Friday, February 11, 2011

OBITUARIES >> 4-30-11


Frankie Lee Ray, 69, of Jacksonville went home to be with the Lord on April 27. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Elsie Hatchett, and three sisters, Linda, Catherine and Florence.

She is survived by her husband of 51 years, Alderman Reedie Ray; daughter, CeCelia Ray-Allen; son, Adrian Ray of Jacksonville; three sisters, Minnie Rose, Elsie and Gwenlydon Hatchett; three brothers, William, Frank and Ted Hatchett; seven grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, other loving relatives and special friends.

A celebration of her life will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 30 at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 8205 Hwy. 161 North in North Little Rock. Interment will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Park in Jacksonville. Arrangements are by Ruffin and Jarrett Funeral Home in Little Rock.


Bobbie Lee Hall, 77, of Austin died April 27.

She was born April 8, 1934, to the late Bob and Katie Jones Estes. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Elray Bishop and Lorene Michaelis, and one brother, Neal Estes. Mrs. Hall was a member of Cabot Westside Church of Christ.

She worked on a farm as a young woman and then as a caregiver and nurses aide, but she was always a homemaker.

She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Jimmy D. Hall; two brothers, Jimmy Estes and Robert Estes, both of Jacksonville, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30 in the chapel of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home with Bro. David Brown officiating. Interment will follow at Sumner Cemetery.

Arrangements are by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Mary Dobbins Baker, 86, of Beebe died April 25.

She was born at Center Hill to Deener and Muda Dobbins, and she graduated from Searcy High School in 1942.

Ms. Mary and her husband, Wallace Baker, were owners of Wallace Baker Chevrolet in Beebe for 41 years. She was an active member of Beebe First United Methodist Church. She served as president of the United Methodist Women, Sunday school superintendent, treasurer and on many other committees in the church, along with being in the church choir for 40 years.

She was a past president of the Beebe PTA, a member of the Red Hat Club and the ladies quilting group. She loved her flowers and cooking for her family. She especially enjoyed her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Wallace Baker, her parents and a brother, Deener Dobbins Jr.

She is survived by three children, Robert H. Baker and his wife LaRea, Jeannie Baker Latture and her husband John, all of Beebe, and Nancy Baker Dacus and her husband Robert of Searcy; grandchildren, Bobby Baker and his wife Kathy, Marci Baker Cox and her husband Bill, Terrance Latture, Keith Latture and his wife Laura and Alexander Getchell; step-grandsons, Joe and Weston Dacus, and eight great-grandchildren.

The funeral was April 29 at the church, with cremation followed.


Jack W. Dillehay, 87, of Jacksonville passed away April 26.

He was born Sept. 15, 1923, in Newport to the late Johnny W. and Lucy Brumley Dillehay. He was a member of the Apostolic Church in North Little Rock.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda Burkett Dillehay of Jacksonville; daughters, Anna Crump of Springdale, Peggy Diles of Carlisle, Hazel Dillehay of Hot Springs, Reba Tyler of Texas, JoAnn Smith of Jacksonville, Norma Moore of Jacksonville and Carol Foster of Cabot; 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and his brother, Lee “Doc” Dillehay of Cabot.

The funeral was April 29 at the Apostolic Church.


Loyd O’Neal Fulks, 86, of Beebe went to be with his Lord on April 25.

He was born July 10, 1924, in McRae to Conwell and Mattie Robinson Fulks. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Beebe and served as a deacon.

Loyd was a World War II veteran, who served in the Navy in the South Pacific. He was a retired barber. His barbering career began in Beebe in 1950 then to Camden for 20 years where he raised his family.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Maxine Mash Fulks; his parents; an infant sister, O’Dean, and three brothers, Fred, Melvin and Tommie. He is survived by his four children, Linda Ray and her husband Jerry of Beebe, Glenda McElhanon and her husband Graham of Beebe, Max and his wife Pam of Camden and John Allen of Beebe; one brother, Holice of Austin; one sister, Peggie Sears, of Jacksonville, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

The funeral was April 28 at the church with burial in Antioch Cemetery.


Barbara Jean White, 62, of Jacksonville passed away April 27. She was born June 28, 1948, in Jacksonville to the late John and Inez Keister.

She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Roy Lee White, of the home; two sons, Lee White and his wife Ginny, and Keith White and his wife Janetta, both of Jacksonville; six brothers, Little John Keister, Dewight Keister, Timmy Keister, Donny Keister, Danny Keister and his wife Kay, all of Jacksonville, and Steve Keister of Morgenfield, Ky.; three grandchildren, Jamie White, Dylan White and Paiglyn White, and several sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, along with many other family members and friends.

Arrangements were by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.

EDITORIAL >>What after Mubarak?

Hosni Mubarak was a firm U. S. ally in a region where we have precious few friends in high places, but no one in this country, except perhaps Mike Huckabee and Dick Cheney, can feel anything but relief and even a trace of exhilaration at the news that the dictator’s iron rule has finally ended. 

A people’s yearning for freedom and a say in their country’s affairs has been fulfilled, at least temporarily, and that has been our wish for people the earth over for two centuries and the actual foundation of our foreign policy, at least nominally, since President Jimmy Carter formulated it three decades ago. We have not adhered to that policy with much precision, as our persistent support of Mubarak and other authoritarian regimes shows, but it is what Americans have wanted. 

Our exhilaration at the victory of Egyptian people who went into the streets to demand the personal freedoms and democratic institutions that Americans enjoy must be muted by the reality that we cannot control events there and that the democratic voices on the square may not be able to control them either. Successful uprisings against tyrants have not always turned out well, especially in the Middle East, and one form of tyranny has often been replaced by another with a different social or religious cast. 

The history of our relations with the Middle East is not a uniformly proud one. The Eisenhower administration directed the overthrow of the new democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran and the establishment of an autocratic government under the shah. We could only watch when the people overthrew the shah and set up a religious autocracy with a few democratic trappings. The bitterness over the U.S. role half a century ago still drives the resentment in that sad land and troubles our affairs in the region.  

The United States has invested heavily in the Egyptian regime, some $1.3 billion a year. It continued after Mubarak replaced the murdered Anwar Sadat and turned it again into a police state. Three American presidents, Clinton, Bush II and Obama, treaded softly on the human-rights issue because Mubarak — who resigned Friday on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution — was one of only two regimes in the region that stood beside us, publicly, with Israel. All three presidents nudged Mubarak softly — Obama a little more resolutely—to reform his government, grant more liberty and move toward true democratic institutions. Now we are at the mercy of mysterious tides. We can only hope that the truly liberal democratic forces in that movement prevail.  

There is some reason to expect that our investment even in authoritarianism may pay off. The Egyptian military, the recipient of vast sums of U. S. aid and technical assistance, seems to be in charge. The sympathies of the Army, from the soldiers on the streets to the high command, have seemed to be with the protesting masses. The Army command played a role in the Mubarak’s finally relinquishing power, and it promises to vindicate the strivings of the protesting throngs. The military leadership has trained in the United States for two generations, and there seems to be an international camaraderie, an admiration for American values and an appreciation for the military’s role in protecting democracy and individual freedoms. 

The democracy protests in Egypt and throughout much of the Middle East have their genesis in western institutions and the technology spun off them, including the Internet and all the manifestations of social media. It was Wikileak’s release of American diplomatic cables that spurred the protests that overthrew the autocratic rule in Tunisia, which has spread across much of the region. The claims by Mubarak and Iran’s president that western forces were behind the democratic turmoil were right. It simply was not intentional.  

Mike Huckabee had joined the former vice president in insisting that the United States embrace Mubarak’s regime both privately and publicly. He apparently feared that Muslim extremists would control a democratic government. A hostile theocratic government could follow in Egypt, but not if it is truly democratic.

Democratic nations have a universal history of making peace, and there is nothing about the Arab genome that should cause us to fear that Arabs will be any different. Real democratic governments in Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (when will that happen?), Iran and Iraq along with Israel and Turkey will eventually make peace. It is the best hope for Israel, the Middle East and for our own vital interests there. They are celebrating wildly in Egypt. We can celebrate a little more cautiously ourselves.

TOP STORY > >PCSSD plans for schools bring praise, some gripes

By  john hofheimer 
Leader senior staff writer

The Pulaski County Special School District Board’s vote to begin design work to build three new schools in Jacksonville and do an extreme makeover on four other district schools Tuesday night may have been unanimous, but that doesn’t mean all communities endorsed the plan.

