Saturday, September 29, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Carlisle runs over Lions at Clarendon

Leader sportswriter

Friday night marked another runaway 2A-6 Conference victory for Carlisle as the Bison routed Clarendon 44-6 at Rush Harding Field.

The Bison (4-0, 2-0) led 36-6 at halftime and scored one more time in the third quarter to activate the sportsmanship/timing rule with a 16-yard touchdown run by Clinton Hampton.

Justice Bryant started off the scoring for Carlisle with an 11-yard touchdown run with 7:54 remaininging in the first quarter to give the Bison an early 6-0 lead. Junior running back Deron Ricks added to the Bison lead later in the period with a 13-yard rush for a touchdown, and the successful two-point conversion by senior quarterback Chris Hart gave Carlisle a 14-0 lead with 3:43 still left to go in the first.

Hart struck through the air early in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ricks at the 11:04 mark.

Hart also called his own number again on the conversion attempt and was successful to give the Bison a 22-0 lead.

The Lions finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second on a three-yard touchdown run, but Carlisle quickly answered with a four-yard touchdown run by Clinton Hampton. Hart passed to Reed for the two-point conversion, giving the Bison a 30-6 lead with 6:24 left until the half.

Ricks struck again before the intermission with 17-yard rumble for a touchdown that set the halftime margin.

Ricks had 15 carries for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while Hampton finished with seven carries for 53 yards and two scores.

Hart was 5 for 8 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown, and also had two interceptions on the defensive side for Carlisle.

The Bison will be on the road again next week with a trip to Brinkley. The Lions fell to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the 2A-6 Conference with the loss, and will host Hazen on Friday.

SPORTS STORY >> Red Devils steamroll McClellan

Special to The Leader

Jacksonville kept its conference momentum going with a 57-33 victory at Little Rock McClellan at Lion Stadium on Friday. The victory improved the Red Devils to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the 5A Central Conference.

Jacksonville had a balanced attack with 357 yards combined rushing and receiving yards. Senior receiver Kevin Richardson led the way with 250 combined rushing and receiving yards, while sophomore Lamont Gause had 13 carries for 108 yards. Starting quarterback Reggie Barnes was 11 for 20 passing in the first half for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“We knew they were a good football team and had some good backs that could score form anywhere but I think we did a good job of corralling them,” Jacksonville coach Rick Russell said of McClellan. “Our offense did a good job executing, we just have a couple of plays where we have mental lapses we need to correct, but otherwise I think they played a pretty good game for us.”

McClellan started on its own 33 yard-line and was forced to punt on the first drive.

Jacksonville took over on their own 34 with Reggie Barnes at quarterback. Their first drive stalled as well with a punt giving The Lions the ball at their own 20-yard line. Penalties moved the McClellan offense backward near the goal line where the Red Devil defense caught quarterback Demarcus Quince in the end zone for a safety.

Richardson returned the kick-off to the 33-yard line of the Lions. After a first down completion to Richardson and another first down on the ground, Barnes found Richardson again for an eight-yard touchdown completion. John Herrmman added the extra point for a 9-0 Jacksonville lead with 4:14 to go in the first quarter.

McClellan started from the 50-yard line on the ensuing drive. On the first play, Quince found Akee Johnson deep for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good, resulting in a 9-6 Red Devil lead.

Richardson returned a Lion punt to the McClellan 39 yard-line. After a first down completion, Barnes completed a pass to Richardson to the 2-yard line. Tyler Davis took the ball in for the touchdown. The extra point was good for a 16-6 Red Devil lead.

Jacksonville recovered its on-side kick and began on the Lion 30 with great field position. However, an interception turned the ball back to McClellan.

The Red Devil defense held and then blocked a punt to take over on the Lion 18-yard line. This time the Jacksonville offense took advantage of the field position and Xavier Amos ran the ball in for the touchdown. The extra point was converted to give the Red Devils a 23-6 lead.

Starting at the 50-yard line, Quince completed a Lion pass to the Red Devil 10-yard line. On third down, Quince hit Deon Johnson in the end zone for the touchdown. The successful extra point resulted in a score of 23-13 with 2:57 in the half.

For the Jacksonville offense, Barnes connected with Chris Nelson to the Lion 33 yard-line. On third down, Barnes hit Richardson in the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point was no good. The score was then 29-13 with 0:32 left in the half.

On the first play after the kick-off, Johnson took the ball the other way 72 yards for a touchdown. When the two point conversion failed, the score was 29-19 with 0:16 left in the half.

After the shoot-out in the second quarter, Jacksonville had possession of the ball at the Lion 39-yard line following the return by Richardson.

With Aaron Smith in at quarterback, he broke free for a 33-yard run to the 8-yard line. He then hit Richardson for the 8-yard touchdown pass. Herrmman was good for the extra point for a 36-19 Red Devil lead.

Smith has been out with a leg injury since the end of the Maumelle game in week three, but made his return in the second half after sitting out last week.

“That was a little boost for us,” Russell said of Smith’s return. “He’s had a bruised thigh for the last couple of weeks. He’s back now, and we just didn’t want to put him in there too early. We wanted him to get used to the game tempo. He did a good job running the offense and managing the tempo for us.”

McClellan started on the Jacksonville 48-yard line and drove down the field for a touchdown and two-point conversion making the score 36-27.

The Red Devils’ next drive went backwards first before Smith ran the ball in for the touchdown. Herrmman put the extra point through for a 43-27 Jacksonville lead.

McClellan’s first play was intercepted by Nykel Worthan and returned to the Lion 9-yard line. On second down, Smith connected with Jacob Price for a touchdown. The extra point was good. The Red Devils led 50-27.

McClellan drove near the end zone before penalties and sacks moved the Lions back to the 31-yard line where Jacksonville took over. The Red Devils immediately turned the ball back to the Lions by way of an interception. The Lions resulting drive led to a touchdown with 7:13 to go in the game. The extra point was no good for a score of 50-33.

The Lions forced a Red Devil punt, but the ball touched a McClellan player and was recovered by Jacksonville.

The Red Devils drove down the field with Lamont Gause getting the final touchdown. The extra point was good for what would be the final score of 57-33. With 2:51 remaining in the game, the Lions threw a long pass that was picked off by the Red Devils. Jacksonville stayed on the ground to run out the clock.

Jacksonville will host Sylvan Hills next Friday night.

