The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Secretary of State John Thurston’s office must count signatures collected by a group wanting to repeal a state law regarding optometrists’ scope of practice.

Fayetteville police officer Stephen Carr
Zuzanna Sitek / KUAF News

A funeral service is scheduled Thursday for Fayetteville Police Officer Stephen Carr. Authorities say he was shot and killed Saturday night while sitting in his patrol car by a gunman who was then killed by responding officers. The service begins at 1 p.m. at Bud Walton Arena.

The suspect has been identified as 35-year-old London Phillips. The two officers who shot and killed him after a short chase are on administrative leave while an investigation into the shooting is being conducted.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

State regulators have voted not to increase restrictions surrounding the use of a controversial herbicide that has been blamed for widespread damage to crops and other plants.

Members of the Arkansas State Plant Board met Wednesday to discuss new proposed regulations on dicamba for the 2020 growing season. All but one member voted to not require farmers who use the chemical on genetically modified cotton and soybean fields to report spraying records and real-time GPS coordinates to an online database.

Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., a company selected to help build Walmart’s expansive new corporate campus in Bentonville, will expand into the United States with a $90 million investment in an existing building in Conway that will open in 2021.

National Weather Service

Temperatures in Arkansas are expected to swing from well above average to well below average after a powerful cold front moves through the state. After reaching a high near 70 degrees in Little Rock on Monday, John Lewis, senior forecaster with the National Weather Service, says temperatures Tuesday are expected to be cold enough to bring a wintry mix to the area.

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek (left) and incoming head football coach Sam Pittman.
University of Arkansas

Sam Pittman, 58, was named Sunday by University of Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek as the next head football coach of the Razorbacks. Pittman is a former offensive line coach and has for the past three years worked as associate head coach and offensive line coach at Georgia.

Pittman was the assistant head coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Arkansas from 2013-15 before taking the job at Georgia. He also coached at Tennessee and North Carolina before coming to Arkansas in 2013.

In the final month of 2019, central Arkansas is already developing plans for an upcoming 2020 task, the U.S. Census. According Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, preparation for the census under the supervision of Communications Director Cozetta Jones began around four or five months ago.

Jay Barth
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

As Little Rock works to implement a community schools model which has been endorsed by the state, the city's first chief education officer was named Friday. Former Arkansas State Board of Education Chair Jay Barth will begin the new position next month.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. made the announcement, calling Barth "a tried and tested leader." Scott advocated for the community schools model in October rather than a controversial plan that would have divided the Little Rock School District. A resolution was subsequently approved by the state board.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen taking part in an anti-death penalty demonstration in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in April 2017.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the state attorney general's request to prohibit a judge who demonstrated against the death penalty from handling any cases involving her office.

In a 4-3 decision, justices rejected the request by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to remove the cases from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's court. The court did not elaborate on how it reached its decision in a one-page order.

Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

While Little Rock’s homicide rate for 2019 has now exceeded last year, the city’s police chief is touting the number of cases cleared. On Wednesday he sat down with reporters to talk about the issue.

The Little Rock Police Department reports that, as of Wednesday, it had investigated 40 homicides this year, an increase of eight percent from last year. Chief Keith Humphrey says 80 percent of those cases have had a suspect arrested and charged, compared to the national average of 62.5 percent.

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