Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday summary

Kevin Jones said he planned to ask his longtime girlfriend Nona Dirksmeyer to marry him on the day she was killed, a Russellville police officer testified in the second day of testimony. A video from an interview room at the Russelville police stations showed Jones throwing several hard punches at the backrest of the chair in which he was sitting. He was often alone in the room for long periods of time. Prosecutors contend a condom wrapper, which police found onDirksmeyer’s kitchen counter, could have set off an attack.

Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen on objects to the postponement of a hearing in a discipline case against him, telling the state Supreme Court the delay violates his right to equal protection under the law. The case against Griffen in the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission focuses on statements he made off the bench that the commission staff contends casts doubt on his ability to rule impartially.

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told reporters that he hasn't seen and probably won't see Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko," which calls for an overhaul of America's health care system. "Frankly, Michael Moore is an example of why the health care system costs so much in this country. He clearly is one of the reasons that we have a very expensive system. I know that from my own personal experience," said Huckabee, who lost more than 110 pounds.

A former White House aide apologizes for calling Bud Cummins "lazy," a comment she once made to justify his firing as federal prosecutor in Little Rock. The apology from President Bush's former political director, Sara Taylor, came as she strongly defended disgraced former federal prosecutor Tim Griffin, Cummins' successor and a colleague Carl Rove in the White House

The Arkansas Code Revision Commission has clarified legislation approved this year concerning the age of consent for marriage. Rep. Will Bond of Jacksonville says the measure he co-sponsored during the legislative session was designed to set the minimum age for marriage without parental consent at 18 for both men and women.

Arkansas will receive $165,000 as part of a $3 million nationwide settlement under which Internet service provider AOL has agreed to make it easier for customers to cancel service.

College tuition rates, tobacco cessation programs and air-conditioning for prisoners were among topics that drew criticism Wednesday from a legislative panel. At the Review Committee of the Legislative Council, which reviews grants, contracts and other state business during the interim, members raised concerns over several items but raised no formal objections.

More than 150 miles of Arkansas highways will be layered with a new coating of asphalt worth more than $26 million this year in a program financed by the state’s projected general revenue surplus.

A new State Hospital building will be ready for patients next June,
The new building, next to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center in Little Rock, will cost the state roughly $32 million, says Jay Bradford, director of the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Department of Human Services.

Arkansas will test newborns for 29 possible inherited conditions by July 2008, according to the state Health Department. The new regimen will require adding tests for 22 conditions, all of which were recommended to states by the March of Dimes. All 29 conditions have some method of treatment, according to the organization.

The Little Rock School District may have received only two applications in its’ nationwide search to replace fired superintendent Roy Brooks.

Plainview Police Chief Shawn Goodwin, who was arrested Friday on rape charges, is free after posting bond. Goodwin’s lawyer, Mark Mobley, said during the bond hearing Goodwin was in a heated custody battle with his ex-wife, but court documents did not support that statement. Goodwin reportedly owes $11,424 in back child support.

A new biodiesel plant, which will be located in Chicot County, could bring about 200 jobs to the area, and those involved say the addition would be a boon to the delta community.

Mountain Home Mayor David Osmon has urged a long-range, regional approach to meeting future needs of this area by turning to Bull Shoals Lake as a second drinking-water source. Osmon proposed that Mountain Home join with other communities in northern Baxter County to explore the possibility of tapping Bull Shoals.

The Benton County Juvenile Detention Center could have a new home in the building to be vacated by St. Mary's Hospital early next year.

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