Thursday, July 20, 2006



Derrell James Harrison, 64, of Beebe, was born Feb. 11, 1942, in Little Rock and died July 18.
He was a retired truck driver for ABF after working for 34 years, and a devoted employee of Kelly-woodyards of Alabama.
His favorite pastime was rebuilding and programming computers. He was a member of Union Valley Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his father, James Myrl Harrison; and grandparents, Earl and Maude Stamps and Robert and Effie Harrison.

He is survived by his mother, Marlene Taylor of Beebe; one daughter, Gina Harrison of Beebe; one granddaughter, Jamie Lack of Cabot; two sisters, Jane and Lee Goodson of New Orleans, La., and Rita Bass of Beebe. The family wishes to say a special thank you to White County Hospice.

Visitation begins 1 p.m. Friday at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Funeral will follow at 2 p.m. Friday at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Stoney Point Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Union Valley Baptist Church Building Fund, 932 Hwy. 64 W., Beebe, Ark. 72012.


Stevie Cheyenne Cossey, infant, of Ward passed away July 16 at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
She was born July 12 in Jack-sonville to Stephen and Kelly Cossey of Ward.

She was preceded in death by grandparents, Wilson and Rena McGee and great-grandparents, William L. Cossey, Tom and Doris Wilkins, Edmond and Fronie Will-iamson and Daisy McGee.

She will be missed by her parents; brother, Trevor Patterson and sister Jade Cossey of the home; her grandparents Ray and Debbie Cossey of Ward; her great-grandmother Mammie Cossey of Jack-sonville; along with several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. today at New Horizon Baptist Church with Pastor Kevin Bernard officiating. Interment will follow at Mr. Carmel Cemetery.
Arrangements by Thomas Fun-eral Service in Cabot.
William Hays
William Wesley Hays, 86, died July 17 at his home in Austin.  He was the son of the late Charles and Lillian Suttle Hays.  
He was born in Austin on March 28, 1920.  He attended Westside Junior High and Little Rock Central High School.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he entered the Army Air Corps in January 1942.  

Sgt. Hays received, among other decoration, eight Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal and a unit citation with two oak leaf clusters.  

He served one of the longest deployments overseas during WWII.

Hays returned home Sept. 11, 1945 and has lived and worked in Lonoke County until his death, at Cochran’s Cotton Gin, Bryant Construction and for himself.  

He was a member of Bethlehem United Methodist Church for 60 years, and he served on the board and in many other capacities, including moving, cleaning, painting and whatever needed to be done for the church.

Survivors include one sister Judy Hays Lowman of Little Rock; a nephew, Larry Lowman of Wynne; a nephew Len Lowman and his wife Sherry of Little Rock, and a niece, Mary Jane Lowman also of Little Rock.  He also had a great niece, Lindsey Lowman and a great nephew, Jonathan Lowman, both of Little Rock.

Services will be 2 p.m. today at Cabot United Methodist Church and will be officiated by Rev. Richard Lancaster assisted by Rev. Jerry Nipper and Rev. John Clotch.  

The family will greet friends at the church one hour before the service.  Burial will be at Old Austin Cemetery with arrangements by Cabot Funeral Home.  

Pallbearers will be his cousins, James Hays, Bill Hays, Ray Scroggs, Walter Scroggs, Jay Scroggs and Gene Plummer.  
Memorials can be sent to Bethlehem Methodist Church, 1281 Bethlehem Rd. Austin, Ark.,  72007 or Cabot United Methodist Church, 2003 S. Pine St. Cabot, Ark. 72023.


Coley L. Brewer, 72, of Beebe, beloved father, grandfather and brother, died July 16.
He was born Aug. 6, 1933, in Widener, to Hilliard and Loyce Coleman Brewer. He was a retired auto mechanic and a veteran of the Korean War.

He was preceded in death by a son, Wayne Brewer, and is survived by two sons, Vernon Brewer of Beebe, Elton Hale of Forrest City; a daughter, Darlene Cash of Bald Knob; two brothers, H.L. Brewer of O’Fallon, Mo., Cecil Brewer of Lonoke; a sister, Barbara Gilmer of Colt; nine grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were held Tuesday at Meadowbrook Mem-orial Gardens, Beebe.

EDITORIAL>>Vote no on judge

While he is at it, Sen. Pryor needs to stand up to the president and the neoconservative lobby this week on one other issue, this one where his posture is absolutely critical. It is President Bush’s appointment to a federal appellate court of William Haynes II, the author of some of the most repugnant legal opinions in the nation’s history.

Haynes was the general counsel in the Defense Department, where he secretly helped craft the legal justifications for holding and torturing men and women captured in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. His opinions declared detained American citizens to be “enemy combatants” who were outside the protections of the Bill of Rights and American or international laws.

