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Environment

A recent study published by Child Trends found that 56 percent of children in Arkansas have had at least one adverse childhood experience, or ACE, compared to the national average of 45 percent. That's the highest of any state in the nation. An ACE is defined as a "potentially traumatic event, ranging from abuse and neglect to living with an adult with a mental illness. They can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being in childhood or later in life."

A fungus called white-nose syndrome has killed millions of cave-dwelling bats in the eastern U.S. and Canada and is now aggressively spreading across the South, including the karst-rich Ozarks and its abundant caves.

The irritating white, feathery fungus grows on the warm snouts and wings of hibernating bats, rousing them from winter torpor. Infected bats often flutter, disoriented, out of  protective caves where they may freeze or starve to death.

A federal task force which formed in 2011 to track and manage the epidemic is finally starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of a long tunnel.

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The Jonesboro City Council took its first look at a new sidewalk ordinance Tuesday night.   Alderman Joe Haffner says the new ordinance that he supports would require that all future development in Jonesboro have sidewalks.  

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federally funded study focusing on two Arkansas cities will serve as an outline for statewide efforts to reduce pedestrian deaths.

The Arkansas Public Service Commission is expected to close a docket soon that could substantially lower a cash incentive for Arkansans (and Arkansas companies) who invest in solar and wind energy production.

The commission is the representative authority over investor-owned utilities, sanctioned monopolies. The commission can affect utility rates — that is, bills. The docket’s been open for three years.

At issue is something called “net metering,” the act of sending electricity (generated by solar power system or windmill) out onto the grid from home or business and getting bill credits from the electrical utility. Created by Act 1781 of 2001, Arkansas’s net metering rate structure currently is 1-to-1. 

A bill is up for vote by the general assembly  that would protect hog farmers from lawsuits for certain environmental issues once their waste permits are approved.

The legislation was approved by the Arkansas General Assembly today, and it's meant to reassure hog farmers as well as the banks who lend them money.

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Bridge work along a two-mile stretch of I-555 in Poinsett County will continue for quite a while.  

Governor Asa Hutchinson promoted the idea of teachers being armed in schools at a meeting with President Trump on Monday and called for federal terrorist-fighting funds to be redirected locally to schools. The President, who was hosting a few dozen governors during the National Governors Association annual winter meeting, indirectly responded by saying deporting gang members is part of the solution.

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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