Wednesday, October 11, 2006

SPORTS >>Mustangs wary of winless Sylvan Hills

Leader sports editor

Forrest City is 2-1 in conference play and Sylvan Hills is 0-3, but don’t expect the Mustangs to take the struggling Bears lightly. The two teams were in similar situations when last year’s meeting took place, and Forrest City barely escaped Sherwood with a one-point victory over the big underdogs.

Mustang coach Scott Reed remembers vividly that game, and says his team does too. “One thing we learned about them last year is that they’re going to fight no matter if they’re down or not or by how much,” Reed said. “They showed us a lot of character last year playing the way they did against us and ending the season like they did. Expecting an easy game won’t even cross our minds.”

Reed is aware of the weapons the Bears possess. Although Sylvan Hills has yet to duplicate its outstanding week-one performance, no one will forget it, especially the upcoming competition. “They’ve struggled for whatever reasons since then, but all you have to do to see what they’re capable of is look at that game against Catholic,” Reed said. “You can’t look at that game and think this is a team that can’t beat you. They have a lot of speed, a lot of good players.”

Reed even had a list of players he’s worried about. “Shod Neely is a good player. No. 70 and No. 82 are guys that look real strong on our film. Of course that quarterback is a double threat. They’ve got good running backs and a lot of speed at receiver. (Tyler) Roark is a kid that makes plays for them all the time. You just have to be on your toes are this team will hurt you.”

While Reed gave quite a scouting report on the Bears, he says it’s his own team that he’s concerned about the most. Reed’s Mustangs are in the process of revamping the offense to fit its new dual-quarterback system.

Forrest City was forced to resort to the new system when two-year starter ?? went down with an ankle injury against Searcy two weeks ago. ?? Barton and Lee Smith are alternating at quarterback now, but they are running a more-run-oriented system.

“They’re not as far along in our passing game so we’re changing some things to try and do what they are best at.” Reed said. “Anytime you lose a kid like ??, it does effect you, but we’re going to get better at what we’re doing.”

The new offense managed just 115 total yards in last week’s loss to Marion, but defensively it was FC’s best game so far.
“We are getting better on defense,” Reed said. “They played better than they have all year against Marion. They gave up a big play, and our offense didn’t help them, but they had a great game. I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making on that side of the ball. Hopefully the offense will improve and keep them off the field a little bit this week.”

SPORTS >>Cabot facing toughest opponent on the road

Leader sports editor

Cabot’s offense moved the ball well against one of the best defenses in the state last week. Five turnovers went a long way in keeping the Panthers from converting all those yards they gained into points, but the mere fact that they moved the ball the way they did gives them hope heading into this week.

They’ll need all the confidence, all the execution and all the precision they can muster too, because this week they go from taking on one of the best defenses, to taking on the best defense when they travel to storied Quigley Stadium to take on undefeated Little Rock Central.

Stout defense has become synonymous with the Central Tigers the past few years. Even last year’s team that followed back-to-back state championship teams that failed to make the playoffs, still had one of the toughest defenses in the state.
This year, enough offense has been added to the stone fortress defense for the Tigers to be undefeated and in position for another conference championship.

Central has given up 21 points in six games, given up no more than seven points in any game, and held three opponents scoreless. Those are the same type of numbers the back-to-back state title teams put up. None of that is lost on Cabot coach Mike Malham. He is as much aware of how good Central’s defense has been the past few years as anyone. His Panthers are on an 0-3 streak to the Tigers over the past three years, only now it’s a conference game.

“They got a good defense there’s not question about that,” Malham said. “They sure haven’t given up much. They’re giving up three and a half points a game, they’ve got three shutouts. We’re just going to go in there and do what we do best. It’s going to be tough, but we’re going to shorten the game and try not to give up a big play.”

Central coach Bernie Cox doesn’t care much about Cabot’s 4-2 record or his team’s 6-0 record. He doesn’t care about his team’s three-game win streak against Cabot. He just cares about getting his team ready for the Panthers.

“They still bring that Cabot mystique into games and we’ve tried to make that point,” Cox said. “They better be ready because Cabot is never a team you can be unprepared for. No one runs what they run, and no one blocks like they block. They come off that line so low. We try to teach them to get the low pad, but that’s hard to do against Cabot. You at least have to be ready for that or they’ll push you up and down the field.”

Still, Cabot knows it has moved the ball well all season. It just haven’t stopped giving it away. If the Panthers can do that, they believe they will have a good chance this week. “We got away with those turnovers early in the year, but against these big teams we just can’t do that and expect to beat anybody,” Malham said. So the first thing we’ve got to do is hang onto the ball.”

Central has been on the other end of the turnover margin. They got six turnovers in week one to beat West Memphis, and got a few more in week two against Texarkana. The defense played well enough in those games to get the win while the offense improved. That culminated into a 33-0 win over Conway last week.

“We got six turnovers that first week or we never would have scored,” Cox said. “But our offense has improved to the point that I think last week’s game was our best, most complete game of the year. We’ve been very pleased, but there’s still a lot of things that we can do to get better. We haven’t been totally satisfied with everything.”

The injury situation isn’t good for Cabot either. Starters Josh Clem, Brian Frey, Logan Lucas and Jake Davis will all miss Friday’s game. That will leave the Cabot coaching staff with the task of shuffling the lineup, and playing a lot of sophomores.
“We’re probably going to end up play eight or nine sophomores,” Malham said. “We’re kind of a ragtag group right now, but we’re going there to win. We’re not going just to take a trip. If we do our thing, don’t put it on the ground, stay in position on defense, we might pull one out.”

SPORTS >>Jackrabbits alert, aren't overlooking underdogs

Leader sports writer

It will not be the strongest challenge of the year for Lonoke this Friday, but the Jackrabbits are still preparing for the trip to Mountain View to play the struggling Yellowjackets just the same. A roster of only 15 players has made being competitive an impossibility in the tough 4A-2 Conference this season for Mountain View.

The ‘Jackets have been held scoreless in five of their six games so far this season. The only points for them this year came in a 36-6 win over upstarts Cave City. In all, Mountain View has been outscored 210 to 36 on the year, giving up an average of 35 points per game.

Putting points on the scoreboard has not been a problem for the Jackrabbits recently in the slightest. Lonoke has outscored its last two opponents 116-22, including last week’s 55-0 shutout over Southside Batesville.

With powerhouse Marianna waiting in the wings for Lonoke next week, ‘Rabbits head coach Jeff Jones says the key this week is to keep his players focused on the task at hand, and not look too far into the future.

“We have some tough games down the road,” Jones said. “We certainly don’t want to overlook Mountain View, though. They are in a rebuilding cycle right now; they have kind of struggled some. They are a little low in numbers, but they have a pretty balanced run-and-pass attack.”

It has been business as usual for the Jackrabbits the past couple of weeks. The only significant change on the chart is the emergence of young running back Tyler Crow. Crow has run very well the last two weeks, allowing the coaching staff to use senior Wendell Scales primarily on defense. Scales started the season as starting tailback and starting linebacker, effectively putting him on the field for nearly the entire 48 minutes.

Jones has referred to Scales as the heart and soul of the Jackrabbits team since the summer. His defensive efforts have proven to be very valuable for Lonoke so far this season, but Jones says he is still polished on the running game if needed.
“Our sophomore Tyler Crow has done a good job in the backfield for us the last couple of weeks,” Jones said. “We are pretty excited about that. We’ve been able to give Wendell a little bit of a break and let him concentrate on defense. He is still capable of running the ball if we need him. Clarence Harris is still doing a good job for us on offense, but we’ve been spreading the ball around a little more these last two weeks.”

Jones says the team is healthy, save for a couple of bumps and bruises. Although the offense still continues to make strides weekly, Jones says the increase was not as dramatic last week as it has been in the previous couple of weeks. The ‘Rabbits could potentially use this game with the Yellowjackets as a primer for next week’s showdown with Marianna.

SPORTS >>Chicks right ship before Beebe game

Leader sportswriter

Both Beebe and Blytheville will be playing a very critical conference game for the respective teams this Friday when the Badgers travel north the face the Chickasaws in 5A-East action. Blytheville came away with its first conference win last week against Greene County Tech in a closely contested 19-14 final, while the Badgers suffered a tough loss at the hands of a quick and merciless Wynne team.

Each team sports an overall 4-2 record, but Beebe has the league advantage with a 2-1 record versus a 1-2 record for the Chickasaws. The first two conference matchups were offensive letdowns for Blytheville, but head coach Doug Quinn says he noticed a steady turnaround during last Friday’s win against the Eagles.

“We started out the year pretty consistent on offense,” Quinn said. “We had a little bit of a set back against Wynne and Nettleton, so we want to get back to doing what worked for us early on. I felt like the offense did better last week. The guys did what they had to do to pull out the win. We are headed back in the right direction, but we’re still not there yet.”

Among notables this season offensively for the Chickasaws, is bruising fullback Melvin Brooks, who already has a staggering 1,000 yards of rushing through six games so far this season. Although Blytheville comes out of the wing-T set with a big back, the offense can also be a threat through the air. Junior QB Gabriel Osagie has two favorite targets in wide receiver Gerrett Howard and junior tight end O. J. Collins.

Like many other coaches in the conference, Quinn believes the first two playoff seeds are already spoken for. He does believe, however, that the fight for the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds has a potential to be a free-for-all. Four teams still have a very realistic shot at capturing a playoff berth at this point, and Quinn says the game with Beebe on Friday will be a crucial one for his team. He also knows that with the recent history between the two teams, a win will not come easy for either team.

“Every game from this point on is a big one for us,” Quinn said. “And this one is the next in line. The last two years, the game has been decided by less than five points, and I don’t see it getting any easier this year.

“This is a good conference from top to bottom. Wynne and Batesville are in class by themselves, but after that, everyone else is on the same level of play. Friday is our homecoming, so we want to try and take advantage of that against Beebe.”

