Grinches target area residents Break-ins, thefts reported

December 17, 2010 Independence County residents are reporting a rash of “Grinches,” taking everything from credit cards, yearbooks and family photos to an MTV, a boy’s mini-bike, dirt bike and welding equipment, according to reports filed with the sheriff’s office. In the past two weeks, thefts include:• Billy Carter called police Dec. 3 about an older model, small green pickup on his old home place, which is the only house past his on Beagle Lane, a dead end road.

Cop tries to stop dirt bike duo; riders flee, crash, flee on foot

December 16, 2010 A man who didn’t want one ticket from police ended up with three instead.Independence County Deputy Darin Brewer said he was patrolling Highway 25/Heber Springs Road around 4:30 this morning and saw two people riding a Honda dirt bike that did not have a headlight or taillight.Brewer attempted to make a traffic stop and the driver, identified as Jacob Adams, 18, of 95 Dishongh St., Batesville, turned on Dishongh Street and started fleeing, but then crashed into a yard at 70 Dishongh.

Truck stolen from yard

December 16, 2010 A truck has apparently been stolen from a Cleghorn Chapel Road man, according to a report filed with the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.John Durbin said his son had been driving his vehicle, a 2003 maroon Dodge truck with license plate 764KKE.The son, John Durbin Jr., ran out of gas and parked it next door to the residence around 3 Monday morning, then called his dad around 8 a.m. to ask if he’d gotten the truck. The elder Durbin said he had not and called police.

Vandal strikes chicken house

December 16, 2010 A Pleasant Plains man has been the target of vandalism at least three times now, according to a report from the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.Officer Matthew Thomas was dispatched to Billy Joe H. Brown’s residence and met with Brown, who said about four to five weeks earlier someone had tampered with a water valve in one of his chicken houses, flooding the house and killing about 1,000 chickens. Another incident occurred about a week later, when the houses were empty, with someone again tampering with the water lines and flooding the house.

Board hires staff, OKs bonuses

December 16, 2010 MELBOURNE — The Melbourne School Board’s regular meeting on Monday was a short one, Superintendent Gerald Cooper said.Following a meal for members, the board voted to solicit bids for the demolition of two old houses located on the Melbourne Elementary campus, employ Karen Morris as a one-on-one aide, Larry Young as bus driver and Lisa Staggs as an aide.It also approved an $800 bonus for all certified employees and a $500 bonus for all classified employees.  

Small quake hits near Jonesboro

December 16, 2010 BROOKLAND (AP) — The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a small earthquake near Brookland in Craighead County.No damage or injuries were reported.The survey website reports the preliminary magnitude 2.1 earthquake was recorded at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday. The epicenter was about four miles south of Brookland and about six miles northeast of Jonesboro.The area is in the New Madrid seismic zone that stretches from Arkansas to southern Illinois. Some of the largest earthquakes to strike the continental United States occurred in the New Madrid zone in the winter of 1811 to 1812.

Quorum court passes 2011 budget

December 16, 2010 With little fanfare, Independence County justices of the peace unanimously passed a 2010 operating budget for 2011 that includes $8.09 million in the county general fund and $3.7 million in county roads. Both amounts include carryovers from the 2010 budgets.What the budgets did not include is raises for county employees or additional personnel in county offices.

Hydro employees to become county workers; Mobley to be paid

December 16, 2010 Independence County moved steps closer to taking over the White River Hydroelectric project Monday night by adding the project’s four employees to the roster of county employees, in effect bring the project under county control.The action was one of two taken by the county on the contentious hydroelectric project during its regular meeting Monday night. Justices also unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the payment of $500,000 to Mobley Construction to make good on its out-of-court settlement with the company.

Couple makes one last run

December 16, 2010 EATON COUNTY, Mich. — Calvin and Brenda Roberts of Oil Trough had planned to take a few weeks off from the road to celebrate the holidays after they finished transporting a few loads of engine blocks from Texas to their destination in Michigan.After making a few runs back and forth between the two states, they had planned to be home next week in time for Christmas, looking forward to time spent with family.

Arson ruled

December 16, 2010 OIL TROUGH — A fire that destroyed the Oil Trough City Hall and Community Center early Monday morning was an act of arson, according to state fire marshals and an insurance investigator.Independence County Deputy Shawn Stephens said he was informed of the ruling Wednesday afternoon following a thorough inspection by state officials.