The Daily Press The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-07-25T14:49:28-04:00 High School planning 1970s multi-year reunion; seeks grads2014-07-25T14:49:28-04:002014-07-25T14:49:28-04:00The Saline CourierBenton, ARNo author availableMcClellan High School planning 1970s multi-year reunion; seeks gradsNo source Adding vision, dental would cost $43M2014-07-25T14:03:18-04:002014-07-25T14:03:18-04:00The Saline CourierA report commissioned by the state Insurance Department projected that adding the coverage to the state's "private option," would cost about $20 a month per person in the program. More than 170,000 people are enrolled in the private option, which is using federal funds to purchase insurance for the poor.The report, released to a legislative panel, projected the cost of adding that coverage to the program would be $42.6 million.Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor. The program was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.One of the insurers under the program is offering dental and vision coverage, something that the state didn't originally intend, and that coverage is set to end in 2015. Medicaid officials have said that coverage is one of the reasons why the cost of the program had been running above projections.DHS Director John Selig said the state couldn't add dental and vision to the private option until 2016, but said that's not an option they're considering. The state would have to pay if it added the coverage if it went above the cap spelled out in its agreement with the federal government for setting up the Medicaid expansion."We wouldn't want to add it now until we're sure we can meet the cost neutrality piece," Selig said.Selig said the state won't have to pay for the vision and dental benefits that are set to expire at the end of the year, since the federal government had approved its inclusion in the program.Officials said they're also on track to release their plans for adding health savings accounts to the private option in August, with hearings to be held on the program. Under legislation approved earlier this year to reauthorize the private option, the state must win approval for the accounts by February to keep the expandedhealth care program alive.Benton, ARAssociated PressReport: Adding vision, dental would cost $43MNo source choice; Benton names Stoll Teacher of the Year2014-07-25T14:01:39-04:002014-07-25T14:01:39-04:00The Saline CourierThe announcement of the honor was made Thursday night in a meeting of the Benton School Board.Stoll is a social studies teacher at Benton High School, where she has taught for the past nine years.Superintendent Jeff Collum noted that the "selection of the Teacher of the Year is quite a process."It involves a vote among all the teachers of the district, he pointed out.As the district's Teacher of the Year, Stoll is now eligible for the state Teacher of the Year competition, he noted.Collum said Stoll will be recognized at the districtwide convocation on Aug. 11."Thank you very much for this honor," Stoll said at the meeting. "I love my job. I teach fantastic kids."Noting that she experienced "a tough year" in the past school term because of family health issues, she said she received comfort from the concern and compassion from her students."They made my situation so much better," she said. "When I would walk into the classroom, they would ask 'how is your family?' That meant so much to me."While Stoll noted that she loves teaching, she said it is "about more than imparting knowledge to her students.""I love teaching them about social studies," she said, "but I want to contribute to helping them become good adults."Lita Gattis, principal of Benton High School, commended Stoll for receiving the honor.She pointed out that the award alternates between an elementary and secondary teacher every other year.Gattis said Stoll was "really touched" by the concern her students expressed for her and her family during her daughter's illness this past year. She noted that Autumn,12, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes this year."They wanted to make sure she was all right and it meant a lot to her," Gattis noted."She also serves as our girls and boys tennis coach and is the head of our social studies department," Gattis said.Another responsibility Stoll handles is the schoolwide awards ceremony."That's a big thing and she did a great job with it," Gattis said.In addition, Gattis asked Stoll to start a senior games project this year."I asked her if she would look into it and she took it and ran with it," Gattis said."At the end of the year when the kids are tired and seniors are ready to get out, it put a spark back into things. She spearheaded this and it was a real uplifting thing for our students."Gattis called Stoll a "really positive person and we need that.""She's always prepared for her classes. Her instruction methods are good, and she's interesting to listen to.She's a really caring person."She's not just a super teacher, but a super person, too."Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckTop-notch choice; Benton names Stoll Teacher of the YearNo source series at courthouse to begin Sunday evening2014-07-25T13:59:40-04:002014-07-25T13:59:40-04:00The Saline CourierThe concerts will be held at 6 p.m. on the last Sunday of each month, Oksana said.“Because of the increasing popularity of the events that we have held on the courthouse lawn, we have decided to provide a commitment to the people of Saline County to experience free live music during the most comfortable months of the year in an outside venue,”she noted.The first concert will take place this Sunday, July 21, at 6 p.m. at the courthouse gazebo.Featured will be a string ensemble from the newly created Saline County Orchestra, students from Ovation Music Academy and Oksana herself. “During the first weekend of August I will be presenting a concert in Kentucky, so we will be playing the music that will be featured at that show," said Oksana. “To appeal to the tastes of the audiences we will be playing for in Kentucky, our concert will feature an emphasis on country music," she said. "We feel that Saline County audiences will also enjoy this as well," she added.Oksana will play the fiddle tunes she is known for, and she also will play songs by Willie Nelson, John Denver and Johnny Cash, among others.Accompanying her in Kentucky and at the courthouse will be Slavek Bolubah on drums and Brian Hamby on piano, accordion and Hammond organ.  Performers at future events will be announced, but promise to include the full Saline Community Orchestra and Choir.The Saline Community Orchestra Choir will be starting a new season during the middle of August, Oksana said.Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckConcert series at courthouse to begin Sunday eveningNo source sought for gunfight between patient, doctor2014-07-25T13:57:37-04:002014-07-25T13:57:37-04:00The Saline CourierThe psychiatrist, Dr. Lee Silverman, was grazed in the temple during the gunfight in his office Thursday afternoon with patient Richard Plotts, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said."We do believe that there were some issues between the doctor and the patient, but whether or not he actually feared him is unclear," Whelan said.The prosecutor identified the caseworker killed at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital as Theresa Hunt, 53, of Philadelphia. Hunt had accompanied Plotts to an appointment with Silverman at a psychiatric crisis center adjacent to the hospital in Darby, just southwest of Philadelphia, authorities said."When the caseworker was shot, (Silverman) crouched down behind the desk to avoid him being shot," Whelan said. "He was able to reach for his weapon, and realizing it was a life or death situation, was able to engage the defendant in the exchange of gunfire."A struggle ensued and spilled out into the hallway, Whelan said. Another doctor and a caseworker jumped in to help Silverman and secure Plotts' weapon, he said.The motive for the shooting remained unclear. Whelan said Plotts, of Upper Darby, might have had issues with the doctor over his treatment plan. It is not known, however, if that is why Silverman was armed, apparently against hospital policy.Whelan said Plotts, 49, was underwent surgery Thursday night at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Silverman was treated and released. Telephone calls to the doctor's home went unanswered.A spokeswoman for the Mercy Health System said the hospital has a policy barring anyone except on-duty law enforcement officers from carrying weapons on its campus.But Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux said that "without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.""Without that firearm, this guy (the patient) could have went out in the hallway and just walked down the offices until he ran out of ammunition," the chief said.Plotts does not have a listed home phone number. Court records in Delaware County show a man of the same name and age with a lengthy criminal record, but Whelan was unsure if it was the same person.Two guns were recovered from the scene, Whelan said.Staff members had heard loud arguing inside Silverman's office during the appointment. They opened the door and noticed the patient had a gun pointed at the doctor, so they quietly closed the door and dialed 911, Whelan said. Gunshots were heard a short time later, just before 2:30 p.m.Plotts, severely wounded from several shots, emerged from the office, and another doctor and a caseworker helped wrestle him to the floor of the hallway and grabbed his weapon, Whelan said."They acted vigilantly. They acted bravely," he said.The exchange of gunfire occurred on the third floor of the Wellness Center at Mercy Fitzgerald, a 204-bed community teaching hospital. Authorities said there are no surveillance cameras in the doctor's office or the waiting area outside. They also said the center had no metal detectors.Patients waiting in the first-floor lobby reported a tense scene when police arrived and ordered everyone out. Most of the patients were elderly."I dozed off, and I heard the cop shouting, 'Come on, come on, get out!'" said Millicent Russell, of Lansdowne, who was waiting for a 3 p.m. appointment. "There were people with walkers and canes and stuff. All these cops were outside running here and there with these guns."Benton, ARAssociated PressCause sought for gunfight between patient, doctorNo source show in Benton to benefit MS2014-07-25T13:56:06-04:002014-07-25T13:56:06-04:00The Saline CourierLisa Finkbeiner, director of special events and development for the National MS Society in Little Rock, says "There will be yummy desserts, more than $3,000 worth of merchandise in our silent auction and amazing volunteers and scholarship winners whom the National MS Society will honor."The show is presented by 312 