Army engineers get OK to link with White Co.

July 13, 2010 SEARCY (AP) — Officials with White County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they hope newly approved radio links can prevent a repeat of what happened in 2008, when flooding along the White River was aggravated by release of water from the Greers Ferry Dam.Joe Harper, chief park ranger for the corps’ Greers Ferry office, met Monday with members of the White County 911 Emergency Management Administrative Board to get approval for sharing radio links with county agencies. Federal regulations limit who may use certain frequencies.

Blood drive to be held

July 13, 2010 SOUTHSIDE — Rolling Hills Nursing Center will host a blood drive from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The center is located at 1680 Batesville Blvd.

Smoke testing begins

July 13, 2010 Inspection crews for Pipeline Analysis have begun a physical survey of the wastewater collection system in Batesville, which will include smoke testing of sewer lines to locate breaks and defects in the system, according to a news release from the city of Batesville.During this testing, white smoke will exit through vent pipes on the roofs of homes and through sewer line breaks. The smoke is non-toxic, leaves no residue and creates no fire hazard.

ConAgra Foods donates recycle bins

July 13, 2010 ConAgra Foods of Batesville was recently awarded a $5,000 grant through its corporate office to fund a sustainable project in the Batesville community, according to a press release from Ashley Gay, operations support specialist for the company.“Our environmental committee voted to allot the grant money to the city of Batesville to provide recycle containers in city parks and also purchase landscape material for the Greenway Trail project,” Gay said.

Shooting under investigation in Jackson Co.

July 13, 2010 NEWPORT — A 17-year-old boy is in custody after a 22-year-old Jonesboro man was shot over the weekend and transported to a Little Rock hospital.Jackson County Investigator David Platt said the sheriff’s department received a call from Harris Hospital around 1:54 a.m. Sunday about the shooting.Sgt. Mark Benish and Deputy Stacy Sullivan arrived at the hospital and found Jared Seals with a gunshot wound to the arm, according to the report.

No action taken on proposal

July 13, 2010 ASH FLAT — Acting on advice from Arkansas Association of Counties attorney Mark Whitmire, the Sharp County Quorum Court decided Monday against adopting a proposed land and water use ordinance, County Judge Larry Brown said.Whitmire advised that if such an ordinance was adopted, the county should conduct some studies first, Brown said.

JPs balk over city complex

July 13, 2010 Moving Batesville forward is a good idea to some Independence County justices of the peace, but not good enough to garner the support of the full quorum court when it met Monday night.In two separate votes, the justices tied over their support, or lack of, for the $40-50 million Batesville parks initiative that would be paid for with a 1.25-cent tax inside the city limits.

Echols: ‘17 years of pure hell’

July 13, 2010 EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a 4-part series stemming from a recent prison interview with convicted killer Damien Echols. Some of the information is graphic.VARNER — He watched cars splash in the rainy streets. Damien Echols doesn’t know which November day it was when he stood in a Subway restaurant parking lot, but he cannot forget the sound of wheels in the water.He meditates for hours in his prison cell, wishing he could feel the water and hear the sound again. Some days thinking about that sound is the only thing that keeps him sane.

Group delivers fresh produce by basket

July 12, 2010 SEARCY (AP) — Arkansas agriculture is visiting our towns, and it’s traveling by basket.Jody Hardin of Grady started the Basket-A-Month program in December 2005 and it’s been growing steadily ever since. Joined by Barbara Armstrong of El Paso and a group of stalwart volunteers, the program employs 18-25 farmers monthly and serves five cities: Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Hot Springs Village and Searcy.“We wanted to support small farmers to move their produce and meats in volume,” Armstrong said. “It grew.”

Woman convicted of cruelty charged

July 12, 2010 MOUNTAIN HOME (AP) — A woman who was jailed in Arkansas in an animal-cruelty case now faces charges in Missouri.Tammy Christine Hanson, 43, was transferred from the Baxter County jail in Mountain Home to the Lawrence County jail in southwest Missouri Friday, where a jailer said she was being held in lieu of $25,000 bond.Prosecutors there charged Hanson with three felony counts of theft of an animal and a misdemeanor charge of failure to appear in court in Mount Vernon, Mo.Lawrence County Sheriff Ed Weisacosky was unavailable for comment, his office said.