Friday, January 28, 2011

EDITORIAL >‘Hail Mary’ school plan

The Pulaski County Special School District says it has heard the complaints about rundown schools in Jacksonville and could build new schools as early as this summer. PCSSD officials told patrons this week the district will probably replace Arnold Drive, Tolleson and Jacksonville elementary schools and Jacksonville Middle School. The new schools could open in the fall of 2012.

Plans call for replacing Arnold Drive and Tolleson with a school on the air base periphery at Harris Road, where LRAFB officials have offered to make 20 acres available for a combined elementary school.

The district will also build a new Jacksonville Middle School with an administration and kitchen core at the site of the current school. Middle school students would move next door to the old girls middle school during construction.

Derek Scott, executive director of operations for the district and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, told parents this week, “We are trying to throw a Hail Mary pass to get (planning and design) done this summer and move in by August of 2012.”

“As long as Jacksonville is in PCSSD, we should be doing everything we can to provide quality facilities,” Scott added.

“There’s been no vote (on the proposals),” cautioned school board president Bill Vasquez, “but the sense of the board is to repair and replace buildings as fast as we can,” he said.

The district is finally listening to patrons and community leaders for a number of reasons: District officials are hoping to head off a move to separate Jacksonville and north Pulaski County from PCSSD. The existence of new schools could delay or complicate that separation and would require Jacksonville to assume the debt obligations for the new schools.

The district is also getting more competition from Lighthouse Academy charter schools, which are expanding to the air base with a middle school and will add a high school at the North First Street campus in Jacksonville.

Superintendent Charles Hopson will present a building plan to the board at the Feb. 8 meeting, in time to move a building program forward this summer. PCSSD officials hope to get the first round of construction bonds by cutting expenses, including the number of principals and central-office staff. Every $1 million saved can secure about $15 million in bonded construction debt.

Hopson said any reduction in support or teaching staff would be handled through seniority, as laid out in the union contracts.

The Arnold Drive-Tolleson replacement means the district will not add on to Jacksonville High School, where North Pulaski High students would have been reassigned. It appears they will stay at NPHS.

The base has also offered 77 acres for development for a school or schools near Paradise Park, but that land still hasn’t been cleared of the old houses that will come down as new housing is completed. If the district doesn’t jump at the chance of accepting the gift, Lighthouse Academy might go for it and build more schools there.

Two more community meetings will be held, one hosted by school board president Bill Vasquez at 6 p.m. Monday at Jacksonville High School auditorium, the other hosted by Tom Stuthard at 6 p.m. Thursday at North Pulaski High School.

All interested parties should attend.

TOP STORY > >Congressman forms a C-130 House caucus

Leader executive editor

Rep. Tim Griffin, a deficit hawk who was the featured speaker at Thursday’s Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce dinner, says that despite all the talk to cut the federal budget, he wants to protect the C-130 program and see it grow.

He told chamber members that he has revived a long-dormant C-130 caucus in Congress, which he expects to chair. The caucus will include other members of Congress who have C-130s in their districts and will press for more planes and upgrades.

“We should be in a good position to keep an eye out for C-130s,” said Griffin, an Army reservist. “They’re not only a great economic benefit, but they play a critical role in our national security.”

He said, “They move people in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan,” reducing the number of trucks on the roads, where bombs have killed hundreds of Americans.

He said he flew on C-130s when he was in Iraq and felt safe in them even when one of the engines failed.

Griffin, who served in Iraq as a military lawyer, is a member of the House Armed Services, Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees.

He also serves on the Sea Power and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which includes oversight of the C-130s.

Griffin said he sleeps in his office and commutes home every week.

A former White House aide to Karl Rove, who helped him become interim U.S. attorney in Arkansas, Griffin also held senior positions at the Republican National Committee.

Griffin is on the Majority Whip team, marshaling votes for Republican legislation.

TOP STORY > >Dallas-area developers study Jacksonville sites

Leader staff writer

A team of Dallas-area developers visited Jacksonville on Monday and came away impressed, but the trip didn’t lock in any new business, Mayor Gary Fletcher said.

A potential golf-course buyer was supposed to be part of the group, but didn’t make the trip.

“These people paid their own way here, asked questions, toured the city and left knowing that what we were telling them and everyone at the last economic conference we attended about Jacksonville was right on the money,” the mayor said.

“I’m really excited about our potential,” he added.

The group that visited the city builds shopping centers and brings in major and minor anchors and they also represent some national retail and restaurant chains. “They are the site locators,” said the mayor. “They are the ones that put the deals together.”

The mayor said the group was interested in the acreage north of the city that Jacksonville tried to annex by vote and lost. The city is working to bring in a large portion of that area through voluntary petition. “The group also asked about a number of pre-existing buildings,” Fletcher said.

Along with the group was the city’s economic development consultant, Rickey Hayes, but the mayor spent most of his time with the developers. “It was a good opportunity to hear from them how to better market our city,” the mayor said.

He said three areas that he is working on that will help with economic development are annexation of the northern area, the $20-to-$25-million Coffelt overpass and existing water and sewer lines to the north.

In his first meeting Friday morning with the newly established umbrella group of the council, chamber and advertising and promotion commission, Hayes told them that all groups need to push for the overpass.

He told the chamber representatives they need to get Cabot onboard too as it would also help them.

He also told the umbrella group that everyone needs to be on the same page, working together in the city’s efforts to get control of the land needed for the state fair. There will be a public hearing in mid-February to listen to residents and to allow the mayor and other city officials to explain how they plan to obtain the land.

The mayor said the developers spent their first few hours in city hall before piling into a parks and recreation van and touring the city. The group then talked to the Rotary Club about the current state of economic development.

TOP STORY > >Deficits worry Griffin

Leader executive editor

Rep. Tim Griffin says Congress must bring spending under control and balance the federal budget with across-the-board cuts, including defense spending.

He sounded a warning in Jacksonville about the nation’s financial problems, and quoting former Sen. Pete Domenici, said the U.S. will face “our next Pearl Harbor” if those problems are not solved in the next five years.

After addressing the annual Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday evening, the Second District congressman was asked where he would cut spending to reduce a $1.5 trillion deficit.

Ruling out tax increases to close the deficit and reduce the national debt, the freshman Republican told The Leader he would look for waste in the Pentagon budget and elsewhere.

“We’re doing our research and homework and identifying problems,” said Griffin, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “We’ll look at the military budget and other programs. We have a tough road ahead.”

“We’ll have to make sure our national security is taken care of,” he said in the interview. “We need to continue to fund our national-security priorities, including C-130s.” He said cutting waste would mean more new C-130s and upgrading the aging fleet with modern avionics. (See story below.)

Griffin is a member of the freshman Republican class that helped take over the House of Representatives last November and wants steep cuts in federal spending.

The Armed Services Committee this week grilled Pentagon officials about this year’s proposed budget, which has still not been approved.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has proposed cutting up to $70 billion from the 2011 budget — $23 billion almost immediately if a budget is not passed soon.

Griffin said his committee is still waiting for a detailed audit from the Pentagon as required by law since 1990. He said his committee must know how every dollar is spent and then will identify any waste and recommend cuts.

He said the Pentagon “needs to provide better financial statements to make sure we’re not wasting money. We will have to do a better job accounting for the taxpayers’ dollars.”

The congressman told those attending the banquet at the Jacksonville Community Center that Republicans want to roll back spending to 2008 levels.

Solutions must be bipartisan, he said, “because we have a split government.”

He said politicians from both parties are to blame for huge deficits. “It’s important that we not only understand we’re in debt but also realize how bad it is. It’s a really serious problem.”

“We’re $14 trillion in debt—that’s $46,000 per person,” Griffin continued. “We’ve added $4 billion in debt every day last year. That’s a lot of money. We’re in a financial crisis we’ve never seen before.”

“This year we’ll spend $3.5 trillion, but with only $2 trillion coming in and a deficit of $1.5 trillion. To find $1.5 trillion, you’d have to eliminate all discretionary spending and the military and education, and you wouldn’t be halfway there.”

“The current budget doubles the debt in five years and triples it in 10,” Griffin said.

