Thursday, January 03, 2008

EDITORIALS>>Don’t know geography

An endless succession of blunders once he attained center stage in the presidential race suggests that our man Mike Huckabee needs to stick to what he does best, one-liners and clemency, and leave foreign policy to others. He should say he’ll appoint someone like Colin Powell to be secretary of state and get out of the way. Meantime, he should avoid talking about it.

It all started the week of his big surge in Iowa when he was caught flat-footed talking about Iran’s nuclear weapons 36 hours after the dramatic intelligence report that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

He explained over and over that no one had bothered to tell him the big news. It has got worse almost daily.

Even when he (or a ghostwriter using his name) penned a halfway thoughtful critique of Bush foreign policy in Foreign Affairs magazine (“arrogant,” he said), the other Republicans jumped on him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called him “ludicrous.”

Then he tried to wade into the coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by comparing the Pakistani crisis to the Mexican- border situation.

He placed Pakistan in the wrong place — well, Middle East maps are confusing — and then he had trouble trying to explain his remarks.

He said the murder of the former prime minister of Pakistan showed why it was important for the government to build that mammoth wall from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The Mexican wall, Huckabee explained, would keep Pakistani militants from coming across the border.

He is not so concerned about people coming across to pick lettuce, he said, but it’s those swarthy Muslims coming across carrying shoulder-fired missile launchers. Say what?

After all, Huckabee said, next to Mexicans, Pakistanis are by far the most numerous illegal border crossers.

The media had to point out that, no, there were many more from the Philippines, Korea, China, Vietnam and other countries. Oh, never mind.

Try to understand, country, that when you’re tied down for a decade dealing with the Arkansas Legislature and Wayne DuMond and mediating between polluting chicken processors and the state of Oklahoma, there’s no time to become an expert on ancient hatreds and the exotic cultures of distant shores.
Americans will understand, won’t they?

Ernie Dumas writes editorials for The Leader.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SPORTS >>Jackrabbits win Beebe tourney with ease

Leader sportswriter

The Jackrabbits served official notice who the favorite is in the 4A-2 this season during a 70-33 blowout over league rivals Newport in the championship game of the First Security/Gillam Farms Holiday Classic at Beebe High School. Newport’s only lead came on Edward Pruitt’s jumper to start the game; the rest was all Lonoke.

There was not a single game stat that did not sway heavily in the Jackrabbits’ favor. A 39-15 rebounding advantage for Lonoke was only part of the story, as Lonoke hit shots from nearly every spot on the court to completely dominate their stunned foes in what turned out to be one of the most lop-sided title games of the early season.
Lonoke coach Wes Swift was satisfied with the stellar win, but doesn’t count on history repeating itself next week when the two teams meet again.

“Check the papers next week,” Swift said. “I guarantee you that game won’t be decided by 37 points; it will probably go down to the wire. I liked our effort tonight. We kept the hammer down on them. When we came out and put up the first nine points of the second half I knew things would pretty much go our way.” Swift said the overall balance, which saw three Jackrabbits finish the game in double figures, made for one of their best performances all year.

“If we keep having performances like this, we’re going to steadily get better,” Swift said. “Beebe always puts on a good tournament with good teams. We played better and better as the weekend went on, but tonight was just a complete effort from everyone. This is without a doubt our most complete effort of the season.”

Senior Bradley Spencer and junior Michael Howard cut through the Greyhound defense from the inside out during the first half. Spencer got the ‘Rabbits their initial lead with a three pointer to start off Lonoke scoring, followed by another basket that made the score 5-2. From there, Howard closed out the frame with seven straight points that allowed the Jackrabbits to claim a 21-8 lead at the end of one.

Tyrone Dobbins got in the mix offensively in the second quarter. The senior scored seven of his total 10 points during the frame, further extending what was already a comfortable lead for Lonoke.

A basket for Newport at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter broke a 4:39 scoreless streak for the Greyhounds, in which Lonoke rolled off 14 unanswered points.

If the second quarter was shaky for Newport, the third quarter was absolutely devastating. The Jackrabbits not only continued their upscale offensive attack, but increased defensive pressure turned an already frustrated Greyhound team into a completely ineffective unit. A pair of Chavez Harris’ baskets were the only field goals for Newport in the entire eight minutes. In fact, Harris was the only Greyhound to score at all during the third quarter, adding a pair of free throws in the final minute for six points in an otherwise dreadful performance for the Greyhounds.

By the end of the third quarter, the Jackrabbits had more than enough points at 66-29 to play the final period with an uninteruppted clock. The starters took a seat in the final five minutes, as senior reserve Amir Fleming took out football frustrations out on Pruitt, Quarmaine Dean, and the remainder of Newport’s dual-sporters with some late drives to the basket.

Howard led all scorers for Lonoke with 18 points. Spencer added 11 points and Dobbins finished with 10 points. For Newport, Harris was the only scorer in double digits with 13 points. Lonoke freshman post Myles Taylor led in rebounding with eight boards. The 3-0 record for the Jackrabbits during the tournament lifted them to 12-4 on the season, and earned them the Holiday Classic title for 2007.

SPORTS >>Hot-shot Panthers crowned champs

Leader sports editor

The Cabot boys are heating up heading into conference play. That heating process hit a boiling point in the first half of Saturday’s championship game of the Lendel Thomas Classic at Harrison. The Panthers beat the host team 67-59 to improve to 11-3 on the season after draining eight three pointers in the first half.

“We were hot,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said. “That’s all you can say about that. We were very hot and it wasn’t just one guy hitting them all.”

