Bond denied for murder suspect

Judge Larry Chandler denied bond to Robert L. Harrison during his first appearance Monday afternoon at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility in Magnolia.

Robert L. Harrison is taken back to his cell at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility Monday afternoon after his first court appearance.

Harrison, 32, of Emerson, is charged with capital murder, residential burglary and theft of property over $1,000 in the May 27 murder of Glenda Stroman of Magnolia.

The capital murder charge is punishable with the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

We will have more information in tomorrow’s edition of the Banner-News.

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Arrest made in Stroman murder

A suspect was arrested this morning in the May homicide of Glenda Stroman, 72, of Magnolia.

Deputy Prosecutor David Butler, Magnolia Police Chief Glenn Maxwell and Lt. Todd Dew held a press conference this morning at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility to announce the arrest of Robert L. Harrison, 32, of Emerson for the murder of Glenda Stroman. (Photo by Dixie Edington)

In a brief press conference held in the courtroom at the Columbia County Detention Facility, officials announced the arrest of Robert L. Harrison, 32, of Emerson. Dew stated that Harrison worked for a local business and was arrested without incident at his place of employment. He was described by the detective as a white male.

David Butler, deputy prosecuting attorney for the 13th Judicial District, announced the arrest. He praised the Magnolia Police Department for its work, particularly Lt. Todd Dew, who was chief investigator on the case.

Magnolia Police Chief Glenn Maxwell said physical evidence at the scene and DNA results from the crime lab investigation led to Harrison’s arrest. He declined to elaborate on a motive at this time.

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Columbia Christian registration and orientation

Columbia Christian School has announced registration and orientation dates for all students.

Elementary students in kindergarten through sixth grade students will have orientation Tuesday, August 14, in the school gym. Students will meet at the following times:

  • Kindergarten—5:30 p.m.
  • First through third grades—6:15 p.m.
  • Fourth through sixth grades—6:45 p.m.

Elementary parents and students will meet teachers after the general meeting in the gym.

Registration for high school students in seventh through twelfth grades will be as follows:

  • Twelfth grade—Monday, July 30, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
  • Eleventh grade—Tuesday, July 31, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
  • Tenth grade—Wednesday, August 1, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
  • Ninth grade—Thursday, August 2, from 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Eighth grade—August 1, from 1-3 p.m.
  • Seventh grade—August 2, from 1-3 p.m.

Late registration will be August 2 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

Orientation for high school students will be August 14 from 1-8 p.m. in the students’ respective buildings. All students are required to stop by that day to meet teachers and pick up packets.

Any students not attending orientation will be counted absent, as it is considered the first official day of school. The first full day of classes will be Wednesday, August 15.

For more information, please contact the school office at (870) 234-2831.

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Inmate escapes Texarkana correctional center

A resident of the Department of Community Correction’s correctional center in Texarkana walked away from the Center early this morning.

Jessie Heath

Jessie Heath, 23, was on the 5th floor of the Center when he used torn sheets to drop through a window to the roofof a lower floor and then to the ground where he fled the facility shortly after 3 a.m.

Heath was placed in the Center on a Probation Plus term at the first of July for commercial burglary out of PolkCounty and would have been released to probation after a four-month period.

Heath is a white male who is 6’2” tall and weighs around 190 pounds. He has a medium build, fair complexion and is clean-shaven with brown hair and blue eyes. When last seen, he was wearing bright yellow institutional pants and a white t-shirt.

Though all DCC residents are considered non-violent offenders, the public is asked to not make contact with Heath if he is noticed. Instead anyone seeing Heath should notify a local law enforcement agency.

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MHS, MJHS to hold registration

The Magnolia School District has announced orientation and registration dates for Magnolia High School and Magnolia Junior High School students.

Registration for students entering 12th grade will be Wednesday, August 1, 11th grade students will register on Thursday, August 2, and 10th grade students will register on Friday, August 3.

Students in 11th and 12th grades may pick up a copy of their class schedule in the school office, located at 1400 High School Drive, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each grade’s assigned day. Students entering 10th grade must attend an orientation session beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, August 3, in the Panther Cafeteria. Students in 11th and 12th grade will not have to attend the orientation session unless they have not attended Magnolia High School.

Magnolia Junior High School will hold orientation and registration for students entering ninth grade on Wednesday, August 1, eighth grade students on Thursday, August 2, and seventh grade students on Friday, August 3.

Students in eighth and ninth grades may pick up a copy of their class schedule in the school office, located at 540 E. North St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on each grade’s assigned day. Students entering seventh grade must attend an orientation session beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, August 3, in the Magnolia Junior High School Auditorium. Students in eighth and ninth grade will not have to attend the orientation session unless they have not attended Magnolia Junior High School.

Students who did not attend Magnolia Public Schools last year and are planning to do so this academic year should contact Linda Smith, district registrar, at (870) 901-2513 to enroll as soon as possible.

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Residents warned: 6-foot lizard loose in Colorado

A sheriff has warned residents in a tourist town northwest of Colorado Springs that a strong, aggressive 6-foot lizard that eats small animals — including dogs and cats — is on the loose in the area.

Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensinger said Tuesday that a 25-pound pet Nile monitor lizard has gone missing after breaking a mesh leash and crawling away.

Ensinger said about 400 homes in the Woodland Park area were warned. He added that the animal, which escaped Monday and is known as Dino, has not bitten any humans — yet.

