Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

As Congress hashes out the final details of its tax bill this week, a $250 tax credit for teachers who buy classroom supplies has been returned following a public outcry over an earlier draft that had removed it.
 
Kyla Lawrence is a high school Social Studies teacher at the North Little Rock Academy. She buys extra pencils, paper, binders and basic school supplies for her students throughout the year.

More Arkansas Veterans Face Suicide Risk, Homelessness

Dec 18, 2017
Erin McGuinness

Seated in the middle of a crowded room, David King, a homeless Army veteran, belted out lyrics to a gospel song.

 

“Oh God, you're not done with me yet,” he sang from the song “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave. “I am redeemed. You set me free.”

 

Between their bites of hot dogs and chocolate chip cookies, other homeless patrons at the Seven Hills (or 7hills) Homeless Center in Fayetteville shouted at him to be quiet, but King continued.

King, 54, is one of at least 195 homeless veterans in Fayetteville, where the number of homeless vets has grown 34 percent (from 146) in 2015, according to data provided by the Community and Family Institute at the University of Arkansas.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

State lawmakers took a step toward enhanced concealed carry on college campuses Friday in spite of some pushback from firearm trainers who don’t want to be required to teach the new class for compensation they say is too low.
 
State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) was among the majority of lawmakers who voted to approve the plan anyway.

“You know, when this is done, there will be less gun-free zones which are soft targets in Arkansas. There will be more people, carrying in more places, being able to protect themselves and others in more places when this rule is implemented. That’s called liberty,” he said at Friday’s legislative council meeting.

Arkansas’s health groups are reacting to corrective statements the tobacco industry began airing on network TV in late November with some optimism that they will help reduce the state’s high smoking rate as well as concern the ads won’t reach young people.

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Bill Essert hasn't lived in Arkansas in years. He's a businessman for an agriculture technology company in Cotati, California — BioTherm.

"What we do, we’re showing two things, the O2 Tube, which is all about dissolved oxygen and enhancing the amount of dissolved oxygen by infusing oxygen into your irrigation water, and the benefits of this is enhancing growth, plant growth, higher yields, less fungus and more yield for the amount of bud as well as higher levels of THC."

His parents still do, though. Live in Arkansas, that is — Conway. 

Jacqueline Froelich / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

When a school bus crashes, upset parents may ask, “Why aren’t my children wearing seat belts on the bus?”

Some state lawmakers are listening. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have passed mandatory school bus safety restraint statutes. Earlier this year, the Arkansas General Assembly did, too. But Arkansas's new school bus seat belt law is no cinch. 

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Eric Westcott is the manager of Central Rental and Supply, a construction equipment company that sits about three miles from Premium Protein Products, a meat rendering plant that turns animal carcasses into pet food.  

“Imagine the most disgusting smell you’ve ever smelled in your life and then add the heat, and that’s what we deal with here in Russellville,” he said.

The Arkansas Public Service Commission can be thankful this season for some very outspoken electricity customers. More than 200, mostly private residents have published comments ahead of a public hearing Nov. 30 on Docket 16-027-R, proposed changes to net metering.

Net metering is a utility industry term. When big electricity providers like Entergy, SWEPCo and the electrical cooperatives send electricity into a home, it's "metered," typically by the kilowatt-hour. The transportation lines between power plants and customers is called the grid. When customers with solar panels or windmills produce more electricity than they consume, they can push electricity back out onto that grid and get credits from the power company. Thus, consumption may be offset by contribution.

Ann Kenda / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Soy has been widely accepted as a heart-healthy food for nearly two decades.  Manufacturers of packaged food products have claimed that soy protein reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, and labeled their products thusly.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t so sure and is seeking an unprecedented revocation of the authorized claim.  With an authorized claim, manufacturers get a stamp of approval from the FDA to directly state a health benefit — calcium, for instant, helps stymie osteoporosis.

The agency said a review of evidence linking soy protein to improved heart health wasn’t conclusive enough to warrant an authorized claim. 

Douglas Balentine, director of the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, said studies have evolved since the authorized claim for soy's heart benefits was approved in 1999.

C-SPAN

Election night 1992 brought a horde of people to the steps of the Old State House in Little Rock, where Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, along with his wife and daughter, and Tennessee Sen. Al Gore and his family, were waiting. Just after midnight, Nov. 4, the party stepped out onto the portico.

"Gives me goose bumps today just thinking about it," said Jimmy Moses, a downtown Little Rock developer.

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