Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news


In Brinkley, halfway between Memphis and Little Rock, Sandra Kemmer is volunteering in a local cafe to promote the area’s economy by giving out rice products on metal trays.

“Hey ya’ll. You can have some cookies when you come back; it’s rice month,” she tells a couple passing by her stand.

Agriculture is the center of life here, but for decades rural towns like Brinkley have been dwindling and with them a linchpin of daily life, the town newspaper.

Rice industry leaders have announced a plan to form a task force to look into whether voluntary smoke management guidelines can help reduce tension between farmers who use field burns to clear residue after the harvest, and residents who say the smoke aggravates asthma symptoms. 

The task force  will use a model based on smoke management guidelines for forestry landowners.

“They’ll use it as a template but draft smoke management  guidelines that are voluntary but more applicable for agriculture, specifically with crops,” said Lauren Waldrip Ward, executive director of the Arkansas Rice Federation.

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Plumes of smoke fill the autumn skies in the Delta as farmers burn row crop field refuse, and many complain about the side-effects of the smoke. Arkansas rice industry leaders have decided to form a task force to examine the issue, Arkansas Rice Federation Executive Director Lauren Waldrip Ward told Talk Business & Politics.

How many members the task force will have and when it will meet have not been determined, but it will include stakeholders from across the state’s agricultural industries and there will be communications with those who oppose field burning, she said.

A robot scanning a Walmart store shelf.
Walmart

Select Arkansas Walmart stores in Sherwood, Searcy, and Pine Bluff are expected to receive robots Tuesday to aid associates in their work. It’s part of an expanded test that started in Pennsylvania, with the retail giant implementing robots in 50 of its locations. The robots will use automation to scan store shelves, help keep track of inventory levels, check prices that could be wrong, or where labels are missing.

An east Arkansas school district is being taken over by the state, effective Monday.

The Department of Education says a review last month found the Earle School District had "substantial audit violations and unallowable expenses." Close to $2 million in improper expenditures of state and federal funds are alleged beginning in the fall of 2015.

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement: 

Jack Greene
Arkansas Department of Correction

An Arkansas inmate scheduled to receive a lethal injection this week has asked the state's highest court to halt his execution amid his attorneys' claims that he doesn't understand why he is to be put to death.

Attorneys for Jack Greene asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to issue an emergency stay of execution. Greene is scheduled to be executed Thursday night for the 1991 death of Sidney Burnett, who was beaten with a can of hominy, stabbed and later shot.

marijuana
npr.org

Arkansas employers are running out of prep time before medical marijuana becomes available, so it’s crucial to begin now defining internal policies and procedures, said Little Rock attorney J. Bruce Cross of Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus.

Arkansas's highest court has ruled state prison officials must identify the manufacturer of one of the lethal injection drugs they plan to use to put a convicted murderer to death next week.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld part of a lower court's ruling ordering the Department of Correction to release the labels for its supply of Midazolam, one of three drugs Arkansas uses in its lethal injection process. The court said the labels must be released, but said a Pulaski County judge must determine what identifying information other than the manufacturer can be withheld. 

Bill Hillary Clinton Rock Island Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Bill and Hillary Clinton are appearing jointly at a lecture in the former president's home state later this month to mark the 25th anniversary of his 1992 election.

The Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Foundation announced Thursday the former first couple is appearing at a "special conversation" on Nov. 18 that will be moderated by political strategist and commentator James Carville. The event is being presented through the Frank and Kula Kumpuris distinguished lecture series.

More Arkansans disapprove of the state’s effort to implement medical marijuana than approve of the effort to launch the industry in the Natural State. The question is: are these voters opponents who voted against the measure or supporters who want a faster pace?

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