Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

State lawmakers began discussions Tuesday on student loan debt from higher education. Democratic Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville requested a legislative study on the issue. It is slated for completion by the summer of 2017.

According to Tony Williams of the Arkansas Student Loan Authority, students in the state accumulated roughly $675 million in debt in the 2013/2014 school year. 

“I think what’s driving that is the cost of higher education,” said Williams. He added that debt rates have climbed steadily over the past decade and will continue to grow. 

A consulting group hired by a legislative task force says the Private Option will have a net positive fiscal impact for the state of Arkansas budget of $438 million through 2021.

Fayetteville-based Sage Partners announced Monday that it has leased 55,882 square feet of space at the former Hawker facility at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to Mountain Home aviation services firm Fly Arkansas LLC.

Fly Arkansas plans to begin operations at the airport facility in October 2015, offering aircraft leasing, rental, management and other aviation services. This is the company’s third Fixed Based Operator (FBO) facility, and it’s first in Little Rock, company officials said.

Asa Hutchinson governor
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As of Tuesday it will have been two weeks since the governor issued a two week pause in issuing Medicaid termination notices but it’s not entirely clear if the moratorium will end on schedule. Expanded staffing levels called for by the governor on August 4th are not up to scale yet either.

eStem UALR
David Monteith / KUAR News

UALR and eStem Public Charter Schools announced a partnership Monday where eStem will educate students in grades 9-12 on UALR’s campus, where they will have the opportunity to earn a two-year associate’s degree. University officials said it’s an arrangement unlike any other in the nation.

Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Attracts Thousands From Around The World

Aug 17, 2015
Johnny Cash House Dyess, Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It has been one year since the official opening of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Dyess Colony. Executive Director of Arkansas State University’s Heritage Sites program Dr. Ruth Hawkins says this past year has been very busy.

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) discussing changes to eligibility verification for Medicaid in the Governor's Conference Room at the Capitol in early August.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas is expected to end a two week pause to sending out Medicaid termination notices on Tuesday. Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the moratorium on August 4th so that the Department of Human Services could process what he called an “information overload.”

Boozman agriculture Keo Fish Farm
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. John Boozman is touring Arkansas during the August recess this week to talk about agricultural issues.

The Republican lawmaker on Monday announced he's traveling the state as part of his fifth annual agricultural tour. Boozman is kicking off the tour on Tuesday.

Boozman sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee and recently introduced legislation to give more flexibility to federal child nutrition programs, especially during summer feeding programs.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has named a director for the university's Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

The university says distinguished professor of history John Kirk will take on the post. Kirk is a native of Great Britain who has been at UALR for five years. He serves on the Chancellor's Committee on Race and Ethnicity and has written about race and the civil rights movement - with a focus on Little Rock.

Kirk replaces Michael Twyman, who resigned in July, and he will step down as chairman of the UALR history department.

Wilbur D. Mills

Wilbur D. Mills began his political career as White County Judge at the height of the Great Depression. The Democrat was later elected to Congress, representing Arkansas’s Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives.