Little Rock expressway to narrow during the day

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Motorists who use Interstate 630 to travel between areas in west Little Rock and the city’s central sections need to be alert to a lane closure in the eastbound lanes for a couple of days.The state Highway Department says the closure will occur only during daytime hours today and Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. after the morning rush hour and ending at 3 p.m. before the evening traffic jams.

Zoo to demonstrate new composting machine

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Most backyard gardeners probably don’t need much machinery to keep their compost pile actively producing fertilizer.But then most gardeners aren’t gathering pounds and pounds of large-animal manure for composting every day. At the Little Rock Zoo, however, they are, and now they can do it much more efficiently.Zoo workers plan a demonstration Thursday morning of a new composting machine that is used to mix manure from the zoo’s elephants and rhinoceroses with leaf and grass cuttings from the grounds.

LR firefighters agree to delay raises

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Firefighters in Little Rock have agreed to delay until July 1 a 4 percent pay raise they were to get in January.City police officers are to begin voting on the same request starting today.The city’s 2010 budget of $131.1 million doesn’t include the 4 percent raise and the city asked unions representing firefighters, police and nonuniformed employees to delay the raises.City Manager Bruce Moore says the delay prevents potential job losses.Voting by the police union will end at 11 p.m. Dec. 31.

Payback will cost prison guard

December 17, 2009 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — An Arkansas prison guard accused of moving a prisoner to a mosquito-infested cell in retaliation for a grievance filed by the inmate must pay him $2,500, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Sgt. Patrick L. Stephenson’s claim that inmate Walter Haynes hadn’t proven that his transfer was retaliation for the grievance that claimed Stephenson threatened Haynes.“The evidence shows that Stephenson engaged in willful, malicious and deceitful conduct,” the panel’s opinion said.

Roy Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, dies

December 17, 2009 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roy E. Disney, the nephew of Walt Disney whose powerful behind-the-scenes influence on The Walt Disney Co. led to the departure of former chief Michael Eisner, has died. He was 79.The company announced that Disney died Wednesday in Newport Beach, Calif., after a yearlong bout with stomach cancer.Company president and chief executive Bob Iger said Disney was much more than a valued 56-year company veteran.

ARNEC students excel nationally

December 17, 2009 Melbourne — In November of this year, nursing students from across the State of Arkansas preparing to complete the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC) program took the Assessment Technologies Incorporated (ATI) Comprehensive NCLEX Predictor. Those 116 students scored in the top 1 percent in the nation on that exam. Ozarka College is part of this consortium comprised of six rural community colleges across the state.

Single’s ministry to have Christmas potluck, gift exchange

December 17, 2009 Matthew 6:33 single’s ministry will have its Christmas potluck and white elephant gift exchange at 6:33 p.m. Saturday at First Community Bank in the George Rider Community Room, 1325 Harrison St., Batesville.The event is free and open to all Christian singles age 21 and older. Those attending are asked to bring a snack or dessert and a “white elephant gift” (something used that you have around the house and can be re-gifted).For more information, call group leaders Glen McKay at (870) 530-1044 or Rhonda McKay at (870) 761-8353.

Ozark Gateway lauds tree city

December 17, 2009 The Tree City program, created and supported by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and national League of Cities, recognizes cities that have well-developed plans for tree planting, maintenance, and public education.

Driving tests canceled

December 17, 2009 The Arkansas State Police has announced there will be no further written/driving license exams given in Batesville for the remainder of the year.Testing will resume on Jan. 5.