Hot Springs' fire chief says the fire that destroyed the Majestic Hotel was likely set by trespassers - but that the cause may never be determined because it wasn't safe to send investigators inside the building before it was torn down.
Fire Chief Ed Davis says investigators believe the Feb. 27 fire was likely set by either "urban explorers" or homeless people who were inside the abandoned building on a regular basis.
Davis tells The Sentinel-Record that someone may have set the fire to keep warm, not as an attempt to burn the building down.
The debate over re-authorizing funds for the private option is over for the time being and legislators are moving on to other areas of the budget. The Joint Budget Committee met Thursday afternoon to allocate surplus funding for additional projects.
The first witnesses in the bribery and extortion trial of former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner detailed Thursday how the office would make decisions about the state’s investments and how one broker came to get a disproportionate share of that business.
Shoffner is accused of taking $36,000 from bond broker Steele Stephens, in exchange for steering state business his way.
Arkansas legislative leaders are trying to whittle down a list of more than $92 million in requests to tap the state's surplus as they finalize a proposed $5 billion budget bill.
The chairmen of the Joint Budget Committee on Thursday said they hoped to release that afternoon the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act, the state's budget bill, but are still negotiating over requests to use the state's projected $126 million surplus for various one-time needs.
Lawmakers are beginning to discuss how to craft Arkansas' budget bill, with debate centered on how much money should be spent from the state's surplus.
Sen. Larry Teague, co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee, says legislators are continuing to discuss which proposals should be funded by surplus funds from Arkansas' General Improvement Fund. That surplus is about $126 million, according to the state's Department of Finance and Administration.
Lawmakers are seeking about $83.3 million in total in various proposals from the state's surplus.
A Circuit Judge in Pulaski County has put a stop to provisions of a new law intended to regulate the petition process. Act 1413 sought to place stricter requirements on petitions, paid canvassers and groups sponsoring ballot measures.
The nation’s oldest company to continually bottle water, based in Hot Springs, is being acquired by an investor group in Kansas City. Collins Pugh the Director of Marketing for Mountain Valley Spring Water Company said in addition to a change in control of the company they are increasing production.