Saturday, October 28, 2006


Support group forms for special-needs kids
YANA, a support group for parents of special needs children, will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, at First Baptist Church in Cabot.
Speakers will be members of the Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law.
There will be sampling of toys appropriate for special needs children. Deadline for childcare reservation is Monday, Nov. 6. For childcare reservations, call 605-8668 or e-mail

Cabot Relay for Life looks ahead to next year
The Cabot Relay for Life will have a planning meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6 behind the Bank of the Ozarks, 615 W. Main St. in Cabot.

The NARFE meeting at Bar-B-Que Shack Nov. 9
The Jacksonville Chapter 1597 of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) will meet Thursday, Nov. 9 at the Bar B Que Shack, 1000 Hwy. 61 S. in Jacksonville. Speaker will be Garrick Feldman, editor and publisher of The Leader.

Deadline for local Christmas Parade is Nov. 15
Deadline for the 49th annual Jacksonville Christmas Parade sign-up is Nov. 15. The parade will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. The theme this year is “Stars of Christmas.” The categories are float, decorated vehicle and precision marching group. For more information call 982-1511.
Zion Hill Baptist Church, 11923 Zion Hill Rd. in Cabot, is hosting its annual fall festival at 4:30 p.m. today in the fellowship hall. There will be games and a hayride weather permitting; hot dogs and frito chili pies will be served at 7 p.m. Children may wear costumes. No occult themes. For more information call the church office at 988-4989.

Boyd Veterinary Clinic, at 300 John Harden Drive in Jacksonville is having its third annual Happy Halloweenie pet costume contest at 12:30 p.m. today. There will be prizes for best costumes, gift bags and treat bags for all children.

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is hosting “Changing the Way I Look Changes My World,” a women’s conference, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at 401 N. First St. Tickets are $10 and include lunch.

The Lonoke County Literacy Council will host a luncheon honoring students, tutors and volunteers at 10:30 a.m. today at the Lonoke Train Depot. For more information, call 676-7478.

The Ward Fall Festival will be held today from 5 to 7 p.m. at the municipal complex. All carnival games will be one ticket. Tickets are a quarter each or five for $1 and are available at the door. There will also be fall portraits available for $3. For more information contact the Ward Water Office at 843-7686. All proceeds from the event will go towards the Ward Annual Egg Hunt.

An Asian festival will be held at 9 a.m. Sunday at the Jacksonville Buddha Vanaram at 1410 Hwy. 294 near Furlow to raise money to support Asian community activities. Lunch will include traditional Asian dishes such as chicken, lumpia, papaya salad, sweet rice and vegetables. There will be a Jr. Miss Asia festival for girls 16 and under. For more information, call 231-8116 or the temple at 676-5099.

The gospel group Pardoned will be in concert at Runyan First Baptist Church, 10611 Jacksonville-Cato Road, at 6 p.m., Sunday.

Grandpa’s Bar-B-Q in Searcy is selling $5 smoked chickens, fully cooked and wrapped, to benefit the Lonoke County Single Parent Scholarship Fund. Orders are being taken by calling 279-0013 or 676-5652. Purchase and pick-up will be from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3 at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot. All funds will be matched at 150 percent to help single Lonoke County parents attending college.

The Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department will have its semi-annual fish fry from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4. Catfish, chicken and homemade desserts will be on the menu. The fish fry will be held at Station 2 located on Hwy. 236 E. Proceeds will go to the fire department. For more information call Betty Austin at 676-0193 or Linda Baldwin at 843-3336.

There will be a Christmas Beauty Pageant at noon Saturday, Nov. 4 at Lonoke High School. For more information contact 541-2177 or 831-2715.

The Cabot School District will host a Business/Industry Partnership Council meeting from 11 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Nov. 8 in the professional development center in the district administration building. A light lunch will be provided. This is an informational meeting on how local businesses and industries can get involved in the district’s 13 career and technical programs. For more information contact Robert Martin at 843-3363.

SPORTS >>Badgers falter in last half

IN SHORT: Beebe lost a one-point halftime lead to lose 35-14 to Nettleton Friday.

Special to the Leader

The Beebe Badgers looked as though they were going to put the visiting Nettleton Raiders away early, but on the legs of senior runningback Derek Lawson, the Raiders stormed back to win on the road in Beebe 35-14.

On the opening kickoff, Nettleton (6-3, 5-1) return man Garrett Spencer mishandled the kick, retreated into his own end zone, and as he was attempting to turn up field fumbled, and Beebe (5-4, 3-3) recovered at the Raider 1- yard line. On the first offensive play of the ballgame, quarterback Jared Mathis ran a quarterback keeper up the middle for the score. The extra point was good, and with only 13 seconds into the game Beebe led 7-0.

On the very next kickoff, Nettleton again turned the ball over, and the Badgers again had great field position at the Raider 26. But on fourth and two from the 18-yard line, Mathis’ pass was incomplete.

Nettleton then drove down to the Badger 28-yard line, and on fourth and eight, Badger defensive back Josh Turner intercepted a Nic Schaaf pass to end the drive.

On first and 10 from their own 32, Mathis found James And-erson open for a 46-yard gain down to the Raider 22. On third and 14, Mathis then hooked up with running back Robbie Puckett for a 26-yard scoring strike.

After the extra point, the Badgers led 14-0 with 4:06 left in the first quarter.

Nettleton then marched back. A 12-play, 60-yard drive on their next possession was capped with a one-yard touchdown run by Lawson, and with 2.2 seconds left in the first quarter, Beebe led 14-7.

On the Badgers’ next drive, Puckett fumbled after a nine-yard gain, and the Raiders recovered on their own 30-yard line. Then, on second down, Lawson found a hole up the middle for a 33-yard gain down to the Badger 37-yard line. Nine plays later, Lawson ran in his second score from three yards out, and after the extra point was unsuccessful, Beebe would take a one-point lead into halftime by the score of 14-13.

After receiving the opening kickoff in the second half, Beebe drove 72 yards down to the Raider 1-yard line.
On fourth and goal from the 1, Nettleton met Puckett in the backfield for a two-yard loss. The Raiders then turned the game over to their workhorse Lawson, and he would not disappoint.

The Raiders stormed 97 yards in just 11 plays, and Lawson carried the ball on eight of those plays, including runs of 10, 19, 17, 21, 15, and finally the final carry of the drive, a 16-yard run around the end for his third score of the game.

With 3:04 left in the third, Nettleton led 21-14, as the two- point conversion was successful on a Schaaf to Matt Akers pass.
The Badgers then used a trick reverse play on the ensuing kickoff to advance the ball all the way out to the Raider 36-yard line. But on second down and seven from the 17, quarterback Zack Kersey was intercepted and the Raiders took over at their own 24-yard line.

Desperately needing a defensive stop, the Badger defense was beginning to get worn down by running back Lawson.
The Raiders ran the ball down the field, and much time off the clock. Lawson once again concluded the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run. And with nine minutes left in the game, Beebe was now down 28-14.

But the Badgers could not get anywhere on their next possession, and a fourth down and 17-yard pass attempt was incomplete.

The Raiders took over at the Badger 30-yard line, and four plays later, Lawson ran in his fifth touchdown run of the night from 20 yards out to give the Raiders a 35-14 lead with 4:20 remaining on the clock.

The game would end with the 21-point advantage for the Raiders.

Beebe plays Batesville next week in a must-win game for any chance to advance into the playoffs, while Nettleton squares off against Wynn for a share of the conference championship.

Lawson would finish with 319 yards rushing on 37 attempts and five touchdowns for the Raiders. Of the 58 offensive plays the Raiders ran, Lawson touched the ball on 38 of those plays.

Beebe finished with 72 yards rushing and 206 yards passing.

Both teams committed three turnovers in the game.

SPORTS >>Big first half lifts Bears over Lions

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills jumped out to a 20-0 lead and held on for their second 6A-East victory on homecoming.

Special to The Leader

The Sylvan Hills Bears took a victory over the Searcy Lions, despite a fourth quarter comeback attempt Friday night. Neither team is in a position to make it to the playoffs, but you couldn’t tell it from the way the teams played in their 6A East matchup at a muddy Bill Blackwood field.

Searcy received the opening kickoff and was held to four plays and 14 yards. The 14 yards gained would be out of a first-half total of twenty-four yards for the Lions. The Bears’ defense held strong early in the game and the offense would follow. On their first drive, they used a good combination of passing and rushing to gain 33 yards and get to the Lions’ 20-yard line.

They looked strong and were in scoring position, but gave the ball up before they could make it into the end zone. Searcy obtained the ball on their 10-yard line, but was unable to capitalize on the Bears’ turnover, going three and out on their second offensive drive.

The Lions punted into a stiff west wind, but were able to get the ball into Bears’ territory on the fourth-down kick. Sylvan Hills kept the ball on the ground in the drive and used an end around by Jeff Henderson to pick up 20 yards, and the largest gain of the drive.

They rushed for 53 yards and capped the drive off with a one- yard run for a touchdown by quarterback T. J Shelton to make the score 7-0.

The Lions ran the Bears’ kick to their own 35-yard line, but was unable to use the good field position to their advantage. They would have a high snap bring them back to their own 17-yard line on third down before having their punt blocked on fourth down. The Bears were only twelve yards out, but the Lions held the them to fourth and seven. Henderson then used his speed to get to the sideline and pick up the final seven yards to make the score 14-0 and end the first quarter of play.

The Lions had some good plays on their next drive, but lost some traction and could only pick up one first down before punting the ball on their own 48-yard line. The Bears would again keep it on the ground on their next drive.

Neil rushed four times in the drive gaining 44 of the 75 yards necessary to get six more points and make the score 20-0 with 4:41 left in the half.

Searcy came out passing trying to pick up some yards and stretch out the last four minutes of the first half, but only completed one of four passes for twelve yards.

The Bears received the Lions’ punt with 2:25 left in the first half, but were stopped on the Lions’ 10- yard line before time expired for the first half. The first twenty four minutes of play were totally dominated by the Bears. They were able to gain 194 total yards and keep the Lions to a mere 24 total offensive yards.

According to Searcy coach Bart McFarland the Lions had an “attitude adjustment” at halftime. This showed in Searcy’s defensive stands in the second half.

