Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday summary

Second District Congressman Vic Snyder says that the military faces a long-term manpower shortage. Snyder appeared on the Pat Lynch Show and expressed his opposition ot Senator Mark Pryor’s “secret deadline” proposal for removing American troops from Iraq.

Supporters gave Sen. Mark Pryor nearly $1.8 million for his 2008 re-election campaign in the first three months of the year, according to documents to be filed with the Federal Election Commission. That puts the Democrat near the top of the pack among incumbent senators.

TalkBusiness. Net reports Marion, Arkansas could be in the hunt again for a major commercial truck plant. Whether or not it will qualify as a vaunted superproject is debatable. With a $160 million, 400,000 sq. ft. Hino parts facility already in production in Marion, the site becomes a very attractive location for expansion. Hino opened the Marion plant last October.

The Arkansas Travelers have moved to the $40.4 million stadium next to the Broadway Bridge in North Little Rock after 74 years at Little Rock’s Ray Winder Field where there was entirely free parking. Opening night at Dickey-Stephens Park was a sell-out 7,943, with parking at a premium.

The corruption trial of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and his wife, Kelly Campbell, was delayed Thursday when attorneys could not agree on jury instructions. Testimony in the Campbells’ trial ended Tuesday, and attorneys on both sides took Wednesday to prepare the instructions they would like special Circuit Judge John Cole to read to the jury. The two sides could not agree. Instructions and closing arguments are expected to begin this morning.

A 13-year-old Little Rock boy was found bound and gagged in an apartment building, and now his legal guardian, Terry Gilliam Senior, is behind bars charged with two felonies. At his bond hearing, . Terry Gilliam Senior was arrested and charged with kidnapping and domestic battery. Gilliam pleaded not guilty and bond was set at 10,000 dollars.

A non-profit children's advocacy group says that Arkansas is not adequately collecting data to determine the affect of methamphetamine abuse on the state's child welfare system. Paul Kelly, senior policy analyst with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says the discovery was made while he was gathering data for a report funded by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.

Benton school officials and community leaders are gearing up for a campaign aimed at persuading voters to approve a millage increase. The special election is scheduled May 8. The school district is asking voters to approve an additional 6.5 mills to finance a 10-year facilities master plan. The initiative would be financed through the sale of $26.5 million in bonds.

Former Dyer City Clerk Jackie Morse has been charged with theft of property in Crawford County Circuit Court Morse faces a theft of property charge amid allegations she took more than $50,000 from city coffers from January 2003 until her resignation in October 2006.

A jury may end up deciding whether former Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Tom Coughlin, now serving a sentence for fraud against his ex-employer, is entitled to a retirement package worth almost $15 million. The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled a state judge was wrong to dismiss Wal-Mart's lawsuit to void Coughlin's retirement benefits, saying the Bentonville-based retailer is entitled to have a jury hear its case.

Wal-Mart and Dillard’s Inc. both reported strong sales growth in March on Thursday, but analysts are warning that sales across the retail sector could be flat or down for April.

Three days of freezing temperatures may have sliced Arkansas’ tomato crop in half, said John Gavin, Bradley County agent for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

This weekend brings the end of the racing season at Oaklawn and the Racing Festival of the South. The Arkansas Derby is set for Satruday.

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