Tuesday, March 20, 2007

(Late) Tuesday summary

Wal-Mart claims in a court filing that two of its former top marketing officials engaged in a sexual relationship during the selection of new advertising agencies and sought jobs with one of the agencies they ultimately recommended. The legal brief directly contradicted the statements the executives have made since they were fired late last year.

Gov. Mike Beebe is making an additional $250,000 allocation from the Governor’s Disaster Fund to help people in four southeast Arkansas counties affected by the tornadoes and severe storms of Feb. 24.

A bill that would require the state to seek an increase in reimbursement for mental health service providers cleared a Senate committee on Monday, despite protests that there was no money or need for the measure.

The purchase of medical malpractice insurance covering the Fayetteville Veterans Nursing Home would be banned under a budget amendment adopted Monday, specifically rejecting a condition set by Washington Regional Medical Center in the home's lease.

Sen. Sue Madison wants state pension systems to dump their investments with companies that do business in Sudan, where the U.S. government has labeled as genocide the attacks in the Darfur region.

The House and Senate on Monday passed competing bills to expand Arkansas' drug court program.

Some appropriation bills seeking to channel state money from an anticipated $843 million surplus into local projects will be lumped into a "clearly constitutional" category to be voted on this week by the Joint Budget Committee, a committee co-chairman said Monday.

The family of a mentally retarded man who died in a state institution would receive $150,000 and a man wrongly imprisoned for five years would get $200,000 from the prosecutors’ budget under measures recommended by legislative committees Monday.

A south Arkansas girls' basketball coach accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student appeared before a judge Monday. Chad David Smith of Delight is charged with first-degree sexual assault. Smith appeared calm in a Pike county courtroom Monday, accompanied by his attorney. He pleaded not guilty to the felony charge, which carries a penalty of six to 30 years in jail.

Anthony Shane Scott, a state inmate who admitted in previous testimony to having a sexual relationship with Kelly Campbell, described her as desperate, obsessive and willing to do anything to keep their relationship going. The statements came in the ninth day of testimony in the trial of Campbell; her husband, former Lonoke Police Chief JayCampbell; and Bobby Junior Cox, a bail bondsman. The three are accused of conspiring in a criminal organization aimed at getting drugs, sex and money.

A former Paron High School janitor, apparently upset by the prospect of the school’s closure, pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of threatening the Bryant school superintendent last year and was sentenced to four years’ probation

Arkansas is continuing to see more tourists - 23 million in 2006 compared with 21.8 million in 2005. Collection of the 2 percent tourism tax increased 9 percent from $10.2 million in 2005 to $11 million in 2006.

UALR has acquired 237 volumes of primary documents on the Middle East. They range from British intelligence reports on Iraq to prayers Muslims have used on pilgrimage to Mecca to correspondence about the formation of Israel. The volumes contain exact copies of the original documents. In contrast most university libraries in the South offer only retyped information, which may be edited to fit or emphasize a certain point.

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