Saturday, November 25, 2006

SPORTS >>Football season in the books

IN SHORT: The 2006 high-school football notebook contains a few things noteworthy at the end of the season.

Leader sports editor

Football season has come and gone for most teams around the state. It hasn’t been quite as wacky of a year as most recent ones have been. There were no games completely blown by officials, no coaches completely losing their heads, no players getting completely out of control, at least not in The Leader coverage area. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some notable events over the course of the year. Here’s a look back.


It’s too bad there’s no equivalent of the Broyles Award, the esteemed honor named after Frank Broyles that’s given to the nation’s top college assistant coach, in high school. If there were, Jacksonville’s Rick Russell would certainly have been up for a few by now. Since there’s not, he should at least receive some recognition from the area newspaper.

There’s no doubt that his defenses have been blessed with some talent in recent years, but not loads and loads of it, and he always had to share what he had with the offense, something not every coach at the 6A level has to do.

One thing his defenses have all had in common over the past few seasons has been grit, this one especially. His players believe him when he tells them something, and that’s because they believe in him, and that’s a sign of a good coach.

This year, his defense came up with so many big plays it was easy to lose count. The spread offense can, and indeed did at times this season, look like a thing of beauty. However, when it’s not working properly, it can, and did, leave the defense in a bit of a mess.

Many plays, by design, don’t even begin moving forward until already several yards behind the line of scrimmage. Incomplete passes also don’t take much time off the clock, which increases the number of opportunities for the opponent to score. Those things can take its toll, and that toll can get pretty ugly against less than stellar defenses. Fortunately Jacksonville had a stellar defense this year.

Russell, if patted on the back for his efforts, would instantly throw the credit toward his players, and they certainly deserve the lion’s share. But when it’s the same year in and year out while players, head coaches and assistants are coming and going, you have to look at what’s constant. What’s been constant with Jacksonville’s defenses is Rick Russell.

Cabot had a great season. It sounds strange to say a 6-4 season at Cabot is great, but it is. The incredible run of talent that the Panthers enjoyed in the late 90s may be starting to come off the ebb and back into a flow.

This year’s team was not very talented, and that’s not meant as a slight. This team had guts, senior leadership and determination, which are things that were sorely lacking from the team of a year ago. There was the same unbelievable string of injuries that plagued the team last year, and even more sophomores had to play this year than last.

There was only a true fullback, something practically imperative for Cabot’s dead T offense, for half the year, yet the team still managed to win five more games than last year and enjoy a winning season.

One bad game cost a playoff berth, but things are looking up. The team will be very light on seniors next year, but the talent in the current sophomore and freshmen classes could mean that Panther football is on its way back to championship-level competitiveness.

That is if those classes can be as tough and willing to work for it as this senior class was.

Although there weren’t any games in which bad officiating had much of an impact on the outcome of a game, there was one guffaw that should never happen.

During the Jacksonville Red Devils’ loss to Jonesboro in week five, the Red Devils lost 10 yards at the change of a quarter.The Red Devils got a first down at their own 29-yard line on the last play of the third quarter.

For some reason, the officials spotted the ball on the 19 at the opposite end to start the fourth. A lengthy delay ensued when the Jacksonville coaches animatedly pointed out the error.

The officials conferred with each other, but never checked with the scoreboard or clock operator. They somehow decided they were correct with the original spot.

Jacksonville lost that game because, for the only time all season, they didn’t stay united. And if that’s the worst call of the season, the officiating improved dramatically compared to recent years.

Lonoke versus Marianna didn’t turn out the way we would have liked, but what an exciting high-school football game that was.

Keep plugging Falcons. You went .500 in junior varsity games. It may sound like a string of clichés, but success is around the corner if you keep working, stay together and stay positive. You already have the ability.

SPORTS >>Cabot ladies get scare from improved ’Rabs

IN SHORT: Panther boys dominated Lonoke while Lady Panthers escape their rematch with a one-point victory.

Leader staff writer

Cabot swept Lonoke Tuesday night at LHS in two very different types of games. The Lady Panthers needed a pair of free throws from Maddie Helms with less than 10 seconds left in the game to overtake a much-improved Lady Jackrabbit team 46-45. The Panthers proved dominant over the ‘Rabbits during the opening minutes of their 57-39 win.

Panther sophomores Austin Johnson and Adam Sterrenberg caused a runaway early in the boys contest. The young duo combined for 25 first half points, accounting for all but nine points of Cabot’s totals in the first two frames.

The Jackrabbits rallied before the end of the contest, but the deficit was much too large to overcome.

Sterrenberg started things off for the Panthers with a basket and foul shot to give Cabot a 3-0 lead, but Clarence Harris answered that with a three-point shot at the 4:08 mark of the first quarter to tie the score at 3-3. From that point on, however, it was all Cabot. The Panthers rolled off 13 straight points in the remaining four minutes of the period, and then outscored their cross-county rival 18-7 in the next frame to take a 34-11 lead at the half.

Johnson and Sterrenberg were not timid when it came to driving to the hoop. Sterrenberg hit a three pointer in the middle of the first, followed by a strong drive inside around Lonoke defenders Sammy Coleman and Kylon Boyd on the next drive for two off the glass. Johnson did the majority of his damage in the second frame, scoring seven of his nine first-half points on a three pointer and two shots in the paint.

Senior post Alex Sharpe also held things down inside during the first half. Sharpe came away with six points in the first 16 minutes, but more importantly controlled the boards, allowing very few second or third shot opportunities from Lonoke.
The ‘Rabbits got plenty of looks in the game, but had a number of close shots roll off the rim and into the waiting hands of 6’8” Sharpe.

Bradley Spencer came alive for Lonoke in the third quarter. An eight-point performance for Spencer in the third wasn’t enough to pull any closer to the Panthers, but did push the ‘Rabbits’ totals into a more respectable figure.

Cabot still controlled the game 50-36 with 3:13 left in the game, and the remainder was completed with mostly subs on the court for both teams.

Sterrenberg led all scorers with 22 points. Johnson added 13 points for Cabot and Sharp finished with 10. For Lonoke, Spencer had 12 points.

Experience and senior leadership was the difference in the Cabot ladies’ win. After Cabot’s annihilation of Lonoke a week earlier in the final round of the RAPA tournament, most people expected little from the rematch between the two on Tuesday. The Lady ‘Rabbits changed all of that rather quickly, however, proving in the early going that the turnover-riddled team of a week earlier was nowhere to be seen.

The Lady Panthers rolled out to an early 11-5 advantage. A three from Helms put the Lady Panthers up by seven with 2:16 left in the first half, but Lonoke senior Calisha Kirk answered back for the Lady ’Rabbits.

Kirk began to control things inside, putting up four points in the final minute of the opening frame. Kirk also came down with some key defensive rebounds that allowed the Lady Jackrabbits to pull even closer in the second quarter.

Kirk hit three inside shots in the opening minutes of the second frame, along with a jumper from teammate Kristy Shinn to pull to within one, 19-18. A pair of free throws from Jamie Sterrenberg put Cabot’s lead back up to three, but Shinn erased that with a three pointer with 3:21 left in the half to tie the game at 21 all.

The two teams traded shots from there on, ending with a steal and fast-break layup from Kirk to give the Lady ‘Rabbits a 27-26 lead at the half.

Both squads maintained momentum in the second half. Lonoke pulled ahead by as much as six, but the Lady Panthers rallied on the shoulders of junior Lauren Walker. Walker had played a bit rowdy in the first half, committing unnecessary fouls and taking forced shots. Her demeanor was much more controlled in the second half, as she rolled off six points in the final four minutes of the third to pull the Lady Panthers back to within two points, 37-35 heading into the final quarter.

The final period was a good old- fashioned shootout. Rachel Glover grabbed the lead for Cabot to start the quarter with a basket and foul. She hit the free throw afterward to put the Lady Panthers up 38-37, followed by two more from Walker to put Cabot up by three. Jenny Evans and Kirk answered inside for Lonoke with a pair of baskets, but Walker stayed hot for Cabot with another shot to put the Lady Panthers up 44-41.

Kirk hit from the inside once again for the Lady ‘Rabbits with 2:06 left in the game. Both teams then had steals, neither of which were converted. Walker’s magic touch finally ran out with less than a minute left in the game, and Lauren Harper grabbed the rebound for the Lady ‘Rabbits.

Glover fouled Asiah Scribner, setting up an inbounds for Lonoke with 33 seconds remaining. The Lady ‘Rabbits struggled to get the ball across mid-court, but once across, Scribner found Kirk wide open under the basket for two with only 13 seconds remaining.

The Lady Panthers put the ball in the hands of their most experienced player, and the move paid off. Helms drove to the basket with only 2.8 seconds left on the clock. She missed the shot, but drew the foul from Michaela Brown. Helms was all focus on the foul shots, despite all the noise from the Lonoke bleachers. With one needed to tie and two needed to win, the Wofford College signee swished both ends, setting the final margin and securing the close win for the Lady Panthers.

Walker led Cabot with 12 points. Kirk led all scorers for Lonoke with 18 points. The win improved the Lady Panthers’ season record to 4-1.

SPORTS >>Academy surges late, eliminates Lafayette

IN SHORT: Harding Academy blew open a close game in the third quarter to defeat Lafayette County and advance to the semifinals of the Class 3A state playoffs. They will travel to Shiloh Christian next Friday.

Leader sports writer

Harding Academy was very thankful for the five Lafayette County interceptions during the Wildcats’ 45-29 win over the Cougars Friday night at First Security Stadium in Searcy. HA took three picks from Lafayette QB Stevie Johnson into the Cougars’ red zone in the first half that were converted into scores, and turned two more interceptions into TDs in the third quarter to turn the game into an official blowout.

The Cougars padded the score in the final two minutes with some sensational running from sophomore running back Keelan Christopher. Christopher broke a 65-yard run with 2:51 left in the game to make the score 45-21, then struck again on a 40-yard run after LC recovered an on-sides kick. The 40-yarder set up another touchdown off a seven-yard run from Brendon Fort. The Cougars converted both of the late two-point conversion attempts, setting the final margin at 45-29.

