Friday, January 10, 2014

TOP STORY >> New records from Thelonious Monk, Rosanne Cash

Leader editor

Alfred Lion, a refugee from Nazi Germany, founded Blue Note Records in New York on Jan. 6, 1939, when he recorded the boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Meade (Lux) Lewis after hearing them at the historic “From Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall in New York the month before.

Lion, along with his business partner Francis Wolf, another refugee from Germany, recorded most of the important jazz musicians over the next 30 years, from Sidney Bechet (whose bluesy “Summertime” is one of the greatest recordings of all time) to John Coltrane (whose “Blue Trane,” his only Blue Note recording as a leader, is among my favorites) to Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell (two giants of jazz piano who did their best work with Blue Note) to Wayne Shorter and Bobby Hutcherson, who continue to record for Blue Note 50 years after their debuts with the label.

Blue Note still issues important jazz — Shorter’s live recordings, “Without a Net,” marked his return to the label last year — and there were also important CDs from Terrence Blanchard and Joe Lovano. Monk is back with a live recording, “Paris 1969,” which was recorded at the Salle Pleyel music hall for French TV. The video of the show comes with the new release.

It’s a great find, with Charlie Rouse on saxophone and a surprise appearance by drummer Philly Joe Jones on one number, played before an appreciative audience. Monk reciprocated with a flawless performance. The producers made sure he had a good piano to play on for a change.

The CD is an hour long and includes such Monk classics as “I Mean You,” “Straight No Chaser” and “Blue Monk,” along with three solo piano performances, as well as the entire TV show on DVD. A historic document that would have made Alfred Lion proud.

Lion probably didn’t hear any country music until the Army sent him to Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, during the Second World War. He may have heard plenty of western swing there.

He would have enjoyed hearing Blue Note’s latest star, the Grammy Award-winning country singer Rosanne Cash, whose latest CD is “The River and the Thread,” an album of original songs written by Cash and her husband John Leventhal.

Like all Blue Note releases, “The River and the Thread,” is meticulously recorded with a gorgeous sound, giving it a live quality. All the songs have southern themes, inspired by the couple’s trip from Memphis to New Orleans.

The lineup includes “Etta’s Tune,” “The Sunken Lands,” “A Feather’s Not a Bird,” “Tell Heaven,” “Money Road,” “50,000 Watts” and more. They previewed their fine new CD before a couple of hundred lucky fans in Little Rock in November.

Cash, who was born in Memphis, is the daughter of Johnny Cash, who grew up in Dyess (Mississippi County). She joins another singer with Arkansas roots on the Blue Note label, Al Green, who is from Forrest City. Let’s hope they’ll do a duet together.

East Arkansas has produced several musical giants, including Howlin Wolf, who farmed north of Parkin (Cross County) before he started recording for Sun, Chess and Modern Records after the Second World War; Charlie Rich, who was born in Colt (St. Francis County), not far from Parkin; Albert King, who lived in Osceola, not far from Cash’s boyhood home, which is being restored with Rosanne’s help, and Louis Jordan of Brinkley (Monroe County), whose childhood home, sadly, has been demolished.

TOP STORY >> Graham road work nears end

Leader staff writer

It is hard to believe that Graham Road was just two lanes about 18 months ago, City Engineer Jay Whisker told the Jacksonville City Council on Jan. 2.

He presented a brief update on road projects during the agenda meeting.

For decades, the city’s street plan and other area maps have shown a four-lane road connecting Hwy. 89 in Lonoke County to Hwy. 107 in Pulaski County. The $3.6 million widening of a one-mile section of Graham between Loop and North Oak Street to four lanes is part of the master plan. The project is 80 percent federally funded.

Whisker showed recent photos and photos of the road that were taken during earlier construction.

He said nice sidewalks with a 3-foot buffer are complete.

“(It’s) quite an improvement to the area. They’re almost done,” Whisker said.

The crews still have to lay asphalt and do striping for a change order.

This newspaper requested that the last block — near the intersection of Graham, Elm and Oak streets — allow for two-way instead of a one-way traffic because that would make the area more accessible for its customers and people traveling to and from Lonoke County.

Jacksonville is spending $15,000 on the change order, the mayor said.

Whisker explained that the original one-way plan would have caused a lot of drivers to make an additional trip around a block.

He also said the crews are just waiting for required temperatures of 40 degrees or higher to lay the asphalt.

Utility relocation for a roundabout being constructed at West Main Street and Harris Road is nearing completion, Whisker continued.

That project is coming in just under $1 million, and it is under budget, he said.

Whisker also told the council that the state Highway Department is bidding replacements of the West Main Street and Redmond Road bridges on Hwy. 67/167 together.

The department has also selected a design for section three of the freeway, which is between the Vandenberg and Main Street exits, Whisker said. But he didn’t share the details of that design.

The state Highway Department is spending an estimated $120 million to widen from four to six lanes the freeway between Cabot and the I-40 intersection in Jacksonville.

In other business, the council reappointed Avis Twitty, Rick White and Jim Moore to the Planning Commission for terms that will expire Jan. 1, 2017.

TOP STORY >> Saluting unsung heroes of 2013

Compiled by RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

Yes, police, firefighters and military members constantly put their lives on the line, but so do everyday citizens.

In 2013, The Leader documented numerous events where regular John Q. Public stepped up without regard to life or stepped out to do something wonderful for others.

Who are these people?

A grandmother, teenagers, junior high students, construction workers and dog lovers.


In early October, Shelia Hart, a 51-year-old grandmother and veteran PCSSD school bus driver, remained calm and protected the children aboard her bus during a hijacking. She had been taking students to Pinewood Elementary.

Eleven children were on the bus. No one was injured.

Hart, explaining the situation, said, “He jumped on the bus and said drive and I said ‘what?’ He flipped the knife out and said ‘drive, shut the door and drive,’ and that’s what I did. I said ‘OK, where do you want to go and what’s wrong?’” Hart said she drove for about three blocks before Miller asked that they switch seats while the bus was moving.

Hart told him, “No, we can’t do that.” So they pulled over and she showed him how to work the controls. Hart said that, during the hijacking, “I kept telling him to be careful. I asked him couldn’t me and the babies get off; let’s just take them to school. I told him you could have this bus, just let us off.”

Hart explained that Miller said yes, but then missed a turn and started becoming more irritable. He also told them that he would drive the bus until it ran out of gas, Hart said.

