Wednesday, July 11, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Insuring Arkansans

If the health-care crisis yielded to simple solutions, Arkansas at least would be home free by now. But the state learned once again that even the offer of a big federal subsidy will induce few employers to insure their workers.

Gov. Beebe struck out Monday on a tour of the state to urge businesses to take advantage of ARHealthNet, the state-sponsored insurance program that was begun with fanfare late last year. When Gov. Mike Huckabee and his health director, Dr. Joe Thompson, unveiled the plan after obtaining a waiver from the federal Medicaid division, we expressed doubt that it would amount to much. We hoped we were wrong. They talked about covering 80,000 workers with the limited-benefit plan. That would be a sizable segment of the roughly 378,000 Arkansans who have no health insurance. Employers could buy into Medicaid for their low-income workers (wages up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line) by paying only 27 percent of the cost of medical benefits; Washington would pay the other 73 percent. Employers would essentially be paying the state’s low matching share of Medicaid for their workers.

For such a wonderful opportunity, there were a couple of rubs. First, businesses do have to pay something and most consider that with their tight margins even the 27 percent is too much. Second, to participate a company has to insure its other employees, too, rather than providing benefits only to its poorest employees. They have to do that with private plans for which they and their employees pay the full load.

After seven months, only 178 businesses have enrolled to cover 655 workers, roughly four per business. Beebe and Thompson, who is his new surgeon general, think that the program just needs promoting. We hope so. But experience is not encouraging. Eight other states started a similar program with about the same cheerless results. Arkansas’ earlier initiatives proved even more disappointing. After spending $500,000 preparing it and promoting it, the state abandoned a drug-discount program several months ago because not enough people expressed an interest to drive much of a discount.

Previous legislation establishing small-business insurance pools going back 15 years proved worthless. To make a dent in the problem, there will have to be mandatory participation, a concerted effort at cost control and a real financial participation by state government if it is a state program. A half-dozen states — mainly big ones but also tiny Maine — are moving toward that with mixed results. In the end, it must be a federal remedy because only the national government can impose both effective cost controls and the financing that an equitable universal system requires. —Ernie Dumas

EDITORIALS>>Some taxes should go up

Every week brings new announcements of investment in the exploration of the vast Fayetteville shale gas play and, far more quietly, fresh complaints about the horrors that follow it: the waste pits, polluted ground water, the surface degradation and the weak secondary roads and city streets that are pounded into rubble by the heavy equipment.

Economic development nearly always carries some costs, but good government will always ameliorate them by stern regulation and sometimes taxation. Old-timers in south Arkansas remember the years of the oil boom, when a few got rich, others got better-paying jobs and the land and streams took a beating. Creeks and branches turned to saltwater and sludge and valleys took on the ghostly appearance of bombed-out Dresden: long stretches of whitened dead tree trunks and blackened earth that supported only the scrappiest vegetation. The state eventually passed pollution laws and established regulation over discharges, and over many decades a little verdure returned to the valleys in Union, Columbia and Lafayette counties and a little life found its way back into the streams. The legislature passed modest severance taxes on oil that paid for some of the reclamation. Now the oil bonanza is mostly gone.

Lots of personal riches will follow the shale development although the companies that drill and then pipe the gas to Midwestern industries and homes will take most of the profits out of the state as well. Gov. Beebe is hearing the complaints now as well as the euphoria, and he told a radio audience that the exploration companies ought to be paying their share to cover road and environmental damage. But they won’t. Stepped-up enforcement of highway weight limits, which Beebe promised, won’t do the job either. The state Department of Environmental Quality is drafting rules to govern the drilling and cleanup. Presumably, the regulations will include fines for violations. If they follow the Arkansas pattern, they will not be harsh enough to make a lot of difference. The companies tried and almost succeeded this year in passing legislation to limit what property owners who were abandoned by their government could recover by suing heedless developers.

Gov. Beebe, reflecting what we fear is his leadership style, said he sure wished that the state had a real severance tax on natural gas but that he was unwilling to ask the legislature to pass one. It would take a three-fourths vote in each house and that is impossible to achieve, he said. He recalled that Gov. Bill Clinton proposed a modest tax in 1983 and that he, as a state senator, had voted for it but that the House of Representatives defeated it. He implied that Clinton was a more potent leader than he and that at Clinton’s pinnacle he could not get a necessary reform done. Beebe suggested that someone draft an initiated act and get it on the ballot. He would support it. Well, somebody should, but what about Mike Beebe? We recall two such instances: Bill Clinton pushing a public initiative for ethics reform after the legislature defeated it and Mike Huckabee organizing an initiative drive for a big health-care program after the lawmakers defeated it. That was leadership.

The severance tax has a moral imperative. It’s not just a way to raise money for public works and reclamation of lands. Those who profit from the removal of a finite public asset that can never be replenished owe something back to the public trust. It is certainly not three-tenths of one penny for a thousand cubic feet, the absurd current law.

SPORTS>>Cabot AAA topples NLR Colts

Leader sportswriter

The Cabot Class AAA American Legion team needed two extra innings to get it done, but came away with a huge win over North Little Rock 8-6 Friday night at Vince De Salvo Stadium in Burns Park.

Cabot trailed the Colts 6-3 entering the top of the sixth inning, but pulled to within one score in the sixth, and tied the contest with one more run in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. “We just weren’t playing very good baseball,” Cabot coach Andy Runyan said of his team’s early struggles. “The boys clawed back in the game and started playing better. We just haven’t had very good luck at that field.

“I don’t think we’ve won a game there since I’ve started coaching, so we have some bad mojo there for some reason. The kids fought through it and did a good job.”

North Little Rock was poised for a blowout in the opening frame, scoring four runs against Cabot southpaw Justin Haas. The Clark College signee had an unusual struggle in the bottom of the first, but recovered to keep the Colts off the scoreboard in the three subsequent innings until being relieved by Josh Brown in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Brown closed out the inning without allowing a hit, paving the way for Sean Clarkson to take the mound in the sixth inning. Clarkson gave up three hits on his way to collecting the save, but no NLR runners would score.

Although Haas gave up an unfortunate nine hits, in his defense, the six runs collected by the Colts were also aided by four Cabot errors while he was on the mound. The fielding improved with the pitching in the late going, with no further errors committed in the remaining five innings.

Cabot did not come alive offensively until the top of the third inning, when three runs pulled Post 71 to within a single score at 4-3. North Little Rock did not answer until the bottom of the fifth inning with two more scores made the score 6-3 in favor of the Colts.

Cabot slowly climbed its way back in the game with a pair of runs in the sixth inning, and finally pulled even in the seventh to send the game past its scheduled seven innings.

Both teams went scoreless in the eighth, but Post 71 captured their first lead of the game in the top of the ninth inning when Sam Bates hit a two-run home run with two outs. That put North Little Rock in the unfamiliar position of facing a two-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth.

The Colts needed two scores to stay alive in the bottom of the ninth, but Clarkson would have none of it. He shut NLR down in the ninth with runners on first and third , striking out the final Colts batter to secure the incredible comeback win. Cabot is now 10-9 overall and 3-1 in zone play.

Jackson Chism led Cabot at the plate, going 3 for 4 with one run and a stolen base. Sam Bates scored the biggest hit of the game with a homerun, ending up 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Shayne Burgan was also 2 for 4 with a double and a RBI.
Cabot played against Faulkner County at Conway last night after Leader deadlines in a Class AAA doubleheader.

SPORTS>>Class A in place of old for Gwatney program

Leader sports editor

The Gwatney Chevrolet class A American Legion team is in a situation that no Jacksonville baseball team has been for several years. It is in the finals of the Zone 3 tournament without a loss, and playing a team it has already beaten 12-5 earlier in the tournament.

The Gwatney team advanced to the championship round with a 12-6 victory over Cabot Sunday evening at Maumelle. The championship round was originally set for Monday night, but was rained out for two days and rescheduled for 5 p.m. tonight in either Maumelle, Conway or Jacksonville.

There hasn’t been a Jacksonville American Legion team advance to the state tournament in this century, and now Conway is left with the task of beating Gwatney twice in one day in order to advance to next week’s state tournament.

A new rule this year automatically puts the state tournament host in the state tournament, which means that if the state tournament host doesn’t reach the finals of its zone tournament, only that zone’s champion will advance to state. This year North Little Rock hosts the class A state tournament, so the Colts will play in state. That means that the Zone 3 runner up loses its normal spot in state to North Little Rock.

Neither Jacksonville coach Travis Lyda, nor Conway likes the set up, but Jacksonville has been focused on winning the tournament anyway.

“It’s been a while since Jacksonville baseball has been in this situation,” Lyda said. “I don’t think these kids are getting caught up in all that other stuff. They’re just out here worrying about winning.”

Winning is indeed what the team has been doing. The Gwatney team has averaged exactly 12 runs per game through four games in the tournament. The low game was a 7-5 thriller against North Little Rock in the second round. The high was a 17-4 shellacking of Morrilton in the tournament’s opening game. Two 12-run efforts followed in wins over Conway and Cabot. The Chevy Boys have given up exactly five runs per game.

“When you’re averaging a six or seven run margin you’re doing at least some things right,” Lyda said after Sunday’s win over Cabot. “We’re still not playing as good as we could be playing. At one point and time or another, we’ve gone to sleep in every game so far.”

That lull came in the later stages of its second round game. Jacksonville led North Little Rock 7-1 through five innngs, but the Colts rallied to make it 7-5 in the sixth.

In the seventh, North Little Rock loaded the bases with one out, but pitcher Clayton Fenton got a strikeout and a routine grounder to second base to preserve a complete-game victory.

“He’s just a tough kid and a competitor,” Lyda said. “That umpire had the smallest strike zone I’ve ever seen, and earlier in the year that probably would have frustrated him quite a bit. He stood out there, toughened up and threw the ball where he had to call strikes. That’s one kid that you can say has grown up a lot this summer.”

Despite the small strike zone, Fenton finished the game with a 6-1 strikeout to walk ratio.

On Saturday, Jacksonville beat the Log Cabin Democrat team 12-5 on the strength of a huge sixth inning. Jacksonville saw a 5-0 lead disintegrate into a 5-5 knot in the fifth. It answered with seven in the sixth.

“We’ve won in a lot of different ways, but we’ve always found a way to get the job done,” Lyda said. “We just want to make sure we keep doing them. We want state.”

Conway has played the entire tournament with the advantage of not having to use a pitcher in the first round. Greers Ferry got the first-round schedule mixed up and didn’t show up for its game on Thursday, resulting in a 7-0 forfeit.

The Log Cabin team used its ace against Greenbrier on Friday, and started its No. 2 against Jacksonville on Saturday. It used three pitcher in a last-inning comeback win over North Little Rock, but the rain delay helped the team rest its key hurlers.
“That helped them more than it did us because we’ve basically got all our pitchers ready,” Lyda said.

A Jacksonville win puts them in the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Burns Park.

SPORTS>>Gwatney rallies, defeats Cabot A

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville found itself in another unusual situation early in Sunday’s game against Cabot. The Post 71 team had Jacksonville down for the first time in the tournament. In fact, Cabot had Gwatney on the ropes, holding a 5-0 lead in the second inning.
“They jumped on us with both feet and I knew it was going to be interesting to see how this group would respond to that,” Lyda said. “This wasn’t a case of getting down one or two runs, this was 5-0 and we were playing too tight. I think we got a little nervous until we had us a little meeting over there on the third baseline. We woke up a little bit after that and started playing a little smarter baseball.”
Jacksonville didn’t play smart in the first two innings, especially on offense. Gwatney put runners on base, but two were picked off by pitcher Tyler Sorrells, and one was caught stealing by catcher Ben Wainwright to thwart Jacksonville scoring threats.
Wainwright opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a long solo home run down the power alley in left field.
“He scared the squirrels with that one,” Lyda said of Wainwright. “He did the same thing to us at our park. He’s a great young ball player.”

Wainwright. “He did the same thing to us at our park. He’s a great young ball player.”

Cabot added four runs in the top of the second inning off Jacksonville starter Stephen Swaggerty. Swaggerty hit Anthony Rye to start the inning and Ken Harness reached on a 3-6 fielder’s choice.

Travis Dorsey walked and Chase Beasley bunted the runners into scoring position. Nine-hole hitter C.J. Jacoby then singled to drive in both runners and give Cabot a 3-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Matt Williams drew a walk, and Cabot turned a bad play into a run during the next at bat.

Swaggerty picked off Williams at first base. Williams didn’t have a chance to get back to first, so he broke for second, which was occupied by Jacoby. Jacksonville first baseman Jason Regnas gave chase on Williams, but then fired off target to third in an attempt to get Jacoby. Jacoby trotted home to make it 4-0, and Jeremy Wilson then singled to score Williams and give Cabot a 5-0 lead.

Wainwright then stepped to the plate and hit a hard grounder down the third baseline, where Gwatney’s Seth Tomboli snagged the ball from the seat of his pants and threw Wainwright out at first to end the rally.

“That was a big play because Swaggerty was in a little bit of trouble,” Lyda said. “He was literally about one pitch away from being pulled, and Tomboli made that play.”

Gwatney got one back in the bottom of the second when A.J. Allen’s fly ball to centerfield was just deep enough to score Caleb Mitchell, who had led off the inning with a walk. Swaggerty then sat Cabot down in order in the third, and Jacksonville’s rally began.

Gwatney got three singles, drew three walks and took advantage of three Cabot errors in the bottom of the third to claim a 6-5 lead.

Tomboli got the big hit of the inning, a bases-loaded, two-out single that scored two runs and kick-started the rally.
Jacksonville got two more base hits and Cabot committed two more errors in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 9-5. Right fielder Clayton Fenton led off with a single to left field. Two batters later Terrell Brown reached on an error. Jason Regnas followed that with a two-RBI single to centerfield. Regnas later scored on the second error of the inning.

Cabot got a run back in the fifth inning. Beasley reached on an error and scored on an RBI base hit by Williams.

Jacksonville answered right back with three more runs in the sixth to set the final margin. Two walks, two more Cabot errors and another RBI base hit by Regnas did the damage for Gwatney.

Tomboli took the mound in the seventh. He got into some trouble right away, giving up a single and a walk with one out, but struck out the next two batters to slam the door on a comeback attempt.

Regnas reached every time up to the plate in the game. He finished 2 for 2 with three RBIs, two runs scored, a walk and was hit once. Jacksonville got just three earned runs in the game. Sorrells went the distance for Cabot, giving up seven base hits while walking eight and striking out five.

Swaggerty threw six innings to get the win. He gave up five earned runs on six hits, four walks and three hit batters.

TOP STORY >>Schools reaching perfection

Leader staff writer

The number of students statewide who are proficient in algebra at the end of the course dropped 4 percent, down to a proficiency rate of 61 percent.

But don’t tell that to the Lonoke Middle School or Ahlf Junior High algebra students in Searcy. In Lonoke 33 percent scored proficient and the other 67 scored advanced, for a 100 percent pass rate.

John Tackett, Lonoke’s assistant superintendent, said, “We are very excited about the scores.” He attributed the students’ performance to a good foundational math program. “We push for mastery and give students a chance to achieve it. We use an assessment program that is aligned with the state frameworks and is used by the teachers to direct instruction,” he said.
Tackett added that if a student tests proficient in “say six out of 10 areas, the student is given the chance to study, practice and retests in the other four areas.”

Ahlf Junior High students did even better than Lonoke students, all 100 percent of the algebra students scored advanced, and 84 percent of the Searcy High School students scored proficient or advanced.

All students are required to take the end-of-course exams in algebra and geometry after completing the course. The tests are given in January and April. Most students in the local area took the exams in April.

In geometry, it was students from Cabot Junior High South leading the pack, with all 75 students tested scoring proficient or advanced.

Cabot Junior High North had 98 percent of its geometry students make the grade, nearly 40 percent points better than the state average of 59 percent, which was a one-point drop from the previous year.

Teresa Chance, the district’s director of curriculum, attributed the great test scores to the hard work of the teachers and students. “We try to get the everyday instruction and assessment aligned so we are doing the right things every day. The bonus is good test results. The day in and day out work in the classroom makes the difference,” Chance said.

As good as students did in algebra and geometry testing, they struggled with the 11th grade literacy exam. The state average was 51 percent, up from three straight years where only 45 percent of juniors scored proficient or advanced.

Searcy and Cabot juniors scored much better than the state average, with 74 percent of the Searcy students proficient or advanced and 69 percent of Cabot’s juniors proficient or advanced.


Algebra students at Beebe Junior High School outpaced those at the high school on the end-of-course exam.
At the junior high level, 85 percent of the algebra students scored proficient or advanced, while 67 percent of their high school counterparts made the cut.

In Searcy, all 25 algebra students at Ahlf Junior High scored advanced, and 88 percent of the 219 high school students taking the exam scored proficient or advanced.

All of Lonoke Middle School’s 27 algebra students scored proficient or advanced, but just 58 percent of the high school’s 102 algebra students were proficient or better.

Cabot Junior High South and North algebra students were neck-and-neck with 84 percent of South’s students making the cut and 83 percent of North’s students making it.

At the high school, 41 percent of the algebra students were proficient or advanced. Also, 84 percent of the students at Cabot’s Academic Center of Excellence scored proficient or better.

Pulaski County Special School District’s algebra students scored about 25 percentage points under the state average, despite four area middle schools doing well. At Sylvan Hills Middle School, 96 percent of the algebra students scored well and 93 percent also did so at Northwood Middle School.

Students on the boys campus of Jacksonville Middle School outpaced the girls campus, with 80 percent of the boys turning in proficient or better scores compared to 69 percent of the girls.

But the district’s high schools greatly tugged the average down. Of the 281 students tested at Jacksonville High School, just 17 percent were proficient or better, 25 percent made the cut at Sylvan Hills High School and 35 percent did so at North Pulaski High School.


Of the 240 Beebe High School geometry students taking the end-of-course state exam, 66 percent scored proficient or better. In the Searcy School District, the percentage jumped to 86 percent making the grade.

In Lonoke, 52 percent of geometry students scored proficient or advanced, seven points below the state average. In Cabot, 79 percent of all geometry students scored proficient or better. Cabot Junior High School South led the charge with 100 percent of its students proficient or advanced, followed by 98 percent at Cabot Junior High North.

At the high school, 72 percent scored well enough, but just 56 percent did so at the Academic Center of Excellence.
The PCSSD average of 39 percent proficient or advanced was 20 points below the state average.

Of the 216 students tested at Sylvan Hills High School, 49 percent scored proficient or advanced, while 42 percent did so at North Pulaski High School and just 27 percent at Jacksonville High School.


In the area of literacy, just slightly more than half of the state’s high school juniors are proficient or advanced. Searcy and Cabot juniors are about 20 points above that, while in Lonoke, Beebe and PCSSD; the average is about eight to 10 points below the state average.

In Searcy, 74 percent of juniors are literacy proficient or advanced. In Cabot, about two-thirds of the juniors make the cut.
But in Lonoke, it’s just 40 percent and in Beebe it’s 49 percent.

IN PCSSD the percent of juniors scoring proficient or advanced in literacy is 41 percent, with 43 percent of Sylvan Hills High School juniors making the grade, 42 percent at North Pulaski High School and 33 percent at Jacksonville High.

Seventh grade

On the seventh-grade benchmark exams, the state average was 58 percent proficient or advanced in math and 57 percent in literacy.

Beebe and Searcy seventh graders bested the state average. In Beebe 70 percent were proficient or advanced in math and 69 percent made the cut in literacy. In Searcy, 74 percent did well in math and 76 percent scored proficient or advanced in literacy.

Cabot also did better than the state average. Of Cabot’s 725 seventh graders, 72 percent scored proficient or better in math and 69 percent did so in literacy.

In Lonoke, 67 percent of the seventh graders scored proficient or better in math and 56 percent did so in literacy.
In PCSSD, just 41 percent made the cut in math and 52 percent in literacy. At Sylvan Hills Middle School, 50 percent of the students scored proficient or better in math and 60 percent did so in literacy.