Adam Sterrenberg hit three in the first half. Derek Clarkson and Austin Johnson drilled two apiece and Miles Monroe got one to fall as the Panthers built a 39-27 lead by halftime.

The lead became a lot less comfortable late in the game, as the Goblins cut the margin to four points in the fourth quarter. The Panthers held on though, and Bridges was very glad to see that.

“Any time you play at Harrison it’s tough,” Bridges said. “In the championship game of their own tournament is even tougher. I was proud of my boys though. They kept their composure and played through all that.”

While the outside shooting drew all the attention, Bridges is most excited about how his team is playing together.

“Everybody pitched in,” Bridges said. “The whole tournament was a great team effort. We’re becoming a team and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

The even wasn’t without it’s individual standouts though. Sterrenberg averaged over 20 points per game in the tournament, and senior post player Sam Bates was a monster on the glass. He pulled down 12 rebounds in the championship game, an effort that followed 13 boards in a semifinal win over Bentonville.

“Sam Bates’ rebounding has just been incredible,” Bridges said. “That doesn’t get recognized like it should. He bangs and battles in there and does a great job for us.”

Cabot will open league play at home Friday against Conway. The head Panthers likes how his team is playing heading into 7A-Central competition.

“We’re growing,” Bridges said. “I think 11-3 in non-conference games is a pretty good start, but we’ve got 14 tough games ahead of us and these are the ones that really count. That’s 14 straight games that we’re just going to take one at a time.”

Sterrenberg led all scorers with 25 points in the championship game. Johnson added 15 and Monroe 14.

The Lady Panthers also advanced to the championship game, but fell 63-56 to Huntsville. Leah Watts led the Cabot ladies in the loss with 22 points.

In the semifinals, Lauren Walker led the Lady Panthers with 22 points in a 62-54 win over Bentonville. Watts scored 18 in that game and Shelby Ashcraft added 13.

The 2-1 record at Harrison leaves Cabot 8-5 heading into Friday’s contest against Conway.

SPORTS >>Lady Badgers earn title

Leader sportswriter

It wasn’t the shootout that many had wished for and anticipated, but the historical significance carried what the action may not have provided during a rather nondescript 43-32 win for the Beebe Lady Badgers over Lonoke during the championship game of the First Security/Gillam Farms Holiday Classic at the Badger Sports Arena on Saturday. It marked the first time the Lady Badgers took the championship win in their own tournament in eight trys.

The hostesses kept pressure on Lo-noke sophomore post Asiah Scribner, who turned out to be the only consistant provider of points to the otherwise struggling Lady Jackrabbits. A total of zero field goal attempts by sophomore guard Ashleigh Hempstead, combined with a shocking 1 of 9 performance behind the three-point line for senior Hayley O’Cain meant there was only one place the Lady ‘Rabbits could go for points, and the Lady Badgers didn’t need a ton of bricks to fall on their heads.

“I felt like we played well during the whole tournament,” Lady Badgers coach Lora Jackson said. “We were a little sluggish on Thursday, but you have to expect that after some time off. Their perimeter shooting started struggling, and I thought we had good defense inside to limit their post player.”

Beebe senior Emily Bass has earned her reputation as a stout defensive player over the last few years for the Lady Badgers, but she took it to Lonoke on both ends of the court Saturday, finishing with 10 points and a five rebounds.

“She played a great game for us tonight,” Jackson said. “She did all the things she needed to do. We have had a different girl step up every night of the tournament, which has been good to see. Last night it was Audre (Renneker), and of course, the first night it was Ty O’Neill. Ty and Neshia (Upchurch) had well-rounded scoring for us all weekend, but sometimes, when you know they’re going to key in on certain people, you have to have other people waiting in the wings to make plays, and Emily gave us that spark tonight.”

O’Neill’s prowess did not go unrealized during the title game. She went on to lead the Lady Badgers with 16 points, while Upchurch did most of her dazzling on the defensive side wtih four steals.

Lonoke took control early, scoring the first seven points of the game to take the initial lead. Scribner put up the first four points off inside jumpers, and O’Cain knocked down what turned out to be her only points of the night at the 5:19 mark to give the Lady Jackrabbits a 7-0 advantage. Bass and O’Neill finally answered for Beebe in the last three minutes of the frame.

The Lady ‘Rabbits clung to an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but they soon watched their lead disapper for good during the following period.

The Lady Badgers picked up their transition game at that point, with a pair of fast break baskets by Upchurch, along with a bucket and foul shot for O’Neill that gave Beebe a 17-11 lead by the 4:47 mark of the second quarter. A Lonoke point was not generated in the second quater until 3:26 remained, when a pair of Scribner free throws ended nearly seven minutes without a score for the Lady Jackrabbits. Beebe slowly built up its lead in the second quarter, ending up with a 23-16 advantage at the intermission.

Lonoke came out with different strategy in the second half, but no amount of adjustments could contain Bass and the Lady Badgers. Bass scored six of her points in the game during the first five minutes of the third quarter, with a put back of her own miss at the 3:34 mark to give her 10 points on the night, and give the Lady Badgers their first double digit advantage of the game at 30-20.

Micheala Brown and Carrie Mitchell began to get in the mis offensively for Lonoke in an attempt to lend relief to an overworked and severely over guarded Scribner, but it was far from enough. The Lady Badgers hit six of 10 free throws in the final quarter while holding Lonoke to as many points.