“They really have a lot of good athletes and good speed,” Harding Academy coach Tommy Shoemaker said. “It took us a while to adjust to their speed. They obviously have a big playmaker there in their wide receiver; he kind of kept them in it offensively. Offensively, I thought we played much better in the second half. I really didn’t think we played as well as we could in the first half.”

Shoemaker was happy with the strong performance of the defensive secondary for HA.
“Our defense played great,” Shoemaker said. “The defensive coaches came out with a good plan. Their quarterback threw some passes he probably wishes he could have back.”

The Cougars struck first in the game at the six-minute mark of the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Scott Hurd on fourth and eight. The extra-point was unsuccessful, making the score 6-0.

Harding Academy punted on its next possession, but got its first of three first half interceptions on LC’s ensuing drive. Matt Lincoln pulled down Johnson’s pass at the HA 39-yard line and returned it all the way to the Cougars’ 18-yard line.

The Wildcats did not benefit from the gift. QB Luke Tribble threw his only interception of the night on third and 10. Ricky Hughey pulled down the pass for LC, but it gave them very poor field position at the 4-yard line.

The Cougars went three and out and punted, giving HA great field position at the Lafayette 31-yard line. After a pair of short runs from tailback J.T. Fisher, Tribble connected with Chris Pack on the left side for a 30-yard touchdown pass at the 3:33 mark of the second quarter. The extra point was blocked, and the score remained tied at 6-6.

Although he had a solid night under center, Tribble’s kicking left much to be desired in the game. He missed three of his six PATs, and failed to convert a two-point conversion on HA’s last score of the first half. He did manage to connect on three extra-point attempts in the last 24 minutes, but one came after an offsides penalty on Lafayette County negated a miss and gave him another chance.

The next Wildcats’ score came off a Tribble interception that was returned to the LC 12-yard line. A screen to Brad London from eight yards out gave them the TD with 48 seconds left in the half, but amazingly, there were still two scores left to be played out.

One of those came just 18 seconds later when Adam Skarda pulled down an interception on the Cougars’ first-down play. Tribble hit Fisher for a 36-yard touchdown pass to make the score 18-6.

Lafayette County only had time for two plays after the kickoff, but that was all that was needed. Johnson hit Hughey on a 40-yard pass on the first play, and then threw up a hail-Mary pass that was brought down by Zach Brown after Tribble, Pack and Chase Ransom all tried to knock it away. Brown came down with the ball as time expired in the half, making the score 18-13 at the intermission.

Harding Academy decided to put the game away early in the second half.
The Wildcats took their opening possession 80 yards in 12 plays, capped off by a 14-yard run from Fisher for the score with 7:49 left in the third quarter.

Lafayette drove on its first drive of the second half, but the Wildcat defense stepped up, forcing four straight incompletions from the Cougars to take over at their own 27-yard line.

HA struck again with 29-yard pass from Tribble to Lincoln with 3:35 left in the third. Skarda then got his second interception of the game on the next Lafayette drive that was converted with a Tribble pass to London for the TD at the 2:17 mark of the third quarter. Tribble’s extra-point attempt would once again fall short, leaving the score at 38-13.

Lincoln pulled down the fifth and final interception on the next drive at the HA 21-yard line. The Wildcats converted nine plays later on a 17-yard run from junior Dee Gibbs.

The Cougars did not have enough time to rally, but Christopher’s 105 yards of rushing in the final three minutes padded the score, and the LC offensive stats.

Tribble had 22 completions on 36 attempts for 289 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. For Lafayette County, Johnson was 14 of 28 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Cougars’ season ended with a final record of 8-5. The win gives Harding Academy a 12-0 record, and puts them in the semifinals against Shiloh Christ-ian next week in Springdale. The Saints were a 35-21 winner over Bauxite Friday night.

SPORTS >>National title hopes gone, SEC still looms

IN SHORT: Arkansas’ dreams of a cinderella national championship season are gone, but they can still win their first conference title by beating Florida in next week’s SEC championship game.

AP Sportswriter

Cross off Arkansas from the dwindling list of national championship contenders. Ja-Marcus Russell threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 9 LSU held off No. 5 Arkansas 31-26 Friday to derail the Razorbacks' slim national title hopes.

Arkansas was No. 6 in the BCS standings this week, but the Razorbacks held out hope that wins over the Tigers (10-2, 6-2) and next week against Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game would help them jump the other contenders and into the national championship game against Ohio State.

Instead, LSU improved its chances of landing a bid to the Bowl Championship Series.

Arkansas pulled within five at 31-26 on Felix Jones' 5-yard touchdown run with 4:53 remaining, and the Razorbacks (10-2, 7-1) got the ball back at their own 27 with 2:04 to play. But Casey Dick threw four straight incompletions, completing a miserable 3-for-17 day in which he passed for only 29 yards.

After the game, LSU's cheering section began chanting "BCS" -- the Tigers are hoping to earn an at-large spot after entering the game 10th in the standings. Arkansas' chances of an at-large bid took a hit, but the Razorbacks can go to the Sugar Bowl if they win the SEC title.

Darren McFadden rushed for 182 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. That made it 24-19, but LSU's Trindon Holliday returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown with 10:14 remaining. That completed a wild stretch of three touchdowns in 45 seconds -- Russell had thrown a 7-yarder to Early Doucet immediately before McFadden's run.

Dick was 0-for-8 in the second half. He was intercepted early in the fourth quarter by LaRon Landry, who returned it 23 yards to the Arkansas 9, setting up Doucet's touchdown.

Arkansas had won 10 straight since a 50-14 loss to Southern California, and the Razorbacks appeared unstoppable early, driving 80 yards in 2:30 and taking a 6-0 lead on McFadden's 1-yard run. Arkansas was the first team this season to score on its first drive against LSU.

But Jeremy Davis missed the extra point, and the Tigers went ahead later in the quarter on Keiland Williams' 29-yard scoring run. LSU never relinquished its lead.

The Tigers made it 14-6 in the second when Russell threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Craig Davis on third-and-13.
Arkansas answered with Dick's 21-yard scoring pass to Marcus Monk, but Dick's pass for a 2-point conversion was incomplete -- and he didn't complete another.

LSU has won the Golden Boot – a trophy shaped like a map of Louisiana and Arkansas -- four straight seasons. The Tigers played four road games this year -- all were against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time. They lost at Auburn and Florida before winning at Tennessee and Arkansas.

The Razorbacks fell to 20-2 at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium under coach Houston Nutt -- the other loss was in 2004 to LSU.

Jones ran for 137 yards, and he and McFadden became the first players to rush for 100 yards against LSU this year. He now has 1,485 yards rushing on the season. He broke Madre Hill's single-season school record of 1,387 in 1995.

SPORTS >>Falcons top Oak Grove

IN SHORT: The Falcons started the season 1-0 after a big win over Oak Grove Tuesday night while the Lady Falcons got their first win in four tries so far.

Leader sports editor

North Pulaski didn’t take nearly as long to get its first win this year as last year, although it did come against the same team. North Pulaski overwhelmed the Hornets with waves of bodies in pulling away for a 74-49 victory to the delight of the crowd, team and head coach.

“For an opening night it wasn’t bad,” NP coach Raymond Cooper said. “There were a few times when we didn’t get back on defense, but that wasn’t lack of hustle. I expected more breakdowns, but for the most part they played pretty solid.”

The Falcons were 20 games into the season last year before they got their first win, a home game against Oak Grove.

This year the realignment took the Hornets out of NP’s conference, and the two scheduled each other early on. It was Oak Grove’s second game and the Hornets were co-ming off a 33-point win at Dover a week earlier. But the Falcons jumped ahead by double digits early and never looked back. All 13 Falcons on the bench played in the first quarter, and all but two scored in the game.

Kelvin Parker and Ridge Williams, both of whom came off the bench, provided a scoring lift for North Pulaski in the first quarter when the starters struggled from the floor. Parker hit a three within seconds of entering the game, and Williams became a force on the offensive boards, getting two stic-kbacks that turned a two-point margin into a nine-point Falcon lead in the opening frame.

That lead doubled by halftime when reserves Aaron Cooper and Cliff Harrison began warming up from the floor. Only one starter scored for the Falcons in the second quarter, and five of the eight that scored in the first half were reserves.
Conversely, only three Oak Grove players scored at all in the first half. Point guard Jay Patterson, and post players Patrick Pryor and Marcus Perkins were carrying all the scoring load for the out-manned visitors.

NP led 39-21 at halftime, and had its worst quarter of the game in the third. The lead didn’t go away, but it didn’t grow in the third. Jay Patterson and sophomore Jaloni Patterson began to dribble the Falcon press, and Oak Grove beat the Falcons down the court after missed shots to answer with a couple of easy buckets.

Cooper wasn’t happy that his team was beat down the floor, but was not upset with his team’s effort in the third.

“They didn’t get beat because of a lack of hustle, it was just a breakdown of execution,” Cooper said. “Everybody got too busy trying to find their man, which is what I told them to do, but they forgot to stop the ball. That’s the kind of thing you expect in a first game. The fact that it only happened a couple of times is good. We’ll get that corrected.”

The Falcons maintained their lead by the scoring prowess of senior Quinn Cooper, who led the team in scoring last season. Cooper scored nine of NP’s 13 points in the third to keep the margin 18 points at 52-34 at the end of three.

The Falcons pulled away in the fourth despite reaching the bonus in fouls. NP got hot from outside and Oak Grove hit just two of seven foul shots in the fourth quarter.

NP had hit just two of nine three-point attempts in the first three quarters, but nailed four of five in the fourth. Quinn Cooper, Tony Glass, Aaron Cooper and Stanley Appleby all hit three pointers in the final frame.

Sophomore post Carlos Donley also got in on the offense, hitting two buckets off set plays from inside the lane.
Oak Grove’s Perkins led all scorers with 19 points. He was the only Hornet in double figures.

Quinn Cooper led the Falcons with 18 points. Donley and Williams scored 10 each. Harrison added eight while Aaron Cooper and Parker scored seven apiece for the well-balanced Falcons.

