Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Early Tuesday

Governor Mike Huckabee, in an interview with Pat Lynch on WAI Radio.com, responded strongly to the charges raised by trucking interests that, if Referred Act #1 passed, Arkansans would lose their right to vote. Huckabee emphasized that the measure applies only to highway expenditures for interstate maintenance and can be ended by a simple majority vote of the legislature.

In this morning’s Democrat-Gazette, Cynthia Howell reports that a national team of scholars invited by Gov. Mike Huckabee to inject a fresh perspective into Arkansas’ efforts to improve public education on Monday recommended strengthening academic standards, relaxing restrictions on charter schools and basing teacher pay on the achievement gains of their students.

Verizon Wireless will make official its entrance into Arkansas Thursday with the opening of three stores and service in central Arkansas. The company says that by the end of 2006 it will invest up to $200 million to build 175 cell sites in central Arkansas, with 107 of those cell sites completed by the end of this year.

Jury selection begins today in the trial for employees of a Weidner store specializing in adult movies, novelties and books. They could see charges dismissed as part of an agreement between the prosecuting attorney and the corporation that runs Adult World.

This is from the Southwest Times Record. Listening devices have been used at Jim Ray Nissan to monitor conversations, but the devices are not hidden and are used for quality control, according to an attorney for the auto dealership. Jim Ray Nissan in Fort Smith is being sued by 40 people who claim the dealership systematically defrauds and deceives customers.

Arkansas Business reports that Whirlpool Corp. will lay off 730 workers at its Fort Smith plant in October as a new plant that makes side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models in Mexico becomes operational.

One more arrest is expected in connection with an investigation of child pornography that police said was created by a Rogers couple who committed suicide Saturday. Sgt. Hayes Minor of the Rogers Police Department said he anticipates arresting a 19-year-old woman who was shown kissing the breast of an underage girl in at least one photograph seized during the investigation.

Pulaski County will pay no more vendors from its general fund until January, according to Treasurer Debra Buckner.

A former spokesman for the Pulaski County assessor’s office testified that he was wrongly fired by Assessor Janet Ward because he wouldn’t support her campaign for reelection last year, refused to go to her church, objected to her “romantic” relationships with three of her subordinates and complained that she discriminated against women and older workers. Tom McDonald’s testimony also revived charges of witchcraft in Ward’s office.

Birds caused the weekend power outage that left 6,000 Fayetteville electric customers without power for 3 hours.

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