Stones guitar auction set

December 26, 2008 JONESBORO (AP) - A handmade electric guitar with a pearl inlay owned by Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards will be auctioned off online to benefit the Rector High School Helping Hands Foundation, organizers say.

Eartha Kitt, sultry ‘Santa Baby’ singer, dies

December 26, 2008 NEW YORK - Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died, a family spokesman said. She was 81.

Newark Elementary receives math grant

December 26, 2008 NEWARK - Newark Elementary School has received a $500 grant from the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance program to support the school's mathematics program. Marty Melton, manager of the Newark Exxon Express, worked with principal Kathy Magness to secure the grant, which is one of 4,000 available to schools served by Exxon or Mobil stations. The grants were made possible by funding from the Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Area Brief

December 26, 2008 Driving tests canceled There will be no more driver's license tests given in Batesville until Jan. 6, 2009.

Recliner, washer missing

December 26, 2008 A Batesville man has reported the theft of $2,700 worth of home appliances and furniture. Jason Turnkey told police that sometime between Dec. 7 and Tuesday morning, someone removed two locks off a storage building he had rented on East Harrison Street, to get to the items.

Hay bales burned at Rosie

December 26, 2008 Several traffic violations, as well as drug charges, have been filed against a Batesville man following an incident just before 2 p.m. Sunday. Independence County Deputy Brent Ward said he was on patrol on east Harrison Street when he met a car traveling at a high rate of speed and smoking very badly.

Retailers cut prices to entice shoppers

December 26, 2008 NEW YORK - Shoppers hit the stores early today to return unwanted gifts and take advantage of drastic price cuts offered by retailers desperate to get rid of old merchandise and boost their less-than-cheery holiday sales.

Envelope with $600 returned to woman

December 26, 2008 SEARCY (AP) - A Walmart Supercenter employee in Searcy listened to his conscience this holiday season when he came across an envelope filled with cash in a shopping cart. "I was working my shift until 11 p.m. and had about 20 minutes to go," said Brian Metz, a graduate of Harding University with a degree in Biblical languages. "I was the only cart wrangler out there. This lady handed me her cart after she finished unloading her purchases and I saw something still in the cart."

Water manager accused of taking funds

December 26, 2008 HARDY - It's been dry on Biggers Bluff. As if residents there don't have enough problems. The Biggers Bluff area was developed by Wayne Watkins, who, according to authorities, took the money and ran.

Texas pilot, wife injured

December 26, 2008 Benny and Linda Green had loaded their small airplane in Rockwall, Texas, with presents and, not unlike Santa and his reindeer, were flying into Batesville on Christmas Eve. However, something went wrong with the Texas couple's landing, sending both to the hospital.