Saturday, October 16, 2010

SPORTS>>Mountain Home tops Jacksonville amid fan flare-up


Leader sportswriter

Benched seniors and belligerent parents compounded the difficulties for Jacksonville as Mountain Home beat the Lady Red Devils 3-0 on Thursday at the Devils Den.

Jacksonville coach Melissa Reeves benched all three starting seniors during the first game-and-a-half for breaking undisclosed team rules, which drew the ire of the players’ mothers.

The parents could be heard heckling from the stands during the match, and some went so far as to trespass into the locker room afterward.

The visiting Lady Bombers took advantage of the discord to claim a clear victory in the 6A-East Conference matchup, 25-12, 25-9, 25-11.

“We lose control of their kids when they act like that,” Reeves said of the parents. “We have had control all season long until one of them didn’t get their way, and then they got mad. And then one bleeds into the other, into the other. And that’s what’s happened in girls’ athletics here at Jacksonville for a very long time, and it needs to stop.

“It’s going to stop this year, because it’s just not acceptable. I wouldn’t go to their job and do that to them, nor would they allow me to.”

Reeves, visibly upset over the situation, declined to reveal the names of the players or their specific infractions.

Tuesday’s loss at Marion was the start of the breakdown.

The Lady Patriots dominated the first two games, winning 25-7 and 25-8. Reeves substituted for the final game to give underclassmen experience against a competitive team.

“Up until then, everybody loved me,” Reeves said. “But because I made a coaching decision to give the rest of my team some experience, they had an issue.”

The distraction comes at a time when the Lady Devils are fighting for their playoff lives.

They will wrap up their 6A-East schedule Monday at West Memphis, where a victory would put them a game ahead of Little Rock Parkview for the sixth and final tournament seed. A loss would send the Lady Devils and Lady Patriots into a tiebreaker situation as the teams split their two conference matches.

“I know these are their kids — I have kids,” Reeves said of the girls’ parents. “I love these kids. We as a coaching staff have worked our butts off for these kids, and I only want the best for them.

“I’m more competitive than anybody in this room or on that floor. I want to win. But I’m not going to win at the cost of losing other kids and teaching them life lessons — I’m not going to do it.”

Junior Haley Hickingbotham led the Lady Red Devils at the net with seven blocks, while junior libero Taylor Ruple had 24 digs.

“I think we executed in spurts,” Reeves said. “I was proud of the kids who were played. It’s a time of the season where you expect a little better play, but everybody has an off night. I believe we had an off night.

“I totally take responsibility. I made a coaching decision, and I stood by it. We’re going to West Memphis on Monday and make up a game that we’ve got, and hopefully that will have a better outcome.”

Jacksonville athletic director Jerry Wilson said on Friday he had met with the coaching staff and parents and had addressed the situation.

“When you’re talking about communication, how’s someone going to know where you stand on something if you’re not communicating with them?” Wilson said. “Coaches are human, kids are human, and basically, it comes down to a matter of communication. And you know how to handle miscommunication problems? You communicate.

“The situation has been handled, and it honestly amounted to nothing more than a bump in the road.”

SPORTS>>For better, worse Bears get it done

By todd traub

Leader sports editor

Sylvan Hills shut out North Pulaski in the second half and took a 16-8, penalty-plagued victory in a 5A-Southeast Conference game at Sylvan Hills on Friday.

Sylvan Hills’ only second-half points came on a 23-yard field goal by Kevin Wang, who missed a 39-yarder low later in the half, while the Bears committed close to 70 penalty yards.

“That was as ugly as ugly is,” Sylvan Hills coach Jim Withrow said. “But a win, is a win, is a win.”

Ugly or not, Sylvan is still poised to post a late-season rally and reach the playoffs for the fourth time in Withrow’s four seasons.

“I am proud of the guys because they hung in there and they made plays when they had to make plays,” Withrow said.

The Bears (3-4, 2-2) have struggled with injury problems this year but North Pulaski (0-7, 0-4) has struggled just to score points.

The Falcons’ 8-7, first-half lead, which came on Shyheim Barron’s one-yard run in the second quarter, was their first of the season and the Falcons finished with their second highest point total of the year.

“We lost by penalties and selfishness,” North Pulaski coach Terrod Hatcher said. “That’s what happens. We’ve got to play better. We’ve got to be more apt to play for our team than ourselves and that’s when we’ll win.”

Hatcher was especially displeased with a stretch early in the fourth quarter when North Pulaski, having reached the Sylvan Hills 35, went backwards on a holding penalty followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed by Michael Maddox’s interception of Kari Watson.

Sylvan Hills drove to the North Pulaski 19, lost three yards and then suffered Wang’s missed field goal.

But the Bears’ drive ate more than five minutes off the clock to give North Pulaski possession with 4:35 left, and another penalty marred drive ended in a low punt.

Sylvan Hills got the ball at the North Pulaski 20, but suffered a false start penalty of its own before turning it over on downs, and the game ended with North Pulaski on the march but out of timeouts.

“If we want to get in the playoffs we’ve got to step it up,” Withrow said. “We can do it. In my heart of hearts I know we can do it, but we’ve got to bring a lot better than that.”

North Pulaski has had injury issues as well. Barron, who started the season at quarterback, was back in action with a cast on his broken thumb and played a slotback roll while North Pulaski rotated Austin Allen, Derrick Hart and Watson at quarterback.

“Each quarterback has a different quality,” Hatcher said. “We knew which one had certain qualities and we just rotated them like that.”

Anthony Featherstone blocked North Pulaski’s first punt of the game and Jaleel Henson recovered at the 16 to set up Sylvan Hills’ first score. The Bears took a 7-0 lead when Trey Bone went around left end on a three-yard carry and Wang kicked the extra point with 35.8 seconds left in the first quarter.

