Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

David Monteith / KUAR

Wal-Mart unveiled new signs at its stores promoting its “Arkansas Grown” program Monday.

Company officials say the marketing strategy is part of the Arkansas-based retailer’s commitment to purchase an additional $250 billion worth of products assembled, made, or grown in the U.S. by 2023.

Michael Hensley, a tomato farmer from Bradley county, Arkansas, said his farm’s 15-year relationship with Wal-Mart has given him peace of mind.

On Friday, the legendary singer-songwriter Glen Campbell bid a final farewell to his fans by releasing his last-ever album. Titled Adiós, it was recorded in 2012, when the "Rhinestone Cowboy" formally ended his music career after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease the year before.

Millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. face deportation under President Donald Trump's immigration enforcement orders. To accomplish this task, Trump is reviving federal enforcement policies that authorize and deputizes state and local law officials to catch, detain and remove non-citizens back to their country of origin.

An estimated 70,000 undocumented immigrants live in Arkansas, according to the Pew Research Center which monitors immigration trends.  Many working families, raising American-born children, fret their lives will be ripped apart by Trump’s mass deportation order. A coalition of Arkansas human rights activists are stepping forward hoping to intervene. 

A wall of police officers stood between two groups of protestors at Riverside Park on the banks of the White River in Batesville on Saturday afternoon, as the groups hurled insult after insult at each other over race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation.

“Our position is that we are here to make sure everyone gets their voice, everybody has the right to free speech, and that nobody gets hurt,” said Police Chief Alan Cockrill.

Cockrill called in all available help, including auxiliary police officers, after news broke that the well-known Billy Roper, a local leader in the white nationalist movement, planned an anti-Sharia law rally at the pavilion at the 

park. 

An attorney who was heading Arkansas' Alcoholic Beverage Control Division on an interim basis has been named to the post permanently.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday named Mary Robin Casteel as the agency's director. Casteel had planned to resign from the agency, but was named last month as its interim director following Bud Roberts' resignation.

Little Rock leaders recently approved a resolution asking the state to restore local control over the city's public schools, but the possibility of a school board election actually taking place and how much local control could be returned are up in the air.

City officials passed the resolution earlier this week, asking for an election to be held later this year after a new law regarding school districts that are under state authority takes effect. The state took over the Little Rock School District in 2015 after it was deemed to be in academic distress.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

For the fourth consecutive election cycle, the Libertarian Party of Arkansas plans to deliver petitions to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office on Monday to become a “new political party” for the 2018 election.

Because the party failed to win 3% of the electoral vote in the 2016 presidential race that swept Republican nominee Donald Trump into the White House, Arkansas law requires a new political party to collect 10,000 valid voter signatures during a 90-day period.

Judge Milas "Butch" Hale Hot bounded checks sherwood
Arkansas Times

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a central Arkansas city and a judge that alleges they're violating constitutional rights by effectively operating a debtor's prison with a court that's imposed fines and jail time on thousands of people whose checks bounce.

U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. on Thursday dismissed the lawsuit against the city of Sherwood and Judge Milas Hale III.

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Arron Lewis
KATV, Channel 7 News

The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the capital murder and kidnapping convictions of a man sentenced to life in prison for the 2014 killing of a real estate agent.

The court on Thursday affirmed the conviction of Aaron Michael Lewis, who was convicted of luring Beverly Carter to fake home showing, then kidnapping and killing her.

Prosecutors said Lewis targeted Carter in a failed ransom plot, believing she was a "rich broker."

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