Arkansas finance officials say a rise in individual income and sales tax collections helped push the state's revenue in December above expectations and the same month in 2016.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state's net available revenue in December totaled $521.1 million, which is $53.7 million above December 2016 and $23.7 million above forecast. The state's revenue so far for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals nearly $2.7 billion, which is $23.7 million above forecast.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his initial campaign team structure on Monday, Jan. 1. Five positions were filled as the governor embarks on his re-election bid. The staff and consultants include:

Campaign Manager – Robert Moery. Moery most recently served as Director of Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor. During the 2014 campaign, he served as Executive Aide to then candidate Asa Hutchinson. Prior to joining the 2014 campaign, Moery worked for Senator John Boozman. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

Regnat Populus Chairman Paul Spencer
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Second District U.S. Congressional hopeful Paul Spencer is characterizing his end of the year fundraising efforts as a vindication of his principles to never take PAC or corporate money for his 2018 election effort. Spencer’s position that only individual donors should contribute to electoral campaigns is not shared by his Democratic primary opponent Gwen Combs or Republican incumbent French Hill.

Copyright 2018 Arkansas Public Media. To see more, visit Arkansas Public Media.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Virginia Duck is the mother of Sequoia and Cheyenne, two young girls with growing feet. She and her daughters wait in line with nearly 60 other people who are in need of new shoes and footcare. She explains that her oldest, Sequoia, outgrows her shoes constantly.

David Wildy, a prominent Arkansas farmer, in a field of soybeans that were damaged by dicamba.
Dan Charles / NPR News

The State Plant Board will meet next Wednesday to reconsider a ban on a controversial weed killer that has divided Arkansas’s farming community. The meeting is in response to a request for changes by a subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council for restrictions in the use of dicamba during next year’s growing season.

The herbicide can be sprayed on crops that have been genetically modified to tolerate it, but is blamed for widespread damage to neighboring non-resistant crops.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is announcing the completion of a year-long, $1.2 million digital mapping project.

He says the system will allow emergency responders to have more up-to-date information and that it will allow the state to be competitive in economic development.

In a news release, the governor said the state now has a detailed map of expanding infrastructure.

The digital maps were produced by Arkansas Geographic Information Systems and are available to the public at gis.arkansas.gov.

Sending children to the principal's office has long been a traditional punishment for unruly students. But Principal Michelle Hutton at Elmdale Elementary in Springdale offers safe haven where children can talk about what's troubling them, including traumatic events.

Elmdale faculty and staff have partnered with Ozark Guidance, a regional community mental health center, to learn how to assess students struggling with trauma to provide them proper help.

Lonoke County Sheriff's Office

One man is in custody and Arkansas authorities are searching for a second suspect following a Christmas Day shooting in which one person was killed, another wounded and a woman was kidnapped.

Thirty-three-year-old Richard Gilliam of Little Rock was being held without bond Tuesday at the Lonoke County jail on charges that include capital murder.

Lonoke County sheriff's officials say Gilliam was one of two men who entered a home early Monday in Scott, just southeast of Little Rock, and began firing at people inside.

John Rogers
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas sports memorabilia collector has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for what a federal judge in Chicago described as a "breathtaking" fraud.

John Rogers of North Little Rock, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in March to wire fraud. Prosecutors have said Rogers defrauded investors by offering a phony Heisman Trophy as collateral for a $100,000 loan.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports prosecutors say Rogers continued to commit fraud after entering his guilty plea, this time involving a phony Super Bowl I game ball.

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