The board appropriated $1.5 million from the district’s construction fund to begin design work for the seven projects in order to assess the proposal’s feasibility in time to cut $8 million from the 2011-2012 budget in April and to sell $104 million in construction bonds, keeping with the timeline proposed by Derek Scott, the district’s chief of operations. That $8 million represents 5 percent of the district’s discretionary budget, according to Scott.

Jacksonville-area participants seemed of a single mind in their enthusiasm for the proposal to build a new elementary school on Little Rock Air Force Base to replace Arnold Drive and Tolleson and also to build a new Jacksonville middle school and elementary school at the site of the former girls middle school.


Rizzelle Aaron, of the Jacksonville NAACP, told the board that support was so widespread for the Jacksonville plan that he and Mayor Gary Fletcher found themselves uncharacteristically on the same side of an issue. Board president Bill Vasquez, who earlier proposed making deeper budget cuts to fund a more aggressive building program, voted for the appropriation.

He did seem to hold out hope that the proposed new Jacksonville ele-mentary schools might be “a Clinton-sized elementary schools that could affect several local elementaries.”

But patrons in areas slated for extreme makeovers—add/alters in Scott’s military-inflected jargon—instead of new schools were less happy, particularly Robinson-area patrons, who want a new middle school.

The last school built in their area was Chenal Elementary about three years ago. Scott agreed that Robinson Middle School was in deplorable shape, but said it was salvageable.

“What determines if it should be replaced?” asked Sandra Sawyer, who represents Robinson and West Little Rock on the board.

“Community desires have to be balanced with fiscal realities,” said Scott. “When we’re done, it will not look like putting lipstick on a pig.”


“It has good bones,” Scott said. He added that it had “bad skin and arteries.”

For instance, it has traditional structure, not outdoor hallways, like Jacksonville Middle School.

“Everyone in my zone wants new schools,” Sawyer said. “We’re not going to close any doors, but we will move forward and see what we can get.

“We’re losing a lot of students. At some point we have to implement some fairness or you’ll lose what support you have. Spend wisely,” she said.

She asked if the schools getting the extreme makeovers would be outfitted with new technology.

“We will take the 21st Century approach to technology and upgrade them to state standards,” said Superintendent Charles Hopson. “Pine Forest isn’t even the same school.”

One of her constituents complained to Scott, “You came to our meeting and came back with nothing we wanted. Nobody allowed us to show what we came up with as a community.”

Vasquez said that the add/alter—a military term for making alterations and additions to a building—would be like lifting a gas cap on a junker and driving a new car under it.


“If it’s done right, when you drive up, you’ve got the ‘wow,’” Scott said.

He promised that the communities would be involved in the design of the new schools and the add/alters, in design charettes with architects and school officials.

He said the recently completed work at Pine Forest Elementary School was an example of a properly done add/alter.

“College Station would like to have a new school,” said board member Mildred Tatum.

Board member Gwen Wil-liams said that promised improvements to Harris Elementary School, in her zone, never materialized as the money was cannibalized for use by new schools in Maumelle and Sherwood.

“Time has revealed the results of the incomplete projects,” said Williams, “—leaking water, termites, mold, rust and flooding. The money was used to top off the new schools.”

She also complained that the press had turned out for all other community-facilities meetings, but not for the two in her district—Harris and Scott elementary schools.

While neither Tatum nor Williams were happy that their schools would receive only add/alters, the district’s first proposal called for closing College Station, Harris and Scott, all fairly decrepit and each with fewer than 300 students, and to put all elementary-aged students in those zones into a new elementary school at an undetermined site.


“It’s based on a needs assessment,” he said of the plan. “The ones we are recommending are the worst of the worst.”

Scott said district schools got in such bad shape through decades of neglect. “The industry standard is to spend 1.5 percent of replacement costs to maintain or 2 percent on modernization,” which with the district’s total replacement cost of facilities estimated at $1 billion, means it should have been spending $15 million to $20 million a year on upkeep.

In other business, the board heard a report from its attorney, Jay Bequette, about the current status of DREAM’s after-school program’s debt to the district. Bequette said DREAM was behind in its repayment, possibly triggering the clause in the agreement requiring immediate payment of the entire $22,000 owed.

Williams, Vasquez and others think the district has not treated the DREAM program equitably, and asked Bequette to do further investigation and report back.


Without discussion, the board unanimously:

 Revised its policy regarding the budget due date, moving it up to April.

Upgraded the director of school maintenance-services position to grade-range 17 to attract more qualified individuals—at a cost of $2,066. That job has been vacant for several years.

 Increased pay and benefits for the athletic director by $6,082 to reflect the increased responsibilities.

 Settled lawsuits reimbursing attorney’s fees of $70,000 to the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers and reinstating the professional-growth plan, also agreeing to pay the teachers who took an accrued-leave day on Dec. 9, 2009, after the PACT contract was not approved by the board.

 Authorized the payment of as much as $10,000 a year to be awarded for leading transformational initiatives that could save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars.

TOP STORY > >Lantern fest to light up city

By  jeffrey smith 
Leader staff writer

A showcase of traditional Asian culture and art will be on display during a Lantern Festival being held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 at Unique Connection Center, 618 West Main St., in the Jacksonville Shopping Center.

The lantern festival is celebrated on the final day of the 15-day Chinese New Year season. The free event is sponsored by Unique Furniture and the University of Central Arkansas’ Confucius Institute.

Sue Khoo, owner of Unique Furniture, has held the Asian festival since 2003.

“I am hosting the Lantern Festival to carry on the tradition of our culture and to build a bridge of history and understanding to all communities. We want to add fun activities for the city of Jacksonville. People come from all over the state to enjoy the excitement. It gives us a chance to showcase the city of Jacksonville,” Khoo said.

Khoo said many years ago, lanterns were used for communication. Red lanterns are a message of a celebration or happiness, while white lanterns mean there is sadness in a family or a death.

The festival will have music, dancing, fashion and several Asian food vendors. There will be paper cutting and origami lessons.

Several students from UCA will be performing during the evening. Yuan Wang, 26, will play the guzheng, a Chinese zither. She began playing the instrument when she was 6 years old. Bo Wan will play the hulusi, a horn instrument with a squash at the end. David Teaster is an American student learning Chinese at UCA, who will play a Chinese song on a guitar.

Ryan Yan will show his martial-arts skills with the nunchakus. He practiced using nunchakus for 12 years. A demonstration of the Korean martial arts Kuk Sool Won is also scheduled. Filipino dancers will be performing as well.

Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School students will perform, “It’s A Small World.” They also are creating the lantern decorations for the festival.

Little Miss Sherwood Alexis Rodriguez, former Little Miss Jacksonville Tearyn Brown and Miss Prairie County Brooklyn Smith will model dresses from Cindy’s pageant dresses. The Jacksonville Police Department will have child ID kits and gun locks.

Khoo’s store, Unique Furni-ture, has been in business since 1996.

“I opened my store in Jacksonville because it is close to the Little Rock Air Force Base, which is a center of many cultures. My store would give the opportunity to purchase items that otherwise could only be purchased overseas,” she said.

“Jacksonville is not a large city, but it’s about 10 minutes from Little Rock and North Little Rock. It is about 20 minutes from the Clinton Library. We are close to other local towns such as Beebe, Searcy, Cabot and even Hot Springs. Our good products and prices make people want to shop with us. Our friendly service keeps customers coming back. It is a privilege to get to know our customers and call them by name,” Khoo said.

Khoo was born in Taiwan. She held nursing, mid-wife and rehabilitations licenses before moving to the United States in 1973. She returned to the classroom earning a college degree in business marketing and studied interior design.

Khoo had a furniture business in Houston, Texas. In 1988, a group of business people in Arkansas visited with her in Texas to learn about setting up a small business and giving financial advice.

A year later, business was going well for the merchants and they invited Khoo to Little Rock, as an appreciation.

In 1996, Khoo wanted to expand her business. She liked visiting Arkansas. After completing a market study, she chose Jacksonville to open her new store. One reason was Little Rock Air Force Base was nearby.

Sue Khoo’s husband, Ray Khoo, is an artist who was born in Malaysia. He graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Art in Singapore in 1961. He moved to the U.S. in 1974.

Ray Khoo has held 45 one-man art shows in Singapore; Melbourne, Australia; New York, and Shanghai, China.

Khoo has also had works on display in art shows in Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Last year, Khoo’s art was on display for three months at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in Little Rock.

TOP STORY > >Sun pushes big blizzard out of area

Leader staff writer

“It can’t get gone fast enough,” was the sentiment expressed by Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman regarding the latest round of snow that dumped six inches or more on the area.

But sunshine returned Friday and temperatures will continue to rise through the weekend.

Sherwood Police Capt. Scott McFarland said officers were kept busy Wednesday morning right through Friday with accidents. “Most were minor fender benders,” he said, “but one or two people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.”

McFarland said one of those fender benders included a police vehicle. “It wasn’t the officer’s fault, another driver slid into him. The officer gave the other driver a warning and even drove him home,” the captain said.

The storm was the third major snow of the winter and moved this winter up to number seven on the all time snowiest winters.

This latest round dumped 24.5 inches of snow at Siloam Springs in the northwest part of the state, 18 inches in Fayetteville and 10 inches in Harrison. The record snowfall amount is 25 inches, which hit Corning in 1918. More than a foot of snow fell in just three hours near Jasper on Thursday morning.

Locally, Little Rock Air Force Base reported 6.3 inches of snow from Wednesday through Thursday. The National Weather Service recorded 6.2 inches at its station in North Little Rock and 5.9 inches at the Little Rock airport.

Along with the heavy Wednesday snows, came near-record cold temperatures Thurs-day morning. Fayetteville recorded a temperature of 18 degrees below zero and the some community of Highfill in Benton County hit 21 degrees below zero. The record low occurred back in 1905 when Gravette hit 29 degrees below zero.

The base record a low temperature of two degrees Thursday morning and so far for the month local temperatures have averaged about 13 degrees below the normal for this time of the year.

Heavy snows, stalled traffic and accidents closed Interstate 40 between Little Rock and Lonoke for most of Thursday and I-540, north of Alma and I-40, was also closed.

Three people died in snow related accidents along I-40 during the snowstorm.

A woman was killed along I-40 near Galloway when she lost control of her vehicle. Another woman and her one-year child were killed in an accident near Brinkley.

Capt. Kenny Boyd, with the Jacksonville Police Department said, “We had a lot of drivers slide off the roadways Wednesday, Thursday and still on Friday. During the height of the problems Thursday the police were so busy with accidents that they didn’t write up most of the accidents where the vehicles just slid off the roadway.

Among those vehicles slip-sliding were two patrol cars. “We had to write up reports on those because they slid off and collided with fixed objects,” Boyd said, adding that in both cases the officers, like many other drivers, just hit a patch of ice.

Sherwood’s Public Works Director Brian Galloway said late Friday that things really hadn’t slowed up much for his crews and that they were still out checking roads and sanding.

Before the storm hit, Galloway said the city had about 1,000 tons of sand left. “WE used quite a bit of it for this storm,” he said. Galloway added that his two two-man sand crews logged more than 64-manhours Wednesday and Thursday. “There are still a lot of icy spots. We are doing the best we can,” he said.

Galloway said Friday his focus is now turning to garbage pickup. “We are three days behind and it’s starting to pile up. We ran all our trucks Friday and may do the same on Saturday.”

Austin Mayor Bernie Chamberlain said the city had spent about $800 for salt and sand to clear Austin streets. She said Friday afternoon that Highway 367, which runs through the downtown area, still had icy spots underneath trees, but the streets in Austin were clear.

Jerrel Maxwell, head of public works in Cabot, said he spent about $1,000 to sand hills and overpasses to help keep traffic moving, about the same amount he spent the last time it snowed.

His workers spread sand at the police station and all the fire stations, he said. They also sanded Cut Hill on Highway 367, the overpass on Highway 89, the hill leading into the housing area on Rockwood, Lincoln Street around the high school and on street leading into West Oaks subdivision.

Their efforts kept most motorists from sliding off the road, he said, adding that although it is safer to just stay home when the roads are bad, unless a few decide to brave the snow and ice the roads stay bad longer. It’s the traffic that starts the thaw, he said.

Ward Mayor Art Brooke said a crew of two working with the bucket on a backhoe, sand and donated salt have kept streets clear in his town. The only day there were any problems at was Thursday, the day after the snow fell.

The state takes care of the highways through town, Brooke said, but his crew spread extra salt and sand at the intersections to ensure that they were clear.

Dr. Tony Thurman, superintendent of Cabot Schools, said Friday that if this is the last of the snow as expected, Cabot Schools would close for the summer on June 3.

The state requires every district to have 178 instruction days and the district has five days built into this year’s school calendar that can be used as make-up days, he said.

Friday made the fifth day that Cabot was out for snow, which means it has used all the days that were built in.

“We would not consider using spring break days unless we were to go over the five days that are identified on the calendar,” Thurman said.

(Leader staff writer Joan McCoy contributed to this article.)

TOP STORY > >Sherwood passes Jacksonville

By RiCk kron
Leader staff writer

Sherwood has overtaken Jacksonville in population, according to the latest U.S. Census figures.

This was done through Sher-wood gaining residents, in particular more than 3,000 people when it annexed Gravel Ridge two years ago, and with Jacksonville losing residents.

Meanwhile, Cabot jumped 55 percent, Ward moved up 60 percent and Austin more than tripled its population. Beebe is up almost 50 percent. Lonoke is down slightly.

Jacksonville’s 2010 count of 28,364 is less than it had in 2000 (29,916) and less than its 1990 population of 29,101.

Overall, Jacksonville’s population fell about 5 percent over the past 10 years.

Sherwood’s new count is 29,523, up about 8,000 from its 2000 population count of 21,511, a gain of about 35 percent.

Each person a city counts is worth about $1,000 to $1,500 annually, according to census officials.

For Jacksonville that means a 10-year loss of more than $15 million. On the other hand, Sherwood will see federal funding increase about $80 million over the next decade.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher doesn’t think the figures are right. “I’ve got questions. We’ve had steady construction for 10 years. I don’t think everyone was counted. I want to check on if all the base personnel were counted,” he said.

“Once we get some questions answered, we’ll decide if we are going to contest the count,” the mayor said.

He added that if the figures are accurate, it’s proof that “the condition of our schools are killing us.”

Sherwood’s Mayor Virginia Hillman is ecstatic about the news. “We’re now the 14th largest city in the state,” she said.

The mayor actually suspected the number of residents to be higher than reported. “We really thought we were going to break the 30,000 mark and Metroplan has us estimated at 31,000,” she said.

Hillman credits a lot of people, businesses and organizations that pushed the importance of the census in March and April last year for the solid numbers.

Sherwood had already figured on the increased population and planned its 2011 budget accordingly.

Cabot also made great strides in growth, going from 15,261 in 2000 to 23,776 in 2010, a gain of almost 55 percent.

Austin, which back in 2005 was a small community of just 605 people, now, according to the U.S. Census, boosts a population of 2,038.

Ward has gone from 2,580 in 2000 to 4,067 in 2010, for about a 60 percent increase.

Beebe has also done well, growing about 48 percent over the decade. The city went from 4,930 in 2000 to 7,315 in 2010.

Besides Jacksonville, Lonoke was the only other city to lose ground, dipping by 42 residents. Its 2010 population is 4,245, but back in 2000 it was 4,287.

Breaking the census data down further:

Of Austin’s 2038 residents, 1,919 are white, 69 are Hispanic, 40 are black, eight are Asian, and seven are Native American.

Of Beebe’s 7,315 residents, 6,544 are white, 425 are black, 192 are Hispanic, 70 are Native American and 31 are Asian.

Of Cabot’s 23,775 residents, 22,137 are white, 983 are Hispanic, 374 are black, 351 are Asian and 131 are Native American.

Of Jacksonville’s 28,364 residents, 16,364 are white, 9,272 are black, 1,890 are Hispanic, 597 are Asian and 169 are Native American.

Of Lonoke’s 4,245 residents, 3,008 are white, 1,075 are black, 142 are Hispanic, 16 are Asian and seven are Native American.

Of Sherwood’s 29,523 residents, 22,232 are white, 5,464 are black, 1,181 are Hispanic, 464 are Asian and 155 are Native American.

Of  Ward’s 4,067 residents, 3,821 are white, 125 Hispanic, 49 are Native American, 44 are black and 23 are Asian.



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.


Jacksonville Parks and Recreation and Hershey’s Track and Field Games are sponsoring a track and field event at Jacksonville High School on May 5 at 4:30pm.

