Wednesday, March 28, 2007

SPORTS>>Jacksonville falls to Van Buren, Greenland

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville’s season has become a one of missed opportunities and close losses. Friday and Saturday were no exceptions for the Red Devils, as they lost Friday to Van Buren 4-3, and dropped a Saturday contest on the road to Greenland 5-4.
The Devils built a 3-0 lead against Van Buren in the top of the first inning, and held the Pointers scoreless until the final frame, when four runs for Van Buren stole the win away from Jacksonville. Saturday’s game with Greenland had a similar outcome, with the Pirates scoring three runs in the final inning to break a 4-2 deficit for the win.

“We’re playing hard enough to stay in the game,” Jacksonville coach Larry Burrows said. “But not hard enough to finish it off. Some days we give up walks, some days we have errors, but we could cure all of that by getting hits and bringing in scores.”
Jacksonville cashed in on its opportunities in the first inning against Van Buren, scoring all three runs in the frame. Blake Mattison and Adam Ussery both received free trips to first to start the game, and Cameron Hood scored them both on an RBI double. Zack Thomas advanced Hood to third on a SAC pop-up, and Caleb Mitchell singled to drive in Hood for the third run of the inning.

The Red Devils had an opportunity to increase their lead in the top of the third inning when Jason Regnas led off with a triple, but the next three Jacksonville batters struck out, leaving Regnas stranded at third.

Jacksonville’s defense had been solid throughout the game, holding Van Buren to only two hits through the first six innings. But a Pointers’ rally in the bottom of the seventh changed the entire course of the game. Van Buren came away with three hits off of relief pitcher Jordan Payer, who relieved starter Regnas after five innings. The Pointers also cashed in on a walk from Payer and a fielding error by the Red Devils to score the four runs necessary to take the win.

Ussery and Hood both finished the game with two hits for the Red Devils, but it would not be enough. Payer took the loss at the mound after the late rally from Van Buren.

Saturday’s game against Greenland was also closely contested, with the Pirates taking an early 2-0 lead in the first inning before a score for Jacksonville in the top of the third inning and two more in the sixth inning allowed the Devils to take a 3-2 lead heading into the final inning.

Jacksonville added one more run in the seventh, but Greenland took advantage of fatigue from starting Red Devils pitcher Mike Harmon. The sophomore rightey threw solid for the first six innings, but had to be relieved in the final inning. The Pirates didn’t let fresh pitching slow them down, rallying for three runs to overtake the Devils.

“We’re kind of snake-bit right now,” Burrows said. “We had five line drive hits (against Greenland) that were caught that could have been hits. We’ve made a few mistakes, but not swinging the bat has been a big part of it. We have to play tougher and compete harder if we don’t want to keep on giving up these one run and two run losses.”

The two losses moves Jacksonville’s record to 5-8 overall on the season, while the conference record remains at 1-3. The Red Devils played Jonesboro on the road in a pair of 6A-East games last night after Leader deadlines.

SPORTS>>Beebe ladies keep winning

Leader sportswriter

The amazing season for the Beebe Lady Badgers continued on Friday with a conference doubleheader sweep over Greene County Tech. The Lady Badgers handled their hosts rather easily in both contests, taking the win in game one 8-1 before shutting out the Lady Eagles in game two 4-0.

Ace pitcher Callie Mahoney had her typical day at the mound, striking out 14 batters in the opener while only allowing four hits. Ashley Watkins allowed even less when she threw in the second game, giving up only one hit while striking out nine batters.

The Lady Badgers have played like a machine in the first weeks of the conference season, giving up one error in six league games. Beebe coach Terry Flenor has zero complaints about his powerhouse team and their performance through the first half of the season.

“We’ve been really fortunate,” Flenor said. “They have made every play they should make. We’ve given up a few hits, but most of them have been little drippers that you really can’t make a play on. They have had good concentration; there haven’t been a lot of mistakes. They have done a good job of making the play when they need to.”

The Lady Badgers jumped out to the lead in the opening inning of game one and never looked back. Brandi Burkhalter started things off in the top of the first with a single, and was driven in two batters later when Chelsea Sanders knocked one out of the park for a two-run home run. It was Sanders’ second homer of the year.

Ashley Watkins set up the lone score in the second inning when she walked. Watkins crossed the plate moments later when Micah Cox doubled.

Sanders produced her second score in the top of the third after a GCT home run in the bottom of the second made the score 3-1. Sanders led off with a double to start the third, and was driven in on an RBI single from Sara Flenor. The fourth and fifth innings did not produce a score for Beebe, but business picked back up in the top of the sixth inning. Watkins walked to lead off, and was advanced on a SAC bunt by Bailey Thomas. Emily Bass followed that with a double to score Watkins, making the score 6-1.

The Lady Badgers had the game within hand in the final inning, but added two more scores for insurance. Mahoney singled to lead off, and followed by a base hit from Flenor. Watkins got the final hit of the game with a single that scored both Mahoney and Flenor to set the final margin.

The offensive highlights in the nightcap were not quite as rampant as in the first game, but it didn’t stop Beebe from controlling the game from start to end. Thomas set up the first score in the second inning with a triple, and was scored on a single from Bass. Watkins drove in Mahoney in the fourth inning for the second run, and Thomas sent in the final two scores off a single in the fourth inning.

Although the Lady Badgers have looked flawless through the first few weeks of conference play, Flenor says the remaining games will not be a cake walk by any means.

“We feel like all the conference games are going to be tough,” Flenor said. “We have Wynne next Tuesday, and those games will go a long way in helping determine who has the lead through the first half.”

The Lady Badgers are now 11-1 overall and 6-0 in the 5A-East. They will play at the Van Buren tournament over the weekend, and will return to conference play Tuesday on the road against Wynne, who is also undefeated in East play.

SPORTS>>Bears take home pair of wins

Leader sportswriter

The long trip to West Memphis did little to stop Sylvan Hills’ momentum in 6A-East Conference play. The Bears swept the Blue Devils 11-7 and 4-3 Monday night in a league double- header in West Memphis.

Four different players took to the mound in the two games for Sylvan Hills, with Ace Tony Pavan taking the win in the opener and Ross Bogard taking the win in the nightcap.

The hits were not limitless for the Bears during the course of the evening, but a number of multi-base smacks allowed them to keep enough offensive momentum going to thwart any hopes of producing a big comeback for West Memphis.

“We had a good pitching performance from all of the guys that threw,” Sylvan Hills coach Denny Tipton said. “We could have swung the bat better; we still have yet to put a complete game together with good batting and good defense, but we are very pleased to come out with two wins on the road.”

Mark Turpin put up the first two scores of the evening in the top of the first inning in game one with a two-run home run. Turpin finished the game as the big hitter for Sylvan Hills with three hits.

With the game well in hand for the Bears in the bottom of the fourth with 6-2 lead, Pavan stepped aside from the mound to allow Blaine Sims to throw the final four innings. Sims did not allow a score through his first three innings, but a five-run rally from the Blue Devils in the bottom of the seventh erased his solid stats.

Taylor Roark came close to matching Turpin at the plate, finishing 2 for 3 for the first game’s other strong offensive performance.

Game two proved to be much tighter, with both teams deadlocked at one run apiece until a three-run frame for the Bears in the top of the fourth inning. West Memphis answered for two of those runs in the fifth inning, but it would be as close as they would come.

Blake Evans threw the first three innings of the game before giving way to Bogard, who would earn the win for the Bears.
Hunter Miller set up the first score of the game with a double in the top of the first inning. Mark Turpin then sent him in with a double of his own with two outs that put Sylvan Hills out front 1-0. The Blue Devils tied things in the bottom of the second with a run, and the contest would stay that way until the top of the fourth.

Taylor Roark and Miller led offensively for Sylvan Hills in the game, going 2 for 3 from the plate. The two wins improve the Bears’ record to 12-5 overall and 5-1 in the 6A-East Conference.

Sylvan Hills will take place in the Conway baseball tournament this weekend. Tournament play will begin on Friday with a game against Olive Branch, Miss., followed by a Saturday game with Fort Smith Southside and host Conway on Sunday. The Bears will return to East action Tuesday with doubleheader at home against Mountain Home.

TOP STORY >>Self gets advanced mobility command

Leader staff writer

Brig. Gen. Kip Self, commander of Little Rock Air Force Base, who’s leaving Jacksonville in June for a new command in New Jersey, is succeding a general who himself was a commander at LRAFB.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley announced Self will become commander of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Air Mobility Command, at Fort Dix, N.J., an Army installation adjacent to McGuire Air Force Base, that is an advanced training facility for mobility units.

Self’s successor has not been announced yet. Self will replace Maj. Gen. David S. Gray, commander of the 463rd Airlift Group from April 1997 until July 1998, who has been reassigned to the Pentagon. Gray will become director of global reach programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

As the next commander of the Expeditionary Center, known as the Air Mobility Warfare Center until earlier this month when it was renamed, Self will continue to have a hand in the education and training of personnel.

The center is Air Mobility Command’s single focal point for the advanced education and training of mobility forces and expeditionary training. The center’s schools, directorates, detachments and operating locations work together to achieve one major goal – keeping mobility forces ready, at a moment’s notice, to deploy anywhere in the world.

The center also teaches thousands of airmen about landing in hostile areas, setting up bases almost overnight and making sure airmen are well supplied.

Gray returned to LRAFB in November to show off his center’s new technology – the joint precision-aerial delivery systems (JPADS) and improved container-delivery systems (ICDS). “We’re like a university,” Gray explained during his visit. “We teach 13,000 students a year. We offer a full-spectrum of courses, including a master’s degree.”