Downtown Boutique in Benton. Dr. Marla Murphy of Exceptional Physical Therapy in Benton will be one of the models and she encourages as many people to show up for the event because she will be wearing "some crazy blue pants on the runway."Dr. Murphy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and the first thing that crossed her mind when she heard the news was fear. "I was a therapy aide at Baptist Hospital and saw the worst cases of MS. I remember asking myself am I going to lose the ability to walk just as my daughter is learning to walk? She had just turned 1 year old and I thought how sad and scary that I might not be able to walk with her. I learned a lot over the years about the disease progression and I no longer fear MS, but I do have a healthy dose of respect for what others have endured. I'm lucky so far."Dr. Murphy acknowledged that the disease is hereditary and this concerns her. "It does run in families, although no one else in my family has it. One of my biggest fears is that one of my three children will get MS because I have it. Nothing would devastate me more than to know they my children had gotten this disease because I passed it down to them. Mothers are supposed to protect their children from harm, not make them sick."Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The cause of MS is still unknown – scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unidentified environmental factor(s) in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.Last year, Orange You Lovely raised $6,000 for the fight against multiple sclerosis.The event begins at 3 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m. Local television anchors Jason Pederson and Christina Munoz will host the show. Ticket prices begin at $35 for VIP level seats, $20 for general admission and $15 for the Champions with MS. Finkbeiner says, "It is a wonderful event that shows off the latest fashions from 312 Downtown Boutique and lets our Champions with MS, caregivers and friends with MS walk the runway and be pampered."Benton, ARBrent DavisFashion show in Benton to benefit MSNo source gets 30-year-term; 2 others convicted on sex charges2014-07-25T13:54:12-04:002014-07-25T13:54:12-04:00The Saline CourierOne man pleaded guilty to drug charges and a sexual assault charge. Two others were charged with sexual crimes after meeting their victims at local churches.Joey Harrington, 43, of Benton, pleaded guilty to several charges including sexual assault, felon in possession of a firearm, failure to appear in court and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver. He was sentenced by Saline County Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips to a 30-year prison term. In October of 2013, Benton police officers obtained a warrant for Harrington's arrest for allegedly selling methamphetamine from his residence. When officers came to his residence, they could not find him, but he eventually was located hiding underneath his trailer. In court, Harrington also allegedly admitted that he touched a child inappropriately. As part of his sentence, he will have to register as a sex offender, said Saline County Procecuting Attorney Ken Casady. Marcus Schenck, 31, of Benton entered a guilty plea to a sexual assault charge and was sentenced to serve 15 years with the Arkansas Department of Correction. Schenck reportedly befriended the victim at Woodland Hills Church.The victim, who was 14 at the time, later spend the night at Schenck's residence, where they engaged in sexual intercourse, Casady said. Gideon Gulledge, 23, of Little Rock was sentenced by Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold to serve 10 years with the Arkansas Department of Correction followed by a 10-year suspended sentence for two counts of engaging children in sexually explicit activity.Gulledge reportedly met his victims, who were 16 and 15, at East End Baptist Church. After becoming friends with them, he reportedly sent them inappropriate pictures of himself and asked for pictures in return. He also videoed both of the victims while they were washing themselves in the shower, according to court documents. Benton, ARSarah PerryHarrington gets 30-year-term; 2 others convicted on sex chargesNo source lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport2014-07-24T15:35:05-04:002014-07-24T15:35:05-04:00The Saline CourierThe end of the ban, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets, was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday."Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the FAA said. "The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary."The FAA instituted a 24-hour prohibition Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The directive, which was extended Wednesday, applied only to U.S. carriers.United Airlines, which has two daily flights from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv, said Thursday: "We intend to resume service. We're now reviewing when we can do so."American Airlines — parent company of US Airways, which has one daily flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv — said: "We are in the process of assessing the situation and will make a decision as soon as possible on when to resume service. Other factors will be considered before we resume — the most important being the safety of our crew and our passengers."The FAA has no authority over foreign airlines operating in Israel, although the European Aviation