Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday summary

More than 200,000 public school pupils will begin the Arkansas Benchmark Exams today, a series of tests in math and literacy — and some science — that will run through Thursday. The results of the state tests are used to determine whether schools and districts are making satisfactory progress toward the national goal of all students scoring at their appropriate grade levels in math and literacy by 2013.

Today is the deadline to file your federal income tax returns.

A meeting to review the public school financing measures approved during the recent legislative session is scheduled for today with the special masters in the ongoing legal battle challenging the state's school funding process.

Rep. Dawn Creekmore, the sponsor of a consumer protection bill that was vetoed last week by Gov. Mike Beebe says she is no longer pursuing an attempt to override the veto.

A Lonoke County jury continues deliberating today in the corruption trial of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and his wife, Kelly Campbell. Jurors recessed at 8:15 Monday evening.

A Bella Vista foster parent pleaded innocent to 21 felony counts of sex-related crimes against boys who were placed in his home. Brian John Bergthold appeared for arraignment on two counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of computer exploitation of a child and 15 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

United Auto Workers Union Local President David Smith tells the Searcy Daily Citizen that Civil suits may be filed against the Searcy Police Department over the arrests of three union members on the Kohler picket line. “The disorderly conduct those guys have been arrested on, there’s charges being filed over the Searcy police over that,” Smith said. “We turn it over to our legal department and they’ll take care of it.”

A pristine stream running through the rugged Boston Mountains is to be named today to a list of the nation’s most endangered rivers. Washington-based American Rivers, which has circulated its annual list since 1986, ranked Lee Creek ninth on its most-endangered list.

The Little Rock Board of Directors will hold a public hearing today on the sale of up to $67 million in sewer bonds. More than half the money will be spent on construction of a detention basin system in southwest Little Rock. Some $18 million in bonds will be spent on general repair to the city’s wastewater collection system. The work is scheduled to begin this summer.

The Russellville City Council will read for the third and final time Thursday two ordinances to hold a special election June 12 to continue the 1-cent sales tax for infrastructure improvements and economic development. The current 1-cent sales tax for street and drainage improvements and economic development is set to expire Dec. 31. If voters approve the tax June 12, it would continue for an additional six years and help fund a convention center and hotel, as well as fund additional economic development.

The Pine Bluff City Council has voted to abolish its Civil Service Commission, becoming the latest city to ax what the Arkansas Municipal League’s general counsel calls an outdated system for hiring and promoting public employees.

Little Rock School District Superintendent Roy Brooks attended a workshop In San Francisco about how a top administrator and school board can build unity. At the same educational leaders conference, Katherine Mitchell - the Little Rock School Board president - said she planned to go to a session on how to select a new superintendent.

Alltel Corp. paid its president and chief executive officer more than $13.7 million in 2006, according to its annual proxy statement filed with federal securities regulators. The nation’s fifth-largest wireless service provider gave Scott Ford $9,795,697 in salary, non-equity incentives and other forms of compensation - plus stock options and restricted shares valued at $3,976,101 when granted during 2006.

After a one-year absence, Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. regained the top spot on the Fortune 500 list of the world's largest companies, based on revenues, at $351.1 billion.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. reports mixed first-quarter results, with a 9 percent drop in overall profit while business in its rail-to-truck segment continued to surge.

Tibetan monks helped Heifer International leaders and supporters break ground on a planned education center next to the world-hunger organization’s international headquarters in Little Rock.

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