Soldiers deploy for Texas, Iraq

February 21, 2011 NORTH LITTLE ROCK (AP) — About 130 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard have left for training in Texas that will be followed by deployment to Iraq.The members of the 77th Theater Aviation Brigade left Camp Robinson on Sunday morning.The soldiers will first go to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will undergo mobilization training. The soldiers have already spent 45 days in training as they prepared for departure.Including the 77th, the Arkansas National Guard has about 400 soldiers and airmen deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.

Juvenile confesses to break-in at store

February 21, 2011 WALNUT RIDGE — A 17-year-old boy from Black Rock was arrested Friday by Lawrence County sheriff’s officers for commercial burglary, theft of property, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and breaking and entering, Sheriff Jody Dotson said.The arrest came after a report of shots being fired in Portia, Dotson said. A Lawrence County deputy was in the area and responded; backup units from Walnut Ridge and Hoxie police departments also responded.

Library board may be increased to nine

February 21, 2011 ASH FLAT — The Sharp County Quorum Court agreed during a regular meeting last week to vote next month on dissolving the five-member library board and establishing a nine-member board, said County Judge Larry Brown.In preliminary discussions of the proposal, some justices indicated they feel nine members would allow for representation from more communities in the county.

Chamber pleased with attendance at banquet

February 21, 2011 The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2011 Business Expo Saturday night on the campus of UACCB in Independence Hall along with the Annual Awards Ceremony and featured keynote speaker John Cassis.The chamber honored Walmart as Large Business of the Year; The Batesville Daily Guard as Small Business of the Year; Ivory Owl as New Business of the Year; Gary Bebow as Past Chairman; Bob Pest as Volunteer of the Year; and Michael Ferry as Ambassador of the Year. The Terry Gipson family was recognized as the 2010 Farm Family of the Year.

Few changes expected in Townsends takeover

February 21, 2011 Batesville citizens and Townsends employees are expected to see little change as a result of Peco Foods Inc., an Alabama-based company, taking over the poultry operation.Peco Foods human resources director Steve Conley told the Guard that while “changes will be made in product mix and customer base as appropriate ... we plan to retain most of the jobs if not substantially all of them.”

United Way speakers aimed at getting, keeping volunteers

February 21, 2011 How to recruit and keep volunteers for non-profit organizations was the focal point of the North Central Volunteer Network, which met with the directors of more than a dozen nonprofit organizations from around the state Thursday.Hosted by the United Way of Independence County, the event held in the George Rider Room of First Community Bank in Batesville, was titled “Building Strong Committees.” Cary Tyson, director of Main Street Arkansas, and Lisa Caplinger, chairwoman of the White River Water Carnival, were featured guest speakers.

Stolen truck, four-wheeler, other items recovered

February 21, 2011 MELBOURNE — The Izard County Sheriff’s Department has recovered an abundance of items believed to have been stolen in recent days, Sheriff Tate Lawrence has announced. The items were found at a residence on River Road near Guion.

Mass. family stops at Hot Springs Nat’l Park as part of yearlong trip

February 21, 2011 HOT SPRINGS (AP) — The Beverley family, of Massachusetts, recently made stop No. 13 when they visited Hot Springs National Park in their yearlong journey to see all 58 national parks in the country, including those in Alaska and Hawaii.“We are spending up to four days in each park. This park is the smallest, so we’ll probably spend two days here, roughly, depending, but we can spend more since we have up to four,” said Teresa Beverley, noting that one travel day between parks is included in the itinerary.

Man sentenced for beating, burning

February 21, 2011 BENTONVILLE (AP) — A Benton County jury has recommended against a death sentence for a Farmington man convicted of capital murder in the fatal beating and burning of a disabled Garfield resident.Besides imposing a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder charge, the panel of seven men and five women recommended Friday that Broderick Laswell be sentenced to 60 years in prison for aggravated robbery.A jury convicted Laswell Feb. 8 in the Aug. 30, 2007, killing of Randall Walker, 47.

19-year-old man drowns

February 21, 2011 RUSSELLVILLE (AP) — The Pope County coroner says a 19-year-old Russellville man has drowned while swimming in the Long Pool Recreation Area.Coroner Leonard Krout says Steven Zamora drowned Friday night while trying to swim across Big Piney Creek. Krout said Zamora was visiting the recreation area with his fiancée and two friends.Krout says Zamora had swum from a picnic area to a large rock and became sick and threw up, likely because of the cold water. Krout says Zamora began feeling better and tried to swim back, but threw up again and went underwater.