• Budget freeze

    LITTLE ROCK —  State employees did not get pay raises when the new fiscal year began today. State employee pay raises traditionally take effect at the beginning of the state fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.
    Budget officials hope that if the economy improves and state revenue increases, a raise may be possible about halfway through the fiscal year.
    In FY 2010 the state had to trim its budget by $206 million. Also, the state tapped into a rainy day fund for about $25 million to avoid cuts in services.

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  • Concord Fun Day scheduled

    CONCORD — Wallace Cooper will be the grand marshal when the annual Concord Fourth of July Fun Day parade begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, said city council member Jackie Rone, who is helping coordinate the event.
    Cooper is a previous city alderman and school board member, as well as a former Cleburne County deputy sheriff and sheriff.
    Parade line-up begins at 10 on the Concord School campus. It will travel to the city park, where remaining events are scheduled.

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  • Prisons cutting spending

    LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas prison spending will be trimmed so the system can afford to keep using a recently completed addition to a unit in Malvern that can house up to 360 inmates, officials said.
    The state Corrections Board was told at a meeting Tuesday that spending on maintenance and operations at other prisons would be cut — and service bonuses for employees would be eliminated — to provide funds for guards at the Ouachita River Unit.

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  • Person of interest sought in theft of worker’s tools

    Although a suspect has not been named, police are interested in talking with a man who might know something about the theft of a Delta table saw, Husky air compressor, and a Craftsman cordless drill from a work site on Kimberly Lane.
    Cody Taylor and Daniel Hopper, owners of the equipment, said the saw was on the back porch of the residence and the air compressor and drill were on a trailer parked in the yard when they were stolen overnight Saturday. The equipment is valued at $730.

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  • Woman given 3 years for fatal DUI crash

    LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A Pulaski County judge has sentenced a Searcy woman to three years in prison for killing a man in a drunken-driving crash last year.
    Annalee Clark pleaded guilty to felony negligent homicide in May. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza sentenced her to six years in prison, but suspended three years Tuesday.
    Police say Clark’s blood-alcohol level was 0.12, over the .08 legal limit, during the May 2009 collision that killed Andres Vazquez. Officers say Clark also tested positive for marijuana and prescription medication.

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  • Batesville cadets return from Civil Air Patrol encampment

    LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE — With the departure of nearly 150 Civil Air Patrol cadets from Arkansas and several other states, the Civil Air Patrol’s annual cadet encampment at Little Rock Air Force Base closed last weekend.
    Among the attendees were cadets Matthew Bostock, Phillip King and Austin Raley of CAP’s 97th Composite Squadron, which is based in Batesville. Cadet Airman 1st Class Austin Raley was a member of Delta Flight, which earned the prestigious Honor Flight Award.

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  • Ex-lawmaker Wooldridge fired from lobbyist job

    LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Former state lawmaker and candidate for the Democratic congressional nomination in the First District has lost his job as a lobbyist for public universities.
    The Arkansas Association of Public Universities dismissed Tim Wooldrdidge from his $150,000 a year job as executive director. Association Chairman David Rankin — who is president of Southern Arkansas University — told Wooldridge of the decision Wednesday.
    SAU vice president Roger Giles said only that organizations sometimes believe they can be more effective if they do things differently.

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  • Body found near Bradford

    BRADFORD (AP) — White County authorities say no foul play is suspected in the death of a Louisiana man who was found near Bradford.
    Sheriff’s deputies discovered the body of Eugene Young of Delhi, La., Sunday morning about a half-mile north of where his truck was found by an Arkansas Game and Fish officer.
    Authorities learned that family members hadn’t seen Young since June 23, and that he had dementia.
    Young’s body was turned over to White County Coroner David Powell and was then sent to the state crime lab.

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  • Water, water everywhere …And now a boat for rescues

    STRAWBERRY — When the Strawberry River overflows where Big Creek runs into it near Jesup in Lawrence County, state Highway 115 floods — and motorists regularly ignore the “Danger Road Closed” signs and drive into the water, Strawberry Fire Chief Stanley Mayland said.
    Some of the vehicles are swept off the roadway, while others stall out in the rising water.
    “You can see water across the highway for about three-fourths of a mile there,” firefighter Greg Howard said.
    Water rescues should go a little easier now that the department is better equipped to deal with them.

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  • Video shows teen firing on WM police officers

    JONESBORO — Video taken from a police SUV dashboard camera shows an Ohio teenager on a cross-country trip with his father waited inside their van nearly 10 minutes before stepping out and firing an AK-47 at two police officers who had stopped his dad for an apparent traffic violation.
    Prosecutors released video Wednesday as part of a preliminary report clearing police of wrongdoing in the fatal shootings of Jerry Kane, 45, and his son Joseph, 16.

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  • Students ‘practice’ medicine

    Maria Espericueta wasn’t expecting to witness the miracle of birth when she signed up for MASH.
    Standing alongside a team of doctors and nurses at White River Medical Center on June 23, the soon-to-be Batesville High senior watched, with permission from the expectant mother, as the newborn was brought into the world.
    “It was a really great experience,” Espericueta said on Wednesday afternoon, adding with a laugh, “I called my mom right after it and said, ‘I’m not having babies.’”

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  • Home visit lands felon behind bars

     Tuesday was a bad day for Patrick Skinner of Batesville. That’s when officers from the local probation and parole office showed up to do a surprise home visit.
    Accompanied by members of the Independence County Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit, as well as the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, parole officers went to Skinner’s home at 331 Morrow St. Tuesday afternoon where a search was made.
    “During the search of the residence, investigators located several smoking devices and a set of digital gram scales,” Sheriff Alan Cockrill said in a press release.

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