Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tuesday summary

The U. S. House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly a bill to prevent retailers like Bentonville-based Wal-Mart from opening banks. The legislation approved 371-16 prohibits companies that generate less than 85 percent of revenue from financial services from owning banks known as ILCs, industrial loan corporations.

In an interview with Pat Lynch, former state senator Kevin Smith is calling on Congressman Marion Berry to explain his recent negative comments concerning the Delta Regional Authority. Berry reportedly said that he had not received requested information, and thought the federal agency should get zero funding.

Little Rock’s Central High ranks 24th and Mills University Studies High in the Pulaski County Special School District ranks 35th among the country’s top 1,257 public high schools, according to Newsweek magazine’s latest Best American High Schools list. The rankings are based on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge exams administered last spring, divided by the number of graduates at the school.

Gov. Mike Beebe says that the state needs to focus more on encouraging production of alternative fuels before it considers offering incentives to alternative fuel and hybrid-vehicle buyers.

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville officials are proposing the lowest tuition increase in 22 years. If approved by trustees, a 3.95 percent tuition increase would take effect for the fall semester.

A ballot proposal to repeal the requirement that state Supreme Court justices be attorneys and to prohibit licensed attorneys from serving in the Legislature or holding a constitutional office was rejected Monday by the state attorney general. The text of the proposal contained too many ambiguities, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel concluded in rejecting the measure's popular name and ballot title.

Chemical teams at the Pine Bluff Arsenal have successfully destroyed the last of the most dangerous nerve-agent stockpile on-site, sarin.

The Bentonville town square is Arkansas’ newest internet “hotspot” with free wi-fi service.

Union employees are back at National Wire Fabric in Star City, nearly 22 months after they began a strike that a state labor official believes became the longest in state history. Among the issues that led employees to walk out were seniority rights, vacation and health insurance.

A former Bella Vista foster parent, Brian John Bergthold, will remain in the Benton County Jail until at least Wednesday, when his attorney will argue for pretrial release on a federal complaint of child pornography. Bergthold was free on bond in connection with similar state charges.

A nine-month investigation into a cockfighting operation in Crawford County resulted in the arrest of more than 140 people Saturday and the euthanization of nearly 300 fighting cocks.

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