Students learn about air mobility, logistics and supply, and how to establish an air base from scratch. The expeditionary center teaches students “how to deploy and employ forces.” “We help a wing commander run his base anywhere in the world,” Gray said. Self is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, earning a bachelor of science in psychology and management. He has held a variety of flying assignments as a helicopter and C-141 instructor pilot.

Self is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in UH-1, T-38, C-17, C-130 and C-141B aircraft. His staff assignments include political-military planner on the Joint Staff, and country director in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has commanded the 16th Airlift Squadron at Charleston AFB in South Carolina, and the 621st Air Mobility Operations Group at McGuire AFB.

Gen. Self served as special operations mission commander in support for Operation Joint Endeavor, and he deployed as director of mobility forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was commander of Expeditionary Air Forces in Southwest Asia. Prior to assuming command at Jacksonville in September of 2005, relieving Brig. Gen. Joseph M. Reheiser, Self was deputy director of operations at Headquarters AMC at Scott AFB in Illinois.

Reheiser left LRAFB to be vice-commander of the 5th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces at Yokota Air Base, Japan. He has also received a new assignment, commander of the Air Force Security Assistance Center, Air Force Materiel Command, at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

TOP STORY >>Governor entrusts top bills to Glover

Leader senior staff reporter

Gov. Mike Beebe entrusted the fate of two of his most important pieces of legislation to state Sen. Bobby Glo-ver, D-Carlisle, and as the end of the biennial session draws near, Glover did not disappoint his old friend.

“What I’m most proud of was taking the sales tax off food,” said Glover, the Carlisle Democrat who handled the bill for Beebe. It will leave about $135 million in the pockets of Arkansans.

Glover also sponsored a bill that would let Arkansans vote whether or not to issue $575 million in highway bonds for the repair and construction of the interstate highway system.


If voters approve that legislation, the state Highway Department won’t have to raid moneys intended to resurface the secondary road system—state Highway Department roads that aren’t interstates.

In all, the state legislature gave taxpayers a $200-million-a-year tax break. Various tax breaks take a lot of people off the state income tax rolls and help farmers by changing off-road diesel tax from a percentage of price to a flat amount per gallon.

“We’ve increased the real estate homestead exemption from $300 per year to $350,” Glover said.

Of the proposed $575 million bond issue—which won’t increase annual taxes—Glover said there wasn’t much opposition to the bill, which includes a sunset clause. He said not only the governor, but truckers and the highway commission all favored the bill. He said the proposal would probably be on the 2008 general election ballot if the House passes it.

Glover said state minimum foundation aid, including money for pre-kindergarten, would be increased $70 million the first year and $38 million the second.

The General Assembly put $450 million in “surplus” funds into the public education facilities fund.


Glover said he approved of the governor’s plan for a $100 million emergency fund, an additional $70 million for the highway department to resurface roads, money for higher education, the state Correction Department and the Department of Human Services.

In place of the old General Improvement Fund Structure, ruled illegal by the state Supreme Court, legislators voted to turn $15 million back to the counties and another $15 million to the cities. Glover said he was hoping that Lonoke County would get about $266,000 out of that to finish work on the new courthouse annex, formerly the old John Deere dealership.
“In the past we directed the money to local communities. (This) should pass muster with the state Supreme Court,” Glover added.

He said Pulaski County would get $929,000 and Jacksonville $265,000.


“I sponsored an Arkansas Connection broadband bill,” said state Sen. John Paul Capps, D-Searcy. The bill would bring together behind closed doors, broadband Internet providers and various experts, said Capps, aimed at finding the dead spots in broadband coverage.

“We won’t develop the state as we should in the areas of health, industry, education and general economic development until we’re able for all areas to access high quality, affordable broadband.”

Capps said the initiative is based on Kentucky Connection. Kentucky has seen more than $500 million invested in infrastructure in the wake of its program.

“It will be the genesis of an organized effort where we will have providers talking to each other. It’s a very important bill, even though it doesn’t have a lot of funding,” he said.

Capps, a former radio station owner who understands the advantages of the technology, said that currently Arkansas is 47th of the 50 states in the deployment of high speed broadband.

Capps said he also worked on some bills for the state revenue department and handled some of state Rep. Will Bond’s school desegregation bills.


“I’ve been involved in making sure we get the $100 million for the state Highway and Transportation Department,” said Capps.

He said that should be enough to resurface about 300 or 350 miles of road—not a huge amount, but a good start. “I think it (the General Assembly) has worked better than in (recent) sessions,” said Capps. “There’s been more civility, better legislation,” he said, “Of course, it didn’t hurt that we had nearly a billion in surplus.”

State Rep. Sandra Prater, D-Jacksonville, led the way for the state’s first ever Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force, which the governor has signed into law.

She also sponsored a bill, backed by the trucking industry, that keeps truckers who failed drug tests for one employer from applying for a job with another. Basically, it’s a clearinghouse with access to a database of commercial drivers who failed drug tests.

“It’s passed the House 99-0,” she said and it’s in the Senate Transportation Committee now, with no apparent opposition.


“We hope there will be fewer impaired commercial drivers on the road,” Prater said. It also helps direct drivers toward substance- abuse programs. In addition to truck drivers, it would also include school bus drivers.

Prater has a bill that just cleared the House and is in the Senate that would require operators of private sewer systems, like those sometimes created for trailer parks or subdivisions in unincorporated areas, to financially assure the operation of those systems for five years.


Another bill requires that seniors in need of care be advised about the services available to them, ranging from nursing homes to skilled nursing or home care.

“That should be on the governor’s desk,” she said.

Prater also is trying to find the money and pass legislation requiring all schools to have at least one automatic defibrillator.
Another good safety idea, but one without sufficient funding, would hire an additional five fire marshals, especially to inspect local schools twice a year, as mandated by law.

She said it would cost $300,000 a year to add six fire marshals to the state budget.


State Rep. Will Bond, who recently passed legislation through both the House, and with the help of John Paul Capps, through the Senate aimed at winding down an 18-year-old Pulaski County school desegregation consent decree, is working on a companion bill and a funding source, he said Monday.

Bond’s second bill, at the request of the state Attorney General’s Office, would allow for some additional reporting from the districts on their unitary status.

“That might allow the Department of Education to understand what kind of progress the districts are making,” he said.
Bond will also attach $1 million to the education department budget to pay consultants and lawyers to work toward dissolving or amending the decree.


The bill already passed would allow for an additional school district in Pulaski County, presumably a Jacksonville school district.

It also guarantees the continued existence of the Pulaski County Special School District should Jacksonville break off from it.
Bond said that recognizing that the districts had achieved or nearly achieved unitary status could save the state about $60 million a year in special funding to the three current districts. Over time, Bond estimates, the state has spent about $700 million on its desegregation efforts.

Bond said he was disappointed that Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s lottery bill to fund scholarships and vocational technical education had been pretty well scuttled in the Senate Education Committee by the religious Family Life Council, which objected to the lottery as gambling.


Unless there is an unanticipated special session, this is the end of Bond’s career in the House, term limited out. “People say the term limits are six years,” said Bond, “but they are really four years and 90 days,” and if you just count the time the House is in session, representatives serve just about 270 days over those six years.

“It affects the ability to effectively and efficiently spend tax-payers’ money,” Bond said. He said it needs to be addressed.
He said it leaves people with less than one year’s real service in charge of a $15 billion budget. “I’m term limited at age 37,” said Bond—who has not ruled out a run later for the state Senate.


State Representative Susan Schulte, R-Cabot, said she’s proud of the gains the General Assembly made in education.
“It’s good to see facilities addressed,” she said. “Our children are ranking better.” Schulte also liked the tax reductions made on the grocery tax and other taxes.

She ap-proves of the additional turn-back money apparently headed to counties and cities throughout the state.
“I like being able to still take care of libraries and fire departments,” she said.


State Representative Jeff Wood, D-Sherwood, said he’s most proud of the work he did with Prater. House Bill 1184, now Act 160, was implemented in order to raise the state income tax exemption for military officers from $6,000 to $9,000.

“We weren’t able to get it in last session for the officers but we got the enlisted,” Wood said. “It was a hard fight this session with all the other cuts but I’m proud we got it equalized with the enlisted folks.”

Wood served as chairman of the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committee and was the Second District caucas chair.

“The thing I am most looking forward to is getting back into a normal routine,” Wood says. “Just being back home with my wife more.”


Asked what actions he was proud of, State Representative Lenville Evans, D-Lonoke, said, “I’m going to have to think about that for a while. We’ve worked very well together this time. Speaker Petrus has done an outstanding job. The end of the session is going to get a little tense on the GIF money.”

A proposed constitutional amendment would allow voters to decide whether the legislature should meet every year rather than every other year.

TOP STORY >>Sherwood council allows mayor to hire consultant

Leader staff writer

The sellers of the North Hills Country Club have told Alderman Becki Vassar that they plan to turn off the water May 1.
Al Harkin, with Arkansas National Bank, has told Linda Nickle, from the city’s economic development office that the sale of the golf course will close April 14.

Attorney Tim Grooms, who specializes in land acquisitions for cities, has suggested condemning the property. Bob Franks, a former president of the country club, told the community that a management company could be contracted to run the course for the city.

Mayor Stedman wants to be careful and not throw the city’s money down a black hole. And the buyers, who want to turn the golf course into a gated community of high-end homes, have not been heard from. All this, brought out at a 90-minute meeting Monday afternoon of the city committee looking at the possibility of Sherwood either buying or running the golf course, prompted the members to bring a resolution to the city council meeting Monday night.

The resolution, which the council readily accepted, allows the mayor to sign with a company to do a feasibility study and to take prudent emergency action if the water is turned off at the golf course.