The Lions were able to stop the Bears on four offensive drives in the second half verses one stop due to a fumble in the first half. The Lions showed the defensive changes in the first Bears’ drive.

They held Sylvan Hills to three and out with only six positive yards. The half started great, but Lions quarterback threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted by Bears defender Cameron Robinson.

Robinson ran the interception down to the Lions 17-yard line. The Bears picked up the remaining yards with Henderson and Neal to put the score at 26-0 with 8:40 left in the third quarter. Both teams were hindered by penalties in their next two drives and were both forced to punt.

The Lions offense started to show some progress late in the third quarter. They were able to pick up 50 yards thanks to some good passes by quarterback Justin Rowden and a defensive pass- interference call on the Bears.

The Lions went for it on fourth down from six yards out, but gave up the ball on downs after they were held short by a strong Bears’ goal line defense.

The turnover left the Bears with very little backfield to work with and picked up only a yard on the possession. The Bears’ punt was into the stiff west wind and short, only going ten yards.

This was the spark the Lions had been looking for.

They completed one pass to Easton Valentine for 17 yards and six points.

The Lions’ first score of the game made the score 26-6 with 10:57 left in the game. The Lions would attempt an onside kick, but it was covered by the Bears on the 50-yard line.

Sylvan Hills was not about to roll over for the Lions. On the Bears’ next drive they pitched the ball to running back Lawrence Hodges from 35 yards out to pick up six points of their own to make the score 32-6 with 8:10 left in the game.
The Lions would again rely on the pass in their next drive, going five for eleven passing for 45 yards and another Valentine touchdown.

Searcy closed the gap slightly with a score of 32-12. The Bears picked up the Lions’ second onside kick, but fumbled the ball on their third play from scrimmage.

The fumble was picked up by Andy Garlington for the Lions and run the 50 yards for a touchdown leaving the score at 32-20 with 4:17 left to play in the game.

Trying to mount a comeback, the Lions tried another onside kick, but the Bears again recovered it. The hope of a last quarter comeback was silenced by a final time-consuming drive by the Bears, going 45 yards and taking 4:17 off the clock to keep the final score at 32-20.

SPORTS >>Jacksonville clinches first conference title since ’93

IN SHORT: The Red Devils beat West Memphis 14-10 in a big 6A-East matchup Friday.

Leader sports editor

It had not been since 1993, now it’s only been one day since Jack-sonville won at least a share of a conference championship in football. The Red Devils overcame a 10-point deficit and a lot of bad luck to knock off West Memphis 14-10 to improve to 5-1 in the 6A-Central and take over sole possession of first place with one week left in the regular season.

Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley was happy that a share of the league title was wrapped up, but quickly averted his attention to next week.

“I’m proud of those guys. I’m happy for them. Now we’re going to try to do the very best we can do next Friday,” Whatley said. “Then we’ll get up Saturday morning and find out where we’re going to go or who’s coming to see us.”

The sequence of events that led to the game winner began with Jacksonville trailing 10-6. West Memphis took possession after stopping the Red Devils on fourth and goal from the 11-yard line.

The Blue Devils took over at that spot with 4:16 remaining. Jacksonville had jus one time out left, so one first down would have likely given West Memphis the win. That became an even easier task when Jacksonville jumped offsides be-fore the Blue Devils snapped the ball, making it first and five. Three West Memphis carries picked up just four yards, leaving West Memphis with fourth and one at the 20. The Blue Devils called timeout after failing to get the Red Devils to jump. They decided to go for it, but the Jacksonville defense didn’t give an inch. In fact, it backed up Blue Devil fullback Dominique Hamalin about a foot, and the Red Devils took over with two minutes left in the game.

Senior tailback Justin Akins went two yards on first down, and Lee Robinson caught a 13-yard pass on second to set up first and goal at the 5.

Hubbard then fired a rocket to Akins on a slant pattern in the end zone with 56 seconds remaining. After a five-yard delay penalty, Hubbard hit Marcus King on a fade to the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion to set the final margin.

The Jacksonville defense was outstanding throughout the game, but never as much as on that fourth down play.
Red Devil defensive lineman Cord Walker put the play in perspective.

“That play goes all the way back to practice,” Walker said. “That’s what we were there for in August, working in the 112-degree heat, for that moment right there. We were waiting on that one.”

Whatley reiterated what Walker had to say.

“This goes back to August when this team first started learning how to believe in each other,” Whatley said. “They continue to believe in each other, continue to beat the odds and continue to overcome adversity. This is an awful special bunch and I’m proud to work for ‘em.”

The Red Devils overcame eight dropped passes Friday night, including six in the first half. They overcame a 10-0 fourth-quarter deficit and an offense that was stuck in neutral the entire first half.

Jacksonville could get nothing going offensively in the first half. The first three drives were all three and out and totaled seven yards. The Red Devils got it moving on the fourth drive, but an interception on the West Memphis 28 was returned 36 yards to the Jacksonville 34 by Blue Devil safety Kevin Moore.

The Jacksonville defense didn’t budge, and West Memphis kicker Paulo Henriques nailed a 43-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the half to put his team up 10-0.

Jacksonville got the ball to start the second half, and moved it exclusively on the ground until the drive stalled at the West Memphis 47.

Jacksonville punted and West Memphis put together its second long, time-consuming drive of the game. But after 12 plays and 49 yards, the Blue Devils were faced with fourth and three at the Jacksonville 18. A pass attempt was tipped up into the air, and junior Cameron Hood caught it on the run and returned back to the 20. From there, the Red Devils started their first scoring drive of the game. The drive took 10 plays to go 80 yards, and featured six runs and four passes. The key play took place on fourth and inches at the West Memphis 20-yard line. Jacksonville lined up in the spread, and Hubbard hit Norvel Gabriel over the middle for a 17-yard pick- up to set up first and goal at the 3-yard line on the last play of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth, Akins bulled his way in for the score. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the score 10-6 with 11:56 left in the game.

Akins finished with 20 carries for 134 yards. He had only 26 yards until the last play of the first half. The second half was a totally different story, and Akins gave credit where it was due.

“The line just stepped up and opened big holes for me,” Akins said. “We weren’t able to do much in the first half because we were dropping balls. We were looking at the guys coming to hit us. We just kept our eye on the ball in the second half, made the catches. The line opened up holes. We just all came together in the second half.”

Jacksonville flinched first when receivers dropped two passes while wide open on the Red Devils first drive. The drive came right after the Jacksonville defense had forced a West Memphis three and out to start the game. West Memphis got a good run back that was coming back from the start, but the Blue Devils still made Jacksonville pay for the drops.

West Memphis went on an 18-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Josh Wilson on the first play of the second quarter.

The drive took over nine minutes, and Jacksonville answered with another three and out drive that took less than two minutes.

The Red Devil defense forced another punt after giving up two first downs, but Jacksonville answered with its third three-play series and punted again.

The Red Devil defense forced a Blue Devil three and out, and Jacksonville finally got some offense going on the ground. Three Justin Akins runs went for 34 yards and two first downs before the dropsies struck again.

Two drops on first and second downs were followed by a tough catch over the middle by Blake Mattison. Mattison paid for the catch by taking a huge hit, but hung on for a 16-yard gain and another first down.

Two plays later, the sixth dropped pass of the first half resulted in Moore’s interception that led to Henriques’ long field goal.
The Red Devils finished with 253 total yards, 184 of which came in the second half. West Memphis had 218 total yards. Junior Josh Wilson led the quintet of running backs with 68 yards on 15 carries.

Jacksonville can clinch an outright league title by beating Marion at Marion next week. West Memphis finishes up at home against Forrest City. A Jacksonville loss could lead to a four-way tie for first place at season’s end. Look for details and breakdowns of the clear-as-mud 6A-East Conference race in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

SPORTS >>SH ladies play well, but lose to Wildcats

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills played well early on, but faded against the Lady Wildcats Thursday night.

Leader sports writer

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears closed out their regular season strong in a match at North Little Rock Thursday, but came up short of a win against the Lady Wildcats in four games, 25-21, 21-25, 25-15 and 25-17. The Lady Bears kept themselves in the match during the first two games by relying on quickness and a superior service game, but the Lady ‘Cats used the advantages of depth and size in the final two games to hammer away at the exhausted Lady Bears to claim the match.

Lady Bears coach Lara Allred made no excuses for her team. Allred said lack of execution in the final two games was the biggest deciding factor in the match.

“We started off pretty good,” Allred said. “But our execution of passes in those final games was off. When our passes are off like that, it makes it hard for our setters to do their jobs. Overall I was happy with how we played, we just need better execution offensively.”

The opening game was closely contested with a strong rally from Sylvan Hills in the final moments. North Little Rock built a 16-11 lead, but leading SH hitter Megan Gwatney came to life after a time out to regroup. Gwatney rolled off three kills in five points to pull the Lady Bears to within one. Kills from Farren Wright and Michelle Hedgecock stretched the lead out for NLR once more, and a kill from Krishauna Kindall gave the Lady Wildcats game points.

After taking the win in the opener, the Lady Wildcats scored a tremendous amount of errors in the second game. Sylvan Hills did not allow them to get back in the groove, sending strong serves across the net, some of which were not even returnable.
The Lady Bears trailed in the frame until they were able to tie things at 19-19 before outscoring the Lady Cats 6-2 in the final moments of the game. Allison Williams scored the final two points for the Lady Bears from behind the service line with a pair of aces to clinch the game.

The Lady Bears went up early in game three with more errors from the Lady Wildcats. NLR committed a number a service errors with aggressive hitting behind the line. Many of the attempts were hit too hard, and ended up in the net.
The Lady Wildcats rallied to tie the game 8-8, and took over the lead shortly thereafter. Fatigue set in for Sylvan Hills at that point, as starter Emily Nichols sat out much of game three, and hitters Leah Vest and Courtney Luth took frequent trips in and out of the lineup.

After leading early in game three, Sylvan Hills only scored seven more points once North Little Rock took over the lead. The Lady Wildcats held off SH easily in the final game to take the match 3-1.

Megan Gwatney led the Lady Bears with 10 kills, three blocks and two aces. Sylvan Hills had 17 total team kills, along with six blocks and six aces. North Little Rock’s Tonja Roper, Michelle Hedgecock and Farren Wright had seven kills each, with Roper adding four blocks and a tip. The Lady Wildcats had 37 team kills, 10 blocks and four aces.

Four Lady Bears were chosen for 6A-East All Conference. Jodi Persson, Mindy Crimm, Allison Williams and Megan Gwatney all received All Conference honors for the 2006 season. Gwatney was also chosen as an All-State player for the second consecutive year.

Allred says that despite a 7-11 final record, the team performed as well as could be expected after playing much of the season without head coach Harold Treadway. Treadway has been serving in Iraq since mid-September, and assistant Allred had to step up to fill the void. She says she was satisfied with the team’s performance, but wishes they could have secured a higher playoff seed.

“They gave it their best, I never had to worry about them quitting,” Allred said. “I am happy with their performance, but I guess you could say I have mixed feelings on how the season went for us. If we would have played up to our potential all season, I think we could have been higher than a fourth seed.” As far as Wednesday’s tournament match with Texarkana, she says the team has the capability to win, but simply needs to play a complete match.

“If we can just play with all of our potential, I know we can beat them,” Allred said. “We have a great chance to win, we just need to put it all together.”

The Lady Bears will start state tournament play on Wednesday afternoon at Little Rock Hall against 6A-South Conference No. 5 seed Texarkana in a qualifying match. The winner of that contest will face South No. 1 seed Benton on Thursday.

SPORTS >>Cabot makes most of miscues

IN SHORT: The Cabot Panthers got back on the winning side of things with a 28-0 shutout on the road at Pine Bluff Friday night.

Leader sports writer

Pine Bluff — Cabot went lights out in the first half at Jordan Stadium on Friday night, taking advantage of three Zebra turnovers deep in their own territory on the way to a 28-0 shutout over Pine Bluff in a 7A-Central Conference matchup. A fumbled punt return, a fake punt that was fumbled and a fumble on a Pine Bluff pass play were all recovered by the Panthers in the first two quarters, and all three were converted into Cabot touchdowns.

The Panthers only gained 130 yards of total offense in the first half, but with drives starting at the Pine Bluff 42-yard line, 30 yard-line and 18 yard line, they didn’t have that far to go.

“They gave us a short field a couple of times,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “Anytime you’re on the road and you can get on top, like tonight, with the wind against you in the first quarter, you have to take advantage of that. The offensive line did a great job tonight; the backs ran hard. The short field definitely helped us, and we were able to take advantage of the breaks they gave us.”

After three first half touchdowns, the only offensive highlight in the second half was a 55-yard touchdown run from Colin Fuller down the left sideline at the 6:08 mark of the third quarter. Steve Lamb’s extra-point attempt would set the final margin at 28-0.

The turnover bug bit Pine Bluff very early on, during the opening kickoff, in fact. The kick from Fuller bounced off the shoulder pad of Martez Glass, and into the hands of the Cabot defenders. The Panthers’ offense went three and out off the gift, but Pine Bluff did the same to give the ball back moments later.

The next Cabot possession was another three-and-out stand, but the punt from Fuller on fourth down would be the start of a first half trend that would put the Zebras out of contention in the contest.

Fuller’s punt was squibbed by the fierce wind, and the Pine Bluff special teams once again fumbled the ball. Corey Wade landed on the loose ball, giving the Panthers possession at the Zebras’ 42-yard line.

Wade and the Panthers offense took advantage this time, going 42 yards in nine plays, capped off with a one-yard quarterback keep from Wade on the opening play of the second quarter for the score. Fuller added the point-after attempt to make it 7-0.

Pine Bluff went what appeared to be three-and-out on its next possession, but a fake punt on fourth and three was read all the way by the Cabot defenders. Junior Daniel Hille-nburg put a sack on Pine Bluff kicker William Wilson, jarring the ball loose. Sophomore Cody Myers fell on the loose ball, giving the Panthers excellent field position at the Zebras’ 18-yard line.

Two plays were all it took for Cabot on this drive, with Wade setting up first down and goal with a 16-yard scramble to the 2-yard line. Fuller punched it in on the following play, and added the extra point for a 14-0 Cabot lead.

Starting Zebras quarterback Cordara Frazier had a difficult time avoiding the Cabot defense in the first half.

Frazier was sacked three times in the short period that Pine Bluff had possession of the ball, including a sack that led to another fumble that gave the Panthers possession at the Zebras’ 18-yard line.

It was Fuller once again on the score, this time from two yards out with 4:48 left in the first half. He added his third point after of the night to give the Panthers a 21-0 lead at the half.

Cabot’s only major offensive mistake had little consequence in the game, but did prevent the game from going into mercy-rule status in the fourth quarter. With third and goal at the Pine Bluff 2-yard line, Wade handed the ball off to senior tailback Alec Tripp. Tripp fumbled at the line, and Pine Bluff came away with it.

Although backup Zebras quarterback Sebastian Stargell looked better then starting QB Frazier in the game, he still could not lead Pine Bluff into the end zone. Stargell proved to be a crafty scrambler, and hit receivers Kelsey Thomas and Jarvis Mayo on a number of occasions, but the Cabot defense stiffened whenever pushed back into its own territory. The Zebras’ only trip into the Cabot red zone came midway through the third quarter, but four straight incompletions from Stargell killed the drive, and the Panthers took over on downs.

Fuller led the Panthers offensively with 21 carries for 132 yards and three touchdowns. Wade kept for seven carries for 54 yards and one touchdown. For Pine Bluff, Stargell completed 7 of 14 pass attempts for 63 yards and carried four times for 30 yards.

Cabot’s chances of a playoff berth were all but thwarted last night with a Conway win over Russellville. The Panthers will close out the season next week with a home game against the Cyclones.

OBITUARIES >> 10-28-06

Clarence Larkan
Clarence Lee Larkan, 50, left this earth Oct. 24.

He is survived by his wife, Deborah Moody Larkan; three children, Kevin Larkan, Chrystal Siler and Amanda McConaha, all of Beebe; parents, Clarence W. and Ella May Larkan of Lonoke; one brother, Ricky Larkan of North Little Rock; two sisters, Anita Schenebeck of Lonoke and Shirley Sanders of Sherwood; four grandchildren, Justin, Madison, Cody and Garret and many relatives and friends’.

Funeral services were held Oct. 27 at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel in Lonoke.

Bernice Morris
Bernice Pearl Morris, 87, passed away Oct. 27.

She was a member of the Church of Christ and loved to fish, cook, can and loved her dog “Little Cody.”

Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Bobby and Terry Armstrong of Lonoke; one daughter, Mary Dormmey of Benton; two brothers, Joe Highland of Cabot and Lynn Highland of North Little Rock; six grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30 at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel in Lonoke with burial to follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Visitation will be Sunday, Oct. 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the funeral home.

EDITORIALS>>Be careful on school debt

Who wants to be known as a foe of higher learning? Certainly not us. Arkansas has underfunded its colleges and universities almost as badly as it has cheated its public schools for nearly all of the century and a half that the state has claimed to be offering a universal education. We know and mourn that.

But it should not follow that any and every proposition to increase appropriations for the state colleges and universities is wise.

That is the premise behind the near universal support of the college bond proposition that will appear on the ballot Nov. 7.
Voters narrowly defeated the plan in December 2005, and Gov. Huckabee has opted to put it before voters again, as the law permits. If it is defeated again, a future governor can submit it to voters again, ad infinitum.

We opposed it last year and do so again now for even better reasons.

If voters approve the proposition, the state will issue $250 million in general-improvement bonds. Some $100 million of the proceeds will be used to retire old college construction bonds and pay off the owners of the bonds, including all the interest that they would earn if the bonds remained outstanding until their maturity. The state will realize no savings from calling the bonds early as you would if you paid off your mortgage and installment debt immediately.

Roughly $150 million that remained would be used for new buildings and technical equipment, which would be divided among all the state-supported universities and two-year colleges.

Chancellor John White of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the other presidents and chancellors say the new construction is needed because of growing enrollment at the institutions.

Chancellor White says Arkansas has fallen far behind schools in all the nearby states because they have invested in new buildings and equipment and Arkansas has not.

When he presented the university’s budget to lawmakers at the Capitol this week, he supplied the same figures that have been given to the media.

Since 1994, he said, Arkansas has spent only $142 million on construction at the schools, far less than other Southern states.
He missed the mark by a little over one billion dollars.

An examination of vouchered expenditures at the state treasurer’s office shows that capital spending has been not a mere $142 million, but nearly 10 times that: about $1 billion from tax receipts, bonds and other revenues and still another $300 million or so from private philanthropy.

Anyone who has visited the medical sciences campus at Little Rock, the main university campus at Fayetteville or the University of Central Arkansas and seen the gleaming new buildings and the construction cranes need not examine the accounts to know that $142 million is not a true figure. Fayetteville spent that much alone on Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

But that little deceit is not enough to vote against the bonds. The schools could wisely spend for construction on several fast-growing campuses, though the greater need is for operating budgets and academic programs. That is where Arkansas is so far behind. The physical plants stack up nicely against other schools in the region.

Here is the reason the proposition should be defeated: The legislature next year will have at least $750 million and probably closer to $900 million in surpluses in various funds.

Traditionally, surpluses are used for precisely such needs. The legislature could appropriate $150 million for these projects and still another $200 million if the institutions can make the case.

It would still have funds for public school construction, prisons and all the other capital needs of the state. And it would have money left over.

But if the bonds are approved Nov. 7, the state will instead borrow $250 million to do the same thing and pay millions of dollars in needless underwriting and legal fees and interest to the bond lawyers, brokers and investors.

Where is the logic in that? No family confronted with similar options with their own budget would take the same course.
The argument by the institutions, Gov. Huckabee and the benefiting business partners in this enterprise is that lawmakers can’t be trusted to spend the massive surplus for colleges and universities, although those institutions for the past 40 years have been the primary beneficiaries of surplus funds.

They say the lawmakers will want to spend all the money on their own little petty local projects to help them get elected and will ignore the universities and colleges .

Not if a strong and principled governor says no. We think Gov. Mike Beebe, the universities’ best friend in the legislature in recent years, will tell them to do the right thing.

Let’s trust state officials, including the lawmakers, to be both principled and economical.

The universities can have their new buildings and taxpayers can save $25 million or so over the next few years.
Where is there a better bargain than that? It starts with defeating the bonds.

TOP STORY >>Cabot acts to join water cooperative

Leader staff writer

Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission bought a seat on the board of the Lonoke/White Public Water Authority Wednesday night by voting to pay that new organization a $1 fee for each of its 9,000 customers.

But J.M. Park, chairman of the Cabot commission, told members before the vote that the main reason for joining was to gain the good will of their neighbors at a time when that good will is very important.

Currently, Cabot gets about 3 million gallons of water a day from its well field between Beebe and Lonoke. The cost of that water is minimal. Whether the city can continue to draw from that source and increase the amount taken instead of buying from Central Arkansas Water in the next few years at a much higher cost, will depend in great part on the attitude of the people who live near the well field, including the customers of Grand Prairie and Bayou II water associations, who are founding members of the LWPWA. The LWPWA has taken over the Lonoke / White Water Project that has been in the planning stages for more than a decade and hopes to build the project and supply water from Greers Ferry Lake to much of the central part of the state north of the Arkansas River.

The Cabot commission’s vote to become a member of LWPWA was unanimous despite the doubt voiced by commission members that the project will succeed.

If it is built, that project could be years away. But Cabot’s pressing need is the permission of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (formerly Soil and Water) to draw more than the three million gallons a day allowed in the city’s state-issued permit.

A geological study expected to be completed by the end of November could show that the aquifer where the wells are located is not being drawn down by the wells, but the commission doesn’t want opposition from neighbors to outweigh the results of the study when it’s time for Natural Re-sources to consider its permit application.

To that end, the commission voted to pay LWPWA its $9,000 membership fee even though they said the future of the Lonoke/ White Water Project is uncertain.

To get Cabot to join, the LWPWA made several concessions, including giving Cabot a seat on the board without requiring that the city pay any of the $750,000 cost of buying the project assets from Community Water Systems, which controlled the project until they lost it in a lawsuit filed by Grand Prairie and Bayou II.

Ben Rice, the Jacksonville law-yer who represents LWPWA, said Jacksonville, which joined last month, also would be given the same considerations. Cabot didn’t join LWPWA earlier this month when first asked because some commissioners were reluctant to pay money without gaining a seat at the board of directors. The project might be a long shot, but it’s not dead and the Cabot commission wants input into the direction it goes. Like Cabot, LWPWA also needs something and so its leaders were willing to renegotiate.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers decides who gets water from the state lakes and how much they get. The Mid Arkansas Water Alliance, made up of 27 members including Central Arkansas Water, Cabot and the individual members of LWPWA, is expected to get half the 30-million gallons a day allocation available at Greers Ferry Lake. LWPWA wants half of what’s left.

TOP STORY >>Extravaganza in the sky set next weekend

IN SHORT: Officials are expecting nothing short of a spectacular air show this year as Air Force and civilian flight teams give it their all.

Leader staff writer

The 2006 Little Rock Air Force Base air show, Airpower Arkansas, will be held next weekend from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlining the show.

“On behalf of the 13,500 men and women of Little Rock Air Force Base, I’d like to personally invite everyone to Airpower Arkansas,” LRAFB commander Brig. Gen. Kip Self said.

“This year’s air show will be nothing short of spectacular to include a demonstration by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and many other skilled aviators from around the world, to include Air Force and civilian demonstration teams. There will also be plenty of food and refreshments. With free admission and parking, all you need to do is bring out your lawn chair and have a great Air Force afternoon.”

Airpower Arkansas 2006 will be the last air show for at least two years according to Gen. Self.

Director of operations for Airpower Arkansas 2006, Maj. Michael Brink, said to expect a fast-paced, exciting show. “I’m extremely excited for this year’s show as 2006 marks both the 50th anniversary of the C-130 and 60th anniversary of the Blue Angels,” Brink said.

The November show will have more military aircraft performing as compared to last year.

“We are proud to showcase the mission of Little Rock AFB and the capabilities of the U.S. military,” Brink said.

The Navy Blue Angels F-18 Hornet aerial demonstration team, the featured performance, is tentatively scheduled to fly at 2:45 p.m. both days. The Blue Angels dem-onstration lasts about an hour and a half according to Brink.

The biggest member of the Navy Blue team is a Lockheed Martin C-130T Hercules, known as Fat Albert Airlines. The plane has jet-assisted take-off (JATO) capability with eight solid-fuel rocket bottles, four on each side, attached near the rear paratrooper doors. Fired simultaneously, the JATO bottles allow the transport aircraft to take off within 1,500 ft., climb at a 45-degree angle, and propel it to an altitude of 1,000 ft. in approximately 15 seconds.

The Fat Albert joined the Blue Angels team in 1970 and flies more than 140,000 miles each season. It carries more than 40 maintenance and support personnel, their gear and enough spare parts and communication equipment to complete a successful air show.

LRAFB aircrews will also showcase their unique talents with a C-130 combat-capabilities exercise showing what they do in combat every day – precision airdrops of heavy equipment and cargo.

The Air Force Wings of Blue parachute demonstration team will feature 12 parachutists jumping from a C-130 cargo aircraft in four separate maneuvers at altitudes ranging from 4,500 to 11,000 feet above the ground. The paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, N.C., will partner with the C-130s of LRAFB to drop more than 250 soldiers.

Other military aircraft performances include the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-16 Viper and the Canadian Forces CF-18.
A new addition to this year’s show will be a concert by the band WideAwake following the Blue Angels’ demonstration on Sat-urday, Nov. 4.

Admission and parking is free. Souvenir, food, and information booths will be available. All visitors and their vehicles will be subject to search. No coolers, pets, backpacks, or large bags are allowed at the air show.

“We suggest getting to the air show early to avoid lines at the base gate,” Brink said. “Dress appropriately for the weather, bring sunscreen and a folding chair to watch the acts perform and bring earplugs for yourself and your children.”

TOP STORY >>Cabot starts census next Thursday

Leader staff writer

Seventy census workers will hit the streets Thursday, going door to door to acquire information from each household for Cabot’s special census.

Karen Davis, operations director for the city of Cabot, said the city decided to hold a special census to determine its current population.

“The 2000 Census population count was 15,261,” Davis said. “Metroplan has it estimated at 21,575 currently, a huge jump in six years. We knew we had a growth in population from our school enrollment and building permit in-crease.”
A certified official population increase resulting from the Special Census may produce an increase in state revenue sharing or other benefits.

“It could help Cabot as a city because of the number of people we have,” Davis said. “It could really send more money our way.”

The city stands to gain $1.3 million in turnback funds from a special census; that is an annual gain of $305,000, starting in 2007, until the results of the 2010 regular census are released in 2011. The figure is based on Metroplan’s 2005 population estimate of 19,967 residents in Cabot.

The additional state turnback funds, money off gas taxes based on population, should start coming in sometime after the census is completed, Davis said.

Collecting data will take one month and processing the data and certifying the results will take another two or three months, placing the completion of the census sometime in February or March.

Of the money received from the census, Davis said 75 percent would go to the city’s general fund – police and fire departments, and public works; the remaining 25 percent would go in the city’s street fund to help repair the damage done due to the strain of increased population.

Census workers (enumerators), all of which will be identified by a badge from the U.S. Census Bureau that includes their name, will be asking households a series of questions during the evenings and on Saturdays, taking a maximum of seven minutes of the residents’ time. The census workers are using the U.S. Census Bureau’s short-form questionnaire, which has six population questions and one housing question.

The Special Census will produce demographic detail for the Cabot population, including new housing and population that came into the area after Census 2000. It will collect information such as age, gender, relationships within households, race and Hispanic origin, and whether the residents own or rent. Information from individual household questionnaires is summarized into neighborhood and community-level data that can be used to plan for and seek funding for vital community needs.

Davis said there would be a total of four attempts made to gather information from every household in the Cabot city limits.
“If people don’t answer, they will keep coming back until they get someone,” Davis said. “If, after three attempts by workers and one trip by a supervisor, there is still no contact, they will talk with neighbors to see who and how many people live in that residence.”

Davis hopes all citizens will cooperate with information re-quested by the census workers, saying it’s all strictly confidential.

TOP STORY >>Six lanes of highway may still be not enough

IN SHORT: The state Highway Department’s 15-lane proposal for I-630 conflicts with Metroplan’s six-lane maximum in central Arkansas.

Leader staff writer

How many traffic lanes will there be on the area’s freeways — six or as many as 15?

An ambitious long-range state Highway and Trans-portation Department plan that would drastically reconfigure the I-630/I-430 interchange to include as many as 15 east-west traffic lanes conflicts with local design standards, according to Metroplan director Jim McKenzie, who called this week for talks that would also include Central Arkansas Transit and the City of Little Rock.

While the major players seem in agreement that improving and expanding the interchange is important, the project is not included in Metro 2030—the 25-year highway plan—and a conservative construction estimate of $70 million could suck up money needed to complete higher priority projects like widening I-40 to six lanes from Little Rock to Conway and widening Hwy. 67/167 from I-40 north to Cabot, according to McKenzie.

Those projects, already begun, are in the Metro 2030 plan, with construction money already identified. The I-430/I-630 Interchange project is on the Metro 2030 wish list, but only $15 million has been identified and committed to it, McKenzie said.

Current Metroplan policy requires study of other alternatives, including light rail, before consideration of increasing the six-lane limit.

As the area’s metropolitan planning organization, Metroplan must sign off on projects built with Federal Highway Administration money. The proposal unveiled at the meeting is for 15 lanes on I-630 just east of Shackleford Road, then 10 lanes to John Barrow Drive, six lanes from John Barrow to University and finally six lanes from University to downtown Little Rock.

Metroplan policy, decided by Central Arkansas mayors and county judges, currently sets six lanes—three each direction—as the maximum for area highways, at least until all are built out to six lanes and consideration given to alternatives like light rail mass transit, according to McKenzie.

Scott Bennett, the highway department’s assistant chief engineer for planning, showed board members an impressive, animated computer model that projected how traffic would flow along all the lanes, including new overpasses, exits and entrances and flyovers, based upon future growth projections.

“Let’s start resolving this so we don’t get into a North Belt (Freeway) situation again,” McKenzie said. Funding for the entire North Belt Freeway was available at one time, but repeated delays caused by disagreements between the Highway Department on one hand and Metroplan and the city of Sherwood on the other brought construction to a halt, allowing money to be siphoned off for other projects instead.

“This needs to be reconciled earlier rather than later,” he added. McKenzie said the $70 million estimate wasn’t enough when proposed a year ago, didn’t include expensive interface between I-630 and Little Rock streets and didn’t take into account construction material inflation.

“Unless we can find some new money, we’re not going to be able to do much,” he said. Highway construction funded by gas tax is pretty inelastic, while inflation (in building materials) is very elastic now that there is global competition for aggregate, cement and petroleum-based asphalt with India and China.”

McKenzie said previous studies have suggested identifying a second east-west route between west Little Rock and downtown somewhere in the Markham—I-630—Kanis corridor instead of adding new lanes to I-630, and making provisions for eventual light rail mass transit.

“We may want to build light rail before widening the freeway,” McKenzie said. “We can’t support light rail right now, but we’re trying to lay the groundwork for it when we can.” He added that Metroplan’s six-lane maximum was not intended to last for ever, but at least until all major freeways are six-lanes and the secondary regional arterial road network is beefed up.
McKenzie said work toward a resolution of these issues with the Highway and Transportation Department, CAT and Little Rock should begin “As soon as possible.”

TOP STORY >>Officials vow fast returns

IN SHORT: Early voting gets off to quick start, Lonoke official predicts early night election eve.

Leader staff writer

While iVotronic touch-screen machines were expected to make voting smoother and faster in Lonoke’s primaries last May, candidates traded clocks for calendars and hours turned into days as they awaited results. It was Saturday evening before all votes from the Tuesday election were counted.

Not so this time, promises Larry Clarke, the Republican on the Lonoke Election Commission and the man in charge of programming and checking the machines.

“If you come later than 9:30 (election night,) there may not be anyone left here,” Clarke told a reporter who more than once drove from Little Rock to the Lonoke Courthouse at midnight looking for the results.

Except for paper absentee ballots—which will be optically scanned starting at 4 p.m. Nov. 7—precinct election officials will download electronic results from the touch-screen computers into cassette-like devices, which they will bring to the Lonoke County Courthouse, Clarke said.

That’s instead of the wall of sealed cardboard boxes containing paper ballots in past elections.

Those modules from the individual machines will be plugged into a reader/tabulator at the courthouse and each will be counted in seconds, Clarke said.

In May, ES&S, the vendor that provided the iVotronics, the optical scanner and programmed the ballots, missed several pre-election deadlines and just plain lost some ballot styles that should have been included in the program reading the paper ballots, Clarke said.

The only hold-up this time resulted from the state Supreme Court ordering Green Party candidates inclusion on the ballots. Early voting is off to a great start this year, Clarke said, as for the first time an early-voting site was available in Cabot. By Wednesday, 593 early ballots had been cast, more than half of them at Cabot, the balance at the Lonoke County Courthouse.
Lonoke County now owns 89 voting machines.

“I’m going to deploy 77 for November 7,” Clarke said, apportioned to county polling places at a rate of one for each 200 people expected to vote there.

Lonoke has 53 different ballots, the longest running 10 pages (real big writing) on the touch-screen.

“I’m a lot more comfortable with the machines than I ever was with paper,” said Clarke. “With paper, it’s hard to maintain an accurate count,” he said. Also, you can’t run out of ballots at a polling place with electronic voting.

Election commissioners are finishing up the logic and accuracy checks on the electronics and they’ve conducted four training sessions for the poll workers.

Clarke said his next goal is to get school board elections straightened out. “Schools have been conducting too much of the election,” he said. “I want to get it back to the people who are supposed to do it,” he said.

So far, 7,200 people have voted in Pulaski County, Election Com-mission Chairman Kent Walker said Thursday, with only minor problems.

“The screens are very sensitive,” he said, noting the people can accidentally touch and vote the wrong candidate—a mistake easily remedied by touching the right candidate.

“There are three opportunities to correct a mistake,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is vote for somebody you didn’t intend to.”

We had 50,000 total early votes in 2004, Walker said.

He said he hoped to increase early voting from one-third of voters in 2004 to 40 percent this time.

There were minor delays during the May primaries because ES&S provided the programming and “We didn’t have the programming at the end of the election to correlate the results from the electronic ballots with the paper ballots.”
“We’re doing our own programming this time, so there shouldn’t be a problem.”

Walker said the county had about 175 iVotronics machines and will have at least one at each of 124 polling locations, with about 55 left over. The primary election problems were minor compared to problems so widespread in previous years that they nearly led to prosecution of Pulaski County Clerk Carolyn Staley and to her eventual decision not to seek reelection.

Jacksonville resident Pat O’Brien beat Staley’s deputy in 2004 based in part on his promise to clean up the voter registration rolls and bring voting into the 21st Century—a pledge ob-servers say he has honored.

“The county’s getting its money’s worth out of him,” Walker said of O’Brien. “I think Pat’s doing an excellent job. He’s assisted the commission at every turn and come to every meeting.”

“People want to be able to trust that their elections are efficient and fair,” he said. Walker also noted that any Pulaski County registered voter could vote early at any of the nine early voting sites, not just the one nearest them.

“It’s going really well. So far, 1,538 have voted,” White County Clerk Tanya Burleson said Thurs-day. “Voting was pretty heavy Tuesday. We thought the rain would keep them away, but it hasn’t. It’s been pretty steady.”

All 32 polling places in the county will be equipped with electronic voting machines, the same as they were for the primary. Burleson said she doesn’t anticipate any problems with the equipment, which worked well in May.

The only problem so far, she said, is that some people don’t realize the law against campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place also applies to campaigning within 100 feet of the main entrances to the courthouse while early voting is going on.

That means no vehicles with campaign signs may be parked on the square and no campaign shirts, caps, pens or the like are allowed inside the building.

TOP STORY >>Candidates in hot seat

IN SHORT: Berry defends his record during their debate as Cabot mayor says the congressman is ineffective, lacks character, accepts farm subsidies.

Leader staff writer

The first and only debate between Cong. Marion Berry (D-Gillett) and his Republican challenger, Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh of Cabot, ended with Stumbaugh hurling accusations of infidelity and public drunkenness at the incumbent.

This reporter was one of three journalists on a panel questioning the candidates at the Reynolds Performance Hall in Conway on Wednesday. The debate was the last in a series of live televised debates on the Arkansas Education Television Network (AETN). The candidates face off at the polls Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the statewide general election.

Stumbaugh attacked Berry’s character, saying, “I’ve never been thrown off the floor of the House of Representatives for being drunk. I never showed up at the Holiday Inn in Jonesboro or at the Raddison in Memphis with anybody other than my wife.”
A visibly upset Berry shot back, “Those charges that were just leveled at me are absolutely false. We expected that this would be nastiest campaign the United States has ever seen and it’s turning out to be just that. Unfortunately that doesn’t resolve the problems we face as a nation.”

In a press conference following the debate, Stumbaugh denied his accusations were directed at Berry.
“They were just statements,” the mayor explained.

Throughout the hour-long debate candidates fielded questions on farm subsidies, the war in Iraq, domestic abuse, minmum wage and illegal immigration. Audience members had mixed feelings about who actually won the debate.

“I think some of the things Stumbaugh said in closing statements backfire during an election. I would say Berry had the leading edge in this debate,” said David Keith, a journalism instructor at the University of Centra Arkansas.
Robin Green, 25, a senior majoring in journalism, said the debate had no clear winner.

“I think Berry did a poor job of answering the questions and Stumbaugh turned it personal instead of sticking to the issues,” Green said.

Berry touted his experience but Stumbaugh said the incumbent’s lack of effectiveness–particularly in getting approval for a highway bill that benefits the 1st District–stems in part from how he deals with other members of Congress. He accused Berry of calling Cong. Adam Putnam of Florida a “Howdy-Doody-looking nimrod.”

Howdy Doody was the freckled-face, grinning star of a children’s marionette-puppet show on television in the 1950s.
“No wonder we can’t get anything done,” Stumbaugh said. “Our congressman is busy out there calling other congressmen names.”

Berry didn’t respond directly to the accusation. He said he was proud of the work that had been accomplished, with federal help, on improving the infrastructure of the district in eastern Arkansas that allowed the region to attract such industry as the Hino Motors manufacturing plant at Marion.

The infrastructure improvements that attracted Hino “began long before” that company ever showed interest in Arkansas, Berry said.

A retired farmer, Berry said the only reason for farm subsidies to exist is to support the agriculture industry by offsetting the costs of farming during poor crop years, which keeps price of food low and the supply safe.

“No farmer enters into that business because of the subsidies, sometimes it keeps them in business in bad years, but had it not been for that, there would simply not be that many farmers left,” Berry said.

Stumbaugh accused Berry of using farm subsidies for personal gain.

“Since he’s been in Washington D.C., he has taken nearly $1 million in farm subsidies, that’s why he supports farm subsidies,” Stumbaugh said. Berry denied he has received any farm subsidies from the family-owned farms that still bear his name. Marion Berry Inc. received $801,661 in subsidies from 1995 to 2004, according to the database of the Environmental Working Group, a research and lobbying organization.

On immigration, Stumbaugh accused Berry of acting to benefit himself in a way contrary to what Berry says he believes. He said Berry had knowingly employed illegal immigrants in his Arkansas County farming operations. In a press conference after the debate, Stumbaugh said he has copies of paperwork that shows an immigrant worker who once worked on Berry’s farm was illegal and was using a dead man’s Social Security number.

“He says he doesn’t support amnesty (for illegal immigrants), but he continues to support illegal immigration because it is a dollar in his pocket,” Stumbaugh said during the debate.

The Democratic incumbent said he was also proud of having voted for the strongest anti-illegal-immigration measure ever approved by the House of Representatives.

“I voted for the strongest bill to control our borders that’s ever been passed and I’m proud of that. We voted to increase the penalty for hiring illegal workers by five times to $25,000. We voted to build 700 miles of fence. We’re going to increase border patrol agents by 2,000 a year,” Berry said.

