‘Race To The Top’ topic at meeting

December 18, 2009 Arkansas schools have received more than $450 million in stimulus funding since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was established earlier this year.Nearly $11.6 billion more is up for grabs thanks to a competitive grant program called “Race to the Top” if schools across the nation can show how they will use such money to make improvements in education.Arkansas is hoping to be among them.

Habitat seeking donors, volunteers

December 18, 2009 Fifteen dollars would paint one wall. Twenty-five would buy a light fixture. And $300 would go toward floor covering.The Habitat for Humanity of Independence County is seeking volunteers as well as donations for its second house. The chapter’s first house became a home last March when the Dale and Tabitha Liegel family moved in.Now the group’s second house is currently under construction with the Ralph and Lisa Lewis family already hard at work putting their “sweat equity” into their very own home.

News of other days

December 17, 2009 Editor’s note: This column ran previously in the Guard on Jan. 2, 1997.

Little Rock expressway to narrow during the day

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Motorists who use Interstate 630 to travel between areas in west Little Rock and the city’s central sections need to be alert to a lane closure in the eastbound lanes for a couple of days.The state Highway Department says the closure will occur only during daytime hours today and Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. after the morning rush hour and ending at 3 p.m. before the evening traffic jams.

Zoo to demonstrate new composting machine

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Most backyard gardeners probably don’t need much machinery to keep their compost pile actively producing fertilizer.But then most gardeners aren’t gathering pounds and pounds of large-animal manure for composting every day. At the Little Rock Zoo, however, they are, and now they can do it much more efficiently.Zoo workers plan a demonstration Thursday morning of a new composting machine that is used to mix manure from the zoo’s elephants and rhinoceroses with leaf and grass cuttings from the grounds.

LR firefighters agree to delay raises

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Firefighters in Little Rock have agreed to delay until July 1 a 4 percent pay raise they were to get in January.City police officers are to begin voting on the same request starting today.The city’s 2010 budget of $131.1 million doesn’t include the 4 percent raise and the city asked unions representing firefighters, police and nonuniformed employees to delay the raises.City Manager Bruce Moore says the delay prevents potential job losses.Voting by the police union will end at 11 p.m. Dec. 31.

Payback will cost prison guard

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — An Arkansas prison guard accused of moving a prisoner to a mosquito-infested cell in retaliation for a grievance filed by the inmate must pay him $2,500, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Sgt. Patrick L. Stephenson’s claim that inmate Walter Haynes hadn’t proven that his transfer was retaliation for the grievance that claimed Stephenson threatened Haynes.“The evidence shows that Stephenson engaged in willful, malicious and deceitful conduct,” the panel’s opinion said.

Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, dies

December 17, 2009 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney whose powerful behind-the-scenes influence on The Walt Disney Co. led to the departure of former chief Michael Eisner, has died. He was 79.The company announced that Disney died Wednesday in Newport Beach, Calif., after a yearlong bout with stomach cancer.Company president and chief executive Bob Iger said Disney was much more than a valued 56-year company veteran.

ARNEC students excel nationally

December 17, 2009 Melbourne — In November of this year, nursing students from across the State of Arkansas preparing to complete the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC) program took the Assessment Technologies Incorporated (ATI) Comprehensive NCLEX Predictor. Those 116 students scored in the top 1 percent in the nation on that exam. Ozarka College is part of this consortium comprised of six rural community colleges across the state.

Single’s ministry to have Christmas potluck, gift exchange

December 17, 2009 Matthew 6:33 single’s ministry will have its Christmas potluck and white elephant gift exchange at 6:33 p.m. Saturday at First Community Bank in the George Rider Community Room, 1325 Harrison St., Batesville.The event is free and open to all Christian singles age 21 and older. Those attending are asked to bring a snack or dessert and a “white elephant gift” (something used that you have around the house and can be re-gifted).For more information, call group leaders Glen McKay at (870) 530-1044 or Rhonda McKay at (870) 761-8353.