It was a good week for…
GETTING OUT OF COURT. The Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas reached a settlement with SWEPCO, the utility company building the Turk coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County. The agreement ends legal challenges to the plant, and eliminates the possibility that Arkansas appellate courts, in the past unfriendly to SWEPCO legal arguments, might block the plant despite the huge sum of money already invested. In exchange, SWEPCO agreed to retire a coal plant in Texas, plus pay $10 million for environmental and clean energy causes and another $2 million for attorney fees. It also promised not to build a second unit at the Turk plant.
THE SPIRIT OF GIVING. We’ve always had a soft spot for those who labor each year to line up a Christmas for children in protective custody of the state Division of Child and Family Services. This year, the Joe Johnson Foundation provided support for food, games and a $100 shopping spree for 50 kids at a local Walmart.
THE ARKANSAS LOTTERY. Because no one claimed the $77 million Powerball ticket sold at a Georgia highway stop six months ago, the money will be distributed to participating states based on a percentage of tickets sold on that drawing. Arkansas could receive as much as $600,000. Interim Lottery Director Julie Baldridge said she would recommend that the money be directed towards the Arkansas Lottery’s Education Trust Fund.
It was a bad week for…
ESCAPING ON A TECHNICALITY. A court clerk’s typographical error led to early release of a habitual criminal who got charged with more crimes during his unexpected freedom. Cody Shields, 22, of Bentonville got 36 years for burglary as a repeat offender in June, but the clerk recorded his sentence as 36 months. He was sprung less than five months later, and within six weeks had been arrested in a home invasion, burglaries and the beating of two men. He’s back in the slammer, his original sentence corrected and awaiting trial on new charges.
GOOSE HUNTERS. The Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park announced just before press time that the city of North Little Rock had agreed to a non-lethal method of controlling the Canada geese in the city park. The city will shoo them with dogs rather than shoot them, as originally planned.