Quinn also believes that the game will be determined on his team’s ability to stop the Beebe spread. “Cam Prock has developed a fine form of the spread,” Quinn said. “They have two quarterbacks who throw well, and one that can really scramble. They’re young, but they have got some really talented players.”

A win for the Badgers would put them in the drivers seat for clinching a playoff bid, but a loss could be devastating with powerhouse Batesville still left on the schedule, along with very solid Nettleton and GCT teams to face before the close of the conference season.

SPORTS >>Wounded Lions dangerous to Devils

Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville Red Devils will host winless Searcy this Friday in a 6A-East Conference matchup at Jan Crow Stadium. It has been another difficult season for the Lions, but for the Red Devils, it has not been as stellar as many predicted.

After the difficult loss to Jonesboro two weeks ago, Jacksonville is officially out of conference Mulligans as far as the playoffs are concerned. Red Devils head coach Mark Whatley knows that despite Searcy’s winless record, the Lions can present a serious problem for any team.

“They are a really good football team,” Whatley said. “Those kids play really hard; they don’t have any quit in them. The minute you start planning ahead and overlook somebody, you’re going to get beat. Every Friday night in this conference is tough, so we will have to be ready to play.”

Whatley also remembers last year’s contest, in which an easy Jacksonville win was predicted, but the Red Devils trailed until the final minutes of the game. An 80-yard touchdown run from Justin Akins in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter helped the Devils squeak by the Lions. Whatley is hoping that things will not be quite as close this year.

“Last year, they gave us a heck of a battle,” Whatley said. “I know they have had some kids out with injuries this year, so we don’t know who they’ve got back and who they don’t, and that is a concern for me. You also will have kids who will step up when someone is injured and surprise you, so we also have to be looking for that.”

The Red Devils’ offense has looked somewhat shaky in the past few weeks, but Whatley says that not many changes are expected. He says the ability of his offense to adapt to different styles of defense has been the sore spot as of late. “We are just trying to go out and win football games,” Whatley said. “We just have to take what the defense gives us as far as what we run. We simply have to find ways to get in the end zone and keep them out of the end zone. If we can do that, we will be okay.”

Searcy’s year has gone from not so good to bad to even worse injury wise this season. At this time, the Lions have 14 players out with various injuries. The status of starting quarterback Justin Rowden for this Friday was still not known as of Tuesday afternoon.

Three more starters made their way to the injured list during last week’s loss to West Memphis. Nick Evans, Dustin Jones, and most notably Seth McGuiness. The senior McGuiness has been a starter on both sides of the ball as a tailback and linebacker, but a neck injury suffered on Friday has him out for the remainder of the season.

Searcy coach Bart McFarland says despite the setbacks, his team will be ready for the Red Devils on Friday. “The biggest thing for us will be stopping the big play,” McFarland said. “Their speed is definitely a concern for us, but we are going to continue to do what we’ve been doing, running the football, and spreading it out when we have to.”

The Lions will visit Jacksonville for the Red Devils homecoming this Friday with opening kickoff at 7 p.m.

OBITUARIES >> 10-11-06


Ben Vincent Cole, 73, of Little Rock passed away Oct. 6 in North Little Rock. He was born April 5, 1933 in Cotton Plant, to the late Jack and Emeline Morris Cole.  He attended schools there and was saved and baptized at First Baptist Church of Cotton Plant.  He served in the Air Force.

Later, he worked as superintendent of heavy equipment maintenance in many foreign countries.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Linh T. Cole, and first cousins, Bonnie Bean Hutson, W.A. Morris, Billy Morris, Gene Morris and Dorothy Rooks. 

Special thanks to Towbin Hospice at Fort Roots and the excellent nursing staff. Arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Jerry Dale Erwin, Sr., 72, of Jacksonville passed away on Oct. 6, after a brave battle with cancer at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Fort Roots in North Little Rock. He served his country in the U.S. Navy and retired after many years as a paint contractor.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jimmy Earl and Violet Bennett Erwin; a brother, Herschel Wayne Erwin, and a sister, Jimmie Earl Roberts-Silverman. He is survived by his wife, Lillie May “Sissy” Erwin of Jacksonville; three sons, Gary Wayne and wife Toni Lyne of Cabot, Tony Lynn of Jacksonville and Jerry Dale and wife, Jennifer of Vilonia. He also has four grandchildren, Jessica, Wade and Jordan Erwin and Whitney Brown.

The family would like to express their many thanks to Arkansas Hospice for their wonderful care. Graveside services were in Sumner Cemetery Oct. 9. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Jackie Wayne Aiken, 65, of England answered his Savior’s call to heaven Oct. 8.  He was born on March 27, 1941 in Crossett, to Johnnie and Lillian Jones Aiken.  

He was preceded in death by his father; brothers, Bobby Joe and Robert Lee Conville Jr.; and sister Dot Carpenter.
He is survived by his wife, Dianna; his mother, Lillian Aiken; his girls, Diana and husband Terry Harrison and Patricia and husband Danny Reed; sister, Pat Lochala; sister-in-law, Terry Con-ville and brother-in-law, John C. Carpenter Jr.; grandchildren, Georgia and husband Trey Bechtel, Robyn and husband Brad Hodges, Terry Wayne and wife Lauren Harrison, Katelyn Dianne Harrison, Patricia Funderburg, Ava Conville, and Dori and husband Dan Woerheide; great-grandchildren, Brooklyn and Dakota, and 14 nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Johnny L. Thompson, 87, of Jacksonville died Oct. 7, at Woodland Hills Nursing Home in Jacksonville. She was born Sept. 8, 1919 in Fordyce to Charles and Florence Wardlaw Kellogg. She graduated from Fordyce High School in 1938.In 1944 she entered nurses training at Baptist State Hospital, graduating in 1947. She worked at an Indian Hospital in Tacoma, Wash..
She married Eldon D. Thomp-son in Batesville. They moved to Jacksonville in 1963.

She was a member of Military Road Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by a sister, Jackie Easterling.
She is survived by her husband, Eldon D. Thompson; two sons and a daughter in law, Stanley and Pamela Thompson of Longview, Texas, and Charlie Thompson of Jacksonville; three grandchildren, Andrea Boos, Becky and Jonathan Thompson; two great-grandchildren, Emily and Kaitlyn Boos; and sister, Opal Morgan of Fordyce. 

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. David Sanders officiating.

Entombment will follow at Chapel Hill Mausoleum.

EDITORIAL>>Removing grocery tax

If you follow the commercials, press releases and debates of Asa Hutchinson and Mike Beebe, you would think that the paramount issue in the governor’s race is who first or most wholeheartedly favored removing the state sales tax on groceries.
Okay, here is the record: Beebe was a little late getting on board the populist movement, but he beat Hutchinson to the punch. Hutchinson first said it was not part of his program because the voters of Arkansas already had spoken on the grocery tax in 2002 and overwhelmingly voted to keep it.

He might have added that it was the second decisive defeat of the tax repeal in 28 years. Voters supported the tax by a large margin in 1978 when an initiative petition put the question on the ballot.

But Hutchinson now says that he actually was thinking about it at the time and misspoke and that he now intends to try to remove the tax in one whack next year. Beebe says he would remove the tax in several steps so that it did not trigger a fiscal crisis. So Hutchinson says he is the real anti-sales tax man, not Beebe.

Such silly posturing must leave the voters bored. What would not bore them is a real analysis of this serious undertaking. To the surprise of sponsors of the repeal movement, Arkansas voters have twice studied the grocery tax and the consequences of repealing it and voted no when they were expected to vote reflexively against taxes.

We don’t particularly care for the tax because it is slightly regressive. Like the sales tax in general, it punishes poor people because it is assessed on every dollar of their income: If you’re going to repeal the tax on groceries, how about doing the same for shoes, diapers and school uniforms? Where do you stop?

For people with higher incomes, however, the tax on groceries is not even a nuisance. Neither the levy on groceries nor the sales tax in general burdens their purchasing power or their disposable income unless they are buying yachts and pricey jewelry.

Repealing the state grocery tax also would reduce the state’s general revenues by at least $200 million and maybe much more. Foodstuff is not separated in the state’s tax accounting, so no one has ever been sure of the cost. We know that it would be substantial.

That is why voters in 1978 and 2002 rejected the repeal: there was no alternative source of revenue proposed, and the loss would have affected education, health care for the elderly, corrections or other vital state services. Now it is supposed to be safe to remove the tax because the treasury has piled up a sizable surplus in an economy fueled for three years by low interest rates and a real estate boom.

Beebe is the smarter on this point. He has been around the government in boom and bust cycles and knows that this year’s surplus is next year’s deficit. He wants to go cautiously, peeling off a couple of pennies of the 6-cent state tax at first, then phase the rest out while the budgets adjust.

Hutchinson is used to dealing with taxes and spending in Washington, D.C., where you need not worry about bleak future economies because you can always borrow a couple hundred billion dollars from the central bank of China when income runs low. President Bush and the Congress controlled by his party (Hutchinson was part of it) slashed taxes on high incomes and corporations and then saw the treasury surplus disappear and historic deficits take their place. But Gov. Hutchinson will not be able to do that. It is a civil offense to unbalance the budget in Arkansas.

There is an even better course than Beebe’s, though neither he nor Hutchinson nor the legislature is apt to take it. Rather than exempt everyone from the grocery tax, including the billionaires and their extravagant tastes, why not apply the repeal only to families with incomes of, say, less than $45,000, or some higher figure? It could be done through tax rebates, like the federal earned income tax credit (EITC).

State tax administrators will complain that it would complicate tax administration and put some small burden on taxpayers who would have to send in a form to claim their grocery rebate or EITC. Gov. Bill Clinton agreed with organized labor to do that when he had the legislature raise the sales tax in 1983, but then he welshed on the agreement. Information technology has made the task much easier now.

TOP STORY >>CabotFest promises fun for all

Leader staff writer

Volunteers are still needed to help out with CabotFest this weekend to set up, disburse drinks, work booths when vendors need a five-minute break, pick up trash, direct people and traffic and help close up when the party is over. “We’re going to have close to 200 vendors. The car show is going to be bigger this year and the CabotFest pageant has a lot of entries, so it’s going to be a great event,” said Trina Welch, CabotFest coordinator.

