Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday summary

Pulaski County has been ordered to publicly release more than 600 e-mails its former comptroller exchanged with a vendor, except for two e-mails containing “graphically, sexually explicit” photos the two sent each other in 2005 and seven others, a judge ruled Thursday.

A Jacksonville woman held at gunpoint and assaulted by a police swat team serving a search warrant on the wrong house received $7,500 from a Pulaski County jury for back injuries and violation of her God-given constitutional rights.

Authorities will exhume the body of Janie Ward of Marshall today and perform a third autopsy and other tests in an effort to determine how she died nearly 18 years ago. A private autopsy performed two years ago determined that Ward was murdered.

State prison officials fired seven corrections officers for abusing inmates at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys, including pepper-spraying non-combative inmates and intentionally walking at least one inmate into prison bars. The firings come in the midst of an FBI investigation announced earlier this month into reports of civil-rights violations against inmates.

Tax revenues fell 7 percent in the first month since the state cut taxes on groceries and manufacturers' utilities. Net available general revenues totaled $351.6 million in July, $26.8 million lower than a year ago, though the total still was $11.1 million, or 3 percent, above forecast.

A project that would pump water from the White River to rice fields in eastern Arkansas will not endanger the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials concluded in a review ordered by a federal judge.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Rita Gruber will challenge incumbent Judge Wendell Griffen for his seat on the state Court of Appeals next year. Gruber said her more than 16 years of handling juvenile law in the state’s largest county suit her for the job. She said the appeals court, which often rules in child custody and parental-rights cases, lacks that experience.

Starting Oct. 1, people eating out in Jacksonville or picking up prepared foods at the grocery store will pay an additional 2 percent sales tax that will benefit parks and help promote the city.

A man who lay in wait to kill a man he believed raped a woman he knew will serve to 10 years in prison. Brandon Clark Fritts of Huntington, who is charged with attempted capital murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the Jan. 22 shooting of Keith Leon Elmore, is being sent back to the Arkansas Department of Correction for violating his parole.

The police chief hired by the Huntington City Council in late June to replace one fired a month earlier has resigned.

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