New Century and Mellor Park in lease negotiations

Rumors that New Century Chinese Restaurant might be vacating its premises in Mellor Park Mall are right now merely a matter of negotiation, said Sajal Agarwal.

Agarwal, one of the owners of the mall, declined to comment further saying he doesn’t have all the information yet and doesn’t expect to be free to further elucidate on the matter for another week or longer.

If New Century ultimately doesn’t resign its lease on the North West Avenue location, Agarwal said he wishes them luck, but doesn’t believe the premises will be difficult to fill.

“If their decision is to vacate we with them the best,” he said. “I don’t think it will be hard to find someone to fill their spot and I’m confident they’ll thrive in another location if they so choose.”

Posted in Business, By Allison Gatlin, Entertainment, Money, News | 4 Comments

Jury deliberations begin in Wendi Cox trial

Less than two days after opening statements began at the Union County Courthouse, the jury has entered into deliberations on whether Wendi Cox is guilty of a multitude of thefts in connection with the Mulerider horse case of late 2011.

Cox, the mother of former Southern Arkansas University student Jaci Jackson, is charged with four counts of theft of property over $5,000, two counts of theft of property over $25,000, and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. If guilty, she could face up to 90 years in prison.

Jackson’s arrest was on Dec. 5, 2011, little more than a year after the theft occurred. Her mother’s arrest followed on July 27, 2012.

The former, who is alleged the mastermind of the thefts, has yet to be tried.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, Court, Crime, News | Leave a comment

Tax cut deal likely around the corner

State legislators are likely days away from brokering an agreement on approximately $100 million in tax cuts, according to breaking coverage from Arkansas News.

Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux said today the deal is expected within “a day or two” and House Speaker Davy Carter confirmed the likelihood.

Few details are available at the time, but Matt DeCample, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Beebe, said the deal will be tied to expanded health care under the Affordable Care Act.

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UCAPS to discuss expansion

Nearly a year after the resignation of the former board and the growing pains associated with passing new bylaws, the Union County Animal Protection Society has set its sights on a new venture and plans to talk expansion at tonight’s meeting.

UCAPS has invited mayors from El Dorado, Norphlet, Smackover and Calion, Union County Judge Mike Loftin, Union County Sheriff Mike McGough and El Dorado Public Works Director Robert Edmonds to the 6:30 p.m. meeting at St Paul United Methodist Church.

More in tomorrow’s News-Times.

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Going West

If you happened to grab today’s paper in hopes of checking out Kevin Sims’ column for whatever antics he got himself into this week then you’ll already have heard the news. For those who haven’t, we’re headed to California!

It’s not without some trepidation that we move out West and it’s certainly not going to be an easy goodbye. After several years in El Dorado we’ve met some amazing people, made some wonderful friends and had our journalistic mettle tested to the maximum. But a chance to better ourselves arose unexpectedly and that’s not something we’re willing to turn down.

In two weeks we’ll head out and Between Editions will fall under the purview of a new administrator. On April 8, I’ll start my tenure at The Salinas Californian as the breaking news/crime reporter. Hopefully, if you haven’t already, you’ll continue to follow me on Twitter.

For those faithful readers who kept me on my toes these past two years and some change, thank you! You pushed me to do better and I hope to have delivered.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin | 5 Comments

Willie prepares to rock El Dorado

Photo by Michael Orrell.

Photo by Michael Orrell.

Crews at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium work to put together the set for “Willie Nelson and Family Live” set to roll at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

The show is completely sold out, however, interested parties may call Main Street El Dorado at 862-4747 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to inquire about potential availability. Will call tickets can be picked up before 4 p.m. at the MSE Office, 101 W. Main, or outside the auditorium at 5 p.m.

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Do you know this woman?

From KATV.

From KATV.

If so, you might try explaining to her the implications of allowing selfie pictures from the iPad she stole to end up in the owner’s cloud.

Allen Engstrom, of North Little Rock, was en-route from Phoenix to Denver when he left his iPad on the plane, according to KATV. Although he’s since written off the possible return of his device, he’s enjoying the entertainment he receives each time this woman uploads a self portrait.

Engstrom said his name and contact information is inscribed on the back of the iPad, but hasn’t heard from the woman who picked it up. He added the tracking settings on the device are switched off.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, Crime, News, Technology, Travel | Leave a comment

Pope question still up in the air

Black smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel signaled to the world the Cardinals of the Catholic Church have yet to select a new Pope on the first day in conclave.

All 115 Electors will be secluded in the Santa Marta residence of the Vatican until Wednesday morning when the schedule calls for two additional votes. White smoke billowing from the chimney will signify the election of a new Pope.

Father Gregory Pilcher, of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, sent along a graphic this morning for those interested in learning the process by which the Pope is elected.

Check it out here and stay tuned for more from the Vatican.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, News, Politics, Religion | Leave a comment

Four-wheeler wreck puts Norphlet man in critical condition

A 44-year-old Norphlet man remains in critical condition at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences after he was discovered unconscious next to his inverted four-wheeler Saturday night at Gas Plant and Hayes City roads.

