Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

First Solar To Power East Camden Renewable Energy Project, Officials Say

May 5, 2015

Nashville-based renewable energy provider Silicon Ranch Corp. said today that it has selected publicly traded First Solar in Tempe, Ariz., to provide power for a 12-megawatt (MW) solar energy project planned for the Highland Industrial Park in East Camden.

In February, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. and East Camden defense contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne first announced the deal to build and manage what will officials said would be the largest solar field in Arkansas.

Looking Down on Central Avenue in Hot Springs

Hot Springs is the latest Arkansas city at the forefront of a battle to provide legal protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The proposed ordinance, mirroring Little Rock’s recently passed measure applying to city employees and vendors, is being taken up Tuesday night.

City Director Becca Clark is leading the effort in the wake of a not-yet-in-effect state law banning local civil rights protections.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key appointed attorney and former Little Rock School Board member Baker Kurrus as superintendent of the Little Rock School District Tuesday.

Kurrus, who replaces Interim Superintendent Marvin Burton, will lead the district for a salary of $150,000. Former Superintendent Suggs made over $200,000.

Timothy Lamont Howard
Arkansas Times

Witnesses have testified in the capital murder trial of a man charged in the 1997 deaths of an Ashdown couple that the deceased were methamphetamine users.

Timothy Lamont Howard is on trial for the second time in the deaths of Brian and Shannon Day and for attempted murder of the couple's 7-month-old son. Prosecutors have said Timothy Lamont Howard killed Shannon Day because she thought she was pregnant with Howard's child and that he killed Brian Day for money.

His convictions were overturned in 2013 because of new evidence the defense didn't have in his first trial.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signing a workforce development bill.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will travel to high schools across the state to encourage students to enroll in computer science courses. Hutchinson's office announced Tuesday that the governor will travel to at least 10 high schools this month and that more locations will be announced later.

Each of the selected schools has been asked to perform an hour of coding with the student body before the visit.

The Republican vowed to expand the offerings during his campaign last year and says it will make Arkansas more competitive and improve the workforce.

In Arkansas, Former Governor Huckabee Launches 2nd Presidential Bid

May 5, 2015

With a campaign theme of, “Hope to Higher Ground,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced his second campaign for president Tuesday in the hometown he shares with former President Bill Clinton.

Arkansas State Police Emblem

Arkansas State Police say troopers and civilian investigators with its Crimes Against Children Division have rescued a 15-year-old girl trapped in a human trafficking operation.

The agency said Monday the girl was picked up Wednesday at a south Little Rock motel. Two children, ages 2 and 3, were also found in the motel room.

Investigators also arrested a North Little Rock woman in connection with the case, but state police did not list the charges against her.

Profits For Arkansas-Based Tyson Foods Rise Nearly $100 Million

May 4, 2015
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods is making good on its claim that the $8.5 billion acquisition of Hillshire Brands in August 2014 would boost top and bottom lines.

The Springdale-based company reported Monday (May 4) that fiscal second quarter earnings were up 45.5% and earnings in the first half of the fiscal year are up 32.5% compared to the same periods in 2014.

Second quarter net income of $310 million, up from $213 million a year ago, was better than what market watchers expected. The per share earnings of 75 cents was better than the consensus estimate of 72 cents per share.

Rex Nelson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Rex Nelson has joined Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corp. as director of corporate communications, the financial institution announced on Monday.

“Simmons is a vital and growing company and with that growth comes an added challenge and responsibility to communicate well to our customers, associates, communities, and investors. Rex’s experiences in government, journalism, and public affairs give him a unique skill set that will create a great foundation for taking our communications to the next level,” said Simmons First chairman and CEO George Makris.

Arkansas finance officials say a surge in tax collections in nearly every major category last month doubled the amount of money the state has collected above forecast for the year.