Friday, January 15, 2016

TOP STORY >> Band to enter competitions

Leader staff writer

Cabot High School band director Joe Trusty told the school board on Monday about the transition the band is taking with competing in national marching competitions.

“In the early years of teaching, you found three songs you liked, you bought them, taught them to the kids and you figured out where to stand on the field and that was your halftime,” Trusty said.

He said some years the production was not as entertaining as others.

“Across the country in the past 25 years, marching bands have taken a progression towards the competitive end. In the last few years more schools in Arkansas started entering competitive bands,” Trusty said.

A few years ago the students starting asking Trusty why the marching band was not in competitions against other bands and just goes for ratings.

Trusty said the band went to events and came back with superior ratings, but students wanted to be in competitive meets and be ranked.

Three years ago, the Cabot High School band entered the competitive marching competitions.

“Competitive marching is geared towards telling a story or a concept to the audience. You have seven to nine minutes to do it. It is a major production and not just a show anymore,” Trusty said.

He said USA Bands and Bands of America are the primary competitive circuits.

Trusty compared the Bands of America competition to the Olympics. In the old-style band competition, there were three judges who looked at the entire production and said it was at a certain level and received a division rating.

He said with a Bands of America type judging there are seven judges. Each judge is in charge of one specific area of the event. The goal is to have the finest execution musically and visually. The feedback is more detailed and specific and used by the band to get better.

“You see how you stack up not just in Arkansas but around the country. Is our program as good as we think it is?” Trusty said.

“In the past two years we’ve taken the high school band and split it into two groups. We have a Friday night band, which is everyone (280 students) in the high school band is on the field for home football games. We have a subgroup, 180 in the competitive band,” Trusty said.

The competitive band practices after school, on Saturdays and during summer.

“The competition band is very demanding physically and time,” he said.

Friday night bands learn their moves in class and perform on Friday night home football games. Competitive band members spend five hours a week outside the regular school day.

Trusty said competitive band is expensive. There are travel costs, food and lodging, chartered buses if going out-of-state, entry fees and the expense of paying for the music copyrights and drills.

Currently, the district does not charge fees for students to be in the competitive marching band. No students would be turned away if they could not afford it, Trusty explained.

Trusty said most schools around the state charge students between $250 to $450 a year to be in the competitive band. Schools offer monthly payment plans, ways for students to work to earn money to pay for fees and also holds fundraisers.

Trusty said he expects interest in the competition marching band to grow. He expects 200 students in the fall.

Students will still be in the high school band, even if they do not want to be in the competition band. They would learn the routines and perform at Friday night football home games by going to class every day.

In other business, the school board recognized the two newest National Board Certified teachers: Southside Elementary counselor Janna Terrell and Westside Elementary first-grade teacher Stacy Cook.

TOP STORY >> Life without parole for Lewis

Leader staff writer

Arron Lewis received two life sentences in state prison on Friday, one without parole, for the capital murder and kidnapping of beloved realtor Beverly Carter, who was killed in late 2013.

The jurors delivered guilty verdicts, reached unanimously, after an hour of deliberation. The death penalty was taken off the table at the victim’s family’s request.

They didn’t buy the killer’s affidavit stating that she accidently died while engaged in a sex act with his wife and accomplice, Crystal Lowery, who admitted on the stand to being involved in prostitution. She also said she was offended by the explicit account published on her husband’s Facebook page in November 2015.

Prosecutor John Johnson, in closing, called Lewis “cowardly” for suffocating Carter by wrapping her face six times in bright green duct tape. In opening statements, the tape was deemed a “mask of death.”

The state medical examiner agreed it was placed on the victim while she was alive — based on her pallor and insect activity — and caused her death. He called the other alleged cause theoretically possible but highly improbable because he’d never seen it and couldn’t find a case of it using a medical research website.

Johnson also called Lewis a “predator” and “woman hater” at the end of the four-day trial.

The victim’s eldest son, Carl Carter, Jr., spoke before the sentencing. He said his mother was a successful woman with “an obnoxious laugh that I got that would fill up the room.” Earlier, he testified that she attended a Pentecostal church with family every Sunday.

Carter said, at sentencing, that his mother deeply loved her husband of 30 years. He noted her devotion first to her children, then her grandchildren. Carter joked that her kids didn’t matter to her once the grandkids came along.

Choking back tears, but smiling at the memories, the victim’s son told jurors about how she taught her grandkids to tie their shoes, ride bikes and eat a whole box of Little Debbie snack cakes. He chuckled at the last lesson.

“There’s a hole that can’t be replaced...This world is a darker place without her,” Carter said before leaving the stand.

After Lewis was sentenced, Beverly Carter’s family and friends — tears in their eyes — hugged each other in the Little Rock courtroom. At least one said, “God is good.”

Carter was discovered several days after she was kidnapped from a house in Scott in September 2013.

The most damning piece of evidence was a recording of the victim Lewis played from his phone for detectives while being interrogated and before her body was found in a shallow grave at the Argos concrete company off Hwy. 5 in Pulaski County near Cabot, where he used to work.

Several times, jurors heard her say, “Carl, it’s Beverly. I just want to let you know I’m OK. I haven’t been hurt. Just do what he says, and please don’t call the police. If you call the police, it could be bad. Just want you to know that I love you very much.” Carl Carter Jr. identified his mother’s voice on the tape.

Lewis was the last to testify in the proceedings and took the stand for hours on Friday. He didn’t express remorse for what happened or offer condolences, which the defense attorney did each time a victim’s family member or friend testified.

The cross-examination by Johnson was a heated exchange, with the killer calling himself of “athletic” build and “superior intelligence.”

Lewis claimed he used a computer program to make the recording after Carter’s death to see if he could get a moneymaking angle out of it, but Lewis couldn’t name the program when asked to do so.

He said he taped the realtor’s face after she was dead because he had a thing about bugs and wanted to keep the grasshoppers off it. Lewis also testified that he taped the victim’s wrists behind her because the corpse “wouldn’t stay in the hole.”

Lewis spoke while gesturing with his hands about how the victim was disposed of and told the prosecutor he didn’t remember the position of Carter’s body when he was taping her face.

In opening statements, jurors learned that Lewis said the victim was alive when she wasn’t and lead investigators on a “wild goose chase” to places he told them she was being held.

The cops on that ride testified that Lewis confessed to some details, such as telling Carter before using a taser to kidnap her, “You’re about to have a bad day.” The defense disputed the statements because they weren’t recorded.

Lewis’ wife testified that he sent her a picture of victim bound with tape, which she deleted.

Prosecutors pointed out that he told police and the media several conflicting stories. They included an accomplice called Trevor who killed her and that Carter was targeted because she was a “rich broker.” He also claimed he had an affair with the victim and she was killed at the concrete plant but it was an accident.

He also claimed wanted to plead guilty but lawyers told him not to. The prosecutor asked, by publishing his affidavit, if Lewis wanted to humiliate his wife and Carter and get revenge on the world. He denied both allegations.

They also argued over whether the victim was in too much pain from her tummy tuck and breast reduction surgeries to have the kind of sex the killer’s affidavit claimed he and Carter had. No semen was found on her body, a State Crime Lab worker testified.

Her husband had taken the stand earlier Friday, saying his wife — the night before she was taken — still needed a stool he built to get in and out of their bed. He also said, “I loved her with all my heart.”

Scarring around Carter’s breasts were described in the explicit affidavit posted by an outside firm at Lewis’ request while he was incarcerated.

Prosecutors pointed out, though, that he didn’t write about a hip-to-hip scar or the fact that she was wearing a band around her abdomen designed to facilitate healing from the recent surgeries, continuing to poke holes in his inflammatory affidavit posted on Facebook.

Lewis denied copying the autopsy report the attorney said he had access to.

The killer also told the jurors about his many prior felonies involving thefts and Ponzi schemes. He said he fell into the wrong crowd as a teenager.

Lewis claimed he wanted better for Lowery and tried to protect her by lying about what happened.

He said he distrusts the justice system and didn’t think anyone would believe someone with a rap sheet like his. “I’ve got so many felonies, it’s not even funny...I’m a hopeless case, a career criminal,” he said.

Prosecutors said Lewis and his wife planned to take for ransom a married woman who worked alone, settling on a real estate broker as their target.

