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Local & Regional News
1:59 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas Closed By Government Shutdown

The White River National Wildlife Refuge is one of ten refuges closed by government shutdown.

The federal government shutdown also means the shutdown of all ten National Wildlife Refuges in Arkansas.

The closure prohibits fishing, hunting, camping, and other recreational activities on the federal lands and waters.

Keith Weaver is the project leader for the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge complex. He says that a lengthy shutdown could have its consequences.

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Local & Regional News
10:50 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Robinson Expansion Passes Major Hurdle

Mark Abernathy at City Hall

Major plans for Robinson Auditorium were set into motion Monday night by the Little Rock Board of Directors. 

The Board cast a unanimous vote to hold an election for funding a nearly $70 million expansion and renovation of the auditorium. The funds come from an existing 2 percent hospitality tax created in 1980 to build the Statehouse Convention Center.

Tensions arose over two primary concerns. Is the benefit limited to downtown while the funding comes from everywhere? Was there enough notice given, particularly to those that would pay the tax?

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Local & Regional News
6:09 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Exchange Board To Meet As Sign-up Continues

Arkansas Health Connector

The board for Arkansas' insurance exchange is meeting a day after the sign-up period began for the online marketplace that was created under the federal health care law.

The Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board of Directors planned to meet Wednesday morning at the University of Arkansas System's B. Alan Sugg Boardroom.

The 11-member board was created this year to oversee the operation of the online marketplace where about 500,000 Arkansans are expected to compare policies and purchase insurance under the health overhaul.

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Local & Regional News
6:00 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Attorney General: Keno Decision Up To Lotto Commission

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says it's up to the state's Lottery Commission to determine whether it can offer keno under the constitutional amendment setting up the lottery. 

McDaniel said in an advisory opinion Tuesday that determining whether a particular game may be conducted as a lottery is a task that should first be undertaken by the Arkansas Lottery Commission. 

A state legislator in July had asked for the opinion on keno and bingo, and also asked whether the lottery could authorize draw games where the results are posted on video monitors.

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Local & Regional News
5:49 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Arkansas Says 955 Workers Furloughed Over Shutdown - So Far

Arkansas Capitol

Arkansas budget officials say state furloughs imposed because of the partial shutdown of the federal government has turned out to be not as deep as expected - so far.

Richard Weiss of the Department of Finance and Administration said Tuesday 955 workers were furloughed, according to figures from each agency. 

The Military Department lost 564 people while the Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute lost one.

Federal money helps pay for some state jobs. Gov. Mike Beebe warned on Monday that up to 2,000 state employees might be furloughed.

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Local & Regional News
5:00 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Court Dates Rescheduled In Cyclist Crash Case

Court dates have been rescheduled for a 21-year-old man accused of driving into and injuring a group of bicyclists traveling through Arkansas on a cross-country trip.

Prosecutor John Bell said Tuesday that Teagan Ross Martin's case has been reset for Jan. 7, with a pretrial hearing set for Dec. 4.

Martin of Newport faces a negligent homicide charge after one of the cyclists died this summer. He also faces one count of careless and prohibited driving and 13 counts related to overtaking a bicycle.

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Local & Regional News
1:02 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Strains Financial Resources Of Some Arkansas Workers

Our House Executive Director Georgia Mjartan talks with residents outside one of the organization's facilities.
Credit Malcolm Glover / KUAR

Depending on how long it lasts, the partial federal government shutdown could have a negative impact on the financial wellbeing of Arkansans who already work in low-wage jobs. 

AmeriCorps VISTA members complete projects designed to combat poverty in communities throughout Arkansas. However, the people who work for that national service program often depend on a federal stipend, which amounts to less than $5 an hour, as their only source of income during their year of fulltime service. 

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Local & Regional News
11:27 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Website Troubles Plague Arkansas Signup Event

A guide works with a woman signing up for coverage Tuesday at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Maggie Carroll KUAR

Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace officially got underway Tuesday, but not without some problems.

Arkansans were invited to the Clinton School of Public Service to learn more about the program, set up as part of the federal healthcare law.

The Arkansas Insurance Department partnered with the school to host the event, to help people learn how much financial assistance they qualify for.

Insurance department Exchange Planning Manager Cynthia Crone, says an overwhelming response kept the enrollment website down much of the day.

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Robinson Center Music Hall
9:16 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Little Rock Board To Decide On Referring Robinson Center Renovations To Voters

An image of how backers of the proposed renovation would like Robinson Center Music Hall to look.
City of Little Rock

The Little Rock Board of Directors is to decide Tuesday afternoon whether to allow a special election for voters to decide whether to use a two percent tax to fund a massive renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall.

But there are concerns that there hasn’t been enough discussion about the funding.

The extensive plan was unveiled last week, calling for $60 million worth of renovations to the building, which was built in 1939. The cost rises to $68 million when including the expense of relocating staff and paying for a special bond election.

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Local & Regional News
5:58 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Arkansas Launches Online Insurance Marketplace

Arkansas Health Connector

Arkansas is set to launch its online marketplace for insurance under the federal health care law, with thousands of consumers expected to participate in the coming months.

Open enrollment is scheduled to begin Tuesday for the exchange, and state officials say they expect about 500,000 people to use it to compare policies and shop for plans. 

The state Insurance Department has not said how many people they expect to begin on the first day of open enrollment, which runs through March 31.

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