“Once that water is turned off, the golf course is gone,” Vassar told committee members Monday afternoon. According to City Attorney Steve Cobbs, because the feasibility study comes under the heading of professional services, it does not have to go out for bid.

More than likely, the mayor will enter into a contract with Castin and Associates in Little Rock. That firm did a feasibility study for the city in 1997, and John Castin was at the committee meeting. He said a feasibility study would run anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on who did the study and how thorough it is. He also said a study usually takes 45 to 60 days.

Castin said his firm could do the study for about $10,000 to $12,000 and have it ready within 45 days. Alderman Ken Rankin said, “If the city were to somehow take over the golf course, it would also inherit another swimming pool, tennis courts, and a club house which could be used for more formal events.”

The supposed buyers plan to build $300,000 to $400,000 homes atop the golf course, but no one in the city has seen any plans or been approached about infrastructure. City Engineer Mike Clayton said the sewer collection system in the area was not designed for heavy residential use and would have to be rebuilt. Grooms agreed that the land would be tough to develop because of traffic and road concerns.

“You’d have to go through the state to open up a new road onto Highway 107 and I doubt they would allow it, and any of the current secondary roads would have to be widened at least, all at the cost of the developer,” Grooms explained. Grooms said the city had two options if they decide on condemnation.

One is a quick-turn condemnation in which the city would immediately take over the property. This would prevent the golf course from deteriorating from lack of water, but could be costly to the city. Once the property is condemned, Grooms explained, a judge decides its fair market value and that’s what the city would pay for the property.

But the city will have to deposit that amount or close to it into a holding fund until the case is decided. “Chances are that the city doesn’t have that kind of money readily available,” Grooms said. A second method, Grooms said, was to pass a moratorium on development, including building permits and rezoning, for a reasonable period of time.

“This is a slow-burn method,” Grooms explained, “and gives the city time to see what is its best option.” Vassar predicted a hostile response from the seller if the city went through with a moratorium. Castin told the committee that there were two major questions the city needed to answer: Is there a demand for the golf course and what is the practicality of operating a golf course?

He added that overall, golfing is on a downslide. Castin said the participation rate nationally is about 13.5 percent, but it drops to about seven percent in Arkansas.“But we have pockets that are much higher,” he said. Hot Springs Village, a community of about 14,000, has 11 golf courses. “That seems to be all they do there,” Castin said, adding that Glenwood, a city of about 3,500, has one of the best courses in the state.

“Golfers will go a great distance to play a quality course, but won’t cross the street to play a poor course,” Castin said.
Franks said the North Hills course was redesigned in the seventies by golf architect great Trent Jones. “He wanted a course in every state before he died and that’s how we got him,” Franks said. Castin said that North Hills would make an excellent municipal course.

“But I don’t know if it’ll make any money,” he added even though his 1997 study suggested a golf course would be a moneymaker for the city. The study concluded “that sufficient public golf-market support now exists and is likely to increase to fully justify the construction of an 18-hole regulation length public golf course facility in the city of Sherwood.”

The study said by 2010 there would be close to 11,000 golfers in the area generating a demand for more than 250,000 annual rounds of golf.

Castin predicted a Sherwood course would handle about 28,000 rounds of golf during its first year and increase to 45,600 rounds by its fifth year of operation. At that time, the city was looking at building the course on land near Sherwood Forest. The study predicted it would cost between $1.6 and $4.5 million to build the course, another $425,000 to $950,000 for building and equipment maintenance, and $200,000 to $500,000 in annual maintenance.

TOP STORY >>Phone records trace conspiracy

Leader staff writer

Deputy Prosecutor Noreen Smith painstakingly led the custodians of records from Alltel, AT&T landlines and Cingular telephone companies through long lists of call records from early September 2004 on Tuesday, in preparation for pressing the case that former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and two bail bondsmen conspired to manufacture methamphetamine.

Campbell, Bobby Junior Cox and Larry Norwood are the three charged in the conspiracy, although Norwood is being tried separately.

Campbell, his wife Kelly Harrison Campbell and Cox are being tried together in Cabot as the participants in a continuing criminal enterprise.

The former chief is charged as the kingpin. The Campbells are charged with about 70 counts of burglary, theft of property and drug counts and Kelly Campbell is charged with providing Act 309 inmates with contraband including drugs, alcohol and sex.
There was no testimony Tuesday morning after Special Circuit Judge John Cole upheld a motion by Cox’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, that certain witnesses against Cox could not be called until there had been some testimony pertaining to the meth manufacturing conspiracy count with which he is charged.

Known as Act 404B witnesses, the prosecution intended their testimony to point to Cox’s motive or intent to commit the conspiracy before presenting any evidence of the alleged conspiracy. Also Tuesday, Walls McCrary, former owner of McCrary’s clothing store, testified that $500 he had left on his office desk in preparation for deposit disappeared and that to his knowledge, only Kelly Campbell could have taken it.

Monday, Lonoke Police De-tective David Huggs testified that he has signed receipts for about $2,000 supposedly paid to one of Campbell’s informants—a man who said he only received about $300.

Huggs told prosecutors that officers usually signed receipts for the money they paid their own informants, but that Campbell asked him (Huggs) to sign them.

Other police-related thefts with which Campbell is charged include about $15,000 that one drug dealer said was taken from him and disappeared and about $3,500 from another.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >> You cannot judge a book

The cover of Elizabeth Jacoway’s book on the Central High School integration crisis reproduces one of the most famous photos of the civil rights era. Taken by Arkansas Democrat photographer Will Counts (who should have won the Pulitzer Prize, along with the Gazette’s Pulitzers that were awarded for news coverage and editorial writing), it shows Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, surrounded by angry whites outside the school, including a white teenager named Hazel Bryan screaming at the black student as if she’d been caught trespassing at a private club rather than a publicly funded high school.

“Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, The Crisis That Shocked the Nation” (Free Press, $30) has a striking cover, with red and gold on the bottom and the black-and-white photo on top, but the awkwardly titled book is not what it seems. “Turn Away Thy Son” — the title is taken from a passage in Deuteronomy warning against intermarriage (miscegenation is one of the author’s themes) — appears at first to be a sympathetic account of the Little Rock Nine, which it is in parts, but the book takes a strange turn when it paints two of the heroes of those terrible times — President Eisenhower and Gazette editor Harry Ashmore — as no better than Gov. Faubus (whose opportunism looks even worse 50 years later) or the rabble-rouser Jim Johnson or cretinous racists like Wesley Pruden and Amis Guthridge.

When an historian goes after two 20th Century giants — Eisenhower, a great military leader and a near-great president whom she criticizes for “reverting to a military mentality” when he sent the troops into Little Rock, and Ashmore, a brilliant editor whose courageous editorials did much to restore Arkansas’ reputation around the country and the world, but whom she dismisses as an elitist — then she’d better have the facts on her side if she hopes to persuade readers that she has uncovered new information that would change history’s judgment about the crisis and these men.

Although she has dug into Justice Department and other official archives and interviewed many of the participants, her attempts at revisionist history leave you shaking your head: Why try to paint a more balanced picture of Faubus, when there’s overwhelming evidence that he was an opportunist and a demagogue?

Eisenhower and Ashmore had him figured out quickly — Ashmore as soon as his former friend jumped over to the segregationist side as the crisis unfolded, Eisenhower after his meeting with Faubus in Newport, R.I., when Faubus retreated from his promise to obey the court orders and integrate Central.

Jacoway thinks Ashmore conspired with Faubus’ left-leaning opponents — his publisher Hugh Patterson, Henry Woods, Sid McMath, and other liberal suspects — and blamed the crisis on the governor, when there was plenty of blame to go around. Well, sure, the usual bad guys make their entrance — racist preachers, spineless legislators, hysterical parents, frightened businessmen —and then the Women’s Emergency Committee to Save Our Schools was formed and helped reopen the schools.

But until reason prevailed, Harry Ashmore and the Gazette stood up for the rule of law and decency. His editorials have stood the test of time, even if Jacoway doesn’t think much of them. “The Crisis Mr. Faubus Made” is probably the best editorial ever published in an Arkansas newspaper: “Thus the issue is no longer segregation and integration. The question has now become the supremacy of the government of the United States in all matters of law.”

The Arkansas Democrat, the Gazette’s rival, was openly segregationist and taunted the Gazette for its integrationist stand. (The great newspaper war started 20 years before John Robert Starr became the Democrat’s editor. The Democrat did not think it was news when the Gazette won its two Pulitzers.)

Jacoway thinks law-enforcement agencies had information about groups planning violence if the Little Rock Nine entered Central, but every responsible person watching the crisis knew that was just an excuse for Faubus to close the school. No serious historian can accept Faubus’ discredited version of the crisis, and Jacoway’s sympathies cloud the entire book.
Arkansas was not like Mississippi and other Deep South states, where blacks were murdered during the years of the civil rights movement. NAACP President and Little Rock Nine mentor Daisy Bates’ windows were broken and death threats were made. Thugs had descended on Little Rock and a couple of crude bombs went off that hurt no one, but Faubus played up the risk of violence, which Jacoway thinks was real.

If that’s the case, then why weren’t the plotters arrested and demonstrators kept away from the school? If Faubus was big on law and order, why didn’t he increase the number of National Guardsmen in and around Central instead of sending the black students home?

Because this backwoods socialist had turned into a segregationist, as Jacoway admits, and yet she still buys into the myth of potential violence.

During the two years he fomented the crisis, Faubus and his cohorts gave a dozen reasons why the Little Rock Nine shouldn’t attend Central, and Jacoway buys into at least some of them: Besides trying to preserve the peace, he said, among other things, that the Supreme Court’s Brown decision wasn’t the law of the land, the district and appeals courts had overreached, the court orders weren’t clear enough, and if there was to be integration why wasn’t the Justice Department providing more assistance in enforcing the law?

