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4:53 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

HMA Center To Bring 500 Jobs To Fort Smith

Lead in text: 
Roby Brock of TalkBusiness.net has this report on a Fort Smith call center creating more than 500 jobs in Arkansas.
Health Management Associates (HMA) will operate a regional service center in Fort Smith that will employ more than 500 with average annual salaries potentially exceeding $40,000. It's just what the doctor ordered for a regional economy that has seen better days.
Arkansas Oil Spill
2:54 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

ADEQ Posts Air Quality Readings From Oil Spill Site Online; EPA Posts Photos

Hazmat workers clean oil spill less than 100 meters from an open Subway restaurant.

A press release from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says the following:

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is posting air quality monitoring data from the site of the March 29 ExxonMobil pipeline spill in Mayflower on the agency’s public website.

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Arkansas Oil Spill
12:46 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

More Oiled Animals Found After Mayflower Oil Spill

A male Muskrat recovering from anesthesia.
Credit HAWK Center Facebook page

Officials say at least 16 oily birds, seven turtles, nine reptiles, a beaver and a muskrat have been recovered for treatment since an Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured last week in central Arkansas.

Authorities are urging people not to touch any injured or oiled animals as crews clean up Friday's spill in Mayflower, a small town about 20 miles northwest of Little Rock.

Crews have also recovered thousands of barrels of oil and water since an Exxon Mobil pipeline sprung a leak and spewed oil onto lawns and roadways.

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Amtrak Passenger Service In Hope
12:42 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Amtrak Adds New Stop For Passenger Service In Hope, Arkansas

Amtrak Texas Eagle Passenger Train

The completed retrofit of a loading platform at the historic train depot in Hope has finally attracted Amtrak passenger service. 

Thursday, officials in the community commemorated the first day of the new service with fireworks and fanfare. Mark Keith, the director of the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, was one of about 150 people who took the first train ride to Texarkana on Amtrak's new Texas Eagle service leaving from Hope.

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Curb Planned Parenthood Funding
6:57 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Arkansas Panel Approves Bill De-funding Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood

Arkansas lawmakers have advanced legislation aimed at cutting off public funding to Planned Parenthood. The organization says the move could also cut off money to doctors, rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday endorsed the proposal by Republican Senator Gary Stubblefield of Branch that would ban the state from awarding grants to entities that perform abortions or abortion referrals.

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Tuition Rates For Immigrants
6:21 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Arkansas Chamber Backs In-state Tuition Proposal

Arkansas Capitol

The state's largest business lobbying organization is joining advocates in urging Arkansas lawmakers to approve extending cheaper in-state tuition rates to some students who came to the country illegally.

The head of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas on Wednesday announced his group is backing the proposal by Democratic Senator Joyce Elliott to grant in-state tuition rates anyone who has attended an Arkansas high school for at least three years and has an Arkansas high school diploma or general education diploma in the state.

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Oil Spill
7:17 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Media Faces Barriers Covering Arkansas Oil Spill

Photo taken shortly before media was told to leave the site of the Mayflower oil spill.

 The news media in Arkansas is finding it harder to cover the Mayflower oil spill. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has placed flight restrictions on the airspace over the Mayflower oil spill site.

KUAR News contacted an FAA spokesman about the restrictions. He did not want his comments recorded but said the restrictions apply to aircraft flying at 1,000 feet or less, like news media helicopters and local aircraft.

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Arkansas Oil Spill
6:33 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Beebe And Federal Officials Discuss Response To Pipeline Burst

Gov. Mike Beebe

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has allayed Governor Mike Beebe’s initial concerns about the recent pipeline rupture and oil spill in Mayflower. The Governor spoke today with Cynthia Quarterman, head of the agency which runs under the Department of Transportation.

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Big River Steel
4:37 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

State Economic Dev. Director Says Big River Steel Isn't Without Risk

An Arkansas House Committee passed a proposal Wednesday to offer $125 million to a steel company to locate in the state.

The House Agriculture and Economic Development Commission advanced on a voice vote a bill that would give the state the authority to use state money for economic development to provide infrastructure, training and tax credits for Big River Steel, which would be located in Osceola.

State Economic Development Director Grant Tennille told lawmakers the plan isn’t without risk, but whether it fails or not, would be an economic benefit to the state.

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Medicaid
4:32 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Senator Dismang Says Lawmakers Will Be Asking Questions About His Bill To Expand Coverage

Lawmakers are meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss bill to expand private health insurance coverage for people with income 138 % below the Federal Property Level.

Senator Jonathan Dismang, (Rep) from Beebe is the sponsor for one bill to expand coverage.

"There's a lot of discussion that individuals want to have about the actuarial study that was released last week.  So my understanding is we're trying to simplified those spread sheets so it's more understandable and the folks from DHS will be on hand to help answer questions,” said Dismang.

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