Air separation plant to be built in Lewisville

Ground is to be broken next week for a facility in southwest Arkansas that will produce liquid oxygen and nitrogen for area industries, Linde North America announced Thursday.

The plant will be on 26 acres in Lewisville and will employ 24 people, the company said.

The liquid nitrogen and oxygen will be supplied to industries in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, where Linde said demand is increasing.

“When completed, the plant will bring product closer to our customers so we can improve their supply security and reduce Linde’s carbon footprint,” Linde North America President Pat Murphy said.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 470 tons per day and will sell to food processors, metal fabricators, health care providers and other industries.

The company didn’t disclose how much it will spend to build the facility.

Linde North America is a subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based The Linde Group.

The company said the plant will be designed with technology that enables limited electricity use to produce the gases. The company said the Lewisville location will save fuel because it is near the plant’s customers. The gasses will be delivered by truck.

The Arkansas Department of Economic Development has committed $350,000 for road improvements. The company can also apply for a performance-based incentive that provides sales and use tax credits to companies that invest $5 million or more in plant equipment or new construction.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 470 tons per day and will sell to food processors, metal fabricators, health care providers and other industries.

Groundbreaking is set for Wednesday and production is projected to start in late 2013.

Lewisville has a population of 1,280 and a poverty rate of 21 percent, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. It sits in Lafayette County, which has 7,500 people and a 20 percent poverty rate. The state poverty rate is 18 percent.

The Linde Group has 51,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Linde had 2011 revenues of $18.1 billion.

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Former SAU baseball player killed in Louisiana shooting

Two sheriff’s deputies in Louisiana were shot to death and two others were injured in an early morning shootout west of New Orleans, authorities said Thursday.

The sheriff in St. John the Baptist Parish said five people are in custody.

A tearful Sheriff Michael Tregre said the incident started when a gunman opened fire for unknown reasons on a deputy working an off-duty traffic detail along a highway that connects U.S. Highway 61 with the busy industrial corridor along the Mississippi River. That deputy was wounded.

Tregre said someone called deputies with a description of a car fleeing the scene, and officers tracked it to a nearby trailer park.

When officers found the car, they handcuffed a suspect outside a trailer, then knocked on its door. Tregre said someone with a dog answered.

“Another person exited that trailer with an assault weapon and ambushed my two officers,” Tregre said. Two deputies were killed and a third was wounded.

Two suspects were wounded in the shootout before officers subdued them, Tregre said.

The dead deputies were identified as Brandon Nielsen, 34, and Jeremy Triche, 27. The wounded officers were Jason Triche, 30, and Michael Boyington, 33. They were being treated at area hospitals but the extent of their injuries was not known. The Triches are not believed to be related.

The suspects were not immediately identified.

The initial shooting occurred around 5:30 a.m. at a parking lot off Louisiana Highway 3217 used by workers in the industrial area about 20 miles west of New Orleans, near the line between St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes. A massive grain port also is nearby. There is heavy traffic in the area as shifts change at plants and port facilities.

Bill Day, spokesman for Valero Energy Corp., said one of the deputies was providing security for an off-site parking lot used by contractors working at the Valero St. Charles Refinery.

Day said operations at the refinery had not been affected. Valero employees were being asked to report to work as normal, unless they park at the lot where the incident took place.

Some other plants in the area were letting non-essential workers in the area leave for the day or were telling them not to report for work as the search continued.

Police officers from throughout metro New Orleans rushed to the scene after the shootings in anticipation of a possible manhunt.

Tregre said an active search for suspects was no longer under way. State police are taking over the investigation.

Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered the state flags to be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and all public buildings and institutions until sunset Friday. The move, described as “an expression of respect for the four sheriff’s deputies,” was effective immediately, the governor’s order said.