In 15 years, today’s budget would pay only for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest payments on the national debt.

“We’re paying $202 billion in interest,” he said. “We could build a lot of good roads in Arkansas with that money.”

“Spending is up, up and up, and revenues are steady,” he continued.

Huge tax increases wouldn’t even close the gap significantly, Griffin said. In fact, he favors lowering corporate taxes.

“No matter how much you raises taxes, it’s never going to be enough,” he insisted.

Since he’s against tax in-creases or slashing almost every program, he said long-term solutions must be found immediately through spending cuts.

Democrats say that’s a dramatic change from just a decade ago, when President Clinton left office with a budget surplus. But two wars, huge tax cuts and an economic meltdown have strained America’s financial standing.

As the two parties fight over spending, Griffin said there is still time to put the nation’s finances in order.

He said he voted to repeal health reform because it was too expensive and would not improve the nation’s health-care system.

Although he would not be specific, Republican lawmakers have proposed ending $167.5 million in annual subsidies to the National Endowment for the Arts and $430 million to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

“We have a short window to address the problem,” he warned.

“We have five years,” Griffin said. “I believe we can do it. I’m optimistic by nature. The good news is that this is America. We’ve done some incredible things against the odds. We can’t kick the problem down the road. We must keep our critical programs like the C-130s.”

TOP STORY > >Odom proposes funding plan for jail

Leader senior staff writer

Justice of the Peace Larry Odom, who helped spearhead the successful effort to get Lonoke County a new—and nearly completed now—136-bed jail, revealed his plan at the January quorum court meeting Thursday to pay for the additional eight jailers and a part-time nurse for the jail in 2011. The jail is expected to open in May or June.

Odom says including salary and benefits, the additional staff would cost about $292,000 a year.

The largest share of that—about $150,000 would come from a 2010 budget cleanup—money carried over after the final reckoning of the books. Another $50,000—available at the discretion of new Lonoke County Circuit Clerk Denise Brown—would come from fees collected by her office.

Another $48,250 will come from the county general-fund share of $60,500 in fees collected by the circuit clerk’s office from the Bayer Crop Sciences lawsuit, in which county farmers sued Bayer for contaminating their rice with genetically modified rice.

Odom said Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert wants to reserve 1.8 beds, which would generate another $32,500 a year. Another $13,600 can come from the county judge’s office, by shifting part of the cost of his salary to the county road department.

That totals $292,350 a year, Odom said.

And since the jail will only be open roughly half of the first year, those salaries will be less, he said.

This is not a permanent solution. At least the money derived from the Bayer Crop Sciences lawsuit is one-time money, Odom said, but at least it gets the new $6.2 million jail up and running.

J.P. Adam Sims had suggested cutting the county’s property tax in half while adding half-a-penny to the county’s sales tax, dedicated to jail operation. Both of those would require a vote of county residents.

Earlier this month, Sheriff Jim Roberson told members of the jail committee that a fully staffed jail would include a sergeant to oversee day-to-day operations and to train a jail administrator to oversee medication disbursement and other duties; 12 actual jailers, two transport officers and two kitchen/maintenance/relief officers.

It takes 12 jailers to have three on duty around the clock without paying overtime or comp time.

That’s a booking officer, a control officer and a verification/transport officer.

Members of the state Jail Standards Committee endorsed the sheriff’s contention that the new jail requires a total of 18 jailers, and recommended a nurse, as did Jason Owens, a risk management specialist from Duncan, Rainwater and Sexton, attorneys at law.

County Judge Doug Erwin, conducting his first regular meeting of the quorum court since taking office Jan. 1, said he had ordered most county trucks to be left at the county shop at night, with some trucks still out in the far reaches of the county in case of emergencies.

Erwin said he had implemented a new computerized gas card for county employees.

“We can account for every drop of gas the county spends,” he said.

“I pledged we would be transparent, and we will,” he said.

He introduced Pat Davidson as his administrator and Cecil Dunn as the county shop foreman. The new county shop, located next to the new jail, is fully operational now, Erwin reported.

Former Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman had swapped half a block of land across from Lonoke City Hall in exchange for the land in the city industrial park to build the jail and shop.

The county was to tear down all the metal buildings and clean up the land it traded to the city, but Erwin said Lonoke Mayor Wayne McGee has asked to leave the one building in place, which will save the county some time and money, Erwin reported.

Erwin, the first Republican Lonoke County judge in the memory of some long-time politicians like former state Sen. Bobby Glover, pledged upon election that he would be judge for all county residents, and in a move apparently symbolic of that, had the quorum court seated in district order, one through 13.

That made a slight dent in the usual clustering of Republicans on one side of the horseshoe- table configuration, Democrats on the other side—but not much, because all the Republicans are from the north part of the county, while most of the Democrats are from the south end.

Cabot High School student Grant Bodiford, representing a service club at his high school, asked the court for money, guidance and equipment to help restore Anthony Schmidtt Park, which had become rundown, he said.

That’s the only county park in Lonoke County, he said. Bodiford said the group had been cleaning up the park, but needed money for paint, and wanted to meet with county officials to plan some new pavilions. The old ones are about to fall down, he said.

Erwin said the county would help.

J.P. Bill Ryker proposed policies and regulations for conducting the quorum court meetings.

SPORTS>>Late letdown dooms Jacksonville on home court

Leader sports editor

Two minutes can be an eternity in a basketball game.

Just ask Jacksonville girls coach Katrina Mimms.

A scoring outage at the end of the game cost the Lady Red Devils, as West Memphis took a 50-44, 7A/6A-East Conference victory at the Devils Den on Tuesday.

“How many points did we score in the last two minutes?” Mimms said, knowing the answer. “We didn’t score in the last two minutes.”

Actually, it was more like three. Jacksonville’s last points came on a free throw by sophomore Jessica Jackson that gave the Lady Devils a 44-43 lead with 3:08 left.

With two minutes left, Jacksonville’s Jaquia Alexander fouled leading scorer Kiera Adams, who made both free throws to put the Lady Blue Devils in front to stay.

Jasmine Greer made two free throws after a Chyna Davis foul with 44.8 seconds left, after Jackson missed two for Jacksonville.

Cara Winn made it 48-44 with a free throw and missed her second shot, but West Memphis rebounded and Jackson fouled Greer with 15.3 seconds left and Greer made both her shots to close out the scoring.

“I thought it was the best game we came out of the dressing room ready to play,” Mimms said.

But despite the fast start, it hurt Jacksonville that Jackson sat out the third quarter with three fouls.

“Of course she’s their go-to girl and without her they struggle a little bit offensively,” West Memphis coach Sheila Burns said. “I thought we dida great job of taking advantage with her time out.”

West Memphis confused and frustrated Jackson with a 3-2 defense in the first half, and Mimms moved Jackson inside when she came back in. That led Burns to play a box-and-one.

“So every time she went low we had one in front and one behind the last minute and a half,” Burns said.

Nonetheless, Jackson scored eight of her 11 points in the final period. Tiffany Smith scored 10 points for Jacksonville.

Adams led all scorers with 23 points, getting 13 in the second half for West Memphis.

“I think we maintained,” Mimms said of the stretch without Jackson.

“And then I think it helped her with the rest and then she kind of sparked us coming back in and then down the stretch we just froze.”

Mimms felt, with Adams carrying four fouls, Jackson could exploit that and get to the basket, so she was moved from the perimeter.

“When we need a bucket we can put her down there and normally we can get something,” Mimms said.

Jacksonville outscored West Memphis 12-3 in the first quarter but West Memphis came back to outscore Jacksonville 23-13 in the second.

“We got a little tired and the other thing was they changed their defense,” Mimms said. “They went from a man, which we were hurting it, to a zone and they put [Adams] at the top of it and the small guards had to throw over it and we made a couple mistakes there.”

“We struggle so badly inside, putting the ball in the hole, we have to rely on our defense,” Burns said.

West Memphis made 12 of 13 free throws in the second quarter and took a 26-25 halftime lead.

“We had to take some seniors out; they had to do a little soul searching,” Burns said. “I put some sophomores in who played their little butts off. The seniors came in to finish the game and I think they realized if they don’t come out strong they’re going to have to sit and do a little watching.”

