Woman hospitalized after home attack

March 12, 2010 A Mount Pleasant woman remains hospitalized in stable condition after she apparently interrupted a home burglary in progress and was attacked Monday afternoon.“The woman told officers she had been to Batesville to have lunch with her husband and visit a friend in Bethesda before she returned home between 1 and 2 p.m. She said she was assaulted as she walked through the house and knocked unconscious,” Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said.

Arson conviction overturned

March 11, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Court of Appeals has overturned the arson conviction of a former volunteer firefighter and ordered a new trial in the case.The court found that the judge made a mistake in jury instructions in the trial of Dustin Torrence. Torrence was convicted in Cleveland County of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed Kingsland High School in May 2003. He was a Kingsland firefighter at the time.

Feds indict 31 people in drug, weapons investigation

March 11, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Thirty-one people in Lonoke and Prairie counties have been indicted in a federal drug and weapons investigation.U.S. Attorney Jane Duke announced Wednesday in Little Rock that eight of the defendants were arrested and the rest would be summoned to appear in court.The indictment charges 29 of the defendants with conspiring to possess methamphetamine and marijuana with intent to distribute.A federal grand jury handed up the indictments last week, and U.S. Magistrate Beth Deere unsealed the documents Wednesday.

Beebe touts mental health program for veterans

March 11, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Gov. Mike Beebe has gotten behind a program that matches up veterans with mental health professionals who donate their time and help soldiers make the transition from the combat to home life.The Give an Hour program, founded by Maryland psychologist Barbara Van Dahlen, encourages mental health professionals to donate an hour a week. The organization will link veterans with providers. Dahlen was on hand with Beebe on Wednesday to announce an effort to build the program in Arkansas.

Arkansas unemployment steady; national rate drops

March 11, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ January unemployment rate was unchanged from December at 7.6 percent, but state officials said Wednesday they want to see a longer interval of stability before they will be convinced the state is pulling out of the recession.Arkansas, whose unemployment rate remains more than two percentage points below the national average, has avoided sharp budget cuts while neighboring states have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from their budgets. The national unemployment rate dropped from 10 percent to 9.7 percent in January.

Inmate deposition OK’d for post-execution trial

March 11, 2010 PINE BLUFF — An inmate set to be executed next month can be interviewed on camera by attorneys for a death penalty opponent accused of trying to smuggle him contraband in prison, a judge ruled Wednesday.Circuit Judge Jodi Dennis said attorneys for Betsey Wright can videotape Don Davis, who is to be executed a month before Wright’s trial in May.

Authority will reapply for assistance

March 11, 2010 SOUTHSIDE — The Southside Public Water Authority board voted Tuesday night to reapply for assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers under Section 14 to repair the section of river embankment damaged during the back-to-back flood events of 2008.The request had been declined in 2009 by the Corps based on a direct cost comparison between repairing the 2,000-foot section of embankment or relocating a portion of the authority’s raw water line, underground power cables and access road that extends from the intake site to the treatment plant.

NADC board to hold orientation

March 11, 2010 The Northcentral Arkansas Development Council board of directors will have its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Italian Grill in Batesville.The agenda for the meeting is: board orientation for new members; election of officers and selection of standing committees; approval of minutes of December meeting; review of agency audit; Community Services Block Grant quarterly report; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Community Services Block Grant quarterly report; monitoring report; and new business.

Photo fundraiser planned

March 11, 2010 Melbourne — The Parent Advisory Board of the Ozarka Kids Academy (OKA) is hosting a fundraiser with Antiquities Unique Portraits on March 19 and 20 in the lobby of the John E. Miller Building at Ozarka College in Melbourne. The OKA Parent Advisory Board will be selling coupons for $10. Each coupon entitles the customer to a 10x13 sepia portrait offered by professional staff and trained photographers. After purchasing a coupon, each customer will be called for a sitting appointment prior to photography date. These portraits are guaranteed in time for Easter.