His opinions, sent down through the ranks, gave a green light to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other secret prisons that have sickened Americans and brought world condemnation. The U. S. Supreme Court has stepped in to assert that the Pentagon and intelligence agents had to observe the U. S. Constitution and the international treaties to which the United States was a signatory. Now the president wants to reward one of the men who were responsible for undermining the country’s international esteem and influence with a position on the second highest court in the land. He would sit on the 4th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, where the gravest violations of the rules of war are tried. It is hard to imagine a practitioner more unfit for such a job.

Twenty retired military officers, including the retired colonel who was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, have condemned the appointment and called on the Senate to reject it. They said Haynes had “compromised military values, ignored federal and international law and damaged America’s reputation and world leadership.”

That is good reason for Sen. Pryor to exercise his newfound power as a ringleader of the 14 moderate Republican and Democratic senators who have worked for a third way in the bitter partisan struggle over judicial appointments. Here is one where Republicans and Democrats alike can find the common ground of law and human rights.

EDITORIAL>>Sen. Pryor’s priorities

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor always seems to be in the hot seat nowadays, owing to the close partisan division in the Senate and his emergence as a centrist peacemaker. You would never know it by the angry commercials directed at him by “independent” Republican groups, but the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday that Pryor had voted with President Bush 73.1 percent of the time in the last Congress, the second-highest percentage among Democrats. It suggests that the young senator is either cagey or thoughtful.

Especially thoughtful he was yesterday when he went against the president on a bill to expand federal spending on medical research that uses embryonic stem cells. President Bush is expected to veto the bill today, and the tougher fight to pass the bill over the president’s veto will follow. Pryor will be hammered again for voting with Sen. Ted Kennedy and against President Bush, but Arkansas voters will recognize both the principle and enlightened self-interest behind the young senator’s vote.

This is a bill that offers a glimmer of hope to tens of thousands of Arkansans suffering from incurable diseases that might soon yield to a cure fashioned in the stem-cell laboratories and to hundreds of thousands more — any of us — who will one day encounter one of the diseases.

You have heard this debate for years. A certain branch of religious extremism that captured Bush and a declining majority of Republicans in Congress maintains that destroying an embryonic cell for scientific research violates God’s teachings. The bill that passed the House of Representatives months ago and the Senate Tuesday is a very modest one. It will expand the number of stem-cell lines that can be used in federally funded research, but the lines could be derived only from surplus embryos that are to be destroyed at fertility clinics. The bill would allow them to be preserved instead for breakthrough biomedical research.

President Bush wants them destroyed, period. It would be morally better, he says, to just stamp them out rather than have them used to find cures for Alzheimer’s or any of the other diseases that have resisted medical research. Is that a moral stand or what?

Bush halted research in 2001 on all but 22 stem-cell lines that already existed. Those lines are deteriorating or unusable for other reasons, and the little embryonic stem-cell research in this country is ending. The bill is still far too restrictive because it will not allow federal funding for the most promising form of research, therapeutic cloning. The rest of the world will produce the major breakthroughs, leaving America in the backwaters of medical science. But the bill helps a little.
Pryor was compelled Monday to issue a statement explaining his vote to quell the demands from people back home responding to the right-wing appeals.

This is what he said:
“Stem-cell research has the potential to alleviate human suffering and the promise to treat and cure disabling diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s. These are diseases many of us have personally witnessed within our families, churches and communities. There are children in Arkansas who are living with juvenile diabetes every minute of every day, and it would be a disservice to them not to do all we can to find a cure. We must allow responsible scientists the flexibility they need to advance the science of stem-cell research in order to provide hope for the future.”

Many partisans may hold that vote against Pryor, but if Congress can muster the will to override the Bush veto, their children will have occasion one day to thank him.

SPORTS>> Cabot falls to Maumelle in seventh

Leader Sportswriter

Home Depot suffered its most disappointing loss of the season at Maumelle on Friday. Cabot led until the final inning, when a pair of Maum-elle runs stole the win away 8-7. It was Cabot’s second loss in the bottom of the final inning in two weeks. The Panthers fell in similar fashion at Russellville just over a week ago.

The game was originally scheduled as a twin bill, but was changed to a single seven-inning game. As a warm up for the upcoming American Legion Class AAA zone tournament, Cabot used four different pitchers throughout the game. Ace pitcher Justin Haas threw the first three innings, but a high pitch count prompted coach Andy Runyan to pull the lefty after 85 pitches.

Sean Clarkson took the mound for the fourth and fifth innings, followed by Chad Bryant in the sixth inning. Colin Fuller closed the game out for Cabot, taking the loss with the last-chance runs from Maumelle.
“I knew from the outset that if Haas-man had too many pitches, we were going to pull him, regardless,” Runyan said.
“He settled down and really got in the groove, but with the zone coming up, we didn’t want to cut our nose off to spite our face.”

The Home Depot boys struck early offensively, warming up with a single run in the opening inning before assaulting starting Maumelle hurler Drew Smiley in the second.

Cabot came away with six runs in the second frame for a comfortable 7-1 lead, but relief pitcher Mike Shaddock would prove much tougher.

Shaddock came in for the third inning, shutting Home Depot out for the remainder of the game.

