Little Rock

Little Rock has had several drive-by shootings over the past week but police say recent ones don't seem to be random.

An 18-year-old was shot Thursday and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Police spokesman Steve McClanahan told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that it appeared that the shooting was not random. He did not offer details.

Separately, police said an arrest was made in drive-by shooting Tuesday that injured a 7-year-old boy. McClanahan said it appeared the shooter was targeting a group of people - not the child.

Little Rock leaders recently approved a resolution asking the state to restore local control over the city's public schools, but the possibility of a school board election actually taking place and how much local control could be returned are up in the air.

City officials passed the resolution earlier this week, asking for an election to be held later this year after a new law regarding school districts that are under state authority takes effect. The state took over the Little Rock School District in 2015 after it was deemed to be in academic distress.

LRSD School Closures Approved, Community Vows Fight

Feb 10, 2017
Chris Hickey / KUAR News

State Education Commissioner Johnny Key has approved Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore’s proposal to close three schools and repurpose a fourth. A group of community activists and parents, meanwhile, is condemning the decision.  

The plan calls for the closure of Franklin Elementary, Wilson Elementary and the Woodruff Early Childhood Center. Under the plan, the alternative school Hamilton Learning Academy would move to the Wilson campus.

Michael Poore Little Rock Superintendent
Jacob Kuaffman / KUAR News

Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore today announced the district’s latest plans for budget cuts in order to contend with a $37 million loss in state desegregation aid. The plan calls for the closure of Franklin and Wilson elementary schools, as well as the Woodruff Early Childhood Center.

Students attending the Hamilton Learning Academy would move to the Wilson campus. Poore announced that Carver Elementary, which had previously been considered for closure, will remain open.

Police say a 3-year-old boy being taken on a shopping trip by his grandmother was killed in an Arkansas road rage shooting when a driver opened fire on the grandmother's car because he thought she "wasn't moving fast enough."

Authorities say the boy and his grandmother were at a stop sign in southwest Little Rock on Saturday when a driver apparently angry about the delay stepped out of his car and opened fire. They say the boy was struck by gunfire at least once.

The grandmother wasn't struck. She drove away and called police from a shopping center.

City of Little Rock

The city of Little Rock is inviting citizens to attend a series of three public meetings on its proposed 2017 budget.

Little Rock is budgeting about $204.5 million for 2017. That represents about a 2.3 percent increase over the current year’s amended budget. The increase is possible because the city plans to use $4.7 million from its unrestricted reserve funds, or carry-over money from previous years. Little Rock needs to tap its unrestricted reserves because sales tax revenue has fallen short of projections, says Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore.

The city of Little Rock is dedicating a new bench in honor of a 67-year-old black man who was fatally shot by two off-duty police officers in 2010.

The bench honoring Eugene Edward Ellison is located in MacArthur Park in downtown Little Rock. Earlier this year, the city reached a settlement with Ellison's family, and part of it called for a memorial bench in Ellison's honor.

Ellison was shot after two officers who were working security at the building entered Ellison's apartment without a warrant. Neither of the officers, who are both white, was criminally charged.

Little Rock School District

Little Rock School Superintendent Mike Poore on Thursday outlined initial plans for at least an additional 10 million dollars in budget cuts in the next fiscal year with loss of 37 million dollars in state desegregation aid. 

Little Rock Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo has announced the death of 22-year-old lioness Sidney.

Zoo veterinarian Sarah Kline says the animal was euthanized Sunday after a corneal graft on her eye deteriorated.

Kline says the lion had surgery on her eyes in January and a rupture on her left eye was repaired in September. Kline said bloodwork indicated progressive kidney and liver disease and the decision was made to euthanize rather than put the animal through another surgery to remove the eye.

When the City of Little Rock threw in with NextDoor two weeks ago there were already nearly 14,000 signed up. Since then, another 800 or so users have come aboard.

NextDoor is a private social network not unlike Facebook that allows users to follow both neighbors and news within their particular neighborhoods. Jennifer Godwin is the city’s communications manager and the point person for the outreach.

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