Wednesday, September 05, 2007

SPORTS >>Rivalry game brings electricity to Lonoke

Leader sports editor

Beebe and Lonoke meet up this week at LHS’s James B. Abraham Field after experiencing very different opening games. The Badgers pounced on Greenbrier and won a 21-0 shutout. Lonoke pounced on Hot Springs and led 21-7 at halftime, but gave up a big Trojan comebck and lost 36-35 when Hot Springs converted a two-point attempt with 23 seconds remaining.

Regardless of what happened in week one, this rivalry game is almost always an exciting event. Last season, the Badgers beat the Jackrabbits very similarly to how Hot Springs beat them last week. After last year’s game, former Beebe coach Cam Prock accurately commented that “this game always seems to come down to the last play.”

That’s the sort of series that turns into a rivalry, and it’s a rivalry that current Badger coach John Shannon, a former Badger, knows well.

“Well when I was a senior we moved out of their conference and didn’t even play them, but my first two years it was a big rivalry,” Shannon said. “I think it still is. Listening to our kids this week, they were talking about it. They were calling some of their kids by name. It’s a case of us being so close, our kids know their kids. I think it’s a pretty good rivalry.”

Of course the Badgers were excited when they returned to practice after their season-opening shutout. Shannon was also very pleased, but realizes that some things need correcting, and that Lonoke presents a whole different set of problems as Greenbrier.

“Greenbrier was a lot bigger than we though they were going to be,” Shannon said. “They were real physical. I thought we were pretty physical with them in the first half, but I think they matched us in the second half. They made some adjustments and we didn’t and we didn’t do a good job of adjusting to Greenbrier’s changes.”

The Jackrabbits won’t be as big as the Panthers, but they do present a different problem, one that is a concern for Shannon and the Badger coaching staff.

“They have lots of speed,” Shannon said. “We were pretty equal with Greenbrier in the speed department, but Lonoke has tons of it.”

Shannon mentioned Jackrabbit receiver Clarence Harris as being a key player to stop.

“Their number one (Harris) is a tall kid that can run really well,” Shannon said. “They’re going to try to get the ball in his hands a lot of different ways. We’re going to have to play smart and contain him because we can’t afford to let him get loose. I don’t know if we have anybody that can keep up with him if he does get loose.”

A key to Beebe containing Lonoke’s speed will be more good performances by key defensive players.

Linebacker Kyle Williams recorded 11 tackles last week. Kyle Vaughn had two sacks and Joe Berrick covered two Panther fumbles.

“Those guys really stood out for us defensively,” Shannon said. “We’re going to need to keep that kind of play up, because Lonoke’s offense can score points if you aren’t ready.”

Shannon couldn’t say for certain of Lonoke would be as physical as Greenbrier, but believes history indicates that it will.

“It’s hard to tell on film whether or not they’re physical because they run that spread,” Shannon said. “I do know that typically in the past, Lonoke has always been a real physical team.”

The Badgers and Jackrabbits kickoff Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

SPORTS >>Panthers expecting one Bear of a game

Leader sports staff

Cabot will make the short journey south this Friday to face former conference mates Sylvan Hills at Bill Blackwood Field. The series between the Bears and Panthers may not have all the natural elements that make up a rivalry like Cabot and Jacksonville, or Cabot and Conway, but make no mistake about the history between the two schools. This game has been as heated of a rivalry as almost any other in the state over the years.

The Panthers are coming off of one of their biggest opening-week wins in several years against Jacksonville, downing their interstate rivals in a 42-0 runaway. The Bears will enter 0-1 after a disappointing loss last Wednesday to Little Rock Catholic after outplaying their larger opponent for much of the first half.

Cabot coach Mike Malham couldn’t find much to complain about from his team’s performance last week, but hopes the easy win doesn’t satisfy his players.

“There’s always things to work on,” Malham said. “The potential is there with this bunch if they want to work at it and get better. If they want to be happy with the one game and think they can just show up and win, we won’t accomplish much. If they want to work hard, we might be someone to contend with later in the season.”

Depth would be deciding factor in the SH loss to the Rockets, and looks to be a strong consideration for this Friday’s Bears-Panthers contest. With a roster that goes some 35 players deeper than that of Sylvan Hills, longtime Panthers coach Mike Malham and company look to be sitting in the catbird’s seat for the second week in a row.

“They’ve got a bunch of good kids,” Malham said. “They’re playing a lot of them both ways and I think that hurt ‘em in the end against Catholic. They’ve got some athletes though and we’re going to have to play smart.”

The obvious issue of depth, Withrow says, is one that is beyond his or his team’s control when it comes to Cabot.

“It’s just one of those deals,” Withrow said. “You just have to move your guys around to some different spots from where they normally play. We’re in great shape, we just don’t have enough bodies. They will have most of their guys only going one way, and a lot of our guys will go both ways. It makes it tough; we will definitely have our hands full.”

For the Bears, learning against top-notch opponents is the name of the game during the first three weeks of the season. The Catholic game, combined with this week’s showdown with Cabot and a week three meeting against North Little Rock, makes the Sylvan Hills pre-conference schedule one of the least envied in the state. For first-year Bears coach Jim Withrow, however, the unenviable schedule now is believed to lead to a more envious position during the final weeks of the conference season.
“What’s positive about these games,” Withrow said, “is that we will be a lot better football team after seeing those teams. There won’t be any plays off; anybody can score against you on any given play.”

Giving up zero points in week one was a good accomplishment for Cabot, but Malham knows how difficult a shutout is, and how quickly things can change on one play.

“The defense didn’t play bad,” Malham said. “When you throw a goose egg out there you’ve done pretty good. They did break one, but little (senior cornerback Hunter) Hess chased him down, and that was a big play. That would have put them right back in the game. I think it would have tied it 7-7. Momentum plays a big role and if Hess don’t make that play, it could be a whole different ballgame.

First on Cabot’s agenda for this week is stopping Sylvan Hills quarterback Hunter Miller. Miller broke a 40-yard touchdown run on fourth down against Cabot last season, and Malham believes he looks just as dangerous this year.

“They’ve got one good quarterback that’s for sure,” Malham said. “He broke one against us last year and he broke a couple on Catholic. He’s not the only one they’ve got though. They’ve got a few kids that have some speed that we’re going to have to be ready for.”

The Panthers and Bears kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday evening.

SPORTS >>Devils, Falcons try to turn tides

Leader sports editor

This week’s crosstown matchup between Jacksonville and North Pulaski will be the last for an indefinite amount of time. The two teams won’t meet again after this Friday for at least two seasons, but neither team comes into this game worrying too much about the other.

Both teams were shut out and lost by six touchdowns in last Friday’s season opener, and both are more concerned with fixing their own problems than with what their opponent may or may not do.

North Pulaski, which lost 43-0 on the road at Dumas, will be trying to correct the poor tackling that plagued the team in last week’s loss.

“We just didn’t tackle well,” North Pulaski coach Tony Bohannon said. “We were in the right places, but didn’t tackle. There’s also some things offensively we need to work on. We didn’t block well in the first half. We got that fixed a little bit in the second and blocked a little better. But overall we have to improve there too.”

Jacksonville, which fell 42-0 at Cabot, would be in much better shape by simply holding on to the football.

The Red Devils turned it over four times against the Panthers, including three times in the first half when they fell behind 35-0.

“You’re not going to beat Pickles Gap if you turn the ball over that many times,” Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley said. And you’re sure not going to beat Cabot. They’re a good football team, they force you to play a nearly perfect game, and we didn’t even come close to doing that.”

The loss was especially disappointing coming on the heels of a very good outing against North Little Rock in the preseason scrimmage game.

“We did just as much wrong this past Friday, as we did right the Friday before,” Whatley said.

Jacksonville did have a few possessions in which it moved the ball down the field. One ended in a turnover, another stalled on downs inside the Cabot 10-yard line. Those drives were important to look at this week and see that good things can happen for this Red Devil offense.

“That’s the bright spot,” Whatley said. “When we don’t play within our system, we don’t get anything done. When we do, we’re capable of moving the football, and we got to see that last week.”

North Pulaski may try to rearrange some of its personnel for Friday’s game. Bohannon wasn’t totally pleased with some of the positions were played.

“We saw a little more movement we need to make with players,” Bohannon said. “We’re probably going to try some folks in some different positions. We didn’t get the effort we wanted in certain spots, so we might move some things around.”

With Jacksonville, the head Red Devil keeps going back to the system.

“We’ve got to go back to doing things within the system on both sides of the football,” Whatley said. “The little bitty things can kill, but there were times when we didn’t even do the main things. I’m talking about technique, progression reads and things like that. When we rolled our own, it blew up on us. When we played within the system, it was successful.”

Even with the poor play, Whatley was not dissatisfied with his team’s effort.

“This is a team that plays with a passion for the game,” Whatley said. “I can’t fault their desire. I can fault our execution.”
Jacksonville and North Pulaski kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday night at Falcon Stadium.

OBITUARIES >> 09-05-07

Johnny Fraley

Johnny Leon Fraley, 48, of Jacksonville went to be with the Lord Sept. 3.

He was born March 13, 1959.

He was a member of Morrison Chapel Baptist Church in North Little Rock and was employed by Precision Auto in Jacksonville.

Johnny is survived by his wife Randie; daughter, Michelle Taylor and husband Brandon; son, Kenneth Fraley and wife Susanne, Matt Robinson (who was like a son) and wife Brandy; and one granddaughter, Kristi Fraley, all of Jacksonville; his mother and father, Loyce and Ken Chambers of Jacksonville; father and mother, Gilbert and Leann Fraley of Jacksonville; four sisters, Pam Vasquez and Rhonda Shellito, both of Jacksonville, Christy Free of Searcy, Colleen Branco of New Jersey; three brothers, Chad Fraley, Mitchell Fraley, both of  Jacksonville and Bruce Chambers of Georgia.  

