Midland celebrates ‘pride,’ ‘progress’

March 5, 2010 PLEASANT PLAINS — Twenty-five years ago the Floral Eagles and Pleasant Plains Panthers consolidated, and the Midland Mustangs were born. On Sunday Midland alumni, administration, faculty, staff and friends had plenty to celebrate as they gathered at the Pleasant Plains high school campus to recognize the school’s “25 Years of Pride and Progress.”Employees Donnie Branscum, Kim Bridgman, Janet Canard, Nancy Roberson, Kathy Sharp, Roetta Stoneking, Sue Turner and Karen Wells were recognized for having worked at Midland since its beginning in 1985.

Local son lauded for heroic actions

March 5, 2010 CHICAGO — As a Chicago Mercantile Exchange trader Kevin Spillers doesn’t have time to think when he’s calling out offers and making bids on the busy trading floor where time is of the essence.So when he heard what sounded like an explosion while walking to catch the train home Wednesday afternoon and turned around to see a cloud of dust coming out of an underground construction hole where a utility crew was working, Spillers did what came natural.He reacted.

Missing man found in old well

March 5, 2010 MELBOURNE — The body of an Independence County man was found in a well in Izard County Thursday evening, but so far, no foul play is suspected, Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said.The man, 43-year-old Robert Rexroad of Anderson Lane, was reported missing Wednesday night after he did not return from a walk along Lafferty Creek, about a mile from his home.

Motorcyclist fleeing from police dies after crash

March 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas State Police says a motorcyclist was killed when he crashed into a car while trying to flee a trooper in southwest Little Rock.A report on the accident says John Carrick Davis Jr. of Little Rock died in the collision about 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.Police say the impact threw Davis at least 100 feet. The driver of the car suffered a minor hand injury.State police spokesman Bill Sadler said in an e-mail that Lt. Jim Johnston tried to stop the motorcycle for speeding on Interstate 30.

Jury takes 37 minutes to convict

March 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A Pulaski County Circuit Court jury spent 37 minutes deliberating before convicting a Little Rock man of capital murder.The jury found 29-year-old Rahsaan Aki Taylor guilty of the Halloween 2007 shooting death of 36-year-old Odilon Guerrero outside Guerrero’s home in southwest Little Rock.Taylor did not testify — but a friend said he was with her the night of the shooting. But co-defendant Tyeiska Roberson testified that she drove Taylor the Guerrero’s home the night he was killed.Roberson is also charged with capital murder in the case.

Swine flu death reported

March 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Health says another person has died of complications from swine flu in Arkansas.Ed Parham, public information officer for the Health Department, said Tuesday that the death occurred last week, but he couldn’t release additional information.Parham says there have been 30 deaths since the pandemic started in Arkansas in August.He says reports of hospitalizations and absenteeism from schools has slowed in recent months, but anyone can still contract the flu, also known as H1N1.

Man found in house killed self

March 4, 2010 BLYTHEVILLE (AP) — Investigators say a man whose body was discovered in an abandoned home in Blytheville killed himself.Kenneth Wayne Carter Jr. was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head on Feb. 22. Police say his body had been in the house for an extended period of time.Police say an arrest warrant was issued for Carter in connection with the November rape of a 13-year-old girl in Gosnell.Police say the last time anyone reported seeing him was in Blytheville on Nov. 20. A member of Carter’s family filed a missing person’s report in November.

Plant closure to cost 50-60 jobs

March 4, 2010 HOPE (AP) — A top official of a Texas-based company that has a construction-materials plant at Hope says 50 to 60 people will lose their jobs when the facility shuts down at the end of April.Irving-based Commercial Metals Co. chairman, president and CEO Murray McClean says the workers have been told their last day will be April 29.Commercial Metals is the parent of the CMC Joist and Deck Co. fabricating facility at Hope that builds lightweight steel joists used in construction of large retail stores.

Cave students net $4,000 for St. Jude

March 4, 2010 CAVE CITY — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at Memphis can be thankful that students at Cave City Middle School did the math.Students at the school recently raised $4,000 through a Math-A-Thon program and donated the money to the hospital, which helps children who are battling cancer and other deadly diseases.Math-A-Thon allows students to build and practice essential math skills while they raise funds. Teachers serve as volunteer coordinators while participating students solve math problems in a printed or online Funbook, a news release states.

3 rare vacancies draw field to Congress races

March 4, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas will have at least three new congressmen in 2011; except for post-scandal elections in the 1990s, the state hasn’t seen this many seats turn over at once since before World War II.Taking out an incumbent is difficult, so the number of open seats creates opportunities for politicians who may have long considered a run for Congress, said Janine Parry, a University of Arkansas political science professor.“There is not much turnover at the top so when a window opens, there will be a lot of people that want to climb in,” Parry said.