Faubus got his wish after he met with Eisenhower at Newport. “Ike’s Final Battle: The Road to Little Rock and the Challenge of Equality” by Kasey S. Pipes (World Ahead Publishing, $25.95) is a brief, but more authoritative account of Eisenhower’s role in resolving the crisis.

Faubus underestimated Eisen-hower, as does Jacoway. During the Second World War, upsetting commanders around him, he used black soldiers on the front, paving the way for Harry Truman to integrate the armed forces, Pipes points out. Some of those black soldiers liberated the Mauthausen concentration camp, where my father was held captive. The soldiers wept when they entered the camp and Eisenhower later visited it.

Eisenhower pushed for modest civil rights legislation that would integrate public places and require the treatment of black citizens as equals. He knew he had to take a stand in Little Rock, much to Faubus’ surprise. Eisenhower wanted to trust Faubus, but their meeting confirmed that the Arkansas governor was not a serious negotiator, even though he signed a statement that court orders would be obeyed. But when he left the meeting with the president, Faubus said he didn’t mean it. Ike felt he was double-crossed, and he was right. Jacoway, who relies on Faubus’ self-serving memoir for his account of the meeting, agrees with Faubus that it was the governor who was double-crossed.

He fooled Eisenhower once and no more. Ike sent federal troops to Little Rock — the 101st Airborne Division landed at Little Rock Air Force Base — and the general who defeated the Nazis easily took care of Faubus and his followers, who had purged the schools of suspect teachers, tried to ban memberships in voluntary organizations, and sent spies to people’s homes where subversion was suspected.

Although Faubus and his supporters managed to close the schools in 1958-59, the crisis ended the following fall, thanks to moderate forces who took back their schools and restored sanity to the community.

The story doesn’t end there, of course: White flight took off almost immediately as people voted with their feet and settled in the suburbs around Little Rock, accounting for their astonishing growth. School integration didn’t solve all of the nation’s problems, but it was a forward step guaranteeing equal justice for all Americans.

Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Ashmore and all decent people understood that 50 years ago, while others still seem to struggle with that truth.

EDITORIALS>>Legal attorneys

In a heartening show of bipartisanship the U. S. House of Representatives voted Monday to repeal a phantom clause in the USA Patriot Act that allowed the president to appoint U.S. attorneys indefinitely without their being reviewed by the Senate if he made the appointments while the Senate was in recess.

That means that the eastern district of Arkansas should shortly get a fully credentialed federal prosecutor and Timothy Griffin can return to his private law practice or to the White House Office of Political Affairs or to the national party’s opposition-research office, to name three of his prior incarnations.

No Democrats and only 78 Republicans voted against the measure, which returns the prosecutor law to its historical condition. Each one must be confirmed and the law will limit the emergency prosecutors that President Bush appointed in December to three months unless they agree to be questioned and confirmed by the Senate. Griffin has said he will not submit to questioning about his past work for the party. U. S. Rep. John Boozman, the lone Republican in the Arkansas congressional delegation, has a list of three stalwart Republicans to submit to the president. All three — state Rep. Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, Jason Hendren of Little Rock and Betty Dickey of Pine Bluff — are worthy.

If our opinion mattered to the White House, which it does not, the president would appoint Dickey, a former state Supreme Court justice, prosecuting attorney and counsel for several years to Gov. Mike Huckabee. Her character is superb and her credentials just about perfect. She ran for attorney general in 1998 against Mark Pryor, who would need to confirm her, but our guess is that he would not hesitate. It would not bring back Bud Cummins, who was fired to create a sinecure for Griffin, but the president could go a long way toward rectifying the terrible mess created by the firing and the Griffin subterfuge.
— Ernie Dumas

EDITORIALS>>Mercy killing

Count as one of the ample good deeds by the Arkansas House of Representatives this session the mercy killing of a bill that would make it illegal for gay and lesbian people to rear children in Arkansas, specifically by adoption or foster care.

Euthanasia is a good word for what the Judiciary Committee of the House did yesterday to SB 959, which would have barred gay and most straight unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children. The bill, authored by Sen. Shawn Womack, R-Mountain Home, had narrowly passed the Senate but Womack could not find a single member of the 100-member House to handle it in the lower chamber.

Neither could he find one member of the 20-member committee to give it the ritual “do pass” motion after a lengthy hearing Tuesday morning. By late afternoon he had found someone to make the motion and had the committee reconvene but it failed badly. We like to think that the reality of the bill finally sank in on the lawmakers.

Despite majority disapproval of homosexuality, not many people sanction this kind of punitive and destructive lawmaking. Womack and the legislation’s band of narrowly religious supporters sought to equate gays and pedophiles.

All the evidence presented at hearings in both legislative bodies as well as in a state court trial two years ago was that it was not a legitimate equation and that children reared by gay and lesbian parents, whether by foster care, adoption or natural parentage, are as well adjusted and cared for as children reared under the same circumstances by straight people. Arkansas’s foster-care program has been a seamless scandal for many years. The state Human Services Department can find far too few willing to rear foster children, and the sad cases of abuse and exploitation keep rearing their heads. Why would the state want to cull out one group of people willing to be loving parents when the needs are so desperate?

Gov. Mike Huckabee’s appointees to the state Child Welfare Board decided in 1999 to stop gays and lesbians from serving as foster parents although there was no history of abuse. It was a religious exercise based on a skewed reading of a couple of sentences in Leviticus and Romans, wherein homosexuality seemed to be equated with the evils of wearing garments made of two more fabrics, eating shellfish or raising two crops in the same field.

A trial judge and the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. Womack’s bill was an end-run around that decision. Gov. Mike Beebe at first favored a limited restoration of the ban based on his fear that kids reared by gay people might be subjected to ridicule at school, although a teenager from the Bible-loving town of Bryant testified Tuesday that he was reared by his mother and her lesbian partner and took no abuse for it.

But Beebe also concluded that the bill overreached and was certainly unconstitutional. Presuming that the bill is safely out of commission, the state now will save the expense of more litigation. That is bad news for lawyers but good news for taxpayers.
— Ernie Dumas

EDITORIALS>>Ignoring pollution

Here is a truly baffling idea for the state watchdog agency on the environment: Ignore every anonymous complaint about pollution of Arkansas waters, air and land. Yet that is what a bill that sailed through the Arkansas House of Representatives last week will do. Now we must depend upon the state Senate to protect us from this grievous assault on our environment, which is a long shot, or else hope that Gov. Beebe exercises his veto.

House Bill 2653 by Rep. Daryl Pace, R-Siloam Springs, would forbid the state Department of Environmental Quality to investigate any complaint about pollution unless the people complaining fully identified themselves in writing. The Arkansas Farm Bureau wanted the bill, which the department, the attorney general and the federal Environmental Protection Agency opposed.

“We feel like (the bill) would very much be pro-landowner and pro-agriculture,” the Farm Bureau lobbyist said. Well, yes! The Farm Bureau’s wishes are ordinarily the legislature’s commands. But what about the public, which depends upon the already weak Department of Environmental Quality to protect the waters and earth? Both the department and the federal agency said anonymous complaints were vital sources of information. The best hope is that Beebe will veto the bill. It will be a good test of his independence.

OBITUARIES >> 3-28-07


Pamela M. Hess, 53, of Ward passed away March 27.

She was born July 26, 1953 in Hillman to the late Robert Franklin and Barbara Jean Hay Carter. She attended Crowley’s Ridge Vo. Tech. School and became a licensed practical nurse. She was retired from the V.A. Health System where she worked since 1991. She was a member of New Horizon Baptist Church.

Pamela is survived by her husband, Carl Hess of Ward; two children, Robert and Carla Hess of Ward; two sisters, Robin Ridgeway of Ward and Alice Morgan of Vilonia; a sister-in-law, Mary Joyner of Sherwood; as well as two nieces, Amanda Payne and Lisa Ridgeway, both of Ward; two nephews, Matthew and Marc Minick of Sherwood; and her mother and father-in-law, Mildred McElyea and George W. Hess.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at Cabot Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, March 30, at New Horizon Baptist Church with Pastor Kevin Bernard officiating. Burial will follow at Butlerville Cemetery under the direction of Cabot Funeral Home.


Richard Rettstatt, 64, of Cabot passed away March 24. He was born Feb. 8, 1943 in Morrilton to the late Charles and Rosa Youngblood Rettstatt. He was also preceded in death by one sister, Carolyn Williams.

Richard was a diesel technician. He loved to garden, cook, and play golf. He will be remembered for the positive influence he was to those he loved. Survivors include his loving wife of 25 years, Debra of the home; daughters, Debra Richelle Ballard and husband Nathan of Cabot and Catina Rettstatt of Searcy; and a son, James Rettstatt of Jefferson City, Mo.

He is also survived by his brothers, Charles, Pete, Danny, Joe, Tommy and Dickie Rettstatt; grandchildren, Katie Elizabeth and Kailey Ann Ballard; as well as many loving family and friends. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, in Moore’s Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville with Rev. Donny Veasey officiating.

Interment will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville.


Ruth Juanita Turley, 81, of Cabot died March 26. She was born Nov. 22, 1925, in Lonoke to Joe and Carrie Moore Justice.
She was retired from Franklin Electric and was a Baptist. She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Gaylon Turley and her parents.

She is survived by her son, Gary Turley and wife Kay of El Paso; and her daughter, Sharon Goad and husband Scott of Cabot.
She is also survived by five grandchildren, Stacy Goad Williams of Fayetteville, Michelle Turley Pena of Denton, Texas, Chris Goad of Jacksonville, Shannon Pomeroy of Springdale, and Todd Turley of Cabot; three great-grandchildren; and one sister, Dorothy Cochran of Cabot. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe, with burial in Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice, 1310 West Main, Suite 200, Russellville, AR, 72801.


