Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday (soaked) summary

Victoria Combs, whose hometown is unknown, is recovering from a broken leg and other injuries in a Little Rock hospital. She will be charged with aggravated assault after taking the wheel of a Greyhound bus on I-40 in Lonoke County, causing the injury of 11 people.

Twelve jurors, plus two alternates from Franklin County were selected to serve on the panel that will hear evidence against Kevin Jones in the killing of Arkansas Tech co-ed Nona Dirksmeyer. The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Monday’s thunderstorms caused power failures, minor flooding and road closures across the state. Most power losses occurred near Malvern, where 730 customers lost power. In Little Rock, 189 locations lost power Monday. Flash-flood warnings were issued Monday for several counties including Faulkner and Pulaski.

A group of Dollarway School District residents has asked the court to nullify a March 13 millage election, saying school officials deliberately provided erroneous information The lawsuit, filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, accused the Dollarway School Board and Superintendent Thomas Gathen of understating by half the annual impact the proposed millage increase would have on property owners.

Weight problems are not only a concern for many public school students in Arkansas, but for their teachers and other state employees as well. Nearly a third of state employees, including public school employees, identified themselves as obese in a self-reporting survey of 46,959 employees last fall, Surgeon General Dr. Joe Thompson told the state Board of Education.

Arkansas Department of Education leaders unveiled plans to add the second component of a two-part system of rating schools so that they can be rated on the progress their students make on Arkansas Benchmark tests. The system will ultimately result in rewards or penalties

Arkansas’ insurance program for small businesses has been slow to gain steam. Since December, 665 people with 178 Arkansas businesses have enrolled in ARHealthNet, a limited-benefit program for companies with low-income workers. State officials said then that the program could cover 80,000 people by late 2008.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has a new look for its’ webpage, Arkansas.com. New features include region-by-region virtual tours complete with photo scrapbooks, online videos, and 360-degree panoramic views of attractions. The site has podcasts, improved maps, and RSS feeds for updated events. It also allows visitors to create a personal photo gallery and to post photos of their Arkansas travels.

A ruling from the 8th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals may pave the way for the execution of Don William Davis, convicted in the 1990 murder of Jane Daniel of Rogers. The judges lifted a stay of execution.

A Little Rock teenager who killed a bank teller during a robbery two days before Christmas marked his 19th birthday Monday by accepting a life sentence rather than face a jury that could have sentenced him to death.

A nine month baby boy is dead after receiving what police say is a severe beating in Pine Bluff. Officers found the baby Thursday covered in bruises and bite marks. The baby also suffered a fractured skull and died at Children’s Hospital over the weekend.

Forrest City police are searching for Partick Dean Davis after an early Sunday morning high speed chase in which guns were drawn and a police officer fired a shot at Davis. The chain of events began as Davis drove to avoid the officer and ran a stop sign.

Shawn Goodwin, chief of police in Plainview, was arrested in Russellville for probable cause of an alleged rape of a “person less than 14 years of age.”

Cassandra Brown Wade, a Phillips County jailer, is facing charges of kidnapping, a Class Y felony and filing a false report, a Class D felony and her employment at the county jail has been terminated. Wade allegedly called Phillips County Sheriff Ronnie White from the jail to report that a female was trying to smuggle contraband into the jail. Based on the report, which proved baseless, Wade locked up the woman.

Former Fort Smith City Administrator Bill Harding is dead. A family friend discovered him late Saturday afternoon. Although no signs of foul play or injury were evident, his body was transported to the Sebastian County Coroner’s officer for examination, according to Sgt. Chris Harris of the Fort Smith Police.

Jefferson County has created a new work-out facility for employees in a part of the old county nursing home near the Road Department offices.

Harding University is investing $7.7 million in its main Searcy campus with a new Center for Health Sciences. Over 100 Harding faculty attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building. The two-story, 36,000-square-foot facility will house the College of Pharmacy and the Physician Assistant Program.

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