Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday summary

About 13,000 National Guard troops are expected to be notified soon they could be sent to Iraq around the first of next year, military officials say. The alert is expected to affect Oklahoma, Indiana and Arkansas.

South Alabama’s John Pelphrey is expected to be introduced today as Arkansas’ basketball coach. Creighton coach Dana Altman accepted the same position one week ago. University trustees discussed the crisis in the athletics program for an hour and 20 minutes behind closed doors but did not take any action. Athletic Director Frank Broyles was forced to announce his retirement in January after departures of key players and the offensive coordinator from the football program.

Governor Mike Beebe told Roby Brock’s Talk Business television program that he does not plan to wait on Supreme Court directives on Lake View before implementing new education programs. Beebe told Brock, “I think we needed to go beyond adequacy and, as I’ve said, I think we have a moral imperative to do more, to strive for excellence.”

Although the General Assembly passed legislation permitting a public vote for a new highway bond program, Governor Mike Beebe tells Roby Brock’s Talk Business television program that he intends to take his time before setting an election date.

Four people died in Arkansas highway traffic accidents over the weekend, including a Mayflower woman who was struck and killed by a tractor trailer early Saturday while attempting to summon help for her husband, who had just been in an automobile accident with her and later died from his injuries, police said.

An FOI request by the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas has produced over 6,000 emails sent by Tontitown officials during the first quarter of the year and evidence that officials conducted public business behind closed doors or via e-mail in violation of the state law.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have identified 17 genes that can help detect which patients have an aggressive and deadly form of myeloma, a plasma cell cancer. The UAMS team’s findings appeared in the March issue of Blood, the scientific journal of the American Society of Hematology. The research was paidfor by the National Institutes of Health and private philanthropic funding.

The sponsor of a failed proposal for a statewide system of trauma centers says he will ask Gov. Mike Beebe to call a special legislative session to reconsider the issue. Legislation to create the trauma centers, House Bill 1575 by Rep. Denny Sumpter, of West Memphis, failed to pass in the Legislature this session after the House and Senate became deadlocked over how to fund the $25 million program.

As his wife wiped away tears, former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell took the witness stand in his own defense and said that if he was “guilty of anything, it is trying to keep my family together.” The statement came in the second day of defense testimony in the circuit court trialof Campbell and his wife, Kelly Campbell.

Two suspects in the deaths of a young Fayetteville couple were arrested, two days after the double homicide at an apartment complex. Police arrested Gregory Christopher Decay and Jesse Lee Westeen. Both suspects admitted to investigators their involvement in the killings, according to a preliminary report from police.

Bull Shoals Lake would provide drinking water to thousands of people in north central Arkansas under a proposal by 22 community water associations.

The Cleveland County School Board will consider a proposal to conduct drug testing of junior and senior high students who participate in extracurricular activities or who drive their vehicles to school when it meets today.

Requiring prisoners in Jefferson County jails to help pay their medical bills and the cost of keeping them locked up are among items scheduled for a vote by the Quorum Court during their meeting today.

Fayetteville voters will decide Tuesday if the city will assess proposed impact fees on new development to fix city streets overwhelmed by growth.

St. Francis County voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide a special bond election that, if approved, would fund improvements at the courthouse and county jail.

John Simley, a spokesman for Wal Mart confirms to that the company is changing its employee dress code from the blue smock to blue polo shirts and khaki pants or skirts for employees.

The ongoing strike against the Kohler factory in Searcy remains at a stalemate, even as replacement workers are taking positions. The strike began Dec. 9 after members of the United Auto Workers Local 1000 rejected a proposed contract. Since then, Kohler has begun hiring replacement workers and the union has filed a federal complaint against the company. Before the strike, the plant had 230 workers.

Fort Smith-based Baldor Electric Co., the new owner of the 214-employee Reliance Electric manufacturing plant in Madison, Ind., will transfer some of those jobs to the Fort Smith area after the factory closes June 29.

Farm equipment must have rear lighting and comply with other requirements when it is transported on an Arkansas highway, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The decision came in a lawsuit involving a fatal collision between a sport utility vehicle and a tractor. Calvin McMickle was killed when the sport utility vehicle he was driving crashed into the back of a farm tractor on Arkansas 44 in Phillips County.

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