Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

A Pulaski County judge who had ruled that state police were redacting accident reports too heavily has withdrawn a stay he issued in the case.

But Circuit Court Judge Morgan "Chip" Welch ruled Wednesday that the state has 10 days to appeal his decision that state police policy to redact names of traffic accident survivors violates the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Van Buren County Courthouse.

Arkansas House Majority Leader Ken Bragg says there are no specific or immediate plans to respond legislatively to the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Bragg’s comments to KUAR on Wednesday follow a statement last week on behalf of the House Republican Caucus that called for a new look at additional so-called religious freedom laws.

Flood garland city, arkansas red river
Sabrina McCormick Norton / KTXK News

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are visiting residents in 9 Arkansas counties affected by the recent storms and flooding.

The relief agency said Wednesday that teams will visit Crawford, Garland, Howard, Jefferson, Little River, Miller, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties.

Residents in those counties who suffered damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during May and June during may be eligible for disaster assistance.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is proposing blocking federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration policies.

The freshman lawmaker from Arkansas on Wednesday proposed an amendment to an education funding bill that would make so-called "sanctuary cities" ineligible for federal immigration and law enforcement grants.

Jefferson County Courthouse Pine Bluff
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Jefferson County officials say they found enough money to pay employees on July 15, but not for July 31.

County finance officials warned earlier this month that the county was on course to fall short of its payroll needs, which make up about 80 percent of the budget.

The Jefferson County Quorum Court has voted down or postponed decisions on proposals to deal with the shortfall of about $120,000 for the next payroll period.

Majestic Hotel
Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

  The Missouri owner of an historic Arkansas hotel has agreed to the Hot Springs City Board's $680,000 offer to purchase the property.

The Board voted Tuesday night to accept Majestic Hotel owner Gary Hassenflu's caveat that the city's offer be amended to reflect the assessed value of the property- $2.03 million - and to label the $1.35 million difference as a donation to the city.

The oldest of the hotel property's three buildings burned down in February 2014. City officials said its priority after the purchase becomes final will be cleaning up the fire debris.

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.