Friday, July 28, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Freeze finds Rebels’ rise blind sided

Leader sports editor

An old sports joke goes like this.

Want to hear a football joke? The state of Mississippi.

Recent events prove once again the joke works because it’s true. Lifelong Mississippian, Hugh Freeze, a former private school football coach who rode an NFL talent that was dropped into his lap by a major donor all the way to the Ole Miss head coaching job, finally saw his artificial rise through the NCAA coaching ranks come to an abrupt halt last week when it was discovered, amidst a long-running NCAA investigation, that he had a habit of phoning prostitutes when out of town.

Houston Nutt was quoted saying, “I called that play brotha!”

Now, the only school in the SEC looked down upon by Arkansas State is stuck with, at least for the next few years, the moniker Ole Miss-dial.

The joke, of course, stemming fromFreeze’s initial denial of intentionally calling the first number in his phone records known to be to an escort service. Several others were found upon further investigation by the university.

It was also reported that none of the calls were to or from Atlanta, since Freeze has never been to Atlanta.

Former Razorback lineman Sebastian Tretola may be superman. Not only can the 350-pound lineman throw touchdown passes, he can also catch bullets without being harmed.

Unfortunately, bullet catching is not an NFL skill, and his second wee-hours, violent altercation at a bar this offseason was more than the Tennessee Titans were willing to put up with. He was released by the team on Friday.

Good news for Tretola, since the second fight resulted in injury, and he’s a former Razorback, that’s four hole punches. He only needs one more in his ticket to earn a free roster spot with the Cowboys.

For all you boxing fans and investment opportunity seekers, Money Mayweather and Con McGregor are together selling the Brooklyn Bridge for $100 on Aug. 26.

You have to hand it to McGregor. Less than five years ago he was making $8,000 per fight while becoming a fabulous MMA fighter. Now, he has the opportunity to be a horrible boxer for tens of millions of dollars.

The Pittsburgh Penguins sealed their second-straight Stanley Cup when Patric Hornqvist scored off Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne’s back. Hockey just doesn’t get any more exciting than that. Unfortunately.

The good thing about hockey is that no one accuses the NHL of rigging its playoffs for television ratings. More evidence for this came just this past June, when the Stanley Cup finals came down to Pittsburgh and Nashville.

Someone check ESPN. I heard they were talking about the NBA for a change.

SPORTS STORY >> SH mixes youth and experience

Leader sports editor

The Sylvan Hills volleyball team returns a lot of experience from last year’s squad that finished third in the 5A blended conference to which it belonged. The Lady Bears will have eight seniors, including seven who were on the team last season, and five that were part of the varsity squad. Aliya Hatton also returns as a junior with varsity experience. The most athletic player on the team, Hatton will be one outside hitter for the Lady Bears.

Seniors Kelsey McQueen, Anna Snyder, Cory Chessman, Grace Turner and Lydia Young all have varsity experience. Seniors Alexis Knight and Scarlett Averett were on the JV last year, and senior Lexi Spirdov sat out last year after transferring from North Pulaski.

“We should have quite a bit of experience,” said Sylvan Hills coach Harold Treadway. “I have had much of a chance to see them. We went to one team camp this week and we’ve had a few practices, but I think I’ve got some younger kids that might contribute as well.”

Treadway took 16 players to a team camp on Wednesday at Greenbrier. Scores weren’t kept, but he felt good about how the team competed.

“They were a little nervous the first game, but after that they were really competitive with everyone,” Treadwaysaid. “I used all the 10th graders as strictly a JV group to start with, and the thing you could see they were having trouble with was the speed. But I thought we picked up on it and played together faster than we have in the past.”

Snyder started at libero last year and is joined on the back row by starter McQueen. Turner returns in the middle while Chessman and Young will be outside hitters.

“Chessman is another natural athlete,” Treadway said. “She’s a cheerleader and just a great athlete that does a lot of things well. Hatton probably gets a little higher in the vertical, but Chessman is going to be key for us on the right side.”

At 5-feet, 9-inches, Turner is the tallest player on the team, but lack of size is something Treadway is familiar with.

“We deal with that seems like every year and we’ve been pretty successful,” Treadway said. “Sometimes I’d like to take a sample set with me to see what’s in the water at these other places, because we’re always undersized.”

One key position that hasn’t been filled is setter, and Treadway is looking at a freshman transfer from Texas named Riley Parker for that position.

“She really did a good job,” Treadway said of Parker’s performance Wednesday. “She was a little overwhelmed early on by the speed and how hard the teams were hitting it, but once she realized they’re not superheroes, and just regular people who happen to be a year or two older, she did fine. Her court awareness is really what impressed me. She knew where she’s supposed to be and where her teammates are.

“We’ve got another couple of little mini camps coming up next week so we’re going to take a longer look at her, as well as some of these other sophomores to see if they’re ready to move up.”

Preseason officially begins on Monday and the team will report that day. The team will travel to Conway for a three-team mini camp with St. Joseph and Morrilton on Tuesday. Those same three teams will reconvene Thursday at Morrilton.

“I’m looking at the possibility of moving up three sophomores and the freshman,” Treadway said. “I don’t know a whole lot just yet, but we’re going to be taking a look at them and we’ll decide by the first game.

Sylvan Hills’ takes on live competition for the first time on Aug. 17 when it hosts Hot Springs Lakeside for an AHSAA benefit game.

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot survives Vipers

Leader sports editor

CONWAY – Another rain delay and five errors weren’t enough to keep the Cabot-Centennial Bank Senior American Legion from advancing in the state tournament Thursday at Hendrix College with a 7-3 win over Little Rock.

Helping Cabot’s cause was Little Rock’s seven errors, but head coach Casey Vaughan credited a turnaround by his team after the delay that hit in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“It was role reversal for us,” said Vaughan. “I think we came out flat, playing a little like we didn’t want to be here. But they stopped the game. We helped put the tarp on. We waited about two and a half hours and when we got back out there we were ready to play.”