Kids ages 9-14 who love to run, jump and throw can compete in basic track and field events and have a chance to receive an all-expense paid trip to compete in the annual North American Final Meet held in Hershey, Penn., each year. Beginners and track enthusiasts are welcome. Visit for details.

For volunteer information and to pre-register, contact Jacksonville Parks and Recreation at 501-982-0818 or 501-982-4171 or visit


Central Arkansas Duck Unlimited presents the fourth annual crawfish boil and Sportsmen’s Night Out event at the Blue Rock Skeet Club on May 5.

Tickets are $25 which covers Cajun crawfish and catfish from Who Dat’s in Bald Knob. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. at the club located just off Highway 165 at Carpenter Road in North Little Rock.

There will be a live auction and special drawing. Purchase tickets by calling Matt Robinson (501) 412-8055, Bob Butler (501) 837-1530 or Pat Mahan (501) 743-6154.


The Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police will host a benefit basketball game against Arkansas Razorbacks alumni at the Jacksonville High School gymnasium (Devils Den) on May 20 at 7 p.m.

Proceeds will go to assist youth athletics and Special Olympics, as well as the “Shop with a Cop” holiday program. The Hogs alumni team will include former football and basketball players Pat Bradley, Anthony Lucas, Matt Harris, Clint Stoerner, Cedric Cobbs and J.J. Meadors.

The Razorback alumni will play against the Jacksonville F.O.P. No. 16 all-star team.

Those who donate or help the fundraising campaign will receive complimentary tickets to the game, an official receipt and an advertisement in the souvenir-program book that will be handed out that evening.


The Michael Don Millican Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit Duck Unlimited Green Wings will be held at Jacksonville’s Southern Oaks Country Club on May 23. 

The format is an 18-hole, three-person scramble and begins with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Registration is at 11 a.m. and lunch is at 11:30 a.m. 

Feed for a three-person team is $210, which includes lunch. Field is limited to the first 36 paid teams. 

For information call Bill Millican at (501) 350-5118 or email or call Casey Kemp at (501) 960-0110 or email


The Huff n’ Puff Gym is forming competitive cheer squads for Jacksonville Allstar Xtreme (JAX).

Mandatory clinics will be held for pre-kindergarten-seventh grade from 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 19-20 and for eight-12th grade from 7:30-9:30 p.m. A mandatory parents meeting is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the gym at 613 Stonewall Square.

Tryouts will be May 21 with times to be announced.

Cost of the clinics and tryout is $40 for newcomers and $30 for Huff n’ Puff students. For information and to sing up call (501) 985-1818.


The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce will holds its annual Chamber/Base Golf Tournament June 17-18 at Southern Oaks Country Club.

Teams will consist of two Air Force golfers and two chamber members and will begin at 1 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. Cost is $100 a person and includes lunch, breakfast, range balls carts and beverages.

Deadline for entry is May 27. Field is limited to the first 42 chamber members. Contact the chamber office at (501) 982-1511 or email


Jacksonville’s Southern Oaks Sand Volleyball League will start May 4 at Southern Oaks Country Club.

The format is coed sixes and games will be played each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

The fee is $15 a player for Southern Oaks Country Club members and $20 for non-members.

To sign up a team, or for more information call Steve Evans at (501) 951-4943.


The Knights of Columbus St. Jude Jacksonville is sponsoring the Jerry Neppl Memorial Golf Tournament on May 21 at Hickory Creek Gol Course.

Format is an 18-hole, two-person scramble with a shotgun start. Fee is $45 a player and $2.50 per mulligan, with two the limit. Fees include cart, greens fees and lunch.

Teams will be limited to 45 and broken into three flights and the string system will be used. Check in is 8 a.m. and tee-off is 9 a.m.

Call Dennis Sobba (501) 681-3414.


The Arkansas District Optimist Junior Golf Championships qualifying tournament will be held June 4 at the Pine Bluff Country Club. The tournament is open to boys and girls ages 10-18 and will be flighted based on age.

Age-division winners qualify for the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Registration is $45. Call the country club at 870-535-3180 or chairman Tom Martfeld at 888-302-8354 to register.

SPORTS>>Catholic gets shots in stretch, tips Cabot

Leader sports editor

While the temperature plummeted outside Little Rock Catholic’s gym, so did the shooting percentages inside.

But it was Catholic that scored just enough to stay a step ahead of Cabot and take a 48-41 7A-Central Conference victory Tuesday night.

“I thought our shot selection was bad,” Cabot coach Jerry Bridges said. “We’re better when we’re moving that ball around and everybody is touching it a couple times before we throw one up there.”

On the eve of the state’s biggest snowstorm of the year, the teams didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard as they headed into what looked to be an extended, weather-related break. By the end of the evening, Cabot coach Jerry Bridges was already certain the Panthers would not be able to make up their game with Conway — already snowed out once — on Wednesday night.

Bridges had his fingers crossed Cabot might be able to play its scheduled game with North Little Rock on Friday or possibly today. But the Panthers wound up rescheduling Conway for tonight and North Little Rock for Monday.

So Cabot went into its unscheduled time off with a bitter taste after Catholic beat back a challenge in which the Panthers cut it to 43-38 on Darin Jones’ short, one-handed jumper with 1:48 left.

The Rockets, who were 8 of 15 on free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter, made what they needed to hold off the Panthers. Stuart Johnson hit a pair to set the final margin with 1:07 left after Cabot’s Clayton Vaught sank a three-pointer that cut it to 46-41 with 1:14 remaining.

“It’s up to the kids to concentrate more and put them in,” said Catholic coach Tim Ezzi after the Rockets avenged a loss, also postponed by snow, at Cabot earlier this month.

Cabot made 5 of 15 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers were also plagued by a few mental blunders in the final period.

With Catholic leading 44-38 with 1:34 left, J.D Brunett threw a pass that got away from Jones for a turnover. The ball rolled out of bounds at Bridges’ feet and he bounced it hard on the floor a few times in frustration before handing it to the referee.

With 1:07 to go, Brunett fouled Johnson, responding more to some vocal Cabot fans than to Bridges, who didn’t appear to welcome the extra coaching and told Brunett not to worry about the premature foul.

“We had three straight possessions where we might have turned it over twice, correct me if I’m wrong,” Bridges said.

“And then we tried to do a crazy shot instead of just shooting it.”

Johnson then made his free throws to complete the scoring as Cabot had two failed possessions down the stretch.

“They were cold,” Ezzi said of Cabot’s shooters. “They’re a good shooting team. They made 10 of 15 at their place.”

Jones led Cabot (11-10, 5-3) with 15 points and Kai Davis scored 10. Brad Kierman scored 14 points to lead Catholic (9-6, 4-5) and Evan James added 10.

“We’ve just got to regroup from here,” Bridges said counting the number of home versus road games left.

“Our schedule doesn’t favor us, we know that right now. It balances out a little bit. I guess it’s three and four and then it becomes three and three after Friday. Hopefully. Okay? Hopefully.”

Cabot led 23-17 late in the second quarter but gave up a bank shot to Carson Case and, after a missed three-pointer by the Panthers, Johnson crashed in to grab a rebound and score just before the buzzer to make it 23-21 Cabot at halftime.

The points became part of a 10-0 Catholic run that spanned the second and third quarters and left the Rockets leading 27-23. The Panthers never regained the lead.

Cabot scored just four points in the third quarter, but Catholic was almost as flat at the free-throw line as the Rockets went 18 for 28 overall.

SPORTS>>Snow day a timeout to savor

By todd traub
Leader sports editor

Leave it to the wacky Arkansas weather to make a liar out of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Maybe in this case we can just call it false advertising.

The legendary basketball team was forced to curtail its globetrotting ways, at least temporarily, when the Globetrotters’ bus was stuck at a rest stop during Wednesday’s heavy snows.

The barnstorming basketballers were due in Memphis on Wednesday night after playing in Little Rock’s Verizon Arena on Tuesday.

Team member and Arkansas native Flight Time Lang was wishing for just that — flight time — as he fretted about the snow that hit after the Globetrotters left their hotel around 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Man I haven’t seen snow like this in Arkansas since I was about 8 years old,” said Lang, whose hometown is Brinkley and who was hoping to perform for family and friends in Memphis later that night.

A fatal accident had closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 and traffic was being routed to Highway 70, but officials at the Memphis’ Fedex Forum were saying the Globetrotters would make it for their engagement.

All over the local area, sports were taking a weather-related hit.

