Wednesday, May 17, 2006

OBITUARIES >> 5-17-06


Margaret B. Sutton, 80, of Jacksonville died May 15 in Conway.  
She was born in Albermarle, N.C., on Sept. 10, 1925, to the late Oscar R. and Cora “Simpson” Springer.  She is also preceded in death by her husband, Walter W. Sutton, five brothers, one sister and one great-granddaughter.
Sutton was a member of Marshall Road Baptist Church in Jacksonville where she assisted in the church nursery, volunteered at Fishnet Ministries and was a member of the MAC Group. Survivors include two sons; Walter W. Sutton, Jr. and wife Hazel and Donald E. Sutton and wife Barbara of Mayflower, two daughters; Barbara J. Thrall and husband Charles of Green-ville, Calif., and Diane Dolan and husband Jo-seph of Federal Way, Wash., a sister, Dorothy Rains of Galveston, Texas, 14 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren and other friends and family.
Funeral services are at 2 p.m., Thursday at Moore’s Funeral Home  Chapel with Bro. John Sammons and Rev. Cliff Hutchins officiating.  Interment will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park.  Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home with arrangements under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Steve McNutt, 59, of Floyd, was born Sept. 3, 1946, in Russellville, and died May 13.
He was a truck driver for more than 35 years and a Baptist. He is survived by his wife, Esther McNutt; his mother and step-father, Norman and Irene Hughes of Lawrenceville, Ga.; one son, Stevan McNutt of Floyd; three daughters, Theresa Harris of Floyd, Sandi Eason of Georgia and Alanna Hendrickson of Little Rock; five grandchildren and one step-brother, Mike Gately of Sheridan. He was preceded in death by his father, Frank McNutt.
Family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Vilonia First Baptist Church, with burial in New Floyd Cemetery.


Ruth Peterson Merrill, 96, of Jacksonville passed away May 15. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville and was a registered nurse for Jacksonville doctors until her retirement. She is survived by her son, Hubert M. Merrill and wife, Mae, of Jacksonville; three grandsons; two granddaughters and one great-grandson. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack M. Merrill; son, Col. Roland S. Merrill and her sisters, Isabel Peterson and Edith Littlefield.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 2020 West Main, Jacksonville, Ark., 72076 or First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, 1208 W. Main, Jacksonville, Ark., 72076 or Arkansas Hospice Foundation, 5600 West 12th St., Little Rock, Ark., 72204.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville. Family will receive friends from 6 to 7:30 p.m, Thursday at North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main St, 758-1170.
Arrangements are by North Little Rock Funeral Home.


Vernon Michael Anderson, Sr., 46, of Jacksonville, died May 30.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra Anderson of Jacksonville, his parents; Virgil Jr. and Kathleen Anderson of Brooklyn, N.Y., two sons, one daughter, three brothers, three grandchildren, one nephew, one niece, and other friends and relatives.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home in Jacksonville. Burial will follow in the Arkansas State Veteran’s Cemetery in North Little Rock.
Visitation will be Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Funeral arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Juanita S. Wood, 86, of Cabot, died May 16. She was born Nov. 11, 1919, to the late Frank and Amy Garner Sisson in Pulaski County. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Cabot and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Fred H. Wood.
Wood is survived by two children, Fred A. Wood and wife Nancy, and Bettye Schelle and husband Bob, all of Cabot and two sisters, Amy Lee Bob of San Antonio, Texas; and Margaret Elizabeth Blaylock of Morrilton. She is also survived by five grandchildren; Lisa Gallogly, Fred A. Wood II, Lara Wood, Jimmy Schelle, and Lori Moix and 10 great grandchildren also survive her.  
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.
Services will be 10 a.m. Friday at the First Baptist Church of Cabot with burial at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.


Wanda F. McCoy, 70, of Jacksonville, passed away May 15.  She was born on Oct. 21, 1935, in Davis, Okla., to the late Buck and Lena (Harrison) Harris. Also preceding her in death were her sister, Geraldine Holcomb and nephew, Mike Holcomb both of Sulphur, Okla.
She graduated from Davis High School in Davis, Okla., in 1954 and married her husband Charles on July 1, the same year.
She is survived by her husband of 51 years, three daughters; Marla “Susie” McCoy of Jacksonville, Sheila and husband Gene Boser of Cabot, Vickie and husband Wayne High of Cabot; sister and brother-in-law, Velma and Duward Walker of Yukon, Okla.; brother and sister-in-law, Kenneth and Melba Harris of Coleman, Okla., eight grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, nu-merous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home Chapel followed by interment in Chapel Hill Memorial Park. The family will receive friends and guests from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.  
The family would like to gratefully thank Baptist Hospice and staff for their kindness and professionalism. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Naomi Dean Hall, 79, of Beebe, passed away May 11, at the home of her daughter, Janice Hughes of Groesbeck, Texas.
She was born Oct. 31, 1926, to Comer Jesse and Pinkie Marie “Belew” Fulks in Antioch. Survivors include three sons, Dewey Lee Middleton and Donnie Ray Middleton, both of Whorton, Texas, Stevie L. Middleton of Waxahachie, Texas; two daughters, Sharon Ann Minter of Balch Springs, Texas and Janice Marie Hughes of Groesbeck, Texas; one sister, Mary Lee Clark of Grand Prairie, Texas; 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; two nieces, Julie Carlile of Grand Prairie, Texas and Joyce Keen of Midlothian, Texas; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Cleo Hall. Graveside services were held Monday at Antioch Cemetery.

