Wednesday, January 31, 2007

SPORTS>>Sylvan Hills looks across county for new coach

Leader sportswriter

After 20 seasons under Ron Sebastian, Sylvan Hills will have a new head Bear on the sidelines starting in September. Jim Withrow will take the helm as head football coach this fall, bringing seven years of experience as head coach at Mills University Studies.

Withrow grew up in the Fayetteville area, graduating from Fayetteville High School and attending college at the University of Arkansas. He got his first coaching experience during his tenure at the U of A as a coach on the Fayetteville Jr. High team in the early 90’s. After seven years as head Comet, Withrow said it was simply time for a new challenge professionally. “I was ready for a change in my professional life,” Withrow said. “Sylvan Hills has a lot of community backing, and it just seemed like a good opportunity for me. It was just time for a change.”

Withrow made the move to Mills after a couple of seasons at Blytheville, but says he is eager to roll up his sleeves and see what he can accomplish in the always tough 6A-East Conference.“Up and down, it is by far the tougher conference in 6A,” Withrow said. “You have West Memphis and Jonesboro, Jacksonville, so it’s going to be a challenge. I like the way they re-did the conferences, it really seemed to balance things out to where a lot of these schools have a chance to compete.”

Winthrow led the Comets to a 6-5 record during the 2006 season, earning them a trip to the playoffs. They were put out by Morrilton in the first round of post season play by Morrilton in a 17-14 heartbreaker. Sylvan Hills has not been to the playoffs since the ’04 season, when they were defeated in the first round by Benton?? after winning the AAAAA Conference championship with a regular season record of 8-2. The school’s tradition for football was another attraction to Hillside for Winthrow.

“They expect to go out and win,” Winthrow said. “They went to the championship game just a few years ago, whereas when I came to Mills, they had lost 23 in a row. That’s quite a bit of difference in tradition right there. I like having the challenge, and the attitude of the program.Monday was the first day for Winthrow to observe his future team in the workout room. While he says it is too early to tell what he has to work with athletically, he says he was definitely impressed with the personalities of the kids.

“I like the kids’ good attitudes,” Winthrow said. “They were ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’, they seem really coach able. It’s kind of hit and miss right now; I have to come from teaching at Mills during the day, so I haven’t had a great look at what they can do athletically. I know the other coaches have said we have some ninth graders who are really good athletes, and I haven’t seen them yet.” Winthrow will get the chance to see what the Bears can do in the coming weeks, when spring football practice begins in mid-March.

SPORTS>>Jacksonville grows up in loss to ’Canes

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils’ losing streak reached four games and the team dropped into a tie for last place in the 6A-East Friday night with an 88-73 loss to No. 2 Jonesboro. All four losses have come on the road due to scheduling changes caused by the installation of new bleachers at Jacksonville’s Devils Den. While the team is still in search of its first conference road win, and first win of the season outside the city of Jacksonville, head coach Victor Joyner believes the team made strides Friday night.

“If it weren’t for the turnovers, we would have had this team,” Joyner said. “Our weaknesses played right into their strengths. They have a lot of athletes and they put a lot of pressure on your guards, and that’s where we lack experience the most. I knew if the guards handled the pressure the big men would have a big game. The big men had big games, but it could’ve been a lot better. We just committed too many turnovers.”

Despite the turnovers, Joyner thought the team showed progress in playing through adversity and hanging close when the hosting Hurricane looked to be on the verge of running away. The first run came in the first quarter. Jonesboro’s lead grew to as much as 15 points right away as the piled up 28 points in the opening frame. All season long when Jonesboro put a team down early, the job was finished soon after.

Jacksonville though, came back and cut the margin to three points midway through the second quarter. The Red Devils simply couldn’t sustain the run. Fouls and turnovers prevented them from getting any closer and Jonesboro, perhaps the most explosive team in the state, was back up by 15 by halftime. Jonesboro took their biggest lead of the game at 50-33 to that point with a bucket to open up the third quarter. Again, Jacksonville climbed back into the game by breaking the Hurricane pressure and feeding the ball inside.

The deficit dwindled to eight points before another rash of fouls and turnovers allowed Jonesboro to race back out to a 21-point lead. The Hurricane led 74-53 by the end of the third. Jacksonville trimmed 11-point points off that lead again in the fourth, but couldn’t get back to within single digits. “They’re (Jonesboro) is so explosive and can put points on you so fast, you can’t allow for any mistakes,” Joyner said. “We’re still not playing well enough to not make any mistakes, but I think this team grew up a little bit. They came in motivated, and they didn’t let up when it looked like we were getting blown out. They didn’t let up when we were losing guys left and right to fouls. They just didn’t let up for any reason. It’s hard to grow up from a loss, but I think we did that in a way.”