The Lady Falcons cruised to an easy win for their first victory of the season. The NP ladies hammered Oak Grove 47-15.
The Lady Falcon defense didn’t give up a field goal in the first quarter and led 12-1 heading into the second. Leticia Harvey, who scored Oak Grove’s single point in the first period, scored six more in the second and finished with seven of her team’s nine points in the first half. The Lady Falcons led 24-9 at the break, but blew the game open in the third when Harvey went down with an injury early on.

She returned with about two minutes left in the game, but as the team’s only real ball handler, who absence, along with a frenzied and active NP defense, led to 12 third-quarter Hornet turnovers and a 28-point Lady Falcon lead.

“We improved all three games last week even though we didn’t win,” North Pulaski coach Todd Romaine said. “I was hoping that we would continue to improve at the same rate that we did last week and I think they did that. The pressure was good.”
NP Lakreshia Cash also stepped on the gas offensively, scoring on three straight possessions, grabbing five rebounds, picking up two steals and dishing out an assist in the third quarter.

Cash led the team in scoring and rebounding with 13 points and 12 boards, but Romaine gave some of that credit to post player Tamara Rhodes.“She rebounded very well and played aggressively like I asked her too,” Romaine said. “When she plays well, we tend to play better. She cleared out a lot of space for Keisha and the others to get in there for some of those rebounds.”

Rhodes finished with eight points and 11 boards.
Brea Johnson added eight points and had four steals and three assists.

The Lady Falcons had a huge rebounds advantage, doubling up Oak Grove’s total with 36. The defense also forced 39 Lady Hornet turnovers.

The Falcons and Lady Falcons play at rival Jacksonville on Tuesday.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Robert Junior Lockwood, RIP

Robert Junior Lockwood, the last of the great Arkansas Delta bluesmen, died this week in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 91 after suffering a stroke earlier this month.

He was the last link to pre-war Arkansas blues. He started playing in the 1930s, after learning from perhaps the greatest Delta musician of all time: Robert Johnson, who was dating Lockwood’s mother in Helena.

Lockwood was a great pupil — the student may have surpassed the master as a guitar player.

Back then, Helena was a wide-open town, as they say, and Lockwood never lacked work: He’d play in clubs and on streetcorners in Arkansas and neighboring states, then head to St. Louis and Chicago, back to Memphis and Arkansas again, before finally settling in Cleveland, where he worked a weekly gig until a few weeks before he died.

He played every year at the Helena blues festival since it started in 1986. He’d sit on the right side of the outdoor stage while his band played in the middle and on the left. Lockwood hardly ever said anything. He was all business: He played his guitar like a jazz musician, and if you stood right in front of the stage, as I did over the years, you noticed the dexterity of his fingers: Lockwood was a great guitarist, perhaps the best in the country, according to his bassist, who played with him for 30 years.

The only time I saw Lockwood smile, sort of, was when we ran into him at the Delta Heritage Center in Helena last year, and I told him he was a better guitar player than the late, great Wes Montgomery. Lockwood was 90 then, and he paused and cracked a little smile and said he knew he was better than Montgomery.
“I have more degrees than he does,” Lockwood said.

He must have meant honorary degrees, because he probably didn’t get much schooling in Turkey Scratch (near Marvell in Phillips County), where he was born in 1915. His mother later moved to Helena, where she met Robert Johnson, who not only taught young Lockwood, but they played occasionally together in the Delta.

(Like many bluesmen, Lockwood and Johnson were both part Indian, and so is Honeyboy Edwards, also 91, who’s still performing.)

Lockwood appeared on two blues programs on KFFA in Helena in the 1940s (King Biscuit and Mother’s Best Flour were the sponsors) and later on KXLR in Little Rock.

Pinetop Perkins, another nonagenarian, is the only other surviving musician from those KFFA days, although disc jockey Sunshine Sonny Payne, who joined the station later, is still on the air and appears at the blues festival, along with Pinetop.
We’d catch them just about every year down in Helena. Lockwood and his band played at the same time every year — late in the afternoon — although musicians say the guitar sounds better outdoors after sundown. But Lockwood sounded good anytime.

He looked frail last month, but he sang the most moving song we’d heard at the festival since we started attending: Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain.” (The second-best performance: Otis Rush a couple of years ago before his stroke.)
Lockwood sang “Love in Vain” as if he knew this would be his last appearance in Helena. It’s a mournful song, popularized by Eric Clapton, but Lockwood learned it from the master, and he must have thought of him and his mother, too, when he sang it for the last time in Helena:

And I followed her to the station with a suitcase in my hand.
Well, it’s hard to tell, it’s hard to tell when all your love’s in vain.
All my love’s in vain.
When the train rolled into the station and I looked her in the eyes.
Well, I was lonesome. I felt so lonesome and I could not help but cry.
All my love’s in vain.
When the train left the station with two lights on behind.
Well, the blue light was my blues and the red light was my mind.
All my love’s in vain.

You can hear “Love in Vain” on Lockwood’s “Delta Crossroads” CD from Telarc.

Although he recorded in the 1940s and 1950s, he did not do an LP as a leader until 1970, when he was in his mid-50s: “Steady Rollin’ Man” from Delmark is 40 minutes of perfection.

He made several more records in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, including “Live in Japan” with the Myers brothers on Delmark, the “Complete Trix Recordings” and “I Got to Find Me a Woman” on Verve, but for someone who performed for 70 years, his output wasn’t huge.

Part of the reason may have been Lockwood’s stubbornness: He would not play with second-rate musicians, and he was tired of being ripped off by record companies.

He influenced generations of younger musicians, including B.B. King and people you probably never heard of (such as his bassist Gene Schwartz and his brother, Glenn, whom Lockwood considered the best white guitar player in America).
Robert Lockwood lived a full life. He traveled the world, not bad for a fellow from Turkey Scratch.

His music lives on, not just on his records, because there’s still plenty of genuine blues played all over the country.
If you’re hankering for some blues tonight, head for Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Miss., where you can catch the great Big Jack Johnson.

Tell him to play one in Robert Lockwood’s memory. He probably will.

EDITORIALS>>Strengthen ethics law

Did the big developers out west corrupt the central Arkansas water supply and we missed it? How else to account for still another grabby public official and another agency with lax ethical impulses? It seems epidemic.

Now it is the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, the quasi-government and tax-supported arm of the capital city that promotes tourism and convention business. When Barry Travis, the estimable director for some years, retired in February, the bureau gave him a 2005 Chevrolet Malibu, which cost $25,500.

It was more complicated but only slightly more defensible than that. First, the car was bought without the benefit of bids before he retired. Travis traded in his old government-supplied car for a $1,500 credit, and title to the new car was transferred to him.

Before he retired and took possession of the new car, the city made $9,000 in payments on it. The balance owed, $15,783, was paid off by private donors, which included outfits that had done business with his agency.

Anyone see anything wrong with that? Last week, after it all came to light, Travis thought the $1,500 credit did not quite look right so he wrote the city a check for that sum. The city manager had already detected a problem and sent word that it should be repaid.

But that was only the most patent lapse. The donations from appreciative benefactors of city business? No one thought anything about it, just as Gov. Huckabee never saw problems with big gifts from companies that got state government business or from people whom he favored with appointments to boards and commissions or think twice about setting up a wedding gift registry at two retailers so that friends could reward him and his wife for their faithful service by accessorizing their new private home.

Travis by all accounts was a good manager. But don’t we expect that of every employee, down to the lowest file clerk?
Once more: We need a strong ethics law in Arkansas.

EDITORIALS>>Big chance for Berry

His party will run both houses of Congress in January and Rep. Marion Berry’s big issue — prescription drugs — also is at the top of the Democratic agenda. Berry aroused great expectations in the election because he has often been the party’s point man on health issues. We will see his mettle now.

Berry was a vociferous critic of Medicare Part D, the prescription-drug program passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Bush. It was a badly flawed program, enacted by a Congress and a president who really did not believe in it. Part D’s purpose was to remove a Democratic issue that Americans overwhelmingly embraced. The first step, one that Berry has hammered for four years, is to change the law to permit the federal government to negotiate prices of widely used drugs. Though they sang hymns to competition, the Republicans cavil when it really means something. The pharmaceutical companies did not want to bid on drug sales to Medicare beneficiaries.

Berry lost that fight when the pharmaceutical and insurance companies sat down with the majority to write the Part D law and regulations. Now he has the advantage and that reform should clear the House of Representatives handily. The test will be in the Senate, where Democrats have the slimmest majority, and with a presidential veto.

But that is not the only or even the principal flaw with the drug program. Inserting a little price competition in the prescription market will reduce the government’s layout on the program and help the aging beneficiaries marginally. For many it would postpone the day when they reach the infamous “doughnut hole,” when they must pick up the full cost of drugs.

It may be that with shaky margin in the Senate and a hostile president only tiny incremental changes can be made. But Americans by a wide margin expect more. Arkansas, particularly Berry’s district, relies more heavily on Medicare for lifesaving medicine than almost any other place in the United States and nothing the Congress is apt to take up will mean more.

The fundamental flaw was to create a program for insurance companies rather than for beneficiaries. To create space for insurance company profits in the government outlay, Congress cut off benefits after each recipient reaches a certain threshold and resumed them when the drug costs reach a catastrophic level. The huge gap in coverage made no medical or rational sense.

The whole program was designed to be so bewildering that the elderly either would not participate or could not make economical choices about the kind of plan that would suit them best. They are at the mercy of the insurers’ clever marketing. Sweeping away the Rube Goldberg eccentricities of the program would help a lot.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, one of the few Democratic senators who voted for the crazyquilt plan, was among 16 senators last week who complained to the Medicare administration about some of the misleading marketing. They can do something about that when they rewrite the law. We hope a broad revision is what Berry and his party have in mind. “Whatever we do, we do want to make it better and not worse,” Berry said this week. “In the end, our goal is that anybody that’s got a Medicare card would be able to go to any pharmacy in the United States and get their prescription at the same price.” We would like to see him amend that ambition to “get all their prescriptions at the same low price.” Then he will meet his constitiuents’ high expectations.

TOP STORY >>Building near critical watershed may get approval

IN SHORT: Development in the most critical area of Lake Maumelle water reservoir seems certain.

Leader staff writer

The future looks murky to Lake Maumelle purists, who only months ago thought the lake was finally safe from upscale developers itching to build mini-mansions in Critical Area A in the region’s most pristine, most important drinking-water reservoir.

The lake was built by CAW predecessor Little Rock Water in the 1950s exclusively as a drinking-water reservoir, and provides at least some of the drinking water to 11 central Arkansas towns and cities, serving about 388,000 customers.

If Central Arkansas Water’s commissioners accept the draft watershed management recommendation on December 14 from Tetra Tech Inc., the consultants hired to formulate a long-range plan, both Deltic Timber and developer Rick Ferguson could build—with limitations—on land near the lake’s drinking-water intake structure, according to Jim Harvey, CAW’s chief executive officer.

“We may not have had enough time to make recommendations by then,” Harvey said.

CAW has condemned the Deltic and Ferguson lands in the critical area, but the courts are determining the price the utility must pay. It could be prohibitive.

“There is going to be some development,” said Harvey Tuesday. “The utility can’t afford to own it all. What we wanted was to own the absolute most critical,” he said, “close to the intake structure, steep, erodable. That’s what we fought for.” Harvey said CAW staff still hadn’t decided what its recommendation to the board would be.

“We still would like to own that part, but the (Tetra Tech) proposal presented to us is the most protective and the best we have seen up to this point.”

Both developers have large holdings in the watershed, with about 700 acres of the Deltic land in Critical Area A and about 300 acres of Ferguson’s land in the zone.

In order to develop parts of Critical Area A, Deltic and Fer-guson must agree to abide by the plan requirements on the 41 percent of all developable land they own in the watershed, not just the Area A land. They must sell or donate conservation easement to the utility.

They must conduct pilot studies of best management practices proving they can be used effectively. Failing that, they must agree to sell the land, already condemned, to the utility at current property values. Adequate administrative, regulatory and enforcement structures must be created.

The recommendations would allow development of homes on 20-acre lots with most of that land left untouched, or, a more dense development pattern of one house on a five-acre lot if certain conditions are successfully met.

Pulaski County Quorum Court member Patricia Dicker, a vocal opponent opposed to any construction in Zone A, says she feels let down by County Judge Buddy Villines and by Metroplan, both of which seem to endorse the Tetra Tech recommendations.

“If I had my way, that entire watershed would be kept in forest. That’s the most protective,” Harvey said. “But the utility can never afford that.”

A Metroplan proposal would pump sewage out of the watershed, Harvey said. “If you never had a failure, that’s the best way. But a big dose of sewage at once in the lake—that’s horrible.”

Metroplan got involved when Ferguson went to Little Rock Mayor Jim Daily for help. Daily, knowing that Metroplan Director Jim McKenzie was already on the technical committee and had a history of helping with large, multi-jurisdictional projects, asked him to consider the situation. Mc-Kenzie said the time was long since past that CAW could have afforded to buy all the land in Critical Area A.

Harvey said nothing in the Metroplan recommendation conflicted with the Tetra Tech proposal. Tetra Tech recommends creation of a new CAW position for an administrator to monitor pilot projects, lake degradation and construction, Harvey said.

Specific water quality standards and management recommendations make up much of the 122-page Tetra Tech proposal.
“The plan says for this to work, if they build in Critical Area A, we have to acquire 1,500 additional acres of developable land off the plan. It could be in zone A,” he said.

Tetra Tech’s long-term management plan recommends or requires direct surface discharges of wastewater, paving of roads and driveways, best management practices during road and home development and a total buildout in the entire watershed of 6,590 houses, leaving about 50,000 acres undisturbed.

It would require a watershed administrator, a Lake Maumelle Stewardship Council and a full-time monitor. Management of undeveloped portions for brush control or other purposes would be done by hand or with tractors and bush hogs, not with heavy equipment like bulldozers that could further compact the soil and increase erosion.

TOP STORY >>Cabot census winds down

IN SHORT: Over 50 percent of residents have been contacted for the city’s special census, which will mean millions more in state funding.

Leader staff writer

Enumerators with Cabot’s special census are fanned out in different areas across the city from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until the early part of Decem-ber, doing their part in helping Cabot get a current population count.

The census began Nov. 2, and with one month needed to collect data, should be finished next month.

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 Metro-plan’s 2005 population estimate of 19,967 residents in Cabot.

“We’re on track,” Sue Bolsik, census office director, said. “It’s going really good, people are being cooperative.”
According to Bolsik, over 50 percent of Cabot residents have been contacted by enumerators, and they are still out knocking on doors. “It gets dark so early now and that makes it a little harder,” Bolsik said.

Once the data have all been collected, it will be sent to census offices in Indiana for processing.

It will take another two or three months for the data to be processed and the results certified, placing the completion of the census sometime in February or March. Once completed, the results will be sent back to Cabot.

The enumerators (census workers), all of which are identified by a badge from the U.S. Census Bureau that includes their name, are asking households a series of questions, 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 census will collect information such as age, gender, relationships within households, race and Hispanic origin, and whether the residents own or rent.

The special census will produce demographic detail for the Cabot population, including new housing and population that came into the area after Census 2000, which put Cabot’s population at 15,261.

Karen Davis, operations director for Cabot, said the city decided to hold a special census to determine its current population due to Metroplan’s current estimated population of 21,575.

“It’s a huge jump in six years. We knew we had a growth in population from our school enrollment and building permit in-crease,” Davis said.

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.

A certified, official population increase resulting from the special census may produce an increase in state revenue sharing or other benefits.

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

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.

TOP STORY >>City council will vote on supercenter

Leader staff writer

It’s the last item on the Sherwood City Council agenda for its monthly meeting Monday night at city hall, but it’s probably the most important to Sherwood residents.

The council, after looking at its ambulance service, making board and commission appointments and condemning a home as a public nuisance, will consider rezoning 47 acres of land off Highway 107 and Maryland Avenue so Wal-Mart can build a supercenter store.

More than 100 residents packed city hall earlier this month when the planning commission considered the issue. Residents were concerned about traffic, falling property values and noise level.

The commission, after listening to residents, approved Wal-Mart’s request to rezone the acreage from single-family residence to commercial. Even though residents will have a chance to voice their concerns again at the council meeting, it is unlikely that the council will vote against the commission’s recommendation.

Wal-Mart has said it plans to build a 200,000-square-foot store on the site, which will open in 2008. The new store will be close to Wal-Mart’s Neighborhood Market grocery store, but Wal-Mart says it has no current plans to close the grocery store.
Wal-Mart had a store in Sherwood, adjacent Highway 67/ 167, but pulled out in 2004, due in part to higher taxes imposed by the city.

Also on the council agenda:

- The aldermen will debate a resolution authorizing the mayor to contract for ambulance service.
- The council will vote to condemn Lot 367 of the Sunwood Village Mobile Home Park on Cherrie Avenue as a public nuisance.
- Aldermen will approve the appointment of a number of residents to various boards and commissions.
- The council will also review a petition for formation of Austin Gardens Municipal Multipurpose Property Owners’ Improvement District.

TOP STORY >>School to cause rezoning

IN SHORT: Cabot will alter attendance areas next year to equalize student enrollment throughout the district.

Leader staff writer

This spring, the Cabot School District will redraw the school-attendance boundaries for the opening of an eighth elementary school in August. The change is expected to have the most impact for students at Southside Elementary and Eastside Elementary. Redrawing the boundaries is needed to equalize the student population at the elementary schools.

In 2006-07, Cabot’s elementary school enrollment ranged from 385 to 640. After Stage-coach Elementary is opened, the student population at the elementaries will be 450 to 550.

Cabot is the second fastest growing city in the state and rezoning is necessary, said school board members Tuesday night.

“There is no good way to spin a rezone, the good news is it’s the result of us growing. We have kids and families and people coming to the Cabot School District because we have good things going on. Rezoning is a tough thing to swallow no matter what school you’re in. It’s a very positive thing that we’re able to do good things within the school district because we do experience good growth. We’re going to do the best thing we can do as a board to get feedback at every level we can to make qualified decisions,” said Jim Coy, school board member.

One reason parents get upset about rezoning is the disruption it can cause in students’ lives. Rezoning can cause children on the boundaries of attendance zones to change schools. It can also breaking up neighborhood friendships and routines such as groups of students who walk home together. Students’ favorite teachers may also change schools. A committee of the Parent Teacher Organizations from all the schools in the district will be formed to help rezone the attendance areas.

“We will ask for the public to give us comments and suggestions, but our goal is to have a pretty good plan by March so we can visit with staff about who might want to transfer,” Holman said.

The district will consider geographic location, bus routes, traffic patterns as well as the size of each school during the rezoning.

TOP STORY >>Runoff voting is Tuesday in area

IN SHORT: Monday marks the last day to vote early before residents of Lonoke and White counties decide runoff winners.

Leader staff writer

Although early voting for runoff election races has been underway for the past two weeks, and continues Monday, the final day to cast a ballot for the three races held in both Lonoke and White counties will be Tuesday.

Runoff races in Lonoke County include the mayor’s race in Austin, the District 4 Lonoke City Council seat, and the constable’s race in Ward township.

In White County, runoff races are being held for White County judge, the Ward 3, Position 1 seat on the Beebe City Council, and Searcy mayor.

The mayor’s race in Austin is between incumbent Bernie Chamberlain, who received 44 percent of the vote (105 votes) during the regular election, and Barry D. Weather II, who received 35 percent of the vote (85 votes). The third candidate was Jeremy C. Reed, who garnered only 51 votes during the regular election.

Running for the District 4 alderman seat in Lonoke is Kenneth Pasley, a Democrat who got 35 percent of the vote, a total of 64 votes, and Wendell Walker, an Independent who got 34 percent of the vote, a mere one vote behind Pasley.

During the Nov. 7 election, the third candidate, Republican Robert Bob Combs, received 58 votes.

The constable’s race in Ward township is between Mike Rev-eley, a Republican who received 43 percent of the vote (284 votes) in the Nov. 7 election, and Democrat Michael E. Kindall, who earned 39 percent of the vote (259 votes). James W. Williams Sr. was the third candidate, receiving only 117 votes in the election earlier this month.

In the race for White County judge, Republican Michael Lin-coln faces off against Independent candidate Dennis Gillam.
None of the three candidates in the Nov. 7 election took more than 50 percent of the vote.