SPORTS>>Lonoke cruises past Cave City


Special to The Leader

Lonoke enjoyed an easy homecoming on a breezy and cool Friday night, cruising past Cave City 41-8 and staying in the thick of the race for the 2-4A Conference title.

The Cavemen got off to a good enough start by dominating time of possession and intercepting two Jackrabbits passes. They also blocked a Lonoke extra-point early on, but everything else went Lonoke’s way.

Lonoke (6-1, 3-1 2-4A Conference) ran only 22 plays in the first half, and scored on five of them. Jackrabbit senior Darius Scott also scored on a 48-yard punt return that pushed the score to 41-0 just seconds before intermission.

With little to worry about from the winless opponent, Lonoke coach Doug Bost was glad to see his team come out focused from the very beginning of the game.

“We didn’t do that last week,” Bost said. “We came out flat last week and didn’t play well early. We talked about that a lot this week and they came out ready to play tonight.”

Scott also got the fireworks underway on Lonoke’s second snap. After a 32-yard pass from quarterback Logan DeWhitt to Eric Williams, a screen pass to Scott went for 39 and a touchdown with 10:17 left in the first quarter.

Cave City’s next possession generated the first of its two first downs of the half, a 21-yard pass play from Jeremy Runyan to Jacob Martin.

Three more plays gained just one yard and Lonoke wasted little time after getting the ball back. After a sack that lost 10 yards, DeWhitt found receiver Blake Dill over the top for a 79-yard scoring pass. The extra point made it 14-0 with 5:43 left in the first.

Backup quarterback Tarrale Watson led Lonoke’s next drive. He marched the ’Rabbits 39 yards and scored on a 1-yard sneak with 27 seconds left to go in the game’s opening period.

Dill then picked off a Runyan pass on the Cavemen’s second play of their next drive.

That set up a one-play, 28-yard Lonoke drive when Watson hit Scott over the middle to give the Rabbits a 28-0 lead with 10:54 left in the half.

Another Caveman drive lost 3 yards, but Runyan intercepted Watson and returned it 51 yards to the Lonoke 34.

The Jackrabbits defense got the ball back in just four plays, and the offense needed just one snap to get on the board again. This time, DeWhitt was back in, and found Darius Scott behind the Caveman defense for a 74-yard strike that concluded the offensive explosion with 3:47 left in the half.

Cave City scored on its first snap of the second half when Tyler Poulette scampered 53 yards on a dive play for the final score of the game.

Lonoke finished with 417 total yards, 358 coming in the first half. Scott finished the first half and the game with four receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with 210 all-purpose yards and three scores.

SPORTS>>Red Devils click in the clutch


Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville’s homecoming was a game of last chances, and the Red Devils made good use of the final one.

Senior running back Antwone Mosby pulled down a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Perry in the back of the end zone with three seconds left for a 12-7 victory over Searcy on Friday at Jan Crow Stadium.

The score came on the heels of Searcy’s only big offensive play of the night, a 23-yard touchdown pass from Dezmond Stegall to B.J. Slaughter on fourth-and-goal with 5:25 left. Steven Seitz gave the Lions the lead, 7-6, with the extra-point kick, but the Red Devils marched 69 yards in 12 plays and ate up the remainder of the clock.

“I hope it was exciting for them, because it was pretty stressful for us,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said of the capacity homecoming crowd. “The kids played for 48 minutes. We moved the ball on offense. The defense — I don’t think they got across the 50 until the blocked punt.”

Seitz gave Searcy new life when he blocked Mosby’s punt at the Jacksonville 32 with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter. The Lions, who struggled offensively most of the night, got the ball to the Red Devils’ 6 for a first-and-goal, but backed up on a procedure penalty followed by a holding call.

Stegall, who finished 5 of 9 passing for 51 yards and had 62 yards rushing on 13 carries, threw two incompletions to give the Lions fourth down, but found Slaughter over the middle to tie it at 6-6 before Seitz’s conversion.

“They played a great game. They won, they deserved to win, that’s all I can say,” Searcy coach Tim Harper said. “They did a great job, had a great effort. We didn’t come to play first half.

“Second half, it’s hard to overcome a lot of the things we had to try and overcome. Our kids made some plays there at the end, but unfortunately, they made one more than we did.”

The Red Devils (5-2, 3-1 6A-East Conference) held the ball most of the third quarter with a 17-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a wide-right kick from Xavier Brown from 30yards out with 35 seconds left in the period. The drive ate up 8:41 with the Red Devils running primarily out of the Dead T offense popularized by local rival Cabot.

“We’ve been working on that hard,” Red Devils junior D’Vone McClure said. “We just put it in, and we’ve been working on it hard all week. Up front, our linemen, we give it all to them, they kept blocking.”

McClure had 10 carries for 41 yards, most of which came during the long third-quarter drive, while senior receiver Jamison Williams carried the air attack with eight receptions for 75 yards.

Perry was 11 of 16 passing for 116 yards of Jacksonville’s total 274 yards of offense. Mosby led all rushers with 11 carries for 68 yards, but it was his only reception of the night that clinched the game for the Red Devils.

“Oh my gosh, was that not a big-time catch?” Russell said. “Logan stayed in the pocket. We only had nine seconds, we wanted to get rid of it a little quicker than that so we could have a field-goal try if it was incomplete. Beautiful — great executed play.”

Senior Kenny Cummings set up Jacksonville’s first score with 7:51 left in the first half when he recovered a Stegall fumble at the Searcy 31.

The Red Devils kept it on the ground for the most part with the exception of an 18-yard pass from Perry to Williams to set Jacksonville up with first-and-goal at the Searcy 1.