SPORTS STORY >> Wildcats waste Blue Devils

Leader sports editor

On a night when the running game was bottled up, the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats proved they could win through the air. Quarterbacks Peyton Holmes and Heath Land combined to throw for 217 yards as the hosting Wildcats blew out the Blue Devils 42-0 Friday at Charging Wildcat Stadium.

West Memphis gave up just 9 yards on nine carries to Alabama commitment Altee Tenpenny in the first half, but the Wildcats threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns and held a 21-0 halftime lead.

It was North Little Rock’s defense that dominated the second half, scoring one touchdown and intercepting a pass to set up another short scoring drive.

“We didn’t put together our running game very well at all and that was a little disappointing,” North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding said. “But our run defense was so good it took a lot of pressure off our offense. I was really proud of the way the defense played tonight – especially up front.”

Peyton Holmes completed his first six pass attempts including three on North Little Rock’s opening drive that led to the first touchdown of the game. All three were crucial completions. The second completion came on third and 11 from the 32-yard line. An inside screen pass went to Deion Tidwell for 18 yards and a first down at the 14. After a 6 yard lost by Tenpenny on two carries, Holmes found tight end Cameron Williams for 14 yards to set up fourth and 2 at the 6-yard line. Tenpenny got the call again and took the handoff left for the touchdown.

North Little Rock got the ball back after holding West Memphis to just 2 yards on fourth and three at the Wildcat 35. Linebacker Alex Gosser got a sack and tackle-for-loss on the series.

On third and 9, Heath Land delivered a deep strike to senior receiver Aaron Adams, but Adams dropped a sure touchdown and North Little Rock was forced to punt.

Gosser put a stop to West Memphis’ next drive as well, disrupting a handoff and covering the fumble at the Blue Devil 41-yard line.

North Little Rock wasted no time capitalizing on the momentum, again going deep to Adams, who made the catch in full stride from Holmes for 41 yards and the score.

Adams was glad to hear his number called so soon after dropping a certain touchdown.

“One of our guys was out and I said I wanted to score a touchdown for him,” Adams said. “When I dropped that one I was very disappointed because we’re a running team and I thought that was probably my last chance. When they called that play again I just said to myself I have to make this catch. I’m glad I got another opportunity.”

Bolding said the play wasn’t called for Adams’ sake.

“When you make a big defensive play like that you want to capitalize on that momentum and go for the jugular,:” Bolding said.

West Memphis went backwards again on its next drive, but NLR failed to produce on the ensuing possession.

West Memphis lost a yard on its next possession and Kavin Alexander blocked a West Memphis punt to give the Wildcat offense the ball at the Blue Devil 21. Land hit Williams for 18 yards and took it in himself on a quarterback sneak. Sandy Burks’ third extra point made it 21-0 with 3:20 left in the half.

The Wildcats decided to try to put the game away and perfectly executed an onside kick to take possession at the West Memphis 49. After Holmes hit Adams for 27 yards, the Wildcats went with Rodney Bryson at quarterback to run the spread option. The offense didn’t work well. On fourth and 2, Land went back under center and hit Adams for 12 yards, but was picked off at the 8-yard line to end the half.

West Memphis then executed an onside kick to start the second half, but that possession turned into disaster for the Blue Devils.

Running back Kendell Allen lost a yard on first down and West Memphis tried a trick play on second and 11 from their own 48. A double pass went awry when sophomore backup quarterback Gray Fenter dropped the initial backwards pass. He picked it up, but was under heavy pressure from nose guard Javian Williams. Williams caught Fenter 12 yards deep in the backfield and forced a fumble that went another several yards backwards. Defensive end Deonte Pearson then scooped it up and ran 20 yards for the score to make it 28-0 with 11:02 left in the third quarter.

That was the only touchdown in the third quarter, but North Little Rock invoked the mercy rule early in the fourth.

Pearson picked off a Kody Frasure pass on the last play of the third quarter and returned it to the West Memphis 22-yard line. Running back Juan Day got all three carries on the drive. He lost 2 yards on first down, but gained 10 on second down to set up third and 2. He was hit in the backfield on the next play, but bounced off that tackler, ran into another and dragged several West Memphis defenders into the end zone. Burks’ extra point made it 35-0 with 10:22 left in the game.

North Little Rock scored again with 2:49 remaining on another short drive. Land hit Rodney Bryson on a wide receiver screen for 9 yards and the score.

Defensively, senior nose guard Javian Willians had one of his best games. He recorded eight tackles, including three for losses and two sacks. Lindsey had a second and a tackle for loss and Gosser had two sacks and three tackles for loss.

Holmes finished seven of 11 passing for 128 yards and one touchdown. Land was six of eight for 89 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Adams had five catches for 91 yards while Williams had five catches for 82 yards.

North Little Rock had just 68 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Tenpenny finished with 39 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Day had five carries for 26 yards and a score.

North Little Rock had 285 total yards to just 168 for West Memphis.

The Wildcats will travel to Jonesboro (4-0) next week while West Memphis will take on Little Rock Central (1-4). The Hurricane beat Central 35-24 on Friday.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot nearly breaks barrier

Leader sports editor

A couple of Cabot lapses and solid Marion defense led to a Lady Patriot win Thursday in a 7A/6A East volleyball matchup at Panther Arena. Marion won 3-1 with Cabot taking the opening set. Scores were 25-27, 25-11, 25-16 and 25-21.

The Lady Panthers cruised to an easy win on Tuesday against Searcy, but head coach DeAnna Campbell said Thursday was her team’s best effort of the season.

“We executed better than we have all year long,” Campbell said. “Marion was just digging up everything. Our back row play was outstanding. We had a lot of long, long rallies. Marion is a little faster in their transitions than we are and they usually would ultimately win those rallies. That’s just from having such an established program and having so much more experience. But this match is proof to me that this team is really improving. We’re so close to knocking off one of those top teams.”

Proof of the numerous long rallies was found in the length of the match, which lasted two hours.

“I think our conditioning showed tonight too,” Campbell said. “We were rallying at the end of game four and just had some bad breaks. But fatigue did not seem to be a factor.”

While there was no physical letdown in game two, there may have been an emotional one for the Lady Panthers. After winning game one, Cabot committed several unforced errors as Marion cruised to an easy win in game two.

The two teams were neck and neck for most of game three before an old bad habit bit Cabot. Marion called timeout with the score tied at 15. After the break, the Lady Patriots outscored Cabot 10-1 to win the game and take a 2-1 lead.

