Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday summary

A lawyer for one of three men convicted as teenagers for killing three young boys at West Memphis conferred at the state Crime Lab with prosecution officials about DNA evidence from the 14-year-old case. Dennis Riordan of San Francisco, attorney for Damien Echols, sentenced to be executed for the 1993 slayings, would only say after the meeting at the Crime Lab that the session was “useful and productive.”

The unpaid debts of former U.S. Rep. Tommy F. Robinson and his wife, Carolyn B. Robinson, will not be erased even after the couple exits Chapter 7. “The evidence clearly establishes by the required preponderance that the false statements and omissions were made under oath knowingly, intentionally, and with fraudulent intent,” Judge James G Mixon wrote. The judge concluded that both Robinsons should be denied the “fresh start” that the federal bankruptcy code affords most debtors.

Rep. Marion Berry remains the wealthiest member of the Arkansas congressional delegation. Berry and his wife, Carolyn reported assets of between $1.98 million and $6.98 million. Senator Blanche Lincoln and her husband, Steve reported between $656,016 and $1.62 million in assets and no debts. Congressman Vic Snyder, the poorest member of Arkansas delegation, reported that he and his wife, the Rev. Betsy Singleton, had assets worth $561,857 in various retirement and market funds.

University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White handled nasty e-mail to a former quarterback properly, and a lawsuit seeking further action should be dismissed, an attorney for the university said in a court filing Thursday.

Concluding that federal court involvement is no longer warranted, U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele dismissed Superintendent Roy Brooks’ lawsuit against the Little Rock School District and its board members.

The likelihood that the Lake View school funding case will end soon does not mean the state can stop striving to improve education, Gov. Mike Beebe told members of the Arkansas Kids Count Coalition. Beebe says he is "cautiously optimistic" that the lawsuit filed by the now-defunct Lake View School District in 1992 is on the verge of being resolved.

A company that manufactures natural gas and oil field drilling equipment plans to build a plant and employ 175 in this rural Central Arkansas community. England OilField Services Inc. says it plans to build a 33,000 square-foot facility on 10 acres in the England Industrial Park and pay workers an average wage of $18 an hour.

A state agency on Thursday awarded $78.4 million in state and federal tax credits for the construction or renovation of more than two dozen apartment complexes around the state, including two that will replace a housing project near downtown Little Rock.

Renovation of Little Rock's historic Capital Hotel is in the homestretch and hiring will ramp up next month for a grand reopening later this year, the general manager of the downtown landmark said Thursday. "We haven't decided when to open the hotel and we don't have a specific date yet, but we're looking toward the end of the summer or early fall," Joseph Rantisi said.

Legislation introduced in the Senate encourages Americans to replace outdated heating and cooling systems and may give job security to 3,500 Fort Smith workers who manufacture such equipment.

An Arkansas man pleaded guilty to charges arising from an online undercover operation that resulted in him traveling to Washington to have sex with 10- and 11-year-old children. Aubrey Lynn Shepard, 63, of Benton faces up to life in prison for enticement and distribution of child pornography. Under sentencing guidelines, he likely will face 24 to 30 years in prison.

A man can be required to pay child support even though a paternity test subsequent to the divorce found he’s not the father, the state Supreme Court ruled. In the 5-2 decision, the court said that an Arkansas statute that allows a court to relieve a man of child-support obligations if a test finds he isn’t the father applies only to paternity cases, not divorce cases.

Owners of pit bulls and American bulldogs living in Jacksonville have 30 days to sterilize, microchip and register their dogs with the city before a ban on the breeds takes effect.

A man accused of stealing a cow and selling it at an auction barn was by Pope County Sheriff’s Deputies. Lonnie J. Duvall was ordered held on $20,000 bond and to stay away from all cows, by District Judge Don Bourne.

The 16th annual Atkins Picklefest begins at noon Friday and will continue through Saturday evening.

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