Friday, July 07, 2006

TOP STORY >> Animals will soon get new shelter

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: City employees are pitching in to get the facility ready for its July 17 opening.

City employees are pitching in to get Cabot’s new animal shelter ready to open soon.

Jim Towe, the city’s director of public works, said Friday that he and City Engineer Gail Mainard will work this weekend and evenings next week to help complete the $452,000, 7,000-square-foot facility.

Specifically, they intend to complete the bathroom this weekend, including painting the cabinet and installing the laminate top, he said.

Both Towe and Mainard are salaried workers, so their “overtime” hours don’t cost the city extra, he said.

If all the work is completed as expected, the shelter should be ready to open by the week of July 17, Towe said, but it is too soon to say when the grand opening will be held.

Cabot City Beautiful is expected to landscape the grounds next week, he said. Workers are currently laying the tile floor and hanging solid wood doors that were donated anonymously.

Towe said it is disappointing that the building was not completed in time for this weekend’s ball tournament at the Allman-Bevis Sports Complex, where the shelter is located. But he said there will be other events at the complex, and the stray animals the shelter will house will have a much better chance of finding homes than the ones at the old shelter at 800 Kerr Station Road beside the old city shop.

In addition to the better location, the new shelter will have an inside play area and an outside play area, so prospective pet owners will have a chance to get to know the animals before they take them home.

The new shelter also will have two rooms for cats, which cannot be housed at the old shelter, a puppy room, 20 kennels, a laundry room for washing bedding, an office, a room for storing food and one for preparing it, a quarantine room and a room for euthanizing animals that are not adopted and is being called a “surgery room.”

One more advantage at the new shelter is the number of volunteers who are expected to help with the animals.

“We’ve got people coming out of our ears wanting to volunteer,” Towe said. “I don’t blame them for not wanting to come to the old one with the shape it’s in. But we’ve got a lot of people who want to help out at this one.”

The new shelter is part of a $28 million bond issue that is supported by a 1-cent tax. In addition to $200,000 for the shelter, the bond issue includes $7 million to pay off the old bonds, $16.5 million for a sewer treatment plant, $1.5 million to help build a community center that is now under construction, $1.8 million for street improvements and $800,000 for the city’s part of a railroad overpass near Austin.

A small part of the money for the new animal shelter was donated or earned through fundraisers, but most of the $250,000 that was available for the shelter before the bond issue came from the city’s general fund.

TOP STORY >> Band high steps in Washington

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Cabot High School Band marched and played before a national audience during the national Independence Day Parade down Constitution Avenue in the U.S. capital.

The Cabot High School Band made its national debut during the Independence Day Parade in Washington Tuesday. Cabot had 168 band members in the mile-long parade playing for 90 minutes for more than 250,000 spectators.

“It’s quite a feeling to be standing on Constitution Avenue, playing patriotic music on the Fourth of July,” said Cabot High School Band director Joe Trusty. The band performed “Tribute to America,” a medley of “God Bless America” and “This Is My Country.”

Forty adults accompanied the students to Washington, including Mark Tenney, assistant band director at Cabot High School, and the junior high band directors John Prater, Kara Reynolds, Erica Hahn and Janet Granderson.

“It was a good experience,” said trumpet player Daniel Gates, 18.

“I definitely want to go back because we only saw half the things up there,” Gates said.

The students have been preparing for the trip since December to raise the $130,000 needed for the trip, as well as practicing twice a week since school got out.

Even with the most rigorous training, marching with instruments, in full uniform in the 94-degree temperature proved too much for a handful of students who had to step out of the parade to rest.

“I think every band there had people stepping out. I could not have been more proud of our students,” Trusty said.
There was plenty of fun and sightseeing once the group arrived in the nation’s capital.

On Monday, the band placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
“That was the most moving experience in my life. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” said Doug Gates, Daniel’s father and chaperone.

“The kids were great. They were well behaved, patient and flexible whenever we had a rain delay here or a traffic jam there,” Gates said.

After the parade, the group rested before another round of sightseeing and watching the fireworks display over the National Mall.

“I’ve been to Disney World on the Fourth of July, and that fireworks display was nothing compared to what we saw in Washington,” said Tom Lieblong, one of the parents on the trip. His son Joshua also plays trumpet.

“It was the first time to travel for a lot of those kids and it was a great trip,” Lieblong said.

TOP STORY >> New group commander

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Col. Lockard takes over command of the 314th Mission Support Group at Little Rock Air Force Base from Col. Starkey during a ceremony Wednesday.

Retiring Col. John Starkey passed the reins of leadership of the 314th Mission Support Group to Col. Scott Lockard Wednesday during a ceremony inside a hangar at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Lockard is the former deputy commander for operations for the 463rd Airlift Group at the base. A replacement for Lockard has not been named yet, according to Col. John Gomez, commander of the 463rd Airlift Group.

“The biggest challenge I’m facing is getting to know the people and the job specialties in the mission support group,” Lockard told The Leader.

Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander at LRAFB, said it is always hard to say goodbye to great leaders like Starkey, but the general has confidence in Lockard’s ability to lead the mission support group.

“If I had to sum up Scott Lockard in one word, it would be ‘Git-R-Done’ because Scott gets things done. I look forward to watching his smoke,” Self said, combining the Air Force reference of watching the smoking engines of a jet fighter with the catchphrase of blue-collar television comic Dan Whitney, more commonly known as Larry the Cable Guy.

“I try to say ‘yous guys’ like John Starkey, but it just doesn’t work with my Southern drawl. You’ll just have to settle for ‘y’all,’” Lockard told the troops of the 314th Mission Support Group, poking fun at Starkey’s New York accent.

Born in Siaoghters, Ky., Lockard entered the military at Mather Air Force Base in California. He rose through the ranks at Nellis, Pope, Scott and McGuire Air Force bases to become the commander of the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan.

Before arriving at LRAFB, Lockard was the assistant director for operations for the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon. As a navigator, he has more than 2,400 hours of flight time.

His decorations include two Ku-wait Liberation medals for service in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the National Defense Service Medal with a star, the Air Force Commen-dation Medal, the Southwest Asia Service medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

TOP STORY >> More water to flow

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Jacksonville is paying $6.7 million for a line from Little Rock, including $2 million for a water tower here.

A multi-million dollar water project is underway as a transmission line makes its way toward Jacksonville and will benefit the entire region.

A bid of $6.7 million to construct pipes across the I-430 bridge spanning the Arkansas River marks the next step of a $44 million project to switch Jacksonville’s dependency on water wells in Lonoke County to Little Rock-based Central Arkansas Water, according to Ken Anderson, general manager for Jacksonville Water Department. This will help Jacksonville, Cabot and north Pulaski County water departments tap into the Central Arkansas Water supply.

Of the $44 million project, $14.3 million will be Jacksonville’s financial responsibility.

“The cost will be shared by Central Arkansas Water, Jackson-ville, Cabot and North Pulaski County Water Works,” Anderson explained.

This week, a sign denoting a future water tower stood between the Redmond Road railroad tracks and the south end of the newly-developed Hidden Oaks subdivision. The sign indicates that upon completion, the elevated tank will hold one million gallons of water. The cost to build the water tower is set at $2 million.

One of two transmission lines allowing CAW to pump water to Jacksonville will connect at this site, Anderson explained.
It will follow the route of existing railroad tracks toward the Brushy Island area. Going past the Two Pines landfill, this transmission line will tie into one of CAW’s existing lines.

lay the water pipeline at $4.5 million.

This part of the project requires easements as well.

“There are only three or four major landowners on this side, and the landfill has already agreed to it,” Anderson told The Leader.

Shoring up this project to ensure Jacksonville has an adequate water source is a concern for local leaders. “The well system aquifer keeps dropping every year,” Anderson said.

“At the level we’re pumping now, we could go to 2015 before production from the wells would be decreased.”

A second transmission line heading toward Gravel Ridge to the west of Jacksonville must also be completed, but its exact route has yet to be determined. It will cost more to complete this water line.

“At the end of the project, Jacksonville will have four tanks (water towers) and maybe a fifth one, depending on the Sherwood annexation,” Anderson said.

Per request by property owners, the city south of Jacksonville plans to annex undeveloped land, which includes an area to the north and east of Bayou Meto.

Local funding to cover expenditures for the project has already begun.

In 2005, Jacksonville water customers felt the impact of a 28 percent rate hike in 2005. The increase was expected to generate an $849,639 increase in revenue, Anderson said.

This year, 12.5 percent rate hike took place and even more cash flow is expected. This year’s estimate is set at $1.25 million. In 2007, a rate hike of 10.5 percent could generate nearly $1.7 million. In 2008, the figure could rise to $2.1 million.

Prior to this plan, Jacksonville water customers experienced its last rate hike in 2000. Before 2000, Jacksonville’s water rate had remained the same for 15 years, Anderson said.

TOP STORY >> Suspect arrested for two killings

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: Jacksonville man waives extradition in the recent slayings of a father and son.

After waiving extradition on a fugitive warrant last week in Little Rock, a Jacksonville man accused of an out-of-state double homicide of a father and son is being held without bond at Montgomery County Jail in Tennessee.

This week, deputies from Mont-gomery County Sheriff’s Office took custody of Chinu Kim, 23, of Jacksonville from the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center in Little Rock before transporting him to Tennessee. Kim was then charged with two felony counts of first-degree murder, three counts of felony murder, one felony count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one felony count of aggravated kidnapping and one felony count of theft of property involving a vehicle.

These charges were prompted by a Montgomery County grand jury, which returned indictments and warrants for Kim for the double homicides.

According to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department personnel, there were only two murders and the other counts dealt with felonies allegedly committed during the incidents.

On June 23, Juan J. Vasquez, 45, was found slain at 912 Dominion Drive in Clarksville, Tenn., and the body of 18-year-old Thomas L. Vasquez was located at a high school in Mont-gomery County, Tenn.

The father was known to be a civil rights advocate, according to out-of-state media reports.

Initially, Jacksonville police took the suspect into custody on the fugitive warrant on June 24. Larry Hodge, a deputy at Montgomery County, initially referred to Kim as a “person of interest.”

