SALEM — Forty-five years each.
That was the agreement last week in Fulton County for two men who pleaded guilty to killing a cook in October of last year and then disposing of his body in Izard County.
Diego Handelin Valdivia Villonveva and Jorge Pablo Gonzalez were initially charged with capital murder in the death of 31-year-old Jesus Cisneros Meza.
According to Deputy Prosecutor Dwayne Plumlee, both men were given 30-year sentences and an additional 15 years for the use of a firearm.
MELBOURNE — Izard County was “fairly quiet during Thanksgiving week,” Sheriff Tate Lawrence said in a news release.
Among the arrests:
• Dalton Ray Erwin, 22, of Oxford and Amy Marie Smith, 33, of Oxford were arrested Thanksgiving day and charged with criminal trespass.
The charges stem from the couple occupying another’s house in Oxford without permission. Erwin remains in the Izard County jail in lieu of $605 bond while Smith posted bond on Saturday in that amount and was released with a court date.
GRANGE — Pure Country resort will host a Cowboy Christmas event starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Featured will be more than 20 Christmas trees, along with Christmas music by the Harbor Lights Temple Youth group.
Guests are asked to bring one Christmas ornament for admission and to enjoy hot cider and finger food while helping “deck the stalls” for the festive event, according to owner Jane Mize. “Come hungry and enjoy a different experience, a Cowboy Christmas,” Mize said.
CAVE CITY — Hana Smith, art teacher for the Cave City School District, will be the featured speaker at the Cave City Kiwanis Club meeting at noon Thursday in the Cave City Community Center, said Dettye Broughton, secretary.
Smith will teach members and guests how to create small Christmas theme art projects.
CONCORD — The annual City of Concord Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Concord City Park, said Mayor Warren “Buck” Rone.
“Refreshments, caroling and a visit by Mr. and Mrs. Santa will follow at the Concord City Hall,” he said.
A Santa painting by Ellen Hobgood will be given away by drawing sometime during the event.
Tickets for the drawing are now on sale. Anyone wishing to purchase tickets should call Jackie Rone at (870) 668-3798, or tickets can be purchased at the ceremony.
Students will have the chance to earn scholarships Saturday at the last Honors Day of the fall semester.
Open to students accepted at Lyon College and having either a 3.25 grade point average or better or an ACT composite score of 23 or better, Honors Day is a four-part competition that gives prospective students a chance to earn scholarship money including full tuition, room, board, fees and books. Participants are guaranteed an academic scholarship of no less than $6,500 per year.
ASHDOWN (AP) — An Ashdown resident is suing the city for installing a sewer lift station in his backyard without permission.
Dale Ford said he returned to his Walker Street house, which had been rented during his six-year absence from Ashdown, to find that a lift station and a gravel access road had been built on his property.
The lift station, which pumps sewage to a higher elevation so it can flow downhill to a treatment area, was installed in 2006 as part of a $1.5 million sewage improvement project financed through a loan from the Arkansas Development Finance Authority.
LITTLE ROCK — The U.S. Postal Service has announced mail-by dates to ensure that Christmas packages, cards and letters arrive at their intended destinations prior to the holiday.
Leisa Tolliver-Gay, spokeswoman for the USPS in Arkansas, said to use the following classes of mail and dates as guidelines: Parcel Post, Dec. 15; First Class Mail, Dec. 20; Priority Mail, Dec. 21; Express Mail, Dec. 22; and for what the USPS calls “DNDC Drop Ship” and “DDU Drop Ship,” Dec. 19 and Dec. 22, respectively.
Amanda Roraff and Charles Martin have been hired as maintenance assistants at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.
Born in Sierra Vista, Ariz., Roraff moved to Arkansas with her family in 1991 and graduated from Bald Knob High School in 2000.
“My son Tyler was born in 2002 and I worked multiple jobs while raising him before moving to Batesville in 2005 where I met my fiance James,” she said. “When Tyler started kindergarten, I decided to go back to school and enrolled at UACCB with James’ full support.”
Growth is a thing many schools like to see, and at the Batesville School District no where is it seen more than in elementary classrooms.
Growth, however, also means the need for more space as students graduate and enter junior high, and that’s something school officials are keeping their eyes on.
Gary Anderson, director at New Horizons alternative learning school in Desha, presented last week a capacity study at the request of Superintendent Dr. Randy Willison, indicating the district still has some room to grow, but several of the schools are essentially full.
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series about the homes featured on the Batesville Preservation Association’s Christmas Tour of Historic Homes, set for 1-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information about the tour, call Terrell Tebbetts at (870) 307-7342 or (870) 793-2266.
Police are looking for a man who made three attempts to break into bank ATMs in a two-day period.
Independence County Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. Jimmy Smith said that on Wednesday before Thanksgiving a man attempted to gain entry to an ATM at Liberty Bank, 1240 E. Main St., but had left the area by the time deputies arrived. In this incident only the keypad was damaged.
On Thanksgiving day, deputies were again dispatched to Liberty Bank in reference to an unknown suspect again damaging the ATM.