Archive - 2012 - News Article
Even after tears and expressions of anger from family members of murder victims Randall Craig Anderson of Mabelvale and Joe Lee "Joey" Richards Jr. of Benton, Marissa Lynn Wright of Traskwood continued to smile.
Wright appeared before Saline County Circuit Judge Gary Arnold early Wednesday and, through a plea arrangement, entered two guilty pleas to murder in the first degree.
Arnold sentenced Wright to two life sentences with the Arkansas Department of Correction. The sentences will run concurrently.
The fifth annual Bryant lighted Christmas parade is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6.
"It's creating excitement for the kids about Christmas," said Rae Ann Fields, executive director of the Bryant Area Chamber of Commerce. Fields said the parade is special because it is a chamber event that is "strictly dedicated to serving the community."
The grand marshal of the parade will be the Bryant 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series champions.
Deadline to register for the parade is 5 p.m. Nov. 23. After that, a $10 late fee will be added to the $10 entry fee.
When all the votes were counted, the results from Tuesday's general election gave the Benton City Council two new members and returned four incumbents to the positions they now hold.
However, two current members â€” who were part of a three-way contest for the Ward 4, Position 1 seat â€” will face off in a runoff on Nov. 29.
That race is the only one that will necessitate a runoff, according to Saline County Election Coordinator Darlene Westbrook.
Saline County voters have set a new record for early voting in a presidential election.
On Monday, when the early voting process ended, a total of 23,317 had cast ballots, according to tallies from the office of Saline County Clerk Linda Montalvo.
During the general election in 2008, slightly more than 17,000 people voted early, Montalvo said.
The overall total included 1,456 voters on Monday when the Benton site was the only early voting location open in the county.
First Baptist Church in Downtown Benton will be serving as a relay center for Operation Christmas Child in Saline County.
Lisa Baldwin, a volunteer for the project, noted that this is "a worldwide children's relief project that uses gift-filled shoe boxes to let hurting boys and girls know that they are loved and not forgotten."
She said this is a division of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.
Margaret Herzfeld, a member of First Baptist Church, is organizing the local relay center.
Today is the final day in Saline County to vote early for the Nov. 6 general election. Only the Benton site will be open today, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the county voting facility in Benton ("Vote Here" building adjacent to the Saline County Annex). The Bryant and Lonsdale area early voting locations will not be open today.
Thus far, 21,861 ballots have been cast from early voters in Saline County, according to tallies from the Saline County Clerk's Office.
Lisa Baldwin, coordinator of the Saline County Christmas Parade, said the theme of the 2012 event is "simple but glorious": That theme is "Angels."
The annual event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, iin Downtown Benton.
Group organizers are hoping that many of the entries will capture "a bright and heavenly theme," Baldwin said.
Individuals and organizations wishing to participate in the parade may pick up registration forms at the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce, Books and Baubles and Paradise Pets, all located in Downtown Benton.
In addition to the presidential election, arguably the most discussed topic for voters concerns Issue 5, which would legalize marijuana in Arkansas for medicinal purposes.
While the support group â€” Arkansans for Compassionate Care â€” is asking voters to have "compassion" and agree that marijuana will help people with serious illnesses, there are many state leaders who say there is more to Issue 5 than what voters realize.
*Published in the Courier Friday. A small selection of articles is available online, but for full access to content, subscribe to our print edition today.
Nearly 18,000 ballots have been cast from early voters in the Nov. 6 general election, according to tallies from the Saline County Clerk's Office.
The exact total thus far is 17,952, which included 1,826 ballots on Wednesday.
Broken down by specific sites, that number included 941 in Benton, 664 in Bryant and 221 in the Lonsdale area.
A Benton woman was arrested on Friday for 23 counts of animal cruelty, authorities said.
As of press time, 48-year-old Dorothy Rhonda Braithwaite remains in the Saline County jail with a $2,500 sheriff's bond. She is expected to appear in Benton District Court on Nov. 13.
Lt. Kevin Russell, public information officer for the Benton Police Department, said there is no indication that Braithwaite was selling the animals or part of an illegal "puppy mill." He said authorities do not anticipate any more arrests; however, the investigation is continuing.