Maumelle slowly ate away at Cabot’s lead up to the seventh inning. With the score tied 7-7 and bases loaded for Maumelle with two outs, a simple fielding error allowed the game winning run for Maumelle.

“My guy was kind of down about it after the game, but I told him there were plenty of other opportunities for the game to have been won or lost besides that one,” Runyan said.

“This was without a doubt our toughest loss all year. It’s been a rough year on all of us, but we thought if we could get a win against Maumelle, along with our wins against Bryant and Pine Bluff, we would have something to hang our hats on that no one else in the state had.”

Home Depot will wrap up its season schedule tonight at home with a nine-inning matchup against Searcy. They will then begin zone bracket play on Thursday as the No. 6 seed with an opening round game against No. 3 seed Sylvan Hills.
The winner of that game will face top-seeded and tournament host North Little Rock on Friday at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park.

SPORTS>> Sherwood wins third CASL title

Leader Sports Editor

The Sherwood Sharks clinched their third consecutive Central Arkansas Swim League championship last weekend, beating Otter Creek to complete their third- straight undefeated season.

The Sharks now begin preparation for the Meet of Champions, which will be held this Saturday at the Donaghey Center on the campus at UALR.

Sherwood has compiled the most team points in the MOC the last two years as well, and will be the heavy favorites heading into Saturday.

The Sharks have potential winners in almost every event of every division, especially in the 10-under girls division. Sherwood has the top three times in the league in the 10-under girls freestyle, backstroke and individual medley races, and two of the top four in the breaststroke in butterfly.

Jessie Garrison has the league’s fastest time in three events, while teammates Connor McNulty, Nikki Sanders and Sheridan Arnold aren’t far behind. Arnold has the fastest time so far this year in the breaststroke.

Garrison, in just her second year of competitive swimming, holds the Sherwood team’s records in four events, and is swimming faster than the league records in three of the four events this year.

Delaney Haralson is no worse than third in any of her events in the girls 8-under division, and is ranked number one in the freestyle and individual medley.

Mary Kate McNulty and JoAnn Rutherford are in the hunt for MOC titles at the 14-under division. The duo is second and third in three events, and McNulty is ranked No. 1 in the breaststroke and individual medley.

Alex Athetis is less than a second off No. 1 in two events in the 16-under division, while Kelsey Lancaster is just behind her in the IM and backstroke.

In the 10-under boys division, Christopher Heye is ranked No. 1 in every category except butterfly, where he trails Bryant’s Josh Terrell by just .92 seconds. Teammates Jonathan Jones, Jimmy Esola and Austin Shaw could medal in several events as well.

Thomas Heye is ranked in the top four in every category in the 8-under, and teammate Jayson Simmons is in the top four in four of the five events.

Caleb Sanders is currently ranked No. 1 in the boys 6-under backstroke, second in the freestyle and butterfly, and third in the breastroke and IM. Ian Heye is ranked No. 1 in the breaststroke.

Devin Scott is ranked either third or fourth and is in the medal hunt in every event in the boys 14-under division. Jeremy Jones is ranked fourth in two events.

Micah and James Rutherford, and Nathaniel Jones, are in the medal hunt in all of the boys 16-under events.

Lakewood’s Preston Strobel is No. 1 in every event, and at least two seconds faster than everyone else in all but one division. Micah Rutherford gives Sherwood its best hope for a gold. He is only 1.4 seconds behind Strobel in the freestyle.

Many other medal winners are likely. All of the above-mentioned names are in the overall rankings and will swim in the gold level races.

Dozens of others could win medals and earn team points in the silver and bronze divisions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NEIGHBORS >> Summer reading successful event

Special to the Leader
The 2006 Summer Reading Program at Arlene Cherry Memorial Library was a great success, according to Christine Williams, librarian.

The program began June 5 and ended with the party July 8.

There were 629 children and 66 young adults who participated in the program.

Children set up in two groups received awards throughout the course of the program for reading as many books as they could.

According to Williams, children were awarded with rubber bracelets, T-shirts, fun hats, water bottles and even some gift certificates from local businesses.

“Children received certificates for full meals and such from Dixie Cafe and others,” she said.
Prizes were awarded in increments of 10 books read, 25 books, 50 books, 75 books and 100 books read.
Children had help from their parents finding age-appropriate books to read.

The American Library Association decides the theme for the region, Williams said.

This years’ theme was ‘Claws, Paws, Scales, and Tales’ for young children and for the young adults ‘Creature Feature.’
Each special guest and event planned for the end-of-the-program party was selected with the theme in mind. Children enjoyed food, refreshments, outdoor activities as well as visiting with small creatures inside the library. Assisted by their carriers, children were even able to touch the special creatures.

Aside from Williams, Dixie Lewis, the children’s librarian, and Doyle Jean Jones, the young adults librarian, helped plan and facilitate this year’s program

This is an annual event so parents and children can look forward to next year’s shortly after school is dismissed for the summer, Williams said.