Leading scorer Kajuan Watson, junior point guard Terrell Eskridge and sophomore forward Cortrell Eskridge all fouled out in the game. As Joyner stated, the post players led the way in scoring. Senior Norvel Gabriel finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Gerron Riddles added 14 points while sophomore Antwain Lockhart pitched in 12. Jacksonville played at Searcy last night after Leader deadlines, and will finish it’s long road journey Friday at Marion. Look for details of Tuesday’s game in Saturday’s edition of the Leader.

SPORTS>>Panthers beaten by Cyclones, ladies win

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Panthers took their fifth consecutive conference loss on Friday to Russellville 72-58 at Cabot High School. The Cyclones only outplayed Cabot in the second quarter of the game, but built enough of a cushion before the half that the Panthers were not able to recover in the second half.

Russellville outscored Cabot 18-7 in the decisive frame to lead 35-22 at the intermission. Cabot’s shooting percentage picked back up in the third quarter, but consistent outside shooting from the Cyclones would allow little of the first half deficit to be made up. Sophomore guard A.J. Broadnax proved too much for the Panthers to contain in the contest.

Broadnax led the way in scoring for the Cyclones with 24 points, including four three-point baskets. Forward Jared Williamson also helped Russellville out in the second half with 11 of his total 14 points. Williamson’s only points in the first half was a three pointer at the 2:01 mark of the first half, but once Broadnax began to cool off late in the third quarter, he took up the slack with a strong performance behind the arc and in the paint.

Cabot had three players finish in double figures, but the problem for the Panthers would be no points from any other player, until Jacob Trammell added all eight of his points in the second half. Sophomores Adam Sterrenberg and Austin Johnson, along with Alex Sharp were the only scorers for the Panthers in the entire first half.

Sterrenberg’s shooting fell cold in the third quarter, when Cabot has its best chance of catching up to the Cyclones. Business picked back up for Sterrenberg in the fourth quarter, but it was too late to mount to comeback by that point. The Panthers racked up 20 points in the final frame, but 19 points from Russellville kept the margin the same, and allowed the Cyclones to coast to another 7A-Central win.

Sterrenberg led Cabot with 19 points. Sharp added 15 for the Panthers, and Johnson finished with 14. Senior guard Trammell had eight points to round out Cabot’s scoring. The loss drops Cabot’s record to 9-11 overall and a dismal 1-6 in conference.
The Lady Panthers ended up with a 54-40 win on Friday, but not after surviving a serious rally from Russellville in the third quarter. The Lady Panthers appeared to be coasting their way to an easy win in the first half of the girls game, but the Lady Cyclones decided to make a game of it in the second half. Cabot rushed out to a dominating 11-0 lead by the 2:47 mark of the opening quarter, and held a comfortable 30-12 lead at the intermission.

Outside shooting for Lady Panthers junior guard Leah Watts seemed effortless in the first half. Watts hit a three just before the end of the first quarter, and repeated another tre in the opening seconds of the second quarter to give Cabot a 17-1 lead. Lauren Walker found nice looks in the paint to put up four quick points in the middle of the period, and Watts swished another three at the 3:29 mark to put the Lady Panthers ahead 27-7.

Watts and Walker combined for 19 points in the first half, with Walker scoring all of her points around the paint, and Watts’ from behind the arc. Despite hot hands in the first half, neither player would be a factor in the second half. The starting five for Cabot fell on their faces in the second half. The Lady Cyclones went on a 14-0 run during the first five minutes of the third quarter to pull within four points at 30-26. Senior forward Jamie Sterrenberg finally got Cabot on the board with a jumper in the paint, but it did little to slow Russellville’s momentum.

Rachel Glover provided Cabot’s only spark in the second half. Glover didn’t score a single goal in the game, but her eight of 10 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter would ultimately prove to be the difference in the game. Sterrenberg made key defensive plays late, thwarting a severe threat from the Lady Cyclones in the early stages of the fourth. A three pointer from Janey Jacimore at the 7:20 mark of the final frame made it a two-point game for Russellville at 33-31. Shelby Ashcraft kept Cabot out front with a pair of free throws, followed by a jumper from Sterrenberg to put the Lady Panthers up 37-33.
Sterrenberg also had good consistency at the charity stripe in the final minutes, going five of six at the line to make up almost half of her team-leading 13 points for Cabot.

Watts finished with 11 points for Cabot, and Walker had 10. For Russellville, Autumn Stewart led with 11 points, nine of which came in the second half. The win improves the Lady Panthers’ record to 16-4 overall and 4-2 in conference. The Cabot teams hosted Conway last night, and will take on Catholic/Mt. Saint Mary’s on the road Friday night.

