Thursday, October 04, 2007

SPORTS >>Fledgling Southside concerns Jackrabbits

Leader sportswriter

Two losses to start the season had the ’Rabbit faithful concerned over the 2007 season, but Lonoke has recovered from its early struggles to win the last three games, including the first two 4A-2 Conference games over Heber Springs and Bald Knob. This week, the Jackrabbits will travel to Batesville to take on the Southside Southerners.

The Southerners may still be on the rise in only their second season of having a varsity football program, but they have made great strides in a little over a year’s time. Jackrabbit coach Jeff Jones says his team’s great start to the conference season will have to carry into this Friday against Southside in order to get a win against the quickly evolving Southerners.

“That program has vastly improved,” Jones said. “They throw and catch the ball really well; on defense, they show really great technique. They are definitely a program on the rise, so we have to be ready for them.”

Of the potential weapons that the Southerners posses, Jones says his primary concerns offensively are running back Richard Hughes and receiver Justin Mosier. The work in practice this week for the ’Rabbits will focus on containment of those personnel, along with cleaning up a few loose ends.

“They definitely have the people in place offensively,” Jones said. “But our defense has taken a big step forward. They are getting after it a lot more on that side of the ball, but we’re still not where we need to be. We play really well at times, but we are still making some unforced errors, procedure penalties and things like that.”

Jones also noted that the offensive performances from quarterback Rollins Elam and the Jackrabbit receivers have also reached a more productive level.

In only their second season, the Southerners have already taken non-conference wins over Jonesboro Westside and Salem. Their first two conference games of the season put them in the unfortunate position of taking on league front-runners Stuttgart and Newport.

The contest against the Ricebirds proved difficult, with Southside suffering a 41-0 loss. Last week’s loss on the road to Newport, who is picked by many to run away with the conference title this season, was somewhat of a statement for the Southerners. While they gave up 54 points to the ridiculously-fast Greyhounds, they also scored 23 points of their own against the undefeated squad, the most points anyone has scored against Newport all season.

A win this Friday would give Lonoke 3-0 Conference record, which would be its best league start in over eight seasons. It would also give the Jackrabbits their most promising shot of making the postseason in as many years, but Jones says the mentality now is the same as it was in August, focusing on each opponent each week until its time to tally the conference points.

“We have definitely put ourselves in a good position,” Jones said. “But we have got to keep taking it one game at a time. If you keep putting up wins, the playoffs will happen for you. We want to get through this week with a win, and go from there.”
The Jackrabbits and Southerners will play on the Batesville Southside campus Friday with opening kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

SPORTS >>Youthful Wildcats improving for Cabot

Leader sports staff

The Cabot Panthers stay on the road this week in 7A-Central play when they travel to North Little Rock. The Charging Wildcats are a young team that has suffered several close setbacks so far this season. Most recently, the Wildcats dropped a disappointing 10-7 decision to Conway to fall to 0-2 in conference play. They lost their conference opener 20-7 to Russellville.

First-year North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding knew his young team would suffer some growing pains, and hopes a few things are beginning to work themselves out.

“We’ve only got two seniors on offense and two returning starters,” Bolding said. “In fact, we’ve only got two people starting on offense that had ever been on the field for one snap on a Friday night up until this season, so we knew we were going to have some growing pains there.”

Offsetting the inexperienced offense is one of the state’s best defenses. The 28 points given up to Texarkana and the 20 to Russellville are deceiving numbers. A number of turnovers and penalties put the defense in tough situations. Overall, Bolding is pleased with his defense.

“We’ve played pretty well defensively,” Bolding said. “We match up with people pretty well and we haven’t given up much. If we can maintain that kind of play and the offense can come along, we think we can be a pretty good football team.”

It hasn’t been all bad for the NLRHS offense. Without the turnovers and penalties, the team has moved the ball fairly well. It had two touchdowns called back for penalties against Russellville, and another called back against Texarkana.

“We’ve done pretty good on offense, we just have to cut out the mistakes,” Bolding said. “A lot of that goes back to inexperience. I hate to make excuses, but that has been a problem for us this year. You just can’t make mistakes like that and beat good teams. Experience does have its advantages and we’re getting better with every minute these guys are on the field.”

This week Bolding’s squad will face another good team, that may have a chip on its shoulder after losing its first game of the season last week against Catholic High.

The Panthers also have several inexperienced players starting, and that may have played a role in the four turnovers and three personal foul penalties that thwarted drives that were otherwise going well.

Bolding isn’t counting on Cabot continuing to play like they did last week.

“Cabot isn’t a team that usually makes a lot of mistakes,” Bolding said. “They’re usually very sound fundamentally. They do what they do, there are no surprises, and they do it well. We have to be ready for the best possible Cabot team.”

The Panthers’ style, though, shouldn’t be a problem for North Little Rock. Although this is Bolding’s first year, he knows Cabot and NLR play each other from junior high on up.

“The thing about this team is they know Cabot, they’ve played Cabot about ever year,” Bolding said. “They know they have to get low, get under the shoulder pads. They know Cabot is going to come off that line hard, and they know they have to match that.”

North Little Rock’s defensive line is big and athletic. Bolding, though, is concerned with about his small offensive line.
“We probably have the smallest offensive line in the conference,” Bolding said. “That’s definitely a concern for us. Their defense though, isn’t as big as their offense, and I feel like we match up pretty well with them with our defensive line. What we have to do is just get ready to get down and dirty with them, be ready to get our knuckles bloodied and go to battle.”

SPORTS >>Rivalry takes back seat Friday

Leader sports staff

Jacksonville should go on the road more often. In their last four games, the Red Devils are 3-0 on the road and 0-1 at home. They’ve outscored their opponents 106-10 in those three wins, and were beaten 36-0 in the home game.

They’ll have to find a way to remedy those home woes this week when they host conference mate and nearby rival Sylvan Hills this Friday at Jan Crow Stadium.

The Bears enter the week with some momentum. They won their first game of the season, 27-7 last week at home against Mountain Home, and now have a rivalry game facing them on the road.

First-year Sylvan Hills coach and former Mills general Jim Withrow says that he is very familiar with PCSSD rivalries. He says that this year, the whole local rival scenario will have to take a back seat to the mentality of simply having to win in order to stay in the playoff hunt.

“Anytime you play another team in this county, it kind of takes on a little bit more meaning,” Withrow said. “I’ve been in Pulaski County for a few years now; I know how big these games can be. This is a huge game for us no matter how you want to look at it. If we can win this game, it can change our fortunes for the rest of the season.”

The rivalry is not what concerns Jacksonville coach Mark Whatley the most either. He’s worried about how well his team will prepare mentally for the upcoming game.

“It’s been a lot better the last two weeks and you can see the difference,” Whatley said. “Hopefully that will continue now that we’re back home. Hopefully we realize that we’ve done it with all the silliness, and we’ve done it without it, and the results have been a lot different.”

Some of the better focus culminated in some smart, heady play in last week’s impressive 47-7 win over Jonesboro.
Despite throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, one of quarterback Thomas Blade’s best plays, according to Whatley, gained nothing.

“I thought one of his biggest plays came when they blitzed and we got nothing,” Whatley said. “He rolled out towards the sidelines and threw the ball away. I’ve been waiting three years for a quarterback to do that for me. It gives us a chance to line up live to play another down instead throwing an interception or taking a sack for a 20-yard loss. So one of the biggest things Thomas is doing for us is taking care of the football.”

There were other things that made the offense click. Many of Jacksonville’s big plays last week came on short passes. There is a good reason for that.

“You know I really think the offensive line has been doing a pretty good job all year,” Whatley said. “What was different this week was that we got good blocking from our backs and receivers. That’s finishing, getting those blocks up the field a little bit. That’s what turns a 4-yard gain into a 24-yard gain.

The offensive weapons of the Red Devils have not gone unnoticed by Withrow, who believes that mistakes and points generated from those mistakes will ultimately separate the winner from the loser on Friday.

“It sounds like a dumb thing to say because everyone always says it, but I think turnovers will be the key,” Withrow said. “Whoever makes the least mistakes will win. We can’t give up the big play to them, because it’s pretty obvious that they are going to come out wide open throwing the ball downfield.”

Red Devil Cameron Hood, who started the season at quarterback, has morphed into an all-important utility player. Already one of the best linebackers in the league, Hood spent time at fullback last week, blocking well and carrying the ball effectively.

“He had some good runs for us in a time that we needed him,” Whatley said. “Cam is a luxury in that he can play anywhere on the football field you need him to. He’s also a luxury in that he understands that this is a team, and he’s willing to be a leader and play several different roles in order to make us a better team.”

Whatley has been very pleased with his defense in the past couple of week, yielding just seven points in eight quarters. He knows, though, that the Bears have a game-breaking type player that the Bombers and Hurricane didn’t have.

“Anytime they snap the ball to number 10 you’d better be on your toes,” Whatley said. “That pretty much means we’d better be on our toes at all times. I feel like our defense has been outstanding the past two weeks. There’s just no room to let up in this league. Hopefully we can keep that intensity and keep playing smart.”

Withrow, however, hopes that extensive work in practice this week will get the spread formation working in the air once again, and not primarily on the ground which was the case during last week’s win over Mountain Home.

“We threw the ball well against West Memphis,” Withrow said. “I think we just got a little too conservative in the second half last week. “We had a bad week there, but we worked hard in practice on Monday to try and clean some of those things up. Whatever we do, we just can’t make mistakes against Jacksonville. I don’t think there are any guarantees for either team going into this deal, so one mistake could cost you the game.”

Whatley is concerned with Sylvan Hills’s defense as well.

Defensively its going to be the fastest team we’ve seen,” Whatley said. “It’s a predator defense that gets after you, very aggressive. Overall they may be a little faster than us, so we’re going to have make sure we’re in the right spots.”

EDITORIALS>>Cabot keeps growing

 To the editor:
We went for a Sunday afternoon drive to Cabot today.  Did a little Sunday evening shopping too.

And we have some bad news for old-time Jacksonville residents who are used to Jacksonville having more residents than little Cabot.  

We hope it’s not news to Jacksonville’s  mayor and city council, but it sure looks like the Cabot area is well on its way to passing Jacksonville in population in the near future.

To this Jacksonville resident, our city seems more compact, and only now starting to spread out.

Everyone knows Jacksonville’s business district: the triangle consisting of the Main Street, North First Street and access roads of U.S. Hwy 67/167.

Want to be amazed at a city’s growth?  

Just take a trip to the first Cabot exit and travel down Hwy. 321 to Hwy. 89, up Hwy. 89 to the new high school, take a short run down Hwy 32, then back to Hwy. 89 and downtown, Hwy. 89 back to Wal-Mart and on to Hwy. 5, and then back to U.S. 67/167.

New subdivisions and businesses are popping up all over the place.

And, that growth stretches from Greystone to Ward, Austin, and all around Cabot.  

Cabot has an excellent new bowling alley along with Funtastics game  center.  

Home-grown business and franchise-businesses seem to be all over the place.  

The new Wal-Mart Su-percenter, Home Depot, Walgreens,  Kroger, K-mart, Colton’s Steak House, an Italian place in the bowling alley, and Dixie Cafe are just a few of the interesting places to check out.

All Cabot appears to need is its own central state government complex with offices for the welfare department, revenue office and unemployment office.

As an outsider, the only things holding Cabot back appear to be a lack of four- and five-lane roads to handle all the traffic jams, and a lack of diversity in shoppers and employees.  

The big corporations and franchises might just have to recruit workers from Jacksonville if someone ever files an Equal Opportunity Commission complaint about diversity in employment in Cabot.

If you’re unemployed in Jacksonville, you might want to take a trip up to Cabot to what may be your Land of Opportunity!

Name Withheld

EDITORIALS>>Courts must preserve FOI

It does not take a rotten court precedent long to bear poison fruit.

You will remember the astonishing decision of the Arkansas Supreme Court this summer that said a public official’s misuse of his public time and equipment to conduct his private affairs could be kept secret. Ron Quillen — a former Pulaski County comptroller who last week received a 12-year prison sentence and agreed to repay thousands of dollars he stole from taxpayers — had been sending hundreds of emails from his county computer to a businesswoman with whom his office was doing county business. They were lovers, and the county insisted that those emails thus were embarrassing private matters having nothing to do with the public’s business.

The state Supreme Court, in a 4 to 3 decision, said that correspondence indeed might not be any of the public’s business and directed Circuit Judge Mary Ann McGowan to review every one of the mammoth stack of notes back and forth between the former county official and the Missouri businesswoman and determine which were private and which had some public import. She did that and ruled that all of them had public consequence — they were written on government computers on government property and presumably on taxpayer-paid employee time — except for a few graphic pictures the couple sent each other. Now the case is back before the Supreme Court again.

Immediately, as we predicted, government officials would drag their feet releasing public documents by claiming that they were private and had no public value. Last week, a Pulaski County circuit judge — not the unimpeachable Judge McGowan — slapped a seal on records relating to the firing of the Argenta Community Development Corp. executive director because the agency says making them public would violate his privacy. Ultimately, the courts will surely declare the records public, but that is the problem with the Supreme Court decision.

By requiring a close judicial review of every such instance, the court encourages officials everywhere to stonewall on public records. They can delay the release of records for months or years while the case winds its way through the courts. And, of course, most people will not want to bear the high cost of suing so the records more often than not will never be opened.

When the Supreme Court reviews the hundreds of emails in the Pulaski County fraud-and-sex case, maybe one of the justices — it will take only one to switch the majority — will see the error of the majority’s way and reverse that terrible precedent.

OBITUARIES >> 10-03-07

Kenneth Hubbard

Kenneth Harold Hubbard, 77, of Jacksonville died Sept. 28.

He was born Oct. 13, 1929 in Liggett, Ky., to Laura King Hubbard and the late Chester Hubbard.

Hubbard served in the Air Force for 21 years and in Vietnam during the war.

He was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Jacksonville and enjoyed hunting and fishing.

Hubbard is survived by his wife, Alberta Trosen Hubbard of Jacksonville; his mother, Laura Hubbard of Shreveport, La.; two daughters, Nancy Brown and husband Leonard of Germantown Hills, Ill., and Janet Hubbard of Jacksonville; two brothers, Bill Hubbard and wife Mary of Xenia, Ohio, and Chester Hubbard and wife Maria of Keithville, La.; five grandchildren, Ryan and Bryan Kye, Joy McIntire and husband Doug, Wendy Stephens and husband Corey and Tara Thomas and husband Serrano; 10 great -grandchildren and his dog Lexie.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with burial in Arkansas State Veteran’s Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Michael W. Ray Post 4548 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, P.O. Box 482, Jacksonville, Ark. 72078 or the American Cancer Society, 901 N. University, Little Rock, Ark, 72207.

Ann Dougherty

Ann Craigo Dougherty, longtime resident of Jacksonville, passed away peacefully Oct. 1.

She was born and raised in Hot Springs.  

Survivors include three children, Patty Dougherty McLean of Atlanta, Bob Dougherty and wife Cherry of Jacksonville, Butch Dougherty and wife Cathy of Jacksonville;  six grandchildren, Scott Tedder and wife Kelley, Robert Dougherty and wife Holley, Patrick Dougherty, Christy Dougherty, Nick Dougherty and Bo Dougherty;  three great-grandchildren, Skylar and Saylar Tedder and Julianna Dougherty.  

The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at Caruth-Hale Funeral Home in Hot Springs.  

Donations may be made to the Eleanor Klugh Jackson House at 705 Malvern Ave., Hot Springs, Ark., 71901.

LaVida Miller

LaVida Marie Miller, 75, of Beebe celebrated her homegoing Saturday, Sept. 29.

LaVida was born Oct. 5, 1931, to John and Nellie Winingar at Hickoria near Corning.

Her gift and passion was playing the piano and singing. LaVida began playing piano for church at age 12 and continued to play and sing most of her life. She was a loving mother and grandmother, daughter and sister and will be missed by her family and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack Miller, who passed on April 15; her father, John A. Winingar and one baby sister, Lavada.

She is survived by her four children, son, Mike and wife Debbie Baum; daughter, Susie and husband Bob DeYoung; son, Keith and wife Debra Baum, all of Beebe; and son, Jay and wife Nancy Baum of Cabot; stepson, Bobby Joe Miller of Des Arc; 14 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; brothers, John and wife Ruth Winingar of Imperial, Mo., Pastor Glenn and wife Joyce Winingar of Little Rock and Larry and Carla Winingar of St. James, Mo.; sister, Joyce and husband Pastor Jim Ballew of Lonoke and her mother, Nellie Winingar, 98, of Lonoke.

Family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

Funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 at the funeral home with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be made to Hospice Home Care, 106 South Spring, Searcy, Ark., 72143 or Victory Television Network, Channel 25, P.O. Box 22007, Little Rock, Ark., 72211.

The family wishes to thank hospice for their wonderful care.

Vernon Willis

Chief Master Sgt. Vernon Brent Willis, 65, of Jacksonville died Sept. 29. He was born Oct. 18, 1941 in Camden, Texas, to Vernon O. and Johnnie Maxie Willis.

He retired from the Air Force after 30 years of service. He was lovingly known by many as “Willy” or “Brent.” After retiring, he worked for Arkansas Armored Car Service.

He was also an avid fisherman and enjoyed working crossword puzzles in his spare time.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his loving dedicated wife; Jo Marie Willis; two daughters, Rose Marie Willis of Jacksonville and Carol Rosetta Willis of Cabot; one son, William “Willie” J. Willis and wife Virginia of Cabot; seven grandchildren, Dale, Stefanie, Timothy, Louis, Verdell, Heather and Eddie; one brother, Raymond Willis and wife Suzanne of Lufkin, Texas, and one sister, Melba Maxie Eveler and husband Tom of Humble, Texas and a magnitude of friends and nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at Griffin Leggett Rest Hills Chapel followed by entombment in Rest Hills Memorial Park.

Lincoln Ball

Lincoln C. “L.C.” Ball, left for Heaven Sept. 24 after a long illness. He was blessed with the love and friendship of family, neighbors and friends for 87 years.  

He joined his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Ball and his brother, John Frank Ball.

Remembering him with love are his wife of 64 years, Minnie “Sis” Ball; their daughter, Jane and his son-in-law and friend David Willard of Cabot; his most precious granddaughter, Annabeth and her husband Matt Jackson and his pride and joy, great-grandchildren, Avari and Tate Jackson, of Conway and one sister, Emma Laura Gray of Columbia, South Carolina.  

He loved many nieces and nephews and cherished the time he shared with them. He was grateful for the kindness of his caregivers, Mrs. Judy Smith of Jacksonville; his sister-in-law, Mrs. Martha Gately of Cabot and Mrs. Cindy Damron of Cabot.  
L.C. was an operating engineer.  He retired form Pickens-Bond Construction Company in 1983 after a long and successful career. He took great pride in his work and was named Arkansas Craftsman of the Year in 1975.  

An advocate of education, he encouraged many of the young people in his community to continue their education and supported a number of scholarship programs.  

A Baptist, Mr. Ball was always happy to support church youth programs and was a senior high Sunday school teacher for over 20 years.  

He was also the oldest living member of the Cabot Masonic Lodge, and a 32nd degree Mason.
He was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

After retirement, he learned to enjoy gardening and tried to grow the biggest tomatoes in Lonoke County.  

He shared his garden generously and looked forward to visiting with friends who felt “at home” there.  Neighborhood children who found a watermelon on their front porch knew from whom it came.  

An avid sportsman, L.C. enjoyed fishing and hunting.  

He was a friend of the Earth and practiced conservation and wanted to preserve the joy of the outdoors for his children, nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.  

He was most proud of his lifetime fishing license and considered it one of the best parts of his retirement.  

