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Local & Regional News
1:29 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Arkansas Lottery Panel Approves Pay Raises

The Arkansas Lottery Commission has voted to give pay raises to its director and other employees.

The panel on Wednesday voted to give a 2 percent cost-of-living pay raise to its 82 employees and also give merit pay raises to those eligible based on their evaluations.

Director Bishop Woosley will receive a one-time payment of $4,248 this year as a 3 percent merit pay raise and will receive $2,832 next year as his cost-of-living adjustment The payments to Woosley are based on his maximum salary under state law, which is $141,603.

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Local & Regional News
1:26 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Underground Pollution Not Spreading At Whirlpool

Credit Arkansas Times

A consultant's report says a plume of underground pollution at the former Whirlpool Corp. factory in Fort Smith isn't spreading.

People living near the plant have sued Whirlpool over the contamination.

City Administrator Ray Gosack said Wednesday that the report only shows that the plume has been stable for the last year.

The Southwest Times Record reports trichloroethylene, or TCE, seeped into groundwater at the plant and spread to an adjacent neighborhood.

The chemical was used as a solvent and is now a known carcinogen.

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Local & Regional News
6:32 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Arkansas Lottery Panel To Vote On Pay Raises

The Arkansas Lottery Commission is voting whether to give pay raises to its director and other employees.

The commission is scheduled to meet by conference call on Wednesday to vote on whether to give cost-of-living and merit pay raises to Director Bishop Woosley, Internal Auditor Matt Brown and other employees of the games.

The commission met in a closed door session Monday to review Woosley and Brown's performance. Woosley, the former chief legal counsel for the games, was hired as the lottery's director last year.

Local & Regional News
6:29 am
Wed June 26, 2013

4 Sentenced In Arkansas On Drug, Weapons Charges

Federal authorities say three Arkansans and an Oklahoman have been sentenced in Fort Smith on charges related to a drug-trafficking investigation known as "Operation Great Scott."

US Attorney Conner Eldridge and assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration William Bryant say the four sentenced Tuesday bring to 17 the number of people sentenced in the case.

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Local & Regional News
6:26 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Arkansas Prisoner Dies Of Injuries After Escape Attempt

Vann Tucker mug shot.
Credit Arkansas Department of Correction

State prison officials say a convicted killer serving a life sentence had died of injuries he sustained in a failed attempt to escape the prison's Varner Unit.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson says 29-year-old Vann Tucker climbed over one security fence early Saturday and tried to go over an electrified fence when he was shocked and fell.

Wilson says Tucker suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital in Pine Bluff, then airlifted to UAMS in Little Rock, where he was pronounced dead Tuesday evening.

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Local & Regional News
6:10 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Chance Of Severe Storms In Northeast Arkansas

The National Weather Service says there is a slight chance of severe weather ahead in northeast Arkansas.

Forecasters said Tuesday that a weather system northeast of Arkansas could clip the state's northeast on Wednesday, perhaps bringing severe thunderstorms.

The weather service says damaging winds would be the primary concern brought by the storms.

Later in the week, a cool front is expected to move into the state, bringing a greater chance for showers and thunderstorms.

Local & Regional News
6:02 am
Wed June 26, 2013

President Signs Disaster Declaration For Arkansas

President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for 11 counties in Arkansas that were hit by tornadoes, severe storms and flooding from May 30 through June 3.

The declaration signed Tuesday orders federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Cleburne, Cross, Independence, Montgomery, Poinsett, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Stone, Van Buren, and Woodruff counties.

Local & Regional News
8:36 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Judge Denies Motion To Toss Contempt Findings For Attorney

An Arkansas judge has denied a request to throw out contempt findings for a lawyer representing a former Little Rock police officer charged with manslaughter.

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen on Tuesday denied attorney Bill James' request to vacate the contempt findings that Griffen imposed.

Griffen fined James $25,000 for contempt of court at the end of the trial of former officer Josh Hastings that ended in mistrial.

Hastings is charged in the shooting death of a 15-year-old burglary suspect.

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Local & Regional News
5:10 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Home BancShares To Buy Liberty Bank for $280 Million

Wallace Fowler and Johnny Allison unveil a map showing the footprint of the two banks.
Credit press conference video feed

Home BancShares Inc. of Conway on Tuesday announced the signing of a definitive agreement worth $280 million to acquire Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Jonesboro, the largest in-state bank transaction in Arkansas history.

Under the terms of the agreement, approximately 400 shareholders of Liberty will receive $250 million of Home BancShares common stock plus $30 million in cash.

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Local & Regional News
1:50 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Prosecutor Won't Seek Death Penalty For Arkansas Woman

A prosecutor says he won't seek the death penalty for a northeast Arkansas woman charged in a plot to kill her husband.

Prosecutor Scott Ellington said Tuesday that he won't pursue possible execution for Michelle Despain.

Ellington's announcement comes after he said he spoke with the parents of Despain's late husband, Marc Despain.

Prosecutors say Michelle Despain hired a man to kill her husband, who was shot to death in the couple's home in August 2011.

Three other people charged in the case have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison.

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