Experts say ban on judicial elections not likely

December 28, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is heading up a group of judges from around the country who will push next year for an end to the practice of electing judges, but legal experts in Arkansas say the idea will be a tough sell here.

Ozarka to offer GED test

December 28, 2009 MELBOURNE — The GED Test will be given at Ozarka College in Melbourne at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 14 and 20 in Room 516 of the Wyth Duke Adult Education Building. The test will also be given at 9 a.m. at the following locations: • Ash Flat — Sharp County Courthouse Annex Courtroom, Jan. 19 and 28;• Mammoth Spring — Simmons First National Bank, Jan. 11 and 25;• Mountain View — Ozarka College, Jan. 12 and 19;• Salem — Fulton County Courthouse, Jan. 12 and 21.

Sidney woman to be honored on 100th birthday

December 28, 2009 SIDNEY — Blanche Hollandsworth of Sidney will turn 100 years old on Saturday.Her family will host a party in her honor from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Sidney Baptist Church’s reception hall. She requests no gifts but cards would be welcome. All family and friends are invited.She has two children, James Hollandsworth of Sidney and Mary Brent of Birmingham, Ala.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren and another due in April.

Elephants, guests find sanctuary in Ozark foothills

December 28, 2009 GREENBRIER  — As you walk through the field beside them, it’s difficult to tell if that rumble is the sound of their mighty footsteps or your heart thumping in your chest.Then just before you sink into the forest, one of the elephants throws her trunk into the air and trumpets, and you’re certain what you’re witnessing is nothing short of magical.You’re not on an African safari. You’re in Arkansas, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, at a sanctuary for unwanted elephants. And this may be the closest you’ll ever get to these mammoth creatures.

Two missing girls sought

December 28, 2009 ASH FLAT — Authorities in Sharp and Jackson counties are looking for two missing teen-age girls, Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said this morning.“Last night they were looking for them in Newport,” Weaver said. Authorities have the girls officially listed as missing persons and posted on police alert systems, he said.One of the girls is identified as Jessica Tackett. Weaver was traveling this morning and did not have the other girl’s name immediately at hand, but said both girls are from the Cave City area.

Hardy escapes flood damage

December 28, 2009 HARDY — Flood-prone Hardy “lucked out” late last week, despite heavy rains Wednesday night and Christmas Eve, Police Chief Ernie Rose said.“The (Spring) river didn’t get out of its banks,” he said. “We did have to close a few bridges.”No one had to be evacuated, Rose said, although, he said,  “We were ready for it.”The river crested about 9.7 feet Christmas Eve morning without causing serious problems, he said.

Hutchinson Mountain slates fish, chicken dinner

December 28, 2009 HUTCHINSON MOUNTAIN — Hutchinson Mountain will host a fish and chicken dinner from 3-7:30 p.m. Friday at the community center. The all-you-can-eat dinner, including dessert and drink, will be $8 for adults and $4 for children 11 and under. 

Architect hired for football stadium

December 28, 2009 CAVE CITY — The Cave City School Board agreed Dec. 17 to hire architect Bob Bailey of Little Rock to design and handle the bidding process for a new football stadium, Superintendent Steve Green said.The vote was unanimous. Bailey has been architect for many construction projects at the school over the past several years.In other business Green informed the board about a new federal program called Race to the Top.

County makes holiday arrests

December 28, 2009 MELBOURNE — A woman returned to her home on Knob Creek Road in Melbourne Christmas Eve night to find someone loading her belongings into a truck.  The woman called the sheriff’s department and upon arrival of deputies, the male subject had unloaded his truck, according to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence. Michael Ryan Hilton, age 46 of Melbourne, gave conflicting statements as to his reason for being there, Lawrence said.

Data shows teacher pay

December 28, 2009 LITTLE ROCK — Salaries for school district superintendents have grown slightly faster than teacher salaries in recent years.Superintendent salaries grew on average by 8.7 percent since the 2005-06 school year, the earliest period for which the Department of Education has such data. Teacher salaries went up 6.2 percent.The Pulaski County Special School District paid out the most in superintendent pay at $411,281 in 2008-09, about four times the state average. The amount in Pulaski County was driven by the buyout of the superintendent last year.