He loved sharing the fish he caught and telling the stories that went with them.  He patiently taught neighborhood children to make and tie lures and how to catch the biggest and best fish.  

He leaves as a legacy the Bible verse he taught his daughter while trolling for crappie, “He hath made everything beautiful in His time:  also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.  12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.  13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13).

In faithful friendship, Robert Gilliam, Jerry Cole, Bill Russell and nephews Ronnie Gately, Wayne Gately and Gary Gately honored him as pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers included Tom Bush, Jack Lowman, Jim Bennett, Dude Spence, Jack Carrington, Jack Evans, Jack Knox, Will Feland, Charlie Donham, “Stubby,” Marty and Stuart Stumbaugh, Wendel Gibson, Carl Pickard, Robert and Jerry Ross, Austin Gately, Jordan Gately and Cole Gately.

The funeral services were Sept. 27 at the chapel of Cabot Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

C.B. White

C.B. White, 68, of Beebe died Sept. 27.

He was born Oct. 22, 1938.

A former well driller and truck driver, he was also a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of Beebe First United Methodist Church.

C. B. was preceded in death by his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. Carl White; and four brothers, Orlan, Verlon, Foster and Bill White.

He is survived by his wife, Pat; daughter, Pam and husband Nathan Perry of Holly Springs; son, Charlie and wife Teresa White of Antioch; four grandchildren, Cortney and husband Josh Lane of Pangburn, Jesse and Jared Perry of Holly Springs, Julie White of Antioch and two great-grandchildren, Rachel and Colton Lane of Pangburn.

He also leaves behind one sister, Delma Kate and husband Reverend Ellsworth Watson of Fairfield Bay and numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral was Sept. 29 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.

Memorials may be made to Antioch Community Church or Cemetery Fund, c/o Joe T. Belew, 535 Louie Pruitt Rd., Beebe, Ark., 72012.

Zoura Hakos

Zoura Maryenne Hakos, 85, of Jacksonville died Sept. 26.  

She was born April 16, 1922 in Sleeper, Mo. to Robert S. Ayers and Beth Marley Ayres.  

She was a member of Southbend Methodist Church, where her roles once included MYF director and piano player.

She was an important part of her community.  She worked at the arsenal plant during the Second World War and was a substitute teacher. She was instrumental in getting Military Road, Hwy. 294 paved from the Lonoke County line to Hwy. 89.
She is survived by four sons and their spouses, Gordon Taylor McIntyre; Jim McIntyre and wife Kay; Earl McIntyre Jr.; Calvin McIntyre and wife Stephanie; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  

She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister and brother and two husbands.

Funeral services were held Sept. 28 at Southbend Methodist Church on Military Road. Burial was in Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

TOP STORY >>New law changes sales-tax method

Leader staff writer

A new law that goes into effect Jan. 1 will change the way tax is collected on building material. The tax will be collected where the supplies are delivered, not where they are sold.

For Cabot, that means the city will lose its 2 percent sales tax on lumber and other building materials delivered, for example, to Ward or Austin.

For Ward, where the local sales tax is 1 percent, that means additional sales tax revenue from houses built inside the city limits. For Austin, which has no city sales tax, builders will pay only the 1 percent county sales tax that’s collected all over Lonoke County.

However, if the building materials are not delivered by the seller, the tax where they are sold is applied.

For example, someone living in Beebe, which has no city sales tax, who buys a washing machine at Home Depot in Cabot, loads it into a pickup truck and takes it home, would pay Cabot’s 2 percent tax and Lonoke County’s 1 percent tax, not White County’s 1.5 percent tax.

Cabot Clerk-Treasurer Marva Verkler said she and her counterparts across the state are only beginning to collect information about the new law, passed as part of an initiative for states to cash in on Internet and catalog sales for which sales tax is not usually collected.

Verkler said the new law could potentially net Cabot more in sales tax revenue because builders and other residents often go out of Cabot for such purchases as appliances and lighting. If those items are delivered, then Cabot collects its 2 percent tax.
But the Arkansas Municipal League is advising cities to not count on extra revenue until a trend is evident.

Since it will be March 2008 before a state disbursement and months later before a trend is discernible, Verkler said it could be late in 2008 before it is clear whether the new law will help or hurt the city.

The new state law was passed to comply with the Streamlined Sales Tax Project, of which 23 of the 45 states with sales taxes are now members. The states have banded together with a common goal of streamlining their tax laws in such a way as to show Congress that it is not difficult for Internet and catalog businesses to collect taxes from their out-of-state customers.
Tom Atchley with the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said that for now, those businesses collect taxes on a voluntary basis only.

In the past 18 months, 600 out-of-state internet businesses have collected about $5 million in Arkansas sales taxes, he said. With federal legislation, all Internet and catalog businesses would be required to collect taxes for the point of delivery, he said, and that could mean a significant increase in revenue for the state and cities.

Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, said the Streamlined Sales Tax Project has found a lot of support among state businesses like Wal-Mart.

“Wal-Mart is all for this because the brick-and-mortar stores are being undercut by the Internet,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said he has heard complaints from business owners that customers will examine merchandise at their stores and then go online to buy it.

“Their contention is that (streamlining tax collection and getting Congress to pass the necessary legislation) would level the playing field,” he said.

TOP STORY >>Mixup causes confusion for clerks

Leader staff report

A law that mistakenly could allow teenagers to wed has created widespread confusion among Arkansas’ counties, with clerks uncertain when or if they can issue marriage licenses to minors.

The law passed this year inadvertently allows young women under 18 to marry with parental consent if they aren’t pregnant. In most counties, clerks are leaving it up to judges to decide whether a minor should be allowed to wed, pregnant or not.

Pulaski County Clerk Pat O’Brien said last month he’s decided to refer anyone under 18 who requests a marriage license to a judge and said the law as it’s written could conflict with state laws regarding statutory rape.

“Even if they say they’re pregnant, how do we prove that?” O’Brien said. “It becomes more than the ministerial task our office is obligated to perform.”

White County Clerk Tanya Burleson said she has talked to the judges in White County and they have advised her to let them decide if teenagers who are under 18 and pregnant are allowed to marry.

“If you are under the age of 18, I cannot sell a marriage license to you without a court order,” Burleson said.

“I haven’t really had anybody to come in,” said Lonoke County Clerk Dawn Porterfield.

She said until the confusion is remedied, she would expect to issue licenses under the old law. “I would require proof if they were underage and pregnant,” she said.

“I would check with my circuit judge,” she said.

An independent commission corrected the measure and said the obvious intent of the bill was to allow only minors who are pregnant to marry with their parents’ OK, but clerks across the state said they’re waiting on the outcome of a lawsuit that challenges the commission’s authority to change the law.

“I still think the clerks will just have to do what they think is best for their county,” said Faron Ledbetter, the association’s president and Madison County Clerk. Ledbetter said his county is following the revised law, but has recommended that clerks talk with their attorneys or county judges to determine which law to follow.

For many of the counties, that means leaving up to a judge to decide whether a license should be issued. Officials in 22 counties said they’re leaving up to a circuit judge to decide whether to issue a license to anyone under 18.

Only three counties — Cleburne, Desha and Union — said they’re following the law as it was passed by the Legislature, without a minimum age for anyone with parental consent.

Desha County Deputy Clerk Tina Langley said her office hasn’t had to issue a license to anyone under 18 since the law took effect, and said she would have difficulty issuing a license to some minors.

“Right now, the way it’s worded, a 12-year-old could get a license,” Langley said. “Personally I wouldn’t sell it to them. I have children that age and I just won’t do it.”

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel declined to say which law the counties should follow, but his office originally advised the code revision commission it did not have the authority to make the correction.

McDaniel said last month that the law was “awkward at best.”

“We do believe the law as written leads to unreasonable conclusions,” McDaniel said. “There’s no question that this was not what the legislature truly intended. Obviously, it’s ludicrous to think that a clerk is going to allow some 9-year-old to get married.”

Some counties are bypassing both versions of the law. Bradley County Circuit Judge Robert C. Vittitow said he’s told clerks to follow the old law, which set 17 as the minimum marriage age for females and 16 for males.

“I don’t think the old law has been replaced because it’s obviously a mistake. I don’t think you can replace an old law with a new law that’s obviously a mistake,” Vittitow said.

Before July 31, teenage girls could get married in Arkansas with parental consent when they were 16 and boys could get married with parental consent when they were 17.

At 18, they could get married without anyone’s signed consent except their own.

Teenagers under the minimum ages of 16 and 17 have always needed a court order to get married, Burleson said.
So the only real change she sees is that now older teenagers have to go before a judge.

That simplifies the matter for her office, she said. When teenagers under 18 come in for a marriage license she sends them back for proper documentation like a note from the doctor saying the girl is pregnant and when she is due. Then she sends them to a judge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

TOP STORY >>Cabot man sentenced to 23 years

Leader staff writer

A Cabot man was found guilty Friday in Lonoke County Circuit Court of rape and sexual assault of a child and sentenced to a long prison term.

Kenneth Lemaster, 29, was charged with rape in 2006, after his 5-year-old victim exhibited behavior consistent with sexual abuse and then later told a counselor that she had been abused.

The jury sentenced him to 23 years for rape and 10 years for sexual assault but recommended that the sentences be served concurrently.

Although Lemaster was only convicted of raping one child, several adult victims testified against him in a two-day trial that ended late Friday afternoon.

Those victims, who came forward after an article about the charges ran in The Leader in August, said Lemaster had been sexually abusive to children of both sexes for 18 years. Lemaster is the stepson of Cabot Alderman Becky Lemaster.

Alderman Lemaster said in August that the evidence against her stepson would not support a guilty verdict.

“We still maintain his innocence and we’ll be going through the appeal process,” she said Tuesday.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Lona McCastlain said Lemaster still faces charges of raping another child. No court date has been set in that case.

Until he was convicted, Lemaster was employed by Cabot WaterWorks.

On Monday, a notice was posted that his job is open.