West Memphis built a 40-31 lead by the end of the third quarter, but Jacksonville put together a 10-1 run to tie it at 41 on Jackson’s jumper with 4:42 left.

Jackson gave Jacksonville the 43-41 lead with a baseline shot with 3:45 to go and added the team’s last points on her free throw with 3:08 to go.

The Lady Devils resumed conference play when they traveled to 6A/7A-East member Mountain Home on Friday night.

SPORTS>>Guests win defensive fight

Leader sportswriter

Watson Chapel stayed perfect in 5A-Southeast Conference play with a 47-24 road victory over Sylvan Hills Tuesday.

Lady Wildcats senior guard Brittney Gill dominated both ends of the court with 21 points, eight rebounds and five steals for game highs in each category. Watson Chapel (14-4, 5-0) held Sylvan Hills (7-9, 2-3) to single digits in every quarter except the third, when the Lady Bears tried to rally from a 26-10 halftime deficit.

Defensive pressure was key for Watson Chapel, which forced 26 turnovers.

“Believe me, I had to search for something good, but I was very pleased with our defensetwo games in a row,” Watson Chapel coach Leslie Byrd said. “That’s what helped us win the game. Otherwise, we do not win the game.”

Gill, who has drawn strong interest from the University of Texas-San Antonio and Arkansas State University, scored 13 points in the first half and helped the Lady ’Cats keep pressure on Lady Bears senior standout Ashley Johnson.

With Watson Chapel’s defensive sights set on Johnson, sophomore teammate Jalmedal Byrd stepped up with 10 points to lead Sylvan Hills. Byrd earned most of her points the hard way with drives into the lane against the bigger Lady Wildcats, and she went 4 for 6 at the free-throw line.

“That kid works hard,” Lady Bears coach Bee Rodden said of Byrd. “She has a great instinct to go to the basket, but she keeps her head down. After the first couple of times, they picked up on that and started blocking the lanes. She kept us in the ballgame.”

Byrd cut the lead to 35-24 with 5:49 left to play when she scored on an inbounds play, but just as the Lady Bears appeared to be gathering steam for a final run, Gill doused those hopes with a three-point basket that extended the margin to 14.

SPORTS>>Red Devils take victory at Den

Leader sports editor

There isn’t much difference between home and the road in the 7A/6A-East Conference.

The Jacksonville Red Devils beat West Memphis 58-52 at the Devils Den on Tuesday night. But, coach Vic Joyner said, there is no real homecourt advantage in what is considered one of the toughest conferences in the state.

“Any court. When it’s this tough you’ve got to go everywhere and play at a certain level everywhere you go. You can’t have a drop-off anywhere. You’ve got to make somebody else’s court your court.”

Jacksonville took a first-quarter lead it never relinquished but had to break open a one-point game with a fourth-quarter tear, and even then West Memphis managed to cut it close.

West Memphis used a 9-0 run in the third quarter to pull within 41-40, but Deshjon Penn scored from the inside and a turnover led to Raheem Appleby’s fastbreak dunk with three seconds left to give the Red Devils a 45-40 lead entering the final quarter.

Jacksonville ran its lead to 54-42, allowing the Red Devils to survive a 10-4 run that West Memphis used to close out thegame on the way to losing its fourth straight.

“It’s their demeanor,” Joyner said of the Red Devils’ ability to hang on. “They’re very, very competitive. Even in practice.”

Joyner, who has seen his team lose close conference games to defending state champion Little Rock Hall at home and to one of the conference favorites Marion on the road, was asked if the conference was the best he’s ever seen.

“Period,” Joyner said. “Look man, like tomorrow it can rain any time. Three, four, five of them can rain on your head any time in this conference. You have one moment of lapse in this conference, the clouds are going to open up.”

Appleby led Jacksonville (14-2, 3-2) with 18 points and Terrell Brown scored 12.

“They’ve got great guards, they can shoot, they can score, they penetrate real well,” West Memphis coach Larry Bray said. “That’s a great ball team. We just weren’t able to contain their outside play and they were able to get to the rim and they made a lot of baskets.”

Bray said he wanted to contain Appleby, or at least slow him up, but Appleby wouldn’t be denied, and the Red Devils got points from 10 players.

“I had a few guys that were out there that weren’t giving me anything,” Joyner said. “And I told them, if some upperclassmen aren’t doing anything, I’m starting to put those youngsters out there, starting to get their feet wet.”

West Memphis’ Marcus McVay led all scorers with 20 points and Tony Jeffries scored 10.

West Memphis was moved up to 7A in the last round of reclassification but continues to play against what is primarily the old 6A-East lineup.

The Blue Devils will compete in the 7A state tournament and a power ratings system, criticized by many of the state’s basketball coaches, has been devised to help determine the tournament seedings.

Coaches feel West Memphis gets an advantage playing mostly 6A schools during the regular season, but right now the Blue Devils, who lost their fourth straight, have their hands full.

West Memphis’ losing streak has coincided with the loss of senior shooting guard Arthur Jackson, who has missed four games with a hand injury he sustained in a fit of anger in the lockerroom.

“Sure we miss him but right now we’re just not playing smart,” Bray said. “I’m not going to put it all on that. We’re just not playing smart. We’re not taking advantage of what we have. There’s a lot of things I think we could do better that we’re not doing right now.”

Joyner said if a few more outside shots had fallen for West Memphis, the outcome could have been different.

“Bray has been an idol of mine since I’ve been coaching,” Joyner said. “He always has his teams prepared. I thought my kids came out and battled hard. They just couldn’t hit a few outside shots here and there.

“If they had shot the ball like they shot it in the second half, it would have been a different story.”

SPORTS>>Fast start gives Bears big edge over Wildcats

Leader sportswriter

Watson Chapel’s Jaymes Farrell did his best to put a damper on the Archie Goodwin show when he entered the game to start the second quarter against Sylvan Hills on Tues-day.

But despite Farrell’s 10 points that sparked a Wildcats’ comeback, the Bears prevailed 64-47 at Sylvan Hills.

Sylvan Hills (14-3, 5-0 5A-Southeast) shot 7 for 9 from behind the three-point line in the first quarter on the way to a 29-2 lead at the end of the period before Watson Chapel (9-6, 3-2) pulled to within 36-26 at halftime.

The Wildcats closed to within six points early in the fourth quarter before the Bears dialed up the defensive pressure and ate up the clock in the frontcourt with a methodical, 11-0 run down the stretch.

The victory keeps the first-place Bears a game ahead of North Pulaski in the 5A-Southeast.

The energetic, capacity crowd had plenty to be excited about with Kentucky coach John Calipari and Missouri coach Mike Anderson in the stands to watch Goodwin, and the junior five-star prospect delivered in a 33-point performance.

Goodwin lit it up immediately with 13 points in the first quarter before sitting out most of the second. In that time, Farrell rallied the Wildcats, who outscored the Bears 24-7 to help them recover from the shaky start and end the half in better shape.

“It’s hard to script one better than what we did at the beginning,” Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis said. “Everything that you run in your break is working– everything. We had to make adjustments, because 33 was doing really well.”

The Bears answered Farrell with defensive pressure from quick-handed Anthony Featherston, who limited the Watson Chapel standout to eight points in the second half.

“I don’t believe that if 33 would have been in the ballgame in the first quarter, the difference would have been that much,” Watson Chapel coach Danny Myatt said of Farrell, who sat out the opening period as punishment for a minor disciplinary infraction.

“We may have scored a little bit. Taking nothing away from Sylvan Hills, but they won’t shoot that ball that well in the first quarter the rest of the year.”

Trey Smith got things going with a three-point basket on the Bears’ opening possession. Larry Ziegler then scored on an ally-oop lay-in assisted by point guard Dion Patton, followed by Goodwin’s first points of the night on a three pointer from the right side.

Smith made it 11-0 with another three-pointer before pressuring Jovione Bailey into a traveling call near midcourt.

Patton got in on the scoring when he made a three pointer with 4:58 left in the first quarter to give the Bears a 14-0 lead, and Goodwin followed with two free throws. Smith completed his first-quarter hat trick with another three-pointer that gave Sylvan Hills a commanding 19-0 lead with 3:20 left in the first period.