SAT 5-17-6 EDITORIAL >> For the GOP: Go with Banks

The choice for lieutenant governor is much easier in the Republican primary, where former United States Attorney Chuck Banks of Little Rock takes on two state lawmakers, state Sen. Jim Holt and Rep. Doug Matayo, both of Springdale. Banks is the choice.
Holt is the frontrunner in a race where name recognition is a premium. Holt has gotten acres of newsprint since he entered politics because of the curiosity over his childrearing.

He and fellow townsman Jim Bob Duggar, who is running for Holt’s Senate seat again, between them have spawned (at our last count) 25 children, all of whom are schooled at home by the wives. Holt’s career is marked by two passions, abortion and Mexican immigrants. He doesn’t like them.

But he is running for the one job where he cannot do a thing about either problem.

He cannot sponsor anti-abortion bills or bills to punish either Mexicans who sneak into the country to work or their children. He is counting on voters not to know that. Matayo, a conservative Republican, says Holt is an extremist.

Banks fits the prevailing qualifications for the job best. He is boring. Or maybe we just confuse competence, thoughtfulness and dignity with dullness. But you can be all those things.

Banks comes closest of all those in either primary to nonpartisan fairness. As a Reagan-appointed U.S. attorney he was diligent and evenhanded. In 1992 he refused importunities from Washington to use his office to influence the presidential race. That sounds like a pretty good qualification.

SAT 5-17-6 EDITORIAL >> Lt. governor choices...

Only a few more days remain before you get to vote for a new lieutenant governor — just as as soon they get the new voting machines working. Meantime, to whet anticipation, the Leader offers its advice in the two primary races for the office among four Democrats and three Republicans.

Our preference would have been to continue the tradition begun after World War II of awarding the job to the most deserving or neediest war hero. For 28 years the lieutenant governor was a Medal of Honor winner (Nathan Gordon and Maurice L. “Footsie” Britt) or a man severely crippled in the war (Footsie and Bob Riley). But combat wounds have been replaced by terminal dullness as the principal qualification for the job (Joe Purcell, Winston Bryant and Win Paul Rockefeller).

The lieutenant governor’s only duty is to preside over the somnolent state Senate three or four hours a day for 60 to 80 days every two years. If he is sick or wants a break from that torrid pace, the Senate runs very well without him. A senator steps into the chair and bills flow just as smoothly. The lieutenant governor doesn’t take sides on legislation but rather is to preside impartially.

This makes it hard to craft lively campaign issues, so candidates for the past 20 years have talked about things they would do that the job does not call for, like recruiting industries for the state. But the lieutenant governor, who is known far and wide to be utterly powerless, carries no portfolio to do that or anything else except to see that the Senate follows its rules when it is passing and defeating bills. So the voter’s first task is to ignore all those campaign promises.

Still, the decision is of some consequence because the lieutenant governor has occasionally proved to be a steppingstone to higher office. The first lieutenant governor (in 1928) and the last two became governor automatically when the governor vacated the office for one reason or another. It could pay to be careful whom you vote for.

The Democrats are state Sen. Tim Wooldridge of Paragould, Rep. Mike Hathorn of Huntsville, Bill Halter of North Little Rock and state Rep. Jay Martin of North Little Rock. Three of them have served a short time in our term-limited legislature and Halter, a Rhodes scholar and son of a longtime civil servant, had several jobs in the Clinton administration in Washington, including deputy and then acting commissioner of Social Security.

The campaign has centered on Halter because he sandbagged us by raising a big bundle of money from around the country to run for governor and then dropping off to run for the lesser job when it was clear that Mike Beebe had a lock on the Democratic nomination for governor. Hathorn has challenged the propriety of Halter’s financing and now foes have filed a lawsuit to remove him from the ballot because he has lived in the national capital for part of the past dozen years. But his voting residency has remained in the state and the courts have held that this reflects where you intend your home to be. That’s good enough for voters, too, we imagine.

All are fittingly boring men and have enough sense to preside over the Senate, and the leading candidates, Hathorn and Halter, carry a bit of youthful arrogance that puts lots of people off. And Halter is not that young either.

Nevertheless, our narrow choice is Halter simply on brains. He is smart, analytical and progressive. We could use that in an office that counts one fine day. A chastening defeat early in his political career would no doubt make him a better man, but we do not have that luxury.

(head) For the GOP: Banks

The choice is much easier in the Republican primary, where former United States Attorney Chuck Banks of Little Rock takes on two state lawmakers, state Sen. Jim Holt and Rep. Doug Matayo, both of Springdale. Banks is the choice.

Holt is the frontrunner in a race where name recognition is a premium. Holt has gotten acres of newsprint since he entered politics because of the curiosity over his childrearing. He and fellow townsman Jim Bob Duggar, who is running for Holt’s Senate seat again, between them have spawned (at our last count) 25 children, all of whom are schooled at home by the wives. Holt’s career is marked by two passions, abortion and Mexican immigrants. He doesn’t like them.

But he is running for the one job where he cannot do a thing about either problem. He cannot sponsor antiabortion bills or bills to punish either Mexicans who sneak into the country to work or their children. He is counting on voters not to know that. Matayo, a conservative Republican, says Holt is an extremist.

Banks fits the prevailing qualifications for the job best. He is boring. Or maybe we just confuse competence, thoughtfulness and dignity with dullness. But you can be all those things. Banks comes closest of all those in either primary to nonpartisan fairness. As a Reagan-appointed U.S. attorney he was diligent and evenhanded. In 1992 he refused importunities from Washington to use his office to influence the presidential race. That sounds like a pretty good qualification.