The fugitive warrant involving theft was out of Clarksville, Tenn.

Hours after murder victims were located in, Jacksonville police were alerted about a local man wanted by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department possibly being in the area.

Local police officers arrested Kim, 912 Martin St., on a fugitive warrant at about 1:30 a.m. on June 24.

This investigation was handled by the Clarksville Police and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. Both are located in Tennessee.

Lt. Joe Stevenson, public information officer for Clarksville Police Department, previously indicated that the two murders were possibly related.

TOP STORY >> Wife charged in murder of her husband

Leader staff writer

A week after celebrating her 53rd birthday, a Sherwood woman is in jail charged in the shooting death of her husband. She supposedly shot and killed her husband during an argument early Friday morning in their Sherwood apartment.

Carolyn Cooper, 53, of 9901 Brockington Road, Apt. B-14, was charged with first-degree murder and is in the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility with a bond set at $500,000.

The murder, the first for the city since Oct. 3, 2003, is still under investigation. But according to information released by the police so far, officers responded to the apartment at 1:04 a.m. and found Gregory W. Cooper, 55, shot multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was apparently shot during an argument.

No court dates had been set as of Friday afternoon.

EDITORIAL >> What to do with surplus

The appearance of a sizable surplus in the treasury provides fun and political opportunity for every state officeholder.

Merely to talk about taxpayer rebates and tax cuts is manna for troubled political careers. When the year-end revenue report calculated the general-revenue surplus for fiscal 2006 at $403 million, Gov. Huckabee, the major-party candidates for governor and several lawmakers were talking, although very vaguely, about giving some of the money back to taxpayers in the form of rebates, reduced tax rates or both.

No one would wish for the opposite, a big shortfall in tax collections, but citizens and taxpayers should be aware that big surpluses can also spell danger. In fact, they have nearly always been precursors of fiscal troubles.

Memories are not so short that we can forget the big surpluses of President Clinton’s last two years in office, the first federal surplus in 30 years and the first back-to-back surpluses in more than half a century. Clinton was able to brag in 1999 and 2000 about using the surpluses to pay down the national debt and shore up Social Security.

President Bush had a different idea. He got a Republican Congress to cut taxes sharply for corporations, the wealthy and their heirs, which he said would stimulate investment and create tens of millions of new jobs.

He predicted prosperity and even bigger surpluses. Instead, record deficits returned.

But Arkansas does not have the luxury of deficits. Unlike the president, the governor and legislature cannot print money or borrow from the central bank of China to cover the state’s spending when the economy turns south again. They have to raise taxes or eliminate services.
The last time the state began to stack up modest surpluses was under Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and his successor, Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee championed a tax cut, and the legislature in 1997 passed a phased reduction in personal income taxes that Gov. Tucker and the Democratic House speaker had fashioned. Huckabee signed it and forever after became a tax cutter.

He tells Republican audiences about it this summer as he campaigns for president. He tells people (wrongly) that he is the only Arkansas governor in modern times to cut taxes.

But let us scan the whole picture. Not long after the tax cuts took effect, the economy soured and the state faced the prospect of cutting Medicaid and other services to keep the budget balanced. Instead, the governor and the legislature raised taxes, and raised them again. They levied a temporary income surtax. They reimposed a beer tax. Since 1997, they have raised the sales tax three times by a total of 1.5 percent and expanded it to a few services, and they raised motor fuel taxes by a nickel a gallon.

While tax collections exceeded spending by $403 million in the year just ended and a smaller surplus is forecast for the new fiscal year, regional indicators suggest that the economy is cooling and that state revenues will slump, as they always do.

Gov. Huckabee said he would like to give some of the surplus back to taxpayers, but he wants legislators to demand that he call them into session to do it. He would like to carry some credit for tax relief into a presidential campaign, but he doesn’t want to risk looking ineffective if the legislators did something else. Sen. Tracy Steele of North Little Rock suggests sending a little check to taxpayers.

But it would indeed be only a gesture, and the little refund would not go to tens of thousands of taxpayers who need it the most, the poorest working families who are not on the income tax rolls.

Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson, the candidates for governor, want to use the occasion to reduce taxes on groceries when the legislature assembles in January. Since the Arkansas tax system is one of the most regressive in the country, the idea has some appeal.

But billionaires do not need relief from taxes on their porterhouses, nor do most of us. There is nothing innately unfair about a tax on food except for those on whom it really is a burden. A better way to achieve this relief is an earned income tax credit that refunds grocery and utility taxes for those struggling to pay their bills. It would help those in need without jeopardizing the state’s solvency.

As for the surplus, which will approach $700 million when the legislature gathers again in January, the needs exceed even that sum.

The state still must comply with the court mandate to improve substandard schools throughout the state. Prisons and jails are packed and if the state is not going to change the sentencing grid it should build more prisons so that criminals are not routinely released because there is no room for them.

Construction at colleges and universities should be funded from the surplus rather than through long-term debt, as Gov. Huckabee and the legislature proposed last year. And the state should establish a rainy-day fund of perhaps $200 million to protect services from long economic downturns.

When politicians talk like the business cycle has been repealed, we need to be prudent and realistic, and then take a firm grip on our pocketbooks.

OBITUARIES >> 07-08-06


William Vernon McLean, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed on to be with the Lord on July 5. He was preceeded in death by his parents and one son, Roland “Buddy” McLean. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Ava McLean; one son, Randy and wife Pricilla McLean; four daughters, Peggy and husband Boyce Nichols, Laurie and husband Randy Phillips, Rhonda and husband Charles Farmer and Mary McLean; 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. today at Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke with interment in Old Carlisle Cemetery. Arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home.


Jimmie Joe Glover, 70, died July 7. He was a member of Lonoke Baptist Church, was retired from the military, a member of the Masonic Lodge and a 25-year faithful employee and funeral director at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

Survivors include his wife Martha Glover; children, Billie Dean and husband Bill Reed of Carlisle, Debbie Thomason of Louisiana, Rosemary and husband Teddy Hoskins of Kentucky, Pamela and husband Craig Blackard of Lonoke and Jimmy Ray “Rowdy” and wife Beverly Glover of Kentucky; brothers and sisters, Shirley Lewis of East End, Charlotte Kinslow and Dixie Rye of Lonoke, Sonny Glover of Cherokee Village and Ray Glover of Carlisle; grandchildren, Brooke, Zack and Tyler Reed of Carlisle, Carmen Fletcher of Louisiana, Heather, Ryan and Kaci Hoskins, Megan and Paige Glover , all of Kentucky and Taylor and Peyton Blackard of Lonoke.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Marvin and Essie Glover and a sister Rosemary Glover. Funeral services will be held 2 p.m. Sunday at Lonoke Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Arrangements by Boyd Funeral Home of Lonoke.


Jean R. Hazel, 73, of El Paso, was born Sept. 11, 1932, in El Paso to James “Sam” and Bessie Riley; and died July 4. She was owner of Jean Hazel Tax Co., and was a member of Oak Church of Christ. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Raymond G. Hazel, and her stepdaughter, Charlotte Rogers.

She is survived by one stepdaughter, Phyllis Bohannon of Florida; one stepson-in-law, Paul Rogers of El Paso; five brothers, James and wife Alice Riley of Ward, Tom, Sr. and wife Lela Riley, Jerry and wife Lula Riley, Doug and wife Kay Riley and Don and wife Arlena Riley, all of El Paso; four step-grandchildren and six step-great-grandchildren. Funeral will be services were held Friday at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Blasingame Cemetery.


Jerold Alan Mulloy, 62, of Jacksonville, died June 30. He was born July 23, 1943.  He served as a captain in the Marines.  He received the purple heart for injuries sustained in Vietnam and was a member of the Retired Military Association. Survivors include his wife, Wanda Wooten Mulloy of Jacksonville, daughters; Shannon Hickman and husband Michael of Ashland, Ore., and Shelly Mulloy of Jacksonville, his mother, Grace Mulloy of Yreka, Calif., brother, Larry Mulloy of Yreka, Calif., and grandchildren; Franklin LimeMa Mulloy and Kathy Mulloy. Private services will be set at a later date. Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Mabel Blakeley Williams 93, of Jacksonville died July 4.  She was a native of Sparkman.  She was born Dec. 28, 1912, to Henry J. and Lucy Avant Blakeley.

She graduated from Sparkman High School in 1930, where she was a member of the nationally known girls basketball team the “Sparkman Sparklers.”

The team participated in three national tournaments at Witchita, Kan., during high school and two such tournaments in college, placing high in each tournament.  The team was recently inducted into the Dallas County Sports Hall of Fame.

She attended Crescent College, a Junior College for Girls, where she earned an Associate of Arts degree.  After college, she married Stuart Williams, had two sons, and settled in Jacksonville.  She was an officer of First Arkansas Bank and Trust.  She was a member of First United Methodist Church; a Fifty-plus year member and past Matron and Deputy Grand Lecturer of the Order of the Eastern Star; Past President of National Business and Professional Women; Wesleyan Service Guild; Demolay Mother; Cub Scout Den Mother; and Former Member of the National Association of Bank Women.  She was also an avid Bridge Player for over 50 years and wrote a weekly column, “Reveries” for the Jacksonville Daily News for several years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Stuart Williams; a brother, Jim Blakely; a sister, Marguerite Brittan; and her parents.   Survivors include her two sons, Lt. Col. (Ret.) James R. (Bob) Williams and wife Ethel of Ocean Springs, MS; and Jack M. Williams and his wife Betty of Roswell, GA; three grandsons, Bret Williams, Kelly Williams, and Tim Mull-inax; two granddaughters, Rebecca Smith and Shaney Malloy; four great granddaughters and two great grandsons.  She is also survived by a sister, Rachel Heffner of Pine Bluff, AR and her very special best friend of sixty years, Melda Rice.

Funeral Services were held Friday at First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville with Rev. Carol Goddard officiating. Internment followed at Rest Hills Memorial Park in Sherwood. Funeral arrangements by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home. The Leader published a feature on Williams on June 14.

