Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Wednesday morning summary
No injuries were reported Tuesday when thunderstorms raked Arkansas, authorities said, though hail as large as an inch was reported in downtown Little Rock and some structural damage was inflicted on a building in southeast Jonesboro.
After nearly five weeks of testimony by a procession of witnesses ranging from state prison inmates to the mother of a defendant, Lonoke County prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the corruption trial of former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell and his wife, Kelly Campbell.
The mother of a Garland County man is suing Sheriff Larry Sanders and several jail employees over her son’s arrest and incarceration, saying he suffered a cardiopulmonary collapse while in the Garland County Detention Center. Jan McRaven, a Garland County resident, filed the suit Monday on behalf of her son, Steven McFarland, a veteran of the war in Iraq. McFarland was arrested for DUI, although a breath test showed no presence of alcohol, and went into a coma and suffered permanent brain damage while left in a drunk tank for five hours.
The 86th General Assembly closed its regular session Tuesday, having enacted the largest tax cut in Arkansas history while devoting more money to public education. Recessing on the 86th day, it was the shortest session since 1991’s, which lasted 73 days.
Arkansas Sen. Bob Johnson of Bigelow, a former House speaker who as a senator sponsored bills helping business interests and leader of the self-seeking Senate clique “the brotherhood,” will serve as the Senate’s next president pro tempore. His election was one of the final acts of the just completed legislative session.
A bill that would cut income taxes automatically if state collections reached certain levels failed in a Senate committee Monday, while members approved revising an incentives act to target start-up companies offering high pay.
State revenue showed a slow but steady growth rate last month, at about 3.8 percent above expectations.
Representatives of the Arkansas attorney general on have asked a Pulaski County circuit judge to fine a Van Buren woman $1 million for running what they described as an envelope-stuffing scam that continues to operate. Deputy Attorney General James DePriest also asked the judge to bar 63-year-old Sharon Henningsen from doing business in Arkansas until she has paid the fine, plus $156,183 restitution and $20,000 in attorney’s fees.
The federal government says that it is trying to shut down more than 125 Jackson Hewitt income-tax preparation stores in four states over systematic “tax-fraud schemes.”
The Arkansas State Police plane that the governor uses is grounded for repairs after landing gear lights failed to work on a recent flight while Gov. Mike Beebe was a passenger. During the Saturday night return flight from Fort Smith, it was determined that the landing gears were working and the problem was only with the lights. The governor’s new airplane should be available soon.
For the time being, officials with the Saline County Sheriff’s Department are not discussing an incident in which a deputy’s firearm apparently discharged accidentally at the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant in Benton.
The University of Central Arkansas is among 19 candidates bidding to host a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2008, according to a list released Monday by the Commission on Presidential Debates.