Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday summary

A subpoena was issued Wednesday for University of Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt’s computer hard drive in a lawsuit that alleges e-mail harassment of a former quarterback. Fort Smith attorney Eddie Christian Jr. says subpoenas were issued for the hard drives for the business and personal computers used by Nutt and Teresa Prewett, a Little Rock physical therapist, a Nutt family friend, and a prominent Razorback booster.

Sen. Mark Pryor has renewed his call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to step down, unmoved by a personal meeting in which Gonzales sought to explain his handling of a U.S. attorney appointment in the state.

Public schools will face less competition after member schools of the Arkansas Activities Association voted overwhelmingly to implement sweeping changes that will impact the classification of private schools and the ability of students to transfer for athletic purposes. AAA Executive Director Lance Taylor said the overwhelming approval of the measures underscores the severity of the transfer problem in the state’s high school athletics.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning that Governor Mike Beebe’s office at the state capitol is undergoing a $48,000 renovation.

A former Oregon university president will head efforts to open a satellite campus of Arkansas' only medical school in Northwest Arkansas, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences announced Wednesday. Dr. Peter O. Kohler was named vice chancellor for the Northwest Arkansas Region of UAMS. He began work last week and his annual salary is $265.225.

The state Workers' Compensation Commission should not have denied benefits for a Hampton city employee who died after being exposed on the job to chlorine gas, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. The court reversed the commission's denial of a claim filed by La'Ronda Slaughter, the widow of Jerry Slaughter. Slaughter died in January 2005 at the age of 35, two months after he was exposed to chlorine gas while working for Hampton's city water department.

City bank accounts held at First Bank of the Delta have been frozen by the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid back taxes and penalties from 2003 and 2005 payroll taxes due from the city of Helena.

As Pulaski County’s nearly 1,100 employees face a third year without raises, the Quorum Court has asked elected officials to come up with a better way to give incremental increases tied to personal improvement.

A pending city ordinance in Eureka Springs, if approved, will establish a registry for domestic partners. This ordinance has nothing to do with sexuality, gay or straight, said Alderwoman Joyce Zeller. This ordinance was meant to encourage employers to provide hospitalization benefits to those people who may not be in a position to marry, for whatever reason, Zeller said.

A Little Rock man whose 85-year-old mother was found covered in ants, roaches, bruises and bedsores on a urine-soaked mattress in his home stands convicted of adult abuse. Judge Marion Humphrey will sentence Warren E. Law on May 25. The 57-year-old father of three faces up to six years in prison. Humphrey sent Law’s sister, 52-year-old Mary Margaret Law, to prison for five years in December after she pleaded guilty to the same Class D felony.

April’s big freeze is taking an increasingly bigger chunk out of Southeast Arkansas’ agricultural production. Jefferson and Lincoln were among counties added by Gov. Mike Beebe to his disaster proclamation that now includes 52 of the state’s 75 counties. Other Southeast Arkansas counties named in the proclamation are Arkansas, Bradley and Cleveland.

Parents of a Rogers middle school gifted and talented student have complained that the school didn’t tell them that a rabbit might be killed on the trip to Heifer International’s Global Village in Perryville, 45 miles northwest of Little Rock. Officials at the middle school maintain that they went to great lengths to notify parents about the details of the two-day trip, and that the experience serves an educational purpose.

May Construction was awarded the job of converting the Junction Bridge over the Arkansas River into a pedestrian and bicycle walkway. The decision to give the Little Rock company the project came a day after engineers opened three bids for the project. May Construction was the lowest bidder at $4.7 million

Central Arkansas planners have been warned that they need to adopt a redesign of the Interstate 630/430 interchange soon or risk losing funding for the $70 million project in west Little Rock.

Sebastian County Circuit Judge J. Michael Fitzhugh has ordered the Arkansas Crime Information Center and the Washington County Circuit Clerk to turn over the sealed records relating to Greenwood Mayor Ken Edwards’ expunged 1996 felony convictions. Edwards’ right to hold the political seat is under challenge in civil court from former mayor Garry Campbell. Campbell’s lawsuit contends Edwards is ineligible to be mayor because of felony convictions in Washington County.

City officials say a Starbucks is coming to Pine Bluff, and they hope the queen of coffee shops will give residents — and the retail economy — an espresso-influenced jolt.

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