Midland school gets grant

January 3, 2011 PLEASANT PLAINS — The Midland School District recently received a $750 grant from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program to support the school’s scholarship program.Exxon Express of Pleasant Plains worked with school officials to secure one of the 2,400 grants available to schools across the country served by ExxonMobil, which provided the funding, according to a news release.Exxon Express manager Amy Finley and owner Ronnie Smith presented Midland Superintendent Dean Stanley with the $750 check during a recent gathering.

Church services held

January 3, 2011 CINCINNATI (AP) — A preacher in an Arkansas town hit by a fatal tornado is encouraging residents to “reach out in compassion” and help take care of each other.Preacher Andy Newbill spoke during a service Sunday at the Cincinnati United Methodist Church, which has served as a shelter in the tiny northwest Arkansas community since a tornado packing winds of up to 140 mph hit on Friday morning, killing three people.Newbill tells the Northwest Arkansas Times that the church building’s pews were “completely full” of bags containing donations.

Congressmen get assignments

January 3, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Three incoming Republican congressmen from Arkansas have learned what their committee assignments will be after the new Congress convenes later this month.The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Steve Womack will be on the House Appropriations Committee, one of only three freshmen legislators to land on that panel. Womack says appropriations are “now about getting control of spending than bringing home the bacon.”

Dropped DL leads to arrest

January 3, 2011 WALNUT RIDGE — A Corning woman dropped her driver’s license in the wrong place.It turns out she was in Walnut Ridge purchasing drugs legally at the same time that her car outside contained illegal drugs, Sheriff Jody Dotson said.A Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy who was in a Walnut Ridge pharmacy spotted the driver’s license on the floor Thursday, Dotson said.“The deputy picked up the license and asked the pharmacy about the person and was told the woman had just walked out,” he said.The deputy went to the vehicle the woman was occupying and spoke with her.

Work begins to solve bird mystery

January 3, 2011 BEEBE (AP) — Wildlife experts are trying to solve an apocalyptic-type mystery: Why did nearly 3,000 red-winged blackbirds tumble from the Arkansas sky on New Year’s Eve?The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says laboratories in Arkansas, Georgia and Wisconsin will examine some carcasses starting today. Results could be back in a week.

Disease likely cause of fish kill

January 3, 2011 OZARK (AP) — The state Game and Fish Commission says a fish kill along the Arkansas River near Ozark appears to have been caused by disease, but test results are pending.Several thousand drum fish washed up along a 20-mile stretch of the river, roughly between Ozark and Clarksville.Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens says the aquaculture school at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will conduct tests to determine the cause of the die off. The results will take about a month to come back.

Burglars captured

January 3, 2011 Two would-be burglars might have gotten away with stealing property from a Batesville residence had they not decided to press their luck and return to the scene of the crime.For it was during that second break-in that Independence County deputies caught them, red-handed so to speak, in the basement.

City tax, pit bulls bring out public

January 3, 2011 Throughout much of 2010 — particularly the summer — one three-letter word seemed to dominate headlines concerning the city of Batesville: Tax.But it wasn’t just a tax, city leaders reminded the public — it was an opportunity to improve parks and recreation facilities, drawing more visitors, progressing the economy and enhancing quality of life. Whether it was the wrong time for a new tax or the proposal itself was too grandiose (or other reasons altogether), voters still turned down the $45 million community center and ball complex.

$24M lost by investors

January 3, 2011 BATESVILLE (AP) — First Southern Bank’s closure by state regulators last month cost about 130 investors nearly $24 million, federal figures show, with the largest loss suffered by the shareholder who held just over half of the bank’s stock and was at the center of the issues that led to its failure.The biggest investor loss was taken by PA Alliance Trust, which owned just over 53 percent of the shares of First Southern Bank, worth about $12.7 million before the institution’s problems began last fall.