EDITORIALS>>Huckster in hot seat

Ernie Dumas writes editorials for The Leader.

When the moderator of “Meet the Press” asked Mike Huckabee Sunday if he and Bill Clinton, the other man from Hope, were similar, the freshest Republican presidential candidate said they shared the experience of rising from humble roots to achieve the American dream. But he said they had different philosophies and politics.

One of those differences was manifest on the show, where Huckabee announced that he was running for the office that the other Hope product filled for eight years. The difference is humility. Clinton had it, Huckabee doesn’t. Humility produces candor, a willingness, even eagerness, to acknowledge one’s shortcomings and mistakes.

It is an important difference that Huckabee needs to learn because if the country is looking for one thing as it assays all the candidates for president it is honesty. People yearn to be told the naked truth, a commodity in woefully short supply the past six years, and they want to trust their leaders again. Whoever people divine to be the truth tellers will be nominees for president in 2008.

Many will remember Bill Clinton returning from defeat in 1982, regretting his liberal commutations of criminals who turned violent upon their release, apologizing for raising automobile license fees and for just not listening to people well. And they may remember his sorrow since then, for not intervening to stop the genocide in Rwanda, for mishandling the health-care initiative in 1994, for the harm he did to his family and the country in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. His autobiography, “My Life,” is full of regrets for slights to friends and supporters and for misjudged opportunities in domestic and world affairs.
You won’t hear any such lamentations from Mike Huckabee. He made no mistakes. He was not a workmanlike governor but a truly heroic one, compared with whom all other governors in Arkansas were pikers.

Tim Russert, the NBC interviewer, asked Huckabee about arranging the release of the rapist Wayne Dumond, who then went on to kill a woman in Missouri (he was the suspect in another woman’s murder). Although Huckabee is the man who moved the state parole board to turn Dumond loose to go to Missouri, Huckabee blamed the release on his predecessor, Jim Guy Tucker, and by implication Bill Clinton. Tucker indeed had commuted Dumond’s sentence but had not set him free. To even hint that Clinton had anything to do with Dumond’s release was venomous.

Remember that Dumond’s rape victim was a distant relative of Clinton, which aroused the national right-wing crusade to free him. The theory was that an angry Clinton had conspired to railroad an innocent man. Clinton and Tucker were mortal foes, and the anti-Clinton crusade to free Dumond may have moved Tucker to commute the sentence. It certainly did Huckabee.
Russert asked Huckabee if he had talked to the parole board about Dumond at the famous secret meeting. Huckabee said no, that they had met but not about Dumond. He simply wanted to get to know the members. You didn’t talk about Dumond? Russert asked. He obviously had an Arkansas Times article detailing the meeting that led to Dumond’s release.

A disarmed Huckabee corrected himself. Yes, actually they did talk about Dumond, he said, but the board brought it up and asked what he thought. And he told them it might be time to look at the case, Huckabee said. Parole board members said the governor asked for the meeting, brought up Dumond’s parole and favored his release. Why could he not acknowledge his misjudgment and express his sorrow as so many imperfect men have done? Viewers would have been impressed.

EDITORIALS>>Huckabee lies

Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” on Sunday asked presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee about the attacks by conservative groups for expanding the government and raising taxes. Huckabee said he had cut taxes 94 times and that all the other governors in Arkansas’ 160 years had never cut taxes a single time among them.

That was manifestly a lie. He had been corrected on that several times in Arkansas since he began to utter it. Governors Ben Laney, Dale Bumpers and Bill Clinton had engineered serious tax cuts, although like Huckabee they had raised taxes even more. Under Huckabee’s definition of tax cuts — any change in any tax code that reduces someone’s taxes — every governor in modern times has cut taxes repeatedly.

His own big tax cut, the 1997 changes in the income tax to help working families, was not his at all. It was prescribed by Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who was removed from office before the legislature assembled to enact it. The legislature rejected Huckabee’s tax cut — a small check every fall to taxpayers — and Huckabee agreed to sign Tucker’s bill. In time, he metamorphosed into its father.

As for the biggest tax increase, the highway taxes in 1999, Huckabee said Arkansas voters were responsible for the higher taxes. But he misstated that as well. Voters approved a highway bond issue. That put into effect gasoline taxes that the legislature and Huckabee had enacted, but the other highway taxes were not linked to the bond issue. There was no straight talk from our man on his maiden outing, and straight talk is his only chance to set himself apart from the vast field. He often claims heavenly guidance. Now is the time to listen to it.

