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Local & Regional News
11:29 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Arkansas Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.2 Percent, Lowest In 5 Years

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest rate in more than five years.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says the state's unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point in June to 6.2 percent.

According to the department, the jobless rate is the lowest Arkansas has seen since November 2008. The agency says four industry sectors posted job losses in June, with the biggest drop coming in state and local government.

Local & Regional News
8:02 am
Fri July 18, 2014

North Arkansas Police Chief On Trial For Excessive Force

Credit pinterest.com

 The trial against the Bull Shoals police chief who's accused of using excessive force against a suspect is expected to end this week. Daniel Sutterfield is accused of kicking Nicholas Dore and using a stun gun during Dore's July 2013 arrest.

He's charged in federal court with depriving Dore of his rights and trying to cover it up by ordering an officer to falsify records.

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Local & Regional News
6:42 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Garbage Dumped in Jonesboro Historic Black Cemetery

Arkansas police are looking for whoever used a historic black cemetery as a garbage dump.

The Jonesboro Sun reports someone left trash at the Knights of Pythias Cemetery. Discarded items include two mattresses, a sound system speaker box and new clothes.

Jonesboro Parks Director Wixson Huffstetler contacted police when he discovered the trash early Wednesday morning. He says the cleanup was ongoing Thursday.

Local & Regional News
6:42 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Arkansas Corrections Officials Tell Lawmakers New Prison Needed

Arkansas Department of Correction Director Ray Hobbs, Department of Community Corrections Director Sheila Sharp and Board of Corrections Chairman Benny Magness appear before a joint legislative committee Thursday
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

After introducing new parole enforcement guidelines meant to cut back on repeat violators, Arkansas experienced the highest one-year increase in the inmate population in its history, at 17.7 percent. State prison officials now are considering new strategies for reform reentry programs and house an influx of inmates.

Speaking before a joint Judiciary committee Thursday, State Department of Correction director Ray Hobbs said the influx of parole violators into the system over the last year is only part of the problem.

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Local & Regional News
11:07 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Mark Stodola Says He'll Seek 3rd Term As Little Rock Mayor

File photo of Mayor Mark Stodola.
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola says he's running for re-election this fall, saying he believes there's more progress to be done in economic development and other issues in Arkansas' most populous city.

Stodola on Thursday announced plans to seek a third term this fall. A former local prosecutor, Stodola was first elected mayor in 2006 and won re-election in 2010.

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Local & Regional News
8:40 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Flash Flood Watch For Western And Central Arkansas

A flash flood watch has been issued in western and central Arkansas as a large storm system heads into the state.

The watch is in effect in western Arkansas Thursday morning and will go into effect in central Arkansas, including the Little Rock area, on Thursday evening.

The National Weather Service says widespread heavy rains are expected to affect the state from Thursday through Friday night. Forecasters say some areas in central Arkansas could see 3 to 5 inches of rain from Thursday night until Friday night.

Local & Regional News
6:53 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Johnny Cash's Boyhood Home Nearing Opening

Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Tickets are available for opening day tours of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home next month. The opening for Arkansas State University's newest Heritage Site is set for Aug. 16.

The event begins with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Dyess Colony Administration Building. The ceremony itself is free and open to the public and features remarks by the Cash family.

Timed tours of Cash's boyhood home will be offered on the hour, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., for $10 per person.

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Local & Regional News
6:36 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Central Arkansas Officials Tout New Fuel For Bus Fleet

CATA Bus

Fuel efficiency, cost effectiveness, cleaner air are all benefits a handful of local officials are praising with the dawning of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority's new, soon to be introduced natural gas fleet.

CATA is being recognized for its efforts to convert its fleet of buses to use Compressed Natural Gas, or CNG, as a fuel. The conversion comes as city leaders increasingly talk up the benefits of bolstering public transportation in the area. The authority will be receiving 15 new CNG buses, starting next summer, says executive president Jarrod Varner.

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Local & Regional News
5:37 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Arkansas Lottery Pursues Tweaks To Auditing

Lottery Director Bishop Woosley
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Lottery Commission is pursuing some adjustments to its auditing process in an effort to retain some revenue. Numbers released Tuesday show the lottery’s revenue dropping for a second consecutive year resulting in nearly $9 million dollars less in scholarship funds.

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Local & Regional News
3:33 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Couples Ask Judge To Strike Down Arkansas Gay Marriage Ban

Attorneys for two same-sex couples in Arkansas are asking a federal judge to issue an order striking down the state's gay marriage ban.

Lawyers for the couples filed a motion Wednesday for summary judgment, asking U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker to issue an order striking down the state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage and any related laws as unconstitutional.

The couples filed the lawsuit last year against the state over the ban.

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