Monday, July 30, 2007

Monday summary

Arkansas' ability to ensure health care for its neediest children will be jeopardized if a federally funded health insurance program is allowed to expire. In his weekly radio address, Gov. Mike Beebe called on Congress to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP. Congress has been debating the future of the 10-year-old program. The program will expire if it is not reauthorize by Sept. 30.

More than 600 new state laws take effect Tuesday, including one allowing charitable bingo games. So far 141 organizations across the state have registered to host the games. Among other laws passed this year, one adds a 1 percent tax on beer. Another limits the marrying age.

Four members of a rival biker gang were stabbed, and two critically injured, in a melee Sunday afternoon with a group of Hells Angels outside a closed antique shop in Eureka Springs, police said. Six members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club are being held for questioning. Their names were not released.

A former Fordyce police chief is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of his wife, with whom he taught Sunday school. Paul Douglas Gill is accused of killing Sandra Kaye Gill on March 22 at their Fordyce home and then trying to make it look like a suicide.

Kenneth James Istre of Russellville is facing child rape charges in connection with a series of alleged rapes investigators say occurred while the victim, a family member, was between the ages of 6 and 8 years old.

A Barling woman is facing charges after reportedly striking two children with her vehicle and fleeing the scene. Jessica Nicole Turner was arrested on suspicion of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and driving while intoxicated. Two girls, aged 11 and 14, required hospital treatment. One sustained a broken ankle.

A Little Rock man accused in separate acts of firing a crossbow at a motorist and shooting out a window of a pizza restaurant with a shotgun was pronounced fit for trial Friday. A state psychologist who examined 27-year-old Wayne Allen Dierks Jr. found him competent to stand trial, diagnosing him with alcohol and marijuana dependence, in remission, and with a depressive disorder.

Authorities have identified a woman whose body was found hanging in a tree west of Batesville on Wednesday morning. Kevin Scott Honeycutt told police he found the body of Elizabeth Yvette Crutcher of Batesville hanging by a rope from a tree near his house.

A federal judge says that Hollis Wayne Fincher misrepresented his financial condition and will have to pay for his court-appointed attorneys. U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren also said he'll ask the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to send the case back to him so he can resentence the militia leader based on his actual assets.

El Dorado Chemical Co. is still a partner in a proposal to build a pipeline to ferry wastewater to the Ouachita River, a company official said Friday - a month after the chemical manufacturer announced it planned to withdraw from the project. Gregory Withrow, general manager of El Dorado Chemical, said that the company did not want its three partners to have to restart the permitting process.

The Arkansas Travelers Baseball Club Inc. has settled up with the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, sending the agency $10,361 in back taxes from when the team played at Ray Winder Field.

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