Quite a bit piled up while I was out for a week, so here are the highlights, in case you missed them:
• Storm damage caused by a swath of tornadoes and other poor weather across Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia topped $1.4 billion, according to Allstate.
• Speaking of storm damage, several Arkansas school districts are asking for school day waivers following inclement weather which shut their facilities for days at a time causing them to slip below the mandated 178 they must be in session. Union County is not among those in trouble, but Vilonia, Alpena, Huntsville and Beebe are expected to put forth waivers sometime today. Other districts have already received their waivers.
• Murphy Oil is teaming up with social media giant Foursquare to offer $2 off any gas purchase over $20 (Can anyone recall in recent memory when filling up cost less than $20?) and a free pack of Stride gum (Score!). Unfortunately we’ll all have to travel out of town to cash in on the deals as El Dorado-based Murphy oil has no gas stations in El Dorado.
• Also on the Murphy end of things, the company reported an 81 percent increase in first quarter profits at its annual board meeting last week at the South Arkansas Arts Center.
• The Arkansas Lottery Commission announced Wednesday 10,500 scholarships thus far awarded for the 2011-2012 school year, with an expected 60,000 to 70,000 applications still on the way. Last year 31,000 scholarships were awarded at a rate of $5,000 for university students and $2,500 for community college students. This year the amount will drop to $4,500 and $2,250, respectively, to keep up with the drop in lottery sales.