Friday, July 24, 2015

EDITORIAL >> New district fears lawsuits

Keep your friends close, but your adversaries closer—going forward, that needs to be the motto of the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School Board and administrators, or its detachment from the Pulaski County Special School District could slip into another expensive, long-running legal quagmire.

The actual quote “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” often and inaccurately attributed to Sun Tzu in “The Art of War,” or occasionally to Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” is in fact the work of Mario Puzo and Michael Corleone in “The Godfather Part II.”

But John Walker is not an enemy. He is a frequent and litigious adversary as lawyer and champion for the Joshua Intervenors, representing black students within Pulaski County in a decades-old desegregation suit.

U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall essentially warned JNP on Monday to reach out to Walker and to keep him in the loop regarding desegregation-related matters such as the hiring mechanism, school facilities and discipline.

Those are areas in which PCSSD, and by extension, JNP, must satisfy Marshall that the districts are unitary in order to eventually escape court desegregation supervision.

Some of the progress that PCSSD has made toward achieving unitary status in the last few years, and the desegregation agreement settlement that permitted creation of the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District may well be attributable to the cordial working relationship between Walker and PCSSD attorney Allen Roberts.

No such collegiality exists between Walker and the JNP attorneys Scott Richardson and Patrick Wilson. Walker has suggested that Richardson—until late last year the state’s lead attorney in the desegregation case—had and has a conflict of interest.

Richardson has challenged Walker to take it up with the state Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct to cease the allegations.

Walker asked Marshall to stop the Sept. 15 election of JNP school board members because he said the five defined-zone and two at-large zone board districts adopted by the existing board restricted the chance of sufficient minority representation, diluted the minority vote and thus violated the Voting Rights Act.

Marshall declined to stop the election and suggested Walker could file a Voting Rights Act suit separately.

None of the alternatives Metroplan provided the JNP for board election zones would have provided more than one zone with a black majority.

Currently, on the appointed board, five of seven members are black and after the election there will be three or four black members on the seven-member board, although the school district is two-thirds white.

Without extreme gerrymandering, which could be illegal, it may be impossible to draw boundaries to create more than two predominately black zones out of seven, although Walker says he wants three minority-majority zones.

Walker says the reason he supported—or at least didn’t oppose—the new Jacksonville school district was that it could unlock millions of dollars in state matching aid unavailable to PCSSD for building and repairing schools, providing better facilities for all students and helping to make PCSSD unitary.

He says he sees little or no evidence of JNP moving toward facilities improvement. That’s because qualifying for the state facilities partnership participation is a slow process for which the district isn’t even eligible to apply until October for matching in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.

If Walker or someone he trusted attended the school board meetings, he would understand this.An invitation from the JNP board is in order.

It appears that the Defense Department will kick in about $18 million to $20 million to replace Arnold Drive Elementary School, possibly in 2016, and the air base is likely to provide 240 acres for the construction of a new high school.

Another bone of contention surfaced when the JNP board hired, Jeremy Owoh, who is black, as an assistant superintendent, but also hired interim Superintendent Bobby Lester’s son, Bobby E. Lester, who is white, as the other assistant superintendent over a black elementary school principal, Janice Walker.

Janice Walker apparently scored two points higher on the interview, but then superintendent-in-waiting Tony Wood had worked with the younger Lester at the state Education Department and wanted to hire him. PCSSD Superintendent Jerry Guess turned thumbs down on that hiring.

Until it stands alone on July 1, 2016, JNP continues to operate under Guess’ direction. Guess, saying that bypassing Jancie Walker might make a problem with gaining and keeping unitary status in hiring and staffing, refused to hire Lester.

For now, all such decisions must go through Guess, according to the judge, who asked all sides to submit hiring briefs to him by Aug. 3, with the next desegregation hearing set for Aug. 20.

TOP STORY >> Musicians who made stars shine

Leader editor

Legacy/Sony Entertainment has issued “Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City,” a two-CD compilation to coincide with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s exhibition celebrating the music of several gifted studio musicians who backed not only Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash but many other stars who helped create the Nashville sound in the 1960s and beyond.

“They came in here, recorded them, they got hits and they left. We turned them out like water, man for 20 years,” said Fred Carter Jr., one of the many talented session musicians who made the stars sound special, creating a timeless country sound.

Other backup musicians included here are Charlie McCoy (who later became musical director of “Hee Haw”), Kenny Buttrey, Pete Drake, Mac Gayden, Wayne Moss and several others who contributed to this historic CD. It has helpful liner notes by Pete Finney and Michael Gray, the organizers of the Hall of Fame exhibit.

The Nashville studio musicians remind you of the Wrecking Crew, the mostly anonymous group of session musicians in Los Angeles who backed Herb Alpert, the Beach Boys, Glenn Campbell, Cher, the Mamas and the Papas, Nancy Sinatra, Phil Spector and his “wall of sound” and many others.

Several Nashville musicians recorded as McCoy and the Escorts on “Harpoon Man” and as Nashville’s Area Code 615 on “Stone Fox Chase.” Dylan told McCoy he’d admired “Harpoon Man,” which spurred his interest in recording “Blonde on Blonde” in Music City.

The 36 tracks here include Dylan performing several of his songs (“Absolutely Sweet Maria,” “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” a previously unreleased “I’m Not for You” and “Girl from the North Country” in a duet with Cash), as well as several others performing Dylan songs: Cash singing “It Ain’t Me, Babe” with June Carter doing backup vocals, Ian and Sylvia on “This Wheel’s on Fire” and Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs singing “Down in the Flood,” although Flatt and Scruggs needed no backup musicians to make them sound great.

“Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats” not only celebrates the Man in Black and the troubadour from Duluth, Minn. This is the soundtrack of America, with superb sound, performed by a melting pot of musicians, not just Southerners and Northerners, but several Canadians as well: In addition to the husband-and-wife team of Ian and Sylvia, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young are also included.

There’s much more: The Byrds, J.J. Cale, Kris Kristofferson (on a demo record called “If You Don’t Like Hank Williams”), Linda Ronstadt, Leon Russell, Simon and Garfunkel, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr recording separately.

Also Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind,” Joan Baez with “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” Tracy Nelson with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” with Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis and Doc Watson.

There’s also Eric Clapton with Carl Perkins and Cash doing “Matchbox” live on “The Johnny Cash Show,” which aired on ABC from 1969-1971 during the height of the Vietnam War.