Illegal immigration is also helping to drive up the cost of health care, the challenger said, because “illegal immigrants come in and they get free medical care, and folks have to write it off.”

Berry said one of the biggest ways to benefit those on Medicare and Medicaid would be requiring the government to deal with pharmaceutical companies to get lower drug prices.

“We need to negotiate prescription prices, like every other country does,” Berry said. “If we negotiated prescription drug prices for the American people, it would save ... between $40 billion and $80 billion, if just half the people participated.”

Berry said the 110th Congress plans to raise the minimum wage during its first hour. The new wage will be $6.15 the first year and $7.15 the next year. In the press conference following the debate, Stumbaugh said he’s all for higher wages as long as it doesn’t hurt the bottom line of small businesses.

“We have to be mindful of what’s going to be hurtful to small business owners. When I became mayor, our firefighters were making a little over $6 an hour. Now no one who works for the city makes less than $8 an hour,” Stumbaugh said.

In his closing statement, Stumbaugh said “we need new leadership, and Stubby Stumbaugh is that leader.”

Berry’s closing statement focused on his party affiliation. “We’ve got to get back to a balanced budget–we did it in the early years of the Clinton administration,” he said.

“I am excited about the prospect of going back, as part of a Democratic majority, to bring peace and prosperity to this nation.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

TOP STORY >>She's not your typical beauty queen

IN SHORT: Being in the Air Force doesn’t stop her from taking part in other interests.

Leader staff writer

Lt. Kelly George is not your typical airman. Neither is she your typical beauty queen.

Miss Air Force 2003, George, 24, of the 314th Airlift Wing’s Strategic Information Command, will compete in the Miss Arkansas USA pageant Saturday night in the Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.

A surfer raised in Mission Viejo, Calif., George entered her first pageant as a senior at Trabuco Hills High School, earning a spot among the top 25 in Miss Teenage California and getting $1,000 for being voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ among the contestants.

In the 20 or so pageants she’s competed in, George estimates she’s won about $25,000 in scholarship money to pay for her education at the University of Maryland.

George was in her freshman year at University of Maryland during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Not long afterward, she joined the Air Force.

“I guess I’m idealistic. I wanted to do something to make a difference,” George said.

While earning her bachelor’s of communication, she interned at the Pentagon, escorting media for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

After graduating in May 2005, she moved to her first duty station, Little Rock Air Force Base.

“Last summer when we (Little Rock Air Force Base) were the hub for international aid for Hurricane Katrina relief, I had only been on base for a couple of months so I really had to hit the ground running,” George said.

With all the media attention focused on the supplies being flown out of LRAFB, George, like many airmen, found herself getting by on a couple hours of sleep every couple of days.

“One night I did a phone interview with the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) while I was in my pajamas. I hadn’t had any official training yet,” George said. She is now pursing a master’s of art in interpersonal and organizational communications from the Univer-sity of Arkansas at Little Rock.

She doubts if her sisters, Karyn 21, and Kristen, 19, both attending college in California, will follow her in to the Air Force.
“My family is always a little nervous for my safety but they know how much I enjoy it,” George said. Even with a short time in the service, George has already witnessed the change that each generation of airmen bring with them.

“My fellow airmen are so bright and have such fresh, new ideas on how to do things and make improvements. It’s satisfying to watch their achievements get recognized and shared,” George said.

“I like that I get to find out about other people’s jobs as part of my job and I enjoy knowing how someone’s story fits into the bigger picture of the Air Force,” George said.

Being a spokesman for the military has prepared her for being a spokesman for the state as Miss Arkansas USA and both are great ways to be a role model for young women, George said. “You might not look like the girl next to you but you have something unique to offer. It’s not about being cocky, it’s about being comfortable,” George said.

The winner of Miss Arkansas USA will compete in the Miss USA pageant, a qualifier for Miss Universe.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

SPORTS >>Lonoke still eyeing title, Stuttgart in the way

Leader sportswriter

Lonoke will face its toughest opponent all season this week when they travel to Stuttgart on Friday to battle the undefeated Ricebirds. The Jackrabbits are coming off a difficult loss against Marianna in a game that went down to the wire and was decided in the final minute by a failed two-point attempt.

Although the Jackrabbits have lost four games this season, the losses have been by a combined margin of only 15 points. A win on the road against Stuttgart will be difficult, but Lonoke does have a good chance to play the Ricebirds closer than any other opponent they have faced so far this season.

Stuttgart has dramatically outscored its opponents 305-67 through seven games. The Ricebirds have won every game by at least three scores, with a 34-14 win over Joe T. during week two standing as the closest game for them all season. Stuttgart coach Bobby Bolding says there is no threat of overconfidence from his team this week. The Ricebirds have had the luxury of an unscheduled off-week due to the cancellation of Mountain View’s season.

Stuttgart received a forfeit win last week. Bolding hopes the rest will help some of his starters mend the common bumps and bruises that occur at this point in the season. “We did some good things in practice last week,” Bolding said. “We were able to run some of our young kids and let some of the old guys heal up. I hope this week off will help us out against Lonoke.

“I think (Lonoke) keeps getting better and better every week. Coach Jones has a great program started down there. They give you looks you don’t see every day with their form of the spread and the 3-1-1 look they have defensively. They have talented skill people. They are kind of difficult to prepare for because of the things you don’t see all the time. I’m glad we’ve had this extra week to get ready.”

Stuttgart’s skill players have also had a solid year so far. Senior receiver Nico Hobbs has 25 receptions for 450 yards and six touchdowns in the first seven games, and tailback Tim Raines has 921 yards through six games. Raines has averaged almost 10 yards per carry after sitting out one game earlier in the year.

Stuttgart’s biggest game of the year will be next week against Marianna, but Bolding says his team doesn’t have time right now to worry about the potential conference-title game. “We really haven’t even looked at Marianna,” Bolding said. “We have been focused on Lonoke. They have more than enough to concern us this week, we will worry about that game when and if we get by this week.”

SPORTS >>Red Devils vying for top spot in 6A East

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville is in a good situation, but not an easy one. The Red Devils meet up with the West Memphis Blue Devils this week at Jan Crow Stadium as the only two teams in the 6A-East Conference that hold their own destinies in their hands. Each team is in the same situation, win out and win the outright conference championship, or lose, and look for help from elsewhere.

Jacksonville closes on the road against Marion while West Memphis hosts Forrest City in week 10. None of that matters much to either team. They both know that the team in front of them now is the one that stands in the way of a league title. Jacksonville’s coaching staff is well aware of what West Memphis brings to the table. It’s something its team didn’t stop much a year ago, but no one in Jacksonville is focusing on last year’s 50-14 Loss at West Memphis.

“That was a year ago, two completely different teams, different set of circumstances,” Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley said.
While it’s apparent to all that Jacksonville’s offense is better this year, the second under the guidance of Whatley, it’s still not where he wants it to be.

“We still haven’t played as well as I think we can,” Whatley said. “We’re still dropping balls, still getting penalties that hurt drives. We’ve got to get to a new mindset. If you run on first down and get stuffed, that seems ok. It seems like if we drop back to pass on first down and it’s incomplete, it’s the end of the world. We’ve just got to have a short memory. When you throw it as much as we do, you’re going to drop some and you’re going to miss some. We just have to get back and run another play like we’re capable of.”

For all the mistakes Whatley says is hurting productivity, his team is still finding ways to win games. Whatley believes that’s a testament to the team’s effort. “They’ve played hard all season,” Whatley said. “Hadn’t always played smart, but they’ve played hard all year. We lost our composure out there against Jonesboro, and I think the team learned from that and grew because of it.”

One of the concerns for Jacksonville will be West Memphis’ mindset coming into the game. The Blue Devils just lost to Mountain Home last week. It was the first conference loss for the team since week four of 2004 and it snapped a 17-game conference winning streak.

Jacksonville could be hosting an angry bunch of Blue Devils this week. “We’re catching teams when they’re healthy, we’re catching teams when they’re mad. We seem to be catching everybody at just the wrong time. So far we’ve still found ways to win games.”

West Memphis is also one of the only teams in the classification with comparable talent to Jacksonville in the skill positions. The offense is led by running back Teddy Stackhouse. Whatley has other people to be concerned with as well. “That No. 5 (Denarius Jones) is a crackerjack too. They’re talented as can be. But I wouldn’t for one second think about trading ‘em for this bunch.”

SPORTS >>Winning a must now for Badgers

Leader sportswriter

This week’s game between Beebe and Nettleton is a potential battle for the No. 3 seed in the 5A-East Conference, but for Badgers head coach Cam Prock, it’s just another tough game. Beebe prevailed last week in another come from behind win against Greene County Tech. The Eagles went ahead by two scores early on, but the Badgers were able to shut them out in the second half, while scoring 31 unanswered points in the process.

Prock says there is no method to the rallying madness that has come to define his explosive squad. He says above all, his kids simply refuse to quit when falling behind. “It’s kind of been typical of our offense this year,” Prock said. “They will sputter and sputter; sometimes they will take off and sometimes they won’t. I thought our defense played really well last week. They were able to get 14 points on us early, but even at that time, I thought we were playing well. We made a few adjustments as far as who would pick up what assignment, but it’s really no big secret that it usually just comes down to kids playing harder and making plays.”

Nettleton is easily the most improved team this season. The losing teams of the past few years have been replaced with a playoff-hungry team this year. Prock says that if his team is going to have success against the Raiders this Friday, the defensive line will have to control things against their offensive interior. That and try to stop standout tailback ??? Lawson.
“They have a good offensive line,” Prock said. “They block extremely well, and they have a good running back. He is one of those guys that is a strong runner and carries a lot of speed. It will be a good test for our defense.”

This time of the year finds many coaches crunching numbers to see what needs to happen in order for their teams to clinch a particular seed for the playoffs, but not Prock. He says all he is concerned about is his team playing at the top of its ability, and worry about the state brackets once the season is done.

“We have to go out and compete every down, it’s as simple as that,” Prock said. “When you start looking at what team is ranked where, it can become a distraction. You still have to go out and face the same competition either way. We are just going to compete hard and let everybody else do the math on all of that, we just want to win out.”