Perry called his own number on first down and was stuffed by the Lion defense, but was able to punch it across the goal line on the next play for the touchdown. The Red Devils failed to convert their extra-point attempt when Brown took a direct snap on the fake kick and was dragged down at the 5-yard line.

SPORTS>>Cabot offense gets into gear to rip Central

By Mike Garrity

Special to The Leader

The Cabot Panthers were the definition of efficient on Friday night at Quigley Stadium in Little Rock, defeating Little Rock Central 54-20

The Panthers (5-2, 3-1) scored a touchdown on eight of their 11 possessions in the game. Cabot scored on four of five tries in the first half, while four of six possessions in the second half were finished in the end zone.

“We had a good night,” said Panthers head coach Mike Malham. “The offensive line did a good job. We had some good running lanes for the backs and we are just pleased that the offense moved the ball and the defense for the most part did a good job.

“Tonight, things went our way and we are just tickled to get out of here with a conference win.”

The Panthers piled up 426 yards of offense, including 391 on the ground. Senior Andre Ausejo was the beneficiary of the good running lanes as he scored on a pair of one-yard runs and a two-yard run.
While Ausejo scored three touchdowns, he was just one of six Panthers to reach the end zone on the night.

Junior quarterback Zach Craig scored on an 11-yard run to put Cabot ahead for good at 13-7 near the end of the first quarter.

He then hit Logan Spry with a screen pass. Spry took the pass and went 14 yards for the score just before halftime.

Jeremy Berry opened the scoring in the second half with a 10-yard run over the left side for a score. After Ausejo capped a 16-play, 58-yard drive that ate up 7:36 on the clock with a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter, Weston Conard and Ian Thompson each scored late for the Panthers.

For the second-consecutive game, the Panthers pleased their head coach by taking care of the ball and committing just two penalties. After just one turnover in last week’s game, Cabot did not commit any against the Tigers.

“That makes a difference,” Malham explained. “When you don’t have the penalties and don’t have the fumbles, it makes a big difference. Hopefully we will keep getting better at that. No mistakes are the key.”

The Panthers also dominated the time of possession in the game, which is their norm. Cabot controlled the ball for 32:44, compared to just 15:16 for Central.

“The kids played very well tonight,” Malham continued. “They didn’t make mistakes. I wasn’t sure what to expect tonight. Central is getting better and better. We did give up some big plays. Central has some good skill people.

“It was our night tonight, I guess. The kids played hard and they played well.”

Malham and Central’s head coach Ellis “Scooter” Register met a midfield after the game. The veteran coaches shared quite a few moments with each other.

“We have known each other for a long time,” Malham said about the conversation with Register, in his first year as Central’s head coach after a long stint at Little Rock Catholic.

“We have faced each other quite a bit, and I think it has been a good series between us, I think it is pretty even too.

“But, Scooter is a good buddy of mine. You want to win, but when the game is over, it is over and we are friends.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

EDITORIAL >>Tim Griffin vs. Joyce Elliott

Tim Griffin, the Republican candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives, deflects questions about what he has done the past 15 years by saying that he wants to talk about the future, not the past. It is a clever riposte. Who does not prefer to talk about the future?

But what could be more important in guessing how a largely unknown politician will perform in the future as a congressman than knowing what he has spent his adult life doing? The election of a U. S. representative from central Arkansas is all about the candidates’ pasts, or else it should be, because their records are the most reliable predictor of how they would approach the work of representing the people of the Second District.

We think a comparison of their careers favors Joyce Elliott, a schoolteacher who was graded as one of the most effective state lawmakers of the decade. You may prefer Tim Griffin’s lusty record as Washington political hatchet man — no, there is no better phrase to describe it — but it ought to be discussed and reviewed as thoroughly as Elliott’s record in the state Senate and House of Representatives.

You can examine Griffin’s résumé on his campaign website. It lists his jobs in Washington from 1995 until his bosses at the White House had U. S. Attorney Bud Cummins fired in 2006 to make room for him. But the job titles do not tell you much about what he did. Griffin was an opposition researcher, which meant he dug up dirt on Democrats. His first job was for a special prosecutor looking into San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros’ payments to a woman with whom he had once had an affair. Cisneros became President Clinton’s housing secretary. That trifling work, if you can believe it, took a couple of years.

Griffin went to work in 1997 for Congressman Dan Burton’s Government Reform Committee investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton. Burton called the president “a scumbag,” adding, “That’s why I’m after him.” Griffin and the notorious David Bossie, with whom he would later work again, tried to unearth fundraising scandals on Clinton and the Democratic Party. Bossie’s treacherously edited transcripts of audiotapes of a prison interview with Little Rock lawyer Webb Hubbell turned into a scandal itself. Republicans, including Speaker Newt Gingrich, denounced Burton’s investigation and Burton eventually apologized and fired Bossie for concocting the lying document and putting it on the air. Griffin quietly stayed on. Griffin’s boss, Burton, who had castigated Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, had to admit when a Vanity Fair article revealed it in 1998 that he had himself fathered a child with a government employee under him.


riffin left Burton to direct opposition research for the Republican National Committee in 2000 and 2004. He surfaced in a BBC documentary, “Digging Dirt,” bragging about planting derogatory stories in the media about Democrats. He said he “makes the bullets” for the “war” against people in the other party. Above his desk was a poster that read “On my command, unleash hell (on Al).”

A 2004 article titled “Playing Dirty” in the stately old magazine The Atlantic recounted Griffin’s labors scouring the news and TV shows looking for derogatory things about Democrats and planting them in newspapers and with friendly TV and radio hosts. Media columnist Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post wrote about Griffin’s work in 2003: “As the man in charge of investigating the opposition, the research chief blasts his findings to the entire press corps in mass e-mailings, then sits back and watches the negative stuff spread like a computer virus.” Each time a Democrat announced that he would run for president, Griffin flooded media in-boxes across the country with derogatory stories and rumors about him.