The score was tied 3-3 as Cabot came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, and a four-run rally set the final margin. There were two walks, three Viper errors and two base hits in the frame, starting with Dillon Thomas drawing a walk to lead things off.

He moved to second base on a single to center field by Logan Edmondson. Relief pitcher Caleb Wilson then bunted right back to the mound, giving Little Rock time to throw to third for the lead out, but third baseman Grayson Troutman missed the throw, leaving the bases loaded with no outs.

During Michael Crumbly’s at-bat, Thomas scored on a wild pitch before Crumbly drove in Edmondson with adeep fly ball to center field. Rail Gilliam struck out before Jack Broyles walked to put two on for leadoff hitter Blake McCutchen.

He hit a line drive to centerfield, where Gavin Johnson tried to make a diving catch, but missed. That allowed both runners to score and gave McCutchen a triple. McCutchen, however, ran through the stop sign at third base and was thrown out by several feet at home plate for the final out.

Wilson then gave up one hit in the top of the ninth to preserve the lead and earn the win in one and a third innings of work.

Little Rock scored first in the top of the second thanks to two Cabot errors. Troutman walked after a pop foul should’ve been caught, and Andrew Holland singled to left field. Troutman tried to reach third on the play and was thrown at by Edmondson.

An E3 allowed Cameron Johnson to reach and scored Howard for the 1-0 Viper lead.

Rail Gilliam got Cabot on the board in the bottom of the third after hitting a leadoff single to left field. He stole second base and reached third on a balk by starting pitcher Andrew Howard.

Two batters later after Broyles struck out and McCutchen was hit by a pitch, Caleb Harpole bunted towards first base for the 3-1 out and RBI.

Cabot should’ve scored at least one more when Tillery singled to right, but a pair of base running blunders erased a run. Tillery tried unwisely to stretch the hit into a double and was thrown out at second base for the final out. Meanwhile, McCutchen should’ve scored easily from second, but was jogging around the bases and let Tillery get thrown out before he crossed the plate.

After returning from the weather delay, Little Rock reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth without a base hit. Nine-hole hitter Nate Mooney was hit by starting pitcher Brett Brockinton’s first pitch after the delay.

Brockinton then flubbed a sacrifice bunt by Andrew McDonald that left runners safe at second and third. Brockinton fielded another bunt, threw home, but not in time to get Mooney.

The deficit didn’t last long. Cabot scored two in the bottom of the same inning on one hit and two Viper errors. With two outs, McCutchen reached on an E5 and stole second base. Harpole singled to left field to score McCutchen.

Tillery then reached on an E6 that left runners on the corners. Tillery stole second base, but Howard, uncertain about the play, half-heartedly attempted to catch the throw on the mound to keep Harpole from attempting to score. Instead, he only managed to knocked the ball down and it rolled between the mound and second base, allowing Harpole to trot in for the easy run.

That gave Cabot a 3-2 lead that it maintained until the top of the eighth, when two hits and a Cabot error led to Little Rock tying the game.

Because of the one-dozen combined errors, Cabot’s first run was the only earned run of the game.

Brockinton threw six innings and 116 pitches and gave up zero earned runs. He allowed only three base hits while striking out nine, walking five (though one was intentional) and hitting one batter.

Brodey Schluter took the mound in the seventh and pitched one and two-thirds innings. He gave up four base hits and one unearned run. Wilson faced seven batters, giving up one hit with one strikeout and one intentional walk.

McCutchen and Harpole led Cabot offensively. McCutchen went 2 for 5 with a triple, two RBIs and scored two runs. Harpole went 2 for 4 at the plate with one RBI and one run scored. Tillery, Thomas, Edmondson and Gilliam had Cabot’s other base hits.

Howard went six innings for Little Rock. He allowed five base hits while striking out 11, hitting one batter and walking zero.

EDITORIAL >> McCain deals blow to repeal

After several tries, the Senate this week could not repeal and replace Obamacare as President Trump said it must six months ago. Voting after midnight Friday, the Senate dramatically rejected a “skinny” or partial repeal after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) turned his thumb down, making his the 51st vote against repeal as he joined two other moderate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

A “skinny” or partial repeal would have unsettled insurance markets, raising premiums and deductibles and tossing at least 20 million off their insurance, including an estimated 230,000 in Arkansans. The American Medical Association, AARP, hospital groups and other professional groups were opposed and for many reasons: Not only would millions have lost their insurance, but those who could afford it would have seen premiums and deductibles skyrocket, with hundreds of small hospitals closing.

It was a bad week for the administration: First there was Tuesday’s vote against repeal and replace by a wide margin, and Wednesday’s vote to just repeal failed by a slightly smaller margin, but still a stunning defeat for Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had seven years to come up with a replacement but didn’t bother. McConnell may not last long as majority leader.

Military commanders are ignoring the President’s tweet Wednesday banning transgender people from serving in the military. Top officers insist they haven’t heard about the change in policy other than Trump’s tweets and will act only if they receive new orders in writing.

In any case, Trump’s decision, if it holds, will likely end up in court and no transgender service members will be kicked out of the military any time soon, especially those serving in war zones.

The Senate is distancing itself from the president not only by rejecting Trumpcare, but by passing a tough Russian sanctions bill 98-2, the Senate has infuriated the Kremlin, which thought it had a friend in the White House.

Son-in-law Jared Kushner didn’t do himself any favors Monday with his glib denial of colluding with the Russians when he attended a meeting last summer at Trump Tower with a group of shady characters sent by Moscow.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued this warning about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller: “That will be the beginning of the end for the Trump administration,” Graham said.

Loyal members of the administration who are not Trump relatives find themselves jobless and publicly humiliated.

Turmoil is normal in this administration as staffers conspire against each other to win Trump’s favor. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus is the latest casualty. He was replaced Friday by Gen. John Kelly, the head of Homeland Security.

In an obscenity-filled phone call to Ryan Lizza, a writer for The New Yorker magazine, Anthony (Scarface) Scaramucchi, the new White House communications director, threatened to kill his colleagues, including Priebus, for allegedly leaking to the press.