Lincoln, the only one new to politics, carried every pre-cinct in Searcy and had 37 percent of the vote.

Gillam came in second with 32 percent, and Waylon Heath-scott, the Democratic candidate, third with 31 percent of the vote.
The Beebe City Council race for the Ward 3, Position 1 seat is between John D. Johnson, who received 501 votes, and Garland Kirkpatrick, who got 481 votes.

The last runoff race is for Searcy mayor with incumbent Belinda LaForce, a Democrat, facing former alderman Dale Brewer, a Republican.

In the Nov. 7 elections, LaForce brought in 42.38 percent of the vote and Brewer had 43.57 percent.

Lonoke early voting has one last day on Mon-day at the county courthouse from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Voting on Tuesday in Lonoke County will be from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the following three locations: the Austin Station Baptist Church, 1482 E. Main St. in Austin; the Lonoke Depot, 102 Front St. in Lonoke; and the Ward Chamber of Commerce, 80 W. 2nd St. in Ward.

Early voting also continues Monday in White County. Regular voting for the runoff races will be held at all voting sites throughout White County from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Friday, November 24, 2006

EVENTS>>Fall 2006

The Jacksonville Health Unit will be holding a flu clinic from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 27 through Friday, Dec. 1.
The cost is $15 or free with Medicare or Medicaid.

The Junior Auxiliary of Jacksonville’s Christmas Tour of Homes will be held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.
Homeowners on the tour this year include Larry Wilson, Lucian Shockey, Chuck Thomas and Rick Barnum. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from any active junior auxiliary member.
For information contact Mandy Watson at 982-1241.
Proceeds from the Christmas Tour of Homes help to provide for the underprivileged children in Jacksonville.

Santa Claus will be at Cabot City Beautiful’s Santa Shack, at the Cabot Wal-Mart parking lot from 9 to 11 a.m., noon to 2 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The 20th annual Christmas Road to Bethlehem will be open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 3 until New Year’s Eve. Homes along a four-mile stretch of Bethlehem Road in Lonoke County will be feature life-size Biblical figures along with Bible versus telling the nativity story. Also open house programs with music and fellowship from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 11 through 1.

The second annual Christmas for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lonoke County will be 11 a.m. Dec. 2 at the Marlsgate Plantation in Scott.
The theme is ‘Fruit, Feather and Fantasy.’ Tickets are $50 each and include lunch, entertainment and tour. There will also be a silent auction.
For more information contact 676-6533.

There will be a Christmas Open House 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Ward Public Library, 100 Owens St.

OBITUARIES >> 11-25-06

Leon Sorrells
Leon Bradford Sorrells, 92, of Jacksonville died Nov. 10.

He was born May 8, 1914 in Holly Springs, to the late Lester B. and Frankie Crownover Sorrells.

He was also preceded in death by a sister, Beatrice Burnham.

Mr. Sorrells was a Mason, a member of Scottish Rite, the First United Methodist Church of Jacksonville and a fan of the world champion St. Louis Card-inals and the Arkansas Razor-backs. Mr. Sorrells served on the Jacksonville City Council from 1959 through 1969.

During his council time Jacksonville was upgraded to a First Class City and Little Rock Air Force Base was brought into the city limits.

He also served as court clerk under Judges Reed Williamson and Robert Batton.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Berniece Ashcraft Sorrells; two daughters, Kay Smart and Lee Kipp, both of Jack-sonville; a sister, Martha R. Atkins of Camden; four grandchildren; Karen Halland husband William of Conway, Kathy Smart of Columbia, South Carolina, Kay Harris of Orlando, Florida, and Brent Kipp and wife Caroline of Buda, Texas, six great-grandchildren; Katie Hall, Ginnie Hall, Ernie Harris, Bradford Harris, Noel Harris and Ivan Kipp.

Funeral services were Nov. 14, at the First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville with the Rev. Tim Carter and the Rev. Don Hall officiating. Burial was in Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville. Arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Lonnie Shannon
Lonnie Ann Shannon, 53, of Jacksonville, is resting in the arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

She went to be with the Lord on Nov. 23.

She was born May 20, 1953 to Darrell and Christine Moore Van Schaack on Mare Island, Calif.

Lonnie is preceded in death by her brother, Vernon Van Schaack.

Survivors include her loving husband, Jim Shannon; her parents, Darrell and Christine Van Schaack of Vallejo, Calif., and her son, Brandon Shannon of Jacksonville.

In lieu of flowers please make donations to “Shannon’s Hope” c/o Christ in Action, P.O. Box 4200 Manassas, Va. 20108, or www. Make checks payable to CIA.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 26 in conjunction with regular services at Praise Assembly of God Church, located in the Em-bassy Suites, Little Rock.

Hazel Karraker
Hazel Drucella Owen Woolsey Karraker, of Cabot, died Nov. 21, in Little Rock, just days shy of her 98th birthday.

Hazel was born Dec. 8, 1908, in Garland City, to the late Mattie Smithy Owen and Joseph Oscar Owen.

Hazel was married to Harold Woolsey and after his death married John “Jake” Karraker, also deceased.

She lived for many years in Little Rock, then moved to Cabot to be close to her niece, Judith Hipp.

Hazel is preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Ben-jamin J. Owen and Charles Lee Frazier.

She is survived by two sisters; Martha Ann Bowden of Homer, La., and Alice Stanford of Florida; Adie, as she was called by the family had no children but had many nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Among the nieces and nep-hews were the Owen children, Judith Hipp and husband, David of Cabot; Jerry Owen of Gassville; Betty Rowe and husband, Bernie of Kingman, Ariz. and Major (retired) Ben P. Owen and wife Janet of Fifty Six.

A graveside service will be Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11:00 a.m. at Pinecrest Memorial Park.

Funeral arrangements provided by Griffin Leggett Forest Hills Funeral Home.

The family would like to thank the staff of Cabot Nursing and Rehabilitation for providing a home for Adie and the staff of Select Specialty at St. Vincent’s in Little Rock for providing excellent care for her last days and allowing her to die with dignity.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

EDITORIAL>>One more look back

Leader editorial writer

A peripatetic columnist returns from Europe to assess the electoral damage: All politics is local, the proverb goes, but in some elections a universal spirit guides the result from sea to sea. The 2006 election was one of those, which may be some consolation to the Arkansas Republican Party, which was crushed Nov. 7 about as thoroughly as a party can be crushed. It can say, rightly we think, that it would have done a little better except for a national tide of discontent.

No Republican came close to election for any statewide office or to challenging a Democratic congressman. The only Repub-lican victor was John Boozman, the plodding congressman from the Republican-safe Third District, whose unknown and unfunded Democratic foe was ignored by his own party. Boozman’s opponent, someone named Anderson, got a surprisingly large vote. Finally, the GOP went backwards in its long, slow drive to achieve parity in the Arkansas legislature. But it had not made much progress there since 2000.

President Bush and the corruption-soaked Republican Congress are not altogether to blame for the Arkansas defeats, as the party’s losing candidate for governor, Asa Hutchinson, acknowledged after he was clobbered. He chalked it up to effective Democratic candidates, especially his own foe, Attorney General Mike Beebe. But the Re-publicans cannot escape ac-countability for the poverty of its offerings. The Republican candidates for the three top Arkansas offices — governor, attorney general and lieutenant governor — were so extreme and divisive that the reflexively Republican and conservative Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had to en-dorse their Democratic foes, although the endorsements seemed to stick in the editors’ throats. The newspaper couldn’t stomach the Republican challengers for Congress either. The single candidate for major office, other than Boozman, who found the newspaper’s favor was the Baptist preacher who was running for secretary of state against Charlie Daniels, who is widely accused of using the office to keep his family off the dole. But that candidate, who was caught lying in the biggest ploy of his campaign, lost worse than the rest. We extend our heartfelt condolences to our colleagues, the inky wretches in the Democrat Gazette’s editorial tower.

Clint Reed, the executive director of the Arkansas Republican Party and its answer to Karl Rove, subtly acknowledged the awful truth in his confidential day-after analysis sent to loyalists. “. . .We must listen to the message that the voters sent and provide real reform within our party,” he wrote. “We must be an inclusive party that is not relegated to fractional or regional ideologues.” Wow, take that Jim Holt, Asa Hutchinson and Gunner DeLay! That is from your own party boss.

The Republican Party after 10 years with Gov. Mike Huckabee at the helm of government failed to develop a farm team that could compete against even a workmanlike but uninspiring bunch of Democrats, and, as much as an amorphous organization like a political party can, it must try to determine why. But that is not the whole story. President Bush and the Congress did incalculable damage to the Republican Party in six short years by raising doubts about its inherent competence at governing and its fidelity to the old Republican principles of dispassionate, moderate, frugal, businesslike governance.

It was not merely a sudden discomfort with having gone to war in two Middle East countries but a sense — no, a conviction — that the administration had bungled everything about the wars very badly. It was reinforced by the ineptness of government’s response to hurricanes and to a score of other events: haphazard regulation of oil and other energy interests, the rising culture of corporate corruption under the umbrella of a government that went out of its way to demonstrate its business friendliness, the laissez-faire attitude toward war profiteering, and the failed delivery on promises that a series of tax cuts for corporations and the rich would produce even bigger budget surpluses than were run up by Bill Clinton and a surge of job creation unparalleled in history. On the latter, the results were exactly the opposite.

The election also reflected a growing alarm in the old Repub-lican constituency with the party’s absorption with religious fundamentalism. It has been 15 years since the party reached out to religious conservatives, and they unquestionably gave Re-publicans unmatched energy and zeal. But that became the party’s base, and under Karl Rove satisfying that base was the first and last resort.

Across the Midwest and parts of the West, there has been a growing disillusionment with the party’s dominance by that group. In Alf Landon’s and William Allen White’s Kansas, once the most reliably Republican state in the union, Republicans have been switching parties or declaring as independents, and Democrats have begun an ascendance. Across the West, abortion and anti-gay initiatives often went down to defeat and Democrats won in formerly solid Republican precincts. Only Wyoming and Utah seemed seemed largely untouched.

