The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics says a large cocaine ring that moved the drug through Dallas and Little Rock, Arkansas, before bringing it to Muskogee for distribution has been broken.

OBN spokesman Mark Woodward said agents and officers from several departments began serving arrest and search warrants Friday morning and have arrested 21 of 24 suspects in the Muskogee area on charges including distribution and trafficking cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Martha Shoffner
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Federal prosecutors are being given more time to respond to a filing by the attorney for convicted ex-Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner.

U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes on Thursday gave prosecutors until May 18 to respond to the filing in which attorney Chuck Banks objects to a report suggesting Shoffner spend at least 15 years in prison for bribery and extortion convictions. Banks says a more appropriate sentence would be about 12 to 18 months, with half served in home detention.

The response was due Friday, but U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said more time is needed.

Arkansas Health Care Task Force Hires Consultant For $1 Million-Plus

May 7, 2015

The Health Reform Legislative Task Force, the legislative panel considering changes to the state’s Medicaid system, voted to hire New Hampshire-based The Stephen Group for a maximum $1,036,500 contract to help the task force make its recommendations.

The firm must present a report to legislators by Oct. 1 and then will serve as a consultant through the task force’s existence through the end of 2016.

The Arkansas Legislative Council, which is a group of legislators who act as a quasi-Legislature between sessions, must approve the expenditure.

Baker Kurris speaking at a meeting of the Arkansas Board of Education several weeks before being appointed Superintendent.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The new superintendent of the Little Rock School District has only been in office for a couple of days but he may already be striking a different chord with at least a few of those critical of the state-run district's first steps to lift six of the district's 40-plus schools out of academic distress. 

Newly-appointed Superintendent Baker Kurrus said during an interview Thursday he is making inclusion in the decision-making process an early priority.


Republican Tom Cotton of Arkansas was the only member of the U.S. Senate to vote against a bill giving Congress the opportunity to review, and possibly reject any final nuclear deal with Iran. He contends any agreement should be handled as a treaty, which requires a two-thirds vote.

Thursday’s vote was 98-1 and follows months of wrangling over the legislation while the U.S. and five other nations negotiated with Iran.

Windstream Q1 Profits Drop 67%

May 7, 2015

Shares in Windstream Holdings Inc. were moving lower in trading Thursday after the Little Rock telecom reported that first quarter earnings fell nearly 67% following the recent spin off its real estate assets more than a week ago.

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is planning to honor the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine with its Lincoln Leadership Prize later this month.

The foundation said Thursday that it would honor the civil rights figures on May 18 during a dinner in Chicago. Actress and playwright Regina Taylor will present the awards.

A hostile crowd confronted the nine students as they helped integrate Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They became known as the Little Rock Nine.

CenterPoint Customers In Arkansas Should See Lower Gas Bills Until Late 2015

May 7, 2015

A CenterPoint Energy spokeswoman said Wednesday that Arkansas customers should already begin seeing lower monthly bills due to a decreasing gas supply rate (GSR) adjustment that comes from falling wellhead prices tied to the cost of natural gas.

The adjustment will lower an April residential gas bill using 50 Ccf (hundred cubic feet) of natural gas by more than 14% compared to last year. This means a bill that was $65.48 last April is $55.92 this month, Centerpoint officials said, although actual bills will vary depending on how much natural gas individual customers use.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says its current lineup of justices should decide whether to legalize gay marriage in the state.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The small, southwest Arkansas town of Hope is again under a national spotlight for its connection to a presidential campaign, as former Governor Mike Huckabee returned to his hometown Tuesday to formally announce his second bid for the White House. It's also where former President Bill Clinton was born.