Friday, December 30, 2016

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot boys hold back War Eagles

Leader sports editor

RUSSELLVILLE – A sloppy game in its entirety, the Cabot Panthers did just enough to pull off a 51-48 win over J.A. Fair Thursday in the semifinal round of the Hoops for Hunger tournament at RHS.

The Panthers never trailed and the War Eagles only pulled even once after the game’s first basket, but Cabot could never put the game away.

That wasn’t because there weren’t opportunities. Cabot led by as many as eight on six occasions, and led by double figures three times. Each time JAF rallied to get back into the game.

The tournament was played with two 16-minute halves and a 35-second shot clock, but that didn’t help either team coming out of the gate. Cabot scored the first points of the game with 13:30 left in the half when Matt Stanley took a pass from Bobby Joe Duncan underneath the basket.

Duncan then got the rim himself for a 4-0 Cabot lead with 12 minutes to go. Fair did not get on the scoreboard until the 11:30 mark.

Cabot led 6-4 when Duncan got a steal and dished out his third assist that led to a thunderous transition dunk by Stanley. Shortly afterward, Logan Gilbertson made it 10-4, but Fair rallied back to tie the game at 13-13 with 6:45 left in the half.

Cabot then went on an 8-0 run with Stanley and Jarrod Barnes hitting 3-pointers while Gilbertson added a short jumper to make it 21-13 with 5:30 left in the half, but the Panthers managed just two points the rest of the way.

Fair scored five in a row to make it 21-18 with three minutes left, and a Stanley putback was the only two points scored by either team until halftime.

Fair scored first to start the second half, but Cabot went on a 7-0 run to take a 30-20 lead with 13:10 left in the game. Fair then came right back with six unanswered points thanks to a series of Cabot turnovers. War Eagle post man Kris Bankston scored four during the run, all from point-blank range. Guard Cedric Christopher added the last bucket of the run on a finger roll lay-in with 11:35 left.

Duncan then got the rim for Cabot before Barnes got a steal. He missed his layup, but Duncan was there for the follow, and made it a 3-point play when he was fouled.

In just 25 seconds, the lead was back up to nine for the Panthers, but 75 seconds after that, Fair was back to within five.

Gilbertson then hit a 3-pointer and another Fair turnover led to a transition layup by Duncan that made it 40-30 with 9:00 left, but Fair was not yet ready to go away.

Khyron Gilbert scored four-straight points and Stafford added a 3-point play to make it 40-37 with 6:28 left.

With 3:15 remaining, Daevon Bankston’s short jumper made it 43-31, and that’s as close as the War Eagles (8-3) would get the rest of the way.

Barnes was fouled with 3:07 to play and made both ends of a one-and-one trip the line. Stafford then missed the front end of a one-and-one for Fair, and Duncan’s runner with 2:10 to play put the Panthers up by six.

Fair scored on the ensuing possessions, and two more possessions at 47-43, but couldn’t convert either time.

Cabot, meanwhile, did a poor job of running time off the clock. Duncan took a quick 3-pointer that didn’t go in. Stanley then threw the ball away trying to make a no-look pass, but Cabot caught a break.

Daevon Bankston went to corral the loose ball from Stanley’s errant throw, and bounced it off his foot and out of bounds. Fair was forced to foul and Stanley made both free throws with 37 seconds left to make it 49-43.

Christopher scored and Fair called timeout, but Gilbertson made two free throws to make it 51-45 with seven seconds remaining to put the game away. Stafford added a 3-pointer at the buzzer to set the final margin.

Stanley led Cabot with 21 points and added eight rebounds. Gilbertson had 12 points and eight rebounds while Duncan had 9 points and eight rebounds.

Kris Bankston led the War Eagles with 12 points. Daevon Bankston had 11 points and nine rebounds and Stafford finished with 10 points.

Cabot (10-1) had an easier time of it in the first round on Wednesday. The Panthers played a roaring pace in the first half and led 48-30, then clamped down on defense to give up just six points in the second half of a 77-36 victory.

Stanley posted a double-double in that victory with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Gilbertson added 12 again for the Panthers.

Cabot played Pottsville in the championship game Friday night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of that matchup in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke avenges loss to Bison

Special to The Leader

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits defeated their county rival Car-lisle Lady Bison in the finals of the 2016 Goldfish Classis on Thursday night in the Gina Cox Center at LHS. The tournament host claimed the championship trophy, winning the contest by a score of 54-45. This was the second meeting of the season, with the Lady Bison winning the first.

Lonoke had reached the finals by defeating Hazen 53-21 in the opening round and then Stuttgart 49-21 on Wednesday. Carlisle defeated DesArc 51-38, then Malvern 51-22 to advance to the final game.

“I thought the kids played extremely hard defensively,” said Lonoke coach Heath Swiney. “That’s what we kind of hang our hats on, defensively. I thought that Carlisle’s kids played extremely, extremely hard. They’re a good team. They’re going to win a lot of games. That’s a good win for us. My kids, I couldn’t be prouder of them. They did everything I asked them to do. Anytime you only give up forty something points a game, you’ve got a chance to win every ballgame. I feel like if we can score fifty we’ve got a good chance to win the game.”

Carlisle coach Jonathan Buffalo had this to say of his team, “My kids did a good job of battling to the very end. They never gave up and made me proud with their effort. These kids work so hard.”

Lonoke took an early 6-0 lead on two 3-pointer baskets by Mia Brown. Kylie Warren answered for the Lady Bison with two free throws and a 3-pointer. Keiunna Walker put the Lady Jackrabbits ahead 12-5 with a three, but Warren responded with a 3-pointer from the corner. The score at the end of the first period was 18-10 Lonoke. Warren had all ten points for Carlisle, and Walker had eight for the Lady Jackrabbits.

The second quarter was closer as DeShaye Ricks had five of Carlisle’s 11 points, and Warren added another 3-point basket. Lonoke scored 12 in the quarter with Brown adding her third 3-pointer. Kaley Woodruff made 3 of 4 from the free throw line, and Hannah Moseley added two free throws. The score at the half was 30-21.

The Lady Jackrabbits pulled ahead 41-24 in the third on a 3-pointer by Gracie Hyde. Warren cut into the lead with a free throw and another 3-pointer, but the lead at the end of the quarter was 42-28.