SPORTS >> Jacksonville High getting big new scoreboard


IN SHORT: Jan Crow Stadium is undergoing a facelift this summer. A new jumbo-tron scoreboard will accompany improvements to the press box and visitors side bleachers for the fall.

Renovations have been ongoing at Jacksonville High School’s Jan Crow Stadium throughout the summer break, and the biggest improvement is just beginning. The scoreboard on the north end of the football field was taken down Friday, and will be replaced by a new, larger one that will feature electronic advertising and a jumbo-tron screen.

Plans for the new scoreboard were hatched by local volunteer John Wolford, who has been running the scoreboard for JHS from the press box for several years.

“He (Wolford) came to me with the idea,” Jacksonville athletics coordinator Jerry Wilson said. “He’s been helping out here for years. He don’t have a kid in the program, he just loves his community and works hard for us. We took the idea to a few businesses and they jumped right in to help.”

The biggest financial backer of the renovations, which includes several other projects beside the new scoreboard, has been First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

“We took the idea to Larry Wilson (bank president),” Wilson said. “He asked us to let him think about it, and he agreed to do it that same day. It’s just another example of how committed he is to his community also. They’ve done so much for this town we couldn’t even count it.”

Gwatney Chevrolet and Sonic also donated large sums to the project. Local contractor Ronnie Hayden and the city of Jacksonville have also aided in the renovations.

Among the other improvements, the press box is getting new siding on the outside and paneling on the inside. Wilson also hopes to get the large window on the front of the press box tinted.

The JHS Booster Club is repainting the bleachers, while Hayden and the city have been instrumental in cleaning up the visitors stands and the area behind the south end zone.

“We’re trying to get all that cleaned out so we can put in a new fence line,” Wilson said. “We hope to have all that done so we can put in another gate on that side. We want to set up a ticket booth over there to accommodate the visitors.

The total dollar amount of the project, according to Wilson, is around $125,000.

“The good thing about that is it’s not coming out of our budget,” Wilson said. “This is all paid for by support from our community, and I can’t express how much we appreciate that.”

Wilson hopes the projects will be complete by the beginning of the season.

“That’s the goal, but that’s coming up on us real fast. I didn’t even realize how close it was.”

OPINION >> Summer no time of resting for Heath

Special to The Leader

While Arkansas’ football staff squeezes the last rest it will get before next week starting the 24/7 grind preparing for the August preseason, Razorback basketball coach Stan Heath and staff doubly launch into recruiting full bore.

From July 6-30, it’s a live recruiting period highlighted by the shoe companies’ AAU tournaments.

“We’ve got to target that rising senior class,” Heath said. “We have a limited amount of scholarships right now. At the same time we have to target that junior class even harder because we want to really get our foot into that class because that’s going to be a class we have quite a few scholarships for.”

One scholarship already has been promised to and accepted by Nate Rakestraw. Rakestraw plays high school ball at Springdale Har-Ber. He has said he will sign in November.

Heath’s biggest recruiting chore may seem with his own team. He and assistants Dan Hipsher, Oronde Taliaferro and new assistant Glynn Cyprien must convince this squad they can prevail despite losing leading scorer and best all-round player Ronnie Brewer to the pros as a Utah Jazz first-round draft choice plus losing second-leading scorer Jonathon Modica and combo-guard Eric Ferguson to graduation.

They are selling quickness and defense adding junior transfer point guard Gary Ervin, formerly Mississippi State’s two-year starting point guard, and incoming guards Sonny Weems, a JC transfer from Arkansas-Fort Smith, and freshmen Patrick Beverley and Stefan Welsh.

“We lost two prolific scorers in Brewer and Modica,” Heath said, “but balance, defense, speed and quickness we have probably improved in a lot of areas.”

Heath and Cyprien, apparently the basketball equivalent to a defensive coordinator with Hipsher the basketball equivalent to an offensive coordinator, look to utilize the defensive quickness to pester on the perimeter because 7-foot junior shot-blocker Steven Hill looms to erase mistakes inside.

“Having Steve,” Cyprien said, “you can really press out on the perimeter. That’s going to help with the quickness we have.”


Speaking of quickness, how about that Wallace Spearmon Jr.? While Fayetteville High grad Brewer got oodles of attention for getting drafted by the Jazz, Fayetteville High grad and former Raz-orback Spearmon won the USA National championship in the 200-meter dash at Indianapolis and will represent the U.S. later this summer at the World Cup meet.

“Wallace looked good,” Ark-ansas coach John McDonnell said. “He didn’t look good in the semifinal. It was rain delayed and he got a cramp in his hip. But in the final, boy he came alive.”

Spearmon can expect future challenges from Xavier Carter, the LSU track-football star forsaking football for a pro track career after becoming the first since legendary 1930s sprinter Jesse Owens to win the NCAA Outdoor 100 and 400 meters as well as be on winning 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays.

Carter’s NCAA performance in Sacramento wowed McDo-nnell, but the coach has been wowed by Spearmon since he won the NCAA Outdoor 200 as a freshman.

“Carter weighed 209,” McDonnell said, “and runs a 400 like that and is on the relays and running track all the flipping time. He’s going to be awfully good, but now they will be expecting huge things. And he’s got to come by Wallace Spearmon.”
Daniel Lincoln, the former Razorback and graduate of the Arkansas School of Mathematics and Science in Hot Springs, won the USA 3,000-meter steeplechase but likely will be doctored out of representing the U.S. at the World Cup.

Lincoln is a second-year UA Med School student in Little Rock.

“I don’t think Daniel will go because of med school,” McDonnell said. “Last year for the World Championships (in Europe) they brought him home to Little Rock for the orientation and they brought him back the day before the World Championships. One of their guys said, ‘We gave you three years. You are on our clock now!”

But if ever a man could punch both clocks....

“He destroyed the field,” McDonnell said. “if ever a man could do that kind of academics and running, it’s him. He ran I think he’ll hopefully break the American record. He’s in good shape. He really is.”

Lincoln plans to juggle med school and running through the 2008 Olympics.

SPORTS >> Double-dip split for Cabot and Conway

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: The Home Depot team shared a pair of games with Conway Wednesday night at Wade Field.

Home Depot split with Conway in a Class AA American Legion doubleheader Wednesday night at the Conrad Sports Complex. The Wampus Cats controlled the opener, taking a 7-3 win over Cabot after shutting them out until the sixth inning.

Cabot recovered nicely for the nightcap, dominating Conway in a 9-1 rout. Home Depot took advantage of nine walks and three errors from the Wampus Cats in game two, while managing six hits through six innings in the run-ruled contest.

The Wampus Cats got off to a blistering start at the plate in the opener. Dustin Hoover scored from the two-hole slot off a RBI from Zach Cates. Landon McClain reached the plate courtesy of a Jordan Leach RBI, and Cates brought the final run of the turn home by tagging up on a sacrifice fly from James Murphy to give Conway a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning.

The score remained 3-0 until the top of the fourth inning, when the Wampus Cats added three more runs off of starting pitcher Sean Clarkson. Clarkson was relieved by Sam Bates at that point, but not before Conway had mounted a comfortable 6-0 lead.

Home Depot had a small rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. Conway replaced starting pitcher Ronnie Grace with B.J. Lowe to start off the inning, and Lowe forced pop ups from Daryl Murphy and Logan Lucas for two quick outs.

Corey Wade prevented a three-and-out situation for Cabot with a single to left field. Shane Burgan followed that with a single to center, and Colin Fuller was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

A shot down the third base line from Drew Burks drove in Wade and Burgan. A standoff at second between Burks and Conway second baseman Grace shortly afterward allowed Fuller home for the third and final Cabot run of the game.

Josh Whitehurst added one more run for Conway in the top of the seventh with help from a Mitch Ferrell double to set the final margin.

Cabot refused to go down quietly, loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Home Depot needed a big hit from Burgan in order for the game to continue, but fresh Conway pitcher James Murphy forced a pop up from Burgan to end the game with runners at all bases.

Although they lost the opener, Home Depot was able to carry its late-game momentum into the second game. The game was tied 1-1 until the bottom of the third inning, when Cabot went through its entire line up to score four runs.

The only actual hit of the inning came from leadoff batter Burks. Burks grounded to center, followed by walks for fuller and Bates to load the bases with no outs. Blake Passmore then hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop, but Burks beat the throw to the plate for the score. A sacrifice fly from Lucas allowed Fuller to tag up for the next run, and an E6 on another fielder’s choice hit from Murphy scored Bates to make it 4-1 Cabot.

Passmore added the final run of the inning for Home Depot when Conway left fielder Josh Whitehurst was unable to come up with a pop fly from Tyler Sorrells. Cabot came out of the inning with a 5-1 lead over the Wampus Cats, and would only add to that lead as the game progressed.

Fuller scored off a Lucas hit in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead, and a series of walks for substitute batters in the bottom of the sixth scored the final three runs needed to put the game in run-rule status for Cabot.

Home Depot finished the evening with three runs, three hits and two errors in game one, and nine runs, six hits and two errors in game two. Conway had seven runs, 13 hits and two errors in game one, and one run, four hits and three errors in game two.

Lucas was 1 for 3 for Cabot in game two with two RBIs. Sorrells was 1 for 2 with a RBI. The split moves Home Depot’s record to 12-15 for the season. Cabot played at Russellville last night after Leader deadlines, and will play a Class AA doubleheader at Vilonia today starting at 1p.m.

SPORTS >> 'A' Bruins breeze past Greenbrier

Leader staff writer

Sylvan Hills’ class A team cruised through the first round of their zone tournament Thursday night, beating Greenbrier 10-2 and advancing to the second round.

Sylvan Hills cruised through the opening round of the American Legion Class A zone tournament at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park with a 10-2 win over Greenbrier Thursday.

The Bruins and the Panthers kicked off the tournament, with the winner advancing to face Jack-sonville in the second round Friday night. Gwatney received an opening-round bye for the tourney with the second-best record of the regular season.

Ross Bogard carried much of the weight for Sylvan Hills at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two triples, a home run and a pair of RBIs.

