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Local & Regional News
5:37 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Arkansas Lawmakers Counting Votes On Teacher Insurance

Arkansas legislative leaders are counting votes to see if there's enough support for a package of bills that could be considered in a special session aimed at preventing teacher insurance rate hikes that are expected to hit thousands of teachers next year.

The chairmen of the House and Senate Education committees said Monday they hope to let Gov. Mike Beebe know by Tuesday whether there's enough support to pass the measures.

Beebe has said he won't call a special session unless there's consensus on the proposals.

Local & Regional News
5:34 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Nearly 600 Arkansas Employees Idled Due To Shutdown

Arkansas finance officials say nearly 600 state employees are on furlough because of the federal government shutdown, but say that number could change as they double check figures with individual agencies.

Richard Weiss, director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, on Monday said that 590 state employees whose positions are paid for with federal funds were idled because of the shutdown that began Oct. 1.

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Local & Regional News
6:28 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Mercy Health And CHI To Transfer Mercy Hot Springs

Mercy Health and Catholic Health Initiatives have signed a non-binding letter of intent to transfer ownership of Mercy Hot Springs hospital and physician clinic to CHI and its affiliate, St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock.

The agreement was signed Friday. The parties plan to complete the transaction by Dec. 31 once final terms are agreed to.

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Local & Regional News
5:24 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Shutdown May Mean Furloughs At University of Arkansas

A building on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville
Credit flickr.com / Alfred Carrillo

The University of Arkansas says as many as 100 of its employees could be furloughed this week because of the partial federal government shutdown.

Officials say they're working to reduce the number of affected employees. But the school said Monday that it's reviewing all faculty, staff and student employees who are paid fully or partly through federal funds.

Furloughed employees will receive official notice from the university's human resource office.

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Local & Regional News
4:50 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Deceased Mountain Home Doctor May Have Crafted Largest Medicare Fraud in State History

The late Dr. Stacey Johnson of Mountain Home (inset) once owned and practiced at this medical building, where the alleged Medicare fraud occurred.
Credit Kevin Pieper / Arkansas Business

Efforts continue by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas to recover assets of a cardiologist charged with over billing Medicare by nearly $15 million.

Dr. Stacey Johnson of Mountain Home died earlier this year. A criminal investigator’s affidavit that was recently made public says if he were still alive, criminal charges likely would have been filed against Johnson.

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Local & Regional News
4:31 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Underway

Credit http://www.hsdfi.org/

The 22nd annual Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival began last weekend and runs through this Sunday. A number of award winning filmmakers will be in attendance as well as sports celebrities like Jose Conseco.

In recent years the festival has been encumbered with debt but festival chair Susan Altrui said that’s been turned around this year.

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Local & Regional News
2:16 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Farm Bill Worries Mount as Arkansas Farmers Try to Make Plans

Credit arkansasagnews.uark.edu

The government shutdown is not the only federal source of delay and insecurity facing Arkansans. The farm bill expired on October 1st but it took until last weekend to appoint conferees to begin reconciling the Senate and House versions of the legislation. The House bill removes funding for food assistance for low income people and is a major point of contention.

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Local & Regional News
12:14 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Nearly 1,100 Arkansas Employees Idled Due To Shutdown

Arkansas finance officials say nearly 1,100 state employees are on furlough because of the federal government shutdown, but say that number could change as they double check figures with individual agencies.

Richard Weiss, director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, on Monday said that 1,089 state employees whose positions are paid for with federal funds were idled because of the shutdown that began Oct. 1.

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Local & Regional News
5:55 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Hot Springs Film Fest Tries To Broaden Appeal

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival got started over the weekend as organizers try to broaden the event's appeal.

Opening night was Saturday, and organizers sold about 500 tickets to a showing of "Good Ol' Freda," a film about Freda Kelly, the Beatles' secretary. 

Festival board chairman Susan Altrui told The Sentinel-Record that the film was well received.

Altrui says that attendance is up from last year. The festival is broadening its lineup in the hope of attracting more families and to involve younger children throughout the 10-day festival.

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Local & Regional News
4:40 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

State Using Districts To Fund Local Projects

A successful 2006 lawsuit by a legislator blocked General Assembly members from doling out state tax money for local projects. But the practice has survived, with legislators now using planning and development districts

The state has eight of the districts and a legislator's letter of support for monetary requests is either required or recommended in five of them for grants to be awarded.

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