EDITORIALS>>General speaks, district listens

Every Little Rock Air Force Base commander in at least the last 20 years has tried to pry a new elementary school out of the Pulaski County Special School District, but it took a man with the skills and focus of Brig. Gen. Kip Self to make it happen.
Self, commander of the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, has made it his mission, among other objectives, to replace the crumbling Arnold Drive Elementary School.

For a year now, he’s pleaded with and cajoled Pulaski County Special School District officials for the new building. Like any good commander, he knew where his big guns were and when and how to use them. Earlier this winter, he hosted visits to the 50-year-old school from Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Cong. Vic Snyder.

Less than two months later, a new school for the base had suddenly appeared on the district’s state-mandated school facilities master plan with an estimated $15 million price tag. The state would pay about 10 percent of that. Gen. Self has even offered to donate air base land for the new school, which PCSSD readily accepted, as well as they should, considering the millions of tax dollars the military pours into the district.

With a little push from our senators and congressman, district officials have moved the base school for the first time on to the master plan with occupancy tentatively slated for fall, 2011. That the air base could get a new school by the 2011-2012 school year is a miracle of sorts since the district hasn’t built a school in Jacksonville in more than 30 years. It’s not often that school district officials deal with a forceful personality like Gen. Self, who not only wants the best for his airmen but also their families, especially their children. Let that be an example to all.

OBITUARIES >> 1-31-07


Virginia “Belle” Lilly, 100, went to be with her Lord Jan. 26. Belle was born Nov. 22, 1906, to the late William Preston Jackson and Margaret Anne Bain. She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Lilly, and her only child, Don Philpot.

She was the first Humnoke High School graduate, where she returned to teach after receiving her teaching certificate from Arkansas Normal School (later UCA), in Conway. She taught school in a one-room classroom in Humnoke and later co-owned Lilly Iron and Boiler. She is survived by three grandchildren, Lee Anne and husband Steve Hess of Conway, Donna Curry and John Philpot of Carlisle.

She is also survived by fourgreat-grandchildren, Lee Wood and Suzanne Smiley of Conway, Allison Parker of Carlisle and Andrea Prislovsky of Stuttgart, and four great-great-grandchildren, Greyson Wood, Lucien and Bella Smiley and Hayden Parker. Belle was known by her grandchildren as Nana and by her great and great-greats as Nannie. Belle had been a Carlisle First Baptist Church member since July 19, 1939. She was a past member of Business and Professional Women. Funeral services were Jan. 29 at Carlisle First Baptist Church, followed withburial in Carlisle Cemetery.


Eugene Lester Smith, 89, of Cabot passed away Jan. 29. He was born March 17, 1917 in Scranton, to the late Robert and Ester Missouri-Smith. He was preceded in death by his wife Ana Smith in December 2006, three brothers and three sisters.
Survivors include one daughter, Elaine Skaggs of Cabot; one son, Jerry Smith of England; four grandchildren, Lesia Southerland, Sarah Smith, Jacob Smith and Jerry Smith; and two great-grandchildren, Shane Southerland and Brian Southerland.

Graveside services will be 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Manuel Cook, 82, died Jan. 27. He was a member of Assembly of God Church. Survivors include his daughter, Annie Mae Cooper of Marked Tree; sister, Carolyn Cedio, and two grandsons. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke with burial following in Hicks Cemetery.


Kenneth W. Justice, 71, died Jan. 26. He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Willie Mae Clements Justice; his parents, Daisy and Phillip Justice, and a sister Betty, and husband Calvin King.

Survivors include his children, Arnold Justice and Peggy and husband Allan Hobbs of Jacksonville, Marilyn and husband Bob Putman of Beebe and Brenda and husband Willis Fontaine of Houghton, Mich.; one brother, James and wife Viola Justice; and a sister, Doris and husband Bill Bates, all of Lonoke; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Funeral services were Jan. 30 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke with burial following in Hicks Cemetery.


Joseph E. Lamb, 92, of North Little Rock died Tuesday, Jan. 23. He was born to the late William and Mary Lassie Stovall Lamb in Lonoke County near Furlow. He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, Madeline Lamb, and one daughter, JoAnn Story. He was our precious father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend. He was a member of Levy Methodist Church and the Eagle, Elks and Moose clubs.

He worked at Mare Island Naval Base in California during the Second World War. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Arkansas before the war. He was a driver for many years for Cities Service Oil Company. In 1959, he founded and managed Lambs Arkansas CleanPro, a successful cleaning business in central Arkansas. He ran the business until his retirement in 2000. He will be missed by his family and all that knew him. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Betty Lou Erwin Lamb; two sons, Joe Lamb and Garry Lamb; two daughters, Madeline Darlene Hastings and Carolyn McCrary; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Funeral services were Jan. 26 at Roller-Owens Funeral Home with Bro. Paul officiating. Burial was in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.


