Local & Regional News

Local & Regional News
8:12 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

City Board Postpones Vote On Downtown Mapco Station

Little Rock residents will have to wait three more months to see if a Mapco station will go in at 3rd and Broadway.
Credit joslinsign.com

The crowd that converged on the Little Rock Board of Directors meeting Tuesday night will have to wait another three months to voice its opposition to the proposed Mapco gas station and convenience store at Broadway and Third Street downtown. 

The board voted to defer the matter at the request of the applicants, who reached out to City Director Lance Hines in a phone call earlier Tuesday.

Directors were to take up an ordinance to change the zoning of the area from urban use to commercial development.

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Local & Regional News
5:46 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Ceremony To Begin Renovations To Little Rock's Robinson Center Music Hall

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and Governor Mike Beebe join local leaders in using crow bars to rip up part of the stage at Robinson Center Music Hall.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Mike Beebe, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and others used crow bars Tuesday to rip up part of the stage at Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall, formally signifying the start of renovations to the venue.

The $68 million project will modernize the facility, which was built in 1939.  The work will improve its acoustics and seating, while enabling it to host any touring Broadway production.

Stodola said it has taken a lot of work to get to this point.

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Local & Regional News
4:55 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Tom Cotton Touts Endorsement Of National Federation Of Independent Businesses

Congressman Cotton speaking to reporters in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Congressman Cotton, the Republican challenger to incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, received the endorsement Tuesday of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a small business advocacy group.

Touting Cotton’s 100% voting record with the NFIB, the group’s state director, Sylvester Smith, said it was a natural endorsement.

“Tom Cotton has consistently supported Arkansas’s small, family businesses,” said Smith. “He listens to what our members have to say, and he’s done everything he can to create an environment where they can succeed.”

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Local & Regional News
4:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Lawmakers Pass Measure To Ease Prison Overcrowding

Arkansas lawmakers have approved measures to provide extra funding to the state Department of Correction in an effort to relieve overcrowding in state and local lockups.

The House and Senate on Tuesday approved separate bills aimed at easing an influx of state inmates at local prisons. Lawmakers are expected to give final approval to the legislation shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Under the plan, the state would transfer $6.2 million in state funds to pay for up to 600 additional prison beds.

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Local & Regional News
3:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Arkansas House And Senate Approves Teacher Insurance Plan

Rep. Harold Copenhaver of Jonesboro speaking about the education legislation Tuesday afternoon.
Credit Arkansas.gov

The Arkansas House and Senate have given initially approval to legislation that would prevent large premium increases for the state's public school employees.

The chambers approved the measures Tuesday as the Legislature planned to wrap up its special session in the early hours Wednesday.

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Local & Regional News
2:21 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Lawmakers Give Initial OK To Moratorium On Keno Games By The Lottery

The Arkansas House and Senate have approved separate measures calling for a moratorium on electronic lottery games like keno, lining up the chambers to adjourn their special session in the early hours Wednesday.

The House on Tuesday passed the moratorium on a 96-1 vote, while the Senate approved the measure on a 34-0 vote. Final votes are expected shortly after midnight Wednesday.

The measure bars the state lottery from launching monitor games such as keno until next spring. It's a compromise that eases an original plan to outright bar the games.

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Local & Regional News
2:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

DHS Forms Team To Study Unexpected Child Deaths

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has formed a new team to review unexpected child deaths in six Arkansas counties.

The team will review the unexpected deaths of infants and children in Arkansas, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson and Saline counties. DHS says it's the sixth such team in Arkansas as part of the state's Infant and Child Death Review Program.

The program is overseen by Arkansas Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Center. The teams include representatives from local coroners' offices, law enforcement, prosecutors, DHS and other organizations.

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Local & Regional News
11:27 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Arkansas Lottery Restrictions Advance, Headed For Floor Vote

State Senator David Johnson (D-Little Rock)
Credit Thomas Saccente / KUAR

A proposal prohibiting the state lottery from expanding into video monitor games advanced another step Tuesday morning. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill without any dissenting votes. The measure will be taken up for a full Senate vote Tuesday afternoon. The House advanced an identical version Monday.

Democratic Senator David Johnson of Little Rock said even with the limit on lottery games expected to pass this special session exploring new revenue options for declining scholarship amounts will be re-visited.

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Local & Regional News
11:14 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Financing Finalized For New Steel Mill In East Arkansas

Big River Steel says it has closed on the financing needed to build its $1.3 billion steel mill in northeastern Arkansas.

The company announced Tuesday that it would hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony later this summer at the site in Mississippi County.

The plant is expected to employ more than 500 people with an average annual salary of $75,000 once it's up and running.

Construction on the steel mill is expected to take about two years. The facility will produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries.

Local & Regional News
6:06 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Day One Of Special Session

Advocates of Rehabilitation, Sentencing Changes Holding Signs As Lawmakers Enter
Jacob Kaufman KUAR Public Radio

The Arkansas General Assembly is expected to act on legislation Tuesday changing health insurance for public school employees, adding prison beds, and limiting lottery games. Day one of the special session laid the groundwork for what is expected to be a three day session.

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