John Calhoun Hudnall, 81, of Jacksonville passed away March 21 in West Memphis.
He was born July 16, 1925 to the late Felix and Maggie Hudnall in Marianna.

He was preceded in death by his son, John C. Hudnall, Jr.; three brothers, O’Neal, Woodrow and Van; three nieces and three nephews. He proudly served his country during World War II in the Navy.

He is survived by his daughter, Norma Jean Carswell and her husband Elvie of Jacksonville; a son, Steve Hudnall of Cabot; sisters, Louise McCarty of Russellville and Iva Rowton of Nashville, Tenn.; five grandchildren, Jimmy and Brian Pickrell and Donovan, Sean and Chris Hudnall; four nephews and nine nieces.

Private funeral services are to be held at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements will be made by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

SPORTS >>Lady Red Devils rip through Mountain Home twice

IN SHORT: Jacksonville’s fastpitch team routed the Lady Bombers twice Thursday evening in Baxter County.

Leader sports editor

The Lady Red Devils softball team got an easy sweep of Mountain Home on the road Thursday night, beating the Lady Bombers 13-0 and 8-2 to improve to 8-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

Gabrielle Hart is back from an injury earlier this season and lit up the Mountain Home pitching staff. Hart moved from the leadoff spot that she held last year and is now batting cleanup. Thursday night she cleaned up real nice, going 4 of 5 with a grand slam and seven RBIs, and that was just in game one. She was 3 of 4 with three RBIs when she sparked a seven-run rally in the top of the seventh that buried the Lady Bombers and set the final margin.

Already leading 6-0, Rochelle Holder, Jessica Bock and Somer Grimes got consecutive base hits to load the bases. Hart stepped in and sent one over the wall in left field to clear the bases, but it didn’t stop the rally.

Paula Burr made it five straight base hits, and moved to second on a sacrifice fly by Bailey Herlacher. Raven Pickett then singled to drive in the fifth run of the inning. Ellen Burr singled in the sixth run.

Alana Whatley reached on a fielder’s choice before Holder singled in a run in her second at bat of the inning.

Jacksonville coach Phil Bradley has been very pleased with the way his team swung the bat Thursday, especially his healed cleanup hitter.

“She is ripping the cover off of it right now,” Bradley said. “We hit it up and down the line. Everybody got at least one hit. Our two, three and four hitters were murderers’ row for us in this one though.” The Lady Red Devils finished the game with 15 base hits, with the two, three and four hitters (Bock, Grimes and Hart), combining to get nine hits in 12 at bats.

Game two was more interesting. Bock, who suffers from asthma, began struggling with her affliction amidst the budding mountain foliage.

Jacksonville led 3-0 in the top of the fourth when Bock had to leave the game with a 1-1 count on the first batter.

The Lady Bombers scored two runs in the inning, but Jacksonville came back with five runs in the fifth to thwart any Mountain Home comeback attempt.

Bock re entered the game in the fifth and completed the victory. She struck out 11 in game two.

The Lady Red Devils started their first-inning rally with a one-out walk by Bock.

Two batters later with two outs, Hart and Paula Burr walked intentionally to set up a force at any base, but Bailey Herlacher made MHHS pay for the strategy with a two-RBI single to centerfield. Hart then scored on a wild pitch for the third run of the inning.

The Lady Bombers walked Hart her next time up as well, but decided to pitch to her in the fifth inning.

It was a mistake.

She led off with a triple to start a five-run rally that put a stamp on the game.

“When they started walking her I just told her don’t worry about it,” Bradley said. “Just stand in there, and if they throw you something to hit, hit it. Don’t let the mind games play with you.”

Herlacher walked with one out two batters later, and Picket sacrificed Hart home, making it 4-2 with two outs.

Ellen Burr then singled and Whatley walked to load the bases. Holder then singled to score Herlacher and Burr. Bock followed that with a single that scored Whatley and Holder and set the final margin.

The sweep lifts Jacksonville to 8-2 overall and 3-1 in the 6A-East. The Lady Red Devils are off next week for spring break.
Jacksonville will pick up play again on Saturday, March 30 in the Harrison tournament. Conference play begins again the following Tuesday at home against the Jonesboro Lady Hurricane.

SPORTS >>Panthers beat LR Central, fall in seventh to Hornets

IN SHORT: The Cabot baseball team held the Tigers scoreless, but gave up three runs in the last inning to fall to the Hornets in a pair of 7A-Central matchups this week.

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panther baseball team won one and lost one conference baseball game each this week. The Panthers beat Little Rock Central 5-0 Tuesday in Little Rock, then dropped a 5-2 decision to Bryant at home on Thursday.

Tuesday’s win saw lefty pitcher Justin Haas throw a two-hitter over seven innings while Cabot spread its five runs over four innings.

The Panthers committed four errors in the loss to Bryant, leaving head coach Jay Fitch at a loss for why his team plays poor defense every so often.

“It’s like we’ll play about three games real solid and then have a breakdown,” Fitch said. “It always seems to happen with Colin (Fuller) on the mound too for some reason. We play really good defense behind Haas, but like we did here against Bryant, we kick it around sometimes when Colin’s on the mound. I thought again that Colin pitched good enough to win the game.”

Despite the four errors, the Panthers and Hornets were tied at 2-2 heading into the final frame. With one out, the Hornets loaded the bases with a single, an infield single and a walk before Haas came on in relief. Haas struck out the next batter for the second out. Bryant’s Tyler Sawyer then roped a line drive over centerfielder Corey Wade’s head for a three-RBI double that set the final margin.

Against Central, Cabot got single runs in the second, third and fifth innings, and added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.

Sam Bates started things off with a single in the second inning. Logan Lucas moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt, and he took third on a passed ball. Justin Free then hit a deep fly ball that brought Bates home and gave Cabot a 1-0 lead.

In the third, Daryl Murphy doubled, which brought the speedy Wade to the plate with no outs. Expecting a bunt, Central charged its shortstop and left its third baseman at home to cover the bag. Wade faked the bunt and swung, bouncing a ground ball over the shortstop’s head for a base hit and RBI.

“We had that situation with Corey before and he hit it right back to the pitcher,” Fitch said. “You can’t always control where you hit it, but he’s good at making contact when he needs to, and he executed that one really nicely for us.”

Wade scored the run in the fifth inning. After walking and stealing second base, Fuller singled to drive him home and give the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

Wade also led off the seventh inning with a walk and stole two bases. The next two batters failed to bring him home, but freshman Powell Bryant singled to make it 4-0. Bryant then stole second and scored on an RBI base hit by Bates that set the final margin.

The Panthers are off next week for spring break. They will be back in action on Tuesday, April 3 at Pine Bluff.

SPORTS >>Cabot ladies top Bryant

IN SHORT: The Lady Panther softball team stayed perfect in league play with wins over Central and Bryant this week.

Leader sports editor

The Cabot fastpitch team got a couple of breaks and unearned runs in a 2-1 victory over Bryant Thursday. Cabot had to come from behind and ward off a couple of Lady Hornet rallies to get the victory and move to 6-0 in 7A-Central play.

Earlier in the week, Cabot shut out Searcy and Little Rock Central, and has just Pine Bluff left for a sweep through the first round of league play.

“We’ve been playing pretty well,” Cabot coach Becky Steward said. “We worked really hard in the offseason on being patient at the plate, taking our time and swinging at good pitches. Most everyone is hitting pretty well, but different people have different days. Barfield is throwing well and when she’s not, we’re playing good defense behind her.”

Against Bryant, the Lady Hornets started hot and threatened to have a big inning when a Haley King single was followed by a Christen Kirschner RBI triple. That gave Bryant a 1-0 lead and put a runner on third with no outs. That’s where Kirschner stayed however. Tyler Cox popped up back to the mound, Kristen Dorsey popped up to second base and Cabot pitcher Cherie’ Barfield struck out five-hole hitter Allison Poteet to end the inning.

Cabot tied it immediately in the bottom half of the same inning. Two-hole hitter Haley Dougan singled to left field with one out. Rachel Glover then grounded back to Bryant starting pitcher Tyler Cox, but Cox’s throw to first was off the mark, allowing Dougan to advance all the way to third on the play. Cox struck out the next two batters, but before she could end the inning, she threw a wild pitch that allowed Dougan to score from third and tie the game.

Bryant went three up, three down in the second. Cabot’s second at bat was more adventurous, but no more fruitful. Crystal Cox followed Becca Bakalekos’ one-out single by getting hit by a pitch. Freshman catcher Chelsea Conrade struck out for the second out to bring up leadoff hitter Jamie Sterrenberg. After the first pitch to Sterrenberg, the catcher’s throw back to the mound hit Sterrenberg’s bat and rolled towards third base. Bakalekos broke for third, but Cox scooped up the loose ball and threw to third in time to get the runner and end the inning.

After a single led off the top of the third for Bryant, Barfield sat down the next nine batters consecutively to take the game into the bottom of the fifth with the score still tied.

With one out and Bryant’s defense moved in very tight, Conrade made the defensive scheme backfire with a looping shot just over the outstretched arms of a backwards racing Lady Hornet shortstop. Sterrenberg then hit into a fielder’s choice that left her at first with two outs. Dougan then hit an infield single that rolled between the pitcher and third baseman. An alert Sterrenberg noticed third was empty and broke for the extra bag. Relief pitcher Laci Rowland picked up the ball and threw to the third baseman, who was not yet in position, but was racing back to the base. She was unable to handle the throw while on the run and it rolled into foul territory, allowing Sterrenberg to score on the play. That gave Cabot the lead, and Barfield ended it with two strikeouts and a groundout in the top of the seventh.