Lowery, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping in exchange for 30 years, testified as part of that deal. She said Lewis found the victim via an online search.

The couple communicated with Carter by texts, calls and one email, asking her to show them houses and offering a cash sale. The defense said there was no kidnapping and Carter met the two for a hookup, but investigators testified that they found no photos or hookup websites in the search history on the victim’s computer. Also, prosecutors noted, she left her purse in her car at the Scott home.

The killers used Text Me, a phone application that allows users to hide their phone numbers by giving them a fake one. But investigators traced the fake number to Lowery. The email was also traced, to their address, 165 Randall Drive in Gravel Ridge.

Lowery testified that she agreed to participate in the kidnapping to help Lewis get money so he could leave her house. She said they planned it for two weeks, and he staked out houses in west Little Rock but decided against kidnapping anyone there.

Lowery also said they got Carter’s pin number after learning she didn’t have the money to pay a $100,000 ransom Lewis had hoped for. He drove back to the Scott house to get the victim’s card out of her purse while his wife watched Carter with a taser. “I wanted her gone,” Lowery said, after finding out police were looking for the realtor. The victim was murdered because they didn’t want to get caught, she testified.

Lowery agreed that she had no excuse for not calling police, releasing Carter or telling Lewis not to kill her. She also said she held the flashlight as the victim was buried and her husband said he wasn’t “(expletive) up about” committing the murder.

Lowery testified that she didn’t know what portion of the ransom she would receive. She tried to be as uninvolved as possible and he was the “leader” who made plans that weren’t “thought out.” The defense said Lowery pleaded guilty because she was afraid she wouldn’t get a fair trial with all the publicity.

TOPSTORY >> District goes forward with court assent

Leader senior staff write

Writing Thursday that “we must not let the perfect become the enemy of the good,” U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr., signed off on the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District’s master facilities plan, denying Joshua Intervenors attorney John Walker’s petition for an evidentiary hearing on the matter.

“The court holds that JNPSD’s proposed master facilities plan, though incomplete, keeps faith with Plan 2000 and is likely to promote, not hinder, eliminating the vestiges of past discrimination insofar as practical,” Marshall wrote.

“The proposed master plan is approved with an important condition: It must be supplemented by (Dec. 31, 2016) with when-and-how specifics about replacing the four other elementary schools, so that all the new district’s elementary schools are equal. Joshua’s objections are overruled and its request for an evidentiary hearing is denied.”

The master plan challenged by Walker as being too little, calls for building a new high school at the Main Street site of the old middle school, a new elementary school on Little Rock Air Force Base land, remodeling the existing North Pulaski High School building into a district-wide middle school and adding new multipurpose buildings at the four other elementary schools — if voters approve a millage increase.

Walker contended that plan favored white students over black and that the only by replacing those four elementary schools as well would comply with desegregation Plan 2000.

The district, answering Walker’s filing, said there wasn’t enough money to build six new schools and remodel another—hence the remark about the perfect and the good.

Walker didn’t come away completely empty-handed. Marshall gave the district until the end of this year to draft a new master plan for the 2019 round of school partnership matching money — one that would replace the four other elementary schools.

JNP Superintendent Tony Wood said Friday that even as they prepare for the Feb. 9 millage tax increase election and to transition July 1 to a fully independent, stand-alone district, he and others are thinking about that next facilities plan.

Chuck Stein, the district’s consultant for its master facilities plan and partnership funding program, will work on the new master plan the judge wants by the end of the year, along with Wood, Assistant Superintendent Jeremy Owoh and others.

Until his retirement last summer, Stein was director of the state’s facilities plan and state partnership program.

Even implementing the existing master plan is dependent upon district patrons’ approval of a 7.6 mill property tax increase, which they will vote on Feb. 9. Early voting begins Feb. 2.

Marshall’s order denying an evidentiary hearing on the adequacy of the plan considered not only Walker’s brief and the new district’s answer, but also a letter from Court Desegregation Monitor Margie Powell — which found the plan compliant — and a letter from Stein.

In making his ruling, Marshall noted that the facilities master plan would be “a significant step toward equal facilities for all students. The new high school and middle school will serve children of all races. Locating the high school in downtown Jacksonville signals a commitment — not only to that city’s hub, but to the many African-American families and their children who live close by.”

While Walker held that concentrating on a new elementary school combining students from Tolleson and Arnold Drive was a favor to white students and white flight, Marshall wrote that there was no evidence that the new school “would become a white-flight school.” He said the expectation that school would receive about half of the $16 million cost from the Defense Department shows “good stewardship of limited public dollars, not discriminatory intent.”

But of the plan, Marshall wrote, “there’s something missing. No plan or timetable for replacing the four other elementary schools (Bayou Meto, Dupree, Pinewood and Taylor) is included.”

“To achieve unitary status, JNPSD must have a plan for making all facilities clean, safe, attractive and equal and must be implementing that plan in good faith to the extent practicable.”

Stein said there should be no problem meeting the judge’s order preparing a state master plan by the end of this year, and that the judge’s process “fits very well into the state time line,” which would require a preliminary 2017-2019 master plan and partnership timetable, requiring submission by Feb. 1, 2017.

As part of the effort to pass the millage increase, JNPSD officials attended a public meeting at Bayou Meto Baptist Church on Thursday evening.

Wood and JNP school board president Daniel Gray were asked about district finances by some concerned about or against the increase.

The new 7.6-mill tax increase would make property tax millage in the district 48.3 mills, the same as North Little Rock, and about 2 mills higher than the Little Rock School District — 46.4 mills.

Including all sources of income, Wood said the district revenue for the first year would be about $37 million to $40 million, including taxes, minimum foundation aid from the state and a one-time state desegregation payment of about $5 million.

In telling the new district to draw up that additional master plan, the judge noted the uncertainties, such as Defense Department funding, construction costs, approving the millage increase and the amount of state funding.

“That murky and complicated future, however, is precisely why JNPSD needs a complete plan for replacing all elementary facilities — with options, contingencies, fallbacks and play in the joints to accommodate the developing circumstances,” the judge said.

Marshall noted the progress made over the past five years toward PCSSD becoming completely unitary.

EDITORIAL >> Bumpers’ legacy (IV)

In 1974, Dale Bumpers, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 90, talked to some friends about running for president in 1976. His friend Jimmy Carter, the governor of Georgia, made that race and won. But on the Saturday deadline he set for himself to make a decision about whether to run for a third two-year term, which would position him to run for president in 1976, or to run for the Senate against Sen. William Fulbright, he decided to run for the Senate.

A poll showed that Fulbright, after five terms, was likely to be beaten by someone, most likely by a conservative like former Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson, who had lost narrowly to Fulbright six years earlier. Bradley D. Jesson of Fort Smith, his close friend and adviser, had spent the previous day with Bumpers and was shocked that he announced for the Senate. Jesson said Bumpers, much the better politician, would have defeated Carter with little trouble.

The race with Fulbright was over before it started. Fulbright waged a well-financed campaign, came home and campaigned in shirtsleeves but lost nearly 2 to 1. Bumpers never uttered the slightest criticism of him, other than to say that seniority was not all that it was cracked up to be. Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd and other powerful senators came to Arkansas to campaign for Fulbright. They said Arkansas could not stand to lose Fulbright’s seniority.

But defeating a senator so revered in Washington and by his colleagues was costly to his career. He received the worst committee assignments in the Senate. The majority leader and Sen. Henry M. Jackson of Washington, a close Fulbright friend who chaired the committee making committee assignments, saw to it that Bumpers did not serve on any high-profile committee or one that dealt with major issues or constituencies.

His big committee was aeronautics and space. He chaired a subcommittee that conducted hearings on the shrinkage of the Earth’s ozone layer, which led to the world’s elimination of chlorofluorocarbons, the gases used in aerosol sprays that were burning up the ozone layer and subjecting people to cancer risks. Eventually, he got assigned to the Appropriations Committee, which enabled him to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Arkansas in capital improvements for parks, agricultural research, wilderness preservation and flood-control improvements. He delivered so much in agricultural improvements that the University of Arkansas named its College of Agriculture after him.

At lunch one day someone asked how he got the university to name the college after him. It was easy, he said. “I took your money and gave it to them.”

His work on the Appropriations Committee added 91,000 acres of forest land in eastern Arkansas to federal wilderness lands controlled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service being designated as national wilderness areas. Last year, Congress designated the 160,000 acres of wilderness along the White River as the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge.

Almost from his first days in the Senate, he fought with western senators and interests to end the virtual giveaway of mineral leases on millions of acres of federal lands to mining and oil-and-gas interests, which took away billions of dollars of minerals and paid the country as little as $2.50 an acre.

Finally, in 1994, he persuaded Congress to enact a moratorium prohibiting future patenting of federal land for which mining claims had not yet been made. He did succeed in 1987 in passing the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act, which began competitive leasing of public lands, such as those around Fort Chaffee near his home, for competitive market prices. It produced hundreds of millions of dollars a year for federal treasury.

Two of his biggest triumphs were to terminate the proposed Superconducting Super Collider and the Clinch River Breeder Reactor, massive experimental projects in Tennessee and Texas that were to cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. He unsuccessfully fought other big government projects, including the manned space station and weapons programs that he said the nation’s security did not need.

Although he was not a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education and Labor, he played a leading role in major international health developments. He led the fight to fund global polio vaccinations, which led to the eradication of polio in all but a few countries. On the Appropriations Committee, he pushed funding for cervical cancer screening and the Maternal and Child Health Program. In recognition of his and his wife’s work on immunizations, the National Institutes for Health after he left Washington dedicated the Dale and Betty Bumper Vaccine Research Center. —Ernie Dumas

SPORTS STORY >> Bears turn over NPHS for victory

Leader sportswriter

Consistency has been a big factor in Sylvan Hills’ success this season, and the Bears continued their consistent, solid play in Tuesday’s 5A-Central Conference game at home against North Pulaski, beating the Falcons comfortably by the final score of 54-34.

The Bears (10-5, 2-1) led by double digits at the end of the first quarter, 18-6, and pushed their lead to 16 by halftime, leading 33-17. Sylvan Hills made some big shots throughout the first half, but didn’t exactly light it up from the floor, making 12 of 30 shots (40 percent), including 4 for 14 from 3-point range.

The most noteworthy statistical difference, though, was the Bears had just one turnover the entire first half and North Pulaski (7-8, 0-3) had 11.

“That really wasn’t our point of emphasis going in,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “I did talk to them about that this week in practice, just from the standpoint of there’s nothing anybody can help you on when we’re having unforced turnovers.

“We didn’t talk about it because we’ve been having a problem with it. We just talked about it in practice – when things are going and kids are turning the ball over, that needs to be brought out.

“That really handcuffs us when people are turning the ball over. So, treat it with respect and we’ve really got to take care of the basketball. Hopefully, it was some of that just from what we do (in practice) coming out in our game performance.”

The Bears did a good job of taking care of the basketball in the second half as well, committing just four turnovers, with only one coming in the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Sylvan Hills led 46-25.

Four different Falcons scored in the third quarter, and for the Bears, Cordy Winston and sophomore Zion Butler accounted for all of Sylvan Hills’ points in that time.

Winston had eight points in the third quarter, including Sylvan Hills’ first six of the period. Butler’s first basket of the quarter gave the Bears a 41-23 lead, and he added two free throws with 3:42 left in the period that put the hosts up by 20, leading 43-23.

Butler made another free throw shortly after to further the lead to 21, and that was the margin at the start of the fourth, with Winston sinking a 2-pointer for the Bears’ final points of the third quarter.

Everyone that dressed out for Sylvan Hills played Tuesday and the Bears rotated in several different combinations of players without much drop off in production. As a result of that, the closest the Falcons got to the Bears’ lead in the fourth quarter was 15 points.

North Pulaski senior guard Jermaine Lopez drained a corner three that made the score 47-32 with 4:17 to play. Sylvan Hills’ lead grew to 51-34 in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, and with 20 seconds to play, J.D. Smith sank a corner three to set the final score.

The Bears made 19 of 52 shots from the floor Tuesday for 37 percent. The Falcons made 14 of 40 shots for 35 percent. From 3-point range, SHHS was 6 for 24 and NPHS was 2 for 11. From the free-throw line, the Bears were 10 for 16 and the Falcons were 4 for 8, and all four made free throws were in the fourth quarter.

North Pulaski outrebounded Sylvan Hills 32-25, but the Bears won the turnover category 5-19.

Winston and Lopez led all scorers with 11 points apiece. Sylvan Hills’ Jordan Washington was the only other player for either team to score in double figures. He had 10 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double.

JaCobe Davis added nine points for the Bears, and teammates Butler and Alex Curry each scored seven points. Christian White scored eight points for NPHS and added a game-high 10 rebounds.

SPORTS STORY >> Weeks twins, Voskamp big wins at UofA

Leader sports editor

FAYETTEVILLE – In their first-ever collegiate meet competing for the No. 1 ranked defending national champions, 2015 Cabot graduates Lexi and Tori Weeks finished first and second respectively in the Arkansas Indoor Invitational on Friday at the Randall Tyson Track Center.

Another Cabot graduate, Ariel Voskamp – a fifth-year senior for the Razorbacks women’s track team – finished third, making it a Cabot clean sweep of the top three positions.

Lexi Weeks’ performance exceeded her goals for the first meet. The Razorback freshman cleared a personal best 14 feet, 9 inches, which qualifies her for the indoor national championships and the Olympic trials.

“Coming out, I was hoping to have a good meet,” Lexi Weeks said. “I was having great practices coming into it, but clearing 14-9 the way I did, clean, I couldn’t believe it.”

Friday’s meet was small with mostly smaller schools participating besides Arkansas, a track-and-field powerhouse for the last 30 years. All three Cabot natives waited for almost 90 minutes for other competitors to begin approaching competitive heights.

They entered the competition at 13-1, and Lexi’s first vault was a sign that it was going to be a good day. She cleared her first bar by a wide margin and did not need a second attempt at any height until she went for 15-1, which would have equaled last year’s NCAA national championship-winning height.

Though she didn’t reach it Friday, it is a goal before the season is over.

“I want 15 feet this season,” Lexi said. “That’s a goal for sure. I’d also like to do really well at indoor nationals. I qualified for that today and to have a good meet there would really be great.”

Tori Weeks cleared 14-3 for second place and Voskamp reached 13-10 in a bit of a disappointing performance for her. She has been a consistent 14-foot jumper and has finished in the top five in the last two NCAA national championship meets.

Friday’s meet is the first of a very busy indoor schedule, with competitions every weekend through February.

They will compete in New Mexico and Indiana next weekend before returning to Fayetteville on Jan. 29-30 to host the much larger Razorback Invitational. The Cabot trio will also compete in Fayetteville on Feb. 12-13 in the Tyson Invitational.

SPORTS STORY >> Devils pull out big win

Leader sports editor

High drama and controversy abounded the whole game, and never more so than in the last 10 seconds, but in the end, the Jacksonville Red Devils earned a huge 5A-Central victory on Tuesday, defeating No. 2 ranked Mills 54-53 at JHS.

Mills forward Jeremiah Toney made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:32 left in the game to tie the score at 50, and it stayed that way until the last two seconds of the game.

Both teams traded defensive stops after the free throw, and with 1:02 remaining, Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner called timeout.

He decided to try to hold for the last shot and Mills was content to let the Red Devils run down the clock. With 15 seconds left, Jacksonville made its move. Tyree Appleby tried to penetrate and had no room. He passed to LaQuawn Smith who was also cut off and passed back to Appleby.

A second Appleby attempt ended with a dish to DaJuan Ridgeway in the right corner. He went up for a shot, but 6-foot-7 Darius Hall flew towards him and Ridgeway changed his mind.

He tried to dribble out of his shooting formation, but appeared to come down with the ball. The officials called nothing and Ridgeway passed to a cutting Appleby, who was fouled with two seconds on the clock.

Mills coach Raymond Cooper came unglued that there was no traveling violation called on Ridgeway. The officials let him vent for a while, and he finally called timeout before Appleby got the ball for the potential game-winning free throw.

During the timeout, Cooper continued to berate the officials, and received a technical foul, adding two more free throws for Appleby’s trip to the line.

Appleby made just two of the four shots, but because of Cooper’s technical, Jacksonville got the ball back. Mills fouled Appleby again before the inbound pass. This time he made both free throws to seal the victory.

Jacksonville allowed Mills to throw the inbound pass the length of the court, and Quawn Marshall hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final margin.

After the game, one official said they ruled that Hall had touched the ball as Ridgeway was shooting, knocking it loose from his grip and making it legal for him to come down with possession.

Cooper had little comment about that explanation other than to laugh heartily.

“I won’t comment about the officials but I’ll tell you what I saw,” Cooper said. “I saw a guy jump up to shoot the basketball, got his shot altered by a long defender coming at him and came down with the ball.”

If traveling had been called, Mills would’ve got it with about five seconds remaining, which is no guarantee of victory, and that call wasn’t what Cooper believed made the difference in the game.

“We didn’t do anything we practiced for this game,” Cooper said on Wednesday. “We abandoned everything we worked on and played Jacksonville’s game. I just watched the first quarter over again and we didn’t have a single three-pass possession the entire quarter. We got into a one-on-one game. We have a lot of size and they have three good guards who penetrate and create. We played Jacksonville’s game and that’s why we got beat.”

The game was heated from the first quarter. A minute into the game with Mills leading 4-0, Appleby and Mills’ Grehlon Easter began mouthing. Easter shoved Appleby as teams were setting up for an inbound pass and drew a technical foul. A few minutes later, Easter went up for a shot and Appleby fouled him very hard. Shortly after that, Appleby was called for a charge, and earned a seat on the bench for most of the rest of the half.

He entered briefly midway through the second quarter and charged again.

“We have to get Appleby to quit making stupid fouls because he’s too valuable to this team,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “But the key to this game was Kameron Hamilton. He went in there and made his presence known on defense. We don’t have anybody else long enough to do that against a team as big as Mills. But he held his ground and altered some shots, and that was huge.”

Hamilton hasn’t seen much playing time since joining the team last year as a sophomore transfer from West Memphis, but the 6-8 junior was needed against the Comets’ size. He knew his mission was simple.

“Just be aggressive and guard the rim,” Hamilton said.

Joyner also bragged on Chris Williams and Marice Lambert, who have manned the post most of the season despite being at a huge height disadvantage most of the time. They were never bigger than on Tuesday.

“I have to give some credit to my little bigs,” Joyner said. “Chris Williams and Mo Lambert play their butts off. And they played their butts off tonight.”

Williams gets motivation from his role.

“My teammates motivate me to get better and it motivates me playing against bigger guys,” said the 6-foot Williams. “I just be aggressive and don’t take anything lightly. For us to win it has to be all about defense and working together.”

After being pushed to the floor early in the game, Appleby scored six points in less than a minute to give the Red Devils a 6-4 lead before taking a seat. He barely played and didn’t score in the second quarter, but his teammates still stretched their lead to 24-16 early in the period. That’s when Mills came back with its best run of the game. Easter hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Kaevon Jones came off the bench to score six-straight on midrange jumpers, giving the Comets a 28-24 lead with four minutes left in the half.

Ridgeway finally broke the run with a pair of free throws with 2:49 left, and Mills took a 32-31 lead into intermission.

Mills scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to take a 49-42 lead before Appleby reeled off six-straight. His 3-pointer made it 49-48 with 6:18 left to play, and the two teams combined for three points over the next 6:16 until Appleby’s game-clinching free throws.

Appleby finished with a game-high 18 points despite barely playing half the game. Smith and Ridgeway each scored 12. Smith scored 10 of his points in the second quarter as an answer to Mills’ big run.

Easter and Marshall scored 12 for Mills (12-5, 2-1) while Jones added 11.

SPORTS STORY >> Realizing his dream takes unique drive

Leader sports editor

In his third year of college, redshirt sophomore Kevin Richardson had a dream season for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The 2013 Jacksonville High School graduate turned down several football scholarships to smaller colleges in order to walk on at Arkansas and pursue a lifelong dream of being a Razorback.

He always possessed SEC speed, but was only 155 pounds as a senior in high school, which is not SEC size. So he walked away from a free ride in college, and with his family’s support, went to work to become a starter.

He toiled as a redshirt his first year, not getting on the field at all. He played regularly on special teams his redshirt freshman season and sparingly on defense.

Then, this year, his first dream came true right before the season started when it was announced, to thunderous applause in the locker room, that Richardson had earned a scholarship. A couple months later and a little more than halfway through the season, he started for the first time at Ole Miss. The game plan for the potent Rebel passing game required an extra defensive back, and Richardson’s name was called. He responded in a big way and earned the coaches’ defensive player of the game award.

He’s been a starter ever since, and still almost can’t believe it.

“I started against Ole Miss and going forward, it’s been like, wow,” said Richardson. “I’m going against SEC teams; teams I used to just watch all the time, and now I’m out there playing against them. And it’s my job to stop them.”

He’s 6-feet tall and now listed at 175 pounds, which is still on the small side for an SEC defensive back, but his speed, work ethic and dedication to knowing his job makes up for his slight stature.

After recording 10 tackles against the Rebels, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema didn’t have a lot of praise for the defense that gave up 52 points in that miraculous victory, but he did single out Richardson for the way he played in his first start, as well as how he played the week after when the Razorbacks went to Baton Rouge and beat the No. 9 ranked LSU Tigers 31-14.

“Kevin Richardson is a kid that has been unbelievable since coming here as a walk-on,” said Bielema after the LSU game. “He has earned himself a starting role and is one of our steadiest performers and one of our best disciplined athletes on the team as far as film study. What you see in practice is what you get.”

Richardson recorded six tackles against LSU, and defensive backs coach Clay Jennings was impressed with one play in particular.

“He made a play where he was on the opposite flat,” said Jennings. “He went from the boundary hook and he made a play in the strong flat. What Kevin brings is energy, fanatical energy.”

Jennings’ respect for Richardson is mutual.

“Coach Jennings is like a third father to me,” Richardson said. “I like to think of my grandfather as a second father. Coach Jennings believes in growing a bond among players and makes that a priority for us. Relationships have a real meaning to him and our unit is like a brotherhood.”

Having that kind of respect for your positions coach helps motivate Richardson to do his job, but he admits the work to get to where he’s at now has been difficult.

“The whole time has been hard work, non-stop,” Richardson said. “It hasn’t been easy. You’re going to go to work every day because everybody there is good and everybody is there to work.

“Coach (Barry) Lunney (who recruited Richardson) told me going in it’s going to be expensive, but he said if you really want this, you can work towards it and achieve it because I’ve seen what you can do and you have the talent.”

While wowed by the position he finds himself in, looking back, he realizes he never doubted he’d get to this point.

“I wouldn’t have went there and turned down those other scholarships if I didn’t have the confidence that I could do it,” Richardson said. “I said in my mind that I was going to do it and I went to work to make it happen.”

Richardson couldn’t afford tuition at the state’s largest university by himself, and the fact that he could not have achieved so much on his own is not lost on him.

“The support was amazing from my family,” Richardson said. “My dad took out a loan to cover my freshman year, and it was still a hassle to pay off my sophomore year as well, but it ended up being handled.”

It’s a family affair on campus as well. Richardson’s younger siblings Sacha and Kielen also attend the University of Arkansas. Sacha is a sophomore and Kielen is a freshman who landed a gig as the Razorback football team’s equipment manager.

“It’s been great having little bro out there,” Richardson said. “He’s at every practice and almost every game, keeping my mind on what I have to do. The staff and my teammates love him. He’s 2-Rich to all of them. It’s really fun having him there.”

Richardson reported back to campus on Wednesday, and will begin preparing for spring ball and hopefully an even bigger role as a junior.

“It’s already been a dream come true,” Richardson said. “But I want to keep increasing my role and continue to improve.”

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Bumpers’ legacy (III)

Dale Bumpers, who died on New Year’s Day at the age of 90, toyed with running for governor in 1968. His father-in-law, H. E. “Babe” Flanagan, walked into his house one morning and woke him and Betty up.

“You going to run for governor?” Flanagan asked. Bumpers said he wasn’t sure. Flanagan tossed 15 $100 bills on the table, the amount of the filing fee. He told Bumpers to drive down to Little Rock and file. “I’ll mow your pasture and your meadow, too.” Bumpers had sold his hardware store and bought 44 Angus cows that Flanagan had found for sale in Tupelo, Miss.

But his friend Ted Boswell of Bryant, a trial lawyer, had announced for governor and Bumpers concluded that the two of them would split progressive votes so that neither would have a chance. Boswell was nosed out of the Democratic runoff with Marion Crank, who lost to Rockefeller. Two years later, Bumpers decided to run.

He had about $10,000 to spend on the race, owing largely to the sale of his Angus herd. Brother Carroll, an Illinois business executive, pitched in $15,000 and together they persuaded his skeptical sister, who had made a fortune at Cleveland in the vending business, to donate $20,000 to the cause.

The Democratic race featured Faubus, who had retired undefeated four years earlier and had remarried; Attorney General Joe Purcell of Benton; House Speaker Hayes C. McClerkin of Texarkana; Robert C. Compton of El Dorado, former president of the Arkansas Bar Association; Bill G. Wells of Hermitage, a former legislator and radio personality who had barely missed being elected lieutenant governor in 1968; Jim Malone of England, a catfish farmer who was regarded as a great stump speaker; a wisecracking West Memphis businessman named William S. Cheek; and Bumpers.

Rockefeller’s pollster, Eugene Newsom, had Bumpers’ name recognition as less than 1 percent, the lowest of all the candidates.

Bumpers used the $50,000 to purchase a few billboards, run some newspaper ads and buy a little television time—usually 30-second spots and sometimes longer ones where he perched on a stool without notes and talked about overcoming all the strife, bringing people together to get things done for the state, and always being honest and candid with people about where he stood. He was going to improve education, get medical care to people in rural areas, and protect the state’s air and streams. Polls shortly before the primary showed that he had climbed but was nowhere near Faubus and Purcell, the frontrunners. But he nosed out Purcell for the second spot and defeated Faubus 260,000 to 183,000 in the runoff.

Faubus had ignored Bumpers in the first primary and then characterized Bumpers as a “flaming liberal” who had supported Rockefeller in the past. He tried to make fun of Bumpers.

“The Arkansas Gazette wants to set up the same sort of gently contested race you would find for the king and queen of a charity ball at some country club,” Faubus said in a televised speech before the election. “Bumpers versus Rockefeller battling it out, tux to tux, cocktail to cocktail, boyish grin to boyish grin. No hard feelings, it’s nothing serious.”

So Bumpers joked about all the big country clubs there were in Charleston, Ark. He never denied that he had voted for Rockefeller nor did he criticize Faubus.

Rockefeller confronted the same act in the general election. He insinuated that while Bumpers may look like a fresh face he was part of the same old machine. Bumpers received 62 percent of the votes against Rockefeller and Walter Carruth, the candidate of George Wallace’s American Party.

Bumpers would later say that as a senator he missed the satisfaction that he had as governor, knowing every day when you went to work that you were not spinning your wheels but actually getting things done and making things measurably better for people. But he also made it a torturous job. In his first days in office events brought home to him that 30,000 government employees worked for him and that there was the potential every day of corruption, self-dealing and influence peddling.

He sent a new aide home for trying to influence a liquor permit and demanded the resignation of a parole official appointed by Rockefeller for seeking payoffs from prisoner families. He worried every night that his children would read about some scandal, some wrongdoing in their daddy’s government.

When a political opponent in his 1972 re-election race said Bumpers had been handed a paper sack full of hundred-dollar bills at the Buffalo, N.Y., airport from the scandal-ridden owners of the racetrack at West Memphis Bumpers despaired that people would believe he would do something like that.

He directed that all gifts of any kind that reached his office be returned with a letter explaining that he could not accept theirs or any gift. Days after taking office, he went home to the Mansion in the evening to find an expensive Rolex watch, the price tag still affixed, from a Camden businessman who wanted to be reappointed to the State Police Commission. Bumpers returned it with the letter and, of course, didn’t reappoint him. Later that year, the State Police told him that a new inmate in the penitentiary claimed that he had been hired by the businessman to kill the governor but that he had been convicted of another crime before he could get around to it. Bumpers told the State Police to warn the businessman that he would be the suspect if any harm came to the governor or his family.

Bumpers said the happiest day of his life was the first day he woke up and was not governor of Arkansas anymore and not responsible for the ethical lapses of anyone in the government. As a senator with a tiny staff he never again carried that burden. —Ernie Dumas

TOP STORY >> Black history banquet Feb. 12

The George Washington Carver High School Alumni Association wants to build a multicultural center, like this artist’s rendering, on the site of the original school on Frank T. Bunton St, named for its first principal.

The George Washington Carver High School Alumni Association in Lonoke will hold its seventh annual Black History Month Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 in the Lonoke Primary School cafeteria.

The group includes graduates and attendees of the former African American high school in Lonoke prior to the town’s integration in 1970. The school once occupied a wood-frame building on a street now named for Carver’s first principal, F.T. Bunton.

“This annual event serves as our largest fundraiser. Currently, the association’s fundraising focus is our educational outreach — including the Homework Hotline tutoring and mentoring program and annual scholarship for graduating seniors at Lonoke High School — and our building program, which endeavors to construct a new 5,500 square-foot multicultural center on the former site of the historic Carver Gymnasium,” said Ryan Biles, a member of the Carver Alumni Association’s board of directors and co-chair of the board’s Building and Grounds Committee.

Henry Bryant Jr., president of the Carver Alumni Association, said, “To me, Black History is directly related to Professor Bunton and how he encouraged me personally.”

“While the original structures are gone, the spirit of education and unity is carried on by the Alumni Association, which exists to inspire and further this legacy of learning in the new generation,” according to a news release.

Biles said, “Of the many unique advantages that make Lonoke a special place to live, one is undoubtedly the fact that we have multiple generations living alongside one another as neighbors. (It) provides a constant opportunity to share the lessons and perspectives of those who experienced our collective history and are now building upon that foundation a unified community for an upcoming generation of leaders.”

Bryant added, “History itself is a conglomeration of people coming together and creating a great idea. It takes all of us.”

The Black History Month Banquet, attended by the community’s leaders in education, business and politics, is one of the group’s most significant programs, which includes a keynote speaker of significant leadership and accomplishment from the African American community. Past speakers include Surgeon General Dr. Jocyelyn Elders, Arkansas Baptist College president Fitz Hill, UAPB President L.A. Davis and author Patricia Knott.

This year’s speaker is Dr. M.A. Parker, a native of Wilmot (Ashley County) and an accomplished biologist. She is a graduate the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and an inductee in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Outdoor Hall of Fame.

She is the youngest of 11 children, Mamie Parker pursued her education and rose through the ranks of several state conservation agencies nationwide before becoming the nation’s first African American to be a regional director and assistant director of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington.

Biles said, “When I learned of Dr. Parker’s story last year in a profile on the radio, I immediately knew that she would be an ideal leader to introduce to Lonoke. To me, she represents the best of our state, and her accomplishments are inspiring to students and young professionals in small and rural Delta communities such as ours. Considering the unique position that Lonoke holds as a center for the aquaculture industry, the site of the state’s largest fish hatchery, and our connection to the fisheries program at UAPB, the banquet is an ideal opportunity to connect with Dr. Parker and highlight her academic expertise and a common background that is so relevant to our region.”

The year’s national theme of Black History Month is “Hallowed Ground: Sites of African American Memories.”

The dinner will be held on the 207th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $25 each and are available for purchase from banquet chairwoman Alice Rufus, Ryan Biles or any member of the Carver Alumni Association’s board. Tables of 10 cost $225 and are recommended for businesses, churches or civic groups.

Bryant also encourages local businesses to partner with the association as presenting sponsors to help with costs associated with the banquet. For details, call him at 501-533-7002 or Biles at 501-590-5478.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page,

TOP STORY >> Cabot most business friendly in area on fees

Leader staff writer

Jacksonville’s proposed privilege license rates are generally below or on par with Sherwood, but higher than those Cabot charges.

Sherwood updated its ordinance levying those fees in 2003, while Cabot also has a newer policy, approved in 2001.

By comparison, the last time Jacksonville changed its rates was 1974.

Some categories could not be adequately compared because the three cities calculate the annual cost for business licenses differently.

Jacksonville’s proposed ordinance bases most of its fees on square footage.

Cabot takes a flat-rate approach, listing by type the cost for hundreds of businesses.

Sherwood employs a base rate plus a charge per employee in most instances and — in some cases — also collects 0.075 percent of the value of the company’s stock. The base rate in some categories is affected by the number of employees a company has. There are also categories where square footage and additional services play a role.

The proposed Jacksonville ordinance groups alcohol sales into a category that includes hospitality businesses, private clubs, restaurants, retailers and wholesalers. They would pay a minimum of $500 for up to 2,000 square feet and a maximum of $825 plus $0.025 per square foot over the 10,000-square-foot mark.

Private clubs in Sherwood are charged $300 plus $10 per employee, but that city’s ordinance doesn’t have a category like the one Jacksonville has proposed.

Using Buffalo Wild Wings as a hypothetical example, the rates for Jacksonville and Sherwood can be more clearly compared.

Although it’s not a private club, the restaurant serves alcohol and presumably could have sought the same private club license that Chili’s in Jacksonville has, if it chose to be in a dry area. When Buffalo Wild Wings came to Sherwood, The Leader reported it was bringing 120 jobs to the community.

So, if 120 people were hired, that was the restaurant’s entire workforce and it was a private club, Buffalo Wild Wings would pay $1,500 for business license in Sherwood.

The minimum square footage recommended for franchises on the national chain’s website is 4,000. If the restaurant were a 4,000-square-foot private club located in Jacksonville, it would pay $550 under the proposed ordinance.

Note that the square footage and how many employees correspond to it are unknown.


For the sake of argument, the maximum square footage suggested on the chain’s website is 7,000. So that would raise the cost to get a license in Jacksonville to $700, according to the proposed ordinance.

Cabot doesn’t list private clubs or other businesses selling alcohol, meaning they’d have to spend $50 as “any business not otherwise listed” would. Buffalo Wild Wings would still pay $50, as that is the city’s rate for restaurants.

Bakeries, on the other hand, are a category in the proposed and other ordinances.

If the Jacksonville rates are passed, those would pay between $100 (for up to 2,000 square feet) and $425 plus $0.025 pre square foot over 10,000 square feet.

The rate in Cabot is $25, but Sherwood charges $70-$100 plus $10 per employee.

To compare Jacksonville and Sherwood, once again, an example is needed. A 2003 St. Petersburg Times article about a bakery franchise moving to town reports that the business is 5,300 square feet and 40 employees were hired to work there.

If that same bakery came to Jacksonville, it would be charged $200.

In Sherwood, the fee would be $470.

Jacksonville restaurants would pay the same as bakeries, but spend $50 plus $10 per employee in Sherwood and $50 in Cabot.

Back to the Buffalo Wild Wings example, if it weren’t a private club, didn’t serve alcohol, had 120 employees and was 7,000 square feet, the fee would be $300 under the Jacksonville proposal and $1,250 in Sherwood.


In Jacksonville’s proposed ordinance, banks pay a flat rate of $400 per location.

In Cabot, they would pay $250 for a main location and $150 per branch.

In Sherwood, the rate for banks is $675 plus $70 for each branch (the first five branches) and $50 for each additional branch over the first five. That fee only applies to branches that are in Sherwood though.

Beauty salons and barbershops would be charged $50 plus $10 per stylist or barber in Jacksonville.

They’d pay $35 in Cabot.

In Sherwood, barbers and beauty operations spend $40 plus $10 per barber (not including the owner), $18 per manicurist and the 0.075 percent stock fee. Barbershops and beauty parlor supply houses pay $100 plus the same stock fee.

The Jacksonville ordinance has a category for “business/retail, hospitals, nursing/care facilities and sales.” The rates ranges from $100 for up to 2,000 square feet to $425 plus $0.025 per square foot over 10,000.

Sherwood does not have a comparable category, but department stores spend $100 plus the stock fee, while for-profit hospitals pay $135 plus $10 per employee. Nursing homes are charged $70 plus $1.50 per bed.

The going rate for stores in Cabot seems to be $50, although department stores are charged $75. A nursing home pays $100, while hospitals are charged $50 because there isn’t a category for them.

Contractors and specialty trades would end up spending $100 a year under the proposed Jacksonville ordinance.

They pay $50 in Cabot. Sherwood charges from $100 to $800 plus per-employee fees, with the base amount figured from the worth of their building permits.

Home-based day cares would spend $100 a year if the Jacksonville ordinance were approved. Other day cares would pay $100 (for up to 1,000 square feet) to $800 plus $0.025 cents per square foot over 10,000.

Day cares aren’t a listed category in Sherwood’s ordinance, but they would spend $50 in Cabot because there is not a category for them. Businesses not covered by a category in Sherwood are charged a minimum of $100 plus $15 per employee and the stock fee, if applicable.

Flea markets, antique dealers, pawnshops and consignment stores would pay $150 (for up to 1,000 square feet) to $850 plus $0.025 cents per square over 10,000 under the Jacksonville ordinance.

In Cabot, flea market owners and dealers pay $35 each. Antique shops and pawnshops are charged $50, as are consignment shops because they don’t fall under any category.

Antique dealers in Sherwood pay $70 plus $10 per employee. Antique and craft malls are charged $70 plus $7 per booth for the first 100 booths and $4 for each booth over that. Flea markets pay $50 plus $7 per booth or stall. Pawnbrokers pay $405 plus $205 if they sell precious metals and/or $50 if the sell used wearing apparel. There isn’t a category called consignment shops.

Funeral homes would pay a flat rate of $300 under the Jacksonville proposal.

In Sherwood, they’d spend $170 plus $10 per employee and another $100 if the business has a mortician.

Cabot funeral homes pay a flat fee of $100.

Hotels and motels would spend $200 plus $2 per room in Jacksonville.

They pay $100 in Cabot and $70 plus $2 per room in Sherwood. But, in Sherwood, they’d have to pay an extra $50 to provide laundry or dry cleaning services, $50 plus $10 per employee to have a restaurant, $18 per vehicle if they rent limousines and/or $70 if they rent convention or meeting rooms.


If Jacksonville passes the proposed updated ordinance as it is now, licensed professionals will pay more than they would in Sherwood or Cabot.

Appraisers, accountants, architects, auditors, chiropractors, dentists, engineers, optometrists, opticians, physicians, psychologists, veterinarians and others would have to spend $150 for a business license.

In Cabot, they pay from $50 to $75 a year, while Sherwood charges $100 for each professional plus $17.50 per paraprofessional employee.

In Jacksonville, a lumber or hardware store would spend between $500 (for up to 50,000 square feet) and $1,500 plus $0.025 cents per square foot above 100,000.

Hardware stores pay 100 plus the 0.075 percent stock fee in Sherwood. There wasn’t a category called lumber, but those who sell building and plumbing materials, brick and tile pay the same rate.

Hardware stores in Cabot spend $50, and lumberyards are charged $75.

Manicurists, in Jacksonville, would pay $50 plus $10 per technician.

In Cabot, the rate is $50 because there is no category. It’s $40 in Sherwood.

Manufacturing and production companies, under the Jacksonville proposal would pay $500 for less than 500 employees, $625 for 50-100 employees and $750 for 101 or more employees.

Manufacturers in Sherwood are charged $70 plus $4 each for the first 50 employees and $3 for each employee over that.

So a plant that has 500 employees would pay $500 in Jacksonville versus $1,420 in Sherwood.

Cabot has a flat rate of $100 for manufacturers.

Mobile food vendors in Jacksonville would spend $50. In Sherwood, a “mobile canteen” pays the same per vehicle.

Restaurants, lunch stands, cafes, delis and wagons also pay $50 in Cabot.

Mobile home parks in Jacksonville, if the proposal were approved, would be charged $100 plus $50 per acre.

In Sherwood, they pay $100 plus $8 per space. Because there isn’t a category called that, Cabot mobile home parks are charged $50.


The rates related to motor vehicles, under the Jacksonville proposal, would be $100 for automatic and self-service car washes and detail service providers; $750 for new car dealers; $250 for used car dealers; $200 plus $15 per grade of gasoline offered for gas stations/convenience stores; $150 for paint and body shops, parts suppliers (retail or wholesale) and repair shops; $200 for a repair and tire shop; $300 plus $10 per acre for a salvage business and $200 for towing services/wreckers. Transportation services would be charged $100 plus $25 per vehicle.

In Cabot, the rates are $50 for a car wash; $150 for dealers selling new and used vehicles on the same lot; $100 for used car-only dealers; $75 for an auto repair shop; $50 for auto supplies and accessories and auto service stations; $25 for bus and freight terminals; $50 for a convenience store with gas pumps; $35 for junk dealers; $25 for a taxi or limousine service; and $35 for a wrecker service.

An automatic car wash in Sherwood pays $125 plus $10 per employee. Manuel car washes pay $50 per employee plus $8 per stall. Detailing costs an extra $75 plus $10 per employee, while mobile or truck washers are an additional $125 plus $13 per employee and repair service is another $50 plus $10 per employee.

A paint and body shop would pay $70 plus $10 per employee in Sherwood, plus $25 for each damage appraiser, if applicable.

The other Sherwood rates are as follows.


New automobile dealers pay $100 plus the 0.075 percent stock fee and another $50 if they have a repair component.

Used automobile dealers pay $100 plus $10 per employee and another $50 plus $18 per wrecker if they offer that service.

Salvage businesses spend $100 plus $10 per employee and the same wrecker fees if applicable.

An auto service station would pay $100 plus $10 per hose, $18 per mechanic and $10 per employee.

The real estate sales/management category in the proposed Jacksonville ordinance lists $100 plus $75 per licensed agent or broker as the fee to be charged.

In Cabot, the rates are $50 for each broker and $25 for each agent or salesman.

Sherwood charges $100 plus $18 per employee and $25 per salesman.

The business may also pay $2.50 per 1,000 square feet of commercial or office space available for rent. The minimum fee for that is $35.

They may also spend $3.50 per rented residential unit for the first $100 and $2 per unit after that.

For rented or leased warehouse or industrial space, the fee is $1 per 1,000 square feet. The minimum charge is $18.

Vending kiosks/machine operators would pay $50 under the proposed Jacksonville ordinance. They pay the same in Cabot, while, in Sherwood, the vending machine fee is $20.

TOP STORY >> New district says critics not credible

Leader senior staff writer

Attorneys for the new Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District on Monday filed a brief disputing the Joshua Intervenors’ charge that the proposed JNP facilities master plan flies in the face of Plan 2000 and re-segregates Jacksonville.

John Walker, lead attorney for the Intervenors, last week briefed U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall Jr., asking him to hold an evidentiary hearing to decide if the facilities plan meets the requirements of Plan 2000, and asking him not to approve the master plan.

But, in their answer, attorneys Scott Richardson and Patrick Wilson contend Walker uses outdated and wrong data and contend the facilities plan is the best available in difficult circumstances.


“The basic premise of the Joshua Intervenors’ opposition to JNPSD’s current facilities plan appears to be that the only plan consistent with Plan 2000 is immediate replacement of every academic facility in the district,” JNPSD attorneys answered in their brief. “This is simply not the case. Moreover, it is completely unrealistic. JNPSD’s plan balances available resources with current facilities needs to maximize the district’s ability to improve the condition of all of its facilities now and into the future.”


The plan calls for building a new $60 million high school for all JNP high school students and a new elementary school to replace Arnold Drive and Tolleson, refurbishing North Pulaski High School for use as the sole JNP middle school and adding large multipurpose buildings at the four remaining elementary schools.

Walker says those elementaries are predominately black schools and that he wants every school to be replaced. Walker didn’t say in his brief, earlier in court or at a Jacksonville NAACP meeting on Sunday where the money would come from for another $80 million worth of construction.

Walker told the NAACP that the district should have added on more mills to the tax increase it is asking voters for at the Feb. 9 election, but JNP chief of staff Phyllis Stewart said the district would have to double its millage to 15.2 mills to gain that much.

The current proposal would, if passed, cost home, vehicle, boat and motorcycle owners about $150 a year per $100,000 worth of property. A 15.2-mill increase would cost them about $300 per $100,000, and she said she didn’t think district patrons would go for that.


In asking the parties for briefs on the facilities plan, Marshall warned Walker that he wanted evidence-based objections.

“JNPSD cannot locate any document on which the Joshua Intervenors base their expectation that a new 4,000 student district would be able to replace all of its facilities at once,” according to the JNPSD brief.

“JNPSD’s plan is based on its assessment of the current facilities needs in the district and the potentially available revenue sources. The Joshua Intervenors make no attempt to address these two concerns.”

JNPSD believes voters in the district will support a new, premier high school in the city center and a new elementary school to replace two of the oldest schools in the JNPSD.


Marge Powell, the court’s desegregation monitor, wrote Marshall recently, saying she found “no obvious negative effects on desegregation issues” from implementation of the proposed facilities master plan.

Walker said the district had no “Plan B” if the millage increase fails on Feb. 9, but Powell said JNPSD patrons approved formation of the new school a year ago by nearly 95 percent and that she thought it unlikely the same voters would turn down the increase, which would help pay for improvements on the master plan.

Former state director of the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation, Chuck Stein, said Jacksonville High School and Tolleson and Arnold Drive schools had been adjudged to be in such poor condition they needed new buildings instead of repairs.

It is proposed that Tolleson and Arnold Drive be combined into one new elementary.

Harper, president of the Jacksonville NAACP, said her organization had not taken an official position on the proposed facilities master plan. “We’re mostly concerned about transparency,” she said.

The new district’s attorneys also wrote, “It was JNPSD’s understanding, based on discussions over the last year, that the Joshua Intervenors were in agreement with the need to build a new high school in JNPSD.”


“The proposed facility will be located in the Joshua Intervenors’ preferred location: the city center. Moreover, a high school is a premier facility in a school district. A new high school will have multiple benefits to the District and the community it serves. It will help attract students to the district and will demonstrate JNPSD’s strength as a new school district. A new high school will be a bold move that will make the JNPSD competitive with the other school districts in the area,” it reads.

Marshall originally set the evidentiary hearing — if needed — for Jan. 19, but the delay in Walker’s brief resulted in a delayed deadline in the JNPSD brief.

“At this point, we’re just waiting to hear what (Marshall) wants to do,” Richardson said.

SPORTS STORY >> JHS’ Harris signs deal with Chiefs

Leader sports editor

Former Jacksonville Red Devil Demetrius Harris ended the NFL regular season with a bang. The Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end caught his first career touchdown pass in the last game of the regular season, and four days later signed a three-year contract extension worth $6.3 million.

Two days after that, the Chiefs torched the Houston Texans 30-0 in the first round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday.

Harris is in his third year with the Chiefs and second as an active player. He was signed as an undrafted free agent after five years away from football, and joined the Kansas City practice squad his first season.

He made the team last year at the league minimum salary and played this season as a backup to starting tight end Travis Kelce, who has 80 receptions this season for 1,003 yards.

Harris was a two-sport standout at Jacksonville High School and was considered a bigger football prospect than basketball. When he failed to qualify academically for a Division I scholarship, he chose to pursue basketball.

He finished his college career as a two-year starting forward for Wisconsin-Milwaukee before the Chiefs asked him for a private workout.

Harris only caught seven passes for 74 yards this season, but the Chiefs have approached Harris’ early career as a work in progress from the beginning. His speed, hands and route-running ability were impressive, but he was nowhere strong enough to be an effective blocker in the NFL when he joined the organization.

It’s clear with last Friday’s contract, the team believes Harris is ready to fulfill their expectations and make their risk worthwhile.

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke girls dominate

Leader sports editor

Upsets abound last Friday night at the Gina Cox Center. The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits dominated Chrystin Williams and Central Arkansas Christian 40-33 while the Mustang boys won for just the second time this season in a major 60-59 upset of the Jackrabbits.

The girls’ game wasn’t as much of an upset as it was a very big win. The Lonoke girls (12-4, 5-2) entered the game with a better record than CAC (11-7, 3-3), but no team has done the job defensively on Williams that Lonoke did on Friday.

Williams, one of the top sophomore college prospects in the nation, receiving interest from all the major NCAAW teams from Stanford to UConn, is averaging 28 points per game and has scored more than 30 in the last seven games in a row. She finished with 18 on Friday, but only had seven in the first half, and four of those were the first four points of the game.

“I told my girls if we hold her to less than 30 we could win the game,” said Lonoke coach Nathan Morris. “She only had two field goals in the second half, but she was able to get to the line a little more. Without a doubt this was our best defensive effort of the season. We had a game plan and the girls did absolutely everything to execute it to perfection. You know me, I’m very, very seldom totally pleased with any game, but it’s really hard to look at how these girls played this one and find something wrong with it. They did everything we worked on and everything I asked of them.”

Lonoke’s own sophomore star, Keiunna Walker, drew the assignment of being the main one responsible for defending Williams. Lonoke played a straight man defense, but overemphasized help when Williams would attempt to penetrate.

It didn’t work at the very beginning. Williams quickly gave her team a 4-0 lead, but from that point until halftime, Lonoke held her to three points and outscored the Lady Mustangs 25-6. It was 25-10 at halftime and Lonoke maintained that margin after a 9-9 third quarter.

“I think it took us just a little bit to realize she (Williams) is every bit as fast as what we talked about in practice,” Morris said. “In fact, I brought in Darrius McCall, who used to play for the boys when they went to the state championship game. He practiced with us last week to simulate the kind of speed they were going to see. I think after that start, they saw what they were up against and knew they had to execute, and they did it.”

CAC pulled to within four points with a minute remaining, but Walker hit both ends of a crucial one-and-one and CAC never got any closer.

Walker and senior Jarrelyn McCall each finished with 13 points, and the duo created a situation CAC had trouble defending.

“They started the game with Williams on McCall,” Morris said. “So Keiunna scored seven points in the first quarter and they switched her off to cover Keiunna. Well when they did that, Jarrelyn hit a three on an inbound play to end the quarter, then hit two more in the second quarter that got us going. So having two scorers helped us tonight, and they both stepped up when the opportunity came up.”

Walker, of course, had to have a few breaks from defending Williams so vigorously, and when she sat, Kaley Woodruff stepped in and took over the duty.

“I’d say it was about two-third to a third time split between the two guarding her,” Morris said. “They both did an exceptional job.”

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville wins at North Pulaski

Leader sports editor

Jacksonville’s coach was frustrated with his team’s lack of focus. North Pulaski’s coach was frustrated with officiating. In the end, Jacksonville pulled away from North Pulaski for a 72-41 victory Friday night at the Falcons’ Nest in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville raced out to a big lead, pushing the margin to double digits with 2:35 left in the first quarter when a three-quarter court alley-oop pass from DaJuan Ridgeway to LaQuawn Smith made the score 15-4. Before Ridgeway’s pass, he hit three-consecutive 3-pointers to lead the Red Devils’ big lead. Jacksonville finished the opening period up 20-5, and the game was played pretty evenly, though largely uneventful, for the next two quarters.

One of the most interesting points of the game was a third-quarter exchange of words between JHS coach Vic Joyner and NP coach Roy Jackson. With is team clawing to stay in the game and tired of his protests falling on the deaf ears of officials, Jackson turned towards Joyner.

“You know he fouled him,” Jackson said to Joyner.

“You’re right,” Joyner responded. “He did foul him, but what do you want me to do?”

Jackson replied. “They don’t even want it to be a good game. They just want to go home early.”

The conversation came after the second of two obvious fouls that weren’t called on Jacksonville. The first came early in the third when North Pulaski’s James Robinson drove by Jacksonville’s Tyree Appleby, who simply grabbed a handful of the back of Robinson’s jersey and slowed his progress toward the lane.

The second came when Braxton McKinney got into the lane and drew much contact on a shot attempt.

After the game, Jackson didn’t focus on officiating, and instead gave credit to the Red Devils.

“I thought tonight we took care of the ball a lot better than we did the last game,” Jackson said. “But the second half, Jacksonville came out and really amped up their defense and there wasn’t much we could do about it. We don’t really have a true point guard and that makes it tough when an athletic team like Jacksonville starts putting pressure on you. We’ve got to find a way to slow things down. Once we got into a half-court situation I thought we executed pretty well.”

Jacksonville led 31-15 at halftime and 47-28 at the end of the third quarter, and then broke the game wide open in the fourth quarter. Jacksonville’s Harderrious Martin invoked the mercy rule with a 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining in the game that also set the final margin.

It was the second game in conference play for both 5A Central teams and the first win for the Red Devils, Joyner wasn’t entirely pleased with his team’s performance.

“I thought we were lackluster,” Joyner said. “We’re having too many mental mistakes. They play good when they’re threatened, but they need to come out with some fire. The button is going to have to be pushed by them, not by me or the situation. The button shouldn’t be pushed by the score, or by North Pulaski. The button should be pushed by them.”

One notable exception to Joyner’s critique was post player Chris Williams, and Joyner noticed it, too.

“Chris plays that way every day, in practice the whole time,” Joyner said. “If everybody would match his intensity, we’d be a lot better. He knows one speed.

“We finally got Appleby playing. For whatever reason he was in a mental funk tonight, at least in the first half. We challenged him at halftime to come on and play, and once he did the game was over. He’s got to learn to play at a high level all the time. At the next level especially you’ve got to have that mental toughness every day. If you don’t make it an every-day habit, you’re going to get nights like this, and then you’re not going to play.”

Smith led Jacksonville with 18 points, and added seven rebounds and five assists to his stat line. Ridgeway and Appleby each finished with 12 points. Williams added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Red Devils.

Sophomore post player Christian White came off the bench to lead North Pulaski with 12 points and six rebounds.

Jacksonville faced Mills on Tuesday and will be at Beebe on Friday. North Pulaski played another rivalry game at Sylvan Hills on Tuesday, and will travel to No. 1 ranked J.A. Fair on Friday. Look for details of Tuesday’s games in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot knocks off NLR in big East matchup

Leader sportswriter

Cabot opened 7A/6A-East Conference play with a win Friday, but it didn’t come easy. The Panthers led after every quarter and held off a late North Little Rock rally to leave Charging Wildcat Arena with a hard-fought 67-61 win.

The defending state champion Charging Wildcats may not be as overwhelmingly talented this year compared to recent years, but there’s still plenty of talent there, and it’s a team that’s definitely better than its 6-7 overall record might indicate.

“North Little Rock’s still good,” said Cabot coach Jerry Bridges after the game. “They may not have KeVaughn Allen, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a good team. We knew what it was going to be like coming in here, and I was proud of our guys.

“We knew what it was like to be in this position and we knew they were going to make a hard run at us at the end, but we kept our composure.”

Cabot (10-3, 1-0) led 43-35 at the start of the fourth quarter, and upped its lead to double digits on a pair of baskets by junior forward Matt Stanley. With 5:57 remaining, a Logan Gilbertson free throw and transition layup by Hunter Southerland gave the Panthers a 50-37 lead.

North Little Rock (6-7, 0-1), though, battled back and got within five of Cabot’s lead, 54-49, on a B.J. Walker steal that led to a transition layup by leading scorer Adrian Moore. Bridges then called timeout with 2:53 left to play.

After the timeout, Cabot took possession underneath NLR’s goal, and Southerland threw a perfect inbound pass up court to Stanley, who was running up the floor, and Stanley beat his man for a one-on-one basket underneath the goal on Cabot’s end of the floor.

Point guard Bobby Joe Duncan added two free throws with 1:23 remaining, which upped the Panthers’ lead to nine, 58-49. Moore answered with a 3-pointer before Duncan made two more free throws, which made the score 60-52 Cabot with 1:12 remaining.

With just under a minute to play, Moore was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and the senior guard made all three free throws to bring NLR within 62-56 of the Panthers’ lead.

After a Cabot free throw, Moore hit another three to cut Cabot’s lead to 63-59 with 41 seconds left. North Little Rock then fouled sophomore guard Jalen Brown, and Brown made both free throws with 36 seconds remaining.

North Little Rock failed to score on the following possession, and Brown was sent to the line again, where he made two more free throws to put the game out of the Charging Wildcats’ reach.

Brown’s last two free throws made the score 67-59, and with 11 seconds left, NLR’s Desmond Duckworth sank a running floater to set the final score.

Cabot led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and 29-27 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Panthers made five of their first six shots from the floor and NLR was 2 for 11 shooting in the third quarter. North Little Rock finished the second half 8 for 25 shooting and Cabot was 11 for 17.

Duncan led Cabot with 20 points Friday. Seven of those points came in the fourth quarter, and all of those fourth-quarter points came at the free-throw line, when the Panthers needed them down the stretch.

“I thought little No. 2 for us did a heck of a job,” Bridges said of his junior point guard.

Southerland also scored in double figures for Cabot. He had 12 points. Moore led all scorers with 21 points. He scored 17 of those points in the fourth quarter. Duckworth was the only other Charging Wildcat to score in double figures. He added 12.