Ark. House leaders now won’t use state vehicles

December 29, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas House Chief of Staff Bill Stovall says top officials in the chamber won’t commute any more in state vehicles.Stovall tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that outgoing Speaker Robbie Wills, D-Conway, has turned in his vehicle for use as a pool vehicle. State Rep. Robert Moore, D-Arkansas City, the incoming speaker, says he’ll drive his personal pickup instead of a state vehicle.

Izard spelling bee scheduled; committee seeks donations

December 29, 2010 MELBOURNE — The annual Izard County spelling bee will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 in the Miller Auditorium at Ozarka College in Melbourne.The winner will compete in the state spelling bee in Little Rock at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock. That winner will advance to the national bee at Washington, D.C.The Izard County spelling bee committee is encouraging residents and businesses to participate by donating cash prizes for the winners. The committee hopes the continued support will encourage students to seek excellence in education, according to a news release.

Two arrested for Christmas burglaries

December 29, 2010 Two people were arrested Christmas morning for a string of burglaries that occurred in east Batesville.Independence County Sheriff Alan Cockrill said Brendon Antosh, 19, and Sara Sapiro, 21, are each expected to be charged with six counts of breaking or entering and four misdemeanor counts of theft of property. Antosh also is facing one count each of first-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal mischief. Bond was set at $20,000 for each of them.

Businesses celebrate long-term successes

December 29, 2010 With approximately 30 new businesses opening in Batesville in the past year, with all but a handful still in operation, all the owners/operators have one goal in mind — survival.How do some businesses survive long enough to celebrate a total of 135 years in a small town like Batesville?Customer service.That was the recurring answer recently from the local owners of Heuer’s Family Shoes, Wade’s Heat/Air, and Electric, and B & R Marine and Cycle.

Sign up now for MAL loans

December 29, 2010 Independence County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Dee Anne Barnes said that producers who want a Market Assistance Loan (MAL) before the end of the year should contact the county office immediately.FSA offices need time to process the loan and prepare the loan documents.  The loans are marketing tools available to producers to allow for a more orderly marketing of commodities throughout the year.

SURE signup begins Jan. 10

December 29, 2010 WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that the sign-up period for the 2009 crop year Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) program begins on Jan. 10, according to a news release.SURE is one of five disaster programs included in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 that provides assistance to farmers and ranchers who have suffered losses due to natural disasters.

All 75 counties named disaster areas

December 29, 2010 WASHINGTON —  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated the entire state of Arkansas — that includes 75 counties — as a natural disaster area because of losses caused by drought, excessive heat and related insects and diseases that began April 1, 2010, and continues. “President Obama and I understand these conditions caused severe damage to pasture and forage crops,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This action will provide help to hundreds of farmers who suffered significant production losses.”

C-Ridge students win at quiz bowl camp

December 29, 2010 NEWARK — The Cedar Ridge junior high quiz bowl team participated in the Valley View Invitational Quiz Bowl Camp on Dec. 4.Students from 1A-7A classifications participated. Camper Jeffrey Steward, who is in the ninth grade at Cedar Ridge, was selected for the all-tournament team and received the Monster Quizzer award for answering the most questions correctly out of all campers. His team also placed first out of all 16 teams. His brother, Shelby Steward, received the Outstanding 7th Grade Camper award.

ACT council recognizes students

December 29, 2010 The Arkansas ACT Council has presented Arkansas student achievement awards to several Batesville High School students for their performance on the 2009-10 pre-ACT college entrance exam. This award recognizes students for meeting all four of ACT’s college readiness benchmarks and being on target for college readiness and success, according to a news release.

4 net college AP awards

December 29, 2010 Four Batesville High School students have earned Advanced Placement scholar awards for their exceptional achievement on AP exams, according to a news release.The College Board’s Advanced Placement provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school and earn college credit, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.8 million students worldwide who took the exams performed at a sufficiently high level to earn these awards.