The show made TV executives nervous as it featured such prominent counterculture figures as Dylan and Kristofferson with country and rock stars who make this double CD the record of the year. It belongs not only in the Country Music Hall of Fame but also in the Smithsonian Museum and in your collection.

Eb Davis, a fine blues singer from Elaine down in Phillips County, now lives in Germany and continues to tour around Europe and the world.

He still comes home every couple of years to perform at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena. He’ll be there in October and will probably perform several numbers from his terrific new CD, “EBsolutely: Eb Davis and the Superband Live at the A-Trane in Berlin.”

This is his second live CD recorded at the club that Davis calls home. The CD includes his German-born wife, Nina, on piano, along with a band that includes William Pollock and Ben (King) Perkoff on saxophone, Jay Bailey on guitar, Tom Blacksmith on bass and Lenjes Robinson on drums.

Eb Davis, who may be the last of the old Delta blues shouters, is in fine form here. He reaches back to his Arkansas Delta blues roots, with a touch of Memphis soul, much like another east Arkansas legend, the Rev. Al Green, who still preaches regularly at his Full Gospel Tabernacle Church not far from Graceland.

Davis lived for a while in New York before he joined the military and decided to stay in Berlin after his discharge. He performs regularly in Berlin, Hamburg and elsewhere in Europe.

But his heart is in the Delta, and he’s been telling friends he’ll be back this fall for King Biscuit. We’ll look for him on Cherry Street in October.

TOP STORY >> Mother and son find an angel

Leader staff writer

During the extremely hot weather, people are asked to check on elderly neighbors.

A Lonoke police officer took it upon himself to do that and may have helped save a life.

Lonoke High School re-source officer Adrian Page is on street patrol during the summer. His cousin, Nikki Martin, saw on Lonoke County Sheriff John Staley’s Facebook page a recommendation to check on the elderly and young during the hot weather.

Page then decided to check on Martin’s neighbor, Linda Archer, 72, and her 30-year-old son living at 904 Barnes St.

“Monday it was on my heart, pulling hard, and the Lord told me to handle it,” Page said. He discovered on Tuesday that Archer was living without electricity or water.

Archer told The Leader on Friday they had been without lights for 45 days and without water for three weeks.

A neighbor allowed them to use a spare ice box outside, so their food would not spoil. They had to buy bottled water.

Martin contacted several people and raised $300 in three hours. Page used the money to get Archer’s two-months’ worth of past-due water and electric bills paid up.

Since the power could not be reconnected that night, the police department allowed Archer and her son to cool off there if needed.

Interim Police Chief Randy Mauk then authorized giving vouchers from the Lonoke Ministerial Alliance to put the Archers in a motel room for the evening and have a meal.

The power and water were turned on 10 days ago. The Archers are still trying to stay cool with several fans, as their air conditioning is broken.

According to Page, Archer inherited the house in a trust to take care of her mother after her father passed away. They fell behind in their bills after her mother passed away.

Archer was saving her Social Security checks to pay the bills and to get her water and electricity turned on. The family had accrued property-tax debt, and the house was auctioned off by Lonoke County.

The new owner has not made them move out yet, but the Archers will now need to find a new place to live.

“I’m trying to make a difference in this life. The Lord is trying to bless someone else through you — a miracle delivery agent through the Lord,” Page said.

Archer said, “I didn’t know where to go to next. I was in real desperate need. They say you have an angel somewhere. (Page) is mine.”

Mauk added, “We don’t put this badge on just to arrest people. All our officers have compassion. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We have several resources at our disposal to handle different situations for our citizens.”

TOP STORY >> Library in Cabot prepares to open

Leader staff writer

The books are on the shelves, and the lights are on as anticipation grows for the new $2.6 million Cabot Public Library to open in mid-August.

Cabot Public Library branch manager Tammie Evans said it only took a day and a half to move the collection from the Arlene Cherry Memorial Library on North Grant Street to the 4,000-square-foot library at the old Knight’s grocery store building, 909 W. Main St.

Walmart employees volunteered on Monday to help with the move. The company provided an 18-wheeler and a driver to transport 70,000 items to the new facility.

“The move happened a lot quicker than we expected,” Evans said.

She said work on opening the library had been going well. The library staff was able to take a breath after the move.

“We are making sure everything is in its proper place. The computer system is on and working. We are cleaning, getting everything prepped for the opening. Lots of progress is happening with the building.

“Hopefully, the parking lot will be finished soon,” Evans said.

The library was scheduled to open in June and now it will be sometime in August.

The new facility is part of the bond reissue Cabot voters approved in 2013, when residents extended a one-cent city sales tax. The city owns the building and land.

The Lonoke/Prairie County Regional Library System is providing the reading materials, new furniture, shelving and computers.

“We are anticipating the opening and adding to the collection, providing more programs with larger participation and holding educational classes,” Evans continued.

She said, “We had a lot of people trying to call and email, asking when the library will be open.”

When asked for a definite day, Evans shrugged and said no date had been set.

She said it had been a domino effect of delays. The rains of April and May pushed back the paving of the parking lot.

Delays in electrical work pushed back the delivery of furniture and shelving, which pushed back laying the flooring.

Work on the landscaping and the outdoor green spaces will began when construction crews move their office trailers and equipment off the property.

“We ask patrons to bear with us. When the Arlene Cherry library closed earlier this month, patrons were limited to checking out 10 items. Materials can be returned at their convenience at the old library drop box. Any fines for overdue materials while the Cabot library is closed will be waived if they are not turned in on time,” Evans said.

A grand opening of the library will be held in October. Evans said several local restaurants are participating with lots of free food and giveaways.

TOP STORY >> Base commander shares vision

By 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

(Editor’s note: 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander Col. Charles Brown Jr. talked about his vision, goals and plans for the wing in an interview July 15 with Senior Airman Scott Poe and Tech. Sgt. Jason Armstrong, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs. An edited transcript follows.)

Q. How did it feel to be selected to come back to Little Rock AFB as the installation commander?

A. It was definitely humbling. The thing that I probably thought about the most in the lead up to taking command is what is the best way I can take care of that wing and the installation and really share what the base has to offer to the community and what the community has to offer to the base?

