City deals with floods, utility plant upgrades

December 30, 2008 A hefty fine from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, spring flooding, a new fire station and four new faces on the city council were among the city of Batesville's top news for 2008.

Recovery slow for wreck victim

December 29, 2008 LITTLE ROCK - Christmas Day, John and Donna Steer and three of their four children gathered together to exchange presents. It was a scene that has played out countless times for the Steer family, but this year was different. This year they were inside a hospital room, as son John Steer recuperates from a wreck on Dec. 9.

Man missing

December 29, 2008 A 31-year-old Batesville man was reported missing during the Christmas holiday according to Cpl. Bobby Moser with the Independence County Sheriff's Office. April Fitzpatrick of Pottsville told Moser Friday that her brother, Keith Eugene White, had not been seen by family members since just before Thanksgiving on Nov. 25.

Things that go boom in night shake up Ash Flat residents

December 29, 2008 ASH FLAT - The explosive targets were legal but the timing was bad. Explosions as loud as blasts of dynamite about 10 p.m. Friday just south of Ash Flat and east of U.S. Highway 167 caused a flood of calls to the 911 dispatch office and Mayor Danny Traw's house, said investigating officer Braden Ables of the Ash Flat Police Department.

Sports Briefs

December 26, 2008 Pro basketball NEW YORK (AP) - Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will try to defend his Slam Dunk championship at the NBA All-Star weekend in Phoenix in February. In New Orleans last season, Howard edged defending champion Gerald Green for the title in one of the most creative competitions in recent history. Howard scored perfect 50s on both of his first-round dunks - one of which included his donning a cape for a "Superman" dunk.

Football Briefs

December 26, 2008 TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't look far for a replacement for Monte Kiffin, replacing the departed defensive coordinator with secondary Coach Raheem Morris. Morris will take over as defensive coordinator in 2009, ensuring continuity next season with Kiffin leaving the NFL to join his son, Lane, at the University of Tennessee.

News of other days

December 26, 2008 Editor's note: This column ran previously in the Guard on Jan. 15, 1996. 72 YEARS AGO A large volume of business during the Christmas holiday season shot receipts from the sale of postage stamps at the Batesville post office during the year of 1935 to $24,116.54. This was an increase of $2,355.54 over receipts of $21,764.10 the preceding year, L. Roy Jordan, postmaster, said today.

March trial set for teacher

December 26, 2008 HARRISBURG (AP) - A former Trumann Alternative School teacher will go to trial in March over charges she asked a 16-year-old to trade her one narcotic painkiller for another drug, even specifying what color pill she wanted.

Bristol Palin’s boyfriend’s mother arrested for drugs

December 26, 2008 WASILLA, Alaska (AP) - The mother of Bristol Palin's boyfriend sent text messages to two police informants discussing drug transactions before her arrest on felony drug charges, authorities say. An affidavit filed Monday says Sherry L. Johnston sent text messages referring to "coffee" as a code for the drug OxyContin.

Man in Santa suit kills 8, self

December 26, 2008 COVINA, Calif. - The bloodbath began when an 8-year-old girl attending a Christmas Eve party answered a knock at the door. A man dressed as Santa and carrying what appeared to a present pulled out a handgun and shot her in the face, then began shooting indiscriminately as partygoers tried to flee.