In dark economic times, Ark. drilling brings light

December 26, 2008 LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas' natural gas reserves helped keep the state economy afloat in 2008 while huge job losses and budget deficits were recorded elsewhere in the country and the federal government shelled out billions of dollars to prop up banks and car manufacturers.

Application period under way

December 26, 2008 LITTLE ROCK - The application period for spring turkey hunts on several wildlife management areas is under way and continues through Jan. 15, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Web site.

Annual tree/shrub sale announced

December 26, 2008 The Independence County Conservation District is currently taking orders for its annual tree/shrub sale. Orders will be taken until January 30, with delivery in mid to late February. The district is offering the following: red and purple crape myrtles - $3.50 each; red maple, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, tulip tree, scarlet oak and Chinese chestnut - $4 each; oriental flowering cherry - $7 each, and Bradford pear - $7.50 each.

‘Duck bum could have turned out differently, except for…

December 26, 2008 It's hard to say how I might have turned out if it hadn't been for the ducks. I'm the first to admit I'm no brain surgeon, but I'm not a lamebrain, either. My IQ is OK, I have (or at least had, before retirement) a decent enough work ethic, and excepting one homecoming-weekend episode at LSU nearly 40 years ago that involved shaving cream, a campus security patrol car, and way, way too much beer, I've managed to stay out of jail.

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.