Griffin was a Washington operator, but he occasionally favored Arkansas. His résumé once listed a stint as campaign manager for Betty Dickey, the prosecuting attorney at Fort Smith who ran for attorney general in 1998, but that has been scrubbed from his biography. Here is why:

Although he left his party work in Washington to run Dickey’s campaign, Griffin went on the state payroll in Arkansas as a deputy prosecuting attorney. He ran her campaign from the prosecutor’s office, saving precious money for Dickey’s campaign fund. His work was exposed when Mark Pryor, Dickey’s opponent, demanded that she release her office’s telephone records, which he said would show political calls from her government office. Dickey admitted that she and Griffin had made campaign calls from the office but she said the long-distance calls were not paid from public funds but from her own.

She said Griffin had been on the government payroll as a deputy prosecutor, but only for a month or two. Then she put him on the campaign payroll. Contacted in September 1998 by a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Washington, where he had returned to work with David Bossie, Griffin said he had paid for the long-distance calls from the prosecutor’s office with his credit card and that if anyone could find calls that he had overlooked (the phone records were not made public) he would happily write a check to the county government.

But paying for toll calls was not the point. He had been running a political operation from government offices while he was a government employee, if only in name. That was illegal.

You know about his more recent work, as an employee of the White House political office under Karl Rove, which masterminded the ouster of Republican U. S. attorneys like Cummins who were not considered aggressive enough in protecting Republicans and tarnishing Democrats. Griffin told people at the White House and the Justice Department that his friend Cummins was lazy. He landed Cummins’ job for a few months under an emergency appointment but quit rather than face questions about his past from a Senate subcommittee.

People in the Second District may not know much about this young man who recently moved into their midst, but his reputation in Washington and the House of Representatives is very well known. We are not sure that will be advantageous to the people of the district.

Senator Elliott’s reputation will better serve them. – Ernie Dumas

TOP STORY > >Early voting throughout area to start


Leader staff writer

Early voting starts next Monday and ends Nov. 1, the day before the election.

Polls will be open at the county courthouses in Lonoke and Searcy, as well as the Pulaski County Regional Building, 501 W. Markham in Little Rock.

Other polling places include the Jacksonville Community Center, Jack Evans Senior Citizens Center in Sherwood and the Cabot city annex.

Voting will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23.

There was speculation last month that Cabot’s early voting was a thing of the past because of complaints of favoritism from other cities and the difficulty of moving the voting machines in time for Election Day.

Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams, the Republican candidate for State Senate Dist. 28, was among the roomful of candidates and other concerned county residents who asked the election commission to hold early voting in Cabot for all residents of northern Lonoke County.

Now, Williams says he’s trying to make sure everyone knows the service is available.

The mayor has ordered four A-framed signs, about two feet by three feet, that will be positioned to direct voters to the city annex on North First Street where early voting will be held this year.

It is so much more convenient to vote early than to wait, he said.

“We’ve seen lines so long (on Election Day) that people had to wait two hours,” Williams said. “And if it happened to be raining that day, it’s really bad.”

The annex will be open to voters except on Sunday from Oct. 18 through Oct. 29.

On weekdays, the hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturday, the hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Early voting in the city of Lonoke starts Monday at the Lonoke County Courthouse annex and runs weekdays and Saturdays through Nov. 1, according to Juanita Horn, an election commissioner.

Weekday hours are 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. On Saturdays, early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Early voting will not be held on the Saturday and Monday before Nov. 2, Election Day, to give the election commission the time it needs to move the voting machines to different polling sites.

TOP STORY > >Cabot Hall of Fame inducts five

By jeffrey smith

Leader staff writer

The Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame inducted five members Tuesday night during the second annual banquet at Cabot Junior High North.

Honored were Dearl Dixon, Robert “Bob” Duke, Rose George, J.O. Isaac and Jack Lowman.

According to the Cabot Pan-ther Education Foundation, “The Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to celebrate the successes of public education by honoring talented graduates of Cabot public schools, as well as local leaders who have provided distinguished service to influence public school excellence.”

Dixon graduated from Cabot High School in 1961.

Dixon was born in Cabot and grew up on a farm in Ward. He played high school football as a half back and as a defensive back. Many long-time Panther football fans may remember Dixon kicking the winning field goal in the fourth quarter 50 years ago during the 1960 Thanksgiving Day game between Cabot and Jacksonville. The final score was 3-0.

“In school he was well liked, down to earth and he would always speak to you, ” Jerry Cole said.

As a senior, Dixon rode the school bus until he was offered a job to drive the bus as a 12th- grader.

“They honestly let me drive a school bus,” Dixon said.

Dixon as a teenager worked odd jobs to help his family. The school would call offering him work. One job was hauling gravel in an old dump truck.

Dixon recalled when he first started in school, he’d miss the school bus. His dad would have to take him to school.

Dixon was a dairy farmer for 35 years. He now raises beef cattle and grows hay. His family was selected in 1971 as the national Farmers Home Administration Family of the Year. He met President Nixon in the Oval Office.

“I’m just honored for this award. I’m glad to live in the community and have the school (system) we have here,” Dixon said about the Cabot Schools’ Hall of Fame.

He served on the Cabot School Board from 1969-1982 and was elected to the Lonoke County Quorum Court in 1994.

He served on many boards and commissions. Dixon was on the Future Farmers of America advisory and scholarship committee for 20 years. Dixon served 14 years on the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission beginning in 1985. He was chairman of the commission in 1991 for a year. Dixon was on the Bank of Cabot board of directors for 18 years from 1988 through 2006.

Duke graduated from Cabot High School in 1951 and attended Little Rock University (University of Arkansas at Little Rock). Duke is a Korean War veteran who served in the Army.

