Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday summary

Former Arkansas federal prosecutor Bud Cummins demanded an apology from the Bush administration on Wednesday over a former White House aide's assertion that he was fired last summer for being "lazy."

An Arkansas legislative committee will ask U.S. Attorney General Alberto “the torturer” Gonzales to investigate the U.S. oil industry’s concentration, after several said their constituents are frustrated with paying high prices for gasoline.

Democrats should abandon efforts to set a public withdrawal date for troops in Iraq, Sen. Mark Pryor said Wednesday. Instead, the Senate should embrace goals of a bipartisan commission that called for more diplomacy, stepped up training of Iraqi soldiers, and benchmarks to measure progress.

A group of Little Rock school district residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the district and the School Board to stop a potential payment of more than $500,000 to departing superintendent Roy Brooks. Plaintiffs claim the separation agreement violates state law.

A continuing education seminar to help social workers work more effectively with gays wanting to adopt, or be foster parents, and with gay children in foster care, is drawing criticism from a conservative group seeking to ban gay adoptions and foster parenting in Arkansas. Julia Baldwin, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, denied that the daylong workshop the group has scheduled for Friday was intended to promote a gay agenda.

Alltel's "preliminary proxy" answers some questions regarding compensation for employees in the company's proposal sale, but some questions still remain. For the next two years, employee compensation and termination guidelines will remain the same, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

IC Corporation has notified its employees about the possibility of a large number of layoffs coming in the next 60 days. The Conway bus manufacturing plant filed a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act with the Arkansas state government and the city of Conway providing 60 days notice and a maximum number of 500 jobs. IC Corp. has about 1,300 Conway employees.

The Dunlap Co. will close the doors of more than 40 stores in eight states under 10 different names later this year - including Arkansas’ original MM Cohn.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals sent an appeal of the Public Service Commission’s 2005 decision to grant a $4.4 million rate increase to Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Co. back to the commission.

Southern Baptists have confirmed that the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message provides “sufficient” guidance for the 16.3 million member denomination and its governing boards. Some conservative Baptists have sought to exclude from leadership roles those who engage in the traditional Pentecostal practice of speaking in tongues.

Putting the pressure on the state’s shoulders is the Dollarway School Board’s answer to the emergency state of the district’s middle school facility and the fact that no funds will be immediately forthcoming from the bungled millage request put before voters on March 13.

The insurance provider has signed off on a $30,000 settlement of a claim against the City of Searcy alleging gender-based discrimination in pay.

The majority of the voters in Conway decided issuing bonds for the improvement of the city's parks and recreation system is a good idea.

Criaghead County will build a new lake near Bono as a result of this week’s election.

The state Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Lloyd Lee Holt, who was sentenced to a year in jail after his 10-year-old daughter died in a fire while chained to her bed. A Johnson County jury found Teresa Dick guilty of manslaughter and first-degree false imprisonment and sentenced her to 14 years in prison.

A Benton County man who pleaded guilty to sexual and carnal abuse of minors should have his conviction expunged because the crimes occurred before a 1999 law went into effect to keep such records on the books, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

The trial of the man accused of killing his beauty queen girlfriend has been moved. Kevin Jones, charged in the 2005 murder of Nona Dirksmeyer, will be tried in Franklin instead of Pope County. The defense called a half-dozen or so witnesses during a hearing in Russellville, including a Courier reporter who ran from Channel 7’s cameras after she testified to posting about the Dirksmeyer case on crime message boards under an assumed name.

The Arkansas State Police have arrested three Holly Grove men and are searching for a fourth in the June 3 vandalism of City Hall and the burning of two police cars in the east Arkansas town.

Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge Michael Fitzhugh has sentenced Meshawn Jamar Steward of Fort Smith to 25 years in prison in connection with the shooting of a former college basketball player. Steward shot Terrist Parramore multiple times in the head and chest on Oct. 28 at a Halloween party in the ballroom of the Ramada Inn. Parramore was taken to Sparks Regional Medical Center with a bullet in his brain and another lodged near his spine — and survived — but didn’t walk again until January.

A Fort Smith man who was previously banned from a local high school for lewd behavior is under arrest after a witness called police saying a man was committing a sexually indecent act at the school. Jerry Dean Ross was arrested after a resident noticed him with his pants down and possibly performing a sexual act on a yellow pole near an entrance at Northside High School.

Memphis police are investigating allegations by a former topless club cocktail waitress that she was recruited as bait in a plot to blackmail Mayor Willie Herenton by luring him into a sexual rendezvous. Gwendolyn D. Smith has touched off an official inquiry with her account, contending that she's been paid as much as $18,000 -- money she says came from rich businessmen trying to smear Herenton, the city's first black elected mayor, to keep him from seeking a fifth term in October.

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