Friday, March 04, 2011

EDITORIAL >> Funding Highways

Let’s give House Speaker Robert S. Moore an A for courage but a D for content with his highway-funding program. It would rely mainly on an increase in the general sales tax to pay off highway-construction bonds, and that is precisely the wrong tax for that job. 

We are not enamored with the whole idea of a massive ($3 billion) highway program when there are greater needs, but there is a powerful constituency for highways and many who believe that a superhighway system is the key to economic growth. Moore, who is from poor southeast Arkansas, wants a four-lane highway connecting rural areas like his to the seats of commerce. We don’t believe that is the salvation for the dying Delta or other poor regions, but we cannot fault people like Moore for seizing on that remedy. 

Nor can we deny that something needs to be done to restore highway funding to a level that can at least maintain the roads and streets and replace crumbling bridges. Motor-fuel taxes, the chief source of highway funding, have been declining, owing to increasingly efficient cars and trucks, while petroleum prices have driven up the cost of road materials. 

A highway coalition has been searching for the right tax—one that might have a chance to pass in a virulent anti-tax atmosphere—and they didn’t find one. So Moore proposes to refer a package to voters—a bond issue and two taxes to support it, a half-cent increase in the general sales tax and a four-cent-a-gallon diesel tax. 

The diesel tax is the right way to go because it will be borne principally, though not altogether, by big trucks, which cause most of the highway damage on the Interstate and primary highways. In the hills north of here, of course, the gas-drilling operators are systematically beating the highways to pieces. 

The sales tax, however, has no place in paying for highways. It and the income tax have been the predominant source of money for education, medical services, law enforcement and corrections. It is a broad tax that hits everyone (except the industries and special interests that have gotten exemptions from the tax), and it pays for a range of services that help everybody. A highway incursion into that precious source of government funding will make it harder in the future to raise that tax when the general needs of society require it. 

Highways traditionally have relied on user fees—that is, those who use them, fund them. The state’s expensive game and fish programs were another, until Gov. Huckabee persuaded people in 1998 that they needed to raise the sales tax and dedicate it to hunting and fishing programs. To spend all that money, the Game and Fish Commission had to bulk up its staff and buy everyone a new car. The tax is in the Constitution, so nothing can be done about the waste such as redeploy it to the schools, highways or prisons. 

Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of people who use the roads only a little or not at all, but they would pay a big part of the highway development and maintenance when they bought groceries and clothing.  

A fairer highway tax would be to convert the current excise tax on gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum fuel to a sales tax, which would provide an elastic source of funding for the highways. The tax would be borne by highway users in direct proportion to the amount they used them. It doesn’t get any fairer than that. 

Everyone at the Capitol recognizes why you can’t do something like that. The trucking and shipping industries oppose any tax that would require them to pay much more for the roads they are pounding, and legislators have always done their bidding. They will, however, support a program, including a little diesel tax, if most of the cost is borne by the little people. 

There is an even fairer proposition than a tax on motor fuel or the general sales tax. Sheffield Nelson, the former Republican state chairman and candidate for governor, intends to put an initiated act on the ballot to collect a severance tax of 7 percent of market value on Arkansas-produced natural gas. Pressed about it the other day, Speaker Moore acknowledged that it would be a fair way to raise highway money. How much the severance tax would produce cannot be known without a crystal ball that forecasts NYMEX gas prices into the future, but it would produce some $250 million a year at least, and much more if the demand for natural gas surges again. 

The legislature might consider the political prospects if it puts the highway sales tax on the ballot. Here is what the voters would consider in November 2012: Would they rather pay a hefty tax on nearly everything they buy to build superhighways far from their doors, or would they rather big out-of-state gas producers like Chesapeake and Southwest Energy pay for the roads from their enormous profits off a vanishing Arkansas resource? The severance tax could not be passed on to consumers—not Arkansas consumers anyway. The gas is commingled in interstate pipelines and marketed nationally. 

How do you think that choice would turn out? There would be a massive campaign by the gas interests, joined by the chamber of commerce, saying that taxing away some of the gas producers’ profits would “kill the goose that laid the golden egg,” to use the standard line. We may underestimate the Arkansas voter, but we don’t think it would work.

TOP STORY >> Teacher fired after a prank

Leader staff writer

A practical joke has cost a Cabot Junior High North math teacher his job.

The Cabot School Board met Wednesday evening and voted to uphold the dismissal of Michael Schleiff, 38, who was fired for the unauthorized use of the school intercom on Jan. 20. It was an early- release day due to inclement weather, but Schleiff’s practical joke caused two classes to leave the building during instruction time and four students to leave campus.

Schleiff has worked for Cabot schools since 1999.

This is the written summary of the board’s findings provided by the school district Friday:

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that Mr. Schleiff used the school intercom without authorization.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that Mr. Schleiff played a prank during class teaching time.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that Mr. Schleiff made a false announcement to at least two classes.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that two classes were dismissed as a direct result of Mr. Schleiff’s announcement.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that walkers and riders from those two classes were physically leaving the school building as a result of the announcement.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found that four students did leave campus as a result of the announcement.

“The board, by unanimous vote, found the reasons given Mr. Schleiff, and provided as set forth in Paragraph 1 in the Notice of Termination Recommendation he received the from the Superintendent, to be a true and a rational basis for termination.”

TOP STORY >> Base puts $712M in economy

Leader staff writer

Little Rock Air Force Base had an economic impact of more than $712 million on Arkansas in 2010, according to a report just released by the military.

That figure is up $12 million from the year before.

In 2010, the base spent more than $59 million on construction, $19.5 million on service contracts and utilities and another $75 million on supplies to stock the base exchange, commissary and other facilities.

On top of that, the base had a payroll of almost $376 million.

According to the report, the base indirectly created 3,118 jobs with an average salary of $38,470 a year.

Add to that another $62.7 million from the 189th Air Wing that is also housed at LRAFB and it comes to $712,833,182.

The base has more than 14,000 employees, plus 33,722 retirees, who are spending their salaries throughout Arkansas, particularly the central region.

The base has 5,623 military members assigned, with nearly all of them, 5,273, living off base. There are an additional 7,234 dependents and just over 1,600 civilian employees directly associated with the base.

The base, occupying 6,412 acres within the city limits of Jacksonville, is the home of C-130 Combat Airlift. The 19th Airlift Wing, the base’s host unit, is part of the Air Mobility Command and provides the Department of Defense with the largest fleet of C-130s in the world. As part of AMC’s global-reach airlift capability, the wing’s task requirements range from supplying humanitarian airlift relief to victims of disasters, to airdropping supplies and troops into the heart of contingency operations in hostile areas.

The base is also home to the 314th Airlift Wing and the 189th AW (Arkansas Air National Guard). Both of these units report to the Air Education and Training Command.

The 314th is the nation’s top C-130 training division, working with members from the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and 42 different nations.

The base became operational in 1955 and is the largest C-130 base in the world.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) approved the master plan for the base in January 1953, with a projected cost of $50,000,000, and the Pulaski County Citizens Council (PCCC), with Raymond Rebsamen as president and Arthur Phillips as fundraising chairman, spearheaded a campaign to raise between $650,000,000 and $800,000,000.

The Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District Office, oversaw the construction of the base. On December 8, 1953, official groundbreaking ceremonies were held. By the time LRAFB was officially activated on October 9, 1955, 100 officers and 1,134 airmen were located at the base. An open house was held for the public, and approximately 85,000 people attended.

TOP STORY >> Jail worries Cypert

Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert says he will attend the March 10 jail- committee meeting in Lonoke to discuss how to pay for running the new jail when it opens this summer.

His interest, he said, is whether the county intends to allow cities to use it.

During the meeting late last month, quorum court members who serve on the committee seemed to talk around the concept of a regional jail, one that would hold city prisoners from the time they are arrested. Only JP Adam Sims said outright that he doesn’t support that.

But Cypert said this week that he had always thought that building a new jail with money collected from all over the county meant that the cities where it was collected would eventually have the option of closing their lockups and sending prisoners to the county.

“The year-long, one-cent sales tax from Cabot residents significantly contributed to building that jail (almost $2 million of the $6.2 million collected),” the mayor said. “And our district court contributes to the operation and maintenance of the jail to the tune of $56,000 a year.

“The current thinking is that we want to get out of the jail business because of the liability, and it was my interpretation that this was going to be a regional jail,” he said.

Cost also is a concern, he said. In 2010, Cabot paid about $62,750 to house prisoners. Cypert said he has been talking to the committee and he has made it clear that Cabot wants a regional jail. However, until the decision is made to go regional, Cabot is interested in renting space on a daily basis similar to the way the state does. The question still to be answered is at what cost, he said.

The 140-bed facility is expected to cost $1.3 million a year to operate, but the county currently has only $900,000 budgeted.

Although voters approved a one-cent sales tax to build the jail, the tax went away after one year. Voters weren’t asked to keep part of that tax to run the jail.

Justice of the Peace Larry Odom, chairman of the jail committee, said renting the estimated 40-50 extra beds was always supposed to pay the extra cost associated with running a jail twice the size of the existing one.

To fund the sheriff’s department, which also is becoming underfunded, Odom proposes a permanent eighth-cent sales tax that would bring in about $750,000.

“This year to balance the budget, we had to cut $20,000 out of the sheriff’s gas money. There will be no new cars and his special accounts had to be used,” Odom told The Leader earlier this week.

