Officials inspect bridge after impact

December 24, 2009 A gravel barge hit the White River Bridge this morning, but the highway and bridge both remain open, officials announced.Workers from the Arkansas Highway Department, along with the Independence County Office of Emergency Management, spent a couple of hours this morning inspecting the Highway 167 bridge at Batesville for possible damage from a runaway barge.

LSU, UA develop new rice varieties

December 23, 2009 NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. rice industry is making way for Jazzman.It’s a new variety of aromatic rice developed at Louisiana State University and being sold under several folksy-sounding labels — and it could become a viable competitor to the Thai jasmine rice that accounts for $350 million in U.S. business each year.Production at Jazzmen Rice LLC is expected to increase from 500 tons this year to 63,000 tons by 2011, said Andrew Wong, one of the New Orleans company’s partners.That would equal 18 percent of U.S. imports from Thailand last year.

Annual tree sale begins

December 23, 2009 The deadline for ordering trees and shrubs from the Independence County Conservation District’s annual sale is Jan. 28.The following trees are offered: red maple, white dogwood, tulip tree, scarlet oak, Eastern redbud, all at $4.50 each; and flowering cherry, $7.50 each.Shrubs offered include red crape myrtle, $4.50 each; old-fashioned snowball, $3.50 each; and sweet mock orange, $3.50 each.New this year are berry bushes: Thornless blackberries sand red raspberry bushes, $5.50 each.

Deadline nears for Master Gardener classes

December 23, 2009 Have you always loved gardening, but wanted to know more about it?  Are you interested in becoming part of a group whose members freely share their knowledge and skills with each other and the community?Then an upcoming Master Gardener training program is for you.  But hurry, because the application deadline is Jan. 11.  The fee for the classes is $45, which includes books and other materials.

Cold, wet weather increases energy needs

December 23, 2009 Cold, wet, windy weather conditions can increase a cow’s energy (TDN) requirements by 50 percent or more under severe conditions. Cow herds should be provided additional hay and/or high-energy feeds to maintain good herd performance. If these needs are not met, animal condition and rebreeding rates will suffer next spring.Well-fed animals can resist disease and parasites much better and also produce more milk which leads to heavier, healthier calves.

News of other days

December 23, 2009 Editor’s note: This column ran previously in the Guard on Jan. 8, 1997. 

Sexual assault convict paroled by state board

December 23, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A sexual assault convict is being granted parole by the Arkansas Parole Board despite his failure to complete a required program for sex offenders.The parole announced Tuesday for 38-year-old Michael Butler comes after the settlement of a lawsuit. The settlement included Department of Correction Director Larry Norris requesting that Butler not be required to complete the sex offender program. The lawsuit said Butler’s rights were violated when he was beaten by prison guards.

Foster parent, firefighter arrested for child porn

December 23, 2009 GREENBRIER (AP) — A foster parent and volunteer Greenbrier firefighter has been arrested for child pornography.Faulkner County authorities say 40-year-old Daniel Klosky Jr. was arrested Monday on 38 counts of possession and distribution of child porn.He remains in the Faulkner County jail pending a hearing this afternoon. It was not clear whether he yet had hired an attorney.Deputies say Klosky had two foster children living with him and both are now in state custody.

‘Solid Waste Santas’ to fete 4 needy families

December 23, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer would have trouble landing a sleigh on the uneven ground at the Little Rock Landfill south of the city, but the “Solid Waste Santas” will get there somehow, to provide four needy families with a Christmas dinner and gifts.A news release from the city said employees of the Solid Waste Division collected $2,300 to provide the families with a holiday celebration today at the landfill on Ironton Road.