Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday summary

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele ruled Monday that the board hearing scheduled for tonight must be delayed until attorneys compile a clear, concise list of grievances against Superintendent Roy Brooks and until a hearing officer can be present at the suspension hearing. The Brooks story runs in today’s New York Times.

An August trial date has been set for Gordon Randall Gwathney in Lee County Circuit Court. First Judicial Judge L.T. Simes set the trial dates for Aug. 20 through 24 during a plea and arraignment hearing this morning, in which Gwathney entered a plea of not guilty to three counts of capital murder and two counts of attempted murder.

A Jefferson County farmer accused of chasing a woman for 200 yards in a red tractor before running her over with the vehicle on U.S. 425 is being held without bond pending criminal charges in the woman’s death. Police say Glen Shelton ran down Melonie Hughes, 26, about 4:23 p.m. Saturday, then evaded police for more than 24 hours.

A 14-month-old El Dorado boy who sustained severe injuries in an apparent beating remains in a Little Rock hospital, while the man charged with beating him appeared in Union County District Court. Patrick Allen Pierce of El Dorado, is charged with first-degree battery in the beating of Joe Dorris.. The boy was in critical condition Monday afternoon. Bail was set for Pierce at $100,000. He could receive up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The St. Francis County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the death, Sunday, of an officer with the Hughes Police Department. Officer Jerry Lee Wright of Hughes died while visiting a friend. Authorities sent Wright’s body to the State Crime Lab for review due to several threats which had been made against the officer.

An alleged fortune teller in Springdale shuffled the tarot cards for others but never saw an arrest in his future. Ivan Dario Lopez is accused of scamming local residents by performing spiritual rituals designed to cure bad luck.

A federal-state partnership that services the economically depressed Delta region of the nation will unveil a plan today to increase access to high-speed Internet service in an effort to improve education, health care and business opportunities in eight states, including Arkansas.

The Arkansas Department of Education plans to incrementally restore local control to the Helena-West Helena and Midland school districts.

No chicken feed tainted with melamine was found in Arkansas during a recent battery of tests, state agriculture and health officials said Monday.

The Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services is collecting samples of fish imported from Asia and plans to send them to Food and Drug Administration laboratories to test for the presence of banned antibiotics.

The United States Postal Service's new pricing system will consider the shape of mail in addition to its weight. New rates and fees for all classes of mail except periodicals will also change May 14, including a 2-cent increase to the cost of a first-class 1-once letter.

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