Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday morning summary

The Arkansas State Police has agreed to share with the FBI information from an investigation into the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy Friday by a West Memphis police officer, in case the federal agency decides to conduct a civil rights investigation into the death.

The Arkansas Senate’s leader and his designated successor, who are both Democrats, are hosting a campaign fundraiser Wednesday for Sen. Gilbert Baker of Conway, who is the former chairman of the state Republican Party. It will be held at the Poultry Federation office in Little Rock.

Behind locked doors, without notifying the media and without a quorum, the Helena-West Helena Landfill Commission met and approved some issues dealing with items at the Regional Landfill. Michelle Page of the Daily World reports that doors to the front and side of the municipal building were locked, allowing limited access to the public. Entry was gained to the meeting through the police department.

A new Hino Motors plant scheduled to open in November in West Virginia is not the plant Arkansas has hoped to lure to Marion, an economic development official said Monday.

In its second major energy announcement this year, Tyson Foods Inc. said Monday that it would spend $75 million to help build a synthetic fuels plant to power diesel cars and high-performance military jets.

Petrohawk Energy Corp. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire about 32,500 net acres in the Fayetteville Shale, primarily in Van Buren County.

A Little Rock lawyer was named as a special justice of the state Supreme Court to consider a case challenging the constitutionality of local votes that legalized expanded gambling at Arkansas' two pari-mutuel race tracks. Gov. Mike Beebe named Jim Jackson to replace Justice Robert Brown, who disqualified himself from the case,

Rainbow Family National Gathering attendees have begun to arrive on the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas. The event, which runs from July 1-7, draws thousands of people from all parts of the country and all walks of life. 10,000 may attend this year’s event.

A judge dropped a sexual assault charge against the man accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old girl. Raul Torres of Bella Vista has been in jail since January, after the girl told police they had an ongoing sexual relationship. At the opening of a jury trial, Benton County Senior Circuit Judge Tom Keith declared a mistrial after the girl testified she lied to police and never had sex with the defendant.

Questions about whether Little Rock School Board President Katherine Mitchell improperly received payments from her school district are now under investigation by the Pulaski County sheriff ’s office at the request of Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mary Spencer McGowan is expected to decide today when former comptroller Ron Quillin’s e-mail correspondence should be turned over to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. But the judge might not have the last word on when the messages will be released.

The American Lung Association of Arkansas plans to split from the national organization and become an independent organization called Arkansas Respiratory Health Association, board members said Monday. The change comes as the national association consolidates the management of its chapters, a move Arkansas board members feared would leave the state with little control over Arkansas donations.

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