Other proposals that are supposed to be discussed again at the March 10 meeting include a permanent half-cent tax in exchange for a rollback of the county millage from 3.5 to 1.75; another one cent for a one-year tax; a one cent tax to replace the county’s 3.5 millage; a tax to build an additional 128 beds to rent to the state and other counties and cities in need of space, and voting the county wet to get revenue from the sales tax on alcohol.

TOP STORY >> New schools to replace old ones

Leader senior staff writer

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and other area education activists are reluctant but willing to see the decrepit Jacksonville Elementary School closed at the end of this school year if the Pulaski County Special School District will make good on its promise to replace it by the 2012-2013 school year with a new one at the other end of downtown, according to Daniel Gray.

The move would save the district an estimated $780,000 a year toward the $8 million the board needs to make in cuts to pay for new and renovated schools.

“We’re disappointed that it’s closing, and we understood it was a possibility,” said Gray, who speaks as both the chamber education committee chair and the Jacksonville World Class Education Association president. “As long as they are going to start construction immediately, it’s okay.”

While many Jacksonville residents have worked toward detaching from the PCSSD for decades, since Superintendent Charles Hopson and his staff took over administrative duties in July, the conversation has changed—for now anyway—to getting better schools and better education for Jacksonville students regardless.

Gray said support assumes that students who would have attended Jacksonville Elementary would instead be assigned to other community elementary schools such as Murrell Taylor, Pinewood and Warren Dupree.

Brenda Bowles, superintendent for equity services, would have to evaluate the reassignment effect on racial balance, and the federal court would have to be notified, at least.

“All the kids are going to benefit,” Gray said. “The gain is much greater than the temporary suffering.”

The vision includes new Jacksonville elementary and middle schools at the old middle school site as wings to a central building for administration offices, a kitchen, the media center and other areas, but the classrooms, cafeterias and some other areas would be separate.

Also slated for construction is a new elementary school on 20 acres at Little Rock Air Force Base that would serve students in attendance zones from which Arnold Drive and Tolleson elementary schools currently draw.

The administration has asked architects Witsell, Evans and Rasco to work on the Jacksonville elementary and middle school complex.

Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson architects is working on the elementary that would replace Arnold Drive and Tolleson. Baldwin and Shell contractors are working on all three of the proposed new Jacksonville schools, according to Scott.

As for the extreme makeovers, Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson is working on Robinson Middle School with contractor Harco Construction.

Polk Stanley Wilcox architects are working with East Harding Construction on both College Station and Harris and Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson and Harco are working on Scott Elementary, he said.

Closing Jacksonville Elementary is a key part of Hopson’s plan to cut $8 million from the budget to leverage a $104 million bond sale and to fund an ambitious program to build three new schools in the Jacksonville area and to completely rehabilitate Harris Elementary School at McAlmont, Scott Elementary at Scott, College Station Elementary School at College Station and Robinson Middle School in West Little Rock.

The school board, which heard the administrations’ proposed list of cuts—including the school closure—at a workshop meeting Tuesday, is expected to further discuss the proposed cuts at the regular meeting Tuesday.

The state Board of Education would have to approve the bond purchase, Derek Scott, district chief of operations, said Thursday.

The district is expected to approve its 2011-2012 budget in April, and the cuts to support the bond sale would be reflected in that budget.

The bonds would be sold about the end of July.

The administration has entered into handshake deals with architects and builders for each of those projects, according to Scott.

“They are operating at risk right now,” Scott said of the architects and builders who are helping to give shape to the various projects to reassure district patrons that they will be getting something of value to assure the district that it can afford its own ambitious plan.

Operating at risk, but not totally at risk. The board has authorized spending $1.5 million in construction funds toward planning.

If it can be done for the money available, the school board seems supportive of the plan, which includes two new elementary schools and one new middle school in Jacksonville, as well as the “add/alters” or addition and alterations of elementary schools at Harris, Scott, and College Station and the Robinson Middle School.

Scott, who was point man for both Hopson and for the board, said he was encouraged by the board and its commitment to build new facilities and fix old ones.

The board has authorized the district to apply for $15 million of the $33 million the state has left in stimulus funds that could be used for school construction. Twenty schools are known to have applied for a share of that money and if the district gets any of it, some think $2 million is more likely.

Of the $8 million in proposed cuts, $2.6 million would be from the academic-accountability division; $209,100 from equity and pupil services; $1.5 million from operations; $1.2 million from business; $5,000 from communications; $100,000 from the superintendent’s office; $100,000 from human resources; $100,000 from information technology and $2.23 million from systemic changes.

The $2.6 million from the academic accountability division would be derived from reducing the number of employees and redefining and transferring other positions so they are not paid out of funds that can be used to pay debt service. It includes $600,000 annual savings from cutting six assistant principals, $500,000 from eliminating five of 36 speech pathologists and eliminating two special-education coordinators to save $200,000.

Savings from equity and pupil services include cutting four registrars, reducing days for elementary registrars and cutting 5 percent of the division budget.

 Savings in operations —$1.5 million; from using district-owned modular classrooms instead of leasing—$170,000; contracting some custodial services—$120,000; savings from utility costs-$120,000;strategic sourcing solutions for bus and vehicle parts—$310,000 and reducing the number of maintenance positions by 20 and restructuring.

 Business division savings—$1.2 million including: refinancing bonds—$720,000; restructuring food services including eliminating bakery production—$120,000; cutting two food service workers and two relief managers—$70,000 and savings from over-allocation of insurance payments—$200,000.

 Communications division savings—$5,000 from cuts in advertising budget.

 Superintendent’s office savings—$100,000 from outsourcing grant writing.

 Human resource savings--$100,000 from savings in attorney’s fees by hiring staff attorney and minimizing outside attorney use.

 Information technology savings—$100,000; from reduction in computer maintenance costs and savings on toner cartridges by going to managed document services.

 Systemic change savings—$2.23 million, including closing Jacksonville Elementary School—$758,000; reducing temporary position—$300,000; overtime reduction—$125,000; attrition, including not replacing 17 teaching positions—$1 million.

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville finally set to expand north

Leader staff writer

One city resident likened Jacksonville’s efforts to annex the business corridor north of the city to Sodom and Gomorrah, but the council still approved bringing the property into the city Thursday night.

Rizelle Aaron called into question the need to bring liquor stores and adult-oriented businesses into the city. That stretch of Hwy. 67/167 includes many other businesses that bring in about $100 million a year in sales. That will mean more than $1 million in annual taxes for Jacksonville.

“Isn’t there some other way for the city to get the money it needs?” Aaron wanted to know.

Mayor Gary Fletcher said after the meeting that the best way to prevent the area from becoming home to more liquor stores and adult-oriented businesses is for it to be part of the city.

“Now we have control of what can come into that area. When it’s part of the county, our control is very limited,” the mayor explained.

Two other residents voiced concerns at the public hearing, but once they were assured that their property was not part of the acreage being annexed, they had no problems.

Without any other concerns voiced, the council quickly approved the resolution bringing the property into the city. The annexation will increase the city’s land mass, but not its population as there are only a few houses in the annexed area.

The annexation issue will now go before Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, who is expected to release the approximately one-square mile of county land to the city. If there are no delays in the process, then the city’s northern boundary will reach the Lonoke County line by late April or early May.

Unlike the city’s efforts to annex this same acreage, plus three more square miles, last year which failed in a vote of the residents, this annexation required no public vote.

For a voluntary or “quiet” annexation to work, at least 51 percent of the residents, representing at least 51 percent of the land, must ask, in writing, to come into the city. If that is the case, then the annexation only needs the approval of the council and the county judge.

“We’ve got about 70 percent of the owners representing about 80 percent of the property,” said Jim Durham, the city’s director of administration. Durham personally visited nearly every one of those owners, and only a few did not sign on in an effort to bring about the annexation.

“Every business will be allowed to come in as they are and owners can sell their businesses to others who can continue to operate them,” Durham said.

But for that to happen, the planning commission had to approve new zoning categories for the city, a C-5 and an M-2.

A C-5 zone will be the only place within city limits that a person can operate a retail or wholesale business for packaged liquor. “Those liquor stores along Hwy. 67/167, like Ace Liquor, will come in with a C-5 zoning. Even the new liquor store being built next to Ace, because it has already been approved by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and at a time the city had limited control in that area.

“The second zoning recently created by the planning commission is M-2 for adult-oriented businesses. Businesses like Cupid’s and Sensations on the west side of Hwy. 67/167 will come into the city with this zoning. The only places these types of businesses can operate in are M-2 zones and those will be the only ones besides Austin Ready Mix which will come in tagged M-2, because that’s also the only zone that allows cement factories.”

The acreage annexed Thurs-day includes 40 separate tracts of land. Besides the liquor stores, Sensations and Cupid’s, those tracts include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Faith Christian Center, Central Community Church of Christ, Jax-Cabot Vet Clinic, Wood Funeral Home, J.B.’s Auto Salvage and Marple Auto Sales.

In other council business:

n City Engineer Jay Whisker apologized for the delays and traffic jams on Main Street as work is being done to make the five-way intersection of Main, Dupree and James safer and more eye appealing. “I get it, I get it,” he said, explaining how he has been inundated with calls.

