Mothers connect

February 3, 2011 Because muscular dystrophy affects about one in every 3,500 male babies, Mandy McClain didn’t expect to find another person from Newark living with the same condition doctors recently diagnosed her son with. Then she met the family of 10-year-old Austin Simmons, this year’s Central Arkansas Goodwill Ambassador of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Correction

February 3, 2011 The number of SWAT officers was incorrectly listed in Wednesday’s Guard. The Independence County Sheriff’s Office currently has 10 SWAT team members (but Sheriff Steve Jeffery says he needs around 20).Also the city has 13 patrol officers, not three.

Beginning Steps meets Friday

February 3, 2011 Beginning Steps, a free program provided by the Batesville School District to support parents of newborn babies, will have its regular monthly meeting at 1 p.m. Friday.It will be held in Conference Room A of the Josephine Raye Rogers Center for Women and Imaging at White River Medical Center. Parents and their newborns up to age 6 weeks are welcome. Attendees will receive a free baby gift. For more information call (870) 793-0627.

Chamber to host business expo, awards ceremony

February 3, 2011 The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce will present the 2011 Business Expo Feb. 19 at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.“The Business Expo is an excellent opportunity for members to network, brand and promote their business,” said Crystal Johnson, chamber president/CEO said. “We are pleased to provide an opportunity for our members to showcase their business to potential customers.” All expo booths are sold out, but tickets to the event are still available. Tickets to the Business Expo are $10 per person and are on sale at the chamber.

Rep. to meet with citizens

February 3, 2011 CORD — District 73 Rep. James Ratliff will be on hand Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Cord Senior Citizens building to discuss actions taken or being considered by the state Legislature. Ratliff said he plans to hold monthly meetings to hear concerns and keep citizens informed.

Humane society offering ‘bundles of love’ at half price

February 3, 2011 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and the Humane Society of Independence County says there’s no better way to give love to someone special than with a bundle of love from its shelter.“Beginning Feb. 8, our ‘Looking for Love’ dogs and puppies will all be available for adoption at half price — $25 will get you a bundle of devoted lifelong love,” states a news release from the humane society. “There are MANY puppies and dogs that are looking for their forever home, so come to the shelter and see how much love we have!”

Ark. GOP official resigns over ‘pro-white’ tie

February 3, 2011 LITTLE ROCK — A county-level GOP official who refused to cut his ties to a group that calls itself “pro-white” resigned from his position with the Republican Party of Arkansas on Wednesday, the state party chairman said.John Casteel, who has been linked to a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens, stepped down as Jackson County’s chairman, state Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb said.

Friends in Great Places concert scheduled

February 3, 2011 Ramona Jones and the Grandpa Jones family will join area musicians for the third annual Friends in Great Places Concert March 4 at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.This year the concert will feature acoustic music including folk, bluegrass, contemporary, gospel and ole’ time.“We are happy to welcome some new musicians to the stage this year,” said Danny Dozier, who assists the college in organizing the event. “Ramona Jones, wife of country entertainer Grandpa Jones, will bring her band to play a set of pure ole’ time music.”

Brothers involved in wreck

February 3, 2011 LYNN — A 14-year-old boy who was transported by helicopter to Memphis following a one-vehicle accident at Lynn Wednesday morning is doing well after suffering a bruised spine and neck fracture, according to family.Cody Brannon was a passenger in the 1991 Nissan pickup his brother, Billy Brannon, 17, was driving on the way to Hillcrest High School at about 7:50 a.m., according to Arkansas State Police Cpl. Creston Hutton.

Simmons chosen as ambassador

February 3, 2011 NEWARK — Newark Elementary fourth-grader Austin Simmons didn’t quite know what to think Friday afternoon when learning he was the reason for a schoolwide assembly or that Jan. 28 had been declared Austin Simmons Day by the city of Newark.Meet Simmons and one wouldn’t know that for five years he has battled a slow, debilitating disorder that causes muscle weakness of the legs and pelvis. At 10, Simmons is the face of Becker’s muscular dystrophy and this year’s Central Arkansas Goodwill Ambassador of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.