The celebration begins at 3 p.m. Friday when armbands will be offered for $15 for unlimited amusement rides. The carnival will be open from 3 p.m. until midnight. The CabotFest Pageant begins at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Family Life Center at Cabot First Baptist Church. Boys up to 5 years and girls up to age 19 will compete throughout the day in 13 divisions.

Miss CabotFest 2006 will receive a sash, crown, trophy and a $250 scholarship certificate to the school of her choice.
“My favorite part of CabotFest is the crisp cool air, the smell of cotton candy and popcorn, the roar of the rides and seeing the smile on everybody’s faces, young and old, as we come together once a year as a community to celebrate Cabot,” said Teri Miesner, volunteer coordinator for CabotFest.

New to CabotFest this year is a 3-on-3 basketball tournament sponsored by the Arkansas Rim Rockers development league.
Players ages 5 years and up can compete. The tournament will culminate in a “Top Gun Blowout” featuring Arkansas basketball legends Kareem Reed and Scotty Thurman.

Cabot Lion’s Club opens Saturday’s events with a pancake breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church. Booths and stages open at 9 a.m. Entertainment at the main stage this year includes: Stormy Weather from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m; Blue Cahoots, 10:30 a.m. to noon; The Munks, 12:30 to 2 p.m.; Ed Buckner and The Meteors from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Riverbilly from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Performers on the family stage include: Bongo Willie from 9 to 9:40 a.m.; Jeff Jenkins from 10 to 10:30 a.m.; Bongo Willie from 11 to 11:40 a.m.; Hallelujah Harmony from noon to 12:45 p.m.; Ashley Pettit from 1 to 1:30 p.m.; Bongo Willie from 2 to 2:40 p.m.; Clifton Fowler from 3 to 3:30 p.m.; Jason Eagle from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m.

More children’s activities are planned including the return of the rock-climbing wall and a children’s playground by First Security Bank. There will be arts and crafts vendors, and various foods and drinks.

“My favorite part of CabotFest is seeing people come out to support their community and have a good time,” said Denise Drye, a CabotFest volunteer. Plenty of businesses will display their services and wares and civic organizations such as Cabot City Beautiful and the local AARP chapter will be on hand.

TOP STORY >>Supreme Court asked to decide Wilson fund suit

Leader staff writer

A Jacksonville businessman is appealing to the state Supreme Court a lower court ruling that allowed local state legislators last session to earmark General Improvement Funds for local projects. The projects include the new Jacksonville library, the Jacksonville Senior Center, the Jacksonville Museum of Military History, the Reed’s Bridge Preservation Society and a Bigelow (Cleburne County) library—about $260,000 in all.

Wilson prevailed in his challenge of a $10,000 earmark for the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club and a $20,000 award to the city of Jacksonville without a specified purpose, but he lost on five other challenges. The Boys and Girls club has appealed that decision, according to Matt DeCample of the state attorney general’s office.

Wilson sued to stop the state from releasing General Improvement Fund money for several projects, saying Amendment 14 of the state Constitution prohibits funding local projects. Wilson argued that allowing state legislators to earmark General Improvement Funds for local projects is “pork” plain and simple.

“If the state is going to simply give money away to anybody,” said Wilson, “that would require a constitutional amendment, a vote by the people.” General Improvement Funds as they now exist began in 1997, so Wilson said he wasn’t bringing home the pork when he was a state representative.

In his arguments a year ago before Circuit Judge Willard Proctor, Wilson maintained that state funding is appropriate only on projects that benefit the entire state, but Proctor, in allowing most of the challenged projects, accepted a broader interpretation of benefiting the state’s residents.

Wilson seeks to overturn Proctor’s ruling, which allowed $190,000 toward the new Esther D. Nixon Library; $50,000 for the Jacksonville Senior Center; $10,000 for the Jacksonville Museum of Military History; $10,000 for the Reed’s Bridge (Civil War) Preservation Society, and $10,000 toward the Bigelow library.

Jacksonville voters in July 2005 approved a one-mill property tax increase to finance $2.5 million in bonds to build the new library. Wilson is representing himself in the appeal and Asheton Carter, of the state attorney general’s office, is defending the ruling of the lower court, DeCample said.

The state Supreme Court has not scheduled any hearings on the appeal and hasn’t said when it would take up the case.
“I will ask them to advance it on the docket,” said Wilson Monday. “It’s a matter of urgent state policy and it ought to be decided before (the General Assembly) convenes and tries to do something again.”

Wilson has petitioned the court to hear oral arguments in the appeal.

TOP STORY >>Stocks' hearing coming up

Leader staff writer

Heath Stocks of Furlow, who killed his father, mother and younger sister almost 10 years ago, may find out as early as Thursday if there’s a possibility his life sentence in prison could be commuted to a sentence in years so that he may someday be eligible for parole. The six commissioners of the Arkansas Parole Board meet Thursday and again later this month on Thursday, Oct. 26. It is not known at which meeting Stocks’ application will be discussed.

This is Stocks’ second application for clemency since he pleaded guilty to the January 1997 murders, said Rhonda Sharp, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. If the board decides the application is without merit, he’s ineligible for parole. If the board finds merit in the application, hearings with Stocks and family members will be held later that could possibly result in a non-binding recommendation to the governor for clemency.

If the application goes to a hearing, it is unlikely any of the family members of the victims will speak against StocksBoard orphan. His grandparents have worked to gain his freedom almost from the time he was incarcerated. Dorothy Stocks, his paternal grandmother, said last week that Stocks is doing well and that he has grown into a handsome man.

He’s being held at the Tucker Maximum Security Prison. Stocks was 20 years old when he killed his family. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced without a trial. His life story, the one he would like the parole board to hear, was not told until after he began serving his three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Stocks testified during the victim impact hearing for Jack Walls III of Lonoke, who pleaded guilty to raping five boys under 14 years of age and was sentenced to life plus 90 years. Stocks told Circuit Court Judge Lance Hanshaw that he loved Walls like a father and that he killed his family to protect Walls, who had sexually abused him since he was 10 years old. Just before he killed his family, his mother came home unexpectedly and found Walls in his bed. Stocks said he told his mother about their relationship and then told Walls what he had done. Walls had always told his “boys” that if they had a problem, they should “kill it,” he said. “Jack told me to take care of the problem,” he said.

Whether that claim is true has not been proven, because the sheriff’s department did not investigate it. But Hanshaw said from his bench that Stocks was Walls’ “finest creation.” Walls, son of a judge, husband, father and Boy Scout leader, is probably the most infamous child rapist in Lonoke County history.

The investigation into his crimes revealed that he likely had more than 60 victims. The courtroom was full of them during the victim impact hearing, though most did not testify. Those who did testify told how Walls would take them camping, get them drunk, give them pornography and molest them.

His victims talked about his arsenal of weapons, the training he gave them as hit men and about his plan to kill a Carlisle man and his son. They said they knew those weapons could easily be turned on them. Six months after the death of Joe, Barbara and Heather Stocks, the truth about Walls’ secret life came out when Wade Knox, his nephew and next-door neighbor, held a gun to his head and forced him to tell his parents how he had abused him since he was 10 years old.
Knox, who reportedly suffered emotionally during the abuse and after Walls went to prison, committed suicide about three years ago.

The Wade Knox Child Advocacy Center in Lonoke bears his name.

TOP STORY >>Surplus seen as shaping budget

Leader staff writer

Lawmakers began fall budget hearings Tuesday with the prospect of a $721 million budget surplus, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy going as legislators ponder repeal of the grocery tax, and significantly increased funding requests for Medicaid, prisons, education and educational facilities.

“We don’t know whether (the surplus) will be ongoing,” said state Sen. John Paul Capps, D-Searcy. “We have to be very careful how we obligate ourselves.” “In my experience, a surplus is cyclical. Four years ago, we were scraping to raise money to balance the budget—my first day in the Senate,” said Capps, a former House speaker. He said there was enthusiasm among lawmakers about abolishing the sales tax on groceries. “I think all sales taxes are regressive. Rather than sending back a little check to everyone, I’d rather take off the grocery tax,” Capps added.

“Everybody’s focused on (spending) the surplus,” said state Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville. “We need to take a step back. We’ve had significant ups and downs in income and obligations (over the past few years).” Bond counseled proceeding cautiously and setting some aside to concentrate on court-ordered improvements to school facilities.

The No. 1 goal should be tax fairness and tax consistency, Bond insisted. Bond said the surplus was created by forecasting revenues conservatively and budgeting within the forecast. “We have made tough decisions,” he said, including holding various agencies to their appropriations instead of extending funding to unfunded requests when revenues were sufficient.
Other factors in accumulating the surplus include raising the state sales tax 7/8 of a cent in 2004 for education, and extending services taxed to include, for instance, dry cleaning and tattooing.

The state also imposed a 3 percent income tax surcharge. The projected $721 million surplus includes a $402.7 million surplus accumulated previously. The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee began their traditional prelegislative session spending reviews with cash-generating agencies whose spending does not depend on a two-year revenue forecast or balanced budget proposal from Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Both the balanced budget proposal and forecast are expected Nov. 9, two days after the election to decide Huckabee’s successor. Huckabee, a Republican, is term-limited and cannot run for governor again. Lawmakers say the uncertainty over the election means they will defer to the winner of the Nov. 7 governor’s race. Both major party candidates are already eyeing portions of the surplus for various proposals and have suggested different ways to eliminate the state’s 6-cent tax on groceries.

Democratic Party nominee Mike Beebe has said he wants to phase out the tax over time and tie its elimination to state revenue growth, while Republican Asa Hutchinson says there’s enough money in the surplus to eliminate the tax immediately.

Sen. Tim Wooldridge, co-chairman of the Legislative Council, said the uncertainty over who will be in the Governor’s Mansion provides an uncertain element that the state hasn’t seen in some time. The race is the first without an incumbent since 1978.
“While this administration will present the budget, we will want to be yielding as much as we can to whoever is coming in in January,” said Wooldridge, D-Paragould. “That will make for an interesting dynamic that we haven’t had in a while.”

