Md. legislator seeks ban on first-cousin marriages

February 19, 2010 ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland state legislator says it’s time to ban marriages between first cousins and stop playing what he calls “genetic roulette” with their offspring.Henry Heller, a Democratic delegate, or state representative, says he wants to bring Maryland “into the enlightened world of other states such as West Virginia and Arkansas” that already prohibit unions of first cousins.Heller is a retired special education administrator. He says couples who are first cousins are at an increased risk of having a child with birth defects.

2.13 carat gem found

February 19, 2010 MURFREESBORO (AP) — A man who has dug for treasure at Crater of Diamonds State Park for more than three decades has made his biggest find yet, a 2.13 carat chestnut-colored diamond.Glenn Worthington started looking for diamonds at the park in 1978, and he found 10 that summer. On Thursday, Worthington registered a stone that he and his wife decided to name the “Brown Rice Diamond,” because of its color and dimensions. The stone is several times larger than a rice grain, however.

Ark. farmers older, working on more valuable land

February 19, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas farmers as a class are growing older, harvesting more corn and rice and producing more chickens, and doing it all on increasingly valuable land.And a majority of them consider farming their secondary occupation — a sideline job — even if they find it necessary to make ends meet.

John Deere orientation meeting set

February 19, 2010 BEEBE — The Arkansas State University-Beebe John Deere Agriculture Technology Program will hold an informational orientation meeting on March 19. ASU-Beebe John Deere program faculty, John Deere dealership representatives, John Deere Corporation representatives, and potential students and their families will be in attendance. The meeting will provide details regarding ASU-Beebe, the John Deere Program and financial aid options. A mechanical aptitude test will also be administered to potential students.

TX man angry with IRS crashes plane into office

February 19, 2010 AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A software engineer who crashed his plane into an office building with nearly 200 Internal Revenue Service employees inside left behind a rambling anti-government manifesto but otherwise offered little indication that he was planning such an attack.A. Joseph Stack III posted his angry screed on a Web site registered to him before he flew a single engine plane into the hulking black-glass Echelon 1 building on Thursday, killing himself and at least one worker. Stack, 53, apparently targeted the building’s lower floors, which housed the IRS offices.

Park to host lantern event

February 19, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — Prompted by the first full moon of the lunar year, Wildwood Park hosts one of the most unusual winter events in Arkansas Feb. 26-28, with “LANTERNS!” according to a news release.The park’s botanical gardens provide the setting for visitors as they stroll along paved walkways lighted by lakeside fire pits and luminaries. Eight cultural stops along the way have international foods and entertainment highlighting Shakespearean England, Mexico, Venice, old Americana, Asia, Africa and even the moon.

Glassware show scheduled

February 19, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The 23nd annual Arkansas Glasshopper Inc. Depression Era Glass and Pottery Show will be Feb. 27 and 28 at the Hall of Industry on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. Dealers from 14 states show and sell china, glassware and pottery from the Depression era. Also scheduled are glass identification booths and special displays of rare glass. Admission is $5. For more information e-mail or call Bud Martin at bgmarglass@sbcglobal.net or (501) 868-4969.

Izard newsletter mailed to historical society members

February 19, 2010 MELBOURNE — The latest issue of the Izard County Historian has been mailed to members of the Izard County Historical and Genealogical Society. It included the presentation made to the society by Son Lamb about the building of the railroad through Izard County in the early 1900s and about his experiences working for the railroad as a depot agent.

United Way seeking applications

February 19, 2010 Applications will be accepted for 2011 United Way funding until March 31, according to Robb Roberts, chairman of the Agency Relations Committee for the United Way of Independence County.Applying organizations must be nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organizations providing direct and meaningful service to the people of Independence County and must have been in existence for at least two years, according to a news release.

Hardy fire dept. gets money

February 19, 2010 Washington, D.C. — Hardy Fire Department is among several Arkansas fire departments receiving federal grants, according to a news release.Hardy received $118,750 through the Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. All awards were made through the AFG’s Vehicle Acquisition and Operations and Safety Program Areas.