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University Education
6:06 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Students At UALR React To Loan Interest Rate Hike

UALR Students
Credit UALR Facebook page

After interest rates on new Stafford student loans for low income applicants doubled this week, many wonder if Congress will be able to arrive at a solution to keep rates low. On the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, some students reacted to news of the rate hike.

“It’s sort of the sacrifice you make if you’re going to do years of education. You know, there’s those years of income you don’t get a lot of times and so you [ask yourself] which one is going to put you further,” said H.L. Moody, who has been going to college off and on for the past ten years.

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Mayflower Oil Spill
12:38 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Mayflower Residents Express Concerns About Long-Term Health Risks From Oil Spill

A marker notes where ExxonMobil's Pegasus pipeline runs, as KUAR's Jacob Kauffman speaks with resident Linda Lynch.
Credit Maggie Carroll/ KUAR News

Many residents in Mayflower who live near where an oil pipeline ruptured three months ago are expressing growing frustration with ExxonMobil, along with state and federal officials.

They did not live in the neighborhood where many were evacuated after the oil spill and fear they could suffer long-term health consequences from exposure to the fumes.

Walking through her yard recently, Linda Lynch pointed to where the Pegasus pipeline is buried beneath she and her neighbor's yards and to where crews worked in the months after the March 29 spill.

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Local & Regional News
7:48 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Lawsuit Filed To Overturn Arkansas' Gay Marriage Ban

A lawsuit has been filed in state court seeking to repeal Arkansas' ban on gay marriage.

A group of 11 same-sex couples on Tuesday asked a Pulaski County judge to overturn the constitutional amendment voters approved in 2004 that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The amendment also bars the state from recognizing same-sex unions from other states.

The lawsuit was filed less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings supporting same-sex couples.

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Local & Regional News
7:47 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Former Arkansas Treasurer Seeks Delay In Bribery Trial

Martha Shoffner as she left federal court after an initial appearance on June 27.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner is asking a federal judge to delay her trial over charges she steered state investments to a bond broker who paid her more than $36,000 in cash.

Shoffner on Tuesday asked for a continuance in her trial, which had been scheduled to begin July 29.

Shoffner's attorney said in a one-page filing that more time was needed to prepare for trial.

Shoffner was indicted June 5 on 14 federal counts of extortion and bribery charges.

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Local & Regional News
3:39 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Arkansas Officials Hold Hearing On Insurance Expansion

Community health centers around Arkansas say the state's plan to use federal money to purchase private insurance for low-income residents includes a provision that would cut the amount of money they receive in reimbursements for their services.

Officials from several community health centers around the state on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Department of Human Services to drop a proposal to change the way the reimbursements to the centers are calculated.

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Local & Regional News
12:46 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Arkansas AG Rejects Proposed Marijuana Ballot Title

Credit npr.org

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected a proposal to ask voters to end a prohibition on marijuana.

McDaniel rejected the proposal this week, saying it contains ambiguities.

The proposal from Arkansans for Medical Cannabis calls for an amendment to the state Constitution that declares cannabis to be an agricultural commodity, medicinal product and intoxicant.

McDaniel's opinion says that group previously submitted three similar measures, which the attorney general's office rejected.

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Local & Regional News
10:35 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Arkansas Highway Officials End Work On I-40 Near Hazen; Continue Other Projects

Flashback: Thursday, March 21, 2013 - Drivers in stopped traffic near the White River Bridge on I-40 mill about for 5 hours, waiting for a major accident to be cleared.
Credit Malcolm Glover / KUAR

Interstate 40 between Little Rock and West Memphis has been the site of some major highway repair work and vehicle accidents, especially in the construction zone near the White River.

Randy Ort with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department says, after about 19 months road repair work, construction in that area will finally end this week.

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Local & Regional News
10:19 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Arkansas Ends Fiscal Year With $299.5M Surplus

Arkansas has ended its fiscal year with a nearly $300 million surplus.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported Tuesday that the state's net available revenue for the fiscal year that ended Sunday was $5.02 billion.

The amount was $275.4 million higher than last year. Officials said revenues were above last year's and above their predictions, primarily because of an increase in individual income tax collections.

The department attributed the growth to residents shifting income into tax year 2012 to avoid higher federal income tax rates.

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Local & Regional News
6:12 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Arkansas Officials Hold Hearing On Insurance Expansion

Arkansas officials are holding a public hearing on the state's plan to use federal Medicaid money to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents.

The Department of Human Services on Tuesday planned to hold a hearing on the "private option" plan to expand insurance coverage in the state.

Lawmakers approved the plan this year, but it still must get final clearance from the federal government.

The plan was touted as an alternative to expanding Medicaid's enrollment under the federal health care law.

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Local & Regional News
5:55 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Little Rock To Break Ground On Amphitheatre Renovations

The city of Little Rock's recreation department has scheduled a ground-breaking on a major renovation at a riverfront amphitheatre.

The West Amphitheatre is behind the Old State Capitol on the north side of LaHarpe Boulevard.

Improvements have already started with the recent planting of large oaks honoring late Little Rock architect Rick Redden, and at 12:45 p.m.

Tuesday a ground-breaking will be held to mark a new donation benefiting renovations.

The West Amphitheatre is a few blocks west of one behind the city's River Market. It will seat about 500 people.

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