Johnny also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and friends.  

Johnny was preceded in death by one granddaughter, Jennifer Fraley.

Funeral services will be at noon Friday, Sept. 7 in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.  

Pallbearers will be Steve Brewer, Joe Roberson, Stephen Capps, Randy Glover, Larry James and Jake Fraley.  Honorary pallbearers will be Calvin McIntire and Junior Howard.  

Visitation will be at the funeral home from 6 to 8 pm. Thursday, Sept. 6.

Carolyn Parker

Carolyn Jean Parker, 59, of Carlisle passed away Sept. 3.

She was born March 7, 1948 on Holly Mountain near Clinton.

She was a Christian woman, caring housewife, mother, grandmother and friend.

She was devoted to raising her family and enjoying her grandchildren.

Carolyn was very giving and thought of family and others first. Her hobbies included tending to her flowerbeds, working in her yard and caring for her home.

Later in life, she enjoyed traveling with her husband and sisters.

She was never far from her dog Allie.

She graduated from Clinton High School in 1966. She attended Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway.

She married Gary O’Dell Parker in 1969 and was married for 37 years. They made their home on a rice farm near Carlisle. Carolyn was a dedicated farmer’s wife and she will be greatly missed.

She is survived by her husband, Gary Parker; her three children, Brandon Parker and wife Beverly of Lonoke, Ashley Parker and wife Amy of Nashville and Rachel Parker of Bryant; two grandchildren, Gage and Preston; two brothers, Lindsey Harness of Mountain View and Wayne Harness of Cabot; two sisters, Faye Nixon of Bee Branch and Shirlene Ward of Clinton.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Auzzie and Effie Harness.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 at Hamilton Methodist Church, south of Carlisle with interment in Hamilton Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

Joan Russell

Joan Russell, 67, of Cabot passed away Sep. 1.

She retired after 21 years of service with the Cabot School District Food Service Program.

Joan was a member at First Baptist Church of Cabot.

She will be remembered as a kind and caring person.

Survivors include her husband of 31 years, Roy Russell, who is retired from the Union Pacific Railroad; and her five children, Glenda Wilson and husband Harry of Cabot, Karen Vocque and husband Lance of Cabot, Mark Russell and wife Lyn of Pickton, Texas, Charmin Brooks and husband Scott of Abilene, Texas, Christy Lustig and husband Gary of Okinawa, Japan; and 12 grandchildren, Meagan Wilson, Kyle and Connor Vocque, Erika, Morgan and Carrie Russell, Hunter, Madison and Mason Brooks, Lauren, Jacob, and Dain Lustig.

She is also survived by four sisters and four brothers, Nola Rees and husband Noble of Austin, Bernell Wilson and husband Ray of Vilonia, Ruthie Burlison and Sandra Weatherly, both of Austin, Horace Weatherly and wife Lorene of Beebe, J.R. Weatherly and wife Ann of Cabot, Truman Weatherly of Austin, Dearl Weatherly and wife Jackie of Beebe and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Mattie Weatherly; brothers, Willis Weatherly, Joe Weatherly Jr., Russell Weatherly and Carroll Weatherly; infant twins, Raye and Faye Weatherly and one granddaughter, Wiley Nicole Russell.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 at First Baptist Church of Cabot.

Associate Pastor Dick Avey will officiate.

Burial will be in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73123-1718.

Burnette Harrison

Burnette Harrison, 78, of Beebe died Sept. 2 at Central Arkansas Hospice Center.

He was born Dec. 26, 1929 to Dewitt and Helen Galloway Harrison.

He was a 28-year veteran of the Navy retiring as a lieutenant commander. He then worked for the NCR Corporation for 15 years.

He was a member of Antioch Community Methodist Church, past master and secretary Treasurer of Beebe Masonic Lodge 145, a 32nd degree Mason and member of the Scottish Rite Knight Command Court of Honor. He also served as a volunteer at Central Arkansas Hospital for 15 years.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Eileen Harrison; two sons, Michael and wife Annette and Tim and wife Alicia of Jacksonville, Florida; two grandchildren, Shawn and Christina and one great grandchild, Ian; two brothers, Bob Harrison and wife Shirley of Poway, Calif., and Don Harrison and wife Kay of Morrilton.

Burnette was a kind and gentle man who had a host of friends who loved him and he always had a big smile for everybody.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with burial in Antioch Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements will be by Westbrook Funeral Home of Beebe. Memorials may be made to Antioch Methodist Church c/o Joe T. Belew at 535 Louie Pruitt Road, Beebe, Ark. 72012 or Central Arkansas Hospice Center at 1200 Main Street, Searcy, Ark. 72043.

Delena Tarver

Delena M. Davis Tarver, 66, of North Little Rock went to be with the Lord Sept. 1.

She was born on August 5, 1931.

She worked at Timex for many years and loved bowling, and was good enough to play with the pros.

She left behind two sons, Roger Davis of North Little Rock and Bobby Davis and wife Annette of Ward; one stepson, Carl H. Tarver, III of North Little Rock; five grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were Sept. 4 at North Little Rock Funeral Home chapel. Burial was in Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery.
The family would like to thank everyone from Baptist Hospice and everyone from her church, North Little Rock Church of God.

Bennie White

Bennie Mae White, 79, formerly of Lonoke County died August 31.

Survivors include two daughters, Bonnie Evans of Redfield and Linda Myers of Cato; a son, James Copeland of North Little Rock; 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; many nieces, nephews and other relatives.
Funeral services were Sept. 4 at Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke with burial in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.

John Pearson

John Leslie Pearson, Jr., 81, died August 30.

His parents, John and Jenny Pearson; four sisters, Grace, Jenny Mae, Marjorie and Adeline preceded him in death.

He is survived by his wife Dorothea Pearson; children, Sam Pearson and wife Donna of Vinegrove, Ky., Judy Bragg and husband Rick of Carlisle, Karen Hooper of Jacksonville, Carolyn Parr and husband Jimmy of Hazen and David Lane of Lamar; grandchildren, Leslie, Joanna, Kellee, Holly, Lee, Stephanie, Rodney and Joshua; nine great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were Sept. 2 at New Testament Baptist Church with interment in New Hope Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, make memorials to New Hope Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were by Boyd Funeral Home in Lonoke.

EDITORIALS>>Hurry up with gas tax

With every utterance Gov. Beebe becomes a stronger champion of a tax on the natural gas that is piped to the big markets north and east of Arkansas. Now it is something that desperately needs to be done, and he promises that he will get it done, although maybe not until 2011.

We are rather proud of him, but the governor has progress yet to make. If it will be in the public interest in 2011, it is worth doing much sooner — 2008 would be a good year.

Beebe said last week that he did not propose a gas severance tax this year because there was too much else to do in his first legislative session and there was little support for it. Now, with the vast exploration of the Fayetteville shale-gas play, a consensus is building for it, he said, and he has invited the big out-of-state drilling companies to help him develop a tax bill for the 2009 regular legislative session. If they fail to agree on an adequate tax or if the legislature defeats it, he will lead a petition drive to put the issue before the voters in the 2010 general election. The tax then would take effect in 2011.

Stung by the suggestion that he was asking the industries to come up with a little tax that would suit them, Beebe said it would be his bill, not the companies’, and that he would ask them to join him. Well, we hope so. He would use the taxes to revive the moribund highway program.

Mike Beebe’s powers of persuasion are epic, compared at least with his predecessor’s, but getting a good gas severance tax through the Arkansas General Assembly is a dubious proposition. Sen. Mary Anne Salmon of North Little Rock asked the Legislative Council to study the issue and she has promised to sponsor a good bill. But Sen. Bob Johnson of Bigelow, the new pro tempore of the Senate, is the boss there and he has vowed to kill any tax on the gas companies. Johnson does the bidding of big industry, including the Stephens interests, who built one of the South’s great fortunes on tax-free gas production. Johnson follows the Leona Helmsley theory of taxes: Only little people should pay them.

Even if he did not control the votes of half or more of the Senate, Johnson would have no trouble keeping his promise. The common wisdom is that it takes a three-fourths vote in each house to raise the severance tax, which means that a mere nine senators of the 35 could block the tax. Gov. Bill Clinton tried and failed in 1983.

Our research suggests that a modest tax can be passed with a simple majority. The state now levies a tax of three-tenths of a penny on each thousand cubic feet of gas, a virtually invisible tax that has been on the books for 50 years. For 10 years before that, it was an infinitesimal three-twentieths of a penny. It raises only about $650,000 a year. Other gas-rich states tax gas at hundreds of times that rate. Only Arkansas has adopted the position that commercial interests owe nothing to the public for taking and making a giant profit on an irreplaceable natural resource.

Here is our reasoning for the majority vote: The state Constitution says that it takes a three-fourths vote of each house to raise the rate of a tax that existed in 1934. At that time, the tax rate on gas was 2.6 percent of its wellhead value, not three-tenths of a penny. So a simple majority of the legislature ought to be able to raise it to 2.6 percent again although it would take a three-fourths vote to raise it higher.

While a tax of 2.6 percent would not be chump change, it would be only half to a third of what other states collect on their dwindling natural resources. Neighboring Texas collects 7.5 percent. (Oh, the energy companies cry, Texas does not make them pay a state income tax like Arkansas does. True, but Texas assesses a big corporate franchise tax and other special taxes that Arkansas does not levy.)