She had recently completed training on how to handle a hijacking, but said, “No kind of training could prepare you for that. It helped.” Hart also said, “I guess my mother instinct kicked in.”

Reflecting on her actions during the hijacking, which included talking to Miller and keeping the kids calm, Hart added, “I think the right thing to do was talk to the person, keep a cool head.” She didn’t think she would have done anything differently.

At speeds around 40 mph, police followed the bus from the 3700 block of North First Street near the air base to Hwy. 367, John Harden Drive and Hwy. 5 in Cabot — where the 20-minute, 9-mile chase ended.

Superintendent Jerry Guess called Hart “a heroic person” during a ceremony at the school bus depot on Redmond Road. “Perhaps the events that occurred saved lives, the lives of those students,” he said.

The alleged hijacker, 22-year-old Nicholas John Miller, pleaded not guilty to felony vehicle piracy, 12 felony counts of kidnapping, two felony counts of aggravated assault, felony fleeing, misdemeanor driving while intoxicated-drugs and misdemeanor reckless driving.


Seventeen-year-old Tristan Wall was honored as a hero during a Cabot council meeting for using his body to protect a toddler during a car crash in April that took his friend’s life.

The “Cabot Hero Award” was only the second given by Mayor Bill Cypert.

Claudie Phillips e-mailed Cypert requesting the award, saying Wall’s action saved the life of his 2-year-old grandson, Lathan Webert.

He said, as a father, he believes he would have thrown himself over a child. But Wall, who sat next to the toddler in the back seat of the SUV, is a young man without those paternal instincts.

“Instead of covering his head and protecting himself, he protected the baby,” Phillips said. “My grandson was sitting on the same side that hit the tree, and he didn’t have a scratch on him. The only way you could tell he was in a wreck was one piece of glass in his diaper.

“Tristan did get whiplash, but I think God was protecting him because he was protecting Lathan,” Phillips said.

Jaden Herlacher, 15, died in the crash. Phillips’ daughter and Lathan’s mother, Chasity Webert, was seriously injured.

Phillips said she was unaccustomed to driving an SUV and something made her jerk the steering wheel. She lost control on the wet pavement on LeMay Road in Austin and hit a tree.

“God bless you and thank you for what you did,” Cypert told Wall during the presentation.


A Jacksonville boy is alive today because his teen neighbor saved him from drowning in Beaverfork Lake in Conway.

Stephanie Swartz had taken her sons, Dalton Pewterbaugh, 7, and Bubba Rice, 12; her niece, Sarah McDermott, 5; and neighbor Tucker Felix for their weekly swim at a lake.

Felix and his family moved to Braden Street two years ago and the families had grown close.

The group was floating on inflatable lounge chairs in the middle of the murky lake when things suddenly turned for the worse.

“I was on the raft. I didn’t listen to my parents and got off of it,” Dalton said.

He panicked. Instead of reaching for the chair, he was actually pushing it away.

Swartz said, “It happened so fast. Dalton was coughing up water and making a God-awful noise. It scared me.”

She was on another raft and couldn’t swim fast enough to get to her son in time. So Swartz started to scream.

“Tucker saw me in distress and immediately dove in,” she said.

Felix, a certified lifeguard at the Stonewall subdivision swimming pool, said, “My adrenaline hit me and I immediately got off the raft and swam toward Dalton. The only thing out of the water was his nose.”

Felix said everything around him disappeared when he focused on Dalton.

Dalton was about 30 yards from Felix. He was submerged.

Felix reached him and pulled him out of the water. Felix told Dalton to grab his right side and then Felix helped him swim to shore.

“We were a good distance from the shore. I kept yelling to him to swim,” Felix said.

He kept holding Dalton until the water was shallow enough for the youngster to stand in.

Swartz said, “I cried when I got out (of the lake). There was nothing I could do. If Tucker wasn’t there, I would be burying my baby. He is my hero. Thank God he was there or things would have been a lot different. I have no doubt in my mind that my son wouldn’t be here.”


Two students from Middle School South spent an afternoon at the Cabot Kmart selling baked goods to send a Middle School North student they didn’t know to space camp.

Khristian Binnall and Brittney Quinn, both 10 years old, had already raised enough to ensure the boy a slot at the camp. They were working toward raising $200 to cover the full cost of the trip.

The children don’t know the boy they were trying to help, but they knew his mother was ill. And they knew they didn’t want him to miss such an opportunity, said Khristian’s mother, Rhonda Binnall.

“His parents can’t afford for him to go and going is a big deal,” Binnall said. “I would like to think that if my son was in that position that we’d be able to get some help.”


Cabot Middle School North fifth grader Bridget Mullins turned 11 years old in 2013. For her birthday party, she asked her friends to bring presents — not for her —to a senior staying at the Spring Creek Health and Rehab during Christmas.

“My grandma died this summer. I kind of feel bad for the people who have no family to give them presents (for Christmas),” she said.

Bridget Mullins and her mom, Leslie, contacted Spring Creek and learned that Pam McAdams, 67, didn’t have a family to celebrate Christmas with. They met with McAdams earlier in the week. McAdams said she wanted a small tabletop Christmas tree.

Leslie Mullins asked her daughter if she wanted her friends to buy gifts for children staying at the hospital. Bridget said she would rather give gifts to someone older.

The girls gathered at Spring Creek and went to McAdams’ room bearing boxes and bags of gifts. They gave McAdams a jewelry box, several bottles of perfume, socks, slippers, hand cream, two sweaters and a top, a bracelet, necklace, a blanket, a panda bear, a robe, a case of Dr. Pepper and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

McAdams said, “I think it is wonderful. It was real unselfish of them. I didn’t expect so much.”


Cody Belew, a finalist on “The Voice,” came back to his hometown to support Beebe High School’s Project Graduation, an all-night party for seniors held after graduation. The project holds fundraisers throughout the year to purchase prizes and college necessities, such as laptops that are given away during the party.

“I participated in Project Graduation, my parents were heavily involved and my brother, Casey, did it. A great way to celebrate in a safe way,” said Belew, a 2003 Beebe High graduate.

“I haven’t been back to the school since freshman year in college,” he added.

The concert brought in a substantial amount of financial support as the auditorium was nearly full.

“It was a good crowd. I was worried we wouldn’t have a great crowd,” Belew said after the concert.

He performed in front of his home crowd, which supported his career and called in their votes during his run on “The Voice.”

“It meant the world and there’s no greater feeling than that (playing for Beebe residents),” Belew said.

“I didn’t bring home the trophy (on “The Voice”) but it felt that way,” he added.

