Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday summary

The cost of athletic programs at public colleges and universities in Arkansas is expected to grow to $89.23 million this fiscal year. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff each will transfer $1.08 million from their education and general budgets, which cover everything from professor salaries to building maintenance, for athletics.

Arkansas National Guard officials notified several units this week to begin preparing to mobilize with Arkansas’ 39th Infantry Brigade next year if the brigade deploys to Iraq as planned.

More than 600 e-mail exchanges between Ron Quillin and a vendor, many of them explicit in nature, will stay private for now as Pulaski County prepares an appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court asking it to review whether the former county comptroller’s messages are public records.

Filing for school board seats ends today for Arkansas districts. School elections are September 18.

The Harmony Grove School District will ask patrons on Sept. 18 to approve a 2.3 mill property tax increase to fund a bond issue that would add a football program, according to Superintendent Danny Henley.The district property tax rate now is 39.7 mills.

A temporary tax on natural gas production in Arkansas has been discussed as a way to generate money for counties and cities struggling to pay for repairs to roads damaged by the heavy trucks traveling to and from drilling rigs, Gov. Mike Beebe said Friday.

Arkansas will see a significant decline in federal money for teaching students who don’t speak English fluently this school year. The almost $900,000 decrease follows an unprecedented amount of such funding last year that some officials said is a symptom of an inaccurate federal funding system.

Department of Highway and Transportation bridge inspectors will be looking closely at 11 Arkansas highway bridges similar in design to the one that collapsed Wednesday in Minneapolis. The longest of the 11 bridges is on U.S 63 in Northeast Arkansas at Black Rock and crosses Black River.

The beginning of the end to one of the state’s most expensive road projects — now almost two years behind schedule — is in sight for motorists who ply the section of Interstate 40 through the Levy area of North Little Rock.

Excessive spending and stale tax receipts have put Little Rock on course for a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall, a gap that could further sap an already depleted City Hall staff. Lagging behind some of its suburbs’ growth in sales-tax collections, Little Rock is expected to fall short in that area by more than $2 million this year. And its spending on supplies, employee overtime and utilities is on track to pass the budget by $3 million.

A man was killed and another was critically injured in what police described as a Sunday evening shootout in a residential street in southwest Little Rock. The men drew guns and fired at each other. One ran to his house and collapsed in the driveway, where he was found dead. The other man ran to a nearby house and collapsed on the porch. The death was Little Rock’s 27th murder this year and the second of the weekend. At this time last year, there had been 40 homicides in the city.

An American Cancer Society volunteer is accused of taking money intended for the agency, then repaying it after the bank grew suspicious, before being charged with a felony. Shannon Wayne Hix opened a bank account March 8 and deposited $23,000 he took from other volunteers.

CenterPoint Energy Inc., one of the state's largest natural gas suppliers, reported second-quarter net income of $70 million, or 20 cents per diluted share, compared to $194 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.

The White River Journal enters its’ second century this week as it continues under the ownership of the same family for 100 years. The weekly newspaper was founded on Aug. 9, 1907, by Charles A. Walls, and is today published by his daughter-in-law, Dean Walls.

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