Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday summary

Discerning whether former Pulaski County Comptroller Ron Quillin’s e-mail exchanges with a female vendor are personal or private will be difficult, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mary Spencer McGowan said Tuesday. The judge met with attorneys to go over just how McGowan will review the more than 600 e-mails. Quillin is accused of stealing $42,000 from various county funds starting in January 2006.

Arkansas ranks 45th in the nation in the 2007 Kids Count Data Book, which ranks all 50 states based on their performance in 10 areas related to child well-being and is released annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Arkansas’ ranking remains unchanged from 2006.

Shareholders suing Alltel Corp. over its proposed $26.3 billion buyout by two private equity firms have reached a tentative agreement with the nation’s fifth-largest wireless carrier to settle their cases.

2005 ruling favoring Dillard’s Inc. has been reversed in a lawsuit that alleged the Little Rock-based retailer discriminated against black shoppers at a Columbia, Mo., store. The case will be returned to district court. Former employees have testified that it is Dillard’s policy to more closely monitor black customers and to treat their returned merchantdise more strictly.

The hospital management company taking over operations of the city-owned Eureka Springs Hospital in September said it will build a $25 million, privately owned hospital as part of the deal. Allegiance Health Management of Shreveport will enter a five-year lease with the city upon approval from the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Two Arkansas factories will shutdowns and bringing 400 layoffs. Sanyo Manufacturing Corp. said it will cease all production and assembly at its Forrest City TV-manufacturing facility in October, and Wheatland Tube Co. will shut down its manufacturing facility in Little Rock by the end of September.

The federal minimum wage rose 70 cents Tuesday to $5.85 an hour, the first of three yearly, 70-cent increases that will set the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour in summer 2009. The Arkansas Legislature increased the state's minimum wage to $6.25, effective last October.

Former Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott will serve 60 days in jail and pay a $10,000 fine as the result of her plea bargain in connection with stealing prescription medications from the homes of deceased persons.

Frank Greenwood, the tuberculosis patient who defied a medical isolation order and was on the run for 17 days before being captured, is now discharged a Little Rock hospital and charged in connection with the theft of two cars during his escape. Arkansas Health Department officials said recent tests revealed Franklin Greenwood is not infectious.

Les “Skip” Carnine, a former Little Rock and Texarkana school superintendent who retired in Rogers, announced Tuesday that he’ll run for a state House seat in District 94.

Jason Brown of Redfield allegedly set a house where his landlord lived on fire Friday and now will have to post a $100,000 bond to be released from the county detention center.

The aftermath of an altercation after last week's quorum court meeting has resulted in a peaceful resolution. Deputies separated White County Justice of the Peace Boss Vaughn and county judge Michael Lincoln after the meeting was adjourned. The dispute erupted when Vaughn suggested a possible violation of the Freedom of Information Act in disposing of the old jail.

University of Arkansas plant pathologists found Asian soybean rust, a serious yield-robbing disease, in a field of soybeans in Little River County. Left untreated, the disease can defoliate a crop in three weeks, causing a 50 percent or more yield loss.

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