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Local & Regional News
5:36 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Central Arkansas Still Not Fully Recovered From Recession, Says Study

Central Arkansas saw some positive economic outcomes for 2014 and may continue to see more growth in the coming years. That's according to Metroplan, an agency which studies economic and social patterns of the four-county region, which includes Pulaski, Faulkner, Saline and Lonoke counties.

Jonathan Lupton, a research planner at Metroplan led the annual study. He says the hospitality and leisure sectors continue to employ more workers in the area, making up for losses in manufacturing and construction caused by the recession.

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Local & Regional News
5:15 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Gillett Coon Supper Becomes A 72 Year Arkansas Political Tradition This Weekend

A scene from the 2014 Gillett Coon Supper.
Credit governor.arkansas.gov

An Arkansas political tradition in its 72nd year, the annual Gillett Coon Supper, is taking place Saturday evening. The gathering in the elementary school gym of the southeast Arkansas hamlet of Gillette is famous among the state’s politicos for its barbeque raccoon and has been a must-stop on the political circuit for decades.

Political scientist Hal Bass of Ouachita Baptist University says events like the Coon Supper are waning in importance in an era of unprecedented campaign spending and mass media but are still relevant.

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Local & Regional News
2:41 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Westerman Talks About Vote To Change Affordable Care Act's Employer Mandate

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (4th District) speaking in 2013 at the Arkansas Capitol when he was a State Rep.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas's members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to remove a requirement that employers with over 100 employees (50 next year) have to offer health insurance to those working more than 30 hours a week or face a penalty. The legislation would set the new standard at 40 hours a week. 

The previous class of the House passed a similar measure but this year, with the Senate in Republican hands, the legislation could head to the President's desk for the first time.

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Local & Regional News
1:53 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Former Arkansas Judge Mike Maggio Pleads Guilty To Bribery Charge

Former Faulkner County Circuit Judge Mike Maggio

A former Faulkner County Circuit Court judge and candidate for the state Court of Appeals has pleaded guilty to bribery.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock says former Judge Michael Maggio pleaded guilty Friday and admitted accepting a campaign donation in exchange for reducing a jury verdict against a Conway company.

Maggio's attorney did not return a phone call for comment.

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Local & Regional News
12:49 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Beebe’s Farewell Radio Address: Governor Is ‘Most Gratifying Responsibility’

Gov. Mike Beebe at the unveiling Dec. 19 of his official portrait that will hang at the state Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Mike Beebe discussed his accomplishments and challenges in his next-to-last radio address last week. In his farewell address released Friday, Beebe reminisced on the social aspects and the more emotional sides of the job.

Here is his address in its entirety:

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Local & Regional News
12:31 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Incoming Gov. Hutchinson Announces New Head For DFA & Other Appointments

Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson has announced Larry Walther as the new Director of the Department of Finance and Administration, Jami Cook as the new Director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, and State Senator Bruce Holland as the new Director of Livestock and Poultry. 

In addition, Hutchinson said he will keep Joe Fox as State Forester at the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

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Local & Regional News
5:39 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

State Board Of Education Sets Meeting To Decide LR School Takeover

File photo of State Rep. John Walker speaking to reporters in November 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas State Board of Education has set a January 28th date to decide whether to take over all or part of the Little Rock School District .

Six Little Rock schools were deemed in academic distress this year by the Arkansas Department of Education allowing for a legal state takeover of the district at any time. Yet some school board members and other advocates have spoken out against a takeover.

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Local & Regional News
3:54 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Arkansas Panel OKs Extending Lottery Contract With Vendor

Arkansas lawmakers have approved extending the state lottery's contact with its vendor for draw games through 2019, but the move faces questions about its validity since less than half of the legislative panel was present.

The Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee on Thursday wrapped up its review of the lottery's contract with Greece-based Intralot Inc. The pact extends the vendor's agreement with the game through August 14, 2019.

Lottery officials say the new contract will reduce the games' payments to the vendor by nearly $5 million.

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Local & Regional News
2:39 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Freezing Rain, Sleet Possible Across Much Of Arkansas

Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The National Weather Service says freezing rain and sleet are possible across much of Arkansas during the weekend.

The weather service says cold temperatures will continue through Friday, followed by moisture moving into the region and freezing rain and sleet expected by Sunday.

The precipitation is currently expected to begin developing in southwestern Arkansas late Saturday, then spread northeastward during the morning on Sunday.

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Local & Regional News
2:31 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Arkansas Schools Rank 36th In Nation, Says Education Week

Credit arkansas.gov

Arkansas schools ranked 36th in the nation in Education Week magazine’s annual Quality Counts study, and the state ranked ninth on its “early education index.”

The study, which was skipped last year, had ranked Arkansas fifth the previous two years, but those scores included policy-related indicators such as “standards, assessment and accountability.” This year’s study focused more on outcomes-based indicators – K-12 achievement and “chance for success” – along with an analysis of school financing.

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