Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Wet Wednesday Summary
The director of the state Department of Correction told lawmakers Tuesday that he hopes the department will open about 1,400 new prison beds in the next few years to keep up with the growing number of prison inmates.
The Blue Dog Coalition, a fiscally conservative group of 44 House Democrats, elected Arkansas’ Rep. Mike Ross cochairman in a private meeting Tuesday evening.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas will file a petition to ask for a recount of ballots in Benton County's District 2 justice of the peace race. The deadline to file a recount is today. The Election Commission released a third set of results for the Nov. 7 general election on Monday.
Paul Bridges, the candidate elected as Bella Vista's city attorney says he has committed to another job and does not plan to take office. Bridges was originally announced as the winner, but a recount showed he lost. The third, and most recent, tally has Bridges leading, but the candidate says he wants “closure” and has withdrawn.
In an attempt to dispel rumors of impropriety surrounding the Nov. 7 vote and recount, members of the Crawford County Election Commission have begun another recount of the 1,700 paper ballots cast in the general election.
A Franklin County judge has ruled the winner of the Nov. 7 mayoral election in Altus is a convicted felon and ineligible to serve.
Newport alderman Pinkey McFarlin was admitted to a Little Rock hospital Monday night, prompting a pause in his federal trial on charges of distributing Xanax and crack cocaine.
Two Little Rock teenagers were sentenced to five years’ probation, fined $500 and ordered to get their high school diplomas for their roles in a December 2005 murder of another teenager.
A second trial relating to sexual-offense charges against Deanna Bobo, a former Greenwood teacher, has been continued until next year on the court’s motion due to a heavy docket.
A racially balanced jury of eight women and four men will hear opening arguments and testimony today in the trial of Jackson, Ms. Mayor Frank Melton.
A former employee of Farmington settled a lawsuit against the city for $285,000 after a day of mediation Tuesday. Laura Smith sued the city, mayor, police chief and a police sergeant last year for conducting what she alleges was an illegal, warrantless search of her home, questioning her juvenile children without consent and firing her because she complained.
Corporations, alumni groups and others who want to kick back in climate-controlled comfort to watch Mounties or War Eagles football games can pay for skyboxes.
Rogers School officials will not use taxpayer money to construct skyboxes at Gates Stadium or a new stadium to be built at the high school on Dixieland Road. The Gates Stadium press box will include 1,500 square feet of climate-controlled space for the press and visiting officials from opposing teams. Gates Stadium also will include 300 chair-back seats in what officials describe as a "club seating" level.
Laura P. Nichols of Scott has posthumously given the Little Rock Zoo the gift of $750,000. $300,000 will complete the fundraising effort for the zoo’s planned penguin exhibit, which will be called the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Exhibit.
The state Plant Board’s seed committee voted unanimously Tuesday to ban the sale for commercial production of a controversial rice variety that has rocked that U.S. industry.
With enrollment in the Medicare drug benefit beginning again today, advocates for the elderly are urging people to examine their options and make sure they’re still satisfied with their coverage. In Arkansas, more than 267,000 of the state’s 480,000 Medicare recipients are signed up for the benefit, which began covering prescriptions on Jan. 1.