The much-mocked Sean Spicer is out as press secretary, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama, is barely holding on. Trump, besieged from all sides, continues to disparage Sessions for recusing from the widening Russian investigation.

Sessions, who is himself under investigation over contacts with the Russians, could walk out and become a friendly witness for the prosecution if Trump keeps insulting him.

Trump may be tempted to fire Sessions, but he has strong support from former Senate colleagues and he could last a while longer.

Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated the Clintons, describes Trump’s taunting of Sessions as “one of the most outrageous courses of presidential conduct in five decades.”

Even former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime Trump supporter, says Sessions had to recuse after his contacts with the Russians. No, says Giuliani, whose name has been floated to succeed Sessions, he’s not interested in becoming attorney general.

Sessions, who was the first senator to support Trump during his campaign, feels abandoned by a White House that considers loyalty to family more important than sticking with those who brought him to the White House.

Letting Sessions slowly twist in the wind will only make Trump lose support in the South, where his approval rating remains high — he’s at 50 percent in Arkansas — while he’s at 39 percent or so elsewhere, the lowest numbers for any president’s first six months since polls were first taken after the Second World War.

Although his approval is still high in much of the South, including Session’s home state, Trump is dropping in Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida.

The drama never ends.

TOP STORY >> Shop tax free next week

Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday next weekend.

Clothing, footwear and school supplies that cost less than $100 each will qualify for the tax exemption next Saturday, Aug. 5 and Sunday, Aug. 6.

State Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) reminds the public to take advantage of the event for back-to-school clothes and supplies.

“If you buy an item that costs more than $100 you must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount. Accessories costing less than $50 qualify for the exemption. Examples include wallets, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hairpieces,” according to Williams’ announcement from the Senate Information Office.

The Department of Finance and Administration provided this example: Someone who buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125. The sales tax will only be collected on the shoes. Even though the total price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, no sales tax will be collected on them because each individual item cost less than $100.

School supplies also qualify, including binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue.

Textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will be exempt from sales taxes. Also exempt from sales tax is art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads.

Bathing suits and beachwear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item.

Diapers and disposable diapers will not be taxed. Boots, including steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.

Not exempt from the sales tax are sporting goods, such as cleats and spikes worn by baseball, soccer and football players. Recreational items such as skates, shoulder pads, shin guards and ski boots will be taxed.

Computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt, and shoppers will have to pay sales taxes if they purchase those items.

Act 757, passed by the legislature in 2011, provides that the sales tax holiday will be the first weekend of August every year. All retail stores are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.

“One of the goals of the act is to help families with children in school, which is why it is commonly known as the back-to-school sales tax holiday, but everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children in school,” according to the announcement.

TOP STORY >> Interim chief says best is yet to come

Leader senior staff writer

Dr. Janice Warren, interim superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, wants you to know: “2017-18 is going to be our best year yet.”

Warren says she was as surprised as anyone when the Pulaski County Special School District board fired Superintendent Jerry Guess last week and asked her to serve as the interim superintendent.

“Our office received the agenda at 2:30 p.m.,” saying it was about desegregation attorneys. The agenda didn’t say anything about firing Guess, who had said he would not work with other lawyers on the matter.

The board fired the Roberts Law Firm as its attorney for the desegregation suit and other matters, and in the face of Guess’ refusal to work with other lawyers, moved on to fire him “effective immediately.”

The board then reconvened in executive session and emerged to promote Warren, an assistant superintendent, to interim superintendent.

She said she didn’t hesitate to accept the position.

“It was something I needed to do, so close to school starting,” she said of agreeing to take over as interim superintendent.

At the time, War-ren was director of elementary education and assistant superintendent for equity and pupil services. She still has those responsibilities, but hopes to pass them on soon. She will continue to be closely involved in satisfying court-ordered desegregation efforts.

Warren was superintendent of the Crossett School District for 10 years until retiring in 2010. She already had a working relationship with Guess, who had been superintendent of the nearby Camden School District.

“I came here (Little Rock) to be a grandma to my two grandchildren in Conway,” she said.

Guess reached out to herin 2012, after he was named superintendent of PCSSD, and asked her to apply to be director of the district’s 25 elementary schools.

“I thought it would be part time,” she said. “It turned into 10 days a week.”

Certified as an elementary principal, district administration, Pre-K through 12th grade; elementary school teacher and reading specialist, Warren holds an education doctorate in curriculum and supervision from Nova Southeastern University at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Before signing on at PCSSD, she was a classroom teacher for 10 years, an elementary principal for three years, an administrative assistant for four years, assistant superintendent for six years and superintendent for 10 years — all in the Crossett District from which she graduated.

By 2013, Guess had named her assistant superintendent of equity and pupil services, a particularly important job as the district worked to satisfy the courts and Joshua Intervenor attorney John Walker regarding progress on becoming unitary — desegregated — in all areas.


“Dr. Guess is the reason I am here,” Warren said. “In my five years here, he has done a lot of exceptional things. I don’t know anyone else would have been able to do what he was able to do. He was able to make progress prior superintendents were not able to.

“When (Plan 2000) started, PCSSD was still segregated in 15 areas, and was still deficient in nine areas. When he took over. He got the district declared unitary in six areas, for which he is to be applauded,” she added.

Warren is completely in the loop regarding the desegregation requirements, agreement and the federal court oversight.

She said, “I will work with Sam Jones,” the district’s remaining desegregation lawyer after the Roberts firm was fired. Jones’ participation in the case long predates that of the Roberts firm, and he has continued to be involved.

Warren, 60, will be the interim superintendent through the 2017-18 school year to provide continuity.

The job includes two large challenges not faced by most school districts, Warren said. First, the size of the district which has four feeder-school systems in four distinct parts of the county, and each in a different municipality with separate fire and police departments, she said.

Those are at Maumelle, Sherwood, Robinson High and Mills high schools in Little Rock.

The other challenge is the elephant in the room — the demands of getting out of desegregation oversight and requirements.

