Thursday, January 05, 2006

Thursday dawning ...

Russellville police investigators are conferring with Arkansas State Police and agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as they continue to gather information and paperwork in the alleged murder of Nona Dirksmeyer. According to the Russellville Courier, Police Chief James Bacon says he would like to turn the file over to the 5th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office this week.

Gov. Mike Huckabee says that he would support a law like one passed in Florida last year to protect citizens who use deadly force in self-defense against criminal prosecution and civil liability. According to the Mornign News of Northwest Arkansas, Huckabee also says that he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Kevin Hunt, The Altheimer basketball coach, is reportedly serving a four day suspension as the result of an incident at last week’s Zebra Invitational Tournament. The Pine Bluff Commercial says that, during a game with Dollarway, Hunt is alleged to have grabbed the jersey of a player during a shouting incident. Various reports indicate that patrons came down from the stands and the police were called.

From the Democrat-Gazette: What apparently began as an electrical fire sparked by a falling tree scorched nearly 100 acres of West Mountain in Hot Springs National Park over a 14-hour period Wednesday, resulting in the evacuation of five homes but causing no injuries or structural damage.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department arrested a workman for starting a noontime fire that burned a vacant house and about 10 acres of woodland in Tarry. There were no injuries. Joe McDonald,of Star City, was arrested on probable cause of second-degree criminal mischief, a Class D felony.

The national Education Week magazine gives Arkansas’ public schools a slightly above average grade based on a survey of all 50 states. The Arkansas score in the 10th annual Quality Counts report took into account state policies on academic standards and accountability, teacher quality, school climate and resource equity.

The Democratic Party of Arkansas is calling on the state Republican Party to return $10,000 it received from Jack Abramoff, the Washington, D.C. lobbyist who pleaded guilty to federal charges of mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion. State Democratic Party Chairman Jason Willett says the contribution appears in a Jan. 15, 2002 report.

The counting phase is complete, and the city of Conway will soon know whether a half-million dollar per year increase in state turnback funds riding on the special census will hold true.

Fayetteville is among the nation's overvalued residential housing markets, according to CNN Money report. The study said the Fayetteville market is overvalued by 11 percent. Other Arkansas cities were deemed undervalued. Little Rock was undervalued by 6 percent and Fort Smith by 8 percent. The Memphis area, which includes parts of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, was undervalued by 8 percent.

Seven acres of city property next to Dickey-Stephens Park should be used for paid parking at Arkansas Travelers games when the baseball team moves to North Little Rock in 2007, Mayor Patrick Hays is recommending.

Some of the 10 most valuable items appraised in the history of PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow” were part of the show’s stop in Hot Springs in July 2002, according to a 10th anniversary feature. No. 8 on the list of the Roadshow’s “Top 10 Treasures” was a landscape painting by Jasper Cropsey (1823-1900) owned by an unidentified Rogers man which appraised at $150,000.

Mississippi will need to find several hundred million dollars to match the $10 billion in federal aid earmarked for Hurricane Katrina recovery, Gov. Haley Barbour told lawmakers Wednesday. He noted the "unprecedented help" the state received through federally extended deadlines for reimbursements on debris cleanup costs and $4 billion in grants for homeowners.

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