In the fiercely independent mountain states, they don’t like government intrusion, even to impose religious doctrines, and they don’t want to substitute the Book of Leviticus for the Bill of Rights. There is a little of that discontent here in the South, too, as the results Tuesday indicated. Every generation or so, a cataclysmic election forces one party or the other to recast itself. The Republicans began that process Wednesday, if not before, and it is an unalloyed good thing for the country and Arkansas.

EDITORIAL>>Roberts sets an example

Here’s a small news item that missed the regular prints last month: Admirers of the marvelous work of Bobby Roberts, the director of the Central Arkansas Library System, conducted a broad but muted fund-raising effort to outfit a conference hall in the new Arkansas Studies Institute and name it after Roberts. The institute, which will be in a renovated old building on President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock, was one of many library projects undertaken with Roberts’ vision and genius. It will be a historical research center like none other in Arkansas and rarely matched in the country.

But Roberts got wind of the plan — the dedication was to be a surprise — and ordered a halt to the fund-raising and the memorial. All the money that was raised was returned with apologies. Thanks but no thanks, the director said. Quietly, letters went out from Roberts to everyone who had received the solicitations saying that he deemed it inappropriate to memorialize a public official for doing his job. He might have added, especially when he’s still alive and running the show.

And we happen to believe that Roberts deserves a monument someday for turning the moribund metropolitan library system into one of the finest, most accessible in the United States. We mention the episode merely to ask, what if that had been a Huckabee instead of Roberts? What a contrast with Arkansas’s First Couple. Bobby Roberts did not need to be reminded what public duty is or what grace in public office means. With the Huckabees, ceaseless reminders never take. Recall what has happened in the past few weeks.

The state Game and Fish Commission, whose members all were appointed by Mike Huckabee, dedicated two elaborate nature centers, built with public funds along the Arkansas River, one at Pine Bluff named after the governor, the other at Fort Smith after his wife. Thanks, taxpayers for that sales tax money! Big new signs have gone up on the public byways (supplied again by taxpayers with the help of another Huckabee-appointed state commission) pointing motorists the way to the Mike Huckabee and Janet Huckabee nature centers.

A giant new hall built next door to the renovated and greatly enlarged Governor’s Mansion, was dedicated and named for, who else?, Janet Huckabee. It is inscribed “The Janet M. Huckabee Grand Hall.” The Arkansas Times blog revealed that the Huckabees had registered on the Dillard’s Department Store and Target store wedding registries for some $7,000 in furnishings for their new $525,000 home in North Little Rock, where they will move when the governor’s term ends in January. Huckabee assures us that it was not his or his wife’s idea but that of several friends of Mrs. Huckabee. They hope the couple’s many friends will want to pitch in to make sure that the big new home is furnished in a style to which the Huckabees have become accustomed. During their residency in the state’s official quarters, the place where Sid McMath hung his panama hat 55 years ago, has been refurbished, enlarged, decorated and furnished far more elaborately than all its previous occupants enjoyed.

The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association, a quasi-private organization run presently by friends of the governor, donated to the couple for their new home 20 sets of three-piece crystal place settings and china place settings worth up to $11,000. The head of the association, Sally Stevens, is the Republican designee on the state Board of Election Commissioners and a former GOP member of the Pulaski County Election Commission. Stevens’ term on the association board ends in two years.

The gifts are Arkansas’ way of saying thanks for the job that Mrs. Huckabee did elevating the style of living for the first couple. No, we can never thank her enough for using so much public and private money to make life much more pleasurable for the Huckabees and, we hasten to add, their successors.

Wedding gifts are exempt from the state ethics ban on expensive gifts to public officials, but simply because the gifts requested by the Huckabees are listed on a wedding registry does not mean they are exempt. It may depend on when the Huckabees actually claim the gifts, before or after he becomes a private citizen again. But let us assume that all the gifts are legal. No doubt they are. After 10 years of expense-free living on the taxpayers’ tab and on what has become a nice salary (roughly $80,000 a year plus six-figure additives for book sales driven by his public office), the Huckabees do not need philanthropy. There have been too many of these tasteless episodes the past 10 years, starting with the governor’s misuse of Mansion operating funds for personal use, his effort to claim as his own a businessman’s elaborate gifts of furnishings for the official quarters and his and his wife’s extensive use of State Police law-enforcement planes for their personal and political use. It may be legal, but it is tawdry — although we wish Mrs. Huckabee a speedy recovery from double knee-replacement surgery. Here’s hoping the Mansion staff pampers her while she recuperates.

OBITUARIES >> 11-22-06


Ransom Rex Fulbright, Jr., 77, of Jacksonville died Nov. 12. He was born Jan. 18, 1929 in Newport, to the late Ransom Rex Fulbright, Sr., and Maude Lee Burge Fulbright. He was a maintenance supervisor and worked for Bart Gray for 36 years. He was a member of First Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville, and enjoyed spending time with his family and fishing.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Gladys Sue Holt Fulbright of Jacksonville; children, Cyndi and husband Ron Fuller, Patty and husband Ken Moneagle and Belinda and husband Rick Hollingshead, all of Jacksonville, and Mike Fulbright of San Jaun, Capistraino; two sisters, Vivian Lehman of Little Rock and Pam Henson of West Memphis; a brother, Bill Fulbright of Mississippi; grandchildren, Amber and Patrick Shaw, Mike Fuller, Eric and Shannon Fuller, Carrie and Drew Long, Jennifer Hollings-head, Thomas and Kendra Hollingshead, Jessica Myrick, Kenny Moneagle, Travis Moneagle and Taylor Stewart; great-grandchildren, Christopher and Kaitlyn McCarley, Morgan Fuller, Zachery and Aaron Fuller, Seth Brown, and Ean Long.

Funeral services were held Nov.15 at First Church of the Nazarene in Jacksonville with Rev. Ron Riddle officiating. Burial was in Glover Cemetery. Arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Rev. Samuel Oscar Massey, 90, of Jacksonville died Nov. 19, in North Little Rock.
He was born Feb. 29, 1916 in Tuckerman, to the late Samuel O. and Thelma S. Robinson Massey.

He was also preceded in death by three sisters. Rev. Massey retired as pastor of Missionary Baptist Churches after serving many years. He was a Army veteran who served in the Second World War, New Guinea, Philippines and Japan. He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Juanita Massey of Jacksonville; son, Larry Massey and his wife, Janet of North Little Rock; daughter, Lois Collette and her husband Robert of Kingsport, Tenn.; six grandchildren, 13 great- grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, at Moore’s Funeral Home in Jacksonville with the Rev. Jeff Watkins officiating. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice.


Gilbert Earl Priddy, 84, of Cabot died Nov. 19, in Cabot. He was born Dec. 23, 1921 in Topeka, Kansas, to Earl Francis and Sarah Alice Wendel Priddy. He graduated from Topeka High School in 1939. Mr. Priddy served in the Navy four years during the Second World War.

He transferred to the Army where he served 23 years. In 1954 he graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. On Feb. 11, 1956 he married Dorothy Marie Hanusa in Varaboo, Wisconsin. From 1963 until 1986, he was an accountant with Agrico Chemical Company. He served in the Army Reserves from 1968 until 1981. They moved to Cabot from Batesville in 1999. He was a member of Hope Lutheran Church in Jacksonville and a member of the Military Officers Army Association (MO-AA). He was preceded in death by a brother, Elton Francis Priddy.
Gilbert is survived by his wife, Dorothy Priddy; five children, Jim and wife Linda Priddy of Aurora, Ill., Cindy Priddy of Little Rock, Philip and wife Dorothy Priddy of Baton Rouge, La., Mary Alice and husband Jeffry Berndt of George, Wash., and Robert S. and wife Tina Priddy of Little Rock; 11 grandchldren; and three great grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, at Hope Lutheran Church with Pastor Kevin Conger officiating.

Burial with full military honors will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock. The family suggests memorials be made to Hope Lutheran Church in Jacksonville. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Justin Keith Noah, 21, of North Little Rock passed away Nov. 18, at his home. He was born June 27, 1985 to Ricky K. Noah and Pamela K. Noah in Jacksonville. Justin worked for the Arkansas Wildlife Association as a fund-raiser. He was a thoughtful, loving young man whose hard road to manhood ended in tragedy but that doesn’t darken the light he brought into our lives.

Justin was preceded in death by his grandparents, Chancy Boyd Noah, Theodore King and Delpha Aredith Foust; uncle, Samuel Smith, and a cousin, Jack L. Smith. Survivors include his mother, Pamela K. Noah of North Little Rock; father, Ricky K. Noah and his wife, Wanda Mitts of Gravel Ridge; brother, Shawn Noah of North Little Rock; grandmother, Katie King of Quitman; fiancé, Mary Cross; uncles, Merlon Noah, Randy Noah, Tim King, Joe Millis and Johnny Smith; aunts, Rachel Marler, Judy Smith and Brenda Long, as well as many friends.

Visitation will be held at the funeral home Wednesday, Nov. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Bro. Leroy Carrillo officiating. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park.


Betty Joyce Killebrew, 66, of Jacksonville passed away Nov. 17, at her home.
She was born Sept. 26, 1940 in Lynn, Miss., to Gus Boyd and Gladys Mae Hester Swafford. On August 3, 1958 she married Willie Killebrew in Leland, Miss. She loved to paint, spend time with her grandchildren and her dogs. She was preceded in death by her parents and two daughters, Debra Killebrew and Michelle Davis.

She is survived by her husband, Willie Killebrew of the home; two sons, Rick and wife Linda Killebrew and David and wife Sonya Killebrew; son-in-law, Scott Davis, all of Jacksonville; five grandchildren, Douglas Killebrew, Kristen Killebrew, Ariel Davis, Matthew Killebrew, Brittney Davis; sister, Cheryl and husband Roger Russell of Greenville, Miss.; niece, Amanda Russell of Greenville; nephew, Dale Russell of Greenwood, Miss.

Funeral services were held Nov. 20, at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Chapel with Brother Larry Burton officiating. Entombment was at Chapel Hill Mausoleum. The family suggests memorials be made to American Diabetes Association.