At Northwood, 39 percent made the cut in math, while 57 percent did so in literacy.

At the boys campus of Jacksonville Middle School, just 27 percent scored proficient or better in math and 29 percent did so in literacy.

On the girls’ campus, 23 percent made the grade in math and 45 percent did so in literacy.
Eighth grade

The state average for the eighth-grade benchmark exam was 48 percent scoring proficient or advanced in math and 63 percent in literacy. In Beebe, 68 percent of eighth graders scored proficient or better in math and 66 percent did so in literacy. In Searcy, it was 71 percent proficient or better in math and 77 percent in literacy.

In Cabot, 62 percent of the eighth graders made the cut in math and 74 percent did so in literacy. Lonoke had 48 percent score proficient or better in math and 68 percent in literacy.

In PCSSD, the district eighth-average was just 29 percent proficient or advanced in math, but 56 percent proficient or better in literacy.

At Sylvan Hills Middle School, 33 percent made the cut in math and 65 percent in literacy, while at Northwood it was 30 percent making the grade in math and 62 percent in literacy. At the boys’ campus of Jacksonville Middle School, it was 27 percent proficient or better in math and 38 percent in literacy. On the girls’ side it was 18 percent proficient or better in math and 57 percent making the cut in literacy.

Corrections: In Saturday’s story on benchmark scores from the third through the sixth grade, three sets of scores from Arnold Drive Elementary were miscalculated. The third-grade literacy score was reported at 42 percent proficient or advanced, but actually was 68 percent. The fourth-grade math score was reported as 87 percent proficient or advanced, but actually it was 97 percent, the top fourth-grade score in math in PCSSD. Fourth-grade literacy was reported at 79 percent proficient or advanced, but was actually 69 percent.

TOP STORY >>Hillman, Harmon in runoff

Leader staff writer

The five-candidate race for Sherwood mayor is down to two—the interim mayor and the city clerk. City Clerk Virginia Hillman bested interim Mayor Bill Harmon by 10 votes on Tuesday, but neither was able to get 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff.

The runoff election will be July 31, and early voting will start Monday at the Pulaski County Courthouse, according to election commission officials.

With all 10 precincts reporting, Hillman collected 1,252 votes, or 32.4 percent, followed by Harmon with 1,242 votes, or 32.2 percent, and Richard Devine with 926 votes or 24 percent.

Doris Anderson had 403 votes, or 10.4 percent, and Victor Sierra had 37 votes, or 1 percent.

Harmon, 80, said he felt he ran a strong campaign. “We figured we’d be in a runoff, and we figured it would be with Virginia, but thought we’d be on top going in. We now have three hard weeks of work to get our message out,” Harmon said
Hillman, 43, was pleased with the results and said the next three weeks will be very busy. “We are on our way and think we’ll be successful,” she said.

Harmon served 10 years as a city alderman, then 14 years as mayor, opting to retire rather than run again in 2006.
Alderman Dan Stedman won the mayor’s spot, but resigned in April, citing health issues. Harmon was appointed the interim mayor a week later. Hillman was first appointed to city clerk in 2001. Hillman was re-elected to that position in 2002 and 2006.

Devine, 54, a realty specialist and negotiator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer, said he was disappointed and elated all in the same light with the results of his first run for public office. “It was a positive experience and I met a lot of good people,” Devine said.

Anderson, 52, an applications and systems manager with the Arkansas Department of Labor, also felt good about her campaign. “I’ll continue to be the same outspoken person I have always been, plus now I have more than 400 new friends in the city,” Anderson said. Sierra, 57, retired from the Air Force and Union Pacific, called the race a learning experience. “I got a chance to talk to a lot of people, I plan to stay involved and may

TOP STORY >>Prep work preventing usual floods

Leader staff writer

Heavy rainfall in Cabot this week didn’t cause the usual flooding, and Mayor Eddie Joe Williams gives credit to Jerrel Maxwell, his director of public works, and street department workers who have been busy since January cleaning ditches, opening the ends of culverts and replacing culverts when necessary.

“I just can’t say enough good about the work they are doing,” Williams said Monday. “In January, Jerrel and I rode through these subdivisions and there was flooding everywhere. We had a deluge this morning and it was heartwarming to find not one of those locations in serious trouble.”

Williams said they drove during the Monday rain through the usual trouble spots – Elm Street, Timberwood, West Oaks, Diamond Creek and Nalley Road – and where water should have been threatening homes there was only water running down the ditches.

Despite the $20,000 in increased monthly revenue for the street department that the city has gained from last year’s special census, Williams hasn’t overlaid any streets.

Instead, he has asked Maxwell to have his workers concentrate on problems that cost little more than man hours to correct, like digging out ditches that didn’t drain properly and jacking open culverts that were caved in so the water couldn’t get through.

The new money is going in the bank for next year’s projects, the mayor said.

When Williams took office in January, he laid off the city engineer, the computer-aided draftsman and the engineer who worked as public works director.

Maxwell, whose background is construction, ran public works under former Mayor Joe Allman, and Williams put him back in that position at a salary of about $20,000 per year less than the position had paid for the past four years.

Williams said Tuesday that the experts he laid off in January might have been good at drawing plans, but he needed someone who could get the work done.

“We had a CAD guy,” he said. “Now we’ve got Dan Wilhite shooting the grade of ditches.”

Maxwell said part of the flooding was caused by ditches that had filled in with sediment preventing rainwater from running downhill.

To make them flow again, workers determine the grade with a transit and dig them out where needed, he said. Maxwell said he can’t keep the ditches from filling when it rains, but his workers have been able to make the water run down faster. “We’re doing everything we can to keep people’s houses from being flooded,” he said.

TOP STORY >>Domestic Violence

Leader staff writer

In the aftermath of a domestic disturbance, Chesrick Martin, 25, of Jacksonville wrecked his ex-girlfriend’s car after a high-speed chase with the Jacksonville Police Department.

When girlfriend Erica Young broke off their relationship, Martin become irate and threatened to steal and wreck Young’s car. He took off in her 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt last Friday, and police soon began a pursuit that ended with a wreck at the intersection of Loop and Military roads when he failed to stop at the stop sign.

The police chase began after Young filed a complaint on the unauthorized use of her vehicle by Martin at the Jacksonville police station. While filing the report, an officer spoke with Martin on Young’s cell phone, telling the officer “come find me, and if you find me it’s going to be a high-speed chase.”

Before he took off in Young’s car, he caused a disturbance at 313B Bellevue Circle, the home of Young’s mother. A witness told police she heard glass breaking and saw a muscular black male slam a trashcan against the front window of the residence. She then heard screaming and yelling and more glass breaking.

Martin was arrested on one felony count of possession of a firearm, one felony count of fleeing, two felony counts of criminal mischief and one misdemeanor count each of the unauthorized use of a vehicle, reckless driving, resisting arrest and driving on a suspended driver’s license.

He was transferred to the Pulaski County Detention Center and later bonded out.

But that incident was just one of many domestic calls the police have dealt with this year. Jacksonville’s first homicide of the year was the result of domestic violence. Marlin Marbley, 24, remains in jail on a $500,000 bond despite his plea of not guilty to a felony count of first-degree murder.

His victim, 24-year-old Cassondra Leigh Speer of Jacksonville, lived with him at Plantation Village Mobile Home Park.
In June, a Lonoke woman was fatally shot with a shotgun blast to the abdomen by her husband. In Sherwood, a pregnant woman was beaten by her boyfriend.

According to Pat Blackstone, program director for the Arkansas Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 16 women have died so far this year from apparent domestic violence.

In 2006, 17 deaths were attributed to domestic violence during the entire year.

“Don’t wait for the yelling, screaming, running out of the house and the gunshots,” Blackstone warns. She recommends reporting disturbances before it is too late to help the victim.

Blackstone says victims of domestic violence must speak out and tell their friends, neighbors, relatives and even school officials if children are involved.

“This sets up a support system for the victim of domestic abuse,” she said. A short safety plan should also be developed when dealing with domestic abuse.

“Avoid being cornered in the kitchen. There are items there that could be used as weapons, and don’t get confined in a small area like a bathroom either,” Blackstone said, adding that if one gets caught up in a domestic abuse situation, the victim should get to a room where there is an exit.

Two 24-hour domestic abuse hotlines are available in the central Arkansas area. Victims may call the Little Rock Women and Children First hotline in Little Rock at (501) 376-3219, or the Lonoke County Safe Haven hotline at (501) 941-4357.

And although it may not always end the violence, Blackstone said a domestic abuse victim can seek an order of protection to prevent the alleged abuser from coming near the victim.

“An order of protection will not stop a bullet,” she said. Law-enforcement agencies are constantly dealing with domestic violence as there is no set time of the year, month or week when the acts occur.

“Domestic disturbances never take a vacation,” Lt. Martin Cass, public information officer for the Jacksonville Police Department, said.

“The first thing we recommend is when things are getting heated up, one party should leave because this allows for a cooling-off period,” he said.

Between May 1 and June 18 there were 201 calls into the Jacksonville dispatch center; of those, a few may not have been a domestic, but possibly a civil situation, Cass said.

The 201 calls in 45 days averages out to only about one-and-a-half domestic disturbances handled by the JPD on each shift, he said. In the unincorporated areas, in Pulaski County north of the Arkansas River, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office since May 1 has handled about 48 calls involving incidents resulting in charges of battery against someone.

“The vast majority of them were regarding domestic disturbances,” John Rehrauer, public information officer for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Rehrauer also indicated that there has been no increase in domestic disturbances as summer gets underway this year. “There’s been no spike either way,” he said.

He recommended to victims of domestic abuse to make a paper trail by reporting actual incidents.
“The paper trail will then reveal a pattern of abuse,” he said.

But he does not want people calling in and making up incidents of domestic abuse just to establish a pattern.
“Obviously, try to get away and don’t continue the argument if you are involved in a domestic,” Rehrauer said.
Sherwood registered 20 domestic calls during May, according to Lt. Cheryl Williams, public information officer for the Sherwood Police Department.