WED 5-17-6 EDITORIAL >> Our choices for high court

Under the governing theory for electing judges in Arkansas, the less voters know about the candidates the better the judicial system will serve them. The Arkansas canons of ethics for judges still seem to bar judges and even candidates for judgeships from making any utterance that suggests that they have thoughts about any of the concerns of society. The idea is that if people know what a judge or a judicial candidate stands for, they will lose confidence in the impartiality and independence of the courts.

So opponents of Judge Wendell Griffen of the Arkansas Court of Appeals, who is running for a seat on the Supreme Court, have filed complaints once again with the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Com-mission asking that he be removed from office or punished somehow for getting quoted four or five times in newspapers around the country the past several years on issues of some concern: racial discrimination in student recruitment at the University of Arkansas, the shabby treatment of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and President Bush’s appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ethics complaints are intended to damage Judge Griffen’s chances of getting elected, and they did. A dramatic headline the other day on the front page of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, which regularly bashes Griffen, reported “Griffen at risk of impeachment,” which should sew up the election for his opponent.

Griffen is not at risk of impeachment. No one has even hinted at bringing an impeachment petition before the House of Representatives.

The Arkansas rules that Griffen is supposed to have violated are unconstitutional, if they mean what the director of the judicial commission says. The U. S. Supreme Court said such rules are unlawful, and so has the 8th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose precedents Arkansas is bound to follow. The court said the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech applies not only to communists, Klansmen and assorted crackpots but everybody — even judges. The Arkansas Constitution says that “all persons” are entitled to “the free communication of thoughts and opinions,” making no exception for judges.
All this is leading up to our endorsement of Judge Griffen for Position 5 on the Supreme Court. Griffen will not comment on any issue that seems likely to come before the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, and that is the only limitation on speech that we ought to expect of him, other than we should like him to be accurate and thoughtful.

Griffen maintains that voters are entitled to know a little about how even a judicial candidate thinks before they vote. In his case, they may not like his ideas, in which case it is fair that they vote against him and ask others to join them. All of us search for some nugget of knowledge about the unfamiliar names that appear on the judicial ballot besides the fact that they are licensed to practice law and have some years of experience at it. Congress goes to great lengths to learn what it can about the views of the appellate court nominees, and that is appropriate for appellate courts.

We know little about Judge Griffen’s opponent, Judge Paul Danielson, except that he has been a trial judge in Logan County on the state’s western side for several years and lost a race for the Supreme Court two years ago. Griffen was elected to the Court of Appeals in 1996, only the third African-American elected to an appellate court in Arkansas. He is a brilliant jurist, acknowledged for his fairness and independence and the scholarship of his opinions. He is a Baptist minister and leader in the National Baptist Convention, where his outspoken opinions caused him trouble with the intolerants at the state newspaper and elsewhere.

The other Supreme Court race is for Position 2 between Justice Donald L. Corbin and Roger Harrod of Maumelle. Corbin is not the most brilliant jurist, but he is solid, principled and independent. Harrod is running because he disagrees with the Supreme Court decision last year to review the legislature’s response to the court’s order to bring the public schools up to constitutional standards. Harrod thus steps over the line that Griffen would not, declaring his position on an issue that likely will be before the Supreme Court very soon. If elected, of course, he will have to step aside when that issue arises, which renders his reason for running moot.

Justice Corbin is the clear choice for Position 2, Judge Griffen for Position 5.

SPORTS >> Youth out en masse for Falcons spring drills

Leader sports writer

Monday afternoon was the first day of pads for the 2006 North Pulaski Falcons. Forty of the estimated 55 players for this coming season’s team participated in drills in preparation for the coming week of playing in pads.

A number of freshmen were not at the early practice, but the rest of the current underclassmen went through a series of scrimmage drills. The offensive set used most during the play drills was the traditional three-man back formation, a game plan coach Tony Bohannon says the team will return to for a large portion of its yardage in the fall.

“I’m very pleased with how things went,” Bohannon said. “We’re missing a few of the sophomores, but we’re excited to get some of these younger guys out here.” Bohannon says the athletic program is taking a different approach this year. In the weeks leading up to spring practice, players from all sports lifted weights and trained together, with an emphasis on students participating in more than just one sport.

“We’re trying to build North Pulaski athletics,” Bohannon said. “Not just one sport or the other, but to get some of the more skilled athletes interested in all sports. It’s gone really well; it’s the first time some of these freshmen and sophomores have had to work with the older guys.”

The working of the junior varsity schedule will also have a different approach for this year. All JV games will coincide the same week with the freshmen games, meaning a Monday JV game against Mills would be followed by eighth and ninth-grade games on Thursday against the Comets, giving the younger players a chance to get more experience in game conditions against common opponents.

“This will do three things for us,” Bohannon said. “It will give them some more field time, and it will give them a chance to play in a game setting a little more. Another thing we’re trying to do is pull more parents out to watch JV ball. We want to build up the whole program.”

Monday’s practice seemed to go very smoothly. After an extensive warm up, the offense scrimmaged several different types of running plays. Charles Baker looked stoutest among the running backs. Next fall’s senior fullback found openings on more than one occasion, cutting back across the field and turning a loss into a breakaway on another play.

Baker has college interest from Tulsa, UAPB and others, and will undoubtedly be a key part of the Falcons offense in the ’06 season.

Jason Regnas took most of the snaps at quarterback. Regnas also got a chance to face the scrimmage defense with a number of quarterback draw plays, breaking through on the final play of practice.

