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Local & Regional News
10:56 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Fire Still Burns At Landmark Hot Springs Hotel

Fire crews battle the massive blaze at the Majestic Hotel Thursday Night.
Credit Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

Crews continue to battle a massive fire that consumed an abandoned historic hotel that's been a Hot Springs landmark for more than 130 years.

The blaze broke out Thursday evening at the Majestic Hotel near Bathhouse Row downtown.

The hotel, which was built in 1882, had fallen into disrepair after its closure in 2006.

Authorities say the fire apparently started in the center section of the fifth floor of the original hotel building, then spread to the north and south ends of the building and lower floors.

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Arkansas General Assembly
8:06 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Discussions Bring Potential Changes To Private Option, Vote Expected Next Week

House Speaker Davy Carter (R, Cabot)
Credit Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

State Legislators say they’re getting closer to finding a way to pass funding for Arkansas’s private option. House Leadership have been meeting with opponents and Department of Human Services officials about the possibility of limiting the time period during which people can enroll in the program.

House Speaker Davy Carter said an idea is being floated to create a fixed period of open enrollment in private option health insurance plans. In meetings with opponents and DHS officials, the issue of setting a specific time frame for people to enroll was raised.

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Local & Regional News
5:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Arkansas Seeks $1.2 Billion Fine For Johnson & Johnson Hiding Drug Risks

The Arkansas Supreme Court is considering an appeal by Johnson & Johnson over a $1.2 billion dollar award imposed by a Pulaski County jury in 2012.

Justices heard oral arguments Thursday with the state maintaining the company intentionally hid risks associated with the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal and in the process defrauded the state’s Medicaid program and deceptive trade practices act.

Former US Solicitor General and Johnson & Johnson’s representative Walter Dellinger disputed evidence of harm.

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Arkansas General Assembly
3:04 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Bill To Keep Lt. Governor's Seat Vacant Clears Arkansas House

The Arkansas House of Representatives' chamber.
Credit wikipedia.org

The vacant seat of Arkansas Lieutenant Governor will likely remain that way until next year. On Thursday the state House of Representatives passed SB139, allowing the Governor to not call a special election to fill a vacant Lieutenant Governor’s post if that vacancy occurs less than 10 months from a General Election. The state Senate passed the bill last week and the bill now awaits Governor Mike Beebe’s signature to become law.

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Local & Regional News
2:26 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Petition To Keep The Reading Recovery Program Reached Nearly 1,500 Signatures

Superintendent Dr. Suggs told reporters his initiative will help all students in the district.
Credit Kezia Nanda/KUAR News

Nearly 1,500 parents with kids in the Little Rock School District have signed a petition encouraging schools to keep the Reading Recovery program in place, instead of shifting to a new proposal by its Superintendent.

Jim Ross, a parent of three, said the existing program has proven results and doesn’t believe it should be changed.

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Local & Regional News
12:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

$5,000 Reward For Information In Killing Of Bald Eagle

Credit Wikipedia

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the person or persons who killed a bald eagle in western Arkansas.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says the mature eagle was found shot to death in the Mount Magazine area of Logan County near the town of Midway with both its talons cut off.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Humane Society of the United States, and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for killing the eagle.

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Local & Regional News
11:23 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Arkansas Ex-Treasurer Pleads Not Guilty To New Charges

Former Treasurer Martha Shoffner leaves court Thursday morning, offering no comments to reporters.
Credit David Goins / KARK-TV

Former Arkansas treasurer Martha Shoffner has pleaded not guilty to mail fraud charges that allege she misspent thousands of dollars in campaign money on personal items.

Shoffner already faces a trial Monday on federal extortion and bribery charges.

At an arraignment Thursday, she entered a plea on 10 new charges lodged by a grand jury earlier this month.

That panel alleges Shoffner spent $9,800 in campaign funds for payments on a credit card used to buy clothing and cosmetics. U.S. Magistrate Beth Deere set a trial date of March 31.

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Local & Regional News
10:20 am
Thu February 27, 2014

More than $500 Million Awarded To Alamo Abuse Victims

File photo of Tony Alamo being led away from court.

A circuit judge in Arkansas has awarded more than half a billion dollars in damages to seven women who were physically and sexually abused by Tony Alamo when they belonged to the evangelist's ministry.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson entered a default judgment against Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, an arm of Alamo Ministries, after it failed to respond to the civil suit. Johnson awarded the women a total of $525 million.

Alamo is serving a 175-year prison sentence on sex-related convictions.

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Local & Regional News
6:53 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Teen Pregnancy Rates Down In Arkansas, Still 4th In Nation

While Arkansas has the 4th highest teen birth rate in the United States, it has made significant improvements in the last couple of decades. Still, the head of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says more can be done.

Sarah Brown, CEO of the private, independent non-profit group was in Little Rock Wednesday where she spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service.  She also spoke to the Human Services Subcommittee of the Arkansas House and Senate.

In an interview with KUAR, she praised efforts in Arkansas that have lowered the percentage.

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Politics & Healthcare
6:39 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

In Fiscal Legislative Session, Discussions On Private Option Go On

Arkansas Capitol
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Arkansas House of Representatives again delayed a fifth vote on funding Arkansas’s private option alternative to Medicaid expansion Wednesday. It came just as the state Department of Human Services new released figures showing that 127, 051 people have been deemed eligible to receive assistance under the healthcare program, with 105,561 already covered.

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