Legislative leaders say they’re going to be cautious about the surplus, which could already be whittled away by a series of requests from state agency heads. Those requests include a $318 million capital-improvements request from the state’s colleges and universities. In addition, the state Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $316 million more in state funding, mostly to cover the costs of its Medicaid program for about 750,000 Arkansans. And state prison officials are seeking $76 million more money in annual budgets.

On top of that, lawmakers have been told that $250 million will likely be needed over the next two years for a program to repair crumbling school buildings around the state. Another uncertainty is funding for the state’s schools, with a legislative report missing a final price tag on the cost of an adequate education in the state.

Consultants Allan Odden of the University of Wisconsin and Larry Picus of the University of Southern California said in their report that the state should increase its per student funding by $237 million total and should up its funding for districts with poor students by $104 million.

Their report focused on funding for the 2007-2008 school year. Leaders of the House and Senate education committees accepted the report but did not recommend a final price tag because of several unresolved funding factors — including teacher salaries, maintenance and central office expenses. Facing a state Supreme Court ruling that the state’s funding method was inadequate, legislators passed and Huckabee signed into law nearly $200 million in additional money for the state’s school districts.

The bill included up to $50 million for school facilities and $13 million for declining and isolated school districts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

TOP STORY >>Congress must act on funds to center

Leader staff writer

It will literally take an act of Congress, but Jacksonville’s $5 million share of a new, $15 million Community/Little Rock Air Force Base Education Center will be added to the Air Force’s $10 million share and the construction and expenditures will be overseen by representatives of the secretary of the Air Force and Mayor Tommy Swaim.

That’s according to Jacksonville lawyer Mike Wilson, who said, “We’ve drafted an act of Congress that would be included in the funding bill.” Wilson, a former state representative, has been one of the leading civilian proponents of the innovative air base/community education project. Because the unique partnership between the air base and the city has no obvious precedent, “There needs to be some mechanics for who holds and disperses the money,” Wilson explained.
“We’ve had some proposed language and suggestions,” Swaim said, “But we have not found an example where a community has done this specific thing.” “There’s no fear that it can’t be done,” Swaim added. “We’re just making it a smooth transition.”

Wilson said he hopes the construction of the approximately 80,000 square-foot center—to be located on the base, but outside the fenced security perimeter—will begin this spring. While money for the project is in both House and Senate versions of the Defense Authorization Bill, the actual appropriation bill is likely to be passed in December. In 2003, Jacksonville voters overwhelmingly voted for a two-year, one-penny sales tax to raise the city’s share of what was then thought to be a $10 million facility.

The education center already exists on the base, but access to it has become much more difficult for civilians in the wake of heightened security after Sept. 11, 2001. The new education center, to be located near the intersection of Vandenberg Boulevard and John Harden Drive, will be more accessible to civilians and airmen not living on the base.

It became all-but-certain last week that the air base’s $9.8 million share of the project had been fast-tracked for inclusion in the 2007 defense authorization bill, but for technical reasons, the size of the building in that authorization specified a 50,000 square-foot structure, in line with the Air Force’s financial support for the project.

That’s according to Nancy Shefflette, director of the ASU-Beebe Little Rock Air Force Base Education Center. She said that once the community’s $5 million share is received, the size of the center would again approach 82,000 square feet.
But the rising cost of materials could result in scaling back the size of the project.

The mayor said he was pleased with the progress that has been made in moving the college forward. “The credit should go to the congressional delegation,” Swaim said, “starting with (Second Dist. Cong.) Vic Snyder and our senators who worked hard on getting that funding set aside for us. It’s a perfect example of how Little Rock Air Force Base and the community of Jacksonville have found ways to do things jointly over the years.” “As far as I know, this is the only such commitment by any community to an Air Force base in the United States,” said Larry Wilson, president of First Arkansas Bank and Trust.
“I’m very proud of actions people of this community took in passing a tax increase to fund that college.”

The city tax also included money for a swimming pool complex and for a police and fire training facility. Six institutions that already hold classes at the existing center have signed on to offer classes at the new center including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University of Daytona Beach, Fla.; Park University of Parkville, Mo.; Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, Ill.; Webster University of St. Louis, Mo.; University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University-Beebe.

Study program will continue to include computer science, allied health, aeronautical management, criminal justice, social psychology, industrial technology, business, human relations and public administration.
Priority for class space is active duty military, retired military, Department of Defense employees and then civilians.
More than 1,045 military and 275 civilian personnel are enrolled in educational programs at LRAFB.

Monday, October 09, 2006

EVENTS>>Fall 2006

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Asa Hutchison’s campaign bus will stop off at the Jacksonville Community Center at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, according to local campaign director Otis Stewart.
Hutchinson will stop at Sherwood at 3 p.m., Stewart said.

The Mount Tabor United Methodist Women’s fall style show and mother/daughter luncheon will be held at noon Saturday, Oct. 21 at the church, 4100 Hwy. 89 S. in Cabot.

Deadline for reservations is Oct. 18. Reservations can be made by calling 843-1084 and leaving a message. The style show is sponsored by Unique Creations and features local models. The luncheon will be prepared and served by the men of the church. A $5 donation will be accepted at the door.

Donations are being accepted for the Reynolds family of Highland Court in Cabot. The family lost their home and 77-year-old grandmother Velma Metcalf in a fire last week. Donations can be made at any Bank of the Ozarks to the Jannie Reynolds Fire Fund.

Arkansas is preparing for Breast Cancer Awareness month coming up in October. To further breast cancer education and awareness, the Faith Support Ministry at Faith Baptist Church in Cabot is hosting a Brunch at 10 a.m. Saturday. All women in the community and surrounding areas are invited to attend.
This year’s program will focus on education. Sandra Bennett, BSN, RN, an Instruction Development Specialist with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, will present the latest information from the Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society regarding risk factors and early detection. Certified by the Komen Foundation, Bennett will also instruct proper methods for self-breast exams.
Entertainment will be provided by local vocalist, Lis Geoghegan.
Statistics indicate one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. An estimated 2,000 women in Arkansas will be diagnosed this year.
Who is at risk? You, your sister, your daughter, your neighbor, your mother, your niece are at risk. Women as young as 14 up to senior ladies in their 70’s or 80’s all need to be aware.
The Komen Mission is to eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening and treatment.
Plan to attend this community event and participate in the mission. There is no cost to attend, but reserve a seat by calling Faith Baptist Church at 843-5291 or e-mailing

As part of the special centennial celebration this year, the Carlisle High School Alumni Association is having a focus on several individual groups during homecoming weekend this year. These include football, basketball, cheerleaders, and band. So many alumni have special memories relating to activities with these groups and the association is in need of help in developing really great presentations about each of these for homecoming weekend. Specifically, the association is searching for things like pictures, programs, uniforms, patches, documents, etc. Any type of item relating to these area would help make an interesting presentation and display.
The association will gladly accept any item that an individual would like to contribute. Items can either be donated to the historical collection of the association or loaned to the association for the weekend. Please contact the following individuals who are heading up each area. Football: Bob Hillman ‘62, 870-552-3152,; Basketball: Marla Ward Cunningham ‘84, 870-552-3897,; Cheerleaders: Sharon Jackson Hillman ‘63, 870-552-3152,; Band/Majorettes/Flags/Rifles, etc:, Mike Calvert ‘84, 501-519-1202,

Called the “Patriot’s Pen,” this Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary program is an essay contest for students in sixth through eighth grade, and also home schooled students. The program offers students the opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills while competing for prizes. Prizes are awarded at the local, state and national levels. The first place national winner will receive a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond during the VFW/Ladies Auxiliary Community Service Conference in Washington, D.C. in March.
The theme for 2006-07 is “Citizenship in America.” The essay needs to be between 300-400 words. The deadline for students to submit an entry for local judging is Nov. 1. Information and entry forms should be available at the middle schools, or can be downloaded from the VFW website,

The Arlene Cherry Memorial Library resumes its preschool storytime program on Wednesday and will run it every Wednesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. from then on. Storytime includes fingerplays, songs, games and craft time. Daycare and other groups are welcome to schedule separate storytimes. Questions? Call the library at 843-7661.

FaithWeaver Friends is a mid-week Christian education opportunity at Cabot United Methodist Church for children 2-years-old to 6th grade. “Friends” will be held every Wednesday during the school year, beginning Sept. 6 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Children will learn to grow in their faith through Bible study, music, crafts, puppets and much more. The 5th and 6th graders are “Mission Maniacs” during the same time and are involved in different service projects in our church and community, as well as their own Bible study. The cost is $20 for the year. For more information or to sign up, contact the church office 501-843-3541.

Saturday, October 21ST
Sherwood Fest
8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Sherwood Forest
1111 W. Maryland Ave
Arts & Crafts Show, Children’s Fun Activities
All Day, Chamber of Commerce Pancake
Breakfast, Pony Rides, Cute Kids Contest

Tuesday, October 31ST
City of Sherwood
Halloween Carnival
6:30 P.M. - 8:30 P.M.
Sherwood Forest
1111 W. Maryland Ave
Carnival Games, Costume Contest

December 1ST-30TH
Enchanted Forest
Holiday Trail of Lights
6:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M.
Sherwood Forest
1111 W. Maryland Ave
(501) 835-8909

Friday, December 1ST
Christmas Party
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Duran Youth Center
508 Sherwood Ave.
Sunday, December 3RD
2:00 P.M.

Chamber of Commerce Event
Saturday, December 9TH
With Santa
8:00 A.M. - 10:00 A.M.
Sherwood Forest
1111 W. Maryland Ave
(501) 835-8909

White County Junior Miss Program will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 in the Searcy High School auditorium. College bound seniors with a 2.5 grade point average are encouraged to enter. Each contestant is evaluated in the areas of scholastic achievement, fitness, poise, interview and talent. For more information contact Cindy Dixon at 230-6084, Robin Pratt, at 593-1461 or Nancy Thompson at 268-6292.

The Beebe Shepherd’s Center conducts classes each Wednesday at College and Cherry streets. A new program in “Adventures in Learning” will be held Thursday, Sept. 7 through Wednesday, Oct. 25. Senior adults take classes for fun or learning. Class times will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are needed to share their knowledge or hobbies with others. For more information, Paul Ramsey, director at 501-882-0243.

EDITORIALS>>Hastert won’t resign

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert says flatly that he will never resign his leadership post because of the mushrooming page scandal, and we would never suggest that he should quit, at least not for his shocking but predictable weakness in the page matter.

Denny Hastert is not much of a leader and never has been — he is a born follower, of his mentor Tom DeLay for the past eight years— but it is entirely up to the dwindling Republican membership in the House to determine who is the best one to lead them.

Like every other matter apparently, this is about political advantage, not justice or probity or the national well-being.
Hastert and the other party leaders who knew about Congressman Mark Foley’s harassment of teen-age pages and just chatted about it among themselves did nothing in the end because word could get out about Foley and harm the Republican Party’s image.

They followed the course of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church when word sifted up about priestly abuse of youngsters. Better to let things rest and protect the church from criticism.

The church, after all, was bigger than a few kids, and the party’s control of Congress was more important than the sensibilities of a few teenagers.

So it is up to 233 GOP Congress members to decide whether Hastert’s indecision and judgment will endanger their own elections back home, and Hastert divined Thursday that the members thought him not to be a great liability.
They are probably right.

Voters are not going to hold individual Republican candidates for Congress accountable for Mark Foley’s terrible behavior or Denny Hastert’s craven leadership.

Neither are voters going to hold their own Republican member or candidate responsible because others in the party’s national leadership who knew about the page business did nothing other than to alert the lethargic Hastert and his aides.
Thursday, the chief of staff to the New York Republican who chairs the Republican House Campaign Committee resigned. He apparently had been trying fruitlessly to get his boss and others to take action for a couple of years, ever since he left Foley’s staff.

Thursday, Hastert held a news conference back in his suburban Chicago district to announce his insistence on keeping his leadership job and to say that the House leadership (but not him personally) took responsibility for doing nothing. That sounded manly enough, but then he blamed — who else? — Bill Clinton.

He said Clinton or his “people” probably knew about the Republican congressman’s sexually charged notes to pages and decided to leak them to the media five weeks before the election to help get Democrats elected. Bill Clinton is, indeed, a busy man nowadays.

But does it not bespeak a lack of respect for Hastert’s own colleagues to suggest that no Republican would dare expose another Republican’s sinful dalliances with children, that it could only be a Democrat, and only a Democrat as low as Bill Clinton?

If Mark Foley’s iniquities and Hastert’s inertia should not affect the fortunes of other Republican candidates around the country, it is harder to make the case for separation in the other, far larger disgrace that plagues the Grand Old Party in 2006, the lobbying and influence-peddling scandal.

Foley at least has done his party the great favor of pushing Abramoff and the K Street Project off the front pages and even out of the front sections of the papers.

That tide of muck touches nearly everyone’s hem because the political money loosed by the K Street arrangements floods every Republican’s election treasury.

Congressional Republicans’ only good defense is that Democrats might have been just as rotten if they had the power and if they were half as good at it. The House of Representatives, ceremoniously known for two centuries as “the people’s house,” now belongs to K Street lobbyists for corporate and international interests.

Washington now has 65 lobbyists for each of the 535 members of Congress, and they spend $200 million a month co-opting members of Congress and administration officials.

Three Republican congressmen, including Majority Leader DeLay, have now resigned. Two have been indicted and one of those is already in prison. The investigation reaches other congressional offices.

President Bush said he did not remember talking to Abramoff, the convicted head of the K Street syndicate, and that he did not frequent the White House.

But Abramoff’s former firm last week documented nearly 500 contacts with the White House in the three years before he surrendered and turned state’s evidence.

There is a plausible suspicion that many Democrats are aching for the Republicans to fall so that the people’s party can get its hands on the DeLay-Abramoff apparatus and assure its ascendance for a while.

Either way, it is a matter that every voter should contemplate before Nov. 7. Less or more deserving, one party will control the House.

OBITUARIES >> 10-07-06

John Abernathy
John W. Abernathy, 72, of Beebe passed away Oct. 4 at his home surrounded by his family.

He was born June 25, 1934, in Birta to John Opal and Mary Lillian Williams Abernathy.

He enjoyed fishing, woodworking and spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Louise Abernathy of Beebe; three daughters, Deborah Mills of Beebe, Susi Abernathy of North Little Rock and Cassie Gemes of Seattle, Wash.; one son, J. J. Abernathy of Sherwood; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and his sister, Joyce McPherson of North Little Rock.

Family received friends Oct. 6 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 7 at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Stoney Point Cemetery.

Judith Hermanson
Judith Marie Hermanson, 62, passed away Oct. 2, at her home in Jacksonville.

She was born June 6, 1944 to Howard Roberts and Mary A. Endriss in Los Angeles County, Calif.

She was a long-standing member of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose love and compassion helped many people to a better life.
Survivors include her sons, Stephen G. Espy of Seattle, Wash., and Kevin D. McLaughlin of Benton; a daughter, Deborah L. McLaughlin of Mont Claire, Calif.; one brother, Frank Sheppard of North Little Rock; grandchildren, Tyler, Joshua, Devon, Nathaniel, Stephen and Amber; as well as many other friends and family.

Memorial services will be 1:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at 119 North Spring Street — the AA Building — in Jacksonville.

Joe Williams Jr.
Joe Williams Jr., 84, of Jacksonville went to be with the Lord Oct. 5, in North Little Rock.

He was born Nov. 8, 1921 in England to the late Joe and Ellen Blankenship Williams Sr. He was retired from the United States Army and was a retired truck driver.

He was preceded in death by his son, Richard Williams and three brothers.

Survivors include his loving wife of 60 years, Esther Williams of the home; his children, Sherry and husband Art Emrich of Ward, Joel and wife Linda Williams of Jacksonville, Phillip and wife Peggy Williams of Stockbridge, Ga., Robert and wife Amanda Williams of Virginia Beach, Va., Ellen Myers and husband Chris of Rex, Ga.; one brother, Richard and wife Barbara Williams of Keo; 17 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Arkansas Hospice. Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 9 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Tommy Williams and Robert Williams officiating. Burial will follow in the Arkansas State Veteran’s Cemetery.

Rolly Bacus Jr.
Rolly Milton Bacus, Jr., 51, died Oct. 2.

Survivors include his wife, Jo Bacus; children, Rolly Milton Bacus III and Carrie Brocchus of Cabot; two sisters, Phyllis and Sue and five grandchildren.

Memorial services were held Oct. 6 at Carlisle Church of Christ. Arrangements were by Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

Wayne Patrom
C. Wayne Patrom, 57, of Cabot died Tuesday, Oct. 3.

He was a telecommunications expert. He worked 18 years for the Cabot Public Schools and recently at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. He was a member of Faith Christian Center and an ordained minister.

Patrom is survived by his wife, Patti Patrom of Cabot; one son, Corey Wayne and wife Toni Patrom of Ward; one daughter, Shawn Pack of Cabot; two stepdaughters, Jamie and husband Michael Gault of Ward and Kristi Cockrell of Cabot; four granddaughters, Kilah and Chloe Patrom and Taylor and Sidney Pack; and one sister, Beverly Chapman of Frisco, Texas.

Family received friends Oct. 6 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Oct. 7 at Faith Christian Center in Cabot.

SPORTS >>Yellowjackets show no mercy

IN SHORT: Wynne ousted Beebe in a 49-7 contest that ended under continuous clock.

Leader sports writer

Beebe scored the first touchdown of the game against Wynne in 5A-East Conference action at Bro Erwin Field in Beebe Friday night, going 69 yards in 12 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Wynne scored the next seven touchdowns.

The Yellowjackets handed the Badgers their most difficult loss of the season so far with a mercy-ruled 49-7 decision. Wynne scored on all but four of its possessions, including two turnovers and a time-killing drive in the last three minutes of the game. The rest were taken in for scores.

Wynne’s running game was as advertised and then some. The twin Terrances did the majority of the damage on the ground for the Yellowjackets, along with help from senior tailback Lee Harris. Garrett used his 4.6 speed to put one in the end zone for the ‘Jackets mid-way through the second quarter, and All-State senior tailback Boykin scored on the first play of the second quarter to give Wynne a 14-7 lead that they would not surrender for the remainder of the contest.

Harris crossed the goal line on three separate occasions, and David Johnston returned a 69-yard punt from Beebe punter Seth Skinner for a touchdown at the 10:46 mark of the second quarter. The final score of the game came from the Wynne JV unit, setting the final margin with 10:31 left in the game.

The Badgers got first possession in the game, and wasted little time moving the ball into scoring position. Robbie Puckett ran for 10 yards, followed by a nine-yard scramble from starting senior QB Jared Mathis to take the ball into Yellowjackets’ territory.

Puckett and Mathis continued as the primary ball movers for the remainder of the drive, with an option pitch to Puckett on the left side with the Badgers facing third and goal at the Wynne 4-yard line clinching the score at the 8:22 mark of the first quarter. Roger Glaude added the extra-point to put Beebe up 7-0.

Wynne took over at its own 35-yard line, and wasted little time themselves. Most of the ‘Jackets’ early yardage came courtesy of penalties against the Beebe defense.

Two offside penalties and an inadvertent facemask penalty moved the ball into Badger territory at the 40-yard line. Harris handled things from there, breaking free on a 40-yard touchdown run with 7:01 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Ryan Wood added the extra-point to tie the score.

Both teams traded possessions with back-to-back punts. Wynne’s next scoring drive started with 1:43 left in the opening quarter, and ended with 11:55 left in the second quarter when Boykin capped off a four-play, 43-yard drive with an eight-yard TD run. Wood’s PAT put the Yellowjackets up 14-7, and the rest were just padding.

Wynne’s next score came off a 70-yard punt return from John-ston after a three-and-out drive for the Badgers. Johnston shook off a shoestring grab, and then broke three more tackles on his way to the goal line for a 21-7 Yellowjackets’ lead.
Both teams continued to move the ball well in the second quarter, but spent the majority of the frame finding creative ways to turn the ball over to each other.

The Yellowjackets started the sloppy trend with a pass up the middle from Wood to Johnston. Johnston picked up 20 yards on the screen, but bobbled the ball in the open field. As Johnston tried to secure the ball, sophomore safety Luke Gardner put a vicious hit on him that jarred the ball completely loose.

John Breashears landed on the ball to give Beebe possession, but the Badgers would not keep it for long.

On the first play of the drive, sophomore quarterback Zack Kersey coughed the ball up, and senior linebacker Brycein White recovered for the Yellowjackets. Harris would fumble back to the Badgers three plays later, as Glaude fell on the loose ball for Beebe.

Three incomplete Beebe passes and a punt put Wynne back on offense, and the Yellowjackets managed to hold on to the ball. A seven-play, 42-yard drive was capped off by a four-yard touchdown run from Harris.

Garrett put six more on the board for Wynne before halftime with a five-yard touchdown run with only 36 seconds left in the second quarter. The score gave the Yellowjackets a very comfortable 35-7 lead at the half.

The start of the third quarter was more of the same for Wynne. The ‘Jackets took the opening possession of the second half 74 yards on seven plays to put the game in mercy-rule status.

Garrett started the drive off on a positive note for Wynne with a 37-yard breakaway down the left side on the first play of the half to move the ball into Badger territory.

Harris closed the deal for the Yellowjackets six plays later on a three-yard run for the score. All that was needed was one more extra-point kick from Wood to start the continuous clock, which he put perfectly through the uprights.

Kersey’s passing looked solid enough in the third quarter for Beebe, but the receiving prowess of the targets he was aiming for was not.

The Badgers’ offensive line also did a respectable job of buying the young sophomore QB some time on a majority of the plays, but many of Kersey’s tosses went in and out of the hands of the Beebe receivers.

The Badgers’ offense ran completely out of gas in the final quarter. Kersey spent most of the final frame scrambling for cover, trying to find an open receiver in Wynne’s tremendous coverage. The deeper the Badgers tried to go, the better the ‘Jackets seemed to have them covered.

One final touchdown from the Yellowjackets at the 10:31 mark of the final quarter sent most of the crowd packing, and officially put the game out of reach.

Kersey finished the game with seven completions of 24 attempts for 49 yards and an interception. For Wynne, the trio of Garrett, Harris and Boykin combined for 236 yards rushing and five touchdowns, with Garrett rushing for 109 yards. The loss drops Beebe’ s record to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the 5A-East conference. Wynne improves to 4-2 on the season and 3-0 in Conference play.

The Badgers will travel to Blytheville next week. Wynne will visit Batesville in a game that will most likely decide the East league title.

SPORTS >>Lonoke hammers SSB Southerners

IN SHORT: The Jackrabbits annhiliated Southside Batesville Friday night at Abraham Field in Lonoke. The Rabbits won 55-0 to improve their season record to 2-1 in the 4A-2 league.

Special to the Leader

The Lonoke Jackrabbits used the momentum off last week’s victory against Bald Knob to steamroll Batesville Southside 55-0 Friday night at James B Abraham stadium in Lonoke. The Jackrabbits gained another conference victory in their win over Batesville Southside last Friday night as they celebrated Homecoming. The game started slow enough, but once the Jackrabbits got their offense going the Southerners little chance of catching up.

Lonoke was able to put up 283 total offensive yards in the first half alone, and score on six of their eight offensive drives during the first half. The Southerners were never able to get the big stop or capitalize on the turnovers to get into the game.
The Southerners would get the ball to start the first quarter, but were unable to get much going as quarterback Dean Rawlings threw an interception on the third play of the drive.

The Jackrabbits did not take advantage of the outstanding field position as they too turned the ball over through the air on their third play. The pass was a throw by Alex Cash that floated along the left sideline and was picked off by defender Ethan McBride.

Both quarterbacks had trouble passing early. Both defenses put pressure on the quarterbacks and forced them to escape the pocket on nearly every play.

Batesville gained possession from the interception, but was not able to gain any positive yards on its next drive and was forced to punt from its own end zone on fourth down.

Lonoke used the good field position to gain the 24 yards necessary to get over the goal line and put the first points on the board. On the last play of the drive, Cash had room to run from the seven-yard line, but instead chose to pass the ball to Clarence Harris to make a score of 7-0 with 7:04 left to go in the first quarter.

The Southerners came out passing on their next drive going 4 for 4 gaining 47 yards through the air. It looked as though they might get into the red zone, but were stopped short on fourth down and were unable to convert.

Lonoke took over on downs, but had trouble early in the drive with penalties and a quarterback sack on the drive, but was able to hand the ball off to running backs Josh Martin and Wendell Scales and pick up some first downs.

The drive was capped off with a touchdown pass from five yards out to Elam Rollins to make the score 14-0. Batesville Southside could not pick up the Jackrabbits’ blitz on their next drive and would have to the punt the ball after three downs.
Lonoke returned the punt to their 39-yard line and started another impressive offensive drive. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard completion to Elam on the third play of the drive.

This was followed up by a seven-yard touchdown run that fullback Clarence Harris broke up the middle, increasing the score to 21-0 with 8:30 left in the second quarter. The Lonoke defense again held steady forcing the Southerners to minus four yards on their next drive.

The Jackrabbits rushed the punter on fourth down and blocked the punt and took over at the Southerners’ 25-yard line.
The Jackrabbits didn’t hesitate long before they handed the ball off to Tyler Crow on fourth down and he showed some athletic ability breaking tackles and running behind his blocking linemen to rush for twenty yards and another Jackrabbit touchdown.

The point after was missed so the score stayed at 27-0 with 6:24 left in the first half. The Southerners tried the run and pass in their next two possessions, but were held to eight plays and seven total yards.

The Jackrabbits however continued their offensive charge with five plays in their next two drives and two touchdowns to make the score 41-0 at halftime.

The clock would run steady in the second half, but Batesville Southside did not give up hope. They came out passing the ball trying to lessen the 41-point lead.

The team didn’t give up, but they still were not able to break the Jackrabbits’ defense as they went two for six passing and gave the ball over on downs in their first drive of the second half. Lonoke would keep their offense rolling on their first drive of the second half.

Lonoke used four plays to gain 56 yards and set up backup quarterback Elam Rollins for a 15-yard run for a touchdown, making the score 48-0 with 5:59 left in the third quarter.

Batesville again came out passing, but a fast rushing Lonoke defense didn’t give Rawlings much time to throw. He was able to complete two of four passes and rush for one yard only to give the ball up on downs again.

The last score of the game would come on the next Jackrabbit drive as Boyd Kylon pulled down a Cash pass along the right sideline and showed his speed, outrunning defenders for 40 yards and six points. The point after would give the game its’ final score of 55-0.

The win looked impressive for the Jackrabbits, but coach Jeff Jones said, “We are just trying to get better.”

SPORTS >>Jacksonville escapes SHHS with crucial win over Bears

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills threatened to take the win away from the Red Devils with a late drive, but the Jacksonville defense pulled out the win to keep the Devils in the 6A-East Conference playoff hunt.

Special to the Leader

The Jacksonville Red Devils survived their trip to Sylvan Hills Friday night by es-caping with a 16-12 win. Jacksonville moved into a tie for second place in the 6A-East Conference race and the battle for the playoff spots heats up.

Jacksonville racked up over 200 yards of offense in the first half, but managed only 10 points thanks to a bend-but-don’t-break Bears def-ense. On Jacksonville’s opening drive, they marched 78 yards, but a great defensive play by Jeff Henderson and Shod Neely for Sylvan Hills kept Jacksonville out of the end zone. A Daniel Hubbard pass was tipped by Neely at the goal line, and Henderson caught it and returned it 22 yards.

The game was scoreless after the first quarter. Jacksonville put together a 73-yard drive early in the second quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Hubbard was 3 for 3 passing on the drive, and Lee Robinson had two big runs to set up a seven-yard Justin Akins’ touchdown run with 4:29 left in the first half.

Sylvan Hills was quick to answer. Backed up on their own 10-yard line and facing third down and 18 yards to go, Bears quaterback Hunter Miller scrambled to his left, avoided two tackles, and found Cedric Morgan for a huge 23-yard gain. Two big running plays set up a 30-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Jeff Hend-erson. Miller’s extra point was blocked, and Jacksonville led 7-6.

Sylvan Hills tried to be aggressive to score late in the half, but Miller was intercepted by Cameron Hood with 19 seconds remaining in the half. Hubbard connected with his favorite receiver Marcus King for a 17-yard gain to set up a 30-yard field goal from Manuel Alvidrez as the half ended to give Jacksonville a 10-6 lead.

Midway though the third quarter, Jacksonville struck again. This time, Sylvan Hills forced them into a fourth down from the Bear 35-yard line. The Red Devils went for it, and Hubbard connected with Blake Mattison for a great touchdown pass. The extra point was no good, and Jacksonville led 16-6 with 1:56 left in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills partially blocked a Jacksonville punt early in the fourth quarter. That gave the Bears excellent field position from the Red Devil 26-yard line. Hunter Miller broke several tackles on a spectacular 21-yard TD run with 11:30 to play in the game.

Jacksonville’s Justin Sebourn deflected the pass on the two-point conversion attempt to preserve a 16-12 lead for the Red Devils.

On the first play of the next drive, Jeff Henderson had a juggling interception at mid-field and returned it 37 yards. Sylvan Hills was poised to take the lead, but another great defensive play from Jacksonville saved the day.