“I wouldn’t say it’s our biggest problem, but we take domestic calls very seriously because of the high potential for danger,” she said.

Sherwood’s last homicide, which occurred about two years ago, stemmed from an apparent domestic disturbance between a husband and wife.

“The wife shot him in the back as the husband was packing a bag to leave,” Williams recalled. The wife, Carolyn Cooper, was arrested and convicted in 2006.

Williams believes eradicating domestic abuse won’t happen because “we’re all human,” she said. But she does believe family members should discuss domestic violence, and even anger-management classes by counselors could help.
Putting it all in perspective, Blackstone summed it this way:

“One of the first things we tell women is they do not deserve to be abused,” Blackstone said.

Although this advice was directed toward women, other domestic disturbance incident reports do list men as victims as well, but only rarely.

TOP STORY >>Residents stonewall two plans

Leader staff writer

A slew of Stonewall and Foxwood subdivision residents stalled two proposed Jacksonville developments for at least a month.
The residents were at the Jacksonville Planning Commission meeting Monday night fighting a rezoning request that would allow development of a garden-home subdivision and sketch plats for a single- and multi-family development off Edinburgh Road.

“Don’t go goofing up my neighborhood,” said John Williams, a Jacksonville police officer. “This goes in and a lot of us are moving. I understand it’s about the developer making money, and he has that right, but don’t stick the knife in my back to make your dollar,” Williams said.

Williams and a number of other residents were at the meeting to do battle against plans for the Edinburgh subdivision. The initial plans called for about 10 single-family homes to be built south of Edinburgh Road and at least 30 duplexes to the north. The single-family homes and the duplexes follow the current zoning requirements, but residents still didn’t want the duplexes and were also concerned that all the traffic would feed off Edinburgh.

Because of the Splash Zone, the area already gets a large amount of traffic and children are everywhere, residents told the commissioners.

Commissioners asked Tommy Bond, who was representing the owner of the property, Jim Peacock, to try to address the concerns of the residents and bring the plan back next month.

Commissioner Emma Knight asked Bond if the development could be just single-family homes, even though multi-family units were allowable. Bond said he would discuss the idea with the owner and come back with a more palatable plan.

More than half the crowd was at the city hall meeting to fight plans to rezone about 19.5 acres, known as Foxwood Gardens from R-0 (single-family homes) to R-2 (duplexes). Bond, representing the property owners, quickly amended the request to go to R-1 (single-family homes with smaller lots).

“We have no intentions of building multi-family units in this subdivision. Plans are to build a gated community of garden homes and the homes would range from 1,500 to 2,500-square-feet,” he explained to the riled crowd.

Plans called for about 80 new homes on the acreage.

City administrator Jay Whis-ker, who served six years as the city engineer and still represents the engineering department at planning commission meetings, explained to the crowd and commissioners that the rezoning request only affected the size of the lots. “At R-0 the lots are 75-by-120 feet, at R-1 the lots are 60-by-100 feet. If the rezoning goes through, it’ll add about 10 to 15 additional homes to the development,” he said.

The largest concern of the residents was the only one street would be used to enter and exit the gated subdivision. “That’s a lot of traffic to be tuning in and out that close to a school,” said Charles Evans of 1801 Steeplechase.

The planned exits and entrances to the subdivision are at the dead end of Steeplechase Drive, and where Foxwood turns east and west, close to Pinewood Ele-mentary. According to Bond, only one of the entrances would be used by residents, the other would be for emergency vehicles. Don Hall, of 1513 Foxwood, said. “Kids congregate in that area for school buses and the only sidewalk is on that side. The extra traffic would create a very dangerous situation.”

Dan Broughton, of 1300 Fox-wood Drive, was concerned about the home sizes. “There’s a lot of difference between a 1,500-square- foot home and a 2,500-square-foot home, and that means a lot of difference in the dollar value. We don’t want our property values going down,” he said.

Even though the subdivision design was a separate issue from the rezoning, the commissioners asked Bond to bring the request back next month with a more complete plan to help determine whether the subdivision would be a good fit for the area or not.

Commissioner Chad Young felt the garden-home subdivision was needed in Jacksonville, “but it’s a tight squeeze here.”
Commissioners will tackle both issues at its 7 p.m., Aug. 13 meeting at city hall.

In other planning commission business:

Commissioners approved the rezoning of the Bellevue Subdivision, Phase IV from R-1 (single-family homes) to R-2 (duplexes). They also approved the final plat for the subdivision.

TOP STORY >>Woman detained in I-40 bus crash

A distraught woman who forced a Greyhound bus to crash into the woods off I-40 in Lonoke County on Monday is being held at the state hospital for a mental evaluation.

After the tests are completed, authorities said, Victoria Combs, 27, will be taken to the Lonoke County Jail, where the allegedly delusional passenger could be charged for forcing the bus off the highway and into marshy woods. The woman, who is from Oklahoma, tried to seize control of the steering wheel from the driver, but no one was killed.

The State Police, Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office and South Bend Volunteer Fire Department crews were at the scene continuing their investigations past midnight Monday.

Lt. Jim Kulesa, of the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office, said, “Deputy David Houser was out there until 11:30 p.m. helping with the scene.

“When Combs is booked at Lonoke, she will receive her first court appearance date,” Kulesa added. The bus was pulled from the woods in two hours by Rich’s Wrecker Service and parked at the towing company’s lot in Lonoke.

George Rich, company owner, said, “Greyhound is making arrangements to move the bus by Wednesday morning. It will go to Kentucky for rebuilding or Dallas for disposing. The steering is damaged, the nose is smashed and the windshield came out.”
Eleven people were taken to hospitals after the crash at about 5:45 p.m., according to state police Cpl. Adrian Ray, including the passenger who tried to take control of the bus.

“It was like we were lifted off the ground, and we were flying through the trees,” passenger Paula Smith, 41, of Indianapolis, said after the crash.

The woman who grabbed for the steering wheel of the westbound bus fled out the door after it came to rest sharply tilted to one side, but other passengers chased her down and held her until police arrived, according to an account from one passenger.

On Tuesday, State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said Combs was being held at the Arkansas State Hospital as doctors test her “mental capacity to distinguish who she is and where she is,” as well as what she remembered from the crash. Sadler said none of the injuries from the crash appeared to be life-threatening. He said Combs would be arrested and taken to the Lonoke County Jail after her release from the hospital.

The accident occurred near the Remington Road intersection with I-40 just east of the Pulaski-Lonoke County line, about 30 miles east-northeast of Little Rock, Sadler said. The bus traveled about 25 yards into the brush and, after the crash, could barely be seen from the highway.

A spokeswoman for Greyhound said 49 people were aboard the bus. The bus began its trip at Richmond, Va., and its eventual destination was Dallas.

Passenger Charlotte Simmons, 29, of Hot Springs said Combs had been acting erratically since she boarded the bus in Nashville, Tenn.

“She got on with a police escort, saying she was afraid someone was going to kill her,” Simmons said.

An employee with the Nashville police who declined to give her name said a check by the department found no dayshift officers who reported putting a woman on the Dallas-bound bus. Officials with the department did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday.

Sadler said troopers received conflicting statements from both passengers and the driver about whether the woman boarded the bus in Nashville or Memphis, Tenn. Calls to Memphis police were not immediately returned Tuesday.

About 25 minutes before the crash, Combs went to the front of the bus and complained to the driver that other passengers were spraying drugs in her face, and her face was burning, Simmons said. The driver pulled over at a rest stop and went to the back of the bus to investigate the complaint, Simmons said. When the bus got back on the road, Combs returned to the front, sitting on the steps near the door.

“Then Combs got up, grabbed the wheel and we all just went flying,” Simmons said.

State Police received a call from someone on the bus at 5:44 p.m., Sadler said, reporting that a passenger “had become unruly and was attempting to take control of the bus.”

A state trooper was dispatched to find the bus, but before the officer located the vehicle, another call came in at 5:46 p.m. reporting that the bus had crashed.

According to Sadler, a small fire may have broken out immediately after the crash, but was quickly extinguished. The bus came to rest tilted sharply onto its right side, with the door opening into a marshy area, Simmons said. She said most of the passengers climbed out the windows on the other side - though the woman who had caused the wreck used the door, with other passengers following quickly in pursuit.

About 6:30 p.m., police flagged down another Greyhound bus that had some empty seats and it took some of the passengers from the wrecked bus to the North Little Rock terminal. A half-hour later, an Executive Coach bus, chartered by Greyhound, arrived to pick up the remaining passengers.

The driver of the wrecked bus, Wayne Owens of Royse City, Texas, who appeared to have scratches on one of his arms, boarded the chartered bus without speaking to reporters. Greyhound spokeswoman Anna Folmnscee said the bus company would make sure the passengers’ needs were met, including providing hotel rooms if necessary.

On Oct. 3, 2001, a man slashed the driver of a Greyhound bus in Tennessee with a knife, causing a crash that killed seven people, including attacker Damir Igric, a 29-year-old Croatian.

The accident shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks shut down all bus service for several hours and prompted calls to better protect drivers from passengers.

Leader staff writer Jeffrey Smith and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

OBITUARIES >> 7-11-07

Nancy Griffin

Nancy Griffin, 59, of Cabot died July 8. She was born June 21, 1948 in Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her advocate and special friend, Edith Witcher.

She is survived by her guardian and special friends Inez and Joe Strayhorn of Beebe, Larry and Wanda Gibson and family, Tommy and Charlotte Cagle and Betty Thurmond, all of Cabot; along with the staff, clients and friends of Dunda’s Place Group Home in Forrest City and Gordon Tubbs Pathfinder in Cabot.

She lived a life as normal as possible, she loved going to church, singing, all kinds of music and Special Olympics. Nancy attended and participated in the Arkansas State Special Olympics at Harding University in Searcy in May 25, where she won a gold medal in her competitive activity. Nancy was very proud of all of her medals. She loved her Special Olympics so much that those who didn’t know her would think her medals were from the Olympics.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 with family receiving friends from 6 to 8 pm. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at Old Austin Baptist Church with burial immediately following at Old Austin Cemetery in Ward.

