Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

Veterans Affairs Hope
Governor's Office / You Tube

To make it easier for military veterans to file claims or get other assistance, nine regional state offices have opened in Arkansas over the last two years. Governor Asa Hutchinson took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for the final Veterans Service Office which is located in Hope.

The offices were opened in an effort by the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs and the state Department of Workforce Services. The other offices are located in Fayetteville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, North Little Rock, Monticello, Mountain Home and Russellville.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The top two officials for a judicial ethics panel are recusing themselves from investigations involving an Arkansas judge who participated in an anti-death penalty demonstration the same day he issued an order that effectively blocked executions in the state.

The executive director and deputy director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Tuesday stepped away from the cases involving Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who lay on a cot outside the governor's mansion last month after blocking the state from using a lethal injection drug.

Cothams
Kat Robinson / Arkansas Times

A well-known restaurant in central Arkansas has been destroyed in an overnight fire.

Little Rock television station KTHV reports that Cotham's Mercantile in Scott burned down early Tuesday. Cotham's was built in 1917 and opened as a general mercantile store for farmers in the area.

In 1984, Cotham's opened a small restaurant area and it quickly became a favorite for local politicians, including then-Gov. Bill Clinton. A second location was later opened near the state Capitol in Little Rock.

Authorities say they're still looking into the cause of the fire.

Arkansas is preparing an application for changes to the state’s Arkansas Works healthcare program even as federal lawmakers propose budget cuts that would significantly de-fund it.

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released an analysis of the possible impact of health care legislation passed by the U.S. House, the American Health Care Act, that found a proposed $834 billion in cuts would cause 23 million people to lose insurance under the legislation — 14 million of those would be Medicaid patients.

French Hill
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, was complimentary of President Donald Trump’s Middle East terrorism stance and he said a portion of his Congressional work is centered on more transparency and reforms in the international bank financing system.

Hill, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said the new Gulf Cooperation Council is a step in the right direction for Saudi Arabia and other regional countries to curtail the financing of global terrorism.

Flooding
Twitter

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disaster areas after recent flooding.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says in a news release Friday he was informed of the designation from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Counties designated as disasters include Faulkner, Lonoke and Randolph.

Perdue visited the state in early May and said in his letter to the governor that there were sufficient production losses in those counties to warrant a designation.

Another 23 counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.

An Arkansas man is charged with trespassing and public intoxication after state police say he climbed the gate at the governor's mansion.

Court records show 55-year-old Edward Harper of North Little Rock was charged with the misdemeanor counts after being arrested about 1:10 a.m. Thursday on the grounds of the mansion.

Jail records show Harper remains in custody and court records do not list an attorney for him.

Delta Regional Authority

One of the state’s most culturally significant regions is receiving a boon to its arts and development sectors. The Delta Regional Authority announced that nearly $460,000 will now be available to innovators in the fields of art and culture through its Creative Placemaking Initiative.

“Investments in our arts and culture sectors are an incredible contributor to our innovation, to our entrepreneurship, and having a more inclusive economy for our communities,” said Chris Masingill, DRA Federal Co-Chairman.

Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Democratic Party has renamed its annual fundraising dinner to honor former President Bill Clinton after the names of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were stripped from the event.

The party on Wednesday announced that the annual event formerly known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner would now be named after the 42nd president and former Arkansas governor.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is scheduled to headline the newly named Clinton Dinner on July 22 in Little Rock.

Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Agriculture Could Have Dramatic Impact On Arkansas

May 24, 2017
rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

President Donald Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget includes deep cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture, and Arkansas farmers could feel the squeeze.

Trump’s budget would cut USDA discretionary spending by $4.7 billion to $17.9 billion in 2018, a 21% drop from this year, according to figures released. Farm crop insurance, research, international food aid programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, and others could be slashed if his budget is approved.

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