You’ve got mail — finally

October 4, 2010 FORT SMITH (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service says residents in Johnson County will get an explanation and an apology when mail found in the home of a deceased postmaster is finally delivered.Postal Service spokeswoman Leisa Tolliver-Gay told the Southwest Times Record Friday that a “customer” found 500 letters at the home of Merlin Walters and turned them in this week. The 89-year-old Walters was the Hartman postmaster until his death in March.Tolliver-Gay says she doesn’t know how the customer found the mail, how the letters got to the home or how long they were there.

1 dead, 1 arrested in shooting

October 4, 2010 JONESBORO (AP) — Police in Jonesboro say a man is dead and one person is in custody after a shooting at an apartment complex.Verlee Harris Jr., 33, was killed in the shooting just after 7 p.m. Saturday. Lt. Rick Elliott says Harris lived in an apartment at the complex and was shot during an argument with another tenant.Elliott said Harris and the suspect were arguing when the suspect picked up a shotgun and fired two shots with one hitting Harris. Elliott says Harris collapsed as he ran toward his apartment and was dead at the scene.

Sept. revenues below forecast

October 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas revenues for September failed to top the state fiscal office’s forecast but officials say they expect those numbers to improve in the months ahead.The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced today that net available general revenues totaled $483 million for September, up 6.9 percent from a year ago. Revenues are 1.8 percent below forecast.

Tenn. man to be tried in death of his wife

October 4, 2010 SEARCY (AP) — A March 7 trial date has been set for a former Harding University basketball player charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife in western Tennessee.Thomas Pate Jr.’s trial originally was set for August, but the proceeding was postponed when the judge in the case retired.Authorities say Pate told them his wife, Micah, left their Bartlett home April 30, 2009, on foot and never returned. Police say he later told them he accidentally shot her in the head while they were doing target practice, and he led detectives to her body.

ASU presidential search committee notes destroyed, possibly in violation of law

October 4, 2010 JONESBORO (AP) — Arkansas State University officials have been criticized for collecting and shredding notes that were taken during a recent meeting of the committee that’s looking for a new president.Tom Meredith, who was hired to lead the presidential search, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Friday that it’s standard practice to destroy notes during such meetings to keep them from being made public.

Calif. scandal makes city officials outcasts

October 4, 2010 BELL, Calif. (AP) — The four members of the Bell City Council, who once hailed themselves as champions of their people, have become all but pariahs since the public learned they paid themselves and others huge salaries to run a modest, blue-collar town.Meanwhile, the council members, who have been charged with misappropriating millions of dollars, have dropped from sight.At the small grocery store Mayor Oscar Hernandez has operated for 30 years, a sign has gone up proclaiming the business is under new management.

After 2 jumps, NY aiming to prevent public suicide

October 4, 2010 NEW YORK (AP) — Eighteen-year-old Tyler Clementi typed his intention to millions on the Internet: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” His body was found days later floating in the Hudson River beneath the George Washington Bridge.Chef Joseph Cerniglia, a contestant on the reality cooking show “Kitchen Nightmares,” also jumped from the iconic bridge in the past two weeks. His restaurant was mired in debt, though beginning to make a comeback.

Election panel to meet

October 4, 2010 The Independence County Election Commission will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday at 2200 Harrison Street, Suite A in Batesville to discuss the upcoming election training and other election business.Also, poll worker training will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 for the upcoming General Election.

Low bids extend stimulus funding for highways

October 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas highway officials say bids on transportation projects are lower than expected — allowing the state to stretch federal stimulus funding.Arkansas received $351 million in stimulus funding and began spending the money about 20 months ago. Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Glenn Bolick told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette the agency expected to fund 99 projects — but has so far found money for 132.

Ark. 3rd in deer-vehicle crashes

October 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A report from an insurance company says Arkansas is third in nation in the chances of a vehicle colliding with a deer.The report released Saturday by State Farm Insurance says there is a one in 99 chance of a driver colliding with a deer during the next 12 months.West Virginia is first on the list with a one in 43 chance of a deer-vehicle collision while Michigan is second with a one in 79 chance.State Farm bases its estimate on claims data.