State is great place for watching, photographing geese

January 8, 2010 The first thing you notice is the noise. Miles away the whistles, honks and general clatter of feeding snow geese ring across the prairie and the sky is filled with spirals of geese returning to the giant vortex.When a wad of these birds take flight, the swish of wing pinions sounds like a million bus doors closing all at once. Wad is the local term for a lot of geese; it’s appropriate because the snows have a winter tendency to come together in huge groups that may contain 10,000 or more birds.

Meeting, blog aimed at plan

January 8, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is developing a 10-year strategic plan that will be based on input from AGFC employees, stakeholders and the public. The strategic plan will involve developing an agency mission statement, establishing goals, clarifying how to make the most effective use of limited resources.

Oaklawn Park revamped with electronic gambling

January 8, 2010 HOT SPRINGS (AP) — Oaklawn Park has opened its expanded electronic gambling parlor, giving bettors a casino atmosphere in which they can play craps, poker, blackjack and machines that look an awful lot like slots.The track starts its live thoroughbred racing season next week, and the new gambling area marks a significant step for the 106-year-old venue, which remains the state’s largest single tourist attraction.

Alamo attorney withdraws from criminal case

January 8, 2010 TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge is allowing a Florida attorney for convicted evangelist Tony Alamo to withdraw from Alamo’s criminal case over irreconcilable difference, though the lawyer says the problem no longer exists.“There was difficulty thats been resolved,” said Phillip Kuhn of Florida.In his motion to withdraw, Kuhn stated that a dispute between he and Alamo “regarding the proper, efficient and ethical legal representation of the defendant,” led to his desire to exit Alamos criminal case.

Court allows death-row inmate new sentence

January 8, 2010 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered Thursday that a death-row inmate convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two young children receive a new sentencing hearing.Justices unanimously upheld James Aaron Miller’s murder convictions but ordered that he be resentenced, saying two witnesses should not have been allowed to recommend that the jury impose the death penalty during the original sentencing phase.

AHPP offers grants

January 8, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, will accept applications for its Historic Preservation Restoration Grant and County Courthouse Restoration Subgrant programs through March 12, AHPP Director Frances McSwain has announced.Two Historic Preservation Restoration Grant options are available for rehabilitation of historic structures in Arkansas:

Eagle event canceled

January 8, 2010 BULL SHOALS — Bull Shoals-White River State Park has canceled Eagle Awareness for 2010 due to the extreme cold and the threat of inclement weather on top of the park’s existing road conditions.For more information, call Julie Lovett, park interpreter, at (870) 445-3629 or e-mail julie.lovett@arkansas.gov.

ADEM lists tips for cold weather

January 8, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is advising citizens to be prepared for the dangerously cold conditions expected in the state over the next few days.For the personal safety of you and your family please observe the following safety tips:• Use fireplace, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside and do not leak flue gas into the indoor air space.

Fire damages Floral home

January 8, 2010 FLORAL — The Fred Tharp home, at 3540 Floral Road, incurred mostly smoke and water damage in one room following a fire Thursday afternoon.Floral Fire Chief Mark Biram said the department was called to the home around 4 p.m. to extinguish a fire that had started in the bathroom area. “The cause is believed to be electrical,” Biram said. “It’s still under investigation.”Biram said his department responded with 11 firefighters, one pumper truck and a tanker.“We cleared the scene right at 6 p.m.,” Biram said.No one was injured in the small blaze.

Sharp JPs to meet Monday

January 8, 2010 ASH FLAT — Despite the closure of the Sharp County Courthouse today and the postponement of today’s session of district court due to dangerously cold weather, the Sharp County Quorum Court is still on schedule to meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the courthouse, County Judge Larry Brown said.One of the primary heating units in the courthouse is to be replaced Monday, he said.