Wednesday, July 18, 2007

SPORTS>>Bruins end skid, beat hot Post 71

Leader sportswriter

The Sylvan Hills American Legion Class AAA team snapped a three-game losing streak on Monday with a 6-4 win over Cabot at Kevin McReynolds field in Sherwood. The Bruins controlled the early part of the game, rushing out to a 6-0 lead by the bottom of the fourth inning, but soon found themselves trying to hold off a furious Cabot rally in the game’s latter stages.
Both teams actually had different opponents listed on their schedules, but the Zone 3 matchup postponed from last week due to bad weather took precedent. Post 71 was coming off a big win on Saturday, in which they made up a 7-3 deficit to beat Blytheville, while Sylvan Hills was trying to bounce back from a pair of losses in Ft. Smith over the weekend.

Cabot came closer to making it two comeback wins in a row than Sylvan Hills would have liked. Starting Bruins pitcher Blaine Sims handled the Cabot sticks fairly easily in the early going, but struggled to put them away. Cabot’s Colin Fuller had the converse of Sims’ night, giving up six runs through the second and fourth innings before shutting Sylvan Hills down in its final two turns at the plate. Both hurlers went the distance, with Sims taking the win for Sylvan Hills.

Both teams landed runners on base in the opening inning, but left them stranded. Taylor Roark made it to third in the bottom of the first, but Cabot turned a double play when designated hitter Jarrett Boles hit to Bruins third baseman Nathan Eller for the 5-4-3 inning-ender.

Sylvan Hills would close the deal on a run in the bottom of the second inning with a bunt by Tony Pavan that plated Ryan Wood. Nathan Eller then sent in brother Garrett with an RBI that landed him out at first, but the throw to second on Pavan for out number three was too late, and the Bruins went up 2-0 at the end of two.

Sims retired three straight to start the third inning, including a pair of strikeouts on Fuller and Shayne Burgan. Ross Bogard got a single off Fuller on the bottom side of the third, but the Cabot ace forced a groundout and a pop up to leave him stranded.

The bottom of the fourth inning turned out to be the difference-maker on the evening, as the Bruins cashed in four runs to take a 6-0 lead. Wood started off the inning with a single, followed by a hit to left field for Garrett Eller. Pavan grounded out for the first out, and Fuller struck out Nathan Eller, but the ball got away from Cabot catcher Burgan, and Eller made it safely to first on the passed ball.

That would simultaneously score Wood, and a second passed ball plated Garrett Eller for a 4-0 Bruins lead. Nathan Eller would then score on a bizarre Taylor Roark hit in which the ball ricoched off the side of the bag at first and headed towards second. Cabot turned it for an out on Roark, but not before Eller made it in for run number five. Matt Rugger, Bogard and Boles then rolled off three consecutive hits for Sylvan Hills, with Boles’ shot into center scoring Rugger for what would turn out to be the final Bruins score of the contest.

Post 71 was not far from falling victim to a SH run-rule heading into the fifth inning, but finally found a way to put points of their own on the scoreboard. Jeremy Wilson led off with a walk for Cabot, and Jackson Chism singled to send him to second. Chism would be out moments later when Fuller hit into a fielder’s choice, but Wilson made it in for the first Cabot score.
Burgan and Drew Burks got back-to-back hits to set up the next score, as Fuller crossed the plate on Burks’ smack to right centerfield. A single by Jeremy Brown loaded the bases with only one out. Burgan tagged up on a pop up by Ben Wainwright, and an unassisted play at third on a Chad Bryant grounder left the score at 6-3 entering the bottom of the fifth.

Sean Clarkson put a run on the board for Cabot in the top of the sixth inning on a RBI by Fuller, but it would be as close as Post 71 would come. The Sylvan Hills defense gave up only a walk in the top of the seventh while Sims forced a pair of pop ups and a play at second to secure the win.

Cabot will play at Bryant on Wednesday, while Sylvan Hills will take on Jacksonville at Dupree Park Thursday.

SPORTS>>Cabot rallies for 11-inning victory over Blytheville

Leader sportswriter

Cabot took one of its most impressive wins of the summer Saturday at Brian Wade Conrade Field, downing Blytheville 8-7 in an 11-inning affair. Things looked pretty bleak for Post 71 in the top of the eighth inning, as Blytheville increased a 4-3 lead into a 7-3 advantage, but Cabot bounced back to tie the game at the end of the scheduled nine innings to force extra innings.

Shayne Burgan finally put an end to the three-and-a-half hour affair with a single into right field that scored Chad Bryant for Post 71’s first and only lead of the game.

Cabot knocked on the door all afternoon, loading the bases in the bottom of the third and fourth innings. Putting runners on base would not be the problem for Cabot, but rather finding an opportunity to put runners across the plate for points. Cabot went four innings without a score, finally getting an RBI from Ben Wainwright to send in the first run in the fifth.

Blytheville had little trouble in the early going, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning to take the initial advantage.
Drew Burks gave Cabot its first offensive spark in the bottom of the third inning when hit a triple into deep right field. NO> 15 and NO 20 walked after that to load the bases with two outs, but Blytheville pitcher Blake Belford was able to force Justin Free into a fielder’s choice to retire the side with no Cabot runs scored.

The bottom of the fourth inning would be nearly identical to the previous frame for Cabot, as NO. 2 singled in between walks for Bryant and Colin Fuller to load the bases once again. This time Belford sent Burgan back to the dugout with a strikeout and forced a groundout to third by NO 6 to keep Post 71 scoreless once again.

NO 20 s double in the bottom of the fifth scored NO 15 for the first Cabot run of the game, but NO 20’s attempt at a run would be stopped by the Blytheville defense. Bryant singled to left field to advance No 20 to third, but NO 20 tried for the score. A great throw from left field aided the Blytheville catcher, as he caught NO 20 well before the plate to stop the score, and retire the side to send the game to the sixth inning.

Blytheville added to its lead in the top of the seventh inning with a RBI from Brian Humphrey to make it 4-1. Cabot would finally add to its score in the bottom of the seventh with double by NO 15 that scored NO 6, who led the inning off with a walk.

NO 20 followed that with a grounder, leading to a pitching change for Blytheville. Josh Wilson relieved Belford, but the fresh arm would not prevent another Cabot score by the end of the frame. NO 9 hit a floater into shallow center, but the apparent easy out was bobbled in the outfield, allowing NO 15 to come in for the run to pull Cabot to within one, 4-3.

The game was originally scheduled as a pair of seven-inning doubleheaders. That changed to a single nine-inning affair when the event was pushed back an hour on Saturday to let the field get an extra hour of sunshine after a long and saturating week of storms. That gave two more innings for Cabot to play catch up, and after the Blytheville rally in the top of the eighth; Cabot would need every bit of it.

Starting Cabot pitcher Justin Haas was retired an inning earlier in the seventh for Josh Brown, who retired the final two Blytheville batters with strikeouts to prevent further scores. Brown would not have the same luck in the eighth, as Blytheville touched him for two hits and a walk to add a pair of scores, and a balk called on Brown with a runner at third gave the Casons their next run, putting Blytheville’s lead at 7-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.

Cabot was put in a must-score situation in the bottom of the eighth inning, and came through with a pair of runs to close in on Blytheville’s lead. Colin Fuller started things off with a chop hit, beating the throw to first to put a score in position. Fuller was advanced with a single by Burgan, and he came in for the score when following batter NO 6 also singled to make it 7-4. Burgan eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Justin Free to pull within two.

Cabot had to hold Blytheville in the top of the ninth to stay in the game, and did so with a 1-4-3 double play to retire the Casons after three batters.

Post 71 showed their determination to stay in the game in the bottom of the ninth with the first four batters leading off the frame with singles. Bryant and Sean Clarkson were the first two that reached, and a single by Fuller loaded the bases. Burgan sent in Bryant to put Cabot within one score, and another error in centerfield by Blytheville allowed Clarkson in for the tie. Cabot had a chance to put the game away in the ninth, but an infield smack by NO 15 was turned as a double play by Blytheville to force extra innings.

Fuller took over at the mound to retire the final two Blytheville batters in the top of the 11th inning, and Burgan got the winner four batters into the bottom half of the frame with his single. Cabot will travel to Bryant to face the Blacksox today at 7 p.m.

SPORTS>>Gwatney is staying alive

Leader sports editor

The Gwatney Chevrolet Class A American Legion team will finish no worse than third in the state this season, thanks partly to its 5-3 come-from-behind victory over Mountain Home Monday afternoon while facing elimination. The victory would have put Jacksonville into a semifinal game against Gravette after Gravette lost to Jonesboro in the winners’ bracket final. Gravette, however, was caught with an ineligible player and was disqualified from the tournament.

Texarkana, which beat Rogers Monday, was scheduled to play Jonesboro, but since Jonesboro is unbeaten in the tournament, Texarkana was moved into Gravette’s spot.

Against Mountain Home’s Hopper Termite and Pest Control, Jacksonville missed many opportunities to blow the game open, and had a couple of opportunities stolen from them by apparently mobile foul lines, but kept plugging away until a big fifth inning gave it the lead for good.

“This team proved again that it can overcome things when they get bad,” Gwatney A coach Travis Lyda said. “We’ve jumped on teams and we’ve had to fight back, but this team doesn’t give up. It doesn’t get much worse than yesterday (an 11-1 loss to Jonesboro). For this group to come back from that, blow all the chances we had today and fall behind, they could have given up. They didn’t and that says a lot about them.”

A line drive down the right-field line landed on the line in right field, even exploding white chalk into the air. The rope would have driven in a run and given Jacksonville a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but was called foul.

In the top of the seventh inning, Jacksonville led 4-3 and had a runner on base when Daniel Thurman sent one over the fence down the right- field line. It seemed apparent to everyone but the home plate umpire that the ball was fair, but it was ruled foul. Thurman, who hit the ball hard every at bat, and twice at this one, followed the foul with a single to centerfield that put runners on first and second. AJ Allen then singled to left field to load the bases with one out. That brought Tyler Wisdom to the plate, who attempted a squeeze bunt, but couldn’t reach the low-outside pitch. Haydem Simpson was charging on the pitcher’s first motion and slid head first, safely to steal home and give Jacksonville an insurance run.

Gwatney fell behind 2-0 in the third inning, but answered the call in the fifth. Tillman walked and moved to second on a balk. Brown walked and both runners scored on a two-RBI double to right field by Jason Regnas. Caleb Mitchell grounded out and Seth Tomboli popped up for two outs, but the rally quickly resumed. Simpson singled to centerfield to drive in Regnas, and Thurman doubled to left to score Simpson.