“Jason had a real good practice,” Bohannon said. “It’s basically him and three sophomores we have for quarterback. We’re going to have Michael Fleishman ready as a running back and a backup quarterback.”

The Falcons will also practice today before taking the rest of the week off. They will pick back up next week, practicing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

SPORTS >> Abundant Life State Champions

Leader sports editor

Owls defeat conference rival Arkansas Baptist 10-7 in AA state title game.

Abundant Life made it 3-2 in five games against its most bitter rival, and won the class AA state baseball championship in the process, beating Arkansas Baptist 10-7 in the championship game Saturday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

The Owls used timely hitting and took advantage of some costly Baptist errors to seal the victory and the state title.

“I knew this team could hit the ball, we’d played them four times,” Abundant Life head coach Wes Johnson said. “I knew we’d have to score runs, so I told them before we started that 10 runs wins this ballgame, and look what they did.”

The Owls got on the board in the top of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Josh Cantrell reached on an infield single, which was followed by two fly outs to centerfield. But the third fly ball to the same spot was mishandled and dropped, allowing a hustling Cantrell to score all the way from first base.

Cantrell’s infield hit was the only Owl hit through the first 12 batters of the game. Meanwhile, Arkansas Baptist was touching Owl starting pitcher Jake Chambers a bit more.

Baptist tied the game in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on first and third and one out, Eagle third baseman Drew Vaden hit an RBI grounder to shortstop to tie the game.

The Owls went three and out in the second and third innings, and the Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the third.
Leadoff hitter Drew Sullivan singled to start things off, but got caught stealing during the next at bat. It was a costly out too. Two-hole hitter Jason Lewis ripped a triple down the right field line on the very next pitch. Andrew Hopkins then singled to score Lewis and give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

The Owls answered with a big fourth. After struggling to get on base in the first three innings, the first five batters of the fourth reached safely, and accounted for three runs.

Jerry Lawson started it off with a one-out triple, and scored on a passed ball. David Simpson then walked and Nathan McDonald was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Austin Crabill ran for McDonald, and scored on a single by Josh Selby.

Selby then made it 4-2 Owls when Trey Moss got an RBI single.

Chambers gave up one hit and on runs in the bottom of the fourth, and Abundant Life appeared to blow open the game in the fifth with four more runs.

After Cantrell struck out to start the inning, Chambers reached on an error at third base that got the owls rolling. Justin Treece hit an RBI single to right field and Lawson followed with another single. Simpson made it three in a row, and his hit scored Treece for a 6-2 Owl lead.

McDonald made it four straight, and his shot scored Lawson. Simpson then scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Selby, but a base-running blunder by Mc-Donald ended the inning. Mc-Donald, who was on first when Selby made contact, rounded second base while the ball was in the air. After the catch, he ran back to first without touching second base and was called out when the Eagles threw to second on appeal.

Still, the Owl lead was up to 8-2 with only two innings remaining, but it almost wasn’t enough.

Baptist scored two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to cut its deficit to 8-7, but the Owls added two insurance runs in the seventh, and Cantrell was solid in relief work on the mound to preserve the victory.

Most of the players say they never doubted they would win, despite the fact that they were playing a team that they had lost to twice.

“With Jake on the mound, I was never worried about it,” Lawson said. “I had complete confidence in this whole team. Jake had only pitched against them once, and we beat them that game. So I felt comfortable the whole time.”

As for the feeling after the game, Lawson was less confident putting it into words.
“I don’t know, amazing I guess. Words can’t really describe it. I still haven’t taken in the full effect, just knowing that we’re state champs, we’re the best in the state.”

Simpson, a senior who caught the ball for the last out, said it was bittersweet for him.

“It was awesome,” Simpson said. “I caught the last out, but it was also like, now it’s all over. It was almost like a letdown. After a buildup for three years, it was over. But I was excited, and am still excited. It was fun.”

Treece, a freshman who played shortstop and hit in the three hole, got off to a slow start at the plate, but handled it like an upperclassmen. He came through with two hits, two runs and an RBI in his final two at bats.

“I maybe pressed a little bit,” Treece said of his early plate appearances. “I just decided to relax. The third time up I just decided to relax, just try to get on base and go to the opposite field. I was feeling good all day, I just wasn’t getting on base. I knew it would come.”

Cantrell, another senior, finally admitted that the thought of playing Baptist a fifth time didn’t thrill him.

“I would have almost rather played Greenland,” Cantrell said. “We know most of the guys at Baptist, and we know how good they are and how well they hit the ball, but I wasn’t really worried. I felt like all the hard work would finally pay off, and it did.”

NEIGHBORS >> Walk for life

By Melissa Tucker
Leader staff writer

Groups raise money for pregnant women.

A Walk for Life event to raise money for A Woman’s Place Pregnancy Resource Center, located in Cabot and Beebe on Saturday morning.

Chairman of the center’s board of directors Chris Mann, said the organization is fully self-supported on donations from the community, churches and businesses as well as its yearly fund-raisers. Mann said the center will know how much Saturday’s walks raised by the end of the week.

The Walk for Life is just one of the three fund-raisers held by the resource center.

The other two are an annual banquet held in the fall and a “Baby Bottle Drive” throughout the summer. During the bottle drive, the center sends out baby bottles to area churches and has members of the congregation fill them up with spare change and then turn them in.

Mann said they take the bottles and change to First Security Bank where volunteers roll and count the money for the center.
Mann said the pregnancy resource center has a ultrasound machine, parenting classes and offers counseling to pregnant women. The center also has a satellite location in Beebe.