Throughout the concert were cheers, screams and “I love you Cody, — We all love you,” from a group of tweens near the stage.

Beebe High 2013 honor graduates introduced Belew. He started the show by singing Beebe High’s alma mater. And, when the curtain opened, the singer was wearing his Beebe letterman’s choir jacket.


Members of Cabot’s new Little Helpers chapter completed their first project in September.

And their success was sweet, literally, for the police officers, firefighters and EMTs who received the cookies nine children and three adults delivered on Sept. 11 as a thank you to everyday heroes.

The chapter’s co-founder, Shann Nobles, said the mission of Little Helpers is to teach children of all ages the importance of volunteering in their communities.

“This is a good way for kids to learn how to be more giving,” she explained.

Nobles noted that the program is designed to help young people understand the value of volunteering, recognize the blessings in their lives, broaden their community perspective and feel the sense of accomplishment received from lending a helping hand.


Dog lovers from across central Arkansas joined together and collected $10,000 to save an abandoned daschund, Mr. Wiggles AKA Scooter.

Animal control officer Angela Spears was working late on Saturday, July 27 when she saw — out of the corner of her eye — something moving in the bushes outside.

“I didn’t know what he was,” she said. Mr. Wiggles dragged himself to Spears and she gently picked him up.

That is when the 4-year-old pup started licking her face. Spears said, “He sold me right there.”

Mr. Wiggles was suffering from a ruptured disc pressing against his spinal cord.

He was able to get corrective surgery in August at Hillcrest Animal Hospital, where the veterinarian found that he had a spinal cord inflated with spinal cord fluid instead of a dented spinal cord.

A dented spinal cord usually can’t be repaired, meaning Mr. Wiggles probably wouldn’t have been able to walk again, explained Julann Carney of Sherwood Animal Shelter Helpers — a volunteer organization that took it upon themselves to raise $5,000 for the surgery and more for his pre-operative screenings and post-surgery care.

The fact that he was standing up on his own and wagging his tail before the surgery was encouraging, she added.

“We had no idea the public was going to respond so compassionately and generously...We’re absolutely moved. It’s heartwarming,” Carney said.

One woman even let Mr. Wiggles borrow her dog’s wheelchair for a few days while he waited to receive a $150 dogcart from The cart was donated.


Sherwood construction workers were honored at a December city council meeting for helping save a life during an apartment fire.

When a Woodbine Apartments unit fire started, three nearby construction workers called the fire department, knocked on every door and made sure everyone was out. They got everyone out except for one woman in one of the upstairs apartments. When the firefighters arrived on scene, the entire upstairs’ landing was full of fire.

Fire Chief David Teague said the construction crew of Ben Hughes, Chris Smith and Richard Eberle “told us where we needed to go as soon as we got there.” The workers sent the firefighters to the one apartment that they feared someone was still in. Firefighters rescued a woman covered in soot and barely breathing from that unit.

Mayor Virginia Hillman told the workers, “We appreciate you guys risking your lives for those residents. Thank you so much.”


And a thanks to all the area residents and groups that collected food, cots, blankets and cash to help those in need from Thanksgiving to Christmas and all year long. People like Tracy O’Bryan of Austin leading a coat drive, the Cabot Christmas Alliance for filling enough food boxes to feed 4,000-plus people, Cabot Christmas for Kids, the Junior Auxiliary of Cabot, the Lonoke County Christmas Coalition, the Beebe Angel Tree program, Jacksonville’s Fishnet Missions, Jacksonville’s Shop with a Cop, The Jacksonville Museum of History, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, VFW Post 4548 and others.

EDITORIAL >> Darr resigns amid scandal

Beebe should ignore vacancy and save taxpayers’ money

Three days after vowing not to quit, Mark Darr resigned yesterday evening as Arkansas’ lieutenant governor, effective, he said, on Feb. 1. It was abrupt but predictable. Republican legislative leaders told him he had no choice because many of them would have to join Democrats and impeach him and that his chances of surviving a trial in the state Senate, where his party has a comfortable majority, were growing slimmer by the day.

Republicans had clamored for the resignation of a Democrat, state Sen. Paul Bookout of Jonesboro, and threatened him with impeachment and removal from office last year if he didn’t resign. Bookout had misspent campaign funds, one of the 11 violations of the law that Darr has admitted, although unlike Bookout he said he didn’t know he was violating the law. Bookout promptly resigned. Treating their own differently was going to be a public relations problem for Republican legislators and for the party.

Darr did the right thing, sparing the legislature the immensely painful task of condemning and removing one of its own. (Because he presides over the Senate, Darr is a small appendage of the legislative branch.) We remember the Senate’s convulsions 40 years ago when senators first voted not to expel Sen. Guy H. “Mutt” Jones, who had been convicted of federal income tax evasion, and then hastened into session again to remove their pal when the public anger became manifest.

But compliments are barely deserved. Darr took the occasion again to blame his troubles on others. He did not again blame others in government who didn’t tell him early enough that converting some $39,000 in public and campaign funds to personal use was illegal. But he said his legal troubles were just “politics” and “games.”

“Politics can be a toxic business,” he complained in a written statement, and he wasn’t going to subject his family to it any more. His earlier statement said enemies were attacking his family, although no one has found an instance where a family member was ever mentioned.

In his brief political life, Darr has practiced the trade more brutally than most. In his 2010 race, when he barely beat a Democratic legislator to win the lieutenant governor’s office, he ran against the unpopular President Obama, who had nothing to do with a lieutenant governor’s duties. When the Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran an article about Darr’s financial troubles—he was sued for foreclosure on a rental home he owned in Springdale—Darr blamed the bank, but then admitted he was in arrears. He accused the Republican-leaning newspaper of picking on him and blamed unnamed political enemies for his financial troubles. He attacked the attorney representing the plaintiff who sued him. She had run for a local nonpartisan judicial office and he had not supported her.

Let’s just say that Mark Darr will not be missed.

Immediately, he will not be missed in the lieutenant governor’s office. The lieutenant governor’s only duty is to preside over the Senate in the few days each year that it is in session. The short 2014 fiscal session will begin nine days after Darr’s resignation takes effect. The president pro tempore of the Senate, the good Republican Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, will preside and from time to time designate another senator to sit on the dais. The Senate will run smoothly and nothing will be amiss.

Governor Beebe said he might have to declare a vacancy in the office and hold a needless special election to fill the job for a few months until after the fall general election. The only need to have a lieutenant governor during that stretch will be to have someone to cash the lieutenant governor’s payroll check.