“Daniel Thurman was dialed into today,” Gwatney A coach Travis Lyda said.

Thurman went 4 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

Mountain Home got one run back in the bottom of the sixth, but starting pitcher Clayton Fenton got a key strikeout to help squelch a big rally. After hitting another batter and a sacrifice bunt, Mountain Home got an RBI double to make it 4-3. Fenton then record his first strikeout of the game against Greg Maples, who had two of the six total hits Fenton conceded in the game.

Jacksonville blew a golden opportunity to break a scoreless game in the third inning. Leadoff hitter Jeffrey Tillman doubled to left field to start things off. Terrell Brown moved him to third with a grounder to second base, and Regnas walked and stole second to put two runners in scoring position with one out. The next two batters then popped up in the infield to end the threat with no damage done.

It could have used some runs in that frame. Mountain Home took advantage of pitching mistake, a passed ball and a fielding mishap to take a 2-0 lead.

Fenton put Mountain Home shortstop Troy Knott into an 0-2 hole. Knott fouled off four pitches and looked at one high pitch before being hit by a pitch while still facing 1-2. Fenton got a fly ball to right field for out number two. Knott stole second base and Dakota Melton singled to shallow centerfield. The hit wouldn’t have scored the runner, but Brown and centerfielder Simpson collided, giving the runner time to round third. A passed ball advanced Melton to second, and a base hit by Alex Johnson scored the runner.

Jacksonville blew another chance to score in the fourth. After putting its two leadoff hitters on first and third with no outs, Daniel Thurman was caught stealing, AJ Allen lined out to second base and Cody Spears grounded out to the same spot to leave Simpson, who had reached on an error, stranded at third.

Fenton went the distance, recording two strikeouts and no walks while hitting two batters. He gave up six hits and two earned runs.

On Sunday, Gwatney saw its six-game winning streak come to an emphatic end in the second round. Jonesboro, the favorite coming into state with a 25-1 record, pounced on the Chevy Boys, who helped the Crain team out by committing a few errors, and won going away 11-1. Tomboli pitched the game and took the loss.

If Jacksonville won two games last night, they will play Jonesboro against at 5:30 p.m. tonight for the state championship.

EDITORIALS>>Don’t judge by the breed

To the editor:

Recently, one of my neighbors, who happens to be a local attorney, was bitten, while jogging, by a dachshund.
He never went to a doctor or called to report it to any authorities.

Listening to TV reports and reading news articles about the percentages of dog bites attributed to a specific breed of dog put me to thinking that most dog bites are probably never made part of the statistics of the true numbers of total assaults by dogs of any breed.

Pit bull dogs may be getting a bum rap, percentage wise, when other breeds may in truth be just as guilty, but the other breeds have not received the media attention from TV, print, etc. Dog bites by any one breed are inexcusable under any circumstance.

However, this attention has created a fear of this breed that has grown out of proportion.

It has become like the Salem witch trials of old, going from town to town, country to country, pushed along by fear and abetted by politicians wanting to impress their voters.

This plague of fear needs cool heads and common sense and a case-by-case evaluation not a blanket condemnation of one breed of dogs that the majority of them have never hurt anybody.

The condemnation should be for the owners who create such actions by the way they raise and treat their dogs.
If you agree with this position, let your quorum court members know how you feel.

Kelly Stone

EDITORIALS>>Huck runs short of cash

Our favorite son candidate for president, according to the federal campaign-finance reports filed over the weekend, has now raised enough money to mount a creditable race for state land commissioner.

Mike Huckabee and his spokespeople had not put a spin on the calamitous figure ($1.3 million total for the campaign) yesterday, but we imagine that it will be that money should not be the measurement of a person’s capacity to be president.
And he will be right. Money is a measurement of two things: the degree to which the candidate adopts a philosophy that is beneficial to groups with large sums to spend on politics and the prospect that these groups and millions of smaller ones and individuals assign to the candidate’s success at winning nomination.

Gov. Huckabee has done his best on the first count by embracing ideas about taxes and government regulation that are supposed to make these groups giddy over future riches if he is elected.

Over the weekend, he was the first candidate to get ahead of the pack and attack “Sicko,” the Michael Moore film on national health insurance, which by all rights should land him some fat checks from big Pharma and the insurance industry.

But he is not doing so well on the second score. The movers do not think he has a prayer of winning the Republican nomination despite his clever bon mots in the debates and the sharp elbows that he can throw at opponents. Huckabee made fun of Michael Moore’s weight — imagine that! — in his dig at the film.

He is better than all the second-tier candidates of either party at getting free air time, mainly the talk and comedy shows.
He will drop any commitment to get a couple of minutes on Jon Stewart, the Colbert Report, Don Imus or Hannity and Colmes. But all that has done is get him listed first when any news report mentions the also-rans.

Polls still barely pick him up.

The best strategy in these circumstances, although usually a loser, is to make the lack of campaign gifts a badge of honor: “I will not be beholden to any special interests. I will enter office a free man who can work for you and not the big dogs.”
It is the Rockefeller strategy. The political Rocke-fellers did not need anybody’s money, and they actually were untethered and most of them populists, like the elder Winthrop Rockefeller in Arkansas, who championed a better deal for workers, minorities and the poor.

If Mike Huckabee is going to become a populist, he has a big, big makeover coming.
Maybe more than he and his little team of handlers can pull off. At this point, what can he lose?

OBITUARIES >> 07-18-07

Gary Blakeslee

Gary Allen Blakeslee, 46, of Jacksonville died July 13 at his home.  He was born July 27, 1960 in Mt. Clemmons, Mich.  
Gary worked in parts sales for Diamond International trucking. He was of the Methodist faith.  

He was preceded in death by his mother, E. Joanne Blakeslee and his grandparents.

Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Suzanne Denise Bush Blakeslee; two sons, Tyler and wife Hyechin of Germany and Nicholas of the home; daughter, Alexandra of the home; father, Amos M. and stepmother, Phyllis Swinney Blakeslee of Kokomo, Ind.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 18 at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, with Bro. Marck Gibson officiating.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 401 N. 1st St., Jacksonville, Ark. 72076.   Funeral arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

James Cook Jr.

James Paul Cook Jr., 25, of Cabot died July 5 in Italy.  He was born Feb. 5, 1982 in Sedalia, Mo.

He was a 2000 Cabot High School graduate and a member of the track team and the Spanish and art clubs. At the age of 12, he became a certified scuba diver. He loved to float the Buffalo River, fish and hunt. He enjoyed working in the garden and flowers. In November 2001, James entered the Air Force and served two tours in Qatar and two tours in Iraq. His grandparents preceded him in death.  

He is survived by his parents, James Paul Sr. and Wendy Wentz Cook; wife, Suzanne Necole Cook of Jacksonville; children, Christopher Paul and Isabella Marie Cook; brother, Jason Wayne Cook of Eugene, Ore.; sister, Heather Renee Cook of Los Angeles, Calif., and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and many, many friends.  

The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 21 at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot. Burial will be at 3 p.m. at Marshall Memorial Gardens in Marshall. Visitation will be 5 to 9 p.m. at the funeral home. Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.

L. Wayne Jones

L. Wayne Jones, 58, of Jacksonville died July 10.  He was born Aug. 21, 1948 in Coy to the late Birl and Martha Camp Jones.  He worked as a truck driver for Wrights Cabinet.

Survivors include his daughter, Rashelle Zelaznik of London, England; son, David Jones of Tulare, Calif.; brothers, Birl and Kenneth Jones of Jacksonville and Marvin Jones of Tulare, Calif.; sister, Pat Anderson of Redding, Calif.; one grandson and one granddaughter.

Memorial services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, July 20 at Moore’s Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

Joe Brackett

Joe Lee Brackett, 61, of Cabot died July 13. He was born April 23, 1946 in Bennington, Okla., to Wilma Sons Brackett and the late Eugene Brackett. He was also preceded in death by his nephew, Doyle Brackett.

Survivors include two sons, Anthony and David Brackett of Florida; two daughters, Lavinia Anspach of Florida and Carline Brackett of Illinois; two brothers, Carl Brackett of Alabama and Jim Brackett of Arkansas; two sisters, Evelyn Alexander of Oklahoma and Phyllis Lloyd of Illinois; 10 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday, July 18 at Yuba Baptist Church in Yuba, Okla., with burial immediately following at Bokchito Cemetery in Bokchito, Okla. Arrangements by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot and Gordon Dalton Holmes Funeral Home in Achille, Okla.

Wanda Palmer

Wanda Lee Palmer, 64, of Jacksonville died July 12 in her home. She was born Jan. 19, 1943 in Mt. Clements, Mich., to the late William and Dorothy Peek Clayton. She was a homemaker and a Baptist.

She was also preceded in death by her sister, Norman Smith; a grandson, Dale Wayne Worley and a son-in-law, Tony Worley.  
Survivors include her husband, Dale Palmer of Jacksonville; four daughters, Denise Worley of Tontitown, Pauline Ward and husband Eddie of Fayetteville, Colleen Hills and husband Kirby of Honeybrook, Pa., and Pattie James and husband Howard of Sherwood; a son, Michael Dale Palmer and wife Kelly of Sherwood; a brother, Kenneth Clayton and wife Ann of Leesburg, Fla.; 10 grandchildren, Timothy Worley, Kendall Ward, Ammie Ward, Charles Humphrey, Tommy Humphrey, Jami Hills, Staci Hills, Jacob Palmer, MaKayla Palmer and Gavin Palmer, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and other family and friends.

Funeral services were July 15 at Moore’s Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville with Rev. Jim Ward officiating.  Interment followed in Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Funeral arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Leonard Morden

Leonard Edgar Morden, 87, of Jacksonville died July 10.  He was born Jan. 15, 1920 in Jacksonville to the late Horace and Venie Clement Morden.  

He was a retired heavy equipment operator. He was a member of Jacksonville First United Methodist Church, the men’s Bible class, and a lifetime member of the Methodist Men.

He was a Second World War veteran, serving in the Army’s 9th Armor Division during the Battle of the Bulge. He received the Purple Heart and two Bronze Service Stars.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge #216 and Order of Eastern Star chapter 520. He was the “self-designated greeter” for the Methodist church for over 50 years.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Blanche Evatt Morden; son, Michael and wife Michelle Morden; three daughters, Sandra and husband Rex Marson, Marsha Hunter and husband Keith Steensma, and Teresa Story of Jacksonville; six grandchildren, David and wife Robin Chamblee, Jeryll Story and wife Susan of Cabot, Carl Chamblee, John Story and wife April, Shannon Hazlett and husband Eric, and Sharon Graham of Jacksonville; three sisters, Lena Grimmett, Corene Mitchell, and Adene Gwin and husband Bud of Sherwood, brother-in-law, John Evatt of Jacksonville, 11 great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

Funeral service was July 13 at First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville with Dr. Don Hall and Dr. Carol Goddard officiating. Burial was at Chapel Hill Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. A special thanks to Dr. Obasi and the staff of the SIC Unit and 5 E Step Down Unit of McClellan Veterans Hospital. Funeral arrangements were by Moore’s Jack-sonville Funeral Home.

William Hester

William Charles Hester, 72, of North Little Rock died July 10 in Little Rock. He was born July 24, 1934 in North Little Rock to the late William Louis and Elrena G. Harris Hester.  

He served in the Navy and was a Baptist.  He worked in the Federal Building for the government as a GSA administrator.
He was also preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Judith Addean Hester.

Survivors include children, Cliff C. Hester, Connie L. Wood, Cheryl A. Hester and Craig A. Hester; brother, Gerald R. Hester; seven grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; 11 step-great-grandchildren and one expected-great-grandchild.

Graveside services were July 16 at Hester Cemetery in the Fairview Community. Arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

TOP STORY >>Austin: It’s a boom town

Leader staff writers

Austin has posted three strong months of construction, even surpassing Jacksonville in June in its value of permits.
Austin issued $1.26 million worth of building permits in April, moved up to $1.72 million in May and then hit $2.33 million in June—besting Jacksonville’s June total of $1.71 million.

Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain attributes the strong construction trend to people wanting to move to a smaller area.
“People really want to get out of the city and into the country, and we are still pretty much a country community,”

Chamberlain said. “We’re growing, and I think it’s great. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have thought it would be possible that we would be close to 2,000 people in population.”

Still, Cabot leads area cities in June, issuing 38 building permits worth $5.57 million, followed by Sherwood with 69 permits worth $4.31 million.


Cabot issued 38 building permits in June worth a total of $5.57 million, bringing the year’s total to 190 permits worth about $19.2 million in construction.

A $675,850 commercial permit issued to Jim Green to construct a retail building at 2241 Hwy. 321.

A $654,255 commercial permit issued to Hart/Lazenby Construction to build a retail building at 12406 Hwy. 5.

A $336,315 commercial permit issued to Big Red Convenience to build a store at 12410 Hwy. 5.

A $272,500 single-family home permit issued to Josh Shirley to build at 307 Duren Place.

A $172,100 single-family home permit issued to Mark Hollingshead to build at 1567 McAfee.

A $160,775 single-family home permit issued to Blake Peterson to build at 22 Cossatot.

A $154,325 single-family home permit issued to Hartje Construction to build at 505 Greystone.

A $154,275 single-family home permit issued to JHB Investments to build at 1539 Signature Dr.

A $150,000 commercial permit issued to Baldwin and Shell for remodeling at 301 Hwy. 321.

A $149,225 single-family home permit issued to S&H Harris Co. to build at 2358 Lakewood Circle.

A $147,025 single-family home permit issued to Pugreat Builders to build at 509 Cobblestone.

A $147,000 commercial permit issued to Jim Green to build a retail outlet at 2241 Hwy. 321.

A $145,875 single-family home permit issued to Chad Ellison to build at 2354 Lakeshore Lane.

A $144,970 commercial permit issued to Lantrip Construction to build a retail facility at 180 North Port Dr.

A $139,700 single-family home permit issued to JHB Investments to build at 1531 Signature Dr.

A$127,550 single-family home permit issued to JHB Investments to build at 1116 Aberdour Dr.

A $122,750 single-family home permit issued to Ben Utley to build at 22 Clearwater Lane.

A $120,975 single-family home permit issued to Debken to build at 1550 Cypress Point.

A $119,275 single-family home permit issued to Hartje Group to build at 1109 Aberdour Dr.

A $116,875 single-family home permit issued to the Hartje Group to build at 40 Cypress Creek Dr.

A $111,950 single-family home permit issued to Ronnie Jones to build at 125 Lakeland Dr.

A $109,875 single-family home permit issued to Joshua Taylor to build at 1718 Pioneer Dr.

A $105,000 commercial permit issued to Charles Ward Rentals to build warehouses at 2301 S. Pine St.


Sherwood issued 69 permits during June worth a total of $4.31 million, up about $600,000 from June 2006.
For the year, Sherwood has issued 342 permits, about 60 more than last year at this time, worth $24.43 million. Among the June permits were 25 single-home permits, 16 home remodeling, and three commercial permits.

Permits worth $100,000 or more include:

A $730,000 commercial permit issued to Hat Creek Construction and Development to build at 208 Brookswood.

A $210,000 single-family home permit issued to Keathley Construction to build at 9317 Johnson Dr.

A $195,000 single-family home permit issued to Medlock Construction to build at 9616 Mercury Dr.

A $190,000 single-family home permit issued to Medlock Construction to build at 3109 Rock Springs Dr.

A $183,400 single-family home permit issued to Woodhaven Homes to build at 2900 Marble Cove.

A $180,000 single-family home permit issued to Medlock Construction to build at 3133 Clearwater.

A $155,000 single-family home permit issued to Bruce Engel Construction to build at 2825 Maelstrom Circle.

A $154,000 single-family home permit issued to Bruce Engel Construction to build at 9716 Wild Mountain Dr.

A $150,000 single-family home permit issued to Randy Wiggins Co. to build at 8140 Austin Gardens Ct.

A $145,000 single-family home permit issued to Tommy Scott Construction to build at 1833 Hidden Creek Dr.

A $135,000 single-family home permit issued to J&M Builders to build at 10717 Misty Ridge Dr.

Two $125,000 single-family home permits issued to Randy Wiggins Co. to build at 8116 and 8132 Austin Gardens Ct.

A $120,000 single-family home permit issued to Renaissance Homes to 1724 Hidden Creek Dr.

A $118,000 single-family home permit issued to Euro-Homes to build at 517 Feldspar Dr.

A $112,000 single-family home permit issued to Nuage Residential Contractors to build at 1816 Windridge Ct.

Two $109,000 single-family home permits issued to Nuage Residential Contractor to build at 1820 and 1808 Windridge Ct.

A $107,834 single-family home permit issued to Craig Custom Construction to build at 2233 Sage Meadows Circle.

A $105,150 single-family home permit issued to Craig Custom Construction to build at 2200 Sage Meadows Circle.

A $103,047 single-family home permit issued to Craig Custom Construction to build at 2208 Sage Meadows Circle.

A $100,000 single-family home permit issued to Michael Jordan to build at 112 May St.


Austin issued 20 building permits in June worth a total of $2.33 million, bringing the year’s total to 68 permits worth about $7.88 million in construction.

Of the 20 permits issued, three were for single-family homes in the Shadow Creek subdivision valued at over $200,000.
Eight permits, worth a total of $844,120, were issued for single-family homes in the Weathering Heights subdivision to CB Homes, K and C Construction and Weathers, Inc.

Three permits, worth $321,700, were issued to Keith Moore Construction for single-family homes in the Orchard Estates subdivision. Two permits, worth $258,300, were issued to Cody Ward for single-family homes in the Quapaw Estates subdivision.


Jacksonville issued 20 building permits in June worth a total of $1.71 million. Among the June permits were eight single-family homes, five multi-family homes, two commercial and five home improvement permits.

A $95,000 commercial permit issued to Jeff Gibson for a commercial addition. Three multi-family permits worth a total of $288,000 were issued to Burton and Gray to build three duplexes at 1000, 1004 and 1008 Stanphil Road.

An $80,000 and $90,000 multi-family permit issued to Cabot Electric and Construction to build at 1034-1032 and 1038-1036 Gina Circle. A $157,000 single-family permit issued to Horton Custom Homes to build at 6001 Reveille Court. A $140,000 single-family permit issued to Garrett Construction to build at 301 Forest Glen Cove. A $140,000 single-family permits, issued to B.J. Smith Construction, Inc. to build at 509 Forest Oak Cove.


Ward issued seven permits in June worth a total of $378,875.

Of those, three permits were for single-family homes, one was for park improvements and two were for home improvements.
A $12,000 permit was issued to the city of Ward for improvements at Busby Lake.

An $85,150 single-family permit issued to Royal Concept to build at 12 Willow Cove. Two single-family permits, worth $76,750 and $75,625, issued to Keith Westbrook to build at 20 and 22 Farrah. A $72,350 single-family permit issued to Keith Moore Construction to build at 940 Brewer Street.


Nine building permits were issued in Lonoke during June for a total of $568,500. Two permits were for single-family homes; one was for a building addition, one for a remodel and two for a fence.

A $110,000 single-family-home permit issued to Kevin Whitehurst to build at 1205 Navajo Trail.

A $150,000 single-family-home permit issued to Ron Burch to build at 30 Choctaw Circle.

A $145,000 building-addition permit issued to Southwind Construction to build at 215 Waggoner.

A $130,000 remodeling permit issued to Sonic to re- vamp vamp their exterior at 1221 Barnes.


Beebe issued seven building permits in June worth a total of $81,500. All but one permit was for home improvements.
A $76,000 single-family home permit issued to Jeff Tarno to build at 205 N. Apple.

TOP STORY >>$3.7M bid for library is too high

Leader senior staff writer

With a bid of $3,765,000, Wilkins Construction of North Little Rock was apparent low bidder for the new Jacksonville public library, but that bid was well over the $3 million estimate of project architects Witsell, Evans and Rasco of Little Rock.

If that holds up as the low bidafter scrutiny by the architects, Central Arkansas Library System will still have to make about $1 million in cuts, according to Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim.

“We will build a library, and without reducing the size,” he said.

“We look at alternate deductions and areas where there is some opportunity to take the overrun out,” he added.

Among the possible cuts are eliminating some pre-cast concrete features and substituting drywall for wood in some areas.
An energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning unit could be replaced with a less efficient, less expensive one, he said.
“The library (system) could put some money in and perhaps some donors,” Swaim said. “We will make contact with the low bidder on possibilities for savings.”

It will be several days before the actual low bid is accepted. Central Arkansas Library System director Bobby Roberts said he believed the project was more like $400,000 to $700,000 over budget.

“We’ll find more money to put in and/or cut back some of the pieces,” Roberts said.
“First we’ll look at the project and see what we can take out of it,” he said. “We’re usually over on bids,” he added.

Eight firms submitted bids ranging from the apparent low bid to $5 million, with six of the eight grouped in the $3.8 million to $3.9 million range.

David Sargent, a principal in the Witsell firm, opened the sealed envelopes and read the bids aloud, starting promptly at 2 p.m. at Jacksonville City Hall.

“Our job is to get it in budget,” Sargent said.

“I never worked on a project where the architect was right on the estimate,” the mayor said. In July 2006, Jacksonville residents approved a one-mill property-tax increase to pay off $2.5 million in bonds to build the new library building.

The current building the Nixon Library calls home was constructed in 1969. It is one of the oldest buildings in the Central Arkansas Library System.

It was named the Esther D. Nixon Library in 1992 in honor of the first librarian. Along with being old, the Nixon library is small with 9,265 square feet.

The new library will be approximately 13,500 square feet. Excluding the Nixon Library, the average Central Arkansas Library System building is five years old and has about 14,000 square feet.

TOP STORY >>Pit bull ban is now in full effect

Leader staff writer

Time has run out for pit bulls in Jacksonville.

The ordinance banning the breed had a 30-day grace period to allow pit bull owners in the city to register, microchip and spay or neuter their dogs and that grace period expired Tuesday.

Any unregistered pit bull will now be forced to leave the city or be euthanized. The ordinance bans all pit bulls, most bulldogs or any mixed breed that is predominantly pit bull.

Banned dogs already in the city will be allowed to stay if the owner can show proof that the animal was licensed before the new ordinance going into effect, has proof of rabies vaccination and the owner is at least 21—and then has the dog spayed or neutered, registered and has a licensed veterinarian implant a computer chip into the animal for identification and to help track the pit bull.

Also, the only time a pit bull or bulldog may be brought into the city is for the purpose of veterinary care, special-event dog shows sanctioned by the city or for use by law enforcement or military personnel as part of their duties, according to the ordinance.

The cost to neuter or spay and microchip a pit bull runs about $300, according to local veterinarians who have been swamped with pit bull owners trying to comply with the new ordinance. Dr. Craig Boyd, of Boyd Veterinary Clinic, has seen more pit bulls recently than he usually sees in a year.

Cassandra Kenney, with Dr. Tom Eubanks’ practice, said they have been seeing about four pit bulls a day since the ordinance became law and that number has increased lately. “Most of the owners are understanding about the new ordinance. The ones most upset are the owners who have just moved here,” Kenney said.

An employee at Dr. Lee Misak’s Jacksonville Animal Hospital said they have been swamped with pit bull appointments and that most owners were complying, but not happy about the requirements.

Cheryl Wood, with the Animal Control Department, said if an unregistered pit bull is picked up, the owner will have to pay a $100 fine, have the dog spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and still move it out of town.

If a registered pit bull is caught running loose or involved in an attack, the owner will have to pay a $100 fine and move the dog out of the city.

If the owner does not claim the pit bull or the owner refuses to comply with the requirements, the dog will be euthanized.
Animal control officers have already seen an increase of loose pit bulls and had five in the shelter Tuesday.

“We fear some owners are just letting them loose so they don’t have to deal with the new ordinance,” Wood said.
For details about the ban or questions about registering a pit bull, call animal control at 982-2916.

TOP STORY >>City hears pros, cons of new tax

Leader staff writer

“No one is going to come to Jacksonville because they saw a commercial about it on television, and I’m certainly not going to Brinkley because they have a commercial,” said Alderman Gary Fletcher at a joint meeting Monday of the Jacksonville Advertising and Promotion Commission and the city council.

The joint gathering was called for when a proposed two-cent tax on prepared foods, also known as a hamburger tax, came up for discussion at a July 5 council meeting.

The tax, which can be approved just by a council vote, will generate an extra $550,000 a year for the advertising and promotion commission to use to promote and market Jacksonville. The commission currently has a budget of about $80,000 garnered from a two-cent hotel room tax.

“We need to spend money to make money,” said Alderman Bob Stroud, a proponent of the tax. “I can’t make it any simpler. Jacksonville is a great place to live and we have to let people know.”

“But, I don’t want us advertising Rock Hudson and giving the people Mickey Rooney,” Fletcher responded. “Let’s put money into our facilities and let them speak for themselves. We were ahead of the curve with the community center and/ or ball fields. Let’s get back on the cutting edge,” he said.

Every alderman except Reedie Ray and all commission members except Ray Patel and Andy Patel were at the meeting, along with a number of concerned residents.

After listening to discussions for, against and in the middle about the tax, the commission decided to have the city attorney prepare an ordinance for the council to vote on at its Aug. 2 meeting. Advertising and promotion commissioners have been working on the tax idea for about nine months.

The commission has suggested that half of the $550,000 projected income, or $275,000, be used for professional promotion and marketing campaigns to bring people to Jacksonville and its attractions. That idea bothered Fletcher and some other aldermen.

“I don’t like the idea of us shooting with buckshot when we need to make a direct hit,” Fletcher said. Aldermen Terry Sansing repeatedly said the council needed to sell the tax idea to the people here before approving it and spending the money to try to bring in visitors, tourists and new residents.

“Sell it to us, let us vote on it. That’s what I’m hearing from the people,” Sansing said.

“People come to a town for entertainment. What do we have to offer?” he added. “And if parks are our draw, then let’s put our money there. Word of mouth about those improvements will travel a lot faster than any $250,000 spent with an ad agency.”
The proposed budget has about 30 percent of the tax, or $163,000, going to the city’s parks and recreation department.
The money is vaguely earmarked for park improvements and operations, but no specifics have been outlined. Alderman Linda Rinker asked for the commission to come up with a long-term vision and to go beyond the one-year proposed budget.

“We’ve got to have an extended plan and clear direction,” she said.

Alderman Kenny Elliot suggested a five-year sunset on the tax, and then look to see what it accomplished.

Of the $550,000 generated by the proposed two-cent tax, the commission has also slated $20,000 for the patriotic spectacular show to increase promotion of the activity and allow for a bigger fireworks show on the Fourth of July. The Reed’s Bridge Battlefield group will get $12,000 to buy Civil War displays and make other improvements to the site to bring in tourists.

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History will get $22,000 of the new money to help get the necessary permission to display a C-130 aircraft and to help toward transportation and maintenance of that aircraft. The commission plans to set aside $30,000 of the tax for projects, requests and ideas that come up during the year that are not already budgeted.

Another $18,000 will be used to help pay for the staff to coordinate and collect the tax data, staff training and educating businesses and the public on what types of items are taxable.

Alderman Marshall Smith, who chairs the advertising and promotion commission, said the commission plans to go heavy with marketing at the beginning.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Kids, dope don't mix with driver

He’s been driving a bus for the Pulaski County Special School District for 22 years, and this summer he drives a van for special-education students who attend a summer program at the Jacksonville Middle School for Boys.

The driver doesn’t want his name in the paper, but he’s worried about some of the kids on his van who are into the drugs, especially the 15-year-old who was arrested a couple of weeks ago at the school for marijuana possession, although the driver thinks the kid was a dealer.

“He had two large bags of marijuana in his backpack, plus another small one,” the driver says.

“He turned 15 the day he got busted,” the driver continues. “I don’t like this stuff.”

He wishes he could talk to the boy’s parents, but the driver says they’re in prison for selling crack cocaine.
“He lives with his grandmother,” the driver explains.

You have to give her credit for that — what with his disability, it’s not easy raising a teenager who gets into trouble.
The driver complains about how kids are caught using and dealing drugs, and he still has to drive them around as if nothing happened.

He says the 15-year-old was arrested at school, and the driver didn’t see the boy for three days, and then he was told to pick up the kid again at his home and take him to school.

During his three-day suspension, the student missed a couple of field trips, but other than that, he gets to finish the summer-school program since his court date isn’t until July 30, which is a few days after summer school ends.

The driver says he heard the student and a friend talk about the upcoming court date while they were riding home on the bus last week, but the 15-year-old wasn’t too worried.

Since he’s just a kid, he’ll likely get a lecture from a juvenile judge, but what worries the bus driver is that he’s driving kids around with marijuana and other contraban in their backpacks.

“I know the boy needs help, but this isn’t right. All the kids know he was arrested. The supervisor knows about it. She told me not to worry about it, just take the kids home and pick them up,” he says.

“I don’t know where they grow this stuff. Maybe they grow it out on the farm. This makes me sick to my stomach.”
It’s not as if he doesn’t want to give the kid another chance, but why should he be riding the bus with other students and maybe get them into trouble, too?

“We need to get him out of circulation,” the driver continues. “There’s a sign in front of the school that says, ‘This is a Drug- Free, Gun-Free Institution.’”

The school says the summer program is run by a private organization, so the school won’t accept blame for the incident.
During the school year, the middle school is doing all it can to keep kids in line, but if you visit the school, you get the eerie feeling that it looks like a juvenile lockup, where that 15-year-old kid could wind up someday.

TOP STORY >>District is seen hurting in deal

Leader senior staff writer

Former Pulaski County Special School District Board member—and current Pulaski County treasurer—Pat O’Brien Monday suggested that the Little Rock School Board had caved in to civil-rights attorney John Walker and that the result could make it more difficult for PCSSD to achieve unitary status and escape court supervision.

That’s particularly important to Jacksonville-area residents, who can’t get their own school district as long as PCSSD is under the thumb of the courts.

“I think (the PCSSD board and administration) are looking for a signal from Little Rock,” O’Brien said. “When (John) Walker applies pressure, the board members faint.”

Attorney Ben Rice suggested that some Jacksonville area patrons might need to sue the school board to make it follow through on achieving unitary status, or release from court supervision.

“We may need to get into court to get out of court,” said Rice. He added that he’d been told the district didn’t really want unitary status for fear of losing about $18 million a year in desegregation money.

Reedie Ray, another former school board member, said he’d been told many years ago that the only way to get the district out of court was to go to court.

“Maybe we should sue the district for not giving our students a good education,” said Rotary president Bob Johnson.
The venue was the Jacksonville Rotary Club meeting Monday, where PCSSD board member James Bolden was the guest speaker. Bolden told Rotarians that the district’s lawyer, Sam Jones, had said the district is headed toward unitary status and that the district didn’t intend to oppose unitary status or a stand-alone Jacksonville district.

Bolden started his discussion by explaining his successful motion to reinstate the Pulaski Association of Support Staff as bargaining agent for bus drivers, janitors and other non-certified personnel. PASS was decertified after a Jan. 4, 2004 strike—Bolden seconded the motion at that time to decertify the union as the bargaining agent.

By a 4-3 vote, the board ap-proved a 5 percent across-the-board raise, plus a 3.29 experience step raise and a 3.5 percent longevity raise. But, said Bolden, the administration lobbied the three dissenting board members, saying the district could not afford that raise, and a special meeting was called where the four members present rescinded the raises.

Bolden said he was tired of seeing teachers and principals get raises while the people at the bottom got very little. He said they hadn’t had a decent raise since 2002.

Bolden, who announced he would run for a third and final term for the school board, said, “You have my support (for a stand-alone Jacksonville district). I will not waiver. I don’t want them to shortchange Jacksonville,” said Bolden. “And they do. The school buildings are shot.”

He said, “The wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the grease.”

Bolden suggested that Jacksonville make enough noise that the PCSSD “wants to get rid of us.”

Jacksonville’s schools are at least 30 years old. Jacksonville High School was built in 1959.

“People are leaving in leaps and bounds,” he said.

A representative of Little Rock Air Force Base said Brig. Gen. (Select) Rowayne Schatz, 314th Airlift Wing commander, has chosen to send his children to a private school rather than PCSSD.

TOP STORY >>Cabot buys land for armory

Leader staff writer

The Cabot City Council Monday night approved paying $399,000 for 15.5 acres in the industrial park on Highway 367 to build a National Guard armory. Plans call for the state to pay $350,000 of the cost.

Becky Lemaster and Teri Miessner, two council members who are becoming known for their close examination of the mayor’s proposals, had some pointed questions.

Both Lemaster and Miessner said they supported buying the land and voted for the purchase, but Miessner told Mayor Eddie Joe Williams that she wanted to make sure all parts of the purchase agreement were legal. The land purchase did not go through the council committees, so council members had little time to review the purchase agreement.
“I want to make sure you did your homework,” Miessner said.

The city is buying the land from North Cabot Development Group, Inc., a group of about a dozen local developers. Williams said because the group was so large, negotiations took about three months and at times he was not sure the sale would go through.

When questioned about whether he could have found land any cheaper than the $26,000 an acre the city will pay, Williams reminded Lemaster and Miessner that the city had paid $175,000 for a half acre for a temporary fire station on Highway 5.
Charles Ward, who signed the purchase agreement for North Cabot Development Group, said he has property nearby in Austin that appraised for $3.50 a square foot, which comes to $150,000 an acre.

Specifically, Miessner and Lemaster were concerned about the parts of the purchase agreement that would help the sellers develop their remaining lots in the industrial park: free water meters, free building permits and no impact fees.
“I wonder if we’re not giving away the store on some of these things,” Miessner asked the mayor.

“Bill, can we give away water meters?” she asked Bill Cypert, secretary of Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission.
Cypert responded that the commission couldn’t give them away, but the city could buy them at a cost of $25,000 to $30,000.

Lemaster said she understood that the city would “comp” the fees it usually charges, but she said she learned at a recent Municipal League seminar that impact fees are almost certain to be challenged in court and she didn’t want Cabot’s impact fees to be made more vulnerable.

The sale is contingent on the state paying $350,000 of the $399,000. Sen. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle, attended the meeting to explain the state’s part in financing the land purchase. He said $150,000 would come from the almost $1 billion state surplus and $100,000 would come from the governor’s discretionary fund. Although he said the governor was a supporter of the project, he urged the mayor to send an official request for the money.

Also attending were several of the sellers and several area residents who first tried while former Mayor Joe Allman was in office to get an armory in Cabot.

David Hipp, who was Allman’s operations director, thanked the men who helped convince the National Guard that Cabot needed an armory.

In addition to Hipp and Allman, the men who started the process of bringing an armory to the city are Fred Campbell, Don Elliott, Wayne “Moose” Cunnis, Bill DeVoss, Gary McMillan and Charles George.

Once the property is purchased, the deed will be signed over to Arkansas National Guard, which will have the construction of the $8 million armory placed in line for federal funding within the next five years. Williams says building the armory is “the single biggest thing for Cabot in recent history” which will have an economic impact on the city of $1 million or more a year.
If it is built in the industrial park, it will be visible from the new railroad overpass, which should be under construction within the next two months. Since the overpass will be used by school buses, Williams said the location will be good for recruiting. He said he also hopes it will have a positive impact on his efforts to get federal money to build a north interchange that is part of his three-phase plan to connect Highway 5 to U.S. 67-167.

After the 7-0 vote with one council member absent, Miesser apologized to any of the sellers she might have offended with her questions, saying that as a council member, she had to look after the city’s interests.

Alderman Virgil Teague, who was hospitalized last month with blood-clotting problems, is now out of intensive care and undergoing rehabilitation. Williams read a letter from Teague to the council that said he hoped to be back on the job soon.
In other business: The council reappointed Bill Johnson to Position 4 of the Cabot Advertising and Promotion Commission; passed an ordinance providing spousal death benefits for the city clerk-treasurer; and passed an ordinance repealing the $1 permit fee for yard sales, which the clerk-treasurer said caused too much work for the revenue it produced.

Monday, July 16, 2007

TOP STORY >>Jacksonville A gets back to Legion state

IN SHORT: Gwatney Chevrolet went through the American Legion Zone 3 tournament undefeated.

Leader sportwriter

Gwatney Chevrolet dodged every bullet imaginable to advance to the state tournament for the first time in 17 years with a 3-2 win over Conway Wednesday afternoon in the finals of the American Legion Class A Zone 3 tournament finals at the Diamond Center in Maumelle. The Chevy boys overcame a 2-1 deficit in the top of the sixth inning with two scores that would prove to be just enough to prevent a third meeting between the two teams in the tourney.

Jacksonville sent Conway into the consolation bracket earlier in the tournament with a decisive 12-6 win, but the Wampus Cats were determined to shut down Gwatney this time, holding the normally lethal Gwatney bats silent through much of the contest.

Gwatney took to the plate trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth inning. Five-hole hitter Hayden Simpson led off for Jacksonville in the sixth, and reached on an error in left field to put the tying run on base. Daniel Thurman advanced Simpson to third with a single up the middle, and Simpson scored by tagging up on a pop up by A.J. Allen.

That would tie the score at 2-2 with a runner on with one out. Thurman made it to second when a pick attempt at first went sour, but Gwatney got its second out when Jeff Tillman sliced one up to Conway pitcher Ryan Valovich.

That would send Jacksonville back to the top of the order with Tyler Wisdom. Wisdom came through with a single to left field that advanced Thurman to third. Terrell Brown then came to the plate for Gwatney and sent in the winner with a blooper into left field. Brown’s hit may not have been altogether pretty, but it was undoubtedly the most important hit of the day, as Thurman crossed the plate to put Jacksonville back out front for the first time since a brief 1-0 lead held in the third inning.

Jacksonville pitcher Seth Tomboli didn’t do his team any favors by walking Conway lead-off Jordan Cates in the bottom of the seventh inning, but struck out the next two Wampus Cats batters, leaving it all in the hands of Conway first baseman Anthony Nail. Nail hammered Tomboli’s second offering, but Wisdom robbed him in shallow center with a diving catch to send the Wampus Cats home for the season.

The Zone 3 final was postponed for two days due to ongoing rain in the area, but the Diamond Center dried out quite nicely for Wednesday’s finals. The field appeared to be in decent shape for the game despite the downpours, and the fast pace of the game meant it was not subjected to extended wear and tear in the brief hour and 40 minute contest.

Starting Gwatney pitcher Tomboli had a shutout on his mind at the start of the game, sending the first two Conway batters back to their dugout with strikeouts before forcing a groundout from three-hole hitter Valovich. He would do more of the same in the second inning with another strikeout and two more infield smacks that were easily turned by the Jacksonville defense.

Gwatney landed three runners on in the top of the first, but they were not able to convert. A single for Allen in the top of the second inning could not be advanced, and the game remained scoreless through two innings.

Brown broke the silence for Jacksonville in the top of the third inning when he led off with a single, and advanced to third when Conway first baseman Nail allowed a pick attempt by. This put Brown at third with no outs.

Caleb Mitchell sent Brown in for the score with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The final two batters of the inning grounded out to third, leaving one runner on.

The lead would be short lived. An error would allow the only two Conway runs of the evening in during the bottom of the third inning. Gwatney got the first two outs rather quickly, but a routine throw to first on a grounder to shortstop by Jay Magee got by first baseman Jason Regnas, and allowed Nail and Dominique Teague in to give Conway a 2-1 lead. Tomboli recovered to retire the next batter to end the frame.

The bottom of the fourth would be a close call for Jacksonville when two fielding errors and a walk allowed Conway runners at first and second. Gwatney had an infield meeting at the mound at that point, and Tomboli answered with two of his total eight strikeouts on the evening to retire Conway without a run.

SPORTS >>Gwatney mercy rules Rogers

IN SHORT: Jacksonville advanced to the second round of the American Legion Class A state tournament for the first time in program history Thursday.

Leader sports editor

The 2007 version of Gwatney’s Class A team accomplished a program first Thursday afternoon at Burns Park. The Chevy boys won a game in the American Legion state tournament. It had been 17 years since a Jacksonville A team had participated in state, and it had never won a game while there. That changed Thursday when Gwatney easily disposed of Rogers 11-1 in six innings of play.

“We started a little tight, but we finally decided to play baseball and we did,” Jacksonville coach Travis Lyda said. “It wasn’t a beautiful work of art, but on the same token it was a win in the state tournament. That’s something this program has never done on the Class A level.”

It took a couple of innings, but once Jacksonville touched Rogers starting pitcher Cody Hawthorne, it was all over. After two scoreless innings that hinted at an impending big inning for the Gwatney squad, it finally came in the third.

Nine-hole hitter Jeff Tillman battled back from an 0-2 count to hit a single to centerfield to start the rally with no hits. Tyler Wisdom and Terrell Brown then laid down perfect bunts for infield singles. Rogers fumbled the ball on Brown’s bunt down the first base line just enough to allow Tillman to score. Mitchell Regnas then hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who threw to home in an unsuccessful attempt to get Wisdom who was charging for the score.

Caleb Mitchell and Seth Tomboli made the first two outs of the inning, but right fielder Hayden Simpson capped the rally with a two-RBI double to centerfield to give Jacksonville a 4-1 lead.

Starting pitcher Clayton Fenton shut Rogers down in the top of the fourth, and the Chevy boys added three more in the bottom of the frame.

Wisdom started with a single against relief pitcher Britt McKenzie, who struggled with his control during his brief stint on the mound. The next four batters reached without having to swing. Brown was hit, Regnas walked, Mitchell was hit and Tomboli walked before McKenzie was pulled for Matt Phillips. Phillips gave up another RBI base hit to Simpson, this time a single just over second baseman Spanky Purdee’s head scored the third and final run of the inning and gave Gwatney a 7-1 lead.
Jacksonville continued to hit the ball hard in the fifth, but couldn’t find the gaps.

Fenton got the first two batters of the sixth inning to groundout to third, but then loaded the bases on a single, a walk and an error at shortstop.

Fenton quickly got two strikes on Rogers two hitter Spanky Purdee, but the second baseman battled back to a full count by fouling off several pitches. Fenton finally won the battle by getting Purdee to swing and miss at a rising fastball, keeping Jacksonville’s six-run lead intact.

“That pitch was called up in the zone because he was making contact with everything down,” Lyda said. “Clayton was doing a good job keeping it down like you’re supposed to, but the kid was hitting everything. It wasn’t supposed to be up at his nose hairs, but the point is Clayton put it where the kid couldn’t hit it. He was in a mindset of swinging to stay alive, and Clayton put the ball where he couldn’t hit it.”

It all ended in the bottom of the sixth when another pitching change failed to change any results. Rogers’ final pitcher also struggled with control, and when he wasn’t walking or hitting Gwatney batters, they were getting base hits.

Mitchell led off with a single and Tomboli walked. Simpson then singled to load the bases and Daniel Thurman took a pitch to the middle of his back for an RBI. AJ Allen smacked a line drive, but it was right to shortstop for the first out of the inning. Tomboli scored on a wild pitch on the next at bat. Tillman then walked to reload the bases and Wisdom walked to drive in another run and make it 10-1.

Terrell Brown then hit a fly ball to left field that was just deep enough to score Thurman from third base and end the game on the run rule.

The win lifts Jacksonville to 15-8 on the season and puts its winning streak at six games. Rain halted the first round of play Thursday in game two. Mountain Home led Texarkana 2-1 when the downpour came before the start of the fifth inning.
It rained so much, the field couldn’t be prepared by yesterday, so the first round will resume Saturday, and the second round will start Sunday.

That helps Jacksonville, who was forced to pitch its No. 1 starter on Wednesday in the rain-delayed Zone 3 championship. As it stood, Tomboli wouldn’t be able to pitch until the fourth round if the team made it that far. Now, the entire Jacksonville staff will be back on rotation by the time it takes the field for the second round on Sunday.

They will play the winner of today’s matchup between Jonesboro and Sheridan at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

SPORTS >>Wings win title game with local hoop stars

IN SHORT: DeShone McClure of Jacksonville High School, and North Pulaski players Aaron Cooper and DaQuan Bryant were all a vital part of the national championship winning Arkansas Wings basketball team.

Leader sports staff

Three local athletes were part of the Arkansas Wings 16-under AAU team, which won the Division 2 national championship last night at Pulaski Academy High School.

Jacksonville High’s DeShone McClure, and North Pulaski’s Aaron Cooper and DaQuan Bryant played pivotal roles on the national championship winning team.

The Wings beat Virginia C-Pep 63-42 Friday to secure the title. North Pulaski coach Raymond Cooper helped manage the team, and said all three local athletes played big roles in the team’s national tournament success.

“They’ve all had their moments in the tournament when they’ve led the team in scoring,” Raymond Cooper said. “DaQuan has had some double double games. McClure has come off the bench for us and played some great defense. Aaron is our point guard, and he’s been solid the whole tournament. This whole team has played pretty well and everybody’s gotten a lot of playing time. Everybody on the team has started at least one game.”

The Wings advanced to bracket play by breezing through their pool, winning all three pool games by more than 20 points.

The team started the tournament by routing the New Jersey Panthers 67-42 on Monday. Two wins on Tuesday advanced the team to bracket play as one of the favorites. The Georgia Grasshoppers were no match, and the Wings got their biggest margin of victory in game two of pool play 71-43. The Louisiana Things got tougher in bracket play as the Memphis Wildcats made a late surge, only to fall 63-56. Next up was Team Louisiana, which beat the Arkansas Timber Wolves 63-58 in round one. The Wings disposed of their second Louisiana team by a score of 50-37 to earn a spot in the semifinals against their third Louisiana team, Dream Team Louisiana.

In their toughest game of the tournament, the Wings battled back and forth with DTL throughout the contest, and ultimately came away with a 59-54 victory to earn the right to play for the championship against the Virginia team.

Virginia C-Pep gave the Wings problems in the first quarter, but inspired play from McClure in the second quarter gave his team a boost, and a double-digit lead in the process.

While Cooper was the only starter of the three Jacksonville players, McClure subbed for him at the 3:19 mark of the first half and wasted little time making his presence known.

C-Pep led much of the first quarter, but Arkansas took a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, however, McClure had helped lift the Wings to a 31-20 halftime lead, and the advantage would only increase in the final two periods. McClure started out the second quarter with a steal that he converted into a lay-in, making up two of his 11 first-half points.

Arkansas led 46-30 at the end of the third quarter after a brief C-Pep rally in which the Virginia team scored two three pointers in the final minute and erased a 22-point Wings’ lead, but McClure and company gathered it back in the final eight minutes of play.

McClure went on to score 18 points in the game, including a pair of three-point baskets and steals that he converted into transition lay-ups.

The only other player to score as many points as McClure in the title game was post player Daniel Broughton who also finished with 18 points on the afternoon.

“I didn’t know I was going to have the game I had,” McClure said afterward. “I knew I was capable of it. I had an advantage on my coverage with my first step, and used it to my advantage to take it to the hole.” While Cooper may not have had the numbers that McClure did, he was happy to help out his friend and soon to be cross-town rival.

“I did all right,” Cooper said. “I had a little bit of an off game, but DeShone was having a great game, so I just gave him the ball.”

Cooper played most of the first quarter as the Wings starting point guard, and came away with some key assists in the opening frame to help Arkansas jump out to a narrow 6-5 lead by the 4:25 mark. He would play most of the second half, but could never find the perfect opportunity to score.

Rather than force the issue, Cooper played maturely and team focused, with a number of assists added to his totals in the last two quarters.

Bryant finished with two points, but it was his contributions on the defensive side of things that would make the difference in his performance. Bryant and teammate Broughton gave little inside to C-Pep, forcing them outside with a lineup that relied on inside play.

“We’ve been practicing and (we’ve) had our mind set on winning,” Bryant said. “We just wanted to keep taking it to the next step and do everything it takes to win. We did it, and it feels great to be a champion.”

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Stax marks 50 years of great music

If you remember Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft,” the Staples Singers’ “Respect Yourself,” Eddy Floyd’s “Knock on Wood,” Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” Booker T. and the MGs’ “Green Onions” and the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night,” you would have enjoyed a concert last month in Memphis commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stax record label.

It seemed as if almost all of the label’s surviving artists showed up for a stirring concert at the Orpheum Theater (Redding, unfortunately, died in a plane crash 40 years ago). For nearly three hours, you could hear ’60s and ’70s soul and a little gospel hosted by rapper Chuck D. and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.

The concert was a benefit for the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, which is built on the site of an old movie theater that served as a Stax studio and record shop on McLemore Avenue in Memphis.

The museum is an impressive showcase for Southern black music and history, and anyone who likes soul should make the trip to Memphis.

Jim Stewart, who founded the label with his sister, the late Estelle Axton, did not attend the concert. (Stewart and Axton had combined the first two letters of their last names for the company’s name.) Also absent was Al Bell, an Arkansas native who ran Stax in the last decade of its existence, before it went bankrupt in 1975.

The concert was organized by Stax’s longtime publicist, the ever-cheerful Deanie Parker, who had recorded a couple of singles for Stax when she was still in high school in the early 1960s.

Isaac Hayes, the headliner for the evening, shuffled out in a cape toward the end of the concert and sang his hits, including “Walk on By” and “The Theme from Shaft,” and he conducted a small orchestra for part of the performance for an enthusiastic sellout crowd.

Hayes hasn’t aged much since the 1970s, but he looked like he’s slowed down a bit, maybe from the discomfort of arthritis or some other ailment, or maybe he was smarting from being dropped from Comedy Central’s “South Park” cartoon program, where he’d done a voiceover for several years. But because he’s a Scientologist and the show had skewered Tom Cruise, another Scientologist, the church had told Hayes to move on.

The program’s creators recently killed off his character, dumping him off a cliff and disfiguring his face, and I suspect Hayes wasn’t amused.

He still looks like the black Moses and is still a charismatic entertainer (his “Presenting Isaac Hayes” CD is one of our Stax favorites), but he was far from the only big-name attraction: Booker T. and the MGs did their obligatory “Green Onions,” and trumpeter Wayne Jackson of the Mar-Keys stepped up and did “Last Night,” and there was still plenty more.

Otis Redding’s sons, Dexter and Otis III, performed with gusto, which would have pleased their dad, who died in a plane crash in 1967 at the age of 26. To think he’d only be 66 today and probably making great records. Otis’ boxed CD set “Dreams to Remember” from Rhino, as well as live recordings at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles are worth checking out.

Still looking great after all these years, Camden’s own Mable John sang a couple of numbers, including “Your Good Thing (Is About to End).” Mavis Staples of the Staples Singers, whose solo career is still going strong, sang “Respect Yourself” and a couple of other of the group’s hits.

William Bell (“I Forgot to Be Your Lover”), Edddie Floyd (“Knock on Wood”), Angie Stone (“Woman to Woman”) were among the other performers, plus the Soul Children with J. Blackfoot and young talent that Stax has signed now that the label has been revived under new ownership.

Gospel singer Rance Allen pretty much stole the show with his tent-revival performance. A veteran of the gospel circuit, he recorded for a Stax subsidiary. Allen is a big fellow — he’ll tell you he’s built for comfort — and was a crowd favorite.

He came back onstage with a couple of rousing finales with all the performers, who sang the Staples’ “I’ll Take You There” and Redding’s “Dock of the Bay,” two songs that helped shape modern music.

Of course many great Stax artists are no longer with us: Little Milton died a couple of years ago, but you can listen to his “Walking the Back Streets” CD. Other late greats missing were Pops Staples (all the group’s Stax releases are terrific), as well as Rufus Thomas (“The Best of Rufus Thomas: Do the Funky Somethin’” from Rhino), although his daughter Carla (“Gee Whiz” from Collectables) still performs occasionally.

Also missing was Albert King, who grew up in Forrest City and Osceola but passed away in 1992 and is buried in Edmondson (Crittenden County) off I-40. His records apparently keep selling well since Stax continues to reissue them. They’re almost all first-rate. Some carry the Atlantic logo since Stax leased its best stuff to Atlantic, but almost all were recorded in Memphis and rank among the best blues of all time, quite an achievement for a label that was famous for soul.

His “King of the Blues Guitar” gets a top rating in the “Penguin Guide to Blues Recordings.” A previous but shorter version of that CD is called “Born Under a Bad Sign” with wonderful liner notes by Deanie Parker. All the hip white kids bought the record in the late 1960s and it has the immortal lines, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, you know I wouldn’t have no luck at all.” Cream and other rockers copied the song and made millions off King’s genius.

There are at least 15 of his Stax/Atlantic records in circulation (including several live recordings in San Francisco and Montreaux, Switzerland), making him one of the most prolific of all the Stax artists, surpassing Otis Redding, who died just as he became a superstar, and Isaac Hayes, who was still at his zenith when the company went under.
King (real name Nelson) made several fine records before and after his Stax years. He’s heard on “Door to Door,” his earliest singles recorded on the Parrot and Chess labels in the 1950s and also includes previously unissued Chess singles by the great Otis Rush from 1960.
Albert’s “Complete Bobbin and King Recordings, 1959-63” includes the rest of his earliest releases, when he developed his soulful singing style and powerful guitar playing, but was still under the influence of B.B. King (no relation, despite Albert’s claims to kinship, although they were both born near Indianola in the Mississippi Delta). Albert would develop his own signature style, and we’ll put him up there with B.B. and Freddy King in the blues pantheon. No wonder his fans call him King Albert.

You might also enjoy “In Session” with Stevie Ray Vaughan, recorded in a Canadian TV studio in 1983 but not issued till 1999.

Albert’s later work is featured on “Blues from the Road” (Fuel), a double live CD that’s out of print and is selling on eBay for $50 and more. At times he and his band didn’t make that much money in a single night.

Visit his grave sometime in Paradise Grove Cemetery in Ed-mondson and leave him a small bottle of Jack Daniels with some change.

OBITUARIES >> 07-14-07

Ione Cranfill
Ione R. Cranfill, 77, of Beebe passed away July 11. She was born Sept. 15, 1929 in Sac City, Iowa, to the late Otis and Minnie Smith.

Also preceding her in death was one sister, Wanda Miller of Anaheim, Calif.

Survivors include five children: Karen “Kay” Rogers of Cabot, Ralph Stevens, Jessine Neemann and husband Michael of Cabot, Donnie Stevens of Egypt, Delinda “Wendy” Davidson of Cabot; one sister, Monona Johnson of Iowa; 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church with burial immediately following at Concord Cemetery in Lonoke. Funeral arrangements will be by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

Royce Hutchins
Royce Lane Hutchins, 81, died July 11. He was a member of Lynch View Baptist Church in North Little Rock and an Army veteran.

Survivors include one son, Ronald L. Hutchins of Springdale; daughter, Alisa Kelley of Jack-sonville; three brothers, Vernon Hutchins of Arkadelphia, Aubrey E. Hutchins of Cabot and Clark W. Hutchins of Bee Branch; one sister, Catherine Viola Houser of North Little Rock; five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Lynch View Baptist Church in North Little Rock with burial in Weedon Cemetery, near Lonoke. Funeral arrangements are by Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

Joe Bechel
Joe Bechel, 77 , died July 6.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathryn Bechel; son, Robert Bechel; daughters, Debbie and husband Banks Breashears, Cindy and husband Corey Burns and Beverly and husband Chuck Overturf, all of Lonoke; grandchildren, Gina and husband Mark Clark, Michele and husband Ca-sey Findley, Douglas and Tyler Breashears, Sterling, Emily and Caroline Burns, Blake and Madison Overturf; two great-grandchildren, Drake and Brilynn Findley; brothers, Frankie and wife Brenda Bechel of Hernando, Miss., Charlie and wife Lora Jean Bechel of Jones Mill, Jerry and wife Nancy Bechel of Germantown, Tenn.; and a sister, Betty Sue and husband Billy Mauppins of Wilson.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Maggie Bechel and brothers, Ray and James Bechel.

Funeral services were July 9 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

Betty Clement
Betty Jo Brumett Clement, 76, died July 6 at Woodland Hills Nursing Home in Little Rock. She was born Feb. 25, 1931 to Archibald and Hazel Brumett at Lonoke.

She graduated from Lonoke High School in 1948 as valedictorian of her class.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Clement, of the Furlow Community near Lonoke.

She is survived by a son, Skipper Clement of Furlow; a daughter, Kathi Howard of North Little Rock; son, Roger Clement and wife Libby of Little Rock; brother, Donald Brumett of Lonoke; and seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were July 9 at Concord United Methodist Church, with burial in Concord Cemetery. Arrangements were by Boyd Funeral Home of Lonoke.  

Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice in her honor.

EDITORIALS>>Water utility throws it away

The public interest, which includes the assurance that people will have clean and affordable water, is not always paramount when it collides with the profit goals of developers — not, anyway, when municipal fathers in Little Rock do the reckoning.

Still, we were astonished this week when the Central Arkansas Water Board of Commissioners voted to allow Rick Ferguson to build palatial homes in the Lake Maumelle watershed and also give him $1 million for his trouble.

Commissioners adopted a “settlement” with Ferguson — “sweetheart deal” is a better description — that in effect gives Ferguson and any other business that he may hand the project off to in the future a waiver from its watershed protection plan.

The water utility just couldn’t stand success. The utility — more aptly, its angry customers — beat down an attempt in the legislature to give the development giant Deltic Timber Corp. legal authority to plunder the watershed of 400,000 water customers in central Arkansas, and it has won victories in the courts, too. It condemned Ferguson’s speculative land along the lake in 2004, and the Pulaski Circuit Court ruled last year that the condemnation was in the public interest.

But then the utility’s governing commission decided suddenly to capitulate and give Ferguson permission to build the mammoth Waterview Estates, which will stretch over 1,100 acres west of Little Rock. Ferguson offered to build a concrete ditch that theoretically would channel the runoff from the landscaped slopes on which the luxurious homes will be built away from the lake and the intake for the region’s water supply. That is the water, remember, that you will make your coffee with every morning.

There is no guarantee that the little canal will work, nor is there any provision for its failure. If you cannot trust a bunch of developers, the commissioners theorize, whom can you trust?

Central Arkansas Water spent 18 months and $1.2 million developing a watershed management plan, and the commission adopted it with fanfare in February. We felt so much better. There could be no residential development in an area described as Critical Area A. The disputed part of Waterview Estates will be in Critical Area A. So how can the commissioners do it?

Commissioner Jane Dickey, a lawyer, explained that the ditch effectively took Waterview Estates out of Critical Area A, even though on the map it lay inside it, so the commission is not really violating its own plan. Now do you feel safer?

Why would the waterworks capitulate and go along — actually, encourage — a development that threatens water purity when it has won the battle in the eyes of the courts and certainly the public? You see, Waterview Estates LLC would make the utility pay a huge price for the condemned land that it had to surrender, and the payments to Ferguson would raise your water bills.

So the utility must surrender to the developers to save you money. But here is the real equation: Like Deltic Timber, Ferguson acquired the land knowing that it was in the watershed of central Arkansas’ main water supply. The reason that the land has a tremendous market value (although the speculators continue to pay county and school taxes on the land, pennies per acre, as if it were virtually worthless) is that Central Arkansas Water and its customers paid millions of dollars years ago to acquire land and build a lake in those valleys, creating one of the finest scenic vistas in Arkansas.

The developers are profiting obscenely from taxpayers’ investment to create a pristine water supply for their posterity. Now the taxpayers must also subsidize putting that water supply at risk. Is something wrong with this picture?

EVENTS>>Summer 2007

Drug Court Awareness Day planned Thursday in Lonoke
The public is invited to celebrate Drug Court Awareness at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on the Lonoke County Courthouse grounds sponsored by Judge Phillip Whiteaker, presiding judge on the 23rd Judicial Circuit Drug Court. Food will be provided by Community Bank.

Cabot High School Class of ‘87plans 20-year reunion
The Cabot High School Class of 1987 will hold its 20-year reunion in October. The two-day event will kick off Friday, Oct. 12 at the Cabot Panther homecoming football game and will continue with a dinner in Little Rock on Saturday, Oct. 13. For more information, class members can contact Lisa (Young) Lee at or visit the official class website at

Lonoke County retired teachers meet Monday
Lonoke County Retired Teachers will meet Monday, Oct. 8 at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at Mt. Tabot UMC in Cabot. Lunch will be finger food. Bring your favorite food. Speaker will Mary Alice Hughes speaking about coming changes in the 2008 insurance program.
The group is asked to bring baby items such as forumula and diapers to be dontated to Safe Haven. All retired school personel are encouraged to join the group. For more information call Presisdent Francise Wittenberg at 843-5285.

Wing Ding to be held in Jacksonville this weekend
The Jacksonville Wing Ding festival will be held at Dupree Park Saturday, Oct. 6 starting at 7:30 a.m. Admission and parking are free. Many events are planned.
From 7:30 a.m. to noon, Ashland chemical company will sponsor a fishing derby. A 5K benefiting Special Olympics Arkansas will begin at 7:30 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., registration for the Central Arkansas Volleyball Association’s game begins.
The CenturyTel Food Court will be serving hot dogs, corn dogs, shish kebabs, roasted corn, kettle corn, pizza, nachos, funnel cakes, barbeque, snowcones, fried Twinkies and Oreos, catfish and more all day.
Leader Publishing is holding a chicken wing cook off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Junior Auxiliary children’s tent will open at 9 a.m. and will have face painting, puppet shows, balloons, a box maze and games. There will also be a moonwalk, a trackless train, pony rides and more amusements for all ages.
A Rebsamen Medical Center health tent, the Firefighter’s Exhibit and the Moon Mullins Memorial Bike Show will be open all day beginning at 9. At 9:30 a.m., First Electric Co-op Glider Wars will assemble. Competition starts at 10:30 a.m. Paddleboat rides sponsored by Arkansas Federal Credit Union will be available from noon to 6 p.m. Entertainment on the Community Bank and First Arkansas Bank & Trust stages will last all day.