“It’s an awesome center with an awesome group of people,” Mann said.

He said many of the volunteers aren’t paid, and “we just have a heart for that ministry.”

For more information, call executive director Vikki Parker at 941-5533.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Party rift in county mirrors national troubles

President Bush hoped Monday night that he would recover some of the support he had lost over illegal immigration — not to mention the war in Iraq and record gasoline prices — but his speech promising to tighten our borders pleased hardly anyone.
“We should have secured our borders after 9/11,” said former Rep. Randy Minton (R-Ward). “It’s like the war on terrorism. The open-borders policy is bad. It’s a breach of security. It will be the No. 1 issue in 2008.”

Everyone knows that building a fence and sending in 7,000 National Guard troops will not keep Mexicans from crossing the border, and Bush’s willingness to turn them into “guest workers” upsets almost everyone in his party, except his corporate supporters who like cheap labor and couldn’t care less about enforcing immigration laws, Minton said.

When Bush first took office, he suggested letting illegal immigrants become “guest workers,” which has upset his base even more since 9/11.

Bush’s standing in the Republican Party has fallen so low that a Lonoke County Republican group that Minton leads is endorsing “Reagan Republicans” in this year’s local elections. No one, as far we know, is pushing to elect more “Bush Republicans,” whoever they may be.

Defenders of President Bush’s offer of amnesty point to President Reagan’s support of immigration — the U.S. as “a shining city on a hill” — but as far as Minton is concerned, there’s a difference between those who come here legally and those who cross the border in the dead of night and walk around with false identity papers.

“I’m not against anyone coming here legally,” Minton said. He mentioned Larry Odom, a Lonoke County strawberry and peach farmer and justice of the peace, who “works within the system. He gets workers here for six months and they go back home.”
Minton, who has headed Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum in Arkansas for many years, is disenchanted with Bush.

“I just feel like President Reagan was more conservative from a spending standpoint and downsizing government,” Minton said.

“President Reagan was one that tried to downsize government and tried to limit domestic spending. He was strong on domestic sovereignty. President Bush has been growing the budget. President Reagan wanted to get rid of the Department of Education, and now President Bush is giving it a bigger role with the No Child Left Behind program.”

As his approval ratings plummet, Bush is having a hard time shoring up support around the country, especially among conservatives, who still believe in small government, staying out of foreign wars and clamping down on immigration.
Those whose memory goes back to 1968 recall how Lyndon Johnson alienated his own party over the Vietnam War and dropped out of the presidential race that year, making him a lameduck and paving the way for Richard Nixon.

Although Bush is no longer up for re-election, he has lost so many supporters that his lameduck status could be the longest in history: Three long years while the nation faces the problems of an endless war, illegal immigration, high energy costs and rising deficits, not to mention a general dissatisfaction with the direction the country is taking.

Minton suggested that many conservative Republicans may boycott the next presidential election. They think big business has hijacked the Republican Party, which hands out lucrative contracts to corporations that depend on government spending and cheap labor at home and abroad.

Minton is on to something: Bush’s amazingly low ratings reflect his loss of Main Street Republicans. Big Business is sticking with him – see the semi-official editorial page of the Wall Street Journal — but there are a lot more people living near Main Street than Wall Street.

Karl Rove should have figured that out a long time ago, but these days he’s busy trying to stay out of prison.

My proudest achievement was to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen. No one resented my coming here. Americans aren’t opposed to legal immigration — illustrious immigrants have included nuclear physicists, doctors, authors, artists and others who have helped make America great.

Those of us who entered the U.S. legally and became citizens observed the rules and never asked for special favors.
Nobody lobbied the government to keep us out. Those who criticize illegal immigration insist that everyone observe the law and stand in line to receive proper immigration papers.

I waited more than four years before receiving permission to come to America, and I’m glad I did.

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville’s best to shine at business expo

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Business Expo is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the community center. It’s free to the public.
This year’s theme is “Presenting Jacksonville’s Best,” with a Hollywood and red-carpet theme. As an added feature this year, a sneak-preview showing of business booths will take place Wednesday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The Leader has a special supplement inside this issue devoted to the business expo. The newspaper will have a booth and will raise funds for the Jimmie H. White II Memorial Park on the north side of Jacksonville.

Supporters need $900 for a new bridge at the park. An anonymous donor has agreed to match funds raised at the business expo.

Trooper White grew up and lived in the area until his untimely death at the age of 32.

He was killed on June 1, 2002 while “leapfrogging” to clear traffic during a motorcade for the Blue Angels, who headlined a weekend air show at the base.

Supporters and friends of Trooper White will also have a booth at the expo.

Free tickets to a sneak preview are being offered to all chamber member businesses. The preview is Jacksonville’s first “red carpet” event with time for those who attend to enjoy music, hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, pose for pictures and mingle with celebrity look-a-likes and participating businesses will incorporate movie themes into their exhibit decorations.

There is no cost to attend on the expo, but those who attend will have the opportunity to purchase $1 tickets to use in exchange for the food from booths or to place them into the grand prize drawing that will be awarded.

The grand prize will be a complete living room set donated by Unique Furniture.

TOP STORY >> Despite shortages, battle will be long

Leader staff writer

Maj. Gen. Marc Rogers, 19th Air Force commander at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, told airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base the ongoing global war on terror is stretching military budgets and personnel.

