Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Bruce Ward
adc.arkansas.gov

An Arkansas death row inmate with a case pending before the state Supreme Court wants its justices to prevent his execution while he pursues another case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bruce Ward had been set to die last April during a string of executions. He wants the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether he should have been entitled to the use of an independent mental health professional at his trial. The Arkansas Supreme Court said March 1 that Ward never met the minimum threshold for such assistance.

Students and adults in Jonesboro joined the crowds elsewhere in the state and the nation on Saturday for a March for Our Lives protest demanding gun control and other measures to help stop mass shootings, but the Jonesboro rally was also a remembrance of the Westside Middle School shooting exactly 20 years earlier.

“Just because we are students, just because we are kids does not mean we do not understand this issue.  We have a voice,” said Mohannad Al-Hindi, a senior at Jonesboro High School.

“I’m just wondering how many more school shootings it’s going to take,” said Makyla Norvell, 15, who attends Riverside High School.

Twenty years ago Saturday, two middle school students outside Jonesboro, Ark., lured their 11- and 12-year-old classmates out of school and opened fire from across the playground. They killed four students, all girls, and a teacher, wounding 10 others.

When the Columbine High School shooting occurred the following year in Littleton, Colo., the horror at Westside Middle School was, in effect, superseded. As the years passed, Columbine became the touchstone, the school shooting everyone remembered. And it left the survivors in Jonesboro feeling forgotten and even more bereft.

A former state representative has been chosen the new chief administrative officer in Jefferson County after the former executive resigned when it was revealed he had received $100,000 in bribes.

The county's Quorum Court on Thursday selected 82-year-old Booker Clemons as the new county judge.

Clemons is retired from the University of Arkansas' Cooperative Extension Service and served in the state House from 2001-2007.

The Gangster Museum of America

Baseball players will join organized crime figures at the Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs.

Museum owner Robert Raines says a century ago the city played a significant role in spring training and believes what is now a gallery will soon become something larger.

“We do want to put together a national museum, so this is just a little snippet of what is to come. There’s a lot of baseball history here, so we’ll start reaching out to some major corporations here later this summer and hopefully within a couple of years we’ll have it all put together,” Raines said.

Don Davis
Department of Correction

An Arkansas death row inmate out of appeals at the state level wants another chance before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don Davis on Wednesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to recall a day-old order ending his most recent appeal.

Davis intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether Arkansas' justices erred when they said he wasn't entitled to independent mental health experts before and during his trial. The U.S. Supreme Court considered a similar case last year.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Cities and counties across Arkansas are joining in a state lawsuit against drug manufacturers, distributors, and other parties involved in the opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit filed last week in Crittenden County Circuit Court comes after the Arkansas Municipal League filed a federal lawsuit against 13 major drug manufacturers and distributors last December. The state lawsuit targets 65 defendants ranging from retailers to pharmacies and individual doctors.

Pulaski County Judge Wendell Griffen
PBS

Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffen on Wednesday declared the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s process of scoring and awarding Arkansas’ first highly-prized licenses to five pot cultivators as “null and void” under the constitutional amendment approved by voters in the November 2016 election.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

Controversy has raged within the Arkansas farming community for years about the use of the herbicide, dicamba, and its impacts. The Arkansas State Plant Board allowed one formulation, Engenia dicamba, to be used during the 2017 growing season.

But after the board received numerous damage-related complaints from the herbicide drifting onto non-dicamba row crop fields, gardens, and other vegetation, the board banned dicamba in July 2017, and later opted to ban it in 2018.

Connecticut Department of Public Health

203 people in Arkansas have died from the flu this season, according to the latest report issued Tuesday by the state Department of Health. That’s an increase of six since last week.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations, says while the flu is winding down for the season, the death toll is expected to keep rising.

"We’ll continue to likely get more deaths reported as the reporting process continues to go through the steps needed," she said.

Overall, reports from Arkansas’s 75 counties show fewer people are being impacted.

Pages