Whisker said the crosswalk work should be completed in the next week or two and that will do away with all the detours.

n Whisker, in the engineering report for February, said the department issued 10 building permits and 12 business licenses. The department also performed 78 inspections during the month and issued 23 letters of unkempt or unsafe yards and structures.

n The mayor reminded the council and the residents that the city’s annual cleanup day was set for April 2. All those wanting to participate should meet at the Jacksonville Recycling Center at 1300 Marshall Road at 8 a.m.

n Leroy Akridge was reappointed to the city’s board of adjustment and Mike Wil-kinson was reappointed to the Jacksonville Housing Authority.

SPORTS >> Fayetteville eliminates Cabot boys

Special to The Leader

ROGERS — Sophomore Tyler McCullough helped Fayetteville get off to a fast start in the second half and Cabot never really had an answer for the big center as the Purple Bulldogs beat the Panthers 53-41 in the first round of the 7A state tournament Wednesday night.

McCullough, 6-9, scored nine of his game-high 21 points during a 15-4 Fayetteville run to start the third quarter at Rogers Heritage’s War Eagle Arena.

Fayetteville (15-13) advanced to play a 7A-West champion Fort Smith Southside on Friday in the quarterfinals.

Cabot didn’t help itself with a series of technical fouls down the stretch after it had cut a 14-point deficit to one in the fourth quarter.

Panthers leading scorer Darin Jones drew the first when he complained after he thought he was fouled with 1:06 left in the game. Coach Jerry Bridges drew two technicals and was ejected on the second with 30 seconds to go.

Purple Bulldogs coach Kyle Adams, on the other hand, was happy with the outcome and the way his team played, particularly McCullough.

“He’s capable of that all the time,” Adams said. “He played exceptionally well tonight. Our guards did a great job finding him, too. That’s something we’ve gotten better at as the year has gone on.

“We’re a matchup problem for a lot of people. It’s just whoever can impose what they want to do and I thought we did a great job tonight getting it to our big men.”

Malik Fields, a 6-5 junior, chipped in nine points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Jawan Smith added nine points, getting five on free throws.

The Purple Bulldogs’ solid shooting was helped by the fact many shots came from close range in the lane. Fayetteville shot 51 percent (18 of 35) overall and a robust 61 percent (11 of 18) in the second half.

Fayetteville used its big, third-quarter run to build a 32-18 lead with 2:27 left in the third quarter.

Sophomore Cameron Paschke started the run with a three-pointer, but just about everything else was in the lane for Fayetteville early in the second half. McCullough scored off the backboard, and then converted a three-point play.

McCullough then spun left and hit a baby hook for a 27-16 Fayetteville lead, and he finished the spurt taking a feed from Paschke along the baseline and made a layup for the 32-18 lead.

Cabot sophomore Kyle Thielmier hit a floater over McCullough for Cabot’s first field goal of the half with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

Jones led the Panthers with 16 points, while Kai Davis added 15 on five three-pointers.

Cabot (13-15) posted a rally to get within one with four minutes to play in the fourth, but McCullough’s three-point play pushed the lead to seven with 2:01 left and the Panthers got no closer than four the rest of the way, thanks in part to the costly technical fouls.

The Cabot girls were scheduled to play the winner of Thursday’s Rogers-Bryant game on Friday night.

SPORTS >> Lady Wildcats flash claws in last period to win

Leader sportswriter

SEARCY — It’s better to establish momentum late than never at all.

The Harding Academy Lady Wildcats carried that mantra into the fourth quarter and took a dramatic, 46-41 comeback victory over Charleston in the first round of the 3A state tournament at Rhodes Field House on Wednesday.

The Lady Wildcats (18-13) trailed from the opening tip until the final 4:40, when senior point guard Molly Koch stole the ball and took it the distance for a layup that gave Harding Academy a 33-31 lead.

Koch’s score followed the second of three vital inside shots by junior forward Kristen Lester in the final period.

Charleston (24-10) led by six at halftime and by eight points in the third quarter and controlled the game’s tempo throughout until panic set in when Harding Academy began its rally heading into the final period.

“We really felt like in the first half, we had some careless turnovers, and were kind of tentative on some scoring opportunities,” Lady Wildcats coach Rusty Garner said. “And we missed a good number of free throws — you don’t survive that a lot of times. This team is finishing the year strong, and finishing games strong, so we felt like even down six we were okay.”

The Lady Tigers gave the Lady Wildcats fits in the first half with an aggressive man-to-man defense, and they used their team speed to cover the lane from every corner and still contested shots around the perimeter.

Charleston junior guard Katherine West scored a game-high 16 points, many off transition shots on backcourt steals.

West proved to be one of the fastest guards in all of class 3A as well as a relentless defender. But her aggressiveness cost her late, as she fouled out with 14 seconds left while battling McKenzie Miller for a defensive rebound.

Miller made a free throw to set the final margin and Lady Wildcats junior guard Tory Mote tied up Maci Wisdom on the final possession to clinch it.

“Charleston is a terrific basketball team,” Garner said and praised West. “They come from a really strong region. She is one of the better guards we’ve seen all year, and we’ve seen some great guards. Athletically, she’s terrific.”

As Lester went, so did the Lady Wildcats. She was one of the few players the Lady Tigers overlooked in the first half, but she could not get a number of open inside shots to fall.

Koch, Miller and junior guard Lynley Crowell searched fruitlessly for shooting space on the perimeter, and sometimes became sitting ducks for West and her quick hands.

But when Lester came to life with 5:31 left to play it was the turning point for Harding Academy.

She scored in the lane with an assist from Mote to cut Charleston’s lead to 31-29, and scored again less than a minute later, this time with an assist from Koch to tie the game. Her final basket with 2:38 remaining gave the Lady Wildcats a two-possession lead at 38-33.

“Kristen had every reason to have her head down, because things weren’t going well for her,” Garner said. “And she hit two or three big baskets, found herself in the right place. That stretch for her probably epitomizes how our season’s gone. It really turned the ballgame around for us.”

Koch led the Lady Wildcats with 15 points and had six assists. Crowell added 12 points and Lester nine. Mollie Brotherton scored 15 points for Charleston.

Harding Academy played Valley Springs Friday in the quarterfinal round.

SPORTS >> Bailey blasts off to boost Raiders

Leader sportswriter

Lincoln’s defensive strategy did not account for Rashard Bailey.

Bailey, Riverview’s sophomore guard and sixth man, electrified the Raiders off the bench as they bashed the Wolves 68-29 in the first-round of the 3A state tournament at Rhodes Field House on the campus of Harding University on Wednesday.

Bailey scored the first of his game-high 23 points with a dunk off a midcourt steal with 3:37 left in the first quarter to give the Raiders (24-5) a 10-2 lead, and they did not let up from there.

The Wolves (13-11) put much of their initial focus on senior guard Taylor Smith. It worked from a scoring standpoint, as Smith finished with a mere four points, but his defensive rebounding and ball distribution made up for his season low scoring total.

“Everybody in this tournament is good,” Riverview coach Jon Laffoon said. “We just came out tonight, and our kids were ready. They did a good job preparing this week. It showed; we played well.”

The victory put the Raiders in Friday’s quarterfinal round against Rivercrest, which also advanced easily with an 81-56 blowout over Prescott in the first round.

Bailey had 11 points by the end of the first period, and he scored seven more before halftime as Riverview built a 22-6 lead after one quarter and a 44-22 lead at the break.

“Rashard is just a phenomenal athlete,” Laffoon said. “He and I have head butted a few times this year — I think he’s finally figured out that he’s going to have to play hard all the time. And when he plays hard, you see what he can do. He’s a great player.”

Smith led with eight rebounds, seven on defense. He also had five assists.

“Taylor’s done that all year,” Laffoon said. “If he has to score, he knows it, and he’ll score. He just wanted to defer and get his teammates the ball tonight. They were focused on him — they trapped him several times early when he got the ball. He recognized it and dumped and dished and kicked out. He did a great job leading us.”

Things turned ugly midway through the fourth quarter when Bailey grabbed a steal and headed for a transition basket and Lincoln forward Dakota Leming brought him to the floor by his throat.

Leming then made comments to Bailey as he was getting up and earned a technical foul.

Leming then infuriated the Raiders fans with a smile toward the home bleachers on his way to the bench.

Laffoon chalked the incident up to passionate play.

“Their kids were playing hard,” Laffoon said. “I wouldn’t have given up the layup either. I thought the kid made a good foul. They’ve got to keep their cool, our guys have to keep their cool, and that’s part of the game.

“Someone’s going to win and someone’s going to lose, and I was just proud of the way their kids kept playing hard and our kids kept playing hard.”

The Friday quarterfinal between Riverview and Rivercrest was hyped as a state final-level game taking place two rounds early.

“They’re good, that’s what I know,” Laffoon said. “They’re a heck of a ball club.

“We’ve got them on film several times, but I didn’t know how good they were until I saw them in person. There’s no question that we’ll have to play at a very high level to compete.

SPORTS >> Bears have time on side

Special to The Leader

ALMA--Time after time, Sylvan Hills Coach Kevin Davis let his Bears play through everything the Harrison Goblins threw at them in their state quarterfinal game Thursday at Charles B. Dyer Arena.

With Davis conserving his timeouts, five-star recruit Archie Goodwin took over in the final two minutes to propel the Bears to a 75-73 victory over the Goblins in the back-and-forth game.