For more information on this program and others contact Williams at (501) 843-7661.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Rockefeller gentleman billionaire


I was late for lunch with Win Rockefeller because of a mixup; I wasn’t sure we were supposed to get together that day, but then his office called, wondering what happened.

“I’ll be right over,” I said, about 45 minutes late.

Rockefeller was sitting at a table outside the restaurant, reading a paper and having a soda.
I apologized to the lieutenant governor, but he wasn’t upset.

We ordered a sandwich and talked politics. I knew he was plan ning to run for governor, and I kept telling him I felt terrible about being late. “Forget it,” he said. “Don’t mention it.”

He soon announced for governor, but then developed what turned out to be a fatal blood disorder and dropped out of the race last summer.

A bone-marrow transplant that would have kept him alive failed twice, and last week, he declared himself unable to perform the duties of lieutenant governor. He died Sunday morning at the age of 57. His father, former governor Winthrop Rockefeller, who had cancer, lived just three years longer than his son.

Win was the most unpretentious billionaire I know. I think he wore his suits off the rack, when he could have had the most expensive tailors fly in from London or Hong Kong.

Unlike a lot of people who inherit their wealth and who think that makes them superior human beings, he didn’t think he was special just because he was a Rockefeller.

I once ran into him in a restaurant one winter evening, where he was waiting for a takeout order to bring home to his family and watch news channels. “We’re news junkies,” he said, walking out to his car with his bags of food.

We always got along well: We were almost exactly the same age, born a couple of weeks apart: The billionaire and the immigrant, but he himself was part of the immigrant experience.

His maternal grandparents came from Lithuania, and his mother was a first-generation American. She married a Rockefeller, no less.

That’s America in a nutshell: There’s no rigid class system here — the most humble can strive upwards and mingle with those who have found the American dream and then join their ranks.

Win was a generous philanthropist and patron of the arts, although he’d drive a couple of miles if he could save $5 on a tank of gas.

Perhaps because of his eastern European heritage, Win was a little tight with his money. I grew up with people like that, much poorer than the Rockefellers, of course, but immigrants from that part of the world hold on to their money because they always expect the worst. They think the next depression is around the corner, and who can blame them?

He was raised on New York’s Upper East Side, but he spent a lot of time on his mother’s parents’ farm in Indiana, where they still spoke Lithuanian. (Besides his lisp, I thought Win had a slight Lithuanian accent.)

The Rockefellers donated the land that was once a Dutch settlement in New York’s Kips Bay for the United Nations (Gen. Kip Self, commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, almost certainly had relatives there).

Rockefeller was born into a Republican Party of the wealthy and small business owners. Al-though his critics called him a country-club Republican, he saw the party embrace working people — Southern Baptists and northern ethnics, police officers and firefighters, truck drivers and construction workers. He had a self-deprecating sense of humor. He called himself a Rockefeller Republican, a term reviled in the modern GOP. Gerald Ford had to drop Win’s uncle Nelson as a vice- presidential candidate when conservatives recoiled at the idea of a Rockefeller, a limousine Republican if there ever was one, running on a presidential ticket.

Win Rockefeller wasn’t anything like that. He mingled with the ordinary people of Arkansas and, like his father, might have become their governor had he lived.

A plaque outside his home on Petit Jean quotes Micah 6:8: ‘And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.’

That was Win Rockefeller — a good friend, and we’ll miss him and those late lunches.

TOP STORY >> Three schools perfectly proficient

Leader staff writer

All — that’s 100 percent—of the junior high and middle school students in Lonoke and Searcy who took the end-of-course algebra test this past spring are proficient or advanced. Most other area junior high students taking the test also did well.
Also, 100 percent of the students at Cabot Junior High School North who took the end-of-course geometry exam scored proficient or advanced.

But when it came to the literacy exam given to all high school juniors, the resulted were markedly different.

Seventy percent of Lonoke juniors are not reading and writing on grade level, according to test results. The same holds true for Hazen juniors and those at Jacksonville High School where about 70 percent are not on grade level.

The scores were recently released by the state Education Department, along with the results of the Benchmark exams and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.The Benchmark results, along with the end-of-course exams and the literacy test are used to determine if a school goes on or stays on the state’s school-improvement list.

More than 33,200 students in grades seven through 12 statewide took the test near the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The end-of-course exams are the secondary equivalent of the Benchmark exams given in grades three through eight and are given in algebra and geometry.

The literacy exam was administered to 29,649 juniors across the state in the spring, and overall only 44 percent scored proficient or advanced, the same as in 2005, but up from 2001 when only 22 of the juniors were on grade level.

Statewide, 65 percent of all students taking the end-of-course algebra exam scored proficient or advanced. Searcy beat that average by 36 points with 91 percent of its students making the grade. Cabot beat the state average by 31 points, as 86 percent of its algebra students were proficient or advanced. Lonoke had 100 percent make the mark in its middle school, but fell to 60 percent at the high school for a district average of 66 percent, one point above the state.

