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.

Boy dies after vodka binge

July 12, 2010 FORT SMITH (AP) — Police say a 15-year-old Fort Smith boy who celebrated his birthday by downing shots of vodka was found dead early the next morning.A police report said a friend realized something was wrong with Miguel Perrault about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when he couldn’t be awakened at the home where he had gone to sleep.The friend, Devin Williams, told police that Perrault had been drinking shots of vodka at a party Friday night because it was his birthday. He said Perrault drank close to a fifth of vodka.

Election commissioners to meet

July 12, 2010 The Independence County Election Commission will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 2200 Harrison St., Ste. A (in the Ozark Gateway Region office). This meeting is to discuss upcoming elections.

Crash leads to DWI charges

July 12, 2010 MELBOURNE — A Melbourne woman was arrested for drunk driving following a one-vehicle accident on Highway 69 east of Melbourne Friday morning, Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said.Kimberly R. Phillips, 46, was charged with driving while intoxicated-drugs, driving without a license, operating a vehicle without license plates, and refusal to submit to a chemical test. She was released later that day from the Izard County jail and given a court date.In other arrests:

Reports, bills top agenda

July 12, 2010 PLEASANT PLAINS — The Pleasant Plains aldermen will meet at 7 tonight in the city hall to hear monthly reports, Mayor Rick Siler said.Current bills will also be reviewed.

Council meeting rescheduled

July 12, 2010 MAGNESS — The Magness City Council meeting originally set for later in the week has been rescheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the city hall, Recorder-treasurer Teresa Goings said.Monthly departmental reports will be given and current bills will be reviewed.

Reports top council agenda

July 12, 2010 OIL TROUGH — The Oil Trough City Council’s regular monthly business meeting will begin at 7 tonight in the city hall, Recorder-treasurer Amy Goyne said.Items on the agenda include monthly departmental reports and a review of current bills.

Seats available for workshop

July 12, 2010 Seats are still available for a grant writing workshop scheduled for Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Arts and Sciences Building, room 301 on the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville campus.Attendees from local business and industry, Zila, Townsends, and White River Health System Foundation will join the Community School, Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce and other non-profits to learn how to approach grant writing. The training will feature such topics as how to write the proposal, how to develop a budget and what words and phrases to use.