Bailey finally got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with an inside jumper.

Goodwin ended the first quarter with a long three-point shot at the buzzer. Pressure from Bailey caused Goodwin to fall down as he launched the ball, but it swished through the net to the delight of the Bears fans.

“They couldn’t have shot the ball any better,” Myatt said of Sylvan Hills. “We missed some layups that could have helped us a little; it just kind of snowballed on us.”

Farrell quickly helped the Wildcats make up ground in the second quarter.

Darrell Russell hit two three-pointers early in the period to close the gap to 31-10 and Farrell led a 10-2 charge by Watson Chapel that cut it to 33-22 with 1:03 left in the half.

Devin Pearson scored in the lane and was sent to the line for a successful free throw for the Bears, but Farrell closed out the half with a dunk and a pair of free throws.

“They fought – they challenged back,” Myatt said.

“We could’ve gotten over the hump a little more, and that may have helped. Trailing 29-2 at the end of the first quarter, and getting it back to a five-, six-point ballgame, they deserve a lot of credit for coming out there.”

Goodwin showed out at the end of the game with the Bears leading 58-47 and needing to kill the final five minutes.

He stood above the top of the key and invited challenges from Watson Chapel defenders. Russell, Antonio Jenkins and Bailey took a few shots at stealing the ball, but Goodwin prevailed each time, scoring twice and assisting Featherston on the game’s final points.

“He took over there a little bit,” Davis said of Goodwin. “It gave him some lanes to drive the basketball, and he’s able to get all the way to the rim. Those were huge, and then at the end, we’re trying to run out clock; we’ve got the lead that we want.

“Archie is who he is, he can handle the ball with both hands. He’s a tough guy.”

Goodwin added a game-high eight rebounds to go with his 33 points. Smith added nine points, all on three-pointers, in the first quarter and Pearson scored seven.

Patton scored six points and Ziegler had five, eight rebounds and three steals.

Farrell led Watson Chapel with 18 points and seven rebounds and Bailey scored 11 points.

SPORTS>>Burgan on deck

Leader sports editor

Shayne Burgan is rudderless no more.

Not long ago, Burgan, a one-time catcher for the Cabot Panthers, found himself drifting between baseball and whatever comes next. Things weren’t panning out at Williams Baptist College, where Burgan couldn’t find the motivation to make his grades.

But that is no longer the case.

After hitting baseballs for the Panthers and Eagles, Burgan, who graduated in 2008, is set to fire torpedoes for the U.S. Navy. He ships out at the end of this month as a torpedo man on the U.S.S. Seawolf, a first-of-the- line nuclear submarine out of Bremerton, Wash.

For the first time in a few years, Burgan, who will earn his rating as a machinist’s mate weapons, feels his future is set and he has the direction he has sought since he wrapped up his high school career and took a stab at playing for Williams Baptist in Walnut Ridge.

“The military has definitely matured me, I feel,” Burgan said. “I especially feel it when I come home. I’m used to making myself better.”

Burgan hit close to .400 and played catcher as a Cabot junior. He was relegated mostly to designated-hitter duty as a senior to make way for an up-and-coming catcher in 2008, but still performed well enough to get a partial scholarship to Williams Baptist.

Burgan said things were fine when he was on the field, but not so good elsewhere.

“I was very focused on baseball,” Burgan said. “I didn’t have my focus where I needed to be on the books.”

Burgan moved home after a semester and enrolled at Arkansas State-Beebe.

“I hate the fact I had to leave baseball,” said Burgan, a committed St. Louis Cardinals fan. “It was my first true love. I had been playing since I was five years old.”

Burgan fared no better in the classrooms at Beebe, where he completed just three credit hours while also working at Wal-mart, and life seemed even emptier without baseball.

“I sat down and thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to do something,’ ” Burgan said.

Like many young men looking for direction, Burgan began to consider the military. His father, Garland Junior “Smokey” Burgan, had been in the Air Force and one of Shayne’s best friends, former Jacksonville football player Josh Dougherty, had gone into the Navy straight out of high school.

While Little Rock Air Force Base was close by, Burgan rejected the Air Force, and the Army too, because they seemed the easy, obvious choices. To avoid upsetting his mother, Nina, he also passed on the Marines and ruled out the Coast Guard because he wanted to work in a branch under the Department of the Defense.

The Coast Guard was reassigned to the Office of Homeland Security after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

For Burgan, then, the Navy became the only real choice.

Though admittedly not the greatest when it comes to bookwork, Burgan still posted a high enough score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and a separate exam to qualify him for the nuclear program at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C.

But first he had to spend the better part of fall and winter at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago.

“It snowed literally every day and I absolutely hated it,” Burgan said in a nod to his Arkansas roots.

Burgan left for Charleston on Jan. 3, 2010 and there his old classroom problems surfaced as he washed out of the two-year nuclear program and found himself again in limbo, though this time it was the Navy’s version.

But the military in its wisdom found a new job for Burgan and shipped him to the torpedo school at Groton, Conn. —where it is more snowy than Chicago, Burgan noted — and that is where he has been until the present day.

Torpedo man is something of a naval misnomer, as Burgan also handles weapons ranging from Tomahawk missiles to 9 mm handguns. But the Navy traditionally calls its weapons guys torpedo men.

“We are known as torpedo men because it’s one of the oldest rates in the Navy,” Burgan said.

The Seawolf is so named because it was the first of the Seawolf Class nuclear submarines. Only three were placed into service before the Department of Defense opted for the Virginia class.

The Seawolf will patrol under the Western Pacific Command (WESTPAC) and Burgan, who will help operate eight forward torpedo tubes, is looking forward to ports of call in places like Australia, Japan and Thailand.

Beyond that, there is not much Burgan is allowed to reveal. He can’t talk about specific missions or locations and is sworn to secrecy even after he leaves the Navy.

“It’s called the silent service for a reason,” Burgan said.

Burgan met his girlfriend, medical school student Sierra Barrick, while in Charleston. He has three years on his current contract and she has three years of med school left.

Burgan is leaning toward reenlisting at least once, because that would give him one more year of sea duty and allow him to spend the rest of his stretch on shore and give him more time with Barrick.

In his dark winter uniform, Burgan still looks like he could block a plate or swat a baseball and has filled out some since his high school days. At Cabot, he was a teammate of Sam Bates, who signed with the Arkansas Razorbacks out of junior college last year and was then drafted by the Florida Marlins in June.

Burgan recalled leaving an Arkansas hog call on Bates’ phone when he heard the news of Bates’ college deal.

“It makes me feel great just to know that I even played with him,” Burgan said. “You still have that old brotherhood from playing ball.”

Burgan said he would have liked to try out for the armed forces team based in San Diego, but it would be logistically difficult given his submarine job.

So Burgan, who sold his catcher’s gear on eBay, is looking toward his future on the Seawolf, and maybe down the line with Barrick, and not so much his past on the baseball diamond.

But he will always keep the game close to his heart.

“As soon as I have a son,” Burgan said. “As soon as I have a son, he’s going to have a baseball glove sitting there with him.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville military museum lands C-130

Leader staff writer

A C-130 will soon leave Little Rock Air Force Base for a permanent position just a mile or so away next to the Jacksonville Museum of Military History off Main Street.

DannaKay Duggar, museum director, made the announcement at the recent meeting of the city’s advertising and promotion commission, adding that the museum may possibly need the commission’s help in funding the cost of the concrete pad needed to display the aircraft. The commission helped the museum about two years ago with the concrete pad that holds the F-15 on the south side of the museum.

The C-130, which will be one of the recently decommissioned E models, will be placed on the north side of the museum. If all goes right, it should be on display in September to help celebrate the base’s birthday.

This will be the second C-130 display in the area. The other is at the base’s Heritage Park.

Warren Dupree, curator and catchall for the museum, said the organization has been working on getting a C-130 for a number of years now. “It’s been an on-again, off-again proposition, that is on, we hope for sure, this time,” he said.

