Friday, January 13, 2006

First-off Friday the 13th.

Attorney General Mike Beebe appeared on ABC TV’s World News Tonight talking about the severe problems with the new Medicare drug benefit. He observed that, if things go on as is, pharmacists will not continue to fill the coverage gaps.

Gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson told the winter meeting of the Municipal League that it should be harder for the legislature to raise the state sales tax. Hutchinson says he favors requiring a super-majority to increase the state sales tax.

The Arkansas Highway Commission has tentatively accepted a $17.4 million bid on the first of four contracts that eventually will result in the construction of Interstate 49 across Fort Chaffee. The contract was among total bids worth $95.7 million that the commission opened on 14 projects.

A Missouri company submitted the apparent low bid to build an interchange at Highway 135 near Tyronza, for $18.5 million which is the last improvement required before U.S. 63 is designated officially as Interstate 555 between Jonesboro and Interstate 55.

Despite snowfall in the past two days, wildfires have started up again in Oklahoma. Much of Arkansas continues under a burn ban and forecasters tell the Dallas Morning News that drought conditions may be here till summer.

A suspected outbreak of avian cholera has killed over a thousand snow geese at Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Arkansas.

A convicted sex offender suspected of using his cell phone to photograph a young child using the bathroom in Wal-Mart was arraigned Wednesday in Crawford County Circuit Court. Jimmy Don Chronister of Fort Smith is charged as a habitual offender with a single count of video voyeurism.

The Bono Police Chief is under arrest for alleged sexual misconduct. Rick Duhon is charged with first degree sexual abuse. The alleged victim was a 14 year old.

Little Rock has already recorded four homicides since the first of the year.

18 year-old Thomas Heavner of Bryant is charged with first-degree terroristic threatening and communicating a false alarm after he allegedly made a threat against the Bryant High School, which was locked down for a time Wednesday afternoon. Authorities found Heavner at the Bryant High School vocational-technical department.

Finger pointing abounds as FEMA tries to sort our how several Hurricane Katrina refugees were unnecessarily evicted from a Conway Motel. KTHV Channel 11 is reporting that America’s Best in Conway is inviting the people wrongly removed by local police and a FEMA representative to return.

Conway has more than doubled its’ population since 1980. The special census reveals a count of over 52,000, which means more revenue for the Faulkner County town.

The Russellville Courier has a front-page picture of the lunchtime fowl-up caused when railroad crossing gates improperly lowered for 90 minutes Wednesday.

Hot Springs will host the first-ever International Corned Beef Eating Championship at the Hot Springs Convention Center Saturday,. Competitive eaters will chow down on world-famous corned beef sandwiches from Oaklawn Park. Contestants include top-ranked "gurgitator," Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas. The contest begins at 3:30 Saturday afternoon.

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