Harrison led 69-64 entering the final 2:14 and the last two minutes featured two ties and two lead changes. Then Goodwin scored 10 of Sylvan Hills’ final 11 points as he converted two three-point plays and also scored on a driving layup.

Goodwin performed his heroics with four fouls, committing the last with three minutes left in the third period.

“Archie has been in this situation before earlier in the year,” Davis said. “I told him he had to show me what he could do. At the end, we were getting the ball to him and clearing out the lane. When he’s in the lane, he is tough.”

Sylvan Hills (24-3) endured 11 lead changes overall. In the second period the Bears lost a 10-point lead to trail 35-32 at halftime, yet Davis did not use a timeout.

“I save my timeouts, and sometimes you have to let them play through,” Davis said. “You see at the end, we needed them. I don’t want the guys to rely on me or the officials. They have to go between the lines and play through.”

Goodwin scored 38 points, 16 in the second half. Larry Ziegler added 19 points and scored eight in the third quarter.

Ziegler’s jumper with 25 seconds left in the period gave the Bears a 53-52 lead going into the fourth quarter. Ziegler also had 10 rebounds.

“Larry brought his A-game,” Davis said.

“He has had a couple of down games. He did a great job on defense switching off his man and helping out down in the lane.”

Harrison (22-6) took advantage of the three-pointer to stay in the game.

With 1:44 left in the second half, Dalton Young made a three-pointer for the game’s first tie at 30-30. After that, the biggest lead was six points. The Goblins led 69-63 after Jeffrey McNair’s three-pointer with 2:28 left in the game.

Harrison made three of its eight three-pointers in the final period.

“This was a phenomenal game,” Davis said. “I told my assistants before we went out that with Harrison’s bunch, this game was going to be a dandy. Give credit to their kids.”

In its opening-round victory over Central Arkansas Christian, Sylvan Hills took a 30-20 halftime lead and then ran away in the third quarter for a 73-50 victory. The Bears scored 22 points in the third quarter.

“We tried to get back to our strengths,” Davis said.

“We threw some different things at them to test the waters. We were better off staying with what we do. Once we went back to what we do best, things turned in our favor.”

SPORTS >> Fast start lifts Devils

Special to The Leader

Jacksonville didn’t waste any time showing Texarkana who the better team was in the first round of the Class 6A State Tournament at Marion.

The Red Devils scored the first 10 points of the game on the way to a 74-50 victory over the Razorbacks on Thursday.

Texarkana managed to battle back and stay within striking distance for most of the first half thanks to Alvin Morris and Tevin Tosh. Morris had seven rebounds in the first quarter, while Tosh had four steals and eight points in the second quarter.

In fewer than five seconds Jacksonville turned a 10-point lead into a 39-24 lead by halftime. Justin McCleary drove the lane for a layup, then turned around, stole the inbounds pass and completed a three-point play at the buzzer to send the Razorbacks reeling into the lockerroom.

“A win is a win in the state tournament,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “We were a little flat, but that first game is always so hard with all the anticipation and adrenaline in these kids.”

The Razorbacks never came back with a game plan, choosing to rely solely on their speed on offense. Neither team shot well from the outside, but Jacksonville won the battle in the lane with controlled drives and the Red Devils took advantage of the Razorbacks’ repeated failure to block out rebounders.

“Those guys were just pinning their ears back and running to the lane and we were letting them get through there,” Joyner said. “We adjusted to what they were doing and had a little more success.”

Senior guard Raheem Appleby led Jacksonville with 18 points while McCleary scored 16.

Texarkana’s Tosh led all scorers with 20 points, while Morris had 16 and 13 rebounds.

Searcy 46, Fair 36

Ole Miss signee Jamal Jones and Casey Wilmath were too much for Little Rock Fair on Thursday night.

The inside-outside duo combined for 37 of the Lions’ points. Jones scored 22 and pulled down 12 rebounds, while Wilmath made three 3-pointers and scored 15 points.

All of Wilmath’s points came in the first half.

“I didn’t think we were real sharp, but we found a way to win,” Searcy coach Jim Summers said. “Fair is so methodical and tough on defense that it is hard to get into any kind of a rhythm.”

Searcy advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinal game against fellow 6A-East member Jacksonville while 6A-East member Marion knocked off top seed Van Buren.

“Playing in the East prepares us for anything we might see from anybody else in the state,” Summers said. “But the bad thing is that now we’re back around to playing East teams.

“We have to hope Jacksonville’s perimeter game is off and that we can match their physical play down low. We didn’t do that in the regular season.”


El Dorado 64, Jacksonville 45

The Lady Red Devils saw their season come to an end against the 6A South’s top seed.

The Lady Devils fell behind 16-5 in the first quarter before coming alive in the second. Jacksonville outscored El Dorado 18-14 in the period thanks to Jessica Jackson scoring 11 points, as she went 7 for 8 at the free-throw line.

Jackson capped her season with a 23-point night. Lady Red Devils sophomore Melissa Miller added eight points.

El Dorado’s Whitney Frazier led all scorers with 27 points.

LR Parkview 57, Searcy 22

Little Rock Parvkiew was dominant on both ends of the court as it denied Searcy a return trip to the state final.

Sophomore guard Roshunda Johnson made four three pointers as she scored all of her game-high 21 points in the first half. Erin Peoples added 18 points for Parkview, doing her damage from the lane while turning in a 12-point third quarter.

Parkview’s non-stop press forced Searcy (16-13) into 27 turnovers.

“I’ve never seen them shoot so well,” Searcy coach Michelle Birdsong said.

“Their pressure makes it so tough just to get it across half court, and once you’re there you can’t get an open shot because they’re so quick and recover so well in transition.”

Freshman guard Brittnee Broadway led the Lady Lions with seven points, all in the first half.

Searcy hung around for most of the first half, but two quick three-pointers by Johnson helped Parkview to a 34-15 lead at halftime.

The Lady Patriots’ run in the third gave them a 50-17 lead entering the final period.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

SPORTS >> Beebe pins state title in wrestling

Leader sports editor

A final match victory lifted the Beebe Badgers past Little Rock Christian in the 5A state wrestling tournament at UALR’s Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock on Saturday.

Heavyweight Jason Ferguson (8-3) pinned Riverview’s Paul Diarcos in the second period to take fifth in the 285-pound class and give the Badgers the points to move past Christian and win their first state wrestling championship.

Beebe had 11 medalists to eight for Christian, which allowed the Badgers to accumulate their superior point total. The Badgers outpointed the Warriors 255.5 to 253.

North Pulaski finished sixth among the 20, 5A schools with 149.5 points.

In 6A-7A, Conway edged Fayetteville, 255.5 points to 236, for the championship. Searcy finished in sixth with 172 points and Cabot tallied 129.5 points to take ninth in the 20-team field.

Little Rock Christian placed eight wrestlers in the semifinals, had five in the finals and four individual champions. But only eight Warriors placed while the Badgers had their 11 to win.

Beebe’s only state champion was undefeated 103-pounder Josh Freeman (17-0), who decisioned Oak Grove’s Cole Brainerd 18-4, while Ferguson’s pin of Diarcos in the heavyweight match sealed it for the Badgers.

“We knew we were a point down,” Beebe coach David Payne said. “We knew a win would do it for us. The kid did a great job of having all that pressure on him, a team championship on one match and one kid.

“He came through in the clutch.”

Cabot’s Tyler Kurtz (24-2) won the 7A/6A, 125-pound championship with a 15-4 decision over Springdale’s Jimmy Claros.

In 112-pound action, North Pulaski’s Nick Vandale took fifth after Des Arc’s Ralphie Garcia pinned him at the 1:58 mark. Beebe’s Matthew Whitaker (8-8) was fifth in the 119-pound class after pinning Little Rock Epsicopal’s Jason Girodano.

Christian’s Daniel Perez pinned Beebe’s Al Sharp (14-4) at the 1:08 mark to win the 125-pound championship while Sharp took second.

Beebe’s Michael Kirby (2-3) pinned Oak Grove’s Marcus Dennis to take fifth in the 135-pound class. The School of the Blind’s Andrea Johnson decisioned Beebe’s Pearson Sloan (8-3) 5-4 to win the 140-pound division and send Sloan to second.

North Pulaski’s Brien Davis (13-10) took third with a 17-10 decision over Des Arc’s Brad Childers.

Beebe’s Paul Warner (17-4) pinned Bismarck’s Dakota Lynn for third in the 145-pound class. In the 152-pound class, Bismarck’s Caleb Dufresne pinned Beebe’s Ron Pacheco to take third and send Pacheco to fourth while Des Arc’s Isaac Hood took an 8-3 decision over North Pulaski’s Nick Dunn (15-7) to take fifth and leave Dunn at sixth.

Gentry’s Tanner Coy took the 160-pound championship with a pin of North Pulaski’s Anthony Mongo (26-2) at 5:04. Beebe’s Ryan Binning (10-8) pinned Little Rock Christian’s Josh Woodruff to take fifth.

Christian’s Tim Kimbrough decisioned North Pulaski’s Willie Frazier (15-4) 8-4 to win the 189-pound final while Beebe’s Hunter Weiman (13-5) beat Union Christian’s Calvin Gammon 19-2 to take third.

James McClendon, of Oak Grove, pinned Beebe’s Ethan Boyce at the 3:33 mark to take fifth in the 215-pound class.

