Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday summary

A Montgomery County man has sued top University of Arkansas at Fayetteville officials, saying the leaders didn’t do enough to investigate e-mails sent by a Little Rock woman regarding the Razorbacks football team. John David Terry claims that Chancellor John White and system President B. Alan Sugg should have done more to investigate e-mails sent by Teresa Prewett, a family friend of football coach Houston Nutt.

Arkansas’ Marines are part of the first Marine Reserve infantry battalion called up for a second tour in Iraq under a new policy designed to relieve active-duty units. India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment will mobilize May 17, with deployment to Iraq’s volatile Anbar province sometime in the fall.

Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will meet with Sen. Mark Pryor today. Pryor called for Gonzales' resignation last month, saying in a Senate speech that publicly released Justice Department e-mails contradicted what the attorney general told him in a Dec. 15 telephone conversation.

U.S. District Judge Bill Wilson Jr. is considering whether to certify a case claiming discrimination against black truck drivers by Wal-Mart for class-action status. Daryal T. Nelson and Tommy Armstrong seek back pay for themselves and other affected members of the potential class, as well as punitive damages from Wal-Mart. and an injunction for the retailer to change any discriminatory practices.

Wal-Mart advises investors that “a significant portion” of Helen Walton’s Wal-Mart shares were destined for charity - but not immediately. The bulk of her personal wealth - about $16.4 billion - was through her participation in Walton Enterprises LLC, a family partnership that gave her and her children common ownership of 1.68 billion Wal-Mart shares worth $81.2 billion.

After nearly a year, Arkansas will finally get its chance to argue its case before a judge to intervene in a federal pollution lawsuit over the spreading of poultry litter in the Illinois River watershed. Federal Magistrate Judge Sam A. Joyner has set oral arguments on Arkansas' motion to intervene at 9:30 a.m. May 2 in Tulsa.

The state and federal constitutions guarantee freedom of speech, so state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen can’t be sanctioned for what he’s said about current events, he wrote in an argument he filed Tuesday with the panel that regulates judges’ conduct.

Amy Hilbun and Stephen Rose, both teachers at Jacksonville Elementry, are charged with one count each of felony child battery on a 6 year-old male victim. Both were arrested by White County sheriff’s detectives at school on Monday in connection with an alleged assault at Hilburn’s home in Beebe.

Superintendent Mike Cox is "suspended with pay" indefinitely after a 4-2 vote of the Berryville School Board in a special session Tuesday night. Cox will be paid for the remaining three and one-half years of his contract and will make $95,576 beginning in July. The same board voted Monday night not to pay legal fees for Cox’s wife after she was placed on the state’s Chile Maltreatment Central Registry.

Black high school students who have been boycotting the Brinkley School District are expected back in class this morning, ending a five-day absence encouraged by adult organizers to protest a lack of black school administrators. The state Education Department says that students will be able to make up the benchmark exams this week.

The trial judge followed the wishes of a Lonoke County jury Tuesday in sentencing former Lonoke Police Chief Jay Campbell to 40 years in prison and Campbell’s wife, Kelly, to 20 years on felony convictions arising from a corruption investigation involving drugs, sex and abuse of an inmate-labor program.

Saline County Sheriff Phil Mask has admonished a member of his department and ordered the officer to attend firearms safety training following an incident three weeks ago at the International House of Pancakes restaurant in Benton. Mask’s office issued a statement on the investigation by his department of the shooting incident involving Cpl. Ed Clements in the men’s restroom at IHOP on April 2.

Six Arkansas counties are suing national drug manufacturers and local distributors that sell legal drugs used to make methamphetamine. The lawsuit, filed in Independence County Circuit Court, states that the companies “knowingly sold far in excess of the amount necessary [of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine] for any legitimate use to producers of the illicit drug methamphetamine.”

The Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility Commission has decided to back utility Manager Ken Johnson in the latter’s dispute with Mayor Carl Redus Jr. over cell phones. Redus filed a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this month for data on the cell phones utilized by the municipal utility after asking Johnson to leave a department head meeting at City Hall.

Little Rock is to become an international city today, as the long-awaited Mexican Consulate opens on University Avenue.

The Hilton Garden Inn in Conway has been granted a private club permit conditional on health inspection and installing of lights, according to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The hotel is still under construction on Amity Road. Hilton Garden Inn will operate a full-service restaurant, American Grill, which is located in many Hilton properties.

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