Pulaski County Special School District was nearly 30 below the state average despite excellent scores from Northwood and Sylvan Hills middle schools.

At Northwood, 95 percent of the students taking the test were proficient or advanced and at Sylvan Hills, 93 percent made the cut.

But at the high schools, where more students take algebra, the scores fell drastically. Just 37 percent were proficient or advanced at Sylvan Hills High School, 27 percent at North Pulaski and only 22 percent at Jacksonville High School.

The geometry scores followed suit, with middle school students doing better than their counterparts at the high school level, and PCSSD faring worse than other area districts.

Across the state, 28,485 students took the geometry test, and 60 percent scored proficient or advanced, up five points from 2005 and nearly triple from the 19 percent who made the mark in 2001.

Cabot, behind the strong showing of Cabot Junior High North at 100 percent on target and Cabot Junior High South at 98 percent proficient or advanced, had a district average of 72 percent proficient or advanced, 12 points above the state average. Carlisle, at 70 percent proficient or advanced, was close behind. England, at 69 percent proficient or advanced, and Hazen at 62 percent, both beat the state average.

Searcy was just one point off the state average, with 59 percent of its students scoring proficient or advanced in geometry. Lonoke was two points below with 58 percent making the cut and Des Arc had 56 percent make the grade.

PCSSD was 16 points below the state average, and the local schools didn’t do much to help. At Jacksonville High School, 46 percent scored proficient or advanced. That fell to 40 percent at North Pulaski and 36 percent at Sylvan Hills High School.
In the area of literacy, Searcy, Cabot and Des Arc juniors beat the state average. Searcy had 72 percent proficient or advanced on the literacy exam, while Des Arc was at 64 percent and Cabot was at 56 percent proficient or advanced.
Beebe was two points above the state average at 46 percent proficient or advanced.

Lonoke, PCSSD, England and Hazen all fell below the average.

In PCSSD, the district average was 38 percent proficient or advanced, meaning 62 percent of the juniors were not reading or writing on grade level.

(In last Saturday’s Leader, Bee-be’s third-grade literacy score was misreported in a chart. The correct number should be 51 percent proficient or advanced.)

TOP STORY >> Cabot sewer to spend $10M

Leader staff writer

The Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission has accepted a bid of almost $10 million to build the wastewater treatment plant the city must have to stay out of hot water with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The existing plant is often out of compliance with ADEQ regulations about the quality of the water it releases from the plant.

It also is too small and the collection system that brings wastewater to the plant often brings in more rainwater than sewage.
To pay for the plant without increasing sewer rates, city voters agreed in September 2005 to extend an existing one-cent sales tax. The bond issue supported by that tax was about $30 million. Of that amount, $17.5 million will be used for the new sewer plant and improvements to the collection system.

Also included in the bond issue was $7 million to pay off the original bond issue for a water well field, treatment plant and water line, $800,000 for the city’s part of a $6 million federally-funded railroad overpass, $1.5 million to help build the new community center that should be completed by the end of October, $2.1 million for streets and $200,000 toward a new animal shelter scheduled to open July 27.

The low bid of $9.8 million to build a new sewer plant near the existing one on Marshall Lane, off Kerr Station Road, came from Max Foote Construction of Mandeville, La.

Bill Cypert, commission secretary, said the commission had heard all the industry rhetoric about the rising cost of fuel, concrete and steel and expected the low bid to be about $2 million more.

The cost of the entire project breaks down like this: cleanup of old sludge pond to make room for the new plant, $500,000; site preparation, $700,000; engineering by USI-Arkansas and Burns & McDonnell of Kansas City, Mo., $1.8 million; correcting stormwater infiltration problem, $1 million, and new sewer plant, $10 million.

The commission has always known that improvements to the collection system would cost more than the $1 million they had to spend.

Cypert said it is possible that some of the $2 million that won’t have to go toward the new sewer plant will be used for that.
Part of the savings also will go toward such expenses as parking lot paving, lights and easements that were left out of cost estimates.

USI-Arkansas, with offices in Little Rock and Springdale, was awarded a contract as the prime consultant in 2005 to provide design services for the wastewater treatment plant and will act as lead contract manager during the construction phase.
Burns & McDonnell provided engineering design services and technical consulting for the wastewater treatment process components and influent headworks of the new facility.

Portions of the new plant will be built on land reclaimed from an existing sludge storage lagoon. Use of the existing plant site eliminates the need to modify and relocate the existing sewer infrastructure as well as allowing for continued use of the administrative and support buildings at the existing wastewater treatment plant site.

The new plant will also utilize ultraviolet disinfection technology, eliminating the need for chlorine-based treatment processes.

A notice to proceed is expected from the city of Cabot by early August and construction will begin immediately, with completion by year-end 2007. The plant initially is expected to have an average flow of approximately 3-million-gallons-per-day (MGD) with maximum treatment capacity of 6-MGD.

The new plant will be large enough to take care of the city’s needs for the next 20 years, but the commission is aware that growth on the west side of town will soon make it necessary to either build a small plant in that area or build a large line to carry sewage to the plant that will soon be under construction.