For over 30 years, Duke was the general manager for Dreamline Manufacturing. Although retired, Duke still works twice a week at the bedding company.

Duke had a role in city government. He served 30 years on the city council. In 1976 he was an assistant mayor. Duke served on the Lonoke County Tax Equalization Board.

He has received many honors. In 1976, Duke was selected as Cabot’s man of the year. He was a recipient of the Charlie Templeton Community Leadership Award. The City of Cabot dedicated a fire truck in Duke’s name.

“I thank the Lord to being here this evening, for my health, my family and Dreamline employees,” he said.

Duke said school superintendent Tony Thurman has the school system on the right track.

George’s husband, Charles Sr., was inducted last year. They have been married for 62 years.

She received her master’s degree from Arkansas State Teacher’s College (University of Central Arkansas, Conway). She served as president of the Cabot Education Association.

George taught in Cabot for 21 years. When George asked for her former students to stand, nearly half of the banquet attendees rose to their feet.

She set up the first office class in the high school’s business department.

The class was two hours long. She taught typing, shorthand and the skills to become successful in the workplace. She focused on how to dress for the office, having good manners and how to treat others.

“We practiced interviews. The students did not have trouble finding a job,” she said.

Lonoke County Prosecutor Will Feland, a former student of George, said she came to school every day as if she was on Park Avenue in New York.

“She made each of us feel like leaders,” he said.

George’s first teaching job was at Ward. She was 19 years old at the time.

“Many of the students were the same age I was, but we didn’t have one problem,” George said.

George was also the girls basketball coach. George remembered a time when she, along with students, picked cotton for money to purchase basketball uniforms.

Fellow honoree Lowman re-called George being a basketball coach. She pulled her hair and had fits.

“She was the Bobby Knight of Cabot, Arkansas,” Lowman said.

George said she was proud of the facilities and appreciates the administrators, the teachers and the school board.

“Community support is the reason we have a great school system today,” she said.

Isaac was enlisted in the Navy for 10 years. He then enlisted in the Air Force for 20 years. He had many duties during his career. He was a propeller specialist and a flight engineer. He also was an amphibious aircraft supervisor and instructor. Isaac was also a missile-maintenance supervisor. He moved to Cabot in 1957.

Isaac was the first Air Force JROTC instructor at Cabot High School. He taught JROTC for nine and a half years.

During the devastating tornado of March 1976, Isaac’s quick thinking saved students from peril.

He noticed the funnel cloud approaching. He had the JROTC cadets get the children off the school buses and into the elementary schools for safety.

In 1981, Isaac and his students renovated the Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery. He also helped raise funds for the veterans memorial located next to the high school.

“I don’t know if I deserve it, but (I’m) proud to be accepted,” Isaac said of the Hall of Fame induction.

Isaac was the Lonoke County sheriff for 13 years from 1983 to 1996. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sheriff’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Lowman graduated from Cabot High School in 1947 with a class of 22.

He played football in 1946, in the first game played after the end of the Second World War. Cabot played against Lonoke. Lowman graduated from Ouachita Baptist University in 1951 with a business/physical-education degree. He played football at OBU for one year.

Mark Lowman said his father can be heard in the stands at Cabot football games yelling, “The ref needs glasses” or “Move those chains.”

Jack Lowman spoke how the school district had changed. He said when he was in school it was small. There were about 200 students who went to the school. Lowman said Cabot was one of the poorest schools in the state at that time.

Lowman served 42 years on the Bank of Cabot board of directors. He served on the first Cabot Planning Commission after the 1976 tornado.

He retired from Lowman and Lowman Hardware in 2000. Three generations of Lowmans ran the business for over 100 years on North First Street. The business was sold nine years ago and renamed Cabot Handy Hardware and Gifts. Jack Lowman still works at the store on Tuesdays.

TOP STORY > >Aldermen race could lead to big changes for council

Story by Rick Kron • Leader staff writer

After the voting is through Nov. 2, Jacksonville could see a mother and daughter-in-law team on the city council and up to four new faces.

All incumbents have garnered opposition this year except Alderman Kevin McCleary, from Ward 2, and technically this will be the first time he’s elected to the council. McCleary was appointed to the council about three years ago to fill the unexpired term of Robert Lewis after he died shortly after the 2006 election.

In Ward 1, it’s a former mayoral candidate and incumbent against a neighbor. In Ward 3, it’s longtime Alderman Reedie Ray against attorney David Horn.

In Ward 4, the seat is open as Alderman John Feland, who was appointed to fill the seat after Gary Fletcher became mayor, opted not to seek election to the seat. Mary Twitty, the daughter of Alderman Avis Twitty, and former planning commissioner Mike Traylor are battling for the seat.

In Ward 5, incumbent Avis Twitty wants to keep her seat another round but has opposition from relative newcomer Aaron Robinson.

Ward 1, Pos. 1

In this race, it’s neighbor versus neighbor. Incumbent and former mayoral candidate Kenny Elliott takes on planning commissioner Glen Keaton.

Elliott, 57, is a native of Jack-sonville and has been an alderman since 1996. His wife, Beverly, is a business analyst and they have one daughter, twin sons and four grandchildren.

Elliott has worked for the Pulaski County Special School District for more than 28 years.

Keaton has been married to Michelle Lacer for almost 13 years and they have two children. Keaton has been a Jacksonville resident for about 32 years. He works as a project manager for the General Services Administration.

Why do you want to be an alderman?

Elliott: I am running for re-election as alderman because I love Jacksonville and want to see the projects we have started get completed and look at several new projects. We have made progress, but there is still much left to do. I will continue to work hard to make our city a great place to live.

