Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state Board of Education should look at renaming Common Core as it begins revising the education standards that have been criticized by some conservatives.

The Republican governor on Wednesday formally submitted to the board recommendations from a task force he formed to look at Common Core. The task force last month recommended the state continue using Common Core but conduct a broader look at where to change and replace the standards.

Mayflower Oil Spill

A settlement between the federal government, the state of Arkansas and ExxonMobil is now final over a lawsuit the governments had filed against the pipeline company over environmental violations arising from the 2013 Mayflower oil spill. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker approved the agreement Wednesday.

2016 presidential hopeful U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The road to the 2016 Republican nomination for president took Ted Cruz to Mike Huckabee country Wednesday as part of the Texas senator’s tour of early Southern primary states. Cruz told a crowd of 300 in Little Rock that Arkansas is in play.

Arkansas Children's Hospital is partnering with the Little Rock School District to place a hospital athletic trainer in all five of the district's public high schools.

Hospital and district staff announced the initiative Wednesday, but trainers have been on campus since July 1. The trainers from the hospital's Sports Medicine program will be stationed at the high schools in the afternoons through the end of athletic practices, but will also work with the middle school athletic teams.

Arkansas and U.S. motorists will likely see pump prices continue to move lower for the rest of the year, and may well see local gas prices ratchet down near the two dollar level ahead of the holiday season, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s short-term energy outlook released Tuesday (Aug. 11).

The Arkansas Department of Corrections says an inmate who died in a cell at the East Arkansas Regional Unit apparently took his own life.

Public information officer Cathy Frye says correctional officers delivering meals early Tuesday to inmates housed in maximum security discovered 44-year-old Kenneth Boucher with a sheet wrapped around his neck. The sheet had been woven through a grate in Boucher's cell. Staff took immediate steps to resuscitate Boucher until paramedics arrived.

CHI St. Vincent and Conway Regional Health System have signed a five-year management agreement and created the Arkansas Health Alliance, a new corporate entity for independent hospitals to affiliate with CHI St. Vincent, the two health care providers announced Tuesday.

According to a news release, the agreement, effective Aug. 17, represents a partnership, not an acquisition, and the two health systems will retain their names, governance and autonomy. Matt Troup, CHI St. Vincent vice president of ancillary and support services, will become CEO of Conway Regional.

Many Arkansas cities are taking advantage of advances in technology to improve how they operate. On Tuesday, community leaders from around the state met in Little Rock to discuss what’s possible during a Smart Cities seminar.

The city of Mulberry, near Fort Smith, is an early adopter of such technologies. Mayor Gary Baxter says they recently bought smart water meters, which are more accurate than traditional water meters and send usage data through a wireless network.

Federal prosecutors say 70 people have been charged after a two-year investigation into alleged drug trafficking and gun violence in northeastern Arkansas.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer and others announced Tuesday that 40 sealed indictments handed up last week named 70 defendants in a major drug-and-weapon operation. More than 500 law officers staged a number of arrests Tuesday morning.

Thyer said it had been evident for some time that drugs and guns were "overrunning" the Arkansas Delta.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling striking down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, finding that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage didn't render the state case moot.