“Chris Eastham pitched a good game for us, and the guys played solid defense,” Bruins coach Jim Fink said. “Ross Bogard came out and really hit the ball for us too.”

The second and fifth innings were key for the Bruins offensively. Sylvan Hills scored nine of its total 10 runs in the contest in those two frames, taking a 4-0 lead after two innings and adding the final five runs in the fifth after Bogard’s solo homer in the bottom of the third.

Chris Eastham took the win at the mound for the Bruins. Eastham went all seven innings, giving up seven hits while allowing two walks and striking out eight batters.

It didn’t take Eastham long to get warmed up in the top of the first inning. Eastham struck out lead-off Greenbrier batter Tyler Harden in a matter of three pitches. Brent Henderson got the first hit of the game from the two-hole slot with a shot down the third base line, but the next two batters grounded out to end the Panther’s turn.

The Bruins went three-and-out during their first stint at the plate, with two groundouts and a K against Chris Dalton. Greenbrier got its second hit in the top of the second with a shot to left field from Kyle Hillis. During Ryan Wolfe’s turn at the plate, Hillis stole second, and then went for third just as Eastham struck Wolfe out. Bruins catcher Cody Cordmier made the throw to third baseman Dalton, and Hillis was tagged for the third out of the turn.

Sylvan Hills needed a spark to get them going offensively in the bottom of the second inning. That spark was overwhelmingly provided by Bogard to lead off the turn. Bogard sent the ball to deep center, rounding the bases to third by the time the Panthers got the ball back to the infield. An E3 put Cody Wood safely at first and allowed Bogard to score, giving Sylvan Hills a 1-0 lead.

A walk for T.C. Squires and a single for DH Brandon Chastain loaded the bases. Wood came home on a fielder’s choice smack from Cordmier, and Squires snuck past Panthers catcher Cody Garlington on a fielder’s choice from Blake Rix. The catcher missed the throw to the plate, but Squires missed the plate completely as he slid across. At the urging of the crowd and his teammates, Squires went back and touched the plate for the third SH run of the game. A double from Jessie Everett brought in Cordmier for the final run of the inning, giving the Bruins a 4-0 lead after two.

Greenbrier made up two of those runs in the top of the third. Harden scored off a double from Henderson, and Henderson came in courtesy of a Tanner Burrough double.

The game had the look of a run-fest until directly after Bogard’s home run in the bottom of the third. Bogard led off the inning with the smack over the centerfield wall, increasing Sylvan Hills’ lead to 5-2. Panthers pitcher Adam Chapman recovered well after giving up the HR, striking out the following three batters to end the inning.

Eastham answered Chapman in the top of the fourth, striking out three consecutive batters to send the Bruins back to the plate.

The defensive struggle carried on until the bottom of the fifth, when the Sylvan Hills bats came to life once again. After Dalton reached first on an error, Bogard got things rolling once again with his second triple of the game to drive Dalton in. Bogard scored off a Wood single, and Squires and Chastain loaded the bases for the Bruins with only one out.

Greenbrier put Burrough at the mound to try and slow the SH bombardment, but it didn’t work. Another error scored Wood, and force walks gave Chastain and Cordmier free trips to the plate for the final two runs of the game.

Sylvan Hills finished the game with 10 runs, nine hits and two errors. Greenbrier had two runs, seven hits and five errors. The Bruins moved on to play Jacksonville in the second round Friday night after Leader deadlines.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006



Rosa Jane Rawls, 39, of Dahlonega, Ga., formally of Jacksonville, died July 2. She was preceded in death by her father, Bobby Rawls.
Survivors include her mother, Virginia Marshall of Jacksonville; a son, Nicholas Glaze of Austin; four sisters, Kathy Gore of Chaparral, N.M., Pam Rawls of Hot Springs, Marsha Strong of Cabot and Helen Boje of Jacksonville; four brothers, Michael Stewart of Jacksonville, Bert Wolfe of Hollywood, Fla., and Tony and Donald Stewart of Ari-zona.
Graveside services will be held at 9:30 a.m. today at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Dale Wayne Reline went to be with the Lord on July 2. He was a special son, brother and uncle and will be greatly missed.
He loved his family and friends dearly and would do anything he could for them. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, William and Hazel Reline of St. Clairsville, Ohio, and his maternal grandparents, Alejandro and Concepcion Quintero of Bisbee, Ariz.
Reline is survived by his parents, Tom and Kathy Reline of Sherwood; his sister, Trina and husband Kevin Starnes of Gravel Ridge; his niece, Ali Isgrig of Sherwood; his nephew, Tommy and wife Amanda Isgrig and their son, Ethan of Sherwood; his best friend who watched over him throughout his long and painful illness, Sue Thompson and her children Bo, Cody and Dakota of Jacksonville, and a very special friend whom he loved dearly, Mary Sue Rowe and her children Scott and Stephanie Rowe of Jacksonville.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Funeral Home. Services will be 10 a.m. Thursday at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Chapel in North Little Rock. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Christian Church of Sherwood’s building fund, 2803 Kiehl Ave., Sherwood, Ark., 72120. Arrangements are by Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Funeral Home.


Jessica  Dawn Higley, 27, of Jacksonville, died July 3. She was born July 8, 1978, in Searcy to Harold Dean Sanson, Jr. and Colleen Hurst McNutt. Survivors include her husband, Peter Higley, Jr. of Jacksonville,  her mother, Colleen Hurst McNutt of Jacksonville; her father, Harold Dean Sanson, Jr. of Cabot; a brother, Harold Dean Sanson III of Cabot; two sisters, Jennifer Simpson and Michelle McNutt, both of Jacksonville; a grandfather, Harold Dean Sanson, Sr. of Jacksonville.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Moore’s Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville with Bro. Fred Reddock officiating. Inter-ment will follow at Concord Cemetery in Furlow. Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. today. The family gives special thanks to Arkansas Hospice. Funeral arrangements by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Marcela Beltran Gomez, 24, of Little Rock passed away June 23. She was born Oct. 26, 1981 in El Salvador. Survivors include husband Walter, daughter Judith, son Nathan, sisters Erica and Karla, brother Mario, father Carlos, grandmother Nelly and many other family and loved ones. Services are private. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service.


Sheila Ann Pruitt Bullock, 52, of Beebe, was born April 22, 1954, at Beebe to J. C. and Lillian Malcom Pruitt, and died July 1, at her home. She was a wonderful mother.
She was preceded in death by her father, and is survived by her son, Zachary and wife Ticie Bullock and her daughter, Kelly Bullock; grandson Brandon Bullock; and her mother, all of Beebe; five siblings, Bartis and Ellen Pruitt of Little Rock, Dewey and Barbara Pruitt of Cabot, Jean and Walt Mulholland of Fort Worth, Texas, Charles and Jane Pruitt of Beebe, Ronnie Pruitt of Beebe and nieces and nephews. Funeral services were Monday at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Antioch Cemetery.


Frances Ellen Rankin, 75, of Jacksonville, died July 2 in Cabot.
She was born March 7, 1931, in Marks, Miss., to the late Arthur and Flossie Lock Bennett. She was also preceded in death by a daughter, Audrey Clark, two sisters and four brothers. She moved from Mississippi in 2003. She was a Baptist.
Survivors include her daughter, Linda Grover of Jacksonville; son, John Clark and wife Lancy of Pearl, Miss.; brother, Charles Bennett and wife Donna of Memphis; five grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. Interment will be in Lakewood South Cemetery in Jackson, Miss. Arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Jerold Alan Mulloy, 62, of Jacksonville, died June 30. He was born July 23, 1943.  He served as a captain in the Marines.  He received the purple heart for injuries sustained in Vietnam and was a member of the Retired Military Association. Survivors include his wife, Wanda Wooten Mulloy of Jacksonville, daughters; Shannon Hickman and husband Michael of Ashland, Ore., and Shelly Mulloy of Jacksonville, his mother, Grace Mulloy of Yreka, Calif., brother, Larry Mulloy of Yreka, Calif., and grandchildren; Franklin LimeMa Mulloy and Kathy Mulloy. Private services will be set at a later date. Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

WED 7-5-6 EDITORIAL >> Loving homes for foster kids

If you looked at the evidence and the law and not the politics, you could not have been shocked at the unanimous decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court striking down a regulation of the state Department of Human Services that since 1999 has prevented gay or lesbian households from being foster parents.

The court, which included two justices appointed by Gov. Huckabee, said the evidence was overwhelming that the health and safety of neglected and abandoned children were not compromised by gay or lesbian foster parents, who according to all the reputable studies made just as caring and supportive parents as others. The Department of Human Services acknowledged that it had no negative reports on gay and lesbian foster parents before the ban started in 1999 and it produced none from outside Arkansas.

Other states do not have such bans, although Florida prohibits gay and lesbian adoptions.

Arkansas has a great shortage of foster parents and some history of abuse by them. It now warehouses hundreds of children in group homes like the Lord’s Ranch in Randolph County, which was rendered notorious once again last month when the owner was caught flying Gov. Huckabee to political events around the country.

It had won fat contracts with the Huckabee administration for housing children. It was in trouble with the state in the early ’90s for its treatment of children.

The state started the ban in 1999, when the governor’s appointees to the Child Care Review Board decided that gay foster parents violated what one member viewed as a Biblical injunction against homosexuals. A Pulaski chancellor who heard the testimony and then the Supreme Court concluded that had nothing to do with a child’s health and safety, which was all that state law allowed the department to regulate. If it wants to legislate one view of morality and apply it to foster parents, the legislature will have to pass a law to do that.

Seeing a hot-button political opportunity, all the big-time politicians running this year plus Gov. Huckabee immediately vowed to do just that next year when the legislature meets in special session again.

But they should first do what they say they want: Consider not what is the ideal home for these neglected children, but what is the best that can be done for the very few who will get the opportunity to be reared for a while in the home of people, regardless of sexual orientation, who will have their interests at heart and not a government check.

WED 7-5-6 EDITORIAL >> A tale of two schools

Jacksonville will get its own school district. State law has said so. Two consultant studies have said so and the residents of Jacksonville have said so.