This time Marquise Simpkins deflected a would-be touchdown pass on fourth down to give the ball back to Jacksonville.
Sylvan Hills got the ball back with 2:35 left to play in the game. Several gusty plays by Hunter Miller kept the Bears alive, including an amazing nine-yard scramble on fourth down to barely pick up the first down.

However, the Bears could not find the end zone again, and turned the ball over on down with 27 seconds remaining,
Jacksonville head coach Mark Whatley was very proud of his team’s play, especially on defense.

“These kids continue to find a way to win,” Whatley said. “We still have not played our best football, but we are continuing to get better, and that’s what we have to do. I am awfully proud of them.

“The offense was more consistent, but we still have some things we have to get better at. Maybe I get too conservative and need to swing them more.”

Sylvan Hills coach Ron Sebastian said, “We are still inconsistent on offense. We had our chances, and could not make the play when we needed to. Our defense played good enough to win, but we could not make the play when we needed too. That’s been the story of our year this season. It seems like we shoot ourselves in the foot and don’t give ourselves a chance to win.”
Miller led the Bears with 96 yards rushing and 90 yards passing. Justin Akins had 96 yards rushing for Jacksonville, and Lee Robinson had 70 yards. Hubbard had 145 yards passing.

Sylvan Hills travels to Forrest City next week, while Jacksonville hosts Searcy.

SPORTS >>Lady 'Cats take match over Cabot Ladies 3-0

IN SHORT: After a close game one, the Lady Wampus Cats dominated Cabot in the last two games to take a 3-0 shutout match win in 7A-Central play.

Leader sports writer

The first game was very closely contested, but the final two were owned by the Lady Wampus Cats, as Conway swept Cabot in straight games Thursday night at the Panther gymnasium in 7A Central Conference action.

Conway (13-7, 6-2) barely hung on in the opening game, in which Cabot (10-10, 2-6) gave the Lady ‘Cats all they wanted. Conway never led by more than four points the entire way, but did not allow the Lady Panthers to tie the score after the 15th point. The Lady Wampus Cats barely took game one 25-23, but found claiming the final two games somewhat easier, winning 25-19 and 25-15.

Game one turned out to be a battle of Conway’s offense against the Cabot defense. The Lady Wampus Cats came away with 13 kills in the frame compared to only eight for Cabot, but the Lady Panthers scored several points with some solid blocking.
Cabot came away with seven points from blocks, while the Lady ‘Cats had only three blocks in the game. Five different Cabot players contributed blocks for points, with only junior Katie Mantione recording more than one kill.

Mantione had four kills off nine attempts in the opening game, despite only seeing limited time on the court. Sophomores Morgan Young and Tori Hendrix saw a good number of minutes on the court in Mantione’s absence, along with junior Erika McCaghren returning to the starting six.

A score of 15-11 would be the biggest interval Conway held against Cabot in game one, but even that did not last long. Mantione and Hendrix got back-to-back blocks, followed by a kill from Mantione to pull the Lady Panthers to within one.
Mantione got her second straight kill on the following rally, to tie the score at 15 all.

Conway was able to regain the lead, but was not able to shake off the determined Lady Panthers.
McCaghren blocked a kill attempt from Conway’s Chelsea Sublett to make the score 23-22, and Mantione had a kill two rallies later to put the game in danger of overtime.

Sublett helped Conway avoid an extra-rally situation with a kill that closed the competitive game out with a final of 25-23.
Cabot fell behind early in the second game. After giving up four quick points to trail 4-0, the Lady Panthers found themselves at a 19-10 deficit before they knew it.

Conway didn’t seal the game when they had the chance, allowing Cabot to rally to within five at 23-18.
The Lady Wampus Cats finally found the two points necessary to seal the deal with kills from Sublett and Emily Griffin.
The Lady ‘Cats used 10 different players in the final game, keeping the rotation fresh, as they cruised though game three 25-15 to claim the 3-0 conference sweep.

Mantione led the Lady Panthers offensively with 10 kills and four errors on 21 attempts. Hendrix led Cabot in blocking with five.

For Conway, Sublett had nine kills and Griffin finished with eight kills. Conway had 30 total team kills compared to 21 for Cabot. The Lady Panthers finished with 11 team blocks; Conway had five.
The Lady Panthers will play today in the Conway Invitational Tournament.

SPORTS >>Panther gifts lift NLR rot victory

IN SHORT: The Panthers gave away the ball and the game Friday night in a 26-7 7A-East loss to the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats.

Leader sports editor

Cabot knew it couldn’t afford two things Friday night against North Little Rock. It couldn’t afford to turn the ball over, and it couldn’t afford to give up big plays on offense, especially long passes over the top of the defense.

Cabot did both early, and fell into a hole it couldn’t get out of in a 26-7 loss to the Charging Wildcats on homecoming night at Panther Stadium.

The Cabot defense did its job in the second half. The final margin was set with six minutes left in the second quarter. The two teams traded long drives and good licks throughout the second half, but no one scored.

The two teams finished practically even in total yardage. North Little Rock gained 353 yards to Cabot’s 339, but the difference was the turnovers. The Panthers committed five, the Wildcats none.
North Little Rock coach Bryan Hutson didn’t mind that his team failed to score and put the game away in the second half. He was just happy to get a win.

“This is a good football team,” Hutson said. “They were 4-1 just like us and we’re just happy to get out of here with another win. The offense kept the ball a while, had some good drives and ran down the clock. That’s what we needed to get the win.”
It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to make the Panthers pay for their generosity. After receiving the opening kickoff, senior wingback Tamelle Jenkins took the second play from scrimmage 61 yards for the score with just 51 seconds elapsed in the game. The extra point was no good making it 6-0.

It wasn’t long after that before North Little Rock struck again. The Panthers were driving the ball on their first possession, but halfback Colin Fuller coughed it up on the Wildcat 27-yard line. The Wildcats struck again on the very next play when quarterback Maurice Phillips hit receiver Brett Moncrief over the outstretched arms of Cory Wade for a 73-yard touchdown strike.

The two-point conversion failed, leaving the visitors with a 12-0 lead.

Fuller put it on the ground again on the next drive, but the Panther defense was able to hold and force a punt.
Cabot took possession at the 49-yard line after a good return by Fuller. The Panthers survived two more fumbles on the drive, and punched it in on the first play of the second quarter when Fuller scored on first and goal from the 1-yard line.
The key play of the drive was a fourth and one conversion at the 31.

The extra point was good and North Little Rock’s lead shrank to 12-7 with 11:57 left in the first half.

North Little Rock answered the Cabot score, but not with a quick strike. The Wildcats showed they can sustain a drive as well, going 66 yards in 11 plays and overcoming 25 yards in penalties to score with 7:35 left in the half.

The drive’s key play was a 19-yard reception on second and 10 that gave NLR first and goal at the 7. Junior Tim Dunn did the rest on the next play and the extra point was good, giving NLR a 19-7 lead with 5:59 left in the half.

Cabot continued to put the ball on the ground, this time it was Carlisle that gave it up after taking a huge hit on the kickoff return.

Wildcat junior Wilson Walker covered it at the Cabot 25. Two plays later, Peterman hit Dokes for 25 yards and another Wildcat score.

The extra point was good again, and North Little Rock took a 26-7 lead with 5:59 on the clock.
Cabot went backwards on its next drive and punted after a three-and-out series, but the defense held NLR to three and out and got the ball back at the Cabot 20 after the NLR punt went into the end zone.

The Panthers blew down the field on the drive that started with 1:48 left in the half. After three plays left fourth and one, Fuller converted with a six-yard run to the 35. The Panthers then picked up four first downs on four consecutive plays, but things went wrong on first down at the Wildcat 32. No one blocked NLR’’s Clifton Williams, who caught Wade for a sack and a three-yard loss before he could even begin his rollout.

On second down, sophomore Vince Aguilar was wide open 15 yards downfield, but stopped on his route and the ball sailed over his head. Wade hit Aguilar for an eight-yard gain on third down, but Wade was forced to scramble on fourth and seven and picked up just two yards.

That gave NLR the ball back with three second left in the half, and the Wildcats knelt on the ball to take their 19-point lead into intermission.

Cabot got the ball to start the second half, but Wade lost his grip on the ball on the second play from scrimmage. The Wildcats covered, but got just one first down before losing a yard and missing a 42-yard field goal attempt.

The Panthers took the ball at the 20 and marched all the way to the Wildcat 3-yard line before stalling on downs. With a 19-point deficit, the Panthers didn’t have time to mess with field-goal attempts, and Wade was stopped for no gain on fourth and goal at the 3.

The Wildcats played field position the rest of the way. They drove out of the shadow of their own end zone, but were forced to punt from midfield. The punt was a good one, and pinned the Panthers at their own 5.
Cabot got just six yards before punting back to the Wildcats.

A few drives and a few punts later, Cabot put together another good drive, but it stalled at the Wildcat 15-yard line with two minutes left in the game.

One of Cabot’s highlights of the game came on the last drive. Wade threw deep to senior tight end Josh Clem. Clem was covered closely and the NLR defender knocked the ball high into the air as he slammed into Clem. Clem came down on his feet, and managed to haul in the deflected pass as he fell to the turf for a 33-yard gain to the 18-yard line.

Clem finished with four catches for 71 yards. Wade completed eight of 12 attempts for 105 yards and one interception, and ran 13 times for 98 yards.

Fuller carried 21 times for 98 yards and one touchdown.

Jenkins led all rushers with 127 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.

Moncrief caught two passes for 89 yards and a score while Dokes caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.

North Little Rock improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play, while Cabot dropped to 3-2 and 1-2.

The Panthers will travel to Little Rock Central next week. The Tigers beat Conway last night 33-0.

TOP STORY >>Cabot to relocate its city hall next door

IN SHORT: The city has officially taken over the old Community Bank building with long-term goal of actually owning the property.

Leader staff writer

The city of Cabot officially took over the old Community Bank building next to city hall this week with a lease agreement that is expected to end with the city owning the property.

