The year of 2013 was marked by cooler temperatures and normal amounts of severe weather in Arkansas. That’s according to an annual report released by the National Weather Service. Although late snowfalls in the northwest, deadly flash flooding in the west, drought in the southeast and 34 tornadoes did enter the picture, Meteorologist John Lewis of the NWS says last year was relatively mild.
Gov. Mike Beebe is calling on Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign from office, after Darr admitted to misusing thousands of campaign and taxpayer dollars.
The state Ethics Commission found that Darr likely violated ethics rules by using the money for personal expenditures, while also collecting campaign contributions that exceed legal limits. In all, Darr has admitted to 11 violations, though he refuses to resign.
A spokesman for Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe says he expects the governor to ask Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign now that Darr has signed a settlement letter to pay $11,000 in fines to address complaints against him.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Monday that he expects Beebe to request that Darr step aside given that Beebe was prepared to ask a state senator to step down in a separate ethics case last spring.
A former state representative who pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiring to commit election fraud in a scheme that included destroying ballots and for exchanging money and food for votes has accepted $2,500 in fines and letters of warning and of caution from the Arkansas Ethics Commission.
The offer to former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum of Marion is in a letter dated Dec. 20 that was released Monday by the commission.
Phone calls to numbers listed for Hallum rang unanswered.
Starting this New Year, Arkansan voters will be required to present photo identification at their polling places in order to cast a ballot. The Arkansas Legislature passed the photo id law earlier this year, following a trend set by other state houses around the country. Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane says some voters will need id as early the second week of January, when some elections are set to take place.
Cases of Influenza are widespread this year in Arkansas. Health officials say the virus has been spreading rapidly throughout the southeast.
Kerry Krell of the Arkansas Department of Health says the most prevalent strain this year is H1N1, which is known to affect young, healthy people more often than other strains. She says this season’s flu outbreak has shown a pattern of severity that should lead people to take precautions as it has already led to some fatalities in the state.