Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Last May, sisters Anais, Elise and Emory Bowerman spent the night at a Girl Scout slumber camp in Lowell. The girls came home the next day covered with ticks. 

“One second my life was going great," says Anais, 11. "Then a tick bites me and it’s all ruined.”

Anais, a budding artist, says her hands started to shake. Her sisters Elise, 10, and Emory, 7, also started to feel ill.

“I threw up twice," Emory says. "I felt sluggish and my head was kind of dizzy.” 

Remember Bill Paxton in the 1992 crime picture One False Move, in which he played an Arkansas police chief? Not many do. It's been called one of his forgotten and under-appreciated performances.

Paxton died Saturday at age 61 following complications from heart surgery.

tornado
KATV, Channel 7 News

Storm surveys conducted by weather forecasters show that at least six tornadoes touched down in Arkansas during this week's rounds of bad weather.

Of the surveys that had been completed by midday Friday, the longest-tracked storm was on the ground for 4.2 miles south of Possum Grape, in Jackson County. It had winds of about 110 mph Wednesday morning and was rated as an "EF-1" on a scale of tornado damage.

The strongest twister of the week was Tuesday night near Kensett in White County. The EF-2 storm had winds of 115 mph.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected an effort to invalidate orders setting executions for eight death row inmates, saying there's no stay preventing the executions from taking place.

The state's highest court on Thursday granted Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's request to clarify that there is no stay for the eight men who are scheduled to be put to death in April. The inmates' attorneys had argued a stay was still in place since an amended complaint over Arkansas' lethal injection law was pending in a lower court.

An Arkansas lawmaker is backing away from a broad "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people that had drawn opposition from the state's Republican governor and tourism officials, but says he'll propose another measure giving schools legal protection over their restroom policies.

Republican Sen. Greg Standridge said Thursday he's withdrawing his one-sentence bill with gender identity and bathroom privileges. A co-sponsor of the measure had said it was intended to require that someone use the public restroom consistent with the gender on their birth certificate.

News release from Sen. Tom Cotton's office:

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas) today announced they will hold a town hall meeting Saturday, March 4, from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM at the Heber Springs Community Center.

The doors to the Heber Springs Community Center will open to the public at 7:30 AM.

No firearms, large bags or backpacks, food, or drink, will be permitted in the Heber Springs Community Center.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

“Anyone who knows Jeff Sessions as I do can vouch for his integrity and honesty. There’s no scandal in a senator meeting an ambassador, which happens all the time. I’m disappointed the Democrats are distorting the facts to impugn Attorney General Sessions’s character. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s review is proceeding, and we should follow the facts where they lead.”

Arkansas finance officials say the state's revenue in February beat expectations, and the governor says the numbers reduce the likelihood of the budget cuts that he had told agencies were possible.

The state Department of Finance and Administration on Thursday said net available revenue last month totaled $276.7 million. That's $3.2 million below February 2016, but $40.9 million above forecast.

The state's net revenue for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals $3.4 billion, which is $19 million above the same point last year and $15 million below forecast.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is endorsing a proposal to end the dual recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee on the same day each year.

He took to the lectern Wednesday to say that, as Americans celebrate the slain Civil Rights icon, residents of the state are presented with a choice.

“That choice that is there, it divides us as Arkansans and as a nation,” Hutchinson said.

Steps leading up the Arkansas Senate chamber.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An Arkansas Senate committee has advanced bills to change the medical marijuana law approved by voters in November by banning smoking medical marijuana and the selling of food or drinks containing the drug, but an effort to halt the start of the program until the drug is legalized nationwide failed.

The Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor on Wednesday endorsed and sent to the full Senate bills banning the smoking, eating or drinking of marijuana, but allowing a patient or designated caregiver to incorporate marijuana into food or drink for medicinal use.

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