In 7A/6A, Searcy 112-pounder Jacob Corpier (21-3) took second; Searcy’s Austin Burns was fourth in the 130-pound division and Searcy’s Jonathan Apple decisioned Southside’s Colt Dooley 6-1 for third in the 135-pound class.

Cabot 140-pounder Sean Palmer pinned Rogers Heritage’s Logan Evans to take fifth.

Josh Bell, of Searcy, took second in the 160-pound division and Cabot’s Seth Bell (13-3) took a 3-1 decision from Van Buren’s Dakota Lewis to win third.

Searcy 171-pounder Jamie Mottu (15-8) finished sixth while Bryant’s Odell Lee pinned Searcy 189-pounder Brett Siler (20-6) to win the championship and send Siler to second.

Cabot’s Nick Ramey (18-5) took fifth on a disqualification for opponent Kylan Larson, of Bentonville.

SPORTS >> Cabot swimmers place in finals

Leader sports editor

Cabot’s girls finished sixth and the boys wound up 16th at the Arkansas high school state swimming and diving championship at UALR’s Donaghey Natatorium on Saturday and Sunday.

Bentonville’s girls and boys tallied a respective 380 and 330 points to win the state championship in both divisions.

Cabot’s girls finished with 128 points and the boys had 35.

The Lady Panthers’ strength was their relay teams. They finished fifth in the 200-yard medley relay in 2:07.94, sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:53.26 and sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:13.04.

Cabot’s highest individual finishers were Megan Owens and Emily Grigsby, who came in seventh and eighth in the 100-yard freestyle. Owens posted a time of 1:00.28 and Grigsby finished in 1:00.48.

Grigsby was 13th in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.26 seconds.

Emkay Myers swam the girls’ 200-yard individual medley in 2:30.50 for 10th and teammate Ashley Weaver was 13th with a time of 2:39.51. Cabot’s Ashley Weaver swam the 100-yard backstroke in 1:11.98 to take 14th.

The Lady Panthers’ Jenni Vaughn swam the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:25.51 to finish 16th.

Cabot’s John Santiago was Cabot’s best boys finisher with a time of 1:06.82 in the 100-yard breaststroke, good for 10th, and he swam the boys 200-yard IM in 2:18.36 to take 11th place. The Panthers’ Seth Fox was 15th in 2:22.15.

Fox was 15th in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:03.62. The boys 400-yard relay team was 12th in 3:53.15

Searcy’s girls finished 11th with 65 points. Carly Wills swam the 50-yard freestyle in 26.83 seconds to take ninth and she was 10th in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:02.19. The Lady Lions’ Allison Greene was eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:43.84.

SPORTS >> Jacksonville claims 6A-East supremacy

Leader sportswriter

There were no big surprises at Jacksonville as the Red Devils ground out a 56-38 victory over Mountain Home and secured the 6A-East Conference championship at the Devils Den on Friday.

The Red Devils (22-3, 11-3) finished as co-champions with Little Rock Parkview, but Jacksonville earned the higher seed thanks to its edge in the head-to-head tiebreaker. Jacksonville is the No. 2 seed out of the East and will take on South No. 7 seed Texarkana at Marion at 2:30 p.m. today.

Senior guard Raheem Appleby led the Red Devils with 16 points and seven rebounds, as Jacksonville’s defense limited Mountain Home to several one-shot possessions.

The Bombers also hurt themselves by rushing shots leading to easy Red Devils rebounds.

It was the second of consecutive, long road trips for Mountain Home, which played at Parkview on Thursday.

“It got ugly; bad decision making,” Jacksonville coach Victor Joyner said. “Everybody was tired out there. I know Mountain Home — you talk about a team with some guts, big hearts.

“My kids came out, to win this conference, as tough as it is from top to bottom every single night, to be picked second or third from the bottom at the beginning of the season is a testament to how hard these kids have worked their butts off.”

Mountain Home (9-18, 2-12) could never mount a comeback after Jacksonville took a 10-2 lead halfway through the opening period. The Bombers cut the lead to two possessions for brief periods in the first half, but Jacksonville quickly pulled away for good at the start of the second.

Xavier Huskey led a Jacksonville defense that held Mountain Home to 10 points or less in three quarters.

“We worked on it and worked on it,” Joyner said. “Huskey ran about 35 sets man-to-man wise, and we were trying to get ready for all of them. We broke it down by position, and those kids gutted it out on defense. I thought they did a great job.”

The stands were packed with Red Devil fans and a number of college scouts who were present to get a glimpse of Appleby. After being overlooked by NCAA Division I schools for most of the year, Appleby now is drawing serious interest from the University of Missouri and the University of Tulsa.

Appleby took advantage of his opportunities to impress with a steal and breakaway dunk with 5:40 left in the first half, but also proved his worth as a team player with assists that allowed three teammates to score eight points.

Appleby helped create opportunities for sophomore Justin McCleary and James Aikens, who led the outside assault for Jacksonville with a pair of three-point baskets in the second quarter. Jamison Williams had success inside with eight points, all in the first half.

Aikens scored to start the third quarter to give Jacksonville a 34-22 lead, and Williams got a steal and passed to Appleby for a layup with 5:47 left in the third to make it 36-22.

Post player Rolandis Hall got in on the action when he converted a three-point play with 4:20 left in the period to extend the Devils’ lead to 39-24. McCleary got a steal and layup to give Jacksonville a 47-29 lead to start the fourth, and the Red Devils milked the clock from there.

Bryce Larry led the Bombers with 10 points while Calvin Henry and Philip Kapler each had nine. Hall had seven points for Jacksonville.

The second seed set Jacksonville up with a favorable spot near the bottom of the 6A tournament bracket. A victory over Texarkana today will pit the Red Devils against the winner of the game between South No. 3 seed Little Rock Fair and East No. 6 seed Searcy.

Benton played Mountain Home and Jonesboro played Lake Hamilton in first-round games on Jacksonville’s side of the bracket.

The Red Devils swept Mountain Home and Searcy in their regular season matchups and are 3-0 against Jonesboro this year.

But Joyner is taking no one lightly.

“It’s the state tournament; nobody has a leg up, anything can happen,” Joyner said. “I don’t buy into that, ‘The South is this and the East is that.’ It’s the state tournament. Either you come out and you show up, or you go home.”

SPORTS >> Lady Red Devils end fruitless conference run

Leader sportswriter

The Jacksonville Lady Red Devils started strong thanks to Jessica Jackson and finished strong thanks to Tiffany Smith.

But the players were just bookends to an otherwise inconsistent Lady Red Devils performance as Mountain Home took a 46-40 victory at the Devils Den on Friday.

The loss ended a winless run through the 6A-East Conference for Jacksonville (8-19, 0-14).

“The only thing you can say is, you go up there three-and-half weeks ago, and basically get mercy ruled,” Lady Red Devils coach Katrina Mimms said. “And then you play them tonight, your last game, and lose by four or five. You’ve got to look at that and say, ‘Okay, this is how much we’ve improved in three weeks.’ ”

Jackson, the sophomore standout and college prospect, got Jacksonville rolling with eight quick points, including a pair of three-pointers that gave the Lady Devils a 12-5 lead midway through the first quarter.

Mountain Home took the remainder of the half to catch up and went ahead 17-16 at halftime on Nicole Bolt’s free throw with five seconds remaining.

“I knew it was going to be hard to win here tonight for a lot of reasons,” Mountain Home coach Dell Leonard said. “Number one, Jacksonville has played really well here all year for the most part, and they’ve got some talented players.

“And the other thing is, we played Hall on Tuesday, Parkview last night — we just don’t have a lot of legs right now.”

The third quarter was the deciding factor for the Lady Bombers, who forced eight turnovers and went ahead 31-20. Katie Kapler made two free throws to start the fourth quarter that gave Mountain Home its largest lead, 33-20, before the freshman Smith led Jacksonville’s comeback charge.

Smith scored all of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Jackson led the Lady Red Devils with 17 points, but her last nine didn’t come as easily as her first eight. The Lady Bombers ran traps on Jackson the length of the floor for most of the night and held her scoreless in the third quarter.

“And still, at times, didn’t do our job,” Leonard said of the defense on Jackson. “I thought Nicole Bolt did a great job of guarding her tonight. Everybody else was supposed to be ready to help, but there were times when she just made some tough shots.”

Jackson hit a three pointer that cut the lead to 33-23 with 7:09 left to play, and Smith began driving inside. She hit three baskets from the floor and went 5 for 6 at the free-throw line in the final 5:52.

“Teams are going to do that to her because she’s hard to defend,” Mimms said of Jackson. “We tried to put her in the block some and get her the ball that way and let her make some moves.

“I thought Tiffany Smith down the stretch penetrated well; it kind of took some pressure off Jess.”

Smith made it 37-28 on free throws with 3:59 left, and Jennifer Ballard cut it to seven with an inside basket at 3:39.

Jackson cut Mountain Home’s lead to 37-33 with a basket and free throw, but Maggie Jo Cooper answered with a three-point play for the Lady Bombers.

Smith scored two more times on putbacks, the second of which narrowed the margin to 44-40 with just under four seconds left.

Melissa Miller added eight points for Jacksonville.

Kapler led Mountain Home with 15 points while Cooper added 13 for the Lady Bombers and Bolt scored 10.

