and everybody wants to live out their lives in dignity at home, not in a skilled nursing home.”

Bond, who will be term limited at the end of the next term if he’s reelected, lost his bid to be speaker of the House earlier this year to Rep. Benny Petrus, D-Stuttgart.

Bond said he also wants to make sure that the transitional housing funds for the state Correction Department are used to help ensure that inmates are ready before being put back into society. “We need to work on the recidivism rate,” said Bond.
Finally, he said he’d like to see the state working aggressively to help small businesses offer health care to workers.

“We talk a lot about business, but not small business,” he said. “That’s the engine that drives the nation and Arkansas.”
He said a relatively high percentage of Arkansas businesses employing more than 100 provide health care, but a low percentage of smaller businesses do.

“That’s a big issue,” said Bond. “I hope we can focus on that.”
In other state offices, no one has filed in Senate Dists. 28 and 29 for seats held by Democrats Bobby Glover of Carlisle and John Paul Capps of Searcy, or in House Dist. 48, held by Susan Schulte, R-Cabot.

House Dist. 15 Rep. Lenville Evans, D–Lonoke, and Dist. 43 Rep. Jeff Wood, D-Sherwood, both filed March 21.
Ricky Thomas, R-Judsonia, filed March 21 for the House Dist. 49 seat held by Rep. Mark Pate, D-Bald Knob.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain has announced her intention to run for a fourth term, but unlike her opponent Tim Blair, she had not made the trip to Little Rock to file.

Blair, a Democrat filed March 21. McCastlain, a Republican, said Tuesday afternoon that the April 4 deadline is still days away so she still has time.

“I’m pretty busy here,” she said. “I will file before the deadline, but work is work.”
Prosecutors and circuit judges don’t file at the county clerk’s office like city and county candidates do. They file with the secretary of state.

McCastlain is in her eighth year in office. In 1998, she defeated Barbara Elmore, who had been a deputy prosecutor, by one vote. Two years later, she defeated Elmore again by a wider margin.

When state law changed prosecutors’ terms in office from two years to four, McCastlain ran unopposed for her third term.
The state is divided into 23 judicial districts. Most are made up of more than one county, but Lonoke, the 23rd Judicial District, stands alone.

In the 17th Judicial District, made up of White and Prairie counties, Prosecutor Chris Raff, a Democrat, filed March 24. No other candidate has announced for that office. In the 6th Judicial District, made up of Pulaski and Perry counties, Prosecutor Larry Jegley filed March 25.

Circuit judges were elected for four-year terms until four years ago, when the terms were changed to six years. Now most circuit judges across the state have two years left before they have to run again to keep their jobs. Attorney General Mike Beebe of Searcy, a Democrat, filed for governor Tuesday. He will oppose Republican Asa Hutchinson of Fort Smith.
Republican Tom Formicola of Little Rock filed Monday to run for the 2nd District congressional seat, setting up a GOP primary race for the seat held by Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, who filed last week.

Formicola, a health care executive, joins Republican Andy May-berry of Hensley in the May 23 primary. Mayberry filed last week.