Alan C. Stoneking, 54, of Jacksonville passed away Jan. 20 in Little Rock. He was born Sept. 22, 1952 in El Paso, Texas, to the late Clyde Eugene and Dorothy A. Conrad Stoneking. He served in the Army and was a Baptist. He loved gardening and fishing. Trout fishing was his specialty. Survivors include sisters, Jean Williams and husband Larry and Kandy DeLaigle, all of Jacksonville; brothers, Steven Clyde Stoneking and wife Joy of Gravel Ridge and Michael Eugene Stoneking of Jacksonville; one nephew, three nieces, one great-nephew and four great-nieces.

Graveside services were Jan. 24 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock with Pastor Jim Smith officiating.
Funeral arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


SSgt. Walter Emery Thompson, 77, of Jacksonville passed away Jan. 24 in Little Rock. He was born on July 22, 1929 to the late Emery and Bertha Faulkerson Thompson in Devil’s Lake, N.D. He was preceded in death by his wife, Kathie; son, Rolf; and brothers, Maurice and John.

He was an Army veteran, a member of the NRA and a Methodist. Survivors include his son, Hank Thompson and daughter-in-law, Linda Leverett of Jacksonville; grandson, Michael Shawn Thompson of Albuquerque N.M.; brother, Myron Thompson of San Antonio, Texas; and a sister, Margaret Olson of California. Private funeral services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> Candidates are plentiful for 2008 run

“Candidates Outnumber Voters in ‘08.”

That’s humorist Andy Borowitz’ gag newspaper headline about the crowded field of presidential candidates. His second headline: “One in Two Americans Running for President.” It sure seems that way, now that former Gov. Mike Huckabee announced over the weekend he’s running for president, along with a couple hundred other prospects.

Hillary Clinton made her announcement the weekend before. It seems as if there’s a new candidate every day. The election is almost two years away, so maybe we’ll see 500 candidates before it’s all over.

If you, dear reader, decide to run for president, please send us your announcement with a suitable photo. We’ll put it on the front page. But Mike Huckabee faces serious challenges as a presidential candidate, not only because he lacks money and name recognition but has trouble with facts that won’t endear him to national voters.

A killer named Wayne DuMond is a daily reminder of how terrible Huckabee was as governor. He’s even less qualified for the presidency. Since Huckabee appeared on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, much of the country knows that DuMond raped and killed a couple of women because Huckabee let him out of prison. It looks like DuMond, who died in a Missouri prison, will also kill Huckabee’s presidential aspirations from beyond the grave.

The former governor is running for the Republican presidential nomination as a conservative candidate, but wherever he goes, his critics point to Huckabee’s support for DuMond’s parole, allowing him to move to Missouri, where he went on his crime spree. Found guilty of one murder, he died in prison, relieving Missouri from the burden of feeding and holding an inmate who should never have been let out of prison in Arkansas.

Announcing his candidacy on “Meet the Press,” Huckabee hoped to make a good impression in front of a national audience, but moderator Tim Russert repeatedly asked him about DuMond’s parole. When Huckabee first became governor, he wondered if DuMond was framed by, you guessed it, Bill Clinton, whose distant cousin DuMond was convicted of raping in east Arkansas.

Huckabee blamed Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker for making DuMond eligible for parole — but if Clinton had framed DuMond, why would he support his parole? Huckabee finally conceded to Russert that yes, indeed, he had favored DuMond’s release and he feels terrible about the crimes DuMond committed afterward, as he should: Two Missouri women would be alive if Huckabee had not lobbied for DuMond’s freedom.

The public will not let Huckabee forget his role in this travesty, not to mention his other dubious achievements as governor: His petulance, his destruction of state computers, his taking of public property, his midnight pardons for pals, his secreting away public documents and his habit of offering cronies and relatives no-show jobs. Most politicians betray our trust eventually, but Huckabee is the worst: He blames the media for publicizing his shortcomings, yet it’s not reporters who have blood on their hands. It’s our former governor.

TOP STORY >>Hospitals offer many treatments

Leader staff writer

Area residents have a number of choices when it comes to hospital-related medical needs whether for emergency medical care, acute inpatient care or ancillary services. They can choose from among Rebsamen Medical Center in Jacksonville, which serves north Pulaski and Lonoke counties; White County Medical Center in Searcy, St. Vincent Medical Center/North in Sherwood, or Baptist Health Medical Center in North Little Rock. Each hospital offers unique services for their patients.

