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4:12 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Proposed Prison Healthcare Delivery Arkansas's Largest Contract Ever

Rising Prison Healthcare Costs
Credit pewstates.org

The future of the largest contract with a private entity in state history was the center of discussion over prison healthcare in Friday's Arkansas Legislative Council meeting. The proposed 9 year, $92 million contract drew questions over its size and the search process selecting Correct Care Solutions as the best company for comprehensive medical and pharmaceutical services.

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Local & Regional News
2:16 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Killer of Arkansas Store Clerk Wins Hearing On Appeal

Andrew Sasser
Credit Arkansas Dept. of Correction

A man convicted in the rape and murder of a Miller County store clerk 20 years ago has won an appeal ruling that will let him argue he shouldn't be executed because he has a low IQ.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Andrew Sasser should have a hearing to determine whether he is mentally unfit to be put to death.

The panel also ruled that the 49-year-old Sasser also gets a hearing on whether he was effectively represented at his trial.

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Local & Regional News
2:09 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Committee Assembled To Review Public Notification Process

A committee tasked with reviewing the public notification process for concentrated animal feeding permit applications in the state, will have its first meeting this week. 

Public notice is given when a general permit is issued, and anyone can apply for CAFO coverage under that permit, as long as the applicant’s nutrient management plan is published on the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality website for a minimum of 30 days.

Ryan Benefield, deputy director of the ADEQ says this process is being reviewed by a committee formed during this year’s legislative session.

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Local & Regional News
1:53 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Buffalo National River Increases Camping Fees

Credit Buffalo National River

Fees for some campground sites along the Buffalo National River have officially increased, effective this week.

The park conducted a comparability study to determine between a 2 and 5 dollar increase for some drive-in and walk-in sites.

Public Information Officer for the national park, Caven Clark, says the fee increases are comparable to other options in the area,  and that camping at the Buffalo River is still a bargain.

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Local & Regional News
5:53 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court: Arkansas Inmate Can Grow Beard, For Now

The Supreme Court says an Arkansas prison inmate must be allowed to grow a short beard in accordance with his religious beliefs, at least temporarily.

The justices said in a brief order Thursday that state corrections officials may not enforce their grooming policy prohibiting beards against Gregory Holt, who says his Muslim beliefs require him to grow a beard.

Holt filed a handwritten plea to the court asking that he be allowed to grow and keep a half-inch beard, at least until the justices decide whether to take up his full appeal.

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Local & Regional News
3:16 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Judge Rejects Injunction On Arkansas Sex Offender Law

A federal judge has rejected a request for a preliminary injunction to block an Arkansas law that prohibits registered sex offenders from receiving Medicaid funds.

U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson issued the ruling Thursday denying the request by Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker while Parker challenges the constitutionality of the law that was approved by the state Legislature earlier this year and took effect Aug. 16.

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Local & Regional News
3:14 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Arkansas School Districts Reach Desegregation Pact

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel explains settlement proposal to a legislative committee.
Credit Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

While it’s far from a done deal, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says the state and three Pulaski County school districts have reached an agreement that would end years of special payments to help desegregate schools.

McDaniel unveiled the new proposal during a legislative subcommittee meeting Thursday, which school boards and the Legislative Council would have to agree to.

“It is a very fair deal for all concerned and in my opinion, that includes Joshua. I hope that they will consent to being a party to it,” McDaniel told reporters after the hearing.

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Local & Regional News
12:36 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Lawyer For Death Row Inmate Asks For New Trial

A lawyer for an Arkansas man sentenced to death for the killing of a police officer wants the state Supreme Court to grant a new trial for her client.

Jerry Lard was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death last year for the 2011 shooting death of Trumann police officer Jonathan Schmidt.

Attorney Janice Vaughn told the Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday that the judge overseeing Lard's trial let his sympathy for Schmidt's family get in the way of his duty on the bench.

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Local & Regional News
11:54 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Local Clinic Participates in Sickle-Cell Trial

A Little Rock Clinic has been chosen for a national study of sufferers of Sickle-cell disease, according to a press release.

The trial, led by private firm Selexys Pharmaceuticals, will include 175 patients who will receive the drug SelG1, a humanized antibody used to prevent the binding of blood cells that can cause chronic pain in sickle-cell patients. Many participants will receive high or low doses depending on the extent of their pain while others will receive a placebo.

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Local & Regional News
9:06 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Cooper Awaits Opponent In Special Arkansas Senate Race

A Republican candidate for a state Senate seat says he cannot overcome the 67-margin that separated him from the leader in a primary runoff, but a Democratic candidate wants to see if he picks up any votes in a canvass.

Ascent Children Services CEO Dan Sullivan says he will not contest balloting that made former AT&T manager John Cooper the GOP nominee for a Senate post from Jonesboro.

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