To start the final quarter, Walker hit two free throws, Kennedy White had a steal and scored a lay-up, and Woodruff hit a 2-point basket to give Lonoke a 48-28 advantage.

The Lady Bison then went on a 12-1 run that cut the lead to nine at 49-40. Kayla Golleher led the way with a 3-point basket and 4 of 4 from the line.

Ashby Terry added three free throws. The last 1:37 consisted mainly of free throws as Carlisle had three players foul out and Lonoke one. The Lady Jackrabbits made 5 of 12 down the stretch to gain a 54-42 lead, but Ashley Harbison hit a long 3-pointer for the Lady Bison to set the final margin at 54-45.

Walker led Lonoke in scoring with 26 points, Brown had nine, and Woodruff seven. Warren had 19 points for Carlisle. Ricks and Golleher each added seven points.
In the semifinal win over Stuttgart, Lonoke had jumped out to a 12-3 advantage in the first period, only to be outscored 8-7 in the second.

The Lady Jackrabbits then outscored the Lady Ricebirds 30-10 in the second half for a final score of 49-21 Walker had 26 points to lead in scoring. Aniyah Hobbs had 14 points for Stuttgart.

In Carlisle’s semifinal victory over Malvern, Warren led the Lady Bison with 29 points.

Malvern won the game for third place by a score of 54-47 over Stuttgart.

SPORTS STORY >> BHS girls advance with two victories

Leader sports editor

The Beebe Lady Badgers advanced to the championship of their own Beebe Christmas Classic with wins over Blytheville and Riverview this week. The Lady Badgers handled the Chickasaws with relative ease, winning 49-21. They then battled to the wire for a 45-39 win over the Lady Raiders.

The Lady Badgers earned their victory over Riverview (7-6) in the third quarter. The Lady Raiders led 23-20 at halftime, but Beebe outscored them 18-9 in the third quarter to take a 38-32 lead.

The key to the third-quarter onslaught was simple. Shots started falling for Beebe. Three different Lady Badgers made 3-pointers in the quarter. But it was the defense that coach Greg Richey believes ultimately won the game for his squad.

“We had to battle tonight,” said Richey. “We still have a ways to go offensively, but it was nice to see some shots go down. Defensively I think we’re playing really well. We haven’t allowed anybody to score 40 points on us since Dec. 3, and that game was 41. If we can keep playing defense like that, we’re going to have a chance to win a lot of games. It’s pretty good defense to hold a team like Riverview to 16 points in the second half.”

Junior guard Libbie Hill was the only player in the game to score in double figures. She had 20 points, and made it a double-double by adding 10 rebounds.

Against Blytheville (1-9), Beebe controlled the game from the outset. The Lady Badgers (9-4) led 15-8 after one quarter and 29-14 at halftime.

Hill posted 23 points in that victory while senior Hannah Camp scored 14.

Beebe faced Little Rock Christian Academy in the championship on Friday after Leader deadlines.

The Lady Warriors (9-3) beat Searcy 58-36 and Harding Academy 65-49 in the first two rounds to get to the championship game. Look for details of that matchup in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

Beebe opens conference play at Greenbrier on Tuesday.

SPORTS STORY >> Titans to final of Coke Classic

Leader sports editor

FORT SMITH – The Jacksonville boys’ basketball team picked up a solid win Wednesday in the first round of the Coke Classic at UA-Fort Smith. The Titans opened the tournament in a largely empty, cold gym, and slogged through the first quarter. But that changed in the second as they knocked off Little Rock Hall 69-65.

The Titans trailed 13-8 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored Hall 14-2 over the first four and a half minutes of the second. Hall answered to tie the game at 28 by halftime, but Jacksonville controlled most of the third quarter en route to the win.

“I think both teams kind of came out slow,” said Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner. “Both teams were feeling each other out. Second quarter we got going and we started trading some right crosses and left hooks. It was just a good back-and-forth game.”

The Titans were a bit shorthanded. Five players were suspended for missing practice time during the Christmas break. It was also the first game in which leading scorer Tyree Appleby took over as the main point guard on the floor. Appleby is averaging almost 25 points per game this season. And despite only having two points at halftime, Joyner was pleased with his effort.

“We put him in a new role and he kept us in the game in the first quarter,” Joyner said. “The first half he was concentrating on getting everybody settled down and into our game plan. He didn’t score much but he had a great first half.”

Joyner took Appleby out of the game after the early second-quarter run, and that’s when Hall made its comeback.

“Early on, whenever I would take Appleby or (DaJuan) Ridgeway out, Hall would start pressing. Like I said, we were shorthanded and they got kind of overwhelmed at first. But I thought our bench guys like Caleb Kendrick, Braylon Hawkins and Braylin Estes came on strong in the second half and handled things a lot better.”

Jacksonville, though considerably smaller inside, got strong defensive play and rebounding from sophomore Joe Phillips and senior Chris Williams.

“I challenged Joe before the game to step up and be a force in the middle for us, because he’s got the body to do it,” Joyner said. “He’s only a sophomore, but it’s time he started being aggressive. He answered that challenge and played like a man in there.

“Chris is really too small to be a post, but he’s a man among boys and he only knows one speed. He’s only about 6-1, but he’s going to give you every bit of that 6-1 he’s got. Those two were strong defensively, and they kept a lot of balls alive for us rebounding and gave us some second-chance opportunities we wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t play so hard.”

Appleby quickly outdid his point total in the first half by hitting a 3-pointer to open the third quarter. He then stole the inbound pass and hit a layup for a quick five-point advantage.

Hall went with pressure defensively and that opened the floor for the scorer. He posted 16 points in the second half to finish with a team-high 18.

Jacksonville led 67-60 with two minutes remaining before guard Maurio Goggins spurred a Warrior rally. Goggins made a long 3-pointer to make it a four-point game. He then forced a turnover that turned into free throws for Hall.

Though the front end of the one-and-one was missed. Goggins got the rebound and putback to make it 67-65 with 15 seconds remaining.

Hall then fouled Appleby with only enough time left for one more possession. He made both foul shots to set the final margin.

Williams finished with 17 points for the Titans (9-5) while Phillips had 13 points and nine rebounds. Ridgeway finished with 12 for Jacksonville.

Goggins led all scorers with 27 points.

The Titans were back to full strength on Thursday and advanced to the tournament championship game by defeating Fort Smith Southside 57-46. Despite the victory, Joyner wasn’t as pleased with his team’s effort against the Mavericks as he was the previous night.

“We just didn’t play with as much intensity and effort,” said Joyner. “They’re not as athletic as a lot of the teams we’ve seen, and I think we just kind of coasted at times instead of trying to put them away. I just don’t think we played very good.”

Jacksonville faced Fort Smith Northside in the championship game on Friday. The Grizzlies upset nationally ranked El Dorado to earn a spot in the title game. Look for details that matchup in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

Al Pollard contributed to this story.

EDITORIAL >> Resolutions by the book

Need something different to motivate and push forward resolutions for 2017?

Why not try looking at the 101 Best Book Titles of All Time on the Internet for some inspiration?

There is “People Who Eat Darkness” by Richard Lloyd Parry. Resolution? Simple. Avoid these people. In 2017, avoid pessimistic, woe-is-me the-world-is-ending kind of people.

Next, “Barbarians at the Gate,” by Bryan Burroughs and John Helyer. Resolution? Simple, don’t open the gate or the door to people or things you don’t trust or don’t know.

Followed by, “Hot, Flat and Crowded,” by Thomas L. Friedman. Resolution? Get out. Go smell the roses, watch kids play, follow a butterfly, walk through some sprinkles. Take a break from the flat, hot and crowded routine.

Another good title is “Something of Value,” by Robert Ruark. Resolution? Find something of value in everything and everyone. If you can’t, don’t do it or don’t hang out with them.

Or, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” by Judith Rossner. Chocolate should not consume your life, but during your life you need to consume some chocolate.

Finally, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albiom. Is that our final resolution? To meet people in heaven as a permanent resident and not as a passerby.

TOP STORY >> Cook buys steakhouse

Leader staff writer

Sherwood resident Gerald Grummer started working at Western Sizzlin in North Little Rock in 1977, under Don Parks, working his way up from entry level to franchise owner of the Jacksonville Western Sizzlin. Today, Grummer will open his restaurant one last time. Sunday he will be a retiree.

The restaurant’s name will change to Barnhill’s Steaks-Buffet and will be owned and operated by Steve Barnhill, a former employee of Grummer’s who will be taking over Jan. 1.

“Steve’s a really good guy. I think he’ll improve the store. I always try to be as positive as I can be,” Grummer said.

Grummer, who grew up in Conway, worked at all four restaurants owned by Parks. Grummer became general manager of the Jacksonville restaurant around 1997. In 2002, he was “working as a manager, and they offered a franchise, and I said, ‘Let’s try it.’”

Grummer said he always tells people, “I just work half days, but I get to pick which 12 hours it is. I’ll miss the long hours.”

He says what he has enjoyed most about his long career is the people. “The people keep me active.” He said he also enjoyed cooking.

“I want to slow down, while I still have my health,” Grummer said. “I still want to try to do something, but don’t know what. My main job will be to keep my wife happy.”

Grummer’s wife, Andrea, is a flight attendant. He says now he’ll have the time to travel some with her, and maybe “try to play a little golf.”

He’s also looking forward to having more time to do things with his five children and eight grandchildren – ranging in age from 1 year to two attending college.

TOP STORY >> Keeping the faith under fire in Baghdad

Leader executive editor

This time of the year, Rep. Doug House (R-North Little Rock), a retired Army colonel, remembers serving in Iraq almost nine years ago and celebrating the holidays with Christian and Jewish American soldiers often under dangerous conditions.

House, 63, had a long career in the Army and Arkansas National Guard before he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012 in Dist. 40, which includes Pulaski and Faulkner counties. He was an equal-opportunity attorney in the National Guard from 1980 to 1986 and had his own law practice. House was an Army colonel and staff judge advocate from 1990 to 2009. Before he was elected to the House, he was the military affairs officer for two years on the staff of former 2nd District Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Little Rock).

House and his fellow service members often came under fire in Iraq, and he credits his survival to his strong religious faith and those around him. He said his faith deepened as he formed a strong bond with Jewish soldiers, who helped him get over the ordeal of serving in a conflict when he was in his 50s.

All they asked of the colonel was a menorah they wanted to light in Baghdad on Hanukkah, which this year ends Sunday night.

He was glad to oblige. His parents, who built metal structures, made a large menorah for the soldiers in Baghdad in time for Hanukkah. Here is his story how that came about:

“Baghdad International Airport was next to Camp Victory, the main base for U.S. troops,” House recalled. “The airport is about 25 kilometers from the Green (or Inter-national) Zone located in the center of the city. Around 1 or 2 on a morning in July 2007, a C-130 landed. About 50 of us ‘surge’ soldiers from Kuwait were offloaded with our gear. The aircraft was reloaded and took off headed back to Kuwait all in less than five minutes.

“We were dead-run herded into a wonderfully air-conditioned tent full of airmen and soldiers and surrounded by 20-foot tall concrete T-walls to protect against blasts. A few minutes later, unguided rockets hit close (within a mile is good shooting).

“Several hundred yards away, one airman was killed and a couple of others hurt. In the tent, the airmen and soldiers went on checking orders against rosters, assigning bunks, giving directions to the dining facilities and getting the next bunch of troops ready to board the next aircraft. I was scared witless, but the other troops seemed unconcerned. Some days later, I learned that everybody else was scared, too, but the sergeants would tell the troops that “if that ****** Army colonel over there is not ****** worried, then you ***** don’t have anything to ***** worry about either.”

“There is a difference between reading about such things (for example, ‘The Red Badge of Courage’) and experiencing it.

“We had about 24 hours to sleep, eat and goof off before reporting in the dead of night to convoy on Route Irish from Camp Victory to the International Zone. Irish was one of the most dangerous highways in the world because of bombs and ambushes. We knew that Sheik al-Sadr’s Shia militia and the al-Qaida insurgents who wanted to kill us on Route Irish were lazy. They were not disciplined to stay awake and alert.

“So our convoys would run fast at irregular times in the early mornings, before the enemy commanders had time to be alerted, wake their soldiers and organized an effective attack. But sometimes they did. Inside our armored vehicles we would hear occasional ‘thwacks’ of rifle fire hitting our trucks, and sometimes our turret gunners would open up.

“Again, I was scared witless but did my job of watching and helping the top turret gunner, in case he needed help. We made the run in the dark unharmed in about 30 minutes. Arriving at the IZ, orders and rosters were again checked, quarters assigned and directions given.

“The surge strategy diplomatic piece had the State Department create provincial reconstruction teams to rebuild utility systems, hospitals, courthouses, prisons, police stations, start essential businesses and farms and generally recreate the civil infrastructure necessary to sustain a society. The military piece was to kill bad people and protect good people. The State Department could not get enough of their own employees to step up to the task (although many did so bravely), so Gen. David Petraeus assigned U.S. military officers and noncommissioned officers with certain skill-sets to fill the teams.

“They found out that I had been a juvenile referee for a couple of years in the 1980s, so I was assigned to the Baghdad reconstruction with one of the missions of reforming Iraq’s juvenile justice system.”

“So we went out into the city to the area juvenile courts/police stations/prisons and provided money, training, and equipment as needed.

“Iraq had in some aspects a very progressive juvenile-justice system under Saddam, with specialized police officers, judges, teachers and others with exclusive jurisdiction over all children under eighteen. Theoretically, a child offender never came in contact with the adult justice system and left the system with a basic education and specialized job skills. But on the other hand, under Saddam the system was successful because if a kid was really bad or did not cooperate, they would drive him out to the desert never to be heard from again. Female juvenile offenders were educated, trained in domestic skills, and then married off. Obviously the United States did not support the darker practices.

“During the second half of 2007, the International Zone was hit often but irregularly with mortar and rocket fire. This tended to make us mad, especially if somebody got hurt or somebody’s ‘trailer’ and stuff were blown up. I am forever grateful to the Air Force because when AC-130 gunships, A-10 Hogs or Predators were orbiting the city, ‘those people’ would not shoot at us. If they did, the Air Force would dispatch a return ‘missive.’

“Faith in God and worship of Him is a critical need of most soldiers, including me. The old saying, ‘There are no atheists in a foxhole,’ is just as true in a concrete city where digging is not an option. Because I was detached from a regular Army unit and on duty seven days a week, chaplain support and Protestant worship services were inconvenient at best. My State Department Foreign Service Officer provincial reconstruction leader was Jewish, and one day he invited me to Friday night Shabbat services. There were nine when I arrived, making 10, so somebody said, “We have a minyan (a quorum), we are a synagogue!”

“I do not know if this was kosher, but we became B’Nai Baghdad, much to the joy of many, and to the consternation of a few of the locally hired Iraqis.”

That December, the group asked House if he could get them a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah, which marks the reconquest of the second Temple from pagan invaders following the revolt of the Maccabean, who cleaned and rededicated the Temple. They found a small amount of pure olive oil, which burned for eight days, and it is this miracle that Jews have celebrated for nearly 2,200 years.

Back home, House’s father, Grover, a retired steel fabricator, and his wife, Mary, built a six-foot tall metal menorah with eight wide branches and a slightly taller middle one called a helper used to light the other candles. They shipped it to Baghdad, where it was lit inside Saddam Hussein’s palace. (For more details, Google “Arkansas menorah.”)

“I saw more combat and terrible things than some, and certainly saw less than others. I still do not want to talk about some of it. It was the greatest and most terrifying honor of my life to walk the streets of Baghdad with young soldiers whose mission was to get me to where I could do my work.

“But through all of this, I credit my Jewish family with keeping me sane and keeping me alive. They welcomed me as a ‘Follower of Jesus’ and taught me many things about Jesus and how Jewish teachings and traditions explain so much of the New Testament. (Get a Jew to explain to you about Passover and the Last Supper.) To them, Jesus was a great rabbi, who was born a Jew to Jewish parents, lived a Jewish life, taught Jewish things, loved God and died a Jew. Many of them accepted it as historical fact that he rose from the grave and ascended into Heaven. Indeed, Jesus may be the Messiah, but for now, He is not sitting on his Father David’s Throne.

“There are three things soldiers must never argue: Politics, spouses and religion. They allowed and supported my faith, and I support theirs. What I know is that we were all blessed to praise and worship and honor and glorify God in both English and Hebrew, a blessing that remains to this day.

“I still follow Jesus, always will, and belong to the Episcopal Church. But I also have a Rabbi, celebrate Hanukkah (as Jesus did, see John 10:22-24: ‘Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade’) and will remain grateful to Jewish people for being there when I needed them the most. Happy Hanukkah and Happy birthday Jesus.”

TOP STORY >> 2016 Year in Review

Leader staff writer

This is the second of four articles recapping all that was 2016. The first three articles recall the top headlines of the year and the fourth will be the Top Ten storylines of the year.

The middle months of 2016 included beginnings (the new school district and Lighthouse’s first graduating class) and endings (the last graduating class from North Pulaski High School), fireworks, rain and a change of command for a major part of the base, cities look for more revenues and The Leader is named the best in its category.


Legislature must tweak law to allow school board voting as part of the general election.

Cabot puts plans on hold to expand senior center and build new fire station.

By a 5-2 vote, the new Jacksonville school district agrees to adopt the Titans as its new mascot.

Plans going forward on SIG Sauer ammunition plant in Jacksonville.

State says Northwood Middle School, Sherwood and Clinton Elementary schools improved.

The air base slates a scaled down open house called Arkansas Military Expo.

Road improvements seen as key to growth in area.

Lonoke and contractor reach agreement on repairs of main road to the high school.

State-issued report cards show a mix of good and bad in the area.

After budget issues closed it, Ward Public Library looks to reopen.

State and local officials tour completed $58.9 million Lonoke White Public Water Authority project at Greers Ferry Lake.

Residents tell Cabot council to shut down a suspected meth house.

Cabot’s new $13.5 million sports, aquatic center opens.

North Little Rock man arrested in shooting at Family Dollar parking lot.

Jacksonville school district says no to most student transfer requests.

Jacksonville’s Light-house Academy graduates its first class of seniors, 60 students.

North Pulaski High School, set to become a middle school, graduates its last class of seniors, 143 students.

New high school for Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District will be built and open within three years on site of old middle school.

Sherwood wants to put a $5 million bond issue on the November ballot to quicken improvements to city parks.


New school district still cautious over salaries.

School district not eligible yet for state construction funds.

Members of Little Rock Air Force participate in ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of D-Day.

Cabot cuts ties with tarnished probation firm.

Cabot, other area cities, to make changes over probation programs.

New group works to help rejuvenate Jacksonville’s downtown.

Lonoke County quorum court to increase security.

New Jacksonville school district hires its “A-team” for curriculum.

The last of 28 new C-130Js lands at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Tragic 1953 Coast Guardsmen death recalled by brother and others.

Census data shows Beebe and Cabot are growing fastest.

Former Lonoke County assessor pleads guilty to multiple felony charges.

Beebe puts sales tax on ballot to support fire department.

As part of a modernization program, it was announced that all C-130s on the base would be upgraded.

The Leader newspaper named the best in the state for the eighth time in nine years by the Arkansas Press Association.

World War II veteran Wilmer Plate, 97, of Jacksonville receives the French Legion of Medal in ceremonies at the state capitol.

Local funeral director found innocent in abuse of corpses case.


Cabot moves its Fourth of July festivities to its new sports complex.

Patriotic festivals, events and fireworks abound.

A Cabot quilt honors local First World War soldiers.

Area mayors review plans for widening I-30.

Lonoke qualifies for UCA program, which will look at ways to revitalize the city.

Cabot bringing all of its laws together in one codified book.

Police investigate the shooting death of an 18-month old boy.

Austin firefighters driving a newly purchased truck from Texas are in a fiery crash killing two after tires blow out.

State tests show most high school juniors in the area aren’t ready for college.

Storms rip through the area leaving thousands temporarily without power.

Runway construction on air base stalls over quality.

New era starts at the 314th Airlift Wing as Col. Daniel DeVoe replaces Col. James Dryjanski.

Local police mourn loss of officers after Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings.

Cabot looks at closing Fairlen Ward Park and turning it into a walking trail.

Owners try to sell Southern Oaks Country Club in Jacksonville.

Metro trends show that Cabot, Ward and Austin are thriving, while Jacksonville growth is stagnant.

PCSSD fifth grade test scores beat state averages.

ADA suit worries Sherwood leadership as it could take months to inventory walkways for compliance.

Sherwood wish list of projects grows to $17 million.


Move on to consolidate 911 calls in Lonoke County.

Little Rock Air Force Base spends less, but still has a $631 million impact on local economy.

Area students score better on English portion of state test than the writing part.

New Jacksonville school district brings in motivational speaker to kick off its first year.

Ward finally gets new police cruiser it won through a national program.

New director of Central Arkansas Library System talks library futures and construction projects.

Austin residents not happy with four-lane highway plan that would connect Cabot’s north interchange with Lewisburg Road.

Record rains hit area and base gets almost 6 inches in the first two weeks of August, putting it on track to be one of the wettest on record.

Cabot seeks $250,000 parks grant to upgrade Richie Road pool and playground.

Beebe alderman resigns after pleading guilty to voting twice during the primary election.

Lonoke eyes a bond issue for needed upgrades and improvements.

Sherwood’s hot check court focus of ACLU suit that claims the court stacks the deck against defendants.

As construction work continues, Hwy. 67/167 sees another shift in highway lanes.

Jacksonville bans Pokemon Go players from loitering or parking around city hall.

New Cabot facility will double space for senior citizens center.

Jacksonville Middle School is being demolished and cleared to make way for a new high school on the 30-acre site.

Jacksonville Animal Shelter, under management of Hedy Wuelling, has drastically reduced the number of euthanized animals.

Sherwood hot check division only covers about 4 percent of city budget, not the 12 percent claimed in federal lawsuit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

EDITORIAL >> End-of-year reflections

As we do every year’s end, we find ourselves in a reflective mood, taking stock of our accomplishments, and maybe a few shortcomings, and looking forward to the year ahead.

It’s been a divisive 12 months, and we anticipate more disunity is ahead for our country. But it is time for tempers to cool and the anger to give way to reason, clarity and optimism.

We are wary of Nostradamus-like predictions, but surely 2017 will be better than 2016.

Things are looking hopeful, at least at the local level, where our communities are showing signs of prosperity to come in new building projects from schools and businesses to major road projects.

Though years in the making, the Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District advanced its plans this year to build a new high school and a new elementary school. Soon Jacksonville will have a first-rate high school campus at a cost of $60 million at the old middle school downtown, where demolition crews earlier this year prepared the site for construction. The school will open in August 2019.

The new district, which broke away from the Pulaski County Special School District only two years ago, is also preparing to build a new elementary school at Harris Road and General Samuels Road, which will consolidate the Tolleson and Arnold Drive campuses.

There’s a long way to go, but Jacksonville’s efforts to improve its schools and attract families is gaining momentum.

Jacksonville’s part of the widening and repaving of Hwy. 67/167 will continue into 2017. We hope it will encourage commercial development on both sides of the highway.

Eventually the access roads will be made one way, which should improve safety and traffic. It will be nice to have those often confusing yield signs gone.

The project will also replace the James Street overpass and add another north of there somewhere near North Bailey Boulevard to connect to John Harden Drive.

The Hwy. 67/167 widening from the air base exit to the Hwy. 5 exit will soon be getting underway at a cost of $79 million. A new interchange in north Cabot will be built for $25.5 million, with the city paying $10 million of the cost.

Mayor Bill Cypert said it was the “biggest news in decades.” He also thinks it will spur development in the next decade.

The highway project is likely to continue up to Searcy, making driving to Cabot, Ward and Beebe less bumpy and less congested.

Hwy. 67/167 has already been revamped from I-40 in North Little Rock and through Sherwood and continuing into Jacksonville, which is getting two new overpasses at Main Street and Redmond Road with more widening of the highway in two years.

Cabot also opened its new $13.5 million sports complex and swimming pool this year.

Those are some highlights that will link this year to next year. We hope to have more good news like this to share at the end of 2017.

TOP STORY >> ASU-Beebe fall art-show winners

The Arkansas State University-Beebe Art Department recently presented the following awards for its fall Fine Arts Student Show Part II.

The show featured artwork of students enrolled in Ceramics I and II, Drawing I and Painting I and II.

Ceramics I: First place, Kiera Taylor, of Cabot, liberal arts; second place, Harmony Brantley, of Mount Vernon, liberal arts; third place, Sherry Yielding, of Cabot, general studies; honorable mention, Nikki Humphries, of Cabot, liberal arts.

Ceramics II: First place, Betty Topich, of Searcy, non-degree seeking; second place, Amanda Topich, of Searcy, liberal arts; third place, Amanda Topich, of Searcy, liberal arts; honorable mention, Gloria Codianne of Beebe, non-degree seeking.

Drawing I: First place, Chris Jones, of Searcy, graphic design; second place, Jordan Armijo, of Beebe, graphic design; third place, Casey Able, of Vilonia, graphic design; honorable mention, Austin Melvin, of Beebe, graphic design.

Painting I: First place, Alena Russell, of Cabot, graphic design; second place, Frances Huddleston, of Morrilton, graphic design; third place, Frances Huddleston, of Morrilton, graphic design.

Painting II: First place, Nancy Browning, of Judsonia, music; second place, Nancy Browning, of Judsonia, music; third place, Dana Hanna of Searcy, non-degree seeking.

The artwork was displayed at the school’s England Center Art Gallery at the 201 N. Orange St. in Beebe, which exhibits student art and featured artists throughout the academic year. It is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

ASU-Beebe is the only two-year college in central Arkansas that offers an associate of fine arts degree in vocal music or instrumental music, theater, graphic design or creative arts enterprise. This degree is a comprehensive two-year curriculum designed specifically for transfer toward a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

For more information about ASU-Beebe or programs offered, call 501-882-3600 or visit the website at

TOP STORY >> A visionary planner retires

Leader senior staff writer

In July 1988, Ronald Reagan was in the final months of his presidency, the Supreme Court told private clubs they couldn’t discriminate against women and minorities and “Die Hard” topped the box office. Apple wouldn’t introduce the iPhone for another 20 years and Jim McKenzie was chosen out of a pool of 40 applicants as executive director of Metroplan.

McKenzie was head of his own consulting firm when he was hired.


Since then, McKenzie has been at the center of many of the most important changes and decisions affecting central Arkansas residents and the area’s development.

By federal law, additions and changes to the interstate highway system and other roads and transportation plans in central Arkansas must be studied and approved by Metroplan before any federal money can be allocated for q!
C them.

The reach of McKenzie and Metroplan’s professional staff has extended far beyond work with the state Highway Department on projects such as the ill-fated North Belt Freeway.


Now, with the state Highway and Transportation Department, it is funding a $500,000 feasibility study of a proposed Hwy. 89 corridor that could cobble together portions of Hwy. 89 with other roads to create an east-west route across part of Lonoke County and northern Pulaski County. Such an east-west corridor is complicated by Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Meto, all interrupting the most straightforward designs.

But under McKenzie, who has “retired” and is driving to visit grandchildren in Florida, Metroplan has become much more involved in local communities. It’s helping them locate and reserve water in area lakes, starting and guiding the Mid-Arkansas Water Alliance (MAWA). Metroplan draws up options for new school district attendance zones after each new census or when other circumstances demand it.


For example, when Jacksonville detached its new school district from Pulaski County Special School Districts, new school board zones had to be created for each, and each zone has approximately the same number of residents as the others.

That way, each resident’s vote counts equally.

Metroplan, as the Central Arkansas’ federally mandated metropolitan planning organization, has expanded from 13 local governments to 29, again with a strong emphasis on transportation.

Outgoing Conway Mayor Tab Townsell has been tapped to take McKenzie’s place.

“Jim was a true professional,” said Buddy Villines, who as former Little Rock mayor and Pulaski County judge worked with McKenzie for nearly three decades. “He had the intelligence and skills to really understand public transportation system and became an advocate for Central Arkansas in the process.”

“He had a good analytical mind,” Villines said. “He could look at complex issues and articulate a position.”

“He did the research to find out what the options really were,” Villines said, “and brought them to the table.”

Once a decision to proceed is made, McKenzie understood the steps needed to actualize the decision.


Meanwhile, Central Arkansas and Metroplan have not run out of challenges to keep the board and Townsell, the new director, busy.

‘The future keeps coming at you,” said McKenzie.

Unfinished business includes the rail-grade separations and a way to move vehicle traffic east-and west, north of the Arkansas River and I-40. Those include new overpasses on Taylor Loop Road in Little Rock and also on Hwy. 89 near Cabot.

The Highway Department and Metroplan have an agreement to each pay half of a feasibility study on the Hwy. 89 corridor study that could cost as much as $500,000 to create a new east-west road across the top of Pulaski County.

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher and Ward Mayor Art Brooke—the incoming president of the Metroplan board—are behind the effort to create the new east-west routes now that the North Belt Freeway is dead after about 50 years worth of false starts. “It just got too expensive,” McKenzie said.

He said one challenge for the future was to build a fourth downtown Little Rock bridge over the Arkansas River.


Currently, only the I-30 bridge, the Main Street Bridge and the I-430 overpass move traffic across the river, with the Broadway Bridge closed for rebuilding. McKenzie said attention should be paid to another bridge, this one at Chester Street.

One of the biggest challenges for the future is to come up with a dedicated funding mechanism for transportation, he said. The law now supports the formation of regional transportation authorities with taxing authority, but so far, no one has done it. There have been two blue-ribbon studies into funding highways, but little has been done.

If the federal government and the state aren’t going to do it, Central Arkansas must do it with a regional transportation mobility authority, he said.

“This country has trillions of dollars of infrastructure needs, and while President-elect Donald Trump has proposed that kind of effort, the Republican Party has informed him they don’t do big tax increases to pay for ambitious projects,” McKenzie said.

Without money, the existing infrastructure will atrophy, McKenzie said.


The Arkansas River bike and pedestrian trail loop needs to be completed at Dillard’s Little Rock headquarters and extended to Pinnacle Mountain, he said.

Treading where angels fear to go, McKenzie said it looks like 30 Crossing, the controversial Highway Department plan to rebuild the I-30 bridge over the Arkansas River, will be similar to what it is now, but much wider.

Many activists and downtown residents are opposed to the Highway Department’s plan and in favor of a slower, less obtrusive solution designed more like a boulevard.

McKenzie said the activists are unlikely to get what they want, but that the Highway Department already made several changes to address some of their concerns.

“It could work,” McKenzie said, but you’re going to have to go slower and change all the traffic patterns. The city as a whole is not ready for something that dramatic.”

He said litigation might be the only chance for those opposed to the Highway Department’s plan.


Among the 23 waterworks or cities in MAWA are Jacksonville Water Works, Lonoke White Public Water, Cabot, Bryant, Conway, Ward and Central Arkansas Water.

Among accomplishments—For Metro 2020, the area’s long-range transportation plan, the need to separate rail traffic from cars was identified as a top priority. A 100-car train could stand, a barrier between a school and the local ambulance for instance, and the board and staff identified 12 rail-grade separations as priorities. In other words the goal was to build 12 traffic overpasses by 2020.

“Nine are done or under construction,” McKenzie said, two—including one on JP Wright Loop Road in Jack-sonville and one on new construction on Hwy. 89 near Cabot are next up. The 12th one has been cancelled, he said.


During his tenure, the policy of Metroplan and the state Highway Department became to widen all area highways to—but not beyond—six lanes. Part of that $2 billion to $2.5 billion project should be familiar to residents of Jacksonville, Ward, Austin and Cabot as they commute to and from Little Rock and North Little Rock. Hwy. 67-167 had been undergoing widening for years—a perpetual construction site between I-40 and Cabot.

A second goal was to build out a robust regional arterial network, McKenzie said.

“Shortly after I got the job,” McKenzie said, “Little Rock pulled out of the regional water compact, which was to reserve future water allocation at Lake DeGray.”

“Turf questions raised their head,” McKenzie said, “in Little Rock and North Little Rock, so Joe Ford at the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, said, ‘Boys, this is bad for business,’” McKenzie recalled, and Metroplan and McKenzie launched MAWA.

Twelve years later, MAWA now works with 23 water utilities in seven counties and have allocations at Lake Ouachita and Greer’s Ferry Lake.

From Lake Ouachita alone, the group has reserved an allocation sufficient to draw 30 million gallons a day.


“It was hard to do and I’m proud of the role we played,” he said.

Metroplan was an advocate, and in some cases a pass-through for federal money for public transportation. That includes the Central Arkansas Transit Authority, rebranded Rock Region Transit, and the old-timey street cars.

McKenzie said the streetcar system is currently designed for tourism, but needs to be expanded for basic transportation.

“We helped Rock Region Transit implement a GPS system that tracks the buses and lets riders along the route know when to expect the next bus,” McKenzie said.

The transit system now can collect data on where and when riders get on and off to help tailor bus routes to be most efficient.

With Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines supplying much of the impetus, Metroplan provided the vehicle that helped moved forward the Big Dam Bridge, the pedestrian bridge between North Little Rock and Little Rock over the Arkansas River. Metroplan provided half the money for the project.

The Big Dam Bridge connected the north and south sides of the river trail. It is vital to bike tourism, he said.

“It makes a statement about Little Rock to millinials who often look for a place to live before a job,” McKenzie said.

“None of this is stuff I did or we did alone,” McKenzie said. “We did it to help member governments.”


Metroplan helped implement design standards for road construction to local government planners. They helped Mayor Townsell, McKenzie’s successor—reimagine Dave Ward Drive in Conway as a bifurcated four-lane road with a traffic circle rather than a more dangerous five-lane road with a center turning lane. The bifurcated road with a raised median and raised access increased the traffic capacity 30 to 40 percent, Townsell said.

“Jim brings a level of professionalism and expansive knowledge of planning and transportation,” Townsell said. “He brings a passion for making our transportation and planning decisions the best they can be to make a better world.”

Townsell said navigating the waters of the I-30 Crossing at the Arkansas River will make a huge, profound impact on downtown Little Rock and its resurgence, and could also affect the vision of that community—a long-range plan called “Imagine Central Arkansas.”


“Looking from 50,000 feet, McKenzie said, “the big picture, massive change is looming and if we, as a people don’t prepare and adapt, we will be in a lot of trouble.”

The next big threat to human civilization is climate change, he said, especially to coastlines near sea level. If those flood, there will be mass migration inland.

The Mississippi River delta is prime farmland, and due to rising seas that land, as well as agricultural lands in Florida and California, could flood and people could get hungry.

Climate change, drought and resulting food shortages have wreaked havoc elsewhere, he said.

Climate scientists project the impact to hit about 2100, but the tipping points are sooner, he said. “After that, you go down hill in a hurry.”

Increasingly, technology and labor-saving devices will put a strain on the employment and well being of those in the workforce, McKenzie warned.

Uber and truck builders are developing GPS vehicles that don’t need a human at the wheel, McKenzie pointed out.

By 2021, half of new cars will talk to each other.


Currently, there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. Those are well-paying middle class jobs that could begin disappearing in a decade.

Those are essentially among the many jobs that will be replaced by robots or technology.

“Folks are going to get desperate,” McKenzie said.

He also expects artificial intelligence to replace a lot of white-collar jobs.

“People need to get refocused and retrained or we will be in a world of heat. We need meaningful work or we are going to get in trouble,” he said.

Futurists and economists are beginning to say that the government will have to pay people a living allowance because there won’t be enough jobs.


As residents in Central Arkansas embraced the suburban life, sidewalks fell by the wayside.

“I have spent my career advocating sidewalks,” McKenzie said. “It is an issue of design and of safety.”

On McKenzie’s watch, Metroplan took responsibility with the state Health Department and the state Department of Pollution Control and Ecology, and together they tracked ozone levels and alerted the public when the levels were unhealthy to be active outdoors.

If the ozone levels get too high, the Federal Highway Administration can stop funding road construction or new industrial development.

“Only by luck have we avoided non-attainment,” he said.

“Clean coal is an oxymoron,” he said.

TOP STORY >> 2016 Year in Review

Compiled by RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

This is the first of four articles recapping all that was 2016. The first three will recall the top headlines of the year and the fourth will be the Top 10 storylines of the year.

The first four months of the year brought a mix of sadness, happiness, sprinkled with a dose of old-fashioned politicking. A murderer received just one sentence while a firefighter was gunned down. Area students enjoyed a snow day or two, while Sherwood mourned the loss of a former alderman. Businesses grew, floundered and promised to do better, all while this paper turned 30 years old.


• Several Beebe residents were evacuated as floodwater rolled through their neighborhoods after a recent deluge of rain.

• Funding drive to collect more than $200,000 started for the Lonoke County Boys and Girls Club in Cabot.

• Jacksonville rethinks its planned increase in business fees.

• After a rousing opening a year ago, North Metro cuts ties with its wound center.

• Motorists are pleased to see Kerr Station repairs are finally over.

Paramedics criticized for slow response times in Lonoke.

JNSPD disputes attorney John Walker’s claim and data, saying current building plan is best for new district.

Killer of real estate agent gets life without parole.

North Metro CEO Mike Randle says hospital will be saved.

Jacksonville aldermen upset over actions of water commissioners who gave away property to Sherwood.

Mental exam requested for John (Jack) McNally, former Lonoke assessor who is facing multiple fraud and theft charges.

State test scores cast pall over area’s schools as many campuses rank near the bottom.

Sherwood firefighter shot and killed while responding to an early morning medical call while volunteering for the East Pulaski Volunteer Fire Department.

Remington Arms plans a $12 million expansion of its Lonoke facility.

Staff can be armed in all Lonoke County buildings, except for the jail.

Area schools close as record-breaking five to seven inches of snow is dumped over central Arkansas.

Austin and Ward consider combining resources to respond to emergencies.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher touts new school district and economic impact of the air base in his annual city report.

JNPSD approves list of principals to head its schools during its first year of operation.

Edwards buys Knight’s Super Foods in Jacksonville.

Rep. French Hill backs idea of widening Hwy. 89 as a possible replacement for defunct North Belt Loop.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces that Sig Sauer will be building a facility in Jacksonville.


Pipeline route leads to discovery of possible pauper’s cemetery near Jacksonville.

Cabot City Council is asked to authorize $7.5 million to spend on north Hwy. 67/167 interchange.

Millage vote considered critical to new school district.

Reserves fly last C-130H mission.

District 29 Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) faces Justice of the Peace R.D. Hopper in primary race.

Despite a big $2.9 million IRS lien, North Metro is optimistic about the future.

Cost to fix Lonoke’s Palm Street to run $280,000.

Lonoke County Judge Erwin nets two opponents in Republican race to keep his seat.

Attorney Mike Wilson’s lawsuit stops state money trough to local groups.

Millage overcomes anti-tax opposition.

Voters approve 7.6-mill property increase to help fund new school district.

ASU-Beebe gets new chancellor after Eugene McKay retired after 21 years in that post.

Governor doesn’t want state healthcare plan called Obamacare.

Tussling, jostling at some early voting primary sites.

Cabot School District puts spotlight on teen suicide prevention.

Pink clothes mark PCSSD’s firing of all Jacksonville-based teachers.

Cabot Kroger goes supersize.

A hero is remembered in Beebe although body has still not been recovered from the Korean War.

JNPSD hires several key personnel as district prepares for its first school year.


Clinton, Trump sweep primary races and most Lonoke Republicans retain seats.

Backlash as Jacksonville raises licensing fees.

Leader celebrates its 30th year in business.

Jacksonville refinances $15 million in wastewater bonds to $2 million in interest payments.

It is announced that Sherwood is getting a large multi-level medical clinic at Hw. 107 and Brockington.

$15.3 million in bonds used by Jacksonville North Pulaski to purchase and upgrade needed school facilities from PCSSD.

Leader newspaper is once again honored by state association for its excellence in advertising.

Both PCSSD and the fledgling Jacksonville North Pulaski School District detaching from it will get new starts in the 2016-2017 school year.

Local attorney Mike Wilson files suit to stop General Improvement Funds “giveaway.”

Contractor wants to work out plan to repair main route to Lonoke schools, which started to fall apart after the firm previously worked on the road.

Judge gives new Jackson-ville school district a year to get on feet before having to demonstrate desegregation plans.

Lonoke County candidate for coroner who dropped out of the race is still on ballot, but hopes to lose in runoff.

Jacksonville apartments owned by state Rep. Donnie Copeland (R-North Little Rock) are condemned.

PCSSD data breach tracked to an ex-employee.

Jacksonville A&P fearing a lawsuit refuses to fun military museum,

Military patients are booted off rolls as Humana and health facilities become embroiled in dispute.

40th anniversary of deadly tornado that devastated Cabot, killing five and injuring 64.

Sherwood refinances $6 million in bonds, saves thousands

State announces PCSSD to get back local control; Sherwood voters will have a say on the board.

Austin set to remodel and expand its city hall.

Cabot parks director leaves for Fayetteville job.

First class of Lighthouse seniors celebrate.


“Lt. Dan” Gary Sinise and his band performed at Little Rock Air Force Base in support of the military.

Superintendents explain how schools dropped from A to C on state report card when criteria are tweaked.

If governor doesn’t restore funding to county libraries, then state Rep. Camille Bennett will offer amendment.

Base prepares to fight Zika virus.

Austin to double size of city hall.

Design for $6 million Sherwood library is unveiled.

Bond Consulting Engineers celebrate 50 years in business.

Funeral home is guilty of abuse of corpses.

New Cabot sports complex ready to open.

Cabot Junior Auxiliary hosts Strawberry Festival.

State report cards grade schools.

Alderman arrested and charged with felony in voter fraud case.

Musical parody puts down Jacksonville, praises Sherwood.

Economic Arkansas honors Jacksonville’s Pat Wilson.

High performances by Cabot, Beebe, Searcy and Lighthouse schools recognized.

Longtime alderman, community servant and veteran Butch Davis dies.

Ward to spend $4.8 million on treatment plant.

Base unit focuses on defusing bombs.

New $2.6 million Cabot library inundated with visitors.

Jacksonville and Cabot push for Hwy. 67/167 interchanges to spur development and ease access to I-40.

Lonoke Jail repairs uncovers bank vault.

Driver survives getting turned around and jammed between two bridges on Hwy. 67/167.

World War I exhibit opens in Cabot.

• Insurer clarifies Tricare change.