Although a water rate increase about two years ago now brings in about $1.5 million to the water department that is not needed for operation and maintenance or debt service, the sewer department has no extra funds.

So while continuing an existing sales tax has made it possible to build one new sewer plant, the commission makes no promises that it can build a second one or make any other major improvements without a rate increase.

TOP STORY >> Late census decision adds $50,000 to cost

Leader staff writer

A special census will cost Cabot more than $54,000 than it would have if it could have been completed earlier. By not having the results this year as planned, the city will lose about $200,000 in additional revenue.

The council passed a resolution Monday night during the regular council meeting, amending the amount it is willing to pay for a special census from $222,546 to $276,546.

The council voted to pay for a special census in 2005, but the money wasn’t available then or early in 2006 when a snafu in the budget led the council and the mayor to believe they were starting 2006 with $400,000 more than they actually had. Now that the cash is available, the price of the census has gone up $54,398.

The special census is important because the city will collect about $300,000 extra each year in state turnback after it is completed. Since it won’t likely be completed this year, the first of the new funds won’t be collected until 2007. The first year will essentially pay the cost of the special census, but after that the city will collect about $1 million extra before the next regular census is completed.

In other business, the council passed a resolution accepting the low bid for trash and garbage collection that will raise residents’ bills from $11.70 to $16.45.

The low bid was from IESI, the company that currently performs the service.
Jerry Lester with L&L Services, which had the contract before IESI, addressed the council saying the bidding process was unfair.

The contract was bid twice and IESI didn’t bid the first time.

Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh told Lester the first bids were thrown out because they were all too high. IESI didn’t bid the first time because they didn’t receive the notice that they needed to, the mayor said. But Lester said IESI had an advantage over others because they got to see what the other companies bid and could bid lower to win the contract.
“I feel like I’ve been dealt a bad hand,” Lester told the mayor and council.

Alderman David Polantz, who voted against IESI, told Lester that he agreed and that it was also his opinion that “you can’t trust a bid in Cabot.”

Lester’s first bid was $18.45 but his second was $17.90, just $1.45 more than IESI’s. Stumbaugh pointed out as evidence that he was correct in throwing out all bids to try to get the cost down for city residents.

An unofficial committee which met in Cabot for more than two years to discuss growth-related issues became official Monday night when an ordinance that had been on the table four months finally passed. The committee came to the forefront earlier this year when a drainage ordinance it sponsored got the blessings of the planning commission and then approval by the council before the city attorney declared it illegal because it hadn’t been placed before the public first.

The unofficial committee was made up of Alderman David Polantz, who sponsored the ordinance making it official, two members of the planning commission and city staff members, including a consultant hired by the planning commission. The press and the public were not notified about the meetings, though members said they were welcome to attend.

Ron Craig, planning commission chairman, appealed to the council to pass the ordinance, saying it dealt with growth issues that needed to be looked at. “I served on this committee when it was illegal. I just got out of jail,” he joked. But on a serious note he pleaded, “Let us finish the work we started.”

The council approved the new committee which is to be made up of three planning commission members, two council members and staff as required. The committee is to adopt bylaws and rules of procedure and it is to meet quarterly or as needed.

The council also approved a rezoning from residential to commercial on Highway 89, a half mile from the traffic light at Wal-Mart. The last rezoning request, which was much closer to the light, was turned down after nearby residents protested that it would make traffic congestion worse.

The council did not pass an ordinance creating an impact fee on new construction. However, a public meeting on the proposed fee is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 7 in the council chambers at the annex building. The ordinance will be on the agenda again for the August council meeting.

TOP STORY >> Shortfall in Cabot budget

Leader staff writer

Cabot’s $7 million general fund and street budgets have been in a cash crunch much of the year, and one of the main reasons for the problem was revealed Monday night during a budget meeting held before the regular council meeting.
Instead of having about $850,000 left over at the end of 2005 to carry into the New Year as the 2006 budget seemed to say, the city actually had only about $450,000.

Add to that apparent $400,000 discrepancy the $200,000 that was estimated as new revenue from a special census that will not likely be competed this year, and the city has about $600,000 less to operate on than the 2006 budget said it would.
The census was not scheduled as it was supposed to be because the $280,000 cash to pay for it was not available. (See article on this page.)

Alderman David Polantz, chairman of the council’s budget committee, said Monday night that he thought the city books should be audited, not because he thinks money is missing but because no one seems to know how much there is.
But none of the other council members present (Eddie Cook, Tom Armstrong, Bob Duke and Patrick Hutton) were inclined to call for one since the regular state audit started that day. “There’s no way around that. We don’t know where we’re at,” Polantz told Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh, who became angry over his assertion that the budget numbers had “no validity.”
Polantz learned from financial records he received during the June meeting of the budget committee that the carryover number was less than estimated in December 2005 and asked Finance Director Dale Walker to explain why the number was half the amount it should be.

