Lottery director has review, still has job

January 13, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Lottery Commission decided Wednesday to keep Ernie Passailaigue as its director after a closed-door meeting in which members gave him his first performance review.Passailaigue was hired in June 2009 to launch the Arkansas lottery, and the first tickets were sold in September. Passailaigue drew praise for the quick start, but had already drawn criticism for drawing a salary of $324,000, when he made $226,829 in his prior job running South Carolina’s lottery.

Prison terms handed down for drugs, other charges

January 13, 2011 Four people were sentenced to prison Tuesday in Independence County Circuit Court after pleading guilty and “no contest” to a variety of charges.• Steven Murry of Newport pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, second-degree battery and resisting arrest.

The Weekend Events

January 13, 2011 Friday• Free story time for toddlers and preschoolers, 10:30 a.m., Old Independence Regional Museum. Crafts included. To schedule a group, call (870) 793-2121.• Ashleigh Rogers and Robin “Bird” Goodwin in concert, 6 p.m., The Cinnamon Stick, downtown Batesville. Free admission.• Kenya Safari Acrobats, 7 p.m., University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s Independence Hall. Tickets are $10. Call (870) 612-2040.Saturday

Moms of Military to meet

January 13, 2011 The Moms of the Military (MOMS) Prayer and Support Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Fellowship Baptist Church.The meeting is open to all women with family serving in any branch of the military. The group meets the third Monday evening of each month to share experiences, military information and ideas, and to support one another. Child care will be available. For information call Debbie Webb at (870) 251-2100 or the church at 251-1918. The church is located at 1003 Batesville Blvd.

Library to be closed for MLK Jr. Day

January 13, 2011 The Independence County Library will be closed Saturday through Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.The library will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Lawmakers wind down first week of session

January 13, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers are continuing their focus on tax cuts and the budget as they wind down the first week of the legislative session.The House Revenue and Taxation Committee plans to meet today with officials from the Department of Finance and Administration and others as they prepare for a slew of tax cut ideas that include Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed cut in the state’s grocery tax.

Court upholds warrantless search of LR pawn shop

January 13, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A federal appeals court says it was appropriate for the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office to seize a stolen paint sprayer from a pawn shop, even though officers didn’t have a warrant.The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the owners of EZ Cash Pawn Shop in Little Rock against the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office and several of its officers. The pawn shop sued after a sergeant seized the paint sprayer, which was reported stolen and had been pawned for $300.

State senator gets helicopter ride to Capitol

January 13, 2011 TEXARKANA, Ark.  (AP) — State Sen. Steve Harrelson of Texarkana received a helicopter ride from the Arkansas State Police in order to arrive for the start of the 88th Legislature.Harrelson said he had driven just 70 miles in five hours Monday on ice-covered Interstate 30 when he called the Senate office to report he would be absent — and was put him in touch with state police.

Jury selection delayed in murder trial

January 13, 2011 BENTONVILLE (AP) — Jury selection has been delayed in the capital murder trial in the death of a Garfield man.Benton County Circuit Judge Robin Green said during a Wednesday hearing for 19-year-old Broderick Laswell of Farmington that two issues have developed that must be resolved before a jury is seated. Jury selection is now to begin next Wednesday.Green did not elaborate and both prosecutors and defense attorneys declined comment.

Dunn trial begins

January 13, 2011 CLARKSVILLE (AP) — A jury has been selected and opening statements are scheduled in the murder trial of a Dover man in the beating death of Arkansas beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer.Jury selection was completed Wednesday and opening statements are scheduled for today in the capital murder trial of 31-year-old Gary Dunn in the December 2005 death of Dirksmeyer in Russellville.This is Dunn’s second trial after his first trial ended last May with the jury deadlocked. It’s the third trial in the case after Dirksmeyer’s boyfriend — Kevin Jones — was acquitted.