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Local & Regional News
6:20 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Arkansas Prisons Chief Announces Retirement

Ray Hobbs (front) testifies before a Legislative committee earlier this year.
Credit Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Arkansas Department of Correction Director Ray Hobbs announced Friday that he's retiring effective Nov. 1.

Hobbs has worked in the prison system since 1975 when he was hired as an entry-level guard at the Tucker Unit. He was named the department's director in June 2010.

Hobbs' departure comes as the department is preparing to ask lawmakers next year for funding to build a $100 million maximum security prison to help ease overcrowding at local jails housing state inmates.

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Local & Regional News
12:00 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Legendary Director Oliver Stone Taking Part In Little Rock Event

Oliver Stone
Credit oliverstone.com

Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone is visiting Little Rock Saturday as part of this year’s Reel Civil Rights Film Festival. Stone will participate in a moderated discussion following the screening of an episode of his 2012 television documentary series, "The Untold History of the United States."

Part of the 60-minute episode explores the decision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to enforce the 1957 integration of Central High.

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Local & Regional News
11:13 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Mike Ross & Asa Hutchinson Squaring Off In Televised Debate

Asa Hutchinson and Mike Ross
Credit Talk Business & Politics

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Asa Hutchinson and Democratic rival Mike Ross are set to square off in their first televised debate in the race for Arkansas' top office.

Hutchinson and Ross are scheduled to debate Friday in a live broadcast by Little Rock television station KARK. The 7 p.m. debate will also be broadcast live on Fayetteville station KNWA and Texarkana TV station KTAL.

Hutchinson and Ross are both former congressmen who are running to succeed Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who is prohibited by term limits from seeking re-election.

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Local & Regional News
11:03 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Arkansas Jobless Rate Increases In August

State officials say Arkansas' unemployment rate rose slightly in August to 6.3 percent. It's the first time the state's jobless rate has increased in 2014.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services said Friday that August's rate crept up one-tenth of a percentage point over July's.

Local & Regional News
8:36 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Skeleton Identified As Woman Missing Since Jumping From Red River Bridge

Louisiana authorities say a skeleton found in a Red River sandbar has been positively identified as a 42-year-old Ashdown woman who has been missing since February.

The Texarkana Gazette reports the remains are those of Janice Northcross, who fell into the river near Fulton to avoid a tractor-trailer that was skidding toward her on an icy Interstate 30 bridge.

Sheriff Steve Prator and Coroner Dr. Todd Thoma of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, made the announcement Thursday.

Arkansas Lottery
7:51 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Proposed Study Of Arkansas Lottery Practices To Go Before Legislative Council

Camelot Global Services executives Richard Wheeler and Sam De Phillippo speak to the Lottery Oversight Committee Thursday.
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A proposal to hire an outside consulting firm to evaluate the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is to go before the Arkansas Legislative Council Friday. Lawmakers are concerned that lottery revenue has been declining for the last couple of years and have been pushing for the assessment.

Executives with Camelot Global Services, which lawmakers are considering hiring without taking bids from other companies, spoke Thursday before the lottery's legislative oversight committee.

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Local & Regional News
4:28 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Senate Candidate Cotton Defends Farm Bill Vote In New TV Ad

Republican Senate hopeful Tom Cotton is defending his vote against the farm bill in a new television ad, pushing back on an issue where Democrats are trying to cast him as out of touch with rural Arkansas.

In the 30-second spot unveiled Thursday, Cotton cites his objection to the food stamps funding that was included in the legislation he voted against in January. Cotton is a freshman congressman challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. Cotton was the only member of the state's congressional delegation to vote against the farm bill.

Local & Regional News
4:08 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Arkansas Tech University Approves Online Master's Program

The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees has approved an online master's degree in business.

The board approved the program during its monthly meeting Thursday in Russellville. The Master of Science in Business Administration is to be offered 100 percent online beginning in the summer of 2015.

ATU began offering course work for the MSBA degree during the fall 2013 semester.

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Local & Regional News
12:00 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Convicted Killer Surrenders Three Months After Escaping Pine Bluff Unit

Timothy Buffington
Credit Arkansas Dept. of Correction

A convicted killer who escaped an Arkansas prison turned himself in to authorities Thursday after about three months on the run.

Arkansas Department of Correction spokeswoman Shea Wilson says inmate Timothy Buffington went to a home in western Arkansas on Thursday and asked the resident to call Booneville police so he could surrender.

Authorities had been searching an area in Logan and Sebastian counties after someone spotted Buffington and called law enforcement.

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Local & Regional News
11:09 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Missouri Firm Submits Lowest Bid For Broadway Bridge Project

The current Broadway Bridge

A Missouri construction company has submitted the lowest bid to replace a bridge over the Arkansas River to Little Rock.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports if state highway officials accept the $98.4 million bid by Massman Construction Co., the bridge should be out of commission for no more than six months.

Massman Construction Co. said in its bid documents that it expects the project to take about 2 1/2 years to complete.

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