Stumbaugh said during the Monday night meeting that all the numbers for a budget are estimates, and gave what has become his most frequently used example of that fact: If Wal-Mart burned down, he would have to lay off half the city’s employees. But he said Tuesday morning that he also was surprised that the $850,000 carryover wasn’t available cash. “The bottom line is the money we thought was there, wasn’t there,” Stumbaugh said.

But the cash not being available as the mayor and council members believed it would be was not really a mistake, said City Clerk Marva Verkler. It was a misunderstanding caused by the type of accounting the city uses now.

When Verkler was responsible for accounting in the city before Stumbaugh took over as mayor almost four years ago, she used the cash method. But Walker uses the accrual method and an $850,000 carryover with that method doesn’t necessarily mean cash, she said.

The council stripped Verkler of her bookkeeping duties at Stumbaugh’s request and created the position of finance director. Verkler was openly distressed by the loss of her duties and filed a lawsuit that she later dropped to get them back. But recently she and Walker have started working together more and she said Tuesday that his numbers are accurate. The real problem is that the accrual method, though used now in many large cities, is almost impossible for the average person to understand, she said.

Verkler said new accounting software that Walker recently started using should prevent misunderstandings in the future.
And Stumbaugh said that although he was surprised that his definition of a carryover didn’t agree with his finance director’s, the problem did not warrant Polantz’s harsh criticism.

During the budget meeting, Polantz said the city council should freeze spending unless cash is available. The city has never done anything else, Stumbaugh said the next morning. If it did otherwise, the special census would have already been completed, he said.

The budget committee agreed to carry only one motion to the full council. The cash problem has been especially hard on the street department, which has no money for street maintenance.

The committee agreed to transfer $60,000 from the $2.1 million in bond money for streets that was part of the extension of the one-cent sales tax passed in September 2005.

The full council, which met about 10 minutes after the budget meeting ended, agreed to the request.

TOP STORY >> Summer weather risky for seniors

Leader staff writer

According to state Health Department officials, those most affected by heat-related illness are people with health problems, very young children and the elderly.

Primarily cooled down through the skin and sweat, a human body has the ability to lose excess heat, but health problems may arise if the body can no longer evaporate the heat.

With heat indices exceeding 105 degrees, Arkansas residents brace for more soaring temperatures mixed with overpowering humidity, ozone action days and burn bans.

At Jacksonville Senior Center, the elderly congregated not only for company but also to stay cool. “All our seniors, 60 and older, are welcome to come over,” said Nikeba Davis, director of the local senior center.

Davis’ father lives in Texarkana and she recalled a recent story about him, which dealt with the sweltering heat of the South.
“He was sitting outside at his home,” she said. “I don’t really think some people realize how hot it really is.”

Two senior citizens knew the difference as they passed the time with friends and relatives in an air-conditioned setting.
One of those citizens has no air-conditioners to rely upon as temperatures reach the high 90s in central Arkansas.
“I can’t afford it,” said Robert Cain of Jacksonville. “I’ve got fans though but it’s pretty hot sometimes.”

As he sat with a friend, Cain expressed he was thankful for the center being open so he and others could stay cool.
Cain initially got acquainted with the local senior center because of its Tuesday night dances.
“I wanted to hear the band,” he told The Leader.

While sipping on iced tea, Jalene Spangler of Jacksonville also attempted to stay cool this week.
“It’s much nicer, much homier, much cooler over here,” Spangler says.

Spangler admits time away from her home lowers the electric bills. She also indicated that she and her husband have differing opinions of what is hot and what is not.

“My husband doesn’t like air-conditioning and it got about 90 degrees the other day inside our home,” Spangler explained.
Spangler also visits the local center for a balanced meal and its exercise program.

The center provides activities ranging from playing dominos to learning ceramics. The center’s hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Davis estimates about 70 senior citizens per day visited last week. She also explained that the air-conditioning unit is down at the senior citizen facility in McAlmont, therefore all citizens are coming to them.

A need for more volunteers rests upon Davis’ shoulders. Those volunteers would be assigned to deliver meals to seniors unable to come to the center located on Victory Circle in Jacksonville.

“Just one day a week, one hour a day would help and they (volunteers) could check on the seniors while delivering meals,” Davis said.

“Sometimes, that is the only person the seniors will see all day and because it so hot, seniors need to be checked on making this a perfect opportunity for someone to volunteer.”

The National Weather Service in North Little Rock predicts more heat advisories in store for Arkansas.
“The whole week will be very, very hot,” said Newton Skiles, NWS senior forecaster. The killer heat wave claimed its first victim in Arkansas.

“Because of HIPPA, we can’t disclose any information about the death,” said Ann Wright, spokesperson for Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services.

Enacted in 1996 across the U.S., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has strict rules and regulations about the confidentiality of patient information.

Some of the hottest spots in the state are DeQueen after it recently hit 104 degrees and as the mercury inked its way up to 103 degrees in Texarkana.

Both of these temperatures were registered without heat indices.

