Fla. student’s message in bottle found in Ireland

October 4, 2010 MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — A message in a bottle sent by a Florida high school student as part of his marine science class has come ashore in Ireland.Corey Swearingen put the bottle into the Atlantic Ocean in April 2009 and it followed the current all the way to a small fishing village in Ireland. A 17-year-old boy and his father found the bottle during a family vacation.Swearingen’s former teacher, Ethan Hall, says the bottle’s trip probably lasted about 16 months or so.

No laps for warm laptops; study shows skin damage possible

October 4, 2010 CHICAGO — Have you ever worked on your laptop computer with it sitting on your lap, heating up your legs? If so, you might want to rethink that habit.Doing it a lot can lead to “toasted skin syndrome,” an unusual-looking mottled skin condition caused by long-term heat exposure, according to medical reports.In one recent case, a 12-year-old boy developed a sponge-patterned skin discoloration on his left thigh after playing computer games a few hours every day for several months.

Essay competition under way; winner to receive $2,500 scholarship

October 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — In conjunction with its upcoming temporary exhibit, “Commitment to Haiti: Build Back Better,” the William J. Clinton Presidential Center is sponsoring a statewide essay competition for Arkansas 11th- and 12th-grade students. The winner will receive a $2,500 college scholarship.Students are asked to submit a 500-word-or-less essay addressing the following:

Woman arrested for drunk driving

October 4, 2010 Sheila Winningham was almost home Friday night when she wrecked her car on Finney Road in the Cushman community.When Deputy Ben Keener arrived at the crash site around 10:30 p.m. he reportedly found Winningham, 44, sitting behind the wheel of her wrecked car which was sitting half in the roadway and ditch.“When I approached the vehicle I observed the driver (Winningham) move her head and when I asked if she was OK, she just groaned,” Keener said.

You’ve got mail — finally

October 4, 2010 FORT SMITH (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says residents in Johnson County will get an explanation and an apology when mail found in the home of a deceased postmaster is finally delivered.Postal Service spokeswoman Leisa Tolliver-Gay told the Southwest Times Record Friday that a “customer” found 500 letters at the home of Merlin Walters and turned them in this week. The 89-year-old Walters was the Hartman postmaster until his death in March.Tolliver-Gay says she doesn’t know how the customer found the mail, how the letters got to the home or how long they were there.

1 dead, 1 arrested in shooting

October 4, 2010 JONESBORO (AP) — Police in Jonesboro say a man is dead and one person is in custody after a shooting at an apartment complex.Verlee Harris Jr., 33, was killed in the shooting just after 7 p.m. Saturday. Lt. Rick Elliott says Harris lived in an apartment at the complex and was shot during an argument with another tenant.Elliott said Harris and the suspect were arguing when the suspect picked up a shotgun and fired two shots with one hitting Harris. Elliott says Harris collapsed as he ran toward his apartment and was dead at the scene.

Sept. revenues below forecast

October 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas revenues for September failed to top the state fiscal office’s forecast but officials say they expect those numbers to improve in the months ahead.The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced today that net available general revenues totaled $483 million for September, up 6.9 percent from a year ago. Revenues are 1.8 percent below forecast.

Tenn. man to be tried in death of his wife

October 4, 2010 SEARCY (AP) — A March 7 trial date has been set for a former Harding University basketball player charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife in western Tennessee.Thomas Pate Jr.’s trial originally was set for August, but the proceeding was postponed when the judge in the case retired.Authorities say Pate told them his wife, Micah, left their Bartlett home April 30, 2009, on foot and never returned. Police say he later told them he accidentally shot her in the head while they were doing target practice, and he led detectives to her body.

ASU presidential search committee notes destroyed, possibly in violation of law

October 4, 2010 JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State University officials have been criticized for collecting and shredding notes that were taken during a recent meeting of the committee that’s looking for a new president.Tom Meredith, who was hired to lead the presidential search, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Friday that it’s standard practice to destroy notes during such meetings to keep them from being made public.

Calif. scandal makes city officials outcasts

October 4, 2010 BELL, Calif. (AP) — The four members of the Bell City Council, who once hailed themselves as champions of their people, have become all but pariahs since the public learned they paid themselves and others huge salaries to run a modest, blue-collar town.Meanwhile, the council members, who have been charged with misappropriating millions of dollars, have dropped from sight.At the small grocery store Mayor Oscar Hernandez has operated for 30 years, a sign has gone up proclaiming the business is under new management.