Rebsamen Medical Center in Jacksonville has served residents north of Little Rock since 1962 and has grown in size and number of programs and services over the years as the population of the area has grown and the needs of that population have changed. Its most recent addition is Inspirations, an outpatient counseling center located at the medical center, which held its grand opening and ribbon-cutting last week.

Inspirations puts its clients on the path to emotional and mental well-being by providing outpatient therapeutic counseling services to patients in a comfortable, home-like environment. “There is no other company in the state that provides these services under one roof,” Jennifer Love, community education liaison with Rebsamen said.

Inspiration’s services are especially designed for seniors but Love said anyone can call in a referral or come in, regardless of age, if they have feelings of grief, anxiety, thoughts of death, sadness, loneliness or hopelessness. “We’re open to nearly anybody. Any Medicare Part B recipients are eligible to participate,” Love said. To stay competitive, hospitals must constantly upgrade and modernize. Rebsamen’s medical imaging department now offers top-of-the-line Philips Ultrasound and Philips Brilliance CT Scanner and has a three-room mammography suite. The CT scanner provides fast, high-quality 3-D images and enables physicians to shorten exam time, see results in minutes, lessen the dose of X-ray energy for the patient, and can accommodate larger patients, according to Kristen James, marketing coordinator at Rebsamen.

“With the new CT scanner, our doctors are able to rapidly and definitively assess the condition of trauma cases so they can make important decisions within the critical first few minutes after a patient arrives in the emergency room,” James said.
Rebsamen’s surgeons also have the assistance of the Depuy Intelligent Orthopedic System, a computer program that tells the surgeon the precise places to make the cut during knee-replacement surgery.

“Rebsamen is fortunate to be one of the few centers in Arkansas, in fact the United States, to already utilize the Depuy Orthopedic System,” James said. Last June, Rebsamen again expanded its services for Lonoke County residents with the opening of the 13,000-square-foot addition to the Cabot Medical Park, which included Cabot Imaging Center, Cabot Physical Rehabilitation and Cabot Medical Park Pharmacy.

Rebsamen also features 24-hour emergency-room services (which last year saw more than 20,000 patients); intensive care and coronary care units, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services, geriatric psychiatric services, outpatient psychiatric counseling, women’s health services including obstetrics, a sleep disorder clinic, home health services and a state-of-the art wound healing center.

The education center offers diabetes and Alzheimer support groups, addiction and recovery support and programs for families expecting a baby. Rebsamen also has a state-licensed childcare center for employees and members of the community. This is one of a series of stories on access to medical care.

TOP STORY >>It’s official: Cabot has increased to 22,092

Leader staff writer

Although they weren’t expected back until late February or early March, the numbers are in from Cabot’s Special Census conducted at the end of 2006 and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Cabot’s population now stands at 22,092. That is an increase of almost 45 percent from the 2000 Census population of 15,261. Cabot’s housing unit count increased from 5,730 in 2000 to 8,735 in 2006.

Cabot will receive additional turnback money for each of the 6,831 residents who have moved in since the 2000 census. At $60 per capita (person), the increase in state turnback will be $409,860. Karen Davis, director of operations, said the state has also received the official figures and Cabot therefore should start seeing the turnback money sometime in February. Of the additional turnback money, $300,564 will go to the street fund to be used in the street department as required by state law. The remainder, $109,296 a year, will go to the general fund to pay expenses such as salaries for city hall staff, and to help run police, fire and parks.

According Davis, the city will receive a detailed tabulation of the data collected from the special census in the next few weeks. The detailed tabulation will break down the information into age, gender, relationships within households, race and Hispanic origin, and whether the residents own or rent their home.

Also still to come is the final account figures, how much the city owes for conducting a special census. Davis said that will be in within 90 days. The Census Bureau quoted a price of $276,546 to the city for conducting a special census based on the population estimate of 19,600. Because the final population count is higher than estimated, the city will have to pay an additional $34,888 because the cost is based on the count at about $14 per person. The census cost the city $165,500 which was paid to the U.S. Census Bureau in July plus the salaries of the census workers. The city had to set aside $110,996 from the general fund to pay the workers.

TOP STORY >>Base improves its health care

By Sr. Airman TIM BAZAR
314th Airlift Wing

Little Rock Air Force Base officials unveiled phase two of the 314th Medical Group’s multi-million renovation project last week, when several new offices opened. The $3.7 million renovation project focused on updating the women’s health, family practice, pediatric, immunization and physical health assessment clinics, and building a new records-storage area, check-in desk and appointment desk.

The immunization and women’s health clinics opened this week. Officials are excited about the facility’s new look and features. “The modernization allowed us to redesign the layout of many sections to better take care of our patients,” said 2nd Lt. Christy Snow, 314th Medical Group. “The co-location of the main reception desk with the records and appointment line will allow for better response times and more efficient use of manpower.”

Another major improvement comes from combining the two family-practice areas into one office, said Snow. Before the renovation, one office was located on the first floor near the pharmacy; the other was on the second floor near life skills. Now, both are together. “We hope these changes will make patients’ visits to the clinic a more comfortable experience,” said the lieutenant. More than $385,000 was spent on new furniture for the areas, and thousands were spent on new examination tables in the family practice and pediatric clinics.

In mid-June or early July, officials plan to begin remodeling the dental clinic. “Not to worry,” said Snow, “will still see patients.” “Overall, the renovations have updated the functionality and look of the clinic,” said Lt. Col. John Powers, 314th Medical Support Squadron commander. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during the renovations and we look forward to serving the military family from our new, state-of-the-art clinic,” Powers said.

TOP STORY >>Bancroft restarts its beret machines

Leader editor

Bancroft Cap Co. in Cabot turned on its sewing machines Tuesday as it resumed production of hundreds of thousands of berets it plans to deliver to the military this year, although a U.S. plant owned by a Canadian competitor finished its half of the huge contract last fall.

A shipment of wool arrived in Cabot yesterday from a new supplier in Wisconsin after Bancroft dropped a company that may have used foreign wool in violation of U.S. law, which does not allow the use of non-domestic materials in military berets.
The Defense Department wants Bancroft, which declared bankruptcy earlier this month, to return $2.9 million the military paid for some 340,000 berets that allegedly contained foreign wool.

Barry Goldman, Bancroft’s president, said he hopes to complete this year the final phase of his military contract calling for 360,000 more berets. (The Leader on Saturday incorrectly reported that number as 36,000.) Although Goldman claims Bancroft is the only U.S.-owned manufacturer of military berets, a Canadian firm with a subsidiary in Glade Springs, Va., split the multimillion dollar contract with Bancroft for some four million berets.

Beryl Borsook, whose family owns Dorothea Knitting Mills in Toronto, said Tuesday his U.S. subsidiary shipped the last of nearly two million berets last fall. “We have completed the contract and passed an audit,” Borsook said, explaining the military has accepted his company’s certification of the berets as 100 percent American in content and U.S. made.
“We’re in compliance with the Berry Amendment,” Borsook said, referring to the 65-year-old U.S. law requiring military uniforms and caps be all-American in content and manufacture.

The Defense Department, which paid Bancroft some $2.9 million for the disputed berets, is demanding repayment because of the alleged violation of the Berry Amendment. Dorothea Knitting has been in business since 1926 and has been in the U.S. since 1932, Borsook said. With the completion of the contract for the berets, the U.S. plant is now shut down, but it will reopen if he gets another contract for more military berets, Borsook said.

He said his company has been a proud supplier to the U.S. military for a long time. “We equipped the Green Berets during the Vietnam War,” Borsook said. Bancroft filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 16 and will amend its filing to show it has about $4 million in debts, which includes the $2.9 million the military wants returned.

Bancroft is calling back 25 workers — down from more than 100 a decade ago, Goldman said. It opened in Cabot in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam War. Before that, Bancroft leased a warehouse at Little Rock Air Force Base, Goldman said.
Bancroft will use Crescent Woolen of Wisconsin for materials to make the berets, instead of the previous supplier, R.M. Ott of Boston.

If Ott used imported wool, it was without his knowledge, Goldman insists. He blames much of Bancroft’s problems on the military, which ordered more berets than it needs. The Leader reported this month that the military has a year’s supply of berets. Including Bancroft’s disputed 340,000 berets, plus the 360,000 he intends to produce this year, Goldman thinks the military may have four years of berets in its warehouses.

He said despite a for-lease sign in front of the plant on Hwy. 367, he had no intention of shutting down but only to lease part of the building while his business was in a slump. Speculation that Bancroft had shut down was fueled by an absence of workers at the plant in December. “We always close for Christmas and New Year’s holidays,” Goldman said.

TOP STORY >>Two airmen receive medals

Leader staff writer

Two recently deployed airmen from the 314th Civil Engineer Squadron were honored in a ceremony at Little Rock Air Force Base on Tuesday for injuries received while in Iraq. SSgt. Matthew Patnaude, who has been deployed to Iraq three times, received his second Purple Heart, and SSgt. Lawrence Lipinski, who has been deployed there once, was awarded the Bronze Star. Both airmen are explosive disposal specialists who were deployed with the 101st Airborne in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander of the 314th Airlift Wing, presented the awards, saying the two airmen showed “dedication and sacrifice to meet their objective under the worst of circumstances.” “What makes them special is that they continue to go forward,” Self said. “It’s never for flag, it’s never for country, but for the guy next to you. The first concern is to never let the person next to you down,” Self said as he described heroism as “being a teammate.”

During the presentation of Patnaude’s Purple Heart with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Self said it was in “small recognition of all he sacrificed for us.” Patnaude’s reply was “I did my job.” Patnaude, a New York native deployed from last July to Dec. 27, was shot by a sniper the day after his 24th birthday – and two days after Christmas – while diffusing a roadside bomb on a main supply route outside Kirkuk Air Base. Of his three deployments, Patnaude has returned with two Purple Hearts. On his second deployment, he sustained hearing damage from an improvised explosive devise (IED).

“It’s not something I wanted or planned on, it’s just part of my job and what I signed up for,” Patnaude said. “I was able to take one for the team and walk away from it.” Bronze Star recipient Lipinski, a 25-year-old-native of Michigan, disarmed more than 60 IEDs on 170 combat missions on his deployment to Kirkuk from last Feb. 21 to Aug. 16. On one of Lipinski’s missions, his team’s vehicle suffered a direct hit by a roadside bomb.

“Being blown up is like being caught in a large wave in the ocean,” Lipinski said. “You have no control of your body. When it’s all done, you hope everything is still attached.” Lipinski is hard of hearing in his left ear because of the explosion. Married almost two years, Lipinski said his wife, Melissa, handled the stress “surprisingly well.”

“It feels really good to be recognized, but I’m hesitant for the recognition because others that were injured were not as recognized and we did the same job,” Lipinski said. Lipinski said he will most likely have to return to Iraq, but he is not nervous, just hesitant to go back again. Both Patnaude and Lipinski continue to recover, performing limited duties.

TOP STORY >>Elation over new base school

Leader staff writer

Local leaders, including the commander of Little Rock Air Force Base and the mayor of Jacksonville, have greeted word of a proposed new elementary school on the base as great news. Pulaski County Special School District is analyzing for Brig. Gen. Kip Self, Little Rock Air Force Base commander, the type, size and cost of a new school to replace Arnold Drive Elementary on the base, according to Craig Douglass, district spokesman.

District administrators signaled their intent to build a $15 million replacement last week when it appeared for the first time on the state-mandated school facilities master plan. That plan, which must be submitted to the state by Feb. 1, calls for construction of the new school during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school and fiscal years. Self has said the aging school, located on the base, should be replaced and has suggested that a new school could accommodate students from both Arnold Drive and Tolleson elementary schools.

“Currently Arnold Drive has 245 military-family students, and Tolleson Elementary has 158 military-family students out of 266,” according to the general. He noted that by 2010, 1,200 new and refurbished homes would have been constructed on base, increasing student enrollment at both schools. Snyder said Arnold Drive Elementary was “a very substandard school building that was built years ago to be only temporary. At any given time, 25 percent of these kids have parents assigned overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan. We owe these parents and kids a better facility.”

Carmie Henry, president of the LRAFB Community Council, said the building was 50 years old, leaked like a sieve, was too small and badly located. Douglass said that growth projected for north Pulaski County and on the base were among considerations in moving the project to the head of the list. “We understand that the base and the Department of Defense have identified air base property outside the fence they would be willing to donate for the construction of the school,” Douglass said Tuesday. Confirmation that a new school will be built is good news, according to Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim.

“Every wing commander since I’ve been mayor has asked (for a new school),” said Swaim, who has held his job for 20 years. “This is not a new issue.” He credited Self with making a new school a top priority. He said there had been a number of meetings and discussions concerning the condition of Arnold Drive Elementary at LRAFB Community Council meetings.
Swaim said he and a contingent from the base had met with Superintendent James Sharpe about the issue, and earlier this winter, both Snyder and Senator Blanche Lincoln toured the old school.

Among the many factors the district had to consider, the Defense Department can’t pay for a public school, and Arnold Drive Elementary, bad as it is, is not the worst in the school district or Jacksonville-area schools. Sharpe had told Rotarians last month that a new Jacksonville Middle School was a high priority and the district, currently in fiscal distress, has committed such capital improvement funds as it has to building a new Chenal elementary school, Oak Grove High School and Sylvan Hills Middle School.

The $13 million Chenal Elementary School already is in the $2 million design stage, with construction due next school year and occupancy for the 2008-2009 school year. A new $25 million Sylvan Hills Middle School will be funded for $2 million worth of design work next school year, with construction through 2010-2011 and occupancy in 2011-2012. The new $40 million Oak Grove high school is on the same schedule and is slated for $4 million worth of design work.