That’s on top of the rigors of operating one of the largest school districts in the state, Warren said.


“The deseg case is not typical of a school district in 2017, still under federal oversight,” Warren said. “I was a student in the ’70s in Crossett under court supervision and here in 2017 it’s still is a challenge.”

“Our focus this year is student achievement and improving academically, making the changes we need to do. I’m pleased with where we are,” Warren said.

A lot of the district’s schools are getting a C rating. “We are not providing students everything they need to succeed in college or their career,” she said.

The focus for secondary schools includes plans for schools of innovation and technology.

Old-fashioned libraries, with their books, are passé, she said. Books are often out dated by the time they hit the shelf.


Instead of book-filled libraries, schools will have technology-based learning centers. That’s particularly true for the three new high schools coming on line — Mills, Robinson and later, Sylvan Hills, which will be furnished with technology-use in mind. They will have movable seating, comfortable with Chrome laptop computers and other technology.

The emphasis in elementary schools will be on building a stronger academic foundation with special attention paid to reading, writing and math skills, but also with collaborative, hands-on learning.

The children will be problem solving and building things.


“Learning has to be relevant,” Warren said. “‘Sit-and-get’ learning doesn’t work.”

“All schools will be geared for 21st Century learning,” Warren said. All four high schools will be new, including Maumelle, which was the first new high school built in the district in 50 years.

Originally, PCSSD, Little Rock and North Little Rock districts were all considered segregated, PCSSD in 16 areas and bound in a single, sprawling desegregation suit and agreement.

When Guess and the state took over the district in 2011, PCSSD was still not unitary in nine areas, Warren said, and today it’s down to three — student achievement, discipline and facilities.


“If you get discipline in order, student achievement will likely follow.”

Toward addressing the discipline problem, the district is identifying those elementary schools with the highest number of discipline referrals. “We have a consultant we contract with to work with schools, principals and teachers and have some student programs,” she said.

In the secondary schools, where the discipline problem is greater, there is a consultant in every school.

She quotes U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall saying, “Show me a good-faith effort to improve discipline and achievement and close the gap in the disparity between black and white students.”

“We have people come from outside the district to work with us,” Warren added.


“I’ve always worked with the board and attended Arkan-sas School Board Association trainings,” Warren said.

She prides herself as a communicator with good relationships with the staff, superintendent and the board.

“The superintendent and board relationship is a key to a successful district,” she said. “My role is to keep them informed.”

“The board’s role is to make policies. My role is to make sure the district is running efficiently and effectively,” Warren said.

“I’m good at building relationships with people,” Warren said. “My raisin’ — people matter. Everybody’s voice needs to be heard, but I’m the final decision maker.”


Warren loves to read and travel in her free time and spend time with the grandchildren.

“I always loved reading biographies, autobiographies, especially of people who come from the bottom and work their way up,” she said.

She also likes inspirational books by authors such as Joel Osteen.

She keeps in touch with friends and family in Crossett.

As for traveling, it’s the warm water, sunny skies, beaches and laid-back lifestyle of the Caribbean, places like Jamaica, the Bahamas or also Hawaii she loves to visit.


Leader staff writer

Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series.

The Psychiatric Research Institute at UAMS in Little Rock houses the Center for Addiction Research. The center has a methadone clinic and a Suboxone clinic that treat opioid addiction. People seeking treatment are supervised as they transition to a medication-assisted treatment.

Dr. Nihit Kumar has been at the addiction center for two years – one year as a faculty member and one year under an addiction fellowship. He also worked in the addiction area during his time as a resident at UAMS starting in 2010.

In addition to his work with addiction, Kumar is an adolescent mental-health and child and adolescent psychiatry specialist.


When patients come in seeking treatment for opioid addiction, Kumar says they “get them in quickly, within a day or two.” The patient goes through an intake process where they are given a comprehensive evaluation that includes a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and a full physical exam. They are given a urine drug screen to determine if and what other drugs may be in their system. They are then enrolled in one of two programs –Suboxone or methadone.

Kumar works with patients in the Suboxone clinic.

“Once they get that intake (specifically for the Suboxone program), we induct them on the medication. We do that in the next two or three days,” Kumar said. “We kind of give them a script to stabilize them on a certain dose and then we see them weekly to begin with. They attend in groups. They meet with individual counselors one on one and then they come back the next week. They get a script every week.”

The methadone clinic has a slightly different process, according to Kumar. Patients go through the same intake process, but come in daily six days a week to receive a dose of methadone.

“We actually pour the medication for them, and they take it in front of us. On Saturdays, they come in, they get dosed for Saturday and then they get a dose to take home for Sunday,” Kumar said. “There are some differences in the federal guidelines as to how a methadone program should be and have a Suboxone program should be.”

The methadone program is intensive and is reserved for patients who are not stable or do not handle the weekly prescription. “It has a higher level of structure,” Kumar said.

The Suboxone program works well for those who are so-called “functioning addicts.”

“People that are working and trying to get their life together, it’s hard for them to come every single day. So this way they still have structure, but it’s less of a structure than the methadone,” Kumar said.

“It’s more for a functioning addict trying to get back on their feet. A lot of people are not willing to come to an every-day program, but this way they can come once a week and still have time for their family and loved ones and do whatever they need to do. They can get a job. This program really was meant to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for folks dealing with opiate addiction.”

The clinics are limited to how many patients can be treated. There are restrictions on the amount of prescriptions for the drugs prescribed in the medication-assisted treatments.

“You don’t want doctors just indiscriminately treating patients with this medication because it’s a partial opiate. You do it appropriately,” Kumar said. Doctors must go through special training with the DEA to qualify to prescribe the medications.

The success rate for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction varies between 30 and 70 percent.

“The success rates in general for addiction treatment aren’t very good. That’s why there’s a push to increase success rates to get them on medication-assisted treatments. The success rates of those who try to quite opioids without treatment is even lower,” according to Kumar.