“There is not enough money in the budget to upgrade our fleets and build the capabilities it’s going to take to fight through the long term,” Rogers said about the challenges airmen face as they fight the global war on terror, or the Long War, as he called it. But he vowed to fight the war with all the resources at his command.

“It’s our duty to support the lead dogs on the ground who are face-to-face with the guns (in combat). That’s our Army soldiers and Marines. I love those guys and will do everything in my power to support them,” Rogers said.

Air Force officials are trying to balance the high costs of personnel and organizational inefficiencies to meet national and worldwide defense needs with a plan called Air Force Smart Operations 21. Part of the plan will reduce 40,000 personnel by 2011, about 12 percent of the 340,000 people now serving in the active-duty Air Force.

Most of the reductions were made in support roles, including 270 positions at Little Rock Air Force Base, such as communications, public affairs, chaplains, civil engineering, legal and finance, according to Maj. Joe Atkins, 314th Mission Support Squadron commander.

To date, no aircrew or maintenance positions were identified as part of the cuts.

“These cuts aren’t about faces; this is about spaces. It’s a difficult time, but we need to do this for the force – for the country,” said Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander of the 314th Airlift Wing. The personnel cuts will help support the hardware side of the Air Force mission, such as replacing older C-130 cargo aircraft with the newer C-130J models.

“We’re working with headquarters to ensure the mission of training the world’s best aircrews doesn’t stop,” Self said.
Rogers agreed, saying the key to success in the face of the personnel cuts is efficient thinking and organization.

“It’s going to impact us, but we have to do it because our most expensive system is people. We have to upgrade our aircraft and capabilities,” Rogers said.

“Military organizations throughout history have always had one core competency. They had to pay attention to the training piece. It’s part of our job every day,” Rogers said.

“I applaud what you do, and never make any mistake about how important you are on the war on terror. You can’t help but believe that if we don’t get the training piece right and keep the pipeline flowing, none of that operational stuff forward would ever happen. We won’t be able to execute out there. We are producing expert and well-trained human beings who can go out and execute their missions decisively in a professional and excellent manner in the face of a lot of adversity,” Rogers said.

Rogers is responsible for the day-to-day training of approximately 2,000 U.S. and allied Air Force students. The training ranges from entry-level flying training through advanced combat crew training, and ultimately provides fully qualified aircrew personnel for the war-fighting commands. The 19th Air Force is composed of more than 31,000 assigned personnel and 1,800 aircraft in 25 units throughout the country.

Rogers has led combat operations in both Iraq and Bosnia. He has 2,300 flight hours including 184 combat hours.

Tech. Sgt. Arlo Taylor and Capt. David Faggard at Little Rock Air Force Base contributed to this article.

TOP STORY >> Alderman sues to get information

Leader staff writer

Cabot Alderman Odis Waymack filed suit in circuit court Monday afternoon against the mayor and three city employees over access to a survey of First Street, where seven one-lane bridges need to be replaced.

Waymack is alleging a violation of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and is asking that a judge decide within seven days if he should have been denied the documents he requested of staff at Cabot Public Works on April 21.

Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh says Waymack had not been denied anything because he didn’t request it of him as he was instructed and as other council members do.

“If you want something, you call the mayor’s office,” Stumbaugh said.

Furthermore, Stumbaugh says, Waymack didn’t request the survey under the Freedom of Information Act. He never actually said the words, which he says would have made the request official and required that it be honored within three days. Since he didn’t request anything, either of his office or under the FOIA, he couldn’t have been turned down, the mayor insisted.

Named in the suit are the city of Cabot, Stumbaugh, Public Works Director Jim Towe, City Engineer Gayle Maynard and Norma Naquin, another public works employee.

Stumbaugh had not seen the suit Tuesday morning when he talked to The Leader, and he said that fact was evidence that the suit is politically motivated.

“Odis is just a troublemaker,” the mayor said. “If he spent half as much time working for the city as he does harassing me, the city would be a whole lot better place. The man has some problems. I just hope he gets right before he goes.”

Waymack says he needed the survey to save money on a water-flow study for the First Street bridges that he is paying an engineer to conduct. Some members of the council who are reluctant to support the city/county partnership say they need evidence that the round culverts Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman wants to install would be large enough for the water that would flow through them.

Waymack said the flow study would hopefully resolve that issue, but when the staff at Public Works refused to give him the survey, he turned his attention instead toward what he says is a flagrant violation of freedom of information.

“Stubby is not the custodian of the records,” Waymack said. “I think he believes he is, but is the court going to say that? The state statute doesn’t require you to go to the mayor.”

Meanwhile, an ordinance before the city council that would have the city and county working together to replace the bridges and build two roads that proponents say would ease traffic congestion was held for a second time Monday night, because although it presumably has the votes needed to pass, it doesn’t have the votes needed to override a mayoral veto.

TOP STORY >> GOP fights with itself for control

Leader staff writer

The Lonoke County Republican Party has sufficiently matured—at least in the Cabot area—to splinter into a more strictly conservative group led by former state Rep. Randy Minton, which is fielding primary candidates against other, less doctrinaire Republicans.

Minton’s group, a local branch of the national and state Republican Assembly, has endorsed a field of candidates that includes challengers to Republican quorum court members Gina Burton and Marty Stumbaugh.

In a full-page ad in the Lonoke County Lincoln Day Dinner program, Minton endorsed a slate of “conservative Republicans,” including incumbent Larry Odom over Cabot Alderman Patrick Hutton, Casey Van Buskirk against Burton, and Mark Edwards against Stumbaugh.

