Fewer credit card rate hikes imposed after new regulations

February 22, 2011 NEW YORK (AP) — Credit card holders are facing fewer interest rate hikes and forking over sharply less in late fees.A year after new regulations curbed a spate of questionable billing practices, federal officials say over-the-limit penalty charges have also been dramatically curtailed. The findings come from the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which will assume responsibility for administering the regulations once it’s officially up and running this summer.

Business Expo draws record crowd

February 21, 2011 A record crowd of people answered the call to “Come On Down!” Saturday night as the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its second annual Business Expo at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.Using the game show theme of “The Chamber (Price) Is Right,” with Randy Reichardt serving as master of ceremonies, Paul Kelly as the off-stage announcer, and Miss Batesville Ashleigh Rogers serving as stage assistant, this year’s program generated its own energy and fun.

Road-clearing costs nearly $10M

February 21, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Officials estimate the amount of money the state has spent on clearing snow and ice from Arkansas highways this winter is approaching $10 million.Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Glenn Bolick says if another significant winter storm hits Arkansas, the amount could exceed the $11.5 million spent during the 2010 season.The agency budgets $5 million annually for snow and ice removal. When the cost eclipses that amount, less money is available for maintenance activities like filling in potholes left in the wake of snow and ice.

Soldiers deploy for Texas, Iraq

February 21, 2011 NORTH LITTLE ROCK (AP) — About 130 soldiers from the Arkansas National Guard have left for training in Texas that will be followed by deployment to Iraq.The members of the 77th Theater Aviation Brigade left Camp Robinson on Sunday morning.The soldiers will first go to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will undergo mobilization training. The soldiers have already spent 45 days in training as they prepared for departure.Including the 77th, the Arkansas National Guard has about 400 soldiers and airmen deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.

Juvenile confesses to break-in at store

February 21, 2011 WALNUT RIDGE — A 17-year-old boy from Black Rock was arrested Friday by Lawrence County sheriff’s officers for commercial burglary, theft of property, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing and breaking and entering, Sheriff Jody Dotson said.The arrest came after a report of shots being fired in Portia, Dotson said. A Lawrence County deputy was in the area and responded; backup units from Walnut Ridge and Hoxie police departments also responded.

Library board may be increased to nine

February 21, 2011 ASH FLAT — The Sharp County Quorum Court agreed during a regular meeting last week to vote next month on dissolving the five-member library board and establishing a nine-member board, said County Judge Larry Brown.In preliminary discussions of the proposal, some justices indicated they feel nine members would allow for representation from more communities in the county.

Chamber pleased with attendance at banquet

February 21, 2011 The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2011 Business Expo Saturday night on the campus of UACCB in Independence Hall along with the Annual Awards Ceremony and featured keynote speaker John Cassis.The chamber honored Walmart as Large Business of the Year; The Batesville Daily Guard as Small Business of the Year; Ivory Owl as New Business of the Year; Gary Bebow as Past Chairman; Bob Pest as Volunteer of the Year; and Michael Ferry as Ambassador of the Year. The Terry Gipson family was recognized as the 2010 Farm Family of the Year.

Few changes expected in Townsends takeover

February 21, 2011 Batesville citizens and Townsends employees are expected to see little change as a result of Peco Foods Inc., an Alabama-based company, taking over the poultry operation.Peco Foods human resources director Steve Conley told the Guard that while “changes will be made in product mix and customer base as appropriate ... we plan to retain most of the jobs if not substantially all of them.”

United Way speakers aimed at getting, keeping volunteers

February 21, 2011 How to recruit and keep volunteers for non-profit organizations was the focal point of the North Central Volunteer Network, which met with the directors of more than a dozen nonprofit organizations from around the state Thursday.Hosted by the United Way of Independence County, the event held in the George Rider Room of First Community Bank in Batesville, was titled “Building Strong Committees.” Cary Tyson, director of Main Street Arkansas, and Lisa Caplinger, chairwoman of the White River Water Carnival, were featured guest speakers.