(Little Rock) (AP) – Juvenile offenders in Arkansas will continue to be sentenced to life without parole for certain crimes after the state House rejected a bill to end the practice.
House members voted 53-29 Thursday against the proposal to eliminate the sentence for future offenders who are under the age of 18 when they commit a crime. The bill would not have been retroactive but would have required the families of victims be notified of parole hearings.
Democratic Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville says his bill would have brought Arkansas in line with other states such as Texas and Alaska. He says some children deserve a second chance.
Opponents say the change would be disrespectful to crime victims and that inmates could commit other crimes if released.
(Mountain Home) – Following the success rate of its practical nursing students in 2014, Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (ASUMH) has awarded $275 scholarships to the 26 students in its current certificate program.
Of the 20 students who received scholarships in 2014, 19 graduated and 19 were successful on the National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) and are licensed as practical nurses, with 84% of the students currently working as practical nurses, according to Dr. Julia Gist, ASUMH’s Health Sciences Division Chair/Director of Nursing.
The scholarships have been funded through the Arkansas Partnership for Nursing’s Future (APNF) grant, which provides $4.9 million across Arkansas for training for careers in the nursing profession, including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Associate Degree Nurses/Registered Nurses (AASNs), and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSNs). ASUMH’s share of the grant is just over $100,000.
While a portion of ASUMH’s grant funds have been utilized for instructional costs as required by the grant, college administrators chose to direct some of the funding toward scholarships.
(West Plains) – Landmark Bank has announced the promotion of two employees.
Lacee Goodart has been promoted to officer and branch manager of the Porter Wagoner bank location by the management of the Landmark Bank of West Plains.
Goodart, who has been serving as assistant banking services manager at the West Plains location, has been with Landmark Bank for the past three years. Originally from the town of Bakersfield, she now calls West Plains home.
Landmark Bank employee Melody Francis has been promoted to the position of officer and banking services manager by her colleagues at the Landmark Bank of Mountain View.
Francis, who has been with the Bank since August 2005, has previously worked as a loan assistant, lender and personal banker. A Mountain View resident for the past 24 years, she says she truly enjoys her work, and looks forward to seeing her customers on a daily basis.
Landmark Bank, celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015, is a community bank with $2.1 billion in assets and 42 locations in 28 communities across Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. For more, visit www.landmarkbank.com.
(Melbourne) – Ozarka College Student Services hosted the 2015 Transfer Fair on Monday, March 9 in the new Student Services Center on the main campus in Melbourne, Arkansas.
The event was well participated by Ozarka College students, who were given the opportunity to meet with twelve area colleges and universities, including Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, University of Central Arkansas, Williams Baptist College, Lyon College, Arkansas Tech University, Arkansas State University at Mountain Home, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Drury College, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas School of Engineering, and Arkansas State University Degree Center at Mountain Home.
Each of the college and universities had the opportunity to speak with Ozarka College students about their plans after graduation. They also shared degree and transfer options for programs such as education, business, and nursing.
For more information about Ozarka College and services available through Student Services, please call 1-800-821-4335 or visit www.ozarka.edu.
(Springfield) – The local region saw rain and other severe weather Wednesday evening as storms blew through the Missouri and Arkansas listening area.
The first thunderstorm warnings were issued just after 4 PM and continued across Missouri and Arkansas until just after 10 PM. The National Weather Service in Springfield reported 2.5-3 inches of rain in some areas, with hail reported across the region ranging from dime to golf ball-sized. Heavy rains also caused a number of flash flooding incidents at low-water crossings. At this time, no injuries or deaths have been reported in the local area.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock also reported a water spout touched down on Bull Shoals Lake in Marion County, however that tornado did not reach land. It was classified as an EF0, the weakest tornado classification, with wind speeds of 65-85 mph. No damage was reported in connection with that tornado.
One person was killed and several were injured after storms tore through a mobile home park in Tulsa, OK.
(Gainesville) – Two people suffered moderate injuries Thursday morning after the vehicle they were in struck a guardrail and a bridge abutment before overturning into a creek.
24-year-old Tyler Hogan of Gainesville and 22-year-old Tabitha Klineline of Ava were both taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
The accident happened at 1:40 AM on Route 5, about a mile north of Gainesville.
(Little Rock) – Former Arkansas Sen. Johnny Key has been named the next commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education.
The Arkansas State Board of Education unanimously voted to approve Key as commissioner on Wednesday, March 25. The selection has the support of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who previously recommended Key for the position. Key replaces Tony Wood, who has served as commissioner since July 1, 2014, after serving as deputy commissioner for four years.
Prior to being named commissioner, Key served as associate vice president for university relations at the University of Arkansas System, a position he held since August 2014. Key began his career in public service in 1997 when he was elected to serve as a justice of the peace on the Baxter County Quorum Court. He was elected to three two-year terms in the House of Representatives, followed by a tenure in the Senate that began in 2008.
Key graduated from Gurdon High School and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1991 from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Key and his wife, Shannon, live in Little Rock and have one son, Ryan, and one daughter, Rachel.
(Van Buren) – Missouri Department of Conservation officials say ensuring the population stability of a popular wildlife resident is the primary reason behind the upcoming closure of the refuge area at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
Peck Ranch Area’s refuge will be closed April 1-July 1 to minimize stress and human interference during the elk calving period. Peck Ranch is home to 125 elk, the majority of which roam on Peck Ranch’s 11,500-acre refuge. The spring closing of Peck Ranch’s refuge has been an annual occurrence since MDC’s elk restoration project began in 2011. Public access will still be allowed to the approximately 12,000 acres of the area that are outside the area’s marked refuge fence. Peck Ranch’s elk-viewing automobile route is included in the area that will be closed to the public.
Peck Ranch Conservation Area encompasses more than 23,000 acres in Shannon and Carter counties.
Peck Ranch’s refuge will also be closed Oct. 10-11, Oct. 24-26, Nov. 14-24 and Dec. 5-6 to accommodate deer hunting opportunities during those time periods.
For more information, call the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, 573-323-4249 or MDC’s Ozark Regional Office in West Plains, 417-256-7161.
(Washington) – Pointing to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association issued earlier this week that costs associated with Alzheimer’s care could reach $1.1 trillion by 2050, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill said on Wednesday during a hearing that additional investments in research funding are necessary to combat the disease.
McCaskill discussed the critical importance of both investments in medical research to combat Alzheimer’s, and the importance of funding and expanding Medicaid programs for long-term care:
McCaskill and Chairman Susan Collins (R-Maine) head the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which leads discussion and debate on matters relating to older Americans.
by Allen Reed, AP
(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas would have some of the strictest requirements in the nation on how information is provided to a woman before an abortion under a bill endorsed by the House.
Lawmakers voted 75-1 Wednesday to advance the bill to the Senate.
The proposal by Republican Rep. Robin Lundstrum of Springdale would increase the amount of time between the in-person meeting and the procedure from 24 hours to 48 hours. It would also require doctors to discuss alternatives, health risks and the probable physical description of the fetus.
Arkansas would join Alabama as the second state to require a two-day wait. Three states have 72 hour waiting periods.
Lundstrum says the change will ensure women get quality information.
Opponents say information required in the mandate is medically inaccurate.