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Local & Regional News
11:34 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Warren Tomato Producers Feeling Pinch

Credit blog.auburn.edu

More than 200 farmers used to put their tomatoes on the auction block in Warren, but changes to the market have left large growers with the bulk of the business.

Now, only about a dozen farmers bring their tomatoes to the Warren Tomato Market to make sales to a single buyer.

Grower Terry Donnelly, who owns Deepwoods Farm, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that most tomato farmers quit because they weren't making money.

Donnelly says costs have risen sharply while tomato prices have stayed the same.

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Local & Regional News
11:33 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Arkansas Poultry Farms Prepare To Protect Flocks From Mild Bird Flu

Poultry owners in Arkansas are taking steps to safeguard flocks from a mild strain of bird flu.

Last week, state health officials reported that a low-pathogenic strain of avian influenza was found on a poultry farm in Scott County.

Though experts with the state’s Livestock and Poultry Commission say the outbreak was isolated to one farm, Dustan Clark, a veterinarian with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, says farmers must take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of diseases. 

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Local & Regional News
11:31 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Arkansas Lawyer Wants $25K Contempt Fine Tossed

A lawyer for a former Little Rock police officer charged with manslaughter is asking a judge to vacate a $25,000 contempt of court fine he was assessed at the end of a mistrial this past weekend.

Attorney Bill James said in court papers Monday that the contempt citation was improperly imposed by Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

James argues that he wasn't given a hearing before being cited, which he says is unconstitutional.

He also argues that state law bars the court from making the citation on a Sunday.

Local & Regional News
5:42 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Lane Of I-55 To Close Temporarily In East Arkansas

Highway officials say a lane of Interstate 55 in eastern Arkansas will close temporarily as crews repair a message board in Crittenden County.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says crews will work on an electronic message board at the 13-mile marker in Jericho.

The department says the southbound, inside lane of I-55 will be closed Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., weather permitting.

Local & Regional News
12:32 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Arkansas 911 Operator Doesn't Cite Reason For Quitting

A Little Rock 911 operator didn't include a reason for her resignation in a letter submitted months after the death of a woman who called for help when she was trapped inside a vehicle in a pond.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Monday in which the operator simply said she was resigning.

Police said Thursday that she resigned June 14.

The resignation came after 39-year-old Jinglei Yi called 911 on Jan. 14 when her vehicle ended up in a pond.

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Local & Regional News
4:53 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

UPDATE: Exxon Witholding Reports Lake Maumelle Watershed Officials Want

Buddy Villines
Credit co.pulaski.ar.us

Central Arkansas officials say they’re ready to take further action to know the results of pre-oil spill inspection reports for the Pegasus Pipeline running through the Lake Maumelle Watershed.

Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines says it’s important to have the most recent inspection reports for the pipeline, particularly the one conducted just six weeks before the pipeline ruptured in Mayflower.

He says if Exxon has nothing to hide, he doesn’t see why this would be problematic.

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Local & Regional News
3:17 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Arkansas To Hold Hearings On 'Private Option' Waiver

Arkansas officials are holding two public hearings next month on the state's plan to use federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents.

The Department of Human Services on Monday released a draft of the waiver it plans to submit to the federal government for the "private option" approach to expand insurance coverage in the state.

Gov. Mike Beebe signed the plan into law earlier this year, but it still must receive federal approval.

The private option was approved as an alternative to expanding Medicaid's enrollment.

Local & Regional News
10:50 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Filing: Shoffner Plans To Plead Not Guilty

Martha Shoffner
Credit Danny Johnston / AP Photo

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner says she plans to plead not guilty to charges she accepted cash payments from a bond broker to whom she steered state investments, but a federal judge says she can't skip a hearing to enter that plea. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe denied Shoffner's request to waive her appearance at an arraignment hearing scheduled for later this week. Volpe's order was dated Friday, but wasn't entered into the court system until Monday.

Shoffner and her attorney said in a filing with the court that she planned to plead not guilty.

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Local & Regional News
10:44 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Several Arkansas Inmates Seek To Have Appeal Dismissed

Several Arkansas death row inmates are seeking to have their appeal dismissed in a case involving the state's public records law.

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Local & Regional News
5:51 am
Mon June 24, 2013

'Big Rock' Interchange Lane Detours In Little Rock

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says construction on the Interstate 430/630 interchange in west Little Rock will mean continued detours in the area known as "Big Rock."

The department says workers are painting future flyover ramps and the work will prevent access to the northeast and southeast loop ramps. This means northbound drivers in I-430 who want to go west on Financial Center Parkway or Chenal Parkway will have to take the Shackleford Road Exit.

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