Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday summary

The Searcy Citizen reports the story of an area couple that purchased a bag of bagles from the Searcy Wal Mart Supercenter which Pepperidge Farms confirms to have contained rodent droppings. Despite complaints to the store management, A Daily Citizen visit to the Searcy Supercenter on May 17 revealed what appeared to be mice droppings on the lower shelf of a bakery aisle where the Pepperidge Farm and other brands of bagels were stored.

FBI agents have seized city computers and records over the past five months in an investigation of city spending under former mayor and congressional candidate Mickey "Stubby" Stumbaugh, documents obtained by the Cabot Star-Herald show.

The discovery of an antifungal agent in some imported catfish in the state is a major concern for the catfish industry. Many see the importation of less expensive catfish from Asia as a threat to the Arkansas' $500 million a year catfish business and the catfish industry throughout the Mississippi Delta. The state Department of Health and Human Services reports that tests found levels of the dye crystal violet, which is prohibited in the United States, in samples of Ocean Park Chinese catfish.

Today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Arkansas Travelers Baseball Club operated for more than 34 years without collecting a required 2 percent tax on concession fare sold at Ray Winder Field. Orville Abrams, a Little Rock accountant who served on an independent investigation, said bureau employees he interviewed told him taxes were collected unfairly, with deals cut for business owners who were friends with former bureau chief Barry Travis or had other connections.

A former Justice Department official testified that the No. 2 man at the department misled a Senate panel about his knowledge of Tim Griffin's hiring as a federal prosecutor in Little Rock, as new correspondence made public showed that Griffin boasted to former colleagues about a published "swipe" at Sen. Mark Pryor.

As investors upset with Alltel Corp.’s $27.5 billion sale continue filing lawsuits to block the buyout, ties that link a half-dozen Alltel officials and Stephens Inc. face growing scrutiny. One litigant accuses Alltel directors of “attempts to complete a squeeze out of Alltel’s public shareholders” shortly after the company experienced one of its most successful years ever in 2006.

Six Arkansas businessmen have been fined more than $430,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for undisclosed activities in connection with First Community Bank of Crawford County.

Arkansas can expect to see its sales tax collections drop if gas prices continue their record climb, a legislative researcher tells lawmakers.

A Circuit Court judge will rule today whether the Public Education Foundation, which receives funding from the Little Rock School District, is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Civil Rights Attorney John Walker says he is seeking foundation records because of the influence he believes its board of directors has on district operations.

In the coming months, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will consider new restrictions to keep storm-water runoff at drilling sites from polluting rivers and streams. And the state’s Oil and Gas Commission will look at giving its field inspectors authority to flag environmental infractions as activity increases along the Fayetteville Shale.

Selected counties will be reimbursed for using county jail inmates to help pick up the tons of trash that litter the state under a pilot program the Arkansas Highway Commission voted to establish.

The Arkansas Highway Commission will fine Union Pacific Railroad $2,500 for blocking five railroad crossings in West Memphis late last year.The railroad blocked five crossings in excess of 10 minutes on the morning of Oct. 21. Union Pacific reported a net income of $386 million for the first quarter of 2007.

Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons says he will review the Monday Interstate 40 car crash that killed Brittany Pennington, 24, of Russellville, and the final Arkansas State Police report to determine if charges will be filed against the driver, Jannell Honaker. She has two previous DWI arrests from February 2004 and June 2006, which are still pending in Pope County Circuit Court.

Lakeview Recorder-Treasurer Iva Deborah Barnhart resigned Wednesday, six days after her arrest on a charge of forging a drug prescription.

A Memphis woman injured on the Twist ’n Shout roller coaster in July 2006 has filed a complaint against Magic Springs & Crystal Falls and the ride’s importer, Zamperla Inc. of New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges the ride was supplied to the theme park in a “defective and unreasonable condition.” The suit also accuses Magic Springs of negligent seating, improper restraint and improper passenger handling.

One day after federal agents detained 136 of its workers near Springfield, Missouri as suspected illegal immigrants, poultry processor George's Inc. said it makes every effort to comply with immigration laws and verify that employees are in the country legally.

Public opinion is divided on a proposed extension of Conway's zoning jurisdiction to areas up to two miles beyond the city limits. The Log Cabin Democrat reports about a public hearing when a concerned resident asked those in opposition to the extension to stand, the minority remained seated.

Visions of blueberry, strawberry and peach-topped pancakes clutter the minds of Russellville residents who await the construction and grand opening of IHOP. Work has begun at the location on East Harrell Drive.

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