Work begins to solve bird mystery

January 3, 2011 BEEBE (AP) — Wildlife experts are trying to solve an apocalyptic-type mystery: Why did nearly 3,000 red-winged blackbirds tumble from the Arkansas sky on New Year’s Eve?The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says laboratories in Arkansas, Georgia and Wisconsin will examine some carcasses starting today. Results could be back in a week.

Disease likely cause of fish kill

January 3, 2011 OZARK (AP) — The state Game and Fish Commission says a fish kill along the Arkansas River near Ozark appears to have been caused by disease, but test results are pending.Several thousand drum fish washed up along a 20-mile stretch of the river, roughly between Ozark and Clarksville.Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens says the aquaculture school at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will conduct tests to determine the cause of the die off. The results will take about a month to come back.

Burglars captured

January 3, 2011 Two would-be burglars might have gotten away with stealing property from a Batesville residence had they not decided to press their luck and return to the scene of the crime.For it was during that second break-in that Independence County deputies caught them, red-handed so to speak, in the basement.

City tax, pit bulls bring out public

January 3, 2011 Throughout much of 2010 — particularly the summer — one three-letter word seemed to dominate headlines concerning the city of Batesville: Tax.But it wasn’t just a tax, city leaders reminded the public — it was an opportunity to improve parks and recreation facilities, drawing more visitors, progressing the economy and enhancing quality of life. Whether it was the wrong time for a new tax or the proposal itself was too grandiose (or other reasons altogether), voters still turned down the $45 million community center and ball complex.

$24M lost by investors

January 3, 2011 BATESVILLE (AP) — First Southern Bank’s closure by state regulators last month cost about 130 investors nearly $24 million, federal figures show, with the largest loss suffered by the shareholder who held just over half of the bank’s stock and was at the center of the issues that led to its failure.The biggest investor loss was taken by PA Alliance Trust, which owned just over 53 percent of the shares of First Southern Bank, worth about $12.7 million before the institution’s problems began last fall.

Dispatcher: 3 dead after tornado hits NW Ark. town

December 31, 2010 CINCINNATI (AP) — A Washington County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher says three people died this morning after a tornado slammed into the tiny northwest Arkansas town of Cincinnati.Dispatcher Josh Howerton says the storm caused damage along State Highway 59 in downtown Cincinnati and through most of the western portion of Washington County early today. He says there are “lots of injuries.”Cincinnati is located near the Oklahoma state line, about 20 miles west of Fayetteville.

Dogpatch is topic at lunch

December 31, 2010 LITTLE ROCK —  The Old State House Museum will host a Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series Jan. 28. The program will be a Dogpatch USA documentary.

VFW diversifies, reaches out to young vets

December 31, 2010 LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ post in Leavenworth traditionally was dominated by aged ex-servicemen. But in recent years a revolution has occurred in the Kansas Army town, with a new young leadership transforming the post into a center providing support and entertainment for male and female veterans of all ages and conflicts.It’s a scene that the VFW, considered the nation’s largest and most active organization advocating for military veterans, is burnishing as several hundred thousand of its mainstay members — World War II veterans — die each year.

Girl Scouts to sell cookies

December 31, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Girl Scouts in the region will be putting their entrepreneurial and leadership skills into practice with the arrival of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Orders will be taken Jan. 8-23.Cookies remain $3.50 per box with proceeds benefitting local troops. This year there are eight varieties to choose from: Do-si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Lemon Chalet Cremes, Samaos, Tagalongs, Thank You Berry Munch, Thin Mints and Trefoils. All cookies contain zero grams of trans fat.