O’Neill led the Lady Badgers with 16 points. Bass added 10 points and four rebounds for Beebe. For Lonoke, Scribner led all scorers with 17 points. Mitchell led in rebounds for the Lady Jackrabbits with seven boards. The win gives Beebe a 9-2 record on the season, while Lonoke fell to 12-4 with the loss.

EDITORIALS>>Don’t know geography

An endless succession of blunders once he attained center stage in the presidential race suggests that our man Mike Huckabee needs to stick to what he does best, one-liners and clemency, and leave foreign policy to others. He should say he’ll appoint someone like Colin Powell to be secretary of state and get out of the way. Meantime, he should avoid talking about it.

It all started the week of his big surge in Iowa when he was caught flat-footed talking about Iran’s nuclear weapons 36 hours after the dramatic intelligence report that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

He explained over and over that no one had bothered to tell him the big news. It has got worse almost daily.

Even when he (or a ghostwriter using his name) penned a halfway thoughtful critique of Bush foreign policy in Foreign Affairs magazine (“arrogant,” he said), the other Republicans jumped on him and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called him “ludicrous.”

Then he tried to wade into the coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by comparing the Pakistani crisis to the Mexican- border situation.

He placed Pakistan in the wrong place — well, Middle East maps are confusing — and then he had trouble trying to explain his remarks.

He said the murder of the former prime minister of Pakistan showed why it was important for the government to build that mammoth wall from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. The Mexican wall, Huckabee explained, would keep Pakistani militants from coming across the border.

He is not so concerned about people coming across to pick lettuce, he said, but it’s those swarthy Muslims coming across carrying shoulder-fired missile launchers. Say what?

After all, Huckabee said, next to Mexicans, Pakistanis are by far the most numerous illegal border crossers.

The media had to point out that, no, there were many more from the Philippines, Korea, China, Vietnam and other countries. Oh, never mind.

Try to understand, country, that when you’re tied down for a decade dealing with the Arkansas Legislature and Wayne DuMond and mediating between polluting chicken processors and the state of Oklahoma, there’s no time to become an expert on ancient hatreds and the exotic cultures of distant shores.

Americans will understand, won’t they?

Ernie Dumas writes editorials for The Leader.

EDITORIALS>>Water users get soaked

Between the lawyers and the reporters who record their pleadings, the legal jousting over building subdivisions west of Lake Maumelle leaves most of us baffled. But one point is crystal clear. You should get ready to pay a lot more for your water before long. The developers and speculators out there in the Maumelle watershed are going to get rich — make that richer — at your expense.

Lake Maumelle, which was built in 1956 to supply drinking water for Little Rock, now serves more than 400,000 people, all of whom have a vital interest in the legal maneuvers between the county, the water company and the developers. Damming the Big Maumelle River created magnificently scenic vistas in the valleys around the lake and rare economic opportunities for developers to cash in on the beauty as the city grew westward. Buying all the land that was impounded by the lake was expensive for the waterworks back then but keeping the developers at bay, if it is even possible, is going to cost much more.

The water utility, Central Arkansas Water, won a battle with the largest development company, Deltic Timber Corp., which wanted to build luxury homes along the steep slopes that it owned, but the utility will have to pay a high price to keep pollution out of the basin. Other developers are lining up. The only real insurance for pure water into the future is for the waterworks to have the land that is most vulnerable to pollution condemned and buy it.

The developers demand the fetching prices that luxury properties in other places would claim — tens of thousands of dollars an acre.

The latest dispute is over a 965-acre development that would be called Canterbury Park near the Big Maumelle River where it drains into the water supply. The developers have been suing the county government to force it to approve its development plans so that it can get the earthmoving machinery in place. Central Arkansas Water is suing to stop it because the developer won’t meet the water company’s standards.

Studies by the U. S. Geological Survey show that Maumelle waters have maintained unusually high purity. Few places in the country enjoy such pristine water. But the sediment deposits, the geometry of the reservoir and the growing development in the basin suggest that it may not always be so. The water company owes it to all of us and future generations to be aggressive in protecting the water.

The developers tell the water company that if it does not like their subdivision plans it should buy the land at the premium prices that the market demands, and condemnation is indeed what the utility in the end must do. But acquisition at $15,000 to $25,000 an acre is far beyond the utility’s ability and will require higher water rates from the 400,000-plus customers. It also is unconscionable.

The equation is inherently unfair: The developers value the land in a way that they pay only pennies per acre in ad-valorem taxes to the county and the schools, but when they propose selling it to the public, they value it like it was the French Riviera.

Here is the fair way that it should be handled: Whatever a property owner lists as the value of the land when he records it for tax purposes with the county courthouse is the maximum price that should be paid for the land when it is condemned for public purposes like keeping pure drinking water. What could be fairer than that? The courts may not recognize that valuation system, just though it is, so lawmakers ought to provide the foundation for a level field the next time they are in town.


Cancer support sew-in planned at LRAFB

Area volunteers are planning another community sew-in to be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 at the Little Rock Air Force Base chapel. The workshop is open to all interested in sewing, cutting, pinning, ironing and packaging colorful kerchief-like head coverings known as care caps. They are for free distribution to balding chemotherapy patients in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.

Recently, Care Caps went online at Featured in many of the site’s photos are members of the base’s project volunteers and text explaining the charitable activity.

Mary Philips, director of Care Cap Connection, will lead participants in her step-by-step assembly line method of group operation. Through December, 615 volunteers produced 6,068 caps. Major cancer centers joining in the effort include Mayo Clinic, M.D. Anderson, St. Vincent, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, St. Jude, Baptist Health, Christus Health and UAMS.   

