Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday summary

Julie Roehm, the former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. advertising executive accused of misconduct and fired, has won the latest round in her legal battle with the world’s largest retailer. A federal judge returned the case last week to the Michigan state court where she initially filed it, and where Bentonville-based Wal-Mart didn’t want it tried.

A lawyer for a Fort Smith-based nursing home company, formerly known as Beverly Enterprises, argued before the state Supreme Court that a Batesville woman, who developed bedsores so severe one leg had to be amputated, should not be allowed to sue the company on behalf of nearly 500 nursing home residents.

Kohler Company in Searcy has unexpectedly and unilaterally revoked a $10,00 scholarship of an employee because his father is on strike. Kyle Giovannini attends the University of Missouri at Rolla. He will be a sophomore next year, and he will play left field for the college baseball team. Giovannini maintained a 3.6 grade point average last year, qualifying him for a UMR Scholar Athlete Award. In high school, he was an Honor Graduate and a member of the National Beta Club.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit against Pulaski County to obtain emails between former comptroller Ron Quillin and an employee of a software vendor. County attorney Karla Burnett characterizes the communications as “highly graphic.”

Jonesboro lawmaker Chris Thyer continues to call the UAMS plan for a satellite campus in Northwest Arkansas unnecessary and, despite extensive testimony and notifications, accuses the University of being “less than forthright” in disclosing its’ intentions.

Tim Williamson, the special prosecuting attorney investigating the 1989 death of Olivia Jane Ward will delay re-exhuming her body and having another autopsy performed in order to allow the Ward’s representative to be present. William has otherwise done nothing on the case since being appointed in 2004. ABC television is planning a prime time report on Janie Ward’s 1989 murder in rural Searcy County.

At times wiping away tears, former interim U.S. Attorney Tim Griffin told a crowd at the Clinton Library that public service is “not worth it” after his short tenure made him a key figure in the controversy over the firings of eight federal prosecutors. Griffin, often associated with Republican programs to suppress African-American voting, steadfastly refused to undergo Senate confirmation.

On a 4-2 vote, the Arkansas Court of Appeals ruled that Craighead County Circuit Court Judge Pam Honeycutt was wrong when she switched custody of a 2-year-old girl from her unmarried mother to her biological father. The child's mother, Kimberly Dawn Sykes, asserted that the Craighead County judge was "improperly influenced" by her "apparent disapproval" of Sykes, who is not working and lives off government aid.

The head of the state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that the “de-merger ” of the department will require additional positions, leading legislators to question whether the additional administrative expenses will mean fewer services for Arkansans.

Arkansas State University received the largest donation in school history Thursday, a $14.5 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build a new health-sciences center on campus.

Gov. Mike Beebe and eight other Southern governors are urging U.S. transportation officials to accept Delta’s request to begin offering nonstop service from Atlanta to China.

The state fire chiefs begin their annual meeting in Forrest City today.

Federal officials have rejected the Rogers School District’s bid to create Arkansas’ largest merit-pay program.

Attorney Morgan “Chip” Welch tells the Little Rock School Board that it ought to ask a judge to quickly dismiss a class-action taxpayer lawsuit intended to stop the buyout of Little Rock Superintendent Roy Brooks’ contract.

John Walker, who represents the class of black students known as the Joshua interveners in a 24-year-old school desegregation lawsuit, has proposed an eight page settlement agreement in which he would dismiss his appeal of the Little Rock district’s unitary status in return for a formal settlement granting certain district commitments.

Malvern firefighters will remain on the scene of a blaze that leveled the Second Baptist Church. The fire is believed to have been electrical in origin.

A Saline County jury convicted Timothy Wallace of capital murder Thursday in 2005, shooting deaths of his ex-wife and her friend. The panel of eight women and four 1 men deliberated about 3/2 hours before returning its verdict at 6:40 p.m. Wallace, recently returned from Canada, will serve two consecutive life sentences.

A Little Rock man who was convicted of capital murder in the 2005 shooting death of a local rapper is entitled to a new trial, the state Supreme Court has ruled. The court reversed the conviction of Kelvin Beasley, 26, finding that testimony from a bond-reduction hearing should not have been admitted as evidence in Beasley's trial.

As the Hot Springs Fire Department looked on, it took Magic Springs employees 20 minutes to start a stand-by generator so that the upside down roller coaster cars and its’ passengers could be guided down the tracks. Fire Department ladders fell 50 feet short of the stranded riders.

Nancy Tesmer and Kathy Webb of Lilly’s Dim Sum, and Capi Peck and Brent Peterson of Trio’s, have made their respective restaurants cell phone-free. The four business owners said that cell phone use is disruptive to other patrons, creates excessive noise in the dining rooms, and is just plain out of control.

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