Sen. Johnson said he did not buy the argument that the gas companies ought to pay higher taxes to rebuild and repair the roads damaged by the exploration rigs. Roads are built for businesses to destroy in the name of economic growth, Johnson said. You get to pay for their road damage with higher gasoline taxes and vehicle licenses.

There will be an unavoidable demand for a special legislative session sometime in the next year, and the governor should prepare a severance tax for the occasion. Whether he uses it to eliminate the sales tax on groceries or to build roads, the needs do not wait for 2011. He should prepare the act for the petition campaign — in November 2008, not 2010 — that will follow its inevitable legislative defeat.

TOP STORY >>Soldier knows Iraq area

82nd Airborne Div. Public Affiars

BAGHDAD — It’s not déjà vu all over again.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Grimm gets that feeling a lot, except in his case, it’s not déjà vu. His life really is repeating itself.
Grimm, 35, is spending his third deployment to Iraq patrolling the exact same Baghdad streets that he did on his first deployment.

The Adhamiyah neighborhood in the Iraqi capital has been Grimm’s area of operations for two out of three deployments.
Meaning that in a country the size of California, the Cabot native has spent most of his time in a neighborhood only two-and-a half square miles in size.

He was based in the same northern section of the city from 2004-2005 with the Arkansas National Guard, and just recently returned with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd infantry Division.

“Being back here again, it is a lot like déjà vu,” Grimm said. “Just rolling up and down these streets, it brings back a lot of memories.”

Grimm said not much has changed in Adhamiyah since his previous deployment. Even Coalition Outpost Apache, his old base, is the same, except for a slight name change.

“We called it Fort Apache back then,” he said.

For Grimm, there’s hardly a corner of the neighborhood that doesn’t come with a memory. Some places call to mind incidents he’d rather not be reminded of, such as the firefight with insurgents in 2004 that earned him a Purple Heart. Others are more pleasant, such as when he rediscovered a chicken shack he ate at on his first tour. It was still in business.

“That guy still knows how to cook chicken,” he said.

As one of only a handful of soldiers in his unit who know the area, Grimm has tried to use his experience as an asset.
“When I first heard we might be headed to Adhamiyah, I went up to the commander and said, ‘Sir, what do you want to know?’” Grimm said.

As a member of his troop commander’s personal security detail, Grimm’s knowledge of the area has come in handy during regular movements throughout the area. He knows all the shortcuts and back streets, he said

While Grimm’s knowledge of the area has been valuable for his unit, it has come at a price for his family. Because of multiple deployments, he calculates he has spent only a month and a half with his family in the past four years. But rather than get frustrated, Grimm tries to keep a positive outlook, he said.

“As much as I love my wife and kids, I love my job, and I hope that’s something my three girls will eventually understand,” he said.

Even being back in Adhamiyah again hasn’t dampened his spirits. Just because the streets are not completely peaceful, that doesn’t mean the mission is hopeless, Grimm said. It just means taking a long-term view of success.

“It’s going to take time. We’re going to be here a long while,” Grimm said.

Which is why Grimm looks to the small, incremental signs of progress he sees every day to keep him motivated.

“Getting out in the streets to see the changes we’re making is the biggest thing that keeps me going,” he said.

“People will come up and thank us for helping their community. That really gives you a sense of pride,” Grimm said.

TOP STORY >>Sunnyside up with cleanup set Saturday

Leader staff writer

“Bring anything that cuts, trims or prunes,” says Alderman Kevin McCleary, “and be at Galloway Park at 8 a.m. Saturday.”
McCleary is spearheading a Sunnyside Addition cleanup that is a combined project of Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and the Jack-sonville Community Grant Program.

The Sunnyside cleanup is this year’s kickoff for the Keep Arkansas Beautiful campaign.

“We will focus on at least 20 properties in the area, but we plan to clean up, pick up, trim and cut anything that needs it,” McCleary said. McCleary hopes volunteers will come from all parts of the city too, not just Sunnyside.

“I want the whole city to put their arms around this project,” he said. “This time Sunnyside needs our help, next time it might be another part of the city,” McCleary added.

As an enticement, McCleary said all volunteers will get a free lunch at the end of the work session, about noon, at Evangelistic Ministries at 101 N. Elm.

“Well you know it’s not really a free lunch. All the volunteers will have worked up a couple of hours worth of appetite before getting over there,” McCleary said.

Alderman Bill Howard, who remembers when Sunnyside was the center of activity for Jacksonville, hopes the cleanup drive helps put pride back into the area.

Alderman Bob Stroud is also hoping the cleanup will take a bite out of crime.

“Police tells us that the overgrowth of shrubbery makes it difficult for them to see what is going on. We trim the bushes back and that will help the police and the neighborhood,” Stroud said.

When Stroud and McCleary went through Sunnyside delivering fliers about the cleanup, Stroud said he noticed just a lot of litter. “Old tires and general trash that we can pick up on Saturday and make the area look better,” he said.

The city will be placing dumpsters in the area Saturday and the Public Works Department will have trucks out picking up large items.

“We are hoping for a good turnout of volunteers,” Howard added. “And a good cleanup.”

Along with Saturday’s cleanup efforts, the Main Street overpass that leads into the Sunnyside area will be dedicated in honor of the late Alderman Robert Lewis at 6 p.m. Thursday. Lewis, a Sunnyside resident, who served on the council for over 20 years, died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Recognizing others who were there

Gene Bowman of Jacksonville is one of about 4,500 people who’ve received invitations to a ceremony Sept. 25 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration crisis at Central High School in Little Rock.

Bowman, who is a Shelter Insurance agent here, was born in Little Rock and was a sophomore when nine black students attempted to enter the school but were refused entry by the Arkansas National Guard, under orders of Gov. Orval Faubus.
Three weeks later, President Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne Division and federalized the National Guard, which escorted the black students into Central.

Bowman was watching history unfold and talks about those days as if they’d happened yesterday.

He hopes white kids and their teachers get a little recognition at the anniversary ceremony for acting honorably in those dark days. Most students wanted to learn and did not taunt the black students, and most teachers disciplined student troublemakers and wouldn’t let the mob outside stop them from doing their jobs.

The following year, when Faubus closed Central, teachers still went to work — and were paid just for showing up — even though classes were empty.

“The sad part is those nine black kids were mistreated by a few people,” Bowman recalled the other day. “But the way it comes out is that everybody was not nice to them. There are statues for the Little Rock Nine, but white kids also deserve statues.”

Bowman arrived on the opening day of the historic school year on Sept. 3 — 50 years ago last Monday — all by himself.
“I rode a motorcycle to class,” he said.

The Little Rock Nine didn’t show up till the following day, when a mob formed outside the school. The troops blocked the black students from getting in, but they did get in on Sept. 23, when federal troops were stationed in the halls and outside the school.

Bowman admits a friend of his did something stupid and probably regretted it for the rest of his life.

“One of my best friends,” he says, “poured soup on Minnijean Brown,” one of the Little Rock Nine. “The Army people carried him out. He was expelled from school and never finished high school. He died a couple of years ago.”

Brown was also expelled after she threw food at the students who had taunted her.

When Faubus and his supporters shut the Little Rock schools down a year later, Bowman scrambled to find a school he could go to.

He signed up for the waiting list at Mabelvale High School, and when enough kids were expelled, he started attending classes there, which was closer to his home than Central.

He car pooled with Fallon Davis, the starting quarterback at Central, which played football even though the school was closed.

Next summer, Bowman took junior algebra since he couldn’t get into that class at Mabelvale. He was glad Central reopened in 1959, and so were his teachers.

“The happiest day was when they had students again,” Bowman said.

A little recognition for them and the students would be nice, he said.

Maybe a statue of a group of white kids alongside the statue of the Little Rock Nine would add a touch of class to the celebration.

TOP STORY >>Bingo fever just keeps spreading

Leader staff writer

Bingo fever keeps growing ever since the state allowed legalized charitable bingo games the first week of August.

On Aug. 2, 125 bingo and raffling permits were issued by the state. That number has grown to 240 statewide, with two new bingo gaming permits issued in the area, according to the Department of Finance and Administration’s listing of bingo and raffle permit accounts.

At Sherwood’s Moose Lodge bingo hall, “Every day the lodge is getting phone calls every 15 to 20 minutes about when and which days the games are played,” said Becky West, cashier.

She continued, “Thursday night we had 170 people. Players were buying extra cards. There is still a lot of interest.”
Using bingo to fund nonprofit organizations is becoming more popular.

The Jacksonville Senior Center, 100 Victory Circle, is hosting its first official bingo games 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17.
The center plans to host games on the first and third Mondays of the month.

On Friday, the center will have a practice run of bingo operations for senior center members. Small prizes instead of money will be awarded during the games.

The center has installed additional electrical outlets for the bingo hall and will add drapes to hide the bingo board when it’s not in use.

“The events are to help provide extra income to help with senior activities,” said David Adamson, Jacksonville Senior Center activities director.

Adamson also said the bingo hall will help assist with overhead costs at the center, which hosts an arts and crafts show and receives grants from organizations such as the United Way.

He said the center assists and helps promote independent living for seniors and delivers Meals on Wheels and serves lunches at the center, all are expensive.

With several bingo halls in the area, players have many choices of where to play.

“I was told people are shopping around at the different bingo halls, seeing which one they like better,” said Kennneth Fraley, vice president of the South Bend Firefighters Association.

Bingo is played only at 7 p.m. Friday at the South Bend Volunteer Fire Station.

Fraley said, “Everything is running smoothly. We are averaging 55 to 70 each night.”