All sewing materials are donated and Janome sewing machines are available for use during the sew-in. There is no cost to join and no solicitation. For more information, contact Ora Brown, (501) 982-7667, or Mary Philips (501) 884-3046.  

Youth horse association to hold meeting in Cabot

The American Morgan Horse Association Youth of Arkansas will hold an organizational meeting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6 in Cabot.  All youth who are interested in learning about horses are encouraged to participate. The club is open to youth who have not reached their 22nd birthday. Owning a horse is not required.

AMHAY offers its members a variety of programs to learn and develop in all areas of the horse industry.

For location or more information call Monica, AMHAY regional vice president, at 501-941-8784 or Kirsten, National AMHAY Horsemastership tester, at 501-258-7067.

Mercy’s Cross Church hosting charity concert

Mercy’s Cross Church will host “The Great Cover Up” charity concert from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 at the church, 901 E. Kiehl Ave. in Sherwood. Hidden will be the featured band. Admission is free with the donation of a blanket to help cover up a homeless child or adult this winter. For more information, call the church at 833-4673.

OBITUARIES >> 5-13-09


Thelma Jean Combs Spriggs, 83, of El Paso, was born April 1, 1926, in Mabelvale, to James Walter and Iris Whisner Combs.

Thelma was a faithful loving wife, mother and friend. She was a long time member of St. James Catholic Church. Thel-ma went to be with her Lord on May 11.

Thelma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Max A. Spriggs, Sr.; and one brother, James Walter Combs. She is survived by her children, Alana Bosshart of North Little Rock, Max A. Spriggs, Jr. and wife, Ann of Maumelle and Jan A. Spriggs and wife, Nikki of El Paso; 11 grandchildren, Kimberly Bosshart, Max, III, Bryan, Steele, Jessica, Madison, Logan, Masson, Miranda Spriggs, Anneliese and Matthew Eckess; one great-grandchild, Grace Spriggs and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and a host of friends.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 14 at Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe with rosary to follow at 7:30 p.m. Funeral Mass will be 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16 at St. James Catholic Church in Searcy, with burial in Antioch Cemetery, Beebe.

Memorials may be made to St. James Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 172, Searcy, Ark., 72143.


Junior “Jay” L. Wise, 71, of Cabot passed away peacefully in his home on Saturday, May 9 after an extended illness. He was born in Clay County, on Oct. 18, 1937.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Claude Wise and Dolly Marie Nash, and his sister, Virginia Grist.  Jay is survived by his wife of 52 years, Marilyn M. Wise; three children, Tom Wise of Cabot, Patty Muenzmaier of Texarkana, and Diane Carson of Smithfield, Va.; four granddaughters, and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Charles Wise, and sister, Ruth Harold, both of Corning, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jay served his country for 28 years in the Air Force, retiring as a chief master sergeant. Jay then began a career in real estate, opening the Cabot branch of Plantation Realty with his business partner Loyd Friedman in 1984 and serving as owner/broker for 25 years.

He was past president of the Cabot Lions Club and he also served on the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council. For 10 years, Jay served as chairman of the Cabot Planning Commission and in 1992 was recognized as “Man of the Year” by Cabot’s Chamber of Commerce.

Visitation was held May 12 at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Jacksonville. Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 13 at St. Jude’s. Burial service will follow at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.

Arrangements are by West-brook Funeral Home, Beebe. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society,


Elsie Farene Bruder, 95, of Jacksonville, died Friday, May 8. She was born Aug. 17, 1913 in Dallas to the late Ralph Waldow and Anna Mae Jett Cross. She was a member of the United Church of God. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Bruder; two sisters and a daughter.

She is survived by a son, Ralph Bruder of Bellwood, Ill., five grandchildren and several great- and great-great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 in the chapel of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.  Funeral arrangements are under direction of Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.


Jason Thomas Leatherberry (J.T.), went to be with the Lord on May 8. Jason was born Dec. 6, 1975. He had a lifetime struggle with cerebral palsy. He was an inspiration to all with a smile on his face daily. He attended school at United Cerebral Palsy in Little Rock. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, John Thomas Leatherberry, and grandmother Delores Fennell.

Survivors include his mother and father, Albert Glynn and Michelle Leatherberry of Jacksonville; brot-her, Albert Leatherberry, and wife Simone, of Cabot; grandmother, Pat Leatherberry of Colton, Calif.; grandfather, Elmo Fennell of Mabelvale, his special aunt “Mamma B.,” Lisa of Mabelvale, two nephews and a niece Cade, Brady and Brylee Leatherberry of Cabot.

Visitation was May 12 at Cabot Funeral Home in Cabot. In lieu of flowers donations in Jason’s name can be made to United Cerebral Palsy Foundation, United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas 9720 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock, Ark. 72227, phone (501) 224-6067; E-mail,

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


Jimmy Guy Prince of Jacksonville departed this world on May 9 to join his Savior and all his loved ones who went before him. He was 40 years old. Words cannot start to describe what a wonderful Christian, husband, father and friend he was. He was the perfect son to his parents. Jimmy was loved and admired by everyone he knew.

He was born May 27, 1968 in Searcy. He grew up in the area he loved, Romance. Jimmy married his only love, Robin Adams Prince, in 1988. Jimmy was a member of the Church of Christ and attended Somers Avenue Church of Christ in North Little Rock. He was a wonderful Christian example. He was baptized into Christ and served his Lord proudly. Jimmy was a skilled carpenter and craftsman who worked hard despite his numerous health problems, and seldom complained. He was a devoted husband and father. Those who knew him often heard him brag about his two beautiful daughters, whom he cherished deeply.

Jimmy was preceded in death by a baby brother, Thomas Prince, and his grandparents, George Irving and Dolly Prince of Griffithville, and Raymond and Mary Rodgers of Romance. He was very fond of his father-in-law, M.J. Adams Jr. (Knock-Out) who also preceded him in death.

Survivors include his wife Robin Adams Prince and two daughters, Bailie Elise Prince and Marlie Elizabeth Prince all of the home, his parents, Guy and Brenda Prince of Searcy, a sister, Kathy Prince Flynn of Cabot and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation was May 11, at Somers Avenue Church of Christ. Services were May 12 at the church.

Pallbearers were Tim House, Kevin House, Tim McClurg, Robert Peeples, Chris Handy, Jose’ Filito, Mike Young and Rex Morris. Honorary pallbearers included his three nephews, Nolan Hidalgo, Brandon Hidalgo, and Austin Flynn as well as his brother-in-law, Jerry Flynn.

Jimmy adored children and often quoted the Bible verse, “It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:2.

The family requests memorials be made to Children’s Homes, Inc. 5515 Walcott Road, Paragould, Ark. 72450. Arrangements by Wood Bean Funeral Home.


Garth W. Travis, 89 of Jack-sonville passed away May 5. He was born Jan. 9, 1920, in Lonoke County to the late Lewis P. and Hazel Sugg Travis.

He was also preceded in death by his wife, Ethel Travis, and three brothers, Norwood Travis, Lewis Travis and Billie Travis. Garth retired from the Air Force after 22 years of service.

Survivors include his son, Thomas L. Travis of Little Rock; grandchildren, Matthew Garth Travis, and Sarah Marie Travis, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were May 8 at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Jacksonville.

Entombment followed at Chapel Hill Memorial Park.

Funeral arrangements were under direction of Moore’s Jack-sonville Funeral Home.


Leonard R. Young, 76, of Cabot died May 5. He was born Aug. 3, 1932 in Boone County to the late Wiley and Etta Kinley Young. Leonard was a member of Cabot Church of Christ and retired from Levi Strauss.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Eoudella Young; four children, Terri Barnett of Cabot, Becky Hurdle of Olive Branch, Miss., David W. Young of Russellville and Sonja Beasley of Cabot. He had nine grandchildren, David S. Young, Nikki Schaerer, Chad, Brandon and Melanie Hurdle, Lauren and Parker Young, and Kristin, Logan and Holden Beasley, and four great-grandchildren, Connor and Cali Young and Calvin and Julian Schaerer.

Funeral services were held May 8 at Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home. Graveside service was at Maplewood Cemetery in Harrison. Arrangements were by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Bobby Ray Upton, Sr., 79, of McRae was born Nov. 23, 1919 at Alto, Texas, to Everett and Lillie Matlock Upton, and he died May 5. He was a retired truck driver and construction worker, a union member, a Mason and a member of McRae First Baptist Church.

He was preceded in death by brothers, Jack L. and Kenneth Don and sisters, Sue Carolyn and Ginger Ann. Bobby is survived by his wife of 55 years, Minnie Faye Upton; his son, Bobby Upton, Jr. and wife Colette of St. Louis, Mo.; two grandchildren, Noah Ray and Hannah Aili; brother-in-law, Tommy Johns of Louise, Texas; sister-in-law, Liz Burnsed of Sallisaw, Okla., and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral was held May 7 at Westbrook Funeral Home. Burial was in Lebanon Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests help with the expenses of bringing Bob’s next grandchild, Hadassah Yue-Su, a special-needs child from China, to her new family, c/o Eagle Bank, 3944 Vogel Road, Arnold, Mo. 63010.

TOP STORY >>Cabot likely will bail out broke parks department

Leader staff writer

The Cabot City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday, Jan. 10 to appropriate $100,000 from the general fund to bail out the parks department, which will have more bills due in the first month of 2008 than income to pay them.

Parks Director Carroll Astin met with the city council budget committee Thursday night to explain why his department is $100,000 over budget for 2007. Astin told the committee that about $75,000 of the shortfall was due to expenses at the new community center and about $25,000 was from the excessive number of ball tournaments over the summer.

Astin said he estimated the electric bill too low for the community center, which has now completed its first year in operation, charged too little for the programs there and hired too many fulltime employees.

There is little that can be done about the electric bill, but Astin said that since August, he has raised some prices for the programs offered at the center and reduced his full-time staff from nine to six.

Alderman Ed Long, who is not on the budget committee but did attend the meeting, told Astin that the parks commission should consider charging rent to the ball associations that use the city ball fields for tournaments. The Parks Department has to pay for the lights at the fields and provide staff to tend to the fields, so it is only fair that the associations pay rent, he said.

Astin suggested instead that parks should charge a $1 gate fee for tournaments, something that has not been done in the past. That alone would make up for the shortfall, he said.

“With the service we’re providing, we need that extra dollar on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Astin told the budget committee.

Cabot parks have been run by a commission for almost a decade, and the council members who attended the budget committee meeting said they had no intention of changing that.

They only wanted to understand what caused the shortfall and what Astin and the commission will do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“The last thing I want to see is the city council in your business,” Alderman Ken Williams said. “But when we have to appropriate $100,000, we’re there. We need to fix the problem and get on with next year.”

Alderman Teri Miessner ag-reed. “We wanted a community center. Now we’ve got to figure out how to manage it,” she said.

The city council gives parks $250,000 annually to help cover expenses. The additional $100,000 will likely come from the $400,000 carryover in the general fund, council members said.

