Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

For the past several years, Beth Ditto was known as the dynamic frontwoman of the dance-punk band Gossip. She established herself as a singer with a helluva voice who embraced being queer, feminist and fat.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

A maligned but crucial row crop herbicide that’s led to disputes among neighbors and at least one class action lawsuit could be on its way toward becoming banned in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Plant Board Pesticide Committee voted Friday to recommend a ban on the sale and use of dicamba for the state’s row crops. Farmers spray dicamba on a specific genetically resistant soybean variety, produced by Monsanto. Misuse and wind drift in recent months has led to the herbicide impacting fields and damaging non-genetically resistant agricultural crops in the eastern part of the state.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday, fiercely maintaining he did nothing wrong in meeting twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during President Trump's 2016 campaign and also infuriating Democrats by refusing to detail any conversations he has had with the president.

I arrived at Riverside Park in Batesville where white nationalists were gathering for an anti-Shariah law demonstration, and took a few minutes to gather my thoughts and nerve before I approached them.  I had never covered a race rally before and wasn't sure what to expect.  It felt unpredictable.

"This probably isn't the safest part of your job, is it?" said Jordan Gould, one of the day's counterprotesters, who offered to jump in his car and lead me to the other side of the White River when my GPS couldn't find the way. My colleague, KASU-89.1 news director Johnathan Reaves, stayed behind to cover the counter-protest, and it was my job to obtain interviews from Billy Roper and his band of white nationalists.

The task  was to obtain both some audio and some personal understanding of the rally members' agenda.  My guide wished me luck and left, and I took a few minutes to observe the white nationalists before approaching them.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The state's unemployment rate is at a record low of 3.4 %. Susan Price with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says unemployment has declined 0.1% every month this year and May figures fell in line.

“We started off the year at a record low rate of 3.8%, so each month has broken and set a new record. Unemployment in Arkansas has actually decreased each month since March 2011," said Susan Price with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

One Capitol Mall has houses the Joint Budget Committee.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Legislative Council executive committee gave permission on Thursday (June 15) for the Bureau of Legislative Research to hire outside legal counsel, a move designed to help the legislative research group cope with requests from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and possibly other investigatory agencies.

Talk Business & Politics reports.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A lawsuit brought on behalf of nearly 150 Mayflower residents impacted by a 2013 pipeline rupture has been settled. Attorneys with three law firms representing the residents confirmed with KUAR they had settled the suit with ExxonMobil, the pipeline operator.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he hopes a task force that will recommend changes to Arkansas' tax code will also look at a proposal that failed in this year's legislative session to require online retailers to collect and remit state sales taxes.

Hutchinson told the Arkansas Municipal League on Thursday that he wants the issue to be considered by the legislative task force, which is expected to deliver preliminary recommendations later this year and final ones next year on overhauling the state's tax code.

Sun Paper
Arkansas Governor's Office

Construction is expected to begin in March 2018 for a planned $1 billion pulp mill in south Arkansas.

Members of the Clark County Quorum Court were updated this week on the plans for the pulp mill, which will be built in Arkadelphia.

Governor Asa Hutchinson AEDC Mike Preston
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and economic development officials are planning a week-long trip to France, Germany, and Israel to invite new foreign businesses to Arkansas and bolster economic relationships with international businesses already in the state. 

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