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Disaster Aid
6:28 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Arkansas Requests Disaster Declaration After Flooding

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is asking the federal government for a major disaster declaration for six counties affected by severe storms and torrential flooding that began earlier this month.

The counties include Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion and Newton.

The declaration would make Arkansas eligible to receive federal aid to help the state, cities and counties recover from infrastructure damage. State-and-federal damage assessments totaled $5.6 million, with nearly all of that cost coming from damage to roads and bridges.

Local & Regional News
5:14 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Wal-Mart Offers Health Benefits To Domestic Partners, Including Same-Sex Couples

The nation's largest private employer says it will extend health care benefits to same-sex couples and domestic partners starting next year.

Bentonville-based Wal-Mart says it'll start offering health benefits to domestic partners of the same or opposite sex who have been living together and in a relationship for at least a year.

The retailer says it made the changes so it could have a uniform policy for all 50 states, regardless of how a particular state defines what constitutes a domestic partnership or a civil union.

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Local & Regional News
4:19 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Heat Related Illness Video For Coaches and Athletes

The National Weather Service (NWS) Heat Index
Credit Arkansas Department of Health

A new training video, informing coaches of how to protect their athletes from heat-related illness, is being filmed Tuesday and Wednesday of this week on Cabot Public School’s football field.

With temperatures reaching the triple digits, everyone is at risk of dehydration or even heat stroke. Athletes are especially vulnerable, but Dr. Dirk Haselow, an Arkansas State Epidemiologist says anyone spending any time outside should be careful.

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Local & Regional News
5:58 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Low Sales Tax Returns Hurt Fort Smith Budget

Officials in Fort Smith say a drop in sales tax revenue is continuing, so the city will have to continue with belt-tightening measures.

City officials say they are looking at a 4 percent cut in general fund spending. The budget woes are expected to affect the city's largest departments - police, fire and parks.

City Administrator Ray Gosack says spending reductions include equipment purchases and employee training.

Gosack says no additional cuts are expected in the 2013 budget year but the cuts could be extended into 2014 if revenues don't improve.

Local & Regional News
5:54 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Saline County Sheriff Pleads Guilty To 2 Charges

Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and public intoxication.

Pennington pleaded guilty Monday in Saline County District Court. He faces up to $3,000 in fines and a year of unsupervised probation.

Pennington was arrested June 29 after Benton police responded to reports of an intoxicated person possibly trying to drive away from a restaurant.

Police say Pennington was belligerent with officers who responded and found him in his car.

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Local & Regional News
5:51 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Suspect Arrested Year After UA Campus Rape

University of Arkansas police say they have arrested a suspect in a year-ago rape of a student on campus.

Investigators said Monday that 22-year-old Cesar Michael Figueroa of Springdale was charged after DNA evidence allegedly linked him to the Sept. 2, 2012, attack.

The student told police she was sexually battered on a parking lot the night after the first home football game.

DNA evidence collected from the victim was entered in a national database, which police said led to Figueroa as a suspect.

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Economic Incentives
5:41 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

More Companies To Return Money To State Quick Action Fund

Hewlett-Packard Facility in Conway
Credit Michael Pirnique / Arkansas Business

There's more scrutiny now of Arkansas's economic incentives programs. Hewlett-Packard, which received $10 million from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund in 2008, announced earlier this year that it would be laying off employees at its Conway center.

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Local & Regional News
4:59 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Report: Rural Manufacturing Continues To Decline In Arkansas

Efforts to stimulate economic investment in rural communities across Arkansas are outlined in a new report by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

Dr. Wayne Miller, an extension economist, says the Rural Profile of Arkansas 2013 report shows how many manufacturing jobs in small towns have been shipped overseas to South America and Asia in recent years.

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Mayflower Oil Spill
4:53 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

ExxonMobil Seeks To Reassure Officials About Safety Of Pipeline

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company executives Karen Tyrone, vice-president, and Johnita Jones, pipeline risk and integrity manager, speak to reporters Monday at the Capitol.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Representatives of the ExxonMobil Pipeline Company are working to reassure state legislators and officials about the safety of the Pegasus pipeline.

It follows the March rupture of the pipeline in Mayflower, spilling more than 200,000 gallons of oil.

Monday, Karen Tyrone, vice-president of the company, was among executives at the Capitol, meeting with state lawmakers, local officials and representatives of Central Arkansas Water.

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Arkansas River & Infrastructure
3:48 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Little Rock River Bridges Clear State Inspection

The state highway department says two bridges across the Arkansas River that were struck by loose barges over the weekend have passed another inspection.

Highway and Transportation Department spokesman Randy Ort says inspections Monday confirmed earlier assessments that there was no structural damage to the bridge supports.

An inspector checked the Interstate 30 bridge and the pedestrian bridge at the Clinton Presidential Center.

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