The King’s Outreach, a non-profit organization helping the homeless and the needy with its two thrift stores in Cabot and Jacksonville, opened a bingo hall in Gravel Ridge.

Business is “pretty good. We are maintaining our crowd, with the same people coming in since the first night,” said Jacki Klatt, operator.

Thursdays seem to be drawing the larger crowds and he said he’s determined to offer the number- one bingo service in the area.

TOP STORY >>McDaniel reports progress

Leader senior staff writer

With the leadership of first-term Gov. Mike Beebe and support of the attorney general’s office, the state is free for the first time in decades from the Lake View school-funding decision and court oversight, Attorney Gen. Dustin McDaniel told Cabot Rotarians Tuesday, just moments into his address.

“We took a totally new approach,” said McDaniel. “We decided to win on the merits.”

And after the legislature put hundreds of millions of dollars into school facilities, teacher salaries and pre-kindergarten programs, the special masters released the state from oversight.

“We put unprecedented dedication into education,” he said. “It’s a new day.”

“The largest tax cut in state history was coupled with the largest increase in educational funding,” he said.

Arkansas’ dedication to funding pre-kindergarten was now the model, with future students better prepared to learn and to compete in the marketplace.

“Every dollar we spend on pre-kindergarten is a dollar we won’t have to spend on jails in the future,” he said.

McDaniel said he was amazed daily by the lengths some people will go to prey upon their fellow man “with no soul at all.”

He said his office had successfully protected Arkansas ratepayers before the Public Service Commission from a $150 million a year rate hike proposed by Entergy. In fact, he said, the PSC ordered a $6 million a year decrease beginning next month.
“So for some families, twenty, thirty, forty dollars a month makes a huge difference,” he said.

Addressing some of the popular scams defrauding people of hundreds and thousands of dollars, McDaniel warned, “Nobody in Zimbabwe wants to email you $10 million.”

He said his office has filed suit in Jonesboro against a company advertising in Spanish and charging $150 for an “international driver’s license,” which is particularly attractive to immigrants seeking some sort of legal documentation. “The drivers’ licenses include holograms and magnetic strips and look very professional, but signify nothing,” he said.

He told of one Arkansas resident who bought two nonexistent jet skis on eBay for $10,000 and his office’s quick response, which had the money back in her account in days.

McDaniel said he and Beebe had decided to join 10 other states paying a private law firm to represent them in a suit against the manufacturer of Zyprexia for psychotics—people howling at the moon from under a bridge—but which was represented to physicians as appropriate for children and senior citizens with attention- deficit disorder or dementia.

Not only was it not approved for such use, but also the side effects can include great weight gain.

He said one 9-year-old boy gained 160 pounds in months and as a result developed Type II diabetes.

McDaniel said the states had negotiated the law firm’s take down to 15 percent, much lower than most contingency rates.
He said the law firm would bring hundreds of lawyers to the fight, something that his office couldn’t do and he warned that the pharmaceutical industry would produce misleading advertisements trying to erode support for the suit.

Paraphrasing federal District Judge Bill Wilson, McDaniel said going to work at the state attorney general’s office is “like getting paid to eat ice cream.” He said he is paid to do good things, just like schoolteachers and ministers.

“Serving is what God expects,” he said.

TOP STORY >>Law gives borrowers lower-rate alternative

Leader senior staff writer

With a new federal law poised to limit to 36 percent annually the interest that can be charged members of the military, Arkansas Federal Credit Union will introduce a new consumer loan to replace the predatory loans currently available by so-called payday lenders and check cashers.

Payday lenders in Arkansas typically make say a $300 loan for two weeks with a payback of $350, charging hundreds of percent interest when figured as an annual percentage, but the new law takes effect by October 1.

Not coincidentally, Arkansas Federal Credit Union—which has taken a leadership position for several years in opposing the payday lending industry—will begin offering military appreciation loans at 18 percent annual interest, according to Terry Vick, vice president of lending for the credit union.

The loan is intended to help the troops get out of payday difficulties, Vick says.

“We’ll lend up to $750 and (also) help build a $375 savings account,” he said.

The money in the savings account is placed on hold until the entire loan is paid off over the course of a single year.

Essentially, the borrower is getting $1,125 for $115 interest, instead of paying $50 to borrow $300 for two weeks.

Vick said the loan and savings would help the borrowers out of current difficulties, with money in the bank to face the next emergency.

He said those attending a sergeants’ meeting at Little Rock Air Force Base had warmly received the proposal. Arkansas Federal Credit Union is located just outside the base’s Vandenberg gate.

Vick said if the loan product is well received and works, it might be made available to other credit union customers, probably by employee grouping.

“It’s not (going to be) a money maker for us,” said Vick.

In North Little Rock, where there are twice as many payday lenders and check cashers per capita as in the entire county, the city council has approved the first two readings of an ordinance placing a two-year moratorium on new payday lenders and check cashers.

Throughout all of Pulaski County, there is one such lender per 10,000 population, but in North Little Rock—home of Camp Robinson — the ratio is one lender per 5,000 population. In Jacksonville, home of Little Rock Air Force Base, the ratio is one lender per 6,000 residents.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Tuesday that he is against payday lenders, but that it’s tricky to write legislation that limits their activities without affecting banks, which charge $25 or more per check in overdraft protection—amounts that sometimes figure higher than payday loans.

He said the North Little Rock moratorium could help limit payday lenders but he believes the answer might be for banks to make small, short-term loans available to consumers at interest rates lower than the state’s usury cap.

That’s what the credit union is doing with its military loans.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

LEADER JOBS>>9-05-07

Positions available at The Leader newspaper in Jacksonville.

If there are no positions available for the position you would like, please feel free to email your resume to:

GENERAL ASSIGNMENT staff reporter needed for a variety of beats which may include education, politics, local government, police. Photography experience helpful but not necessary. Experience a must. Full-time position with benefits. Email resume to For more information, call Eileen at 501-982-9421. EOC employer.

HELP WANTED: A position has opened at The Leader for a graphic artist experienced in InDesign, Quark Photoshop and MultiAd. Newspaper experience a plus. Good pay. Full array of benefits available. Primarily daytime hours. Flex schedule could be available for the right candidate. Email resume to or send by fax to 501-985-0026. For more information, call Clay at 501-982-9421.*

SPORTS >>Lonoke falters in second, loses late

Leader sportswriter

Hot Springs’ no-guts-no-glory approach in the final moments of the game stripped Lonoke of a hard-fought contest, as the Trojans scored on a two-point conversion with 29 seconds left to claim a 36-35 win Friday night at James B. Abraham Stadium in Lonoke.

The Jackrabbits scored what would have been the game-winning touchdown under normal circumstances just three minutes earlier, but the constant yellow laundry and turnovers turned game momentum into a sporadic occurrence for both teams.

Lonoke junior quarterback Rollins Elam snuck in from one-yard out at the 3:15 mark of the fourth quarter to hand the lead back to Lonoke after the Trojans battled back from a 21-7 halftime deficit. Brandon Smith added the two-point conversion to put the ‘Rabbits up by a full-score at 35-28.

The best tale of the tape was penalties. Hot Springs was penalized 11 times for 100 yards; Lonoke had the same amount of flags for 105 yards. The most painful of penalties for Lonoke came at the 7:38 mark of the fourth quarter with the ‘Rabbits trailing the Trojans 28-27.

Hot Springs had just taken its first lead of the game moments earlier with an 18-yard touchdown run by super Trojan Jeremiah Maglero on a reverse handoff from quarterback Desha Willis at the 11:02 mark. Clarence Harris took the handoff from Elam in for a touchdown from 20-yards out, but an illegal block penalty on the ‘Rabbits offensive line brought the play back.

This would give Lonoke a fourth and five situation at the Hot Springs’ 23-yard line, forcing the Jackrabbits to go for it on fourth down. Harris took the direct snap, but was stopped at the line of scrimmage by Trojan linebackers Xzavier Montgomery and Jonathon Seymour.

This gave the Trojans the ball at their own 21-yard line, but another penalty for a face mask set them back at the 6-yard line. Another flag for a false start moments later gave them fourth and 17 to force a punt. The punt shanked, and Lonoke ended up with excellent field position at the Trojans’ 49-yard line.

The air generated all three Lonoke scores in the first half, as Elam went 8 for 13 passing for 128 yards and three touchdowns. The numbers in the second half didn’t quite match up at 3 for 7 for 78 yards and an interception.

The best pass play for Lonoke in the second half that wasn’t brought back for one penalty or another came on the final scoring drive for the ‘Rabbits, as Elam started the drive at the Hot Springs 49-yard line with a pass to Michael Howard.

Howard started on the left side, beating two defenders to the middle of the field at the spot, pulling Elam’s toss for a 44-yard gain that set Lonoke up with first and goal from the 5-yard line.

Three minutes proved to be more than enough time for Hot Springs to respond, as Maglero started the drive with a 20-yard run down the left side. Another run on the right side gave the Trojans first and 10 at the Lonoke 27-yard line.

Willis kept for an 11-yard run on third and four to set up Hot Springs with first and goal from the 8-yard line. Brandon Turner then closed the deal for the Trojans, pulling down a Willis’ hurl from five yards out for the score.

The score pulled the Trojans to within a point, 35-34. The Trojans went against all logic and lined up for a two-point conversion, and put it in the hands of the player who did the most damage for Hot Springs all night.

Maglero took the handoff up the middle, and bulldozed his way through the Lonoke line to put up the final points of the night in the shootout.