The Lady Red Devils stayed around .500 through non-conference play before opening 6A-East play. But Mimms was not as disappointed in the 0-14 conference run as she was optimistic about her young squad.

“I don’t really think you can call it a disappointment when a lot of nights, you’re putting three or four freshmen out there,” Mimms said. “I’m playing four tenth-graders. Yeah, it’s disappointing because we didn’t win a ballgame, but they are so young that you have to look at it in that aspect.

“One thing you can say about these kids — another team that’s 0-13 coming in to their last ballgame probably don’t even play hard, because they’ve already given up. And these kids have just been relentless. You can’t teach that. They keep coming to practice, they keep trying to get better, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Lady Red Devils are the No. 8 seed out of the 6A-East and played South No. 1 seed El Dorado on Tuesday night.

SPORTS >> Devils’ esteemed Raheem

Leader sports editor

For every Archie Goodwin, Jacksonville has Raheem Appleby.

For every Aaron Ross or Jamal Jones, the Red Devils counter with Raheem Appleby.

Appleby, Jacksonville’s senior guard, has gone up against the best college basketball prospects in the state, holding his own against some, outshining others, as he has helped lead Jacksonville into the 6A state tournament.

Jacksonville, riding a six-game winning streak, tips off at 2:30 p.m. today against Texarkana at Marion.

“Everybody’s got to play together,” Appleby said. “We can’t play selfish. We can go far like that.”

While college scouts have come to look at players like Goodwin, Sylvan Hills’ five-star recruit, or Ole Miss signees Jones of Searcy, and Ross, of Little Rock Parkview, they can’t help but get an eyeful of Appleby in the process.

“When people know that you’re coming,” Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner said, “and they watch tape and try to find flaws and ways to cover you and you still come out and get 25, 30 points.

“Against the quality of people that were in our conference, with the number of athletic teams that we play. And this kid was coming out and getting 25, 30 points a game — that goes without saying.”

With his speed, slashing style, shooting touch and overall effort, Appleby, 6-2, has at times stolen the show from the more heralded recruits. On Feb. 23, while Jones was struggling to score 13 points after banging his knee early in Searcy’s last visit to the Devils Den, Appleby was exploding to score 31.

Behind Appleby, the Red Devils beat Goodwin’s Bears in the Conway Wampus Cat Invitational, stomped Ross’ Patriots 60-44 to set up a season split and 6A-East co-championship with Parkview and swept Jones’ Lions.

“I think I can play with all of them,” Appleby said. “I don’t know. I just play. I’m not worried about it.”

With its co-championship and tiebreaker edge on Parkview, Jacksonville (21-3, 11-3) enters the state tournament as the No. 2 seed, with a favorable draw in the bracket and a better than outside chance of reaching its second state championship game in three years.

Jacksonville beat Little Rock Hall to win the state final in 2009.

“It’s a lot different,” Appleby said. “I didn’t play that much back then. Now I play a whole lot.”

One of the differences is Appleby, Joyner said.

“Raheem has had these skills ever since he’s been here,” Joyner said. “But he’s such an unselfish kid. He yielded his sophomore year, when he was just learning, but he had that championship team. He had to yield to those kids.”

Appleby is averaging 19.7 points, 2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.2 rebounds a game. He has stepped forward this season after Joyner urged him to do so last year.

“We prodded him, poked him, encouraged him to score,” Joyner said. “Because he could score just like this, we saw it in practice. But he yielded to D’Shone McClure and T.J. Green. And every time Raheem scored 12 points or more last year, we won a game.”

“I know they expect me to score, which I think I will, but I just want to keep the team together,” Appleby said.

During their six-game streak, which came on a compressed schedule that forced them to play consecutive nights because of makeup games, the Red Devils found other scorers to complement Appleby.

“The last six games, brutal stretch that we had, we were able to sit Raheem down for two or three minutes a quarter,” Joyner said. “And let people like Aaron Smith, Dustin House, Jonathon Patterson, Crushawn Hayes —those kids stepped up and gave him rest.

“And that was huge for that six-game stretch. It gave the other guys an opportunity to get out there and learn a little bit.”

With the college recruiters drifting in Appleby’s direction, UALR, coached by Steve Shields, appears to have the inside track. Missouri State, Moorehead State and Tulsa have also shown interest, as well as a cluster of junior colleges.

One way or the other, Appleby appears likely to continue his career. But Joyner said the final months of class are going to determine whether Appleby will academically qualify for a four-year school or go the junior college route to get eligible.

“The kid is smart because he made a 20 on his ACT and that’s no easy task,” Joyner said. “So he’s already got a high ACT score but he’s got to get his GPA up.”

In the meantime, Appleby will be trying to close out his high school career with another championship.

“The teams we’re going to play, we’ve played them before so we know what they look like,” Appleby said. “So we kind of know how to prepare for them.”

EDITORIAL >> Huckabee’s pardons

Mike Huckabee made the rounds of the national media venues last week reassuring people that he would probably run for president in 2012 although he would not do it officially for a long time so that he can keep his lucrative job at Fox News.

We would not discourage our former governor from running again, for despite his handicaps we find him a safer choice than almost all the mentionable candidates on the Republican side. One of them may be the next president and, if so, we could be much worse off with almost any of the others.

We have one big reservation with Rev. Huckabee—well, maybe another two or three significant ones—and we keep hoping he will reform. He cannot tell the truth when it is even slightly embarrassing.

In a question-and-answer session with political writers organized by the Christian Science Monitor, Huckabee was asked if his presidential ambitions would be harmed by his clemencies for a couple of famous Arkansas murderers, most notably Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons murdered four policemen in a suburban Seattle, Wash., coffee shop in 2009. Clemmons had been sentenced in Arkansas to a total of 108 years in prison (many of those were to run concurrently) for a series of violent crime sprees.

Huckabee ordered him released in 2000 after he wrote the governor a letter saying he had found Jesus and that God had agreed to intercede for him with the governor. Clemmons was returned to prison on a parole violation but then released again in 2001. He went to Washington, where he continued his life of crime. Clemmons was killed in a shootout with police after the coffee-shop massacre.

Huckabee said he would release Clemmons again if he had it to do over. He said Clemmons was just a black kid who had a bad upbringing and that his crimes were so minor that if he had been a white man with a good lawyer he would never have spent a single day in prison and would today be working on Wall Street.

That was not quite Clemmons’ record. He was convicted of burglaries, thefts, probation violations, aggravated robbery and carrying guns on school property. He punched an elderly woman in the face when he robbed her. At one of his trials, the judge had him shackled in leg irons because Clemmons had threatened him. He hid a metal hinge in his sock to use as a weapon in court. In jail, he injured his own mother when he threw a lock at the jailer and it missed. He tried to steal a guard’s pistol on the way to a courtroom. In prison, he was into constant trouble for sexual assaults, battery, theft and weapons.

Huckabee has always told similar fibs about his efforts to free the convicted rapist Wayne Dumond, who went to Missouri and killed two women after Huckabee’s intercession. He wrote Dumond a letter expressing his pride at freeing him.

Voters can accept Huckabee’s misjudgments if he only acknowledged that they came from perhaps an excess of Christian humanity, which is in short supply nowadays. Likewise, most voters would accept his record as governor—he raised more taxes and expanded state government more than any governor in Arkansas history—if he were only honest about it and not insist that he had slashed taxes and shrank government, which is what he suspects that most Republican voters want to hear.

Truth and honesty can be powerful tools, even in politics, and they might work even today. We commend them to him.

EDITORIAL >> He can’t stop lying

He can’t stop. No sooner had the type been set than this comes: Mike Huckabee lies about his tax record on the Fox News show hosted by his colleague Chris Wallace. 

It came about this way. Wallace was interviewing the former governor about his expected race for president in 2012. He observed that Huckabee would have to deal with “gotcha stories” in the media, including the charge that he raised taxes as governor. He then threw three tax increases on the screen, obviously by pre-arrangement with Huckabee. They were the 1999 income tax surcharge, the 2003 sales tax of 7/8ths of a percent and the one-eighth percent sales tax adopted in 1998. 

Huckabee’s quick explanations: The Arkansas Supreme Court made him raise the sales tax in 2003 (not true; it simply said the state had to provide a suitable education for children). The voters approved the smaller sales tax (true, but at his urging). And he opposed the income tax increase and didn’t sign it. 

The last is simply a lie, but he keeps repeating it. That is because millions of people see his denial (unchallenged by his host, of course) but only hundreds ever see the efforts to correct it. 

Here is the record: Huckabee called a special legislative session in May 2003 because state revenues were declining and the spending cuts that would be necessary to keep the budget balanced would have to be too severe. When he addressed the legislature, he urged them to raise taxes to protect state services and he said he would sign any tax measure the legislature passed. He specifically mentioned a cigarette tax increase and a surcharge on individual and corporate income taxes. The legislature passed both those tax increases and he had them brought to his desk the same day and signed them into law. He thanked legislators for their leadership. 

Only five years later, when he was running for president, did he claim that he had opposed the income tax increase and had not signed it into law. That is just flatly not true.