The cash problem in the parks department is similar to the one the city council faced a year ago when the Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission had to bail the general fund out with a $240,000 contribution after it was discovered that the city was $37,000 in the red.

Alderman Eddie Cook, chairman of the budget committee, asked Astin to attend another committee meeting Jan. 7 to explain the situation to the mayor and the council members who didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting.

Cook emphasized that he thinks the parks commission and the water and wastewater commission do a good job and that there is no talk of the council taking control away from either one.

The five council members who attended the committee meeting called the special Jan. 10 council meeting. City Attorney Jim Taylor said after the meeting that he would have the appropriation ordinance prepared for the council to vote on at that time.

TOP STORY >>Treatment plant near Cabot gets opposition

Leader staff writer

A planned development of about 1,000 small homes less than two miles southeast of Cabot city limits has caught the attention of Cabot officials who could claim planning jurisdiction over the subdivision and insist that streets, water lines and
sewer lines meet city standards.

But the more pressing issue is sewage treatment. Developer Eutaw Hornton has asked the Arkansas Department of

Environmental Quality for a permit to build a sewage treatment plant to serve his subdivision.

The ADEQ has called a public hearing for 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7 at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in the Mt. Tabor Road area.

Already about 30 comments have been submitted to ADEQ, said spokesperson Kelly Robinson.

So it is certain that some residents will attend the meeting, but it is also likely that city officials will also be there.

Ann Russell, whose 40 acres adjoin the site of the proposed sewer treatment plant, says she estimates that as many as 100 residents and elected officials will attend the public hearing.

“I figure there are going to be a lot of people there: the (Cabot) mayor and city council, Representative (Lendel) Evans and
Senator (Bobby) Glover,” Russell said.

Russell said the relatively small size of the houses in the planned subdivision is a concern in an area where most houses
are large, but the greater concern is the sewer-treatment plant, which she thinks could bring down property values.

Russell said the Wattensaw Bayou, which will receive the treated water from the plant, doesn’t flow year round. She said she thinks more agencies like the state health department and the U.S. Corps of Engineers should weigh in on the proposed plant before it is approved.

Officials with Cabot Water-Works are reticent about the planned subdivision, saying only that they will offer whatever support they can. By current city policy, WaterWorks couldn’t provide sewer to a subdivision outside city limits even if that were the goal. But it also is true that the city council could change that policy and allow WaterWorks to add as many sewer customers as it can handle. And with a new $12 million sewer-treatment plant in operation for less than a month, it can handle a lot.

That the commission in charge of Cabot WaterWorks is concerned about a privately owned and operated sewer-treatment plant in its planning area was apparent during the last commission meeting. It is a situation that members said they intend to monitor closely.

For now, whether the commission will press the city council to change its policy and allow the extension of sewer service outside the city or even pursue annexation of the subdivision so the change in policy is not necessary are questions that are only being asked – not answered.

TOP STORY >>Gravel Ridge has a slight window to incorporate

Leader staff writer

As Jacksonville and Sherwood both attempt to annex Gravel Ridge into their city limits, the unincorporated area’s only hope of staying independent of either one is to incorporate on its own, Don Zimmerman, executive director of the Municipal League, said.

Because Gravel Ridge falls into Jacksonville’s five-mile planning jurisdiction, he explained, Gravel Ridge would need to get permission from Jacksonville, in the form of a resolution, that it has no objections to having another city that close.

“They would have to go to Jacksonville and get the resolution passed before they could proceed with incorporating,”
Zimmerman said, adding, “If they don’t have that resolution, the county judge won’t approve it.”

But with Jacksonville trying to annex the 2,400-acre area, Zimmerman believes receiving the city’s blessing is not likely.
Gravel Ridge would not need Sherwood’s permission, as it doesn’t fall within Sherwood’s planning jurisdiction, but rather Pulaski County’s.

Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim said Gravel Ridge could ask, but he didn’t know what the city council’s opinion would be. “I can’t speculate on what the council would do. If they had of came six months to one year ago…it’s all speculation,” he said.
Jacksonville City Attorney Robert Bamburg told Swaim that until annexation elections are held, Gravel Ridge couldn’t apply to incorporate.

Currently, Jacksonville extends out Jacksonville Cut-Off to about the Bayou Meto bridge, about 1.5 miles from the intersection of Hwy. 107 and Jacksonville Cut-Off. Sherwood’s city limits stop on Hwy. 107, about a half-mile south of that intersection and just south of Kellogg Creek.

The area set for annexation includes the bulk of Gravel Ridge, going beyond Ison Road on the west, most of Hatcher Road on the north, about a mile east of Gibson Road, and just north of Ascot Drive on the south.

Jacksonville’s election to decide the annexation issue is Feb.5, piggybacking on the state’s presidential primary election. Both Jacksonville and Gravel Ridge residents will have the opportunity to vote in that election.

Sherwood’s election to bring the area into its city is set for March 11. The residents of Sherwood and Gravel Ridge will vote in that election.

According to the Pulaski County Clerk’s Office there are 16,932 registered voters in Jacksonville, 15,164 in Sherwood and 3,721 in the four precincts that cover the Gravel Ridge area.

If both elections approve the annexation, then a tie-breaker election will be scheduled for just Gravel Ridge voters to decide if they want to become part of Jacksonville or Sherwood.

What would Jacksonville or Sherwood gain by annexing the Gravel Ridge area? Land and population.