Cabot basketball coach Jerry Bridges, still analyzing the Panthers’ Tuesday night loss at Little Rock Catholic, was already writing off Wednesday’s weather-related makeup game with Conway that was scheduled for Cabot.

“It ain’t happening guys,” Bridges said.

At the Arkansas Travelers’ Hot Stove function at Holy Souls reception hall in Little Rock on Tuesday, new manager Bill Mosiello nervously kept one eye on the weather reports.

He will manage 70 Travelers home games at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock and was in no rush to settle in just yet.

Moseillo, 46, wants to see as many of his sons’ basketball games as he can between now and the start of spring training later this month in Arizona, and he was hoping his 5 a.m. flight would get him out of Little Rock ahead of the storm and help him to avoid an extended stay in the Natural State.

Mosiello had been scheduled to visit, along with Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter and Angels farm director Abe Flores, the previous week, but bad weather wiped out Hunter’s and Flores’ appearances altogether and forced the Travelers and Mosiello to reschedule.

We always have our fingers crossed for all travelers, not just the baseball kind and not just those in athletics in general.

So here’s hoping everyone found his destination and was safe and warm during the big whiteout.
But maybe we need something like this once in awhile, a little time to stop and catch a breath during the yearly march from game to game and sport to sport.

In the wake of the Super Bowl, with the big high school and college basketball tournaments still a few weeks away and only the regular-season slog going on right now, it’s nice to have a little down time, even if it is forced on us.

I think Mosiello was on to something.

So you know what I did?

I marched around in my snowy yard with my son. I made us a big, hot brunch. I cleaned house. I did a little busy work I’d been putting off.

I even wrote this, plus a couple other stories, for the paper. But then, sportswriters do most of their best work outside the office, anyway.

Or they should.

But real sports aren’t happening right now. At least not around here.

So let’s all hunker down and have a little hot chocolate and something good to eat. Let’s break out the books and the old movies and get caught up on a few indoor odd jobs.

Let’s reconnect with our friends and loved ones, even if we have to use Facebook to do it because we can’t travel.

Soon enough come the high school regionals and state tourneys, the report date for pitchers and catchers, the state finals and Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, the Big Dance and Opening Day.

I am looking forward to the excitement of all those things, but I can easily wait until the streets clear and this all blows over.

In fact, it’s the weather we have now that makes the anticipation all the better.

In the meantime, I’m thinking soup, or maybe chili.

SPORTS>>Travelers welcome skipper Mosiello

Leader sports editor

For the first time since Dickey-Stephens Park opened in North Little Rock, the Arkansas Travelers will have a new guy calling the shots from the top steps of the dugout.

On Tuesday the Travelers, Class AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, introduced Bill Mosiello as their first new field manager since Dickey-Stephens debuted in 2007. Mosiello replaces four-year man Bobby Magallanes, who led the Travs to the 2008 Texas League championship and is now managing Class AA Birmingham, the Chicago White Sox’s Southern League affiliate.

Mosiello, 46, is in his third year with the Angels after leading Class A Cedar Rapids to the Midwest League playoffs the past two seasons.

“I’m excited for a fresh start at this level,” Mosiello said. “I’m excited because the last couple years I’ve had some pretty good clubs and we all know that was a low A-ball club. But a lot of those players I expect to be with me.”

Mosiello (357-274 in the minor leagues) managed the 2010 Kernels to their highest victory total in 18 years as they finished with an 82-56 record.

“No matter what players break spring training with me, I’ve got a high standard of playing winning baseball,” Mosiello said. “We all understand this game is about developing players but to me it’s more about developing winning players. There’s a big difference in my mind.”

Mosiello’s recent experience is in the minor leagues, but he is rooted in college baseball. He played catcher at Fresno State and began his career coaching at Cerritos Junior College in California and also assisted at Cal State-Fullerton, which lost to Pepperdine in the finals of the 1992 College World Series.

Mosiello was also pitching coach in the SEC at Tennessee and at Ole Miss and was associate head coach at Oklahoma from 1996-2000. He was a volunteer assistant at Arizona State in 2001.

“I’ve always been around great players so I’ve been very fortunate,” Mosiello said. “The one difference is you go to a house and recruit a college kid whereas professionally you get what you got.”

Mosiello began his minor league career with Class AA Trenton, the New York Yankees’ Eastern League affiliate, where Mosiello was hitting coach in 2003. He became a manager at the Yankees’ Midwest League affiliate in Battle Creek, Mich., during a staff shakeup in 2004.

Mosiello managed the Yankees’ Class A Charleston Riverdogs in 2005 and then left the Yankees’ system to become hitting coach at the University of Southern California in 2006. He was an assistant at Auburn in 2008 and 2009 before the Angels hired him.

Mosiello said he would manage within the Angels’ philosophy, which includes fastball command on the mound and the “small ball” offensive approach of aggressive base running, the bunt and hit and run.

“We’re going to do everything they’ve always done,” Mosiello said. “Just hopefully we’re going to execute at a higher level. I don’t have the patience to lose a lot of games to be honest with you.”

Spring training in Arizona will play a large role in setting the Travelers’ roster.

Mosiello said he would lobby hard to get the players he thinks are ready for Class AA, including top Angels prospect Mike Trout, an outfielder who played for Mosiello and who batted .306 at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, in the California League, and .362 at Cedar Rapids last year.

SPORTS>>Johnson lifts Sylvan Hills

Leader sportswriter

The Sylvan Hills Lady Bears kept themselves in the postseason hunt with a 56-23 victory over North Pulaski at Sylvan Hills on Tuesday.

The victory put Sylvan Hills in a tie with Mills for third place in the 5A-Southeast Conference.

Senior forward Ashley Johnson led the Lady Bears (10-9, 5-3) with a game-high 23 points and sat out most of the fourth quarter as reserves played out a large portion of the second half.

North Pulaski (1-15) kept itself in the game through the first quarter before giving up 18 straight points. In that time, the Lady Bears went from an 8-7 deficit with 3:34 left in the first quarter to a solid, 25-8 lead with 2:46 left in the half.

“I thought we did well,” Lady Bears coach Bee Rodden said. “In the first quarter, I was not pleased, but then we got fired up and got into the flow of the game. We got a chance to play everybody, and that was something we wanted to do.

“It was okay, especially since we haven’t had many practices here lately because of all the weather. If you don’t know what to do by now, it’s too late.”

Johnson showed no signs of rust as she lit up the Falcons defense throughout the second and third quarters. She outscored North Pulaski 23-12 at one point before sitting down with two minutes left in the third.

Johnson made two free throws with 3:15 left in the first quarter to give the Lady Bears the lead for good and ended her game in style with two three-pointers, the last giving Sylvan Hills a 37-12 lead with 5:30 left in the third quarter.

“She shot really well,” Rodden said. “She’s struggled some as far as on the perimeter, but she shot it about as well as I’ve seen her. With Ashley, she’s worked so hard and so long to shoot those good outside jumpers.

“I hope it holds up, we’re definitely going to need her here these next couple of weeks.”

The close conference race and uncooperative weather has Rodden, retiring at the end of the season, crunching numbers in the twilight of her career.

“I’d like to have more benefit of depth on the bench,” Rodden said.

“We’re looking at something like three games in four days when this all goes away, and that’s a lot for them. We’re going to need anyone who can help us.”

Guard Kashima Wright added 11 points for the Lady Bears while Valicia Jarrett scored 10.

Johnson also had eight rebounds and five steals while senior post player Ashley Easom had six rebounds.

Erica Beck led the Lady Falcons with seven points while Sydney Beck and Shayla Evans each had six. Evans also had six rebounds.

For her efforts on Tuesday, Johnson won the KATV Channel 7 Fullcourt Award this week.

The boys and girls home games with White Hall were snowed out Friday and school officials were considering Feb. 21 or 25 as the makeup dates.

SPORTS>>Wild one goes Bears’ way

Leader sportswriter

There was almost too much action in the 5A-Southeast Conference rematch between North Pulaski and Sylvan Hills for Sylvan Hills’ little gym to contain on Tuesday.

A capacity-plus crowd that included Kansas coach Bill Self saw Sylvan Hills pull off what at one point looked like an impossible comeback as the Bears took a 78-77, overtime victory to remain perfect in conference play.

Sylvan Hills reserve Anthony Featherstone made a free throw with four seconds left in overtime to win the frenzied, emotional matchup — which included a collision between a North Pulaski player and Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis and an ensuing, on-court melee.

Featherstone made his game-winner and got his only point after he took a pass from triple-teamed teammate Archie Goodwin and drew a foul.