If Beebe needs a legal justification for leaving things alone, Mark Darr may have provided it. In his pique, Darr said he was not going to resign to a public official—i.e., Mike Beebe—but to the people of Arkansas. With no official notice, Beebe need not declare a vacancy and call an election to which no one in Arkansas will pay any attention.

Save the taxpayers a cool million dollars by avoiding an election and all those payroll checks. For a frugal governor, that would be a good day’s work.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Impeach Darr now

Here’s some shocking news: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr sends favored reporters a statement saying he will not resign because people who could have told him that he was a serial lawbreaker kept their mouths shut. If someone had simply told him that he couldn’t convert public and campaign funds to personal use he wouldn’t have done it or would have stopped long ago or at least fixed his books so that it would look better.

That was Darr’s long-awaited answer yesterday to the drumbeat of demands, lately from a few fellow Republicans, that he resign and spare the state the ordeal of impeachment proceedings and the prospect that he be tried in the Senate and removed from office. Speaker Davy Carter (R-Cabot) issued guidelines late Tuesday on how the House could begin impeachment proceedings, which would require Republicans to oust one of their own.

Neither Darr’s impeachment nor removal from office appeared likely until now, because Republicans just don’t do that to one another. But a few Republicans, including all four Arkansas congressmen, had called on him to resign to spare the party the ongoing embarrassment. The legislative Joint Auditing Committee and the state Ethics Commission, where Republicans were represented evenly or better, had concluded that Darr broke the law repeatedly and should pay a hefty fine and give the money back to the state treasury and to political donors.

But it was widely thought that, being a loyal Republican, Darr would acquiesce and head for the door. Few counted on his determination to keep his political ambitions on track or perhaps his need for the little government sinecure and its part-time salary and perks. His pizza business and personal finances are on the rocks.

Whatever his motivation, the statement—given to favored reporters rather than at a wide-open press conference—was as pitiful as it was nervy. He said that people who jumped on him for his misdeeds or called for his resignation or impeachment had attacked “my family.” No one but Darr has ever mentioned his family.

He said that he had owned up to all his mistakes and had apologized to the public for them and that every time he broke the law he did it with the best of intentions. In the case both of the misuse of campaign funds and of state treasury funds, Darr said, he just filled out paperwork erroneously. He deserved all the money he got in violation of the law, he pleaded.

That was patently untrue as the man who unearthed his bookkeeping “errors”—lawyer and Democratic blogger Matt Campbell—observed in monumental detail Tuesday afternoon. (See his if you have the interest or the patience.)

Darr didn’t go so far but his plaintive statement suggested that the people who should pay are those who should have caught his illegal reimbursements and warned him in time. He identified some of them, chiefly legislative auditors who had looked at his books after he took office in 2011 and didn’t tell him he couldn’t collect travel expenses from the taxpayers for running across the state and to Little Rock from his home in north Arkansas.

He mentioned his predecessor, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, but Halter had not done the same thing and, indeed, had paid federal income taxes on the legal state-proffered expenses he did get. Every elected official knows the IRS rules.

The lite governor also argued that he was saving the taxpayers money by not resigning because a special election to replace him would cost a million dollars. But not if the governor doesn’t call the unnecessary election. We will elect a lieutenant governor anyway in November and the state meantime has absolutely no use for one.

As we said previously, it is not a fixed judgment that a minor officeholder like Darr must resign for having violated multiple laws until he has been convicted of criminal acts in a court of law. But two Democratic officeholders resigned last year upon the demands of Republican and Democratic officialdom for acts no more serious than Darr’s and they have yet to be convicted of anything. It is just the decent and evenhanded thing to do.

TOP STORY >> ‘Rock and Role’ license plates

Leader staff writer

A new state-issued license plate was unveiled Monday to spread word of the “Rock and Role” branding partnership between Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville and the LRAFB Community Council.

Proceeds from the license plates will go directly to fund scholarships and community welfare projects provided by the Little Rock Spouses’ Club, an organization that serves the spouses of military personnel on LRAFB.

“It’s not for operations; it’s for us to give back,” Little Rock Spouses’ Club president Berri Dunn said.

According to Roger Duren, administrator for the Office of Motor Vehicles, the “Rock and Role” design was submitted on Dec. 22 so that sample license plates could be made. The sample plates will be sent to the base, the community council, the State Police and the Department of Revenue for approval.

After the sample plate is approved, it will be sent back to the license plate factory so that larger-scale production can begin. Duren said that process takes six to eight weeks.

The annual cost for the “Rock and Role” specialty plate is the state’s registration fee plus a $25 fundraising fee and a $10 administration fee.

On hand for the unveiling at the LRAFB University Center were Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock), state Rep. Mark Perry (D-Jacksonville), community council members, Little Rock Spouses’ Club members and air base leaders.

Griffin said the branding and the concept of “Rock and Role” could be taken all over the state on a license plate. It is telling the world about LRAFB and its community support, he said.

According to Dunn, the Spouses’ Club gave a total of $10,000 in scholarships last year to seven high school seniors from Air Force families, and two scholarships were to spouses.

Shayne Nichols, Spouses’ Club welfare and giving coordinator, said the organization gave $10,135 in grants to local schools.

The funds supplied new tables for North Pulaski High School administrators, microscopes for science classes and iPods for the Spanish department, she said. At Arnold Drive Elementary, the funding helped remodel the school’s cafeteria.

The Spouses’ Club also helped fund the summer reading program at Ward Central Elementary and bought benches for Cabot Middle School North. The club helped Mountain Springs Elementary, Northside Elementary and Cabot Junior High North with grants for iPads, books and physical education equipment.

Nichols said, over the last four years, the Spouses’ Club has given funding to all schools in the Cabot School District.

The Spouses’ Club also gave $4,000 in welfare grants to the transition assistance programs, the Air Force Village, the Air Force Enlisted Village, the USO and Fishnet Missions in Jacksonville, where the money was used repair a refrigerator and air conditioning at the food pantry.

TOP STORY >> Housing makes slow recovery in many areas

Leader senior staff writer

Regional housing construction was up marginally during the first half of 2013.

Cabot saw the fastest growth in single-family housing construction with 35 percent growth compared to the first half of 2012, and Benton had the second-fastest growth in single-family housing construction with 16 percent.

That’s according to a section titled “Slow Housing Market During First Half of 2013” in the Metro Trends Economic Review and Outlook published by Metroplan in December.


