The Daily Press The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-10-20T16:18:39-04:00 PD investigating death of infant2014-10-20T16:18:39-04:002014-10-20T16:18:39-04:00The Saline CourierBenton, ARJosh BriggsBenton PD investigating death of infantNo source man killed in I-30 wreck2014-10-20T14:52:06-04:002014-10-20T14:52:06-04:00The Saline CourierA 33-year-old Saline County man died Saturday night in a two-vehicle collision on Interstate 30 near the Alexander overpass.Caleb Alsup of Benton was killed when the 2014 Ford Focus he was driving was struck by a 2003 Food Mustang, the Arkansas State Police reported. The driver of the Mustang allegedly was "attempting to evade law enforcement officers at a high rate of speed and without headlights," according to a reported prepared by Cpl. Jack Williams of the ASP. Benton, ARSarah PerryLocal man killed in I-30 wreckNo source over Benton Ward 4, Position 1 vote2014-10-20T10:33:41-04:002014-10-20T10:33:41-04:00The Saline CourierMoore continues to prepare for his move to Northwest Arkansas and has attempted to clear up the ballot issue. "This is a very unique situation," says Moore. "I never knew it would be this complicated. I spent a lot of time on the phone yesterday (Oct. 16) in an effort to determine the rules for filing my campaign financial report as a municipal candidate that has withdrawn from a race. That telephone journey ended with an Arkansas Ethics Commission attorney that determined my financial report is due 11/30/2014."Moore says, "I’m not well versed in election law and really don’t know what to say. I presumed Mr. Gardner would be declared the winner by default. Now, I am not sure what will happen with the vote count and the remote possibility of me getting the most votes."   Saline County Clerk Doug Curtis says he did not receive Moore's paperwork to withdraw until Oct. 14, and due to the time lapse between Moore's announcement and the filing of the paperwork, Moore's name would still be on the ballot.Gardner says he learned Moore would still be on the ballot on the afternoon of Oct. 14."I first learned of Brad's withdrawal from the race on Tuesday, October 7 at 3:30 p.m. when he sent a Press Release stating his reasons for withdrawing from our race for Ward 4, Seat 1 on the Benton City Council." says Gardner. "On Wednesday (Oct. 14) at 12:30 p.m., I received a phone call from Benton City Attorney Brent Houston informing me he had been in contact with the Attorney for the Arkansas Election Commission. As I was told, Brad's formal filing of withdrawal was received by the Saline County Clerk's office on Tuesday, Oct. 14, meaning his name would remain on the ballot and the votes would be counted. Mr. Houston informed me that should Brad garner the most votes in the election, then the seat on the Benton City Council would be declared vacant.""I was previously unaware of the requirement to submit my intent to withdraw in writing." says Moore. "Plus, my work schedule was a hindrance. No intentional delay on my part."As for its impact on the race, Gardner states, "My campaign's assumption, based on what we were told by the clerk's office, is that I would be declared the winner and the votes would not be counted. I immediately halted the final stretch run of campaigning which included three direct mail pieces to the residents in Ward 4. Now, my campaign is exerting effort through direct appeals to voters and social media to alert voters of the need to vote despite Brad's formal filing of withdrawal from the race."Benton, ARBrent DavisConfusion over Benton Ward 4, Position 1 voteNo source Griffin sees value in Lt. Gov. office2014-10-20T10:13:53-04:002014-10-20T10:10:46-04:00The Saline CourierQuestion: During the May preferential primary, the relevance and importance of the office of Lt. Governor became an issue. Rep. Andy Mayberry, who you defeated, said he would work to abolish the office by the end of his first term if elected. Do you agree with those who say the office is not important and insignificant?Griffin: "Completely disagree. If you look at the last 22 years, just look at that alone, twice in last 22 years, basically once each decade, our lieutenant governor has become governor. That, in and of itself, is a significant reason that I disagree with that characterization. Mike Huckabee became governor because he was lieutenant governor. He might or might not have run at some point to become governor, but the reason he was governor is because of that. It provides a smooth line of succession in case something happens. It's the reason I ask folks to take this vote seriously and don't think this is a throw-away vote. We should all ask if the person who is running for lieutenant governor has the temperament and the background with experience to become governor if called upon. "The other thing is that lieutenant governors have a history of getting involved and successfully advocating for policy. Win Rockefeller was focused on economic development and had a lot to bring to the table as far as experience. Two lieutenant governors ago we had a lieutenant governor who talked a lot about the lottery on the campaign trail and we have a lottery. Why do we have a lottery? Because the lieutenant governor pursued it. The last lieutenant governor pursued the online checkbook. That's the law now. We have that because a lieutenant governor chose to pursue it. So there's a policy role historically for a lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor is like the vice president on the national level. Potentially in a time of chaos, you don't want a lot of questions about who will be governor. There have been a lot things thrown around about succession. Some say make it the speaker (of the house) or make it this or that. The problem with those is, if you made it the speaker, you're saying that one, relatively small community is going to decide who is the governor for the whole state. My view is that the lieutenant governor should be elected in the same manner as the governor is and vice-versa. Everyone across the whole state should vote so that we all know who that person will be. Other people say lets get the (state) auditor or the land commissioner or the secretary of state, but they are really different jobs. That's like saying the plumber is at the house so lets get him to fix the electrical outlets. A recent proposal talked about having the attorney general (as succeeding). Well that way you're basically saying that only a lawyer can be in the line of succession if something happens. That's not a good idea. You don't want to exclude everybody else. And you might think about this; the person you vote in as attorney general, as the best lawyer in the state, may not be the best person to be governor. They are different jobs. When you really start to dig on it, it's just because of the recent problems we've had. The interesting thing is that every one of the legislators who have introduced a new resolution or legislation to get rid (of the office), every one of them have voted to fund the office every single time. In fact, every vote to fund the office has been unanimous."Question: What policy would you pursue as lieutenant governor?Griffin: "My focus on this campaign has been entirely on policies that will help us grow jobs and compete. Obviously everybody is for jobs. I don't know anyone who isn't for jobs. The question is, does anyone have specifics to help grow jobs? My view is that, right now, we are, as a state, at an unacceptable place. The Associated Press recently had a survey that shows us to be 47th (in the nation) in job creation. That's unacceptable. I have two children, a 4-year old and a 7-year old, and if I want them to have the opportunity to stay in this state and work here one day, we're going to have to do better than 47th. All that survey did was look at jobs in the last five years. The chamber tells me that we have a net negative of 80,000 jobs since 2008 in the state. It's completely unacceptable. I don't believe that path we are on is at the level of job creation that we need."What is it that we need to do? In my view, as a state, we have avoided the hard reforms. Instead, we have focused almost entirely on something that I think is important but is only one part of the puzzle and that's incentives. Incentives help and they are important but they are no replacement for good policy. The better the policy, the fewer incentives you will need. The more welcoming your tax code, the less I'll have to convince you to come here because you are going to come because of what's on the books. Incentives won't be needed as much if our laws, our regulatory structure and tax structure were welcoming. I use the illustration of a cake to make the point. The simple truth is that if a cake doesn't taste good and you can't get anyone to eat it, you have to put a lot of icing on it. If it's really delicious, all you will need is a thin layer of icing. If it's really delicious some people will eat it with no icing. The cake represents permanent policies and laws - tax reform, tort reform, regulatory reform, top to bottom review of every state agency, workforce training that actually works. So, yes, the incentives, the icing are important, but we have a cake that's less than ideal. Until we fix the state policies that aren't as attractive as other states, until we fix those, everyone is going to be at a permanent disadvantage. It's hard to make these changes. It's hard to implement tort reform. It's hard to bring tax reform. It requires political capitol. But I believe that's what we have to do."Question: Why should voters select you for lieutenant governor?Benton, ARBrent DavisRep. Griffin sees value in Lt. Gov. officeNo source throws out complaints against Cox; more documentation needed2014-10-17T13:30:49-04:002014-10-17T12:08:07-04:00The Saline CourierArkansas Ethics Commission Director Graham Sloan said the complaint would not be accepted because it was not filed correctly. He explained that Barbara Champagne of Bryant, who filed the two-issue complaint, had not signed the complaint under oath, according to a letter. The letter reads, "Until staff receives a completed citizen complaint form, the Ethics Commission will not take any action with regard to this matter." The specific requirements for complaints also are listed in the letter. "A complaint must clearly set forth the name of the person alleged to have a committed a violation, clearly set forth the facts believed by the complainant to constitute a violation of laws under the Ethics Commission's jurisdiction, and be signed under penalty of perjury," according to the letter. According to Champagne, Cox allegedly violated a statute when he brought campaign material along with him when he delivered lunch to Bryant emergency personnel and first responders on Oct. 15.Cox also was scheduled to distribute food Thursday and Friday as well, according to an email included in the claim. The fliers Cox had left at the fire station reportedly included his campaign slogan and included the statement: "Please enjoy this meal prepared by my family and I, as a way to show our appreciation for all of your hard work and dedication you provide to our city throughout the year. Win, Lose or Draw. We wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you." In response to this claim Cox said he acting only as an alderman. "It was simply my intention as an alderman with little time left to serve to thank the employees for their work," he said. In the complaint, Champagne quoted the statute, which reads that a person cannot "distribute any letters, circulars or other campaign materials" on property paid for with the use of public funds. Champagne also made a claim about Cox's involvement with the Boys She alleges Cox "never recused his vote on voting for the monies in the budget (for the Boys "Alderman Randy Cox worked on the budget and was a strong voice for the Boys In regard to this claim, Cox said he only voted for the budget as a whole. "I voted 'no' on the 2013 budget. However, in 2014, while voting on the general budget for the city of Bryant, I do not recall specific discussion of the club's line item in the budget and I did vote 'yes' on the overall general city budget," he said. "If I am guilty of one thing, it is that of being an avid supporter of the Boys Cox also said he is happy with his campaign."As I have said from the beginning, I will run a positive, clean campaign based on honesty and openness with the public. As it stands, I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far and we will continue to keep our focus on the election and bring positive change to the city of Bryant," he said."This (complaint) is an obvious attempt to divert the public's attention from the real issues that are facing the city of Bryant, especially regarding missed budget projections, unaccounted expenditures and poor employee morale." In the claim, Champagne also noted that she believes both of the incidents are illegal and said she has given the information to Saline County Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady. Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Bush said she could not comment about this situation. In the letter from the Arkansas Ethics Commission, Sloan noted that Champagne could refile the complaint. Benton, ARSarah PerryCommission throws out complaints against Cox; more documentation neededNo source Voters will consider Arkansas liquor issue 2014-10-16T16:18:00-04:002014-10-16T16:18:00-04:00The Saline CourierThe Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously denied a bid to toss the item from the Nov. 4 ballot. The proposal's opponents said petition-gatherers didn't file paperwork on time and didn't fully explain what voters would be voting on.Arkansas ballot petitions are due four months before Election Day. This year, the deadline was July 4, but the secretary of state accepted them the next business day, July 7. The group Citizens for Local Rights suggested the state should have opened its offices on Independence Day to accept them.Benton, ARAssociated PressCourt: Voters will consider Arkansas liquor issue No source critically hurt after trains collide in Arkansas2014-10-16T16:10:38-04:002014-10-16T16:10:38-04:00The Saline CourierArkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Rick Fahr (fayr) says a passenger train collided with another train Thursday near the town of Winslow, about 175 miles northwest of Little Rock.Washington County Emergency Management Director John Luther says 37 people were able to walk away from the wreck. Officials say there were a combined 44 passengers and six crew members on both trains.The passenger train was carrying tourists on a sight-seeing trip, known as an "excursion train," operated by Arkansas Benton, ARAssociated Press5 critically hurt after trains collide in ArkansasNo source man accused of 'mopping aggressively' 2014-10-16T14:50:12-04:002014-10-16T14:50:12-04:00The Saline CourierPolice say 30-year-old John Thornton, of Southington, was arrested Monday night and charged with breach of peace and threatening.Officers responding to the Bristol hotel were told a man had become "unruly," grabbed the mop and swept it back and forth over the woman's shoes. When the employee asked the man to stop, police say he turned his back and pushed her into a corner. Police say the woman was shaken and crying.Authorities say Thornton insulted and swore at officers during the arrest, threatening them with bodily harm.Benton, ARAssociated PressConnecticut man accused of 'mopping aggressively' No source high court strikes down voter ID law2014-10-16T14:03:13-04:002014-10-16T14:03:13-04:00The Saline CourierIn a decision that could have major implications in the Nov. 4 election, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that determined the law unconstitutionally added a requirement for voting.The high court noted the Arkansas Constitution lists specific requirements to vote: that a person be a citizen of both the U.S. and Arkansas, be at least 18 years old and be lawfully registered. Anything beyond that amounts to a new requirement and is therefore unconstitutional, the court ruled."These four qualifications set forth in our state's constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement," the ruling said.Arkansas is among a handful of states where voter ID requirements have been in limbo. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed new restrictions to take effect in North Carolina but blocked Wisconsin's ID requirement."We are thrilled that the Arkansas Supreme Court eradicated this artificial, vote-stealing law," said Holly Dickson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, which had sued to strike the law down. "It was an unconstitutional barrier that has already stolen legitimate voting rights and we are thrilled to see Arkansans' voting rights restored."Wednesday's ruling could impact political races in Arkansas, where early voting is set to begin Monday. The U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, is one of the most heated in the country, and the GOP views the seat as key in its bid to win control of that chamber.It was unclear whether the ruling means the law will not be in effect Monday. Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said he was reviewing legal options following the ruling and will defend the law "to the fullest extent possible."A spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, said he was reviewing the decision.The Republican-led Legislature approved the voter ID law last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, and it took effect Jan. 1. It was later challenged in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and the Arkansas Public Law Center on behalf of four voters they said would be disenfranchised by the requirement.Democrats and Republicans split predictably on the court ruling. State Democratic Party Chairman Vince Insalaco called the decision "a win for all Arkansas voters," while state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb said the court failed to "help restore the integrity of the ballot."Republicans in the Legislature said they planned to push for the voter ID requirement again, with House Majority Leader Ken Bragg saying he'd support adding to the 2016 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment for voter ID.Sen. Bryan King, a Republican from Green Forest who sponsored the law, said he didn't believe the oral arguments before the court gave supporters enough time to make their case."There has not been a day in court that our side really got to present both sides," said King, who had argued it would ensure the integrity of elections.Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox struck down the law in May but suspended his ruling while it was being appealed. Dickson said the ACLU planned to ask the judge to lift that stay.The state's previous law said election workers were required to ask for photo ID but that voters didn't have to show it to cast a ballot. Under the law that was struck down, voters who didn't show photo identification could cast provisional ballots — but those ballots were counted only if they provide ID to county election officials by noon Monday after an election.Benton, ARAssociated PressArkansas high court strikes down voter ID lawNo source City Clerk race draws two candidates2014-10-16T13:52:04-04:002014-10-16T13:51:27-04:00The Saline CourierEarly voting will get under way Monday, Oct. 20.The Saline Courier, on Oct. 13, submitted questions to both candidates at the email address on file with the candidates' paperwork at the county clerk's offices. McKim submitted her answers on Wednesday morning.A follow-up reminder telephone call was placed to Ashcraft on Wednesday morning, but as of press time, she has not responded.McKim was elected to the office in the 2010 general election.Benton, ARBrent DavisBryant City Clerk race draws two candidatesNo source