“We have a 6-foot reptile out and about,” Ensinger said. “If it gets hungry enough, we don’t know what it will do.”

Ensinger said his animal control division is searching for the animal.

Area resident Rick Stasi said the sheriff’s advisory was unsettling, warning “pet owners and parents are urged to use caution while pets and children are outdoors.”

Stasi said he plans to keep his two small dogs indoors.

Bradley Bundy, a veterinarian at Dublin Animal Hospital in Colorado Springs, said the lizard could inflict a nasty bite if cornered.

“This kiddo could hurt someone if they don’t know how to restrain it,” Bundy said. He added that the lizards are sold in area pet stores and look cute when they’re only 8 inches long, but they can grow to reach 9 feet when they get older.

Ensinger said officers may use a tracking dog if Dino isn’t located by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m not going after it,” Ensinger said. “I don’t do reptiles.”

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Albemarle Foundation gives grant to local school district

The Albemarle Foundation recently awarded the Emerson-Taylor School District a $38,450 grant.

Each teacher in the district will receive an iPad 2, $50 of educational Continue reading

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MEDC finalizes purchase of transload facility

Magnolia Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently finalized the purchase of a transload facility on Arkansas 19 . The site was previously owned by RockTenn, CP and operated by Del-Tin Manufacturing.

“This transload facility provides companies who ship raw or finished product to, from, or through this area with an alternative form of delivery. At our location, materials may be loaded onto or off-loaded from railroad cars for more economical and efficient transport. This method of transport is desirable for a variety of industries and businesses in the region, and provides MEDC with another value-added offering for Columbia County’s existing industry, as well as new industry prospects,” said Cammie Hambrice, Executive Director for MEDC.

On August 1, 2012, MEDC will begin accepting bids to operate and manage the facility. Bidding will close on August 31, 2012. To obtain bid specifications and/or submit a bid, please contact Cammie Hambrice at (870) 234-4352 or by email at:

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Rodeo scholarship in honor of “Credit Card” endowed for 2013

If there can be a positive to emerge from a sad chapter in Southern Arkansas University Rodeo history, it is found in the generosity that made an endowed scholarship possible for an SAU Rodeo team member.

The scholarship in honor of “Credit Card,” one of five horses stolen from Mulerider Stables in November 2011 − and the only one to not return home – was endowed before the start of the fiscal year and will be awarded to a rodeo team member in the fall of 2013.

While the Smith family grieved the loss of their beloved Credit Card, a victim of foul play, generous offers began pouring in from people who were saddened by the loss.

“Almost immediately after the fate of Credit Card became known, people started asking what they could do to show their support for the SAU Rodeo Team and for the students who had gone through the ordeal of having their horses stolen,” said Jeanie Bismark, director of the SAU Foundation.

Jay Smith, patriarch of the family, and Rodeo Coach Rusty Hayes met with Dr. David Rankin, SAU president, to discuss how the situation could benefit the team and rodeo students. The Credit Card Memorial Scholarship Endowment was the result of that meeting.

As part of its mission of assisting and coordinating fundraising for the University, the SAU Foundation, consisting of Bismark and Associate Director of Development Josh Kee, began the fund and organized the receipt of the donations.

When the fund was announced and the word spread across the U.S., horse lovers from Florida to Washington state began mailing and making online donations of all sizes. Nicole Holman of Blue Flame Farms in Orrville, Ohio, organized an online auction to benefit the scholarship. “It turned out to be a tremendous amount of work, but the proceeds were a substantial part of the total needed to make the scholarship possible,” said Bismark.

Even so, as of the last week of June, the end of the 2012 fiscal year, the fund was still $1,100 short of reaching the $15,000 needed to start the endowment for the 2013 fall semester.

“In the past few weeks, as we approached the close of the Foundation’s fiscal year, people began calling to ask if the scholarship would be complete in this year,” said Bismark. “Everyone seemed determined to make sure that this scholarship was funded, and with the help of numerous people, including the Southwest Arkansas High School Rodeo Association, it was.”

Hayes said the most amazing thing about this scholarship was the relatively short time in which it became a reality.

“There are a lot of endowments that are waiting to happen that never get completed. For this to happen in six months – that’s a real accomplishment,” he said. “And to know that the majority wasn’t alumni or even from people associated to SAU. If any good came out of the whole deal it was that it brought so many people to know about SAU and the rodeo program. A tragedy is a horrible way to get recognition, but it has turned into something of a positive.”

“Horse people come together in a time of crisis. It is amazing how one animal can touch so many people in this way,” said Smith. “That is the thing that amazed us the most. Help came from California, Canada, New York and all over. The horse community all across the nation came together to do that.”

Smith said, the scholarship helps with healing process.

“It was a life-changing experience for us,” he said. “It helps to know that this scholarship could be life-changing for a kid in a positive way. From my family and our heart -I would like to thank everyone who supported the cause.”

Any additional donations will serve to increase the amount of the scholarship when it is awarded to a rodeo student, starting in the fall of 2013.


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Waller Named Emerging Leaders Section Council Vice President

Jamie Waller was installed as the 2012-2013 Vice President of the Arkansas Bankers Association’s Emerging Leaders Section Council at the annual Emerging Leaders Conference, which was held June 21-22, at the Doubletree Hotel in Little Rock.

Jamie Waller (Contributed photograph)

Waller has been with Peoples Bank for over Continue reading

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