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SAU student interns with NFL team

Darrell Gray, an athletic training student at Southern Arkansas University, has spent the summer serving an internship with the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Gray applied for, and then received notification this past spring that he had been accepted as an intern with the Lions. Over the course of the summer he has gained extensive experience in the life of an athletic trainer at the professional sports level.

A native of Marshall, Texas, Gray is a 21-year old senior majoring in athletic training at SAU under the direction of Head Athletic Trainer Ken Cole. He is a member of the Honors College, and has been named to the President’s List and to the Dean’s List five times during his six semesters at the university.

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Steel Magnolias selling new cookbook

The Steel Magnolias Breast Cancer Support Group members are shown looking over its third cookbook since the group organized in 1997. The cookbook may be purchased for $20 from local and area businesses and banks as well as from Steel Magnolias members. Proceeds will be distributed for use in the Arkansas and Texarkana Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Cancer Society’s Columbia County Relay for Life, and the local group.

The cover was designed by member Faye McKinnie and the cookbook coordinator was Barbara Hall. The cookbook contains almost 600 recipes from friends, relatives, and members; information about the group and breast cancer facts and resources are also included. Members from left to right are Patsy Bentley, Barbara Hall, Sue Dickson, Faye McKinnie, Norma Dees, Millie Awbrey, Trish Franks, and Regina Minor, seated. For more information about the cookbooks or to purchase one, call Barbara Hall at (870) 234-3277.

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SAU names new golf coach

James “Coach” Robertson has been named the new men’s and women’s golf coach at Southern Arkansas, following the passing last month of former coach Leonard Biddle.

Robertson comes to SAU from Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore., where he had served as head of the men’s and women’s golf programs since 2009. At Warner, he took over a program that was basically a club team with eight participants Continue reading

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SAU to induct eight in Sports Hall of Fame

Southern Arkansas University announces its 10th Sports Hall of Fame class which includes eight members that will be inducted Friday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the annual banquet in the Grand Hall of the Donald W. Reynolds Campus and Community Center.

The 2012 Sports Hall of Fame class consists of two student-athletes to be inducted from the modern era and three from the golden era, one individual for meritorious service, and two for outstanding service to the athletic department.  Continue reading

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Trooper fired over Michael Dyer traffic stop

The Arkansas State Police trooper who found a gun and marijuana during a traffic stop of then-Arkansas State running back Michael Dyer has been fired.

The agency on Thursday released a termination letter sent to Cpl. Royce Denney, who is appealing his firing.

The letter from Col. J.R. Howard says Denney’s judgment showed that he was “unable to conform to the standards of professionalism” required by the agency.

Dyer was ticketed for going 96 mph in a 70 mph zone during the March 10 stop. The letter says Denney wrongly turned off his in-car video recorder, illegally confiscated the gun and dumped the marijuana along the road.

Dyer was a star at Auburn, but followed assistant Gus Malzahn to Arkansas State when Malzahn took the head coaching job. He was dismissed last week.

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Harrison, Cox enter not guilty pleas

Robert Harrison, 32, of Emerson, was arraigned today in Columbia County Circuit Court before Circuit Judge Larry Chandler, and entered a plea of not guilty. He is charged with capital murder, residential burglary, and theft of property (firearm) under $2,500 in the May 27 homicide of Glenda Stroman of Magnolia.

Robert Harrison (Photo by Aaron Morris)

Deputy Prosecutor David Butler stated the penalty for capital murder is Continue reading

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High water temperatures causing concern on Little Red River

High water temperatures on the Little Red River below Greers Ferry Dam are causing concern for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists. The high temperatures have the potential to cause serious harm to the popular trout fishery.

Tuesday, the AGFC asked the Southwestern Power Administration for additional Continue reading

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Muleriders report to practice next week

Fourth-year Southern Arkansas Mulerider Coach Bill Keopple has his charges reporting for fall practice Wednesday, August 8, as they begin preparation for the 2012 football season.

The team will go through physicals and attend meetings that Wednesday before concluding the week with its first three practices Thursday Continue reading

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