Last year, the average new single-family home in Maumelle was $269,950, more than three times the value of the average new home in Jacksonville, which is $83,477.

You could build two new average homes, one in Cabot and the other in Sherwood, for the cost of a new home in Maumelle.

The average new home in Cabot in 2012 was $111,918. In Sherwood, it was $142,613.

Sixty-five single-family permits were issued for Cabot for the first half of 2013, after averaging about 46 new permits in the first six months of 2010, 2011 and 2012. That was the fastest up-tick in single-family housing, according to Metroplan demographer Jonathan Lupton.

In the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metropolitan area, total housing permits for the first six months of the year peaked at about 2,650 in 2004, then started a downward trend getting down to about 1,000 in 2012 and ticking up again to about 1,250 for 2013.


While Little Rock accounts for only 29 percent of the population of the four-county Central Arkansas Metropolitan Planning Area, it accounted for 39 percent of the new housing units in the first six months of 2013. That’s up from about 20 percent of new housing permits in 2006, according to Lupton’s figures.

Of the larger cities and towns in Pulaski, Lonoke, Saline and Faulkner counties, Benton had the second-fastest increase, up to 117 from 101 in 2012.


Only Cabot, Little Rock and Sherwood issued more permits in the first half of 2013 than they did in 2010. Sherwood issued 73 permits, up four from the first half of 2012. That’s a six percent increase.

New single-family housing permits in Jacksonville remained flat at 15 for the first six months of 2013. The recent high for the first half of the year was 33 in 2010, but dropped to about half of that for the first half of 2011 and 2012.

No multi-family permits were issued for Cabot, Jacksonville or Sherwood for the first half of 2013. In Jacksonville, 12 multi-family permits were issued in 2009, six in 2010, none in 2011 and eight in 2012.


In the post-housing bubble economy, Jacksonville issued 33 single-family housing permits in the first half of 2010, 16 in 2011, 15 in 2012 and 15 in 2013. For the full years ending Dec. 31 Jacksonville issued 51 permits in 2009, 55 permits in 2010, 31 permits in 2011 and 100 permits in 2012, according to Metroplan’s semi-annual publication Metro Trends.


In the Little Rock/North Little Rock area, where most Pulaski County residents live, between the 1990 and 2000 censuses, the concentration of 25 to 34-year-olds in west Little Rock dropped from more than 22.5 percent of those residents to less than 15 percent, demonstrating a preference for living in the urban center rather than outlying areas, Lupton said.

That age group concentrated closer to the River Market and along the river in downtown Little Rock, and also in the Argenta area of North Little Rock.

The median value of new home permits in the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway areas climbed from about $131,319 in 2000 to about $171,300 in 2005 and 2006 but declined from 2007 through 2012, from about $160,500 to about $152,500.

TOP STORY >> ‘Polar vortex’ moves out East

Compiled by Leader staff

The good news is that this polar vertex of cold air is retreating, and the area will be in the low 50s by the weekend. But there is a chance of rain through Sunday.

The arctic blast plummeted low temperatures into the single digits Monday and Tuesday.

People who braved the bone-chilling weather on Monday and Tuesday wore had to wear several layers of clothing to stay warm.

Jeff Loeschner of Cabot Waterworks was using a track hoe on Tuesday to dig for a water line along South Second Street.

Loeschner said he had to “just bundle up” to stay warm.

“Yesterday was pretty rough. We’re in the sun and the wind is not blowing today,” he continued.

Abraham Martinez was painting a wall on Tuesday inside the ninth-grade Freshman Academy under construction in Cabot.

He was wearing two pairs of pants and three coats. “That keeps me warm,” Martinez said.

Amy Weeks, a barista at Joe Bravo Espresso on South Pine Street, said, “Business has increased, especially in the afternoon. Definitely more people getting hot coffee.”

Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman said city directors tried to find jobs for crews to work on inside because they didn’t want to send employees into the body-numbing wind.


Beebe experienced the most outages in The Leader’s coverage area, according to spokeswomen with Entergy, First Electric Cooperative and North Little Rock Electric.

Entergy spokeswoman Sally Graham said that is because there is a long rural line in Beebe that doesn’t allow the utility to provide power from another source.

At 12:52 p.m. Tuesday, 1,765 Entergy customers in Beebe were in the dark, Graham said. She said more than 1,000 customers had their power restored by 2:19 p.m.

As for the 692 customers who remained without power, Graham’s advice for them was to turn their thermostats off and wait 30 minutes to fully use their electricity when lights come back on. “That provides a bit of breathing room so we can keep the surge on our system at a minimum,” she said.

“As with issues during high-heat summer days, we’re responding as safely and as quickly as possible to the effect of extreme cold weather on our facilities,” Graham said.

She explained in an e-mail, “We are switching the load of electricity where we can to restore power to customers. If we restore large circuits all at once, with folks using power at the max to heat their homes —just as triple-digit days (when) folks are cranking their air conditioners — this surge created is sometimes higher than the protective devices can handle, causing the device to trip.”

Graham said distribution personnel are monitoring levels to see when the voltage settles down. Then the utility can restore power to more customers in smaller batches without the risk of tripping the device.

“The process becomes more difficult as you proceed, since the existing load gives you a smaller bandwidth to play with when you bring on more customers,” she continued.
“We understand the inconvenience and ask for our customers’ patience because it’s a delicate process to restore under extreme conditions. There is a potential for tripping the feeders and having to start all over again.”On Tuesday, she added, “It’s helping that temperatures have warmed up a bit today.”

Scott Williams, a supervisor with the Entergy office in Searcy, agreed with Graham. He said extreme cold weather makes everyone’s heaters come on, creating an imbalance that makes the system think there is a problem and shut down.

But, Williams said, the Beebe-area outage involved a short circuit caused by wind knocking power lines together on Dewitt Henry Drive.

First Electric spokeswoman Tori Moss said, “First Electric Cooperative experienced an all-time peak winter demand due to the extreme cold temperatures January 6 and 7. Approximately 430 members experienced weather-related outages in the Jacksonville district, which includes portions of Pulaski, Lonoke and White counties. The high demand also caused intermittent blinking lights in the Ward and Cabot areas.”

On the other end of the spectrum, North Little Rock Electric spokeswoman Jill Ponder said there were no weather-related outages in Sherwood.


Electric providers weren’t the only utilities suffering during the unusually cold weather.

Charles Culpepper of Master Plumbing in Jacksonville said, “Water pipes have been freezing and busting.”