The question is what havoc the over-stuffed egos that run the Pulaski County Special School District will cause between now and then. They’ll probably go to court to stop such foolish notions.

While the Cabot School District builds spanking-new schools every couple of years (including a $13.9 million high school set to open next month), the newest school in the Jacksonville area is 30 years old this year, and some of the school buildings are more than 60 years old.

Will Jacksonville see new buildings or major renovation in the upcoming years? If we look at PCSSD history, the answer is probably not.

And through it all, the only ones who get hurt are the kids.

A few years ago, Jacksonville made a bid for its own school district, and the county district, rather than doing what was right for the kids, took Jacksonville to court (at taxpayers’ expense) to get a ruling that said no dice to Jacksonville. And to get the ruling, the district flaunted its failures to get out from under federal court supervision—as long as the courts are monitoring the district, no major boundary changes are allowed.

Then as added retribution, it put students at Murrell Taylor Elementary in jeopardy.

Jacksonville asked the board to allow it to annex the school, along with other property in the area into the city. The other property owners said yes and were annexed. The PCSSD board said no, making the school a county-owned island surrounded by Jacksonville. The move meant if fire or police response was needed, the school would have to call the county, rather than the city, and wait longer than it should for a response. Luckily that bonehead move didn’t cost any lives or injury.
The board finally did relent and the school is now under the police and fire coverage of the city.

The consultants’ study shows that five schools in the proposed Jacksonville district are in need of replacing, and that none of the schools projected for the North Little Rock School District are in dire straits, and only one of the schools south of the river needs replacement.

So it’s clear that the Jacksonville school buildings are the worst of the lot, but will the repair, renovation and new construction money be spent on these Jacksonville schools? Not anytime soon.

Unlike Cabot, the Pulaski County district doesn’t care about educating its kids in the northern part of the county.

NEIGHBORS >> Going up: New Cabot Wal-Mart nearing completion, set to open July 19

Leader staff writer

The new Wal-Mart Supercenter that will open in Cabot this month will be bigger than the old one with wider aisles and a bigger selection of merchandise.

Melissa O’Brien, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, confirmed Friday that the store is scheduled to open July 19.
“It’s actually a supercenter that we’re relocating to a supercenter which is the first time we’ve done that,” O’Brien said, adding that the old store had become too small to serve the area.

The annual population estimates released in June by the U.S. Census Bureau places Cabot’s population at 21,039, an increase of 5,778 from the official 2000 census when Cabot’s population was 15,251, making it the second to Bentonville (the corporate headquarters of Wal-Mart) as the fastest-growing city in the state with populations of more than 10,000.

The new store will have an expanded grocery section, she said. It also will have a larger electronic department with more high-tech merchandise. The home section will be bigger with lower shelves and better displays to give customers decorating ideas.

O’Brien said the old store likely won’t stand empty very long. It was on the market just two weeks before it had prospective tenants, she said, adding that she could not release their names or the type of business.

The new store, which at 203,819 square-feet is roughly twice the size of the old one, is being stocked now. Cabot Public Works Director Jim Towe said the store has not been issued a certificate of occupancy, but he sees no reason for it to not open as scheduled. Asked about the traffic congestion in the area and whether Wal-Mart would help with completion of a road leading to the store from Highway 5, O’Brien said Wal-Mart is aware of traffic problems in the area but that the issue of completing the road is one that will have to be resolved between the city and county.

Lonoke County officials wanted the city to contribute $200,000 toward the construction of the road in exchange for the county replacing seven one-lane bridges on First Street with round culverts.

But the majority of the city council was opposed to the proposition and voted down in June an ordinance that would have obligated the city to spend the money on the new road.

SPORTS >> Jacksonville loses finale

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Chevy boys fell apart in the last inning Sunday in their finale of the Gwatney Chevrolet Fourth of July Classic. Tournament champion Paragould scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 9-4 victory. The win gave Paragould the tiebreaker over Sylvan Hills, giving the 7-Up squad the tournament championship. Paragould and Sylvan Hills finished the tournament with 3-0 records, but 7-Up gave up fewer runs.

Jacksonville fell behind 3-0 in the first innings, but came back and held a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh frame.
All of Paragould’s seventh-inning runs came with two outs. Relief pitcher Casey Winstead got the leadoff hitter to fly out to right field. Jason Dollars then singled to left and Jonthan Winn walked. Dollars and Winn tried a double steal, but Jacksonville catcher Tyler Upter-grove gunned Dollars down at third base for the second out.

Winstead then got Jerrod Compton down 0-2 in the count, and threw two pitches that were awfully close to strikes that Compton watched go by. Both were ruled balls, and Compton eventually walked. That opened the flood gates for Paragould.
Jacksonville committed three errors on the next five at bats, with two singles added to the fracas to lift Paragould to victory.
The 7-up team scored two runs in the second inning off Jacksonville starter Randy Peeples.

Peeples pitched out of some severe trouble in the third to hold Paragould to one run in the frame. After giving up one hit in the fourth, Peeples sat the side down in order in the fifth and sixth innings before running into trouble in the seventh.
Jacksonville got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle West walked with one out and scored on a single by Uptergrove.

The Chevy boys took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with three earned runs.

Trey Smith led off with a single to left field. West popped up to third, but Zach James and Uptergrove hit back-to-back singles to load the bases.

Smith scored on a sacrifice grounder by Zach Thomas, and James and Uptergrove came across when Cameron Hood’s grounder to shortstop was thrown wildly to first base and sailed into right field foul territory.

The loss kept the tournament’s host winless for the tourney. Jacksonville lost to Sheridan and Dunklin Co. Missouri earlier in the tournament.

The three losses give the Chevy boys a 7-13 record on the season.

Jacksonville’s AAA team plays at Benton tonight and will have the rest of the week off.

The A team begins play in the zone 3 tournament this weekend in North Little Rock.

SPORTS >> Bruins settle for second

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills did all it could, but couldn’t win the Gwatney Chevrolet Fourth of July Classic baseball tournament, despite going 3-0 in the event.

The Bruins started the tournament by beating Sheridan 2-0 on Thursday, and made an exciting comeback to topple Jonesboro 9-8 Friday. On the last day of the tournament, the Bruins beat Dunklin Co. Missouri 6-4, but had to settle for second place.

Paragould also went 3-0, but gave up fewer runs than Sylvan Hills, and was awarded the title of tournament champions based on that tiebreaker.

Sylvan Hills coach Mike Bromley would have liked to play Paragould, but shrugged off the second-place finish.
“We played some really strong teams in this thing that they didn’t have to play,” Bromley said. “That’s just how it is I guess.”
Bromley was still pleased with his team’s effort in the tournament. The three wins lifted the Bruins’ record to 27-7 on the year.

Sylvan Hills found itself in a 3-0 hole after two-and-a-half innings on Sunday, but got a huge lift from an unlikely source.
Right fielder Hunter Miller tied the game with one swing in the bottom of the third inning when he hit a three-run home run that scored Nathan Van Schoyck and Shawn Bybee. Van Schoyck had singled and Bybee walked to set up Miller’s big swing.
In the fifth inning, the Bruins took the lead when Bybee scored on an RBI walk by Grant Garlington.

Bybee led off the inning by getting hit. Hunter Miller struck out and Ashur Tolliver doubled to right field. Chase Elder then walked to load the bases, setting up the RBI walk by Garlington. Dunklin tied the game in the fifth inning, but Hunter Miller became the hero in the sixth when he hit his second round-tripper of the game. This one was also out to left field, this time scoring two runs to set the final margin.

“He’s really coming on strong,” Bromley said of the outfielder that just completed his sophomore year of high school.
“He’s going to be a player.”

Austin Gwatney started the inning with an infield single to shortstop. The next two batters went down before Miller put a charge into his first pitch.

Tolliver got the win on the mound. The lanky southpaw went the distance, giving up just five hits and three earned runs while striking out eight Dunklin batters.

The AAA Bruins will be off until Saturday while the Class A Sylvan Hills team will play in their zone tournament that begins Thursday in North Little Rock.

Saturday the AAA Bruins will host an afternoon doubleheader against Fort Smith Kerwins. Those games are scheduled to being at 3 p.m.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Airline travel has become a nightmare


Airplanes are completely full and late taking off this summer. So what else is new?

Airlines have eliminated about 20 percent of their flights over the last five years, which is why you seldom get on a plane with an empty seat.

Welcome to the glamorous world of airline travel, where airports are like war zones and many airline workers, facing layoffs and loss of their pensions, are in no mood to make you feel at ease.

They have plenty of problems of their own, so what if you’re going to miss the wedding if your flight is delayed three hours?
You know the industry is in trouble when the skycaps who take your luggage are the friendliest people at the airport. Of course, they’re grateful for anything you give them.

If you tip them a couple of bucks when you’re at an airport heading home, they’ll look at your destination and say, “You’re going to Little Rock? People from Little Rock don’t tip.”

You tell them you live in a small town outside Little Rock, and then they understand.
But first you have to get where you’re going. That’s why the Chinese say every journey begins with a few small steps. They hadn’t heard about jet travel.

After the first leg of your trip, you still have a connecting flight to catch, but the problem is the plane left the airport several hours late and you have 10 minutes to make your connection.

Good luck.

But then you realize there’s no problem. That’s because the plane you’re trying to catch hasn’t pulled up to the gate yet. It’s still in Detroit, and you’re in St. Louis, so it’ll be about two hours before the plane gets in.

A trip that’s supposed to last five hours will take twice as long, and you’re so hungry that you find yourself involuntarily on the diet you abandoned a long time ago.

When you’re coming back and you must catch the last connecting flight of the evening, it happens almost every time: The last flight leaves on time — the only flight you’ve been on all week that’s been on time, and you wish it wasn’t.

That means spending a night in a motel, along with hundreds of passengers who also missed their connecting flights.
This is one of the best-kept secrets in the airline industry: There are motels at major airports that make their living off stranded flyers. Tens of thousands of us miss our flights every night because planes are late, while others take off without waiting five minutes for us worn-out passengers.

