Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

More Arkansans disapprove of the state’s effort to implement medical marijuana than approve of the effort to launch the industry in the Natural State. The question is: are these voters opponents who voted against the measure or supporters who want a faster pace?

Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren (R-Gravette) was selected as to chair the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Republican leader of the Arkansas Senate says his company is cutting ties with a drug rehabilitation program amid reports that workers provided by the nonprofit were not getting paid. In an interview with KUAR News, Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren denied any wrongdoing by his company.

The accusations were detailed by news outlet Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting as part of a larger series looking at questionable practices by some rehab programs. On Tuesday a story was published by reporters Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walker saying Hendren’s company in northwest Arkansas relied on the workers who weren’t getting any monetary compensation.

Top Arkansas Politician Uses Labor From Rehab Work Camp

Oct 31, 2017
Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
flu shot
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A mass flu vaccine clinic will be held Wednesday at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. Flu shots will be available from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hall of Industry at 2600 Howard Street off of Roosevelt Road.

People with health insurance should bring their insurance cards, while those without coverage will also be able to get the vaccine at no charge. The clinic is being hosted by the Arkansas Department of Health.

There’s a new superintendent at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Josh Jeffers was named to the post on Monday, which administers more than 2,300 acres of wetlands, prairies, forests, and of course – Pinnacle Mountain. Jeffers says he intends to focus his energies on attracting youth from diverse backgrounds in Little Rock schools.

Arkansans seeking insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act will have less time to enroll this year compared to previous years.

The Trump Administration has shortened the sign-up period to 45 days, cut the advertising budget for the federal program, and pulled cost-sharing payments to insurers. KUAR’s David Monteith interviewed Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace about the impact of those changes during this open enrollment period in Arkansas.

 

Arkansas voters hold varying views on three statewide elected officials who are all polling below 50% in job performance approval.

A new survey from TBP-Hendrix College, conducted a week ago, shows Gov. Asa Hutchinson with the largest margin of approval, while attitudes toward U.S. Senator John Boozman are evenly split. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton has the highest approval rating of all three politicians, but he also has the highest disapproval number.

Highways traffic Big Rock Interchange interstate
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas has opened a 45-day comment period on whether highway officials should let motorists drive at higher speeds.

Legislators this year approved raising interstate highway speeds to 75 mph, and also OK'd increases on other roads, if doing so can be done safely.

As it opened a public comment period Monday, the state Department of Transportation said technology could have a greater impact on fatalities than speed. It noted that better vehicle safety is reducing the fatality rate, but texting and telephone use offsets part of that.

Clean Line Energy Partners, headquartered in Houston, Texas intends to build five long-haul, high-voltage clean power transmission lines across at least 10 states. 

Together, the “Clean Lines” could transport more than 15,000 megawatts of new industrial wind energy generated in Kansas, Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma to utility markets across the eastern half of the U.S. 

But progress along all the clean lines, including a controversial route through Arkansas, remains tangled by opposition.

John Rogers
Mark Friedman / Arkansas Business

A plea and arraignment hearing is scheduled for Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court for former Arkansas sports memorabilia dealer John Rogers. He's facing state charges while awaiting sentencing next month on a federal wire fraud charge.

The new charges stem from the alleged theft by Rogers of three hard drives containing images valued at $364,167. In March he pleaded guilty in federal court after reaching a plea agreement that acknowledged he took part in an effort "to fraudulently obtain at least approximately $10 million" from investors, financial institutions and customers. Prosecutors say Rogers used a variety of schemes that included false pretenses, misrepresentations and lies.

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