Saturday, September 10, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Titans move ball, can’t finish drives

Leader staff writer

The Arkansas heat and Rocket hits put two Titan quarterbacks out of the game and wore down the rest of the team as Catholic pulled away from Jacksonville in the second half, winning Friday night’s competition at War Memorial, 31 to 6.

“We played good at times,” said Titans Coach Barry Higginbotham, “but we had too many signs of a young team. We’ve got to be able to go 48 minutes.”

The Titans looked strong early, recovering an onside kick, grabbing an interception and recovering a fumble that the officials, after a delay, called an incomplete pass.

The game started out in the Titans favor when they recovered their own onside kick on the opening kickoff, but the drive stalled.

Strong Safety Isaac Verser stopped a Rocket drive coming up with an interception on the Titans’ 15-yard line. The Titans’ offense, led by quarterback Rowdy Weathers, was able to move the ball to about mid-field before his first of many hard hits to the ribs slowed the drive and Jacksonville turned it over on downs.

The first quarter ended with neither team coming close to the end zone.

Early in the second quarter, the Rockets had to punt and the ball bounced out at the 10-yard line, pinning the Titans deep on their side of the field.

Weathers hit wide receiver HD Martin on a swing pass that Martin caught about a yard behind the scrimmage and burst 91-yards up along the sidelines for the first touchdown of the game. The point after failed, but at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter, Jacksonville had the lead.

The Rockets, behind the running and passing of quarterback Price Taylor, worked their way down the field despite solid tackling by Titans’’ Kevin Fulton. With a first down and goal to go on the 4-yard line, Rocket Luke Schildknecht bullied his way in to tie the game. The extra point was good and the Rockets took the lead and didn’t look back.

Catholic scored one more time before the half, one play after blocking a Titan punt.

Jacksonville had a chance to score right before the half when Weathers hit Martin on a 15-yard pass that Martin turned into a 70-yard gain before being horse-collared on the 10-yard line. Martin had to wait on the pass and that allowed Catholic defenders to catch him, but the horse collar drew a flag and the Titans were just five yards from a score, but went backwards in three plays to the 13-yard line.

The Titans tried a 23-yard field goal, but the kick, like the earlier PAT, missed to the left.

Early in the second half, Weathers was called for intentional grounding after a late hit to his rib put him down and his receiver wasn’t in the area of errant pass because he was held. The call didn’t set well with the sprinkling of Titan fans in the stadium.

Even with that setback, Weathers went up the middle on a keeper for 6 yards, and then hit Marcus Casey on a 14-yard pass play. The next pass, an attempt to Jonathan Hall, almost resulted in an interception, but Hall turned into a defensive back and ripped the ball out of the Rockets’ possession and the drive stalled.

Behind good defensive play of Fulton and Derrick Bragg, the Titans forced the Rockets to punt and Jacksonville took over again on their own 10-yard line. A hard 15-yard run by Jakyree Wynne followed by a high gear 55-yard dash by Shawn Ellis had the Titans at Catholic’s 25-yard line, looking to score.

But another late, hard hit to the ribs put Weathers down again and this time with leg cramps, too. He was helped off the field and control of the offense was given to Martin, who overthrew Dillon Birge in the middle of the field on fourth and 14.

Taking over on downs again, Catholic put together another drive and punched it in from the 1-yard line. After another successful PAT, Titans were down 21-6.

Jacksonville mounted a good drive early in the fourth quarter, which included passes from Martin to Myles Mason, Rodney Middleton and Wynne.

At the Catholic 24-yard line, Martin kept the ball on a hard zigzag run down to the 11 were the ball and his helmet were ripped from him and he went down, also with apparent leg cramps. He also had to be helped from the field.

Weathers, holding his side, tried to convince the coaches to let him back in, but they went with sophomore Cam Holston to finish the game.

“It was a non-conference game and too early in the season to take a chance putting Weathers back in,” Higginbotham said.

Catholic scored another touchdown after the Titans missed tackling Rockets’ running back Sammy Johnson on the scoring run.

A field goal in the final minutes set the final margin at 31-6.

After the game, the coach said the team needed to build more depth and execute better. “We’ve got to be ready to play in conference,” he said.

SPORTS STORY >> Panthers survive gambles, fumbles

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers gambled a lot late, and it never paid off. But they got out of lower Arkansas with a victory anyway, beating 6A powerhouse El Dorado 28-13 in a game that was much closer than the score indicates.

Three lost fumbles cost Cabot three scoring opportunities over the course of the game, and two huge gambles late in the fourth quarter breathed new life into an El Dorado team that trailed 14-7 and had struggled all game to get any momentum.

El Dorado finally put together a nice drive late in the game until Austin Swackhammer’s second interception stopped the drive. Swackhammer picked off the 11-yard pass attempt at the goal line, setting Cabot up at the 20 with 4:30 left in the game.

But the Panthers failed to run much time off the clock. After a quick first down, quarterback Jarrod Barnes ran out of bounds on first down. Two plays later an incomplete pass stopped the clock again on fourth down.

Cabot lined up to punt, and rolled the dice for the first time. Halfback Austin Morse took the direct snap but was stopped 2 yards short of the first down. That set El Dorado up at the Cabot 47 with 2:37 left in the game.

The Panthers were called for pass interference on the first play of the drive, moving the ball to the 32.

Wildcat quarterback Darius Holly scrambled for 13 yards when he couldn’t find anyone open, making it first down at the Cabot 19. The next pass went for -3 yards, and that set up Cabot’s next huge gamble.

This time, the Panthers went with an all-out blitz, and Holly calmly hit Blake Cunningham for the score to pull the home team to within one point.

El Dorado coach Scott Reed decided himself to gamble, and went for two and the win instead of kicking the extra point to force overtime. The pass fell incomplete, leaving Cabot with the lead.

El Dorado had to try an on-side kick with 1:19 remaining, but Cabot’s John Wiens caught in amidst a gap in the Wildcat coverage, and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 1:09 left in the game.

Mason Martin’s extra point made it 21-13.

Cabot kicked deep and El Dorado took over on its own 28. After one incomplete pass, Jarrod Barnes, who was on the field on defense for the first time this season, picked off a pass at the Cabot 45 and ran it back 55 yards for the final score of the game.

Both offenses struggled most of the game. Penalties and turnovers thwarted several Cabot drives, while El Dorado couldn’t keep Cabot’s defense out of its backfield.

Spencer Nickell had three sacks for Cabot, while Cody Nabors had three tackles for loss.

Barnes had another big night running the ball. He finished with 17 carries for 210 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three fumbles, one of which was lost.

Both of Cabot’s second-half fumbles were hotly contested by Cabot coach Mike Malham, who felt fullback Braxton Burton and Barnes were both down before losing the ball.

Cabot held El Dorado to just 119 total yards.

The Panthers will stay on the road next week when it travels to Class 5A J.A. Fair. The War Eagles were beaten 60-0 by Morrilton on Friday, and have not won a game on the field since opening week of the 2013 season. They were awarded a forfeit victory over McClellan in 2014. Fair has won two games on the field since 2010, and have been winless on the field in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

SPORTS STORY >> Jacksonville wins thriller over Patriots

Leader sports editor

The Lady Titan volleyball team came out on the winning end of one of the most exciting matches in the state on Tuesday, beating Parkview 3-2 at JHS to earn its second victory of the season. Scores in the match were 25-19, 19-25, 21-25, 30-28 and 15-13.

“These girls showed more fight, and more heart than any time since I’ve been with them,” said Jacksonville coach Savannah Jacoby. “It was a privilege to be a part of this with them. They were down two sets to one, and 23-18, and they just fought. I told them, they have to do this. I can believe in them all I want, but they have to believe they can go out there and make that comeback and win it. And they went out there and did it. I’m so proud of them all.”

In the deciding game five, Parkview took a 10-8 lead with four-straight points, but Aaliyah Burks took serve for Jacksonville and served three-straight points, including one ace, giving the Lady Titans an 11-10 advantage. Jacksonville senior Elizabeth Brown served three more points, giving the Lady Titans four set points. Parkview took away three of them with three-straight, but Jacksonville won the match with a side out to move to 2-1 in the 5A/6A District 4.

Game four was even more exciting. Jacksonville had to win it to force a game five, and was in a desperate way when it trailed 23-18 and 24-21.

Down 23-18, Titan sophomore Basia Brown took serve and got three points back before Parkview broke. That put the Lady Patriots on serve with two match points, but Jacksonville broke back with a kill by junior Rebecca Brown.

That made the score 24-22, and Lindsey Holt then took serve, and served up three-consecutive points, including an ace that put Jacksonville in front 25-24 and gave them a set point.

“Lindsey has a powerful serve and she can be deceiving,” Jacoby said. “People look at her and think she isn’t going to be that powerful, so that’s a good weapon to have.”

The two teams rallied back and forth until Parkview took a 28-27 lead. That’s when Jacksonville scored three-straight to win the game and stay alive.

After a side out, Rebecca Brown aced Parkview with her first serve, and Jacksonville won a rally on set point to make it 2-2 and force the tiebreak set.

Blair Jones and Savannah McKinney led Jacksonville in its game-one win. Jacksonville scored six points on Jones’ serve and five on McKinney’s. Rebecca Brown added three kills in the set while McKinney had two.

“We’re working on spreading the ball around and getting more and more people involved,” Jacoby said. “Savannah stepped up and had a great match. I communicated a lot with (setter) Elizabeth during the match on where to go with it, and she’s getting better and better.”

McKinney added three more kills in game two, but Jacksonville’s service game was off. The Lady Titans never scored more than two consecutive points on serve, and that only three times. Meanwhile, Parkview’s Lizeth Vargas served six-straight from trailing 6-5 to a 10-6 Parkview lead. Later, she served three more in a row, including two aces, to extend Parkview’s lead from 20-18 to 23-18.

In game four, it was Shacora Cooper who scored nine points on serve to lead Parkview. Four of those came late, and pulled the Lady Patriots out of a 20-19 deficit and into a 23-20 lead.

Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian are both 3-0 and share the league lead. Jacksonville, Maumelle and Sylvan Hills are all tied at 2-1 while Parkview, J.A. Fair and Hall High remain winless at 0-3.

Jacksonville added an easy road win over J.A. Fair on Thursday to move to 3-5 overall and in 3-1 conference play. The Lady Titans will host rival Sylvan Hills on Tuesday.

SPORTS STORY >> Badgers clobber Jackrabbits

Leader sports editor

It had been five years since Beebe last beat Lonoke on the gridiron, and the Badgers took five years of frustration out on the Jackrabbits in one half on Friday. Beebe dominated every facet of the game en route to a 42-7 halftime lead and a 49-7, mercy-rule victory at A.S. Bro Irwin Stadium.

“It was good getting that monkey off my back,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. “At least now I won’t have people around town asking me why we can’t beat Lonoke.”

The Badgers were successful no matter who was at quarterback or who they handed the ball to. The starters didn’t step onto the field in the second half, but starting fullback Kahlil Anthony had 17 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, while halfback Taylor Boyce carried eight times for 67 yards and two scores. Beebe only attempted one pass, but it went for 27 yards and a touchdown from quarterback C.J. Cauldwell to Boyce.

“Kahlil ran the ball really well tonight,” Shannon said. “He hit his spots harder and moved better with the ball. He did a great job and showed a lot of improvement.”

Mason Walker started at quarterback and had three carries for 36 yards. He split time with Cauldwell, who had three carries for 25 yards and the touchdown pass.

Shannon said he will likely continue to play both players.

“For a while anyway,” Shannon said. “They both did a really good job tonight. They both bring different strengths, so we’re going to continue to use both of them.”

Lonoke got the ball first and things started going wrong right away for the visiting team. On the second play from scrimmage, a fumbled snap resulted in Beebe’s Parker Payne covering it at the Lonoke 34-yard line.

Beebe needed five plays from there to score the first of six first-half touchdowns with 8:51 left in the opening quarter. Sophomore halfback Taylor Boyce hit a quick dive on the left side from 7 yards out and Daniel Martinez’s extra-point attempt was good to make the score 7-0.

Lonoke got one first down on its next possession, but was forced to punt on fourth and 4 from its own 46.

Beebe let the punt fall and Lonoke covered it on the Badger 12-yard line, but that only set up a long touchdown drive.

Eight plays got the ball to the Lonoke 38, and Boyce took a counter handoff and went that distance for the second score of the game. The drive took more than four minutes, and Beebe led 14-0 with 31 seconds left in the first quarter.

Beebe would double that in the second period.

On the ensuing drive, Lonoke faced third down and 1 yard to go on its own 40 when a high shotgun snap sailed backwards 23 yards, where Beebe’s Luke Oakley covered it for the Badgers.

Quarterback Mason Walker carried 4 yards on first down, and fullback Kahlil Anthony did the rest, going 7 yards and then 6 for the score with 10:01 left in the half. The extra point was no good, leaving the score 20-0.

Everyone knew it was Beebe’s night when they messed up a sky kick and ended up recovering it at the Lonoke 46-yard line.

“That wasn’t an on-side kick,” Shannon said. “We tried to sky kick it but he shanked it. It ended up going about 12 yards and bounced off one of their guys’ head and we were right there. It just worked out pretty good for us.”

Cauldwell went 11 yards on the keeper on first down. Two plays later, Cauldwell kept for 6 yards on third and 5 to keep the drive going. Three plays later, Beebe faced fourth and 1 when Anthony powered forward for 8 yards to the Lonoke 7. Boyce picked up 4 and Anthony did the rest for a 27-0 Beebe lead with 4:22 left in the first half.

Lonoke was not void of positive plays in the first half. Jackrabbit quarterback Daniel Seigrist faked a reverse handoff on the first play of the ensuing drive and went 63 yards untouched down the right hash marks. The extra point made it 27-7 with 4:07 left in the second quarter.

Beebe, however, still had two scores to go. After taking over at their own 34, the Badgers got 23 yards on first down on a quarterback keeper by Walker. After a face mask on Lonoke, Nathan Clifton picked up 16 yards to the Lonoke 11. Anthony did the rest on the next two carries and the extra point made it 34-7.

Lonoke then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Beebe’s Boyce made his second recovery at the Rabbits’ 25 with 1:52 left in the half.

After a holding penalty, Beebe went to the air for the final score of the half. Cauldwell rolled right where Boyce had snuck through the defense and was running all alone. He made the catch inside the 10-yard line and trotted into the end zone.

Cauldwell kept right for the two-point conversion and the 42-7 lead with 1:52 on the clock.

Beebe’s second string rolled down the field on the first drive of the second half. Evan Cockrum had a 32-yard run to the Lonoke 18 that would’ve been a touchdown had the back judge not got in his way. Nathan Burnett got the final 16 yards on three successive carries to set the final margin with 5:40 left in the third quarter.

Lonoke got one first down on its next drive, but punted after a holding penalty and two incomplete passes.

Beebe took over on its own 47 and took nine plays to run out the clock at the Lonoke 13-yard line.

Beebe (1-1) finished with 263 total yards while Lonoke had just 80. Because of so many plays for negative yardage, Seigrist finished with more rushing yards than Lonoke (1-1) had total yards. He carried seven times for 96 yards and a score.

Friday, September 09, 2016

EDITORIAL >> It’s 15 years since 9/11

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appeared at a town hall meeting Wednesday night designed to display their command of national-security issues and to show voters who would protect them better from another 9/11 attack.

Veterans were used mostly as backdrops at the so-called “commander-in-chief forum” as NBC host Matt Lauer pressed Clinton on her email problems for about a third of her allotted time, while some veterans’ questions went largely ignored when Trump followed Clinton onstage in the second half.

Phil Klay, the former Marine who is the author of the National Book Award-winning “Redeployment,” asked Trump one of the best questions of the evening. It was obvious neither Trump nor Lauer recognized Klay, who asked him about how his postwar plans would have differed from Obama’s. Trump said he would have taken Iraq’s oil before we got out as the spoils of war, in violation of international law. Lauer, who cut Klay off, didn’t press Trump on that.

That was pretty much the tone of the town hall meeting, mostly because Lauer was in over his head. Trump insisted, incorrectly, that he was always “totally against the war in Iraq” and denigrated America’s generals, saying they had been “reduced to rubble” under the Obama administration.

Trump said he would change generals if he were elected, apparently unaware that the military officer corps operates mostly on a nonpartisan merit system.

He again praised Putin, pointing to the Russian president’s “82 percent approval rating,” not as good as Stalin, who enjoyed 99 percent approval rating when he was in charge.

“I think when he calls me brilliant, I’ll take the compliment, OK?” Trump said.

When it came to the subject of sexual assault in the military, Lauer at least had the presence of mind to ask Trump about a tweet he sent out a few years ago, apparently blaming assault victims: “What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?” He insisted the tweet was “absolutely correct,” although half the abuse victims in the military are men.

His comments were quickly condemned. “That’s more than victim blaming, and it misunderstands the historical role of women in the military,” retired Col. Don Christensen, a former chief prosecutor of the Air Force, told The New York Times.

Trump suggested a new kind of military-justice system, but it’s been used in our military since 1774. “George Washington beat him to it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a former military lawyer. “We couldn’t run our military without women,” Graham added. “Quite frankly, it’s absurd.”

If the forum was in many ways a failure, it allowed viewers to study the candidates as they prepare for their debates this fall. The moderators must be better prepared, and the candidates, too, should know their pronouncements are being scrutinized by the voters.

We give the first round, such as it was, to Hillary Clinton, whose email problems are now less embarrassing after emails to her from former Secretary of State Colin Powell released this week showed that he had advised her to use a private computer at home just as he did.

As the 15th anniversary of 9/11 approaches this weekend, Americans still face the dangers of terrorism here at home and abroad. Indeed questions remain about the terrorists responsible for 9/11, particularly the alleged support of Saudi Arabia. Congress made it easier this week for victims and their families to sue Saudi Arabia for compensation and clear the record on who was responsible for those attacks besides the mostly Saudi hijackers and the Saudi Prince Osama bin Laden, all of them now deceased.

TOP STORY >> Helping others through hypnosis

Leader staff writer

No one thinks, I’ll be a hypnotist when I grow up, Caroline Cramer likes to say, but that’s exactly what she did.

Although her journey wasn’t that straightforward, she started out as a psychologist. Then her daughter happened and at about five months old, her baby stopped breathing, suffering from a reactive airway disease.

“I didn’t smoke around her,” Cramer admits. However, she says that wasn’t good enough and soon she sought the help of a hypnotist for her nicotine habit.

The Benton hypnotheraptist got her over the hump and she quit — that was 25 cigarette-free years ago.

The Hypnosis Clinic of Cabot occupies a storefront on North Second Street and while it’s busy outside, inside it’s quiet and cozy, more like a home than a modern, often cold clinic.

Cramer grew up in Beebe and earned a degree from Marygrove College in Detroit, Mich., and returned to the area after graduation. Years later, she trained at the Southern Institute of Hypnotism in Little Rock.

These days, she’s certified with the National Guild of Hypnotists, Inc., the American Hypnosis Association, the International Hypnosis Association and the Mottin and Johnson Hypnosis Institute.

Cramer’s also a motivational speaker with the John Maxwell Team and a life coach and teaches hypnosis, and she is proprietor of the Hypnosis Clinic of Cabot.

She has another hypnotherapist and massage therapist working for her.

In the past, she served as a minister and was married to a pastor for 28 years.

Today, she is married to Greg Cramer and has three kids and two bonus kids, and attends Grace Fellowship church in Cabot.

As Cramer moves from room to room at her clinic, she explains the side-by-side recliners in one room are for the comfort of couples expecting a child.

The room can also accommodate groups.

A room across the hall provides an intimate, one-on-one setting.

Cramer admits hypnosis is an often misunderstood medical tool but that’s changing.

It’s simply a calm state of focused concentration.

“Your body becomes relaxed, but your mind is sharp. It is not an unusual state of mind and does not cause an unusual feeling,” she says.

Contrary to popular belief, at no time while under hypnosis is a person asleep or unconscious.

A century ago, hypnosis was viewed as more of a novelty or carnival sideshow and while under, people did all sorts of wacky and outrageous acts.

“This is probably the biggest myth of all,” she says.

A client will never do anything, or accept any suggestion that violates personal morals or values. In fact, Cramer says, “I can’t make my clients do anything they don’t want to do.”

Today, hypnosis — it hones in on the Alpha brain waves that occur during a wakeful but relaxed state — is considered a useful tool in behavior modification and is safe, says Cramer who is a certified, clinical hypnotherapist.

In fact, she adds, it can modify any number of problems, including obesity, smoking and other addictions, and behaviors like nail biting.

For example, she says she can help a person change a perception about smoking or food.

Bonnie, from Cabot, used hypnosis as a weight-loss tool. She lost 30 lbs in about eight weeks and says, “I still eat what I want, and I still eat as much as I want, but hypnosis has changed my wants. Now I eat to live instead of living to eat.”

It can also be a way to help control pain.

Cramer says, “I help a person turn the pain dial way down, offering them a cognitive way to control it.”

The calming effects of hypnosis can help with the stress and fear experienced with a medical diagnosis like cancer.

There are more intangible modifications such as putting an end to debilitating fears, beliefs and phobias, eliminating procrastination, reducing everyday stress and destructive or undesirable behaviors. It can improve memory.

Most often a person undergoes dramatic results in a single session.

Cramer’s daughter, Eden, says, “It’s very cool to tell people that my mom is a hypnotherapist. Everyone wants to know more about it, and I’ve gotten some pretty great hypnotic techniques to help me in school.”

Arkansas State Rep. Mark McElroy participated in a group hypnotherapy session, not with Cramer, that focused on smoking cessation.

McElroy says he quit cold turkey and hasn’t picked up a cigarette since.

Pat, from Beebe, who smoked for about 40 years, signed up for a single session with Cramer and quit cold turkey, and Cramer says she feels good about her work with her clients.

About Pat, Cramer says, “I’ve given her life back to her.”

Hypnosis is all about changing personal habits.

Cramer says, “I use a blend of cognitive and subconscious suggestions, delivered with the correct neuro-phrasing techniques that will help you to think and feel differently. All actions are a result of your thoughts. Together, we can change the way your mind processes the information, resulting in an outcome that is beneficial and balanced.”

She estimates she’s helped thousands in 15 years and feels she’s making a difference through her work.

Cramer says she has a passion for her work and is encouraged by all the successes she’s witnessed.

“I have seen my clients gain confidence, end clutter, overcome headaches, master memory, end insomnia, and the list goes on and on. It is so rewarding to work in a field where I can see immediate transformation…,” she says.

Besides mind control, Cramer says clients often worry about getting stuck in a hypnotic state but, she adds, “That’s not possible.

“If the hypnotist left the room, or if you were listening to a tape and the power went out, you would either fall asleep and wake up naturally or your subconscious mind would detect that there is no voice guiding you and bring you to conscious awareness,” Cramer explains.

And anyone who is willing to undergo hypnosis, can be hypnotized. “The only reason someone “could not” be hypnotized, would simply be because they were unwilling to be. You own your own mind, and I cannot override your will. All hypnosis is truly self-hypnosis,” Cramer says.

She is simply the guide.

“Hypnosis can be the most powerful tool you’ve ever used to find the root of the issue and make permanent changes in the way you think and feel,” she says.

TOP STORY >> Trump visit to church moving

Leader executive editor

Donald Trump made a carefully scripted visit last Saturday to Great Faith Ministries, a black church in Detroit, where he called for a new civil rights agenda to raise America’s black population from a life of crime and poverty.

Trump read a handwritten speech to a half-empty church, whose pastor, Bishop Wayne Jackson, presented him with a Jewish prayer shawl with the corner fringes as prescribed in the Bible. The pastor said the prayer shawl came from the Holy Land.

Trump may have been caught by surprise, but he seemed comfortable after a while and even humble, with the traditional garment over his shoulders. Growing up in New York, he must have attended plenty of Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs and may have borrowed a prayer shawl a time or two during services.

The pastor may have chosen the tallis, as it’s called in Hebrew, because Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism and whose husband is Jewish. Trump’s grandson was circumcised eight days after he was born earlier this year.

Christian churches are major supporters of Israel, but black churches feel a special bond to the Jewish Bible, particularly Exodus and the story of the Israelites escaping from bondage in Egypt.

Great Faith Ministries holds services on the Jewish Sabbath, as do Seventh Day Adventists, the church Dr. Ben Carson belongs to. Carson, who has befriended Trump after losing the Republican nomination to the New York businessman, is said to have arranged Trump’s visit to the Detroit church.

Several black Hebrew churches were founded in Harlem, including the Commandment Keepers, and spread throughout the United States. Some consider themselves Christians, while others follow Jewish Scripture.

Thousands of Ethiopians who claim to be descendants of the lost tribe of Dan have moved to Israel and were recognized as Jews by the chief rabbinate and did not require conversions.

Many Christians wear prayer shawls at church services in this country. Pastor John Hagee, an outspoken supporter of Israel, wears a prayer shawl during his televised sermons at his Cornerstone megachurch in San Antonio.

I have Christian friends who wear the smaller fringed tzizitt as commanded in Deuteronomy 22:12: “You shall make yourself twisted cords on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.”

Jesus must have worn tzizitt, but not the tallis, the prayer shawl, which became part of Jewish services much later.

The tradition continues in synagogues and churches, worn by Jews and gentiles. More than 70 years ago, the Nazis tormented their victims before murdering them by making them wear their long tallis, which are bigger than the prayer shawls. They burned Jewish ritual objects but saved some items for a Jewish museum for an extinct people the Nazis planned to build after they won the war.

The Nazis are long gone. The survivors of the greatest genocide in history live on. There is a powerful symmetry to God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse, and all the people on earth will be blessed through you.”

Now, at least one presidential candidate wears a prayer shawl on the campaign trail. No word yet if Hillary Clinton will don one in a reform synagogue, where women, too, can wear tallis on their shoulders.

TOP STORY >> Check court in Sherwood denies abuse

Leader staff writer

After receiving a 58-page, 11-count federal lawsuit complaint in late August alleging improprieties in policy and action in the city’s hot check court, Sherwood has countered with a 32-page response which states again and again that the defendants “deny each and every material averment.”

The suit also named Pulaski County and District Judge Milas “Butch” Hale as defendants.

What the trio isn’t denying, it’s saying it doesn’t “at this time have sufficient information to either confirm or deny” the other allegations.

The ACLU filed the suit filed Aug. 23 on behalf of a number of individuals who have been tied up in Sherwood’s hot check court for years. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.

According to the suit, the Sherwood court has about 49,000 active hot-check cases (based on 2011 figures) and issues, on average, “96 warrants a day, 365 days a year.”

The plaintiff and their attorneys are not asking for a specific amount of money, but are asking that all money exacted from the plaintiffs that was misused to be refunded. The group also wants an order stopping the court from practicing its “unlawful policies.”

The city, county and judge state in their response that they have “immunity, including but not limited to judicial, absolute, statutory and qualified immunity.”

The suit claims that Sherwood’s hot check court “has become notorious throughout the community for zealously prosecuting misdemeanor violations of the Arkansas Hot Check law, creating a system used by local officials to criminalize those who do not have enough money to cover bounced checks.”

“A state may not punish an individual just because he or she is poor,” is the opening statement in the federal complaint against the city, county and judge.

The lawsuit pushes the issue that the city and court use “threat and the reality of incarceration to trap their poorest citizens in a never-ending spiral of repetitive court proceedings and ever- increasing debt.”

The lawsuit filed in be-half of Charles Dade, Nakita Lewis, Nikki Petree, Andrew Robertson and Philip Axelroth, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, states that the court is violating “fundamental constitutional rights which ensure that an individual, even if convicted of a crime and sentenced to pay a fine, may not then be re-arrested and sent to jail simply because of his or her inability to pay.”

The city, along with the county and the judge “specifically deny that they had anything to do with the creation or maintenance of any ‘debtor’s prison’ and any other wrongdoing Plaintiff’s imply.”

The lawsuit response goes on to say that the three entities “maintain that no policy or custom of the city was the moving force behind the alleged violations of any person’s rights.”

It’s one of the few times in the 23-page answer that is more than “denying each and every material averment.”

Judge Hale has said that he has nothing to hide.

“I have a seat to the right of me for the press to come in anytime and see what we are doing,” he said.

The lawsuit disputes Hale’s claim of having nothing to hide.

The suit alleges that the court has no recordings or transcripts of the proceedings and holds no hearing on the closure of the criminal proceedings.

“The secrecy shrouding proceedings … also ensures violations of hot check defendants’ constitutional rights, as alleged in this complaint, go unchecked and unchallenged,” the suit states.

In the response, the city admits “there is no requirement that a transcript be created of the Sherwood District Court. However, records are kept regarding the proceedings that occurred.”

It goes on to deny that the plaintiffs “had anything to do with the alleged constitutional violations.

City Attorney Steve Cobb said after responding to the claims “the case most likely will go into discovery before a court date is set.”

The city of Sherwood and Judge Hale are represented by Michael Allen Mosley, an attorney provided by the Arkansas Municipal League. No attorney was listed for the county on the answer packet submitted to the courts.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

EDITORIAL >> No cash cow in Sherwood

Sherwood’s hot-check court saw about 75 defendants in about as many minutes early last Thursday morning.

The court’s staff—including Judge Milas (Butch) Hale—seemed confident and cordial, cheerfully greeting defendants, despite a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union alleging that the court traps people in a cycle of fines and fees that produces millions of dollars for the city at the expense of the poor.

An analysis last week by Leader staff writer Rick Kron showed the hot-check court brings in much less money than the ACLU suit implied, a point Mayor Virginia Young made when the suit was filed. The hot-check court nets about $840,000 a year, or just 4 percent of the city’s revenues. The ACLU tried to suggest revenues from hot checks amounted to 12 percent of the city’s $21 million budget, or more than $2.5 million, but that figure includes all revenues from the city’s courts, not just hot checks.

The financial impact of the lawsuit will be a lot less damaging than was first reported even if the federal court rules that Hale must make adjustments and reduce or even repay fines. A 12 percent hit to the city’s budget would have been devastating. But a lawsuit that affects just 4 percent of Sherwood’s budget will have a minimal effect on the city’s finances.

Impoverished people are hit with fines and court fees at higher rates than middle-class defendants, which is a problem that should be addressed. Nevertheless, Sherwood’s hot-check court is no cash cow and is far from a paupers prison.

Many people end up with hefty fines, which will automatically double after failing to appear in court. So someone with a $350 fine who doesn’t show up for court a few times can turn fines into thousands of dollars and face jail time.

The ACLU and the judge should work to improve first-appearance rates to keep fines low and help people avoid jail time. The bigger the fines, the longer people will be obligated to report to court and pay down their fines.

Sherwood would be well served if a sign saying as much were to be placed on the judge’s bench on Thursdays, when hot-check court is held. Public defenders should distribute fliers with a summary about how to pay fines and the punishment for not showing up for court.

Some defendants probably don’t understand the consequences of failing to appear and others just don’t care and will begin making small monthly payments once they’re facing jail time. Not going to court is as disrespectful as intentionally writing bad checks to local businesses, and it is certainly more consequential.

Judge Hale said he has nothing to hide and welcomes the public and the media to observe the court’s proceedings. He wants people to know it’s not a shakedown of impoverished people to fill the city’s coffers.

It’s too early to say if the court’s practices will be reformed and how much money it will lose, but during Thursday’s session there wasn’t any finger wagging or stern lectures. It was an assembly line and right to the point.

Court was winding down about 8:30 a.m. as a reporter sat behind the judge’s bench and listened to the cases of a couple of stragglers.

Latonya Smith, who owes the court $4,208, because she probably failed to show up for court several times, the judge said.

“Mrs. Smith, you’re doing a good job keeping everything current,” Judge Hale complimented her. She said she’s juggling seven children. He reminded her to make her next payment and was dismissed.

Brandon Lewis, 33, of Pine Bluff was the last case for the day. His fine was set at $758 after failing to appear in court on the original hot-check charge.

Judge Hale asked him why he missed his last court date. “I had lost my job, a warrant got issued, and I got incarcerated in Jefferson County, and I start my job Friday,” Lewis answered.

The judge praised him for getting a job. Lewis agreed to pay $100 by the end of the month and continue monthly payments.

Court was adjourned. Outside, Lewis said he didn’t know about the hot-check warrant. He said in 2009, when he was living in Sherwood, he wrote a bad check for $60 at Kiehl Avenue Liquor when he bought a bottle of Grey Goose vodka.

Lewis knew Sherwood’s hot-check court is being sued, but declared Pine Bluff’s hot-check court, led by Judge Kim Bridgforth, to be much worse.

He drove away from the courthouse in a pristine Dodge Challenger with matte graphite rims to match.

TOP STORY >> $10 pet shots Saturday in Cabot

Special to The Leader

The Cabot Animal Shelter is set to host a drive-through, low-cost shot clinic from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Cabot Freshman Academy, 18 Spirit Drive.

Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are eligible for the vaccinations, which will be administered by veterinarians Mike and Karen Pallone, owners of Pallone Veterinary Hospital in Rosebud.

Rabies shots and annual shots are $10 each. Bordetella shots (kennel cough) are $10 each. Payments will be taken in cash only.

This is the fourth consecutive year of the biannual shot clinic, which is held in Cabot every March and September.

The Pallones started the shot clinic as a way to give back to the community.

“We’ve been fortunate. She (Karen) had worked with some shelters in Heber Springs and some other places. The money’s no good, but it’s nice to come help out,” Mike Pallone said.

Other than time spent waiting in line for the shot clinic, the actual vaccination process should only take about 15 minutes. The vaccinations will actually be administered to the pet while it’s in the car, Pallone said.

Pet owners will be spending a maximum of $30 per pet, while many veterinary clinics charge $100 to $200 for the same three vaccinations.

Although quick, cheap and convenient, Pallone wants to assure pet owners that this drive-through clinic should not take the place of the recommended yearly check-up at the veterinarian.

“It needs to be said that we’re examining the dog just enough to get the shots in,” Pallone said, “We’re trying to get as many dogs vaccinated as we possibly can. And this hits a demographic of people that probably weren’t going to go to the vet.”

“People come from everywhere: Malvern, Hot Springs, Little Rock. It amazes me how far they come,” Pallone said. “As far as feedback, the people love it. It’s very convenient, and it’s very cost effective.”

Last year, the shot clinic was held at Cabot Silver Screen movie theater, but because traffic backed up all the way to Cabot High School, the event was moved to Cabot Freshman Academy.

“It’s a good problem to have,” Pallone said.

The Pallones also perform low-cost spays and neuters every Tuesday at the Cabot Animal Shelter. The shelter charges $70 per surgery, but people with proof of a yearly income of less than $20,000 are only charged $35.

The cost of a spay or neuter at a regular vet clinic can range anywhere from $150 to $300 depending on the size of the animal, but at the Cabot Animal Shelter the price for the surgery on any cat or dog is set at $70.

Spays and neuters at the Cabot Animal Shelter are available by appointment only. The shelter can be reached at 501-843-2021 or

TOP STORY >> Lonoke County’s fair is Sept. 21-24

Leader staff writer

The Lonoke County Fair and Livestock Show kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 21 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 24 at the fairgrounds in Lonoke.

Gate admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Youngsters under 6 years old are free. Parking outside the fairgrounds is $2.

The carnival opens on the first day of the fair. Armbands for carnival rides are $15 on Wednesday and Thursday and $20 Friday and Saturday.

“Come out to the fair. It is fun for the whole family,” Lonoke County Fair vice president Jackie Mahoney said.

Judging on Wednesday is for educational displays, home economics, floriculture, horticulture and field crops. Goats, sheep and swine showmanship and judging are also scheduled then.

Thursday is seniors day. All seniors 62 and older get free admission into the fairgrounds. Farmer for a Day is hands-on activities for children. They can feel a calf, watch a chick hatch, feed a goat, pet a horse.

The educational building opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday for schools and senior centers and tour groups. The day includes the horse and mule show, poultry showmanship and judging.

The parade through downtown Lonoke will be at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Rodeo Queen horseman ship competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The fair continues on Friday with beef and dairy cattle shows and rabbit judging.

Friday at 7 p.m. is the Rodeo Queen grand entry. Redneck Games and Mutton Bustin’ are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Admission for the redneck games is $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Saturday is a full day of activities starting with the Miss Lonoke County pageant for 10-21 year olds at 9 a.m. The horse and mule pulls will begin around 9 a.m.

The 4-H and FFA Livestock judging happens at 9 a.m. The children small animal pet show is at 10 a.m.

Lawnmower races will be in the arena at noon. The youth talent show at 1 p.m. will be followed by the livestock awards presentation at 3 p.m. The 4-H poultry auction is at 3:30 p.m. and the cross-cut saw contest at 4:30 p.m.

Rodeo Queen contestants grand entry at 7 p.m. Rodeo is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children.

TOP STORY >> Police forums to ease tension

Leader staff writer

“We are not Dallas, we aren’t Ferguson, and I don’t want us to become one,” said Jacksonville Police Chief Kenny Boyd as one of the reasons he has slated a “straight-talk” meeting with the community.

The chief will be one of five sitting on a panel answering questions from a Leader newspaper reporter and audience members.

The town-hall style meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the community center.

Lonoke Police Chief Patrick Mulligan will hold a meet and greet at the same time at the Lonoke Community Center.

Boyd said, “In light of all the issues nationwide with law enforcement in various communities and the judicial system, I felt it was time for us to have a ‘straight-talk’ meeting between the department and citizens.”

Besides the Jacksonville police chief, other members of the panel will be incoming District Judge Rita Bailey, state Rep. Bob Johnson (D-Jacksonville), Alderman James Bolden and Police Officer John Boyd, who is not related to the chief.

“What is it that we all can do to make things better?” is the question the chief hopes to get answered Thursday night.

“To make any changes will take the entire group,” the chief said, “the police, the community and city leaders.”

The chief is not afraid of any of the hard questions. “We are transparent, so we won’t back away from any questions,” he said. But he won’t be able to comment on any specific case. “Depending on the situation I might be able to talk one-on-one with that person,” he said.

The chief said, “Our purpose here is to improve community relations between law enforcement and the residents. We have a good relationship now, but there is always room for improvement.”

The chief said, “We have a variety of people on the panel and should be able to answer all questions. The police department will have no control over the questions. If it’s asked, someone on the panel will answer it.”

“We just want the city to know what we are doing, what we are trying to do and what we want to do,” Boyd said.

For Chief Mulligan, who has been on the job for six month, his meet and greet will be a chance to share his vision about the police department and the city. “I’ve spent a lot of time visiting church leaders about the community and this is the next step.”

Mulligan said he has already named a civilian group, dubbed the chief’s cabinet, to review any incidents of excessive use of force or shootings. “We are meeting once a month to keep them in the loop.”

Besides the Thursday “meet and greet” in Lonoke, there was also a picnic-style lunch saluting all first responders from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at the Lonoke City Park. It was sponsored by Gwatney Chevrolet, the luncheon included plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers.

Both chiefs want their residents to have full confidence in their police force.

At the start of the Jacksonville “straight talk” session, panelists will introduce themselves, give residents some insight into their philosophy and then the moderator will start with the questions.

Residents can ask questions in three ways. Either by emailing the questions or comments to The Leader at, or they’ll have an opportunity to submit them to the moderator at the meeting, or they may ask the question themselves from the audience.

SPORTS STORY >> Records irrelevant for Beebe, Lonoke

Leader sports editor

Beebe and Lonoke meet up once again this Friday to continue a rivalry game that stretches back to the 1950s. The two teams are coming off much different performances in week one, but that’s no indication of what will take place this Friday at A.S. Bro Irwin Stadium in Beebe.

Lonoke coach Doug Bost and Beebe coach John Shannon have both held their posts for several years, and Shannon was a player in the rivalry for the Badgers. They are both aware that records mean nothing when the Badgers and Jackrabbits meet up.

“It’s just an old fashioned rivalry game,” said Beebe coach John Shannon. It means a lot to people in both towns. You can just kind of throw out the records and forget everything in the past. It’s just one of those games. You never can tell what’s going to happen when Beebe plays Lonoke.”

Bost didn’t have as much to say about the rivalry, other than “it’s always a battle.” He was more concerned with getting his team prepared to stop a style of offense it rarely sees.

“That dad gum Dead-T is just a tough offense,” Bost said. “We don’t see an offense like that the rest of the year. It’s hard to mimic. I definitely don’t have the size linemen they do, and I don’t have a scout team line that can fire off the line of scrimmage like they do. It’s just tremendously hard to prepare for.”

Lonoke has managed it well the last few years. The Jackrabbits have not lost to Beebe since 2011, when Beebe won 36-33. The 2012 game was called off in the second quarter because of persistent lightning with Lonoke leading 14-7. The Jackrabbits won 41-14 in 2013, 30-26 in 2014 and 39-22 last year.

Last week, Lonoke opened the season against another old rival, a really old rival. The Jackrabbits beat Carlisle 41-28 in the first meeting between the two teams since 1990.

Beebe lost 54-33 at Greenbrier in its season opener.

The Badgers and Jackrabbits both struggled with turnovers in week one, but Lonoke seemed to get them corrected in the second half.

“I was really disappointed in the three turnovers,” said Bost. “We just stopped ourselves. That’s something we definitely preach to them, especially against the team we’re about to play. You might never get it back. They can just suck all the time off the clock while you’re offense is standing over there watching. So we need to get that corrected, and we did that in the second half. We just have to keep it that way.”

Beebe committed five turnovers against Greenbrier, including one in the second quarter that Shannon felt was the turning point.

“We were driving down the field with a chance to take the lead when we gave up the ball,” Shannon said. “They hit a quick one on us and it just kind of snowballed from there. Most of it was youth and mistakes we have to get fixed. I thought the line did pretty good when we held onto the ball. We moved it down the field. We just didn’t finish. I don’t think its anything we can get fixed.”

Lonoke’s projected starting quarterback, Logan Dozier, sat out the opener with Carlisle because of an injury. Bost says he is now day to day, and doesn’t know if he will play this week. If not, he was pleased with how sophomore Braidon Bryant handled being thrown into the starting role in his first-ever varsity game.

“I though, for a sophomore, he came in and did really well,” Bost said of Bryant. “He was poised and he did a really good job of leading our offense.”

SPORTS STORY >> Titans have ‘huge’ test next Friday

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville football team kicked off the era of the Titan with a home victory over Mills University Studies last Friday, and now face a tougher test when it hits the road for the first time to play Catholic High at War Memorial Stadium. The 7A Rockets lost their season opener to Sylvan Hills 48-34, but present a whole different set of challenges for the Titans than they faced against the Comets.

The number one challenge, according to JHS head coach Barry Hickingbotham, is their size.

“It’s probably going to be the biggest line we see all year,” said Hickingbotham. “They have some Goliaths over there. We’re small and we have a bunch of people playing both ways, so it’s going to be a tremendous challenge.”

Jacksonville has faced challenges all offseason and preseason. It started with losing every coach except Hickingbotham and one assistant, and as aresult, having to start over with completely new schemes on offense and defense in June.

In the preseason, the Titans did not look good in their scrimmage game at Mena, so bouncing back and getting a win the first game of the season was important.

“I think it shows the character of this bunch,” Hickingbotham said. “They just came back and kept working to correct the things we did wrong. They went through a lot before the season ever started. I think it showed up again when Mills had the momentum and took the lead from us in the second half. They just went back out there and kept playing.”

Mills scored 14 unanswered points to take a 20-14 lead before Jacksonville came back to go up 27-20. Mills scored with less than two minutes left and went for two, but Jacksonville stuffed 230-pound fullback Brandon Bunting for no gain to preserve the lead.

“That was a big stop,” Hickingbotham said. “We were tired but had a game plan to stop the big guy. We figured he was getting it and we made the play.”

Penalties, which hurt Jacksonville drives at Mena, continued to be a problem last Friday. Missed assignments caused trouble at times as well.

“We still made too many mistakes,” Hickingbotham said. “We missed some blocks and had some key penalties, but those are things we can fix.”

Catholic running back Samy Johnson was the Rockets’ best offensive weapon last week. He had an 80-yard kick return for a score and a 60-yard touchdown run after a broken tackle.

“They’ve got a little speed back there to go with that size,” Hickingbotham said. “So we’re going to have be in the right spots and know what we’re doing. I think we know we have to get in better shape. We have a lot going both ways and this week they’re going to have 300-pounders leaning on them the whole game. So that’s something we have to prepare for the best we can. Hopefully we can have a little success early and give ourselves a chance to win.”

SPORTS STORY >> Wildcat D-line is formidable

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Panthers didn’t have long to celebrate after their exciting one-point win over Pine Bluff last Friday. After beating the two-time defending Class 6A champions 28-27 at home, Cabot now travels to El Dorado, where it will face a similar foe. The Wildcats won its season opener 35-7 over Camden-Fairview.

Cabot overcame a dramatic size difference when its offense was on the field last week, and will face an even bigger disadvantage in that area this Friday.

“They’re big up front on that defensive line,” said Cabot coach Mike Malham. “Pine Bluff was pretty big, too, but I think El Dorado’s going to be even bigger.”

Despite the smallness of his offensive line, Malham was pleased with how the unit played on Friday.

“I thought they played pretty good,” Malham said of his offensive line. “They got after it. We didn’t just run rampant, but we did good in spots. The guards, even though they’re about 180, 190 pounds, they did a good job with those big guys.”

El Dorado not only has size, but speed on the defensive line. Two players on the Wildcat defensive front are getting Division I interest. One is 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior Lake Tucker. The other is junior Terry Hampton, who is 6-1, 265.

“One of them got an offer from Texas,” Malham said. “I was asking about him watching film. I was saying, ‘is that him?’ and they said, ‘no, that’s the other one.’ So we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”

Cabot’s offensive line is not only small, but it’s also inexperienced. That doesn’t stop the head Panther from being optimistic about its potential.

“This group works hard, and I think they’re going to improve,” Malham said. “I thought with all of them being brand new, not being very big and none of them having ever played on Friday night, they did a pretty good job. They have good work habits. They want to be here and they’re working their butts off. We just have to keep working on the same stuff and keep getting better every week. But as hard they work, they’re going to get better.”

Pine Bluff racked up a lot of yards against Cabot, but a big portion of it came after plays had broken down and quarterback Simeon Blair began improvising. El Dorado quarterback Darius Holly is mobile, but not the same kind of threat that Blair presented.

“He (Blair) is like Jarrod (Barnes). He creates a lot just scrambling around back there. That puts a lot of pressure on your defense and makes it tough. El Dorado’s quarterback can move pretty good, but I don’t know if he’s going to be the same kind of problem the Pine Bluff kid was.”

Malham is also optimistic about the potential of the defense.

“I’m fired up about both sides of the ball,” Malham said. “I think we can be pretty good on defense. We lost some receivers on some scrambles. They out-athleted us on fades a couple times. But I think we have a real possibility of being real tough on defense.”