Lonoke had a much easier time in the first half. After a scoreless first quarter, the Jackrabbits found success in their passing game. Elam got the first of his three touchdown passes at the 9:30 mark of the second quarter with a 19-yard pass to Daniel Smith up the middle. Smith then added the extra point, giving the ‘Rabbits the first lead of the game at 7-0.

The Lonoke defense then gave good field position back to the offense with a sack on Willis. Joel Harris wrapped up Willis for the sack, jarring the ball loose in the process. Brad Harvey fell on the ball for Lonoke, setting up first down at the Hot Springs 45-yard line.

It only took two plays from there for the next ‘Rabbit touchdown. Harris started the brief drive with a 25-yard run, followed by a pass from Elam to Howard for the score. Another Smith extra-point put Lonoke up 14-0.

The second touchdown pass from Elam to Smith put the Jackrabbits in a seemingly comfortable position with a 21-0 lead, but Maglero put the Trojans on the board for the first time just before the end of the first half with an 11-yard touchdown reception from Willis.

Elam finished the game with 11 completions on 20 attempts for 206 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Trojans QB Willis had 16 completions on 22 attempts for 216 yards and one touchdown. 10 of those completions came in the second half for 157 yards.

Tyler Crow finished with seven carries for 87 yards. For Hot Springs, Maglero had 10 carries for 60 yards and two rushing touchdowns, along with nine receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns.

Lonoke will host Beebe, a 21-0 winner over Greenbrier, next Friday at Abraham Stadium. The Trojans will host Sheridan, a 14-48 loser to Warren, next week in their home opener.

SPORTS >>Beebe wins in shut out

Leader football writer

There is a sense of excitement building in Beebe. And you have to look no further than the head coach to see it.

The Beebe Badgers defeated the visiting Panthers of Greenbriar Friday night 21-0 under new head coach John Shannon. The new dead- T offense implemented by Shannon may have been the topic of discussion since spring, but it was the Badger defense that claimed the spotlight in the Badger’s home opener.

The Badger defense held the Panthers to 89 total yards, including five sacks, in recording the shutout. The Panthers rushed 28 times for a total of 21 net yards. Beebe also kept the Panther passing game in check by allowing only eight completions out of 26 attempts, with most of those coming in the second half as Greenbriar tried to make a comeback.

“It was a win, but an ugly win,” Shannon said shortly after the game. “But a win is a win, and it feels great to start the season this way.”

The offense did their part as well, as the Badgers went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. A seven-yard touchdown pass form senior quarterback Charlie Spakes to Josh Turner on fourth down with 56 seconds remaining in the first half gave the Badgers a 14-0 cushion just before the half.

On fourth and eight from the Panther 13 yard line, Shannon chose to go for the touchdown rather than attempt a field goal. Spakes found Turner open in the right corner of the end zone to put the Badgers up 7-0 in the second quarter.

“We feel converting fourth and short situations is much better than giving the opposing team the ball,” Shannon said. “We didn’t go for any in the second half because we were pinned up pretty deep on our side of the field.” The offense converted 5 of 5 fourth down conversions in the first half, scoring touchdowns on two of them

The Panther opened the game with a long drive down to the Badger 18-yard line, but a missed 35-yard field goal gabe possesion to Beebe. The Badgers responded with their own clock-killing drive in which they drove 82 yards in just under eight minutes to put the first points on the board in the second quarter. Beebe converted two first down conversions to sustain the long drive.

A fumble on the opening drive in the second half by Beebe gave the Panthers good field position and a chance to get back in the game. But the Badger defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth and five, and the offense took over on their own 33-yard line.

After a fumble on the ensuing possession, Greenbrier again had good field position near midfield. But on fourth and goal from the Badger 14, the defense came through again by forcing the Panthers to come up short on a run up the middle. The Panthers were unsuccessful in three fourth down attempts for the game.

With just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Beebe put the game away on a one-yd run by running back James Anderson, giving the Badgers a 21-0 shutout victory.

Running back Sammy Williams led all rushers with 161 yards on 18 carries. Spakes was 4-8 passing with 64 yards and two touchdowns, both to Turner. The Badgers gained 198 total yards for the game, and would have had more if not for six untimely penalties; one which negated a 25-yard run by James Anderson.

“This first win feels great,” said Shannon. “Our defense played great, and we will study the film this week to see what areas we can work to improve on offensively and defensively”. “We definitely need to cut down on our turnovers and penalties,” he added.

Shannon and the Badgers travel to Lonoke next week to take on the Lonoke Jackrabbits, who lost a last-second heartbreaker to Hot Springs 36-35.

SPORTS >>Cabot drives over Devils

Leader sports editor

Cabot was favored to beat Jacksonville at home Friday night to open the 2007 high-school football season, but not the way it did. The Panthers plowed through the Red Devils for 35 first-half points en route to a 42-0 victory.

The Panther offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, and Cabot coach Mike Malham couldn’t find much to complain about.

“You didn’t see very many mistakes,” Malham said. “I’m sure there were a lot in there, but the offensive line played really good tonight. We finally have some size down there. We’ve been playing with miniature linemen for the last few years. It’s nice to have some bigger guys up front for a change.”

The Panthers enjoyed a good scoring percentage in the first half. The offense got the ball five times, and scored just that many touchdowns Friday night in an easy season opening victory over Jacksonville.

They got a lot of help from the visiting Red Devils. Jacksonville committed three turnovers in the first half, and stalled on another drive inside the Panther 10-yard line.

Jacksonville got the ball first, and got a first down on the opening play of the season when quarterback Cameron Hood hit receiver Terrell L’Hrisse for a 12-yard gain. After an incomplete pass, a deep pass was overthrown and picked off by Hunter Hess at the Cabot 30-yard line.

The Panthers took over with just 30 seconds gone in the game, and marched the 70 yards needed for the score in 10 plays, consuming four minutes of clock. Sophomore fullback Michael James got the final carry, a nine-yard run up the middle with 7:19 on the clock.

Jacksonville’s next drive started better than the first. This time it was running back Patrick Geans that took the handoff, juked his way into open field and scampered 50 yards to the Cabot 25. Hood saved a third and long by scrambling for a first down, but two incomplete passes and a run for no gain left fourth and 10. Jacksonville tried a quarterback draw, but Hood was hit by sophomore linebacker Spencer Neumann three yards short of the first down at the 8-yard line.

It took the Panthers 14 plays to score from there. They picked up six first downs and only had to convert two third downs. James took the honors of scoring the touchdown again, this time a one-yard plunge to put Cabot up by two scores with 11:56 left in the second quarter.

The Red Devils picked up 23 yards on three plays on their third drive, but the turnover bug bit again.

An out pattern failed to come together, and sophomore safety Joseph Bryant picked off the pass and returned it to the end zone. The touchdown was called back from a block in the back, but Cabot scored two plays later when sophomore quarterback Seth Bloomberg kept on the option for 10 yards and the touchdown.

Steve Lamb’s third extra point made it 21-0 with exactly 10:00 showing on the clock in the second quarter.
The third and final turnover of the half came three plays into Jacksonville’s next drive.

Sophomore nose guard T.J. Bertrand stripped the ball and junior Cody Myers covered at the Jacksonville 35. The Panthers needed just three plays and a 15-yard face mask penalty on the Devils to get into the end zone again. Halfback Jordan Carlisle took honors this time, taking it the final 10 yards with 7:31 left in the half.

Jacksonville got just one yard on its next drive. Hood entered the game to punt after yielding quarterback duties to Thomas Blade for the drive. Hood booted the ball 49 yards to pin Cabot on its own 19. This time the Panthers committed three penalties, but it was going to take more than that to stop the locomotive-type offense that was running the show.

The final scoring drive of the half took 11 plays, and featured Cabot’s only pass attempt of the night. On second and seven, Bloomberg rolled right and hit Bayles on a short screen pass. Bayles took it 23 yards to the Jacksonville 15. Earlier in the drive, Bayles had a 26-yard run. James carried it the final yard with 25 seconds left in the half for his third touchdown of the game.

The second half went by quickly. The Panther second string put together the longest drive of the game, but it came up empty. The drive lasted 16 plays and covered 57 yards, but stalled on downs at the Jacksonville 15.

The Red Devils took over, but committed their fourth turnover of the game on just the second play. Jake Todd covered the loose ball at the Jacksonville 21 with five minutes left in the game. It took eight plays to cover the short distance, and the game’s final score was a six-yard carry by sophomore Matt Bayles with 47 seconds left in the game.

The Panthers racked up 365 total yards with 280 of that coming in the first half. Jacksonville had 165 total yards, with 139 in the first half.

James led all rushers with 93 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. Bayles led all players in total yards. He carried 10 times for 88 yards and had the one catch for 23 yards to give him 111 total yards. Carlisle carried 10 times for 66 yards and a score.

Jacksonville’s Geans had 102 total yards.

Cabot will travel to Sylvan Hills, who lost 28-12 to Catholic on Wednesday, while Jacksonville will host its home opener against Lake Hamilton, a 48-6 winner over JA Fair.

EDITORIALS>>Hypocrite in the closet

The overwhelming impulses after the fall of U. S. Sen. Larry Craig, the Idaho Republican, for soliciting sex in a men’s room stall ought to be sadness and understanding for another politician who like ordinary mortals could not master the frailties of flesh.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed those impulses, solemnly, and nothing else when David Letterman surprised her Thursday night by asking her take on her colleague’s troubles. She hoped he and his family could work things out.

Sen. Craig had been one of the leading jeerleaders in the impeachment proceedings against her husband in 1999, when with a big grin on a national TV show he called the president “a nasty, bad, naughty boy” who deserved more than a slap on the wrist for having oral sex with an intern and for not being completely honest about it.