SPORTS >>Panthers' hopes still alive

Leader sports editor

Cabot is coming off a tough loss last week that saw the offense put up its worst output of the season. All appearances suggest they are getting a break after three straight weeks against conference unbeatens, but Cabot coach Mike Malham and the Panthers aren’t looking at this Friday’s trip to Pine Bluff in that way.

The Zebras are 1-7 overall and 1-4 in conference play, but have shown signs of being a dangerous team. Malham says they still have the same kind of athletes that have made them one of the most storied programs in the state. Things just haven’t gone well for them. “They’re 1-7 but they don’t look like they should be,” Malham said. “They’ve got everything. They’ve got all the ingredients, they just hadn’t put everything together for some reason.”

Malham points to their dominating win over Little Rock Catholic as evidence that the Zebras are dangerous when they play well. The Zebras beat Catholic 20-12 with a potent ground game. Cabot needed overtime to get past the Rockets in week five. That was also the Panthers’ last win. “They looked good against Catholic when they just ran their wishbone and the I and just pounded it at them,” Malham said. “With our luck they’ll play their best game of the year this week.”

Pine Bluff also had a 14-0 lead against Russellville, and led 14-12 in the fourth quarter before a major collapse allowed the Cyclones to escape with a 34-14 win. “They were doing the same thing to Russellville, but then just mistaked their way to a loss in that one. We can’t count on people making mistakes. You have to prepare for their best.”

Cabot’s offense moved the ball at times during its 7-0 loss to Bryant, despite only picking up 140 total yards. Lack of offensive firepower had more to do with eight offensive penalties than with an inability to move the ball. “I think that was the worst we’ve looked on offense in a long, long time,” Malham said. “I don’t think we had the ball one time that we didn’t get a penalty. You just can’t play like that. We’ve got six guys that were starters for us at the start of the year that aren’t playing now because of injury. So we’re shuffling people around, playing a lot of sophomores and playing people in places they hadn’t played before. It catches up to you sometimes, so I guess it just caught up to us.”

The defense played very well against an offense that had put up a lot of points in recent weeks. Malham hopes he continues to get that kind of effort in the last two weeks. “The defense played pretty good. We gave up some ground in the middle of the field, but we kept them out of the end zone. We just didn’t help ourselves any on offense.”

Cabot still has an outside shot at making the playoffs. The Panthers will need to win out against Pine Bluff and Russellville, and hope that Conway loses out to Russellville and Catholic. Little Rock Central, North Little Rock and Bryant have already secured three of the 7A-Central’s four playoff spots.

EDITORIAL>>Snyder is the choice

No one as far as we know ever accused U. S. Rep. Vic Snyder of holding a wet finger to the winds before he voted or took a stand on a hot issue in a political campaign. No lawmaker in our memory ever cast more votes that seemed calculated to get him defeated. That was true in two terms in the Arkansas Senate and five terms in the U. S. House of Representatives.

Former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers once said that he knew of no politician to whom principle counted more and politics less.
Snyder has sometimes been found voting all alone in the 435-member House against a meaningless proposition that was intended to set up members of his party for defeat. When party leaders told him he would be casting a needlessly dangerous vote, he said it was a stupid position and he would vote no, knowing that it would be used against him in the next election. It was.

That sort of courage and honor is only one reason we support Snyder’s re-election. He is what someone once called “an undemagogue.” We also think he is uncommonly wise and frugal. If a majority of his colleagues voted with him, the United States would not be running a mammoth budget deficit and we would be spending our taxes more wisely and helpfully for the American people.

Snyder’s opponent this year is Andy Mayberry, whose campaign is calculated to take advantage of the happenstance of his name, which is supposed to remind people of the mythical television town of Mayberry. Otherwise, his campaign is known for a few bizarre stands. Here is one: He wants every school to have government-enforced prayer.

The prayer that children heard each day would be the one prescribed by the predominant religion in the neighborhood: Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Mormon, Lutheran, Jewish, whatever. Vic Snyder is the choice in Congressional District Two.

EDITORIAL>>Using kids in attack ads

Politicians always feign shock and disbelief at the depths to which their opponents will sink in their television advertising, but Mike Beebe has a point when he complains that Asa Hutchinson’s latest ads exploit children for political advantage.
The commercials may not produce the advantage that Hutchinson intends. It must be vaguely unsettling to voters to see children spouting mean political slogans about a man they do not know and may never have heard of. Beebe said he had heard from two women who were so offended by the ads that they had changed their minds and were going to vote for him.
Beebe, the Democratic candidate for governor, asked Hutchinson to cancel the advertising campaign, knowing that Hutchinson would not. The Republican candidate said the advertisements were “lighthearted” and “fun” and that, besides, “In the spirit of politics, it’s a tough campaign.”

In a tough campaign, a candidate does what he has to do. Hutchinson is not the first candidate to exploit the appeal of children. Beebe himself often appears with children in his own ads, although he says he’s careful to make them positive. They are not attacking his opponent or even supporting Beebe.

In the Hutchinson ad, the children embrace the cynical view of politics and politicians. One begins, “When I grow up. . .” and then another continues “. . . I want to be a politician.” Other children in succession repeat a series of negative characteristics of politicians, all of which are labels Hutchinson has tried to pin on Beebe: “flip-flopper,” “backslapper,” “tell voters what they want to hear” and “raise taxes whenever I want.”

Then two children repeat in succession “. . . just like Mike Beebe.” Finally, another child laughs. Those are standard lines in political ads and stump speeches, and voters many years ago became urbane in the ways of advertising. They know that “plain citizens” who appear in commercials attacking the character of an opposing politician or endorsing a product are usually actors, often paid for their lines and their feigned sincerity, and not unsolicited critics or admirers.

Hutchinson or any other candidate does not have much credence when he calls an opponent a flip-flopper or a taxer-and-spender, but from the mouths of innocent children we are supposed to expect sincerity if not wisdom. Hutchinson explained that the children’s voices “broke through the clutter” of political advertising.

There is not much honesty in political advertising, and there is no honesty in these ads. What do even the most precocious children know of a state senator’s long record on tax and appropriation votes or the nuances of his stands on the multiple issues of a long campaign? Hutchinson could find few adults knowledgeable enough to make such judgments.

Does Hutchinson’s campaign cross the line in trading on the trust and naïveté of children? We have an idea, a faith, that viewers will decide that in a way that will not help Asa Hutchinson.

OBITUARIES >> 10-25-06


Shelba J. Baker, 70, of Jacksonville went to be with the Lord Oct. 23, in Little Rock. She was born to the late Jesse and Inez Tatum Powell on June 4, 1936 in Almond. She was a dance instructor as a young woman and more recently a member of the Nail Benders and a member of Grannies on the Go, helping to provide lap rugs and wheelchair caddies to nursing home residents.

Survivors include her husband, Joe W. Baker of Jacksonville; her children, James Baker, Sheila Greishiemer and husband Tom-my, David Baker and wife Lisa, all of Memphis, Tenn., and Carol Smith and husband Darryl of Cabot; brother, Roger Powell and wife Carlie of Watson Chapel; sister, Roberta Gill and husband Jeff of Clarksville; and stepfather, R.C. Hughes of Clarksville; 12 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren as well as loving aunts, uncles, cousins and other friends and family.
Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Bill Elliot officiating.

Burial will follow in the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.


Charity Lynn Johnson, 25, passed away Oct. 21, at Jacksonville’s Rebsamen Medical Center. She was preceded in death by her grandfather, Ronald Hasley. She leaves behind a loving husband Jeremy and twin daughters, Ariana and Keeley all of Ward; mother and stepfather, Brenda and Robert Childers of Lonoke; father, Carol Castleberry of North Little Rock; brother, Eric Castleberry of Lonoke; sister, Chastity Castleberry of Little Rock; grandmothers, Elizabeth Hasley of Carlisle and Ova Lee Castleberry of England; a nephew, and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.


Carrie Lee Charlotte Saunders Curry of Jacksonville departed this world, entering Heaven on Oct. 22, at her home. Carrie was born in Dayton, Ohio, to the late William Henry Saunders and Celestine Davis. She confessed Christ at an early age and at-tended Little Rock Air Force Base Chapel. She was a faithful wife, mother and friend. Her youngest brother Frederick Saunders preceded her in death. 

Her life will be remembered and celebrated by her husband of 48 years, Dewitt Curry; her daughters, Barbara J. Quinlan and husband Albert of Carson, Calif., Fanchette C. Vickers and husband Calvin of Jacksonville, Alda P. Stamps and husband Emerson of Topeka, Kan., and Shirley A. Wallace and husband Ozeia of Jonesboro, Ga.; brother, James Saunders and wife Merdis of Phoenix City, Ala.; sister, Ever Saunders of Columbus, Ga.; 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and a host of friends world-wide will cherish her memory. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 26, at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home Chapel with Chaplin Tony Wade officiating. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25.


Mildred Linn Goad, 93, of Benton passed away in Cabot on Oct. 23.

She was born Oct. 29, 1912 in Quitman to the late James Asa Linn and Mary Ida Carter Linn. Mildred was a member of the First Baptist Church of Benton and a homemaker. She lived in Benton for 45 years before moving to Andover Place in Little Rock. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 59 years, Denis Goad; an infant daughter; four brothers; and three sisters. Survivors include her sons, Scott and wife Sharon Goad of Cabot, and Edwin and wife Janice Goad of Houston, Texas; seven grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 26 at Ashby Funeral Home in Benton. Graveside services will be at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at New Rosemont Cemetery with Bro. Curtis Kyle officiating.


Aline Harrell, 86, of Beebe, was released to the Lord on Oct. 22. She was born Sept. 15, 1920, at Beebe, to John Francis and Mary Beth Becton Ervin. Aline spent most of her adult life living and traveling throughout the world as the devoted wife of a career military man. After SMSGT Harrell’s retirement in 1967, she was instrumental in creating the Fred A. Harrell VFW Post 7769 in Beebe.

During the post-retirement years, her labors of love were gardening and serving the VFW Post. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Harrell; her parents; and two brothers, Charles Dewey Ervin and Donald Wayne Ervin. She is survived by one son, Fred Joseph Soncini of Hot Springs; one daughter, Sheila Kemp and husband Larry of Mason, Texas; two grandchildren, Heather Dickinson of Leander, Texas and Joshua Kemp of Austin, Texas; two great-grandchildren, Elijah Dickinson and Shiloh Dickinson; and one sister, Mary Frances Hubbard of Beebe.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the funeral home with the Rev. Joe Hellums presiding. Burial will be in Lebanon Cemetery at McRae, with the active members and non-members of VFW Post 7769 serving as pallbearers.