Dupree said the museum has had a C-130 “with its name on it for about a year and half,” but has been taking care of all the red tape. “We are happy to finally be on the homestretch. We look at this as a major recycling project. Instead of the plane going to the bone yard, it’s coming to us,” he said.

The C-130 first joined the Air Force fleet in December 1956. The C-130E models, at a cost of about $12 million apiece, first hit the skies for the Air Force in August 1962.

When asked if there was enough space for the nearly 98-foot-long aircraft and its 133-foot wingspan, Dupree said without a doubt. He and Joan Zumwalt had spent a hot July day a number of years ago taking very careful measurements. Those measurements were then verified by a consulting engineer. “We have the space,” Dupree said.

Dupree said the museum can’t calculate a true cost of the pad yet. “We are waiting to find out everything we need, but we will have it ready,” he said.

The museum may go back to the A&P commission to ask for  funding to build the pad and cover other costs to display the C-130, but at the meeting the commission approved its 2011 budget, which already includes $43,000 in assistance to the museum.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

OBITUARIES >>1-29-11

willie harshaw
Willie Ann Harshaw, 92, of Ward was born July 4, 1918, at Hickory Plains to Edmond and Cora Easterlee Tillcree Ford. She died Jan. 24. 

She is survived by her son, A. L. Harshaw, and her daughter, Mae Dickson, both of Beebe; seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Archie Harshaw Sr.; a son, James Harshaw, and a daughter, Naomi Thompson.

The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Pleasant Ridge Cemetery.

Arrangements are by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

Debra Woodyard
Debra Lucille Woodyard, 44, of Cabot passed away Jan. 25.

She was born July 15, 1966, in Little Rock to James Ray Ewing and Martha Jenkins Ewing.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Alan Woodyard; two children, Mark Woodyard and Laura Woodyard, three brothers, Thomas Ezell, John Ray Ewing and James Timothy Ewing; and sisters, Martha Ann Biggerstaff and Sherry Gavin.

She is also survived by two grandchildren, Zachary Woodyard and Ethan Hinkle.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home with Pastor Roy Edwards officiating. Interment will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Park.

amanda ruddell
Amanda Ruddell, 75, of Jacksonville passed away Jan. 28 at her home.  

She was born Sept. 30, 1935, in Germany to the late Art Jung and Emma.

She formerly worked for Siemens in Germany and Maybelline in North Little Rock. Later she became a full-time military wife. She loved their last assignment in Japan for three years.

She was a devoted Catholic. She was an avid animal lover and could not resist giving a home to a stray cat or dog. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

Survivors include her husband, Chester B. Ruddell; her daughters, Andrea and Martina; her sister, Leni, and her grandson, Christian, all of Germany.

The funeral will be at noon Tuesday, Feb. 1 at Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock with Father Andy Smith officiating. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. 

Arrangements are by Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Home.

EDITORIAL >> Golf courses need rescue

Is there a millionaire in Jacksonville and Cabot who could take over the ailing golf courses there and run them at a loss until the economy turns around?

The Foxwood Country Club has been a financial drain on owner Ted Belden for decades and has closed the links until a buyer comes forward. You’ve also heard by now the owners of the two golf courses in Greystone, Cabot’s upscale subdivision, are defaulting on their loan and need a financial rescue to save their golf club.

Greystone, which opened in 1994, is losing about $500,000 a year, and owners Jack King and Bill Minton told subdivision residents those losses are impossible to sustain. They auctioned off several hundred acres in the fall to try to stay afloat, but membership keeps falling, the golf pro left last year and losses keep mounting.

There is talk of the property owners buying the club, but to make a go of it, they’d need at least 200 new members who would pay several thousand dollars a year in dues. That’s a tall order in today’s economy, although the 44-year-old Rolling Hills Country Club, at the other end of town, has more than 300 members and is doing fine.

But financial hard times, coupled with fewer people playing the game — some 200 golf courses across the country closed in recent years — have made golf a much less lucrative business.

Greystone homeowners worry that if the club closes, their property values will plummet, which is why they’re hoping the city will rescue the two courses. They point to Sherwood, where the Greens at North Hills is now city-owned. The cost to the city was $5.5 million plus another $1 million for repairs and renovations. So far the course is doing well and could return a profit one day.

The owner of Foxwood Country Club last year asked the city to contribute at least $200,000 a year to keep it open, but Jacksonville officials said they couldn’t afford it and the course closed in December.

Eddie Cook, director of operations for Cabot, told The Leader on Saturday that Cabot is not prepared to “go into the golf-course business,” but that the city is concerned about Greystone’s future.

“We’ll continue to monitor the situation, and we’ll help any way we can,” Cook said. “We do care about them and they do have a huge economic impact on the city.”

Someone could buy Greystone and Foxwood at a bargain price and promote them to nearby residents as more than golf courses but key parts of their neighborhood’s character.

State Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, the former Cabot mayor and a Greystone resident, says its golf courses are a large part of Cabot’s identity.

“It’s a great part of who we are,” Williams said.

Greystone was built more than 15 years ago, and the subdivision and its golf courses helped Cabot grow. But the danger of shutting down the links there, and in Foxwood, for that matter, is that property values could plummet and people would move elsewhere. Jacksonville and Cabot officials might look to Sherwood on how to rescue a golf course.

TOP STORY >> Saying farewell to worn out flags

Leader staff writer

More than 200 U.S. flags were burned Saturday as Boy Scout Troop 23 of Cabot and American Legion Post 71 teamed up for a flag-retirement ceremony at the Cabot Community Fishing Pond at Kerr Station and Campground Roads.

Gary DeClerk of Jacksonville, a high school senior at Mills University Studies, organized the flag-retirement ceremony towards attaining the rank of eagle scout. DeClerk has been in the Boy Scouts since the first grade. Around 140 weathered U.S. flags were collected for the event at drop-off locations around the city.

The American Legion Post had collected more than 100 from drop-off locations.

DeClerk said March 2010 was the last time the Post held a flag-retirement ceremony. The America Legion collected the ashes for burial.

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert, Alderman Ann Gilliam, several legionnaires, Boy Scouts and Cabot police and fire department personnel were on hand for the ceremony.

“It is an honorable thing to honor the flag, those who died for it and the tradition it holds for our country. It is a reminder of how great our nation is,” the mayor said.

The first flag burned was a special piece of fabric. The flag was flown over the Indiana state capitol. The flag was presented to Raymond Morgan upon his retirement as the Indiana speaker of the House of Representatives after 33 years of service. His granddaughter requested the flag be retired because it was no longer in good condition.

Gary’s father, Kevin DeClerk, said he was proud of his son for his work organizing the retirement ceremony. Gary’s mother, Leonie, said boy and girl scouting are excellent programs.

His sister Sara was involved with Girl Scouts and earned the Gold Award.

“We need more kids to be in scouting. It teaches them good life skills, planning, responsibility and working with others,” she said.

After graduating from high school, Gary DeClerk wants to attend either the University of Rochester in New York, Rhodes College in Memphis or Hendrix University in Conway.

He plans on double majoring in mathematics and music.. DeClerk plays the cello.

TOP STORY >> Sherwood stabilizing financially

Leader staff writer

Sherwood saw a new golf course, a new police chief, a new public-works director and a new retirement fund last year and building-permit values double, according to Mayor Virginia Hillman in her state of the city address to the council Monday night.

Even with all those changes or additions, she called 2010 a financially stabilizing year.

“We ended 2010 expending less than budgeted in the general fund and also received more revenue than we spent. In fact, all of our funds expended less than revenues received. Everyone worked together to make this possible,” the mayor said.

She added that 2011 will bring new challenges and opportunities to the city.

“Census projections are anticipated in late February. The 2011 budget-appropriated funds are for an overlay program, completion of Brockington Road and completion of the north Claremont drainage project along with the Abercorn drainage project,” she said.

The city saw the value of its building permits double in 2010, going from $30 million to $61 million.

Hillman, who was re-elected in 2010 and is starting her first full term as mayor, said property crimes in the city have dropped 9 percent and crimes against persons or violent crimes dropped 8 percent in 2010, even though the police department is currently short six police officers.

She said that the parks and recreation department had a busy year completing repairs from previous floods and a tornado.

