Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday early summary

U.S. Representative Vic Snyder of Arkansas’ Second District will become the chairman of the House Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the armed forces July 1.

Speaking to about 4,000 supporters at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says the country should set goals for improving health care, education and the environment, and she said President Bush’s administration “will go down in history as probably the most ill-prepared to govern.” It was reportedly the largest political event in Arkansas history.

State police are investigating an incident in which a West Memphis police officer shot and killed a 12-year-old boy late Friday night, mistaking the child’s silver toy gun for a real handgun. The victim, DeAunta Farrow, graduated from the sixth grade at Maddux Elementary School 28 days earlier. Police say Farrow was running with another child and made an “evasive action” when police ordered him to drop the gun.

A 3-year-old girl died of injuries she suffered when she was run over by a car in Waldron. The accident reportedly involved a drunk driver. Police say the driver was backing up when he hit the girl, who was playing in the street. The driver tried to revive the girl, but she was taken to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where she later died. The names of the child and the driver have not been released.

A Pine Bluff woman is accused of running over and killing a man in a wheelchair, then leaving the scene of the accident. Veronica Fields-Hunter is charged with negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death, both felonies, as well as first offense DWI, a misdemeanor. The body of James Moten, who was confined to a wheelchair, was discovered by police in a roadside ditch.

A leader of a Washington County militia group will serve six years in federal prison for possessing a machine gun. Hollis Wayne Fincher, commander of the Militia of Washington County, was arrested after federal agents raided his home in the Black Oak community south of Fayetteville. The agents found a number of machine guns there and at the nearby militia headquarters.

A Lonoke man is under arrest and charged with killing his wife. Police say 41-year-old Horace Dixon, Junior, walked into the Lonoke Police Department around 4 Saturday morning and said he had shot his wife.

The government gave hospitals around the country a public report card that measures their performance in the treatment of patients suffering from heart attacks or heart failure. Conway Regional Medical Center was among the 35 hospitals ranked below the national average for heart failure death rates. Sparks Regional Medical Center at Fort Smith was among hospitals listed as performing worse than the national average for heart attack mortality.

Industry watchers say 10 Arkansas hospitals are possible sell-off targets after the $6.4 billion merger of two healthcare systems goes through in July. The March deal between Community Health Systems of Franklin, Tenn. and Triad Hospitals Inc. of Plano, Texas, could mean the sale of several debt-prone Arkansas facilities, said Whit Mayo, a health-care analyst with Stephens Inc. in Little Rock.

The chairman of the Board of Corrections proposes sending more prison inmates to perform maintenance and cooking duties at county and city jails, saying demand currently outstrips supply in the popular Act 309 program. Boone County will break ground on a new 103-bed jail in August and has built a barracks just to house program inmates.

Roby Brock of reports Tyson Foods shares went on a wild ride this week as Wall Street speculation suggested the Springdale-based meat giant could be a takeover target. Despite many analysts dispelling the rumors, Tyson shares climbed more than 5 percent on Thursday before retreating on Friday.

For the second time this year, Marion has lost out on a vehicle assembly plant, according to published reports in West Virginia. Hino Motors, which operates a 400,000-square-foot axle plant near Marion, is expected to announce that it will open a medium-duty truck assembly plant in West Virginia, taking hundreds of jobs to a region hit hard by the 2005 closure of another large manufacturing company.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is revamping proposed regulations that would provide uniform rules for drilling companies along the Fayetteville Shale,

The National Federation of Independent Businesses announced Thursday that it has hired as its state director and lobbyist a former state Department of Economic Development worker. Sylvester Smith III of Little Rock previously was the department’s specialist for the small and minority-group businesses, making $92,000 a year.

After three years of serving the sick, the needy and poor, the Greater Texarkana People’s Clinic is closing its doors. The clinic, which saw uninsured and under-insured patients for a small fee, can no longer afford its overhead expenses, which run $40,000 to $50,000 per month.

After 86 years of service, the El Dorado Lions Club will cease operations. Official cite declining membership as the cause.

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