One motel we stayed in outside Dallas has an entire floor set aside for people whose planes left without them. Who says there are no more opportunities in this country? Open a motel near an airport and give airlines cut-rate deals on rooms for stranded passengers.

You could make millions and stay at home and never fly again.
But if you do fly again, give the skycap a few bucks so they won’t say Arkies are lousy tippers.

TOP STORY >> Clean Air Act to take effect

Leader staff writer

On Monday, July 21, workplaces and most public areas throughout the state are to be smoke-free as part of the state Clean Indoor Air Act of 2006. It prohibits smoking at worksites and in public places to protect employees and the public from secondhand smoke.

The state is relying on the public to report violations to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“When the act was passed this spring, I put out guidance to department directors. There’s been a city ordinance dating back to 1987 regarding not smoking in city facilities,” said Charlie Brown, Jacksonville’s director of human resources.

Smoking is still allowed outdoors but not in vehicles such as buses, taxis or government vehicles such as police cars. Smoking is permitted in vehicles owned by private businesses and individuals except when children are present.

The Arkansas Protection from Secondhand Smoke for Children Act of 2006 prohibits smoking in all motor vehicles in which a child who is less than 6 years old and weighs less than 60 pounds is restrained in a child-passenger safety seat.

Employers cannot allow smoking in a place of business open to the public or an enclosed space, meaning all space between a floor and a ceiling that is enclosed on all sides by solid walls or windows, exclusive of doorways, that extend from the floor to the ceiling. Employers have an obligation to protect their employees and customers by taking steps, such as posting signs and intervening when employees or customers light up.

“Smoke-free workplaces can only help the overall health of our community,” said George Biggs, director of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation. Biggs is a member of the Governor’s Council on Fitness.

When smoking occurs in a worksite, employees and members of the public may report violations to the DHHS, Division of Health at, by telephone at (800) 235-0002 or by mailing a complaint form available at local health units.
“Gov. Mike Huckabee is very positive about the results of this act,” said Mayor Tommy Swaim, a former smoker himself.

Complaints are investigated in accordance with Division of Health protocol. If found to be in violation, the violator may be assessed a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation. Criminal prosecution of violations of the Act may also be pursued. In criminal cases, any employer, employee or member of the public found guilty can be fined a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $500 per violation.

Last October hospitals across the state, including Rebsamen Medical Center, banned smoking on the grounds. The hospital posted signs and offered free smoking cessation classes at the hospital to assist employees who needed help kicking the habit. The no-smoking rule applies to all patients and visitors as well.

The exceptions to the Clean Indoor Air Act are:

• A private residence except when used as a licensed child care, adult daycare or health care facility.
• A retail tobacco store if secondhand smoke from the store does not infiltrate into areas where smoking is prohibited under the law.
• The designated smoking areas on the gaming floor of a franchise of the Arkansas Racing Commission.
• Outdoor areas of any place of employment such as the patio of a restaurant. Smoking is not allowed outside at health care facilities, schools and daycare campuses.
The exceptions that must have certification from the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services include:
• The workplace of any employer with fewer than three employees. This exemption does not apply to any public business, for example a beauty salon with two stylists.
• Hotel and motel rooms that are rented to guests and are designated as smoking rooms. If a hotel or motel has more than 25 rooms, not more than 20 percent of the rooms may be exempt from this law.
• A restaurant or bar licensed by the State of Arkansas that prohibits all persons under 21 at any time including customers and employees. Exempt restaurants and bars are required to post signs to designate that smoking is allowed. The signs shall be at least 11 inches wide

TOP STORY >> Leader to print the Drop Zone

Little Rock Air Force Base has chosen Leader Publishing to print the Drop Zone, the official weekly newspaper at the air base.
The Drop Zone newspaper staff, who are members of the public affairs team at the base, will be responsible for the news content, while Leader Publishing will provide production support and sell advertising for the paper and print it on The Leader’s color presses in Jacksonville.

It has been nearly 30 years since the air base newspaper was last printed in Jacksonville.

“We’re pleased that the Jack-sonville air base has chosen Jacksonville’s only publishing company to print the award-winning newspaper,” said Garrick Feldman, Leader publisher.

The Arkansas Democrat had printed the base paper for 23 years.

The Leader will print and distribute the first Drop Zone issue July 14 to several locations at the air base and around Jacksonville.
A sales staff is being assembled to sell advertising for the Drop Zone. For more information, call John Henderson at 982-9421.

TOP STORY >> Ozone season is in full swing

Leader staff writer

Unlike Sunday’s ozone-action advisory, which resulted from a level orange forecast, Independence Day ozone levels were rated free of health risks to people known for vulnerabilities to potential ozone exposure, according to air-quality index numbers available from Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

According to Metroplan transportation planner John Hoffpauer, the ozone season, from May through September, is reaching its peak, and now is the time to take precautionary measures to reduce environmental hazards and physical health risks.
The public is asked to take voluntary action to reduce ozone emissions. Seasonal measures include carpooling, walking or taking public transportation, lowering travel frequency during rush hour traffic, keeping vehicles well-tuned and utilizing alternative work arrangements.

Although today’s air quality should not pose health risks for most people, unusually sensitive individuals are encouraged to routinely check the Air Quality Index and Ozone Forecast in newspapers, on the radio, television and the Internet.

“Our Web site lays out who’s at risk,” Hoffpauer said, explaining why and how ozone occurs, as well as ways to reduce exposure and emissions of ozone forming chemicals.

“Pollutants in the atmosphere, such as tail-pipe exhaust, are what’s known as precursor emissions,” Hoffpauer said. “Also, conditions must be right. First, it must be hot, with direct sunlight, and no real wind or breeze. With those ingredients, gas fumes produce resin that is very easy to smell across the atmosphere. If you breathe in too much (ozone), it’s like a sunburn on the lungs, especially individuals with asthma, emphysema, a summer cold or any pulmonary disease.”

Those at greatest risk of ozone exposure are individuals working outside. “People who work outside breathe in more often,” Hoffpauer said. “Deeper breaths take in more pollutants. It takes time for chemical reactions to take place. It’s usually midday before ozone concentrations become a problem.”

Others at high risk to ozone exposure include children and elderly, and people with respiratory difficulties. High ozone concentrations may reduce visibility, aggravate pre-existing conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, common colds, emphysema, influenza and pneumonia. It also may cause symptoms in otherwise healthy people who engage in strenuous outdoor activity.

Hoffpauer said ozone levels build during the afternoon before reaching their peak and dissipate overnight, and a slight breeze or heavy winds can disperse ozone-causing agents and reduce chances for formation.

But wind direction can deliver harmful agents to certain locations where ozone levels are known to increase, Hoffpauer said.
If central Arkansans and the weather don’t cooperate to lower ozone levels this summer, federal regulations could prohibit or discourage new industry and new road construction for more than a decade in Lonoke, Pulaski, Saline and Faulkner counties, according to MetroPlan officials.

Because ozone is in large part caused by the burning of fossil fuels, exacerbated by sunlight and heat, officials try to discourage activities like driving, cutting grass and gassing up the car during daylight hours in the summer.

TOP STORY >> Strings are attached to funding from state

Leader staff writer

Before state schools see any of the $265.7 million budgeted last Thursday for academic facilities funding, districts are required to sign a seven-page project agreement that includes a recommendation that districts hold architects liable for part of the cost if a project goes over budget because of architect error.

The agreement allows the Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation to conduct on-site inspections and review construction plans as well as change orders. Superintendents first heard about the agreement last week during a retreat but have not received copies of the agreement to sign.

“We’ve already had to do a lot of paperwork for the application,” said Belinda Shook, superintendent of the Beebe School District.

“My only complaint with the school funding process has been the amount of paperwork,” Shook added.

The Arkansas school facilities commission approved funding of 1,100 school-construction projects, including $7.8 million for a new cafeteria and physical education building for the Cabot School District, as well as $4.5 million for the new elementary school to be constructed near Campground and Stagecoach roads.

This funding is the largest part of a three-tiered program of nearly $1 billion in school improvements.
Other local districts didn’t apply for or receive the big dollars in this round of facilities funding, with Pulaski County Special School District applying for and receiving about $1.5 million, most of it earmarked for a new elementary school on the west side of the county.

The Lonoke School District received funding for projects totaling about $373,000, and Carlisle’s tentative share should be about $125,000.

The total cost of the projects, including local districts’ share, will be about $600 million. The state’s cost for the projects is $265.7 million over three years. The local districts’ share is based on a wealth index.

The state pays a larger portion of the repairs and expansions for relatively poor districts, a smaller percentage for the wealthier districts. School districts did not receive state aid if the projects were not in a facilities master plan or involve a non-academic building.

Cabot School District received $13 million in funding including $303,916 for the addition of four new classrooms at Northside Elementary as well as funding for several projects on the high school campus such as $294,034 for additional parking spaces and bus drive for the new high school building; $120,506 for an outdoor amphitheater; $42,177 for demolition of old buildings after the new high school opens and $30,126 to remodel the agriculture building into an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps classroom.

The commission decided not to fund a pedestrian walkway over Hwy. 89 for students of both the high school and Cabot Junior High North saying the walkway was not a prudent use of state funding.

Beebe School District was funded $802,597 for its projects including $617,510 for the addition of six classrooms to the front of the junior high school.

For the middle school campus in McRae, the district received $46,556 for an addition to the cafeteria; $36,546 for roof replacement and $19,936 for additional parking.

Beebe Primary School was funded $41,291 to install new flooring for physical education activities and $26,581 to make the doors throughout the building wheelchair accessible. Beebe High School physical education also received $14,177 to install new flooring for physical education activities.

Pulaski County Special School District got about $1.6 million for the state’s portion of virtually everything for which the district applied including $1.5 million for construction of a new elementary school for fourth and fifth graders currently served by aging Baker, Lawson and Robinson elementary schools.

Also included is $32,556 to repair roofs on three Homer Adkins Elementary School classroom buildings and the cafeteria—though the school will be converted to serve only pre-kindergarten students next year, part of the district’s Fiscal Distress Improvement Plan.

The Lonoke District was approved for $373,054 in state funds, most of it for items like making doorways, restrooms and sidewalks comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or replacing lighting, exit signs and emergency lighting.