Jacksonville ranked lower with a temperature of 97 degrees but factoring in a heat index bumped it up to 104 degrees, Skiles explained. A shortage of rainfall averaging about 2 inches below normal prompted a burn ban to be issued for Pulaski County.

Besides the Jacksonville Senior Center, the city provides no emergency centers to provide cool comfort during these days of extreme warmth.

Asked if the Jacksonville Community Center would be open to provide an air-condition setting for those without, Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim explained that there are not any plans currently underway for such an effort.
“No, we’ve not done that in the past,” Swaim told The Leader.

It is not known how many heat-related illnesses have been treated at Rebsamen Medical Center because of its current record-keeping system, according to Kristen James, a spokesperson for the local hospital.
“We do see an increase with the start of baseball and football practices,” she says.

James indicated that the start of intense military outdoor training also sparks more victims of heat-related illnesses showing up at the hospital. Most of the above victims who end up at the hospital are primarily treated for either dehydration or heat exhaustion, according to James.

Two tips in helping to ward off those types of heat-related illnesses are to drink plenty of water preferably containing sodium and to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

On heat advisory days, health officials recommend residents stay inside.

Skiles predicts temperatures will drop to the mid-90s by Saturday and possibly dip into the low 90s either Sunday or next Monday marking a reprieve of this week’s extreme heat.

Despite the predicted decrease in the temperatures, summer has not lost its grip on Arkansas.
“The long range forecast is a little bit warmer than normal for summer here,” Skiles said.

In 2005, seven people died of heat-related illnesses by Aug. 29, according to ADHHS.
In 1980, the state registered 153 heat-related deaths.

TOP STORY >> Hot weather could cause fires, illness

Leader staff writer

Lack of precipitation and high temperatures are poised to make this summer miserable for people and pets alike. Tinderbox conditions caused many county judges to issue burn bans throughout the central part of the state, including Lonoke, Pulaski and White counties. Other counties with burn bans include Cleburne, Saline, Garland, Hot Spring, Clark, Pike Polk, Howard, Hempstead, Nevada, Miller, Lafayette, Columbia, Ashley and Chicot.

“In years past, if it was very dry before the Fourth of July, fireworks cause a lot of fires, but we’ve been fortunate with that this year,” Beebe Fire Chief William Nick told The Leader.

“We’ve had a few grass fires, nothing above normal, but I think that will change if it stays dry,” Nick said.
In White County, Searcy Fire Marshall Phil Watkins said there’s little outdoor burning within the city limits. Most of the grass fires in the area are near highways.

“Human carelessness is the cause of most of it. People throwing cigarette butts out their car windows by the interstate,” Watkins said.

Jacksonville and Cabot fire departments haven’t had any fires within the city limits recently, but Cabot fire crews have gone into the county to help volunteer fire departments battle fires.

“South Bend fought a hay fire yesterday and the week before last there were two grass fires in one day,” said Chief Phil Robinson of Cabot.

“Most of the grass fires we see are people who are burning and let it get away from them,” Robinson said.
On Tuesday, the Cabot Fire Department reviewed treatments for heat related illnesses after the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services reported the first heat-related death of the year.

The elderly, people with health problems, and very young children are the most vulnerable to heat related illnesses. People should avoid staying shut-up indoors during a heat wave without using air conditioning.

To stay healthy in the heat, health officials recommend drinking moderate amounts of water or sports drinks throughout the day and avoiding caffeinated and carbonated drinks because they increase elimination while delaying hydration.
Those who work, exercise or participate in strenuous activity, such as football practice, for an hour or more during intense heat may eliminate or sweat up to two quarts of water.

Heat-related illnesses, causes and treatment include:
• Heat cramps. Muscle pain caused by severe salt depletion due to heavy sweating can be treated through salt replacement, cooling down and gentle massage.

• Heat exhaustion. The most common illness caused by heat. Often occurs while the person is working outside or attending outside events in extremely hot, humid weather.

Victim may complain of weakness and feel faint. Other symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache and confusion.
The person should be moved to a cooler place, and wet cloths applied for cooling down. Fluid and salt should be replaced.
Depending on the severity of the illness, hospitalization and intravenous fluid replacement may be necessary. This condition usually comes just before heat stroke.

• Heat stroke or sunstroke. This is a life-threatening condition in which the victim’s temperature-control system stops working. Sweating stops completely and the body’s temperature can rise so high the nervous system, the brain and other organs can be damaged permanently.

Death may occur if the body is not cooled quickly. The symptoms of heat stroke include sudden high fever, dry skin, delirium, convulsions and seizures. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 and cool the person as fast as possible with ice, a cold bath and wet sheets until medical help arrives. 

• Make sure pets have shade and access to clean water.

The National Weather Service predicts highs over 100 degrees for central Arkansas with a front moving through Friday, dropping the temperature to 97 degree. July’s looming heat isn’t just a Southern phenomenon.
Forecasters are predicting weekend temperatures in the 90s for Cut Bank, Mont.