(I didn’t have) a lot of sleepless nights, but I definitely had a lot on my mind as to not wanting to fail. (I have) so much passion and love for the mission and the airmen here that it’s a lot of weight to put on one person’s shoulders. I’m the commander by position, and that comes with its own scope of authorities and responsibilities, but it’s actually a team.

That was the part that really was the “warm blanket” that brought me in and took some of that pressure off of me. You would think the pressure got greater when I took command, but it actually was lessened when I saw the quality of our airmen and the quality of the mission — the genuine trust I could have in the airmen to do their jobs day-to-day and see them well-balanced and fit. I saw families out doing things together and saw the community rallying around them.

It’s really hard to describe what it feels like for someone who hasn’t had a genuine home in over 21 years to actually come back to the place that feels like home, live on the installation and be reunited with friends and family.

You know, if my career were to end today, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but it would definitely be at my high point being here.

Q. What is your vision for Little Rock AFB under your command?

A. To do the mission day-to-day, and not have to worry about (those little details) at my level. I don’t need to dive down into the lowest tactical levels to find out if people are doing their jobs. Knowing those questions are already answered probably saves me six months (of time) so I can do things like reach out to the community, and I can host civic leader tours. (This allows us to) expand our horizon by transforming the wing into a C-130J wing, ensuring it’s right-sized and that it’s resourced to be combat effective. We’ll be first to get there, in what has been an 11-year transformation of transferring C-130H and E aircraft either into retirement or into the Reserve or Guard components.

By producing combat aviators and C-130J’s that come together and go out into the far reaches of the globe and execute that mission comes a new paradigm, if you will, of looking at the way we do business. Being able to ensure that from the flightline to the front gate we’re resourced properly, our personnel are here properly, and that our infrastructure is right-sized — we don’t have excess capacity where we don’t need it.

What that means to us is we are being good stewards of taxpayers’ (money) when we’re doing everything we can, and we’ve ensured we have all the resources and training that we need.

We trust our civilian leaders, and they trust us back. We have confidence they have our back, and we will do what we’re asked when called upon. Then to know I don’t have to worry about unit-level dynamics: one, because I have great group commanders and unit-level commanders, but, two, because the airmen know what they’re doing and the pride they have in mission success goes beyond any need for me to ever micro-manage them.

Q. How would you describe the importance of our relationship with the central Arkansas community?

A. What I see is not necessarily a “need” to have an Air Force base here, but a true desire to have the Air Force base here. There are a lot of other places where you could fly C-130s, and we exhibit that in the state of Texas and Japan and Germany, but the reason we’re home to combat airlift and the center of all things C-130 is because we have a community that’s embraced our mission.

We have a partnership with the 314th Airlift Wing, 189th AW and the 913th Airlift Group that they find value in being in Arkansas; they genuinely enjoy being in Arkansas.

When you have the perfect combination of an “at-home” advantage, as well as mission impact, and then you have people who want to be here and people who strive to stay here and (thousands) who decided to retire here — I think that’s a testament to the community.

Their desire to keep the mission here and the advantage we have is that we are much more effective through the community support we have – from all the way down to Hot Springs, north up to Vilonia and Russellville and across the state.

Q. What are your thoughts on leading Combat airlifters?

A. I tell you, the thing that has made me put my uniform on every day and gotten me out the door is the airmen. Whether I’m in the position to lead or whether I’m being charged to follow, the folks I have worked with over the last 21 years are the best people I’ve ever met.

The leadership part is an honor. It’s really sad when it goes away. I hope to lead every day. I hope to end each day thinking to myself: Did I make a difference in anybody’s life today? Did I stop and talk to an airman who I thought could use a “hello” whether they were in a good mood or bad mood? And so, if I can’t find time in my day to do that, I regret it at the end of each day.

I do my best to get out there and genuinely thank them because, as far as I’m concerned, I have the best job in the Air Force and, if I can’t share that and make this tour as valuable for everybody on this base as it is for me, then I don’t feel like I did my job to its fullest.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot volleyball showing signs of improvement

Leader sports editor

The Cabot volleyball team has enjoyed a successful summer. The Lady Panthers went to the first of two big team camps hosted by the University of Arkansas. After two days of training and instruction, Cabot won the two-day tournament format of the camp.

Second-year Cabot coach Kham Chanthaphasouk didn’t want to single any player out for extraordinary play, but did recognize overall team improvement.

“Everybody really played hard and played together well,” said Chanthaphasouk. “They moved a little better and communicated. I think there’s definite signs of improvement.”

On Friday, the Lady Panthers wrapped up their own youth camp they hosted all week long. Monday through Wednesday the Cabot coaches ran a camp for grades six through nine. On Thursday and Friday, the Lady Panther players coached fifth graders and younger.

“The girls have done a tremendous job,” Chanthaphasouk said of his players. “We coaches sort of go around making sure everything’s going smoothly, but the girls have really been running the show. They’ve been outstanding.”

Cabot lost a few seniors from last year’s squad, but it was mostly a young team that finished second to North Little Rock in the 7A-East. The head coach still thinks the Charging Lady Wildcats will be the team to beat, but believes his team’s improvement, along with a year’s experience, should make it more competitive.

“North Little Rock swept us last year and they’re still the team to beat,” Chanthaphasouk said. “Central was good, too. We’re playing, I think, a tougher nonconference schedule this year to help get us ready for the level of competition we’ll be seeing regularly during conference play. Mountain Home, Marion and Jonesboro are all very strong programs that we’ll play twice in conference, even though it won’t actually count on a our conference record.”

Chanthaphasouk wasn’t familiar with many of the teams at the camp in Fayetteville, so he was hesitant to say his team’s success there is an indicator of things to come in the high school season, but he was still pleased with the result.

“I think there were more out of state teams there than in-state,” Chanthaphasouk said. “None of the major northwest Arkansas teams were there and I’m not sure why. They have two camps and one was this week. Of course we couldn’t be there because we’re having our camp, but I wonder if that’s the one all the other Arkansas teams are going to. But we’re participating next month in the Conway jamboree, so that will be a lot of good competition there.”

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot legion loses at state

Leader sports editor

The Cabot-Centennial Bank senior team stranded a dozen base runners and suffered a 4-2 defeat to Bryant in the first round of the American Legion state baseball tournament at UA-Fort Smith’s Crowder Field on Friday. A three-run fourth inning for the Black Sox was the difference in the game, as Cabot pitcher Brett Brockinton held the defending state champions at bay most of the game.

