The founder of USA Drug has died at his home in Pine Bluff.
Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 71-year-old Stephen LaFrance Sr. died Wednesday. Kelley said the death was due to natural causes.
LaFrance formed USA Drug in 1968 and his company owned 144 stores in seven states when he sold it to Walgreen's in a $438 million deal last July. The company's stores operated under the names of USA Drug, Super D Drug, May's Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
With the Department of Higher Education confronting a shortfall in its budget for granting post-graduate students money to pursue specialties not offered in-state, Governor Mike Beebe is requesting that lawmakers use rainy-day funds to cover the program for one more year.
The department normally grants tuition money for Arkansas students who pursue degrees in fields like veterinary medicine, optometry and dentistry. The financial needs of these and similar grant programs have lately exceeded the 28 million dollars allocated by lawmakers.
A federal grand jury has indicted former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner on charges that she accepted more than $36,000 cash from a bond broker to whom she steered a large portion of the state's investment business.
The indictment filed on Wednesday charged Shoffner with extortion and other charges.
Shoffner was arrested at her Newport home May 18 after the FBI said it caught her on tape accepting a $6,000 payment from the broker, who hasn't been identified.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is close to invoking cloture on the $100 billion a year Farm Bill. Both of Arkansas’ Senators, Republican John Boozeman and Democrat Mark Pryor, are supporting the bill.
It addresses issues of farm subsidies and crop insurance. It also addresses nutrition assistance.
Pryor said about 85% of the bill is directed toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
A husband and wife in western Arkansas have pleaded guilty to charges they filed federal tax returns in the names of other people and kept refunds of $132,000 for themselves.
U.S. Attorney Connor Eldridge said Wednesday that 37-year-old Owen Wheeler and 51-year-old Patricia Wheeler of Everton took advantage of a new Internal Revenue Service system that provides speedier refunds to taxpayers.
The pair is accused of using tax software to file the returns and have the refunds directly deposited into a bank account.