Private Option Average Costs Declining, Enrollment Nears 230,000

Apr 17, 2015
David Johnson (front, left) responds to Jason Rapert's remarks (back). David Sanders (front, right) looks on.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The number of Arkansans with completed enrollments through the Health Care Independence Program – the private option – has reached 229,599 as of March 31, according to numbers released by the Arkansas Department of Human Services Thursday.

Two buffaloes are on the run in a central Arkansas city after authorities failed to round up all of an escaped herd.

Hot Springs Cpl. Sonia Luzader said Friday that police know the general location of the 2,000-pound animals but that no sightings were reported overnight.

Six buffaloes escaped from a farm and spent Thursday roaming neighborhoods and avoiding sheriff's deputies, officers and volunteers.

One animal was hit by a car and returned to the farm. Luzader says three that were tranquilized Thursday evening were left in a pasture to help attract the others.

Chris Hickey / KUAR

The Environmental Protection Agency is extending its public comment period on proposed rules to limit emissions for several coal-fired power plants in Arkansas. The regulations are intended limit haze around national wilderness areas.

The attorney for two Arkansas prison inmates who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles told the state Supreme Court that both should be resentenced based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Jeff Rosenzweig argued Thursday to the state court meeting in Mountain Home that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be applied retroactively and Aaron Hodge and James Grubbs should each receive new sentencing hearings.

The Arkansas Department of Correction will soon begin transferring female inmates who are eligible for a work-release program into a new facility in Pine Bluff.

The department says the process of moving 54 inmates to the Pine Bluff Re-Entry Center will start on Saturday.

The department's work-release program is for inmates who are within 30 months of parole. Only those with non-violent convictions and clean disciplinary records are eligible.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Interim School Superintendent Dexter Suggs met Wednesday with several hundred parents at a community meeting  at Rockefeller Elementary and Early Childhood School in Little Rock to discuss the district’s plans to move older children out of the school to focus entirely on Pre-K by next year.

Republican Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge at KUAR during the 2014 May Primary run-off.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas attorney general's office has referred a request to investigate the construction of two Washington County bridges to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

In a letter to Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says she does not have jurisdiction to investigate concerns the Stonewall Bridge and the Harvey Dowell Bridge are unsafe. Rutledge referred the request to the Highway Department and noted other concerns should be addressed in court.

Legal Arguments On EPA’s Rules For Coal Plants Begin Today

Apr 16, 2015

The court will hear arguments on two separate but related lawsuits against the EPA in the wake of last June’s proposed rule requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 30 percent in 15 years. The rule, also known as President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, has been the subject of controversy among power companies, alternative energy supporters and business interests since last summer.

A former central Arkansas circuit court judge has voluntarily surrendered his license to avoid a disciplinary hearing.

The Arkansas Supreme Court accepted the surrender Thursday from Michael Maggio, barring him from practicing law in Arkansas. The Faulkner County judge pleaded guilty to bribery earlier this year.

Maggio pleaded guilty in January for accepting campaign donations from a nursing home owner and a lobbyist in exchange for reducing the award from a wrongful death lawsuit. He faces up to 10 years in prison.

Larry Jegley
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

Arkansas' prosecutors are asking an independent panel to raise their salaries about 23 percent, arguing their pay should be more closely tied to what judges currently receive.