KASU

Arkansas

A water wall is moving down the Black River and parts of Northeast Arkansas are bracing for the worst floods in generations. At least 300 people were evacuated from eastern Pocahontas on Monday as the river continued to rise, fueled by weekend rains in southern Missouri.

Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media

"Devastating."

That's the only way Kary Story, Mayor of Pocahontas, can describe the record flooding coming to his city.  The National Weather Service in Memphis on Tuesday issued a Flash Flood Warning for southeastern Randolph County, and central Lawrence County.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Office

7 people in Arkansas are dead as a result of flooding in the state so far, and the worst of the flooding is yet to come.  KASU’s Johnathan Reaves has more:

Governor Asa Hutchinson toured some of the hard hit areas today, which are in Randolph and Lawrence Counties.  He held a press conference in Pocahontas, where the Black River is overtaking a key levee.  Hutchinson says a historic crest of the Black River, as well as additional rain coming, is expected to make a bad situation much worse:

State of Arkansas, YouTube

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held a press conference in Pocahontas Tuesday after surveying the damage to Sharp and Randolph Counties from the severe storms that hit over the weekend.  The GOP Governor held the presser in the #4 Fire Station in Pocahontas with Mayor Kary Story and AJ Gary, Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

The National Weather Service says the Black River is expected to flow over a levee in Pocahontas today, forcing many in the east side of town to evacuate.  Officials say the flooding is imminent and they are expecting businesses, homes and structures to flood.  

When the river crests Friday, it is expected to be about 29.5 feet, which is well above flood stage.  It is also expected to be over a foot higher than the historic 2011 Black River flooding, which caused millions of dollars in damage and killed 14 people across the state.  

Pixabay

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are forecast from the Plains states to the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valley regions.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Board of Health has unanimously approved rules that govern the issuance of marijuana-user registration cards, and the labeling and testing of the drug.

Robert Brech, the Department of Health's chief attorney, tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2ptmqy5) the department's staff made a few technical revisions since receiving board approval in January before submitting the final version of the rules Thursday.

Arkansas has carried out its final execution for the month of April.

Eight death row inmates were scheduled to die in less than two weeks in Arkansas in four double executions. Ultimately, four inmates were executed, including one double execution.

Death row inmate Kenneth Williams, 38, was pronounced dead at 11:05 p.m.  The lethal injection began at 10:52 p.m.

Williams' execution, which had been scheduled for 7 p.m., was on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed legal challenges. It ultimately denied all claims.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – Jared Gowen, a senior from Garner who will graduate from Arkansas State University in May with a degree in biological sciences, received the prestigious R.E. Lee Wilson Award for 2017 at the 84th student honors awards ceremony Thursday evening at Cooper Alumni Center.

Gowen was selected from a group of eight Distinguished Service Award winners honored at the ceremony. Perry Wilson, the great-great grandson of R.E. Lee Wilson, presented the award to Gowen.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The Arkansas State University Chancellor Search Advisory Committee and ASU System President Dr. Charles L. Welch today announced that three finalist candidates have accepted invitations to visit the campus in Jonesboro and formally interview for the position of chancellor. 

The three finalists are:

•        Dr. Kelly Damphousse, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman;

Two former supervisors at an Arkansas juvenile detention facility Wednesday pleaded guilty for conspiracy to assault detainees. Patrick Harris, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced that 42-year old Peggy Kendrick and 40-year old Dennis Fuller each entered guilty pleas for their actions at the White River Juvenile Detention Center in Batesville.

Arkansas, which has been in a race to execute death-row inmates before a key lethal drug expires, plans to hold its final execution in the series Thursday night.

Attorneys for the condemned men have put forth arguments about their innocence, intellectual abilities, mental states and about the execution procedure.

But what happens to those debates after an execution?

Ledell Lee was the first inmate executed this month in Arkansas. There was scant physical evidence tying him to the murder he was convicted of, and he was never given a DNA test before his execution.

A lawsuit has been filed against the general contractor of the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center in Jonesboro.

The Sun reports Midsouth Steel Inc. is suing Construction Network Inc. for a breach of contract in the project to be located near Interstate 555.  Midsouth is seeking nearly $430,000.

Pixabay

Update 4/26/17 11:22 am:  The National Weather Service in Memphis has issued a Tornado Watch for all of Northeast Arkansas with the exception of Crittenden and Mississippi Counties until 5:00 pm today.

Pixabay

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Memphis meat packer has recalled some ready-to-eat ham products due to possible bacterial contamination.

Arkansas State University System

Officials at Arkansas State University are narrowing down the list of potential candidates for the Jonesboro Campus chancellor position.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems closely divided about whether an Alabama death row inmate should get a new sentencing hearing because he did not have a mental health expert on his side when he was tried and sentenced to death more than 30 years ago.

The court has ruled previously that poor defendants whose mental health might be a factor in the criminal charges they are facing have a right to an expert's evaluation. The justices on Monday took up a case about whether the expert must be independent of the prosecution.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two condemned Arkansas killers who admit they're guilty but fear their poor health could lead to extreme pain during lethal injections set for Monday might become the first inmates put to death in a double execution in the U.S. in more than 16 years.

Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are set to die in what would be the second and third executions in Arkansas this month. The state set an aggressive plan to execute several inmates before one of its lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey has died at the age of 77.

Ralph Robinson & Son Funeral Home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, confirmed Dickey's death, but did not give any details of his death.

Dickey was elected to Congress to represent Arkansas in 1993. He served until after being defeated for re-election in 2000. Dickey was the first Republican to be elected to his Pine Bluff-area district since Reconstruction.

A drugmaker asked Arkansas officials not to purchase its products for executions months before the state accepted a "donation" of potassium chloride as one of three drugs to use in lethal injections, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell to record lows in four U.S. states in March after months of steady job creation nationwide.

Unemployment rates fell in 17 states in March and were mostly unchanged in 33, the Labor Department said Friday. Employers added a significant number of jobs in just three states last month and cut them in four. Employment was mostly unchanged in the other 43 states. Hiring nationwide was weak in March but strong in the previous two months.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University might be adding metal detectors at athletic events this fall.

The Jonesboro Sun (http://bit.ly/2pHgsHw) reports the preliminary discussions for the detectors comes after the approval of an act last month to allow concealed handguns at public colleges and universities.

After lien filings from 2 companies and an ultimatum from the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotions Commission, another company has filed a lien against Northern Arkansas Hotel and Convention Center, LLC.

The Sun reports that HD Supply Construction Supply of Allen, Texas filed a lien against the company earlier this week.  The lien is in regards to the delayed construction of the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center to be built near Interstate 555 on Browns Lane Access Road.

With his death warrant set to expire at midnight, inmate Ledell Lee died at 11:56pm, as confirmed by the Corrections Department.  After another day of legal drama, the execution got underway shortly after word came that the U.S. Supreme Court would not take action to prevent the state from putting Lee to death via lethal injection.

Lee claimed that he was innocent in the February 1993 beating death of 26-year-old Debra Reese during a robbery in her home.  Prosecutors said he beat Reese multiple times with a tire iron and had a previous history of brutal assaults on women.  Lee was 51 when he died Thursday night, the first of several planned executions.

The other executions are set for April 24 and April 27.

Arkansas’s execution secrecy law prevents the identities of drug manufacturers and sellers from being public. It also protects the identities of people carrying out executions.

 

But inmates’ attorneys say that secrecy, and a general lack of information about the state’s lethal injection protocol, obscure whether adequate safeguards are in place to use the controversial drug midazolam.

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