Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

David Monteith / KUAR

The embattled Little Rock School District ceremonially started work on a new high school in southwest Little Rock Monday.

Students from J.A. Fair High School and McClellan High School used shovels to break ground on what will become the first new high school for the district in more than a half century.

The two existing high schools, as well as four other schools in the district were identified as being under “academic distress” by the State Board of Education in 2014, which took control of the district the following year.

Jack Greene
Arkansas Department of Correction

Lawyers for an Arkansas man scheduled to be executed next month say his life should be spared because he suffered sexual abuse as a child and comes from a family with a long history of mental illness.

The Arkansas Parole Board will hold a hearing Wednesday for Jack Greene, who is scheduled to die Nov. 9 for the 1991 killing of Sidney Jethro Burnett after Burnett and his wife accused Greene of arson.

In papers filed Monday, Greene's lawyers say he is mentally ill and that his execution would violate the U.S. Constitution and "bring shame on the state of Arkansas."

On their 60th anniversary return to Central High School last week, the  Little Rock Nine — the nine students who desegregated Central in 1957 — called for continued efforts toward integration in education.

Arkansas Public Media spoke with professor Erica Frankenberg of Penn State University about her study on the re-segregation of the South.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge is again asking a disciplinary panel to dismiss a complaint concerning his participation in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he blocked the state from using an execution drug.

An attorney for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Friday renewed a request that the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission drop the complaint. Griffen was photographed in April lying down on a cot outside the governor's mansion after he blocked Arkansas from using a lethal injection drug over claims that the state misled a medical supply company.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’ governor called for additional safeguards at the state’s prisons on Friday after a string of violence that included three guards being assaulted by inmates and hospitalized a day earlier in separate attacks at two facilities.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he was greatly concerned by the incidents Thursday afternoon in which two guards were assaulted by several inmates at the Varner Unit hours after a guard was assaulted by a prisoner in another incident at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker.

Hoxie Schools
Arkansas Secretary of State

Before the Little Rock Nine desegregated Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957, the northeast Arkansas town of Hoxie had already integrated its schools two years earlier.

In 1955 Hoxie, with a population of 1,855 at the time, gained national attention after its school board moved to end racial segregation. A new historical exhibit is on display at the Arkansas State Capitol, called “Hoxie Right in ‘55” so that the story of that town is not forgotten.

Ellis “CeDell” Davis, an Arkansas blues musician known for his slide guitar playing, died Wednesday night at the age of 91. The Helena native and long-time Pine Bluff resident had been in and out of hospitals in recent weeks due to heart related complications. Health problems dogged him throughout his life but also gave birth to the sound for which he became known.

Jack Greene
Arkansas Department of Correction

Attorneys for an Arkansas inmate scheduled to be put to death in November have asked a judge to spare his life.

They say the execution would violate the Constitution because the inmate suffers from a psychotic disorder.

Attorneys for Jack Gordon Greene asked a Jefferson County judge late Wednesday to give Greene a hearing to determine whether he is incompetent to be executed.

Greene was convicted of killing Sidney Jethro Burnett in 1991 after Burnett and his wife accused Greene of arson.

www.are.uscourts.gov

A federal judge has blocked a new law that seeks to restrict panhandling in Arkansas. The law was the second attempt by the Arkansas Legislature to ban people from asking for money and other help on most sidewalks and intersections.

Despite the law passing with bipartisan support, U.S. District Court Judge Billy Roy Wilson said the law proposed by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) is “plainly unconstitutional.” Collins tells KUAR News he authored the law to put an end to threatening conduct by panhandlers.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

Arkansas' highest court has halted a judge's order requiring the state to release the labels and package inserts for an execution drug it plans to use in putting an inmate to death in November.

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday granted an emergency stay of a Pulaski County judge's ruling requiring officials to release the materials related to its supply of midazolam, one of three drugs used in Arkansas' lethal injection process. An attorney sued the state after officials wouldn't release the labels and package inserts.

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