Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

30 Crossing
Arkansas Department of Transportation

Public comments are being compiled on a $630 million proposal to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 lanes in central Arkansas. Friday was the deadline for people to give their thoughts on an environmental assessment, with the proposal to now be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

53 years after the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, some advocates in Arkansas say proposed budget cuts are making the future of the programs unsure. 

Medicare, a national health insurance program for the elderly and those with disabilities, and Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for low-income people, are utilized by some 120 million Americans currently.

The programs have come to national prominence with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which offers expanded Medicaid coverage to about 12 million Americans.

Satanic Temple

A 3,000-pound goat-headed statue of the Satanic idol Baphomet is to be part of a protest of the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol, organizers say.

The statue is owned by the Satanic Temple, which describes itself as "non-theistic religious organization." The co-founder of the temple, who uses the pseudonym Lucien Greaves, announced Monday the statue will be part of the protest on August 16.

Hotel Pines
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A $35 million project is underway in Pine Bluff to restore the once-grand Hotel Pines. The 105-year-old structure at the corner of 5th Avenue and Main Street was designed by George Mann, the same architect who designed the Arkansas state Capitol and the Marion Hotel in Little Rock.

As they wait for aid from Washington, Arkansas farmers are already looking ahead to other markets where they can sell their soybeans now that the Chinese market has been complicated by a hefty new tariff.

Brad Doyle, who grows soybeans in Weiner, said the $12 billion in planned aid from the federal government to help farmers recoup some of their losses from the ongoing trade war is welcomed news, but Arkansas’s farmers will still need to seek out additional markets to replace China, which was the largest buyer of American soybeans prior to the current trade war.

Ballot Proposal On Redistricting Approved By Attorney General

Jul 27, 2018
The National Atlas

A ballot initiative to change state legislative and U.S. Congressional redistricting in Arkansas has been approved by the Attorney General.

The Arkansas Citizens Redistricting Amendment would establish a seven-member citizens redistricting commission to replace the state Board of Apportionment, a committee made up of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state that currently draws state legislative redistricting lines.

A Harrison community college and a regional hospital have partnered to form a community paramedicine program, one of four in Arkansas.

Specially trained mobile paramedics travel across the seven-county North Arkansas region assisting at-risk patients in their homes, at no cost.

Jason Moshier, Section Chief of Community Paramedicine at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center,  operates out of new EMS headquarters in Harrison. The 24-year veteran paramedic says the program was initiated two years ago.

marijuana
npr.org

The state Medical Marijuana Commission, after a long debate and lots of questions, gave the green light Wednesday for state procurement officials to hire a third-party contractor to review and score applications for cannabis pharmacies across the state.

The decision came after rancorous debate earlier during the 90-minute meeting that led the commission to toss more than a dozen marijuana cultivator applications that did not make the final cut for pot greenhouse licenses that were awarded to five companies in late February.

An aerial view of a wildfire near Charleston, Arkansas from November, 2017.
Arkansas Forestry Commission

Arkansas fire departments will be better equipped to fight wildfires in the coming months as the state enters what is traditionally the summer wildfire season. The Arkansas Forestry Commission announced Wednesday it had received $200,000 from the U.S. Forest Service to purchase 67 wildfire suppression kits and give them to volunteer fire departments statewide.

The results of a new study show that this might not be the best time for a Trojan football team. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock released the football and marching band feasibility study Tuesday and will now begin analyzing the results.

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