Big River Steel
Johnathan Reaves / KASU News

A challenge to a $1.3 billion steel mill in Mississippi County could face additional hurdles if a suit against the superproject goes forward, attorneys for Big River Steel said in court papers late last week.

The two killed in a house explosion in Craighead County have been identified as an 11-year-old boy and his grandmother.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that 11-year-old Slade Owen Gilley and 64-year-old Deborah Gilley died after their home between Lake City and Monette exploded Saturday afternoon.

Assistant Chief Deputy Justin Rolland said three other people who were injured in the blast include another child and two adults and that each is hospitalized in serious condition.

Light freezing drizzle and rain along with sleet is falling in northwestern Arkansas.

National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Sellers said the Monday morning precipitation was spotty with the heaviest amounts falling in northwest Arkansas, leading to some icy spots on bridges and overpasses.

Sellers said the precipitation is expected to move out of the area by noon.

Several minor auto accidents were reported.

A survey report issued Monday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index fell in November to 51.3 from 51.8 in October. September's figure was 54.3.
After rising in June to its highest level in more than three years, the overall reading has hovered in a range pointing to much slower growth for the overall regional economy over the next three to six months.

The Fort Smith Board of Directors is to meet and review a proposed consent decree over the city's violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

 The city is under a federal mandate to eliminate sewer overflows and discharges into the Arkansas River during heavy rains.  

The following is a transcript of Governor Mike Beebe's weekly radio address for Nov. 27, 2014:

same-sex gay marriage larry crane
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A county clerk says he's prepared for same-sex marriages to return to the Bible Belt, even if his office is the only one in Arkansas ready or willing to do so.

The office of Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane distributed the largest share of licenses to gay couples when doing so was temporarily authorized for a week in May.

A federal judge Tuesday overturned Arkansas' ban on gay marriage, but she put her decision on hold pending a likely appeal.

Martha Shoffner
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A lawyer for an ex-Arkansas treasurer convicted in a bribery and extortion case says in court papers she is grateful that she won't be tried on mail fraud charges.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they intend to drop 10 mail fraud counts against Martha Shoffner. Defense lawyer Chuck Banks filed papers Wednesday saying Shoffner "welcomes and is grateful" for the decision.

The jaguar exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo that was closed in October after a toddler fell into it has reopened.

The jaguars are now back on display with new warning signage. Zoo marketing director Susan Altrui says the zebra-striped signs warn patrons to stay away from the railings and provide an emergency phone number.

Four research projects aimed at reducing and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Arkansas are being funded by the Institute on Race and Ethnicity at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. A total of $20,000 has been approved for the projects, including one that addresses the relationship between police and communities. Project investigators will examine whether perceptions of the criminal justice system, fear of crime, victimization and generalized trust influences community members' decision to call police.