Thursday, April 12, 2007

(on time) Thursday summary

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a frequent guest of morning talk show host Don Imus, said he would appear again on Imus’ program, despite calls for Imus’ ouster. Imus’ radio show simulcast has been cancelled by MSNBC.

Sen. Mark Pryor, the sponsor of bills to prevent children from accessing pornography on the Internet, has abandoned an effort to require an .xxx domain name for sites with adult content. Pryor Max Baucus of Montana took a new approach on a "Cyber Safety for Kids" bill. This year's bill would require age verification before computer users can access pornographic sites.

Russellville voters are likely to be voting June 12 on the 6-year continuation of a one-cent sales tax. The measure would fund ongoing street improvements and land acquisition for a potential 60,000-square-foot convention center and adjacent hotel that would be located west of Interstate 40 off North Arkansas Avenue. Developer John Q. Hammons has expressed interest in the site and would invest $40 million in the hotel.

The state Court of Appeals has rejected a woman's claim that a Union County circuit judge wrongly changed her son's custody because of her sexual orientation. According to testimony at a June 2005 hearing, Lisa Holmes had had six sexual partners, three men and three women, since her divorce and had lived with sexual partners at various times.

87% of Benton voters expressed opposition to a sales tax that would have acquired land for a new city park.

St. Francis County voters said yes to a bond proposal to fund improvements to local facilities, including the jail and courthouse.

Malvern voters said “no” to a new middle school.

A man accused of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter will be held without bond while lawyers prepare for a capital murder trial. Marcha Jarmane Smith made his first court appearance Wednesday.

Only one lawmaker who had a bill rejected by Gov. Mike Beebe is pressing for an override of the governor’s veto. Rep. Dawn Creekmore says she was polling members of the House and Senate to see if there was enough support to override Beebe’s veto of her bill, allowing consumers to place “security freezes” on their credit reports.

The deadline for filing state income tax returns has been extended until midnight on Tuesday, April 17, according to the state Department of Finance and Administration.

A pair of court-appointed special masters reviewing the state’s efforts to fund public schools adequately and fairly have asked attorneys on both sides for more information about education legislation passed during this year’s session. A conference with attorneys in the lawsuit is scheduled for Tuesday before Bradley Jesson and David Newbern.

The Conway school board has expelled 5 students from its’ east high school campus for various offense which include bringing a handgun on campus, starting a fire in a storage room, bringing a knife to school and another hearing involved an incident with cursing and pushing that a teacher witnessed.

The state’s first virtual mobile classroom was launched Tuesday in the Sheridan School District in a pilot project titled the “Aspirnaut Initiative.” The three-year program will test the feasibility of providing high-tech educational tools in a unique setting onboard a designated school bus to increase student learning and achievement in mathematics and science. If the project is successful, students may one day also receive course credit for their work during long bus rides.

Jason Saunders, an eighth-grade home-school student from Little Rock, is Arkansas’ 2007 State Geographic Bee winner and is now eligible to participate in the National Geographic Bee next month in Washington.

The Little Rock school board has voted to begin the dismissal process for superintendent Roy Brooks.

Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker declines comment regarding his health, other than saying he feels fine. Baker, who is 67, temporarily lost consciousness at Southside High School on April 2, where he teaches history, and was transported to St. Edward Mercy Medical Center, where he remained until his release Friday.

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