Jerry Womack was traveling with a group of family and friends late Saturday when he sped ahead on his own, according to a Union County Sheriff’s Office report. He was later found unresponsive next to his four-wheeler by two family members who turned the four-wheeler over and tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Womack was initially transported by ProMed Ambulance to the Norphlet football field to be airlifted to UAMS, but complications forced a quicker airlift to the Medical Center of South Arkansas. He was then stabilized and airlifted to Little Rock.

On Monday he remained in critical condition, according to a media relations representative of UAMS. No other information was available for public release.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, Health, News | Leave a comment

El Dorado named one of America’s “best small town comebacks”

Photo by The Diamond Agency.

Photo by The Diamond Agency.

El Dorado earned a bit of national cred this morning as one of the “best small town comebacks” compiled by CNN.

Citing the city’s investment in the $18 million El Dorado Conference Center and a recent boom in commerce and restaurants, CNN notes El Dorado has fended off a 1980-era economic weakening to recoup its reputation as “the pride of South Arkansas.”

“Thanks to one huge civic mobilization, mass restorations, a new $14.4 million conference facility and a roster of annual festivals, El Dorado has recouped its reputation as ‘the pride of south Arkansas.’ The once desolate downtown is now lined with more than 65 specialty shops, eateries, inns and the state’s only operating art deco theater.”

Posted in Business, By Allison Gatlin, Entertainment, Money, News | 4 Comments

Calion man arrested for leaving UPS driver trapped in wreck

Union County investigators arrested on Thursday a 32-year-old Calion man who reportedly left the scene of an accident earlier this week in which the driver of a United Parcel Service truck was trapped behind his wheel, according to UCSO Investigator Randy Gilbert.

Walter S. Eisenburg, 32, of 112 Hollow Tree Circle, was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident with both injury and property damage, vehicular theft of property and defaulting on a misdemeanor fine. He was assigned a $35,000 sheriff’s bond on Friday in Union County District Court.

According to original reports, 52-year-old James Ware, of North Little Rock, was traveling north on U.S. 167 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday when he collided with a partially obscured trailer pulled over to the side of the road. When his car careened into a southbound ditch, Ware reportedly became trapped and later had to be extricated with a broken leg.

He was transported to the Medical Center of South Arkansas for emergency services and remained for further treatment Tuesday.

After leaving the U.S. 167 scene, Eisenburg allegedly crashed the GMC Jimmy he was driving on Amason Road.

The price tag for the two accidents is estimated at $12,000.

More in tomorrow’s News-Times.

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Son of Smackover flies Arkansas flag


Lt. Commander Jonathan Farley, of Smackover, and Lt. Dan Hilligrass, of Manila, fly over Afghanistan proudly displaying their Arkansas flag.

The F-18 is piloted by Farley, according to his mother, Sherrie Graham, who forwarded the photo on to several news agencies.

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, News, World | 3 Comments

Harlem Shake rolls through Yocum

Yocum Elementary School students do the Harlem Shake with El Dorado Police Officer Chris Lutman.

Video by Karen Lutman, on YouTube, who aptly puts it, “Now THIS is community policing.”

Posted in By Allison Gatlin, Education, Entertainment | 3 Comments

Spray paint wave puts vehicle owners out thousands

Nearly two months after an unidentified person went on an egging spree through several affluent neighborhoods in El Dorado, a second vehicular crime wave swept through the area with a rash of spray paintings causing more than $11,000 in damage, according to numerous El Dorado Police Department reports.

Reports varied in damage estimates from $500 to $5,000, but all five complainants advised the incidents took place sometime Sunday or Monday and involved their unattended vehicles targeted by white or black spray paint.

In one instance, a woman’s vehicle was tagged with curse words while she was inside Courtyard Health & Rehabilitation with a resident. In another, an El Dorado High School teacher’s vehicle was parked at his residence when he discovered a coating of graffiti totaling $4,000 in damage.

Overall, damage was estimated at $11,300 and no suspects were named.

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Beebe vetoes 12-week abortion ban, Senate to attempt an override

Gov. Mike Beebe stuck to the same rationale he used to veto last week’s 20-week abortion ban — quickly overridden in the House and Senate — when he vetoed this morning a measure that would ban abortions at 12 weeks.

The legislation, proposed by Sen. Jason Rapert, would have made illegal any abortion performed if a fetal heartbeat could be detected at 12 weeks. Many opponents have called the proposal one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country and, like Beebe, believe the law could prove unconstitutional, in violation of Roe v. Wade.

Republicans hold slim majorities in both chambers with 51 of 100 seats in the House 21 of 35 seats in the Senate. They used that majority last week to override Beebe’s veto of a 20-week abortion ban, the so-called “fetal pain” bill.

Overriding the veto will require a simple majority in the House and Senate — the latter of which is expected to attempt an override this afternoon, according to

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