“It was a physical game over there; we knew it was going to be that way over here,” Davis said. “They are right behind us in the conference, what do you expect?

“They’re coming after us, as they should, and we’re going to come right back at them. It’s a packed house, and all the emotion made for what I thought was a great, great ballgame.”

Bears forward Larry Ziegler forced overtime when he took an inbounds pass from Trey Smith with 2.8 seconds left and hit a bank shot from the top of the key after weaving his way through Falcons defenders at mid-court.

That followed a fracas in which fans restrained Davis and the floor was mobbed after Falcons sophomore point guard Dayshawn Watkins knocked down Davis while celebrating what he thought was his winning pull-up jumper in the lane that gave North Pulaski a 71-69 lead with less than three seconds left.

“Just the emotion of the game — it’s just a great game,” Davis said. “I’m up, and they’re celebrating in front of our bench, and I get kind of blindsided. I didn’t see it, I just knew a kid hit me, and all I was telling the official was, we’ve got to control the celebrations, because they were over here at our bench knocking us down, and that was all.

“And then the emotion of it just kind of went from there. Great game, both sides, and a lot of emotion.”

North Pulaski fans called for a technical foul on Davis, and one angry Falcons fan was thrown out for aggressive behavior near the scorer’s table.

“It was absolutely the craziest atmosphere,” North Pulaski coach Raymond Cooper said. “We had policemen, security, administrators, teams, parents — we had 50 people in the middle of the court during regulation, 50 people.

“And to this day, I don’t know what happened, I got no explanation as to why 50 people and police are on the court, and, it just happened.”

Watkins sought out Davis following the game to explain the collision was unintentional.

“He came in, classy guy, and he said, ‘Coach, I didn’t see you, I didn’t mean to do that,’ ” Davis said. “He was just right in front of our bench, and I was this way, and so it knocked me down. He didn’t mean to do that.

“I think everybody running out there, the emotion of the crowd just kind of escalated it. But I was cool with it. I had to come back and call a play there at the end.”

Cooper came just short of declaring a technical foul should have been called.

“There’s 50 people on the court, policemen, administrators, and, I don’t know,” Cooper said.

Almost lost in the excitement was a career-high, 48-point performance by Goodwin, the Bears’ junior guard and five-star college recruit Self came to watch. Self’s presence behind the Sylvan Hills bench added to the atmosphere and the coach clearly enjoyed the moment, teasing Bears fans and parents afterward that it was just a game.

“I’ve been talking about Archie this week,” Davis said. “Particularly the things I see coming out of him as of late has been his competitiveness and refusing to lose in our practices and drills. As we’re mixing those things up, he’s just not going to let his team lose.

“I thought that’s what you saw tonight. That’s Archie Goodwin.”

The screens and lane blocks got progressively rougher on both sides in the second half. Braylon Spicer fouled out late in regulation after leading the Falcons with 20 points.

“We’re not in it for emotional victories,” Cooper said. “We’re trying to win a conference championship. And my kids did everything that they had to do tonight to win that conference championship. So I’m proud of them as we can possibly be. We did all that we could do.”

Spicer gave the Falcons a 67-62 lead with 2:39 left in regulation on a three-point shot, his fourth of the night. Zeigler scored on a putback for the Bears before Goodwin got a steal and a dunk to cut the deficit to 67-66 with 1:40 left.

Watkins hit two free throws and Goodwin answered with a three-point play to tie it at 69 before Watkins came back with a jumper that set the stage for the dramatic final minutes.

Watkins converted a three-point play to give the Falcons a 76-74 lead with 1:13 left in overtime, but Goodwin gave the lead back to the Bears with a 25-footer less than 10 seconds later.

Bryan Colson tied the game on a free throw with 21 seconds left before Featherstone finally clinched it for the Bears with his free throw.

“I thought everybody did a great job of controlling all the emotion that was in this little building tonight,” Davis said. “And it was a lot of fun. I was just incredibly proud of everybody involved on both teams, our security and our administration, the fans, everybody — I thought it was great.”

Zeigler led Sylvan Hills (16-3, 8-0) with 12 points and 11 rebounds and post player Devin Pearson had eight points and 13 rebounds. Goodwin added eight rebounds and three steals.

Watkins scored 19 points for the Falcons (10-11, 6-2) while Colson added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Michael Cross had nine points.

North Pulaski guard Shyheim Barron kept his team energized with six points in the first quarter, including two baskets off steals.

Barron swiped the ball from Goodwin and drove the lane, missing the first shot but getting his own rebound and a putback to give the Falcons an 11-9 lead with 58 seconds left in the first quarter.

Goodwin struggled with just three points in the first period before warming up late in the second.

Spicer gave the Falcons another boost to start the second quarter with back-to-back three pointers before he assisted Colson on a shot that gave North Pulaski a 20-9 lead.

Barron gave the Falcons their biggest lead when he got another steal from Goodwin and took it for a lay-up to make it 22-9 with 6:32 left in the half.

Goodwin then settled in and went on a nine-point run, as the Bears slowly pulled back into it and tied the game 27-27 at halftime.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

TOP STORY >> Oprah crew films in area

Leader staff writer

Millions of television viewers across the nation will soon learn about the Civil War Battle of Reed’s Bridge off Hwy. 161 in Jacksonville. On Sunday morning, film crews for “Home Takeover with Simon and Tomas” — a new home-makeover show that premiers in March on the Oprah Winfrey Network — were out at the battlefield site recording footage of Civil War reenactors fighting at Reed’s Bridge. The episode is scheduled to air in April.

Swedish designers Simon Davies and Tomas Cederlund, the stars of “Home Takeover,” were in Furlow last week filming an episode for the show. Davies and Cederlund were restyling the house of Wanda and Don Cook of Furlow. Wanda Cook, queen of the Concord Grapettes, a Red Hat Society chapter based in Furlow, is known by many as the Coca-Cola lady.

She is an avid collector of Coke memorabilia with thousands of Coca-Cola pieces on display throughout the first-floor rooms of her home. The Cooks open their house at Christmas for Lonoke Elementary School students to tour the Coke collection.

To add more content to the television show, film crews recorded footage of Davies and Cederlund discovering the history of the region they were working in. 

 For the episode, the stage was set at the Reed’s Bridge battlefield. Davies and Cederlund happen to be driving along and see a Civil War re-enactment. Back in August 1863, Confederate soldiers fought against the Union army and burned Reed’s Bridge that crossed Bayou Meto to slow down the Union as it made its way to Little Rock.

The designers stop their car, get out and start chatting with 11 members of the Concord Grapettes who are watching the re-enactment from bleachers. While visiting the ladies, two additional soldiers are needed for the en-enactment. Davies and Cederlund are chosen from the audience to participate as Union soldiers.

The Swedish designers changed into Civil War uniforms. The television crew filmed the two television hosts learning how to load and fire muskets and cannons. The two men then join other Civil War re-enactors from around the state to recreate the Battle of Reed’s Bridge for the show.

Daniel Singleton of Hot Springs, 61, has been re-enacting for eight years. He said he participates in six or seven events a year. He portrays soldiers from both North and South sides because there are not enough Yankees.

“When I was a kid, I was impressed with the Civil War. People talked about it weekly,” Singleton said. 
Several eighth-through 11th-grade students from St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Pine Bluff were spectators as well as re-enactors for the battle.

“Jacksonville should be commended; no way could this be done without the city’s help. Jacksonville is the model for preservation in Arkansas,” Ron Kelley, a history teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, said.

Steve Shore of Jacksonville, past president of the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society, said the filming of the re-enactment was beneficial for the Reed’s Bridge battlefield.

“It shed light on what happened here and gives Arkansas some notoriety on a national stage. There were important battles west of the Mississippi (River),” Shore said.

After the filming crew left the battlefield, a dedication was held by members of the Reed’s Bridge Battlefield Preservation Society for three educational panels about the battle along the hiking trail beside Bayou Meto. The panels were designed by Steve Shore. One panel tells about troops escaping from Tricky Hill. A second panel depicts thirsty Union soldiers getting water from Bayou Meto. The third panel describes the work of Dick Collins, who scouted for the Confederacy.

OBITUARIES >> 2-9-11


Tresia Margaret Pearce, 100, of Ward died Feb. 7.

She was born April 30, 1910, in Tulia, Texas, to the late James E. and Maggie Mae Harris Nuckolls.

