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Local & Regional News
9:01 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Arkansas Panel To Vote On Steel Mill Air Permit

An environmental regulatory panel is to vote on whether to issue an air quality permit for the proposed $1.1 billion Big River Steel mill that backers want to build in northeast Arkansas.

The Pollution Control and Ecology Commission on Friday is to hear arguments from lawyers from steel business competitor Nucor, which is trying to block construction of the new mill.

An administrative law judge earlier rejected Nucor's challenge, but the permit still has to be approved by the commission for the plant to be built.

Local & Regional News
5:51 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Private Option Cost Slightly Exceeding Projections; Officials Say Cost Will Decrease

DHS Director John Selig, Director Division of Medical Services Andy Allison.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

State health officials provided legislators with information Thursday on the cost of the private option which is exceeding projections by $24 a month per-person. Steven Schramm, with the actuarial firm Optimus worked with the Department of Human Services on private option figures.

Schramm said the population of the private option has been two years older than projected and argued the $24 more a month per-person will come down in the future.

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Local & Regional News
5:11 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Four Injured After Lightning Strikes Near Gas Well

An energy company says four people are in stable condition after lightning struck near a natural gas well site in central Arkansas.

Southwestern Energy spokeswoman Christina Fowler said Thursday that four people were injured while working on the company's rig near Greenbrier. She says they stopped working for a time due to storm in the area.

After the crew decided the storm had passed and resumed working, Fowler said the lightning bolt struck.

Local & Regional News
4:58 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Arkansas Voter ID Law

File photo of a sign outside a Little Rock polling site in March advising voters to have a photo ID.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas’s 2013 Voter ID law was struck down Thursday by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox. The suit brought by the Pulaski County Election Commission only challenged one provision of the law but Judge Fox’s ruling went beyond the initial scope of the challenge by striking down the entirety of the act. Pulaski County Commissioner Chris Burks says he expected the ruling might go beyond the scope of the complaint.

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Local & Regional News
3:31 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Senator Boozman Still In Recovery, Out Of ICU

Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas has been moved out of a hospital's intensive care unit and into a private room. The move comes two days after Boozman had unexpected heart surgery due to a tear in his aorta.

Boozman's office said Thursday that the senator has been in stable condition since surgery on Tuesday and is in recovery. Doctors diagnosed him with acute aortic dissection, a tear in the aorta, after his wife Cathy took him to the hospital when he suffered pain in his chest and shoulder.

Local & Regional News
3:27 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Board Rejects Request From Inmate Convicted Of Killing Police Officer

The Arkansas Pardon and Parole Board has denied a commutation request from a man convicted of killing a Pocahontas police officer.

The board announced Thursday that it rejected the commutation request of 55-year-old Dwight Sullinger.

He's serving life in prison after being convicted of the 1991 shooting death of Officer Scotty Bennett.  Prosecutors say Sullinger shot Bennett as the officer approached Sullinger's home after Sullinger had called and asked Bennett to come to the home.

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Local & Regional News
11:52 am
Thu April 24, 2014

AG: Supreme Court Ruling On Risperdal Increases Risk For Malpractice

File photo of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Supreme Court’s denial of a petition for rehearing in a case brought by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel could threaten all pending and future litigation in the state, McDaniel said Thursday.

Earlier this month, the state’s high court tossed a $1.2 billion judgment against Johnson & Johnson in a Medicaid fraud case involving the drug Risperdal.  Thursday justices refused a request by the Attorney General to reconsider.

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Local & Regional News
9:02 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Osceola Sets Meeting On Big River Steel Bonds

The Osceola City Council has scheduled a meeting to discuss issuing $1.5 billion of economic development bonds for the Big River Steel mill.

Mayor Dickie Kennemore says the council will meet May 5 to discuss issuing $1.5 billion in Act 9 bonds for the project. Kennemore tells The Jonesboro Sun that the city would not be liable in any way for the bonds.

Under the proposal, the steel mill would be owned by the city of Osceola and leased back to Big River Steel for $1 a year.

Local & Regional News
8:53 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Hearing Set On Proposed Norphlet-Smackover Merger

The Arkansas Board of Education is to consider the proposed consolidation of the Norphlet and Smackover school districts at its hearing next month in Little Rock.

Both schools have approved the voluntary annexation of the Norphlet district into the Smackover district. The consolidation came about because Norphlet's enrollment is declining and nearing the state minimum of 350 students.

According to the El Dorado News-Times, the proposed merger would create

Local & Regional News
5:17 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Hearing Set For Next Week On Arkansas Voter ID Lawsuit

File photo of a sign outside a Little Rock polling place in March notifying voters to have a photo ID ready.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas judge has scheduled a hearing over a request to block the enforcement of the state's voter ID law in next month's primary.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox on Wednesday scheduled a hearing for May 2 over the motion for a preliminary injunction against the new law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Arkansas Public Law Center sued the state last week over the law, saying it violates Arkansas' constitution.

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