Keaton: I want to be an alderman so I can step up to the leadership role of our great community and continue my involvement with the city in helping shape Jacksonville’s future. I have enjoyed my three terms on the planning commission and would like to expand my participation with the city and its everyday business. I want Jacksonville to be a place others want to call home.

What experiences qualify you to be an alderman?

Elliott: My experience as alderman for 14 years, chairman of Jacksonville Planning Commission, chairman of Pulaski County Planning Board, city council, Arkansas Municipal League Executive Committee, National League of Cities Information, Technology and Communication Committee and experience work ing with Little Rock Air Force Base, state Legislature and Con-gressional leaders in Washington make me the most qualified candidate.

My leadership and dedication to the community has been recognized by serving as Jaycees president, Boys Club president, vice mayor, Arkansas Municipal League vice president and being selected as Jaycees International senator, Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame and an LRAFB honorary commander.

Keaton: I am a resident and homeowner in our community, which serves as my foundation for my experience.

My personal involvement in projects and activities in Jacksonville has helped prepare me for leadership. The many years of service on the planning commission and board of adjustment has provided me the opportunity to be involved at various levels in our community.

I also sit on the First United Methodist Church board of trustee, which aids the church in how it should grow and make the best use of the money and area possible.

What are the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville and how will you work to solve such problems?

Elliott: Education, annex-ation, economic development and aging housing.

I believe our future depends on the quality of the educational system in Jacksonville. I am committed to doing everything I can to improve the schools in Jacksonville. I will support the Jacksonville Education Foundation in working to have a Jacksonville school district with good schools and a safe environment to educate our children. I will work with Little Rock Air Force Base on completing the LRAFB Education Center which will provide excellent opportunities for our citizens.

I am working with the Citizens Concerns Committee to address some of the concerns of citizens in the area Jacksonville is trying to annex. I feel that we need to look at rural acreage and protect the rights of landowners as much as possible to not affect their way of life.

We must work on economic development to sustain our existing businesses, attract new businesses, restaurants, and jobs as well as to fill the vacant buildings in Jacksonville. I feel the city and chamber of commerce need to work together to support our businesses and maintain a business-friendly environment.

We need to develop a plan to improve housing and address aging housing such as Sunnyside Addition. We need to encourage owner occupied instead of rental units. We need to put a high priority on adequate and affordable housing for all our citizens.

Keaton: Infrastructure: Roads, water, sanitary and storm sewers are the basic elements that keep a community running. We must continue to maintain for today, plan for tomorrow and build for the future growth of our city. We must prepare for tomorrow, today.

Schools: Jacksonville needs to be at the front of every school board meeting to let the school board members know we want our own. Keeping the need for a quality education for all of the children of Jacksonville must be a priority. We must be ready when the day comes to have our own district.

Growth: Jacksonville is in close vicinity to Little Rock and should attract commercial, industrial and residential growth.

What are Jacksonville’s strengths?

Elliott: We are located in the center of the state and home of LRAFB. We are fiscally responsible and not in financial trouble like many cities.

We have good facilities such as city hall, community center, Splash Zone, good parks, library, recycling park, police and fire training facility, as well as good employees and good services such as garbage, trash and recycling.

We have an active elderly activities center with excellent programs.

Keaton: Jacksonville is a diverse, friendly, cozy community that those who live here easily call home. We are centrally located. We are a city that can come together and take care of our own and provide for our residents. An example is the beautiful Jacksonville city library, the Splash Zone, and the LRAFB Joint Adult Education Center that were constructed with a one-cent tax.

Jacksonville has lots to offer for its visitors and residents with the community center, Reed’s Bridge, military museum, senior and community center, and a number of city parks.

What would you like to see done to make Jacksonville more appealing to potential residents and businesses?

Elliott: We must have a clean and safe city with good schools to educate our children and grandchildren. Our citizens must feel safe and secure whether they are at home, school, parks or on the streets of Jacksonville. The police and fire departments must have the resources needed to reduce crime and provide us a safe city. I am committed to doing everything I can to improve the schools in Jacksonville.

I would like to upgrade signage and landscaping at the north and south entrances to Jacksonville and work with the State Highway Department to install lighting along Hwy. 67/167 through Jacksonville, including the Vandenberg and Redmond Road exits.

I would like to see more neighborhood parks in the north, south and west parts of Jacksonville.

Keaton: I would like to see the downtown area of Jacksonville revitalized. Together we must all work to keep each other safe and continue to clean up our community.

How will you work with LRAFB? What relationship do you now have with the base?

Elliott: LRAFB has a 700 million dollar impact on central Arkansas economy and I will continue to work to maintain a good relationship with the base and work with our congressional leaders to secure the future of Little Rock Air Force Base. I am very involved in LRAFB activities as an honorary commander and member of LRAFB Community Council. I have great respect for and a good relationship with our military.

Keaton: Jacksonville and LRAFB have a great working relationship. I would help see that this continues to ensure its future growth.

What one thing do you want voters to know about you and think about when they are marking their ballots?

Elliott: I am running for re-election as alderman because I love Jacksonville and I feel that I have the experience, leadership and dedication to continue to serve Jacksonville. I will commit all my resources to provide a high quality of life for our citizens, military and businesses.

Keaton: I believe Jacksonville is a strong community, built by people working together. We must continue this sense of pride and commitment for Jacksonville to survive. Children are the future of any community and Jacksonville needs to find ways of attracting young families and retaining those already here.

I would like to hear from residents what they would like to see in our town. I want to be the voice of the people and make the best decisions for the city of Jacksonville.

WARD 3, POS. 1

Reedie Ray, 70, has been married for 50 years and has three children. He is a power-plant operator at Remington Arms in Lonoke.

David Horn, 54, his opponent, is an attorney and Air Force veteran. He and his wife, Soncha, have been married 32 years and have three children.

