Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Arkansas is on the verge of banning the use, during the growing season, of a Monsanto-backed weedkiller that has been blamed for damaging millions of acres of crops in neighboring farms this year.

The weedkiller is called dicamba. It can be sprayed on soybeans and cotton that have been genetically modified to tolerate it. But not all farmers plant those new seeds. And across the Midwest, farmers that don't use the herbicide are blaming their dicamba-spraying neighbors for widespread damage to their crops — and increasingly, to wild vegetation.

Little Rock Nine
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Four days of events marking the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School got underway Friday with the eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine speaking to reporters. It comes amid a time of uncertainty for public schools as Arkansas has seen a rapid growth of publicly funded charter schools and what some view as a resegregating of schools.

The Saint Louis-based company that makes dicamba is responding to a proposed ban on the high-tech weed killer for the 2018 growing season.

Ty Vaughn, global regulatory vice president for Monsanto, said the company is disappointed and troubled by a vote from the state plant board to pursue a ban on farm applications of dicamba after April 15.  Vaughn said dicamba is being used successfully in other states.

“We’ve seen growers in 33 states over the past year have really good success with our system.  Our main goal here is to allow growers in Arkansas to have the same access,” said Vaughn.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Little Rock Central High School is honoring the Little Rock Nine’s 60th anniversary this week, and teachers from around the country are coming to Little Rock to participate. They aim to use their experiences and first-hand accounts gathered this week to take back with them to their students.

Joe De Pasqua, an American history teacher from Hartford, Connecticut who has been teaching about Little Rock for the past twenty years, will be in town this week for the ceremonies.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Potential operators of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries came together at a half-day symposium in Little Rock Wednesday to discuss their expectations of what the new industry will be like.

Among the attendees was TV host Montel Williams, who gave the keynote address at the event organized by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Association. Williams has multiple sclerosis, and has long advocated for medicinal cannabis use. His visit had added significance, since he recently accepted a position on the association’s board.

Arkansas' highest court says Pulaski County judges can hold resentencing hearings for seven inmates sentenced to life terms as juveniles, potentially setting a course for how courts statewide should handle cases from similar inmates in other counties.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life terms without at least a chance at parole. Arkansas legislators subsequently declared such inmates parole-eligible after a term of years, but Pulaski County judges want each inmate to receive an individualized resentencing hearing.

Elizabeth Eckford only had one concern before her first day of school. She wanted to make sure her white dress was finished so she could wear it. The next morning she was wearing the dress as her father paced back and forth in the hallway. She took a city bus to Little Rock Central High School. It was Sept. 4, 1957.

Governor Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Governor's Office / You Tube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday put the weight of his office behind Congress’ latest attempt to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, saying the Graham-Cassidy bill now circulating in the U.S. Senate was the “best and last opportunity” to replace the Affordable Care Act passed by former President Barack Obama.

ACANSA Executive Director Dillon Hupp
acansa.org

ACANSA, a five-day arts and cultural festival entering its fourth year, begins Wednesday in the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The name for the festival is not an acronym, but a Native American word used by the Quapaw Tribe to form the basis of where Arkansas came from meaning “southern people” or “downriver people,” depending on the translation.

Arkansas Death Chamber Lethal Injection
Arkansas Department of Correction

An Arkansas judge says prison officials must release the package label from a recently acquired lethal injection drug, saying manufacturers don't enjoy the same secrecy as others under the state's execution procedures.

Lawyer Steven Shults says Arkansas' Freedom of Information law requires disclosure. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce on Tuesday rejected the state's argument that privacy granted to drug sellers and suppliers in Arkansas' execution law also extends to manufacturers.

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