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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas finance officials say a rise in individual income and sales tax collections helped push the state's revenue in December above expectations and the same month in 2016.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state's net available revenue in December totaled $521.1 million, which is $53.7 million above December 2016 and $23.7 million above forecast. The state's revenue so far for the fiscal year that began July 1 totals nearly $2.7 billion, which is $23.7 million above forecast.

MALDEN, Mo. (AP) - A southeast Missouri animal rescue group has removed 72 dogs from a home in the town of Malden.

The Southeast Missourian reports that 34 dogs were removed Tuesday by the group Mac's Mission, days after around three dozen dogs were taken from the same alleged hoarder.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Valley Authority welcomed 2018 with a request to about 9 million customers to reduce their power consumption amid cold weather and high power demand.

News outlets across the authority's 80,000-square-mile coverage area report that the power utility had asked customers to conserve energy use, predicting record high demand on Tuesday.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Crews in Arkansas are working to restore electricity to areas that have lost power during this week's cold snap.

Entergy Arkansas says about 1,100 homes and businesses were without power Wednesday morning. Earlier, electricity was knocked out to about 500 customers in downtown Little Rock after a piece of equipment malfunctioned in a substation, but Entergy says that power was restored at about 3 a.m.

Another outage knocked out electricity to about 600 customers in west Little Rock.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri panel is recommending increasing the state's 17-cent fuel tax by 10 cents for gas and 12 cents for diesel to pay for road and bridge work.

Transportation taskforce leader Rep. Kevin Corlew on Tuesday said the fuel tax increase would bring in an estimated $430 million annually. That would fill a little more than half of the $825 million annual shortfall facing Missouri transportation.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Finance Committee chairman is rejecting as "categorically false" a report that Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was responsible for a provision in the final tax bill that could help him financially.

In a letter Monday, GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said he was unaware of either Corker or his staff contacting negotiators of the final bill.

Hatch said the provision regarding a tax benefit for real estate had been unveiled by a House chairman Nov. 2 and included in the House version of the tax bill.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee songwriter Lee Thomas Miller is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn in Congress.

Miller announced Monday he was ending his 7th District campaign about a month after launching it because running for office was causing him to "compromise" himself.

Miller is a three-time Grammy nominee who has written songs for Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton.

Talk Business and Politics

There’s a lot of new talent running for office in Arkansas these days.  Among those is a teacher from Helena-West Helena running as a Democrat for the first U.S. Congressional District.  His name is Chintan Desai.  He wants to take on GOP incumbent Congressman Rick Crawford next November, although he may have to defeat primary challenger Richard Butler first.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Desai for a conversation.


Pixabay

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Travel Writer Kim Williams talks about the following events happening in Arkansas during the Christmas & New Year’s holiday—December 22!


Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Nearly 200 school districts in Arkansas have been approved to start the next school year five days earlier than state law permits.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the state Board of Education decided Thursday to let 191 districts start the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 13. A dozen districts have yet to receive waivers of the statute that controls the timing for the start of a school year.

SCOTT CITY, Mo. (AP) - The former mayor of a southeast Missouri town who resigned after allegations he abused his position says he wants his job back.

Ron Cummins on Tuesday filed to run in April's election for Scott City mayor. He will have to defeat the current mayor, Norman Brant, who was named to replace Cummins when he resigned.

Brant also filed to run for mayor in April. They seek to finish a term that ends in April 2020.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A new poll says Tennesseans are more moderate than their neighbors think they are.

In the Vanderbilt University poll Thursday, more than six of 10 people surveyed believed fellow state residents are conservative or very conservative.

Only about half of those respondents described themselves that way, a 14 percentage-point gap between perception and reality. About three in 10 considered themselves moderate. Almost 2 in 10 identified as liberal.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Democrat James Mackler says he's dropping out of the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee to replace Sen. Bob Corker, a move that appears to clear the path to the Democratic nomination for former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Mackler said in a news release he's "stepping back" from the race, but will stay active with a political action committee named Believe in Service. The Nashville attorney and Iraq War veteran says the committee will support federal candidates who will protect and expand national service programs.

Check presentation (pictured L to R):  Niel Crowson, Stacy Crawford, Terry Mohajir, Tracy French, Chuck Welch, Davy Carter, Johnny Allison, Jennifer Allison, Blake Anderson, Kelly Damphousse, Ron Rhodes, Bunny Adcock
Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas State University's athletics department has received about $10 million in donations to renovate Centennial Bank Stadium.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that a more than $5 million gift from John W. Allison to the Red Wolves Foundation was announced during a Board of Trustees meeting in Jonesboro.

Allison is the founder and chairman of the parent company of Centennial Bank, which currently has naming rights to the football stadium.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he wants his five new appointees to the state veterans commission to fire the leader of the embattled St. Louis Veterans Home.

Greitens during his Monday announcement said he's calling for changes in leadership after an independent investigation found substandard care at the home.

Some patients, families and staff have complained for months about care at the home. But prior reviews didn't turn up any wrongdoing.

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