About two thirds of the money is earmarked for the Lonoke Primary School, with $97,000 earmarked toward construction of two new classrooms. The primary school also qualified for $40,000 toward creation of 60 new parking spaces.

The old Lonoke Middle School qualified for $48,000 toward asbestos abatement and some demolition. That school will be converted into a vocational technical center when students move into the new middle school after Christmas this year.

The state tentatively signed off on about $125,000 worth of improvements in the Carlisle District, with the state contributing $64,000 toward a new heating system for the elementary school and nearly $20,000 for parking lot improvement.

Among the $30,390 the state will contribute toward improvements at the Carlisle High School, the largest allocation is $7,773 toward renovation — including painting — of the classroom building and gymnasium.
This fiscal year, the commission has approved $600 million in construction related to its facilities- partnership program, $300 million for its transitional program and $71 million for immediate repair needs. That puts school and state appropriations for facilities at $971 million.

The highest state share for a project approved under the partnership program is $9.8 million for a new junior high school at Marion. The lowest is $26 to make a lavatory in the Two Rivers School District handicapped accessible.

The state’s share is $5 million or more on some projects, including the new high school cafeteria and physical education building at Cabot; $9.4 million on remodeling and rebuilding at Rogers High School; $8.7 million on a new high school at Trumann; $5.6 million on a new elementary school at Clarksville; $5.7 million at Dover for a primary school; and $5 million for replacement of middle school classrooms at Pine Bluff Dollarway.

Districts will be allowed to apply for assistance through the partnership program annually.

In addition to the state’s share of $250 million for the projects approved Monday, the commission since October has obligated the state to about $121 million for the other programs.

The Legislature will consider another facilities appropriation during the 2007 session, he said. The 2005 General Assembly created the three facilities programs after an assessment of school buildings proposed about $2 billion in facilities needs.
The immediate repair program was designed to address projects where repairs or construction was needed immediately; the transitional program covers school facility costs from Jan. 1, 2005, to June 30 of this year. The partnership program begins July 1 and continues annually.

Education Commissioner Ken James, Department of Finance and Administration Director Richard Weiss and Mac Dodson, president of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, make up the Commission for Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation.

TOP STORY >> Prater calls for reforms

Leader staff writer

Rep. Sandra Prater (D-Jacksonville), a registered cardiac nurse, says she wasn’t surprised by a recent report showing the state is paying too much for inpatient mental health services for children and relies on outdated practices with poor accountability.
Arkansas has 16 beds at the State Hospital to serve 50,000 children needing mental-health services, according to Julie Munsell, spokes-person for the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. Hospitals and mental health facilities, such as Living Hope Institute, provide additional beds.

Common mental conditions among children include attention deficit disorder (ADD), behavior disorders, depressive disorders and learning and developmental problems.

“It’s a hard diagnosis to make because some of that could be caused by poor parenting or no structure at home,” said Shayne Power, a psychologist at Counsel-ing Services of Jacksonville.

Prater says by looking at what services are benefiting the children and what aren’t being offered should provide the framework for mental-health services for children legislation in the 2007 General Assembly.

“I think we’re going to need to get the schools involved in this because a lot of times, that’s the first place a child’s problem is spotted,” Prater said.

Munsell said, “The consultant who came in to help us was absolutely on point. We don’t need to focus on beds per se but the entire menu of services available in the community, both inpatient and outpatient services.”

Cliff Davis, with the Washington-based Human Services Collaborative, said the state faces the risk of a federal audit or lawsuit if things don’t change.

“Arkansas is still primarily using practices that were typical in the 1980s,” Davis told a joint meeting of the Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth and the House Interim Committee on Aging and Legislative Affairs.

Davis’ report, commissioned by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, calls for an overhaul of the state’s mental- health services to focus more on community-based programs. The report was issued through legislation passed last year to create a comprehensive plan for children’s behavioral health.

“I think we’re going to need to get the schools involved in this because a lot of Munsell said engaging families in the child’s care is a milestone the state needs to focus on.

“There are children who would benefit more from an outpatient community because inpatient is ineffective for children who don’t have a good support system to follow them when they get out,” Munsell said.

For example, many caregivers let school-age children go on “drug vacations” during the summer by not giving them medication for reasons that range from religious, indifference or simply giving children a break from the side effects of medication.

According to the report, state officials need to improve accountability for their mental-health programs by defining services and standards for those services. Davis also said the state needs more thorough reviews of what services are received in exchange for funding.

“To put it simply, you have no accountability in your child health care services,” Davis said. “Basically you write checks based on the submission of billing invoices.”

Davis told legislators that of $201 million spent last year on mental health services for children, more than $112 million was paid for inpatient care. The state is spending $89 million on community-based and home-based programs Davis said.
Davis warned that the state could face the risk of a federal audit or a class-action lawsuit unless it improves its way of tracking its funding for mental health programs.

“We need accountability to follow these kids once they’ve been in the state mental health system,” Prater said.
John Selig, director of Health and Human Services, said the state had formed a task force that came up with similar observations about the system.

“We have to take some bold action. It’s not just a matter of tweaking the system,’’ Selig said. “We’ve got to completely change our approach.’’

Rep. Tommy Roebuck (D-Arkadelphia), who co-sponsored the legislation signed into law last year calling for the comprehensive plan, said lawmakers would meet in the coming weeks to discuss ways to improve the mental-health system.
“We don’t have any method at this point to determine whether the kids are receiving the services they need or how good the services are,” Roebuck said. “That’s just part of it, the accountability. It should be there, with as much of an expense we’re talking about.”

But Sen. Shawn Womack (R-Mountain Home) said he was concerned the problems cited may not call for a complete change of the system.

“I think they’re trying to overhaul the system when all it may need is a few improvements,” Womack said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.

TOP STORY >> School reshuffling

Leader staff writer

A 108-page feasibility study authorized by the state legislature recommends that Jacksonville gets its own school district and schools north of the river that are not going into the Jacksonville School District be part of the North Little Rock School District.

That means Sherwood schools would be transferred from the Pulaski County Special School District to NLRSD.

The yearlong study by William Gordon and Associates of Saluda, N.C., recommends a stand-alone school district in Jacksonville and to include 13 schools in the district. The schools in the new district would be Jacksonville and North Pulaski high schools, Jacksonville and Northwood middle schools, Homer Adkins, Arnold Drive, Bayou Meto, Cato, Dupree, Jackson-ville, Pinewood, Murrell Taylor and Tolleson elementary schools.

“I’m very pleased with the report,” said Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim, “but it doesn’t mean any immediate relief. But I’m optimistic that we will get our own district.”

Former state Representative Pat Bond, who sponsored legislation in 2001 allowing Jacksonville to get its own school district, still has concerns. “In the best case scenario, it’ll still be two or three years before we can even start on our own district. We have to start planning and working towards that, but we need to make sure we don’t forget the kids that we have now. We can’t forget the kids.”

She said a new district would mean a lot of work, it’ll be tough, but we’ll have control over our destiny and that’s something we’ve needed for a long time. I’m hopeful.”

The new district will have its struggles, inheriting five school building recommended for replacement and three under-used buildings that will strain the finances of the infant school district.

In the vision of the consultants, Jacksonville’s school district—which has long been sought by the city—would have about 6,900 students and 13 schools. It’s racial make up would be 55 percent white, 40 percent black and about 5 percent other races.

This would be in line with the current make up of PCSSD that is 53.7 percent white, 41.7 percent black and 5.6 percent other minorities.

However, the new district will inherited buildings that are up to 30 years old, in need of major repair and some currently being underused.

The consultants have given a rating of five—a very poor facility that is in need of major renovation and repair or could be considered for closing or replacement—to Jacksonville High School, Jackson-ville Middle School (both boys and girls campuses), Jacksonville Elementary and Tolleson Elementary.

Specifically, the report says that Jacksonville High School “is a crowded and poorly designed building that should be replaced.”

The Jacksonville Middle School consists of two Category Five buildings. The original facility—the Jacksonville Junior High School—was constructed in 1952, according to the report, and is being used as the boys’ campus. The Jacksonville Middle School building, housing the girls’ campus, was constructed in 1970.

“These facilities need to be replaced,” the report says succinctly.

It goes on to say that Jacksonville Elementary, built in 1963, and Tolleson Elementary built in 1951, “are in very poor condition and could be replaced.”

The study also says that less than half of Jacksonville Middle School and Adkins and Cato Elementary School are being used.
Jacksonville Middle School, the consultants say have a capacity of 1,970 student, but has a current enrollment of 892 students. Adkins has space for 526, but an enrollment of 242 and Cato with capacity for 800 only has 349 students.

Consultants, using their figures and the results from Jacksonville’s 2002 study about the feasibility of having its own school district, say the new district should receive sufficient operational funding through the state’s school aid formula and local property taxes to operate effectively and efficiently. But the study adds that the financial costs of replacing or refurbishing some of the schools transferred from PCSSD would “be a challenge.”

“The willingness of the residents of the Jacksonville School District to pass a bond referendum to improve the facilities will determine the extent to which needed replacements, refurbishings and improvements can be made.

The new district would have almost 500 teachers based on current needs. Ranging from 67 at North Pulaski to 19 at Tolleson. If current administrator levels are maintained the district will need 26 principals or assistant principals.

A central office would have to be created for the new district, and the study says 20 to 27 administrators or coordinators would be needed at this level.

The study also suggested adding 13 PCSSD schools to NLRSD. Those would include Sylvan Hills and Oak Grove high schools, Sylvan Hills and Maumelle middle schools, Clinton, Crystal Hills, Harris, Oak Grove, Oakbrook, Pine Forest, Scott, Sherwood and Sylvan Hills elementary schools.

But before any new district can be formed or any current district modified, all three county districts—PCSSD, NLRSD and the Little Rock School District—have to reach unitary status which means that the districts will no longer be under federal court supervision because of their former segregationist practices.

According to the yearlong study performed by William Gordon Associates of Saluda, N.C., an unitary school system is “one that has complied in good-faith with its desegregation decree since it was entered and has eliminated the vestiges of past discrimination to the extent practicable.”

