Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tuesday summary

The director of the state panel that disciplines judges on Monday filed formal charges attacking the constitutionally guaranteed God-given free speech rights of Appeals Court Judge Wendell L. Griffen. He is accused of violating rules that prohibit judges from speaking out on controversial political and legal issues. The charges could lead to Griffen’s removal from the court.

Twenty-seven years after a federal lawsuit was filed over cleanup costs at a hazardous waste site in Jacksonville, and two days after the death of the judge who issued his final ruling in the case two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the $120 million order against Hercules Inc., of Wilmington Del.

Brinkley School District students, who have missed classes since Wednesday, will be considered truant and could be forced to repeat their current grades next year, according to Superintendent Randy Byrd. About 200 black students remained absent on the fourth day of the boycott Monday.

The Berryville School Board took less than 15 minutes to vote against paying legal fees for a teacher who was recently put on a statewide list for emotional child-abuse. The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services placed Betty Cox on the state's Child Maltreatment Central Registry earlier this month after parents complained she bullied their children.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Monday announced that he’s appointed a former Arkansas attorney general, Steve Clark, to a federal panel to help promote the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

A Forrest City preacher is reported to have walked into a West Memphis doctor's office and stabbed his estranged wife multiple times. Linda Holloway is in critical condition, and underwent surgery for multiple stab wounds to the neck and face, Holloway's husband, Thomas Holloway, was arrested and taken to the Crittenden County jail and charged with battery in the first degree.

Police used a valid warrant to search Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott's house before arresting her on felony drug and theft charges. Benton County Circuit Judge Tom Keith denied a motion to suppress evidence of prescription medication seized from Scott's home in August.

Responding to a 30 percent increase in the number of bank robberies reported last year, the Arkansas Bankers Association has outlined a new robbery-prevention program consisting of a statewide reward system and an effort to get bank customers to take off their hats, hoods and sunglasses when entering the business.

Arkansas has seen a 20% increase in the number of motor vehicles using alternative fuels, much greater than the nation, which saw a 17 percent increase in 2006 for a total of 10.5 million, or about 4.3 percent of approximately 240 million vehicles in the country as of 2004. In Arkansas, such vehicles constitute only 2.6 percent of all vehicles in the state.

Little Rock-based Dillard’s Inc. paid its chief executive officer about $4.3 million last year, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. William Dillard II’s pay of $4,300,949 included $770,000 in salary for the year and $2.48 million in bonuses. Dillard’s stock closed at $35.31 per share on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, down 30 cents.

Fort Smith leaders are considering a just completed survey by the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Almost 90 percent of the 412 respondents, randomly selected from current telephone records, said they are satisfied with the quality of life in Fort Smith, while about 74 percent said they expect it to continue to improve.

Mayor Tab Townsell has proposed a range of higher planning and building-permit fees that one Conway official estimates would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue.

Russellville city government is setting up the three mobile homes it has received from FEMA for various offices and local agencies. Originally, the city had requested 20 of the more than 8,000 trailers being stored at the Hope airport.

The River Market Farmer's Market opens in downtown Little Rock today.

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