TOP STORY >>PCSSD recruits students in area

Leader senior staff writer

As regular television watchers probably know by now, the Pulaski County Special School District has taken the initiative to slow the steady decline in the number of students attending, and Jacksonville residents are invited to visit local schools next week.

“Come see what we’re doing,” is the theme for the Zone 6 schools in Jacksonville that week, and district officials hope that parents, grandparents, business people and other visitors will drop by, according to Carletta Wilson, the district’s director of community affairs.

Participating in the first of the district’s school-promotion weeks will be Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville Girls Middle School, Jacksonville Boys Middle School, and Jacksonville, Pinewood and Murrell Taylor elementary schools. “We want to call attention to positive things we’re doing for the kids,” said Wilson this week, and to encourage area residents to become more active in the local schools.

Wilson said banners and yard signs would welcome visitors, who, like any visitors to the schools, must first sign in at the office.

The tours will be led by school administrators or volunteers from the student council and the Parent-Teacher Association.
Wilson, whose husband is Jacksonville athletic director Jerry Wilson, says those interested may visit classrooms or tour the schools in general.

On Friday, members of the Jacksonville Girls Middle School will hold an “everything pink” party to celebrate the more than $1,000 the students raised for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Wilson said there would be cake and punch, and presentations promoting breast-cancer awareness.

Tours of the Jackson-ville Middle School for Boys would include the new audio-visual studios and production equipment that Principal Michael Nellums has wrangled to help his students.

“We’re definitely wanting to reverse the (downward) attendance trend,” Wilson said.

She added that the promotion week has nothing to do with the push for a new Jacksonville school district, which would be drawn from area students currently enrolled in the PCSSD.

“We have to deal with the here and now,” she said.

For further information, Wilson can be reached at 490-6203.

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>It doesn’t take long to get out of prison

You’ve probably noticed how criminals get their names in the papers over and over again. They get convicted and sent to prison for a few years, and then they’re out on the streets, and before you know it, they’re in trouble again.

Some of them are smart enough to avoid the slammer altogether — or they hire smart lawyers who get them off the hook — but even those who get convicted of serious crimes don’t spend that much time behind bars.

An ex-con named Demetrie Culbreath, who grew up in Jackson-ville and served five years of a 20-year sentence for killing a man in a drive-by shooting in 2000, was himself killed over the weekend in a drive-by shooting outside a nightclub in Little Rock.

Culbreath, 30, got into an argument with a group of patrons at the notorious Sandpiper Club on Geyer Springs Road. They left the club and got their guns from their vehicles when a Jeep drove up, gunning down Culbreath and two others. He was pronounced dead at St. Vincents Hospital.

This was almost the mirror image of the drive-by shooting he was involved in back in 2000, only this time someone else was doing the shooting from a vehicle and Culbreath was the victim.

Then there’s the case of Shawn Kelly Yielding, 36, of Cabot, who is accused of murdering his friend Kevin Wayne Bell, 39, who was shot several times in his kitchen the week before last.

Back in 2000, Yielding was found guilty of second-degree murder in White County for stabbing and killing a man over $20 at a Searcy apartment complex.

Yielding was charged with first-degree murder but agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder instead and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

He was freed three years later, but he didn’t bother reporting to his parole officer, so he also faces an absconding charge in addition to murder, although the latter charge is probably the least of his worries.

Culbreath and Yielding served a fourth of their sentences because with time spent in jail while awaiting trial and good behavior in prison, even violent criminals are eligible for parole long before their sentences are up.

It’s an old story, but Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley thinks it’s ridiculous to free killers after just a few years behind bars.

“I’ve long had difficulty with how our parole and good-time system works,”

Jegley told us Tuesday. “There ought to be a bright line for violent offenders.”

In other words, don’t let them go before they’ve served most of their sentence — because if you let them out before they did their time, they’ll just kill again.

“I know our prisons are overcrowded,” Jegley continued, “but the people who shoot at folks have no regard for human life. People who shoot at others have no second thoughts at all.”

When violent criminals are in their 20s and 30s and go free, chances are high they’ll kill again. The older they get, those chances drop considerably.

Had Culbreath and Yielding stayed in prison till they were in their 40s, two people would probably still be alive today.
It’s too late for Culbreath to think about that, but you have to wonder if that thought has crossed Yielding’s mind as he sits in the Lonoke County Jail, waiting for his murder trial.

TOP STORY >>Area contractors wonder whether they will be paid

Leader senior staff writer

The housing-privatization debacle—as one subcontractor called it—at Little Rock Air Force Base has left area contractors wondering if and when they will be paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work and materials.
Some could go under.

“It’s like we’re bobbing around in a 55-gallon drum and someone’s trying to seal the lid down on us,” said a spokesman for JR Construction of Cabot.

American Eagle Communities, a partnership between Carabetta Enterprises and Shaw Infrastructure, contracted to own, remodel, build and manage about 1,200 homes for airmen and their families at the base, but quickly fell behind, completing only 25 of the 468 new homes to be completed by 2011.

They were two years behind schedule, according to Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz, the base commander. American Eagle was to remodel another 732 homes. The developer pulled the plug on the job May 7.

OWED $136,000

JR Construction isn’t about to file for bankruptcy protection, but the company is still owed about $136,000 for dirt and concrete work it did for American Eagle Communities at LRAFB over the past two years.

JR Construction says it can’t pay its subcontractors like Tommy Austin of Austin Concrete.


On April 3, 2006, Salvatore R. Carabetta, as manager of American Eagle Design-Build Studio LLC and also manager of Little Rock Family Housing LLC, along with Robert Pearson, an attorney for Arch Insurance, signed a $5.8 million performance and payment bond ensuring construction of 50 new homes on the base.

Some central Arkansas contractors have filed claims against the bondholder, Arch Insurance, and while they say Arch has acknowledged receipt of their claims, none have been paid within the time allowed the bondholder.

Spokesmen for neither Arch Insurance nor the Carabetta organization responded to phone calls or emails for this story.
JR Construction has filed a lien with the surety bondholder, Arch Insurance Company, and co-owners Rebecca Schiermeyer and Jack Sullivan can’t understand why the Air Force isn’t forcing someone to pay up.

The 45 days Arch had to respond to JR Construction’s claim has expired and now JR has filed suit.


There is enough anger and frustration to go around—directed at American Eagle for its failure to pay its bills, at Arch Insurance Company and its broker Richard F. Ferrucci & Associates of Garden City, New York and finally, at the Air Force and the U.S. government, which they say has been no help so far.

Sen. Mark Pryor has passed a resolution giving the U.S. comptroller general 180 days to find out what went wrong and suggest ways to straighten it out.

The comptroller general will look into American Eagle Communities housing privatization contracts at Little Rock Air Force Base and elsewhere, the extent of the problem and options open to the federal government and to subcontractors hurt by American Eagle, thanks to a resolution sponsored by Pryor and Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. Moody AFB, where American Eagle has defaulted on a similar project, reportedly leaving subcontractors out of work and owed millions of dollars, is in Georgia.

Meanwhile, the Air Force says American Eagle and its managing partner, Carabetta Enterprises, are “actively pursuing a sale of (their) ownership interest in the project,” according to a spokesman for the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment, based at Brooks, Texas.

Neither American Eagle nor the Carabetta family is mentioned by name in the resolution, but according to the Air Force, they are the only privatization developers experiencing such problems.

JR Construction, named for Jack Sullivan and Rebecca Schiermeyer, built forms, poured concrete slabs and did grading to minimize storm-water pollution.

“We’re just hanging on by a thread,” said Schiermeyer.


“I don’t understand why the Air Force isn’t pushing harder. If American Eagle can’t do it, then Arch Insurance should have some responsibility,” Schiermeyer said.

Sullivan said several houses were essentially complete, but exposed to the weather without siding or paint.

Schiermeyer estimated that there were about 22 contractors still owed money, including Central Arkansas Plumbing,
Jonesboro Heat and Air, Patriot Pest Control, Ferguson Excavating and Concrete, Capitol Insulators and Advance Lawn and Landscape.

The subcontractors began having trouble collecting on their bills almost immediately.

Getting paid for their work, “It’s like pulling teeth,” said Blake Poe, division manager for Capital Insulators. “They always had an excuse,” for not paying on time.

“The bond company is the one screwing us out of our money,” said Poe.


His outfit is owed about $25,000, he said. He has filed with Arch Insurance, but said if they aren’t given their money or suitable assurances by Monday, “We’ll have to go to federal district court and that’s real expensive.”

Poe said his company was set to do about $250,000 worth of work on the job. It had done about $50,000 worth of insulation and gutters and been paid for about half of that.

Jason Ferguson of Ferguson Excavating and Concrete figures he is owed about $60,000. He’s paid all his people and paid off materials, although he had to take loans out when American Eagle failed to live up to its side of the bargain.

Ferguson and his employees excavated yards, removed and replaced curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveways—pretty much dirt work and drainage.

“I think it’s crazy that the Air Force doesn’t step up and take care of it,” he said.

He said even if he gets paid, any profit could be offset by interest on the loans he took to pay off workers and suppliers.


Still, he says he’s in better shape than some. “I’ve had several tell me they’ve had to sell equipment. I’ve stayed busy enough, but it’s not easy. Some ain’t been that fortunate.”

Carabetta, alone or in partnership with Shaw, was due to own, manage, remodel, build and collect rents on perhaps 10,000 housing units. Those included privatization jobs here, at Moody AFB in Georgia, Hanscom Air Force Base in Maryland, Patrick Air Force Base in Florida and also Navy housing at Puget Sound, Washington.

They have defaulted on all the Air Force jobs, sold the Navy job pending approval of the defense department and may yet finish a privatization job at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

While there is little online to suggest widespread problems with Shaw Infrastructure, there are plenty of cautionary reports detailing Carabetta bankruptcy, and a 25-year history of unpaid subcontractors, suits and counter suits and failed projects. Contractors on one completed and paid-for public school job in Connecticut say Carabetta still owes them about $1 million. Local contractors—and the U.S. Senate—want to know how and why the Air Force overlooked those problems in awarding so many contracts to the Carabettas. Mostly, they want to know when they will be paid.

TOP STORY >>Soldiers activated, report to armories

Leader staff writer

Soldiers from the Arkansas Army National Guard’s 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team were activated Monday as they reported to their local armories in preparation for a maximum one-year deployment to Iraq.

The 3,000 soldiers of the 39th, Arkansas’ largest Guard unit with units based in towns around the state, includiing several from this area, will deploy in early January as part of the replacement forces currently operating in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The four units of the 39th went on active duty at their home stations for a 90-day pre-mobilization training program, said Maj. Gen. William D. Wofford, the adjutant general of Arkansas.

Approximately 800 soldiers from the brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry, headquartered in Searcy, and the 1st Battalion, 151st Cavalry, headquartered in Warren, are training at Fort Chaffee for two weeks before returning to their home station armories as more 39th Brigade soldiers rotate in for training.

“The support of the entire state for our soldiers and their families has been tremendous,” Wofford said.

“On behalf of our soldiers, we ask for that continued support, which will allow these 3,200 men and women to focus on their mission and return home safely at its end,” he added.

As the soldiers spend time training at their home armories, at Camp Robinson and at Fort Chaffee over the next three months, the effort will ensure the soldiers’ readiness through home station training while minimizing time away from family.

Priorities for the 39th during their training will be on soldier readiness processing – an inventory of equipment, getting medical and shot records updated, taking care of any legal service needs and hearing a variety of mandatory briefings, individual training such as weapon qualifications and meeting the warrior tasks. All these things allow them to focus on unit level collective training once they get to the mobilization station.

“The 39th will adhere to a liberal leave policy during the December holiday season to allow even more time with family prior to departure to the brigade’s mobilization station in early January,” Wofford said.

After the completion of the initial 65 days of the pre-mobilization training, soldiers may opt to be released from active duty orders from Dec. 5-31 if necessary for personal or family reasons.

Those choosing to do so must complete the pre-mobilization training requirements prior to the brigade’s mobilization date, Wofford said.

“The other option to complete the required training and preparations consisted of multiple extended weekend drills and annual training periods, which was simply not reasonable due to the fact that our soldiers have civilian employers,” Wofford said.

“Many of these employers have expressed their desire to support their troops, but they simply cannot manage a business if they have to endure multiple absences due to military training. They don’t want to lose their employees at all, but if they have to, that absence needs to be a single window of time so they can hire a replacement in the meantime,” he said.

“Our primary concerns were not only to prepare our soldiers, but also to take care of their families and employers, by providing them a timely notification of when they could expect to come on active duty,” Wofford added.

The 39th as a whole was last deployed in October 2003, and released from active duty in April 2005.

About 600 Arkansas National Guard soldiers and airmen are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>It’s Biscuit time in Helena

The Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in downtown Helena — formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival, although it’s still the Biscuit for most fans and it’s still free — will kick off next Thursday with several strong acts and will continue through next Saturday with plenty more good music, and there’s still lots more across the river the following afternoon in downtown Clarksdale, Miss.

If you were thinking about going down to Helena for just a few hours on Saturday, consider making it a long weekend, but take your camper or tent with you since the motels in the area are probably sold out.

The festival changed its name a couple of years ago, after a New York outfit bought the rights to the King Biscuit logo and threatened to hold a competing festival in Memphis (that hasn’t happened yet). But the Helena festival is still going strong, drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world. (See for a complete listing.)

The musicians at this year’s festival may not be household names — the original blues giants are mostly gone, including Arkansas native Robert Lockwood Junior, who performed at King Biscuit just about every year and passed away last November at the age of 91 — but 94-year-old Pinetop Perkins is scheduled to appear Friday, and there will still be plenty of good music by young and old artists, who will keep the blues alive for at least a couple of generations.

The festival opens with several winners of blues competitions, followed by blues elder statesman and educator Sterling Billingsley of Mississippi and then gospel-blues singer Diunne Greenleaf of Houston.

Wayne Baker Brooks of Chicago, son of blues great Lonnie Brooks, follows Greenleaf. Mississippi blues-soul legend Bobby Rush performs with Blinddog Smokin’ and the evening ends with the Lee Boys, a sacred-steel band from Miami.

Friday’s festivities start early in the afternoon with two important Mississippi Delta bluesmen, Lil’ Dave Thompson and drummer Sam Carr, the son of famed bluesman Robert Nighthawk, both originally from Helena, where Nighthawk is buried. (Carr lives across the river in Dundee, Miss.)

Smokin’ Joe Kubek of Dallas comes on with Bnois King of Louisiana, combining Kubek’s heavy guitar playing with King’s jazz guitar and vocals.

Friday evening, it’s Pinetop Perkins, a festival favorite, with his sidekick Bob Margolin, who both played in Muddy Waters’ band.

Up next will be a great blues showman, Chicagoan Lil’ Ed Williams and his Blues Imperials. Wearing a fez, he evokes the spirit of his uncle, the late great J.B. Hutto.

Sherman Robertson of Louisiana will add a touch of Cajun music to the festivities, followed by three incendiary guitar players, North Little Rock’s own Michael Burks, who will be joined by Larry McCray and Carl Weathersby.

That’s Friday’s impressive lineup on the main stage, but nearby on the Houston Stackhouse acoustic stage, don’t miss Louisiana wizard Eugene (Hideaway) Bridges and Mississippi bluesmen Bill Abel, Cadillac John and Jimmy (Duck) Holmes.
Bridges also appears at noon Saturday on the main stage, followed by Alabama bluesman Willie King and Terry Evans from Los Angeles.

There’s plenty more on Saturday:

Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets (without the late, great Sam Myers), Robert Lockwood Junior Band (without Robert). Then it’s 70ish Hubert Sumlin (Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist) and Helena native Willie (Big Eyes) Smith (Muddy Waters’ drummer). Cajun bluesman Kenny Neal is next, followed by the Mannish Boys from Texas.

Try the gumbo on Cherry Street between the acts.

On Sunday afternoon, you might cross the river to downtown Clarksdale, where several musicians will perform in front of Cat Head music store, including Fat Possum recording artists Robert Belfour and T-Model Ford. Across the tracks at the train depot (where Muddy Waters caught a train to Chicago 65 years ago), it will be the amazing Rooster Blues artist Robert Bilbo Walker.

Then you might make it over the nearby Hopson Plantation, where several musicians will honor Pinetop. The nonagenarian keyboardist might or might not play, because his mother warned him about playing the blues on Sunday, but he might play a couple of bars if his mother looks down at him from heaven and tells him it’s OK.

It’s great music, and it’s all free, except for the Hopson program (where they serve some of the best barbecue in the Delta), but try to tip the musicians whenever you can. They’re not rich. That’s why they call it the blues.

EVENTS>>Early Fall 2007

Lonoke County seeks to train new leaders

Applications for the Lonoke County Leadership Training Program are due by Friday. Drop off, fax or e-mail applications to Kyle Proctor.

Only 30 applications, which are available at all Lonoke County Chamber of Commerce offices, will be accepted. At a total cost of $100, participants in the program will meet biweekly from January through April 2008 in the Lonoke Community Center.
The Lonoke County Coalition for Progress was formed in 2006 to establish a regional network of strong leaders that identify and motivate individuals with leadership potential and acquaint them with countywide needs.

The seven-session program’s purpose is to establish a regional network of strong leaders and empower new leaders to assure a continuous flow of leadership.

Cabot’s Santa Shack ready for picture-taking fun

Cabot City Beautiful opened its 11th annual Santa Shack yesterday at Cabot Wal-Mart. Children can now see Santa Claus and tell him what they’d like him to bring them for Christmas.
Santa will be there to visit with kids from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m.; also noon to 2 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. On Sundays the jolly old fellow will be at Santa Shack from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.
Santa will be available until Saturday, Dec. 23. There will be free candy canes and photos will be available.

Jacksonville’s Mt. Pisgah will have revival Tuesday

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 1017 Ray Road, Jacksonville will hold a revival at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday with special guest speakers each night. Pastor James Thrower from Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Little Rock will speak Tuesday night.
Pastor Brian Baker from Victory Praise and Worship Church in Jacksonville will speak Wednesday night and Pastor Dwight Townsend with Longley Baptist Church in Little Rock will speak Thursday.

The public is invited to attend. For more information, contact pastor Craig Collier Sr. at 982-6215.

Military Museum to present Fallen Hero Memorial

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History presents The Arkansas Fallen Hero Memorial Friday through Sunday.
Since 9/11, Arkansas men and women have risked their lives for our country. Some have given the ultimate sacrifice. To honor and remember these brave men and women, the Jacksonville Museum of Military History will host the Arkansas Fallen Hero Memorial.
The 100-by-100-foot walk through memorial contains an American flag for each Arkansan that has given their life in service to this country since 9/11. Along each flag will stand a post that will feature a picture of each fallen hero and a short biography. For more information call 241-1943.

Help encourage high school students to read

In an effort to encourage Jacksonville High School students to take more interest in reading, the Million Word Campaign or “25-Book Express” will kick off Friday.  
Businesses, companies, churches and individuals are invited to step up and step into Jacksonville High School with gift cards, restaurant coupons or other incentives for those who meet or exceed the million-word goal. Statistics show better readers have the capacity to earn greater income as they go on to compete in a global economy.
  Working together, we can help our young people prepare to meet the requisites of the 21st Century workforce.
  For more information, contact Patricia White of the Jacksonville High School Leadership Team and Co-Director of Journey into Excellence at 982-2128.

With Christmas near, parade plans abound

As the Christmas season opens, area cities get ready to display the spirit of the holiday season with their annual parades.
“Jacksonville’s Golden Christmas,” the city’s 50th annual parade, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 starting at Sharp and Main, down Main to Second. Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz will marshal the event.
Beebe’s annual parade will be held at 6 p.m. the same day. The theme is “Christmas Melodies”, and floats will line up at Beebe Public Schools at 5 p.m.
Cabot’s parade will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 and has “All I Want For Christmas” as its theme.
Sherwood’s parade, “A Child’s Magical Christmas,” will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 on Kiehl Ave. from Lantrip to Oakbrook St.

