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Nov. 2010 crime victim reparations announced

Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $255,687.03 in reparations to 136 crime victims during November. Additional expenses were paid in three previously submitted cases.

The Crime Victims Reparations Program provides compensation for victims' unexpected expenses, including medical treatment, mental health counseling, lost wages, replacement services and funeral expenses. Most awards are limited to $10,000 or less; however, for victims receiving catastrophic injuries resulting in total and permanent disability, the maximum award can be as high as $25,000.

The program was created by the General Assembly in 1987.

For the entire 2009 year, the Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded 1,738 claims for a total payout of $3,821,954.01.

A portion of the reparations funding comes from fines imposed on convicted criminals. Additionally, court costs and fees are a major revenue source for the program.

Update: Senate votes to overturn military gay ban

Former Air Force Major Mike Almy says, "I'm not sure it's really sunk in yet. It's just a tremendous day forward for ending discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans."

Senators voted 65 to 31 in favor of repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. It was originally put in place 17 years ago. Legislators supporting the repeal feel they're getting rid of a discriminatory measure, but opponents say it's a bad move during war-time and will hinder soldier performance.

Now that the bill has overcome its final hurdle in Congress, some Arkansans are calling it a major victory.

While folks remain strongly opposed, the repeal will mean for the first time in American history, gays can be openly accepted by the military without fear of being kicked out.

Judge throws out ex-police chief's lawsuit

 

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes declined Friday to address allegations made by 62-year-old John Howell that Mayor Carl Redus wanted him to use unconstitutional crime-fighting methods, and left it for state courts to decide.

Howell, who is white, was fired March 8 after he and Redus couldn't agree on how to quickly implement policies. Redus hired 48-year-old Brenda Davis-Jones as Howell's successor. Redus and Davis-Jones are black.

Howell alleged that Redus fired him so that he could hire someone who is younger and black.

Redus praised the ruling. Howell's attorney, Morgan Welch, says he'll consult with Howell on how to proceed.

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

Follow the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights

With more than 60 festive locations to choose from, Arkansas families are encouraged to start a new holiday tradition by exploring the Arkansas Trail of Holiday of Lights.

Walk down to your own town square or take a cross-state trek to a town unknown. Enjoy the spirit of the season and plot your path on this year's exciting Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights. A brochure detailing participating cities and activities is available from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

From parades to pony rides, visits with Santa to sipping cider, the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights has something for everyone. Starting in some communities as early as Nov. 18, the Trail of Lights officially begins the week of Thanksgiving and illuminates the state throughout the season.

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.

Student receives Newell-Rubbermaid Scholarship

Student receives Newell-Rubbermaid Scholarship

Trenton Ware has been selected as a recipient of the Newell-Rubbermaid scholarship from the Tom Joyner Foundation. The scholarship was awarded last month (November) as part of the Foundation’s School of the Month Initiative where the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was the featured institution.

A junior chemistry education major from Forrest City, Arkansas, Trenton credits God as his main source of inspiration. “Because of who He is, I am who I am today.” He also credits his mother as well as high school and college instructors for his success. “[My Mother] has been a real backbone to me and pushed me to do the best that I can and work toward my potential.”

Trenton says the first example of a real teacher was modeled by his high school teacher, Steven Chen. “He went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that [we] excelled in his class.”

Dr.

Gov. Beebe announces intent to grant pardons

The 15 applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole-and-probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the pardons before final action is taken.

Governor Beebe intends to grant pardons to the following people:

Johny Adams (Conway): Theft of Property
This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1999 - Pulaski County), the fact that all terms of the applicant's sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law-enforcement objections to the application.