Why do you want to be an alderman?

Ray: I want to continue to serve the residents of Jacksonville.

Horn: I want to be an alderman so I can contribute my time and energy into making Jacksonville a better place to live, and to be more directly involved in local government.

What experiences qualify you to be an alderman?

Ray: I’ve served Jacksonville in a variety of positions, including alderman, for the past 30 years.

Horn: I am retired military. I have served in leadership positions since I was 21 years old, with increasing levels of responsibility ranging from supervising a few people to supervising an entire company. In civilian life I have often been called upon to serve in leadership positions.

Before I was a lawyer, I was a teacher; I taught the entire curriculum for grades seven through 12 to juvenile boys who were assigned to a residential facility for juvenile offenders. I organized the education program and coordinated with other agencies to create an effective education program.

I also started a GED program for those who were eligible and helped numerous boys obtain their GED before they completed the program.

As a lawyer, I have the legal experience and knowledge of the law that I believe will be an asset to the city as we deal with complex legal issues impacting the city.

What are Jacksonville’s strengths?

Ray: Our residents are our most important strength.

Horn: I think that Jacksonville is a great community in which to raise a family. We have nice neighborhoods and people around us all the time. We are ideally located convenient to larger cities but still have that small town atmosphere that many people like.

What are the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville and how will you work to solve such problems?

Ray: The most pressing issues are education, jobs, housing and the budget.

Horn: The most recent issue is the annexation, which is coming up at this election. I understand this is a hot issue for those directly involved. I have heard arguments for and against annexation. As I have been campaigning I have spoken with people who live in other areas of the city and most understand that there can be benefits to the city through the annexation, but at the same time they also understand that those people who live in that area moved there for a reason and may not be happy by the annexation.

If the annexation passes, I would strive to ensure that those residents were well represented by the council and were given equal consideration when deciding issues that affect the city and residents.

We also have the issue of whether Jacksonville can have its own school district. I have not seen the pros and cons of that issue, but I’m sure there are advantages of having some autonomy, but with that autonomy comes the responsibility of taking care of your own without the outside assistance of a larger district.

I think that all the possibilities should be carefully considered and the citizens need to be well informed.

What would you like to see done to make Jacksonville more appealing to potential residents and businesses?

Ray: Better schools, downtown development, and improving housing and streets in low income areas.

Horn: I would like to see more entertainment options for families living in Jacksonville, such as a theater or a bowling alley so families could enjoy those activities without having to go to Little Rock.

I think we have adequate opportunities for people to set up small businesses that cater to the residents. We have numerous new subdivisions and commercial buildings that need to be aggressively marketed to attract residents and new business owners.

How will you work with the LRAFB? What relationship do you now have with the base?

Ray: I’ve worked and will continue to work with elected congressional officials and others to continue the strong community relationship we have with LRAFB.

Horn: I use the air base on a regular basis since I am retired military. I have represented members of the military in various aspects of the law to help them resolve their legal issues.

I would be willing to serve on a joint committee to foster a positive relationship between the base and the community.

What one thing do you want voters to know about you and think about when they are marking their ballots?

Ray: In the past, as well as the present, I’ve been a good steward of the budget, policymaking and planning. These are the key elements that bring a community together as a whole.

Horn: What I would like voters to know about me and to think about when they are casting their vote is that I will be there to represent them. I will consider the interest of my constituents and the community before my own, and I will be available to them to address their concerns.

WARD 4, POS. 1

No matter who wins this seat, it’ll be a new face on the board.

Mary Twitty, 51, is taking on Mike Traylor, 47.

Traylor is married to Mendy Traylor and they have two children. Traylor has lived in Jacksonville his entire life. He has been employed by Lomanco, Inc. for the past 24 years, and is currently plant manager.

Twitty has been married 30 years to Jeff Twitty and they have two sons. Twitty has lived in Jacksonville for 25 years. She and her husband work at Farmers Insurance.

Why do you want to be an alderman?

Twitty: I have always been involved in the community, and I want to step up my commitment to serve the people of Jacksonville.

Traylor: As a lifetime resident of the city of Jacksonville, I would like to become more involved in the growth process for Jacksonville. Through the years, I have been involved with various youth sport programs in the city as well as having served on the Jacksonville Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustments.

I am currently serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission, and while I have enjoyed serving the city in appointed positions, I feel that as an alderman I can bring a level-headed approach to help lead our city into the future.

What experiences qualify you to be alderman?

Twitty: I was the director of the Wing Ding Festival in 2002. I was named Sertoman of the Year in 2005. I received the Jacksonville Service Award in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

I’m a life member of the Junior Auxiliary.

I have been a parks and recreation commissioner since 2006.

My experiences in different areas are a definite plus.

Traylor: My educational background in accounting is a plus for understanding the financial aspects of continuing to see that Jacksonville remains a financially sound city. Along with this, my experiences on the planning commission and the board of adjustments have helped me understand the expectations that all Jacksonville citizens expect from their city officials.

I feel the knowledge I have gained from my work experience in manufacturing would be a plus in helping the city recruit new industry to Jacksonville.

What are the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville and how will you work to solve such problems?

Twitty: Jacksonville having its own school district. I will work with the Educational Foundation, along with our mayor, council members, and our community to tell the PCSSD that having our own school district is best for Jacksonville.

Traylor: One of the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville is the desire to separate from Pulaski County Special School District. I feel that this is very important for Jacksonville to resurrect itself into a growing city. It appears there are several different groups trying to achieve this goal, and as a city alderman, I would like to get these groups together and set agendas aside so we can all work as one to achieve what is best for the children of Jacksonville.

Another issue is the job market in Jacksonville. We must continue our efforts to bring new industry to Jacksonville by working through our local chamber of commerce as well as the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

What are Jacksonville’s strengths?