At a time of the year when business is slow, Culpepper said he took six calls Monday and six calls Tuesday about frozen and burst pipes.

His advice for area residents was to keep houses warm and open cabinets under sinks. Culpepper added that he didn’t know whether leaving faucets dripping helps, especially since waterfalls freeze and icicles form from dripping water.

Jacksonville Waterworks Director Jake Short said on Tuesday, “We’re getting a lot of calls from folks that are having some issues.”

But his advice was to keep a thin stream of water running from faucets and to disconnect outside hoses. Short said, “Moving water is less likely to freeze.”

Westlake Plumbing in Cabot was so busy that the manager couldn’t speak to The Leader because he had callers on four lines at the same time. The receptionist said the company’s phone had been ringing constantly.

Don Hindman, director of the Jack Evans Senior Center in Sherwood, said pipes around the city had cracked so that the water coming from his faucet was discolored.

Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman said those were Central Arkansas Water pipes.

But she clarified that none of the pipes in Sherwood burst.


Most area residents stayed inside their heated homes.

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert said on Tuesday that no one used the emergency warming center opened Monday night at the Cabot Senior Center for people who may have needed to escape the extreme cold after losing power or heat.

Hillman said Sherwood didn’t have a warming center but would have opened one at the Jack Evans Senior Center if any residents had requested that be done.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher said the warming center at the police department is usually opened only when there are power outages in the area.

He added that he thought area churches would open their doors to those in need, but “we just don’t have the homeless situation a lot of cities have.”


Cabot schools opened their doors 30 minutes earlier on Tuesday to make sure students were not shivering at bus stops or while walking to school.

Superintendent Tony Thurman said the district only opens buildings earlier when the temperature is abnormally cold.

Deputy Superintendent Harold Jeffcoat, who has been with the district for six years, said this is the first time he’s seen the buildings open earlier.

“We wanted no students to be left out in the cold. We have a number of walkers and bus riders waiting at bus stops,” Jeffcoat said.

Opening the schools earlier allowed parents to drive their children to school, get the kids into the building and still arrive at work on time, he continued.

Stagecoach Elementary principal Pam Waymack told Jeffcoat that several students came to school earlier.

Jeffcoat said the district takes other precautions, too. “When it is cold, we don’t let out students (for recess). Activities are provided inside the building,” he explained.

Jeffcoat said school administrators monitor both temperature and wind chill. If it is below freezing, students stay inside.

“Teachers do an excellent job making sure students are prepared and dressed appropriately,” Jeffcoat added.

He said school maintenance crews made sure all classrooms and facilities had heat. Crews worked all day, until 7 p.m. Monday night, making sure classrooms were heated, Jeffcoat noted.

Meanwhile, some elderly residents of Sherwood opted to stay in their heated homes.

Don Hindman, director of the Jack Evans Senior Center, said activities, including a monthly dinner on Monday, were not canceled. But attendance was about two-thirds of what it usually is, he said.

“We’re not having many folks coming out,” Hindman noted. Seniors also canceled visits to their doctors and other places rather than go out in the bitter cold, he added.


This week’s frigid weather continued the cold which arrived in the state in December.

The cooler weather was spurred on in 2013. In fact, spring 2013 was the fifth coolest on record.

The unusually low temperatures curbed the outbreak of tornadoes and other storm activities last year, but the state didn’t escape deadly weather all together.

In 2013, there were 34 confirmed tornadoes in the state with 17 of them hitting in May. Another tornado that month devastated Moore, Okla.

There were eight weather-related deaths in 2013. Two were from tornadoes (one in May and one in December), one was from high winds ( in May) and six were from flash floods (all in May).

The average temperature for all of last year was below average.

In December alone, it was one degree below the average high and two inches wetter than normal. For 2013, the average temperature was 61.9 degrees — almost a full degree below normal, making the year one of the top 20 coolest on record.

That is a far cry from 2012 — the second warmest year on record.

On top of that, December brought almost 7.5 inches of rain, ice and more than an inch of snow that closed schools for two or more days.

Rain fell from Dec. 1 through Dec. 9, setting a new record for consecutive rain days in December.

The rain also set new daily records on Dec. 6, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. The heavy December showers pushed the yearly total above normal.

The few days of snow in December dropped more than normal for that month. Daily snow records were set on Dec. 6, Dec. 9 and Dec. 30.

The National Weather Service called December a roller-coaster month because temperatures went from near record warmth on Dec. 4 to near record cold three days later and then to the lowest December temperatures in five years.

Below normal temperatures continued through the middle of the month when temperatures were warmer again, cooled again and warmed again near the end of the month.

But another strong front dropped temperatures below normal for the last two days of the month.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot ladies pull away from Bryant

Leader sportswriter

BRYANT – After a close first quarter, the Lady Panthers separated themselves from the Lady Hornets in the second and third quarters en route to a 45-34 victory Monday at the Hornets’ Nest.

Lady Hornet forward Aubree Allen scored the first point of Monday’s nonconference finale, but Cabot answered with a basket at the other end to take a 2-1 lead. The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the first quarter, but the Lady Panthers led 9-8 at the end of one, thanks to a Leighton Taylor putback after a CoCo Calhoon miss with 23 seconds left in the period.

Cabot (9-5) held Bryant (4-7) scoreless in the second quarter, which allowed the visiting Lady Panthers to gain a sizable 23-8 advantage at halftime. Even though the Lady Panthers outscored Bryant 14-0 in the second quarter, their shots weren’t falling like they wanted.

The Lady Panthers made just four field goals in the second quarter, but Calhoon got the bulk of Cabot’s points in that time at the free-throw line. Calhoon had all of the Lady Panthers’ free-throw attempts in the first half, going 9 of 14 at the stripe for 64 percent.

Things didn’t get much better for Bryant in the third quarter. Two quick baskets by junior forward Alyssa Hamilton sparked a 7-0 Cabot run to open the second half. The run was capped with a three-pointer by senior guard Lakyn Crumbly near the six-minute mark of the period.

Bryant scored its first points since the first quarter on a three-pointer by Peyton Weaver on the ensuing possession, but Crumbly gave the momentum right back to the Lady Panthers after getting her own putback just seconds later, which made the score 32-11 Cabot with 4:42 remaining in the period.

Cabot outscored Bryant 18-6 in the third quarter to lead by a comfortable 41-14 margin at the start of the fourth quarter.