Craig wanted the president removed from office. Now it’s Republicans, embarrassed and on the defense again, who are asking Craig to quit his office.

Understanding would be easier were it not for the hypocrisy, for which Craig is only the latest poster boy. Craig’s preening righteousness in the Monicagate scandal could be chalked up to the political gamesmanship of the era, in which practically everybody on both sides took part, but it has characterized much of his political life.

Craig, who is expected to resign Saturday, was a family-values Republican, who was happy to sponsor and promote anti-gay legislation and to claim moral superiority for himself and for his party. He led the way on banning homosexual marriages and against making violence and intimidation of homosexuals a hate crime.

His press conference after Roll Call, a Washington journal, reported his guilty plea in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport sex-sting operation was given over to a screed against the Idaho newspaper that had been investigating his illicit sexual escapades for a year.

He said he was so upset over the newspaper’s harassment that he had committed the terrible misjudgment of pleading guilty when he was actually not guilty of propositioning the undercover policeman. He said it was a misunderstanding.

The Idaho newspaper then published a massive account of its investigation, mainly stories by men who said they had sex with Craig or were propositioned by him going back to his college days.

There seems to be a spirit running through the universe that wants to expose hypocrisy. Sen. Craig’s undoing is just the latest affirmation, and it has left the national Republican Party in shambles.

In the moral fervor over Clinton’s sleazy conduct, which held that high officials must set a higher standard of personal conduct, Republican leaders demanded that he be removed from office and not merely condemned.

One by one, the leaders had to admit sexual indiscretions at least as bad as Clinton’s: serial adultery and homosexual and heterosexual escapades. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was having an affair with an aide.

Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, who was to be his successor, had to resign his leadership position and his seat after his adulterous affairs were exposed. His successor to the Louisiana congressional seat, the pious David Vitter, now a senator, was caught up this year in the Washington call-girl scandal.

The avuncular Henry Hyde, chairman of the Judiciary Committee that recommended impeachment of Clinton, had to own up to adultery. So did Jack Ryan, the great Republican hope in Illinois.

Rep. Helen Chenoweth, another Idaho family-values ideologue, had to admit to a six-year affair with her former boss but said that was different from Clinton’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky that she had so vehemently condemned.
Then there was Rep. Mark Foley of Florida, who victimized male pages.

One of the leaders of the impeachment drive, our own clean-living Asa Hutchinson, a prosecutor for Hyde’s committee, thankfully has escaped a sex scandal.

But while Congressman Hutchinson was prosecuting Clinton before the Senate in 1999, his Washington roommate, brother Tim, who as a senator voted to convict and oust the president, was carrying on with a female member of his Senate office staff.

Sen. Hutchinson left his wife and married the woman, but Arkansas voters turned him out of office in 2002.

Sen. Craig’s cardinal sin seems to be that he has embarrassed his party. Sen. John McCain said he had harmed the Republican Party’s “reputation with the American people.”

Senate GOP leaders removed him from all his leadership responsibilities, and there were calls for him to resign for the good of the party. But party has nothing to do with it.

The good, if any, that comes from Sen. Craig’s sad downfall will be the final surrender of the idea that a political party has a singular claim on moral rectitude and wholesome values. It doesn’t. Character is an individual journey. And the closet is a roomy but lonely and miserable place that Larry Craig has not helped to liberate.

OBITUARIES >> 09-01-07

Louis Jeffers

Louis Anderson Jeffers, 84, went home to be with his Lord in the early moring hours of August 29.
Jeffers was born June 1, 1923.

Just last week, he and his wife Marileigh celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with family and friends.

His surrender to Christ in 1948 led to the salvation of three generations of his family. As the patriarch of a devoted and affectionate family, he established his home as a place of acceptance and love. Gatherings at his home for holidays and birthdays were a common occurrence, and his leadership, hugs, and affirmation to his family during these gatherings were reminders of his unchanging and relentless love for them.

He had been told often that he could have been a professional musician, but he chose instead to begin a music ministry at Bayou Meto Baptist Church.

He led singings and choirs in countless revivals across the state serving with numerous evangelists in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His voice was deep, strong and clear and will never be forgotten by those who heard it.

He was a charter member and a deacon of Bayou Meto Baptist Church. After honeymooning in Arkansas at the Buffalo River, he decided to raise his family in this great state, instead of East St. Louis, Mo., where he and Marileigh were raised.

He and his family made annual trips for over 40 years to the Buffalo River and have included hundreds of friends in the camping, singing, horseshoes, card games and fellowship.

He retired from the post office after delivering mail on city and rural routes for 32 years. He was known as the “Singing Mailman” because the song in his heart came out daily as he walked his Jacksonville delivery route or drove his mail Jeep through north Pulaski County.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Marileigh Jeffers; two sons, David Jeffers and wife Susan and Bobby Jeffers; one daughter, Becky Russell and husband Ralph; grandchildren, Aundra Boeckman and husband Mitch, Amanda Browning and husband Ryan, Bobby Allen Jeffers, Nathan Jeffers, Andrew Jeffers, Casey Russell, and Abby Russell; and one great-granddaughter, Emma Browning.

He was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Goldie Jeffers; sisters, Irene Kissling and husband Mel and Mildred Chambers and husband Thomas; infant son, Robert Jeffers; and a granddaughter, Jae Lynn Russell.

To honor Louis, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to the “Jae Lynn Russell Educational Scholarship” fund, c/o Arkansas Community Foundation, 1400 West Markham, Suite 206, Little Rock, Ark. 72201.

A celebration of his life will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, at Bayou Meto Baptist Church followed by burial at Bayou Meto Cemetery. Arrangements will be by North Little Rock Funeral Home.

Bill Oakley

Bill Oakley, 71, of Jacksonville passed away Aug. 29. He was the previous owner of Oakley Estate Mobile Home Park and before that he was a Jacksonville city employee for 17 years.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruth Elizabeth and Dave Oakley.

Survivors include his wife of 23 years, Peggy Oakley; four children, David Oakley, Jimmy Oakley, Stacy Oakley, and Melisa Alvers; two daughters-in-law, Patricia Oakley and Danette Oakley; one son-in-law, Russell Alvers; grandchildren, Felicia Oakley, Charlie Oakley, BryAnna Oakley, Alexis Oakley, Andrea Oakley, Keller Oakley, Tanya Lovell, Ashley Alvers, Alexis Jordan, Luke Jordan, Terry DeWayne Jordan, Jr., Lacy Jordan, Chris Jordan, and Mark Jordan; three step-sons, Donald W. Jordan II, Terry Jordan, and Donald W. Jordan III; and a host of friends and family.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at North Little Rock Funeral Home Chapel.

Burial will be in Arkansas Memorial Gardens.

Sandra McDaniel

Sandra Sue McDaniel, 57, of Austin passed away Aug. 28 in Little Rock. She was born August 25, 1950 to the late Ray and Bertha Harness. Also preceding her in death is one brother, G.B. Harness.

She is survived by her husband, Glen McDaniel of the home; one daughter, Kasai Finley and husband Dewayne of Cabot; five sisters, Daphna and husband Julius Copeland of Judsonia, Flo Passmore of North Little Rock, Martha Rainbolt of Marshall, Sharon Holsted of Jacksonville and Patricia and husband Ed Fraley of Springfield, Mo.; two grandchildren, Trey Goodrich and Kelsea Finley of Cabot; and many other family members and friends.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 at Ward First Baptist Church with interment immediately following at Dunkard Cemetery in Austin. Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

Carl Clendenin

Carl Odell Clendenin, Jr., infant son of Carl Odell Clendenin, Sr., and Robin Yelsick of Jacksonville went to be with the Lord on the day of his birth August 27.

Graveside services were August 31 at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville with David Dryer officiating.  

Arrangements were by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

TOP STORY >>Cities continue to weed out their pit-bull dogs

Leader staff writer

Many Jacksonville pit bulls are now living in Lonoke County, Pulaski County and even out-of-state as the city’s animal control officers continue to cite owners of unregistered pit bulls.

A cited owner must microchip his or her pit bulls, have them spayed and neutered and move them out of the city. Beebe, Cabot and Lonoke have also recently enacted bans against pit bulls. Ward voted not to ban the breed, and now Lonoke County is looking at revising its animal ordinance.

Judge Charlie Troutman said the county doesn’t plan to ban any particular breed, but wants to give the sheriff’s office more authority to remove any dog considered vicious.

The Lonoke County Quorum Court will look at a new draft of the ordinance at its meeting, Sept. 6. Since the Jacksonville ban went into effect in July, animal-control officers have cited dozens of residents for having unregistered pit bulls in the city.
Only about 120 owners registered, micro-chipped and spayed or neutered their dogs within the required period.

“We are getting a number of calls from residents telling a pit bull is at this address or that location,” explained Cheryl Wood with Jacksonville Animal Control.

She said officers have caught one or two registered pit bulls running loose. “The owners have to move them from the city now, too,” she said.

Overall, Wood said the city is getting the pit-bull problem under control and there have been less bites and attacks.
The Beebe City Council passed a pit bull ban in July for all but the 11 pit bulls that were registered at that time. Other owners were given 30 days to find new homes outside the city for their pit bulls.

The estimated 140 dogs that remained unregistered are now in Beebe illegally and could be destroyed.

Beebe’s ordinance also requires that owners of registered dogs build pens approximately 20 by 40 feet to ensure that the dogs don’t get out. Those dog owners have 30 days left to comply with the ordinance, or their dogs will also be subject to seizure.