“The anticipated opening of the Greens at North Hills arrived as scheduled and the impact and successful participation in the use of the course has exceeded all projections,” the mayor said.

Hillman went on, “The now annual Arkansas Lady Razorbacks softball game drew another outstanding crowd to the Sherwood sports complex. The parks department hosted several successful events throughout 2010. It started with the Fourth of July celebration, on to Sherwood Fest and culminated with the 10th annual Trail of Holiday Lights.”

Capt. Jim Bedwell was promoted at the end of the year to head the police department after Chief Kel Nicholson stepped down. Nicholson remains on the force as a captain running the detective branch. Brian Galloway replaced Lanny Leder, who retired, as the public works director.

The city’s long-insolvent retirement fund was frozen and a new program initiated that gives the city more latitude but still provides solid benefits. Employees have the option of moving from the old to the new fund.

The mayor said the public-works department collected 49,610 cubic yards of extra pickup materials and 21,404 cubic yards of household garbage.

The city’s hot-check division issued almost 10,000 warrants, up from 3,000 in 2009. The district court handled about 26,000 cases, including DWI, traffic and criminal.

The animal shelter was about to adopt out 94 percent of its adoptable animals during the year.

The senior citizens center used a grant to purchase a new mini van with a ramp, plus new computers, a new phone system and a new ice machine. The center delivered almost 12,000 meals during the year to about 100 seniors.

The van, and others the center has, was used for 4,700 trips to doctors and other locations to help the seniors in the city.

The officer of the year award went to Kevin Fletcher, dispatcher was Chris Crim and the clerk was Debra Jones.



The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department will begin registration for youth softball from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday at the Jacksonville Community Center. Additional signup dates are Feb. 12 and Feb. 29. For information call the community center at (501) 982-4171. Point of contact is Josh Mayes.


UALR will host a 3-on-3 youth soccer tournament Feb. 11-13 at the Jack Stephens Cost is $75 per team. Make checks payable to: UALR Women’s Soccer. Contact Freddy Delgado at 501-569-3452 or, or Chris McNaughton at 501-813-6961 or  


The Leader would like to hear from all coaches in all sports in our coverage area. 
Please e-mail results, statistics or information to or fax to 501-985-0026 or call 982-9421.


The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department is teaming with NETA, a non-profit fitness professional association to co-sponsor a nationally recognized, personal trainer certification workshop on March 5 and March 6.

The March 5 session last from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the March 6 session is from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

The two-day workshop includes demonstrations and practical application of one-on-one training, exercise science review, communications skills, exercise programming, health assessments and more. Registration includes a written exam and two-year certificate that is accredited by the NCAA.

The workshop will be held at the Jacksonville Community Center, 5 Municipal Drive. Contact Jennifer Rackley (501-982-4171) for information. To register call (800) 237-6242 or visit 

SPORTS >> Lady Panthers rolling

Leader sports editor

Cabot coach Carla Crowder still thinks about Bryant once in awhile, but nowadays it’s only when the Lady Hornets pop up on the Lady Panthers’ schedule.

Crowder and Cabot beat Crowder’s former team 48-34 in a 7A-Central Conference game at Cabot on Friday night.

For Crowder, in her eighth season at Cabot since leaving Bryant, what was once old home week has turned into just another game, no more important than the last one or the next one.

“Every conference game is tough,” Crowder said, invoking the old “one game a time” axiom when asked about her ties to Bryant. “I still know a lot of people.”

Crowder’s Bryant program posted one of the longest known winning streaks in Arkansas girls high school basketball when the Lady Hornets won 62 from 1987-90. Fort Smith Southside won 56 from 1985-87.

Nationally ranked North Little Rock, which has beatenCabot twice — once narrowly in conference play — is closing in on both teams with 47 victories after Friday and plays Bryant next.

But Crowder’s only concern these days is Cabot (12-5, 3-1), and she was pleased with Tuesday’s result.

“We came out playing hard, we wanted that good first quarter,” Crowder said.

Cabot got off to a quick start to lead 16-6 after the first quarter and — when Melissa Wolff came to a jump stop and hit a layup with 1.8 seconds left — the Lady Panthers led 27-15 at halftime.

“We were just trying to keep focus and make sure we have a real good third quarter and didn’t let up,” Crowder said.

Bryant cut it to 29-17 to start the third quarter, but Wolff made a layup and Kaki Thomas and Elliot Taylor hit three-pointers to run the lead to 37-19.

London Abernathy broke the spell for Bryant when she hit a three-pointer from the right baseline with 2:58 left in the third quarter and Kiara Moore and McKenzie Adams combined for four free throws to cut the lead to 37-26 with 1:37 to go.

Thomas responded with a layup for Cabot and Adams answered with two free throws to pull Bryant within 39-28 with 32.8 seconds left in the quarter.

But the 11-point margin was as close as the Lady Hornets would get. Moore’s free throw with 2:33 to go in the game pulled Bryant (14-3, 1-3) within 42-31, but a layup by Cabot’s Jaylin Bridges and a basket and two free throws by Sydney Wacker helped Cabot keep its double-digit lead.

Bryant managed only Abernathy’s three-pointer down the stretch.

“I don’t think we were ready to execute,” Bryant coach Blake Condley said after his team, which won its first 14, dropped its third straight. “I think we got out-hustled to a lot of balls. I thought we didn’t help each other on defense. I thought we weren’t patient on offense.”

More than anything, Crowder was encouraged by Cabot’s ability to hold off Bryant in the second half after building its 12-point halftime lead.

“We’ve been really starting well, we just haven’t been finishing well sometimes,” Crowder said. “So the kids worked real hard and I’m real proud of them and we did a real good job on the boards.”

Taylor led all scorers with 15 points, Thomas scored 13 and Wolff added 10.

“I think we all played, as a team, just played really well,” Crowder said. “Kaki shot extremely well.”

Adams scored 11 points to lead Bryant and Moore had 10.

“We’ve just got to focus on just our bench and everybody playing, more people,” Crowder said. “Just focus on being a total team and trying to rebound a little better and play better defense.”

SPORTS >> Beebe girls searching for offense

Leader sportswriter

An improved second half performance was not enough for the Beebe Lady Badgers as Greene Co. Tech took a 55-43 victory at Badger Sports Arena on Saturday.

The 5A-East Conference games were originally slated for Friday, but with Greene County Tech schools being closed on Friday because of icy roads, the games were pushed back 24 hours.

The Lady Eagles took a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 28-15 at halftime. The Lady Badgers’ offensive struggles subsided some in the second half, but the Lady Eagles stayed consistent and hit their free throws down the stretch.

Greene Co. Tech (12-3, 4-0) frustrated Beebe with man-to-man defense and created turnovers in the first half, while four players scored 10 or more points.

“I thought it wore them down more than it did anything,” LadyEagles coach Ted Cunningham said of his team’s defense.

“We got a few steals out of it and so forth, but it eventually kind of wore them down. One or two of their players worked pretty hard to bring it down every time.

“I thought at one time, about the end of the third quarter, it kind of took its toll on them.”

The Lady Eagles tied Paragould for first in the East.

Beebe guards Jamie Jackson and Shaylyn Young scored 16 points and 12 points respectively, but with only three other teammates chipping in points of any kind, the Lady Eagles could focus much of their defensive attention on the duo.

Beebe forced a number of shots that turned into easy inside rebounds for the Lady Eagles.

“We did a pretty good job of giving one shot,” Cunningham said.

“They did a pretty good job of pressuring after we got rebounds and not letting us get a fast break. They did some things really well; it kept us from getting away from them.”

Whitney Emison got in the mix for Beebe in the second half with a pair of three-point baskets, including one with 2:02 left in the third quarter that cut Tech’s lead to 39-25.

She hit another in the final minute before Jackson scored on a lay-in at the buzzer that set the final margin.

The Lady Eagles’ Allie Wilson went 7 for 9 at the free-throw line and scored 12 points, while Sara Lofton went 9 for 10 at the line for another 12.

Haley Shelton also scored 12 points, 10 on field goals, and Lexi Gamling added 11.