Mrs. Pearce was a member of Old Austin United Methodist Church for many years. She worked in the clothing-design industry for Oppenheimers, a supplier to Sears and Roebuck, for many years and was the head of the design department for the Kellwood Corporation until she retired.

In addition to her parents, Mrs. Pearce was preceded in death by her son, Charles L. Pearce, and her siblings, Letha Ingles, Myrtle Martin, Mattie F. Nuckolls, Richard F. Nuckolls and Jewel Martin.

Mrs. Pearce is survived by her daughter-in-law, Marilyn Nolting Pearce; her grandson, James L. Pearce and his wife Phyllis; her granddaughter, Sharon Dudderar and her husband Sam, as well as her great grandchildren, Sarah Pearce, Lauren Dudderar and Gordon Dudderar, all of Little Rock and a host of nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 in the chapel of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home with burial following at Old Austin Cemetery under the direction of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday.


Louise M. Garner, 81, of Cabot passed away Feb. 8.

She was born July 2, 1929, to the late Owen and Attie Milligan.

She was an active member of the Eastern Star and a member of Mt. Tabor Methodist Church since 1965.

She was also preceded in death by her husband, Robert D. Garner Sr., and her sister, Amy Milligan.

She is survived by two sons, Robert D. Garner Jr. and his wife Sharon and Bill Garner, both of Cabot; three grandchildren, Jessica Garner, Becky Tafoya and her husband Larry and Kira Geer and her husband David; two great-grandchildren, Nate Tafoya and Gabe Tafoya, along with many other family and friends.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at Mt. Tabor Methodist Church in Cabot with interment at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Cabot.

Arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Ernest Dale Modlin, 57, of Beebe, born July 24, 1953, went home on Feb. 4.

He was preceded in death by his father, Wayne Modlin, and one brother, Gary Modlin.

He is survived by his mother, Rosie Modlin of Beebe; two brothers, Danny Modlin and Michael Modlin and his wife Kathy, both of Beebe,  and five sisters, Orine Modlin of Beebe, Alene Gee Hubart of Texas, Ann Monroe of Gravel Ridge, Betty Morrow of Kentucky and Kathy Daniels of Hot Springs.
He loved the outdoors and loved all of his nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him and loved him.

Cremation arrangements are by Thomas Funeral Service in Cabot.


Winfred Raymond Hodges, 88, of Cabot, loving father, grandfather, brother and friend passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

He was born Oct. 18, 1922, in Quitman to the late William and Susan Bettis Hodges, the fifth of nine siblings. Winfred was a member of First Baptist Church of Cabot. He was retired from J.H. Hamlin and Son Lumber Company. He lived a full and independent life up until the Lord called him home. He loved his church and working in his garden.

He proudly served his country in World War II in the Army during 1942-1946. He retired at the rank of corporal, 2nd Squadron, 124th Calvary in China-Burma-India. He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Ribbon, WWII Victory Ribbon, China War Memorial Badge and Ribbon on Sept. 29, 1945.

Winfred was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Freeda Elizabeth Hall Hodges; two sisters, Jewel Pike and Beulah Scruggs, and two brothers, Earl and Loy Hodges.

He is survived by three children, Ray Hodges and his wife Kay, Vickie Henriksen and her husband Rick and Philip Hodges and his wife RoseAnn; two sisters, Dean Phillips and Jessie McNair; two brothers, Eldin Hodges and B.L. Hodges; six grandchildren, Scottie, Denise, Nicholas, Shalae, Courtney and Amanda Hodges, and six great-grandchildren. Dad was such a joy to be around and we will miss him dearly.

The funeral was Feb. 7 in the Chapel of Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home with interment to follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery with full military honors.

Michael Zakrzewski, David Schalchlin, David Slack, Kevin Henriksen, Jackie Hodges and Jimmy Hall served as pallbearers.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Cabot or charity of your choice.

Arrangements were by Moore’s Cabot Funeral Home.


Donald N. Pratt Sr., 82, of Jacksonville passed away Feb. 3.

He was born June 15, 1928, in Little Rock to the late Otis N. and Mable Crowley Pratt.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Claire Ramond Pratt; sons, Donald N. Pratt Jr. and his wife Barbara, all of Jacksonville, and Michael A. Pratt and his wife Sandy of North Little Rock; his daughter, Michelle Pratt of Conway; seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and sister, Rosemary Crofford and her husband Fred of Rogers.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Roland Pratt. 

Arrangements were by North Little Rock Funeral Home.

EDITORIAL >> A full Nelson

Sheffield Nelson, the former gas-company executive and many-times loser in politics, has always defied labeling, which is a good definition for honorable politician, even if it is not a reliable definition of a successful one. 

Nelson ran for governor twice as the conservative Republican alternative to Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker in the 1990s. When he first ventured into politics in 1965 as the conservative candidate for president of the Young Democrats of Arkansas, a liberal lawyer from Newport trounced him.

Nelson surfaced in 1980 as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s key Arkansas backer in the Massachusetts liberal’s unsuccessful race against President Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries. He headed the state’s industrial-development commission under Clinton later that decade. He switched parties in 1990 and, besides his two races for governor, he was the Republican Party’s state chairman and national committeeman. He was a friend and ally of Gov. Mike Huckabee, who put him on the state Game and Fish Commission. 

Now, in the fevered anti-tax climate of 2012, Nelson proposes a dramatic increase in the severance tax on natural gas. A Republican pushing a big tax increase? Did he not follow the 2010 election returns?  Even the president of the United States, in the face of massive budget deficits, has been slashing taxes, not raising them. 

Nelson’s gas-tax initiative may not be wise politics, but it is sensible, practical politics. The 7 percent tax on natural gas production that he proposes would restore the state’s badly depleted road- maintenance program. If not the severance tax, something else—gasoline, car and truck licenses, automotive products and services—will have to be taxed to halt the deterioration of roads and bridges in the state and county highway systems. Nelson’s severance tax would be borne by producers and royalty interests, and not homeowners and businesses. The gas goes into the pipeline with gas from other states and is distributed nationwide, so there is no way it can be passed along to consumers, in Arkansas or anywhere else. For that reason, this tax notion may not be the political poison that many politicians fear it is. 

You will remember that Nelson proposed the same initiated act in 2008. Gov. Beebe called a special session to head off a vote on the tax at the general election. The gas industry wrote a tax bill they could live with, the legislature passed it, and the governor signed it. It was supposed to levy a tax of 5 percent on the wellhead value of gas, but it was so filled with exemptions that the actual tax rate might be less than 2 percent. Instead of producing more than $100 million a year, which was Beebe’s estimate, the highways this year will get about $35 million from the tax, far short of road damages caused by the producers’ drilling activity in the Fayetteville-shale counties to our north. 

Nelson will spend some of his own fortune, raised in the gas business, to pass the act at the 2012 general election. He says the gas industry, of which he was once the leader, is reaping vast profits from the shale gas and that it is only right that they should share some of that fortune with the public, which is losing that resource forever. Let’s wish him good luck. 

The legislature could and should enact a bill raising the tax to 7 percent or something short of that, but it will not. It would take a three-fourths vote of both houses, a practical impossibility.

What the legislature could and should do is make a small correction in the 2008 law that would nearly double the revenues from the tax. It could do that by raising the tax rate on gas from low-producing and new wells, which are exempt from the 5 percent rate, to the rate of 2.6 percent of value. That was the tax rate in 1934, when the Constitution was amended to require a three-fourths vote to increase taxes above the rates in existence then, so the legislature can restore that tax rate by a simple majority vote. But who has the courage to do even that — a half-Nelson, perhaps—in these hysterical times? No one in politics, apparently, except Sheffield Nelson.

TOP STORY >> Weather is going to hit area travel

Leader staff writer

City officials here say they’re getting ready for the big snow.

Public Works Director Jim Oakley says Jacksonville has enough sand and salt left to make it through the weekend.

“We’ll have to order in more if we get another round of winter weather after this one,” he said Monday.

This current round of snow, which started early Wednesday and closed schools and businesses, will leave up to eight inches of snow in central Arkansas.

The area already saw nearly three inches back on Jan. 9 and two inches on Feb. 4. The area also saw trace amounts of snow Jan. 10, 11 and 20, as well as on Feb. 1, 2, 3 and 5.

“We usually don’t get snows like this,” Oakley says. “My daughter was eight or nine before we ever had enough snow on the ground for her to build a snowman.”

The National Weather Service is calling for the snow to taper off late Wednesday with maybe a few flurries early Thursday, clear and cold on Friday, but a warming trend for the weekend.

