Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

The state Public Service Commission on Tuesday heard hours of testimony offering near-unanimous support for a proposed deal to lower Entergy Arkansas Inc.’s pending rate request by some $43 million.

One by one, a long list of witnesses testified and entered thousands of pages of documents and exhibits into the public docket to support the proposed deal first announced in April 2015.

The South and East are bracing for a nor'easter at week's end with the potential for significant snowfall.

The National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center warns of heavy, "perhaps crippling" snow across the northern mid-Atlantic region, including Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia.

On Wednesday, the weather service issued blizzard and winter storm watches for parts of Maryland, Washington, Virginia and West Virginia. The watches start as early as Thursday and stretch into Saturday.

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Sign
commons.wikimedia.org

It was a mixed bag for Arkansas’ three largest airports in 2015. Clinton National Airport in Little Rock fell below a million enplanements, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) for the second consecutive year set a new record for traffic, and the Fort Smith Regional Airport saw traffic fall more than 7%.

The North Little Rock City Council has approved $375,000 to repair sinkholes at Dickey-Stephens Park where the Arkansas Travelers play their home games.

Sinkholes began appearing after heavy rains and flooding along the Arkansas River in December. The largest is on the center field warning track and is about 35 feet in diameter and six to seven feet deep.

City Engineer Chris Wilbourn told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the work is to begin Wednesday and that officials won't know exactly how big the problem is until the digging starts.

Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck has been arrested on two charges, including one felony.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported Tuesday that Cradduck was arrested on a felony count of tampering with a public record and a misdemeanor count of tampering.

Cradduck has been under investigation for allegedly trying to backdate pay for an employee of the county jail.

KHOG-TV reports that Cradduck's next court date is scheduled for Feb. 29th.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday announced a plan to increase highway funding by $750 million over the next 10 years, making the state eligible for an additional $2 billion in federal matching funds over that time period that was made available by the federal highway bill passed by Congress in December.

Clark County authorities and Arkansas State Police say a 5-year-old girl has died after being found not breathing in a home near Amity by deputies investigating a report the child was "possibly" poisoned.

State police spokesman Bill Sadler told reporters that deputies were called to the home Sunday and found both the girl and a woman with a gunshot wound. Sadler says the girl was pronounced dead at a hospital and the woman is hospitalized in undisclosed condition.

U.S. Supreme Court
Wikipedia

The Supreme Court is refusing to revive an Arkansas law that would have banned abortions after the 12th week of pregnancy if doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat.

The justices did not comment Tuesday in rejecting the state's appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the law. Federal judges called the law inconsistent with Supreme Court rulings that generally tie restrictions to the fetus' viability, not the presence of a heartbeat.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is to announce his plan Tuesday to address a shortfall in highway funding for Arkansas. Vehicles getting better gas mileage has led to a decrease in fuel tax revenue.

A task force Hutchinson appointed to study the issue recently recommended raising state fuel taxes or moving revenue from elsewhere in the state budget. The governor said earlier this month that all recommendations are on the table, though he wants it to be a revenue neutral approach that won’t increase state spending or increase taxes without cuts elsewhere.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Many gathered for events throughout Little Rock celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day, from the annual "marade" organized by the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, to a day of service at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

While Arkansas also marked Robert E. Lee Day Monday, few events around the state honored the Confederate Civil War general. Supporters, including the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, say they will celebrate Lee's actual Jan. 19 birthday Tuesday.

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