Lady Panther coach Carla Crowder sat all but one her starters through the majority of the final eight minutes, which allowed Bryant to score a plethora of baskets down the stretch that in the end made the game appear to be closer than it actually was.

Sophomore forward Anna Sullivan was the only Lady Panther starter to play the bulk of the fourth quarter. Sullivan is a valuable floor contributor for the Lady Panthers, but normally plays off the bench.

Crowder had to adjust her lineup with junior guard Danielle McWilliams out with an ankle injury. McWilliams suffered the injury at an invitational tournament in Mansfield, Texas over the holiday break.

It isn’t a serious injury, but the timetable for her return to the floor is unknown. Other than Hamilton, the rest of the Lady Panther starters Monday were sophomores.

Those sophomores are Sullivan, Taylor, Calhoon and Rachel Allgood.

Cabot outrebounded Bryant 22-16 in the game. The Lady Panthers finished with 11 turnovers. Bryant had double the amount of turnovers with 22, 16 of which were Cabot takeaways. Cabot finished the game 16 of 42 from the floor for 38 percent, while Bryant was 12 of 30 for 40 percent.

Calhoon led all scorers with 15 points, all of which came in the first half. Hamilton was the only other Lady Panther to finish in double figures. She scored 12 points and had a game-high seven rebounds. Weaver and Allen each scored 14 points to lead Bryant.

The Lady Panthers will open 7A/6A East Conference play Friday at top-ranked North Little Rock. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Lady ’Rabs whip Bison

Leader sportswriter

A Presley Carter free throw gave the Lady Bison the first lead of the game, but it was all Lonoke from that point on, as the Lady Jackrabbits soundly beat Carlisle 45-26 Friday at Bison Arena in the first meeting between the two high-school teams since the 2000 season.

Carter’s free throw put the first point on the board for the home team, but the Lady Rabbits (9-4) scored the final 12 points of the first quarter to lead 12-1 by the start of the second.

Carlisle (5-6) was held without a field goal in the first eight minutes of the game, and didn’t make its first basket from the field till the 4:17 mark of the second quarter, which came on a putback by Lady Bison post Faith Walker.

Walker’s putback cut Lonoke’s lead to 15-5, and by the end of the first half, the Lady Rabbits pushed their lead to 24-7. Lonoke’s defense held Carlisle to 1 of 17 shooting in the first half, which left Lady Rabbits’ coach Nathan Morris pleased with his team’s defensive play.

“We felt like we’d be able to defend on the perimeter,” said Morris. “We knew the Walker kid would be pretty good, and we really concentrated on putting our best defender (Amanda Sexton) on her and doubling around her, while also putting a lot of pressure on their guards and I feel like we did that and did that pretty well.”

Within the first two minutes of the second half, the Lady Bison doubled their first-half field goals, both of which came on baskets by Carter, who led Carlisle with 14 points in the game.

Carter’s second basket of the half cut Carlisle’s deficit to 26-11 with 6:10 to play in the third quarter, but Lonoke’s Jarrelyn McCall put the Lady Rabbits up 20 on a short jumper near the 5:00 mark of the period, which made the score 32-12.

Lonoke pushed its lead to 36-14 by the end of the period on an Ashlyn Allen bucket in transition just before the buzzer sounded. The visiting Lady Rabbits held their largest lead of the fourth quarter at 39-16, but Carlisle’s seniors were able to trim the deficit to 19 by the end of the game.

Even though his team got the easy win, Morris still sees a lot of room for improvement.

“There’s always a lot to work on,” Morris said. “It’s the same things we haven’t been doing. We’re still standing too high and we don’t block out very well. We play straight up on offense and defense, both dribbling and defensively, and we’re still limited on our defensive rebounds.

“So there’s always a lot to work on, and those are the things we’ll have to improve on going into the conference season.”

Lonoke finished the game 17 of 45 from the field for 38 percent, and outrebounded Carlisle 28-23. Carlisle finished 7 of 37 from the floor for 19 percent, and committed 10 more turnovers in the game than Lonoke did, finishing with 24.

Allen led Lonoke with 13 points. McCall finished with 11. For the Lady Bison, Carter added six rebounds to go with her game-high 14 points. Only two other Carlisle players scored in the game. Seniors Walker and Sloane Henderson, who made her season debut after returning from an ACL injury, scored six points apiece.

The Lady Rabbits play again Friday at home against Newport. The Carlisle ladies also play again Friday, but on road at Palestine Wheatley. Both are conference games and are set to tipoff at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers pour in 74 in victory

Leader sportswriter

BRYANT – Leading by a point at the end of the first quarter of Monday’s nonconference finale at the Hornets’ Nest, Cabot gained separation in the second quarter and never looked back, as the Panthers left Saline County with a 74-52 win over the Bryant Hornets.

Thanks to a baseline three-pointer by senior point guard Hunter York in the waning seconds of the first quarter, Cabot led Bryant 11-10 at the start of the second quarter. That momentum carried over into the second quarter as the Panthers opened the period with a 10-0 run, pushing their lead to 21-10.

The run was capped with a three-pointer by junior two-guard Jake Ferguson with 5:24 remaining in the opening half, and Cabot maintained its double-digit lead at halftime, leading 31-19.

“I just think we had good shot selection,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges of his team’s second-quarter run. “I told our guys coming in ‘Guys, if you make four or five passes they’re going to want to get the ball going on the other end so bad that they may give up some good shots for us.’

“I just thought we did a good job of executing what we did and trying to defend their three, and we did a good job rebounding for the most part. I just thought we did a good job of getting everybody involved and I thought our scoring was fairly balanced, too.”

The Panthers use nine players in their normal rotation, and all nine scored Monday. York led the way offensively with 16 points and fellow senior Adolfo Iglesias came off the bench to score 14. Sophomores Garrett Rowe and Hunter Southerland scored nine points apiece.

Ferguson scored eight points. Senior post Michael Smith finished with seven points, and fellow seniors Nick Thomas and Jeremiah Penner added four. Sophomore post Jared Dixon rounded out the scoring for Cabot. He scored two points.

As far as the team’s shot selection, Cabot couldn’t have had a much better showing from the floor. The Panthers finished the game 27 of 50 from the floor for 54 percent, bettering Bryant’s 41 percent on 18 of 44 shooting.

“These kids, they’ve worked hard for us and done what we’ve asked,” Bridges said. “They try to take good shots for us. We don’t really take a lot of bad shots. I’m not going to say we don’t take any, but they try to take good shots. To come on the road and get that, you’ve got to like it.”

