KASU

Environment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Residents of a Memphis neighborhood are being told to avoid approaching, detaining or feeding a black bear that's been roaming the area for two days.

Memphis police say officers are looking for the bear, which was seen by people in the Frayser neighborhood in north Memphis on Thursday and Friday.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials are leading the investigation into the bear's whereabouts. Frayser has woods that could attract the bear and allow it to avoid people as it moves through the area.

Taking a stand inside Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, President Donald Trump on March 28th signed an executive order releasing the coal, oil and natural gas industries from pollution mitigation and thresholds set forth by the previous administration.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters, including industry executives and coal miners, Trump said his Energy Independence Executive Order fulfills a campaign promise for a "new energy revolution."

"Today, I'm taking bold action to follow through on that promise. My administration is putting an end to the war on coal.  We're going to have clean coal, really clean coal.  With today’s executive action, I am taking historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations. … And we're going to have safety, we're going to have clean water, we're going to have clear air."

City of Jonesboro

A second public meeting has been added for Jonesboro residents to discuss five potential pedestrian and bicycle trail projects for the city.

In addition to this week’s meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 23, a second meeting has be scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 3. Both meetings will be held in City Council chambers at the Municipal Center, 300 S. Church St.

Three of the projects will be selected for submission to the 2018 Transportation Alternative Program and Recreational Trails Program for funding through the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

Talk Business & Politics

Members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation plan to send a letter to newly appointed U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry asking him to reverse the Obama Administration’s participation in the controversial Clean Line project through Arkansas.

A drug testing program for Arkansans seeking help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, is one step closer to becoming law. A House committee on Tuesday passed the bill to extend a two year trial run indefinitely.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee motorists can try their hand at coming up with a winning safety message for the overhead message signs on the state interstate highways.

The state Department of Transportation says it's holding a contest again this year for a catchy safety message.

Last year's winning entries were "Turn signals, the original instant messaging"; "Get the cell off your phone and drive"; "Practice safe text. Don't do it while driving"; "You're in Tennessee. Volunteer to drive safe"; and "Ain't nobody got time for a wreck. Slow it down."

federaltax.net

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has a challenge for lawmakers seeking alternatives to his proposal to hike the state's fuel taxes to help tackle $10 billion backlog in bridge and road programs.

In the Republican governor's words: "Show me the math on your plan."

Haslam said Tuesday he doesn't want to use general fund tax revenues paid for by Tennesseans to pay for roads used heavily by out-of-state drivers. He argues the fuel taxes paid at the pump come from those who actually use state roads.

Tribal representatives and environmentalists are promising an encampment similar to the ongoing protest against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota to oppose the Diamond Pipeline planned from Oklahoma through Arkansas to Tennessee.

Mekasi Camp Horinek of the Ponca Nation and the Bold Oklahoma protest group said Monday there "definitely" will be an encampment in Oklahoma, but declined to say where or when.

Critics of the project say the pipeline threatens the environment, rivers and Indian burial grounds.

In the autumn of 1965, on a 640-acre parcel near the tiny Ozarks community of Strickler, ground was broken on a secret nuclear fission energy test reactor operated by the Atomic Energy Commission and a consortium of 17 southern electric utilities.

After just four years, the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor went dark. It was acquired a few years later by the big university up the road 20 miles—totally decommissioned. University scientists hoped to use it for nuclear research, but the program failed to launch. The site remained sealed. Now the U.S. Department of Energy has offered money to help tear it down.

But first media — as well as hundreds of curious locals — were briefly allowed inside.

The historic Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor, referred to as SEFOR, located 20 miles southwest of Fayetteville, Arkansas will finally be dismantled, and some nearby residents are wondering what might leak out.

Pixabay

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that Ameren Missouri's coal-fired power plant near St. Louis violates the Clean Air Act and has created "significantly more pollution" since modifications were made.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel's ruling Monday could require St. Louis-based Ameren to install additional pollution control equipment at the Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County. Ameren Missouri called the ruling disappointing and said an appeal is planned.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has completed review of a drilling study beneath two wastewater sewage lagoons on C&H Hog Farms, an industrial swine breeding operation located six miles upstream of the Buffalo National River near Mt. Judea in Newton County. C&H Hog Farms is currently permitted to house 4,000 piglets and 2500 sows at any given time.

A bill to establish an official state dinosaur advanced out of a House committee Wednesday Democratic State Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville is the measure’s sponsor. The resolution, HCR1003, would make Arkansaurus Fridayi the official dinosaur of Arkansas.

Click here for more information on the bill and the dinosaur.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Barack Obama's administration has scaled back new safety measures for the sprawling network of fuel pipelines that crisscross the United States after oil industry complaints over the cost.

The administration has released long-delayed regulations for almost 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids.

The changes Friday include more rigorous inspections of lines in rural areas and new requirements for leak detection systems.

Pixabay

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.

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.

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.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – The Endangered Wolf Center will present "Red Wolf Revival," the award-winning short documentary by the Nestbox Collective and Susannah Smith, at Arkansas State University.

Open to students, faculty and the public, the screening will be at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in the third floor auditorium of the Reng Student Union (GPS 101 N. Caraway Road).  The North Parking Facility, adjacent to the Union, will be open to the public at no charge.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Within the next five months, President-elect Donald Trump could appoint a majority of the board for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nation's largest government-owned utility.

Three Democratic members of the board, including Chairman Joe Ritch, are leaving the board Tuesday after the Republican-controlled Senate failed last year to confirm President Barack Obama's reappointment of the three directors, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/2iLc2fs).

Pixabay

A policy for constructing and improving sidewalks in Jonesboro may be in the hands of a new citizen's committee.

The Jonesboro Metropolitan Area Planning Commission voted Tuesday to propose the committee to Mayor Harold Perrin and the City Council.  It will be comprised of residents and developers.

Pixabay

LABADIE, Mo. (AP) — Two additional air monitors will help to determine if Missouri's large coal-fired power plant complies with federal safety thresholds for an airborne pollutant.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new safety standards for sulfur dioxide emissions more than six years ago. Ameren Missouri said its preliminary tests show the air near its coal-fired Labadie Energy Center meets the standard, but questions have been raised about the placement of existing sulfur dioxide monitors.

The months-long encampment of thousands of Native Americans at Standing Rock, to block the path of a U.S. Army acting to further the interests of extractive industries, seems both remarkable and routine in the history of American Indians.

KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with Dr. Daniel Littlefield, the Director of the Sequoyah National Research Center at UALR to put some context to the fight.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is making $20 million available to Arkansas landowners to restore wetlands. The program to limit future development is voluntary and funded by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Randy Childress, the Assistant State Conservationist for Easements and Watersheds at NRCS, says the process of restoring marginal farmland to wetlands could take 50 to 100 years. He’s confident restoration efforts will work.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Working as an intern for the Delta Center for Economic Development at Arkansas State University years ago, Hannah Barnett developed a passion for writing grants for local organizations.

"I fell in love with the aspect of indirectly getting to help these people that need it, because I was helping them get money to do what they do," Barnett said.

In October 2016, when she was offered a position to coordinate the new Center for Non Profit and Small Town Support, she saw an opportunity to use her passion to help more people.

Pixabay

Some residents in Pemiscot County, Missouri may have felt an earthquake Friday morning.

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