SPORTS >>South comes from way behind, defeats CJHN

Leader sports editor

Cabot North and Cabot South played a classic ninth-grade boys basketball game last Friday night at Cabot North. In the end, the South Panthers came back from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to knock off their crosstown hosts and pull out a 42-41 victory. South scored more than twice as many points in the fourth quarter than it did in the first three quarters combined. North spent the first three quarters building a 29-13 lead, but saw the lead crumble in the final frame when South began fouling.

“We started fouling with four minutes left because we were too far behind,” South coach Dan Wacker said. “We just couldn’t miss, we did everything right and North missed their free throws. That’s what it really came down to. It was one of the best junior high basketball games I’ve ever seen.” North shot 21 free throws in the fourth quarter alone, but only made 11. South would answer missed opportunities at the line with baskets at its end of the floor.

“They’d miss both or hit one of two and we would answer with bucket or a three pointer, and just got back in it.” Wacker said.
The South ladies also got a victory against North, but in less dramatic fashion. The South Lady Panthers won 44-27 against ther shorthanded counterparts. South took control early, jumping out to a 9-2 lead in the first quarter. North rallied in the second to cut the margin to 22-18 by halftime, and it stayed close through the third quarter. South then extended its lead and forced North to resort to fouling. Once at the line, South made most of its late free throws to seal the win.

The North boys and girls bounced back from Friday’s loss by sweeping Conway Blue on Monday. The North boys built an early lead against Conway as well, streaking out to a 12-2 lead in the first quarter. The Panthers hit a wall in the second, mustering just two points before halftime and seeing the lead shrink to 14-10.

They pushed it back to a seven-point advantage in the third before making a push in the final frame to win going away.
Seth Bloomberg led the team in scoring with 11 points. Patrick Martin added 10 and Christian Armstrong nine for the Panthers. The Lady Panthers trailed 24-23 at the start of the fourth quarter, but made a strong push and had its best quarter at the end to get the victory. Randi Passmore hit five of six free throws and scored seven points in the last period. She finished with 14 points to lead all scorers. Sarah Moore added eight for the North ladies while Mallory Druckenmiller and Erin Shoemaker added five each.

The Jacksonville boys got their first win of the season Monday after two losses to LR Fair to start the year. The Red Devils knocked off Little Rock Christian Academy 45-32 in a conference matchup. Dashawn McClure scored 16 to lead the Red Devils. Sharod Williams added eight and Beeders Nelson scored seven for the winning team. The Lady Devils fell to 1-2 in their third straight game that came down to the wire. The Lady Warriors escaped with a 28-26 win.

SPORTS >>Searcy routs Batesville in home opener

Leader sportswriter

Batesville did not find The Jungle very welcoming on Tuesday night at Searcy High School, losing both games of a doubleheader to the Lions and Lady Lions during Searcy’s home opener for the 2006 season. The Lady Lions held the Lady Pioneers to only five fourth-quarter points to win 61-47 going away. The Lions followed the girls’ performance with a dominating 49-34 win over an incomplete Batesville boys team. Senior post Kallie Bartee only had six points in the second half against Batesville, but her 17 points in the first half kept the Lady Lions out front for most of the first two frames. Searcy got its first extended lead of the night when the Harding University signee knocked off three straight three-point shots in the middle of the second quarter to increase a one-point lead into a double-digit advantage.

The boys’ win was much less dramatic. The Lions controlled the game from the opening tip-off, out hustling the Pioneers on both ends of the court. Searcy also won the battle on the boards pulling down most of Batesville’s bricked shots in the first two quarters. With a lead of 41-24 after three quarters, the JV team saw most of the action in the final frame. Lady Lions head coach Michelle Birdsong was pleased with her team’s performance, particularly the strong rally put up in the final eight minutes.

“I didn’t realize that we scored 12 straight points in the fourth quarter,” Birdsong said. “But I am happy with how strong we finished the game. We really stepped up our defense in the fourth and put a lot of pressure on them.” The game was evenly played until two minutes into the second quarter. Searcy had an 18-17 lead, but Bartee got hot from behind the arc, swishing three tres to increase the Lady Lions’ lead to 27-17. The Lady Pioneers increased their pressure on Bartee for the remainder of the half and held Searcy to only three more points in the frame, while closing the lead to within a single point at the half 31-30.

The score remained close in the third quarter. The Lady Lions pulled ahead by as much as seven, but Batesville rallied late in the period once again. Amanda Kohler hit a jumper to close the lead to within five, and then took the pass from Nicole Smith after Smith stole a Bartee pass to add a layup. The easy basket pulled the Lady Pioneers to within three, 45-42 heading into the final frame.

There would be no Lady Pioneers rally in the last quarter. A three pointer from Smith in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter tied the game for Batesville, but the Lady Pioneers would not put another point on the scoreboard until Rissa Wells put up a pair of free throws in the final two minutes of the contest. By then, Searcy had pulled away with a 57-47 lead. Kayla Medley added two free throws in the final minute to set the final margin, securing a 3-0 record for the Lady Lions.

Bartee led all scorers with 21 points. Taylor Clark added 15 points for the Lady Lions. For Batesville, Jessica Dailey led with 12 points on the night. Batesville’s only lead in the boys game was 2-0 when Ashton Sledge put up the first basket of the night, but after that, it was all Searcy. Lions post Bryan McGrath may not end up as a high-profile D1 prospect like predecessor Chris Brown, but he did show a lot of muscle in the paint against the Pioneers. McGrath dominated the boards over a much taller Thomas Showalter for Batesville, pulling down several key rebounds in the first half that allowed the Lions to pull away early.

“Tonight, we just kind of had some spurts,” Lions coach Roger Franks said. “I thought we had some opportunities in the first half to put the game away, and we didn’t. When you rely on the three-point shot as much as we’re going to this year, you are going to have games that have spurts. We did make the shots when we had to, and we played a lot better defense in the second half.”

Along with an inside advantage, the Lions also had the advantage around the perimeter with speedy guards Matt Cramblett and Justin Rowden. Although Rowden is still trying to heal his football wounds, the senior finished with nine points. Cramblett also had a solid night, adding 13 points.

Cramblett rolled off four straight in the final moments of the first quarter, scoring on a fast break and drawing the foul. He missed the free-throw, but McGrath grabbed the rebound, and chunked it back to Cramblett, who then drove in the paint to add another basket to put the Lions up 13-2 with 1:23 left in the first.

Batesville’s shooting improved somewhat in the second quarter. Baskets by Zach Harrison and Showalter put the game back to within single digits, but Caleb Taylor Rowden extended it back with back-to-back three-point shots to make it 23-10.
The first two minutes of the second half went scoreless, until Lance Ferguson launched a three pointer to put the Lions up 29-16. Levi Dixon followed that with a layup from a steal and assist from McGrath to extend the lead to 31-16.

The Pioneers made one more run to pull within 11 points, but Rowden and Cramblett put the game away in the final moments of the third with a three pointer from Rowden, followed by two straight steals and layups from Cramblett that gave Searcy an overwhelming 41-24 lead heading into the fourth. Cramblett led Searcy with 13 points. McGrath added 11 points for the Lions, and Rowden finished with nine points. For Batesville, Showalter finished led all scorers with 16 points. The Lions will host the Searcy Bank Classic next Monday through Saturday in a double-elimination tournament featuring several area teams.

SPORTS >>Sylvan Hills closes tourney with win

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills ladies got their first win of the season Saturday in game three of the Mount St. Mary’s Heavenly Hoops Classic, beating North Pulaski 53-34. The Lady Bears led from the onset, and pulled away to a comfortable margin in the third quarter.

Sylvan Hills’ full-court pressure turned the tide at the start of the second half. North Pulaski struggled to break the press and turned the ball over, leading to several easy baskets and allowed the Lady Bears to extend their lead to 44-24 by the start of the final frame. They led 16-8 after one quarter of play and 27-18 at halftime. The tournament didn’t get off to a great start, but got better and better each game.

Sylvan Hills fell hard to Watson Chapel, losing 58-28, but played the game without two starters. One sat because of injury, the other for breaking a team rule. Things got a lot better in game two, but a win still eluded the team. Russellville slipped away with a 49-48 victory. The Russellville game started the same way the Chapel game did, with the Lady Bears falling behind early. The Lady Cyclones were hot from the floor and scored 23 points in the first quarter. Their 14-point lead at the start of the second period was down to 10 at 31-21 by halftime as Sylvan Hills tightened up the defense and executed better on offense.

The Lady Bears still couldn’t close the gap in the third, but rallied to make it a game in the final period. Russellville led 40-28 at the start of the fourth, but the Lady Bears cut the margin to three points with 2:30 left in the game. That’s when sophomore Trinity Thomas was hit with a technical foul. Russellville hit both free throws and scored on the subsequent possession to extend the lead back to seven points.

Still, the Lady Bears didn’t give up, they cut it back down to two points with less than a minute left, but the Lady Cyclones hit a big bucket with 10 seconds left to put the game out of reach. Sylvan Hills senior Rochelle Dobbins hit a long three pointer at the buzzer to set the final margin. Sylvan Hills coach Bee Rodden was not pleased with everything she saw in the tournament, but was pleased with the effort.

“We’ve still got a long way to go, but there was some improvement and they did play hard,” Rodden said. “We had opportunities to beat Russellville. They only scored nine points in the fourth quarter, and four of them were off the tech, so we’ve got to be smarter than that. We ran our offenses better and the press was good, so we have some things to build on.”
The Sylvan Hills boys and girls traveled to Pulaski Robinson last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those games in Friday’s edition of the Leader.

SPORTS >>Wildcats' focus improves

Leader sportswriter

The Harding Academy Wildcats will try to reach the state semifinals for the first time since their championship season back in 2000 this week when they host Lafayette County Friday night at Harding University’s First Security Stadium in Searcy.The Wildcats had to work hard to advance to the third round, barely getting by Hector in a thrilling double-overtime win last week. Harding Academy coach Tommy Shoemaker is hoping the game this week will lead to a much less dramatic win for his squad.

“We certainly realize that we were fortunate to get a win last week without playing our best,” Shoemaker said. “I think our focus and concentration will be good this week because of it, though. A lot is at stake from now on, and if you want to advance, you have to play well on Fridays.” The Cougars are much improved from the start of the season. After barely fighting their way into post season play with a regular season record of 6-4, they have advanced further than anyone thought possible with hard-fought wins over Lamar and Lake Village to put themselves into the quarterfinals.