“That’s something that we’ve struggled with all season against the really good teams,” Campbell said. “We’re sticking right with them and then all of a sudden we fall apart on our serve return. One girl served seven straight points on us.”

Cabot fell behind 16-11 in game four before mounting a rally that made for an exciting end.

The turning point came at 20-18 when Cabot caught two bad breaks on the same point.

Cabot felt Marion got six touches to get the ball over after a Patriot outside hitter slammed her kill attempt into the net. The officials ruled the ball was blocked by Cabot and play continued. Marion was still unable to set up another kill attempt, and had to push the ball over. The ball would have landed out, but Cabot kept it in play and Marion won the point.

“That point was huge because if we get that it’s 20-19 and we’re serving instead of 21-18 and they’re serving,” Campbell said. “If we could have gotten it to a fifth game, who knows what might’ve happened. I think we definitely would have had the momentum.”

The two matches leave Cabot 7-11 overall and 3-5 in conference play. The Lady Panthers are currently in fifth place and in good position to make the playoffs.

North Little Rock and Mountain Home are tied for the league lead at 7-1. Jonesboro and Marion are tied for second at 6-2.

Little Rock Central is sixth. West Memphis has beaten only Searcy and the Lady Lions are winless and in last place.

Cabot travels to North Little Rock on Tuesday and hosts West Memphis next Thursday.

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers get past Marion

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers struggled early but pulled away for a 26-12 win over Marion in their first conference road game of the season. The Panthers led just 7-6 halfway through the third quarter after Marion scored on the opening drive of the first half.

From that point the Panthers dominated, scoring 19 unanswered points before giving up a touchdown in the final minute of play.

Cabot’s third-string quarterback Brandon Boatright, who normally plays tight end, had to go under center against the Patriots. Starting quarterback Kason Kimbrell did not play for undisclosed reasons, and his backup, Grant Bell, was hurt earlier in the week trying to fill holes left by injuries in the secondary.

Starting fullback Zach Launius started the game, but did not play after the first quarter.

Cabot’s missing starters aided Marion’s defensive performance early in the game, but Boatright found his rhythm and co-starting fullback Kyle Edgar turned in a good performance to help the Panthers get the offense moving in the second half.

Edgar scored the game’s first touchdown at the very end of the first quarter. Jesus Marquez’ extra point made it 7-0 and that’s how it stayed the rest of the opening half.

Marion got the ball to start the third quarter and put together a70-yard drive for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, leaving it 7-6 halfway through the third.

The Panthers answered on their opening drive of the half, with halfback Max Carroll punching it in from short yardage. The extra point was blocked, leaving it 13-6.

Cabot then forced a Marion punt and put together another good drive. Boatright almost got in from 3 yards out but was stopped inside the 1-yard line. Edgar got it in from there on fourth down. That extra point went awry due to a bad hold and the Panthers’ lead was 19-6.

Cabot forced the only turnover of the game on Marion’s next possession. The Panthers turned an interception into a short drive and their final touchdown of the game. Again it was Edgar who scored and Cabot converted the extra point to make it 26-7 with four minutes left in the game.

Marion broke a 40-yard run on the next drive to get inside the Panther 20, and punched in a mop-up touchdown as time was expiring.

The win lifts Cabot to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Marion drops to 2-3 and 1-1.

Cabot and Marion trade opponents with Mountain Home and Searcy next week. Cabot hosts the Bombers while Marion travels to Searcy. The Lions beat the Bombers 44-41 on Friday.

Friday, September 28, 2012

TOP STORY >> Arrest made in robberies

Two of three suspects in the robbery and killing of a convenience-store clerk in North Little Rock last Saturday were arrested Friday — one in Jacksonville and the other in Texarkana.

Jacksonville Police Chief Gary Sipes said his department has been able to connect Davion Howard, 19, who was arrested in Texarkana to a robbery that occurred in Jacksonville later the same evening when the North Little Rock clerk was shot.

Jacobi Robinson, 20, of 1201 South Road, Apt. D, in Jacksonville was arrested in connection with the shooting.

Sipes said his department would be interviewing Robinson soon to determine what his role was in the Jacksonville robbery.

A third suspect, 20-year-old Maclin Rogers of Jacksonville, remains at large.

The suspects face capital murder and multiple counts of aggravated robbery.

TOP STORY >> Sherwood website is redirected by hacker

Leader staff writer

People trying to click on to the Sherwood city website Tuesday night got an anti-American message that said Muslims weren’t through with America yet.

Mayor Virginia Hillman got a call from a concerned resident about 9 p.m. Tuesday. She called the city’s technology chief, Casey Worrell, and he had the situation fixed in about two hours.

It was not the first time the city had problems with its computer operations. In July 2009, after Eagle Bank notified city officials in December 2008, the FBI began investigating the theft of $219,913 in municipal funds taken from the city’s checking account through an unauthorized online electronic transfer. Apparently the money was funneled through a number of accounts across the country and into Russia.

It was the first time the city had experienced unauthorized accessing of the city’s checking account via the Internet.

This time the mayor said the city website was not hacked and never in jeopardy.

“People were being redirected to the other site,” she said, “and unfortunately it happens a lot.”

People trying to reach the Sherwood website while it was under the control of the Slyhacker got the message:

“To U.S., Israel, France and all Muslim enemies: The shame you are doing to Muslims is never going to be forgotten. How can you even think talking about our Prophet Muhammad (S.A.V.)? You don’t know what a Muslim is able to do yet, Damn you. We will never let you humiliate or tease the Muslims!!”In response, city officials analyzed the city’s security system to its financial network. Additional safeguards and protections were implemented.

According to information on the Internet, the individual or group is known as Slyhacker and has “hacked or redirected thousands of sites, including numerous Israeli sites, 75 Mexican state sites and even Lady Gaga’s fan site.”

TOP STORY >> Council candidates speak

Leader staff writer

What was billed as a Jacksonville alderman candidates forum quickly turned into a Rickey Hayes bashing session, which upset the mayor.

Hayes is the economic-development consultant from Owasso, Okla., whom Mayor Gary Fletcher hired three years ago for $48,000 a year.

About 100 residents attended the more than two-hour event at the community center Thursday night.

Many of the candidates made it clear that the hiring had borne no fruit and was a waste of the taxpayers’ money. At the same time, candidates suggested that the chamber of commerce, which sponsored the forum, should be one to handle economic development for the city.

