The Daily Press http://bentoncourier.com http://bentoncourier.com/apfeed.xml--1 The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-07-22T13:50:10-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10430'No confidence' in McMahan; Bauxite Council vote ends 3-1 against mayor2014-07-22T13:50:10-04:002014-07-22T13:50:10-04:00The Saline CourierDuring the comments section at the end of the meeting, Alderman Mona Struble called for the no-confidence stance against McMahan and his ability to lead the city.Voting for Struble's motion were Struble, Karen Brooks and Paula Matthews; Alderman Brenda Haney voted against the action.McMahan said the vote was out of order because he had already declared the meeting adjourned. However, a motion to adjourn the meeting had not been made or seconded by any of the council members.McMahan stood as the council finished the vote 3-1 against him. Following the tally, McMahan pounded the gavel and declared the meeting adjourned for a second time.The meeting began with difficulty assigning a council member to take minutes for the meeting. The city does not have a recorder/treasurer at present.The council and mayor have not reached agreements on previous candidates. When none of the council members volunteered to take minutes, McMahan asked city attorney Pam Perry to serve as recorder.Separate ordinances to lower the pay of the mayor and city council members failed to pass following discussion.McMahan had proposed cutting the monthly salaries of the elected officials in order to create revenue that could then be used to address water and sewer department issues.McMahan also noted that pay for comparable positions in neighboring cities of similar sizes and population is less than what is paid to Bauxite officials.Matthews stated that her concern regarding the two ordinances was the disparity of reduction between the council members' pay and the mayor's. McMahan had recommended that the pay for council members be reduced from $175 to $50 per month and that the mayor's pay be reduced from $865 to $740.The pay reductions would have been in effect beginning Jan. 1, 2015, according to language in the proposed ordinances."My concern is that this is an 80 percent reduction for council members and only a 12 percent drop for the mayor," said Matthews. McMahan countered by saying these two rates were his suggestions, but the council members could use their judgment and lower his pay to whatever rate they deemed appropriate.Struble suggested the council postpone action on the proposed ordinances until the results of a recent legislative audit are available.McMahan stated he expects the audit results to be presented to the city within the next month.After considerable discussion, the council decided to postpone action until audit results are finalized.Brooks asked the council to remove her name from the list of officials required to sign checks for the city."I suspect illegal activity and I don't want my name on it. It's that simple," Brooks said.McMahan told the council that "we have to have a motion to take her off, but need somebody to sign the checks. Two signatures are required." Struble presented a motion to remove Brooks from signature authority and the council passed the measure by a vote of 4-0. McMahan then requested that the council name a replacement for Brooks."We need someone to sign the checks," the mayor said. "We pay bills almost every day. We need someone that's available. Which one of you will take her place?" Haney said she holds two jobs and doesn't have time to do this. Struble said she has three jobs and wouldn't be able to sign the checks in a timely manner.Matthews said, "I don't work, but I'm not doing it."With none of the council members being willing to accept responsibility, McMahan said, "If no one wants to sign checks, I guess we won't pay our employees."Brooks responded by saying, "I don't want to go to jail." "One of the council members needs to step forward. I do my part. I sign the checks," said McMahan.Brooks agreed to resume the responsibility under the condition that an ad be placed to hire a recorder/treasurer and that she would no longer sign checks after the position is filled.The council voted 4-0 to place Brooks back on the signature list on city accounts.Brooks did not elaborate on her allegation of illegal activity.The council went into executive session to discuss compensation for the city attorney. Following a 25-minute closed session, the council announced that no action was taken.Any decisions made in an executive session must be voted on in open session.The purpose for the session had been reported in the July 21 edition of The Saline Courier to be regarding the residency status of Struble, but this was incorrect.In other business, the council heard reports from the Arkansas Rural Water Association regarding the current condition of city accounts for water and sewer. Recommendations from the ARWA included an increase in rates to offset anticipated operation and maintenance costs at current and future levels.During the comments section of the meeting, McMahan noted that the filing period for municipal candidates begins on July 25. Every council position as well as the mayor's post are up for election in November.Benton, ARBrent Davis'No confidence' in McMahan; Bauxite Council vote ends 3-1 against mayorNo source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10430Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:50:10-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10429Panel approves leasing space for state prisoners 2014-07-22T13:40:02-04:002014-07-22T13:40:02-04:00The Saline CourierThe state Board of Corrections approved the agreement with Pulaski County to lease the 250-bed facility in Little Rock for $1 over the next year to house some of the inmates that have been backing up in county jails. The department planned to begin moving about 50 inmates into the facility Monday afternoon, with a goal of putting about 200 inmates there in the coming weeks."We'll start moving them in slowly and gradually build up to 200 and see how the operations go with that number," state Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson said. "We'll determine at that time whether we need to bump it up to the full 250."The $3.1 million the state will spend over the next year to staff and operate the Pulaski County facility is part of about $6.3 million in funding lawmakers approved earlier this month during a special legislative session to ease overcrowding. The rest of the money is earmarked to open beds at other state-run prisons around Arkansas.The state's inmate population stands at more than 17,370 inmates, with 2,330 of them being housed at county jails, prison officials told lawmakers last week. In Pulaski County, about 450 of the jail's 1,176 inmates are awaiting state beds, department spokesman Lt. Carl Minden said. The county facility has been closed to admitting some nonviolent offenders since July 1 because of the backlog of state inmates.Under the plan approved Monday, half of the inmates at the facility being leased will come from Pulaski County. The others will come from Washington, Sebastian, Crittenden, Benton and Jefferson Counties, Wilson said. The facility will only take non-violent offenders and no sex offenders, accepting inmates eligible for release in six months or less, Wilson said.The panel approved the deal as prison officials are preparing to ask lawmakers for a major boost in funding to ease overcrowding. The chairman of the board told lawmakers last week he's asking the Legislature for between $75 million and $100 million to build a new 1,000-bed prison, along with $25 million in additional annual funding to run it.Wilson said the new beds in Pulaski County will ease some of the backlog, but the crowding issues still persist.Benton, ARAssociated PressPanel approves leasing space for state prisoners No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10429Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:40:02-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10428Afghan vet who fought wounded gets Medal of Honor 2014-07-22T13:38:58-04:002014-07-22T13:38:58-04:00The Saline CourierPitts, a 28-year-old former Army staff sergeant from Nashua, New Hampshire, is the ninth living veteran of America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the nation's highest decoration for battlefield valor. In a somber White House ceremony, Obama praised Pitts for holding the line as his comrades fell in one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghan war."It is remarkable that we have young men and women serving in our military who, day in and day out, perform with so much integrity, so much humility and so much courage," the president said. "Ryan represents the very best of that tradition."Pitts' mission that day in June 2008 was supposed to be his last before returning home from his second tour of Afghanistan. After all, Pitts and his team had been in the country for 14 months, the Army said, battling frequently with enemy forces in northeastern Afghanistan's mountainous Waygal Valley.The goal was to move troops and equipment out of Combat Outpost Bella, a remote post roughly 10 miles from the nearest base, to a new site nearby. Accessible only by helicopter for supplies and reinforcements, Outpost Bella was slated to be closed.At 4 a.m., Pitts was manning his observation post. On the horizon, could see the blue-roofed buildings and protective stone walls of the town of Wanat: A one-story mosque, a hotel and cafe, some homes and a local bazaar.What Pitts couldn't know was that all of those buildings were concealing enemy fighters. Some 200 of them soon launched a full-scale assault on the outpost, their machine-gun fire puncturing the early morning silence.A cascade of rocket-fired grenades, gunfire and hand grenades fell on the troops, quickly killing two paratroopers. Shrapnel from grenades struck Pitts in both legs and his left arm. Unable to walk, he crawled to a comrade, who put a tourniquet on his leg.For more than an hour, Pitts fought to protect the remaining troops and defend the post, the Army said. Propping himself up on his knees, he blindly fired a machine gun over a wall of sandbags, loading more bullets into his weapon despite his loss of blood.He radioed back that he was alone, his teammates having all relocated or been killed. Enemy forces were so close to Pitts that those listening on the other end of the radio could hear them.That's when Pitts accepted he was going to die, Obama said. But he decided to keep fighting anyway."That little post was on the verge of falling, giving the enemy a perch to devastate the base below," Obama said. "Against that onslaught, one American held the line."More than an hour after the attack started, Pitts was evacuated, and eventually made a full recovery. The Army said but for his determination to fight while wounded, the enemy would have gained ground and killed more American troops.Pitts stood stoically and humbly in the East Room of the White House, silent as Obama recalled his valor at a ceremony attended by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and New Hampshire's two senators. But in brief remarks later outside the West Wing, Pitts read the names of his fallen comrades, one by one, an uneasy silence hanging in the air in between each name.Benton, ARAssociated PressAfghan vet who fought wounded gets Medal of Honor No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10428Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:38:58-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10427Arkansas AG rejects medical pot measure wording 2014-07-22T13:37:49-04:002014-07-22T13:37:49-04:00The Saline CourierMcDaniel's office on Monday rejected the wording of the proposal by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which had tried unsuccessfully to get medical marijuana legalization on this year's ballot. The group had been unable to gather the 62,507 signatures from registered voters needed by the July 7 deadline to submit petitions to qualify for the November ballot.The group is now trying to put the legalization measure on the 2016 ballot. McDaniel cited ambiguities in the text of the latest measure in rejecting its wording.Benton, ARAssociated PressArkansas AG rejects medical pot measure wording No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10427Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:37:49-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10426Pennington, Mallory have trial dates set2014-07-22T13:35:22-04:002014-07-22T13:35:22-04:00The Saline CourierPennington is scheduled for an Oct. 10 hearing in Saline County Circuit Court and his trial is scheduled Nov. 20.Circuit Judge Gary Arnold is presiding in Pennington's case, according to Kristie Petersen, Arnold's trial court assistant. Mallory is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 10 and her trial is set for Oct. 16.Former Pulaski County Circuit Judge John Langston was appointed to preside in Mallory's case after all four circuit judges in Saline County asked not to be assigned to Mallory's case. "The defendant ... is well known by all the judges, and her husband is the bailiff for Judge (Bobby) McCallister," according to a letter Arnold wrote to the Supreme Court of Arkansas. Both Pennington and Mallory have been charged with a Class D felony for abuse of public trust for allegedly receiving home improvements in exchange for forgiving sentences and fines, according to an affidavit prepared by Special Agent Rick Newton of the Arkansas State Police. Pennington and Mallory also are charged with theft of property. From Jan. 1, 2013, through Nov. 6, 2013, $5,610 from telephone kiosks in the sheriff's office and jail were not deposited, authorities said.Mallory allegedly admitted to investigators that she took an amount between $2,500 and $3,000 for personal use. Pennington also allegedly admitted receiving from $700 to $800 of this money from Mallory that he used to pay fines to the Saline County District Court. The fines stemmed from Pennington's arrest on June 29 for public intoxication and resisting arrest.After pleading guilty to both misdemeanor charges, he was ordered to pay $3,000 in fines and placed on a year on unsupervised probation. For this incident, Mallory was charged with a Class D felony and Pennington was charged with a misdemeanor charge. Pennington also was charged with a Class D felony theft of property charge because he allegedly cashed a $1,000 check paid to the Saline County Sheriff's Office and then used the money for personal use. During the legislative audit, he allegedly told auditors he had used the money to buy vests for the department's SWAT team. Attorney Ray Baxter of Benton will be representing Pennington in the case and Patrick Benca of Little Rock will serve as Mallory's legal counsel. Benton, ARSarah PerryPennington, Mallory have trial dates setNo source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10426Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:35:22-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10425Immunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-152014-07-22T13:29:37-04:002014-07-22T13:29:37-04:00The Saline CourierThe Arkansas Department of Health has proposed some changes to immunization requirements. If they are approved on July 24, they will go into effect on Sept. 1. Health Department officials say they anticipate approval.The changes have been in the process for several years, said Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations for the Health Department. She noted that the changes help to align the state requirements with the recommendations of the Accession Screening and Immunization Program. One change includes the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis because more incidents of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in students who are younger than seventh grade. In 2013, there were 466 cases of pertussis in Arkansas in comparison with 80 cases in 2011, Dillaha said. Students who are 11 or older on or before Sept. 1 will be required to receive a Tdap shot, she said. Vaccines are important for a person's health now and in the future, Health Department officials point out. "We don't vaccinate just to project our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won't infect, cripple or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases." Other immunization requirements include:•Kindergarteners and first-grade students need one Hepatitis A shot given on or after their first birthday. •Kindergarteners through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of three polio shots. One of the shots must have been given on or after the student's fourth birthday. •Students who are entering seventh grade need a meningococcal shot. Students turning 16 on or before Sept. 1, regardless of their grade, also need a meningococcal shot if they have not already had one. If they have had one prior to the age of 16, they will need a second shot.Students 16 on or before Sept. 1 will have until Oct. 1 to meet this new requirement. •Students from first grade to 12th grade need to have completed a series of four DTaP shots with one given on or after the student's fourth birthday. Only three DTaP shots are required if the student did not receive any before age 7.The DTaP shot is the pertussis shot for young children. •Kindergarten through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of two varicella (chicken pox) shots.Benton, ARSarah PerryImmunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-15No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10425Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:29:37-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10424Immunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-152014-07-22T13:28:21-04:002014-07-22T13:28:21-04:00The Saline CourierThe Arkansas Department of Health has proposed some changes to immunization requirements. If they are approved on July 24, they will go into effect on Sept. 1. Health Department officials say they anticipate approval.The changes have been in the process for several years, said Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations for the Health Department. She noted that the changes help to align the state requirements with the recommendations of the Accession Screening and Immunization Program. One change includes the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis because more incidents of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in students who are younger than seventh grade. In 2013, there were 466 cases of pertussis in Arkansas in comparison with 80 cases in 2011, Dillaha said. Students who are 11 or older on or before Sept. 1 will be required to receive a Tdap shot, she said. Vaccines are important for a person's health now and in the future, Health Department officials point out. "We don't vaccinate just to project our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won't infect, cripple or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases." Other immunization requirements include:•Kindergarteners and first-grade students need one Hepatitis A shot given on or after their first birthday. •Kindergarteners through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of three polio shots. One of the shots must have been given on or after the student's fourth birthday. •Students who are entering seventh grade need a meningococcal shot. Students turning 16 on or before Sept. 1, regardless of their grade, also need a meningococcal shot if they have not already had one. If they have had one prior to the age of 16, they will need a second shot.Students 16 on or before Sept. 1 will have until Oct. 1 to meet this new requirement. •Students from first grade to 12th grade need to have completed a series of four DTaP shots with one given on or after the student's fourth birthday. Only three DTaP shots are required if the student did not receive any before age 7.The DTaP shot is the pertussis shot for young children. •Kindergarten through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of two varicella (chicken pox) shots.Benton, ARSarah PerryImmunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-15No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10424Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:28:21-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10423Immunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-152014-07-22T13:27:40-04:002014-07-22T13:27:40-04:00The Saline CourierThe Arkansas Department of Health has proposed some changes to immunization requirements. If they are approved on July 24, they will go into effect on Sept. 1. Health Department officials say they anticipate approval.The changes have been in the process for several years, said Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations for the Health Department. She noted that the changes help to align the state requirements with the recommendations of the Accession Screening and Immunization Program. One change includes the Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis because more incidents of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in students who are younger than seventh grade. In 2013, there were 466 cases of pertussis in Arkansas in comparison with 80 cases in 2011, Dillaha said. Students who are 11 or older on or before Sept. 1 will be required to receive a Tdap shot, she said. Vaccines are important for a person's health now and in the future, Health Department officials point out. "We don't vaccinate just to project our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and meningitis won't infect, cripple or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases." Other immunization requirements include:•Kindergarteners and first-grade students need one Hepatitis A shot given on or after their first birthday. •Kindergarteners through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of three polio shots. One of the shots must have been given on or after the student's fourth birthday. •Students who are entering seventh grade need a meningococcal shot. Students turning 16 on or before Sept. 1, regardless of their grade, also need a meningococcal shot if they have not already had one. If they have had one prior to the age of 16, they will need a second shot.Students 16 on or before Sept. 1 will have until Oct. 1 to meet this new requirement. •Students from first grade to 12th grade need to have completed a series of four DTaP shots with one given on or after the student's fourth birthday. Only three DTaP shots are required if the student did not receive any before age 7.The DTaP shot is the pertussis shot for young children. •Kindergarten through 12th-grade students need to complete a series of two varicella (chicken pox) shots.Benton, ARSarah PerryImmunization guideline changes proposed for 2014-15No source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10423Change0Usable2014-07-22T13:27:40-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10408Arkansas Baptist College hit with civil lawsuits2014-07-19T14:10:49-04:002014-07-19T14:10:49-04:00The Saline CourierThe historically black college in Little Rock has struggled to pay its bills, meet payroll obligations and deliver financial aid checks to its students since last year, the media reported this week.One of those lawsuits filed this week in Pulaski County Court says the college twice bounced a $157,016 check to pay for furniture it bought from a Texas-based company, Southwest Contract.Earlier this month, the state's department of workforces filed a lien on the college's property, because of about $131,400 in unpaid unemployment insurance contributions, interest and penalties. In May, another lawsuit filed against the college says the school did not repay a $132,325 loan from national company GreatAmerica Financial Services.Overall, the private college with around 1,000 students has had seven civil lawsuits filed against it since January 2013.Arkansas Baptist College President Fitz Hill has said before that the college's financial situation was a result of "cash flow" problems. When the U.S. Department of Education placed the college on Heightened Cash Monitoring Status last year, it affected how fast the college receives funds from the federal government for student aid.LaCresha Newton, the college's chief of staff, wrote in an email that a lot of the challenges the school has faced are because of how it receives payment for federal student financial aid. She added the college is "fully cooperating with our vendors and has provided them with the information required to secure our obligations as we continue to make progress in paying each of our creditors in full."The college must provide proof to the Higher Learning Commission, a national agency, next month that the financial and internal problems that could jeopardize its accreditation have been resolved."We want the community to know that Arkansas Baptist College appreciates its committed employees, dedicated students, patient vendors and supportive community during this challenging time," Newton said."We have every intention of returning to solid financial footing in the days ahead."Benton, ARAssociated PressArkansas Baptist College hit with civil lawsuitsNo source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10408Change0Usable2014-07-19T14:10:49-04:00 urn:publicid:dailypress.com:10407Lengthy agenda planned for Bryant Council meeting2014-07-19T14:09:09-04:002014-07-19T14:09:09-04:00The Saline CourierDuring the meeting, the council will discuss an agreement between the city and the Boys The council has been discussing the agreement with the Boys Each year the council approves agreements with various organizations and groups, but this year the council decided to create a facilities agreement with the club that would last longer than one year.The longer agreement came under scrutiny when the city's bond counsel was reviewing a proposed bond issue. According to the Arkansas Constitution, a city cannot provide the club property that is paid for with tax money. As a compromise, Bryant city attorney, Chris Madison proposed a three-year term that includes an out-clause to protect the city. Madison and the club's officials have agreed on the term length, but some items have not been agreed on yet."It is my understanding that the three-year term is agreeable to the Boys "At this point, I have provided my professional opinion on the remaining issues, and it is simply a matter of decision time by the council and the board of the Boys Alderman Adrian Henley requested a financial update about the two proposed fire stations. The two new stations were approved during a special election in November. These stations will replace the out-of-date stations the firefighters currently are using.During the last update, Mayor Jill Dabbs told the council that the city would not spend as much money to spend on the project as expected. Dabbs could not be contactd by press time to comment on what the update with include. The council also will hear a presentation about Healthcare Express, a new business in Bryant; a presentation by Eddie Black from the Saline County Economic Development Corp.; and a presentation by Mary Vickers about the Bryant Senior Wellness and Activity Center.Benton, ARSarah PerryLengthy agenda planned for Bryant Council meetingNo source availableurn:publicid:dailypress.com:10407Change0Usable2014-07-19T14:09:09-04:00