Wallace did not mention the third sales tax increase, a half-cent in 1999, a 2 percent tax on chewing tobacco, cigars, package tobacco, cigarette papers and snuff in 1997, a cigarette tax increase in 1997, still another tax increase on cigarettes and tobacco in 1997, a cigarette tax increase of 25 cents a pack in 2003, a beer tax of 3 percent in 2003, revival of a mixed-drink tax in 2005, a gasoline tax increase of 3 cents a gallon and a diesel tax increase of 4 cents a gallon in 1999 (he would claim during the 2008 presidential campaign that the voters, not he, approved those taxes but that was not true either), and an increase in the driver’s license by $6 a person in 2001. He signed them all.

TOP STORY >> Dangers of holding Iraqi detainees

Special to The Leader

As a member of Task Force 134 in Iraq during the mid-2000s, Maj. Timothy McCarty, who is stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base, oversaw the transfer and retraining of suspected terrorists at detainee camps in hopes of stopping acts of violence against military personnel and civilians.

McCarty is commander of the 19th Security Forces Squadron at Little Rock Air Force Base, where he is in charge of 289 service members who work in law enforcement and investigations.

In the heat of battle, at the height of the U.S. surge in 2006, McCarty was on the front lines retrieving suspected terrorists captured by other American soldiers assigned to topple Saddam Hussein, who was held in one of the camps where McCarty served for several months.

He did not like to go outside the detainee camps, which were protected by barbed wire, but he did get out 77 times and lived to tell about it.

“Whether you went to a helicopter or on the ground in a Humvee, it was still dangerous,” McCarty told the audience at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History on Thursday night after a violent storm pounded the central Arkansas area.

In his slide presentation, McCarty showed a photo of a boat house at Camp Victory in Baghdad, where Saddam Hussein was housed before an Iraqi court found him guilty of atrocities and sentenced him to death by hanging.

McCarty also had a photograph of two sets of gallows, which were side by side, but he told the audience no Americans were allowed to watch any of the detainees’ execution.

Hussein was apparently treated better than other detainees. McCarty recalls that Hussein was allowed to smoke cigars and on certain occasions had his own barber.

McCarty said when Hussein was turned over to to Iraqi officials, “Hussein shook hands with every one of the Americans in the room but not any of the Iraqis.”

Before Hussein’s execution, U.S. troops took steps to ensure his safety, according to McCarty.

McCarty’s base of operations had been at Camp Victory, but he also discussed two other camps — Camp Bucca and Camp Cropper — that housed detainees.

He still can’t discuss a lot of what he saw or did while he was in Iraq because much of it is still classified. His speech focused on capturing, detaining and interrogating insurgents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He offered a rare glimpse into behind-the-scenes gleaning of information aimed at stopping roadside bombings and other attacks on U.S. soldiers.

McCarty said information gleaned from those detainees often means saving the lives of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Someone in the audience brought up the photos of naked detainees stacked up in humiliating poses, as well as allegations of sleep deprivation, water-boarding, hooding detainees and even playing loud music. Those abuses allegedly took place in Abu Ghraib.

“Those pictures you saw were true,” McCarty said. “But I never saw any water-boarding when I was there.”

McCarty said he had never witnessed any abuse of detainees, but he said turning young military personnel who are trained to fight a war into prison guards was a challenge.

He said some detainees would behave outrageously, such as throw fecal matter at the guards. A young inexperienced guard would be more likely to be provoked rather than to stand down, he explained.

Despite allegations of 21 or more photos depicting detainee abuse in 2009, McCarty thinks these cases to be “isolated,” not widespread.

McCarty wasn’t too happy to see representatives from the International Red Cross at one of the detainee camps. They would turn over a list of all the detainees and a Red Cross representative would then randomly choose a couple of people off that list.

U.S. military personnel would then have to locate those prisoners no matter where they had been transferred to after the book-in process.

“We could put them (IRC) off for seven days, but on the eighth, we must produce them,” McCarty explained.

His presentation also focused on goals set the camps, which included transferring, interrogating and providing education and job training.

Detainees were taught English and trained as mechanics and construction workers, he said. That training would help them find jobs and help rebuild Iraq.

In its initial stage, Camp Bucca housed about 6,500 detainees. It then grew to 15,000 and kept growing.

“In its heyday, Camp Bucca peaked out at 25,000,” McCarty said.

Camp Cropper housed from 1,000 to 1,500 detainees. They included various factions — Sunnis, Shia, Al’ Quiada and Kurds.

To keep them separated, detainees were given jumpsuits with different colors.

McCarty said camp scenes often resembled a certain type of American candy. The term befitting camp scenes often- times looked like a “bag of Skittles,” he said.

Americans may think of detainees being only men, but that was not the case. McCarty revealed that women and children, as young as 8, were also detained in the Iraqi war effort. However, he quickly added that the women were housed in a different location.

Asked if 8-year-olds were subjected to interrogations, McCarty said that children were not questioned.

“That’s against the law,” McCarty added.

McCarty said that when he left Iraq and returned to Little Rock Air Force Base, 32 of the wanted Iraqis depicted on 52 cards in a deck had been captured.

TOP STORY >> Leader starts 25th year

The Leader, which published its first issue on March 4, 1987, is starting its 25th year.

Desktop computers were just starting to become popular, and the new weekly was first produced on sheets of paper that were pasted up on pages and printed out of town. Now the production is all digital and printed here.

The Leader soon moved from a small office on John Harden Drive in Jacksonville to a plant at 404 Graham Road, where two lines of presses produce the newspaper and others, including the Combat Airlifter at the air base.

TOP STORY >> Seeking Lonoke jail funds

Leader staff writer

Some people call a problem so big that no one wants to talk about an elephant in the middle of the room, but Larry Odom, a longtime member of the Lonoke County Quorum Court and chairman of the jail committee that has worked for many years on a solution to overcrowding, talks about alligators threatening the new jail.

The county has two alligators, Odom says: The jail problem will be solved when the new $6.2 million, 140-bed facility opens this summer, and the sheriff’s department, which is becoming under-funded. Renting out jail beds would solve both problems.

Odom met with the Cabot City Council’s fire and police committee Monday night and gave an overview about the new jail, why it was needed, how it was paid for and an update on proposals for raising money to run it.

Against the wishes of JP Mark Edwards — who asked quorum court members during a meeting last week to refrain from talking to the press until they had a solid plan for paying to run the new jail — Odom also spoke later with The Leader about funding the jail.

Odom said the county gained 40 beds by choosing an architect for the jail who would bid the construction instead of going with the Memphis firm that would have used its own suppliers and contractors.

The rhetoric of recent months suggests that the jail committee gave no thought to where the money would come from to run it, he said, adding that nothing could be further from the truth. The extra 40 beds were always supposed to be used to produce revenue to run the jail.

That would take care of the first alligator, he said. But the second one is a bigger problem.

“This year to balance the budget, we had to cut $20,000 out of the sheriff’s gas money. There will be no new cars and his special accounts had to be used,” Odom told The Leader.

When quorum court members met last week as a finance committee, Odom suggested asking voters for a permanent eighth-cent sales tax to run the sheriff’s department, a proposal that he reiterated during the interview this week.

Considering that the one-cent tax to build the jail produced about $6 million, a one-eighth cent tax should bring in about $750,000.

“It’s going to take the eighth-cent sales tax to rope this alligator up,” he said.

The quorum court committee agreed to meet again at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Odom asked the members to take the suggestions to a dozen of their constituents and report back to the committee.

JP Adam Sims’ proposal was to ask voters for a permanent half-cent sales tax to run the jail and sheriff’s department in exchange for rolling back the county property tax millage from 3.5 to 1.75.

JP Tim Lemons presented two proposals, one to pass a one-cent tax for one year and run the jail with the proceeds for 12 years and one to pass a half-cent tax for one year to be followed by a sixteenth-cent tax that would not sunset.

Jeff Sikes, the county attorney, told the committee that state law won’t allow a quorum court to set law for the next one. This court can’t say the next one has to keep the millage at 1.75, he said.

Sikes also told the court that the lowest tax allowed is an eighth cent.

JP Barry Weathers suggested asking voters for a one-cent sales tax that would take the place of the county’s property tax millage.

Odom said that if county voters approved a one-cent tax for one year as Lemons proposed, the county should take $2.5 million and build 128 more beds to rent and put money back in the general fund.

The final proposal to raise money for the county jail and sheriff’s department was to vote the county wet.

The sale of alcohol except in private clubs has been banned in Lonoke County since Dec. 14, 1937, when the issue was decided by the majority of 1,160 voters who turned out for a special election. Of that number, 328 voted to continue selling alcohol, and 832 voted to ban it.

To even get the question on a ballot would take a petition with the verified signatures of 38 percent of the county’s registered voters, which would be about 14,000 signatures.

TOP STORY >> PETA says fireworks killed birds

Leader staff writer

The Beebe City Council took no action Monday on a request from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to ban fireworks in the city. PETA believes fireworks were the cause of about 5,000 blackbirds being killed on New Year’s Eve.

Mayor Mike Robertson told the council that he disregarded the letter, but that the roost area is expanding and if the ordinance isn’t changed, what happened on New Year’s Eve is certain to happen again.

“If we have those million and a half birds and you shoot off bombs, it’s going to reoccur,” Robertson told the council.

“I think it’s fine the way it is,” Alderman Les Cossey said about possibly changing the ordinance that allows residents to shoot fireworks during some holidays.

A well-known Cabot developer who intends to turn a farm on Hwy. 64 near the edge of Beebe into a subdivision of houses, businesses and apartments has been turned down a third time on the apartments.