Safety Agency recommended Tuesday that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. EASA lifted that advisory Thursday, recommending that national authorities base decisions on flying to Ben Gurion "on thorough risk assessments, in particular using risk analysis made by operators."The FAA's flight ban was criticized by the Israeli government and by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who questioned whether President Barack Obama used a federal agency to impose an economic boycott on Israel.Delta Air Lines, which diverted a jumbo jet away from Tel Aviv before Tuesday's ban by the FAA, will not necessarily resume flights to Israel even if U.S. authorities declare the area safe, the airline's CEO said before the FAA lifted the ban.CEO Richard Anderson said Delta would of course obey FAA orders but would continue to make its own decisions about safety."We appreciate the advice and consent and the intelligence we get, but we have a duty and an obligation above and beyond that to independently make the right decisions for our employees and passengers," Anderson said on a conference call with reporters. "Even if they lift" the prohibition on flying in and out of Ben Gurion Airport, "we still may not go in depending on what the facts and circumstances are."Anderson declined to discuss specifically how the airline would make the decision to resume the flights and spoke only in general terms. He said the airline decides whether flights are safe to operate "on an independent basis, so we will evaluate the information we have and we will make the judgment that our passengers and employees rely on us to make for them every day."The CEO of Middle East carrier Emirates said after the shoot-down in Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet last week that global airlines need better risk assessment from international aviation authorities. Delta, however, seemed more inclined to go it alone.Benton, ARAssociated PressFAA lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airportNo source Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali2014-07-24T15:33:52-04:002014-07-24T15:33:52-04:00The Saline CourierAir navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 0155 GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday), the official Algerian news agency APS said.That means the plane had been missing for hours before the news was made public. It wasn't immediately clear why airline or government officials didn't make it public earlier.Air Algerie Flight 5017 was being operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the company said in a statement. The Spanish pilots' union said the plane belonged to Swiftair and it was operated by a Spanish crew.French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the plane vanished over northern Mali. He spoke Thursday from a crisis center set up in the French Foreign Ministry.The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou to Algiers wasn't immediately clear. Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.Northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government.A senior French official said it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a plane.The official, not authorized to speak publicly, said on condition of anonymity that they primarily have shoulder-fired weapons — not enough to hit a passenger plane flying at cruising altitude.Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane carrying 110 passengers and six crew left Burkina Faso for Algiers at 0117 GMT Thursday (9:17 p.m. EDT Wednesday), but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 0510 GMT (1:10 a.m. EDT Thursday). The nationalities of the passengers weren't immediately clear.Swiftair said it has not been possible to make contact with the plane and was trying to ascertain what had happened. It said the crew included two pilots and four cabin staff."In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," APS quoted the airline as saying.Benton, ARAssociated PressFrance: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N MaliNo source university to cut 16 jobs in 2 years2014-07-24T15:32:19-04:002014-07-24T15:32:19-04:00The Saline CourierOffset printing will stop on July 1, 2016, in the university's Print-Mail-Copy Solutions business unit, which provides graphic design services, on-campus mail delivery and a full-service post office. Offset printing involves transferring ink from a plate to a rubber cylinder and then onto paper.The planned cuts are about 40 percent of the business unit, which has 39 jobs, according to reports.University officials said the offset printing operation has been losing money for years. Ending the offset printing service, they say, is expected to save the college several hundred thousand dollars per year."While most people don't want to hear their position is being phased out, our plan is to give ample advance notice to the 16 affected employees, giving them approximately two years to make an orderly transition to other employment or to plan for retirement," said Tim O'Donnell, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration.The school will work with employees who want to stay at the university in helping them find jobs, he said.A mix of in-house services and outside vendors will be used to help fulfill campus demands for printing brochures, newsletters and postcards.Benton, ARAssociated PressArkansas university to cut 16 jobs in 2 yearsNo source