Bryant scored one run in the second inning after Trey Breeding hit a leadoff single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Logan Allen then hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice that scored Breeding.

Brockinton sat the Sox down in order in the third inning, but a string of hits to start the fourth put Cabot in trouble against Bryant’s ace Jason Hastings.

Breeding again started the rally with a leadoff double down the left-field line. Hastings moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. Dylan Hurt then doubled to the wall in right field for the RBI. Allen then singled to put runners at the corners before Austin Kelly’s ground ball out drove in Hurt and moved to Allen to second base. Connor Tatum hit an RBI single to center that scored Allen and gave the Black Sox a 4-0 lead.

Cabot got one run back in the top of the fifth, but Hastings came through with a pair of clutch strikeouts. Nine-hole hitter Austin Null hit a one-out single to left field, but Kelly fanned leadoff hitter Dylan Bowers for the second out. Lee Sullivan and Brockinton hit back-to-back singles, with Brockinton’s shot to right scoring Null. With two runners on base, Kelly struck out cleanup hitter Logan Kirkendoll to escape the jam.

Another three-hit rally in the sixth scored just one run for Cabot. Brandon Jones hit a one-out single to left center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Caleb Harpole grounded out to third base for the second out, but Braden Jarnagin and Null hit back-to-back singles, with Jarnagin’s hit to right-center field scoring Jones and leaving runners at the corners. But Hastings fanned Bowers again, standing two more Centennial Bank base runners.

Cabot got back-to-back, one-out hits in the seventh, but again stranded two runners. After going down in order in the eighth, Cabot stranded two more in the ninth after base hits by Sullivan and Kirkendoll. The Zone 3 runners-up also failed to score in the second inning despite four of its five batters reaching base.

Hastings threw all nine innings for Bryant, giving up 14 hits. Null went 3 for 3 for Cabot while Sullivan went 3 for 5. Kirkendoll turned around a horrendous 0 for 3 with three strikeouts through five innings by getting base hits in his final two at-bats.

Brockinton threw seven innings, giving up eight hits along with one walk and one strikeout. Shepherd threw the last inning for Cabot without yielding a hit.

Cabot, 11-11, will play an elimination game at 10 a.m. today at Crowder Field.

SPORTS STORY >> Henderson takes gold

Leader sports editor

On Wednesday in Toronto, McAlmont’s Jeff Henderson became the first American to win the Pan Am Games long jump since Carl Lewis did it in 1987. Henderson qualified first on Tuesday, jumping just over 27 feet. The six-jump final round was all but over after Henderson’s first jump on Wednesday.

Henderson leapt a +4.1 m/s wind-aided 8.54 meters, which is 28-feet, 1/4-inch. That’s a fraction of an inch from being two feet farther than anyone else jumped in the qualifying round on Tuesday.

Henderson already had the two longest legal jumps of the year at 8.50 meters. By going farther than that with his first jump on Wednesday, it left the rest of the field with a major uphill battle.

He closed the competition with a wind-legal jump of 8.52 meters (27-feet, 11-7/16-inches), which now gives him the three longest legal jumps in the world this year.

Despite the phenomenal first jump, Henderson wouldn’t say he felt he had it won.

“I knew my first jump would be far, but I didn’t expect it to be that far,” Henderson told The Leader on Thursday.

Next up is the USATF World Championships in Beijing, where Henderson will again be among the favorites.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TOP STORY >> Book fires up old memories

Leader staffwriter

Mundane, mournful, memorable, miraculous — words that describe the mammoth undertaking of chronicling the first 20 years of the Jacksonville Fire Department’s history.
Jacksonville Alderman Barbara Mashburn culled through piles of department logs to create the 970-page behemoth that is being sold as a fundraiser for the fire department.

May 27, 1947 – Not much doin’ for the last 24 hours.

Mashburn, who is actively involved in numerous historical projects like saving the city’s  long-gone train depot, the town’s first jail and trying to keep alive a stretch of historical buildings on First Street, is already at work on a second volume for the fire department.
The book is reminiscent of a captain’s log with its dates and times.

Mashburn kept all the slang, colloquiums and misspellings as they appeared in the logs. “It just made it more authentic,” the alderman said.

June 10, 1947 – Burk said in call for a man to come to Ballard office an demonstrate fire truck to some men so Fisher wanted to go, so he went, and it was a fire truck he had never seen before, but he said he made out allright.

The department was officially created in 1947 with one full-time paid employee, the chief. He received $315 a month. All other firefighters were considered volunteers, but the 1947 ordinance allowed them to be paid $2.50 for each fire attended and $1 per drill.

Even though 1947 is listed as the creation, by ordinance, of the department, fire protection for the city actually started six years earlier.
In her book, Mashburn says Jacksonville had a population of just 100 in 1941, but two fire stations because of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant. The plant employed more people than there were residents in Jacksonville at the time.

June 15, 1947 – Drove ford pumper over area to build up battery. Generator is not working too good and battery was down when we came on duty.

Firefighters numbered 85 at the time and stayed busy with the numerous fires that broke out at the ordnance plant. The fire trucks were green.

Once the war was over, the department dropped down to just five full-time members and that’s when the city took over the responsibility.

June 25, 1947 – Drove Chev. Truck to limber up motor.

H.S. McClung was named the first chief in 1949 and died a year later. This is where the mourning came in. Surprisingly, his death and funeral were not mentioned in the logs, Mashburn said.

She came up with the idea of the book after a tour of the fire stations. “The twin beds look like the old beds that used to be in the Children’s Hospital. All the furnishings were mix and match, not a set anywhere.”

She said the city is very good at providing money to keep the fire trucks and ambulances up to par and firefighters with necessary equipment and protection. “When people think about the fire department, that’s what they think about.”

In the 2015 State of the City report, current Fire Chief Alan Laughy said, “We need at least two fire engines as they are 15 and 19 years old. The average service life of a frontline engine with JFD’s call volume is eight to 10 years. We’ve also struggled with maintenance issues with this older fleet. In the first 120 days of 2014, for example, there were only three days when a vehicle was not needing repairs.”

July 21, 1947 – Abbott went too give Juels a blood transfuseun, all duties completed.

Mashburn said, when the city built the fire station on Redmond Road, the facility was top notch, “but I don’t think we had money to furnish it.”

