The Daily Press The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-09-19T14:39:36-04:00 Fire Department to begin annual fire hydrant tests around city2014-09-19T14:39:36-04:002014-09-19T14:39:36-04:00The Saline CourierThe procedure does not include the flowing of water. We do not anticipate any water discoloration or drop in pressure.Benton, ARSpecial to The Saline CourierBenton Fire Department to begin annual fire hydrant tests around cityNo source Hills City Council to hold special meeting Monday night2014-09-19T14:30:19-04:002014-09-19T14:30:19-04:00The Saline CourierBenton, ARSpecial to The Saline CourierShannon Hills City Council to hold special meeting Monday nightNo source killer surrenders 3 months after escape 2014-09-18T15:04:02-04:002014-09-18T15:04:02-04:00The Saline CourierTimothy Buffington escaped June 21 from the Pine Bluff Unit after stealing a shotgun from a house on the prison grounds where he'd been performing janitorial work. He was found more than 150 miles away Thursday — in the same area where he was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1998 shooting death of his ex-wife, Rhonda Combs.Prison officials began searching the area Thursday morning after a resident in western Arkansas spotted Buffington and recognized him, Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson said.Later Thursday morning, Buffington went to a house and asked to call Booneville police to turn himself in, Wilson said. Shortly thereafter, Buffington surrendered to an Arkansas State Police trooper in the front yard of the home. Wilson said Buffington was dressed in camouflage clothing.Prior to his escape, Buffington had no disciplinary infractions, prison officials said. Since 2003, Buffington had held a special status that let him work without constant supervision. Buffington would eat and sleep inside the prison but would work on the grounds, mowing lawns and doing janitorial work, Wilson said.The Department of Correction is now evaluating that program and other internal policies because of the escape.Benton, ARAssociated PressConvicted killer surrenders 3 months after escape No source discusses Bryant year-end finances2014-09-18T13:30:22-04:002014-09-18T13:30:22-04:00The Saline CourierWhile discussing the monthly financial report, Joy Black, finance director, told the committee that sales tax revenue is less than what was budgeted and she does not expect the city to make up the difference by the end of the year. The committee suggested that the council discuss postpone some projects until the beginning of 2015 in case their is not enough revenue to cover the costs. The committee also approved recommending two other agenda issues to the full council. The first item was a request from Bryant Fire Chief J.P. Jordan. Since the wildfire season is beginning, Jordan asked to purchase an all-terrain vehicle for about $12,500.Alderman Randy Cox also brought up the idea of purchasing a trailer to use with the vehicle. The committee also recommended the city spend $2,750 to match a grant from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to build a trail around Bishop Park. The grant will cover 80 percent of the cost and the city is responsible for 20 percent. Benton, ARSarah PerryCommittee discusses Bryant year-end financesNo source planned for Baker family on Saturday2014-09-18T13:29:24-04:002014-09-18T13:29:24-04:00The Saline CourierBaker suffered fatal injuries as she was walking from her car to a store in the Alcoa Exchange parking lot on Aug. 21 and died of those injuries the following day.Zumba, a popular form of exercise involving dance and aerobic elements, will be the featured attraction for the event.Stephanie Jarrett, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, says that 100 percent of funds paid for participation in the classes, admission fees and vendor table costs will be donated to the fund for the Heather Baker family."We want to celebrate Heather's life and pause a moment for people to remember her or get to know her if they didn't." says Jarrett. "She had attended my fitness class and some of my ladies got to know her better and were her friend. "We are a helping group of people and want the family to know we celebrate her life by giving a little support and helping with their needs," she added.Door prizes, food and water will be provided, according to Jarrett. Raffle items will be available and several Zumba instructors will be present to lead groups.Admission to the event is $15 at the door. Vendor tables are available for $25. Children 12 and under will be admitted free with a parent.Jarrett encourages everyone who comes to wear purple clothing in memory and honor of Baker.Classes begin at 10 a.m. and will continue until noon at Court 3 at Bishop Park on Boone Road in Bryant.For more information, contact Jarrett at 870-917-5808 or by email at, ARBrent DavisFundraiser planned for Baker family on SaturdayNo source City Council considers rate increase2014-09-18T13:24:36-04:002014-09-18T13:24:36-04:00The Saline CourierAlderman Paula Matthews presented a recommendation to raise the minimum water and sewer bill by $2.Currently, residential customers are charged $17 for the first 2,000 gallons of water and $8.50 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. Customer sewer charges are $12 for the first 2,000 gallons and $5.15 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. Matthews proposed that the rates be amended for 2015, based on a recommendation provided to the council by the Arkansas Rural Water Association. The rates would be different for residential and business customers.Matthews said she was "just trying to get some sort of idea of where we are at now and where we can in the future. I understand that most of our citizens only get paid once a month so I was trying to do something more realistic than a $20-30 increase all at one time and just do it in increments so it is not such a hardship on everybody."Matthews recommended a $1 increase for the water rates for residential customers — from $17 to $18 for the first 2,000 gallons — and an increase of $10 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.For residential sewer customers, she recommends an initial $1 increase, raising the cost to $13 for the first 2,000 gallons and then increasing the rate to $6.65 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. Sewer fees will also include a $10 maintenance fee. For business customers, Matthews recommends water prices be set at $20 for the first 2,000 gallons and $11.50 per 1,000 gallons thereafter. For sewer, she recommends prices be set at $15 for the first 2,000 gallons of sewage and $8.15 per 1,000 gallons thereafter.The sewer fees for business would also include a $20 maintenance fee. Mayor Johnny McMahan stated that Josh Freeman, the representative from the Arkansas Rural Water Association, doesn't believe $10 a month is a sufficient maintenance charge to keep the sewer system "above water." McMahan said the sewer maintenance fund currently has $3,900 and that approximately six sewer pumps need to be repaired per month. He said repairing each pump costs approximately $300, but the city has not been billed for 12 to 13 pumps that have been repaired.He added that the $10-a-month maintenance fee allows the city to fix about three sewer pumps a month, but noted that six are going out."That is something we are going to have to address at some point," he said.McMahan said Freemen has recommended that the minimum bill for water and sewer be increased by $18.55 but that the proposed changes increase the minimum bill by only $2. Alderman Karen Brooks stated, "I think the school is what is causing most of the sewer problems. Is there any way we can present something to the school board?"McMahan said that the council could establish an impact fee that would affect the Bauxite School District. He noted that most cities have an impact fee to address these types of issues but Bauxite does not. "Impact fees are probably something that Bauxite needs to implement and at this time it would only affect the school," McMahan said. The council did not vote on the proposed rate changes for water or sewer. He said he believes the proposal represents a good start, saying, "I appreciate Ms. Matthews taking the time to come up with this. It is obvious that the water and sewer rates need to be increased. They haven't been increased in seven years."McMahan did say that he does not believe the increases are enough. The issue will be addressed again in future council meetings. The council also discussed an ordinance to amend late charges. The ordinance would establish that water and sewer bills are due by the 10th of each month and that the disconnect date for service will be the 21st of each month. The current date of disconnect is the 17th of each month but residents can ask for an extension for an extra $25. The ordinance states that a $15 late charge will added to unpaid bills after the 15th of each month and that accounts that are delinquent by the 20th will be subject to disconnect on the 21st.It also establishes that the reconnection fee will be $30 plus the past due amount for services. Past due amounts must be in the office at the start of the business day on the 21st to avoid interruption of service. The ordinance states that if any of the specified dates fall on a holiday or business day, the ratepayer will be given until the next business day to settle the account.Alderman Mona Struble said that since many residents only get paid once a month or biweekly that this ordinance would help them by providing a five-day grace period in between the time that bills are due and the time a late charge is attached. Brooks said, "I think it is ridiculous to pay $25 for two days. There has to be a grace period in there to allow people to pay without these ridiculous fees." The mayor said that an ordinance would be necessary to repeal the existing ordinance that establishes the late fees and due dates for the city and that Matthews would need to specify the exact ordinance number in her new ordinance before the council could vote on the issue.Matthews said she would amend the ordinance by the next council meeting in order to have it ready for a vote.McMahan noted that the changes would need to be passed three times by the council. Benton, ARBobbye PykeBauxite City Council considers rate increaseNo source cooks encouraged to get tickets for event2014-09-18T13:22:29-04:002014-09-18T13:22:29-04:00The Saline CourierThe event is scheduled Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Benton Event Center on Interstate 30.Thousands of dollars in prizes will be awarded at the event and every participating ticket-holder will receive a filled goodie bag.Chef Jamie Dunn will be leading the event that will include demonstrations of recipes, products and homemaking ideas.Local vendors will be present with samples to taste and numerous ideas and helpful information for area cooks.Courier publisher Tony Cooper said the school has proven to be a successful event in large cities across the nation and was a major hit right here in Benton in 2010."Participants will learn valuable cooking skills at the school," Cooper said.Both VIP and general admission tickets are available for the event.Both types of tickets may be purchased at The Saline Courier, 321 N. Market St. in Downtown Benton, but it will be the only outlet for the premium tickets.Other outlets for general admission tickets are Riverside Grocery & Catering, 4444 Highway 5 South; Johnston's Home Center, 1423 Military Road; KB's Outdoor Sports, 15522 Interstate 30; and West Side Pharmacy, 620 W. South St.All participating ticket-holders will receive a filled goodie bag.Those with VIP tickets will receive special seating and a $29.99 Taste of Home cookbook plus other valuable items.Sponsors for the school include Everett Buick GMC, Harps, Johnston's Home Center and Riverside Grocery Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckArea cooks encouraged to get tickets for eventNo source to lead 'Taste of Home' school2014-09-18T13:21:19-04:002014-09-18T13:19:48-04:00The Saline CourierThat path took her to the Taste of Home Cooking Schools and becoming one of several chefs who host schools throughout the nation.She will be in Benton on Thursday, Oct. 2, to lead such an event at the Benton Event Center.Dunn says she feels at home in this role.“I had been a 'Taste of Home' subscriber ever since the magazine started," she noted. "I had gone to a ton of the cooking shows, and as my kids got older, I just decided that’s what I wanted to do."Dunn has worked with "Taste of Home" since 2006 and says she loves every minute of her job.“I like the fact that the show is for everybody," she said. "It’s not just for those with cooking knowledge. It really is for everybody."She pointed out that the magazine has 4 million readers and the show allows fans "to put a face on those of us behind the magazine that people love.”Dunn has traveled to every corner of the country presenting the show. She says she not only loves conducting the show, but she also enjoys hearing people’s reactions that follow.“People tell me ‘I was inspired to cook,’ ‘I was inspired to try this recipe,’ or even ‘I got out my food processor that I hadn’t got out in years,’” she noted.“That’s really why we’re out there. We know that people are eating more processed food. We want to encourage people to eat more fresh food.”Dunn is experienced in cooking with a variety of ingredients, having worked as a culinary Instructor for Tulsa Technology and Bama Cooking School, among other culinary positions she’s held. She says she’s been in the kitchen her whole life, which helps her present a more entertaining show.“Somehow when you get on stage and know what you’re doing and know what you’re talking about, stage presence just kind of comes naturally,” she explained.When she’s not traveling the country, Dunn enjoys spending time in her own kitchen in Tulsa, Okla., surrounded by her husband and three children. She also can be found in her vegetable garden, preparing canned goods, decorating cakes or skiing down snowy slopes.Dunn’s cooking presentation is just one of the many reasons to purchase a ticket for the Taste of Home Cooking School in Benton on Oct. 2. Vendor booths will open at 4 p.m. and the show will start at 7.Advance tickets are $10 and will include a goodie bag with gifts having a total value far more than the ticket price. At the door the tickets will be $15.VIP seating with a special goody bag are available for $35. This includes premium seating, a $29.99 Taste of Home cookbook and other valuable items.VIP tickets are available only at The Saline Courier office, 321 N. Market St.General admission tickets may be purchased at Riverside Grocery Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckDunn to lead 'Taste of Home' schoolNo source Dispatch Sept. 17, 20142014-09-18T12:13:51-04:002014-09-18T12:13:51-04:00The Saline Courier•A woman on South Main Street reported her Social Security card and her son's Social Security card were stolen from her vehicle. •A man on South Second Street reported a backpack was stolen from his vehicle. •A man on River Street reported fuel was stolen from his vehicle. •A manager at Shiny Carwash on Military Road reported an individual attempted to break into a coin vault. •Kyle Paul Davis, 25, of Alexander received a citation for theft of property in conjunction with an incident at Econo Lodge. •Frankie Sue Drennan, 50, of Benton was charged with driving while intoxicated. •Kyle Davis, 25, of Mabelvale was arrested at Walmart and charged with shoplifting, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Saline County Sheriff's Office•A woman on South Alexander Road reported a burglary. •A woman on Woodvine Drive reported a dog bite. •A man on Sierra Place Drive reported a theft. •A woman on Rebar Road reported the theft of television sets. •A man on Krestview Drive reported the theft of a vehicle. •A man on Avilla Vincintage Road reported receiving threatening text messages. Benton Fire DepartmentBenton firefighters responded to a rescue call and a medical call. Bryant Fire DepartmentBenton, ARSarah PerryDaily Dispatch Sept. 17, 2014No source predicts oncoming advertising onslaught2014-09-18T11:59:46-04:002014-09-18T11:59:46-04:00The Saline CourierSpeaking to the Political Animals club in Little Rock, Hutchinson estimated that candidates up and down the ballot would spend $16 million over the next seven weeks on television and other media ads. He compared the upcoming ad blitz to the opening races of runs for the White House."Arkansas has never seen anything like that," Hutchinson said. "If you've been in New Hampshire or Iowa during a presidential campaign, then you might have seen this before."Hutchinson is running against Democratic candidate Mike Ross, who is scheduled to appear before the group on Oct. 15. Both candidates are former congressmen running to replace Gov. Mike Beebe, who is prohibited from running for re-election because of term limits.Also running are the Green Party's Joshua Drake and Libertarian Frank Gilbert.Generating even more interest than the governor's race this year is the battle between incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Their race began 13 months ago, with both candidates running their own ads and benefiting from political interest groups outside the state. Candidates for other statewide races and in local contests will want television exposure, too.Because voters could potentially shut out negative advertising, Hutchinson said candidates would need to seek the higher road."There's one thing that I can control, and that's my own messaging and it is also our get-out-the-vote effort. And that's what we're going to be focusing on in the last 50 days of the campaign," he said.Ross campaign spokesman Brad Howard asked Hutchinson to disavow negative ads that others are running against the Democrat.Hutchinson said he is not coordinating any attack ads from outsiders and sees them when other Arkansans do.Benton, ARAssociated PressHutchinson predicts oncoming advertising onslaughtNo source