The city council passed the ban in part because its neighbors were outlawing the dogs and they said their owners were moving to Beebe. The owners of the dogs that were grandfathered in because they were licensed when the ordinance was passed in July are also required to purchase liability insurance of at least $100,000, get microchips implanted in their dogs for identification and have them spayed or neutered.

Troutman said Lonoke County didn’t have the money for dog pounds and dogcatchers. “We don’t want our new ordinance to get us bogged down in the dog-catching businesses,” Troutman said. “The tighter ordinance won’t be a cure all, but it will sure help.”

Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson said if a dog attacks someone, it is picked up, quarantined and if it doesn’t have rabies, released back to the owner, who must pay the bite bill.

If the dog attacks again, the procedure is repeated. That’s all the authority the county has—at this point, but the new ordinance should change that.

TOP STORY >>Medicare cuts hurt therapy at hospitals

Leader staff writer

St. Vincent Rehabilitation Hospital in Sherwood is hopeful a visit from Cong. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, might bring about some congressional revisions to the Medicare policy changes, which would result in a drastic decrease in the number of patients receiving in-patient care.

The major federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ change St. Vincent Rehab is concerned with is the 75 Percent Rule, which will require that percentage of patients in inpatient rehabilitation facilities to be there for one of 13 medical conditions in order for hospitals to continue to be reimbursed by Medicare.

Rebsamen Medical Center in Jacksonville closed its inpatient rehabilitation unit July 31 after Medicare reimbursement changes significantly reduced the number of patients eligible for admission.

During the past year, Rebsamen’s 20-bed rehab unit had a daily occupancy rate of about eight patients. Rebsamen now redirects those in need of therapy to their outpatient rehab either in Jacksonville or Cabot, or to a skilled nursing facility.

Starting Saturday, 65 percent of St. Vincent’s rehab patients, as well as all other inpatient rehab-facility patients, must fall into Medicare’s 13 categories, which means a drastic change in the patient numbers for hospitals.

According to Debbie Taylor, director of marketing, the categories are “pretty stringent” – stroke, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, major debilitory illnesses.

“Sometimes we will be able to admit a patient for knee-replacement therapy, but only 35 percent of the time. The others have to go home for home-health therapy or to a nursing home,” Taylor said.

That percentage will increase to 75 percent in two years. Once it is reached Taylor said they hope they will have 20 patients in their 60-bed hospital; the others will have to go to a nursing home.

Ninety-five percent of St. Vincent’s rehab patients use Medicare.

The percentage has been at 60 percent for the last two years with St. Vincent running at a 50 percent occupancy rate.
Taylor explained the change using a typical 70-year-old widow that had a hip replaced.

“Medicare guidelines now don’t consider rehab for a hip replacement as needing in-patient care,” she said. “It makes the patient have to go to a nursing home, where they will stay as long as 30 days and get one hour of therapy a day, and Medicare pay for the costs, compared to a 10-day stay at a rehab hospital where they would receive three hours of therapy a day.”

Taylor said 80 percent of rehab patients are able to return home after therapy because they return to a functioning level of independence.

“The statistics aren’t that high for those that go to a nursing home,” she said. “A short stay here (at St. Vincent Rehab) can make all the difference in the world,” she added.

Medical director Dr. Sean Foley said patients are suffering in Medicare’s attempt to save money. “The patients are not reaching their full potential,” he said.

Lee Frazier, St. Vincent Rehab’s chief executive officer, invited Snyder to tour the hospital’s facilities in order to thank him for his past support and to introduce him to the new technology in use for therapy, like their new AutoAmbulator, an advanced therapeutic walking device the hospital got in late June and the only one in central Arkansas.

“As a physician, he understands and is always supportive of the hospitals and the delivery of care,” Frazier said. “It was nice to reacquaint him with the new technology and what’s available,” he said.

TOP STORY >>Drought, heat start to ease, but watch out

Leader staff writer

Temperatures are dropping into the low 90s for the weekend and a sprinkling of rain has misted most of the state, but the reality of heat-related deaths remains.

The state Health Department has confirmed eight heat-related deaths so far this summer, most occurring because of August’s 12 days of 100-plus degrees.

According to John Senner, branch chief for the Center for Health Statistics, Arkansas averages 10 heat-related deaths a year.
The heat wave topped off Aug. 12 at 106 degrees, and most recently hit 100 degrees Monday. The 106-degree high of Aug. 12 was the hottest temperature central Arkansas has seen in seven years. August ended with 28 days of highs of 95 degrees or greater and a high temperature average about six degrees above the norm.

The heat has been exacerbated by the lack of rain. Most of the central Arkansas went almost the entire month without more than a sprinkle of rain, forcing all central Arkansas counties to issue burn bans. In all, 58 of the state’s 75 counties have issued burn bans.

Most of the state is suffering moderate to extreme drought conditions. Pulaski, Lonoke and White counties are in the severe category according to the National Weather Service.

Pulaski County’s rain totals for August were more than two inches below the average, and the area is more than six inches off the norm for the year.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said excessive heat exposure caused more than 8,000 deaths in the United States over the past 25 years.

While elderly, people with health problems and very young children are the most vulnerable, heat can affect anyone—even strong, healthy athletes can be stricken, officials said.

Ann Wright, with the Arkansas Health Department, explained that several factors affect the body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather.

When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly.
Other conditions related to risk include age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart diseases, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn and drug use, including alcohol.

“Our bodies are cooled primarily by losing heat through the skin by perspiration and evaporation,” Wright said. “Problems occur when we are unable to shed excess heat. When our heat gain exceeds the amount we can get rid of, our temperature begins to rise and a heat-related illness may develop,” she said.

Heat illness or conditions include rashes, cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be fatal.

TOP STORY >>Fighting drugs is priority for chief

Leader staff writer

Illegal drugs like meth, cocaine and marijuana are a problem in Beebe like they are everywhere else. And in recent weeks, the police have kicked in the door of a dealer in part as a show of strength. But according to Wayne Ballew, who has officially been chief since Monday night, the average resident will see a different side of the city’s mostly new police force.

He says residents will see them patrolling the streets regularly and if they happen to be outside raking leaves for example, one might pull into the driveway and talk for a while.

“What I hope here in Beebe is that people will get to know who their police officers are,” Ballew said. “We want to do a lot of community policing.”

And already residents are beginning to notice the change, he said.

“I got a call from an older man who told me two different police officers had waved at him,” the chief said. “He told me nothing like that had ever happened before.”

Ballew replaced Don Inns, who was fired early in August, apparently several months after he had already fallen out of favor with his boss, Mayor Mike Robertson.

Since the firing, Robertson has been very outspoken about his discontent with Inns, who he says was soft on drug users and dealers, turning most of them into informants instead of working to see that they were incarcerated for their crimes.

Both Robertson and Ballew say those days are over.

“What I want people to know is that it won’t be tolerated here. If you’re selling drugs in Beebe or delivering drugs in Beebe, you need to be watching your back,” Ballew said, adding apologetically, “I hope that didn’t sound arrogant.”

Ballew, 52, is a big man, more than six feet tall and carrying a few extra pounds, which makes him almost indistinguishable at a glance from several of the officers who now staff his department.

The mayor joked during the Monday night council meeting that it would be easy to find a Santa Claus this year for the lighting of Daniel Park at Christmas.

“That’s O.K,” Ballew said of the good-natured dig. “That’s what happens when you get older.”

Like Ballew, most of the police officers in Beebe are new to the department but not to law enforcement. Their combined backgrounds include work for the state, counties and cities in traffic, drug enforcement and administration.

Ballew, originally from Little Rock, went to work as a cadet with the Little Rock Police Department when he was 18 years old. By the time he was 21 he was a deputy with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department and then he moved on to the state police where he stayed for 17 years.

He said he moved to Beebe from Bryant after he retired from the state police to take care of his wife’s parents.
After they died, he considered moving back, but his son, who was then in the third grade, didn’t want to go.

“Logan said I like it here,” Ballew said. “He said I like the school here and I like the baseball here.”

And so he and his family have stayed for six years.

Ballew was working in security for ASU-Beebe and helping out part time at the Beebe Police Department when he was named assistant police chief about three months ago.

When he became chief, a vacancy was created that the mayor says could be filled by Ron Lewis, who several years ago was head of the Lonoke County Drug Task Force. Lewis left his job with the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department about two weeks ago to work for the Beebe Police Department.

Ballew says that most of his police officers are new to their jobs in Beebe and may not know their way around too well yet.
They know the work and they are talking together about the job ahead of them.

“Police officers are notorious about talking to each other,” he said. “They love to share information because they have a common goal.”

Right now, the goal is to get to know the law-abiding residents of Beebe and to make life hard on drug dealers. Ballew said he knows they will not be able to put them all out of business, but he is putting them on notice that they intend to try.

TOP STORY >>Funds will run out for for improving area roads

Leader senior staff writer

The collapse in Minneapolis of the I-35 West bridge Aug. 1 into the Mississippi River could be both a harbinger of things to come and a metaphor for the future of central Arkansas and its infrastructure unless local communities chip in to pay for the expense of maintaining and expanding roads and services, according to Metroplan executive director Jim McKenzie.


In rapidly growing areas like Cabot, expansion will slow, then stop without a massive and unanticipated infusion of money, and bridges, highways, roads and water and sewer lines throughout the area could eventually disintegrate, choking off economic development as well as residential growth, McKenzie predicted.

“There’s no money to sustain new growth,” according to McKenzie.

Speaking to the Metroplan board of directors Wednesday, McKenzie said there are three kinds of money—free money, easy money and real money.