Stumbaugh believes the Republican Assembly targeted him for a primary race opponent because he favored letting residents vote on a new tax to expand and repair the jail instead of redistributing the existing county sales tax at the expense of towns and cities, which depend on that money. Stumbaugh also crossed party lines to vote with Democrats on occasion.
Stumbaugh’s brother Stubby is the Cabot mayor.

Burton said she fell from grace when she refused to vote for a proposed resolution favored by other Republicans, but which she had not had time to read and study.

“Our mission is to strengthen the Republican Party by registering voters, recruiting members, developing party leadership, endorsing candidates and supporting officials who share out beliefs and principles,” according to Patrick Briney, president of the Arkansas Republican Assembly (ARRA). Briney said ARRA is “the Republican wing of the Republican party.”
Republicans are facing off in four quorum court primary races, while Democrats will face off in two primaries.


Jannette Minton of Austin is the Republican incumbent, challenged by one Republican and one Democrat. “I’m a fiscal conservative,” Minton said. “I just want to see the county live within its budget.”

If she is reelected, Minton said she wants to look into buying office supplies in bulk. Now, all the elected department heads have their own budgets and buy their own supplies. If bulk purchasing would save money, it should be considered, she said.
Minton says the Lonoke County Republican Assembly has endorsed her because of her conservative values, not because she is married to Randy Minton. “There are several of us on the quorum court who are conservative, and we hope to keep the conservative momentum going,” she said.

Minton’s Republican challenger, Vincent B. Ables of Buterville, sees similarities between his work for Lockheed Martin at the air base in Jacksonville and the work he hopes to do for the county. “I manage accounts,” Ables said. “What the quorum court does is manage the money that’s divided among the different departments. I’d like to see the county run more efficiently with a little less confrontation. Every time you pick up a newspaper, you read about them fighting,” he said.

“I’m not a fierce political opponent,” he said. “This is my first race, and if I don’t win I might run again in a couple of years. Am I worried about not getting elected? No. If there was somebody out there more qualified I’d vote for them myself.”

The winner will face Larry Ridge-way, a Democrat, in November. Ridgeway, a former quorum court member, lost to Minton in 2004.


Patrick Hutton of Cabot, in his fourth year on the Cabot City Council, says he is running for the quorum court because it is time to move on from the city council and let someone else have a chance.

“I believe in self-imposed term limits,” Hutton said. “There are people out there who could do the job as well as I can, and who knows, in a few years I might be back.”

When the Republicans on the quorum court divide, the split is 5-2, with Alexis Malham, Donna Pedersen, Janette Minton, Larry Odom and Lynne Clark voting against Gina Burton and Marty Stumbaugh. Hutton is Burton’s brother-in-law. Odom, his opponent, has been endorsed by the Lonoke County Republican Assem-bly. Odom, in his 16th year on the quorum court, said his goal if elected to a ninth term is the implementation of the road plan released earlier this year by the county’s long-range transportation plan. “Our community of northern Lonoke County can’t continue to grow if we don’t solve our transportation problems,” Odom said. “The people are going to look elsewhere for homes.”

The county plan includes an additional interchange between the two existing interchanges and a railroad overpass in the vicinity of Richie Road as well as new roads to loop the city.

Much of the plan is long range, but an offer by the county to replace seven one-lane bridges with round culverts for $75,000 instead of the $750,000 the city intended to spend on square culverts has been neither accepted nor turned down by the city council in two months.

“One thing I’d really like to get done is replacing those Mickey Mouse, Model-T bridges on First Street,” Odom said.
Odom, who is endorsed by the Lonoke County Republican Assembly, says he doesn’t represent any special interest group.
“I just try to judge every issue and make a call,” he said.


Burton,, 42, running for her third term, works for the state Depar-tment of Finance and Administration. “We’ve been instrumental in getting the jail issue addressed,” she said. “It’s a Band-Aid. We need to secure funds for it without raising taxes.”

Burton, chairman of the insurance committee, said “We saved $87,000 on insurance last year, and there was no (increase) this year.”

“We think we run on bare bones, but there must be some areas we can tweak. We run efficiently, but we must account for every dollar spent.

She said she’d there was about half a million dollars sitting in the County Library fund that she’d like to see made available for the county to use—if that’s possible.

“We need to readdress the percentages (of the county tax) she said.

She and Odom have gotten crossways she said, because Odom thought she should have voted for a resolution that he vouched for but she hadn’t read. “They felt I should have taken his word about it,” she said. “A prudent elected official reads what they vote on. I vote my conscience,” she said. “Sometimes with Democrats, but I’ve voted many times with Republican values.

Burton’s opponent, Casey Van Buskirk, 32, describes herself as a stay-at-home mom, running for office for the first time.
She has some college education, mostly general education and in sign language. “I think transportation is an issue, especially in Cabot,” she said. She favors a transportation plan promoted and undertaken by Odom and Troutman.

“I’m in support of that, but not increasing taxes. Deciding where the tax dollars go is purpose of the job,” she said.
Van Buskirk said she’s been going door to door, handing out cards and putting the word out. “I’m excited for the opportunity,” she said. “I’m learning more about our government and I feel very patriotic.” The winner between Van Buskirk and Burton will face Democrat Patty Knox in the November general election.


Stumbaugh, 32, a lieutenant with the Cabot Fire Department, is running for his third term. “We’ve seen a lot of change,” said Stumbaugh. “I’m proud what we have done, Republicans and Democrats.

One of battles is space for jail and clerk’s office, he said. “We’re going to be able to remodel what the county has and upgrade the space. It’s going to help us tremendously.”

