KASU

Arkansas

On January 17, 1969, Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockerfeller signed a law granting Arkansas State College university status.  2017 is the 50th anniversary of the institution's status.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves was there live broadcasting the reception Facebook Live.

Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Monday, January 16, 2017 was the 15th anniversary of the annual Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and program.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves was there live and captured the festivities with Facebook Live.  Click on the video below to watch the program.

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After recently consolidating with College City, Walnut Ridge officials are seeking to merge with Hoxie for 2017.

KAIT reports Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp expressed hope in bringing the two cities together in his State of the City address to the city council Monday night.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — How high is too high for a pile of chicken manure?

Eight feet, apparently.

Chicken waste is an excellent fertilizer, but with the growing season still weeks away it's piling up in barns across the South. To reduce the risk of fire from spontaneous combustion, poultry experts are warning farmers that piles 6½- to 7-feet high are high enough. One pile caught fire in western Arkansas this week, triggering a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home.

Arkansas State University

PIGGOTT, Ark. — A dinner featuring special guest Valerie Hemingway, who was Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway’s personal secretary and confidante and later the wife of his youngest son, will highlight the annual reading retreat, hosted by the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum & Educational Center (HPMEC), Saturday, April 1, at the museum, 1021 W. Cherry Street, Piggott.

Michael Hibblen, KUAR Website (kuarpublicradio.org)

JONESBORO — A call for presentations for a public symposium in conjunction with the inaugural Johnny Cash Heritage Festival has been issued by Arkansas State University. The symposium, “Johnny Cash:  Arts and Artistry from the New Deal into the 21st Century,” will be held in Dyess, Ark., Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 19-21. 

The event is co-sponsored by the Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the A-State Heritage Studies Ph.D. Program. 

It's likely over 2,000 bills will be filed during this legislative session and just over 300 have been filed so far. Legislation impacting special elections, a Blue Ribbon taxes task force, executions, and hand guns were filed on Wednesday.

KUAR will be keeping track throughout this legislative session. A round-up from Wednesday includes:

The Department of Human Services has virtually erased a backlog of Medicaid eligibility cases that had reached 140,000 people earlier this year, Director Cindy Gillespie said in a letter sent to Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday (Jan. 11).

As of Dec. 30, there were 692 overdue cases. Some individuals’ applications dated back to 2014.

“Based on a review of the remaining cases, all individuals have coverage and the only work that remains is simply clean-up of case files,” wrote Gillespie, who began working in her position in March.

The Arkansas House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution doing away with a seniority system for committee assignments.

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The 91st General Assembly has convened in session and the next several weeks are expected to be very busy.  Lawmakers are being assigned to committees and hundreds of bills are being filed at a rapid pace.  

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Marianna man who says he plotted to defraud a feeding program for children in low-income areas has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to make $380,000 in restitution.

The U.S. Attorney's office said 34-year-old James E. Franklin Jr. was sentenced Tuesday for conspiring to commit wire fraud. After completing his prison term, he will be on two years' supervised release.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission says it will allow 32 dispensaries to be evenly distributed among the state's four congressional districts.

With President-elect Trump and a Republican Congress expected to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Arkansas hospital officials are watching the situation with a great deal of uncertainty.

Almost 11 percent of Arkansans – about 325-thousand people – now have coverage through an exchange set up through the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

The Blevins school board member who sparked protests by dressing in blackface for a party was given an award as the "Outstanding School Board Member"

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is urging the state Legislature to support his plans including a $50 million dollar tax cut for more than 600,000 low income residents. 

Hutchinson delivered the State of the State address to a joint session of the state House and Senate. He delivered the address on the second day of the 91st General Assembly. 

ArkansasHouse.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressing the state Legislature on the second day of the 2017 session (all times local):

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is making his case to lawmakers for a legislative agenda that includes a $50 million plan to cut taxes for low-income residents.

The Arkansas General Assembly convened for its 91st regular legislative session on Monday at noon. Both the state House and Senate are firmly in the hands of Republicans. Major issues such as tax cuts and implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program likely will be hashed out nearly entirely within the GOP's supermajority ranks.

The Delta Regional Authority has donated $1 million toward the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub’s I-Fund, a funding and training program for small businesses started by college students. The program will expand in its geographical reach and will be called the Delta I-Fund, according to an email newsletter from the Hub.

The next two 12-week sessions will be in the fall, offering $50,000 in potential funding for each startup. All companies accepted to the program will receive $5,000. Participants will be selected by a five-person committee, according to the Hub.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas officials say the number of mumps cases in the northwest part of the state appears to be leveling off.

The Arkansas Department of Health says there were 2,400 confirmed or strongly suspected cases as of Jan. 5. State epidemiologist Dr. Dirk Haselow says there are about 10 new cases of mumps per day. According to Haselow, health officials were seeing 40 or 50 new cases a day at the height of the outbreak.

Mumps symptoms can include fever, aches and swollen salivary glands.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A recent census says a majority of Arkansas' work-related deaths in 2015 were linked to transportation.

The Arkansas Department of Labor's census shows the state had 74 work-related deaths in 2015. That is up from 67 the previous year.

More than half of the 2015 deaths, about 55 percent, were the result of transportation incidents. The transportation-related fatalities include 33 roadway incidents involving motorized land vehicles, three aircraft incidents and one water vehicle incident.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Divisions within the Republican Party over tax cuts and questions about the launch of the Bible Belt's first medical marijuana program are expected to dominate the agenda when Arkansas lawmakers return to the Capitol this week to start their 2017 session.

Yesterday

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart says it named John Furner as CEO of its Sam's Club stores to replace Rosalind Brewer, who is retiring next month.

Furner, who is 42, will head the membership-only warehouse chain next month. Furner has been Sam's Club's chief merchandising officer since October 2015. Wal-Mart says he first joined the company as an hourly store associate in 1993.

Brewer will leave her position February 1. The 54-year-old has been CEO of Sam's Club for five years and has had a variety of executive roles since joining the company about 11 years ago.

House Republicans reversed course Tuesday on a controversial rules change that would have replaced the independent Office of Congressional Ethics with a new office under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Prosecutors say an Arkansas lawmaker set to leave office next week has pleaded guilty to conspiracy for arranging bribes while he was a member of the state House.
 
The U.S. Attorney's office says 42-year-old Republican Rep. Micah Neal of Springdale pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. A sentencing date was not announced.
 
A phone call to a number listed for Neal was not immediately returned.
 

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