With the book, that sells for about $40, including tax, Mashburn is hoping to create a fund for the firefighters to improve their living conditions.

The book is available through the fire department and will be at area bookstores in August.

December 24, 1947 – Goose cooked. Cook worked 11-7 every body happy.

The book also includes a conversation with Wayman Schmitt, who became one of the department’s longest-serving chiefs with a tenure running from 1961 to 1980. The chief admits he had no thoughts about becoming a firefighter, let alone the chief.
But he joined as a volunteer in January 1959 and became a regular firefighter four months later.

November 25, 1950 – SIREN BLOWED, 6:30 p.m. Fire Cafeteria Building in ord. plant caused from burning grass, damage $25.00.

Recalling the journey, Schmitt said, “I had a grocery store. I wasn’t interested in being a fireman. But they had a situation where a lot of firemen quit, and were using volunteer fireman. They asked me to be one, so I said, ‘All right, if I’m not busy.’ The first few times the siren went off, I was busy waiting on customers and what can you do?”

He continued, “but the next time it went for a grass fire, I went and helped them put it out. And it really excited me; after that I was real gung ho.”

June 1, 1951 Mr. Tuckers Rt1 House Burnt Up.

The book also recounts firefighter Wilbur Smart’s rescue of three children from a burning home. It was a situation filled with emotions: Joy for the kids who were saved and sadness for the dad who died trying to save them before the firefighter arrived.

For Smart’s actions, which resulted in the saving of lives without regard for his own safety, the man who would become chief in 1980 was the first in the department to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Firefighter Charles Van Nos-trand also received the medal for his actions that day.

The medal has since been renamed the Wilbur Dean Smart Medal of Honor.

April 1, 1966 – Ramada Inn kid set Kleenex dispenser on fire.

In 2014, the Jacksonville Fire Department had 3,752 fire runs, about 10 a day, and another 3,541 ambulance or EMT calls, also about 10 a day.

The department is operating this year on a budget of about $4.8 million a year, a far cry from 1952 when the March expense report listed $770 for fireman salaries, $34 for volunteer firemen, $10.46 for gas and oil, $5.85 for battery chargin, brake fluid, $7.19 for soap, mops, paint and lye, $11 for telephone and $2.50 repair on Ford pumper.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

TOP STORY >> Chance to win with recycling

Leader staff writer

Recycle Advantage is a Pulaski County-wide program to educate and promote recycling by offering weekly and monthly prizes.

Carol Bevis, with the Regional Recycle and Waste Reduction District, briefed the Jacksonville City Council on the program last Thursday.

Jacksonville residents already recycle more than 1.2 million pounds a year.

Bevis gave away tickets to the Little Rock Zoo and Arkansas Travelers games at the meeting to show those attending the type of prizes one can win. She said there are weekly drawings and monthly drawings. In the three months that the program has been operating, Jacksonville residents have won two of the three big monthly prizes.

She told the council that, to be eligible for the prizes, all one had to do was register at

“The idea for the program, Bevis said, “is to promote recycling in Pulaski County by offering local prizes and discounts. It also promotes area businesses through the incentive program.

“The more we can recycle, the less we’ll fill up our landfills. Some of our county landfills only have five or six years left,” Bevis said.

Besides the county-wide drawings, Bevis said, at certain times, the mayor and county judge will be out on “recycling patrols.” When they spot someone recycling, they might stop and reward that person with a $50 bill, Bevis explained.

She told the council that, this fall, the incentive program, in a slightly different format, will be offered in area schools. Grant money will be available for schools to start their own recycling programs, too.

In 2014, Jacksonville collected, processed and sold 1,223,190 pounds of recyclables, saving the city $13,699.61 in landfill fees. The recycling center drive-thru served 8,156 customers, a 4 percent increase from 2013.

According to Randy Watkins with the public works department, revenues from recyclable goods totaled $77,191.78. More than 11,000 used tires were recycled in 2014, along with 66,000 pounds of electronics.

Watkins said this year’s numbers would be as good or better. “We are as busy as ever at the recycling facility,” Watkins said.

TOP STORY >> Police arrest 11 after 80-person fight at pool

Leader staff writer

Ten juveniles and an adult were arrested Saturday on assault and disorderly conduct charges after police responded at 2:58 p.m. to a fight at Splash Zone Water Park, 201 W. Martin St.

According to one of several reports, 70 to 80 black men and women started fighting in the grassy area at the park as police were investigating the initial incident.

A caller reported that the first fight was in the lobby, but it had moved into the parking lot by the time officers arrived, according to a news release.

Several people started shouting and arguing in the playground area, then multiple fights broke out after that, the release states.

According to several reports, the people involved were yelling profanities and disobeying officers’ orders to leave the area. A police dog was used for crowd control. One officer wrote in a report that his head was struck while he was breaking up a fight between two people.

A lifeguard said he saw five to seven people “jumping” one individual. He told police that he and three other lifeguards tried to break that fight up.

The lifeguard also reported that a white man was assaulted by 50 people while police were at the scene but that the man left before officers could speak with him.

Two white victims, a brother and sister, said they were attacked by 10-15 black men and women after the brother told the crowd that was fighting to watch out for the kids at the park and the sister attempted to get her brother out of the area.

An officer who arrived around 3 p.m. wrote in a report that he saw 30 people fighting then and four officers were attempting to break up the altercations.

According another report, suspected marijuana was found on one of the women police arrested. That woman was charged with possession. No other drugs and no weapons were involved.

The State Police, the Cabot and Sherwood police departments, and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office assisted Jacksonville police in handling the situation.

TOP STORY >> Lehoczky: A class act and witness to history

Istvan (Steve) Bela Lehoczky fought the Russians in Budapest in 1956 before he fled to America.
Leader editor

Istvan (Steve) Bela Lehoczky, the patriarch of the Hungarian-American community in Little Rock, passed away July 10 at the age of 82.

He was one happy fellow. He loved his adopted country and eventually settled in Little Rock, where he repaired foreign cars. He also loved soccer and started the Riverdale Soccer Club and coached soccer at Catholic High School.

Steve fell outside a restaurant in April and was in rehab for months. We visited him the Sunday before he passed away. He could barely move, and he couldn’t talk, but we knew he recognized us.

My wife said he looked good and hoped he’d go home in a few weeks. He’d fallen asleep while we were there, and we told a nurse we’d come back next Sunday.

A few days later, Steve took a turn for the worse and died in the middle of the night.

A veteran of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, Steve had an outgoing personality that turned somber only when he recalled the horrors of the past, which wasn’t often.

He was tough in his youth — you had to be strong to make it across the Hungarian-Austrian border after the Soviets crushed the revolution. I was just a child, but we kept moving as the searchlights and tracer bullets lit up the sky.

When we became friends decades later in Arkansas, we realized we’d lived in the same refugee camp in Austria. He’d offer a toast to our survival with a shot of palinka, Hungarian plum brandy. Palinka may have helped him drown his sorrows, at least for a while.

Maybe Steve made friends easily because of his Hungarian accent — Hungarians of a certain age in this country all sound like Edward Teller, Sir Georg Solti, Ernie Kovacs, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Peter Lorre, along with other Hungarian character actors who helped make “Casablanca” first-rate entertainment directed by the Hungarian-born Michael Curtiz.

You could hear Steve laugh from a block away. He’d hug you and kiss you on the cheeks just because you showed up for his amazing goulash. He cooked it in an outdoor kettle over a bonfire with his Turkish friend, Guner Eruren.

They stirred it for hours until it must have tasted like goulash back home in Gyula, the small town in eastern Hungary with the medieval fortress where Steve was born.

He had happy memories playing there as a child and had asked that his ashes be buried in the fortress.

Steve didn’t want to dwell on the past, but he must have hoped I’d write about his experiences — which I did several times over the 25 years I knew him — so history wouldn’t forget the ordinary victims of communism and fascism.

He told me once he’d witnessed the Holocaust as a child when his Jewish neighbors were deported to Auschwitz. The Nazis made his mother search the Jewish women for valuables before they were put in cattle cars to the death camp.

That was one of the few times I’d seen him fight back tears. The other time was when he talked about the 1956 Revolution. He didn’t want to sound like a hero: He was a 23-year-old fighter during the revolution and was shot at as he ran across a square in Budapest with his 19-year-old fiancé, who died in his arms.

Later, Steve and his friend, John Elekes, were caught in a Soviet ambush. They split up and never saw each other again.

Steve always wondered what had happened to his long-lost friend. Almost 40 years later, Steve walked into a bar on Markham Street in Little Rock.

The bartender said, “Steve, you’re Hungarian, aren’t you? I want you to meet a C-130 pilot from Little Rock Air Force Base. His name is John Elekes.”

John was his friend’s son. C-130 pilots deliver people and supplies into war zones and humanitarian aid to earthquake victims and refugees.

That’s what young John Elekes was doing: Flying high to make the world a better place one generation after his father and Steve Lehoczky were dodging Soviet bullets.

Steve asked the young pilot about his dad. The son said his father had passed away in New Jersey a few months earlier.

Now Steve Lehoczky is gone, too. There will be a memorial service at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 29 at Ruebel Funeral Home in Little Rock, followed by a reception at Whole Hog Café, both on Markham Street. Someone might even slip in a small bottle of palinka.

He will then make his final journey to the medieval fortress in Gyula.

Nyugogjon békében. May you rest in peace, Steve.

SPORTS STORY >> Eskridge finishes first season as pro

Leader sports editor

Terrell Eskridge just completed his first season as a professional basketball player. Eskridge, a 2007 graduate of Jacksonville, played point guard for the Belmopan (Belize) Red Taigaz in the Confederation of Central American Basketball.

Eskridge was the team’s second leading scorer, second-leading rebounder and led the team in assists. He averaged 10.6 points, eight assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. He played in the league’s All-Star game and was one of only three players from the United States in the league.

Belmopan finished second in the regular season and lost a best of three semifinals series 2-1 to eventual league champion San Pedro.

But being a professional basketball player in Belize is not quite as glamorous as it sounds, although as an American, he did get more celebrity treatment than most other players.

“I was like the guy everybody keyed on,” Eskridge told The Leader after returning home from his rookie season. “I was an All-Star. Little kids wanted my autograph. I don’t think of myself as an All-Star.”

Besides, the All-Star treatment, being an everyday player in Central America can be a grind. Heat and humidity are exhausting. Gyms aren’t always air conditioned, and sometimes aren’t even gyms.

“One team we played outside,” Eskridge said.

The pay is livable, but not great, and wasn’t always on time. Eskridge made a little more than $800 per week, and he was one of the highest paid players in the league. He lived in the residential area of Belize, which is nothing like the posh resorts that most tourists see during their vacations.

But Eskridge loves the game enough that he’s considering a return when play resumes in January.

“I just want to play basketball as long as I can,” Eskridge said. “I just love the game.”

Eskridge played college basketball for Arkansas Baptist for two years before transferring to Central Baptist College in Conway, where he graduated in 2013 with a degree in education.

He plans to take the teacher certification test just to have when the basketball contract offers stop coming, but for now he’s focused on staying in shape and staying sharp for when that next call comes.

“They want me to come back at Belize,” Eskridge said. “But I went ahead and signed with an agent, and I had never done that before. It’s scary. You check a lot of these guys out and most of them turn out to be scams. But I checked on this guy with other players he represents, and they said he’s a legit. So I went ahead and signed with him.”

The new agent concentrates most of his efforts on providing players for leagues in the Middle East, in countries like Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Those leagues feature many more western players. The level of play is better and so is the pay.

“They really can’t play basketball in Belize like they do here,” Eskridge said. “It’s not that they can’t, they just don’t know how. They don’t know how to play man defense. They don’t understand help side or anything like that. They play 2-3 zone all the time. Even in pickup games you see on the street. When they go on defense, they line up in a 2-3. I’d never seen that before.”

Defense wasn’t the only thing Eskridge said his teammates didn’t quite understand. They also struggled with recognizing the situation. There’s no shot clock in league, but not because teams stalled the ball, because there was no need for one.

“Nobody would try to run a play or an offense,” Eskridge said. “I’ll give you an example. We’re up two with the ball. I knew they were going to double team me. So when I passed it to my teammate. He shot a three. It was just stuff like that all the time. They have good athletes, but they don’t understand the game.”

For now, Eskridge is staying in Conway and working out every day at his alma mater, trying to stay ready for when the next call comes.

“I just stay working,” Eskridge said. “I love working and getting better and seeing the results. Plus I gain weight really easily so I have to work hard not to get fat.

So I’m just staying ready. It’s kind of up in the air right now. I don’t really know what’s going to happen. I’m just going to carry this out as long as I can.”

SPORTS STORY >> Gwatney is first team ousted at Zone 3 tourney

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville senior American Legion team’s season came to an end Saturday with an 8-6 loss to Conway in the Zone 3 tournament in Cabot. The Gwatney Chevrolet team battled hard after giving up a grand slam in the very first inning and falling behind by four runs, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

Conway loaded the bases with a hit and two walks in the opening inning. Then with two outs, Josh Dollarhide smashed a 2-0 fastball over the fence in left field to quickly give the Cougars a 4-0 lead.

Jacksonville scored two runs in the top of the second. D.J. Scott got a leadoff single and Caleb McMunn walked. A ground ball to third base by Peyton Traywick advanced Scott to third. A bunt back to the pitcher by Courtland McDonald scored Scott and advanced McMunn into scoring position. Ryan Mallison then singled to right field to score McMunn and pull Jacksonville to within 4-2.

Conway made it 5-2 in the bottom of the second on two more walks and another base hit. Jacksonville got back to within two runs in the third when Colton Goodman drew a leadoff walk and made his way around the bases on wild pitches and passed balls.

But Conway always seemed to have an answer for Jacksonville’s rallies. In the bottom of the third, Conway scored two more runs after leading off the inning with a double and another walk. Chad Cox, who hit the double, stole third base and scored on a fly out to center field by Brent Sutherland.

Jacksonville pitcher Bran-don Hawkins then struck out Cody Holmes and Jake Bryan on just seven pitches combined, but the one ball was wild that allowed Dollarhide to score and give Conway a 7-3 lead.

McMunn and Traywick got back-to-back singles to start the fourth for Jacksonville. Two outs later, base hits by Brandon Hickingbotham and Goodman scored the two base runners and pulled Gwatney Chevrolet within 7-5.

McMunn took the mound for Jacksonville in the fourth inning and held Conway scoreless over the next three innings, but Jacksonville’s bats also went silent.

The Chevy Boys could only muster one hit over the last five innings when McDonald slammed a 2-1 pitch over the fence in the power alley of left-centerfield.

That made the score 7-6, but Conway set the final margin with a run in the seventh inning on a walk and two base hits.

Jacksonville got 10 base hits with Mallison’s 3 for 5 performance leading the way offensively.

Hickingbotham went 2 for 5 and was the only other Chevy Boy with multiple base hits. Conway got just seven hits, but drew 10 walks to supplement those hits. Cox led the way for the Cougars, going 3 for 4 with a double.

Hawkins took the loss on the mound in his three innings of work. He gave up seven earned runs on three hits and six walks. McMunn threw four and a third innings. He gave up one earned run on five hits and four walks. Chris Penn faced the last two batters and got two pop ups to close out the bottom of the eighth inning.

Jacksonville finishes the season with a 12-12 record.

SPORTS STORY >> Local swimmers shatter records

Leader sports editor

Ten league records fell and two local teams dominated much of the competition at the 2015 Central Arkansas Swim League’s Meet of Champions on Saturday at UALR’s Donaghey Center. Eight of the 10 records were broken by local athletes, including three by Lonoke’s Kayla McGee. The 16-year old won four events and broke league records in the 15-18-year old division’s breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle. She also came within seven one hundredths of a second from breaking the record in the individual medley.

Other record-breaking performances included Cabot’s Noah Joyner shattering the CASL record in the boys 18-under breaststroke by more than a second with a time of 29.71. He became the first swimmer in league history to finish the race in less than 30 seconds. Joyner also came within .26 seconds of the record in the individual medley, and became only the second swimmer in CASL history to break the one-minute mark in that event, finishing with a time of 59.86. He also took second to Maumelle’s Spencer Hazen in the butterfly and backstroke.

Sherwood 14-year old Carson Traylor broke the boys’ 14-under butterfly record with a time of 26.61, beating the old record by .16 seconds. Traylor’s 12-year old teammate Phillip Stanley also broke the old record in his age group’s butterfly, but had to settle for second place. Stanley’s time of 29.83 beat the old record of 30.07, but Lakewood’s Caleb Hoskins also beat that record and Stanley with a time of 29.68.

McGee’s record time of 28.56 in the 18-under butterfly beat the previous record by .27, and held off Sherwood’s Camryn Jenkins and Cabot’s Melanie Abbott, who finished second and third respectively. McGee beat the freestyle record by .10 with a time of 25.84, and beat second place Katie Frederick of Cabot, who finished in 28.28.

The Sharkrocket’s record time in the breaststroke was 32.50, beating the previous record by .43 seconds, and beating second place Libby Thompson of Bryant by almost four seconds. Abbott took third in that race as well.

Stanley also won the boys’ 12-under IM with a time of 1:08.02.

The Sherwood Sharks’ 8-under freestyle relay team also broke the league record. Sophie Gaylord, Lillie Ballany, Emma Browning and Olivia Dunn finished in 1:10.14, shattering the previous record, which was set last year by a team that also included Dunn and Browning, by almost three seconds.

Sherwood swimmers dominated the relays, winning half of the 10 relay events. The Cabot Piranhas won three relays while Conway and Otter Creek won one apiece.

Sherwood teams won the boys’ 6-under freestyle, boys’ and girls’ 8-under freestyle, girls’ 19-under freestyle and boys’ 12-under freestyle. Cabot won the girls’ 6-under, 12-under and 14-under relays.

Sherwood eight-year olds Maddox McCrory and Lilly Moseley also broke CASL records in the boys’ and girls’ breaststroke. McCrory finished in 20.95 to beat the boys’ record of 21.14. Moseley finished in 20.41, to beat the previous record of 21.40. Moseley’s teammates Browning and Dunn were second and third in that event. Dunn was also second in the freestyle and backstroke.

The meet was divided up with kids 11-18 competing in the morning and 10-under swimmers competing in the afternoon.

Traylor opened the morning session by winning the boys 14-under freestyle, again edging out Cabot’s Tristen Bowen, but he lost three other races to Bowen. The 14-year old Piranha edged Traylor in the backstroke and individual medley. He also won the breaststroke, beating teammate Jason Bongfeldt by a mere .08, while Traylor finished third.

Hoskins and Stanley finished first and second in two other races as well. Hoskins beat Stanley by .19 seconds in the backstroke, but Stanley beat Hoskins by more than two seconds to win the breaststroke.

Lady Piranha 12-year-old Jessica Bongfeldt won four events in her division. She beat Sherwood’s Betsy Ponder by 2.26 seconds in the IM with a time of 1:12.44, edged Sherwood’s Avery Ballany by .33 seconds in the butterfly with a time of 33.60, beat Bryant’s Ella Reynolds in the backstroke by .61 with a 33.39 finish and blew away the field by beating second place by more than three seconds in the breaststroke with a time of 35.86.

Cabot’s 14-year-old Abigail Breedlove won two events, including the backstroke with a time of 32.64, and the freestyle with a time of 27.72. Rachel Montanaro took third in the backstroke, but edged Breedlove in the breaststroke, winning that event by .48 with a time of 36.29.

While Cabot won the lion’s share of events in the older age groups, Sherwood was strongest in the afternoon session with the younger swimmers, especially in the boys’ divisions.

Six-year old Shark Luke Wagner won all four strokes in his age group while nine-year old Michael Potts won all four strokes and the IM in the 10-under division.

Potts was the only swimmer in his division to post a platinum level time in the IM, while teammates Joshua Reynolds and Jake Hale posted the fastest gold level times. Cabot’s Maddux Bowen took third in the gold level IM and Hudson Cameron of Sherwood was fourth.

Reynolds was second to Potts in the butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle as well, while Hudson was second in the backstroke.

Sherwood swimmers, in fact, swept the top five spots in the boys’ 10-under backstroke, and the top three spots in the freestyle and breaststroke. Hale and A.J. Clements were among those high finishers for Sherwood.

On top of his record time in the breaststroke, Maddox McCrory won two other events while teammate Cooper Traylor won the one in that 8-under age group. McCrory beat teammate James Bolton in the backstroke and Traylor in the freestyle.

Traylor won the butterfly, edging out Bryant’s Noah Robnett and Cabot’s Jake Belton.

In the girls’ competition, Cabot’s nine-year-old Esteban Grace won four of the five events in the 10-under division, including the IM, freestyle, breaststroke and butterfly. She, teammate Carly Madar and Maumelle’s Eden Hamlin swept the top three in those four events.

Madar took second in the IM and breaststroke, while Hamlin was second and Madar third in the backstroke and butterfly.

Hamlin beat Grace in the backstroke by .45 seconds, while Sherwood’s Meredith Lipsey, Carly Morrow and Ashley Jackson rounded out the top five.

Cabot six-year-old Liliana Stassner won all four events in her division while her teammate, Micah Madar, posted the second-fastest time in three events, including winning the gold level backstroke race with a time faster than all but two platinum swimmers.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot qualifies for state

Leader sports editor

Cabot’s Centennial Bank senior American Legion team won two games at the Zone 3 tournament it hosted and qualified for the state tournament that begins Thursday in Fort Smith.

After opening the tournament with a 13-1 rout of rival Jacksonville, Cabot followed that with a dominant pitching performance from Gavin Tillery for a 9-1 win over Russellville in the second round.

Cabot’s pitching continued to dominate for eight innings in the finals of the winners’ bracket against Fort Smith. Centennial Bank was close to of pulling off the upset when it led the 26-3 Kerwins team 5-1 going into the last inning, but gave up five runs in that inning to let the win slip away.

Cabot coach Chris Gross felt like his team deserved to win the Fort Smith game.

“We had two strike-three calls we didn’t get that ended up being walks for them,” said Gross. “Then we had outs at first and third that were missed. The one at third was really bad. We outplayed them in every aspect of the game. They just caught all the breaks at the end.”

That loss dropped Cabot to the losers’ bracket, where it did not perform so well on Monday. The Centennial Bank squad dropped a 15-3 decision to Conway and was eliminated from the tournament. That loss, however, wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to Gross, since a win meant turning right around and playing Fort Smith in a nightcap after the 4 p.m. start against Conway.

“We’ve played four games in four days in this heat,” Gross said. “We’re exhausted. If they had to play another game tonight, I don’t know if they’d want to play this weekend. If you beat Fort Smith (Monday) you’ve got to come right back and play them again Tuesday. Then you have to start the state tournament in Forth Smith on Thursday. I’ve never wanted to lose a game before, but losing this one isn’t so bad.”

In Saturday’s win over Russellville, Tillery scattered eight hits over nine innings. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that Russellville got more than one hit in an inning, and the Cogswell Motors team didn’t get an extra base hit until the seventh, when it finally scored it’s first and only run.

Braxton Sampley hit a leadoff double and Kyle Frost got a two-out single to drive in the lone Russellville run.

Tillery, who also signed with UCA on Tuesday, struck out four and walked two. He walked none over the last six innings.

Offensively, Cabot took a quick lead when it scored two runs with two outs in the top of the first inning. Brett Brockinton got the two-out rally started by drawing a walk. Logan Kirkendoll singled to score Brockinton and Tillery singled to score Kirkendoll.

That’s how it remained until the fourth inning when two walks were followed by a Conway error, giving Cabot a 3-0 lead.

In the fifth inning, base hits by Brockinton and Kirkendoll were followed by another two-run error that gave Cabot a 5-0 lead. Russellville’s run in the seventh was answered by a three-run rally by Cabot in the eighth.

Blake McCutchen and Logan Gilbertson hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Logan Edmondson then doubled to drive in both base runners. He later scored on a sacrifice grounder by Dylan Bowers that made the score 8-1.

Cabot set the final margin in the top of the ninth. Brockinton hit a leadoff triple, and scored when Tillery got another RBI base hit.

Kirkendoll and Tillery led Cabot with two base hits apiece.

Against Fort Smith on Sunday, Cabot led 2-1 before posting three runs in the eighth inning. It started with a leadoff double by Braden Jarnigan. He scored on a base hit by Austin Null. Dylan Bowers and Lee Sullivan then hit back-to-back singles, with Sullivan’s base hit scoring Null. With two outs, Kirkendoll singled to score Bowers and give Cabot a 5-1 lead.

Fort Smith’s rally in the bottom of the ninth included three hits and three walks, with Will Klek hitting a two-run, walk-off single to end the game.

Kirkendoll had a phenomenal tournament at the plate. In the four games combined, he hit .471 by going 8 for 17 at the plate, scored six runs and drove in five more.