Friday, February 10, 2017

TOP STORY >> Girl Scouts event Saturday

Leader staff writer

The Girl Scouts of the Juliette Low Service Unit will host World Thinking Day from 10 a.m. till noon Saturday at the Cabot National Guard Armory. The event is free and open to the public. Food samples are 10 cents each. Money raised from food samples are donated to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund.

The JLSU has members from Cabot, Austin, Ward, Beebe, Lonoke, England and Carlisle. It has nearly 250 girls in 25 individual troops ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Each Girl Scout troop in the service unit will represent a country. They will prepare a booth with information, decorations and food and drinks from their assigned country.

“It’s a fun, educational event and is very much like an international food bazaar. The Girl Scouts put in a lot of work to research their countries and create items and food for the event. At the event, the Girl Scouts get a ‘passport’ and are able to visit and learn about the other countries,” scout parent Breanna Wells said.

The Juliette Low World Friendship Fund was formed in 1927 to celebrate Low’s love of travel, new cultures and new friends. Today, the fund support girls as they travel internationally and attend global events.

In the fall, all troops were assigned a country to represent at World Thinking Day. Girls researched their troop’s assigned country individually and during troop meetings to learn more about the assigned country. The troop decided how to represent their country—24 counties will be represented. Some are Canada, Thailand, Paraguay, Indonesia and Denmark.

World Thinking Day has been celebrated since 1926. It is a day of international friendship, speaking out on issues that affect girls and young women and fundraising for 10 million Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world.

“World Thinking Day’s 2017 theme is Grow. We want a world where all girls have a safe space to grow and have many exciting, relevant, accessible and learner-led experiences. Girls Scouts build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” service unit director Beverly Keathley said.

“It is a day when (Girls Scouts) think about their ‘sisters’ in all the countries of the world, the meaning of guiding and its global impact. The idea is to create a greater awareness and understanding of different cultures and any global concerns regarding that particular region,” Keathley said.

TOP STORY >> Ex-deputy took drug-deal cash

Leader staff writer

Former Lonoke County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Branden Hampton, 36, of Ward was arrested on Wednesday by State Police and charged with tampering with public records, a felony, and theft of property of less than $1,000, which is a misdemeanor.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, the alleged incidents occurred in June 2016.

Hampton has his first court appearance at 8 a.m. Wednesday in the Lonoke County Detention Center courtroom.

On Oct. 28, Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham requested the State Police to investigate Hampton regarding the potential theft of funds intended to buy narcotics and for potential forgeries allegedly committed by Hampton.

Hampton resigned in October when the sheriff’s office started the investigation.

State Police started its investigation into the allegations in November.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Hampton told his supervisor that a confidential drug informant stole $1,150 from a safe box in Hampton’s county vehicle. The money was then later recovered from the informant.

A Lonoke County detective reviewed the drug-buy fund records maintained by Hampton. He discovered a case number assigned in January 2016 to buy drugs was reassigned in June 18. A case number is not used again even if additional drugs are purchased at a later date from the same dealer.

The sheriff’s office had no information or a case file showing $700 was used to drugs or expenses and that money was missing.

Detectives gave State Police a copy of the drug-buy fund log and five receipts titled for narcotic funds. An informant, whose signature is on two receipts totaling $700 dated June 15 and June 18, told State Police he did not sign the receipts or buy narcotics for the sheriff’s office.

St. Vincent Medical Center in Sherwood provided State Police with admission records showing the drug informant was in the hospital from June 17 to June 24. Investigators said it was impossible for the informant to receive $700 on June 18 as the drug-buy fund log states.

TOP STORY >> Protesters plan to rally in Ward

Leader staff writer

Ward residents are planning to protest their concerns during the city council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the council chamber at city hall.

Residents have been organizing their demonstration on Facebook.

Some people will be protesting against water and sewer bills rates. Another issue is former is Ward probation officer Mark Brooke’s transfer to the city’s street department after being arrested for soliciting sex from a female probationer by the Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office during a sting.

A third issue is the city plans to alert the public during a tornado warning. The city wants residents to use weather radios or sign up for a warning service that notifies people on their cell phones.

Ward police spokesman Lt. Eric Sims said additional officers will be at the city council meeting for security.

The city council meeting agenda is not long.

City operations director Charles Gastineau will give a presentation on ways to notify the public of severe weather warnings. Fire Chief Randy Staley and Police Chief Steve Benton will talk about the fire and police departments.

Residents Robin Hefner, Dustin Johnson and Chastity Scott will each speak for three minutes about concerns they have about the city.

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits finish playing well

Special to The Leader

It was senior night Tuesday at the Gina Cox Center in Lonoke, and the Lonoke Jackrabbits finished the regular season with a big win over the Estem Mets by a final of 58-48. The Jackrabbits finished the season with a conference record of 7-9 and 12-14 overall.

The win placed them fifth in the blended conference and will be the number 5 seed in the district tournament next week in Stuttgart. They will play Riverview Wednesday at 7:45. Baptist Prep finished first in the conference and will be the number 1 seed.

“A very good win,” said Lonoke coach Dean Campbell. “I think we’re carrying over some momentum from an exciting Mayflower game. Tyriqe (Jackson) hit one off the glass for a three to win by two at their place. The guys were focused and played really well. I’m proud of the way we fought on the defensive end and rebounded.

“I’m excited about the way we played. I thought we did a really good job of getting the ball from one side to the next and gave ourselves some opportunities to have some open looks. This group was coming together. They sense that it’s playoff time. It’s post season, and that’s what you play for. We don’t want to be satisfied, we’ve still got a lot of work.”

Lonoke jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a 3-point basket and two free throws by Tyriqe Jackson. Derrick Caffey answered with a two for the Mets, but a 3-pointer by Tyler Spencer gave the Jackrabbits a 8-2 advantage.

However, Estem scored eight unanswered to take the lead. Tony Bryant gave Lonoke the lead back and after a score by the Mets, Eshawn Brown scored for the Jackrabbits for the 13-12 edge at the end of a quarter.

Estem scored four to start the second, but two free throws by senior Isaac Toney and a long 3-pointer by senior Haven Hunter gave the Jackrabbits a three point lead. Hunter sank another three, and Jackson also had a 3-point basket from the corner as the score at intermission was 25-21 Lonoke.

Hunter hit his third 3-pointer to start the scoring for the Jackrabbits in the third period. Toney had two from the line and a driving lay-up, Hunter hit his fourth three, and Lonoke had a 35-29 lead.

The Mets answered with a lay-up by Jeremiah Enclade and a 3-pointer by Ben Weaver to come within one. Brown had an offensive rebound put back, but Caffey sank two free throws and Miolin Cummings sank a long 3-point basket at the buzzer to give Estem a 38-37 edge at the end of three quarters of play.

The Jackrabbits bounced right back with a two off the glass by Hunter to start the final frame. Toney scored twice, Jackson had an old-fashioned 3-point play, and Kylan Branscomb scored under the basket to stretch the lead to eight.

It was all Lonoke the entire quarter as Toney had a reverse lay-up, Branscomb another score, and Toney again on a lay-up off the baseline.

The Jackrabbits did struggle a bit at the end of the game from the line, and Xavier McGraw hit a late 3-point bucket for the Mets, but Toney set the final score of 58-48 with one of two double bonus free throws.

Toney led Lonoke in scoring with 16, followed by Hunter with 15 points, and Jackson with 11. Weaver and Caffey each had 13 points for Estem, and Enclade added 11.

SPORTS STORY >> Patriots get hard sweep of the Titans

Leader sports editor

The Jacksonville basketball teams battled tough with powerhouse Parkview’s boys and girls, but both ultimately fell short Tuesday in Little Rock.

The Lady Titans went toe to toe with the No. 2 team in Class 5A for a half, even though the Lady Patriots held Jacksonville’s leading scorer scoreless the entire 56-44 game.

The Lady Titans competed evenly in every phase, but simply had nothing for Parkview’s overwhelming size advantage.

Jacksonville only trailed by one before Parkview made the last basket of the first quarter for a 14-11 lead. The second quarter was played evenly as well, with Parkview scoring late again to take a 26-21 lead into halftime.

Jacksonville handled Parkview’s relentless ball pressure for most of the game, but a brief period of turnovers early in the third quarter turned into the difference in the game. The home team outscored Jacksonville 20-8 in the third for a commanding 46-29 lead.

Jacksonville, however, showed some moxie by mounting a comeback, but Parkview’s size was too much to overcome.

The Lady Patriots doubled Jacksonville in the paint, 36-18. They also held the Lady Titans to just 13 total rebounds, just one offensive rebound, and zero second-chance points.

Jacksonville (12-15, 4-7) did shoot well, hitting 15 of 31 from the floor, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range. Parkview was even better, hitting better that 50 percent. The Patriots were 23 of 34 for 68 percent.

Jacksonville senior Allison Seats led all scorers with 17 points, while point guard Dayzya Jordan added 15 for the Lady Titans. Sydni Williams led Parkview (19-3, 10-1) with 16 points.

The Jacksonville boys led most of the game, but the Patriots (19-5, 9-2) rallied in the fourth quarter for the 72-66 victory. The game was tied with less than two minutes remaining when the Titans (15-12, 5-6) went cold from the floor.

Jacksonville’s team hosted Hall last night after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Rabbit, Bears do well at state

Leader sports editor

Two local girls track teams turned in top five performances at the state indoor meets at the University of Arkansas. Lonoke finished fourth in Friday’s 1A-4A meet, and did it with only one athlete.

Sylvan Hills finished fifth in the 5A-7A meet on Saturday, and was the only 5A team in the Top-10 of the 21-team competition.

Gracie Hyde actually finished fourth in Friday’s meet. She scored 36 points, and won the high-point award for taking first place in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, and adding a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash.

Hyde won a relatively close 800-meter race by one second over Wrylee Dickard of nearby Greenland. Hyde finished in 2:31.40 to beat Dickard’s 2:32.43.

She won the 1,600 by almost 11 seconds with a time of 5:38.57, and the 3,200 by just more than 11 seconds with a time of 11:47.93.

Hyde assured herself of the high-point award with the third-place finish in the 400-meter dash.

Amalie Gunn of CAC won the 60-, 200- and 400-meter dashes for 30 points, but Hyde’s placement in the 400 earned her the extra six points for the individual honor.

Gunn won the 400 with a time of 59.26. Conway Christian’s Rhaegen Linn was second at 1:01.63 and Hydetook third with a time of 1:02.59.

In Saturday’s meet, Sylvan Hills sophomore Mia Heard finished second in the individual point standings to Hannah Leuders of Rogers. The Lady Mounties also won the meet with 100 points.

Bentonville, Fayetteville and Har-Ber High made it a 7A-West sweep of the top four. Sylvan Hills took fifth with 33 points. Conway was sixth. Cabot finished seventh with 28 points. Sheridan, Bryant and Lake Hamilton rounded out the top 10.

Sylvan Hills coach Grover Garrison didn’t think his team maximized its potential, or even came close, and is optimistic about the upcoming outdoor season.

“We still have a few in basketball, and we didn’t bring our throwers up here,” said Garrison. When we get everyone together, we could have a chance (at the 5A outdoor championship).”

Heard won the long jump despite some scoring confusion and not officially approaching her personal record. Her best officially marked jump was 17-feet, 2 ¾ inches. Her teammate, Alexis Lee, finished fifth with a leap of 16 feet, ½ an inch.

More confusion plagued the triple jump, and Heard finished sixth in that event with a leap of 33-07.25. Lady Bear Makayla Smith was just a half-inch behind Heard for seventh place.

Heard also finished third in the 60-meter dash with a time of 8.01 seconds. Carly Strong of Sheridan beat Leuders by 1/100th of a second with a time of 7.84.

Heard also finished fifth in the 200-meter dash while classmate O’Shayla Muldrow placed eighth.

Muldrow also took seventh in the 400-meter dash.

Sylvan Hills also added a point in the 4x800 relay. Erykah Sanders, Dallyn Stubbs, Dasia Harris and Allysia Marbley finished in eighth place.

The Cabot girls got most of their points in the distance races, but their highest finisher was sophomore Lauren Turner, who took second in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:21.39.

Junior Casey Gore earned two fourth-place finishes in the 1,600- and 3,200 meter races. She ran a 5:24.89 in the 1,600, and an 11:51.77 in an exhilarating finish in the 3,200. Bentonville’s Tori Willis won the race with a time of 11:48.37, but less than a second separated second place through fifth place.

Cabot also placed in the relays. The team of Gore, Turner, Hadley Dickinson and Brayden Giesler finished third in the 4x800 relay. Turner, Dickinson, Tristyn Edgar and Savannah Hatton finished fifth in the 4x400.


Cabot was the only local team to earn any points in the boys’ competition. The Panther 4x400-meter relay team of Brandon Whitley, Austin Swackhammer, Britton Alley and Lyndon Nichols finished second with a great time of 3:29.0,6, but still five seconds behind the state record set by Har-Ber.

Britton Alley pulled up lame at about 40-meters into the 60-meter dash. He still finished eighth to earn one point, but his day was done.

North Little Rock sophomore Kennedy Lightner broke the state record in that event with a time of 6.95.

Conley Hillegas earned three points for Cabot with a sixth-place finish in the 400-meter dash.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot girls escape MSM with victory

Leader sports editor

The Cabot Lady Panthers had a bit more difficult time at Mount St. Mary on Friday than they did at home against the Belles three days before, but they still pulled out a critical 48-41 victory to move to three wins in the 7A-Central Conference. That’s important because it gives the Lady Panthers the tiebreaker over MSM in case of a tie for the sixth and final playoff spot.

Friday’s victory moved Cabot into fifth place, with one more conference win than MSM and Fort Smith Southside, and three more than last-place and winless Bryant.

Friday’s game in Little Rock was still tied after three quarters, quite a different game than the 21-point win the Lady Panthers enjoyed at home on Tuesday.

After an 8-8 first quarter, the Lady Panthers took a 25-21 lead into the locker room at halftime, but then only managed three points the entire third quarter, and was tied going into the fourth.

The Lady Panthers got back on track and pulled out to a small lead late in the fourth, and then made their free throws to hang on for the victory.

Holly Allen continued the hot shooting she enjoyed last Tuesday when she made seven 3 pointers and scored 25 points. On Friday, she only made two 3-pointers, but went 5 of 8 from the field and made all three free throws to finish with a game-high 15.

Josie VanOss added 11 for the Lady Panthers (14-7, 3-5). Valerie Kauffman led MSM (7-13, 2-6) with nine points.

The Lady Panthers hosted a crucial game with Fort Smith Southside on Tuesday. Look for details of that matchup in Saturday’s edition of The Leader.

Conversely, the Cabot boys played better on Friday than on Tuesday, and beat the Rockets by a lopsided 65-40 final score. After Cabot built a 13-6 lead in the first quarter, the Rockets got hot from outside and posted 19 points in the second to pull within 31-25 by halftime. It was the only period of the game in which Cabot gave up double-digit points. The Panthers (16-3, 6-2) scored 17 points in each of the last two quarters, while holding Catholic to 15 total.

Bobby Joe Duncan and Jalen Brown each made four 3-pointers for Cabot. Duncan led all scorers with 19 points while Brown and Logan Gilbertston scored 13 apiece.

The Panthers were impressive from the floor, making 31 of 53 shot attempts, including 10 of 17 from outside. But they were just 13 of 20 from the foul line.

John Chase led Catholic (0-17, 0-8) with 11 points.

Cabot is now second place in league play. Northside is even in the loss column but only has five wins. Conway has six wins, but three losses.

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Badgers win a thriller in road game

Special to The Leader

Behind by one point and 2.2 on the clock, the Beebe Lady Badgers got and hit the last second shot for the 37-36 win Friday night over the Lady Eagles in Vilonia. Beebe had the ball out of bounds under their own basket. Katie Turner inbounded the ball to Marianna Richey, stepped in bounds, got the return pass, and sank the winning shot at the buzzer.

“It was a big win for us on the road,” said Beebe coach Greg Richey. “I thought that we played a little bit tight. I thought Vilonia played a little bit tight at times.

That’s what happens in close games. But, we just kept digging and digging and finally found a way to make the last shot. The way it looked, whoever shoots the last shot is probably going to win the game, and that’s the way it happened again tonight.”

The first quarter started slowly for the Lady Badgers, but they battled back for the 5A/6A North-Central Conference victory. The lead was one at the half, and each team scored 13 points in the second half, so the one point halftime edge proved to be the difference. The win puts Beebe alone in second place in the conference race with a record of 7-2.

Batesville is in first place with one loss. The Lady Badgers are 17-7 overall.

The Lady Eagles took a 7-0 lead before Beebe got on the scoreboard with a free throw by Hannah Mcghee. Vilonia scored six more in the opening frame, but Libbie Hill sank a 2-point jumper, a free throw, and a 3-pointer for a score of 13-7 at the quarters end.

Beebe came back strong to outscore the Lady Eagles 17-10 in the second period. Turner hit consecutive 2-pointers under the basket to start the scoring. Hill sank two from the line, then Turner tied the game at 15-15 with another two.

Hill hit two more free throws for the first lead for the Lady Badgers. Kylea Hightower connected on a 3-point basket to give the lead back to Vilonia. The lead changed five more times in the quarter before Turner scored the final two on a drive in the lane to give Beebe a 24-23 halftime edge.

To start the third, Hannah Montgomery gave the Lady Eagles the lead back with a lay-up.

Hill tied the contest at 25-25 with a free throw, and that score held until 3:47 remained in the period. Paige Kelley had four points in the remainder for Vilonia, Hill scored on a baseline in bounds play and on a driving lay-up for Beebe, and the score was 31-29 Lady Eagles at the end of three periods of play.

After a free throw by Vilonia, a steal by Mcghee led to a 2-pointer off the glass by Hill. Hill scored again from under the basket, then Abbie Henley had a steal and lay-up for a 35-32 Beebe advantage. Kelley scored four points, and Vilonia had the one point lead at 36-35.

Beebe called a time out with 1:50 remaining and the ball. Unable to score, full court pressure was applied. Several turnovers and a forced time out occurred before the Lady Badgers rebounded a Vilonia miss with under thirty seconds remaining.

Beebe had the ball out of bounds with 10.5 seconds to go. Two shots were missed, but again the Lady Badgers had the ball out of bounds with 2.2 seconds. That was when Turner inbounded the ball, got the pass back and sank the winning basket to set the final score at 37-36.

Hill had 22 points for Beebe, while Turner added 10. Kelley led Vilonia with 17 points.

SPORTS STORY >> Titans lose heartbreaker

Leader sports editor

The Titans fought furiously to erase a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, but bad luck and clutch shooting conspired to break their hearts in a 65-63 loss to top-ranked Maumelle on Friday at JHS.

Harderrious Martin scored for Jacksonville to tie the game with 30 seconds left, and Jacksonville played excellent defense on the final possession. Finding nothing else open, the Hornets settled for a 30-foot shot from the right wing by Pat Green with about seven seconds remaining. Every Titan got a body on a man and boxed out like it’s drawn up. But the shot was from so far out, when it bounced off the back of the rim, it bounced over every defender and into the hands of Maumelle’s Kevin Hamilton on the left wing. He passed to Tremont Robinson at the top of the key, who took two dribbles and let fly a floater from about 16 feet that went in at the buzzer.

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner, of course, saw some things he thought his team could’ve done better, but was not critical of the team’s overall performance and effort.

“They fought their butts off out there,” said Joyner. “We’re not as long, we’re not as athletic and we’re not as deep as Maumelle, but we were right there. I still say this team has a chance to do some things.”

Jacksonville led 33-23 with 55 seconds left in the first half, but Maumelle scored four points in the last 15 seconds to close that gap to six by intermission.

The Titans’ lead was 39-31 halfway through the third, but over the next seven minutes, Maumelle outscored Jacksonville 25-7 to take a 56-46 lead with five minutes left in the game.

Jacksonville (14-10, 5-5) then went on its own brief blitz, scoring six points in less than a minute to make it 56-52 with four minutes to go.

After a Maumelle bucket, Tyree Appleby hit a 3-pointer to make it 58-55 with 3:19 remaining. Hamilton then scored for Maumelle, and then added a free throw after a Jacksonville turnover. DaJuan Ridgeway got it back to four with a floater, and then took a charge to get the ball back.

Kavion Waller scored to make it 61-59 with 1:30 to play, and Robinson answered right back for the Hornets. Appleby scored with a minute left, and then took a charge to set up Martin’s game-tying bucket. Neither team took care of the ball very well. Maumelle committed 21 turnovers while Jacksonville had 28.

Both teams grabbed 30 rebounds, but Maumelle got many more on the offensive because of all the long rebounds from deep 3-point attempts.

The Hornets were 6 of 22 from outside, and most were taken from at least NBA range. Green led the Hornets with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, all of which were 8 feet or more behind the 3-point line. His only miss was the last one of the game.

Robinson added 13 for the Hornets (20-3, 9-1). Appleby led all scorers with 22 points while Ridgeway added 14. Christian White and Chris Williams had six and seven points respectively, and both grabbed 10 rebounds.

TOP STORY >> Son’s memory lives forever

Leader staff writer

An all-expense paid trip to attend the Rose Parade, a chance to work on a float, greet people from across the country and even a chance celebrity meeting – a wonderful five days in sunny California.

“It was a bittersweet exciting experience with sad undertones. My husband and I would have traded it all if we could have gotten our son back,” said Kristy Cotillier of Cabot.

The Cotilliers lost their 16-year-old son Evan in October 2013 to epilepsy, but right before he died, he convinced his parents to donate his organs.

“We were able to donate his heart, kidneys, eyes and tissue. His heart went to a young girl in Iowa who has become a member of our family. In fact, she just got back from a trip studying art in Europe.”

Smiling, Kristy said, “Evan even wanted his brain donated to science to help them find a cure for epilepsy, but it was too damaged.”

She also said his kidneys went to people in Arkansas, including a distant relative. “We know Evan’s liver went to someone in Florida. We also know his eyes and some of his tissue have been used to help people.”

The Cotilliers were selected as one of 60 donor families to attend the 2017 Rose Parade and flew in four days before the parade to help with the float.

“It was an amazing trip,” she said, adding that all the families stayed in the same hotel. “We had a lot of time to meet and share experiences, laugh and cry. We made some life-long friends in that short five days,” Kristi said. They became very close to a Texas couple who lost their 12-year-old son in a horse accident.

“We even met a family from Canada. I don’t think I’d ever met a Canadian before,” she quipped.

The Cotilliers and other donor families worked four-hour shifts finishing the Donate Life float, which is overseen by One Legacy, a Southern California-based nonprofit.

According to One Legacy, 122,000 people across the country are on a waiting list seeking an organ donation.

“You see these floats on TV, but you have no idea the magnitude of the number of flowers that go into a float. It was overwhelming and emotional,” she said. The couple worked on purple irises and some of the white dedication roses.

The morning of the parade, they had to walk to their grandstand seats. “There was no way anyone could drive. People started lining up and finding spots the night before. They brought cots, tents, sleeping bags and grills,” she said.

Kristy added that the businesses along the parade route boarded up all their windows for protection, but it was decorative, “so you really didn’t notice if you were watching it on television,” she explained.

The Donor Life float was third in line. It was a giant catamaran featuring 60 floragraphs – pictures of the donors, including Evan, made out of flowers and other organic material.

The float won for best theme, “Donate Life, Team-mates in Life.”

The rowers were actually 24 donor recipients. Walking alongside the float were 12 living donors, those who gave a kidney to save a life, in what organizers called a “kidney chain.”

The chain features a white woman who gave a kidney to an African-American man whose son donated to an Asian man whose wife donated to a Hispanic woman.

“It tied in with a presentation we had from a surgeon who specializes in kidney transplants,” Kristy said.

“The doctor said when he pulls that kidney out of the box he can’t tell if it came from a black, white or Hispanic person — whether it was male or female. They all look and work the same. He said all he thinks about is the person he’s operating on needs it,” she said.

One of the most amazing aspects of the trip for the Cotilliers was meeting the two women who made Evan’s floragaph. One of the women, Rachel Rodriquez, worked on the floragraphs — created from rice, coffee grounds, spices and other materials — in memory of her 17-month-old grandson who was murdered.

She also made a memorial bracelet for Kristy with a picture of Evan on it.

“There was just so much emotion and love between everyone we met,” she said.

“And Jessica, who was Evan’s nurse in his final days, was one of many who finished the floragraph by adding the eyebrows, using brown cloves. She took amazing care of Evan at Children’s Hospital.”

One of the most amazing attributes about Evan, according to his parents, was that he was always looking for someone who was sad just so he could make them smile, or the next person he could serve.

So how did this 16-year-old honor roll student, who loved football, and was known at home as the “grilled cheese expert,” decide to donate his organs?

His dad, Rodney, tells it best: “We had just finished watching the movie ‘Seven Pounds’ with Will Smith, and it revolved around organ donating and transplants. He asked me if I was a donor. I told him absolutely.”

Evan then asked him how one could become an organ donor. “I told him I had it marked on my driver’s license,” his dad said, “But, he said, ‘Dad, I have epilepsy. I can’t get a driver’s license; how will they know?’”

Rodney said he just put his son off. “Evan, you’re 16, you are not going to die anytime soon,” Rodney said.

A few minutes later, he heard Evan in the kitchen asking his mom the same thing.

“She said the same thing I did, that he wasn’t dying. His response was that, whenever he did die, she had to tell the doctors that he wanted to donate his organs.”

Rodney said his wife continued to hem and haw, but Evan made her “pinkie promise.”

“It was something they had been doing since he was in third grade and she was his teacher. A pinkie promise was serious, and she said she would,” he said.

Neither parent knew that, a month later, they would find the popular high school student in their house unresponsive after an epileptic attack.

Back in October 2013, as Kristy Cotillier lay her head on her dying son’s chest, listening to his heart, she prayed that she would be able to hear it again.

Two days later, his heart was being placed in Jaclyn Montour’s chest in Iowa on her dad’s birthday.

A little more than a year after Evan’s death, the Cotilliers met Jacklyn.

Kristy said the meeting was very hard on Rodney – he and Evan were best buddies. At first, Rodney was worried that listening to his son’s heart would bring back all the grief.

“But, when I heard the heartbeat, I was proud. My son paid the ultimate sacrifice but was still able to give all he could to let others live,” he said, adding, “I felt a grace, a peace. I was tearful, but in a proud way.”

“Do you know he always said he wanted to be like me, but at his funeral I read a letter I wrote in which I said I wanted to be like Evan,” Rodney said.

And that’s why the Cotilliers have become strong advocates for donating organs.

“Some people say there aren’t miracles, but we are living one,” Rodney said. “You can’t write this stuff.”

TOP STORY >> JNPSD unveils helpful new app

The Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District on Tuesday unveiled its new app for smartphones and tablets.

Students, their parents and faculty can download the app for free through iTunes and Google Play to get the latest school news, events and photos.

The app was created by Blackboard, an educational technology company, “to expand (the school district’s) communications outreach,” according to an announcement from JNPSD chief of staff Phyllis Stewart.

“The mobile app will offer a constantly updated feed of district news and events with photos and links to the district’s website. The app can also be customized by users by selecting the schools they are most interested in for news and updates. Users can also choose to receive push notifications to get breaking news and updates about school closures, calendar changes or even sports updates,” the announcement said.

Parents can follow their children’s grades and attendance, school menus and bus information through the app.

“We condensed a four-month app build process into six weeks. We are still working behind the scenes on the data that will make this a fully functional tool for parents,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Owoh.

TOP STORY >> Group promotes flag education

Leader staff writer

The central Arkansas chapter of the Military Order of World Wars honored retired Maj. Gen. Ron Chastain of Conway with plaque in recognition of his leadership in the state’s flag education program.

“I’m passionate about it. I want to continue with the flag education and the veterans history interview project for the Library of Congress,” Chastain said.

Chastain, who retired Jan. 31 as agricultural liaison for Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) for six years, has given 74 flag education presentations to fifth graders in central Arkansas schools on the history, care and proper treatment of the U.S. flag.

He trained veterans and Boozman’s staff members to give the presentations.

Jim Elmer, former commander of MOWW, said, “One of the things MOWW stands for is flag education. Patriotism is one of the things MOWW is founded on since 1919. When we started 30 years ago, the state passed a law that everybody in the fifth grade is supposed to have a class in flag education. Arkansas is the only state in the union that has that requirement.”

Chastain served in the Army National Guard for nearly 40 years and worked 32 years for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.

He was born in Franklin County and graduated from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville with a biology degree in 1972.

He began his career with the USDA in 1974 and dealt with federal farm programs at the county, district and state levels.

At the same time Chastain was member of the Army National Guard. He served as deputy commanding general for the Arkansas Army National Guard at the U.S. Army Forces Command, the Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard, as chief of staff of U.S. Forces in Korea, Commander of the 39th Brigade Combat Team in Iraq and commander of the 25th Rear Operations Center during Operation Desert Storm.

Chastain has been inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame. He retired from Arkansas Army National Guard in 2010.

Monday, February 06, 2017

SPORTS >> Lighthouse gets revenge on Clarendon

Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter closed its regular season with a pair of wins, and will now wait nine days for the 2A-4 East Conference tournament that begins Feb. 11 in Quitman.

On Tuesday, the Wolves made the short trip to Sherwood and beat Abundant Life 73-54, but the game they have been geared up for since Jan. 10 was Clarendon’s visit to the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club on Thursday.

That’s the time and place JLC hammered the Lions 89-69, and it wasn’t as close as that score would indicate.

Lighthouse led 46-34 at halftime on Thursday, but made some adjustments at halftime that helped blow things open in the third quarter.

“We have a little trouble with little quick guards like they have,” said Lighthouse coach Kelvin Parker. “We don’t move our feet well on defense and try to reach too much sometimes. They didn’t hit but one, I think, from outside in the first half. So I went to a zone and they didn’t seem to be able to adjust. They just kept trying to drive it in there, and it wasn’t there like it was in the first half.”

Lighthouse had been eyeing this game since losing 87-83 at Clarendon three weeks ago. In that game, the Lions shot 50 free throws to just 14 by Lighthouse.

“We’ve been waiting on this one,” Parker said. “These boys knew they didn’t get a fair shake over there. They had something to prove.”

The Wolves more than doubled that 12-point halftime advantage. While Clarendon continued to try to force penetration against the zone, Lighthouse, which had gotten hot from outside in the second quarter, continued shooting well in the third.

The Wolves made five 3-pointers in the third, outscored Clarendon 30-14 and led 76-48 by the start of the fourth quarter.

Despite the animosity coming into the game, Parker took his foot off the gas in the fourth quarter, and the 30-point mercy rule was never met. He only let his starters play about a minute of the final frame, though he did almost re-insert them with about two minutes to go.

“I had gone all the way down my bench and he kept his starters in there,” Parker said. “I wasn’t going to let it get under 20.”

Parker called his starters back to the bench before they checked in when he noticed Clarendon’s second unit joining them in front of the scorer’s table.
Four Lighthouse players finished in double digits, led by freshman Gerald Doakes’ 25. His classmate Devontae Davis added 19. Seniors Zack Bobo and Chris Mims scored 12 and 11 respectively.

Clarendon still shot more free throws than Lighthouse, but not 36 more. The Lions made 13 of 25 attempts. While Lighthouse shot a good percentage from 3-point range, 11 of 27, the Wolves were abysmal at the foul line, making just 4 of 15.

Tuesday’s final was also misleading. The Wolves jumped out on Abundant Life 24-4 in the first quarter, and led 63-34 after three quarters. 

David led all scorers in that game with 26. Jakalon Simuel scored 13 and Doakes added 10.

Lighthouse (22-5) finishes the conference season 12-2, but could still get the No. 1 seed in the tournament that starts next Saturday.

The only team from the Wolves’ regular-season conference that will play in the tournament at Quitman is England, and the Wolves beat them twice this year.

The Lady Wolves were close to getting their second win this season, leading by one point at halftime. But foul trouble kept key players on the bench in the third quarter and the Lady Lions pulled away for a 46-35 win.

SPORTS >> Lady Bears take control in fourth

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills ladies made their home-and-home series with Jacksonville a sweep on Tuesday. Exactly a week after struggling to a 47-41 win at Jacksonville, the Lady Bears took control a little earlier at home for a 59-38 victory in a 5A/6A-Central matchup.

“I think we played better than we did at Jacksonville,” said Sylvan Hills coach Shelley Davis. “We finished better anyway. We still had a few moments I didn’t like, but not as many. I’m hoping maybe we’ve reached a turning point. We finished strong at PA. What killed us there was spotting them 10 points at the very beginning. We’ve played with more focus overall since that game. I’m just afraid some of our other lapses earlier this year could come back and bite us.”

The first quarter was close. Sylvan Hills scored the first six points of the game, but Jacksonville came back and trailed just 11-7 by the end of the quarter. Sylvan Hills led 13-11 early in the second period when Jacksonville went cold from the floor, and the Lady Bears took command.

Sylvan Hills’ defense made finding open shots difficult for Jacksonville. But even when they were available, Jacksonville suffered through shooting woes. The Lady Titans missed nine-consecutive shot attempts over a five-minute span.

Meanwhile Andrea Dol-phin came off the bench to provide a scoring spark for the home team. Her 3-pointer with 3:03 left in the half gave Sylvan Hills its first double-digit lead at 22-11.

Alexis James finally broke the scoring drought for Jacksonville with a driving basket that made it 22-13 with 1:30 to go. Dolphin answered that just a few seconds later with another 3-pointer that gave the Lady Bears their biggest lead of the half at 25-13.

Jacksonville pulled to within 27-18 by intermission, and scored first in the second half, but never got any closer.

After the opening basket of the second half, Jacksonville committed three unforced turnovers on its next three possessions. Sylvan Hills scored after each one. Lainie Ballard scored five-straight points with a short jumper and a 3-pointer, and Diamond Flanders got an offensive rebound and putback for a 34-20 Lady Bear lead.

Jacksonville freshman and leading scorer Shymaryia Christopher missed almost all of the second quarter with two fouls, and picked up her third foul less three minutes into the third quarter on Flanders’ putback with 5:03 left in the quarter.

James then got the rim for Jacksonville, and followed that with a steal and layup to make it 34-24 just 23 seconds after Christopher’s foul.

Davis called timeout, but Christopher stole the ball on the ensuing possession, giving Jacksonville (11-15, 3-6) a prime opportunity to get back to within single digits. But the possession didn’t go well.

Christopher missed a wide-open transition layup after the steal, as no Lady Bear chased her down the floor. Jacksonville’s DeShundria Shockley did follow the ball. She got the rebound, but also missed an uncontested layup. She got the rebound again, but this time her shot was altered by Alana Canady, who grabbed the rebound after the third miss.

Sylvan Hills threw the ball away again, but again Jacksonville failed to capitalize.

Christopher picked up her fourth foul with 2:10 left in the third, and the Lady Bears took a 44-32 lead into the fourth period.

Jacksonville suffered its worst offensive quarter of the game and Sylvan Hills pulled away.

Canady led Sylvan Hills in scoring with 13 points, and added eight rebounds. Jayla Bell posted another double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Dolphin scored 10, Mallory Kimble nine and Ballard eight for Sylvan Hills (13-8, 5-4).

The Lady Bears hosted J.A. Fair on Friday while Jacksonville hosted Maumelle. Look for details of those games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader

SPORTS >> Panthers get easy sweep of Catholics

Leader sports editor

Cabot got an easy sweep over Catholic and Mount Saint Mary Academy on Tuesday at Panther Arena. The Lady Panthers got their second conference win of the season, beating the Belles 68-47. The boys struggled a bit more than their first matchup with the Rockets. That nonconference matchup on Dec. 7 was against a shorthanded Catholic squad and ended 61-26. On Tuesday, the Panthers still won handily, 51-33. 

It appeared the boys would run away early again, opening the game with a 10-2 run, and leading 21-9 near the end of the opening quarter. But Catholic closed the first period with a 5-0 run, and then outscored the Panthers 12-11 in the second quarter.

After the fast start, Cabot’s lead at halftime was only 21-14.

The Panthers led 27-19 about halfway through the third period, when Matt Stanley sparked a 9-0 run and gave the home team some breathing room.

It started with Stanley making 1 of 2 foul shots. After a defensive stop, the 6-foot-8 post player stepped out and hit a 3-pointer for a 31-19 Cabot lead that forced a Catholic timeout.

Another fruitless possession by the Rockets turned into another basket by Stanley, and Cabot (15-3, 5-2) took a 33-19 lead into the fourth quarter. Stanley then scored and was fouled, and completed the 3-point play for a 36-19 lead just seconds into the fourth.

Catholic finally broke the scoring drought, but Cabot answered with five-straight, making it a 15-2 run and giving the Panthers a 41-21 lead with five minutes left in the game.

Stanley led all scorers and rebounders with 16 points and eight boards.

Gilbertson added 13 for the Panthers and point guard Bobby Joe Duncan scored 10 and dished out four assists.

The Lady Panthers (13-7, 2-5) also got out to a good start, offensively. They scored 22 points in the first quarter, but that dropped to just 10 in the second and the lead at halftime was just eight points at 32-24.

Cabot then took control in the third, outscoring MSM 21-11 for a 53-35 lead going into the final period.

Holly Allen had a phenomenal game, hitting 7 of 8 3-point attempts and finishing with 25 points. Josie VanOss finished with 16 points, and Camryn Harmon scored 10 and dished out six assists.

Cabot plays at Catholic (0-16, 0-7) and MSM (8-12, 2-5) on Friday after Leader deadlines. Look for details of those games in Wednesday’s edition of The Leader.

The Panthers and Lady Panthers will host Fort Smith Southside on Tuesday.

SPORTS >> Titans escape Sylvan Hills

Leader sports editor

As has become the custom, Jacksonville and Sylvan Hills went to the wire on Tuesday. And, as also has become the custom, Jacksonville pulled out the nail biter, beating the Bears 64-62 in a 5A/6A-Central matchup at SHHS. 

Sylvan Hills had trailed by two and had possession with two seconds left under Jacksonville’s basket after a timeout. The Bears executed perfectly to get the ball the length of the floor and get an open look to tie, but Justin Glasco’s 14-footer wouldn’t fall as the visiting team celebrated. 

“It was supposed to be a 3-pointer because we wanted to go for the win,” said Sylvan Hills coach Kevin Davis. “I’m not sure if he (Glasco) stepped in there on his own or if the pass pulled him in there. Either way, the shot didn’t fall. We did everything else right and got an uncontested shot. It just didn’t go in. And that’s the story of the game tonight. Jacksonville got the breaks. They got some calls. They got some crazy shots to go in where ours didn’t. But we’re going to have that game where we get those breaks, and we’re going to get a call or two here before long. I’m proud of how we played and how we kept fighting.”

Jacksonville led by 10 at halftime, and the first basket of the third quarter gave the Titans a 39-27 lead. By the two-minute mark, that advantage was gone, and the game was back-and-forth the rest of the way.

Telah Wade score four-straight to start the Bears’ comeback. Jordan Washington then added four more to make it 39-35 with 4:24 left in the third. Sylvan Hills’ zone defense had Jacksonville standing still on offense and just passing the ball around the perimeter.

When Sylvan Hills’ Jacobé Davis found Washington alone under the basket for a layup with 1:35 left in the third, the Bears had their first lead of the game at 43-42.

There were four lead changes over the last 1:35 of the third, and the Titans took a 49-48 lead into the final period.

That was up to 56-50 with 5:10 to go, but Glasco sank a huge 3-pointer just 15 seconds later. Christian White scored for Jacksonville just 10 seconds after that, but Washington came back with another SH 3-pointer that pulled the Bears to within two with 3:25 remaining in the game.

The Titans again grew impatient with the Bears’ zone defense, and missed long 3-pointers on four-straight possessions. But Sylvan Hills didn’t capitalize. Finally, a pair of free throws by Jacobé Davis tied the game with 2:10 left, and Jacksonville made it five-straight missed 3-pointers on its next possession.

But again, Sylvan Hills missed. Harderrious Martin got the rebound and found Appleby snowbirding for a layup and a 60-58 Jacksonville lead with 1:50 to go.

Appleby then stripped Wade and hit another layup for a four-point lead with 1:36 remaining.

Jamal Johnson answered for the Bears with a driving finger-roll, and Appleby shot an air ball from 25 feet to give Sylvan Hills possession with exactly a minute remaining.

But on the ensuing possession, Daylon Raynor’s 3-point attempt barely caught iron and went out of bounds, and Appleby found Martin under the basket for a 64-60 lead with 35 tics remaining.

Johnson got to the rim again with 22 seconds left, and Washington stole the ball at midcourt for the Bears, sparking the first major protest from Kevin Davis. Washington flashed in front of a pass intended for DaJuan Ridgeway, who grabbed Washington’s jersey and was called for a foul.

Davis argued for it to be an intentional foul, which would have given the Bears two free throws and the ball back. Instead, it was only the sixth foul of the half and Sylvan Hills inbounded the ball at midcourt. That’s what sparked Davis’ second big argument.

Jacksonville trapped Raynor in front of the Titan bench. He threw a high pass to Washington in front of the SH bench. White and Washington collided as they went up and Washington went tumbling out of bounds as White came down with the ball.

Davis vociferously argued for a foul on White, but to no avail.

The Bears fouled Appleby with three seconds left, and he missed the front end of the one-and-one to set up the final play.

“It’s just obvious when they stretch the jersey out three feet he’s not making a play on the ball,” Davis said. “It’s clear. That should’ve been intentional.”

Jacksonville coach Vic Joyner still thinks his team (14-9, 5-4) can make a postseason run, but it will hinge on inside play. Jacksonville shot 25 3-pointers on Tuesday, and made eight. Joyner says that’s because his guards lack confidence in the post players.

“How many times did we throw it in there tonight and it go through somebody’s hands,” Joyner said. “The guards are going to have to understand to stick with the game plan, but the post men have got to get better. Tonight is a W. That’s all I can say. I don’t’ like how we played, but it’s a W.”

Appleby made six of Jacksonville’s 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 31 points. He also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Ridgeway finished with 14 points, while White had nine points and 12 rebounds.

Washington led the Bears with 17 points and nine rebounds. Wade added 15 and Jacobé Davis scored 10. Johnson and Glasco each scored nine for the Bears, who are now 15-6 overall and 4-5 in conference play.