Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday summary

The Arkansas National Guard is delaying the retirement and release of some 39th Infantry Brigade soldiers on the basis of a 2002 Army policy memo that is in direct conflict with current Department of Defense policy. The 39th received an alert order on April 6 naming it as one of four National Guard brigades selected for a second tour of duty in Iraq.

A Senate setback on a bill to require the government to negotiate Medicare Part D drug costs with pharmaceutical companies failed to stop Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and others Wednesday from trumpeting the proposal. Pryor expressed his support for the measure at a news conference less than two hours after the Senate derailed the legislation on a procedural vote.

About 300 black students in the Brinkley School District boycotted classes Wednesday, missing Arkansas Benchmark Exams. Community leaders said Wednesday night that the district superintendent, who is white, and the majority white school board are unfair when it comes to racial issues. The district recently announced budget cuts for the next school year.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey has upheld a $1.3 million ruling against Fordyce payday lender Dennis Bailey made last year by the state Board of Collection Agencies. An administrative law judge presiding over the state board’s meeting last June ruled that the board could fine Bailey more than $1.3 million for operating 14 payday lending stores in Arkansas without a license.

A Jefferson County Circuit Court judge has ordered the city of Pine Bluff not to implement a controversial ordinance adopted Monday night that abolished the Civil Service Commission until a hearing on the matter can be held next month.

Gov. Mike Beebe says that he opposes a proposed Indian casino in Fort Smith, maintaining the stance of his predecessor to fight the proposal if it will make a difference in the federal approval process.

State House members from Pulaski County have requested “to be included” in how local officials in their districts spend their share of $24 million in state General Improvement Fund dollars targeted for cities and counties across the state.

In its second annual survey of state efforts to improve the academic preparation of high school graduates, Achieve Inc. of Washington, D.C., found that Arkansas continues to be one of the leaders of the pack, but other states are making good progress.

Arkansas has been invited to participate in a multi-state initiative designed to help low-income and minority students attending community college improve graduation rates, the state Department of Higher Education said Wednesday.

Four months after being elected to a second term as chairman of the state Republican Party, state Sen. Gilbert Baker said Wednesday that he’s resigning from the job.

A new Arkansas law permitting small winemakers to sell their products in grocery stores and gas stations was intended in part to put an end to a federal court lawsuit challenging the state’s wine law.

A 42-year-old Benton woman arrested Monday night on her 10th driving while intoxicated charge in the past 12 years was ordered held in lieu of $50,000 bond Wednesday.

A jury took approximately 45 minutes to convict 25-year-old Talideen Tramal Davenport of North Little Rock of capital murder in the shooting death of a 14-year-old Lonoke girl. The incident took place in October 2005 at a service station on Col. Glen Road.

The Holiday Inn Select in west Little Rock is undergoing renovations costing more than $12 million to move the franchise up a notch in the chain. The hotel will become a Crowne Plaza, an upscale hotel known for its meeting space, also part of the InterContinental Hotels Group.

Wal-Mart is running a national ad campaign touting environmentally friendly products like fluorescent light bulbs and organic cotton pajamas, part of what analysts call a move by major retailers to test exactly how much demand there is from “green” consumers.

Downtown Alma's "pocket" park is a work in progress but the star of the show, a bronze Popeye, will be unveiled as part of the town's annual Spinach Festival on Saturday morning. The Alma School District is working with the city to place historical information about Alma in the gazebo. There will be the history about Popeye cartoons, growing spinach, and when Bonnie and Clyde came through and killed the town's marshal.

Arkansas National Guard is delaying the retirement and release of some 39th Infantry Brigade soldiers on the basis of a 2002 Army policy memo that is in direct conflict with current Department of Defense policy.

Are you refering to "stop-loss?"

The statement, as it stands without further explanation, is simply untrue.
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