Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday summary

The trial of the man accused of killing Arkansas Tech University student Nona Dirksmeyer of Russellville in 2005 should not be moved outside Pope County because the defendant has failed to show he cannot get a fair trial there, Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons argued in a court filing.

Asa Hutchinson claims a Benton County business owner accused of federal labor violations would come up empty in his pursuit of communications between Hutchinson and Justice Department officials related to the case. Brentt G. Tumey wants to obtain documents containing any discussions between Hutchinson and government officials. Tumey claimed his indictment was politically motivated. His mother, Robbyn Tumey, is CEO of the company and is active in Democratic politics.

Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee says that while the government's handling of Guantanamo detainees has come to symbolize "what's gone wrong" in the fight against terrorism, conditions there are not as bad as they seem. He says Arkansas prisoners most likely would prefer Guantanamo to incarceration in Arkansas.

Arkansas officials haven’t been aggressive enough in marketing the state to consultants who advise companies about where to place their plants. “Right now, Arkansas is not considered by site selection agencies mainly because Arkansas has not been a player,” Maria Haley, , the director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, told the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee.

Registered lobbyists reported spending more than $1.1 million in the first four months of this year during a legislative session in which an ethics bill to require them to itemize anything they give legislators died in an Arkansas Senate committee.

An audit of Ouchita County finances showed Judy Bryant, who worked as an administrative assistant to County Judge Mike Hesterly, used a Wal-Mart credit card to purchase $150,493 in unauthorized personal items between Jan. 1, 2002, and the end of last year, according to a presentation to the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee. She could face criminal charges.

To establish property ownership in Pope County, oil and gas companies have been thumbing through county records still bound in ledgers from the 1850s. Even so, the Pope County Quorum Court voted Thursday night to stop a $25,000 effort by Clerk Fern Tucker to digitize the records.

Clark County voters will decide in a special election Tuesday whether to approve a proposed one-half percent sales tax intended for economic development. Randolph County will decide on a sales tax to buy the local medical center. Bono voters will decide on creating a new lake. The Carlisle School District is seeking a property-tax increase of 9 mills to help the district pay for a new high school. Conway will decide how they want parks projects to be funded - pay-as-you-go or a $13.5 million bond issue.

South Korea lifted a short lived ban on U.S. beef Friday, but continued to block meat from two Tyson Foods Inc. plants even though the Springdale-based company denies shipping any prohibited product abroad.

A natural gas exploration company is seeking government approval to pump water from the Little Red River, one of the highest-quality waterways in Arkansas, for drilling operations in the Fayetteville Shale. Chesapeake wants to install an intake pipe on the river north of Searcy, a pump station, a water storage reservoir and a water distribution center.

A dozen riders on a Magic Springs roller coaster spent half an hour hanging upside down — 150 feet above the ground — after a power failure shut down the attraction. It took about 30 minutes for the city Fire Department to rescue the riders using a ladder truck Saturday evening. One passenger was taken to a Hot Springs hospital.

A Fayetteville man is under arrest following the death of an infant child. Richard L. Bradbury was arrested on suspicion of first-degree felony battery. He is being held in the Washington County Jail on a $250,000 bond. A preliminary report by a state medical examiner found the infant had healing fractured ribs and a skull fracture.

Felony charges are pending against a Russellville woman whose friend died May 20 in a one-vehicle accident on Interstate 40. Jannell A. Honaker of Russellville has been charged with negligent homicide in the death of Brittany Pennington of Russellville. Honaker told authorities she had been drinking the night of the accident. Honaker has an appeal pending in circuit court for her second DWI charge. She now faces a third DWI from the accident.

Six people are under arrest after police responded to complaints about gunshots heard at a Jonesboro apartment complex and then encountered a large crowd that gathered later in the parking lot. Police said they had responded to gunshot reports at the same address on Wednesday.

The fact he killed his father as a juvenile shouldn't be allowed as evidence at the terroristic threatening trial of Justin Trammell, who is accused of threatening late last year to kill the mother of his child, according to a court motion. Trammell's attorney filed the motion in Washington County Circuit Court. Trial is set for June 20.

Two brothers charged with robbing a Springdale bank have entered not guilty pleas. James Glen Sawney and Wesley James Sawney of Huntsville are each charged with accomplice to aggravated robbery, theft of property and accomplice to arson. Prosecutors charged both with using a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Four Northwest Arkansas law enforcement agencies want to be allowed to process illegal aliens for deportation from the United States if they commit crimes. Springdale, Rogers, Washington County and Benton County have applied to the federal program, which gives state and local officials authority to detain, question and initiate the deportation process.

Eighteen year old Michael Little is back in the Woodruff County jail after walking out the back door Sunday morning. Little is convicted of capitol murder after police say he shot and killed his father, Michael Cox, in the back with a rifle on Thanksgiving Day in 2005. He was waiting for a bed to open up at the Arkansas Department of Correction and was sentenced to 38 years in prison.

First State Bank, which is fighting to establish a branch in Quitmanm, is in the process of filing a response to the protest filed by Arkansas Bank and Trust with the Federal Reserve. In the meantime, First State is approved as a loan production office and will open in the next few weeks as such at a manufactured building on Heber Springs Road West.

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