Cabot Fire and Police meeting will be Thursday

Cabot Fire and Police Committee will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The regular date was rescheduled because it fell on Thanksgiving.

Santa Shack opens Friday at Cabot’s Wal-Mart

Cabot City Beautiful opens its 11th annual Santa Shack Friday, Nov. 23 at Cabot Wal-Mart. Children will be able to see Santa Claus and tell him what they’d like him to bring them for Christmas.
There will be free candy canes for every child and photos will be available. Santa will be there to visit with kids from 6 to 8 p.m. on Fridays, on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m.; also noon to 2 p.m., 3 to 5 p.m., and 6 to 8 p.m. On Sundays the jolly old fellow will be at Santa Shack from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Santa will be available until Saturday, Dec. 23. Proceeds go to Cabot City Beautiful’s community projects.

ASU-Beebe offers GED testing through December

The Adult Education Department at Arkansas State University-Beebe is offering the GED test during November and December.
The test will be offered at the Beebe center at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27 and Thursday, Nov. 29.
Candidates must fulfill preliminary testing requirements before taking the official GED exam. Contact the Adult Education Center 501-207-4090 to determine eligibility.

Revival planned at Mt. Pisgah in Jacksonville

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 1017 Ray Road will hold a revival at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 through Thursday, Nov. 29 with special guest speakers each night. Pastor James Thrower from Mercy Seat Baptist Church in Little Rock will speak Tuesday night.
Pastor Brian Baker from Victory Praise and Worship Church in Jacksonville will speak Wednesday night and Pastor Dwight Townsend with Longley Baptist Church in Little Rock will speak Thursday.
The public is invited to attend. For more information, contact Pastor Craig Collier Sr. at 982-6215.

LDS invites public to devotional for Christmas

The public is invited to attend a special Christmas devotional at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6110 T. P. White Drive, Jacksonville. Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the church, will be the featured speaker.

Senior center seeking donations for meals

Donate $5 in honor or in memory of a senior citizen and a red heart with the name of the donor and designated senior will be posted in a conspicuous spot in the Jacksonville Senior Center. The program runs now through Wednesday, Dec. 19.
“The Holiday Heart” program will benefit the senior center’s meal- delivery program, which delivers 200 hot, nutritious and carefully prepared meals a day in north Pulaski County to seniors unable to cook for themselves. For questions, contact David Adamson at 982-7531.

Beebe planning its annual Christmas celebration

The city of Beebe will host its annual Christmas Lighting Celebration at Daniel Park at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30. Tony Witt, a well-known Elvis impersonator, the Luke Williams Band and the ASU Beebe choir and band will provide entertainment for the event. Other free attractions include train rides for the children, pictures with Santa, hot chocolate, warm cider, cotton candy popcorn and cookies.

Ward Animal Shelter plans annual chili cook-off

The Ward Animal Shelter will hold its third annual chili cook-off at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, after the city’s Christmas parade and tree lighting. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children 10 and under. All proceeds will go to the Ward Animal Shelter for its various needs. For more information, call Lola or Aleks at 501-843-2271.

CareLink helps with Medicare Part D enrollment

The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) is Thursday through Mon., December 31. CareLink provides free enrollment assistance to people in its service area, which includes Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski and Saline counties. Those who would like help understanding the different plans, signing up for a plan or changing providers for Medicare Part D can call CareLink at 372-5300 or 800-482-6359 to make an appointment. CareLink has no affiliation with any of the prescription drug plans that are available.
CareLink, a private, nonprofit organization based in North Little Rock, provides older people and their family caregivers with information and resources that help them stay active and independent. CareLink partners with Jacksonville Senior Center and Lonoke County Council on Aging for senior center services.

Shepherd’s Center will hold new learning classes

The Shepherd’s Center of Beebe, a senior center at 302 N. Main Street, will begin a new session of adult learning classes called “Adventures in Learning.” Classes will begin meeting today at 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all following Wednesdays through Dec. 12.

There is a $10 registration fee. A noon catered luncheon is also available or members can bring a sack lunch.
Call 501-882-0243 to register or write Shepherds Center of Beebe, P. O. Box 247, Beebe, AR, 72012.

Care Channel preparing for Christmas toy drive

The Jacksonville Care Channel for the Needy is registering residents and businesses for its Christmas food basket and toy celebration. Local churches, businesses and organizations are needed to assist with the mission. Last year, the Care Channel gave food to 425 families and toys to more than 700 children. More needy families who need help are anticipated to contact the Care Channel this Christmas. People who want to donate can sign up now through Dec. 7. Dec. 12 will be the last day to receive regular assistance from the Care Channel and the organization will be closed Dec. 13 through Jan. 1 except Dec. 20, which will be the only day to pick up Christmas baskets.
If you are interested in volunteering to bag toys, distribute baskets or donate to the drive, call Peggy at 982-4647. Donations and volunteers are more than welcome to help with the project.


SPORTS >>Badgers control line, Falcons

Leader sportswriter

The Badgers made sure that North Pulaski’s latest streak would end after only one game, downing the Falcons 34-7 Friday night at Bro Erwin Stadium during the second week of 5A-East Conference play.

Beebe racked up 421 yards of total offense on its way to a 5-0 mark, shutting out the Falcons until the final eight minutes of the contest.

A good first drive for North Pulaski ended on a big play by Beebe that gave the home team the momentum.

The Falcons’ first drive went 46 yards down to the Badger 4-yard line, where the Falcons opted to try for a 21-yard field goal attempt on fourth and goal. Beebe’s Josh Turner opted to block it, giving the Badgers the ball and the momentum that they kept for the remainder of the game.

Beebe ended up with more points than needed in the first half, with three touchdowns to go ahead 20-0 at the intermission, and would only add to that score in the final 16 minutes of the contest.

The start of the second half would lead to the fourth Beebe touchdown of the night on a 79-yard drive that was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Charlie Spakes with 9:15 left in the third quarter. Spakes’ TD was set up by a 17-yard run by halfback Kyle Williams, and another scramble of 36 yards by Spakes.

Jerald Blair, who was a key component of NP’s win over Greene County Tech last week, tried to spark a rally for the Falcons once again this week with a 30-yard run on the ensuing drive. That would put the ball in Beebe territory, but Jo Barrick forced a fumble for the Badgers, and Josh Turner would recover.

Beebe would take that turnover and put the game away with a 75-yard drive that started on a 35-yard run by Chris Blundell and ended with an 11-yard touchdown dash by Joe Barrick with 5:11 left in the third quarter to make it 34-0 in favor of the Badgers.
The Falcons may not have made it two straight, but they refused to come back to Jacksonville empty handed. Arlando Hicks made the defensive play of the game for the Falcons when he recovered a Beebe fumble on the Badger 45-yard line. It only took three plays from there for quarterback A.J. Allen to find Daniel Thurman for a 42-yard touchdown pass with 8:38 left in the game. Melvin Tenner added the extra point, which set the final margin.

The Falcons actually put themselves in position to take the lead early in the game, when they forced the Badgers to punt on their opening possession and proceeded to move the ball 46 yards down to the Beebe 13-yard line. The Badger defense held North Pulaski to force a field goal attempt by Tenner, which was blocked by Turner.

Beebe took advantage of its next possession, taking the ball in for the score on the heels of fullback Blundell, who scored on a three-yard run with 7:00 left to go in the second quarter. Blundell also set up the score with a 34-yard run that took the ball deep into NP territory.

It would be Blundell on the next Beebe scoring drive as well. This time, it was a 62-yard touchdown run on forth and two with 6:38 left in the half to put the Badgers up by two scores.

The Badgers would score their next touchdown before the intermission through the air, with a 21-yard toss from Spakes to Turner for the score with 1:19 left in the second quarter. This would give Beebe a three-score lead at halftime, and would also prove to be too much deficit for the Falcons to recover.

Beebe finished the game with 421 yards of total offense, 392 yards of which come from the running game out of the patented full-house backfield. Blundell led offensively for the Badgers with 13 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Spakes carried six times for 73 yards.

Beebe is now 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the 5A-East Conference. North Pulaski falls to 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the 5A-East. Beebe will take on Wynne on the road next week, while the Falcons host Batesville.

SPORTS >>Lady Bears sweep Devils

Leader sportswriter

A long standing rivalry between The Lady Red Devils of Jacksonville and the Lady Bears of Sylvan Hills picked right back up where it left off on Tuesday, and resulted in the third-straight 6A-East Conference win for Hillside. The Lady Bears downed the Lady Devils in straight games, 29-27, 25-22 and 25-23.

The capacity crowd on hand at the Devils Den signified that this was no ordinary conference matchup. Both teams came into the contest with strategies that seemed very similar in appearance. For Jacksonville, it was shutting down top SH scorer Megan Gwatney, for the Lady Bears, it was containing senior hitter Vanessa Brown. Both strategies were successful in their singular pragmatic purpose, but the details of how to stop the other five players on each side were not ironed out quite as well.

Junior Courtney Luth became the Lady Bears’ biggest threat at the front, while Lady Devils junior Paula Burr gave Sylvan Hills fits both at the net and the service line.

“Because of the games with Jacksonville over the years, if someone would have said we could come in here and win in three games, I would have said ‘no way,’” Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway said. “I know how tough we always play each other.

Jacksonville has a good team; I think we were able to frustrate them a little defensively. Our passing game was as good as it’s been all year, and I think that had a little bit to do with it too.”

The overall match score of 3-0 is perhaps the most misleading statistic of the entire season. The Lady Red Devils played Sylvan Hills to within three points in every game, even after what appeared to be a hopeless start to game three. Sylvan Hills rushed out to an 11-3 lead in the last frame, after half-hearted Jacksonville returns put them in a hole. Coach Melissa Reeves took a timeout to motivate the troops, and the comeback would be on once again.

