Arkansas Department of Transportation

A final public meeting on plans to expand a 6.7 mile stretch of Interstate 30 in Little Rock took place Thursday evening in North Little Rock. The Arkansas Department of Transportation presented an environmental assessment on the project, which would run through the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock.

The environmental assessment is a nearly 4,000 page report on the proposal to expand I-30 to 10 lanes. Department spokesman Danny Straessle says the $630 million project is necessary to fix unsafe ramps downtown.

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

The 91st General Assembly of 2017, in a decision that brought Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp over to the old Supreme Court chambers in the Capitol — now the scene of Senate committee meetings — decided to put to voters this November a big cap on lawsuit awards as well as a legislative power grab.

Jacqueline Froelich / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Veteran patients crowded into a town hall meeting Monday morning at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville demanding answers about a Department of Veterans Affairs pathologist recently fired for working while impaired. 

The impaired pathologist has been identified by media as Dr. Robert Morris Levy of Fayetteville. 

Officials previously admitted pathology reports Levy wrote were wrong. They again assured concerned veterans an external review is underway to determine just how many pathology reports are flawed. 

Arkansas Criminalizes Drowsy Driving, But How Effective Is That?

Jul 9, 2018
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Arkansas is one of just two states in the country that has criminalized drowsy driving, but it’s almost never enforced.

Just three convictions have occurred under the state’s 2013 law, according to the most recent data from 2016.

To convict someone under the law, a death must occur, and there must be proof a driver had not slept for 24 hours before the accident. New Jersey, the other state that criminalized drowsy driving, requires proof that a driver missed 16 hours of sleep in order to convict them.

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

As it approaches 100 degrees, the roofline of Stickyz Rock 'n' Roll Chicken Shack shades about 2 feet of the sidewalk along President Clinton Avenue in downtown Little Rock.

That's where canvasser Cynthia Ford sets up. She's carrying signature rolls for three ballot items.

Ann Kenda / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

The U.S. Senate easily passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill on Thursday with a vote of 86 to 11.  The stage is now set for a negotiation with the House over new work requirements for food stamp recipients.  

The House version of the Farm Bill, passed in April, would require able-bodied individuals who aren’t caring for children under the age of six to work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for food stamps.  People can also enroll in school or job training, or volunteer in their community, to meet the requirement.

Jacqueline Froelich / Arkansas Public Media

Five months after the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved ballot initiative, officially took effect in early November of 2016, handgun carrying laws greatly expanded in Arkansas as well. But gun owners who register as medical marijuana patients are federally prohibited from purchasing or even owning a gun. 

Pixabay

The annual Kids Count report released Wednesday offers mixed news about life for Arkansas’s very youngest residents. 

The state’s overall child well-being index, which is based on a number of education, health and economic factors, improved from 43rd among the 50 states in 2016 to 41st last year.

The number of Arkansas kids living in poverty has declined by 28,000 since 2010, according to the report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Today, 24 percent of Arkansas kids live in poverty; in the nation it's 19 percent.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Air quality changes made in 2010 raised the threshold for how much air pollution a company can emit without a permit. On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency approved those lower air quality standards. 
 
Chuck Buttry, a board member for the Arkansas Environmental Federation, an industry lobbying group, says the higher threshold allows companies with low pollution levels to make changes, like upgrade equipment, without a long permit process.

LA Johnson / NPR

Shennel Douglas is a nursing student at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She says she hesitated when deciding to study in the U.S. after watching U.S. police shootings of unarmed civilians on television at home in the Caribbean.
 
“Coming to UCA, my main concern was being, what should I say, marginalized? Because not only am I an international student, but also I’m a black international student.”
 
There are now less international students on American college campuses than any time in the last decade.

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