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Local & Regional News
2:56 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Board Votes To Hire Tony Wood As Arkansas Education Commissioner

The Arkansas Board of Education has voted to hire Tony Wood as the new top official overseeing the state's public schools.

The board on Thursday approved Wood as the new Education Commissioner, replacing Tom Kimbrell as the department's top official.

Gov. Mike Beebe in May recommended Wood, currently the department's deputy commissioner, as the new chief. Wood will assume his new role July 1, the same day Kimbrell is set to take his new job as the Bryant School District's superintendent.

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Local & Regional News
1:30 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Arkansas GDP Growth Above US Average

Percent Change in Real GDP, 2013
Credit http://www.bea.gov/ / Bureau of Economic Analysis

Arkansas eclipsed the nation’s average GDP growth according to an annual report released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis ranking 16th in the country. Arkansas’s gross domestic product for 2013 grew at 2.4 percent, while the U.S. average slowed from 2.5 percent in 2012 to 1.8 percent.

John Shelnutt with the state Department of Finance and Administration said mining unexpectedly joined agriculture and utilities as a significant area of growth.

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Local & Regional News
11:46 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Rohwer Projects On Japanese Americans During World War II Get National Grants

Entrance to the Rohwer camp that confined Japanese Americans during World War II.
Credit astate.edu

The National Park Service has awarded nearly a quarter-million dollars in grants to projects in Arkansas that help preserve and interpret sites that were used to confine Japanese Americans during World War II.

The grants announced Thursday are among $2.9 million awarded nationally. In Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock received a $220,000 grant for its cemetery conservation project at the Rohwer Relocation Center in Desha County. It held more than 8,000 Japanese Americans during the war.

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Local & Regional News
11:38 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Gubernatorial Candidate Ross Proposes Review Of State Regulations

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Ross is proposing a review of all Arkansas rules and regulations that have been in place longer than three years as part of a jobs plan he's unveiling.

Ross on Thursday detailed a 46-page economic development plan that he says will help create more and better-paying jobs in the state. Ross is running against fellow ex-congressman Asa Hutchinson in the November election for the state's top office.

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Local & Regional News
9:11 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Gov. Beebe & Rep. Cotton To Speak At Forum On Delta Issues

Gov. Mike Beebe and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton are addressing members of the Delta Grassroots Caucus as the group begins a two-day conference.

Beebe is scheduled to speak to the group at the Clinton presidential library on Thursday about the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion. His address comes two days after an architect of the program lost his bid for a state Senate seat. Beebe is a Democrat serving his final term.

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Local & Regional News
5:37 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Senators Pryor And Boozman Back Proposal To Fix Veterans Care

Arkansas' two senators have voted for a bill making it easier for veterans enduing long wait times for VA medical care to receive treatment from local doctors instead. The vote comes a day after the state's House members voted for a similar measure.

Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman and Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor on Wednesday voted for the measure, which passed on a 93-3 vote.

The legislation would authorize about $35 billion over three years to pay for the outside care, hire hundreds of doctors and nurses and lease 26 new health facilities in 17 states and Puerto Rico.

Local & Regional News
4:09 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

UA's Online-Only University's First Employees Start Work

Map of UA System Locations
Credit uasys.edu

The University of Arkansas System is pushing forward with plans to create an online-only university with three employees beginning work this week.

Their salaries come out of a $2 million General Improvement Funds dispersal from Governor Mike Beebe. The System’s Vice President of Academic Affairs Michael Moore said they’re seeking to raise an additional $7 to $9 million from private sources and grants for start-up costs. But he  said there is no intent to seek additional funding under the state formula.

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Local & Regional News
3:49 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Representatives From Arkansas Express Concerns About Endangered Designation

Arkansas' four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about their concerns with a proposal to classify the Northern Long-Eared bat as an endangered species.

Congressmen Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, and Tom Cotton say they sent the letter Wednesday to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

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Local & Regional News
3:33 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Arkansas Tops Report of States that Would Be Affected by $10.10 Minimum Wage

Oxfam America Report
Credit http://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/Working-Poor-in-America-Oxfam-America-EMBARGOED-June11-2014.pdf

Arkansas has the highest percentage of workers in the nation that would be affected by raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour according to a report released Wednesday at over 25 percent. The international non-profit Oxfam America lists three of Arkansas’s four congressional districts among the top 25 in the country in the percentage of people likely to be affected. 

No Arkansas congressmen or congressional candidate has expressed support for the federal increase to $10.10 an hour.

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Local & Regional News
2:42 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Southern Baptist President: No Change On marriage Stance

The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says the denomination won't relax its position on same-sex marriage and transgender identity, even as courts across the country strike down gay marriage bans and the group tries to bolster membership.

On Tuesday at their annual meeting in Baltimore, members of the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing efforts by governments to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy."

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