Jacksonville would proceed to outscore Sylvan Hills 12-4 over the next 16 points to tie the game at 15-15. A pair of kills by Luth put the Lady Bears back out in front, but out errors kept the Lady Devils in the game.

A hit out of bounds on a kill attempt by Luth made it 24-23, and gave serve to Jacksonville. The amazing comeback would end there, however, as sophomore Baylee Herlacher hit the ensuing serve out, handing the win to Sylvan Hills.

Luth earned her biggest points for Sylvan Hills in game two. The southpaw’s cross-court kills found a rare open spot in the Jacksonville defense, and allowed the Lady Bears to rally from a 16-13 deficit to tie the game at 20-20. Sylvan Hills would finally take the lead moments later at 23-22, and senior Joanna Persson would put the game away for the Lady Bears with two straight kills.

“That’s a natural hit for her,” Treadway said of Luth’s tricky kills. “It’s not something that we spend a whole lot of time on, but it’s something she can do when some of our other strategies aren’t working. I thought she played a good game. I also thought Jodi Perrson played a smart game, and Kaci Willis was a force at the net for us tonight.”

As for All-Conference standout Gwatney, Treadway said she would have been the first to admit that Tuesday was not a career day for her.

“She spoke up during one of the timeouts,” Treadway said. “She apologized and told everyone she was having a terrible game. It wasn’t a pretty game for her, knowing what she is capable of doing.”

Extra pressure on Gwatney by the front row Jacksonville team of Jessica Lanier and Tyra Terry was a big cause of the SH senior’s frustrations early on. The Lady Bears rushed out to a 10-5 lead in game one, but they would need four extra points to finally come away with the win.

It didn’t take long for the old rivalry to kick in to full gear in the opening game, when a Raven Pickett serve for Jacksonville was disputed by Treadway. Treadway initially sent a player to the net judge to ask of a possible line infraction, but when that went unanswered, Treadway approached the line judge himself. Jacksonville assistant coach Tanya Ganey soon joined the conversation to state the opposing side, and the Lady Devils kept the point.

The lead got as big as 19-11 for Sylvan Hills, but Burr’s service game would spark a rally of eight straight points for Jacksonville, including four no-returns and an ace.

Terry and Lanier played solidly at the front for the Lady Red Devils, but their performances were equaled on the other side of the net by the SH duo of Persson and Brittany Hutchins.

Luth led the Lady Bears with 10 kills on five errors. Gwatney added six kills on six errors, and Joanna Persson added four kills and an ace. For Jacksonville, Lanier led all hitters with eight kills and two blocks on four errors. Brown added four kills, one block and one tip on three errors. Terry added four kills on one error, and Burr had two kills, a block and three aces.

The Lady Bears are now 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the 6A-East Conference. Jacksonville fell to?? . Sylvan Hills will host Jonesboro on Tuesday, while Jacksonville hosts West Memphis.

SPORTS >>Big Rockets stun Panthers

Leader sports editor

The Catholic Rockets were underdogs, but they were tailor made to give the Cabot Panthers fits, and that’s exactly what they did Friday night at War Memorial Stadium. The Panthers outgained their hosts, but the Rockets were much more steady and opportunistic, cruising to a 30-12 win over Cabot.

Cabot lost three fumbles, threw one interception and committed three personal-foul penalties that helped stall good drives.
The Panthers have struggled with turnovers in other games this year, but couldn’t overcome them against a gigantic Catholic team that could match them physically.

“They’re a big, strong team and we helped ‘em out a bunch,” Cabot coach Mike Malham said. “You don’t help yourself any when you turn it over four times. We have a lot of sophomores out there and they’re making some mistakes. Catholic’s a good team and we didn’t play very smart. You can see how that turns out.”

The two offensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage in the first half, but Catholic got a few more stops and a few more breaks in taking a 17-6 lead into intermission.

The Rockets started their second possession of the game after stopping Cabot halfback Wesley Sowell on fourth and one.

The ensuing Rocket drive, which started at the Cabot 38, was easy. Tailback Chris Rose got 25 of it on the first two carries. Three plays later, Taylor Bartlett found receiver Tate Seachris at the 1-yard line for a first and goal. Two plays later, Bartlett made his way into the end zone. The extra point was good, giving Catholic a 7-0 lead with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Cabot drove from its own 20 to the Catholic 12 on its next drive, but things stalled on downs again. The Panthers went for it on fourth and sxi from the 12, but Bloomberg was topped after picking up just one yard on an option keeper.

Catholic started at its own 11 with 10 second left in the first quarter, and put together a Cabot-esque drive, marching 85 yards in 16 plays. 42 of those yards came through the air, including a 28-yard pass and catch from Bartlett to Paul Drake on third and 15 that gave Catholic first and goal at the 6.

The Cabot defense held from there, and forced Catholic to attempt a field goal, which was good from 21 yards out and gave the home team a 10-0 lead with 5:51 left in the first half.

Cabot failed to convert another fourth down on its next possession and gave Catholic the ball with good field postion, but the defense again held and forced a punt.

That’s when disaster struck for the first time. A busted play on second 10 got Bloomberg drilled behind the line of scrimmage. He fumbled the ball, and Catholic’s Andrew Coppola scooped it up and scampered 40 yards for an easy touchdown.

The extra point made it 17-0 Rockets with 1:59 left in the half.

Cabot answered with a badley-needed score. The two teams traded personal fouls on the ensuing drive. Cabot’s negated a 24-yard pickup by Bloomberg, but Catholics gave that yardage back, and gave the Panthers first and goal at the 9.

Carries of 14 and 13 yards by James also aided the top downfield, and Les McGregor caught a 4-yard pass from Bloomberg with 13 seconds left in the half to make it 17-6.

The Panthers were driving on the opening possession of the second half, but a Bloomberg pass was picked off by John Ukadike at the 10-yard line to put an end to a 70-yard drive.

Cabot almost scored three plays earlier on a throwback pass from Bloomberg to Blake Carter. Carter and teammate LJ Tarrant were the only two players on the left side of the field when Carter caught the pass near midfield. But Carter out-ran his blocker and was brought down by John Ukadike at the 15-yard line.

The Rockets were forced to punt from near midfield, and Cabot again took over on its own 20.

This time the Panthers weren’t stopped, and didn’t stop themselves. The drive covered the 80 yards in 15 plays, that included two big fourth-down conversions. The first was a 9-yard gain by Bloomberg on fourth and six, the second a 4-yard gain by James on fourth and two from the 16-yard line.

Three plays later, James scored from four yards out. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 17-12 with 10:31 remaining in the game.

Cabot gave up one first down, but put Catholic into a third and short situation when the Rockets struck lightning. Scatback Maybom Peters took a wraparound handoff 60 yards for a touchdown. A failed extra point made it 23-12 with 7:56 left.

Cabot again drove the length of the field only to fumble inside the Catholic 20-yard line. This time James coughed it up while struggling for extra yardage on the Rocket 14.

Catholic iced the game a few plays later when tailback Chris Rose broke loose for 52 yards with 1:46 remaining.

Cabot got the ball back, but fumbled it for the final time with 10 seconds to go.

Cabot finished with 431 total yards to 352 for Catholic.

James led all rushers with 245 yards on 33 carries. Chris Rose led the Rockets with 20 carries for 140 yards.

The loss drops Cabot to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in league play, while Catholic improves to 3-2 and 1-1.

The Panthers stay on the road next week when the travel to North Little Rock to take on the Wildcats, which lost 10-7 to Conway.

EDITORIALS>>TIFs make bad policy

There are enough lawsuits without our demanding more, but the public interest cries out for one more, to halt the theft of public school funds for private developers. North Little Rock provides a ready defendant.

Mayor Patrick Henry Hays and the North Little Rock City Council this week approved four new tax-increment financing districts, which will take thousands of dollars away from the city’s financially distressed schools for many years, maybe a quarter century. The North Little Rock School Board expressed its unhappiness.

We’ll try again to explain this crazyquilt problem. Tax-increment-financing (TIF) districts, which were sneaked into the Constitution by an initiative amendment in 2002, take the annual growth in property tax revenues in a designated TIF district and use it to pay off bonds issued for capital improvements that help commercial developments. The theory is that the commercial improvements increase property values and real-estate taxes so those extra taxes should be used to finance the improvements. TIFs originally were supposed to combat urban blight, although they can be used in a country club subdivision in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Supreme Court last year ruled that TIF districts could not get their hands on the revenue growth from the first 25 mills levied by a school district because those taxes were actually a state tax, which was remitted to the state government and redistributed among the 250 or so school districts in Arkansas. But the court did not rule whether the tax growth on a school district’s millage above 25 mills could be taken away from the schools and used by the city to help private developers.

That question needs to be decided for the sake of school children. The Constitution says that taxes levied by the voters for the schools cannot be used for other purposes. We do not think the 2002 amendment repealed that law, which was put into the Constitution to reassure voters that if they voted to tax themselves for schools then state or local lawmakers could never confiscate the taxes and use them for another purpose.

TIFs are popular with city and county officials everywhere, and why not? They take credit for capital improvements but do not have to take the heat for raising taxes or diverting money from other city and county programs to do it. The school people already took the heat. It’s every politician’s dream. But it is terrible public policy, and we think the courts will stop if the issue is presented to them squarely.

EDITORIALS>>Judge Griffen is exonerated

After wasting two years, thousands of dollars and much good will, the state Judicial Disability and Discipline Commission exonerated Judge Wendell Griffen of the Arkansas Court of Appeals of charges that he disgraced the judiciary. The judge, who is also a Baptist minister, had commented on matters of public concern on four or five occasions in recent years in church and other settings and a few of his remarks had got into the media. The full commission finally acknowledged, as one of its panels had concluded during the summer, that the U. S. Constitution protected his right to do that.

The commission, or at least its former director, had been pursuing Griffen for five years — ever since he was quoted as criticizing the University of Arkansas after its firing of Nolan Richardson, the black basketball coach, at a meeting of African-American legislators at Fayetteville. The commission had slapped Griffen’s wrist for that comment but the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed that mild but official rebuke because the government could not punish him for exercising his right of free speech. Then other comments, including one at a Baptist ministerial conference in South Carolina, made their way to critics and more charges were filed with the commission.

