Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday that State Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock, will serve as Insurance Commissioner in his administration replacing current commissioner Jay Bradford.

Hutchinson also announced that Sheila Sharp will remain as director for the Department of Community Correction. A spokesman for Hutchinson confirmed that Heath Abshure will not remain as director of the state Securities Department.

Arkansas' attorney general says health care workers from Pulaski and Phillips counties have been arrested for alleged Medicaid fraud.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Tuesday authorities had arrested 53-year-old Patricia Sylvester of Marvell and 36-year-old Stephanie Simpson of North Little Rock.

A national provider of electrical, data, communications and automation systems says it's expanding its facility in Lowell.

Wachter Inc. said Tuesday it plans to invest $2 million in the expansion and add 20 new jobs, bringing total employment at the facility to 260. The expansion of the Lowell facility is necessary due to Wachter's continued growth, both locally and nationally, over the years.

Interstate 40 Interstate 55 West Memphis
peggydavis66 / Wikimedia Commons

Heading into the Christmas travel season, the number of people traveling in Arkansas and nationwide will begin increasing this week. Clinton National Airport and the Arkansas State Police are preparing for busy air traffic and roadways. 

Faculty from the University of Arkansas System will meet Wednesday and Thursday to begin curriculum development for eVersity, the state’s online university program. Educators will meet at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain for the planning conference.

Arkansas will receive $13.5 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help with the state’s water infrastructure and inspection.

The money will be used by two state agencies and local communities to install, upgrade and replace water infrastructure across the state.

The Texas Rangers are investigating a police shooting after an officer killed a burglary suspect who was holding a spoon.
A Texarkana police spokesman says the officer fatally shot 35-year-old Dennis Grigsby on Monday after a homeowner called 911 to report a break-in. He says the officer confronted Grigsby in the home's dimly lit garage and shot him.

(left) AFHC Exec. Dir. Carol Johnson testifying to Leg. Audit - State Agencies in November.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Fair Housing Commission is facing scrutiny for purchasing an advertisement in 2013 for a Democratic Black Caucus publication. Lawmakers moved forward Monday with plans to involve the state’s attorney general after reviewing an assessment of the commission.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Incoming Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton will be serving on the Banking and Armed Services committees when he takes office next year.

Senate Republicans on Monday announced their committee appointments for next year, when the GOP will hold a majority of seats of the chamber. Cotton, an Army veteran who is currently a congressman representing south Arkansas, defeated two-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor last month.

Cotton was also named to the Joint Economic Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Special Committee on Aging.

Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods named Dr. Christine Daugherty as vice president for Animal Well-Being Programs and Technology on Monday. She replaces Dr. Dean Danilson, who is retiring after 26 years with the company.

Daugherty will oversee the animal well-being efforts at Tyson Foods, company officials said, including leading the company’s commitment to proper farm animal treatment.

Springdale-based Tyson Foods, one of world’s largest food processors of poultry, beef and pork, is a frequent target of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal welfare groups.