Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wednesday summary

Little Rock voters have approved a pair of measures designed to bolster their mayor’s role at City Hall, changes that must now clear a federal lawsuit. More than 61 percent of voters awarded the job full-time status and gave the mayor veto power over the city’s Board of Directors.

Teachers, principals and other employees at five Little Rock elementary schools shared $242,507 in performance pay this week for achievement gains made by the children in their classrooms or in their schools over the past year.

The Little Rock School District has offered Superintendent Roy Brooks $550,000 to buy out his contract, an amount that School Board President Katherine Mitchell says is “the bottom line.” But Brooks said he is entitled to more.

The federal regulator for national banks has reprimanded ANB Financial of Rogers, the second-largest locally owned bank in Northwest Arkansas. The federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency found “unsafe and unsound banking practices relating to the supervision”. ANB’s commercial real estate lending is the target of the notice.

St. Mary's Hospital in Rogers may soon belong to Benton County. The Benton County Committee of 13 approved putting down $50,000 in earnest money for the entire hospital, which includes 255,000 square feet in the main building, multiple outbuildings and about 12 acres.

A 4-year-old Plainview boy who was apparently left unattended in a vehicle parked outside Ozark Gun and Pawn on North Arkansas Avenue in Russellville is dead after being hit by a truck in an alleyway.

A former prison inmate testified that he had sex about a dozen times with a prison psychologist at the Cummins Unit before they were caught in the act by a corrections officer. Anna Clark, the former prison therapist fired soon after the incident in April 2006, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of third-degree sexual assault.

The family of the Hartford woman who was run over by the chief of Hartford police are dismissing reports that she was lying in the street when struck. Brandi Wooten was seriously injured when Chief Stephen Layne ran over her with his vehicle. Deanna Webb, Wooten’s mother, says the scenario that Wooten was passed out in the road is false.

The Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office along with several other local agencies seized large marijuana crops planted in fields behind the Fort Smith Regional Airport. Investigators were notified by members of the Arkansas Air National Guard approximately three weeks ago that during a flight, Guard pilots saw marijuana crops growing in fields behind the airport.

Little Rock officials say that they will seek more information before considering a resolution to sue Pulaski County to force it to accept more inmates at the county jail.

Professional illusionist/escape artist Michal Angelo, a Fort Smith native, asked the Sebastian County Park Board for permission to stage for free a seemingly death-defying escape stunt in Ben Geren Regional Park on Sept. 8. Angelo said the straitjacket escape while attached with a burning rope to a five-story tall crane is a birthday present he wants to give to his hometown — his birthday is Sept. 1.

The Fort Smith Parks Commission has voted to recommend fines for people who feed the Canada Geese in Carol Ann Cross Park. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Alsup said that people feeding the fowl have led to overpopulation of geese at the park, which has created several issues, including complaints about aggressive behavior by the geese and excessive amounts of feces.

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