It is reassuring that the commission did not repeat its first mistake and declared that Griffen indeed could express himself on questions that were not before the court. None of the matters on which Griffen had been quoted — the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush’s judicial appointments, the political absorption with homosexuals — were before the Arkansas Court of Appeals or were ever likely to arrive there.

What remains is for the Arkansas Supreme Court to clean up the code of judicial ethics, which still contains language that seems to restrict the right of judges and candidates for judge to talk in public about matters of public concern. The U. S. Supreme Court ruled years ago that such restrictions violated the First Amendment.

Like other people, even aliens, who dwell on American soil, judges can say what is on their mind as long as it does not complicate their decisions on cases before them. The Arkansas Bar Association recognized that the code is unconstitutional and has a committee studying it.

That is an hour of thoughtful work, at most. Judge Griffen has asked the federal district court to strike the language, but since he no longer is a defendant he may not have standing to force the issue. No one now is apt to be charged with violating the neutered code, but the Supreme Court needs to get it off the books. Useless, unenforceable or unconstitutional law simply should not be on the books.

EDITORIALS>>LR paper rewrites history

The long commemoration of the desegregation of Central High School in 1957 should not recede into history without some notice of the sustained effort to rewrite the earlier history.

If you have followed the events in the state’s daily newspaper each day you will have detected the not-so-subtle effort by the paper to shade those events of 50 years ago in a way that is favorable to the governor who set the catastrophe into motion — but unfavorable to the facts.

A new book on the Little Rock crisis, “Turn Away Thy Son” by Elizabeth Jacoway, treats Gov. Orval E. Faubus as a victim of conniving moderates in Little Rock who drove him into a corner and left him no choice but to use the National Guard to keep black children from going to classes at the school.

The book seems to be factual enough; Jacoway simply wants Faubus, whom she liked, to be treated better by history. Her facts do not support her theory but she does not allow the factual disconnect to prevent her from advancing it.

The Democrat-Gazette’s “facts” are just wrong — indisputably, provably wrong.

The father of the newspaper’s executive editor, Griffin Smith, was an attorney for the segregationists allied with Faubus to halt school desegregation and a supporter of the governor. That may have nothing to do with the newspaper’s strange editorial conduct, but we mention it for whatever probative value it may have.

Starting soon after Smith’s hiring as editor, the paper began to insert a paragraph into every article mentioning the school crisis of 1957 that capsuled the events into three or four sentences.

This was the essential history, as told by the Democrat Gazette: Faubus sent National Guardsmen to the school to preserve peace, a federal judge ordered him to remove them, a mob then threatened the safety of the children, so President Eisenhower sent airborne troops to the school to protect the children.

The upshot was that Faubus was merely trying to protect people, and the violence and intimidation that eventually occurred was the fault of a federal judge.

The boilerplate paragraph — now it’s three paragraphs — changed from time to time as people called attention to the errors. The insertion began to include the important fact that Faubus’ order to the Guard was to prevent the black children from entering school. But this spring, Smith — or someone in charge at the paper — settled on wording that has not changed despite repeated citation of the official record.

Now the insertion always includes these words: On Sept. 20, complying with the order of a federal judge, Faubus removed the guardsmen. When the black students went to Central three days later on Sept. 23, a violent crowd gathered.

The students were removed for their protection. President Eisenhower then federalized the National Guard and sent 101st Airborne Division troops to the school the next day to enforce the school’s desegregation. The black students attended school the rest of the year under federal protection.

That is true, as far as it goes, except for the statement that Faubus removed the guardsmen to comply with the order of a federal judge, which seems to absolve the governor of any blame for what followed.

The judge gave no such order. The judge, Ronald N. Davies, issued an order to Faubus not to prevent the black students from attending Central High.

He said the governor should use any means he thought necessary, including the National Guard, to preserve peace and order at the school as long as the soldiers did not block children from attending classes. Faubus took the soldiers away on his own volition, and the mob that he had emboldened streamed in.

A hundred repetitions of the same sugary error do not change the truth. People pay a price when they try to sanitize unpleasant history. Let us leave it to tyrants.

Ernie Dumas writes editorials for The Leader.

OBITUARIES >> 09-29-07

Martha Ewing

Martha Ewing, 82, of Jacksonville passed away, Sept. 26.

She was a member of McArthur Assembly of God Church in Jacksonville.

She is survived by her son, Thomas and wife Nancy Ezell of Tenn.; son, John and wife Pat Ewing of North Little Rock; daughter, Martha and Chuck Biggerstaff of Missouri; son, James and wife Joanie Ewing of Oklahoma; daughters, Sherry and husband Mel Garvin, of Cabot, Virginia and husband Marty Richey of Jacksonville, Debra and husband Mike Woodyard of Cabot and numerous grandchildren; and sisters, Juanita Buck of Tennessee and Mary Lou Leone of Texas.

She was preceded in death by her husband, J.R. Ewing.

The family wishes to express a special thanks to Arkansas Hospice.

Memorials may be made to Arkansas Hospice, 5600 W. 12th St., Little Rock, Ark. 72204.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Monday, Oct. 1 at McArthur Assembly of God Church. Burial will be in the Chapel Hill Memorial Park. Funeral arrangements will be by North Little Rock Funeral Home.

Billy Coleman

Billy J. Coleman, 73, of Alexander passed away Sept. 22.

He was born Feb. 22, 1934 to the late George S. and Ada P. Downs Coleman in Bald Knob.

He was also preceded in death by his loving wife, Rosemary Wright Coleman; his son, John D. Coleman and a brother, Bobby Joe Coleman.

He proudly served his country in the Air Force for 20 years, retiring as a techsergeant.

Survivors include his sons, Billy Glenn Coleman and wife Lou of Van Buren, George S. Coleman and wife Adrienne of Little Rock and Michael W. Coleman of Alexander; one brother, Randy Coleman of Little Rock and three grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1 at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock with Jack Diers officiating.

Funeral arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Flora Rogers

Flora B. Rogers, 99, of Jacksonville went to be with the Lord Sept. 27 in Kaufman, Texas.

She was born Sept. 18, 1908 in Hornersville, Mo., to the late Mr. and Mrs. John Hester.

Rogers was also preceded in death by her loving husband, Ted Rogers; her son, David E. Rogers; brother, Otto Hester; half-sister, Myrtle Hester and stepsister, Daisy Stevens.

She was a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Survivors include her grandsons, David Rogers and his wife Cheryl of Oak Point, Texas and Mark Rogers of Jacksonville as well as two great-grandchildren, Mark Rogers, II and Sarah Rogers.

Graveside funeral services will be at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville with Rev. Cliff Hutchins officiating.

Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

Johnny Leon Fraley

March 13, 1959 – September 3, 2007

We would like to thank everyone for their love and support during our family’s loss of a dear father, husband, brother, grandfather, uncle and friend. Your friendship and encouragement have kept us going during this most difficult time in our lives. We will always remember your kindness and caring words and actions. May you rest in peace, Johnny. We will always love you.

The Fraley Family

TOP STORY >>Wal-Mart meets with residents

Leader staff writer

“You can just take your crap and move it a mile and a half down to North Hills,” said Sherwood resident Jim Ball at a meeting Thursday night with Wal-Mart officials.

Mayor Virginia Hillman had asked for the meeting, held at the Bill Harmon Recreation Center, because of the number of complaints and concerns about the construction of the new supercenter at Maryland Avenue and Hwy. 107.

Ball and his wife Jean live in a small neighborhood on Tiffany Circle and their backyard adjoins the Wal-Mart property. They have spent most of the summer staring at dirt and more dirt.

Most of the 50-plus residents left the meeting early when their requests for a wall to be built between the Wal-Mart and their residential property fell on deaf years. Once people started to leave, Wal-Mart spokesman, Laurie Smalling and other company officials backed off and said they would see what could be done.

Smalling started the meeting by telling the crowd she understands that they have been inconvenienced “by a little dust and noise.”

“That’s the understatement of the year,” shouted a concerned resident from the back of the room.

Ben Rounsaville tried to explain to Smalling, two lawyers, a market manager, the construction manager and the engineer that residents want a wall for security and privacy. “We’ve endured the dirt, the blasting, the noise and all we are asking for is this wall,” he said.

Engineer Casey Wilder said the approved plan called for a buffer of trees for part of the area that residents were concerned about. The other portion, he said, was not owned by Wal-Mart, but by Doyle Roger Co., and Wal-Mart could not do anything to property that wasn’t theirs, even though they have cleared and leveled all the Doyle Roger’s land.

“You have totally destroyed the value of our property,” said Pres Brailsford. “Do you want to buy our homes? I know you don’t want to listen.”

Smalling told the group that Wal-Mart was not going to be able to put up a wall. “I know that doesn’t make you happy. But we cannot do that,” she said.

One resident responded, “You have no respect, no concern for anyone out there. You are spending millions to widen the road, but you can’t afford a wall?”

JoAnna St. Clair, who moved into the area just before the construction crews cut down all the trees behind her property, said, “I can wash a lot of cars, and we can raise the money and build our own wall. We’ll die waiting for Wal-Mart to do something.”
As the meeting progressed, people grumbled “boycott” and began to leave, the Wal-Mart team softened and said that a wall could be built, but something else on the project would have to be scaled back or eliminated to cover the cost.

“This is one of the most expensive properties we are working on,” Smalling said, adding that the cost of rock removal and upgrading the facade of the building at the request of the residents had added to the cost already.

Clay Moore, the construction manager, explained that at this point the cost of the project was locked in and could not be changed, adding a wall would mean something has to be subtracted.

The team promised to work with city officials to determine the cost of different types of walls and project components that could be eliminated to cover the cost. The team said they should have suggestions ready in about three weeks.

Moore also told the audience that the blasting work was completed and said a lot of the problems would lessen as the project nears completion.