Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Big Rock Interchange Tom Schueck Mark Stodola Scott Bennett
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Drivers will soon be able to use all of the ramps at the Big Rock Interchange in west Little Rock, where interstates 430 and 630 meet. After more than five years of construction, the $150 million project to allow traffic to flow more smoothly is nearly complete.

state board of education little rock school district takeover
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas State Board of Education will review year-end reports from the Arkansas Department of Education Thursday on the progress of Little Rock’s six schools in academic distress.

Specialists found discipline and staff morale issues in several schools, including Hall and McClellan High Schools. They said Henderson Middle School and J.A. Fair High School saw less behavioral issues this year. The state took over the district in January because of the distressed schools.

The United States is suing the estate and trusts of a deceased Arkansas bank executive in a multimillion dollar federal fraud case.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the lawsuit against the estate of Layton Stuart, former owner and president of Little Rock-based One Financial Corporation and its subsidiary, One Bank & Trust N.A.

The Arkansas State Plant Board has confirmed the presence of an invasive beetle known for infesting and killing ash trees in three more counties. Officials announced Monday the addition of Calhoun, Union and Bradley counties to the list of confirmed sites of the emerald ash borer.

According to State Plant Board spokesman Scott Bray, previously confirmed sites include Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hot Spring, Nevada and Ouachita counties.

Mayflower Oil Spill drainage ditch
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The federal government has asked a U.S. District Court judge to approve a final version of a consent decree with the state of Arkansas and Exxon Mobil over a 2013 oil spill in Mayflower in central Arkansas.

10 commandments

Arkansas' decision to put a Ten Commandments display on its Capitol grounds could lead to a monument menagerie that includes a statue of a monkey-faced deity and a banner promoting a vegan lifestyle.

The Satanic Temple has said it may erect a bronze Baphomet in Little Rock, and on Tuesday the Universal Society of Hinduism and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced plans for their own displays.

Little Italy

The Little Rock City Board of Directors is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a resolution opposing efforts by the Little Italy community in Pulaski County to become its own municipality.

Kristy Eanes, co-chair of the Little Italy Incorporation Task Force, says residents filed a petition to become its own city in hopes of preserving its historic, rural atmosphere as Little Rock continues to expand westward. Fewer than 400 people live in the community.

first ladies
Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Six of Arkansas’ First Ladies are teaming up to say “yes to the dress.”

On Tuesday at the Old State House museum, former Arkansas First Ladies Barbara Pryor, Gay White, Janet Huckabee, Betty Tucker, Ginger Beebe and current First Lady Susan Hutchinson announced that they would be hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 6 at noon at the Governor’s Mansion to benefit the restoration of the First Ladies’ Inaugural Gown Exhibit.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A group of interfaith leaders will convene in late August to plan ways to aid the re-entry of prisoners and bolster an overcrowded foster care system in Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday. 

The Department of Human Services begins a series of town halls across Arkansas Tuesday about an upcoming change in the coding system used by all medical providers.