Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Department of Human Services.

The Department of Human Services is hiring businessman John Parke to lead its new Medicaid Payment Integrity Unit.

According to department spokeswoman, Amy Webb, the unit is meant to prevent instances of waste and fraud to save money for the state.

“The goal is to prevent abuse of Medicaid funds. So they'll look at policies and see if there are policies that can be made stronger,” she said. 

John Parke is a former data analyst. 900,000  Arkansans received Medicaid in 2014, up 16 percent from 2013.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday that any state highway funding solution should be revenue neutral and that the formulas that pay for highways should be changed. 

He told reporters afterwards that this was the first time he had publicly expressed support for a revenue neutral proposal.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has a job approval-disapproval rating of 38-18%, while 44% didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

Those numbers come from the latest Arkansas Poll sponsored by the University of Arkansas’ Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society. Eight hundred Arkansans were randomly sampled by telephone.

Leslie Rutledge Attorney General
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Attorney General has asked a federal judge to issue a protective order to prevent her from being deposed in a defamation lawsuit filed against the state treasurer.

More Arkansas Officials Switch To GOP During Filing Season

Nov 4, 2015

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday politically in Northeast Arkansas, as two longtime Democrats switched to the GOP and county races developed around the state.

Poinsett County Coroner Butch Davis of Harrisburg filed to run as a Republican as did Poinsett County Justice of the Peace Harold Blackwood of Tyronza. The two joined three others who announced their switch on Monday. Greene County Treasurer Debbie Cross, Poinsett County Treasurer Tammie Stanford and Poinsett County Justice of the Peace Carmack Sanders each filed Monday to run as Republicans during the 2016 election.

The National Weather Service says severe weather is possible in parts of Arkansas on Thursday.

Forecasters say strong storms and heavy rainfall are possible Thursday afternoon and evening, carrying the risk of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

The weather service says some areas in western Arkansas could see more than 2 inches of rain from the storm system.

Forecasters say the storms could have wind gusts of more than 60 mph. The front is expected to stall out south of Arkansas on Friday with rain chances diminishing. More rain is in the forecast for next week.

Highway Officials Say Changes Being Considered To I-30 Expansion Proposal

Nov 4, 2015
I-30 interstate 30 construction
KATV, Channel 7 News

Representatives from the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department presented a nearly hour-long report to citizens and the Little Rock Board of Directors Tuesday night, offering assurances that they are listening to concerns about a proposed expansion of Interstate 30 in the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Fayetteville plane crash bill simon
Courtesy Kelley King / KATV, Channel 7 News

A small plane that made an emergency landing along an Arkansas highway was piloted by the former CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Bill Simon told The Associated Press that he unfurled a parachute that brought the plane down on Arkansas 16 outside Fayetteville High School in northwest Arkansas. Simon says he suffered a burn as his air bag deployed.

Police say all three men aboard the plane were taken to a hospital, as was a woman whose truck was hit by the falling plane. Police say only minor injuries were reported.

The October Arkansas tax revenue report shows a 1% gain in overall collections, but a healthy increase in fiscal year-to-date sales and use tax revenue which is a signal of consumer confidence.

For the first four months of the fiscal year which began in July, state tax collections total $2.012 billion, up 1% compared to the same period in 2014 and 3.4% above what was forecast, according to the revenue report posted Tuesday (Nov. 3) by the Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration.

Cuba Governor
Governor's Office

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is asking leaders in Congress to ease credit restrictions on Cuba. It follows a three-day trade mission to the communist island by the governor and a delegation of state business leaders in September who hope to open new markets for Arkansas products.