Beebe says storm damage estimate may be weeks away

April 28, 2011 JACKSONVILLE (AP) — Gov. Mike Beebe says crews from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are surveying Arkansas storm damage and that he plans to seek federal assistance for rebuilding.Beebe spent Wednesday morning looking at storm damage at Little Rock Air Force Base and North Pulaski High School in Jacksonville.Eleven people were killed in Arkansas storms Monday and Tuesday.

Permit turkey hunt canceled

April 28, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has approved an emergency proclamation closing the upcoming permit turkey hunt at the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area in Lawrence County.Officials say recent heavy rain has caused several rivers across Arkansas to rise above flood stage, including the Black River which courses through the wildlife management area. The commission says the high water made driving conditions dangerous and jeopardized the safety of turkey hunters trying to access areas.

Tournament readies range for opening

April 28, 2011 The ground was a little muddy, the sky overcast with negligible winds and that made Saturday a near perfect day for four area school trap-shooting teams gathered at the new Independence County shooting range north of Batesville.Junior and senior teams from Cave City, Batesville, Newport and White County Central came together for a mini-tournament to prepare them for state north regional tournament action that begins May 13 and 14, at the Remington Arms shooting complex in Lonoke. Finalists from that tournament will then go to state champion competition the first weekend of June.

Southside FFA team wins state title

April 28, 2011 SOUTHSIDE — The Southside FFA Livestock Judging Team won the State Championship on Friday on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, said Southside faculty advisor Chase Hilton.“Sophomore Jackson Mead was the high individual overall, and senior leader Thomas Johnson tied for second,” Hilton said.Other team members include Cassie Womack, Rosa Canals, Blaine French, Trenton Tosh, Nathan Richardson, Morgan Case and Dustin Brashears.

Washout causes train derailment

April 28, 2011 GREASY BOTTOM — One railroad car was submerged in the White River and two more were partially when a train derailed Wednesday afternoon in an area known as Greasy Bottom about a mile north of Guion.Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said the accident was reported around 2.“It looks like the dirt under the railroad had been washed away,” Lawrence said after returning from the site.Lawrence said of the four cars involved, two were engines, one was carrying lumber and another was empty. “There were no hazardous materials on board. No one was injured,” he said.

Lyon commencement set

April 28, 2011 One hundred and two seniors are scheduled to receive degrees at the Lyon College commencement on May 7. Albert “Al” Parnell, a 1965 alumnus of Lyon and a prominent attorney from Atlanta, will be the guest speaker.Honorary doctorate degrees will be awarded to the Rev. Dr. William “Bill” Branch Jr., retired general presbyter of the Arkansas Presbytery, and to L. Dickson Flake, a partner in the state’s largest commercial real estate firm, Colliers International Arkansas, and a member of the Lyon Board of Trustees for 20 years.

State braces for flooding

April 28, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Water pushed beyond the banks of rivers in east Arkansas on Wednesday, flooding homes and flowing over fields where many farmers had already postponed planting because of an unlikely stretch of wet weather during a drought.

Hillcrest graduation set for May 20

April 28, 2011 STRAWBERRY — Hillcrest High School will have its graduation at 7 p.m. May 20 in the Lynn multi-purpose building.Valedictorian is Blake Simmons, son of Phil and Stacy Simmons of Strawberry. His school clubs and activities in-clude Environmental and Spatial Technology Laboratory, Math and Science Club, Beta Club, Robotics, Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and Arkansas Junior Science Symposium.

Melbourne Tree Board marks Arbor Day

April 28, 2011 MELBOURNE — The Melbourne Tree Board celebrated Arkansas Arbor Day Friday morning at the city park. About 20 citizens and officials planted trees provided by the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

State park visitor unearths up 8-carat diamond

April 28, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Beth Gilbertson was washing the contents of the buckets of dirt she had collected at the Crater of Diamonds State Park when she suddenly saw something shiny catch her eye.“I thought it was a piece of glass at first,” she said. “But when I started rubbing it, I realized what it was.”What Gilbertson had found Tuesday was an 8.66-carat white diamond, roughly the size of a nickel and the third largest diamond found by a visitor since the park was established in 1972.