Memorials in memory of Nancy Griffin may be sent to Dunda’s Place Group Home, P.O, Box 1857, Forrest City, Ark., 72335 or to Gordon Tubbs Pathfinder, 412 Cleveland, Cabot, Ark. 72023.

Arrangement will be by Thomas Funeral Service.

Violet Dailey

Violet Oressa Stone Dailey, 81, of Cabot, died July 7.  She was born April 10, 1926 in Booneville to the late Earnest Clarence and Arthar Odessa Williams Stone. She was a retired Church of God minister’s wife and a beloved mother.

She is survived by her son, John Leslie Dailey of Pine Bluff; daughter, Sherry Joan Wilkins of Cabot; brothers, Isaac Glenn Stone of Texarkana, Texas, and Earnest Clarence Stone, Jr. of Waynesboro, Tenn.; four grandchildren,  and seven great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Eunice Estell Stone and Bernice Lydia Cartwright; son, Lendell Leland Dailey and husband Rev. Leland Leslie Dailey.  

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 at Cabot Funeral Home Chapel with Brother A.T. Davis officiating.  Interment will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot. Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.

Mary Tarno

Mary Tarno, 80, of Romance died July 10. She was born Aug. 25, 1926, at Alicia to George Alvin and Ora Ethel Gosley Crumpton. She was a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother.

Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Robert “Bud” Tarno; a daughter, Lois Ann Tarno; one great-grandchild, Timothy Eric Tarno, Jr.; her parents; two sisters, Irene Gosha and Ruby Nunnley; two brothers, Alvis Crumpton and Roy Crumpton.
She is survived by her sons, Bobby Glen Tarno and wife Ginger of Ward, Robert Gary Tarno and wife Erica of Romance, and Randy Tarno and wife Nell of Romance; a daughter, Vivian Jo Tarno of Romance; a brother, Boyd Crumpton; two sisters, Lois Wilson and Alene Murphy; 15 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 12 at Westbrook Funeral Home with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens in Beebe.

David Branson

David Carl Branson, Sr. 67, of Jacksonville died June 30. He retired as a flight simulator technician for the Air Force after almost 27 years. He continued his career as a civil service employee and as a flight simulator technician for 10 more years.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Mary; two sons, David Jr. and wife Terri, and Steven, all of Jacksonville; his brother, James Branson of St. Louis; grandchildren, David Carl III, Megan Nicole, Steven Michael, Jr., and Sarah Michelle Branson; and several nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, July 13 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at Huson Funeral Home in Sherwood.

Deborah Kuykendall

Deborah Louise Kuykendall, 53, of Jacksonville passed away July 3.

She was born March 2, 1954 in Little Rock to B. J. Kuykendall and the late Hariet Pierce Kuykendall.

She is survived by her father and her step-mother, Rosemary Schmidt; two daughters, Gillian and Avery Ellis of Oregon; a sister, Chris Anne Danley and her husband Jerry of Jacksonville; friend Patricia Swagerty and a host of uncles, aunts, great uncles and great aunts. Funeral arrangements are by Cabot Funeral Home.

Herbert Griffith

Herbert Arthur Griffith, 67, departed this life July 9 in Hazen. He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
Survivors include his wife, Margie; two sisters; and two grandchildren. Arrangements by Wood Funeral Home of Jacksonville.

Billy Cox

Billy Joe Cox, 66, died July 1.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings Darrell and Nola May. He is survived by his wife, Carolee Dunn Cox; children, Billy Joe Cox, Jr. of Minnesota, Michelle Ann Talley and Rebecca Lynn Crothers, both of Kansas; step-daughters, Cynthia Hayes and Julie Sharp both of Benton; grandchildren, Samantha Tally and Henry Joe Tally of Kansas; step-grandchildren, Kaylee Sharp and Garrett Sharp, both of Benton; his siblings, Ron and Don of Missouri, Midge and Peggy of Iowa, and Maxine of Utah, and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were July 6 at Boyd Funeral Home Chapel with interment following in Pine Crest Memorial Cemetery in Alexander.

Monday, July 09, 2007

SPORTS >>Jacksonville AAA dominates Sheridan

IN SHORT: The older Gwatney Legion team pounded the Yellowjackets Tuesday in a rain-shortened game at Dupree Park.

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville’s A and AAA teams split a rain-soaked doubleheader with Sheridan Tuesday at Dupree Park. The A team struggled through lackluster performances in just its second game in 18 days, losing 9-2 after taking the early lead in the first inning.

The AAA Chevy boys turned in one of their best-hitting games of the season, beating the Yellowjackets 7-2 in a game that was called due to increasingly heavy rain in the bottom of the fourth inning, which was just enough of play to count as an official game.

Jacksonville got its offense rolling in the second inning, but it was a big third frame that did in the visitors.
In the second, Seth Tomboli singled to centerfield and scored two batters later when Sheridan mis-communicated and failed to field a high fly ball to left-centerfield off the bat of Daniel Henard.

Gwatney got six runs in the third on just two base hits, including four runs before getting a hit. Blake Mattison started things off by being the first of three Jacksonville players to get hit by a pitch in the frame. Jason Regnas reached on an error at third base that he helped along. The throw from third to first was up the first base line and forced the Sheridan first baseman to stretch up the line to make the catch. Regnas barreled over the intruding fielder and the ball sailed into the fence beside the visitors’ dugout on a one-hop.

Cameron Hood popped up to second base fro the first out, but the rally was still far from over. Zach Thomas was then hit to load the bases and Brian Thurman reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Mattison. Tomboli then walked to load the bases again, and Eric Berry took one for the team to drive in the second run of the frame.

Thurman also tried to score all the way from second on Berry’s sacrifice, but was called out at home plate. The throw beat Thurman to the plate, but the tag was off target as Thurman’s hook-slide avoided the tag. Nevertheless, Jacksonville added three more runs in the frame to claim complete control of the contest.

Henard stepped up after Thurman’s out and doubled to centerfield to drive in two runs. Adam Ussery then singled to center to finish the scoring in the frame. Ussery was picked off at second base to end the inning.

The intensity of the rain picked up at the start of the fourth inning, but after a long discussion, the decision was made to continue play. Jacksonville pitcher Casey Winstead did his job in the frame, sitting Sheridan down in order quickly to make it official.

Gwatney appeared on the brink of another rally when the plate umpire called the game. Mattison led off the bottom of the fourth with a triple and Regnas walked just before the game ended with no outs.

Winstead finished the four innings with only three hits allowed, four walks and three strikeouts.
Jacksonville picked up six base hits with Henard and Mattison hitting for extra bases.
The win lifts the Gwatney AAA team to 6-14 on the season.

The A squad saved its pitching for the currently ongoing zone tournament in Maumelle, but also played poorly in its loss. The Gwatney A team committed four errors that led to six unearned runs. The loss dropped the squad to 10-8-1.

The elder Chevy boys are off this weekend while the A team plays its zone tournament in Maumelle. They will be back on the field next Tuesday with a road game at Little Rock Continental Express. They will travel to Maumelle on Wednesday, and won’t be back home until Monday, July 16 when they host Bryant.

SPORTS >>Cabot stays alive with easy victory

IN SHORT: The Post 71 Class A team beat Morrilton to advance to third-round play in the Zone 2 American Legion tournament in Maumelle.

Leader sports staff

The Cabot Class A American Legion team staved off elimination from the Zone 2 tournament Friday by beating Morrilton 9-1 and knocking the Cogswell Motors team out of the tournament. Cabot’s Post 71 squad, now 9-6-1, lost its opener to North Little Rock 7-1, but stayed alive Friday and advanced to play at 5 p.m. today against the loser between Conway and Greenbrier.

Anthony Rye went the distance on the mound for Cabot. Rye’s performance was more than enough to hold struggling Morrilton to only one run in the top of the second inning.

“We’ve been shorthanded in the tournament so far,” Cabot coach Jay Darr said. “We only had 10 players yesterday, and nine today. But I told them just now that it’s not who doesn’t show up, but who does shows up. We had a lackluster pre-game, and we got on them some. They came out ready to play after that. They responded more than we expected.”

Rye gave up a hit to start out the game, but recovered to retire three of the next four batters to prevent an early Morrilton score.

Cabot leadoff batter Chase Beasley reached on an error, and advanced to third on a single from two-hole hitter C.J. Jacoby to start the second inning. Cabot tricked its way to the opening score, sending Jacoby to second for a steal, then sending Beasley home when Morrilton catcher Terrance Heaggins took the bait with a throw to second base.

Jacoby scored on a single to left center by Ben Wainwright to make it 2-0, and Wainwright then added the final score of the first when a double into deep left from Ken Harness cleared the way.

Morrilton scored in the next frame with an RBI single by Deuce Kottner to make it 3-1.

It would be as close as Morrilton would get to keeping the game close from that point on.
Cabot added a pair of runs in the third inning from Ben Wainwright and Harness. Wainwright was sent in by a Harness double, and Harness scored with a single down the first base line from Michael Cochran.

Morrilton was outplayed from the start, but didn’t start beating themselves until the bottom of the fifth inning. Up to that point, only two errors had been commited by the Morrilton defense. They would double up and add one before the bottom of the fifth was over, and Cabot took advantage by increasing their lead to eight.

Rye led off the fifth for Cabot by reaching on an error at third base, but was tagged out on a fielder’s choice moments later. Harness got the first actual hit of the inning with a fly into center that was good for a single.

Cabot had runners at first and third, but with two outs hanging over its head. Morrilton had a chance to stop any further runs from Cabot, but an error at the plate on a bunt by Shane Caviness scored Harness, and another error led to runs from Caviness and Tyler Sorrells after a Sorrells’ single brought in Cochran.

Cabot saved its best defensive play for last, turning a 1-5-3 double play to end the game in the top of the seventh inning. Cabot finished with nine runs, 10 hits and two errors. Morrilton had one run, seven hits and five errors.

Cabot will take on either Greenbrier or Conway today at 5 p.m. in a must-win game in order to advance to the semifinals.
In Thursday’s loss, Cabot got the early lead with a single run in the top of the first inning. Beasley on got when his infield grounder to second base was poorly thrown to first. Two sacrifice grounders moved Beasley to third. With two outs, Rye singled to right field to drive in the runner. Another single to right put runners on first and second. A third consecutive two-out single, this one to left field by catcher Travis Dorsey, prompted Rye to try to score, but he was thrown out at home.

SPORTS >>Gwatney hammers Morrilton

IN SHORT: Jacksonville’s Class A American Legion team took its first step towards a state bid by beating Morrilton 17-4 in the first round of zone.

Leader sportswriter

Gwatney Chevrolet entered the American Legion Class A Zone 2 tournament at Maumelle looking to make a statement, and that is exactly what they did with a 17-4 win over Morrilton Thursday during the opening round. The Chevy boys lit up three separate Morrilton pitchers en route to the runaway decision, generating a total of 15 hits, nine of which came during the first two innings.

Jacksonville pitcher Seth Tomboli continues to have an impressive summer, pitching the winner with six hits allowed, one walk and nine strikeouts. Despite throwing at about 75 percent most of the evening, Tomboli bought himself two more innings for later on in the tournament with the run-ruled win.

“It’s about time we had a game like that,” Gwatney coach Travis Lyda said. “I was seriously worried after the way we played on Tuesday, so we needed that. We can’t expect this to happen through the entire tournament, Morrilton is just a really young team. I think we showed why we were the top seed in this zone tonight.”

Gwatney took to the field first as the hosts on the scoreboard, and Tomboli started sending them down right from the start. He struck out two of the first three batters faced in the game to send Jacksonville to the plate for the bottom of the first.
Tyler Wisdom led off for Gwatney with a double, and Terrell Brown matched Wisdom from the two-hole slot with a shot that landed on the other side of Morrilton centerfielder Rich Walls for another double.

Jason Regnas made it three straight doubles for Jacksonville with a fly to the left field wall that would score both Wisdom and Brown to put Gwatney up 2-0. Regnas came in on an error at third base, and Caleb Mitchell and Tomboli made it in on a double from Hayden Simpson for a 5-0 lead entering the second inning.

Morrilton did briefly make a game of it in the top of the second inning. The first three batters of the second inning generated half of the total hits for Morrilton on the evening, with John Cotner’s double to right center sending two runners in for scores. Cotner would come in for the third run later in the inning on a failed attempt at a double play by Gwatney.

Jacksonville added some to the lead in the bottom of the second with runs from Clayton Fenton, Wisdom and Regnas. Fenton tagged on a fly out from Brown, and Regnas followed Wisdom across the plate on a single to left center by Mitchell.

Jacksonville showed themselves as superior from the start of the contest, but the lop-sidedness didn’t come into full effect until the third inning. A fielding error in-between Tomboli strikeouts allowed one on for Morrilton, but Terrance Heaggens looked to be asleep at the wheel when Tomboli tossed the ball to first baseman Regnas for the easy pick as soon as he got on.

From the bottom of the third on, Morrilton began to beat themselves just as bad, if not worse, than Gwatney did. An error on a bunt by Wisdom allowed walk recipients Daniel Thurman and Fenton to cross the plate for a 10-3 lead.

The slippery conditions are to blame for robbing Brown of a rare opportunity for getting an inside-the-park home run.
Brown’s hit to shortstop was thrown badly to first, allowing him to take first, and Wisdom to take third. The throw to third on Wisdom was also a bad one, ending up at the fence. Wisdom scrambled home with Brown right behind him, but Brown slipped on his way to the plate. A quick game of cat and mouse ended with Brown getting the tag for the second out of the inning.

A walk for Regnas and two more singles by Mitchell and Tomboli led to the first pitching change for Morrilton, but scores for all three runners, and one more run on a passed ball gave Gwatney a commanding 15-3 lead after three innings of play.
Tomboli added three more to his strikeout total in the top of the fourth, but did give up a hit to Cotner before retiring the next two batters.

Starter Brown and pinch-hitter Cody Spears added the final two runs for Jacksonville on a shot to deep centerfield by Tomboli. Both runners reached on singles to set up the runs.

One group that took notice of the shellacking was No. 2 seeded Greenbrier, who watched the final two innings of the runaway affair from behind the Morrilton dugout. Tomboli’s loose demeanor on the mound through the first two frames got a lot tighter with the additional audience, and his fastballs became a little faster. Lyda says his team knew exactly who was watching them down the stretch.

“When Greenbrier comes up there and sees seventeen runs on the scoreboard, I mean, that puts some pressure on some people there,” Lyda said. “The reality of it is, if we don’t win this tournament, we’re going home.”

SPORTS >>Bruins get sweep on Heber

IN SHORT: The younger group of Sylvan Hills players beat a fellow Zone 2 team Tuesday in preparation for the Zone 2 tournament that begins next week.

Leader sportswriter

Heber Springs kept it close in both games, but Sylvan Hills prevailed for a doubleheader sweep in American Legion Class AA action Tuesday night at Kevin McReynolds Field in Sherwood.

The Bruins took game one 4-2, but had trouble closing the deal on the nightcap. It took nine full innings for Sylvan Hills to get the win with a walk-off single by winning Bruins pitcher Brannon Chastain to secure the 6-5 decision.

The score was deadlocked at five runs each from the fifth inning until Chastain’s fly into left field with two outs in the bottom of the ninth scored T.C. Squires and gave the Bruins the sweep.

Chastain inherited a mess in the top of the second inning. Starting pitcher Eric McKinney struggled during the opening frame, as Heber’s Brock’s Engineering team racked up four quick scores to take a healthy lead. Chastain shut them down from there, allowing only four hits and one run through eight innings while striking out an incredible 17 batters.

Sylvan Hills made up one of the early Heber scores with a run from Ryan Dillon. Leadoff hitter Dillon sent a hopper into left to start the bottom of the first, and tagged up on a fly out from Jordan Spears to bring in the run.

Chastain started his campaign at the mound off in style during the top of the second, striking out three batters in a total of nine pitches to send Sylvan Hills back to the plate for the bottom side. McKinney started out with a single for the Bruins in the bottom of the second, but was left stranded on the bag with two pop-ups to center and a strikeout to send it to the top of the third.

Two Heber runners managed to reach in the top of the third on errors to start out the inning, but Chastain regrouped and retired the next three batters with another 1-2-3 strikeout combo.

The difference in the game would turn out to be the bottom of the third inning. Cain Cormier started the inning out with a walk, and advanced on a steal and an error during a hit to shortstop by Ryan Dillon. Cormier tagged up for the score on a pop-up by Ty Van Schoyck to make the score 4-2.

The Bruins gave up an out on a steal after that, but it did generate a run. Spears singled, but was picked off trying to steal second. Dillon waited for the play to develop, and then charged the plate as Heber second baseman Justin Verser caught Spears for the tag.

An error at third base allowed the Bruins to put the next run in position. This time, it was Chastain who reached by taking advantage of the Heber blunder. A walk for following batter McKinney put the tying run on the path, and Cody Cormier sent them both in with a shot into left field to put the Bruins in the lead for the first time in the ballgame.

The top of the fourth would generate consecutive strikeouts number four, five and six for Chastain, but Heber brought some new power to the mound themselves for the bottom of the fourth. Cash Reeves relieved Klopp for the remainder and consequentially, the hits came much less often for Sylvan Hills.

Reeves retired Blake Rasden, Cain Cormier and Dillon in short order during the fourth. That would sent Heber back to the plate for what would turn out to be its most successful frame against the otherwise unshakeable Chastain.

Reeves and Douglass got back-to-back hits against Chastain for the only time in the game in the fifth. The single by Douglass resulted in a run for Reeves, who doubled with one out to set up the tying score.

The Bruins had their chances to end things as scheduled in the bottom of the seventh, putting a runner at third with only one out. A chop hit to third by Van Schoyck confused base runner Dillon, who took off for home with Heber shortstop Klopp holding the ball. A strikeout on Spears would be out three, sending the game into the eighth inning.

Chastain’s arm held strong through the two extra innings. A double by Daniel Cranford would be his only extra-innings slip in seven batters faced. His walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth sent Squires across the plate, and secured his own win at the mound.

The Bruins took the win in game one in less dramatic fashion, relying on three RBIs from Chastain to take the win. Spears won at the mound, going all seven innings for Sylvan Hills.


Thanks to all the good folks at Jacksonville City Hall for keeping us abreast of all the public meetings scheduled in town.

After we complained here last weekend that we were not notified of meetings of the city’s advertising and promotion commission — officials insist that we have been, although we have no record of receiving any notification this year but for one fax — we’re now inundated with agendas and announcements of future meetings through e-mails and faxes.

Thank you very much indeed. Keeping us informed about public meetings, in Jacksonville or in the many towns The Leader covers, helps us keep our readers better informed, too. So don’t stop those faxes and e-mails!

EDITORIALS>>Huckabee does NEA

The good but politically unfortunate thing about Mike Huckabee’s campaign for president is that he does not have a Karl Rove to keep the campaign on a single message. Most days Huckabee is an extreme right-winger, bragging about slashing taxes and government spending and promising to defend to the death all the social causes of religious conservatives, which makes him a stranger to Arkansas voters but is supposed to appeal to the celebrated but vanishing Republican base.

But on other days he is the sensible defender of pragmatic government, which is how Arkansans came to know him in a dozen years of public officeholding. Thursday was one of those days. Huckabee was the lone Republican candidate for president of the five invited to address the National Education Association, the teachers’ professional association and sometimes union.

One news account said he was the first Republican candidate for president in history to address the NEA, which sounds implausible. Every Democratic candidate accepted the invitation and Huckabee followed Sen. Barack Obama to the lectern. While an NEA official warned the delegates in advance of Huckabee’s appearance that it was not good form to boo or hiss, it was recorded that the crowd actually gave Huckabee four standing ovations.