Monday, July 03, 2006



Mary Anna Martineau, 96, died June 2. She was a member of Panola Missionary Baptist Church and was retired from Franklin Electric.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her husband, Johnny Martineau; three sisters and three brothers. She is survived by several nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. today at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel, Lonoke. Burial followed in Concord Cemetery.


Shirley Ann Wyatt, 54, died June 27. She was a casework supervisor with DHHS in Lonoke. Preceding her in death was a sister, Margaret Virginia Shipman. Survivors include sons, Brian Wyatt and wife Shannon of Lowell and Gregory Wyatt and wife Joy of Greenbrier; her parents, A.C. and Zada Linn of Carlisle; sisters, Mary Linn of Carlisle and Jennette Wilkins of Glendale, Ariz.; grandchildren, Brooke Alexander of Savannah, Ga., Dane Wyatt and Seth Wyatt of Lowell, Kieran Wyatt and Noah Wyatt of Greenbrier, and one great-granddaughter. Funeral services were held Friday at Boyd Funeral Home, Lonoke with interment in Hamilton Cemetery.


Tanna Alycia Farrar, 53, of Lonoke passed away June 2. She was born Dec. 9, 1952, in Houston, Texas, to the late Hugh and Frances McCart. Survivors include her husband, Dale Farrar of the home; two sons, Jerry Howard of Lonoke and Brad Andrews of Justice, Ill.; one daughter, Kelly Howard of Alamosa, Colo.; one brother, Gary Aucoin of Galveston, Texas, and seven grandchildren. Funeral services were held June 30 at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with Bishop Eric Park officiating.
Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

SAT JULY 1ST EDITORIAL >> Ruling hurts school reform

What a quaint, and dangerous, decision that was by Pulaski Circuit Judge Jay Moody in the Paron school case. The harm to the law and, more importantly, to children may last only a year, but that is enough.

The little Paron School District west of Little Rock, 125 children strong, was one of those abolished last year under an act that consolidated districts with fewer than 350 children. They were deemed to be too small to efficiently provide a full array of secondary courses for students.

The Bryant School District, with which it was consolidated, concluded that the high school should be closed this fall and the students transported to Bryant. A few Paron residents sued to block the closing. Judge Moody ordered Bryant not to close the Paron school this fall while he conducted a full hearing on the impact of the closing.

The issue is that a few Paron students at the end of the lengthened bus route would have to ride a bus as much as an hour and a half each way to Bryant, although good roads traverse those foothills. That tentatively was conclusive for Judge Moody. He thought it might be unconstitutional to make children ride a bus for that long. He was sufficiently persuaded without a full hearing that he blocked the closing until he could get the evidence and figure it out conclusively.

No court has ever found that bus rides of any length violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws. If that is unconstitutional, then the whole course of school reform for 75 years is unconstitutional. Tens of thousands — nay, hundreds of thousands — of Arkansas children have been transported to schools quite a few miles from the house, farther and in far more primitive and dangerous conditions than those that confront high school students at Paron. At least since the great consolidation drive of 1948, youngsters have been picked up at the gate of the farm or at the fork of the creek at daylight and, to their frequent delight, returned home too late to milk the cows. It was adequate recompense that they got a broader and richer education than their little communities could have provided.

In all of these small communities, there are people who think that having a local high school and basketball teams is more important than the education that is offered. Judge Moody’s order gives them hope that the little schools can be kept at any cost.

The judge said he had seen no evidence that there was any benefit to busing kids to Bryant High School. Apparently, no one had mentioned all those courses and activities that were not available at any cost at Paron.

If the order and its curious reasoning stand, it could offer a fresh remedy at law for hundreds of thousands of people who had to endure the long bus rides to school in their youth. The damages for the deprivation of their constitutional rights could be staggering.

Now there is a use for that $600 million surplus in the state treasury.

SPORTS >> Home Depot topples Blue

Leader sportswriter

Cabot Home Depot im-proved its overall record to 10-14 on the season with a 9-3 win over Class A Little Rock Blue at the Conrade Sports Complex Thursday night. Home Depot broke away from Blue with a huge offensive stand in the bottom of the second inning, scoring five runs off of five hits. The inning gave Cabot a 6-1 lead, and deflated Blue’s hopes of a road win.
“That was a crazy game,” Cabot coach Andy Runyon said. “I’m proud of my kids, they all did a great job tonight. I think we had four different guys pitching for us tonight, and they all did a good job. We always tell them to jump on our opponents early, and that’s exactly what they did tonight. They scored runs early in the game, and we came away with a six-run win.”
The game was originally scheduled as a twin bill, but a limited number of available pitchers for Little Rock moved the event to one nine-inning game.

The frustration continued to build throughout the game for Blue. A dispute with the field umpire resulted in one of the Little Rock coaches being ejected from the game in the top of the fourth inning. Although Blue managed a couple of runs in the final innings, Home Depot controlled the game from the second inning on for the win.

Blue took the early lead with a single run in the top of the first inning. Cabot was able to answer in the opening frame with a run from Justin Free off a Sam Bates RBI. The score was tied 1-1 after one inning, but the game would no longer be close after the following inning.

Logan Lucas led off for Cabot in the second inning with a walk, and quickly made his way to third courtesy of back-to-back balks from starting Blue pitcher James Morhead. A walk for Tyler Sorrells put runners at first and third. Shane Burgan drove in the first run of the inning with a fielder’s choice to shortstop. Sorrells was out at second, but Lucas scored, and Burgan safely made it to first.

A single to center from Free scored Burgan, followed by a single grounder to left from Colin Fuller that brought in Drew Burks. The biggest RBI of the inning went to Chad Bryant. Bryant drove in two scores with a single to center.

Home Depot was in position to score even more runs in the inning, loading the bases with two outs. Blue relief pitcher Nathan Longinotti finally made a stand at the mound, striking out Sorrells for the final out of the inning.

Cabot came very close to run-ruling Little Rock in the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of doubles from Drew Burks and Ben Wainwright scored Lucas and then Sorrells.

The second hit from Burks brought in Sorrells for the eighth run of the game. Wainwright followed Sorrells to the plate, but was tagged out by Blue catcher Christian Cooley after a good throw to home from left fielder Brett Golden. Wainwright’s lost run would have given Cabot a 9-1 lead, which would have ended the contest under the 8-after-5 run-rule.

Although Blue dodged a bullet in the fifth, they were not able to make up the lost ground. A double from Golden to score Michael Alexander in the top of the seventh, and a run from Tim Watson in the top of the ninth were the only offense Little Rock could put together during the remainder of the game. Cabot added its final run in the bottom of the seventh inning, with several substitute batters taking turns during the final offensive stands.

Cabot finished the game with nine runs, nine hits and three errors. Little Rock had three runs, five hits and two errors. Sean Clarkson got the win from the mound for Cabot, with Sorrells and Gross also taking turns pitching in the game.

After playing North Little Rock in a doubleheader at Burns Park last night, Cabot will take a few days off before returning to action against Jacksonville at Dupree Park on the 4th of July at 2:30 p.m. in a stand-alone Class AAA American Legion matchup.

SPORTS >> Bruin pitching improves

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills’ AAA American Legion team started the season a little shallow in the pitching department, but that area has come along nicely, and the Bruins now have three solid starters. Tony Pavan has been in the starting rotation since the beginning, but his durability has improved dramatically and that has helped his team dramatically as well. Pavan’s latest performance came Thursday night in the first round of the Gwatney Chevrolet Fourth of July Classic, when he kept Sheridan off balance and led his team to a 2-0 victory. It was the third win of the week for Sylvan Hills, who also toppled Maumelle Tuesday, and traveled to Russellville to pick up a win Wednesday night.

The three victories lift Sylvan Hills’ record to 25-7 so far on the season.

Sylvan Hills coach Mike Bromley is very pleased with his pitcher’s progress.

“He was having some trouble finishing games when we first started,” Bromley said. “”But it was between the ears. His endurance is fine. I’ve just been leaving him out there and making him work until the end. He’s done fine for me.”
Thursday’s effort was Pavan’s fourth complete game of the year, three of which have been wins. He carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning and finished with a three-hitter, striking out three and walking two.

The Sylvan Hills bats didn’t light the place up Thursday either, but they did enough to get the win. Taylor Roark led off the top of the third inning with a walk. Nathan Van Schoyck bunted him to second. That brought leadoff hitter Shawn Bybee to the plate, who got the game’s first base hit, a single to right field that scored Roark.

Pavan gave up his first hit to the leadoff hitter, Matt Buie, in the fourth, but got Freddy Flores to ground into a 6-4-3 double play on the next at bat. Kris Pruitt then flew out to right field.

He sat the side down in order in the bottom of the fifth, fanning Steven Harp to end the half-inning.

Sheridan’s biggest threat came in the sixth. Pavan walked the leadoff hitter and hit the third batter with one out. He struck out Buie, then gave up a single to right field by Flores, but Chase Elder made a great play to force Sheridan’s Matt Kimball to stop at third base.

Pavan then got Pruitt to ground out to third to end the threat.

Sylvan Hills’ Austin Gwatney added the insurance run in the sixth. He led off by reaching on an error at shortstop. Nathan Van Schoyck moved him to third with a single to centerfield. Three batters later with two outs, Ashur Tolliver singled to right to drive in the run.

Sheridan pitcher Lucas Cossey also went the distance, giving up four hits while walking two batters. The defense committed three errors behind him while Sylvan Hills played error-free baseball.

“I’m pleased with the defense,” Bromley said. “We’ve cleaned things up on defense pretty good in the last 10 or 15 games. We started out kind of shaky and made a lot of mistakes.

“Hitting, we’re not consistent enough. We’ll have a good game and then a bad one. We didn’t do a very good job tonight of being patient. That pitcher did a good job of keeping us off balance, but he was a little wild at times and we weren’t making him make pitches. We will take batting practice before we play again.”

The Bruins played the late game last night against Jonesboro after Leader deadlines. They will play again Sunday at noon against Dunklin Co., Mo.