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State Farm Awards honor state's best

The veteran staff at Hooten's Arkansas Football selects three finalists for each category, and those finalists are invited to attend the State Farm Awards.

State Farm's spokesman in Arkansas, Gary Stephenson, said, "We are pleased to be working with the recognized authority on Arkansas high school football, the Hootens organization. State Farm congratulates all of the finalists for this year's awards."

State Farm has a strong, long-standing commitment to supporting education and community involvement and is proud to honor Arkansas' finest young athletes.

Park Service pays Ark. commission for improvements

 

The final amount due the commission won't be calculated until its concessions contract with the Park Service ends in 2013. The commission operates the tower under the contract.

Hot Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau Chief Executive Officer Steve Arrison told the Hot Springs Sentinel Record that more than $144,542 of the $1.5 million was used to reimburse the commission's general fund for the cost of renovations at the tower.

Arrison says the remaining money was placed into a 12-month certificate of deposit, and the commission will decide how it is spent. Commissioners don't have to spend the money on the tower.

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

Republicans block youth immigration bill

An Arkansas Democrat has helped block an effort that would've given thousands of young illegal immigrants a path to legal status if they enrolled in college or joined the military. Related THV Story

Sponsors of the "Dream Act" fell five votes short of the 60 they needed to break through largely GOP opposition and win its enactment before Republicans take over the House and narrow Democrats' majority in the Senate next month.

Five Democrats, including Arkansas' Mark Pryor, joined 36 Republicans in defeating the measure.

The House passed the bill last week. It was a last-ditch effort to enact it before it Republicans take control of the House from Democrats in January.

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.

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.