Candidate Rizelle Aaron was one of a number of candidates to get digs in over the Hayes consulting contract. Aaron is running against incumbent Terry Sansing for the Ward 2, Position 2 seat.

In responding to a question about what could be done to bring in more youth activities to the city, Aaron said, “You can take one year of Rickey Hayes’ pay to pay for more basketball courts. You can take another year of Rickey Hayes’ pay for a bowling alley, and you can take another year’s worth of pay to buy a skating rink.”

Candidate Roger Sundermeier Jr. also brought up Hayes a number of times in the forum, but he was more subtle. “I know economic development takes time, but you’ve got to know when to cut bait. And how can someone outside our community sell our community? That job is better suited for our chamber of commerce.”

Sundermeier is challenging Alderman Bill Howard for his Ward 5, Position 2 seat.

Candidate James E. Bolden III tried to put the issue to rest, “Hayes is water under the bridge. You don’t want to beat up the council over a single issue. This horse is dead, lets ride another horse.”

Bolden is in a race with Jim Moore for the Ward 1, Position 2 vacated by the retirement of Alderman Marshall Smith.

The two incumbents running to keep their seats, Sansing and Howard, defended the hiring and said it is bearing fruit and some good things are on the horizon.

One man in the audience, a friend of Aaron’s, asked about the hiring process for Hayes and implied that he “knew” someone on the council. Amy Mattison, the CEO of the chamber and timekeeper for the event, blew the time whistle before he could make any further accusations.

Sansing explained that Hayes was hired on the recommendation of then-city planner Chip McCully, who had worked with Hayes previously and vouched for his track record.

Sansing said Hayes was invited to make a presentation to the city council about his consulting firm and what he could do for the city. There were a number of visits and discussions before the council voted to hire him. The money to hire him came partly from a realignment of city departments that did away with McCully’s position.

“For the $80,000 in salary and benefits we were paying for a city planner, we got Hayes and his five full-time employees and three part-time employees for $48,000,” Sansing explained.

Aaron accused Sansing and the rest of the council of drinking the “elixir” that Hayes was waving.

The mayor, who had been sitting in the back and before the meeting had written a note to himself on the back of his business card to “stay calm,” tore up the card and stood up to speak, calling the forum a sorry excuse to go after him.

“This is a referendum on me and I can’t sit here and let you take shots at the aldermen who supported my vision for the city. Like Paul Harvey’s ‘Rest of the Story,’ there is more to the story and I’ll tell it to anyone who wants to listen after the meeting,” Fletcher said.

He didn’t get much more out as Mattison blew her whistle, indicating his 30 seconds were up. “I’ll abide by the rules,” he said and sat down.

The forum opened and closed with each candidate having two minutes to expound on why voters should choose them. Then each candidate was asked five questions picked by the chamber, all had to do with economic development. Then the moderator, Jamie Gates with the Conway Chamber of Commerce, fielded questions from the audience for the candidates.

WARD 1, POS. 2

No matter the vote, there will be a new face on the council from this ward as both candidates are trying to fill the seat of long-time Alderman Smith, who retired last month.

Moore, a member of the planning commission, told the audience he had been married for 44 years, was a 24-year Air Force veteran and loved the city and believed the people were “super.

“My wife and I love this city. It is a strong community, but needs to focus on economic development,” he said, adding that he was running not to fill a seat but to be involved, “to be your voice.”

His opponent, the Rev. Bolden, a member of the city’s water commission, said he was more than a “pulpit preacher.”

“You know me. I was fighting for this city as a member of the PCSSD school board and have been actively involved since coming to the city 17 years ago, and I will be the hardest-working alderman you’ll ever see,” Bolden said, adding that with him you get his wife, who has also been a longtime volunteer in the city. “It’s a package here.”

WARD 2, POS. 2

Alderman Sansing, who has lived in the same Ward 2 home for 34 years and works for a manufacturing firm in Little Rock, told the crowd that his 20 years on the council were a valuable experience and he believed Jacksonville was a clean, safe, financially sound city that was going to have its own school district soon and that he wanted to continue working for the people.

He has often been the dissenting vote on the council and made it clear that he worries about every decision the council makes.

Aaron, a retired veteran who has had four children go through Jacksonville schools, said the city needs to get control on its spending and that he is for a separate school district, “but it has be done the right way.” He said some of the city ordinances are too stringent.

He told the crowd that when “I get started on something, I get it done. It’s time for a change. What we have is not working.”

But Sansing pointed out all the city improvements over the past two decades, including the joint education center, the library, community center, Splash Zone and the public- safety headquarters.

WARD 3, POS. 2

Barbara Mashburn is the only candidate for the seat of retiring Alderman Linda Rinker, but attended the forum to make it clear she would represent everyone.

She told the crowd that she was “proud to call Jacksonville my home and proud to be a Christian.”

She said as a council member, she would push for more Neighborhood Watch programs.

“Since we’ve started one in our neighborhood, crime is down 70 percent. I’m an enthusiastic, passionate person and I will work hard for you,” Mashburn told the crowd.

WARD 4, POS. 2

This seat will also go to a newcomer as its holder, Alderman Bob Stroud, is retiring. Vying for the seat are Mary Twitty and Freddie Booker.

Twitty, who is active with the Cityfest pageant, which is a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club, said her family made Jacksonville their home 26 years ago and she has been volunteering ever since.

“I love Jacksonville and want to see us pull together to make great strides,” she said.

Booker is the wife of a popular local deejay, Broadway Joe. She is a former Air Force captain and was stationed at the base in the 1980s.

“When I received orders for overseas, I made a decision to stay here in Jacksonville. I want to be a voice for the people. I want to be your servant and work for all wards,” she said. “This is a great city, but there is still a lot to do.”


Sundermeier is taking on incumbent Howard for this seat. Sundermeier said he’s been in Jacksonville almost his entire life and remembers how vibrant the city was when he was growing up. “I want us to be vibrant again.”

He told the crowd the city can’t blame the school district for all of its problems. Sundermeier added that the council doesn’t all have to look or think alike. “Diversity makes us stronger,” he added.

Howard said he was born in Lonoke and at the age of 3 moved to Jacksonville with his parents, and that he’s been here ever since.

He’s been on the council for 15 years and would like to continue. He told the crowd that economically, good things are right around the corner for Jacksonville.

There will be another candidate forum Oct. 16 at the senior center. The election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 6.

