Mo. tanning salon owner charged with child porn

February 22, 2011 MALDEN, Mo. (AP) – Investigators carried out boxes of surveillance video, porn and child porn from a Malden, Mo. man’s home and business Monday morning.Malden Police Chief Jarrett Bullock says this is the largest child porn bust in Malden’s history and possibly in the state of Missouri.

Penalty phase up for man convicted of killing 3

February 22, 2011 FORT SMITH (AP) — A jury is to decide whether a man convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two young children in Fort Smith will be executed or serve life in prison without parole.The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new penalty phase in the trial of 35-year-old James Aaron Miller, who was convicted three years ago for the 2006 slayings and sentenced to execution. Testimony is to begin Tuesday.Miller was convicted of killing 28-year-old Bridgette Barr, 5-year-old Sidney Barr and 2-year-old Garrett Barr. The children were visiting from Muldrow, Okla.

Former Jackson Co. GOP official named to new post

February 22, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — A former Republican official in Arkansas who resigned from another GOP post less than a month ago over his ties to a group that calls itself “pro-white” has been elected to another position in the party.More than 100 Republicans in the state’s First Congressional District unanimously chose John Casteel for the job over the weekend, officials said Monday. In his new post, Casteel would recommend candidates for state offices should a Republican become governor. He has no duties now, with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe at the helm.

Smokehouse Grill has new owner, but ‘same great food’

February 22, 2011 Smokehouse Grill & Cafe has new ownership, but the same great food it has always offered.Earlier this year chief smoker cook Scott Dickie purchased the business from his son Chris and took over daily management, along with Jennifer Dickie at the counter, and helpers Tee Jay Smart and Anita Long.In addition to new hours, new menu items have also been added that includes 14 different smoked meat sandwiches and 10 different dinner plates as well as tasty dessert items. And seniors 60 and over get a 10 percent discount anytime.

Suited to a T: Store offers Girlie Girl, customized shirts

February 22, 2011 Looking for bling, T-shirts, purses, sunglasses, jewelry, and customized handmade clothing items? Then Ye Olde Special T Shoppe at 3050 Harrison St. is the place to go.“Our goal is to offer a place to shop that is a little different by having unique gifts on hand at all times,” said owner/manager Susan Brock.“We are the only authorized dealer for Girlie Girl Ts in this area,” she said. “Dealers have protected territory and we are lucky enough to be one of them.”

Oil industry eyes Libya unrest; crude prices jump

February 22, 2011 The first major protests to hit an OPEC country put the oil industry on edge Monday, sending crude prices jumping and raising speculation about the use of emergency oil reserves that have only been touched twice in two decades.In addition to Libya, the industry is closely watching protests in Algeria, Bahrain and Iran, the second-largest crude exporter in the OPEC behind Saudi Arabia.

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.