Withdrawal from opioids can be extreme with symptoms feeling like a bad case of the flu. There are cravings, nausea, vomiting and irritability.

“You feel really sick. It is not life threatening, but when they go through these withdraws it’s very hard for people to resolve themselves,” Kumar. “Some people do it. Say you manage to get through these three or four days, five days. You’re done with it, but you still have the cravings to use. Those cravings are the urges that trigger your memories of using. Those cravings are pretty strong. Without medication, it is very hard for a recovering addict to maintain their sobriety without relapsing back on opiates. The relapse rate is in the 90 percents – that high without medication assisted treatment.”

There is also a women’s mental health program at the Psychiatric Research Institute that treats pregnant women who are addicted to opiates. “When they deliver, they need opiates, especially if they have a C-section. You need pain medication. But there’s a way to prevent the development of addiction. There’s a way to prevent them abusing the medications. The doctor monitors them during their pregnancy,” Kumar said.


“Arkansas is a little behind the national trend on everything. Things happen and by the time they get to us, it’s already four or five years down the line. That’s what’s been happening with medical marijuana. With opiates, I think prescription opiates are still the biggest issue in Arkansas,” Kumar said.

Most patients seen at the addiction center are between the ages of 18 and 45. Most are using prescription painkillers, but there are some using heroin. Kumar said most addicts begin with prescriptions for recreational use or after being prescribed for an injury.

When addiction sets in, addicts begin shopping doctors or making trips to an emergency room to get a prescription. When those options run out, an addict will start buying drugs off the street and sometimes will turn to heroin because it may be more easily affordable and attainable.

“There are several trends, but it’s not fair to generalize,” Kumar said.

The clinic sees more whites seeking treatment for opioid addiction than African-Americans, but more African-Americans than Caucasians seeking cocaine addiction treatment. More men are seen in the clinics than women, but an increase in the number of women has been seen since opening the women’s mental health program.

“I also moonlight in the Springdale area, and there are a lot more methamphetamine users there than compared to central Arkansas. There are trends geographically. There are trends racially,” Kumar said. “Age-wise it’s usually high teens to young adults is the biggest population. I think ages 12 to 26 use much more opiates. They have the highest use compared to after 26.”

“It’s supply and demand,” Kumar says of the trends with drug addiction. “When I do an intake I ask patients, for example, you started with hydrocodones, then you moved on to using oxycontins, then you went to heroin. Why did you switch? It’s all about supply and demand. It’s what’s available. How cheap it is. What’s easily accessible. I think it’s actually easier to get prescription pain meds in rural areas as opposed to heroin. Heroin tends to percolate in certain areas. The demand is higher I would say Little Rock has more heroin than certain areas.”

Kumar says there is evidence of a growing use of heroin in Arkansas. “It’s been here before. It ebbs and flows, and it’s coming back now. My guess would be the more stringent regulations put on prescribing, the more heroin is going to resurface. It will shift the balance to “getting a pill is so difficult now, why not just use heroin?”


“You really want to have a lot of education in schools about the negative effects of addiction and mental health,” Kumar said of overdose and addiction prevention. “All these campaigns about saying no to tobacco, for decades, have been beneficial because now we are seeing a significant drop in rates of tobacco smoking.”

He also suggest increased parental monitoring at home has shown to decrease the level of substance abuse in teenagers.

Kumar suggests that educating pain doctors, hospital and primary-care doctors on how to balance the treatment of pain and knowing the signs of addiction can also help prevent patients from becoming dependant on opioids.

Primary care doctors are seeing more cases of addiction in their offices.

“They are not trained to handle that. Improving their training and education through continuing education programs may help,” Kumar said. “If they don’t have the structure to provide treatment in their clinic then they can they can refer them to specialized treatment centers.”

Improving access to treatment by primary-care doctors getting buprenorphine licenses is being talked about. Currently there are only around 10 to 15 doctors in Arkansas who can prescribe methadone or Suboxone, according to Kumar.

Other ideas include increasing access to Narcan, possibly making it a non-prescription medication or reducing the cost of Narcan may help reduce the numbers of overdose deaths related to opioids, according to Kumar.

“As psychiatrists, we see the negative side of addiction. We’re the ones who deal with that. The pain specialists are very good doctors who are treating pain, but if their patient develops an addiction they usually discharge them from the clinic,” Kumar said.

“They cut off their prescription, which is the right thing to do. But usually pain specialists don’t see the addictive side of things. If they don’t have the that feedback, they’re not going to know how big the problem is. We’re on the other side of this. We have all seen the problem.”

For more information on the opioid crisis, visit

“It’s a great website there’s a lot of research that’s out there it’s just how do we get people to learn and start to implement those resources,” Kumar says.

The Centers for Disease Control website,, is also a good resource for information on opioids.

People seeking treatment can call the Psychiatric Research Institute at 501-526-8400 or show up at the clinic at at UAMS, PRI fourth floor to schedule an intake appointment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Henderson makes Team USA

Leader sports editor

Jeff Henderson will compete in the 2017 World Championships that begin Aug. 4 in London. That didn’t appear to be the case when the U.S. Championships in Sacramento ended late last month. Henderson did not finish in the top three at the U.S. Championships, which is typically a requirement for qualifying for the World Championships, but it’s not always a sure thing, and that proved to be the case this year.

The rules are confusing, because the results stand and the top three finishers get to keep their medals. However, Henderson becomes the No. 2 qualifier because his jump was wind legal while no one else’s in the top five were.

In fact, only three of the 12 competitors in the U.S. finals recorded a wind-legal jump.

Wind assistance does not matter in order of finish, which is why Henderson is still officially the fifth place finisher in the 2017 U.S. Championships, but it does matter when it comes to determining records, and qualifying for the World Championships.

According to international rules, no jump with a wind assistance greater than 2.0 meters per second can be counted towards qualifying for the world championships if the competitor had not already met the pre-qualifying standard required.

The pre-qualifying standard for the world championships this year for men’s long jump was 8.15 meters.