EDITORIAL >> Consultant main target

It was billed as a candidate’s forum — a chance to meet and listen to those vying for a seat on the Jacksonville City Council, but it wasn’t. Candidates did not have the opportunity to explain why they are running for city council.

Thursday night’s “forum” at the Jacksonville Community Center was just another round in a three-year battle between the chamber of commerce and Mayor Gary Fletcher. This round was fired by the chamber, and no matter who is right in the ongoing mess, the chamber was 100 percent wrong to use this public forum to dole out sour grapes.

It was not coincidental that from the big stack of submitted questions (which no one saw) the moderator, all on his own, picked five nearly identical questions that focused on the chamber’s desire to head up economic development for the city.

When he took office, Mayor Fletcher cut $40,000 in funding for the chamber that was being used in part to fund economic-development efforts.

The bottom line was, “What have you done for us lately?”— and the chamber hadn’t done much. Now the chamber is using that same adage toward the mayor’s business consultant, who also hasn’t done very much.

But here’s the problem: It is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The chamber benefited from a robust economy, but the mayor’s recruiter, Rickey Hayes of Oklahoma, was hired during some of the worst economic times we have seen in decades. His critics say Hayes hasn’t done much for the city, apart from making some calls to retail prospects, and there’s a good chance his contract will not be reviewed at the end of the year.

Secondly, just because the chamber lost some outside funding is no reason for it to stop pursuing economic development, which is what chambers of commerce are supposed to do. Instead of going out and showing it deserves to head the program, the chamber has chosen to complain that it has been wronged by the mayor — and that was what the forum was all about.

The forum should have showcased the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses, but instead, it was “do you or do you not believe the chamber should run the economic show?” No one came out and said no, but naturally the incumbents backed the mayor’s decision and believe the city is about to reap the benefits. Most of the newcomers agreed with the chamber.

Now, again, these candidates may not be wrong on this issue, but the election is about much more, and all the candidates tried to get these other issues into the forum, but it was hard when the questions didn’t lend themselves to it. The singular direction of the questions also kept the incumbents on the defensive, not allowing them much room to expound on the good they have done for the city.

There’s no reason why Mayor Fletcher, the new faces on the city council, director of administration Jim Durham and the chamber of commerce can’t work together to attract new businesses to Jacksonville.

They can do it without outside help and save the city $48,000 a year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Panther tennis suffers setback after fast start

Leader sportswriter

The past two weeks have not been kind to Cabot tennis after a blistering start for the Panthers.

Monday’s match against Little Rock Central marked the second-consecutive 7A/6A East Conference loss for the Panthers after losing last week to Fort Smith Southside. Cabot is now 5-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play.

Junior Jacob Dills leads the boys’ side for Cabot, and was the only winner against the Tigers on Monday with an 8-2 victory. Behind him, junior Tyler Majors dropped his match 0-8, and the doubles teams found the challenge to be equally difficult.

The team of Seth Smith and Logan Surdam lost 1-8, while Logan Kiihnl and Ben Baldwin lost 2-8. In the third boys’ doubles game, the team of Richie Tennessee and Seth Smith lost 0-8.

The results were mixed on the girls’ side with Lady Panthers’ ace Emma Baird going down in a close 7-9 decision. Sophomore Charl Young won 8-4 while Reagan Allgood took an 8-3 victory over the Lady Tigers. Ellen McKinnie rounded out singles play for the Lady Panthers with another close 7-9 loss.

In doubles play, Molly Wood and Kristen Sumler won 8-5 while the sophomore twin duo of Tori and Lexi Weeks lost 5-8. Grayson Broyles and Amanda Brucks also fell 5-8 before the team of Vanessa Weilding and Jordan Slayden capped off the match with an 8-4 victory for Cabot.

Despite the recent setbacks, the Panthers have enjoyed early success with wins over local rivals Vilonia, Beebe and Bryant, as well as East victories against Fort Smith Northside and North Little Rock.

“It has been a good season,” Cabot interim coach Kelly Baird said. “I have been very impressed. They have been willing to try new ways of doing things, and wanting to learn new things. They have been very receptive.”

It is Baird’s first year of coaching in the Cabot program. Baird, a life-long player herself, was brought in to be an assistant to Mary Emily Nash, but with Nash out for the entire year on maternity leave, the complexion of the season drastically changed before it even arrived for the Panthers. Baird said the group did not let those changes affect their preparation during the offseason.

“During the summer, they were begging me to come out twice a day,” Baird said. “They had an eagerness to get going. My goal for them is not about winning and losing, it’s about making tennis a life-long sport for all of them. Just putting that passion into it, because you can play tennis forever.”

With a mix of 16 girls and seven boys on the squad, Baird noted an obvious imbalance. Tennis has enjoyed a significant boost in interest and participation in the local area over the last few years, particularly with females.

“I think it’s more so with the girls,” Baird said. “With the boys, you’ve got football and all these other sports to compete with, but I would definitely like to see more boys come out for it.”

The Panthers will host Conway on Thursday.

SPORTS STORY >> Sylvan Hills earns solid victory

Leader sportswriter

It took all five games to determine the winner of Monday night’s non-conference volleyball match between Sylvan Hills and Greenbrier, and in dramatic fashion the Lady Bears came from behind to pull off the victory, beating the Lady Panthers 19-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 17-15 in Sherwood.

In the fifth and final frame, Sylvan Hills trailed 12-10 until junior setter Shelby Simpkins cut the deficit to one after serving an ace. The Lady Bears tied it up after Greenbrier failed to get the ball back over the net on the next serve.

Sylvan Hills then grabbed its first lead of the frame after Greenbrier’s sophomore hitter Kenzie Batterton hit the ball out of bounds on a kill shot. The two respective teams went back and forth from there and played to an eventual 15-15 tie.

The Lady Bears regained the lead on a kill from sophomore Brooke Rainey, and with junior Michelle Sorensen serving, Sylvan Hills picked up the 17-15 win as the Lady Panthers failed to return the serve.

“We’ve been struggling for the last couple of weeks,” said Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway. “We’ve had some things going on, but we’ve won some games. We’ve played well at times, but never played well enough to put a team away like I thought we were capable. Tonight, they put everything aside and played. It was a total team effort.”

Sylvan Hills (8-5, 5-2) jumped out to an early lead in game one of the best-of-five match, but Greenbrier (7-10, 1-6) battled its way back and eventually took game one on a kill by Cameron Roberts over the right side of the net.

In the second game, Sylvan Hills started with a furious 8-1 scoring run. But from there, Greenbrier answered with an even better 10-1 run to lead 11-9. As it was the entire match, the two sides exchanged scores throughout the rest of the game, but junior Jordie Flippo’s play at the end helped the Lady Bears secure the win.

With the score tied at 18, Flippo served an ace to give Sylvan Hills a 19-18 lead. After the Lady Bears scored again, Flippo followed with back-to-back aces to make the score 22-18. However, Greenbrier scored the next three points to cut the deficit to one.

Senior hitter Val Jarrett then gave Sylvan Hills some cushion with a kill, and after the Lady Bears added another score on the next serve, Rainey closed the game with another clutch kill.

Game three saw a couple of lead changes to start, but once each team got to double digit points, Greenbrier was able to earn itself some cushion. The Lady Panthers led 16-10 at one point, but the Lady Bears wouldn’t go away easily.

Sylvan Hills was able to cut Greenbrier’s lead to 20-18 toward the end, but the Lady Panthers regrouped and outscored the Lady Bears 5-1 down the stretch to win game three 25-19. The fourth game was as competitive as any from start-to-finish, but Sylvan Hills was the tougher team in the end.

The score was tied 11 times in game four, and with it knotted up at 21, Flippo scored the go-ahead point after blocking a kill shot at the net. Flippo’s clutch point gave Sylvan Hills serving rights, and Sorensen answered with an ace.

Sylvan Hills scored the next point, but Greenbrier managed to get on the board as well. However, trailing 24-22, sophomore Savannah Baker’s serve was hit a little too hard as it landed just outside of the back line, sending the match to a decisive game five.

“I don’t know how many times we’ve played Greenbrier, but this is our first time to beat them,” Treadway said. “For some reason, volleyball is a game of momentum changes. We dug ourselves into a hole on the tie-break, but we pulled it out. I have always thought since the beginning of this season that this bunch has the talent to win a bunch of games.”

Batterton led all players with 16 kills. For Sylvan Hills, Jarrett finished with a team-high 15 kills and five blocks. Rainey picked up a double-double with 10 kills and 17 assists. Flippo finished with 19 digs to go with her four aces and four blocks.

Sylvan Hills resumed conference play yesterday at Little Rock McClellan, and will host Mills tomorrow. Check out Saturday’s edition of the Leader for scores and stats.

SPORTS STORY >> Devils wary of McClellan

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville is coming off its best game so far this season after beating Helena-West Helena Central 35-0 last Friday, and the Red Devils prepare to take on Little Rock McClellan this week on the road. The Lions are 0-4 and suffered a big loss to Mills last Friday in their league opener.

Red Devil coach Rick Russell isn’t expecting a letdown from his squad after seeing the talent on the Lions’ roster.

“They have the fastest kid in the city of Little Rock,” Russell said of quarterback Ackee Johnson, who has 4.3 speed. “They have a big offensive line, good speed at wide receiver. If we go in there thinking we’re just playing an 0-4 team and take it easy, and it ends up 7-7 going into the fourth quarter, we’ve got problems. We want to try to get on them and get on them early. We want to play our best football game.”

To do that, the Red Devils will have to contain Johnson, who plays multiple positions for McClellan. The Lions also have speed at other positions, and keeping that speed bottled up is Jacksonville’s task this week.

“We have to make sure we have proper depth in our coverage because they can be explosive,” Russell said. “We have to play assignment football and make sure we eliminate mistakes. They have a bunch of good athletes and when they get it all working together they’re going to be a dangerous football team. We hope it doesn’t happen this Friday night.”

McClellan truly runs a multiple offense. Other coaches say their offense is multiple, but the Lions will line up in anything from the spread with four wide to one side, to a full house backfield in some for of the T formation.

“Every formation you can imagine they’ll get into on offense,” Russell said. “That’s a lot to have to prepare for and that’s why we have to be fundamentally sound.”

Russell’s own team has made great improvements since week one and progressively improved each week. Nowhere are the improvements more obvious than on special teams. Sophomore John Herrmann went 5 for 5 on extra points last week and sophomore Zach Watkins has improved greatly as the replacement deep snapper.

“We were scratching our heads early on about what we’re going to do with our kicking game,” Russell said. “Those two sophomores have worked extremely hard and are continuing to get better and better. Robert Harris (lost for the season with an injury in the red-white game) was our deep snapper. When we lost him we were in a bind. But Zach has stepped up for us and worked very hard.”

Standout senior Kevin Richardson turned in perhaps the best performance in the state last Friday. He scored four touchdowns – two receiving, one rushing and one defensive. He finished with five catches for 100 yards, had two interceptions and his one play at quarterback turned into an 11-yard touchdown run.

“We are so proud of Kevin,” Russell said. “With Aaron (quarterback Aaron Smith) being out, he competed like a champion. He has one of the best return averages in the state. He’s averaging well over 30 yards per kickoff return.”

Jacksonville should have everyone healthy for the McClellan game. Russell says Smith is probable. Offensive lineman Justin Hamilton also missed last week’s game but should also be back this week. Tyler Skeet, who has been out since August, could play his first game this week as well.

“Besides the typical bumps and bruises, we’re looking pretty good with injuries,” Russell said.

SPORTS STORY >> Wildcats looking to get better

Leader sports editor

North Little Rock hasn’t enjoyed fast starts to any of its games so far, but it hasn’t taken long for the Charging Wildcats to get up to speed and figure out how to dominate its last two opponents. Against Pine Bluff and Cabot, North Little Rock has given up long drives for touchdowns, but took control defensively in both games and went on to double-digit victories. They’re hoping to come out of the gate playing their best when they take on the West Memphis Blue Devils this Friday at home.

“We would definitely like to start off a little better defensively,” North Little Rock coach Brad Bolding said. “Seems like once we get a defensive series behind us, we lock and load, buckle down and play really well. Obviously there were some adjustments made. Cabot came out a little different than usual. They had their Dead T offset a little bit and we had to adjust to that. Once we made those adjustments I was real proud of how the defense played.”

This week the Wildcats are at home against a West Memphis team that’s been ranked at or near the top of the state’s largest classification for almost a decade. The Blue Devils played in three consecutive and four total state championship games in the last decade, but was never able to win the state championship.This year’s Blue Devils are like most others, big and fast with lots of depth, but still may be at a disadvantage in all areas when they visit Pulaski County on Friday.

“We’re lucky we got them at home, which helps,” Bolding said. “We play really well here and we’re going to need to. West Memphis is one of the more talented teams in the state. They’re well coached. Coach Dauksch and his guys have been consistent every year. They have a winning program and you’d better be ready to play when they come in.”

The Blue Devils are coming into the game on the heels of their first loss of the season. West Memphis fell 30-21 to Jonesboro.

It’s the first time in 10 years that West Memphis has lost to the Hurricanes, but it’s widely believed this is the best team Jonesboro has had in at least that long.

One player that stood out despite the loss was West Memphis’ Jarvis Cooper, a junior linebacker that has become a force defensively. At 6-foot-3, 235-pounds, Cooper moves around in the defensive scheme and Bolding says his offense will need to know where he is at all times.

“They put him down on the line some, linebacker some, he’s just a playmaker and they’re putting him in the best positions they can for him to make plays,” Bolding said of Cooper. Even when he’s at linebacker their defensive line is not bad. They’re lines like to play physical just like Cabot. I expect this game will be just as physical as that last one, and I thought Cabot was a very physical game.”

The quarterback controversy is a controversy no more at NLRHS. Junior Payton Holmes and sophomore Heath Land will each continue to get about the same number of snaps per game. Holmes had been getting a slight majority, but Land ended up with more reps against Cabot.

“It’s nothing we set out to do it just worked out that way,” Bolding said. “There are certain formations and sets we get in where we want Payton and Payton only, but don’t see much change from how we’ve been doing it. Heath is a better passer and these guys are working well together. They’ve fallen into their roles and execute well together. I don’t foresee much change. We’re just going to be a two-quarterback team.”

Barring injuries in practice, the Wildcats will be completely healthy in week five. North Little Rock has enjoyed a relatively injury-free season. One player missed the Pine Bluff game, but everyone was available against Cabot and made it through that game intact.

“We’re 100 percent healthy right now so we’ve been fortunate,” Bolding said. “We’ve got pretty good depth and that helps. You can’t beat good depth.”

SPORTS STORY >> Numbers favor Panthers

Leader sports editor

Two schools that have never met will face off this week in east Arkansas when the Cabot Panthers travel to Marion to take on the Patriots at 7 p.m. Friday.

Marion is the first of four class 6A schools on Cabot’s conference schedule, but head Panther Mike Malham isn’t taking the Patriots lightly.

“They don’t have as much depth as some of the 7A teams we play but they’re starters are a big, athletic kids,” Malham said. “We’ve never played them so we don’t really know what to expect. They look like they have some good athletes though. We’re going to have to execute on offense and tackle on defense. Our secondary is a concern right now because we’ve got so many injuries. But we’re going to have to tackle well, and some of their backs look like they’re hard to bring down.”

Marion always has a stable of good running backs, which is exactly what Patriot coach Mark Uhiren shoots for each year in his diamond T offense.

This year he has about five good backs. The three starters are all around 200 pounds. The backups provide a change of pace with less size but more speed.

“Two of our three starting backs are over 212 pounds and the other one is 190,” Uhiren said. “We had three backs go over 1,000 yards last year and almost four. We feel like we have the players to run the ball pretty well when we execute, but we haven’t executed yet this year like I’d like to see.”

Marion (2-2, 1-0) is coming off its best performance so far this season, a 53-18 rout of Mountain Home in its conference opener. That game followed a two-touchdown loss to Lake Hamilton.

Marion opened with an eight-point loss to Wynne and an easy victory over Forrest City.

Junior fullback Corey Garrett, who was one of the team’s 1,000-yard backs last season, racked up 240 yards on the ground last week against Mountain Home.

“We’re still hunting and looking for execution in some areas we need to get better at,” Uhiren said. “I think the offense got a little better last week and our run defense was pretty good. Our pass defense still needs some work, but that probably won’t be much of a problem at least for one more week. We know what we’re getting into with Cabot, even though we haven’t played them before.”

Uhiren’s description of what awaits his team is evidence that he does indeed know what to expect from the visiting Panthers.

“A mouthful of helmet is what we’re going to get,” Uhiren said. “They’re going to come off there low and hard with those big bodied kids and they have a bunch of them. I feel like our defense gets to see an offense like that in practice. Where we’re at a disadvantage is how many players they have. I don’t think he’s playing anybody both ways. He’s sitting right at about 100 kids and we’ve got about 55. And we have five or six playing offense and defense. I don’t like it. The numbers aren’t right but that’s the hand we’re dealt so that’s the one we’ll play with. At least we’re here and not there. That’s one good thing we can look at.”

Injuries in the secondary may force Cabot to play one or two both ways. Three preseason-projected starters in the Panthers’ secondary are now out. One went down just before the start of the season, one was lost against Conway and another went down on the first play against North Little Rock.

“I don’t think Marion throws it very much but they may try to this week,” Malham said.

The head Patriot says a strong passing game is something his team strives for, but hasn’t achieved.

“We work on the passing game every week, we’re just not very good at it,” Uhiren said.

TOP STORY >> Services planned for fallen soldier

Leader staff writer

A 24-year-old Army sergeant who attended Cabot High School died in Panjwa’l, Afghanistan, last Thursday from injuries sustained when he was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.

At press time, the body of Jason Swindle was back in the U.S. but not in Beebe, where his wife, Chelsey, and 1-year-old son, Paxton, live.

Funeral services are set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Beebe First Baptist Church with arrangements by Westbrook Funeral Home in Beebe.

According to the Department of Defense, Swindle was an infantryman who joined the Army in July 2005. The deployment to Afghanistan was his fourth.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart after his death.

Randy Granderson, an assistant principal at Cabot High School, said Swindle would have been memorable even if he hadn’t been a twin with red hair.

“He was very outgoing, very energetic and had a great sense of humor,” Granderson said. “And he had the Panther spirit, I guess you’d say. At the games, he would be right in the middle of the student section cheering.

“I don’t think he ever met a stranger. He made friends easily and it seemed like everyone was his friend,” Granderson said.

“I talked to him about every day at lunch. I don’t remember everybody be-cause there have been so many. But I definitely remember him,” Granderson said.

TOP STORY >> Sheriff candidates at forum

Leader staff writer

Dean White, the candidate for Lonoke County sheriff with the most years in service, and John Staley, a candidate touting ideas for change, participated in a forum before members of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. And if the crowd preferred one over the other, it didn’t show.

The questions, read by Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham, were submitted by chamber members.

