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Beebe advises farmers to watch tax cut proposals

Beebe told members of the Arkansas Farm Bureau at their convention in Hot Springs on Wednesday that they should be vigilant in watching the proposals during the session that starts in January.

The governor has proposed a half-cent cut in the state sales tax on groceries. Legislators say they want to see if there is room in the budget for other tax reductions.

Beebe says that further tax cuts would mean state budget cuts or raising other taxes.

Beebe's grocery tax cut has won past Farm Bureau support because it didn't affect a sales tax exemption on feed, seed and fertilizer.

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

47-year-old man shot to death in Hot Springs

Police say Martin Stringer was shot about 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning at a residence on Golf Links Road and died later at a local hospital.

They say James Lamont Matlock, 28, surrendered to officers at the scene of the shooting. He faces a first-degree murder charge and is in custody at the Garland County Detention Center with no bond.

Police say an investigation into the shooting is continuing.

(Copyright 2010 by Today's THV & The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Race to fill Ark. House seat has 1st candidate


Republican Bruce Cozart, a former member of the Lake Hamilton school board, tells the Sentinel-Record he's running for the seat that will be vacated after Democratic incumbent Rick Saunders steps down.

Saunders could not seek re-election this year because of term limits. In the general election on Nov. 2, Republican Keith Crass defeated his Democratic rival, Garland County Judge Larry Williams, even though Crass had died on Oct. 27.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion allowing Saunders to remain in the office until 2012, but Saunders says he will leave after his term ends on Jan. 1.

The local Republican and Democratic parties haven't decided if they will hold primaries or caucuses to choose their new nominees.

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

Garland Co. deputies investigating shooting


Around 2:40 Tuesday morning, the sheriff's office received a call of a shooting at 265 Ashbrook Lane.

Deputies found 27-year-old Matthew Hartman, sitting in the front yard, with a gunshot wound to his left leg.

Deputies say Hartman had shown up at the address, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics and was acting irrational. They say he began attacking and threatening a 48-year-old female for unknown reasons.

Investigators say the husband of the female then got a shot gun and shot Hartman in the left leg with bird-shot, causing minor injuries. 

Hartman was transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. His condition is unknown.

The case is still under investigation and, at this time, there is no motive for the attack. No arrests have been made and the case will be turned over to the prosecutor for review.

(Source: Garland County Sheriff's Office)

Ark. metropolitan areas ranked highest in crime


"It can be harmful for tourism," says Criminal Justice Professor Jeffery Walker.

When broken down by metropolitan areas, five Arkansas cities made the top ten. Pine Bluff is number two, the Memphis area three, Hot Springs is six, Little Rock moves up to number nine, and Texarkana is ten.

"If you look at violent crime in 2008 to 2009, violent crime is down nine percent. This book is not accurate," says Lt. Terry Hastings with Little Rock Police.

Even though the CQ Press uses FBI data, the FBI disputes the rankings saying it gives an incomplete analysis and creates misleading perceptions of a community.

"As far as we know this is the best only available data set at the national level of crime statistics across cities and we acknowledge there may be flaws in the data, but the numbers are what they are," says Ben Krasney, spokesperson for CQ Press.

BBB offers 10 tips for safe online shopping


Controlled burns set for downtown Hot Springs

Hot Springs Fire Chief Ed Davis says the controlled burns and other fuel mitigation efforts will take place on Whippoorwill Street, which he says is an overgrown access behind the city's main thoroughfare.

Fire officials say years of debris, foundation remains, trash, leaves and undergrowth make it impossible to respond or get water to the hillside behind the block.

Inmates from the Ouachita Correctional Center began working this week to clear debris and vegetation. Undergrowth will be scraped into burnable piles.

Officials say those piles and a mile-long strip of building between the buildings and a wooded area will be burned next year.

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