It will be a tough road for Lafayette this week. The almost three-hour trip from the Arkansas-Louisiana border will be compounded this week with a short school week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Shoemaker hopes the long journey will play to his team’s advantage, but says he’s not counting on it. “I feel fortunate that we don’t have to make that trip; it’s quite a haul,” Shoemaker said. “I really don’t know how all of that will play out. If it works out to our advantage, that’s great, but I wouldn’t be banking on it.”

Another variable for the Wildcats this week will be facing another spread team for the first time since week three when they played Arkansas Baptist. It will be only the second spread team that HA has faced this year, a stat that concerns Shoemaker.
“They are extremely athletic,” Shoemaker said. “They will be running the spread, which will be a little different for us, defensively. They have a receiver that is about 6’5” or 6’6” who is very athletic, and that scares me. We know we have our hands full with those guys; it’s going to be quite a challenge. They had some losses at the first of the year against Bauxite and some other good teams, but they seem to be a lot better now. We know we are not catching them at a good time, but that’s just part of it in the playoffs. Everybody is playing well right now.”

Shoemaker doesn’t see playing another spread team as an advantage or disadvantage. He says it is all in what caliber athletes the opponent possesses, rather than what type of scheme they run. “It just depends on how good they are,” Shoemaker said. “A lot of it depends on the athletes they have. With Hector, their style seems to be what hurts us the most, due to our lack of size. I hope that won’t be true this week.” Lafayette County coach Phillip Binkley is also weary of the Wildcats spread. The Cougars have seen even less spread opponents this year. Lafayette lost to Prescott in week seven, the only spread opponent they have seen this season to date.

“Harding is really the first true spread team for us this year,” Binkley said. “Prescott did a variation of it, but they also ran out of it quite a bit. I think that running the spread ourselves helps; we have similar styles, but that helps them as well. It will just depend on who makes the least amount of mistakes.” Among Binkley’s biggest concerns is senior Wildcats QB Luke Tribble. One look at Tribble on film was enough for the head Cougar to question his squad’s ability to contain him.

“Their quarterback looks like a really good athlete,” Binkley said. “It doesn’t matter if he is in the pocket or split out, he is a threat either way, and that worries us.” The drive to Searcy from Lewisville is also a concern for Binkley. He says the staff is taking every measure to try and keep the team comfortable on the long trip, including using a charter bus. Kickoff for the game between the Wildcats and Cougars to decide who goes to the semis will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at First Security Stadium in Searcy.

TOP STORY >>Cabot City Council moves to shut down business

Leader staff writer

That Cabot’s old city council is winding down in readiness for the new one that will take over in January was clear from the number of proposed ordinances and resolutions that were not acted upon Monday night, but the council did take decisive action to close down Tec Boys, a local business accused of defrauding its Internet customers.

A 1992 ordinance gave the city clerk authority to license businesses inside the city. The amended version approved unanimously by the seven members present gives the city clerk the authority to take it away. Alderman David Polantz did not attend the meeting. Polantz, one of the two council members who lost their race for mayor, is one of six council members who will not be returning next year. Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh did not quibble about the catalyst for amending the 14-year-old ordinance. “They’re still open, still conducting business,” he said.

Business owners Eddie and Connie Williams have been charged with one count each of felony theft by deception. Cabot police say they have evidence the couple took money for scooters ordered through Ebay or the business Website and didn’t place the orders with their overseas supplier for 90 to 120 days. City Clerk Marva Verkler urged the council to pass the ordinance saying they would understand the need if they had been the ones taking phone calls from customers saying the business had defrauded them.

“There’s nothing I can do. Call the police,” Verkler said she told Tecboys’ customers. Eddie Williams says he’s done nothing illegal, that any complaints from his customers should have been handled in a civil court not criminal. Furthermore, he said, he heard about the new ordinance and tried to attend the council meeting but was turned away. “They stopped me physically from going into a public meeting last night,” Williams said on Tuesday. “A man I didn’t even know told me I’d better not go in there. We have done a doggone thing wrong in this state or in Cabot.”

Williams says it’s possible his problems are the result of a conspiracy by competitors, intent on putting him out of business because his grossed $1.5 million in sales last year. “I’ve got a medal of honor and two bronze stars and I’m a retired fireman (from Jacksonville, Florida),” Williams said. “I’ve never done anything wrong. I couldn’t even sleep at night if I thought I had.”
Lt. Scott Steely, head of investigations for the Cabot Police Department, said none of the Techboys customers who have complained were from Cabot or even from Arkansas.

Williams said if the city is successful in shutting him down, he can still run his internet business. In other business, the council approved paying $14,220 to build a sidewalk from the new community center to Locust Street so the residents who use the senior citizen center will be able to walk to the community center. The council also approved paying $11,504 to pour 150 feet of sidewalk near Junior High South and Middle School South. Alderman Eddie Cook was opposed to the expenditures because the city has only $20,000 in the street fund. However, Finance Director Dale Walker said he expects $70,000 from the state.

The council did not approve the new personnel handbook, a bid for extending West Elm Street, an ordinance establishing minimum standards for property maintenance, an ordinance regulating peddlers and solicitors, a resolution requiring that council meetings be conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order or an ordinance establishing a procedure for design projects.

TOP STORY >>Night shift works an area burglary, gives out advice

Leader staff writer

With his pistol drawn, a deputy enters through a residence’s side door just kicked in by a burglar apparently scared away by a piercing alarm, which was still blasting away. Once inside, Tim Hibbs and Michael Lett, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department investigators, took turns covering each other and clearing each room of the house located off Hatcher Road Friday afternoon. Both men were prepared for the possibility of using deadly force on a burglar if necessary.

Those few tension-filled moments of unknown dangers get the adrenalin pumping as this reporter with camera in hand waits for an ‘all-clear’ signal or possibly an exchange of bullets if a gun-toting burglar should resist arrest. Before being dispatched to the burglary, Hibbs, who helps man the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office North Center, had instructed this reporter, “Do not hesitate to jump over here in the driver’s seat and take off if something goes wrong while we’re out on a call.”

After a few minutes ticked away slowly, the two deputies reappeared outside, transforming the incident scene into a more informal gathering of evidence as the investigation began to collect possible fingerprints and shoeprints as well as contacting the homeowner about the burglary attempt. Just inside the house, pieces of wood splintering upon the impact of a burglar’s foot kicking in the door could be seen. By this time, a third deputy took up his duties to collect crime scene evidence through forensics work. While dusting the door, a partial track of the burglar’s shoeprint appeared.

Brian Wise, the third deputy at the scene of the burglary, turned around saying, “The size of the print looks like it came from a person of small stature, maybe a female or a teen.” Hibbs also later explained that the “partial track” could become crucial evidence if or when a suspect is developed in this case. “A shoeprint can almost be as good as a fingerprint,” Hibbs said.
While standing under the carport, an expensive kayak padlocked behind the house was left behind as well as a lot of other items inside the house, according to the deputies. They could not say for sure if any items had been taken until the burglary victim could arrive back home but they believed that the alarm had thwarted the burglary attempt.

“That alarm just paid for itself,” Hibbs said. Other aspects of the investigation included photographing the crime scene, both by a digital camera and a camera load with actual film, and conducting a canvas of the neighborhood. Both types of cameras are being used just in case the judicial system rules out the use of the digital photographs. “We both know how easily digital photos can be altered,” Hibbs said.

Canvassing the neighborhood out on Hatcher Road lasted only a few minutes since the Hatcher Road residence is somewhat isolated. Hibbs contacted two nearby homeowners. One of them told Hibbs she had heard the burglar alarm go off in the past but I had not heard it this time.

A man up a road off Hatcher Road said his dog had started barking a few minutes ago so he came out to check on what might be going on. He told Hibbs that it sounded as if the dog was barking at someone coming up through the area but he had not seen anyone. This year to date, more than 70 burglaries have been reported to the North Center substation of the PCSO. Hibbs encourages all citizens to report any unusual activities in their neighborhoods. In fact, he says he loves “nosy neighbors” who will call 911 to report any unknown persons or suspicious vehicles in their area.

“We can have marked cars driving right by a house being burglarized,” Hibbs said. “Nosy neighbors know what car belongs and who belongs there or not.” Hibbs also recommends all homeowners should invest in burglar alarms. “We would rather answer 100 false alarms because if just one leads us to a burglar it’s worth it,” Hibbs said. He also says that getting a “big dog” that will ferociously bark when strangers come around is a good way to keep burglars away. Burglars like the least resistance possible in order to get in and out without being noticed, according to Hibbs.

As for dead-bolt locks, residences are still not completely secured from being burglarized. “You put the foot to a standard door on a home and it will go,” Hibbs said. It is even worse for mobile-home dwellers. Hibbs described them as being far less secured. “My mother could even break into a mobile home,” Hibbs said. Being so spread out, response time is longer than in a city’s police department. It took about 12 minutes to get deputies out to the Hatcher Road residence on Friday. The North Center district’s eight deputies patrol an estimated 100 square miles of unincorporated area of Pulaski County.

“We had 12 deputies but we lost four of them to a budget cut about a year and a half ago,” Hibbs said. Hibbs refers to several deputies manning the “400” as “treasures” due to their detailed knowledge of the unincorporated area of Pulaski County, which they not only work in but also live in. Per “radio talk,” the ‘400’ refers to the North Center.

Hibbs believes the answer to property crimes is prevention through neighborhood crime watches and notifying law enforcement agencies about going out of town and making sure to place a stop on mail before going on vacations. “Only about 30 percent of property crimes are successfully prosecuted,” Hibbs said.

Asked about the jail overcrowding issue and those burglars recently arrested, Hibbs said If it’s a property crime, I guarantee they’re not there. We’re just not holding property crime offenders now. Hibbs admits that PCSO needs assistance from the public to curb criminal activities. “Every citizen should be engaged in watching out for others,” he says. Hibbs is a 13-year veteran of the PCSO. Hibbs’ older brother is none other than the former Jacksonville police chief Larry Hibbs.