Lucille VanPelt, 82, of Beebe, died Oct. 21. She was a housewife and a member of Beebe Church of Christ. She is survived by one brother, Denzle and wife Ada Mathis of Beebe, and several nieces and nephews. Funeral services were held Oct. 23 at Westbrook Funeral Home. Burial was in Beebe Cemetery.


Tommy Shores, 72, of Austin, passed away Oct. 21. He was born July 17, 1934 at Stuttgart, a son of Velma and William Shores. He was a Baptist. Tommy retired from CenturyTel after more than 41 years. He spent two years in the Army.
He is survived by his wife, Betty Shores of Ward; three children, Donna and husband Gary Eirhart of Laughlin, Nev., Thomas Shores of Memphis, Tenn., and Scott Shores of Griffithville; three grandchildren, Britteny Eirhart of Laughlin, Nev., Magen and Devon Shores, both of Cabot; three brothers; several nieces, nephews and a host of friends and extended family.
Tommy was a very casual and loving man.

Funeral services were held Oct. 24 at Westbrook Funeral Home with burial in Memorial Gardens at Beebe.


Martha Jane Pappalardo, 68, of Jacksonville (formerly of New Platz, N.Y.) died Oct. 21. She was born in Pleasant Valley, N.Y. on Sept. 7, 1938.  She was preceded in death by her mother, Catherine Lewis; step-father, Thomas Lewis, and father, Walter Hay. She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Carmelo Pappalardo; her sons, Sal Pappalardo and his wife, Janeice of Jacksonville and Carl and Patrick Pappalardo and his wife Christina of New York; her grandchildren, Brian, Ariana, Carina, Patrick and Leslie; her sisters, Shirley Pierce and Lydia Zeleznik; brothers, Joseph Lewis, John Hay, Tommy Lewis and Christopher Lewis, and many nieces and nephews. 

Martha became a born again Christian in 1999 and was an active church member. She leaves behind many who loved her and will miss her deeply. Funeral services were held Oct. 24 at Bayou Meto Baptist Church with Rev. Jim Edwards officiating.  Burial was in Sumner Cemetery.  Memorials may be made to Heifer International and The Gideons International.
Funeral arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Helen May Bryant, age 75, of Ward passed away Oct. 21. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend to all who knew her. She was born and raised in Arizona. She was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Margaret Hanes and sister Betty Redfearn. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, V. Eldon Bryant; one daughter Vel’ Donna R. Troup of Ward; two sons, Jimmie E. Bryant of Jacksonville and John W. Bryant of England; three brothers, Oris Hanes, George Hanes and William Hanes, all of Arizona; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Burial will be in Prescott, Ariz. at a later date. Donations may be made in her name to St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital or the American Cancer Society. Arrangements are by Westbrook Funeral Home.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Eyewitness to uprising in Hungary

I’m going to write this week about an eyewitness to the Hungarian revolution — me.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the uprising, although there’s not much celebrating in Hungary,
where people died for freedom, because violent demonstrations are taking place against the government.
But the uprising on Oct. 23, 1956, although it was crushed a couple of weeks later with Soviet tanks, eventually
helped destroy the communist empire.

Hundreds of thousands of people who were trapped inside the Soviet empire rose up against communism,
but receiving no help from the West, they had no chance of winning as Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary with
some 30,000 Red Army soldiers. The U.S. stood by and allowed the Kremlin to reassert its control over
the captive nations in eastern Europe. Talk about another intelligence failure. If the U.S. had sent CIA agents
into Hungary, they would have known that Hungarians overwhelmingly opposed the foreign occupiers,
who would have retreated behind their borders with a little shove from the U.S.

But America had no idea of what was going on in Hungary — the U.S. had just one Hungarian-speaking
agent in place during the revolution. America decided to do nothing even after the Kremlin’s puppets were on the run and a coalition government made up of Hungarian patriots gained control in much of the country. But outgunned and crushed, some 200,000 Hungarians fled abroad, most of them to the U.S., where they became productive citizens and founded companies like Intel and other enterprises, some even in Arkansas.

After my family fled across the border into neutral Austria and arrived in America, I found out that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles didn’t think the U.S. could risk a showdown with the Kremlin in an area that was under its sphere of influence after the Yalta Agreement at the end of the Second World War. Sure, Radio Free Europe promised help was on the way during the fighting, but the U.S., distracted by the Suez crisis and wary of confronting the Soviets, stood by as Budapest burned.
A couple of C-130s landing in the capital city with a dozen jeeps and 100 airmen and some U.S. flags and a few rifles would have kept the Soviets out. They wouldn’t have risked a nuclear war over Hungary, but the U.S. gave the Kremlin the green light in eastern Europe, putting off communism’s demise by some 30 years.

I was just a child, but the Soviets didn’t seem that tough to me. Perhaps that’s why I still have a kid’s view of the fighting: Maybe it’s childish of me to believe that the U.S. could have helped bring democracy to eastern Europe three decades sooner.
The U.S. would have been welcomed as liberators, but maybe that’s just a kid talking 50 years after the fact.

I watched those Soviet tanks rumble into our town, but seeing a picture of a puny Soviet-era tank on display in Budapest this week (and hijacked by some crazed demonstrators), you wonder if the Kremlin would have had the stomach for a fight if the U.S. had dropped just a few weapons into Hungary. The Red Army had seen better days, having defeated the Nazis a decade earlier, but its soldiers weren’t eager to fight ordinary citizens wanting their independence.

(Decades later, the Russians lost badly in Afghanistan against the mujahadeen, whom we armed with shoulder-mounted rockets, which, much to our regret, they later turned on us when they evolved into al-Qaeda, but that’s a history lesson for another day.) I keep coming back to our intelligence failures. We do not have the experts who know what’s going on in trouble spots around the world — or if those experts do exist, they’re often ignored.

Just as we knew little about revolutionary Hungary — even though there had been popular uprisings earlier in East Germany and Poland, where thousands of people were also willing to die for freedom — our government’s position was that we couldn’t help them, even though they looked to America for leadership. Because of an absence of human intelligence on the ground, we often stay out of conflicts that cry out for our support, yet we get bogged down in wars that are hardly worth fighting.

TOP STORY >>White County voters go to Searcy

Leader staff writer

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe and his wife Ginger were among more than 280 voters who cast
electronic ballots during early voting Monday at the White County Courthouse at Searcy.
The couple left the campaign trail Tuesday after a death in the family. A Searcy resident, Beebe is facing off
against Republican Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary for the Department of Homeland Security during the general
election Tuesday, Nov. 7. Early voting continues for White County residents from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday until Monday, Nov. 6, when early voting stops at 5 p.m. and is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 4.


There is a three-way battle for county judge between independent candidate Dennis Gillam, Democrat Waylon Heathscott
and Republican Michael Lincoln. Republican Ricky Shourd and independent candidate Edward Thronton are
in a three-way race with incumbent White County Sheriff Pat Garrett, a Democrat. The only other contested county race is
for tax assessor between incumbent Debra Akers Lang-D and her Republican challenger Shane Sellers. Incumbents running
unopposed are Circuit Clerk Tami King, County Clerk Tanya Burleson, County Treasurer Janet Hibbitts and Coroner
David Powell — all Republicans along with Democrat Sue Liles for collector


In contested races for White County Quorum Court are Horace Taylor-D and Jerry Sites-R for District 1; incumbent
Terry Adams-D and challenger Billy Young-R for District 4; incumbent Johney Young-R for District 4; incumbent Johney Gibson-D and challenger Danny Thomas-R for District 6, and incumbent Mike Cleveland-R and Jimmy Dale Smith, an independent for District 9. In uncontested races are Larry Fisher-R, District 2; Cameron Cooper-R, District 3; Jimmy L. House-D, District 5; Kenneth Horton-D, District 7; Layne “Boss” Vaughn-D, District 8; Bobby Quattlebaum-R, District 10; Ed Land-R, District 11; George “Bud” Osborne-D, District 12 and Bill Pierce-R, District 13.


As in most city elections, Beebe’s are nonpartisan.
Mike Robertson is running un-opposed for mayor, replacing Donald Ward. Carol Crump-Westergren and Estela Gomez are competing for city clerk/ treasurer and three are running for the Ward 3, Position 1 alderman spot on the city council. The candidates are John D. Johnson, Hermon Black-mon and Garland Kirkpatrick.

Uncontested races for Beebe include Harold Welch, Ward 1, Position 1; Janice Petray, Ward 1, Positon 2; Becky Short, Ward 2, Position 1; Tracy Lightfoot, Ward 2, Position 1, and Les Cossey, Ward 3, Position2.


In McRae voters will choose between incumbent mayor Robert “Bob” Sullivan or David Newman. The only contested race for McRae city council is between independents Cecil “Mack” Davis and Shirley Cox for the Ward 1, Position 2 seat. Twyla Turner for Ward 1, Position 2; Lela Strange for Ward 2, Position 1 and Bobby Crisco for Ward 2, Position 2 are running unopposed.


In Searcy, there is a three-way race for mayor between incumbent Belinda LaForce-D, former alderman Dale Brewer-R and Phillip R. Williams, an independent candidate. Incumbent City Clerk and Treasurer Tommy Gowen-D, and incumbent City Attorney Buck C. Gibson-D, are running uncontested. There are races for three seats on the Searcy City Council.
JoAnn Ramsey-D, and Mike Chalenburg-R, are vying for the Ward 4, Position 2, alderman seat.

Ward 3, Position 1, incumbent Dale English-D, is facing off against challenger Cindy Erwin-Barker-R, and incumbent Jackie Liles-R, is running against Dale Ellis-D. Uncontested alderman races include Carl Nutter-R, Ward 1, Position 1; Mary Ann Arnett-R, Ward 1, Position 2; Jim Dixon-R, Ward 2, Position, Kyle Reeves-R, Ward 2, Position 2, and Mark Derrick-R, Ward 4, Position 1.