Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Top of Tuesday

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas leads with this one: The state Department of Finance and Administration sent notices to county and city officials Monday asking them to refund tax proceeds of $4.3 million to an "undisclosed business" that paid too much in local taxes over the past three years. Wal Mart denies knowing anything about it.

The latest campaign finance reports show Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson has crossed the $1 million mark.

Benny Petrus of Stutgart will be Speaker of the House in the next regular session in 2007. He beat Will Bond of Jacksonville and it was not close, 58 – 42.

Cynthia Howell has a report in today’s Democrat-Gazette that the Arkansas Board of Education on approved the closure of elementary and high schools in the towns of Alread, Scotland, Biggers and Reyno, causing students at those schools to move to larger campuses in nearby towns.

Paul Chittumv the son of a Bentonville woman who died last month after being found covered in maggots and feces, has entered a not guilty plea to second-degree murder.

A former Craighead County jailer faces up to ten years in federal prison after being found guilty of depriving inmates of their constitutional rights. Jody Miller was convicted of beating handcuffed inmates. Two other jailers have entered guilty pleas to similar charges and testified against Miller.

The Little Rock Police Department is conducting an internal investigation after an off-duty officer fired shots at the car of a fleeing forgery suspect. Sgt. Alan Quattlebaum is a 30-year veteran of the force and heads the homicide detectives division.

According to the Forrest City Times-Herald, a basketball game Friday night in Palestine ended looking more like a bar room brawl after fans of Palestine-Wheatley High School and Clarendon High School took a cue from a pair of players and started fighting.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said during the 50-minute State of the State speech that he is "against raising anybody's taxes" and "in a period of fiscal uncertainty, this is not the time to reduce revenue by cutting taxes, either." He offered one specific Katrina recovery proposal, asking lawmakers to authorize local governments on the coast to impose "impact fees" on new development projects.

In just a few weeks, Kroger Co. will open its first in-store minor medical clinic in Memphis, adding a diagnosis or work physical to the list of things you can get at the grocery store.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday punctuated a strong new-year rally with its first close above 11,000 in more than 4-1/2 years.

Lou DiBella, Jermain Taylor’s promoter, now says there will be no Wright-Taylor fight in 2006, or ever, now that Gary Shaw, Wright’s promoter, rejected an offer from Taylor’s camp and came back with unreasonable terms. (We think DiBella may be SLIGHTLY overstating the situation)

Russellville experienced a 30 minute power outage downtown Saturday afternoon. Blame the squirrel.

On the closing of the schools mentioned in the 1/08 blog, it did not take long for the anti-consolidation folks to blame the state, when it was the communities' school administrators who pushed for the closings.
I predicted that they would blame every school closing after 2003 on the school district consolidation law (which, incidentally, exempted some of the districts mentioned in the blog). Schools have been closed for economic and other reasons for many decades. Most of the politicians have decided that demogoguery (pandering to the yahoos) is safer than honesty.
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