Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday summary

Property-tax collections the state constitution dedicates to school district operations may not be diverted to pay for private real estate developments, known as TIF’s, the state Supreme Court has ruled. Such schemes as Bass Pro Shop’s plan to steal money from the North Little Rock school district for the construction of its’ proposed Dark Hollow store would be forbidden, according to this decision.

Special masters reviewing the state’s performance on funding public schools reported late Thursday that the “framework for a much improved Arkansas public education system is now in place.”

The Little Rock School Board voted late Thursday to suspend Superintendent Roy Brooks in accordance with the terms of his contract.

Race will not be a factor in selecting candidates to replace the late U.S. District Judge George Howard, who was black, Rep. John Boozman said Thursday. Boozman, R-Rogers, will gather names of possible replacements in coming weeks and select three names to forward to the White House for consideration. Boozman's opinion conflicted with that of Sen. Mark Pryor, believes another black judge should succeed Howard, a judge in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

David Huckabee, the son of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was arrested just after daybreak Thursday at the Little Rock airport after security officials discovered a handgun in his luggage. By noon, the 26-year-old Huckabee had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge and was sentenced to a year on probation, was ordered to pay $855 in fines and court costs and to perform 10 days of community service.

An FBI official tells the Jonesboro Sun a probe into any criminal wrongdoing on the part of former Paragould Fire Chief Eddie Brown should take another month. Although Mayor Mike Gaskill denies knowledge of what the investigation may concern, documents indicate the FBI is investigating Brown for some kind of fiscal malfeasance -- particularly his handling of grant money from Homeland Security.

In an unusual move, Wal Mart has provided an addendum to its’ SEC proxy statement defending the compensation of CEO Lee Scott, who received a $22 million bonus. Wal-Mart says, in the same document, that workers are supportive of Scott. “Our associates respect that Wal-Mart has a well-recognized culture of opportunity. They are proud that their CEO started as a manager in the trucking division and has stayed with the company for 28 years.”

Wal-Mart is shrinking the store-level management staff at its Sam’s Club wholesale stores, giving managers the option of applying for other jobs at the company — in some cases with a pay cut — or taking severance pay.

A lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart sold ammunition to an unstable man accused of fatally shooting another man six hours later in Las Cruces, N. M. The lawsuit, which, alleges Kenneth Rauch was under the influence of alcohol and mentally disturbed when he bought shotgun shells at a Wal-Mart in Las Cruces. The lawsuit alleges employees sold the ammunition to an unstable man, asking few, if any, questions.

Harding University professor Mark Elrod reports on his blog that former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke as part of the Harding distinguished Speaker series. In his speech, Fox called for increased integration of the North American economy based on the European model

A Van Buren man is being held on suspicion of attempted murder, accused of poisoning his wife. An affidavit for probably cause said Edmondson told investigators he had put a powdered substance he believed to be pesticide in his wife’s coffee. According to the document, he said he committed the act “due to his drug problem.”

A 76-year-old Van Buren man entered a not-guilty plea to a charge of second-degree sexual abuse in Crawford County Circuit Court Wednesday. Rutherford Mansell is accused of engaging in sexual activity with a juvenile female over a period of about five years, according to documents filed by Arkansas State Police.

An e-mail currently in circulation that purports to be from a state human services employee and warns of possible HIV-infected blood in the ketchup at fast food restaurants is a hoax, officials said Thursday.

Hendrix College officials are examining re-instating football, a sport it hasn't offered since 1960. The new makeup of the Southern College Athletic Conference, the Division III (non-scholarship for athletics) league that Hendrix is a member, is the driving force behind the study.

Nineteen years after the Philadelphia Eagles made former Little Rock Parkview star Keith Jackson the 13th pick in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft, his son is projected to be selected in the 2007 draft this weekend between the fourth and sixth rounds.

College coaches will have to recruit the old-fashioned way next year. The NCAA’s board of directors approved a ban Thursday to eliminate all text messages from coaches to recruits beginning in August, then left open the possibility of revisiting that legislation as early as 2008.

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