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Local & Regional News
2:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

DHS Forms Team To Study Unexpected Child Deaths

The Arkansas Department of Human Services has formed a new team to review unexpected child deaths in six Arkansas counties.

The team will review the unexpected deaths of infants and children in Arkansas, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson and Saline counties. DHS says it's the sixth such team in Arkansas as part of the state's Infant and Child Death Review Program.

The program is overseen by Arkansas Children's Hospital's Injury Prevention Center. The teams include representatives from local coroners' offices, law enforcement, prosecutors, DHS and other organizations.

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Local & Regional News
11:27 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Arkansas Lottery Restrictions Advance, Headed For Floor Vote

State Senator David Johnson (D-Little Rock)
Credit Thomas Saccente / KUAR

A proposal prohibiting the state lottery from expanding into video monitor games advanced another step Tuesday morning. The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the bill without any dissenting votes. The measure will be taken up for a full Senate vote Tuesday afternoon. The House advanced an identical version Monday.

Democratic Senator David Johnson of Little Rock said even with the limit on lottery games expected to pass this special session exploring new revenue options for declining scholarship amounts will be re-visited.

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Local & Regional News
11:14 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Financing Finalized For New Steel Mill In East Arkansas

Big River Steel says it has closed on the financing needed to build its $1.3 billion steel mill in northeastern Arkansas.

The company announced Tuesday that it would hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony later this summer at the site in Mississippi County.

The plant is expected to employ more than 500 people with an average annual salary of $75,000 once it's up and running.

Construction on the steel mill is expected to take about two years. The facility will produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries.

Local & Regional News
6:06 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Day One Of Special Session

Advocates of Rehabilitation, Sentencing Changes Holding Signs As Lawmakers Enter
Jacob Kaufman KUAR Public Radio

The Arkansas General Assembly is expected to act on legislation Tuesday changing health insurance for public school employees, adding prison beds, and limiting lottery games. Day one of the special session laid the groundwork for what is expected to be a three day session.

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Local & Regional News
5:46 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Heavy Rains Flood East Arkansas Crop Lands Already Struggling

Heavy weekend rains left many farmers in east Arkansas with flooded fields, and the water is so deep in places the ground won't dry out soon enough for them to replant.

A little more than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of the eastern half of the state, where farmers were still assessing damage Monday.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings along the Cache River near Patterson, the White River near Augusta and on the L'Anguille River at Palestine.

Local & Regional News
4:54 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Arkansas Lawmakers Convene For Special Session Of The Legislature

Members of the Arkansas House after being called to order Monday at the Old Statehouse in Little Rock.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Legislature has begun a special session to address rising teacher health insurance premiums, prison overcrowding and an effort to restrict games offered by the state lottery.

The House and Senate convened Monday for the special session that they hope to wrap up within the minimum three days.

Gov. Mike Beebe last week ordered the session be held after being assured by legislative leaders there were enough votes to pass measures focused on the three issues.

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Local & Regional News
4:13 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Lawmaker Modifies Proposal Restricting Arkansas Lottery

An Arkansas lawmaker has modified his proposal to restrict the lottery from starting monitor-style games such as keno, making it a moratorium rather than an outright ban.

Republican Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana on Monday filed a proposal that would prohibit the lottery from starting the games until March 13, 2015. Hickey had originally proposed an outright ban on the games, which the lottery had planned to launch this fall.

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Local & Regional News
3:59 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

To Protect Bats, Forest Service Extends Cave Closures For Five Years

Hibernating bats showing signs of white nose syndrome.
Credit Al Hicks/New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

The U.S. Forest Service in the southern region is announcing that it's extending a closure order for all caves and mines on its lands for another five years.

The Forest Service says keeping the caves and mines closed to the public until 2019 will help prevent the human spread of white-nose syndrome. That's the devastating infection that is decimating bat colonies and is caused by an invasive fungus that grows in caves.

The Forest Service says the five-year closure period should allow scientists to continue to work on potential solutions to the spread of the disease.

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Local & Regional News
1:06 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Pulaski County Jail To Close Again To All But The Most Violent Offenders

Credit www.pcso.org

The Pulaski County Jail is again being closed because of overcrowding, with only the most violent offenders to be taken in.

Sheriff Doc Holladay says as of Monday morning, 1,281 inmates were being held, which is 71 over capacity.

“Looking ahead over the next few days with the long holiday weekend coming, it is quite clear that our population is going to continue to grow unless we took some steps to limit access to the facility. Unfortunately the only way we can do that is close the facility to only violent felons,” Holladay said.

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Local & Regional News
12:56 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Legislators Will Look To Privatize Troubled School Insurance Fund

Rep. Harold Copenhaver of Jonesboro talks with Roby Brock on Talk Business and Politics.
Credit Talk Business & Politics

A co-chair of a task force on teacher health insurance says after this week’s special session, his group plans to study privatizing the troubled school benefits program.

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