Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesday summary

Only a few months into his new job as a Tulsa assistant football coach, Gus Malzahn had already created some recruiting buzz in his home state. Monday night’s publicity tour standing room only appearance at a Springdale restaurant with first-year Golden Hurricane Coach Todd Graham and other members of the staff magnifies a commitment to seeking out prospects in Arkansas.

Joshua Leallen Lofton is accused of snatching a woman’s purse and assauling her in the parking lot of a North Little Rock Wal Mart and then firing at least three shots into a crowd of by-standers, killing Dean Worden of Jacksonville. Lofton is charged with first-degree capital murder.

A Benton County man suspected of hurling a rock and killing his father is under arrest. John Edwin Crawford, 39, was sought in connection with second-degree murder charges and is being held in the Benton County Jail

Andrew Kumpuris, the son of Little Rock at-large City Director Dean Kumpuris, is facing charges arising from a fatal weekend car accident in Oregon. The younger Kumpuris struck some trees after running off a crooked road. His passenger was killed. Kumpuris is charged with second-degree manslaughter, driving under the influence of intoxicants and reckless driving.

A group including two former Little Rock mayors and a sitting city board member is set today to kick off its campaign to support a stronger mayor’s office, and consolidate the power of special interests in city government, as outlined in two Aug. 14 special election proposals.

District parents, administrators and teachers gathered Monday night for a community forum to discuss ways to combat an “achievement gap” between white, black and Hispanic students in the district.

John Walker, an attorney for the Joshua intervenors in the Little Rock desegregation case, has submitted a one-paragraph motion to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis requesting that the court hold his appeal of the district’s release from court supervision “in abeyance” pending the outcome of mediation on a possible settlement between the intervenors and the Little Rock School District.

By next week, Shelby County Schools could be relieved of a desegregation order that has monitored the district's racial equality since the height of the civil rights movement. U.S. Dist. Judge Bernice Donald announced Monday she would write a decision in seven to 10 days.

The University of Arkansas continues to reap the benefits of its seven-year fundraising campaign two years after its end, bringing in $100 million in private gifts in fiscal 2007.

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter on Monday named his campaign manager, Michael Cook, as his chief of staff. Cook, 35, succeeds Ron Oliver, a former Democratic Party chairman, who is leaving the job to be executive director of the Arkansas Racing Commission. Cook starts Aug. 1.

Arkansas State University System President Dr. Les Wyatt stresses the importance of the university maintaining its independence and separateness. A lobbying network of 4-year colleges and universities in Arkansas has been established and is known as the Arkansas Association of Public Universities. However, Arkansas State University and Arkansas Tech is not a part of the new organization.

A direct flight to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport is scheduled to begin Nov. 4, American Eagle Airlines officials announced Monday.

Alltel Corp. has scheduled a special meeting Aug. 29 for shareholders to vote on the proposed $26.3 billion buyout of the wireless giant by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners. The meeting will be held at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.

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