Barfield went the distance, giving up four hits while striking out nine and issuing no walks. Cabot got five base hits.

The week’s three victories make the Lady Panthers 11-4 overall. They beat Searcy 10-0 on Monday in a non-conference game, then handled Little Rock Central 6-0 on Tuesday. Jessica Lanier got the win on the mound in that game. Lanier pitched all seven innings, striking out nine and giving up just one base hit.

Cabot will take next week off for spring break and return to play March 30 in the Harrison tournament.

EDITORIALS>>Supt. Holman leaves Cabot

Cabot School Superintendent Frank Holman is moving back to northwest Arkansas, where he spent his early career as an educator and school administrator. Although in Cabot he had one of the highest-paid superintendent jobs in the state, earning more than $172,000 a year, Holman, 57, is taking a steep cut in pay — almost 50 percent — to go back to an area he loves and will make his retirement home in a few years.

Holman has accomplished a great deal in Cabot, building schools and introducing innovative programs, as well as dealing with the loss of Cabot Junior High North, which will take some time to rebuild after last year’s fire virtually destroyed the campus.
We thought he would see through its reconstruction, which could take several years, as funding is still lacking. Insurance and state aid will pay for about half the cost of the $20 million project, although Cabot’s rapid growth would help fund the rebuilding with additional state aid and a modest millage increase.

Plans could be scaled back, though, if the district moves some of the junior high school students to the middle and high schools and builds a smaller school emphasizing a special academic field for certain students.

Whoever leads the district will have to work on plans for the new junior high school or its alternatives, not to mention the challenges of a growing district that needs a new school every couple of years.

Holman’s successor will step into a pressure-filled job that requires a solid educational background, sound judgment and the skills of a diplomat. It’s a job that could wear down anybody, especially someone who’s looking to early retirement in the gentle hills of northwest Arkansas. As for Holman’s successor, there’s plenty of talent available at the district, including longtime assistant superintendent Jim Dalton, who deserves careful consideration by the board.

OBITUARIES >> 03-24-07

Lorna Parrish
Lorna Lea Parrish, 51, of Carlisle, formerly of Concord, N.C., died March 21.

She is survived by her son, William Parrish and wife Melanie Houchens-Parrish of Carlisle and daughter, Jennifer Parrish of Salisbury, NC.

Memorial services will be held at Carlisle First United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Services will be officiated by the Rev. Jay Culpepper.

Raymond Clair
Raymond Eugene Clair, Sr., 65, of Jacksonville passed away March 22.

He was born June 17, 1941 in Helena, the son of Cleveland and Gladys Little Clair.

Survivors include his wife, Sena Mae Clair of Jacksonville; two sons, Raymond Eugene Clair, Jr. and Sean Anthony Clair, both of Jacksonville; two daughters, Pamela Michelle Morris of Jacksonville and Sena Rena’ Harman of Olathe, Kansas; five grandchildren, Angela Clair and Michael Ray Morris of Jacksonville, Karlee Clair of Sherwood, Jared Burns and Nichole Harman of Olathe, Kansas; and one brother, William Cleveland Clair of Jacksonville.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 24 with the family receiving friends from 5 to 8 p.m. at Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot. Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 25 at Victory Baptist Church in Cabot with Bro. Ben Leonard officiating.

Otha Gunn
Otha “Junior” Gunn, 78, of Ward passed away March 21 in North Little Rock.

He was born July 15, 1928 to the late Otha and Ernestine Holden Gunn in Zion.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Milton Gunn.   Junior was of the Baptist faith and owned and operated Asher Avenue Welding.  He was also a member of Brady Lodge #753 and was a 32nd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite Temple.  

Junior is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Rachel Corder Gunn; four children, Freddy Gunn and his wife Thelma of Little Rock, Dennis Gunn of Cabot, Cecil Gunn and his wife Darlene of Lonoke, and Kenny Gunn and his wife Regina of Cabot; sisters, Flo Jared of Hot Springs, Jean Vaught of Hickory Ridge, and Marie Smithers of Russellville; 11 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild, and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.

Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24 at Old Carlisle Cemetery with Bro. Terry Fortner and Bro. Jimmy Huffman officiating.  Visitation will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24 at the funeral home.  Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.  

John Hudnall
John Calhoun Hudnall, 81, of Jacksonville passed away March 21 in West Memphis.

He was born July 16, 1925 to the late Felix and Maggie Hudnall in Marianna.

He was preceded in death by his son, John C. Hudnall Jr. as well as five brothers.

He proudly served his country during the Second World War in the Navy.

He is survived by his daughter, Norma Jean Harswell and her husband Elvie of Jacksonville; a sister, Louise McCarty of Russellville; five grandchildren, Jimmy and Brian Harswell and Donovan, Sean and Chris Hudnall; one niece, Sue; and one nephew, Larry. The family will receive friends at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, March 26.

Private funeral services will be at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery at a later date.

Robbie Pipkin
Robbie Lee Pipkin, 64, of Jacksonville died March 18.

He was born Oct. 25, 1942 at Edinburg, Texas, to Charles and Myrtle Thomas Pipkin.

He was preceded in death by one brother and two sisters.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Diane Pipkin; one son, Damon Pipkin of Beebe; one daughter, Connie Bailey of Mayflower; four grandchildren; three sisters, Jean Ashton of Texas, Virginia Stewart of Alaska and Patsy Hitchcock of Texas; cousins, Willard Crain, Doris, and Rita.

Cremation arrangements will be by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

Mary Burnett
Mary Ann Burnett, 60, of Sheridan, formerly of Beebe, died March 19.

She was born Nov. 18, 1946, at Coy to Jessie and Faye Maupins Hicks. She was a dedicated employee at First Security Bank in Beebe for many years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Lowell Burnett; her mother; and one sister, Dorothy Johnson.

She is survived by one son, Jonathan Burnett of Sheridan; her father, Jessie Hicks of England; three sisters, Jessie Staton of Sheridan, Peggy Baker of England, and Debbie Carlock of North Little Rock; and several nieces, nephews and friends. Funeral services were March 21 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.

Lorena Schieffer
Lorena Schieffer of McRae died March 22 on her 96th birthday.

She was a housewife and a member of McRae First United Methodist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe Schieffer; and her granddaughter, Ann Judkins.

She is survived by two daughters, Mildred Harvey of Texas; and Nell Clements and husband Derek of Florida; three great-grandsons and one great-great-granddaughter.

Graveside service will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 24 at Antioch Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

EVENTS>>Spring 2007

Lonoke County plans robbery class Friday March 30
The Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office will host a robbery prevention class for all Lonoke County businesses from 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the Office of Emergency Services in Lonoke.
The course will include how to prevent and prepare for robberies, and what to do during and after a robbery. Law enforcement instructor Branden Hampton of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s office will teach the course. The course is designed for commercial business owners and managers but all employees are welcome to attend.
Call 676-3000 or 676-0414 for more information.

Cabot Relay will Paint the Town Purple in May
The Cabot Relay for Life Team, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will “Paint the Town Purple” with purple ribbons placed on the doors of businesses and homes during the week of May 11.
Place an order early by contacting Teri Miessner or Peggy Clark at 533-2310 or 533-2201.

Cabot’s Spring Fling 5K Run/Walk is Saturday March 31
The 19th annual Cabot Country Cruisers Spring Fling 5K Run/Walk, to raise money for CASA of Lonoke County, will be held Saturday. Registration starts at 7 a.m. at the Cabot High School Panther Stadium; the race begins at 8 a.m. Early registration is $15 and on race day is $20.
The 3.1 mile race will begin on Bellamy Street near Eastside Elementary School and end on the CHS track inside Panther Stadium.
People of all ages can participate for the more than 20 awards that will be given. For more information or to enter, call Vicki Ingram at 843-1406.

Lonoke County retired teachers to meet April 2

The Lonoke County Retired Teachers Association will meet at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 2 at Old Austin United Methodist Church.
There will be a potluck and Betty West will entertain the group with gospel music.
The slate of officers will be introduced for 2007-2008.
Margaret Kinley said all retirees are urged to become active in the local association.

The Gospel Tones have partnered with the Jacksonville Senior Center for a fundraiser at 6 p.m. Thursday to benefit the center at 100 Victory Circle. The Gospel Tones will serve up wonderful music and the senior center will serve up an evening meal of chili and all the fixings. Tickets are $5. For more information call Barbara at 982-7531.

The Arkansas State University-Beebe Alumni Association will hold its seventh annual 5K race at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 31 to provide student textbook scholarships.
Runners will compete in fifteen age categories, beginning with age 9 and younger and increasing in five-year increments until age 69. There will also be a 70-plus category, and first, second, and third place awards will be given to runners in each age division.  Walkers will receive first place in each age group. Trophies will be awarded to the overall female and male runners and walker and runner winners.
Registration fee is $18 in advance and $20 on race day.  Race day registration will be from 7:15 to 8:15 a.m.  
Packets may be picked up March 26 through March 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Advancement Office (Ruth L. Couch Center), located at the corner of Palm and Iowa streets, across from the State Hall building, or on race day at the south end of the Student Center. The race T-shirt is $10 for anyone who is unable to participate in the race.  People are also encouraged to be a virtual runner to help support ASU-Beebe students.
The starting site, ASU-Beebe’s Student Center, can be reached by taking Exit 29 off U.S. 67/167, to the traffic signal.  At the light, cross the street and turn left into the campus.  Follow signs to the Student Center parking area.
The seventh annual alumni race is one of the many exciting events during ASU-Beebe’s 80th Anniversary Celebration March 29-31. Other events include: a family picnic, alumni basketball game, alumni receptions, and alumni awards dinner.
More information on the alumni race and anniversary celebration may be obtained by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement at 882-8255.

Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 31 at Excell Park on the corner of Ray Road and Southeastern Ave. The hunt is for children at walking age up to 10 years old. For information, call 982-0818.

The 19th annual Cabot Country Cruisers Spring Fling 5K Run/Walk will be held Saturday, March 31 in Cabot. Registration for the charity race begins at 7 a.m. at Cabot High School’s Panther Stadium. The race begins at 8 a.m. On race day, competitors can enter for $20, but those registered early pay $15. A family of four or more can enter for $50. Each person entering receives a T-shirt.
The race will raise money for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lonoke County. The advocates are trained citizen volunteers who speak for the best interests of children thrust into the child protection system. In an overburdened system, CASA volunteers bring fresh perspective and insights about the child and the family to the Court. Once appointed by the Court, a CASA volunteer investigates the child’s situation, reports findings to the court, and monitors the case to completion. Insights provided by CASA often guide the process in securing a safe, loving home that every child deserves.
The 3.1 mile race will begin on Bellamy Street near Eastside Elementary School and end on the Cabot High School track inside Panther Stadium.
People of all ages can participate. Awards will be given for the top three overall male/female walkers, top three male/female runners, top three male/female masters, top three male/female grand masters, top three male/female seniors and first, second, and third awards in sixteen different age brackets.
For more information or to enter the race, call Vicki Ingram at 843-1406 or visit

The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12 for cocktails and 7 p.m. for dinner at Sherwood Forest, 1111 West Maryland in Sherwood.
Nominations are being sought for Woman of  The Year, Educator of the Year, Firefighter of the Year, Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Educator of the Year and Emergency Transport Person of the Year. Mail nominations to Individual Awards Committee, Sherwood Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 6082, Sherwood, Ark., 72124.
Nominations will be kept in sealed envelopes and all nominations will be turned over to the Individual Awards Committee. Input is important to search out the best people in Sherwood to reward them for their contributions to both the city and citizens of Sherwood.   

The First Annual Thunder Roads Arkansas Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial Poker Run will kick off on Saturday, May 12 with breakfast and registration at 8 a.m. at South Bend Fire Station No. 1, 4421 Highway 294 (Military Road) in Jacksonville.
First Bike Out will be at 10 a.m. and the Last Bike Out at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served at the end of the ride. The run is sponsored by South Bend Fire and Rescue, Ward Fire Department, Vilonia Fire Department, and North Pulaski Fire Department.
A $20 ticket includes a poker card, t-shirt (to first 200 people who register), door prize ticket, and meal ticket. Co-riders pay $10, which includes a poker card, door prize ticket, and meal ticket.
For more information, contact Brenda at 276-0244, Kenny at 944-4856, Tim K. at 650-5059, Tim T. at 454-3170, or email

TOP STORY >>Former chief is tied to drug sales

IN SHORT: Convict says he sold crack cocaine for former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell as jury hears taped conversations of Kelly.

Leader staff writer

A young but seasoned criminal sold about $5,000 worth of crack cocaine for former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell “in the hood,” the man testified Friday in the sweeping corruption trial of Campbell, his wife Kelly Harrison Campbell and bail bondsman Bobby Junior Cox.

Dexter Washington, 26, of Lonoke, testified that shortly after he was released from prison in 2005, Campbell asked him to sell crack for him.

“I was moving drugs for him,” Washington said.

“I didn’t want to,” said Washington, “but I was on probation. He could have put it on me.”

He said the chief fronted him about $2,500 worth of crack and wanted about $2,000 back and Washington said he went along because he feared the chief would make trouble for him otherwise.

When he gave the chief his money, Washington said, Campbell gave him more crack to sell, but this time Washington kept all the money to pay rent and bills.

“I was on the run,” he said.

After that, he was arrested twice by Lonoke city police on bogus warrants.

Washington told his story to Sgt. Jim Kulesa while locked up in the Lonoke County Detention Center several months after the alleged sales, he said.

The defense established that Washington still has two drug charges hanging over him plus sentencing as a habitual criminal and implied that he might have ginned up the story to get favorable treatment from the prosecution.

“I’m a grown man,” said Washington to pointed questioning by defense attorney Mark Hampton. “I have no reason to sit up here and lie.”

Defense attorney Patrick Benca asked Washington, who sometimes seemed uncertain about the timing of various events, why he never mentioned Jay Campbell until months after the alleged crack sales.

“Have we made any deals with you?” the prosecutor asked.

“No,” said Washington.

“Did Kulesa promise you anything?”


Campbell is not charged with buying or selling drugs, but Prosecutor Lona McCastlain presented testimony by Washington and others to help support the charge that Campbell masterminded a continuing criminal enterprise.

Also Friday, Jeff Boyer testified that he sold Campbell or his wife Ecstasy on three or four occasions, once about 20 pills.
Preston Boyles testified that he saw Jay Campbell buy two Ecstasy pills at the home of Jeff Boyer.

Billy Jennings, a drug user and ex convict, testified with limited immunity that he bought two Ecstasy tablets for the chief, who reimbursed him and told him the drugs were being sent to a lab for analysis.

The state presented perhaps a dozen receipts purportedly signed by Jennings saying he had received payment for information, but Jennings, who seemed to have a lot of trouble remembering things, said he thought only about three of them actually bore his signature.

The prosecution has alleged that Campbell diverted police money for informants and drug buys to his own use.

The Lonoke mayor, police chief and city council were subpoenaed for possible testimony Friday about a personnel issue involving a Randy Mauk, a Lonoke police officer who is said to be an important witness in this case.

After conferring out of court in what may technically have been a violation of the state Freedom of Information Open Meeting law, attorneys for both sides decided they didn’t need testimony from those Lonoke officials and sent them home.

Thursday, jurors heard from DNA experts and forensic chemists from the state Crime Lab who testified that Kelly Campbell’s DNA definitely was on a drinking straw, Jay Campbell’s almost certainly was and that the straw had methamphetamine residue on the inside.

Benca, Jay Campbell’s lawyer, elicited testimony that there is no way to know if the DNA samples were left on the straw at the same time—for instance, Jay Campbell could have drunk a cola through it and later Kelly Campbell could have snorted methamphetamine.

Wednesday and Thursday, jurors sat through 24 taped telephone conversations between Kelly Campbell and her inmate-lover Anthony Shane Scott.

The two knew they were being taped, but still managed a certain amount of intimacy on the phone, with Scott telling her that she was his future and that she should divorce Jay Campbell.

The tapes corresponded to the time that the investigation into the Act 309 inmate situation at the Lonoke jail evolved into a state police investigation of the Campbells, corruption, drugs, sex and theft. Partway through the tapes, Kelly Campbell discovers that Scott has been cooperating with investigators. She says she feels abandoned by Scott.

He admitted on the stand that he was leading her along to help investigators and ingratiate himself to them.

Through a day-and-a-half of taped phone conversations and testimony by Scott, the Campbells read the accompanying transcripts.

There was a moment at the end of the testimony when Kelly Campbell seemed contrite about the pain Jay Campbell may have suffered from the affair and its public airing and she smoothed his lapels and seemed to try to comfort or reassure him.
The state, however, believes this was a scripted photo op for the press.

TOP STORY >>Is course feasible for town?

IN SHORT: The city council will fund a feasibility study to look into the possible purchase of North Hills Country Club before it is turned into a subdivision.

Leader staff writer

A mayor-appointed committee looking into the possibility of buying and operating the North Hills Country Club as a municipal golf course will meet at 2:30 p.m. Monday at the Bill Harmon Recreation Center.

Later that evening at the city council meeting, aldermen will more than likely approve funding for a feasibility study of the 90-acre course.

The country club and golf course have supposedly been sold to a development group that wants to raze the grounds and build a high-scale gated community of $400,000 to $500,000 homes.

Al Harkins, with Arkansas National Bank, says his bank is providing the financing for the sale and that it is a done deal. But city officials are not so sure and want to meet with the primary buyer, but he’s been out of the country.

City officials are hoping to convince the buyers to forego the housing project and maintain the acreage as a golf course. If not, the city may try to purchase the property.

Mayor Danny Stedman said Friday that it would be up to the voters what the city does about the North Hills Country Club and golf course.

“It’s clear that we don’t have the money to buy the course and would need some sort of revenue input,” the mayor said.
That could be a tax proposal for the residents to vote on.

“Any sort of increase we present to the residents would have a sunset clause,” Stedman said. “It’s the only way we would present it.”

Operating a municipal course won’t be cheap. Based on figures provided by North Little Rock, it cost that city $439,552 to operate its Burns Park golf course in 2004; $486,169 in 2005; and $506, 973 in 2006.

Slightly more than $525,000 was budgeted for this year’s operation of the golf course, even though revenues are expected to be $30,000 less, coming in at $492,000.

North Little Rock also operates the Emerald Golf Course and its 2007 budget is about $54,000 while its income is expected to be about $48,000.

Stedman appointed an exploratory committee about two weeks ago to look at possibilities.

Headed by Alderman Becki Vassar, the committee met last week in what she called “a brainstorming workshop.”

“We sat around the table and tossed out plusses and minuses, and things to look into,” she said. Vassar is also supposed to meet with the buyer when he returns.

Vassar said that real estate attorney Tim Grooms, a Sherwood native, would help if the city gets a chance to do something with the property. “Grooms helps obtainsgreen space for area municipalities. He helped obtain land for the Clinton Library in Little Rock.

Alderman Keith Rankin, also on the exploratory committee, said they would be looking out for the city.

“I’ve lived here all my life and can’t picture Sherwood without the golf course,” he said, but emphasized the committee would do what’s best for the city.