While we do not have a transcript of the governor’s speech, the NEA press release and the news accounts made no mention of his usual campaign mantra — that he would never raise taxes and that he had slashed taxes “94 times” as Arkansas governor, a record that was kept secret from Arkansas taxpayers. He could not very well say it in that forum because there were 60 delegates — the Arkansas contingent — and probably many more who knew that Huckabee had raised taxes repeatedly as governor, the largest share of them to improve the public schools and higher education. No governor in Arkansas history raised taxes so much and so often or raised government spending and debt to such heights.

Huckabee noted that the other Republican candidates for president all dwelled on national-security issues but that there were other threats to the nation’s security besides terrorism. Poor education was first among them. Every now and again Huckabee cannot subdue the impulse to talk about such things — compassion for immigrants, the case for religious people and for government to tend to children’s needs after they are born, the need for government not to turn a haughty back to the manifest suffering of people.

The speech was a calculated gamble for Huckabee, whose bon mots in the debates seem to have elevated him a little above the rest of the second-tier candidates. Conservative Web sites like that of the Club for Growth said it proved that Huckabee was no real conservative.

On the other hand, lots of teachers — a third of NEA members — are Republicans, and when your poll numbers never exceed 2 percent you take support anywhere you can find it. If it is true, as the other Republican candidates apparently calculated, that you cannot hope to win Republican primary votes in the year of our Lord 2007 if you talk to a union or a congregation of teachers, the nomination may not be worth having. But we think they do miscalculate, and Huckabee would do better to run honestly on his record and not on a fable.

EDITORIALS>>Huckabee does NEA

The good but politically unfortunate thing about Mike Huckabee’s campaign for president is that he does not have a Karl Rove to keep the campaign on a single message. Most days Huckabee is an extreme right-winger, bragging about slashing taxes and government spending and promising to defend to the death all the social causes of religious conservatives, which makes him a stranger to Arkansas voters but is supposed to appeal to the celebrated but vanishing Republican base.

But on other days he is the sensible defender of pragmatic government, which is how Arkansans came to know him in a dozen years of public officeholding. Thursday was one of those days. Huckabee was the lone Republican candidate for president of the five invited to address the National Education Association, the teachers’ professional association and sometimes union.

One news account said he was the first Republican candidate for president in history to address the NEA, which sounds implausible. Every Democratic candidate accepted the invitation and Huckabee followed Sen. Barack Obama to the lectern. While an NEA official warned the delegates in advance of Huckabee’s appearance that it was not good form to boo or hiss, it was recorded that the crowd actually gave Huckabee four standing ovations.

While we do not have a transcript of the governor’s speech, the NEA press release and the news accounts made no mention of his usual campaign mantra — that he would never raise taxes and that he had slashed taxes “94 times” as Arkansas governor, a record that was kept secret from Arkansas taxpayers. He could not very well say it in that forum because there were 60 delegates — the Arkansas contingent — and probably many more who knew that Huckabee had raised taxes repeatedly as governor, the largest share of them to improve the public schools and higher education. No governor in Arkansas history raised taxes so much and so often or raised government spending and debt to such heights.

Huckabee noted that the other Republican candidates for president all dwelled on national-security issues but that there were other threats to the nation’s security besides terrorism. Poor education was first among them. Every now and again Huckabee cannot subdue the impulse to talk about such things — compassion for immigrants, the case for religious people and for government to tend to children’s needs after they are born, the need for government not to turn a haughty back to the manifest suffering of people.

The speech was a calculated gamble for Huckabee, whose bon mots in the debates seem to have elevated him a little above the rest of the second-tier candidates. Conservative Web sites like that of the Club for Growth said it proved that Huckabee was no real conservative.

On the other hand, lots of teachers — a third of NEA members — are Republicans, and when your poll numbers never exceed 2 percent you take support anywhere you can find it. If it is true, as the other Republican candidates apparently calculated, that you cannot hope to win Republican primary votes in the year of our Lord 2007 if you talk to a union or a congregation of teachers, the nomination may not be worth having. But we think they do miscalculate, and Huckabee would do better to run honestly on his record and not on a fable.

OBITUARIES >> 07-07-07

Ina Jordan
Ina Ruth Jordan, 83, of Jacksonville died July 5 at her home.

She was born July 8, 1923 in Lonoke County to the late Daniel and Ethel Whitley Swaim.

Her granddaughter, Renae Jordan, also preceded her in death.

She was a member of Military Road Baptist Church.

Survivors include her loving husband of 67 years, Nathan Leroy Jor-dan, Sr., of Jacksonville; three precious children, Leroy Jordan and wife Willa of Jacksonville, Bonnie Wooley and husband Bob of Jacksonville and Karen Lowery and husband John of Woodbury, Minn.; four grandchildren, Phillip Jordan, Stacy Donovan, Shelly Showalter and Johanna Lowery; a sister, Grace Thornton of Calif., as well as a host of nieces, nephews and other family and friends.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 8 in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Rev. Ben Leonard officiating. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 7.

Charles Miranda
Charles A. Miranda, 84, of Vilonia died July 4.

He was a retired master sergeant with the 374th Strategic Missile Squadron. He was a life member of the High Plains EXPOW Chapter of West Texas, a life member of the Vilonia VFW Post 6855, a past chief of the North Pulaski Fire Department and a member of Harmony Baptist Church.

He is survived by Anne Runyon Miranda, his wife of 50 years; four daughters, Virginia and husband Tom Hankins of Azle, Texas, Susan and husband Al-len Clifford of Quitman, Texas, Sandra and husband Reuben Linder of Vilonia, Janice and husband Ed Hudson of Jacksonville; two sons, Rick and wife Stella Miranda of Romance, Mike and wife Debbie Miranda of Lonoke; three brothers, Ernest Miranda of Altus, Okla., O’dell Miranda of Gould, Okla., and Darrell Miranda of Chandler, Okla.; 18 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his sister, Aldabea McCarver; one grandson, William Miranda, and one great-grandson, Christopher Fuller.

Memorials may be made to Gunter’s Veterans Home, 253 Centerpoint, Vilonia, Ark. 72173. Services are at 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 9 at Harmony Baptist Church with burial in Harmony Cemetery. Visitation is from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at North Littlr Rock Funeral Home.

Lorraine Anderson
Lorraine Anderson, 82, of Cabot died July 6 at her home. She was born June 15, 1925 in Chicago to the late Steven and Theresa Ulber Puskarits.

Her husband, Leroy Anderson, and a daughter, Diana Fiscus, also preceded her in death.

Survivors include her daughters, Nancy Broemm and husband Al of Palatine, Ill., Patricia Harris and husband Michael of Cabot and son-in-law, Glenn Fiscus of Jacksonville; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Dr. David Dyer officiating. Entombment will follow in Chapel Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be at the funeral home from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, July 9.

EVENTS>>Summer 2007

Angel Clingmon, a family development specialist at the Lonoke CADC Office, will hold an IDA (individual development account) orientation at 5 p.m. July 10 at the Lonoke CADC Office at 117 E. Front St. in Lonoke. Interested individuals will be given applications at the orientation.
IDA’s are matched-savings accounts. For eligible participants, IDA’s can provide money to open or expand a small business, help pay for college expenses, purchase a home, or make home repairs. Persons who qualify can receive up to $2,000 per individual or $4,000 per family.
To be eligible, the individual or family must meet income guidelines, which for this program is 185% of the federal poverty level. Additional program guidelines will be explained at the orientation.
For more information contact Angel Clingmon at 501-676-0019.

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Support of Searcy will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at Simmons First Bank on Main Street in Searcy.
Tamara Jenkins, with the Office of Emergency Managagement and 911 coordinator for White County, will speak. Anyone with a child or knows of anyone with developmental disabilities and is interested in the subject is invited to attend. The group is a chapter of the Arkansas Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Inc. For more information, contact Suzanne Modlin at 593-5399, James at 593-3534 or email to

Congressman Vic Snyder will be accepting applications from high school juniors in Arkansas’ Second Congressional District for the 2007 House Fall Page Program. Congressman Snyder’s office is eligible to nominate one student from central Arkansas to serve as a page in the House of Representatives from Sept. 2 until Jan. 25. The deadline to submit an application is July 20.
Applicants must be at least 16 years of age prior to the start of the program, a junior in high school, have a 3.0 or higher grade-point average in major subjects, and must be a citizen of the United States. Applicants must submit a completed application form, an official transcript from grades 9 and 10, a 250-300 word autobiographical essay, three letters of recommendation, a parental consent form and a school report signed by a principal or counselor.
To request an application form, students should contact Valerie McNeese at or (202) 225-2506.

The Pulaski County Republican Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. July 12 at the Republican Party of Arkansas offices at 1201 West Sixth Street in Little Rock. For more information, contact Jane English at (501) 607-2116.

If you have difficulty visualizing a new decorating idea in your home and would like to see the latest trends, plan now to attend the Third Annual Cabot’s Avenue of Dreams on July 14-15. You’ll see the latest ideas in decorating and building concepts incorporated into show homes located throughout the Cabot area. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win prizes as well.
The Idea House 2007 is built by David Reed of Reed Home Sales, Inc. and is furnished by Dillard’s-McCain. It is the home of Perry and Kim Hutchins, owners of Regency Cleaners, and is located in the new, gated-subdivision Hunters Chase, near Rolling Hills Golf Course on Mount Carmel Road. All 13 show homes will be available for tours on July 14 and 15, Saturday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Tickets are $10 and are available at The Furniture Store in Cabot, First Security Bank, Community Bank, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arvest Bank, Metropolitan National Bank, Cabot’s Kroger Store as well as at the door of the show homes during show hours. For the latest information, visit or call the Cabot Chamber of Commerce at 501-843-2136. Cabot’s Avenue of Dreams is a project of the Cabot Area Home Builders Association.

Free fire safety inspections are offered by the fire department in Cabot, according to Capt. Marty Stumbaugh.
The Cabot Fire Department is offering free in-home fire safety inspections for the city’s residents.
To schedule a home inspection or to receive free fire safety tips from fire department personnel, call 501-843-7671.