White, a Democrat with 28 years of law-enforcement experience, 22 of them in the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office and the last six as chief deputy, said he’s not a politician.

“I am applying for a job I know I can do,” White said.

New problems come up every day, he said, and he has learned through experience how to make informed decisions through fast research to handle problems as they arise.

White said he has worked under five sheriffs and seen “new guys come in and make the department backslide.”

Staley, the Republican, worked as a police officer in Jacksonville before becoming police chief in Austin. He is at least 15 years younger than his opponent, but he says he is the candidate who will reform the sheriff’s office and make it accountable to the people.

Staley said it is an advantage to be the police chief in a town with little money. Because of that he has learned how to get grant money and training for officers at no cost. He has learned to use volunteer officers who are willing to work for the experience.

And he has started a neighborhood crime watch. All those skills can be transferred to the sheriff’s office and make it more efficient, he said.

Staley said by using volunteer deputies, he will double the number of deputies on patrol and save money at the same time. That money can then be used to help run the jail, which would open beds for city prisoners.

“You’ve got to be smart. You’ve go to reorganize and you’ve got to work the budget day after day,” Staley said.

White reminded the audience that the sheriff was not allowed to move into the new jail immediately after it was completed last year because the quorum court knew there wasn’t money in the budget for operating expenses. Taking in federal prisoners was the plan for running the jail since its inception, and it wasn’t allowed to open until the sheriff agreed to do it.

Now, the sheriff’s office earns $1,000 or more a day, up to $400,000 a year, by renting beds for federal prisoners. As chief deputy, White runs the jail.

“It’s not a long-term fix, but it was the original plan,” White said.

Asked about how to deal with the drug problem, both candidates said they need more cooperation between agencies. But Staley said there needs to be a plan for rehabilitation, while White said they need better reporting from the public.

Asked what they would like to accomplish in the first two years, Staley said he would cut the budget, put those convicted of misdemeanors to work around the county and lock up criminals.

White said given the option of working outside or staying locked up, most prefer to stay locked up, so Staley’s plan wouldn’t work. He said he would rather work with the judges and prosecutor for alternative sentencing.

Instead of incarceration, those convicted of some crimes could wear monitors and go to work as usual. And that would save the county the expense of locking them up and make more space available at the jail.

“I already have the experience to make the sheriff’s department work,” White said during the forum.

Staley doesn’t refute White’s experience, but he implied during the forum that as chief deputy, White could have worked better with other police agencies in the county, something that both said would benefit everyone.

The police chiefs in the county meet periodically, Staley said, but the sheriff never sends a representative.

TOP STORY >> Jacksonville’s council races taking shape

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville’s aldermen candidates are gearing up for this week’s chamber of commerce-sponsored forum.

Jamie Gates, senior vice president of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, will moderate the forum. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the community center, 5 Municipal Drive.

Two longtime aldermen — Marshall Smith (Ward 1, Position 2) and Bob Stroud (Ward 2, Position 2) — have retired and a third, Linda Rinker (Ward 3, Position 2) chose not to run again.

The five openings initially attracted two candidates each until Derek Evans dropped out of the race for Rinker’s seat against Barbara Mashburn, who is now running unopposed.

Evans did not return a call from The Leader by press time.

Two aldermen, Terry San-sing and Bill Howard, are hoping to be re-elected.

Most of the candidates who will square off in the November election said they plan to participate and take questions from the audience.

Amy Mattison, CEO of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, said, “Come and find out about your candidate and where they stand. I am hoping everyone will come out and get educated.”

The candidates received the rules for the forum in the mail a few days ago, according to Roger Sundermeier Jr. He is running for Ward 5, Position 2 against Howard, the incumbent.

“It’s going to be real hard to tell my story in two minutes. The biggest thing I want to convey is my passion for the community of Jacksonville,” Sundermeier said.

“I want us to be the community we’re capable of being,” he continued.

Sundermeier said he is campaigning by putting out signs and speaking with residents.

“When you have a town of this size it’s impossible to meet every single person, but I want to,” he said.

Howard said, “I feel like I’ve done a good job, and we’re losing 50 years of experience from the council. We’re going to need stability on the council. The next four years will be critical for Jacksonville, and I want to be a part of that.

Howard said he has a lot of time to devote to the position because he has been retired for 15 years.

James Bolden, who is running against Jim Moore for Ward 1, Position 2, said, “My vision is to assist the city in going to another level. We need more opportunities and more businesses.”

Moore said the issues he expects to come up are whether he supports an independent school district and why the city hired an out-of-state consultant to get businesses to come into Jacksonville.

“Jacksonville needs their own school district. It will be really good for the city and the kids,” he pointed out.

Moore said he’d spoken with several residents along the campaign trail.

“They were quite concerned that the city hired some guy out of Tulsa to get businesses and it really hasn’t paid off. We have a chamber of commerce. They’re very effective in other cities. I haven’t seen any businesses or industry come in as a result of that (consultant). We really need to develop businesses in town,” he said.

Moore continued, “Infra-structure is what I want to look at. The other thing I want to look at is I think we need to increase our police and fire protection.”

He also said, “I love this town and the people. I want to be an advocate for them. That’s my goal.”

Rizelle Aaron is running for Ward 2, Position 2 against Alderman Sansing.

He said, “The main things we need to address are the things that were at the first forum — economic and industrial development, criminal justice as in a drug court, education and code enforcement. And I believe eminent domain should also be talked about.”

Sansing said, “The No. 1 issue has to do with economic development in Jacksonville. We have been shackled with the Pulaski County school district. We can see the end of that, the light at the end of the tunnel. The city council will not control the school district, but we will be ready to assist it. Some people have said, ‘why are we continuing with infrastructure construction?’ Even though the economy is deflated it’s a great time for the city to invest in its future. The interest rates are very low.”

Sansing said he has experience on the council and knows the city’s history, including what problems it has had in the past.

Mashburn said, “I just want everybody to know I’m there for them. I’m just a regular person like they are.”

Mary Twitty is running against Freddie Booker for Ward 4, Position 2.

She said, “My point is that I’m there for the people. I’m available. I’ll work not just for my ward, but for the whole city.”

Twitty said her husband describes her as a professional volunteer. She has been volunteering for 26 years.

Booker said she is going door-to-door during the campaign.

“I’ve got a feel for the issues people have. That’s the issue that I want to get across. I am their servant and they’re my customers. I’ll try to be their voice,” Booker said.

The chamber’s military and government affairs committee organized the forum.