The council let the planning-commission approval of the project die for lack of a motion to approve or disapprove the rezoning from R-1 to R-3 that would have been needed before developer Bob Tasler could move ahead with his plans.

Bob Morrison from the planning commission told the council that they approved the project for a number of reasons: Hwy. 64 is the only big growth area available in the city.

The apartments will not be visible from the highway or other subdivisions. In these economic times apartments will house people who are afraid to buy homes and the council owes it to the future of the city to approve the apartments.

Lisa Tozer, who owns apartments in the area and has opposed Tasler from the beginning, told him when comments from the public were allowed to not send her anymore letters about his development because she wouldn’t open them.

Nicholas Warden, Tozer’s son, who owns a flower shop in Beebe, said he wanted to keep a small town atmosphere and that the city “needs to grow with the right kind of population.”

Tasler, one of the original developers of Greystone in Cabot, said he intended to build upscale apartments that would definitely not be public housing, not that there’s anything wrong with public housing.

Tasler also addressed the council at the end of the meeting and pointed out that Tozer’s comments were to him and that Warden doesn’t live in Beebe, so the council turned down his rezoning request again without any objections from Beebe residents, he said.

In other business, the council voted to declare four abandoned houses a public nuisance so they may be torn down and liens filed to collect the cost of demolition and cleanup from the owners. Discussion revealed that there are as many as 20 abandoned houses that need to be razed.

The four that will go first are located at 201 N. Elm, 117 S. Apple, 401 E. Center and 403 E. Center.

“It’s time to clean some of these up that’s been here for years and years and years,” Robertson said.

Aldermen Tracy Lightfoot and Becky Short agreed. But Alderman Linda Anthony said she was concerned about the $11,000 cost of cleaning up the dead birds.

The council took no action on a request from Ron Lewis, assistant police chief, to raise the salary of Capt. Eddie Cullum, the department’s head investigator, by about $5,000 and the salary of an investigator to work with him by $1 an hour.

Lewis said Cullum has solved two murders and one kidnapping since he took over investigations and his salary is about the same as a White County Rd. deputy with two years of experience.

And keeping help for Cullum has been impossible because the position pays no more than patrolling and the stress is much higher. Officers move into investigation, stay one to three months and transfer back to patrol, Lewis said.

TOP STORY >> Vasquez sees school district growing again

Leader senior staff writer

Enrollment numbers are climbing dramatically for new Pulaski County Special School District schools in Maumelle and Sherwood, which bodes well for the five totally rehabilitated schools and three new schools the district hopes to build over the next couple of years, school board president Bill Vasquez told a dozen Jacksonville Kiwanis Club members at noon Monday.

Vasquez praised the Kiwanis Club for its work with children, particularly the Jacksonville elementary school students, who are the poorest in the district, he said.

Vasquez told them that if the district can come up with $8 million in cuts or savings when it considers the 2011-2012 school budget at the April board meeting, he hopes to see bulldozers by the end of summer on the eight new or rehabilitated school buildings, three of which are in Jacksonville.

Eight million dollars in savings would secure about $104 million in bonds, the estimated amount needed to build a new elementary school at Little Rock Air Force Base to replace Arnold Drive and Tolleson Elementary schools, plus a new Jacksonville middle school and Jacksonville elementary school off Main Street at the site of the existing Jacksonville Middle School.

Schools slated for add-alters—that’s additions and alterations—include Harris, Scott and College Station Elementary schools and Robinson Middle School.

Of the projected enrollment at Maumelle High School—“it’s filling up”—and Sherwood Middle School—it looks like it will be stuffed full”—Vasquez said it doesn’t ensure that “if you build it they will come,” but that it was encouraging.

The 2010 census puts at about 8,000 the number of school-aged children in Pulaski County not in the public schools, including 3,000 to 4,000 in the Jacksonville area.

At about $7,000 per student in minimum foundation aid from the state, that’s about $21 million a year the district isn’t getting, plus another $15 million or so from pre-school aged children not enrolled in the pre-K programs.

“I’m a business-education major, with a master’s of science degree from UCA in training systems,” Vasquez said.

“If you don’t have customers, you’re out of business.”

He said that students seeking refuge in home schools, private schools and public charter schools are direct competition for the district.

He said the fate of the Jacksonville independent school district remained in the hands of the federal court, where District Judge Brian Miller has pondered the district’s unitary-status petition for more than a year.

He said districts throughout the country—and PCSSD in particular—had dropped the ball in spending to keep their buildings updated and in good condition.

Jacksonville had lost population—and income for district schools—through several events over which it had no control.

The base lost about 3,500 employees when the missile wing was moved out. The Vertac dioxin problem gave the area a bad name; the school-desegregation case drove off some population, and factories moved south of the border or overseas.

“The mayor says the crux of the problem is the public schools,” Vasquez said.

Every school in the district except Maumelle High School and the new Sherwood Middle School are outdated, he said.

The PCSSD school patrons aren’t about to vote millage increases to build new schools because they don’t trust the district to spend wisely.

“We need to see bulldozers all over the district,” he said. “All it takes is a commitment from the board and the superintendent.”

“Why didn’t we do this five or 10 years ago?” asked one man.

“Because of the struggles between (far-flung) communities,” Vasquez said.

“We have crossed over that hurdle. We’ll win students back.”

TOP STORY >> Earthquakes are becoming routine here

Leader staff writer

It’s been almost 200 years since earthquakes in late 1811 and early 1812 along the New Madrid fault destroyed the Missouri settlement by the same name, drained lakes and created others, made the Mississippi River run backwards for a short time near Memphis, rang church bells in Boston and shook the president’s bed in Washington.

Experts say the damage from the next big quake in that seismic zone will be much worse than 200 years ago because of the increase in population.

When will the next big one hit is not known, but Ronnie Walls of Beebe, an agent for Centennial Insurance in Conway, said Tuesday that he has sold a lot of earthquake policies since last fall, when the small earthquakes started in Guy.

But he said, “Since the 4.7, that business really kicked up.”

The 4.7-magnitude quake at Greenbrier on Sunday came at about 11 p.m. and was reportedly felt for hundreds of miles, as far away as Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee.

Walls, who lives in Beebe’s Fetcher Addition and has not purchased earthquake coverage for his home, said he didn’t feel the earthquake, but his wife heard it. She was listening for tornadoes and thought at first that she was hearing one because it sounded like a train, Walls said.

Naomi Wallis, who lives outside Beebe, said she was also listening for tornadoes when she felt her living room floor shaking and she knew immediately that it was an earthquake.

Online research shows that some people believe there is a connection between the kill-off of drum in the Arkansas River in late December, the dead blackbirds in Beebe on New Year’s Eve and the seismic activity around Guy and Greenbrier over the past several months. And some say it can’t be just by chance that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is taking requests for information from suppliers of cotton blankets and meals ready to eat to see how fast they can supply those items to a population of 7 million earthquake survivors.

FEMA posted these RFIs on Jan. 20:

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency procures and stores pre-packaged commercial meals to support readiness capability for immediate distribution to disaster survivors routinely.

“The purpose of this Request for Information is to identify sources of supply for meals in support of disaster relief efforts based on a catastrophic disaster event within the New Madrid Fault System for a survivor population of 7M to be utilized for the sustainment of life during a 10-day period of operations.

“FEMA procures and stores blankets to support readiness capability for immediate distribution to disaster survivors routinely. The purpose of this Request for Information is to identify sources of supply for blankets in support of disaster relief efforts based on a catastrophic disaster event within the New Madrid Fault System for a survivor population of 7M to be utilized for the sustainment of life during a 10-day period of operations. FEMA is considering the following specifications (14M blankets per day).”

Mary Olson, a FEMA spokeman, said Tuesday that the RFIs are part of FEMA’s 2011 National Level Exercise, set for May, to prepare and coordinate a multi-jurisdictional response to a national catastrophic event – an earthquake in the New Madric Seismic Zone.

According to information from the FEMA website, the exercise, called NLE 2011, is a Tier I National Level Exercise, which are conducted annually to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters. NLE 2011 will be the first NLE to simulate a natural hazard.

Where will the exercise be held?

The website says, “NLE 2011 activities will take place at command posts, emergency operation centers and other locations to include federal facilities in the Washington D.C. area and federal, regional, state, tribal, local and private sector facilities in the eight member states of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC).

“The eight member states of CUSEC encompass four different FEMA regions: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee (FEMA Region IV); Illinois and Indiana (FEMA Region V); Arkansas (FEMA Region VI); and Missouri (FEMA Region VII).”

The website says the exercise is designed to validate these capabilities:


Critical resource logistics and distribution

Mass care (sheltering, feeding and related services)

Medical surge

Citizen evacuation and shelter-in-place

Emergency public information and warning

Emergency operations center (EOC) management

Long term recovery

In a press release dated Dec. 16, 2010, FEMA encouraged everyone to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2011 for earthquakes and other natural disasters by taking these steps:

Get an emergency supply kit;

Make a family communications plan;

Stay informed of the risks in your community;

Check for hazards in the home;

Identify safe places indoors and outdoors; and

Educate yourself and family members.

Walls said earthquake coverage is not included on standard home insurance polices but can usually be added for about $80 to $100 on a $150,000 home. The drawback to earthquake coverage, he said, is that the deductible is usually about 10 percent of the value of the home. So, on a $150,000 home. The deductible would be about $15,000.