About 150 Sherwood residents held a grassroots meeting early this month after receiving word that the North Hills Country Club had been sold and the new owners want to build houses on the land.

Vassar, one of six aldermen at the meeting at the recreation center, told the crowd that the area is zoned R-1 for residential, meaning it would be hard to stop anyone from building single-family homes on the acreage.

“One of our concerns is that if the high-end lots don’t sell, then the developer could come back and ask to build apartments or condominiums, and many think we already have too many apartments.”

Bob Franks, a former president of the North Hills Country Club, told the crowd at that meeting that when the Matthews family deeded over the land in 1926 it was guaranteed to be a country club and golf course for 100 years. “We’ve got another 19 years. Who changed the bill of assurances?”

Franks and others are meeting with a real estate lawyer later this week to see what happened.

He said city residents have used the clubhouse for 82 years. “Everyone has been touched by the country club in one fashion or the other.”

The issue will be one of four major items on the city council’s agenda for their 7 p.m. Monday meeting at city hall.
Also on the agenda:

- Aldermen will vote on two resolutions condemning two homes as public nuisances. The homes are located at 729 Cherrie Avenue (Lot 743 of the Edge Wood Manor Mobile Home Park) and 106 Elmwood.

- The council will also vote on an ordinance granting First Electric the exclusive rights to provide electricity to a proposed subdivision off Maryland Avenue.

TOP STORY >>$517,000 payment will keep bank out

IN SHORT: Bank of the Ozarks agrees to stay out of Jacksonville and sell its Main Street lot to First Arkansas Bank after a lengthy lawsuit.

Leader editor

After protracted litigation, Bank of the Ozarks has decided not to put a branch in Jacksonville.

First Arkansas Bank and Trust— which had challenged Bank of the Ozarks’ application to put in a branch at Main and James—bought the corner property for $17,000 and paid Ozarks an additional $500,000 on Friday, ending the dispute between the two banks.

With the sale and settlement, Bank of the Ozarks has agreed to stay out of Jacksonville permanently. The settlement compensates Bank of the Ozarks for the cost of its two-year legal battle to establish a Jacksonville branch.

The branch application was originally filed with state banking authorities in December 2004 and has been the subject of long-running regulatory and legal proceedings.

First Arkansas — which would have seen a competitor across the street if the branch had been built in front of Hastings Music and Video — claimed in a lawsuit there are too many banks in Jacksonville.

Both sides scored victories before bank regulators and in the courts, but the issue remained unresolved.

George Gleason, chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of the Ozarks, said, “After more than two years of pursuing final approval of our contested Jacksonville branch application, we have concluded that further pursuit of this application would be a distraction from other more important priorities.

“After extensive discussions with First Arkansas Bank and Trust, we reached a mutual agreement to sell them our branch site and resolve the litigation related to the branch application. We have agreed not to open a branch within the present city limits of Jacksonville, now or in the future.”

But Gleason said his bank still welcomes Jacksonville customers, who can be served at branches in Cabot, Sherwood and North Little Rock.

“We will continue serving our existing Jacksonville customers, and we will aggressively seek new customers and new businesses in Jacksonville,” Gleason insisted. “We will serve our Jacksonville customers from our area offices, including two branches in Cabot, our Sherwood branch and our four North Little Rock branches.”

Larry Wilson, chairman, president and chief executive officer of First Arkansas Bank, seemed relieved the battle was over.
“We are pleased to have this matter resolved and to once again focus all our efforts and energies delivering great service and banking products to our many customers in our home town of Jacksonville and nearby communities,” Wilson said.

“We protested the Bank of the Ozarks’ branch application on the basis that there are a sufficient number of competitor banks serving Jacksonville,” Wilson said. “Bank of the Ozarks’ decision to withdraw their application reflects their assessment that they have better opportunities elsewhere.”

Bank of the Ozarks has $2.5 billion in assets and trades on NASDAQ. The bank has branches in central and northwest Arkansas, as well as Texas and North Carolina.

First Arkansas Bank has $500 million in assets and remains family owned, with branches from North Little Rock to Damascus.

TOP STORY >>Job in Lincoln an $80,000 cut

Leader staff writer

Dr. Frank Holman, the outgoing superintendent of the Cabot School District, is so popular in the Lincoln School District — where he’s returning as superintendent at a vastly reduced salary — that a technology center is named after him at the high school.

Lincoln Superintendent Jim Lewis, a past principal at Southside Elementary school in Cabot, said, “During my tenure (as superintendent), when Dr. Holman’s name came up, it was always in a positive way.

“The public seems excited that he is returning,” said Lewis, who expects Holman will have a smooth move to the Lincoln district.

“He is well acquainted with the community and the staff, so he should have a smooth transition,” Lewis added, especially since Holman’s background includes more than a dozen years at Lincoln, which is near Fayetteville.

Holman’s last day as superintendent of Cabot schools will be June 30 and he will start as head of the Lincoln Consolidated School District July 1.

Holman, 57, resigned during the school board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, saying that although he had planned to retire from Cabot several years from now, he had gotten an opportunity to return to Lincoln, a place he considers his hometown.
“The great opportunity I’ve had here is unbelievable; outstanding teachers, administrators and board. I think we’re doing some outstanding things for students,” Holman said.

Holman was hired Thursday night by the Lincoln district during a special school board meeting.

Although contract details have not been disclosed, Holman’s salary at Lincoln is expected to be significantly lower than what he made in Cabot. As Cabot chief, he makes $172,695, plus an additional $6,000 car allowance. He was offered $150,000 when hired by Cabot five years ago.

In 2003, Holman was the highest-paid superintendent in the state; he was ranked sixth in the state for the 2005-2006 school year. His salary at Lincoln will be based on its salary schedule and rating for the superintendent.
In a report to the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee in January 2006, the total superintendent salary and benefits package for Lincoln was $95,926.

Superintendent Lewis, who is leaving Lincoln to pursue other opportunities, confirmed his current salary is about $96,000.
Lewis has been Lincoln’s chief for the last five years. This was his first superintendent position. Lewis was employed by the Cabot School District for four years, when he was principal at Southside Elementary from 1992-96.

Holman became aware of Lincoln’s opening when board members sought his advice after Lewis announced he would be leaving at the end of the year, but not going into retirement.

“I’m looking to other educational ventures,” Lewis told The Leader during a phone interview Friday. He also said he did not plan on leaving the area and his children would remain in Lincoln schools. Holman expressed interest in Lewis’ position when he met with Lincoln officials earlier this month and became their preferred applicant. Holman had previously worked for Lincoln schools for 16 years, 1982 through 1998; it was his first superintendent’s position, after starting there as a coach, teacher and then principal.

A technology center in Lincoln High School, which includes a state-of-the-art media center, is named after Holman.
“He had a huge focus on technology when he was previously here,” Lewis said of Holman. “At that time, Lincoln had one of the first distance-learning labs in the state.”

Lewis added that the technology center was built as an addition to the high school in the late 1990s, after Holman had moved to the Arkadelphia district.

“To thank him, Lincoln named the building after him,” Lewis said. After leaving the Lincoln district, Holman was chief of Arkadelphia schools from 1998 to 2002.

He came to Cabot schools in 2002 and was named Arkansas Superintendent of the Year in 2006.
A 1971 graduate of Arkansas Tech University, he began teaching and coaching at Belleville, now Western Yell School District in 1976.

He left there in 1980 to teach at Clinton for two years and then began his 16-year career at Lincoln.

TOP STORY >>Holman successor sought

IN SHORT: Cabot School District is eager to find a successor for the departing superintendent and has set a salary range for the new chief between $135,000-$175,000.

Leader staff writer

Within 24 hours of Dr. Frank Holman announcing his resignation as superintendent of Cabot schools, the Cabot School Board has begun the process of finding his replacement.

Cabot School Board members began working on finding Holman’s replacement Wednesday afternoon, taking the first steps to advertise the position they hope to fill by July 1.

The Cabot board agreed on a salary range of between $135,000 to $175,000 for the applicant chosen as superintendent of the almost 9,000-strong district. The actual salary the new superintendent would receive will depend on prior experience and the size of a district the candidate was coming from.

The new Cabot superintendent, who would receive a three-year contract, would also receive $5,000 for moving expenses.
Holman, who is paid $172,695, has accepted the superintendent’s job at Lincoln Consolidated School District. (See editorial, p. 8A.)

Because Holman’s successor would step into the process of trying to rebuild Cabot Junior High North after the Aug. 10 fire destroyed the school, board members want someone with experience.

Board member Alan Turnbo said he would only consider applicants with a doctorate degree, but member Wendel Msall said that was just one thing that should be considered.

“Their track record and current school setting are also important, as well as having a PhD,” Msall said.

Board president David Hipp is placing an advertisement for the superintendent position in the Arkansas School Boards Association’s quarterly publication, the ASBA Reporter. The job opening will also be posted on the ASBA’s Web site, as well as the Cabot School District Web site, and the Arkansas Department of Education’s Website if allowed.

The board is also considering advertising the position with the National School Boards Association to open the field to more than just in-state superintendents. Because the board would like the position filled by July 1, the beginning of the fiscal (budgetary) year, the job opening will be posted as soon as possible.

“The quicker we get it in, the better off we will be,” Brooks Nash, school board secretary, said.

The ASBA’s “Handbook for Arkansas School Board Members” describes the job of seeking and selecting a superintendent as a “challenging task” and the board’s “most important single duty.”

“How wisely and well the board completes it (finding a superintendent) will determine in large measure the subsequent success or failure of the school system. Selecting the superintendent is of paramount importance because, as the district’s chief executive officer, the superintendent is the hub around which the entire school system revolves,” the handbook states.