Local & Regional News

Local & Regional News
4:54 pm
Sat February 1, 2014

Parole Reform and the Private Option

Credit wikimedia.org

After changes made last year to the state's parole system county jails have seen an influx of inmates. Sheriffs are reporting overcrowding and Governor Mike Beebe has proposed additional funds.

In his weekly radio address Beebe linked the fate of the private option Medicaid expansion to prisons.

“I explained to the sheriffs that if the private option fails the additional funds to ease overcrowding and ensure payment for housing state inmates will be much harder to find. Without the private option, there will be an $89 million hole in the proposed budget,” said Beebe.

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Local & Regional News
6:00 am
Sat February 1, 2014

Arkansas's Penalty-free Contamination Clean-up

ADEQ Logo
Credit uark.edu

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is offering a program to help clean hazardous substances found on a person’s property without penalty by entering into an Elective Site Clean-Up Agreement. The program is for those responsible for possible contaminations on their land and is designed to remediate cases within two years.

Chief of the Department’s Hazardous Waste Division, Tammie Hynum said participants are assisted by the Department in investigating and disposing of the substances without penalties they could face otherwise.

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Local & Regional News
4:06 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr Makes Resignation Official In Letter

File photo of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr leaving an Arkansas Ethics Commission meeting in December.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Three weeks after saying he'd step down over ethics violations, Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has made his resignation official.

Darr submitted his resignation letter Friday to Secretary of State Mark Martin, stepping down in the wake of an $11,000 fine he received from the state Ethics Commission.

Darr announced on Jan. 10 that he would resign but hadn't submitted a formal letter to Gov. Mike Beebe or any other officials. Beebe had said he was unsure whether Darr's resignation would be official without a formal letter.

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Local & Regional News
4:03 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas To Retire

File photo of Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas, speaking in July at the groundbreaking for a new police substation.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas says he is retiring. Thomas started with the Little Rock police 35 years ago and has been chief since 2005.

City Manager Bruce Moore says Thomas led the agency through an expansion of public safety programs that were possible, in part, because of a voter-approved sales tax increase.

Moore says crime rates have dropped under Thomas' leadership. Thomas is to stay on the job until June.

Moore says he'll announce a plan in the next few weeks for selecting a new chief.

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Local & Regional News
3:56 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Judge Hears Appeal From Death Row Inmate in Murder Of Arkansas Family

A federal judge in Little Rock is to decide whether to grant a new hearing to an Oklahoma man sentenced to die for the slaying of an Arkansas family on grounds that he had inadequate representation at trial and during appeals.

Danny Lee was sentenced to die for the 1996 slayings of a Pope County gun dealer, his wife and young daughter.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes heard arguments that Lee's trial lawyer should have worked to block introduction of evidence that Lee is a psychopath.

Local & Regional News
3:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

More Wintry Weather Forecast For Central Arkansas

The National Weather Service says Arkansas could see snow, sleet and freezing rain in two rounds of wintry weather during the weekend and early next week.

Forecasters say rain is likely Friday and Saturday before a cold front moves through the state. On Sunday afternoon, many areas could see snowfall.

The weather service says the best chances for snowfall are on a line north and west from Arkadelphia to Pine Bluff to Brinkley.

Local & Regional News
9:47 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Arkansas AG Rejects Wording Of Marijuana Proposal

Credit npr.org

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has again rejected a proposed ballot measure that would legalize marijuana in Arkansas.

McDaniel said in an opinion released Thursday that there are ambiguities in the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by Marjorie LeClair of Shirley. McDaniel must certify the proposal before supporters can begin gathering the signatures needed to place it on the ballot. 

The proposal calls for repealing state laws related to the cannabis plant.

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Local & Regional News
6:39 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

What Happens When Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr Resigns?

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr leaving the Arkansas Ethics Commission hearing in December.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

After months of investigations into Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr’s use of campaign and state funds the first term Republican is expected to resign Saturday. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman looked into what Darr’s resignation means for Arkansas.

Kauffman: There are a number of questions surrounding Darr’s planned resignation that don’t deal with his ethics violations but rather what happens to the soon to be vacant Lieutenant Governor’s office. UALR Political Science Professor Art English joins us today to discuss the issue. Art, thank you for joining us.

English: Happy to be here.

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Local & Regional News
12:39 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

University of Arkansas To Use Reserve Funds To Spike Deficit

The University of Arkansas says it will use reserve funds and money raised from private sources to wipe out the remainder of a $4.2 million deficit in the fundraising division's budget.

University officials said Thursday the division is in the middle of a major fundraising effort. As the school's endowment grows, a portion of the money will go to the fundraising division to balance its budget. The division will also repay the reserve fund.

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Local & Regional News
12:11 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Hearing Set For Defendant In Overthrow Plot Case

A man sentenced to die for killing an Arkansas family as part of a plot to establish a white supremacist nation in the Pacific Northwest is to argue before a federal judge that his trial attorney didn't do enough to try to spare his life.

In court papers filed in advance of Friday's hearing, Danny Lee argues that jurors were improperly given information about how he scored on a test that indicated he would be a danger to others in the future, even in prison. Lee argues the test has since been ruled invalid.

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