Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday summary

A paratrooper from Malvern is one of the latest Arkansans killed in Iraq. Specialist Donavan Witham died Tuesday in an IED attack near Baghdad. Specialist Tyler Seidman, 20, from Lincoln, Arkansas in Washington County was also killed in Iraq. He died in a helicopter crash Wednesday.

A Michigan state judge has dismissed a wrongful-termination suit against Wal-Mart by high-profile former ad chief Julie Roehm. The judge says the case should have been filed in Arkansas. Details by both sides in the lawsuit and a Wal-Mart counter lawsuit have revealed embarrassing details about an alleged affair by Roehm and a subordinate, accusations of violations of company policies by Roehm, and alleged ethics violations and misconduct by the retailer’s CEO Lee Scott and other Wal-Mart executives.

The state Education Department's new guidelines for teaching Arkansas History in public schools do not appear to violate state law, according to an opinion issued by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. The attorney general issued the opinion at the request of state Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, who has been an outspoken critic of the new guidelines that went into effect this month.

The Central Arkansas Library System will ask Little Rock residents to go to the polls in November and approve two property-tax questions that would raise money for two new libraries and additional services across the city.

NASA has awarded UALR a $750,000 grant to conduct research into “non-invasive methods of exploring the subsurface of the moon for ores and minerals.”

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody dismissed a lawsuit filed by former state senator and current head of workforce education Bill Walker, who sought to have his daughter placed on the Central High School cheerleading squad.

Preventing the extinction of the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker could cost more than $27 million over five years, according to a draft recovery plan released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kenneth Osburn's pre-trial hearing lasted several hours inside the Desha County Courtroom Thursday. Prosecutors say he murdered and kidnapped Casey Crowder. She was reported missing August 28, 2006 when her car ran out of gas on Highway 65 in Dumas. Six days later, investigators found her body near a canal. Now, authorities say, DNA evidence and resident interviews led to the arrest of Kenneth Osburn.

The status of thousands of misdemeanor warrants in Arkansas is in question because of a recent court ruling that says issuing them violates a procedural rule requiring that only summonses be issued for nonviolent offenses.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reports it is still unclear just how local police officers would be involved in immigration enforcement despite the release of draft agreements between federal immigration authorities and four Northwest Arkansas law enforcement agencies.

Masquerading as a federal agent to scare companies into changing their hiring practices of undocumented workers is a crime, a Little Rock man learned Thursday. Carl Dean Wynn Jr., an out-of-work house framer, confronted Hispanic workers, “threw down ultimatums” outside the Graham Smith construction company and sent the company letters citing the U.S. Code and claiming that the company was “under investigation for criminal hiring misconduct.” He was also accused of vandalizing company property, and got a one-year suspended sentence.

A federal appeals panel has ordered a trial in a lawsuit filed by a state prison inmate whose truck was towed in Pine Bluff in 2003 as part of a homicide investigation and later sold without the owner’s knowledge. The ruling reversed a district court judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Ricky Smith against Insley’s Towing & Recovery in Pine Bluff.

The parents of a Jacksonville toddler face murder charges in connection with the boy’s Aug. 16 death. Sharilyn Lopez pleaded innocent to charges of second-degree murder and acting as an accomplice in the death of 2-year-old Jaden Cotton. Police have an outstanding warrant for capital murder against her husband, Ausencio Lopez, who is hospitalized after a suiciden attempt.

Two brothers are under arrest for the Monday robbery of First Arkansas Bank and Trust in Guy. David Wade Sandlin and James Ronald Sandlin Jr. were apprehended in the Cleburne County area.

A quick response from law enforcement agencies throughout Jefferson County resulted in the arrest of two unnamed suspects who allegedly attempted to rob a bank at White Hall.

An argument between two people in the same car ends with a deadly crash on Chenal Parkway in west Little Rock. Police say the driver of the car died, his two passengers including a young child have serious injuries. Traffic was at a standstill for hours.

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