Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday summary

An Arkansas soldier died Sunday from injuries sustained in Balad, Iraq. Sgt. John R. Massey of Higginson was injured when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle on Saturday. The Defense Department says Massey died the next day.

Weary from pulling an all-nighter, Arkansas senators cast votes Wednesday to advance an amendment calling for U.S. troop pullouts from Iraq. Democrats failed to break a Republican filibuster against the measure. The vote was 52-47, while 60 votes were needed. Pryor voted to break the filibuster even though he said he opposed the amendment. He has said he opposes setting public timelines for troop withdrawals.

The the U. S. House of Representatives set aside $23 million to help pay for a massive overhaul of a power plant on the Arkansas River in Franklin County.

Jury deliberations in the murder trial of Kevin Jones continue today. Judge John Patterson instructed the jury that it can only vote to acquit or convict Jones of first-degree murder; no lesser charges may be considered.

The mother of a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by West Memphis police last month seeks $225 million in damages in a wrongful-death suit filed in federal court Wednesday. DeAunte Farrow was killed June 22 by a shot from the gun of Officer Erik Sammis.

A Florida man who fatally shot an Ash Flat couple more than 20 years ago will begin the sentencing phase of his capitol murder trial today after being convicted by an Sharp County jury. A jury of seven men and five women convicted Steven Victor Wertz on two counts of capital murder in the Dec. 31, 1986, shotgun slayings of Terry and Katherine Watts.

Mara Leveritt reports in Arkansas Times new evidence in the West Memphis Three murder case. DNA from a victim's stepfather has been found in crime scene evidence; no DNA evidence of the three convicted has been found. The police are interviewing the stepfather and his ex-wife, who now believes the three in prison are innocent. Prosecutor Brent Davis of Jonesboro has no comment.

A Little Rock doctor may continue his legal quest for the right to have wines made outside Arkansas sent directly to his doorstep, despite the Legislature’s repeal of the statute he originally sought to overturn, a federal judge has ruled. Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed cardiologist Scott Beau’s initial complaint, but allowed a new complaint addressing what they say is unconstitutional discrimination created by a law the Legislature passed this year.

While the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and the secretive Fifty for the Future decide whether to publicly support a proposal to transfer absolute control of Little Rock city government into the hands of powerful real estate interests, represented by the mayor and “at large” directors, the results of a recent survey designed to trick telephone respondents into supporting the measures have not been announced by the anonymous backers.

A settlement has ended a 13-year-old lawsuit by the family of a 28-year-old former Little Rock Boy Scout who suffered crippling brain damage in a fall during a scout camping trip almost 16 years ago. Terms were not disclosed, but court filings show the guardians of Andrew Baxter Low turned down a $2.5 million offer last year from the five insurance companies.

A Danish windmill blade manufacturer will build its third North American manufacturing plant in the Little Rock Port Authority, along with its North American headquarters and a work force training academy. LM Glasfiber's $150 million investment will be the largest industrial investment ever in Central Arkansas, eclipsing a $100 million investment announced just last month by an Indian manufacturer of pipes for the oil and gas industry.

A $25 million project involving several areas along Interstate 530 in southeast Pine Bluff could begin construction in September.

A Little Rock couple is dead after opening their small grocery store to a pair of neighborhood men who now face capital murder charges. The men, aged 15 and 17, were frequent patrons of the business. The capital city has now recorded 23 homicides so far this year.

One of 127 people arrested after a raid on a Crawford County cockfighting operation says that law enforcement officials knew of the operation for years and gave it their implicit approval. On Wednesday, 75 defendants identified by police as cockfighting organizers, handlers and referees pleaded innocent in Crawford County Circuit Court. The other 52 defendants are set for arraignment July 27 in Van Buren District Court.

Chief Mike Yates said 18 motorists were issued the illegal citations for failing to move to an outside traffic lane when an officer was conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of a multi-laned highway. According to Yates, one of my officers would pull his patrol unit behind another unit on the shoulder of the road and when a vehicle passed without moving to the other lane, one of them would take off, pull the driver over and issue a ticket. Refunds have been made to 18 individuals.

Police killed a dog after it reportedly attacked a meter reader and then an animal control officer. The Forrest City Police Department is investigating the incident which left the two men injured and the 100-pound dog dead.

Two years after it failed, the Fort Smith Board of Directors approved an ordinance restricting the city’s power of eminent domain.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis turned the heat on Federal Emergency Management Agency director R. David Paulison for the way his agency wasted $70 million worth of unwanted ice. In his first Capitol press conference, Cohen blasted FEMA for providing answers about the cost of the boondoggle to a television station in Syracuse, N.Y., before addressing his formal Congressional inquiry. He said FEMA has once again violated the public trust.

A Little Rock couple donated $2.5 million to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to create a longevity clinic, the medical school announced Wednesday.. The donation will be used to create the Thomas and Lyon Longevity Clinic in the UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging.

Frances Titsworth, a native of Arkansas and graduate film student at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, Calif., will shoot her thesis film in her home state of Arkansas over a six-day period from Aug. 14-19 in the Dardanelle area. The film is entitled “The Mount Nebo Chicken Fry” and is inspired by the real life festival of the same name.

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