“We’ve been pretty balanced all year,” Cunningham said. “It’s been somebody different just about every night that’s the high-points scorer. That’s one of those things that we expect.”

Gamling and Shelton got the Lady Eagles out to a hefty lead in the first quarter when Gamling hit a three pointer with 2:11 left and Shelton followed with two inside shots that put Greene Co. Tech up 12-4.

Jackson put an end to the 7-0 run with a jumper inside, but Gamling came right back for Tech.

Beebe’s tougher play inside limited Greene Co. Tech in the second half, but it also increased the Lady Badgers’ foul count. The Lady Eagles made 13 of 16 free throws in the second half.

SPORTS >> Red Devils fall to Pats in nailbiter

Leader sports editor

It’s too bad for Jacksonville there is no four-point shot.

Senior guard Raheem Apple-by, the Red Devils’ scoring leader, made a buzzer beating three-pointer at Marion on Friday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Patriots held on for a 67-66, 6A-East victory.

Appleby scored 35 points, the last three coming on his 50-footer as time expired. But thanks to a free throw by Marion’s Tevin Smith with 1.6 seconds to go, Appleby’s shot couldn’t tie it as the Patriots wisely stayed away and did not foul.

Marion (14-2, 4-0) overcame a 34-25 halftime deficit after it committed 10 turnovers inthe game’s first two quarters.

But the Patriots hung on to the ball better in the second half and got a 7-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters for a 49-48 lead as it fought off Jacksonville to remain perfect in one of the state’s toughest conferences.

Jacksonville (12-2, 2-2) opened the year on an 11-game winning streak and took its first loss on Jan. 7 when defending state champion Little Rock Hall edged the Red Devils 45-43 in the conference opener at the Devils Den.

That game too went the distance as Jacksonville missed a shot, a free throw and a desparation three-pointer in the final minute.

Jacksonville played host to West Memphis on Tuesday night. The Blue Devils are classified 7A but playing in the 7A/6A-East this year after being moved up in the Arkansas Activities Association’s last round of reclassficiation.

Power rankings are being used to hopefully level the playing field but the system has been under fire by coaches.

SPORTS >> Cabot bubbling over huge victory

Leader sports editor

After treading water or struggling below the surface, the Cabot Panthers are suddenly making waves.

The Panthers beat the Bryant Hornets 58-49 in a 7A-Central Conference game at Cabot on Friday, surviving a poor-shooting night at the free-throw line to break above .500.

“I told them I could take off the SCUBA gear,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said of his team’s improvement to 9-8.

More importantly, Cabot moved to 3-1 in the conference. It was also pointed out to Bridges that entering the night the Panthers were second in the 7A power rankings, which will help determine state tournament seeding at the end of the year.

But Bridges dismissed the rankings, introduced this year, and said the best way to get a high seed was to keep posting victories like the Panthers did Friday.

“I’m not smart enough to figure it,” Bridges said. “I just figure the more wins we get we’ll get in position to get to that state tournament.”

Cabot outscored Bryant 22-16 in the first quarter and led the entire second half but Bryant pulled within 32-28 when Brantley Cozart made a layup with 6:58 left in the third quarter. However Cabot was in the midst of an 18-3 run spanning the second and third quarters and built its lead to 43-29.

Bryant then posted a 10-0 run and the Hornets cut it to 43-39 when Cozart made two free throws with 4:50 in the game. Then Cabot’s J.D. Brunett drove the baseline and made a reverse layup that stretched the lead to 45-39 with 4:41 left in the game.

Cabot consistently blew opportunities to strengthen its lead in the final period, going 9 for 18 on free throws in the fourth quarter and 5 for 10 in the last minute. Cabot was 19 of 28 overall from the free-throw line.

“If we’d have made our free throws we could have breathed a little more easier at the end,” Bridges said. “But we came out in the third quarter and went through a stretch where we played good defense and worked the ball offensively and made shots and I just thought that run to start the thirdput us in good position.”

The Panthers scraped together just enough points and had enough rebounds and defensive stops to hold on down the stretch. It was 51-46 after Cozart’s steal and layup with 1:29 to go but Cabot’s Kai Davis made two free throws when he drew Quinten Motto’s third foul with 1:04 left.

Darin Jones missed both free throws when Motto committed his fourth foul, which was ruled intentional, with 47.8 seconds to go. But Brunett made two free throws after 34 fouled out with 44.3 seconds remaining and he hit two more to close out the scoring and offset Jordan Griffin’s three-pointer from the right wing.

“I felt comfortable with 17 seconds left,” Bridges said.

The loss dropped Bryant to 4-13, 0-4.

“We’re still trying to play four full quarters of good basketball,” said coach Mike Abrahamson of his young team that lost all five starters and its top two bench players from last year.

“Every game, including this one, we get some really good things going and we look really good at times and at times we still look really bad like an inexperienced, young team.”

Brunett scored 18 points for Cabot, Davis scored 17 and Jones scored 12.

“I think what we do good is we execute well,” Bridges said of Cabot’s 22-point start.

“That was one of our better quarters we had this year. I didn’t think we could sustain that for four quarters but we came out good in the third.”

Cozart scored 22 to lead Bryant and Griffin scored 13.

SPORTS >> Badgers save the best shot for last

Leader sportswriter

Points off turnovers and a heroic last-second shot by Beebe senior guard Devonte Young lifted the Badgers to a 49-47 victory over the Greene Co. Tech Golden Eagles at Badger Sports Arena on Saturday.

Payton Snodgrass completed the Eagles’ comeback with 22 seconds left when he hit a three-point basket that tied the game at 47, giving the Badgers plenty of time to set up a final shot to avoid overtime.

Young, who has college interest from Harding University, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and Missouri Southern, stepped inside the left wing and elevated with 2.2 seconds left and hit all net, sending the home crowd into hysterics.

“It was a good win to get against a very respected ball club,” Beebe coach Ryan Marshall said. “They’ve had tradition for quite a while. We talk about trying to win at home — I definitely feel we outplayed them the last three quarters. I’m just very proud of our kids.”

The 5A-East Conference game was postponed from Friday because of winter weather but turned out to be worth the wait.

The Badgers (13-3, 3-1) took their biggest lead, 39-31, in the late stages of the third quarter and stayed out front in the fourth by capitalizing on Eagles turnovers. Greene Co. Tech (7-11, 2-2) showed superior ball movement in the first half on its way to a 19-14 lead at the end of the first quarter before Beebe’s defense began stepping into the passing lanes.

While Young gave the crowd plenty to cheer for in the end, junior forward Dayton Scott provided the highlights for the Badgers through most of the second half.

Scott, who paced Beebe with 15 points and seven rebounds, scored on a trio of ally-oop dunks in the second half, including one set up by Brandon Fuller with 54 seconds left in the third quarterto give the Badgers their 39-31 lead.

Scott also gave Beebe the lead late in the first half with a turnaround lay-in off the backboard glass and also drew a foul. Scott hit the free throw to put the Badgers up 23-22.

Beebe got back in the game with defense in the second quarter by holding Tech scoreless until Chase McCoeless scored inside to make it 21-16 with 3:55 left.

The Badgers continued to chip away with a shot in the lane by Austin Burroughs and a bank shot by Jamaal O’Neill that finally gave the lead back to Beebe, 24-23, with 1:28 left in the half.

Cody Batteon gave the Eagles the final word for the half when he hit a three pointer with 56 seconds left to make it 26-24 at halftime.

Beebe went on a 6-0 run to start the second half and again held Tech scoreless until midway through the third period.

It was the Badgers’ most dominant quarter as they outscored the Eagles 15-7.

McCoeless made a three-pointer to pull Greene Co. Tech within 41-40 and Batteon made a shot in the lane to give the Eagles their first lead of the second half, 42-41, with 5:23 left to play.

But the Eagles hurt themselves with turnovers on their next three possessions, and Beebe converted on two.

Scott gave the lead back to Beebe with another dunk assisted by Fuller with 2:06 left following a five-second call against Greene County Tech.

Senior post player Zach May scored a basket and drew a foul with 1:23 left. May missed the free throw, but Scott was there for a quick rebound and putback that put the Badgers up 47-42.

