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Local & Regional News
10:52 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Arkansas Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.8% For November

Arkansas’ jobless rate fell three-tenths of a percent in November to 5.8%. In October, the rate stood at 6.1% and one year ago Arkansas’ unemployment benchmark was at 7.5%. The U.S. jobless rate remained unchanged in November at 5.8%, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock economist Michael Pakko said the report continued an unambiguously encouraging trend.

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Local & Regional News
10:47 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Portrait Of Governor Mike Beebe To Be Unveiled At Capitol

File photo of Gov. Mike Beebe speaking to reporters in November 2013.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The portrait for outgoing Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe will be unveiled at the state Capitol.

Beebe on Friday planned to host the unveiling of his official portrait, less than a month before he's set to leave office due to term limits. The Democrat was first elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

Beebe announced earlier this year that he had chosen Garland County art instructor Ovita Goolsby to paint his portrait.

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Local & Regional News
10:44 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Arkansas Closing 28 Miles Of Highway Lanes Over Holiday

Travelers will come across 28 miles of lane closures on major Arkansas roads during the upcoming holiday season.

The state Highway and Transportation Department said Friday the longest restriction will be along eight miles of Interstate 530 from Little Rock to near the Sheridan exit.

Interstate 40 will have lane restrictions in both directions for five miles near West Memphis, for five miles in eastbound lanes near Brinkley, and four miles in both directions near Russellville.

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Local & Regional News
9:09 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Salary Commission Promises Caution & Independence As Deadline Nears

(left) Chair Larry Ross and (right) Vice Chair Chuck Banks talking after the first meeting of the Independent Citizens Commission.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A commission charged with reviewing salaries and reimbursements for elected officials met Thursday for the first time and promised a cautious and deliberative approach. 

Some members of the commission – authorized by voters in Issue 3, the ethics and term limits amendment - say its first report is unlikely to contain any salary recommendations for legislators, constitutional officers, or judges.

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Local & Regional News
5:58 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Three Accused Of Defrauding Arkansas Food Program For The Poor

Federal prosecutors say three women have been charged in a plot to steal money from a food program for the poor.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer identified the three as 39-year-old Jacqueline Mills of Helena-West Helena, 37-year-old Tonique Hatton of North Little Rock and 34-year-old Gladys Elise King of England. A 76-count indictment was unsealed Thursday.

Prosecutors said Mills inflated Child and Adult Care Feeding Program numbers in an effort to receive excess federal payments. Thyer said Mills bribed the others in return for protection from government scrutiny.

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Local & Regional News
11:44 am
Thu December 18, 2014

FDA Pumps $1.2 Million Into Nano Research Through Arkansas Research Alliance

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended its support of nano research in Arkansas.

The Arkansas Research Alliance announced this week that it has been awarded a $1.2 million contract from the FDA to extend a collaborative research program focused on graphene-based nanomaterials, in particular the safety and toxicity of graphene and its impact on public health.

Graphene is a common carbon nanomaterial used in electronics and renewable energy devices and is the subject of research into uses in pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

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Local & Regional News
10:53 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Batesville City Leaders Vote To Form Police Department

Elected officials in a northeast Arkansas town have voted to create a police department after more than 20 years without one.

KAIT-TV reports the Batesville City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to re-establish the department. The Independence County Sheriff's Department had been providing law enforcement services since 1981, after the city discontinued its police force.

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Health Insurance
8:56 am
Thu December 18, 2014

What Does Hutchinson's Latest Pick Mean For The Private Option?

Allen Kerr

Governor elect Asa Hutchinson's recent announcement that he will appoint State Representative Allen Kerr to be Arkansas's next Insurance Commissioner could weigh significantly on the fate of Arkansas's Private Option.

With a Legislative session less than a month away, speculation about what will become of the private option hasn't included a specific plan from anyone, but there is wide-felt certainty that the new administration will bring changes.

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Local & Regional News
8:52 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Panel On Arkansas Elected Officials' Pay To Meet

Credit Ron Breeding / KUAR News

A panel approved by voters to review and adjust salaries for Arkansas' top elected officials is holding its first meeting.

The Independent Citizens Commission planned to meet Thursday at the state Capitol to begin its review of the salaries for Arkansas' constitutional officers, legislators and judges.

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Local & Regional News
8:11 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Ag Community Upbeat On Cuba Normalization, Political Opinions Vary

A "Bicitaxi" driver with cuban flags rides through Havana, Cuba
Credit Jorge Royan / Wikimedia Commons

Agricultural opinions in Arkansas were upbeat about President Obama’s plan to move towards normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, but political attitudes were mixed.

On Wednesday, Obama announced a plan to re-establish some diplomatic and economic ties between the U.S. and the communist island nation using Presidential authority and actions.

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