Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Early Wednesday

Gov. Mike Huckabee is in Iraq visiting with Arkansas troops and meeting with military leaders, Meanwhile, Senator Blanche Lincoln will be getting a White House briefing on military affairs this morning.

A federal appeals panel Tuesday ordered a hearing to determine whether requiring an Arkansas prison inmate to recite a prayer using the word "God" as part of a sex offender program violated his First Amendment rights.

The Springdale School District received about $8.3 million -- almost 10 percent of the money awarded statewide -- for construction of three elementary schools to open in the next two years. The Arkansas Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation Commission granted about $2.75 million for each of the schools.

The Van Buren City Council is committing up to $250,000 for infrastructure improvements to support the location of an as yet unnamed Fortune 500 company in the city, which would employ at least 500 people.

The Jonesboro Sun has a major story about how the local TIF district, which subsidizes real estate developers and the Turtle Creek shopping mall, is squeezing out the city’s ability to purchase police cars and fire trucks.

A Washington County circuit judge will decide how much property tax will go for a multimillion-dollar hotel project that will fill a downtown Fayetteville block.

A prominent Collierville, Tennessee real estate developer has filed a $10 million defamation suit against a woman who wrote a letter to the editor in the Memphis Commercial Appeal opposing his proposed subdivision.

Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Fred Axley denied a district attorney’s appeal Tuesday in granting pre-trial diversions for three West Memphis police officers who had been charged with reckless homicide.

A Russellville day care worker, Charles Wayne Meyers, is being held in the Pope County jail on first degree battery charges in connection with allegations of shaking a five month old baby. An examination at Arkansas Children’s Hospital confirmed the infant had several fractured ribs that appeared to be several weeks old and swelling of the brain.

Tyson Foods Inc. will roll out new lines of so-called natural beef in the United States and across the globe in February, just as concern mounts over cases of mad-cow disease.

Trucking magnate J.B. Hunt is backing a $27 million cold storage and transportation facility in Rogers.

Marines had a big year helping children at Christmastime. Across Arkansas in 2005, the Toys for Tots campaign brought in 190,000 toys.

The Mississippi Legislature is thinking about a feasibility study for a monorail from the Memphis airport to the casinos at Tunica.

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