“They didn’t make a whole lot,” Marshall said of the turnovers.

“But when they made them, I thought they were at crucial points. I thought it was to our advantage; we definitely converted on two or three of them.”

Young’s last-second jumper gave the Badgers the victory as he finished with 13 points.

“For people who haven’t been watching him, he’s just been our go-to guy all year long,” Marshall said.

“You can’t shut him down for four quarters. That wasn’t necessarily the shot we were looking for, but he’s got the green light to just play ball there at the end of the game like that, and that’s what he did. He hit a big-time shot.”

Burroughs added six points for Beebe. McCoeless led Greene Co. Tech with 14 points while Batteon added 11.

Beebe was at Forrest City on Tuesday night for another 5A-East Conference game with the Mustangs.

SPORTS >> Goodwin shows out

Leader sports writer

A packed house including one VIP witnessed Sylvan Hills’ 74-64 home victory over Mills University Studies on Friday.

University of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams dropped in on the action to catch a glimpse of Bears junior guard and five-star college recruit Archie Goodwin.

Goodwin did not disappoint with a game-high 35 points, while point guard Dion Patton added 16 and forward Larry Zeigler scored 10.

“He said it was as physical a game as he had seen in a long time,” Bears coach Kevin Davis said of Williams. “We’ve had two back-to-back like that. But you have to be able to adjust to how the game’s being called.

“If they’re not calling the close fouls and letting you play, you have to adjust to that.”

The Bears (12-3, 4-0) are in sole possession of first place in the 5A-Southeast Conference and are the only team still unbeaten in league play. They have also found their way to the top of the 5A rankings in the weekly VYPE basketball polls.

The Comets used a zone defense in the first half before switching to man-to-man in the second, which picked up the overall tempo. The Comets pulled to within five points before the Bears recovered to close strong.

“It wasn’t a big run,” Davis said. “I think it was more the pace of the game in the second half. That’s kind of Mills’ style, to go at it toe-to-toe like that. They were in a zone and got behind, so that forced them to go man, and that right there will make the tempo faster.”

Williams, in his eighth year at UNC, became well known first as coach at the University of Kansas where he led the Jayhawks to 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances, including four tripsto the Final Four. He compiled a 418-101 record at Kansas before returning to his alma mater to coach the Tar Heels in 2003.

Williams is 205-58 at North Carolina with national championships in 2005 and 2009. His overall record is 623-159.

Williams entered the Sylvan Hills gymnasium in the closing minutes of the girls game and stood at the top of the home bleachers.

“He was really impressed with how hard we played as a unit,” Davis said. “To me, he didn’t say anything about any of the other guys – I know he said some things to the people sitting around him, but to me he just mentioned how hard we played.”

As for Goodwin, who has already visited the UNC campus, Williams noted that the standout was still able to score over 30 points despite a number of shots that fell short.

“He just kind of felt like there were a couple of shots that didn’t go that he could tell normally did for Archie,” Davis said.

“And he still came away with over 30 points. I think his 6-9 wingspan and his ability to control the ball, with either his right or left hand, these are things special to Archie and what makes all these big programs to be interested in him.”

Monday, January 24, 2011

OBITUARIES >>1-22-11


Gregory Harold Matthews, 61, of Jacksonville passed away Jan. 18. He was a small-business owner and a member of the Moose Lodge, Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Jacinto Lodge in Jacksonville and Scimitar Schriners Temple.

He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Susan Matthews; two sons, Mickey Matthews and wife Kate of Little Rock, and Robby Matthews of Jacksonville; mother, Thelma Matthews of Hot Springs; sister, Angie Griggs and husband Fil of Hot Springs; and two grandchildren, Waylon and Tyler Matthews, both of Little Rock.

He was preceded in death by his father, Joe Matthews and two brothers, Michael and Joe Allen.

The family would like to express a special thanks to Dr. Robert Lehmberg and nursing staff at the V.A. Hospice unit.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice.

A memorial service was Jan. 22 at Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church. Arrangements are by North Little Rock Funeral Home. Honorary pallbearers will be members of Cato Social Club.


Walter “Wally” Nelson Hull, 71, of Cabot died Jan. 1. He was born Aug. 29, 1939 to the late William C. and Bernice Marie Stone Hull. He retired from the railroad after 44 years. He worked in all aspects of the railroad industry and retired as a trainer of engineers. He was secretary/treasurer of IAROO for 25 years and a U.S. Army veteran from 1959 to 1961.

He is survived by his wife, Margalene McGehee Hull; three children, Janet Short, Steve Hull and Jill Listenbee; one sister, Mary L. Payne; two brothers, William Gentry Hull and Franklin Hull, as well as nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were Jan. 22 in the chapel of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Kenneth Lee Glass of Beebe was born Feb. 28, 1945. He married Dora Stivers-Glass Aug. 28, 1964. They had four sons, Clifton, Doug, Rusty and Wendell Glass. He had three daughters-in-law, Ruth, Jennifer and Robyn Glass. He has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Kenneth was preceded in death by his father, Woodrow Wilson Glass; his mother, Jessie Honomichl, and one son, Douglas Glass.

He retired from the Air Force after 20 years and also retired from ASU-Beebe. He has three brothers and two sisters.

The funeral was Jan. 22 at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in New Floyd Cemetery.


Anne Deese Pinkston Frankel, 67, of Sherwood passed away Jan. 19 in North Little Rock. She was born in Little Rock on Jan. 26, 1943, to the late Brady and Tommie Stewart Deese.

In 1960, Anne graduated from North Little Rock High School. For many years, Anne helped run her family’s hardware store, Deese Hardware, in North Little Rock. Anne was employed by Nuvell Financial Services for the past 15 years. She was preceded in death by her granddaughter, Taylore’ Elizabeth Hall.

She is survived by her husband, Buddy Frankel of Sherwood; her children, Lisa Pinkston and her husband Preston Hall of North Little Rock, Paul Pinkston and his wife Lisa of Sherwood, and Lesli Griffin of Little Rock; her grandchildren, Jordan Griffin, Sydney Griffin, Daton Pinkston, Dawson Pinkston and Jacob Hall; her sister, Jane Deese Keatts of Las Cruces, N.M.; her niece, Julie Keatts Owens of Los Angeles; her nephew, Jeff Keatts of Houston, and numerous special friends.

Anne was a beloved mother, sister and grandmother who will be truly missed. Her children and grandchildren were her most valuable asset, and she was so proud of all of them, reclaiming her Arkansas life from Colorado just to be near them.

She loved animals, a good laugh, trips to Branson, good co-workers and she was groomed to the nines at all times. No one ever saw Anne until she was all put together, including her trademark eyelashes and jewelry. She leaves many joyful memories for everyone to hold dear.

A memorial service will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 at Moore’s Jacksonville Funeral Chapel with Brother Paul Holderfield officiating.


Viola McKown of McRae was born May 25, 1919, in Stigler, Okla., to George E. and Lona Barnard. The Lord called her home on Jan. 21.

She was a long-time member of the McRae United Methodist Church and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.

She loved having her family and friends in her home for big Sunday dinners. She left a lot of fond memories to be cherished.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Spence; three daughters, JoAnn Bryant, Arverla Bradford and Joyce Barnard; a granddaughter, Angela Baker, and a grandson, Stephen McKown.

She is survived by one son, Wayne McKown, and Brenda of McRae; three daughters, Annette Miller of Greers Ferry, Linda Jones and Rose Mary Jackson and Jackie, all of McRae; nine grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 at McRae United Methodist Church, with burial in Weir Cemetery.


Nell Liles, 88, of Beebe died Jan. 1. She was born Aug. 31, 1922 to Calvin and Martha Burnett. Nell was a loyal member of the Beebe Church of Christ.

She is survived by her husband, Al Liles; two sons, Gary Liles and David Liles and his wife Phyllis; two grandchildren, Jason Liles and Mandy and her husband Chad Slaughter; and two great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters, all of Beebe. She was preceded in death by her sisters Mabel Belew and Ala Mae Hefner and a daughter-in-law, Marinell Liles.

Funeral was Jan. 21 at Westbrook Funeral Home, with burial in Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens.