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Update: New website for child guardians

Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind is one of the oldest non-profits exclusively dedicated to the child's well-being. Friday, they received a gift to help them expand their services.

One out of every 32 children has a parent locked up right now. The need is there for a fully functioning website for child guardians to know their rights and how to get services. It's been a year and a half in the making and Friday Aristotle Web Design unveiled the website for the non-profit worth $15,000.

This is a first look at the website provided by Aristotle Web Design for Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind. The organization serves 8-counties, but can now be a presence statewide.

Independence Co. coroner acquitted of drug charge

Independence County Coroner Hardy Willis has been acquitted by a federal court jury of a charge of distributing marijuana found hidden in a casket in a funeral home van.

The Batesville Daily Guard reported Thursday that the jury in U.S. District Court at Little Rock deliberated about two hours and 45 minutes Wednesday evening before returning with its verdict.

Prosecutors charged Willis after a man was arrested in Texas on June 23, 2009, driving a van belonging to a funeral home. Investigators said they found 100 pounds of marijuana, hidden inside a casket. Willis reported the van stolen the day after the arrest.

Willis, who lost a bid for re-election this year, said he might run for coroner again in 2012.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Citizens Bank Christmas Open House Dec. 22

Santa will be at Citizens Bank Main Branch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 22 for Citizens Bank Christmas Open House

FREE 'Prince of Persia' in HD

FREE 'Prince of Persia' in HD

Jubilee Family Church invites you and your family to come and watch the 2010 release of the movie "Prince of Persia", as it is projected in High Definition onto our giant indoor screen.

Admission is FREE.

Showtime is 7:00pm.

The theater is located at:
Jubilee Family Church
45 Thunderbird Lane
Batesville, AR
(About 2 miles east of Wal-Mart on Harrison)

Federal stimulus gives Arkansas teachers bonuses

Every year, e-Stem Charter School gives its teachers bonuses and federal stimulus money will allow that trend to continue. English teacher Jenny Choate says teachers deserve a pat on the back.

"It's icing on the cake. It's a nice bonus, but I love to teach anyways," says Choate.

The federal jobs bill gives Arkansas schools $193 per student, but at e-Stem, CEO John Bacon says a private foundation has been funding the average $7500 bonuses, which are based on performance.

"As that phased out, we would take on a portion through our budget, so that after 3 or 4 years, we would be fully funding it through our school budget," says Bacon.

Executive Director Rob McGill of Academics Plus Charter School also hopes to use the extra cash for bonuses.

"We want to be competitive with other districts that are in Pulaski County," says Rob McGill.

Pollution case targets Izard Co. sand mine


A news release Tuesday from ADEQ said Bluebird Sand LLC, at its facility near Mount Pleasant, allowed sediment-laden water from its sand-cleaning operation to flow into a nearby creek, causing a fish kill.

Company officials told The Batesville Guard newspaper that they had decided voluntarily to shut down the operation before the complaint was filed in Izard County Circuit Court. They said they would keep it shut until new equipment that would prevent the problem is up and running.

The ADEQ complaint seeks an order halting all operations until Bluebird Sand gets wastewater-discharge permits, and seeks a $250,000 fine.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More than a quarter of Arkansas children live in poverty

The U.S. child poverty rate in 2009 was 19.7 percent. The federal definition of poverty in 2009 was a family of four earning less than $22,050 a year.

The Arkansas child poverty rate jumped to 26.9 percent in 2009, up 2.3 percentage points from 24.6 percent in 2008, according to figures released by the Census Bureau.

How much do you know about poverty? Click here to take the quick interactive quiz, debunk steotypes and raise awareness.