Karen Davis, Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh’s director or operations, said Thursday that it’s unlikely anyone will move in this year except the special census workers who will need a secure area to set up shop. But the most frequent comment from city employees who have toured the building this week is “There’s so much space.”

The bank building will house the offices of the mayor, city clerk, city attorney and possibly public works, Davis said. Over the years, the police department has taken over space in the basement of city hall once used by the library and the courts, but it is still cramped. When the other city offices move out of city hall, the police department will take over the whole building, she said.

Originally built in 1949 as the Bank of Cabot and then expanded in 1977, the 22,065-square-foot bank building is about twice the size of city hall, which is officially called Willie Ray Community Center. And that raises the question: What will the newly acquired building be called?

The city already has the City Annex, the old Fred’s building, which houses the council chamber, court and the water department office. Willie Ray Community Center once housed the library and the Cabot Chamber of Commerce, but mostly it has been used by the police, mayor, city attorney and city clerk. Never has it been associated with recreation, as the name implies. And with the new community center that is part of the parks system expected to open Nov. 1, it could get confusing, Davis said.

Davis noted that the bank building has the perfect address for a city hall, 1 City Plaza.
The city is leasing the bank building for $3,500 a month with the option of buying it after five or 10 years.

The bank offered to sell the building to the city for $1.1 million. Since the city has opted to lease it instead, the lease money will go toward the purchase price. If the city leases for five years, the purchase price would be $890,000. After 10 years of leasing, the purchase price would be $678,000.

As part of the lease negotiations, the bank will continue to use about one-third of the building for up to 10 months while a new building is under construction on Main Street and will sublease the space at the old building from the city for $1,218 a month.

Dickson Flake, who negotiated the deal between the bank and the city, told the council that Tracy French, CEO of the bank, should receive the credit for the city getting the building under market value.

TOP STORY>>Authority sorting out its finances

Leader staff writer

The newly appointed Jacksonville Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is trying to sift through the troubled agency’s budget and convince the Internal Revenue Service that it is not owed $72,000 in withholding taxes.

Through its rental apartments at the Max Howell Place and federal Section 8 housing vouchers, the Jacksonville Housing Authority handles approximately $2 million a year in subsidies, although commissioners are not sure about the exact figure.
But budgets requested by The Leader through a Freedom of Information Act do not appear to have those figures included anywhere.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Mike Wilkinson, a new board member, referring to the way the budget is written.
The new JHA board doesn’t know why the 2004, 2005 and 2006 budgets reflect only six-figure expenditures.

Following the board’s meeting Thursday, Jim Durham, its new chairman, explained that U.S. Housing and Urban Develop-ment officials have assured him that all the funds necessary for a housing authority budget are there.

Virginia Simmons, who served as the JHA executive director for 14 years, resigned this summer, as did three of four commissioners, who stepped down after a HUD review got underway to look into possible mismanagement involving ap-parent back-dated contracts and potentially thousands of dollars being returned to HUD unused in the past. The $72,000 demand by the IRS is a holdover from the previous executive director’s administration.

Durham has spoken to an accountant outside the JHA office and believes the IRA demand is an “assessment on paper” be-cause taxes were filed in the improper way. These taxes were dealing with payroll withholdings.

From now on, an independent accountant, not an executive director and/or office personnel, will be handling the taxes, he said.

“There may be a small penalty, though,” Durham told other commissioners.

At its meeting Thursday, the board nominated Addie Gibson to its last remaining vacant position, checked out the bid process to bring air conditioning to the Max Howell Place apartment complex, agreed to update an antiquated office computer system and sought ways to restore the general public’s faith in the housing authority as it tries to provide shelter to low-income individuals and families.

The newly appointed commissioners — Marilyn Canon, John Johnson, Wilkinson and Durham — want to adopt a positive outlook at the housing authority. Under the direction of both the remaining JHA personnel and the new commissioners, a bid of $283,720 to secure air-conditioning units for Max Howell Place tenants has now been accepted.

Roberson Heating and Air of Searcy had the winning bid.

During the first meeting of the new board, commissioners learned that Max Howell Place tenants were expected to pay for their own window air-conditioners if they wanted any relief from Arkansas’ hot and humid summers.

Plans were also discussed to convert a vacant duplex at the Max Howell Place into a police substation. This duplex has remained vacant for several years after a meth-lab drug bust took place in one of the two units within the duplex, according to Durham.

But for now, Jim Potter, a Pulaski County sheriff’s deputy, will continue his job, which entails background checks and about seven hours of employment each week.

This week, Barbara Boyd, assistant director who now oversees day-to-day operations of the JHA, explained that this month, JHA has delivered 311 vouchers for families “under lease.”

The total came to $101,401.39, plus about a $3,960 to settle a Chapel Ridge Apartment complex account.

TOP STORY>>Opponents pass petitions

Leader staff writer

The clemency petition of Robert Todd Burming-ham—the blue-light rapist—has touched a raw nerve not only with his victims and their family members, but also with those who remember living in fear during the dark nights of 1997.

Rhonda House, who is known as an active civic member in the Cabot, Ward and Austin area, has launched an email and person-to-person petition drive in an attempt to derail Burmingham’s bid for clemency. Burmingham filed last month after serving eight years of an 80-year sentence and a separate life sentence for two of his rapes, hearings with Stocks and family members of the victims will be held later that could possibly result in a non-binding recommendation to the governor for clemency.

If the application goes to a hearing, it is unlikely any of the family members of the victims will speak against Stocks.
His grandparents have worked to gain his freedom almost from the time he was incarcerated.
Dorothy Stocks, his paternal grandmother, said this week that Stocks is doing well and that he has grown into a handsome man.

Stocks was 20-years-old when he killed his family. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced without a trial.
His story, the one he would like the parole board to hear, was not told until after he began serving his three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Stocks testified during the victim-impact hearing for Jack Walls III of Lonoke, who pleaded guilty to raping five boys under 14 years of age and was sentenced to life plus 90 years.
Stocks told Circuit Court Judge Lance Hanshaw that he loved Walls like a father and that he killed his family to protect Walls, who had sexually abused him since he was 10-years-old.

Just before he killed his family, his mother came home unexpectedly and found Walls in his bed.
Stocks said he told his mother about their relationship and then told Walls what he had done.
Walls had always told his “boys” that if they had a problem, they should “kill it,” he said.

“Jack told me to take care of the problem,” he said.

Whether that claim is true has not been proven, because the sheriff’s department did not investigate it. But Hanshaw said from his bench that Stocks was Walls’ “finest creation.”

Walls, son of a judge, husband, father and Boy Scout leader, is arguably the most infamous child rapist in Lonoke County history.

The investigation into his crimes revealed that he likely had more than 60 victims. The courtroom was full of them during the victim-impact hearing, though most did not testify. Those who did testify told how Walls would take them camping, get them drunk, give them pornography and molest them.

His victims talked about his arsenal of weapons, the training he gave them as hit men and about his plan to kill a Carlisle man and his son who tried to tell the world about his perversions. They said they knew those weapons could easily be turned on them.

Six months after the death of Joe, Barbara and Heather Stocks, the truth about Walls’ secret life came out when Wade Knox, his nephew and next-door neighbor, held a gun to his head and forced him to tell his parents how he had abused him since he was 10-years-old.

Knox, who reportedly suffered emotionally during the abuse and after Walls went to prison, committed suicide about three years ago. The Wade Knox Child Advocacy Center in Lonoke bears his name.

TOP STORY>>Killer tries appeal again

Leader staff writer

Heath Stocks of Furlow, who killed his father, mother and younger sister almost 10 years ago, is asking for his life sentence in prison to be commuted to a sentence in years so that he may someday be eligible for parole.

Stocks’ application for clemency, his second since he pleaded guilty to the January 1997 murders, has been received by the parole board and likely will be screened sometime this month, said Rhonda Sharp, a spokes-person for the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

If the board decides the application is without merit, it dies there. If the board finds merit in the application, hearings with Stocks and family members of the victims will be held later that could possibly result in a non-binding recommendation to the governor for clemency.

If the application goes to a hearing, it is unlikely any of the family members of the victims will speak against Stocks.
His grandparents have worked to gain his freedom almost from the time he was incarcerated.

Dorothy Stocks, his paternal grandmother, said this week that Stocks is doing well and that he has grown into a handsome man.

Stocks was 20-years-old when he killed his family. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced without a trial.

His story, the one he would like the parole board to hear, was not told until after he began serving his three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Stocks testified during the victim-impact hearing for Jack Walls III of Lonoke, who pleaded guilty to raping five boys under 14 years of age and was sentenced to life plus 90 years.
Stocks told Circuit Court Judge Lance Hanshaw that he loved Walls like a father and that he killed his family to protect Walls, who had sexually abused him since he was 10-years-old.

Just before he killed his family, his mother came home unexpectedly and found Walls in his bed.
Stocks said he told his mother about their relationship and then told Walls what he had done.
Walls had always told his “boys” that if they had a problem, they should “kill it,” he said.

“Jack told me to take care of the problem,” he said.

Whether that claim is true has not been proven, because the sheriff’s department did not investigate it. But Hanshaw said from his bench that Stocks was Walls’ “finest creation.”

Walls, son of a judge, husband, father and Boy Scout leader, is arguably the most infamous child rapist in Lonoke County history.

The investigation into his crimes revealed that he likely had more than 60 victims. The courtroom was full of them during the victim-impact hearing, though most did not testify. Those who did testify told how Walls would take them camping, get them drunk, give them pornography and molest them.

His victims talked about his arsenal of weapons, the training he gave them as hit men and about his plan to kill a Carlisle man and his son who tried to tell the world about his perversions. They said they knew those weapons could easily be turned on them.

Six months after the death of Joe, Barbara and Heather Stocks, the truth about Walls’ secret life came out when Wade Knox, his nephew and next-door neighbor, held a gun to his head and forced him to tell his parents how he had abused him since he was 10-years-old.

Knox, who reportedly suffered emotionally during the abuse and after Walls went to prison, committed suicide about three years ago. The Wade Knox Child Advocacy Center in Lonoke bears his name.