Twitty: The diversity of the Little Rock Air Force Base with the city of Jacksonville, our parks and recreation department, also we have strong police and fire departments. We also have a large base of volunteers.

Traylor: Jacksonville has many strengths to build our future. The city is in excellent financial shape compared to some of our neighboring cities. The relationship that our community has with LRAFB is very good.

Most importantly, one of our biggest strengths is the concerned citizens of Jacksonville who want to see our city grow and prosper.

What would you like to see done to make Jacksonville more appealing to potential residents and businesses?

Twitty: Having our own school district, more upscale restaurants, expanding our youth center and revitalize our down- town area.

Traylor: Other than the obvious, which is separating from PCSSD, I feel we need to promote our current park system. Show families that we have neighborhood parks throughout the city for their children to enjoy outside activities.

How will you work with LRAFB? What relationship do you now have with the base?

Twitty: I am planning on being very involved in the LRAFB Community Council, so that I will be better available to serve the base and its needs, and I am very aware of what the base means to Jacksonville and to the state of Arkansas.

Traylor: Being a life-long resident of the city of Jacksonville, I fully realize the importance that the LRAFB plays in the success of Jacksonville. I feel the current administration as well as administrations in the past have done a good job in working with the LRAFB. It would be my duty as an alderman of the city to make sure that this good relationship stays in place.

What one thing do you want voters to know about you and think about when they are making their ballots?

Twitty: I am very committed to the city of Jacksonville and its residents to help make our city the best place to live and raise a family.

Traylor: I would like for the citizens in Jacksonville to know that I would have the best interests of all of Jacksonville in mind as I help lead our city into the future. I would like for the voters in Jacksonville to review my history and trust that I will be an excellent choice to represent them as an alderman in Jacksonville.

WARD 5, POS. 1

Incumbent Avis Twitty takes on a newcomer in an effort to keep her seat. “Both my daughter-in-law and I could end up on the council, just one of us or neither of us,” she said.

Twitty, 71, has two sons and has lived in Jacksonville since 1971, when her husband was stationed at the base. Twitty works as a secretary for Biff’s Coffee.

Aaron Robinson, 37 is married and has two children. He has lived in Jacksonville for more than eight years. Robinson is civil engineer/project manager for Bond Consulting Engineers and works closely with the planning commission on many projects.

Why do you want to be an alderman?

Twitty: I’m excited about the city and the direction it’s going and I believe there’s great opportunities that will come about in the future because of seeds I have helped sow while on the council. I would like to see them through. I believe the next couple of years, the city will reap the benefits of all the work we as a city have done. I consider it a privilege and a joy to have served on the city council.

Robinson: I have always en-joyed community service and want to assist in the development of a 21st century vision for the City of Jacksonville. I have volunteered my time to coach soccer and work with organizations within the community. I hope to bring new ideas to the council, such as the creation of a scenic park which includes a pond, natural and paved trails for walkers, educators, runners, and bikers that connect to intercity sidewalks.

What experiences qualify you to be alderman?

Twitty: I am currently serving as an alderman in Ward 5, Position 1.

Robinson: I served on the Jacksonville Rotary board as secretary, vice president, president, and on other committees in Rotary. I served as secretary-treasurer, vice president, president (two terms), and various other committees for American Society of Civil Engineers, Arkansas section.

I’m currently serving as a Region 4 governor for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

What are the most pressing issues facing Jacksonville and how will you work to solve such problems?

Twitty: Schools and economic development.

I support the ground work for the Jacksonville Education Foundation, and doing preliminary work to better prepare us for the break away from Pulaski County Special School District; update and upgrade our infrastructure, and also upgrade commercial and residential facilities.

Robinson: Traffic, revitalizing Main Street, and schools. We need to develop more accessible routes for smoother traffic flow along with the creation of additional commercial businesses along these corridors. Main street buildings need to be modernized to improve their aesthetics and curb appeal.

We need new schools and our own school district. I hope to assist the mayor and council in developing a master street plan along with the Highway Department and Metroplan’s input. New ordinances need to be adopted to help revitalize the Main Street area. I will keep fighting along with everyone else who wishes for Jacksonville to have its own school district and the absolute best education for our children.

What are Jacksonville’s strengths?

Twitty: I think our greatest strengths lie within our people. The leadership of our community with a vision for progress and growth, and also the contribution that Little Rock Air Force Base brings to our community as well as central Arkansas.

Robinson: Little Rock Air Force Base, the location of the city and the community leaders and citizens of Jacksonville.

What would you like to see done to make Jacksonville more appealing to potential residents and businesses?

Twitty: I support the hiring of the economic developer who works with the corporations and making them more aware of the economic opportunity that awaits them by locating their business to Jacksonville.

Robinson: Additional lands need to be developed to provide more opportunities for residents and businesses. New residential subdivisions with creative views need to be planned. Old unoccupied buildings need to be demolished and inventive zoning planned for commercial space. This would open up space that is currently unattainable to potential businesses.

How will you work with LRAFB? What relationship do you now have with the base?

Twitty: I have served on the Little Rock AFB Community Council for several years. I spent more than 20 years with my husband in the Air Force, and I also worked as a secretary on the base for many years.

Robinson: I am a member of the LRAFB Community Council. I work on the LRAFB on several civil engineering projects including the family housing. I will continue to be a member of the community council and work to keep the relationship between the LRAFB and the city a high priority.

What one thing do you want voters to know about you and think about when they are making their ballots?

Twitty: While being on the city council, I have worked in harmony with the other council members sharing the same goals and dreams with expectations of great results. My agenda has always been what is best for Jacksonville, not for personal reasons and gain.

Robinson: I am a family man and dad who is a tireless worker and enthusiastic and passionate about everything I do.