KASU

Environment

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The City of Jonesboro has new zoning laws for future development of residential property. 

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The grounds of the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis may soon have a new name: The Gateway Arch National Park.

Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill said Thursday that their legislation to rename the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial as the Gateway Arch National Park is now in the hands of President Donald Trump.

The measure passed the Senate on Dec. 21, and passed the House Wednesday.

Blunt says renaming the park will make it "more immediately recognizable to the millions of people who visit St. Louis every year."

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Federal regulators said Monday they will let Arkansas enforce a portion of its own haze-reduction program, prompting criticism from environmentalists who say the plan is too weak.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved Arkansas' proposal for reducing nitrogen oxide, which with sulfur dioxide contributes to haze. Additional parts of the state's haze-reduction plan are still under review.

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Several road improvement projects totaling over $3.2 million are expected to begin in the next 2 to 4 weeks in Northeast Arkansas. 

In news releases Thursday from the Arkansas Department of Transportation, crews will be working in Craighead, Greene, Lawrence, and Mississippi counties.  In Jonesboro, 2.5 miles of U.S. Highway 63B and State Highway 463 from Watt St. to Ingles Road will be resurfaced. 

State Highway 135 will have 3.1 miles resurfaced in Greene County beginning at the Craighead County line and moving northbound.

Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River and local agencies are responding to a sunken vessel discharging oil near mile marker 823 on the lower Mississippi River near Blytheville, Arkansas, January 24, 2017. Sector Lower Mississippi River watchstanders
Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles / U.S. Coast Guard

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Coast Guard is responding to a sunken vessel discharging oil near mile marker 823 on the lower Mississippi River near Blytheville, Arkansas, Wednesday.

Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River watchstanders were notified by Terral River Service at 5:35 a.m. of the uninspected towing vessel Virginia Renee sunk at its mooring at Hickman Landing. The Virginia Renee has a reported 10,000 gallons of diesel aboard.

Involved in the response are:

Talk Business & Politics

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' congressional delegation has asked U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to block plans for a power line across the state, arguing that recent setbacks make it unlikely for the project to continue.

Delegation members sent a letter to Perry on Tuesday urging the Energy Department to either "pause or terminate" the $2.5 billion Clean Line Energy project. The project is expected to bring several hundred miles of wind power lines through Arkansas, which landowners say would lower property values.

While the energy sector is bracing for higher prices under the impact of President Trump’s 30-percent tariff on solar goods manufactured outside the U.S. the city of Clarksville is ready to turn on Arkansas’s largest municipal solar array. The $10 million project was constructed by Arkansas-based Scenic Hill Solar. It’ll ceremonially open on Wednesday six months ahead of schedule.

CEO Bill Halter says it was made mostly with imported parts out of necessity. He expects future arrays to be more costly with the imposition of tariffs.

The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission’s unanimous vote today not to enforce any immediate action following a decision earlier this month to deny C&H Hog Farm an operating permit was a win for the beleaguered and controversial swine operation, but a slight and temporary one.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality announced on Jan. 11 its decision to deny the permit after more than 21 months. The hog operation has been operating on a lapsed permit until now.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Fish farmers in Arkansas now have federal permits that allow them to kill a limited number of double-crested cormorants as the birds flee the ice and snow of the Great Lakes area.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently resumed issuing such permits to operators and employees of fish farms in several states, including Arkansas. It set the total kill limit in the state at about 6,600 birds through April.

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.

Tiny Ips beetles, about the size of a grain of rice, are posing a risk to pine forests in southwest Arkansas. The state Department of Agriculture is advising landowners to survey property, contact foresters, and consider clear cutting infested trees. Forest Health Specialist Chandler Barton, with the state Forestry Commission, says extreme drought levels are weakening trees and making them susceptible to insects and disease.

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.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department is holding a public involvement meeting for two traffic projects in Jonesboro. 

The Highway Department is looking at widening Harrisburg Road from Forrest Hill Road to Parker Road.  Another project would be proposed improvements at the intersection of Highway 49 at Parker Road. 

The meeting will be a come and go style format on Thursday from four until seven at the Jonesboro Municipal Building, 300 South Church Street in Jonesboro. 

The Jonesboro Christmas Parade on Main Street will start at 7 on Thursday night. 

Eric Westcott is the manager of Central Rental and Supply, a construction equipment company that sits about three miles from Premium Protein Products, a meat rendering plant that turns animal carcasses into pet food.  

“Imagine the most disgusting smell you’ve ever smelled in your life and then add the heat, and that’s what we deal with here in Russellville,” he said.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - The number of killings has decreased in Tennessee's second most populous city.

The Commercial Appeal reports the figures were among crime statistics released on Thursday by the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. The Commission's third quarter report for 2017 says homicides decreased nearly 18 percent in Shelby County and almost 10 percent in Memphis from January to September.

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