Cabot pushed its lead to 15 with 5:40 to play in the third quarter on a corner three by York, which made the score 36-21. Bryant never got within 15 points of the Panthers’ lead for the remainder of the game.

A pair of free throws by Smith with 3:06 left in the third quarter put the Panthers up 19 with the score 43-24, and Cabot maintained that 19-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter, leading 49-30.

An inside bucket by Thomas at the beginning of the fourth quarter pushed the Panther lead to 21.

Bryant (4-7) was able to trim its deficit to 15 on a couple of occasions in the game’s final minutes, but the Panthers didn’t let up, and with 41.4 seconds remaining, Cabot gained its largest lead at 23 on a free throw by Rowe, which made the score 74-51.

Bryant’s Cedarrian Crosby set the final score with a free throw in the waning seconds. Cabot finished the game with two fewer turnovers than Bryant with 15, but the most noticeable stat was on the boards. The Panthers had nearly double the rebounds as the Hornets, winning that margin 31-16.

Cabot finished its nonconference schedule 9-3, but will face a significant leap in competition Friday in the team’s 7A/6A East Conference opener, as the Panthers travel to North Little Rock for a matchup with the Charging Wildcats, last year’s class 7A state champions.

The boys’ game will tip-off after the girls’ matchup, which starts at 6 p.m.

SPORTS STORY >> Devils change approach, beat Rockets Friday

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville Red Devils enter conference play on a five-game winning streak after beating Little Rock Catholic 59-42 Friday at the Devils’ Den gymnasium. Jacksonville trailed for most of the first half, but a change in how to attack the Rockets’ 1-2-2 zone defense made the difference in the second half.

The change wasn’t so much one of strategy, but of implementation of the original strategy.

“In the second half, they finally started doing what they were asked to do,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “We had to attack the middle. They jumped into that 1-2-2, sort of 3-2 look and extended it out. The ball needed to be either driven inside, or passed inside. We didn’t do that in the first half. We settled for jumpers.”

Jacksonville attempted 10 three-point shots in the first half and made just two, one in each quarter. In the second half, guards Sergio Berkley and Devin Campbell attacked the rim more often, and got the ball inside to post player Kanaan Jackson. Those three led the Red Devils in scoring. Campbell had 22, Berkley 12 and Jackson 10 points.

“It’s hard to not shoot a wide-open three, and they were just giving them to us,” Joyner said. “But when you’re shooting at a low percentage, you have to know to try something else. At halftime I just told them to pass those up and concentrate on getting it inside. Once we did that and had some success, it got them out of that zone and into a man, and they couldn’t hold us in man.”

Catholic ran its offense very well in the first quarter. Point guard Chad Wharton had four assists in the first quarter, repeatedly finding open teammates near the basket. Wharton finished the game with just five assists, and two factors played a role in that. One was foul trouble. He picked up his third foul early in the second quarter and sat the rest of the half. He got his fourth right away in the third quarter, and fouled out shortly after taking the floor in the fourth.

The other factor was simply better defense by Jacksonville.

“Catholic is patient, passing the ball 20, 30 times waiting for that guy to come open under the basket. That’s why I like playing them in nonconference because you have to be disciplined on defense and it gives you an idea of where you’re at. But in the first quarter, they didn’t even have to pass it four or five times. We had a lot of breakdowns, trapping, people not rotating and leaving people under the goal. They’re waiting for you to make a mistake and we gave them opportunities in the first half. We did a lot better in the second half. Again, that’s why I like playing them.”

The Rockets built a 19-11 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter when Lance Thomas got a putback. Jacksonville’s Reggie Barnes hit a three pointer before the end of the half to make it a five-point game.

Jacksonville’s defense began turning things around in the second quarter, making it a one-point deficit at 26-25 at halftime, until the offense could catch up and take over.

Starting with Barnes’ three at the end of the first quarter, Jacksonville went on a 12-2 run, but it was a slow run. Back-to-back steals by Berkley and Tedrick Wolfe ended in layups and a 23-21 Jacksonville lead with three minutes left in the half.

After that, the game turned into a turnover contest. Jacksonville forced four turnovers in the final 2:50 of the half, but committed six in that time.

Jacksonville started the third quarter with a 10-2 run to take a 35-28 lead. LaQuan Smith got two steals on consecutive possessions. The first resulted in a missed shot, the second ended with Jackson feeding Campbell in transition for a three-point play.

Catholic came right back with six straight to make it a one-point game with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

Jacksonville led 38-36 with 30 seconds left when Jarvis McChriston scored all four of his points. He hit one of two free throws before Jacksonville forced a turnover.

McChriston got the ball out on the wing with 10 seconds left and lost it off his knee. The ball rolled between his defender’s legs. McChriston ran around the defender, scooped up the loose ball and drained a three pointer at the buzzer for a 42-26 lead and the momentum.

“We tell them to give quality minutes when you’re out there,” Joyner said. “All of them want to play the whole game and that can’t happen. So we tell them to make them count when you’re out there. Jarvis probably didn’t play as much as he wanted to, but he gave us a spark going into that last quarter with the game on the line. Any time you can grab the momentum that’s a good thing.”

Just like in the two previous quarters, Jacksonville started the fourth with a run. Campbell, Berkley and Jackson scored the first six points of the quarter, giving Jacksonville its biggest lead of the game at 48-36. Only this time, the Red Devils held the Rockets off and thwarted any comeback attempt.

Jacksonville punctuated the win with 3:47 remaining when Wolfe knocked the ball loose before sprinting to the basket. Campbell picked up the loose ball on the run and lobbed it toward the rim where Wolfe slammed it for a 53-37 lead.

Wolfe finished the game with six points, but led all players with 10 rebounds. Jackson added seven rebounds and four blocks to his 10 points.

“The coaching staff and his teammates have been imploring Kanaan to come on,” Joyner said. “He kind of issued himself a challenge because he knew he wasn’t playing up to the level he was at last year. He had a great tournament down in Monticello. So the last three or four games he’s finally answering that challenge. Him and Damarion Freeman and Wolfe have all been playing better. And that’s huge because it gives you a whole new dimension when you got your bigs playing well.”

Only two Catholic starters scored in the game and they were the leading scorers. Thomas finished with 18 points while William Hancock had 12.

Jacksonville began conference play on the road at Mills on Tuesday. Look for that game report on Saturday’s edition of The Leader. The Red Devils will also play Little Rock Christian at home on Friday.