Week-In-Review: Short-Term Roads, Common Core Review (Again), & Jefferson-Jackson and Johnny Reb

This is our longest podcast yet, but we had a lot of important and interesting items to discuss this week. We really want to hear from you if you slogged it out to the finish line.
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Gov. Radio Address: A Bridge (Closure) Too Far

20 hours ago

The following is a transcript of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's radio address for the weekend of July 31, 2015:

If you live in East Arkansas, or travel to Memphis on occasion, you received some good news this week: the plan to close the Interstate-55 bridge over the Mississippi River has been put on hold.

Some 40,000 vehicles cross that bridge every day. The only other access to Memphis is the I-40 bridge, which handles even more traffic.

A drainage ditch filled with oil from the Pegasus Pipeline rupture in Mayflower in 2014.
npr.org (Jacob Slaton/Reuters/Landov)

Two subsidiaries of ExxonMobil say they won't move the Pegasus Pipeline from beneath the watershed where Central Arkansas gets most of its drinking water.

Earlier this month, Central Arkansas Water utility officials asked a federal judge to reject a proposed settlement among the companies and state and federal agencies over a 2013 oil spill in Mayflower unless the companies agreed to move the pipeline out of the Lake Maumelle watershed.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansas children who are beneficiaries of government food programs may be impacted by an upcoming vote on the Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization Act in the United States Congress this fall.

Arkansas’s U.S. Senator John Boozman visited the children’s library in Little Rock Friday to learn about summer nutrition programs for kids in the state. A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Boozman said he plans to vote in favor of the act.

“What I would like to do is five a lot more flexibility to the parties involved,” said Boozman.

Tim Griffin
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

A task force is recommending Arkansas continue using Common Core as the state reviews the controversial education standards and looks at changing and replacing them where needed.

A short-term highway bill and a bill revamping the Department of Veterans Affairs is on its way to the Senate, as House members overwhelmingly approved both bills Wednesday.

The House voted 385-34, with one present, (H.R. 3236) on the highway bill and 256-170 (H.R. 1994) on the VA bill.

Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, French Hill, R-Little Rock, Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, voted yes on both bills.

According to a summary of the highway bill, the $8 billion measure would fund highway programs through Oct. 29, 2015.

Metova CEO John Adams
Talk Business & Politics

Officials with Metova, Inc. and the city of Conway announced Thursday that the emerging tech firm is looking to add 100 employees to its workforce in the next few months.

Metova builds apps for major companies like Yelp, Dropbox, eHarmony and Microsoft and it is active in cybersecurity protection for private firms and the federal government.

Biologists at the University of Arkansas are using a federal grant to track the migration of the familiar American woodcock, a bird whose population is slowly declining across eastern North America.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has awarded nearly $50,000 for the project to the U.S. Geological Survey Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, which is housed in the University of Arkansas Department of Biological Sciences.

A task force is finalizing its recommendations to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on whether Arkansas should continue using the controversial Common Core education standards.

The Governor's Council on Common Core Review planned to meet at the state Capitol Thursday morning to work on its recommendations regarding Arkansas' involvement in the standards. Hutchinson formed the panel earlier this year and it has been holding hearings around the state about the issue.

A rendering of an expanded I-30 corridor in downtown Little Rock.
AHTD

The federal government has given the green light to Arkansas highway officials to embark on what would be the state’s largest ever roadway investment.

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission continues to hold public meetings across the state taking comments on its comprehensive water plan. In Little Rock, commission staff presented the plan and fielded questions from citizens on Wednesday.

 

Todd Fugitt, Geology Supervisor at the Commission, said the new plan would encompass nearly every aspect of water policy. It is the first such update in nearly 25 years, he said, primarily because a lack in funding has prevented the Commision from conducting one.

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