But no one at the National Weather Service will go out on a limb and say after this week’s snow, it will be done for the season.

Since Jan. 1, Oakley says his crews have dumped 40 tons of sand and salt mix and logged in 400 man-hours just on snow work.

He says the round earlier this month was hard on the equipment. “We had a motor go out and some other problems, but everything is up and ready now,” Oakley says

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert said his street department restocked its supply of sand to get ready for the snow.

But so far, the total cost of this unusually bad winter has been only $990, which includes labor, equipment and sand.

“The majority of the roads through Cabot are state highways, so the state takes care of them,” Cypert said.

“It’s not a big-ticket item for us, but we are restocked and ready to go,” he added.

Brian Galloway, public-works director for Sherwood, says the city has about 1,000 tons of sand yet, and could use up to half of it on this storm. “It just depends how severe it gets,” he said Tuesday, “but we have enough to get us through.”

Galloway said the city has two sand trucks and will work round the clock if necessary sanding and clearing streets.

The snow events have played havoc with area schools. Almost every district in the area will have to extend the school year by about five days, or take away scheduled days off to make up for the lost days.

Besides the cities and schools, Entergy is also preparing for what may be the biggest snow event in almost a decade.

The forecast doesn’t include any severe ice which is a plus for the electric company.

Neal Frizzell, with First Electric Cooperative in Jacksonville, said late Tuesday that crews and equipment were standing by.

“Our first concern is any problems that we have locally and then helping neighboring cooperatives if they need it,” he said.

“If we just get mostly snow, it shouldn’t be too bad. Outages have been minimal so far this year,” Frizzell said, adding that if the snow gets too heavy or changes over to ice then there could be some downed lines.

“Right now, we are standing on go,” Frizzell added.

Brady Aldy, director of transmission and distribution for Entergy Arkansas, said, “The weather system is dynamic and poses a threat to our electric system.

“We’re leaving nothing to chance. Our crews are prepared if severe weather strikes,” he said.

Aldy said that if the weather situation were to become severe, bringing more of a wintry mix than forecast, plans are in place to restore service and bring in assistance from outside if necessary.

Entergy offers these tips for this and any ice or snowstorm:

Live wires can be deadly. Stay away from downed power lines.

Keep away from the immediate areas where crews are working. There is always the danger of moving equipment and the possibility of construction materials or limbs or overhead wires falling to the ground.

Don’t trim trees or remove debris on or near downed power lines. Only power-company crews should remove trees or limbs touching power lines.

Do not run a generator in a confined space without adequate ventilation.

Keep away from metal fences and other objects that can become energized if they come in contact with downed power lines.

Outages and potentially dangerous situations should be reported to Entergy by calling 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).

TOP STORY >> Earthquakes from drilling feared

Leader staff writer

Those who drive the state highways through White, Cleburne, Faulkner and Van Buren counties where large companies are drilling for gas in the Fayetteville shale formation have seen both the benefits and damage caused by the gas drilling.

The roads are torn up from heavy loads of drilling equipment and water that is used to break up the shale to extract gas, but the homes along those roads show that their owners, who are paid a share of the profits for the gas under their land, are a little more prosperous than they once were.

It is clear that the gas boom has benefited some while it has only been a nuisance to others.

What isn’t at all clear is whether the earthquakes around Guy in Faulkner County, which are a concern to experts and residents alike, are connected to the gas industry.

Dr. Haydar Al-Shukri, head of the Arkansas Center for Earthquake Education and Technology Transfer at UALR, said although the earthquakes are not directly connected to the drilling, they could be connected to the disposal of the wastewater from the drilling.

The pattern of earthquakes at Guy over the past several months is exactly like the small earthquakes seen around the world where wastewater from the drilling process is injected under high pressure into miles-deep wells. But they also are like the earthquakes in the early 1980s a few miles away at Enola, decades before the drilling started.

“We need to be very clear before we make a correlation,” he said.

Since the companies won’t stop injecting the wastewater to see if the earthquakes stop, all the experts can do is watch both and look for the connection between the earthquakes and the activity at the injection wells.

Shurki said it has been proven that injecting fluids deep into the Earth under high pressure will induce seismic activity.

But it has not been proven yet whether the earthquakes at Guy were induced or naturally occurring.

The maximum earthquake expected from high-pressure injection of wastewater into deep wells is a magnitude 4.5, Shurki said.

The largest one recorded at Guy has been a magnitude 4.

Experts first noticed a connection between earthquakes and injection wells about 50 years ago when the Army was injecting wells near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

Hundreds of quakes were recorded in the area and scientists began studying what they call “induced seismicity.”

Stations to measure potential activity at two new wells at Guy were set up last summer, and in September the earthquakes started.

The largest, the magnitude 4, was recorded in October, but December saw at magnitude 3.1.

In all, there have been 640 measurable quakes since September, a number comparable to the earthquakes a few miles away at Enola in 1982.

Enola also experienced a series of earthquakes in 2001, which was also before the gas drilling started.

Guy and Enola are not in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, where a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in December 1811 and others that followed in early 1812 are reputed to be the most powerful to hit the eastern U.S., felt over an estimated 50,000 square miles.

TOP STORY >> District planning to build schools

Leader senior staff writer

The Pulaski County Special School District Board has approved Superintendent Charles Hopson’s recommendation to build three new Jacksonville-area schools — including an elementary school at the air base and a new middle school — and to completely remodel four other schools in other parts of the district, a building project that will cost an estimated $104 million.

The board Tuesday unanimously appropriated $1.5 million toward the design of the schools, without commiting the estimated $8 million needed to secure the sale of $104 million in bonds. Nor did it actually authorize the construction and remodeling in question.

The board is expected to consider those issues along with its 2011-2012 budget at the April meeting. The state Board of Education and perhaps the courts and Joshua and Knight intervenors may weigh in on the proposal, but other than combining two schools, nothing in the plan would seem to affect racial balance or diversity.

Demolition and construction could begin this summer.

“We’re wholeheartedly in favor of the Vision 2020 plan,” Daniel Gray said Tuesday. Gray is president of the Jacksonville World Class Education Association and chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce education committee.

“This is the best opportunity for students of Jacksonville and the community to see improvements immediately,” Gray said. “I look forward to working this stuff through and stressing all facilities needs in Jacksonville.”

Gray said he was “genuinely impressed with (Operations Chief Derek) Scott’s and Hop-son’s efforts and sincerity, putting needs of students first. I applaud them.”

Board president Bill Vasquez of Jacksonville had proposed and promoted a more comprehensive plan that included consolidating the two area high schools and having only one middle school in the area. He dropped that idea and voted with the board.

The tentative plan would build a new elementary school on 20 acres offered by Little Rock Air Force Base and when completed, elementary school children in the Arnold Drive and Tolleson attendance zones would be assigned there, according to Scott.

Jacksonville Middle School students would continue to attend classes in their current building, while the adjacent Jacksonville Middle School North—the former girls middle school—would be demolished and replaced with a new Jacksonville middle school. If it’s possible, the plan calls also for building a new elementary school between Main Street and the new middle school to replace the existing Jacksonville Elementary School.

Scott said there was some question about whether there was room to safely construct both the elementary and middle schools, which would flank an administration, kitchen and mechanicals module while students continued attending classes next door.

The timeline called for approval Tuesday night, budget approval in April, state approval in May or June, bond purchase and design in July, demolition in July or August, followed by groundbreaking this fall or winter and estimated completion in summer 2013.

The proposal submitted Tues-day night was arrived at after 10 community-facilities meetings conducted by the administration and various school board members since school reconvened in January.

Scott attended all the meetings and cobbled together the first phase of a plan that was changed in many ways from the original proposal after community members weighed in.

Three meetings were held in Jacksonville, one at North Pulaski High School, three at Robinson High School and one each at College Station, Harris and Daisy Bates elementary schools.

Elsewhere, the proposal would completely renovate—to the point of looking new—Robinson Middle School and also Harris, Scott and Daisy Bates elementary schools.

Hopson and Scott originally proposed consolidating those three elementary schools and busing Robinson students to Maumelle, but their proposal changed after hearing from passionate patrons in those attendance zones, who with their board members, fought that proposal.

North Pulaski High School patrons oppose consolidating their high school with Jacksonville High School, even in a new building.

They—and others throughout the district—spoke against busing students to other schools while new schools were built, and this plan leaves students in their current schools until new schools are built.