Neither Damarcus Simpson, nor Jarvis Gotch, the two athletes who finished third and fourth ahead of Henderson, had met the qualifying standard, and both had wind assistance above 2.0 m/s.

Marquis Dendy, who finished second last month, also had not met the pre-qualifying standard this year, but he did so in a later meet that secured his spot at worlds.

Simpson and Gotch, neither of whom had ever jumped 8 meters before the 2017 U.S. meet, both failed to meet the qualifying standard in follow-up meets. And since their U.S. championship meets were with wind assistance of 5.0 m/s for Simpson, and 2.4 m/s for Gotch, Henderson moved into the No. 2 qualifying spot for Team USA.

Former Arkansas Razorback Jarrion Lawson won the U.S. Championships with a leap of 8.49 meters with a wind assistance of 3.7 m/s. But he, like Henderson, had already met the qualifying standard before the U.S. competition, and so his spot was not in jeopardy.

Dendy was second last month at 8.39 meters with a 3.1 m/s wind assistance. Simpson, whose previous personal record was 7.95, jumped 8.36 meters with the whopping 5.0 wind assistance. Gotch, who’s previous PR was 7.99, jumped 8.30.

Henderson jumped 8.28 with a legal 2.0 wind assistance. Lawson, Henderson, Dendy and the other men’s long jump competitors get right to it, competing in the qualification round at 3:30 p.m. local time on opening day, Friday, Aug. 4.

The finals will start at 4:05 local time on Saturday, Aug. 5.

SPORTS STORY >> Titans expect getting better

Leader sports editor

For the first time in more than a half decade, the Jacksonville volleyball team will have the same coach it had the year before, and that should lead to some improvement from the Lady Titans in the upcoming 2017 season.

Second-year coach Savannah Jacoby, whose job as head coach was at JHS last season, has an experienced group back from last season, and it went through an extensive and comprehensive offseason for the first time under the new leader.

“We did a little more practicing in June this year than last year, but we did not do two-a-days this year,” said Jacoby. “I took them through a hard strength and conditioning program in the offseason, and I’ve seen a lot of good changes from that. They’re stronger and jumping higher. We don’t really have any height so our jumping is going to be very important for us this year.”

One key player back is senior Rebecca Brown, who led the team in kills last season and returns to lead the middle of the rotation. She suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in December, and has only recently returned to 100 percent. Jacksonville took part in a live action team camp at UALR on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and Jacoby was encouraged by Brown’s performance.

“She was a little nervous and hesitant at the start because thelast time she played she tore her ACL,” Jacoby said. “So she was a little timid, but she got right back into it. Her vertical still looks good. She’s getting high into the air, so it’s just a matter of getting comfortable again.”

Playing on the outside will be junior Baysia Brown, who Jacoby calls the overall best athlete on the team.

“As far as all the way around, she’s our most athletic player. She will be on the outside for us, but her and Rebecca will play all the way around. Baysia also has really good vision. She sees the court really well and can find spots not every high schooler can hit.”

Senior Lindsey Holt returns as the starting libero and Aaliya Burks is the other returning regular starter.

“Those two will be important for us for the their play and leadership,” Jacoby said. “Lindsey is a go-getter on the back row for us.”

Junior Shondae Wesley and sophomore Blair Jones, Jacoby says, would round out the starting lineup if the team had to play today.

A key piece of evidence that the Lady Titans are better this season is in their performance on day one of the UALR team camp. Jacksonville played 14 games against seven different teams and went a respectable 8-6. Last year at the same camp, the Titans went 0-14. That earned them a spot in the Gold bracket for the second day of the camp, which was a tournament that ended after Leader deadlines.

“About halfway through on Monday I told the girls, ‘hey guys, we’re doing OK here.’ I think that was good for us. You could see a little confidence building. They expect to be better.”

Another key difference Jacoby is looking for this season is more maturity, and she thinks she will see it.

“One thing we’ve talked about a lot is a two-second rule,” Jacoby said. “You’ve got two seconds to have your pity party about the mistake you just made, but then it’s on to the next point. It seems like we’re buying into that, and that will be important. Volleyball is a mental game and if you’re not mentally tough, you’re not going to be successful. I think we’re learning that.”

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot among last four

Leader sports editor

Pitching depth is always key in a baseball tournament, and Cabot was sitting pretty when it started its Senior American Legion semifinal game against Bryant on Sunday, but luck is another factor. Bad luck bit the Centennial Bank squad and partially contributed to an 8-5 loss on Monday that bumped Cabot to the losers’ bracket.

A severe thunderstorm popped up in east Conway in the third inning on Sunday, flooding the field, downing large trees, and also burning Cabot ace Brett Brockinton for the re-start on Monday.

Cabot’s plan going into the tournament was working to perfection. Great starts from Caleb Wilson and Michael Shepherd during the first two rounds allowed coach Casey Vaughan to save Brockinton for the matchup with Bryant, but new pitch count rules forced Brockinton into a day of rest because he threw more than 30 pitches on Sunday.

Bryant ace Alex Shurtleff was also burned for the restart, but the Black Sox had not yet used No. 2 pitcher Seth Tucker, and has several more pitchers on staff than Cabot.

With its top three pitchers already burned for Monday, Cabot went to Koletan Eastham, who did a remarkable job until tiring in the eighth inning.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Koletan,” said Vaughan. “It wasn’t the plan for him to go against one of the best teams in the state, and that’s the most pitches he’s thrown (86) in one appearance all year. I don’t even think it’s close.”

Cabot trailed 3-1 and had just come to bat in the bottom of the third when the storm hit. After the restart, the Centennial Bank squad had Tucker’s number, and pounded its way to a 5-3 lead after the fifth inning. But something suddenly changed at that point.

Logan Edmondson singled, Rail Gilliam doubled and Michael Crumbly singled to score Edmondson to start the fifth and put Cabot up 5-3.

With runners on the corners and no outs, Bryant coach Darren Hurt visited the mound, and Cabot did not get another base hit the rest of the game.

Tucker struck out the next three batters in a row to get out of the jam. He then got a groundout to start the bottom of the sixth and hit Brian Tillery with a pitch before being taken out of the game. From that point, Bryant used four more pitchers over the final three innings to keep Cabot off balance in the box.

Bryant then scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning, all with two outs, off a tired Eastham arm. The Black Sox did it on three base hits and four walks, one intentional.

While Vaughan was complimentary for Eastham’s effort and forgiving of his fatigue, he wasn’t so forgiving towards his team’s offensive effort after the fifth.

“We (Vaughan and assistant coach Gavin Tillery) talked about that fifth inning being the turning point,” Vaughan said. “If we could’ve pushed a couple more across when we had that opportunity it might’ve changed a lot about how it played out. We got complacent at the plate is all that happened. We had some success early and weren’t mature enough to handle it. Good teams are going to make you pay for that, and that’s what happened.”

Cabot’s first run came in the first inning after leadoff hitter Blake McCutchen doubled down the left-field line. After two strikeouts, Shurtleff walked Dillon Thomas and Edmondson singled to second base to score McCutchen and put Cabot up 1-0.

Brockinton dominated Bryant for two innings, retiring the first six batters in order with four strikeouts, but the bottom of the Bryant lineup had his number, starting with seven hitter Aaron Orender’s leadoff double to left field. Scott Schmidt singled and nine hitter Coby Greiner grounded out to first base, but scored Orender to tie the game.

Leadoff hitter Logan Allen then drilled a line drive over Edmondson’s head in left field for an RBI double, and he scored on a double by Tucker to right field to put Bryant up 3-1.

After the restart on Monday, Cabot tied the game quickly in the bottom of the third. Brian Tillery was hit and Thomas walked to put two on with one out. Edmondson singled to load the bases and Gilliam walked to drive in a run. Crumbly grounded out to second base to score Thomas and Schluter grounded out to shortstop to end the inning.


Cabot got to the semifinals with a 12-inning, 7-5 win over Paragould, the team with the most wins in the state coming into the tournament. Paragould entered the game with a record of 34-3, and one of those losses was to Cabot. The Centennial Bank squad became the first team to beat Paragould twice after scoring two runs in the 12th inning. The winning rally started with a leadoff walk by Schluter before Edmondson sacrificed him to second base.

Rail Gilliam also walked and Michael Crumbly hit an RBI single to give Cabot (13-11) the lead. Jack Broyles walked to load the bases and Blake McCutchen hit an RBI single that set the final margin.

Schluter, who replaced Shepherd with two outs in the eighth inning, got into a little trouble in the bottom of the 12th after an error and a single started the inning. He struck out Matthew Leonard and got Andrew Cooper to fly out to left field. Zachary Kibler-Webb then walked to load the bases with two outs and the leadoff hitter coming up, but Schluter go Preston Hart to ground out to third base for the win.

Paragould had built a 5-0 lead with one run in the third, three in the fourth and another in the fifth, but Cabot answered with a five-run sixth inning. That rally started with back-to-back singles by McCutchen and Harpole. After an infield pop up by Thomas, Tillery singled to right-center for an RBI.

Schluter then popped up to first base, but Harpole and Tillery scored on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Edmondson then walked and scored on a hit by Gilliam, who himself then scored on a hit by Crumbly.

EDITORIAL >> Our best to Barbara

Jacksonville Alderman Barbara Mashburn suffered a stroke Monday and, at last report, was in intensive care at North Metro Medical Center, but she’s doing well.

Mashburn is one of those easy-to-get-along-with people who aren’t seen often enough on city councils. Mayor Gary Fletcher describes her affectionately as a workhorse. She is one of the founders of the Jacksonville Historical District, which is holding an awards banquet Thursday at the community center, an event that she has worked hard on and now more than likely will miss it.

We know there will be a moment of prayer at the event for her complete recovery. We hope she has many outstanding days ahead on the council and in Jacksonville.

EDITORIAL >> Austin, Ward grow fastest

Even as population growth has slowed in other north Pulaski and Lonoke county cities and towns, Austin and Ward in recent years have seen their population increase at least 1,000, or 38.6 percent and 26 percent respectively.

Cabot has grown more — 1,657 since the last census — but with its population of 2,5433, that’s just an increase of 7 percent. Cabot is still on track to grow 10 percent this decade, just shy of 30,000, which is still impressive, especially if you count all over north Lonoke County’s growth at more than 4,500 so far this decade, probably more if Cabot and Ward took an early census before 2020.

Austin paid for an early census, which found 1,041 new residents since the 2010. That will pump an additional $342,000 into city coffers between now and the 2021 release of the next census.

The state sends a lot of turnback money to cities and towns — $82 per resident — $60 of which is earmarked for the street funds, with the remaining $22 for the Austin general fund.

Writing in “Metrotrends — Demographic Review and Outlook,” demographer Jonathan Lupton says Austin’s 38.6 percent growth, with more than 3,000 residents, was the highest in the four-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area between 2010 and 2017, with Ward not far behind at 26 percent and 5,126 population.

Sen. Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) arranged funding for the special census, making an early count possible for rapidly growing communities that want the latest numbers and make them eligible for more state aid. The census cost about $95,000, but the state grant paid for $70,000 of that. That’s a pretty good deal in return for $342,000 in turnback funds. Congratulations, Mayor Bernie Chamberlain, city officials and Sen. Williams.

Cabot used to lead the area in growth, but its increase from 23,776 residents in 2010 to 25,433 in 2017 translates to a more modest 7 percent gain. Sherwood gained 5.9 percent, from 29,523 to 31,257.

“The region is now seeing its slowest rate of overall population growth since 1980-1990 decade,” according to Lupton. “Metroplan will be making adjustments to its population projects for the upcoming regional plan.”

Lonoke grew by 1.2 percent, from 4,245 to 4,295. England and Carlisle both lost population.

While growth was solid to impressive in Cabot, Austin and Ward, in neighboring Jacksonville, population growth continues to be flat, according to Lupton. Jacksonville’s population grew only 1.2 percent, from 28,364 in 2010 to 28,712 in 2017.

The largest growth occurred in Saline County — 11.5 percent, followed by Faulkner County — 8.6 percent; Lonoke County — 6.3 percent and Pulaski County — 3.2 percent.

Saline County’s growth is spurred by increases in Benton — 15.5 percent; Bryant — 24.3 percent, accounting for about 9,000 of the 12,000 person increase in the county.

In Pulaski County, Maumelle’s 10.5 percent increase was the highest, followed by a 5.9 percent increase for Sherwood — from 29,523 to 31,257. Little Rock’s 2.7 percent, about an increase of about 5,000.

Between 2013 and 2016, permits for 8,240 new housing units were issued in Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Conway, Hot Springs Village, Jacksonville, Little Rock, Maumelle, North Little Rock and Sherwood. Of those, 5,097 are single-family units and 3,143 multi-family units.

In 2016, the most recent year for which complete data are available, Cabot issued 90 single-family and zero multi-family permits.

Jacksonville issued 35 single-family permits, and four multi-family permits, and Sherwood issued 223 single-family permits (the most after Little Rock) but zero multifamily permits.

On a positive note, $200 million in improvements on Hwy. 67/167 should bring another boom to this area that started in the 1970s. A six-lane highway from North Little Rock to Cabot should make commuting easier and bring more people and businesses to the area.

TOP STORY >> Suidice-prevention seminar

The Wade Knox Child Advocacy Center will hold a seminar on suicide and bullying prevention titled “Whispers to Wisdom” from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. Tuesday at Lonoke Assembly of God Church, 1763 S.W. Front St.

“As communities, it is important that we have the tools and resources needed to help youth and adults,” according to the announcement.

First Lady Susan Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers include state Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham, Greg Adams, a representative of Arkansas Children Hospital’s Center for Good Mourning, Mary Meacham of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Cathy Staton a trauma-focused licensed therapist, and Steven Blackwood, strategic consultant, suicide-loss survivor and a grassroots prevention advocate.

There will be a Q and A session for the audience to address panelists.

The organizers will also hold suicide-prevention training sessions at the Wade Knox Child Advocacy Center from 8 a.m. till noon and 1 p.m. till 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8 and from 6 till 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12.

To register, or for information, email Robyn Ketchum at or Sharon Rudder at

TOP STORY >> Guess: Did it my way, no regrets

Leader senior staff writer

Former Pulaski County Special School District Superintendent Jerry Guess isn’t happy about being fired by the board last week, but he says he’s still rooting for the district to continue its success and thinks hiring Janice Walker to replace him is the best possible start.

With school starting in less than a month, he said promoting Warren, who was serving as assistant superintendent for equity and pupil services, is great for the district. “She was there,” he said. “She knows the business, is a responsible money manager” and knows the challenges and the personnel.

“She has a very good record. She retired (as Crossett superintendent) and worked her way up through the system,” Guess said. “She is an academic leader, recognized as one of the people who understands instruction, curriculum and assessment. She knows the use of data to improve student performance. She is recognized in the state.”

“She’s got some good people around her, good people she can rely on,” he said. “She’ll trust them and give them the flexibility todo the job, but as she likes to say, ‘You have to inspect what you expect.”

He called his tenure at PCSSD “the best six years of my life, a great opportunity to be part of some things that had never been done. We had a lot of great people and a great opportunity to work with education commissioners, discuss problems and come up with solutions.”

Guess said the existing cabinet, principals, assistant principals and teachers are top quality. “We’ve done a great job over the last six years hiring people dedicated to instruction and eliminating those who didn’t have their heart in the job.”

What advice would he give his successor?

“I don’t know I can give Janice any advice,” he said. “Her style will produce results. She’s proven through her years of service. When I wasn’t sure what to do, I’d sit down and ask her.”


Guess had two charges when state Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell hired him to run PCSSD in 2011 — to move the district out of fiscal distress and to make it more fully desegregated.

When Guess became superintendent, PCSSD had nine areas in which it was not deemed unitary — that is desegregated. Only three remain today: Facilities, student achievement and discipline.

To get out of fiscal distress, Guess nullified contracts with the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers and Pulaski Association of Support Staff.

“We were overstaffed and gave up a lot of money in PASS and PACT agreements — teachers in the district had a retirement severance package. I identified things that were in excess of state standards and of what most districts do,” Guess said.

Even without the severance package, teachers have excellent retirement benefits, including checks equal to a substantial portion of their old paychecks, he said.

Bringing in Bill Goff as chief financial officer was a great help getting out of fiscal distress. “I’m not sure we would have gotten out without his help,” Guess said.

Guess and the Roberts Law Firm helped lead the way for the settlement, which ended state desegregation payments and paved the way for a the new Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District.

By splitting Jacksonville off, both districts could move more quickly to satisfy the unitary requirement of good and equitable facilities for the students, Guess said.


PCSSD is building new Mills and Robinson high schools, worth about $140 million and just extended an existing millage to building a new Sylvan Hills High School for about $62 million.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville will open bids on its new $60 million high school next week and have also begun work on the new $20 million Bobby G. Lester Elementary School and two new $1 million multi-purpose buildings — one for Murrell Taylor Elementary and one for Bayou Meto Elementary.


The $10 million Donaldson Scholars Program started under Guess.

At the last graduation, Guess estimated that at least 100 students, most from families who have never had a college graduate, stood up when asked who was planning to attend UALR or Philander Smith College.

That program provides tutoring, mentoring, preparation of the ACT test and college orientation.

He said he was proud of starting participation in the Donaldson Scholars Program. “I have the heart of a teacher,” he said.


He’s not sure what’s next for him. He’s back home in Camden full-time now and expecting a visit from his son, who is graduating from West Point as a civil engineer.

“The job has consumed me for six years. I have a lot of catching up to do — a lot of things I’ve deferred.”

This would have been Guess’ 41st year in public education, which he strongly believes in.

His wife, Rita, is chief financial officer for the Sheridan School District.