Local & Regional News

Arkansas local and regional news

U.S. Senator John Boozman in the Republican Party of Arkansas headquarters in 2016 during a campaign interview.
KUAR News

After an impasse that stretched on for months, a final version of the Farm Bill has been agreed to in Congress. The U.S. House and Senate are expected to vote on the compromise bill in the coming days.

On Monday night the Farm Bill Conference Report was released. Republican Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and is a farm bill conferee, says getting this completed is vital for the state.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On reaching an agreement:

Alan Leveritt
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas newspaper is asking a federal judge to strike down a state law that requires government contractors to pledge to not boycott Israel or reduce their fees by 20 percent.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas challenged the law on Tuesday on behalf of the Arkansas Times LP, which says the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College refused to contract for advertising with the newspaper unless the Arkansas Times signed the pledge. The lawsuit argues the requirement violates the U.S. Constitution.

UAMS
UAMS.edu

Arkansas legislators will be meeting next week as part of an ongoing inquiry into a partnership between UAMS and Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway. Arkansas Business delves into the conflict in this week’s issue:

Maumelle Interchange
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

After decades of discussion, construction of a new Interstate 40 interchange is getting underway in Maumelle. The nearly $15 million project will allow another access point in and out of the fast-growing city.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson joined members of the Arkansas Highway Commission, state legislators and city leaders for Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony. Work is expected to take 10 months to complete.

My Arkansas Insurance Marketplace Affordable Healthcare Coverage
https://myarinsurance.com/

The deadline for purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is this Saturday. Bruce Donaldson, Navigator Outreach Manager for the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, says consumers are more comfortable with the enrollment process, which has been in place for four years, but there are still common questions.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The Federal Reserve Bank issued its Beige Book this past week. While it shows a slight economic improvement for the Arkansas area, there are some slight discrepancies from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration’s revenue report.

If you ask the state of Arkansas, residents are earning more and spending more compared to last year. A report from the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve Bank, which covers most of Arkansas, mostly agrees, though the improvements are slighter.

The FCC is requiring TV stations nation wide to change their frequencies, including some in central Arkansas, to free up airwaves.
Creative Commons

Some Arkansas television stations will be changing frequencies in order to make more of the airwaves available for 5G and other high-speed mobile broadband service.

That means changes for people who watch free over the air TV. Jean Kiddoo, chair of the FCC Incentive Task Force, says viewers will need to watch for notices from their local stations about when they are going to be making changes and rescan their televisions or converter boxes to pick up the new frequencies.

Dicamba damage
University of Arkansas

An Arkansas panel has given initial approval to allowing restricted use of an herbicide that was banned following complaints that it drifted onto crops and caused damage.

The Arkansas Plant Board on Thursday approved new restrictions for the use of dicamba. The new restrictions prohibit dicamba's in-crop use from May 21 to Oct. 31. The rule includes a one-mile buffer zone around research stations, organic crops, specialty crops, non-tolerant dicamba crops and other sensitive crops for applications from April 16 to May 20.

Terry Wallace
Oaklawn Racing and Gaming

Longtime Oaklawn racetrack announcer Terry Wallace has died after a lengthy illness, officials announced Thursday. He was 74.

From 1975 to 2011 Wallace never missed a race, calling a record 20,191 races at the Hot Springs track. He was eventually inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

In 2009, KUAR’s Ron Breeding interviewed Wallace for a profile as he was nearing 20,000 consecutive races. The audio of that report can be heard above. Breeding also recorded video of Wallace calling one race, which can be watched below.

A Tennessee rapper has been sentenced in Arkansas to five years in prison on a federal weapons charge that came after he was arrested with a gun a week before a shooting at an unrelated event at a Little Rock nightclub where he was performing.

Ricky Hampton, who performs under the name Finese2Tymes, was sentenced Thursday in Little Rock.

Hampton, who has a prior felony conviction, initially pleaded guilty in March to possessing a gun at a Forrest City nightclub in eastern Arkansas. He sought to withdraw his guilty plea in October, but withdrew the request two weeks later.

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