Sherwood First Church of the Nazarene will have a free divorce-care program at the church in August.
The first session will be held Tuesday, Aug. 7 and will meet each Tuesday at 7p.m. for 13 sessions. Childcare will be provided. For more information or to register for the program, call 835-2072 or 607-1147.

The Cabot High School Class of 1987 will hold its 20 year reunion in October. The two-day event will kick off Friday, October 12 at the Cabot Panther homecoming football game and will continue with a dinner in Little Rock on Saturday, October 13. For more information, class members can contact Lisa (Young) Lee at or visit the official class Website at

Living Waters Assembly of God Church has opened the Taste of Heaven Soup Kitchen serves lunch to the elderly and needy on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. at 2100 North 2nd Street. Meals are more than just soup. Meals so far have included spaghetti, homemade chicken soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and open faced roast beef sandwiches and green beans. Expect a good home cooked style meal served with love and compassion. There is no obligation to join the church or attend services. Taste of Heaven is coordinated by Luan Sitzmann of Cabot. Food is provided and prepared by church members. Potluck Outreach has also donated food and we are working to establish other means of provision. If you would like to help, please contact the church at 843-5944. Help is also needed to get the word out to the community.

Zion Hill Baptist Church invites the community to its 12th annual church and community picnic beginning at 4:30 p.m. Sunday for games, food, fun and a community fireworks display.Weather permitting, there will be basketball, volleyball, horsehoe toss and lots of outdoor activities with a designated activity area for children.
From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. a fried chicken dinner will be served in the fellowship hall with ie cream sundaes for dessert.
Games will continue until dark followed by a large fireworks display if the weather cooperates. The church is located on Zion Hill Road near the intersection of Hwys. 107 and 89, about seven miles west of Cabot. For more information call 988-4989.

TOP STORY >>Residents complain of sewer runoff

IN SHORT: North Pulaski residents worried about polluted water flowing into area stream.

Leader staff writer

North Pulaski County residents living near Blue Bayou Creek are worried about sewer run-off they say has been flowing for some time into the stream from nearby Phil Rod Acres Mobile Home Park.

The trailer park, owned by B.J. Currier and operated by his son Phillip, is located on Hwy. 89 West near the Hwy. 5 intersection. Although it lies in rural north Pulaski County, the property has a Cabot address.

Eighteen neighbors of Blue Bayou met last Thursday to discuss the pollution they say has been flowing downstream for years.
“We want the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to pull Currier’s wastewater permit and clean up our creek,” Blue Bayou resident Robin Standridge said.

“The water running through the creek belongs to the state. We have to pay state taxes on our land,” she said.

Doug Szenher, program support manager for ADEQ said, “It appears to be on track with compliance. The system needs the operator to monitor and care for the equipment. They need to know how to add chemicals correctly and take water samples to the laboratory. The sewer treatment plant is an efficient enough operation to handle 5,000 gallons per day of discharge. The mobile home park is only at 3,000 gallons or less,” Szenher said.

Although Phillip Currier de-clined to be interviewed by The Leader, he said in a written statement, “We have recently upgraded our septic treatment facility and have worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to insure the system complies with the standards they have set forth. We will continue to improve Philrod Acres and work with ADEQ to improve our park for our residents.”

But Currier was ordered to pay a $1,100 fine on May 22 by ADEQ for violating fecal-coliform-bacteria-permit limits last August.

Homeowner Pat Hall said, “The smell would knock you down. The flies and mosquitoes are so bad that we can’t have cookouts. The sewage entered the creek from a pipe on the other side of the road. It turned the water milky.” Her house is beside the creek across from the trailer court.

ADEQ sampled sewage water from the park’s treatment pipe into Blue Bayou on August 8, 2006. The sample had 1,500 bacteria colonies per 100 milliliters. Only 400 colonies per 100 milliliters per week are permitted.

Fecal coliform bacteria are found in animal intestines and can naturally occur in the soil. When the bacteria are present in water or sludge, it is an indicator of pollution.

Currier is also required to monitor water pH semi-monthly at least two weeks apart from May 1 to Oct. 31. Results are sent to ADEQ.

In a September 2006 ADEQ document, Currier responded to ADEQ findings, stating run-off water from neighboring properties was entering the stream. Liquid caustic soda and baking soda were added to the trailer park’s treatment plant to clean the water.

“The location of the mobile home park doesn’t bother us, it is the dumping of sewer water. It is a health risk to our family. The water was clean, and I used it for the garden. Weeds and bushes are thick in the creek. Last summer the brush was cut, and now it’s all overgrown,” said Hall.

State Rep. Sandra Prater (D-Jacksonville) said, “This is an on-going situation. If the mobile home park were in compliance with the ADEQ permit, the test results from the creek would prove that. The sampling protects both the neighbors and the trailer park owner.”

According to ADEQ documents, Currier’s trailer park has been out of compliance off and on for five years with state and Pulaski County regulations for sewer waste. The Arkansas Department of Health requires “when a mobile home park is constructed, properly prepared plans and specifications for such construction shall be submitted for approval before such work is begun.”

On July 2006, the ADEQ inspection water samples at the stream had a pH level of 4.66 and ammonia-nitrogen of 11.2 mg per liter. Both were violations of the permit limits. The ADEQ water inspection samples for January and June 2006 were within compliance. But Currier reported permit violations with the treatment plant to ADEQ four times during that time.

High levels of ammonia-nitrogen, pH, and carbonaceous-biochemical-oxygen demand were recorded. CBOD is a measure of organic matter not broken down in the treatment plant. Sources of CBOD include human waste and garbage disposals. CBOD removes oxygen from the water.

For the months of August and September 2005, water samples were in compliance with the permit. In July 2005, an earlier complaint was investigated by ADEQ about sewage pumped into the creek. At the time, the discharge pipe was capped off and there were no visible solids from a discharge.

During the inspection, the pipe was destroyed by the Highway Department working on the nearby bridge. This allowed a small drip from the pipe.

The samples taken from a pool of water near the plant contained high fecal coliform bacteria at 2,700 colonies per 100 milliliters. The cause of the bacteria could not be determined. A week later a sample showed the water quality was within standards for fecal coliform at 144 colonies per 100 milliliters.

Another complaint of visible sewage in the creek to ADEQ on March 2005 was found invalid.

An emergency order was issued in October 2004 by ADEQ requiring Currier to immediately stop discharging from the wastewater treatment system, and have the waste pumped and hauled to an authorized disposal facility. Currier was order to pay a $2,000 fine. Since September 2003 there were 38 self-reported violations of the permit.

A fecal coliform sample on Sep-tember 2004 exceeded 300,000 colonies per 100 milliliters, another violation of ADEQ permitted limit. Additional hook-ups to the treatment plant exceeded the 3,000-gallons-per-day design flow.

The park was in violation from March thru November 2002 with ADH. In November an inspection by ADEQ revealed construction on the sewer site had not started. Sewage was discharged from a malfunctioning septic tank system onto the ground.

Plans for the mobile home park were submitted and approved by ADH in October 2002. The approval was for 21 bedrooms with a stipulation that ADH must approve additional trailers. ADH recommended getting an easement from the property owner east of where treated water would flow.

“Any additional improvements should cease and desist until approval is obtained,” Robert Hart, chief engineer with ADH wrote in a letter dated April 2002.

“The soil in Phil Rod Acres is unsuitable for wastewater disposal. A sewer treatment plant system is needed,” according to a March 2002 letter from Jeannie Kyle, an environmental health specialist with the Pulaski County Health Department’s Jacksonville Health Unit.

TOP STORY >>Base's title on the line

Leader staff writer

Two teams from Little Rock Air Force Base are gearing up to travel to McChord AFB, Wash., to defend LRAFB’s titles of “Best Airdrop Wing” and “Best C-130 Wing” during the 2007 Air Mobility Rodeo held July 22-28.

In the last rodeo competition, held in 2005, Little Rock earned six titles: Best C-130 Post-flight team, best C-130 maintenance team, best C-130 airdrop crew, best C-130 crew, best C-130 wing and best airdrop wing.

More than 55 U.S. and international teams are scheduled to participate in this year’s competition, including active duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard units, three teams from the Marine Corps and one from the Coast Guard, as well as allied nations.

Little Rock’s two teams, one from the 314th Airlift Wing and one from the 463rd Airlift Group, a total of 30 airmen, have two goals in mind while preparing for rodeo: return the trophy and the competition to Little Rock.

“Our goal, going into this, is to bring the trophy back to Little Rock and bring the rodeo back as well,” Capt. Robert Shaw, 314th Security Forces Squadron operations officer, said.

“Everyone competing is highly skilled, highly trained and highly motivated,” he added.

A C-130E and J crew will both head to McChord in hopes of defending the titles won at the last competition.
The local C-130E and J aircrew teams includes airmen from the 53rd, 62nd and 48th Airlift Squadrons. The 53rd and 62nd AS both fly the C-130E; the 48th AS flies the newer C-130J.

There are also maintenance, logistics, readiness and security forces teams competing from LRAFB.

The Air Mobility Command- sponsored event is a Mobility Air Forces readiness competition that focuses on improving worldwide air mobility forces’ professional core abilities.

Rodeo tests the flight and ground skills of aircrews as well as the related skills of special tactics, security forces, aerial port operations, aeromedical evacuation and maintenance team members. It also provides valuable joint and combined training for all participants.

The ultimate goal of the competition, according to Air Mobility Command’s rodeo fact sheet, is to develop and improve techniques and procedures that enhance air mobility operations.

Spirited competition furthers that aim, while strengthening the mutual goals and bonds of friendship developed between competing teams.

There is also a fit to fight competition that consists of the rodeo team chief plus nine randomly selected team members to be tested in a 1.5 mile run, sit-ups and push-ups, much like the Air Force’s fitness test.

To voice the base’s desire to host rodeo in 2009, a team of community leaders will also head to McChord to campaign the cause, Chris Roberts, head of the Airpower Arkansas committee, said.

“We would love nothing more than to host the entire competition right here beginning in 2009,” Roberts said.
The last biennial competition took place in June 2005 at McChord after a three-year hiatus because of increased operations in support of the global war on terror.