Arkansas's Pollen Count
3:41 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Expert Says Pollen Count High, Necessary In Central Arkansas

Pollen from a tree.

National weather experts are reporting a high pollen count for central Arkansas most of this week. Much of the pollen caked on cars, buildings, and streets has become a nuisance for area residents, especially those who have severe allergies. 

Jon Zawislak is a specialist with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. He says pollen is a key component to the “circle of life.” 

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Local & Regional News
3:38 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Crews Removing Part Of Ruptured Oil Pipeline

Crews are working to cut and remove the damaged part of a pipeline that ruptured last month and spilled thousands of barrels of oil in central Arkansas.

Officials say the damaged part of ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.'s Pegasus pipeline will removed on Monday.

Part of the pipeline ruptured on March 29 and spilled an estimated 5,000 barrels of oil at Mayflower, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock.

ExxonMobil and local officials say a 52-foot section of the pipeline will be cut and placed on a truck so it can be taken to a laboratory for testing.  

Local & Regional News
2:02 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Arkansas 'Private Option' Fails In House Vote

Supporters of the Medicaid expansion spending bill lined the stairway to the House in advance of the vote.
Credit Arkansas Times

A plan for Arkansas to use federal Medicaid funds to buy private insurance for low-income residents has failed to capture the supermajority needed to pass the state House.  

The House 69-28 Monday in favor of the bill, but supporters weren't able to reach the 75 votes needed for passage. 

Legislators can bring it up for another vote.  

The Legislature has already approved a bill setting up the program but a three-fourths majority of legislators in both the House and Senate need to approve an attached budget bill before it can be implemented.

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Highway Construction
10:14 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Construction Crews Close Lanes At Big Rock Interchange In Little Rock

I-430/I-630 Interchange in Little Rock
Credit Creative Form Liners, INC

Motorists traveling on Interstate 430 in west Little Rock should prepare for evening traffic delays, according to officials from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. 

For most of this week, work crews will be painting steel girders at the major construction site for the I-430 and I-630 Interchange, also known as the Big Rock Interchange. David Nilles with the highway department says there will be some lane closures. 

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Local & Regional News
7:48 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Services Set For Arkansas Journalist Bob McCord

Robert McCord

Services are set for longtime journalist Robert "Bob" McCord, who was a driving force behind establishment of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. 

McCord died Sunday at age 84. A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at Lakewood United Methodist Church in North Little Rock. A reception at the church will follow the service.

McCord worked as an editor at both the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette and for a decade owned the North Little Rock Times. He also wrote a column for the Arkansas Times from 1992 until 2006. 

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Final Week Of Legislative Session
7:26 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Big Week For Arkansas Legislators As Wrap-up Nears

Arkansas Capitol

Arkansas legislators are working to wrap up this year's session by Friday and they still have a variety of significant issues to address before they can go home. 

Lawmakers have to decide whether to extend health insurance to 250,000 people through the Medicaid program, finalize the state's $4.9 billion budget and vote on $125 million in state financing for a proposed steel mill in Osceola.

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Local & Regional News
5:28 pm
Sat April 13, 2013

Organizations Linked To Alamo Seek Immunity From Lawsuit

Groups linked to convicted evangelist Tony Alamo want a judge to rule they are immune from being sued because they operate as charities.

The organizations are tied to Tony Alamo Christian Ministries and are being sued by seven women who claim they were physically and sexually abused by Alamo when they were children.

The case is to go to trial in January.

The lawsuit also names ministry-controlled businesses and high-ranking ministry members as defendants.

An attorney for the women says the defendants should have raised the immunity issue earlier.

Local & Regional News
8:55 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

McCain Blasts Inaction On Syria During Little Rock Visit

Sen. John McCain addresses an audience in the Barry L. Travis Exhibition Hall of the Robinson Center Fri. night.
Credit photo by Oran Hardcastle

Former Presidential candidate and lion of the U.S. Senate John McCain said in Little Rock Friday night President Obama’s resistance to arming freedom fighters in Syria was “shameful.”

McCain spoke as part of the Clinton School of Public Service’s Public Programs series. 

“I’m not here to bash the President of the United States,” said the one-time war prisoner of the North Vietnamese, “but this is one of the most shameful chapters in the history of our country.” 

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Affordable Care Act
6:44 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

'Private Option' Budget Vote Moved To Monday, Arkansas Lawmakers To Talk To Voters

Arkansas Speaker of the House Davy Carter is pushing the House’s final vote for the “Private Option” model of Medicaid expansion back to Monday saying lawmakers are expressing support of the plan but they need the time to convince their constituents.

“When I have members that say, ‘will you please give me the opportunity to go back and talk to my constituents?’ It’s awfully hard to say no to,” Carter said.

Some House members indicated in speeches on the House floor Thursday that they would have to vote no Friday, but could vote yes by Monday.

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Local & Regional News
5:04 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Arkansas Senate Rejects Change For Ballot Issues

The Senate has rejected an effort to change the way signatures are verified during attempts to place  measures on the Arkansas ballot.  

By an 11-13 vote, the Senate defeated a proposal that would have appeared as a suggested constitutional amendment on next year's ballot.

The proposal would have required that at least 90 percent of the signatures submitted by ballot measure campaigns to be valid in order to have more time to circulate petitions.  

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