Both cities are running out of affordable or usable land for housing and commercial developments. Gravel Ridge would instantly increase the population of either city by about 8 percent with its roughly 4,000 residents.

Annexation also brings in a tax base of homes and more than two-dozen businesses. That tax base could help Jacksonville bolster its efforts for its own separate school district.

Besides available land for development, the proposed route for the North Belt freeway goes through a portion of Gravel Ridge, and at least one off-ramp, near Kellogg Valley, will exit into Gravel Ridge, opening that area up to additional development.

Gravel Ridge will be the second piece of acreage that Jacksonville and Sherwood are in competition for.

The first area is 2,000 acres of undeveloped land north of Sherwood and west of Jacksonville.

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines and a lower court have approved Sherwood’s annexing that area, but Jacksonville has appealed to the state Supreme Court. The case may not be settled until after the Gravel Ridge issue is resolved.

If Sherwood ends up with both annexations, its city limits will stretch at least seven miles in a south-north direction, from exit 3 off Hwy. 67/167 to the northwestern edge of Little Rock Air Force Base, effectively blocking any westerly expansion of Jacksonville.

TOP STORY >>Highlights of 2007 reviewed

Leader staff writer

In the last issue, The Leader ran its Top Ten stories of 2007. Here now is a month-by-month look at other important local news of the year.


1/17—Three days of heavy cold rain leaves many areas flooded.

1/17—The Cabot City Council restores the duties of city clerk-treasurer Marva Verkler.

1/24—Cabot mayor and others help remove racial slurs painted on the home of a black family in the city. At the time, the homeowner was serving in Iraq. Mayor Eddie Joe Willliams called the graffiti “despicable.”

1/31—Air Force Staff Sgts. Matthew Patnaude and Lawrence Lipinski, both with the 314th Civil Engineer Squadron, receive Purple Hearts for their actions and injuries in Iraq.

1/31—Bancroft battles the military the entire month over the quality and materials of its berets. The company is forced into bankruptcy because the military cancelled its multi-million contract with the Cabot firm.


2/3—Army Spc. Justin Haynes, of Beebe, receives a Purple Heart for his heroic actions and wounds received in battling terrorists in Iraq.

2/10—About 120 members of various squadrons on Little Rock Air Force Base are deployed to Iraq in support of the global war on terror.

2/21—A new I-440 route, running through the northern edge of Sherwood is submitted to the Federal Highway Administration.

2/28—Pastor Larry Burton is roasted at the Jacksonville Senior Center’s annual dinner and fundraiser.

2/28—Former State Rep. Doug Wood, of Sherwood, is released after serving almost six years of a 14-year sentence in prison for allegedly stealing up to $70 million from insurance companies he headed.


3/3—Maj. Gen. William Wofford assumes command of the 10,200-member Arkansas National Guard.

3/3—Air Force Lt. Kelly George, with the 314th Public Affairs Office, competes as Miss Arkansas USA. She doesn’t win the crown, but does well.

3/10—Daylight Savings Time is moved up by three weeks and causes some confusion.

3/17—The Leader celebrates its 20th anniversary as the voice of Jacksonville, Cabot and central Arkansas.

3/28—Army Sgt. Freeman Gardner, 26, of Little Rock, is killed in Iraq.

3/28—Sherwood’s fire rating for most of the city improves to a two from a three, a portion of the city remains at a nine because of a water flow problem, but that rating is much improved by the end of the year.

3/28—Brig. Gen. Kip Self, the base commander becomes the head of the Air Force Expeditionary Center in New Jersey.


4/4—The 41st Airlift Squadron, known as the Blackcats, was activated at Little Rock Air Force Base.

4/11—Soldiers from the Arkansas Army National Guard’s 39th Infantry Brigade were alerted that many of them would be heading back to Iraq for another tour of duty.

4/14—The beleaguered Jacksonville Housing Authority is informed that it would lose $140,000 in federal money while it was cleaning up from its mismanagement fiasco.

4/21—Former Jacksonville City Engineer Jay Whisker returns to the city as its new administrator after a short departure. His former engineer’s position still remains open.

4/25—The Two Pines Landfill in Jacksonville plans a 105-acre expansion, doubling its size, by using the open field opposite its current operations near I-440.


5/2—The battle against the high rates charged by payday lenders continued on multiple fronts despite the state General Assembly’s failure to criminalize high-interest loan practices.

5/5—A $530 million Bayou Meto Basin Irrigation Project could bring water to Lonoke farmers by 2015.

5/19—Now Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz takes command of the 314th Airlift Wing from Brig. Gen. Kip Self.

5/23—More than 1,300 seniors from area high schools participated in various graduation ceremonies and activities.

5/26—It was discovered that Mike Brown, a convicted sex offender, was still teaching at his Taekwondo school in Jacksonville.

5/30—Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams promises to try to find enough city money to hire three new, much needed firefighters and 21 pay-per call firefighters.


6/6—Embezzlement charges are filed against former Pulaski County comptroller Ron Quillen.

6/6—J.J. Martin, who retired earlier in the year from the Jacksonville Police Department, is named the new Austin police chief.

6/13—Dr. Frank Holman ends his five-year tenure as Cabot’s school superintendent, taking a job in Lincoln with an $80,000 cut in pay.

6/23—The eighth C-130J lands at the air base and becomes part of the Blackcats, the 41st Airlift Squadron.

6/27—Now Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz, commander of Little Rock Air Force Base, told the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce that more C-130Js were heading to the base. “We’ll also see more C-130J training at Little Rock Air Force Base,” the commander said.

6/30—For the first time in years, Beebe allows the sale and use of fireworks within the city limits.


7/4—A modest but complicated grocery-tax cut goes into effect cutting the sales tax on groceries from 6 cents to 3 cents on the dollar and creating headaches for merchants.

7/7—Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson asks the public to help his department catch thieves who’ve been stealing copper from the county’s construction sites.

7/11—The five-candidate race for Sherwood mayor is narrowed to two: the interim Mayor Bill Harmon and city clerk (now mayor) Virginia Hillman who faced each other in a July 31 runoff.

7/11—Most area schools scored above the state average on end-of-course algebra and geometry exams. Lonoke students had a 100 percent pass rate.

7/14—A $6.4 million bid is accepted for the overpass which will connect Hwy. 367 to Hwy. 38 in Cabot and Austin.

7/14—The Air Force looks into developer shortfalls as housing privatization work ceased and contractors wait for their money.

7/18—Cabot’s council agrees to pay $399,000 for industrial park property for a new National Guard Armory.

7/21—Jacksonville opens its long-awaited, off-leash dog park.

7/28—A loop extension is approved for North Belt’s second phase but since no funding is on the horizon, some commissioners want to see it designed as a toll road.

7/31—Charitable bingo becomes legal. The state collects a penny for every bingo face.


8/8—Beebe Mayor Mike Robertson fires Police Chief Don Inns after the chief fixed an arrest warrant.

8/15—Area suffers through a heat wave with temperatures hitting as high as 106 degrees.

8/22—City’s annual report puts worth of Jacksonville at $1.1 billion.

8/22—Jacksonville signs a $3.6 million contract to build a new 13,000-square-foot library on Main Street.

8/29—Assistant Police Chief Wayne Bellew becomes the new chief of the Beebe police force.

8/29—Scott Landrum becomes the new CEO of Rebsamen Medical Center.


9/5—Bingo fever spreads across the state. The games became legal the first week of August and by early September more than 240 permits had been issued statewide.

9/19—Challenger Bill Vasquez defeats incumbent Bishop James Bolden for a seat on the Pulaski County Special School

District school board.

9/19—The Air Force celebrates its 60th birthday with a military ball and other events.

9/29—Little Rock Air Force Base commander Rowayne Schatz becomes a general, receiving his first star.

9/29—Wal-Mart meets with Sherwood residents upset with the retailer’s construction work and apparent lack of concern for neighboring residents.

No headway is made at the meeting.

9/29—Sherwood seeks changes in a proposed I-440 interchange.


10/10—The $59 million Northbelt Transmission Water Project bringing water from Lake Maumelle to Cabot and Jacksonville and north Pulaski County is on schedule for completion by 2010.

10/17—The Dixon family of Ward is named the Lonoke County Farm Family of the Year.

10/17—Army First Lt. Thomas Martin, 27, a Cabot High School graduate, is killed in Iraq.

10/20—Federal officials tell Jacksonville Housing Authority that it is no longer in trouble after a mismanagement problem came to light back in February.

10/20—Eighteen schools in the local area are on the state’s school improvement list.

10/24—The military puts lending restrictions on payday loan lenders, telling them to cap their loans at 17 percent.

10/27—Gov. Mike Beebe gives Cabot a $100,000 check as part of a down payment on the city’s new Army National Guard facility.


11/7—Lonoke County Judge Lance Hanshaw announced his retirement after almost 30 years on the bench.

11/10—A Jacksonville toddler survives after swallowing deadly Aqua-Dots, toxic toy beads from China related to the date-rape drug.

11/21—Cabot City Council freezes collection of impact fees it collects on new construction.

11/24—Little Rock Air Force Base’s historic 53rd Airlift Squadron is slated for deactivation.

11/28—The Sherwood City Council votes to kill off its economic-development department, citing the $77,000 used to fund the department could be put to better use.


12/1—A new $15 million wastewater treatment plant in Cabot opens replacing a 20-year plant that never worked up to required standards.

12/5—Five historical panels and acreage are added to the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield off Highway 161.

12/8—National Guard members of the 77th Aviation Brigade, stationed at Camp Robinson, return from a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

12/8—Jacksonville follows the lead of Sherwood and other Arkansas cities and bans the sale of novelty lighters within the city limits.

12/12—Little Rock Air Force Base Commander, Brig. Gen. Rowayne Schatz, urges the Pulaski County Special School District board to push up the date for construction of a replacement for 50-year-old Arnold Drive Elementary School.

12/15—Santa arrives early at Little Rock Air Force Base in time for the 48th Airlift Squadron’s Christmas party. He brought a sackful of toys.

12/15—Rebsamen Medical Center begins to operate under the name North Metro Medical Center.

12/19—Cabot School Board plans to call a March election for a 3.9 millage increase for construction projects, including a new elementary school. Pulaski County Special School District will ask for a millage increase in August.

12/19—Cabot’s new wastewater treatment plant goes online.

12/19—Cabot School Board votes to move ninth graders back to the high school in the next few years.

12/19—Local churches, civic organizations and residents reach out to those less fortunate and provide food, toys and clothing for Christmas.

Twelve-year-old Sydney Hickok of Cabot was recognized for her generosity.

12/26—Both Jacksonville and Sherwood eye Gravel Ridge. Both cities plan elections aimed at annexing the unincorporated community of nearly 4,000.

12/29—The $15.7 million Joint Education Center planned for Little Rock Air Force Base receives funding as President Bush signs the $555 billion omnibus funding bill.

The center will offer college classes to airmen and area residents and will be on base property but outside the fenced perimeter.