Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

jobs unemployment employment
www.purdue.edu

Three counties in Arkansas are hoping a new initiative will improve the employability of their populations. Monday at the Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the ACT Work Ready Communities Initiative.

Jefferson, Arkansas, and Grant counties have begun the process to receive a designation as ACT Work Ready Communities. Lou Ann Nisbett, president of the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County, initiated the tri-county effort.

Jury selection is underway in the trial for a former Arkansas state senator accused in an alleged kickback scheme.

Former Sen. Jon Woods faces 15 fraud charges. Prosecutors accuse of him of taking kickbacks from former Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III in exchange for directing state funding to the college.

Paris pleaded guilty last week to one count of fraud and agreed to testify for prosecutors. Woods' attorney, Patrick Benca, has said his client is innocent and that defense attorneys will prove that, despite Paris' guilty plea.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola in calling for systemic changes to address gun violence in both cities.

Landrieu spoke as part of a day-long community safety summit at Little Rock’s Heifer International Village and sponsored by the Clinton School of Public Service.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Arkansas is asking the state's top court to halt a judge's order allowing six farmers to use an herbicide that was banned by state regulators following complaints that it drifted onto crops and caused damage.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to stay Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling exempting the farmers from the state Plant Board's rule banning dicamba's use. The panel has banned dicamba's use from April 16 through October 31 this year. Rutledge on Wednesday filed notice she was appealing Fox's ruling.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge say they’re hoping to stem the death toll from opioid overdose through both lawmaking and litigation.

insidehighered.com

The president of a Christian college in Springdale has pleaded guilty in what prosecutors called a kickback scheme involving his school.

Oren Paris III had faced a trial Monday with former state Sen. Jon Woods and consultant Randell Shelton. Instead, the president of Ecclesia College pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Fayetteville.

Prosecutors say Paris paid kickbacks to Woods and then-Rep. Micah Neal in return for $550,000 in state grants in 2013-14, using Shelton's consulting firm as a go-between. Neal pleaded guilty last year but has not been sentenced.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin heads the Common Core task force.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin on Tuesday endorsed Gov. Asa Hutchinson in his bid for re-election against Republican primary challenger Jan Morgan.

“I’m going to be supporting the Governor, no question. Look, I think what he’s doing on this transformation stuff is, first of all, it’s my passion, and I am so excited that he’s aggressively pursuing this. [I’m] absolutely supporting the governor,” Griffin said in a Talk Business & Politics Daily interview.

Dick Marsico / New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection

Two events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr will be held in Little Rock Wednesday.

Governor Asa Hutchinson plans to make comments at the Capitol at 10 a.m. At 5 p.m., a candlelight vigil is being hosted at the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site. According to David Kilton, with the National Park Service, the milestone anniversary has helped bolster attendance, which had already been on the rise in recent months.

Picture of a tractor on a farm
Creative Commons

Corn and rice planting is underway in the Natural State but it’s a slow go in Northeast Arkansas. Rains and cold temperatures have stymied farmers’ efforts to get seeds into the ground, Craighead County extension agent Branon Thiesse told Talk Business & Politics. Less than 400 of the estimated 338,000 agriculture acres in the county have been planted, he said.

“We need to see some warm weather to warm the soil. … They (farmers) are getting concerned,” he said.

Elsbeth Kittinger
Arkansas State Police

Authorities say an Arkansas State Police trooper was shot and wounded during a traffic stop in southwest Arkansas.

State police say Trooper Kyle Sheldon remains hospitalized in stable condition after the shooting Sunday night in Rockport, about 40 miles southwest of Little Rock. State police say Sheldon's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

According to state police, a driver opened fire on Sheldon during the traffic stop. Officers with the Malvern Police Department, who were nearby and responding to an unrelated call, returned fire on the suspect.

Pages