White County Junior Miss committee offers scholarship money
The White County Junior Miss committee is searching for college-bound young women who are high school seniors and have grade-point averages of at least 2.5 to compete for scholarship money.
Information letters are available in the counselors’ offices at each White County high school.
Those who are interested in entering the program should go to America’s Junior Miss website at and click on the “Join Us” screen.
The White County Junior Miss program will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in the administration auditorium at Harding University. The program is in its tenth year.
For questions, contact the local chairman Cindy Dixon at 501-278-5831 or Robyn Pratt at 501-593-1461 or state chairman Nancy Thompson at 501-268-6292.

Cabot High School homecoming parade will be held Sunday
The Cabot High School homecoming parade will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 beginning at the intersection of Panther Trail and Hwy. 89.
The parade ends at Main Street so observers should find a viewing position on Hwy. 89 between Main Street and Panther Trail.
In case of rain, the parade will not be rescheduled and instead, floats may be taken to the high school track for the homecoming game.
Cabot High School’s homecoming game will be held Friday, Oct. 12 as will homecoming games in Beebe and Sylvan Hills High Schools. Jacksonville will have homecoming festivities on Friday, Oct. 19.
Pulaski County Juvenile Court is now recruiting individuals to be trained as volunteer probation officers. These volunteers work with first time offenders to provide one-on-one supervision in an effort to redirect youth at risk.
The next training session for new volunteers will be Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with participation in a mock trial the following Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m., for a total of 12 hours. For more information or an application call 501-340-6676.

16th Section Community planning Saturday fish fry
The Sixteenth Section Community Center will host a Fish Fry, All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, on Saturday, Oct. 6th beginning at 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Tickets are $9 each for adults and $4 for children ages 5 to 10. Includes bottomless drink and a variety of homemade desserts. Public and groups are invited. Funds raised will be used for maintenance of the center. Located on Hwy 319 East, two blocks from the intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 319.

Brockington will widen to 5 lanes in Sherwood

The state Highway Commission has opened bids to improve roads in Pulaski County, including the widening of approximately one mile of Brockington Road in Sherwood. Plans are to widen Brockington Road to five lanes and add sidewalks. The contract was awarded to Mobley Contractors of Morrilton for $4,297,032.

“This widening project will begin at Maryland Avenue and extend northward to Hwy. 107,” said commissioner Cliff Hoofman of North Little Rock. “The improvements will ease congestion through the area and make this a safer roadway for motorists in the area of Sherwood. Future plans call for widening the south end of the roadway down to Kiehl Avenue.”

The second project is to construct a new overpass for Hwy. 100 over I-40 at Crystal Hill and was awarded to Mobley Contractors for $6,076,585.

“The new overpass on Hwy. 100 will be five lanes and will better handle traffic in the Crystal Hill area,” Hoofman added.
Hoofman said construction could begin on the projects in six to eight weeks, weather permitting. The completion of the Brockington Road and the Hwy. 100 projects are expected in 2009.

Cabot City Beautiful Fall Cleanup set Saturday

Cabot City Beautiful Fall Cleanup is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, behind the Public Schools Administration Building at 602 N. Lincoln St. Cleanup will continue until noon when lunch will be provided to all volunteers.
This fall’s cleanup will consist of litter pick-up only. Please call Irene Ernst at 501-941-0118 with any questions.

Knights of Columbus planning Oktoberfest

The Knights of Columbus, St. Jude Council 11604, in Jacksonville will hold its annual Oktober Fest at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13 at St. Jude Catholic Church, 2403 McArthur Drive.

Delicious German food and beverages will be served. There will be German music and dancing. The cost is $25 per couple or $15 for individuals.

This is for adults only. For information call Linda Seidl at 501-843-7655 or 501-626-1547.

Ashland in Jacksonville holding response drill

Ashland Performance Materials manufacturing plant in Jacksonville will have an emergency response drill at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at 1901 North Redmond Road. Jacksonville’s fire and police departments, the Little Rock Air Force Base fire department and Rebsamen Medical Center will be participants in the annual exercise.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management will monitor the exercise.

The purpose of the simulated drill is to let emergency workers practice their training and to test coordination and cooperation in dealing with an emergency situation. The plant’s evacuation alarm will sound the start of the drill. Jacksonville police will monitor traffic on Redmond Road near the plant during the exercise. The drill will be completed within two hours.

Avian bird show and sale Saturday in Jacksonville

Avian enthusiasts from all over the U.S. are flocking to Jacksonville. Saturday’s show will feature hundreds of birds and the avian experts who have raised them. There will be a great selection of birds, cages, toys, feeds and hard-to-find avian specialty items for show and sale. Truck-loads of brand new cages will be sold at wholesale cost to the public. The show is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Jacksonville Community Center. For more information, call 901-878-1307 or visit

The 2007 Cabot High School Homecoming Parade will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7.

The parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Panther Trail and
Hwy. 89. It is emphasized to the community that the parade ends at Main
Street; therefore, observers should find a viewing position on Hwy. 89
between Main Street and Panther Trail.

In case of rain, the parade will not be rescheduled but instead of the
parade, floats may be taken to the high school track for the homecoming

Registration forms are available online at the Cabot Public Schools website, the Cabot High School website, or at any school office. The deadline to
register is Friday, September 28.

Commodities being distributed Thursday

The Community Action Program of Central Arkansas will hold a commodity distribution from 8:30 a.m. until noon, Thursday, Sept. 27 at the A.J. “Bo” Baker National Guard Armory, 3105 S. Main Street, Searcy.

You must show proof of income (not more than $1,483 for a two-person household) and White County residency to receive the commodities which include canned corn and carrots, tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, dried milk, peanut butter, rice, beans and grapefruit juice.

Jacksonville Dog Park committee to hold meeting

The Jacksonville Dog Park Committee will have its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 at the Jacksonville Community Center.

For more information call 982-0818.

Sherwood church will host revival services

Sherwood First Church of the Nazarene will hold revival services Wednesday through Sunday, Sept. 26-30 with Rev. Pat Burkhalter. Services will begin at 7p.m. on weeknights, 6 p.m. on Saturday evening and will meet at regular worship time on Sunday morning.

There will be a fall picnic held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.

Military spouses club plans Mad Hatter tea party

Please join the Little Rock Air Force Base Spouses Club for a Mad Hatter Tea Party luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 27 at the LRAFB Conference Center. Membership is open to any spouse of an active duty, guard, reserve or DoD employee or retiree. Check-in and daycare drop-off begins at 10:30 a.m. with the tea party starting at 11 a.m.

Tjuana Byrd, our guest speaker for the function, is from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, dedicated to education and research about causes, treatment, and the search for a cure for breast cancer. The tea party meal will be grilled chicken salad, fresh bread, coffee, tea, water and a dessert buffet; $9.95 for club members, $10.95 for non-club members.

Contests and prizes will be given for best tea party hat and “Alice in Wonderland” trivia. Limited childcare is $4 per child (cash only) at the TCAC. To RSVP for the function and childcare, visit or contact Rachel Kreps at 501-765-0316.

Reservations are required by 5 p.m. Monday, September 24.

Juvenile volunteer probation officers needed

Pulaski County Juvenile Court is now recruiting individuals to be trained as volunteer probation officers. These volunteers work with first- time offenders to provide one-on-one supervision in an effort to redirect youth at risk. Any person who is over the age of 21, has no criminal history or involvement in the Juvenile Court System, and is interested in helping our youth may volunteer.

Your time commitment can be as little as on hour a week or as much time as your schedule allows.

The next training session for new volunteers will be held Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and participation in a mock trial the following Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. for a total of 12 hours. For more information or an application call 340-6676.

Cabot Fall cleanup slated for Sept. 29

Cabot City Beautiful’s Fall Cleanup will be held Saturday, Sept. 29, beginning behind the Public Schools Administration Building at 602 N. Lincoln St. Cleanup begins at 9 a.m. and will continue until noon, at which time lunch will be provided to all volunteers. This year’s cleanup will consist of litter pick up only. For questions or to volunteer, call Irene Ernst at 941-0118.

Car seat safety check planned at Cabot Wal-Mart

The Junior Auxiliary of Cabot, will host the sixth annual car seat safety check at the Cabot Wal-Mart SuperCenter from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29.

The car seat check is free and open to anyone using a child restraint system in a vehicle. Car seats will be checked by certified car seat safety technicians from Cabot Junior Auxiliary, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Cabot Fire and Police Departments and the Little Rock Police Department.

According to Arkansas law, children younger than 5 years of age and weighing less than 60 pounds must be in a car seat. Children age 6 to 14 and weighing more than 60 pounds must use an adult seat belt.

For more information contact Shelley Tounzen, Junior Auxiliary of Cabot Buckle Buddies Coordinator, 501-993-4496.

Cabot high school homecoming parade slated

The 2007 Cabot High School Homecoming Parade will be held on Sunday, Oct. 7. The parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Panther Trail and Hwy. 89. It is emphasized to the community that the parade ends at Main Street; therefore, observers should find a viewing position on Hwy 89 between Main Street and Panther Trail.

In case of rain, the parade will not be rescheduled. In lieu of a parade, floats may be taken to the High School track for the Homecoming game.

Registration forms are available online at the Cabot Public Schools website, the Cabot High School website, or at any school office. The deadline to register is Friday, September 28th.

American Red Cross has issued an appeal for persons throughout the state to donate blood as soon as possible. To locate and schedule an appointment call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

Cabot artist selected for annual exhibition

Marty Smith, a Cabot artist who works at The Leader, will have her work displayed at the Fine Arts Center, 610-A Central Ave. in Hot Springs for the third annual Diamond National Juried Exhibition.
Smith is a graphic designer and web master at The Leader.
The exhibit runs from Sept. 5 to Oct. 2 with an opening reception to be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.
Gallery hours will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information on the exhibit and directions to the center, one may call 501-624-0489.

National Senior Center Month will be observed

This September, the Jacksonville Senior Center invites the community to learn more about its programs and services during National Senior Center Month.
The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Senior Centers Work!’ and a number of activities have been planned, including bargains, beans and cornbread, a craft sale for the entire community, at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21. During the sale beans, cornbread and a yummy dessert will be served for $5. If you are interested in having a booth at the crafts event or to purchase tickets for the lunch, contact David Adamson at 501-982-7531.