McKenzie told the board that the era of “free” highway money—that is, money from the federal government—is about over.
He said federal highway funding—known as SAFETEA-LU–is two years late, increased funding is illusionary and inadequate, the highway trust fund is in jeopardy and the federal role in funding highways and transportation is “increasingly unclear.”
SAFETEA-LU stands for Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act.


“We sit and wait on the federal government at our peril,” he warned. “If we want to continue to grow, we need to take care of our own infrastructure. Those who do will succeed in the future.”

McKenzie added that state money—he calls that “easy” money—is clearly insufficient.

He said the state Highway Department had conservatively identified $19.1 billion worth of needs over the next 10 years, but only $4.1 billion in anticipated funding.

That’s a $15.1 billion shortfall.

Just to fix and maintain existing roads and bridges will cost more than twice the $4.1 billion anticipated.


“Real” money, on the other hand, is money that a city or region can generate by taxing itself—money it could count on and use to solve its own problems.

He said former President Reagan did the nation a disservice when he popularized the idea you could get $1.50 worth of services for $1.

The Apian Way, a 500-mile road that sustained the Roman Empire, is still in use because it’s been maintained, according to McKenzie.

“Building a road is the cheap part,” he said. “Maintaining it is the expensive part.”

Much of this nation’s interstate bridge and highway system, begun when Eisenhower was president, is aging and crumbling.
“Stuff wears out,” McKenzie said.

“If we want to continue to grow, we have to take care of our own needs,” he said.

“I prefer not to go softly into the 21st Century and cede the future to China and India,” McKenzie said in a Thursday interview.

He said that two years ago, the General Assembly created Regional Mobility Authorities, and this year it empowered those authorities to propose regional sales or gasoline taxes to pay for highway expansion and maintenance and even mass transportation.

“Energy independence is a critical issue,” he added. “Even if we raised taxes on petroleum, we must develop solar, wind, tidal and geothermal power.”


McKenzie identified four scenarios for the next Transportation Equity Act—TEA. Those are:

Re-TEA—reauthorization as usual by Congress.

Post-TEA—fundamental reform.

Ideology—funding responsibility devolves to the states.

Green TEA—built around energy independence and global warming issues.

McKenzie said the trucking industry has proposed a tax to fund trucks-only roadways that would allow triple trailers and increased allowable axle weight.

The General Assembly authorized Regional Mobility Authorities in 2007. Central Arkansas could establish one this year and next year it could develop a program of projects.

Then, the 2009 General Assembly could authorize a taxing authority, including a one-half cent temporary sales tax to organized and the authority for a 5-cent local gas tax approved by a majority of the quorum. Another 5-cent per-gallon tax could be referred to the public for adoption.

McKenzie said he’d like to see a tax program passed in 2010.


“I have some concerns that when you try to pass a regional tax, it’s difficult because of adjoining cities and counties,” said Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim. “If we formed (a mobility authority) in central Arkansas, it would add to our gas or sales tax, but a lot of the traffic here comes from outside the area. I don’t think there is an easy solution.

“We need to continue to work with senators and congressmen to get as much federal funding as possible.”

Locally, a 5-cent per-gallon tax gasoline tax could raise $9.2 million in Pulaski County, $2.4 million in Faulkner, $1.5 million in Lonoke and $2.3 million in Saline.

A halfpenny dedicated sales tax in those counties would raise $32.5 million in Pulaski County, $5 million in Faulkner, $2.1 million in Lonoke and $3.8 million in Saline County.

TOP STORY >>Most jobs filled when teachers quit schools

Leader staff writer

Local school districts are faring considerably better than their counterparts across the state and nation, where more baby-boomer teachers are retiring and younger teachers are leaving because of the stress of working in low-performing schools, costing many school districts huge amounts of money as they try to find replacements for the new school year.

Locally, 306 teacher positions had to be filled and 22 positions are still vacant, with special-education teachers being among the hardest to find in most neighboring districts, as well as across the state.


The Pulaski County Special School District needed 202 new teachers this year, more than last year, with 22 teachers still needed as of Thursday. Seven of those still-vacant positions were for schools in Sherwood and Jacksonville.

North Pulaski High School was still looking for an English/journalism teacher and a special-education teacher, but principal Sonny Bull said the special-education slot has been filled.

According to the district’s enrollment numbers, it appears PCSSD needs a half-day English teacher and a half-day biology teacher.

Taylor Elementary is still seeking a literature specialist. Arnold Elementary was sent a surplus teacher last week to fill the vacant primary classroom teacher position. Jacksonville Elementary has filled its open position for a Saturday-school teacher, Principal Gary Beck said.

Jacksonville Middle School Boys needed two special-education teachers, but Principal Michael Nellums said one had been hired.

Substitute teachers are being used in those classrooms until the positions are filled, Deborah Coley, PCSSD’s assistant superintendent for human resources, said.

According to Coley, the hardest positions to fill in PCSSD this year are special-education slots, but most of the time the district has plenty of hopeful applicants.

“We usually have more applications turned in than we have positions open for,” Coley said. “We have a lot of applications come in for elementary teacher positions, too.”

Coley said the district had trouble finding a Spanish teacher last year, but this year the gap is in special education. “Filling upper- level science positions are sometimes hard also,” she added.

Some of those 22 vacancies are because the district had teachers on contract leave earlier in August for other jobs, Coley said.

PCSSD schools have 1,366 certified teachers on 38 campuses, several of whom have been with the district for more than 20 years.


The Cabot School District hired 70 new teachers this year after seeing 15 retire from the district in May, some after teaching in Cabot schools for more than 20 years.

Of the 70 new teachers, most were replacements and 22 were hired for new positions with the opening of the new Stagecoach Elementary School, Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman said.

“We are fortunate in that we are able to attract quality applicants to Cabot,” Thurman said. “There are positions that are more difficult to fill, but we’ve been able to maintain a very high standard for new faculty members.”

The more challenging positions to fill within Cabot are special education, gifted and talented, counseling and media, Thurman said, adding the district is beginning to have problems finding secondary- math applicants.

Cabot schools employ 680 certified teachers and usually have an abundance of teacher applications every school year, especially in the P-4 (birth to fourth-grade) certification area, Thurman said.

Typically, once new teachers are hired in the Cabot district they don’t want to leave. Cabot recognized 18 people last year for working in the district for 15 years, 16 for 20 years, nine for 25 years and six for 30 years.

Those who leave do so when they retire or when they are moving away from the area, Thurman said.

According to Lisa Baker, the district’s director of personnel, the general consensus among newly hired teachers during a new teacher in-service held in August was how proud they were to be part of the Cabot district and the amount of support provided to the teachers.

“Most everyone said they couldn’t believe they were in Cabot,” Baker said, “Every year we get such quality teachers. We take care of them and try our best to support them in everything they do,” she said.


The Beebe School District hired 17 new teachers for this school year, Superintendent Dr. Belinda Shook said. That number is higher than usual this year because of the pre-kindergarten program the district started, as well as a larger group of students at the secondary level, Shook said.

Of the 17, five were hired for the pre-K program, 11 were hired as full-time instructors and one is part-time.

“We added a couple of positions for a EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) Lab, and that was a choice we made to add the position,” Shook said. “We hired a part-time math teacher for remediation; a fourth art teacher because our art program has grown so. We also added a few new special education teachers and an additional third- and fourth-grade teacher.”

The district usually needs to hire only about four new teachers each year, Shook said, and most of the vacancies have an abundance of applicants. The hardest areas to fill are for secondary math and special-education teachers.

“We receive many applications because we are centrally located and have numerous colleges around us,” Shook said.

“We have a really good atmosphere and are focused on academics and the students. Having good students is a plus, too. We have great students who go here, and that makes teachers want to come here,” Shook said.

She said she is pleased with the excellent group of new teachers. “We’re fortunate to attract those who want to be here with the kids and do a good job,” Shook said.

Beebe schools have 185 certified teachers and see an average of five teachers retire each year, the superintendent said.
As for teachers leaving the district, Shook said most employees have been in Beebe their whole career – like herself, but it depends on their personal situation.


According to Superintendent Sharron Havens, 17 new teachers were hired for the 2007-08 school year, the average number the district needs yearly.

“We usually need to hire about 15-20 each year,” Havens said.

At Lonoke Primary School, a pre-kindergarten through second-grade campus, three new teachers were hired. At the elementary school, four new teachers were needed for third- through fifth-grade. Lonoke Middle School has two new teachers this year and the high school has eight.

Havens said some teachers transferred around the district, but only 17 new people were hired. While most positions fill easily, Havens said a choral-music teacher was the hardest to find for this school year.

“Math and foreign-language teachers are sometimes a problem filling, too,” Havens said. “And a vocational agriculture teacher is sometimes difficult, but we found a new teacher from the Cabot area this year.”


Although there are more than 31,000 teachers in Arkansas’ 251 school districts, according to the Arkansas Department of Education, the state is among those that continue to need teachers in critical-shortage areas.

According to the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Reten-tion at ADE, academic areas in need of teachers include math, foreign languages, special education and English as a second language. There is also a shortage of minority teachers in the state.

For the 2007-08 school year, ADE listed the following areas as critical academic teacher licensure shortage areas: art, middle childhood math, science, English/language arts and social studies; foreign language, secondary science, secondary mathematics and special education; gifted and talented, library media, and guidance and counseling were listed as teacher- endorsement shortage areas.

Nationally, according to the most recent Department of Education statistics available, about 269,000 of the nation’s 3.2 million public school teachers, or 8.4 percent, quit the field in the 2003-04 school year; 30 percent retired and 56 percent left to pursue other careers or because they were dissatisfied.

According to the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, 1,900 teachers, an unaudited figure, re-tired this past school year.