He said the improved and expanded jail would let the sheriff “Put people where they need to be instead of bonding them out.”

“We’re trying to get as much help as we can with county roads.

“Our budgeting process is not where I would like it to be, but we’re headed in the right direction.”
Stumbaugh said he believed that Randy Minton and Lynn Weeks Clarke sought an opponent for him because he didn’t always vote they way they thought he should.

Of his primary opponent, Stum-baugh said, “The only way he’ll beat me is to outwork me.”

That opponent, Mark Edwards, 35, is a loss control engineer for St. Paul Travelers Insurance.

Edwards said this was his first attempt at political office and that ironically, he was encouraged to seek office—not necessarily that office—by Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, his opponent’s brother. “No one had filed as JP in my district,” he said.
He said several people had encouraged him to consider running. “I think there’s some things in the county I’d like to see taken care of. He said in the past year or two, progress had been made on some of them, like the jail problem and traffic problems. “There’s a difference of opinion on how things should be handled,” he said of Cabot-area congestion. He said Stumbaugh didn’t attend enough quorum court meetings. “I believe if someone is elected to perform a certain job, they need to show up.” Edwards said he had been to two quorum court meetings, both since he decided to run. He said he had met with Minton and the Republican Assembly. He and his wife Frances have a 4-year-old daughter.

TOP STORY >> Democrats out to win

Leader staff writers

While the Lonoke Republicans are locked in an intra-party struggle for quorum court seats, the Democrats have just two contested seats in the primary races, each with three candidates.


Fred Ibbotson, from the Lonoke area, one of three Democratic candidates for the seat now held by Woody Evans, said growth in the southern part of the county where he lives is in-evitable within the next 20 years and he believes it deserves strong representation like the northern part has with the Republican members of the quorum court.

Ibbotson, a partner in a towing business, said his experience with finances would be an asset to the quorum court. “If there is anything I can do to help, I want to,” he said.

Nita Colclasure says she learned as the state chairman for Toys for Tots and while helping to start a GED program for state prisoners that one person can make a difference.

“We’ve let the same families, the same names run our county for too long,” she said.
The Lonoke area has a lot to offer with its historic buildings and I-40 but it’s not being promoted as it should be. It will never be Cabot, she said, but it should at least have a good steakhouse.

While economic development and historical preservation fall outside the scope of the work usually performed by the quorum court, Colclasure says there is no rule that says it must stay that way.

“We really do have a lot to offer if they would just give us a chance,” she said.

Roger D. Lynch says he would like to work with the county budget and he believes his experience with budgets from his management job at Remington Arms will be an asset to the District 8 seat.

“There’s never enough money to go around,” Lynch said. “I feel like people on the quorum court have to make value judgments about what’s important. I’m as able as anyone to make a good, sound judgment. But you’ve also got to be able to work in a group and you need to be able to sell your ideas.”


Two Democrats are challenging Norman Walker for the seat he has held since 1997. Kyle Lackey, 28, a first-time candidate, is a pharmacist technician in his father’s Lonoke drug store.

He has a degree in business management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
His father, Ray Lackey, was on the quorum court for eight years.

“I think the county judge (Charlie Troutman) is doing an excellent job,” said Lackey. Jail improvement, road maintenance and courthouse overcrowding are among the top issues, he said.

“I’ll support (Troutman) 100 percent,” he said. He also cited health insurance as “a big deal for everyone.” He said the cost was going up and the quality going down for the county health plan.

Lackey’s wife Amber is an emergency room nurse at the Stuttgart Regional Medical Center. They have a 3-year-old daughter. Lackey said that working in the family business, he sees at least 50 area residents a day, giving him access to their needs and thoughts.

But, he said, “I’ll support whoever wins.”
Virgil Turner, 74, wants to be the voice for aging Lonoke County residents. He’s the assistant minister of the Prairie Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Hazen.

Turner, a Nashville (Howard County) native, retired from a community action agency in Chicago, where he was executive director. Then he moved to Lonoke, where his wife Lily grew up, he said. He served as the executive director of the Arkansas AIDS Foundation.

Turner has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arkansas A&M College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

As a youngster, his family sharecropped, and he grew up picking and chopping cotton, he said.
Turner is a Central Arkansas Development Council consultant. He helped coordinate meals in Lonoke for Katrina victims and was a member of the search committee that just helped hire the new Lonoke police chief.

The Turners have three daughters; two are lawyers and one a middle school principal.

Walker, 49, is running for a sixth term. He works for Agricultural Services Inc. as a truck driver. It’s a hazardous-spill response company.

“I like working with the quorum court members. We’re finally coming together,” he explains

He says that because of his experience on the court, “we’re at the point now where I can really get some things done. I’m honest with the people. If I can’t do something, I’ll tell them. I work closely with the county judge.”

He sponsored resolutions to get city water to the Kerr Community and also to get grants for the Martin Loop Fun Park. “That’s part of my district,” he said.

Walker has helped get streets paved in his district.

The court as a whole is “making some progress on the jail,” he said.

As chairman of the county personnel policy revision committee, Walker says he wants to change Lonoke from a county that can fire an employee at will to a “for-cause county. I’ll be pushing to do that.”
He wants to make the federal credit union available in Lonoke.

Walker is on the board of the Central Arkansas Development Council. He is past president of the Lonoke County branch of NAACP, and chaired Lonoke City Concerned citizens.

He holds an associate degree in business management.

Walker has lived in Lonoke for 27 years. He’s married to the former Mattie Williams of Lonoke. They have four grown children.