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6:14 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Pryor and Cotton Accuse Each Other of Wanting to Raise Social Security Age

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Democratic Senator Mark Pryor Friday drew distinctions between himself and his opponent, Republican Representative Tom Cotton over votes on the farm bill and Social Security.

Speaking Thursday at the Delta Grassroots Caucus in Little Rock, Cotton referred to the farm bill as the food stamp bill, criticizing the amount going to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Pryor responded with his own characterization and said it’s the single most important piece of legislation affecting Arkansas.

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Local & Regional News
5:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Hutchinson Offers Mixed Remarks on Private Option, Ross a Strong Supporter

Asa Hutchinson, Mike Ross
Credit Talk Business & Politics

Democrat Mike Ross unequivocally told a crowd of Delta leaders he supports continuing the private option while Republican Asa Hutchinson said he wants to wait and see the status of key components next year when the program must be re-authorized.

Both gubernatorial candidates brought their often competing visions for Arkansas before the Delta Grassroots Caucus in Little Rock Friday. Hutchinson laid out two indicators for evaluating the health insurance program during the next session.

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Local & Regional News
3:38 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Children Of Fathers In Prison Face Isolation, Shame, Say Advocates

Inmates from a community correctional facility in Osceola sing spirituals in the State Capitol Rotunda on Friday

As Father’s Day nears, advocates for families of prisoners are bringing attention to the barriers that persist between incarcerated parents and their children.

Inmates from the North East Community Correction Center in Osceola made the long trip down to the State Capitol rotunda to deliver spiritual hymns as advocates detailed the ongoing struggles of children whose dads are imprisoned. Some from the choir of nonviolent offenders, like Christopher Brewer, were also moved to speak.

“I think all the time about what my kids think. Where is their father?” he said.

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Local & Regional News
11:49 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Governor Hopefuls Discuss Future Of Arkansas's Private Option

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross is vowing to protect the state's compromise Medicaid expansion, while Republican rival Asa Hutchinson says data should drive the debate on the program next year.

The two ex-congressmen addressed the future of the "private option" Medicaid plan in separate speeches to the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Friday. Under the private option, Arkansas is using federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

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Local & Regional News
11:16 am
Fri June 13, 2014

State OKs $2 Million For New Jonesboro Plant

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission is providing $2 million for a new company to locate in a former wind turbine plant in Jonesboro.

The commission said Thursday that the money will help TrinityRail Maintenance Services Inc. convert the now-closed Nordex USA wind turbine plant for its processes.

According to The Jonesboro Sun, the funding is based on TrinityRail creating up to 350 jobs for the community.

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Local & Regional News
9:00 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Five Former Tony Alamo Properties Put Up For Auction

Five properties formerly owned by Tony Alamo have been auctioned off to partially satisfy a civil judgment against the imprisoned evangelist.

About 40 people attended the public sale Thursday on the steps of the Miller County Courthouse. The Texarkana Gazette reports that the sale included four properties in Fouke: Alamo's personal residence, church, gymnasium and another property. A fifth property in Texarkana was also sold.

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Local & Regional News
7:41 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Republican Senate Candidate Tom Cotton Defends Vote Against Delta Agency

Republican Senate candidate Rep. Tom Cotton speaking Thursday evening from Washington via Skype to the Delta Regional Authority conference in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Republican Senate hopeful Tom Cotton is defending his vote to abolish a federal agency formed to assist the Mississippi River Delta, telling leaders from the region that taxpayers aren't getting a good return from its spending.

Cotton said Thursday he believes Arkansans aren't getting enough in exchange for the federal money that goes toward regional commissions like the Delta Regional Authority.

Cotton, a freshman congressman from south Arkansas, voted for a budget proposal that would have eliminated the DRA and other regional commissions.

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Local & Regional News
7:36 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Gov. Beebe Optimistic For Renewal Of Private Option In 2015

Governor Mike Beebe speaking Thursday evening to the Delta Grassroots Caucus in Little Rock.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Despite this week’s election defeat of a key supporter of Arkansas’s private option, the governor and a top legislative leader are hopeful the program will be renewed next year.

Speaking to the Delta Grassroots Caucus Thursday night, Gov. Mike Beebe said he believes arguments for the plan and the consequences of not taking federal money for the Medicaid expansion will sway lawmakers.

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Local & Regional News
3:55 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

17,000 Arkansans Newly Deemed Eligible for the Private Option

Approved Eligibility for Private Option by County
Credit Arkansas Department of Human Services / DHS

The number of Arkansans who have applied and been determined eligible for health insurance coverage through the private option grew by over 17,000 last month. Numbers released Thursday by the Department of Human Services show the state’s alternative to expanding the federally-run Medicaid plan continues to near enrollment goals.

DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said the figures released cover the month of May.

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Local & Regional News
2:56 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Board Votes To Hire Tony Wood As Arkansas Education Commissioner

The Arkansas Board of Education has voted to hire Tony Wood as the new top official overseeing the state's public schools.

The board on Thursday approved Wood as the new Education Commissioner, replacing Tom Kimbrell as the department's top official.

Gov. Mike Beebe in May recommended Wood, currently the department's deputy commissioner, as the new chief. Wood will assume his new role July 1, the same day Kimbrell is set to take his new job as the Bryant School District's superintendent.

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