Arkansas Nonprofit News Network
Conservatives claim Conway School Board seats
All three candidates who campaigned as “strong conservative voices” won election to the board of the Conway School District Tuesday. School board races in Arkansas are nonpartisan, meaning candidates do not run under any political party’s banner. Nothing, however, prevents them from describing themselves as conservatives, liberals, moderates or even apolitical.
School board race politicized
CONWAY — Arkansas school board races, once considered nonpartisan events, have joined judicial races in becoming increasingly political without anyone publicly declaring themselves to be Republicans or Democrats. In the Conway School District, for instance, three of the six board candidates have found another way to signal their political...
Home aide shortage threatens care for developmentally disabled Arkansans
In December, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a plan to bring relief to thousands of families stuck on a waiting list for Medicaid-funded services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Under the governor’s plan, Arkansas will spend an additional $37.6 million each year to expand a program that pays for...
Henderson faculty to shrink by 37% under drastic budget cuts
Dozens of Henderson State University faculty members learned on Thursday they were losing their jobs, some immediately and others after one year, as they graded final exams and prepared for the small Arkadelphia college’s spring commencement. During a meeting held in Little Rock and streamed online, the Arkansas State...
State Supreme Court Justice Wood cleared of ethics allegations
A state judicial ethics commission has dismissed a complaint filed against Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood, saying an investigative panel had found “insufficient cause to proceed.”. Wood praised the decision by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission and called the complaint “baseless, without merit, and politically motivated.”...
More Arkansas cities regulate ‘Airbnbs’ and other short-term rentals
Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here. As summer tourist season fast approaches, millions of travelers are booking accommodations on platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner). And more property owners and investors in Arkansas are cashing in on the opportunity to rent out rooms, apartments and whole houses on a short-term basis.
Eureka Springs cracks down on ‘Airbnbs’ as housing grows scarce
Part 1 of a two-part series. Read Part 2 here. Eureka Springs, population 2,166, attracts over 750,000 tourists annually. Visitors can choose to stay in one of the town’s 182 hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, boarding houses, rustic cabins and cottages, hostels and other accommodations licensed and regulated by the city.
Program cuts coming to cash-strapped Henderson State
Three years ago, Henderson State University was on the brink of insolvency, its balance sheet loaded with millions of dollars in uncollectible student accounts. Only an emergency $6 million loan from the state in 2019 allowed the small Arkadelphia school to keep its doors open.Today, a new chancellor, a merger with the Arkansas State University System, an improved credit rating and a subsiding pandemic all suggest Henderson’s darkest days are behind it. But for many faculty and staff members, the hardest part still lies ahead.
Why Arkansas’s best duck hunting woods are drowning
If you walk through Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area, the towering hardwood stands might look like a beautiful place to hunt. But once you know what to look for, you can see the trees are drowning. Wildlife management areas like these woodlands just outside of Bald Knob are...
Slipped through the cracks: How highway authorities missed the flaw that nearly brought down the I-40 bridge
On May 11, a catastrophe was narrowly averted on the I-40 Hernando DeSoto bridge, a 3.3-mile-long structure that crosses the Mississippi River and connects Memphis and Arkansas. A contractor working for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) noticed a gaping crack in a hollow steel girder, threatening the entire bridge...
State regulators give OK to Medicaid managed care company once dogged by investigations
Two months ago, things were looking dire for Empower Healthcare Solutions, a managed care organization that serves roughly 20,000 Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries with developmental disabilities, severe behavioral health disorders and other complex needs. The attorney general’s office was investigating the company for suspected Medicaid fraud. The state Department of Human...
Ethics complaint targets state Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood
A complaint filed against Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood has accused her of violating judicial ethics by telling then-Circuit Judge Michael Maggio in 2014 to delete certain text messages. The Arkansas Public Law Center filed the complaint with the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission on Dec. 24. The...
Biden administration says premiums for Arkansas Medicaid expansion must end in one year
In June 2018, when Arkansas became the first state in the nation to implement work requirements for certain Medicaid beneficiaries, Governor Hutchinson was triumphant. “We’ve wanted to establish a work requirement … for a long time,” he said at the time. The Obama administration had refused to authorize work requirements, but the Trump administration gave the green light. “With this development, Arkansas has become a national leader in rethinking the delivery of public assistance,” the governor boasted.
State investigates managed care company Empower for alleged Medicaid fraud
This story was updated with additional details at 9:25 a.m., Friday, Dec. 3. Empower Healthcare Solutions, a managed care organization that serves roughly 20,000 high-need Medicaid beneficiaries in Arkansas, is under investigation by state regulators and the attorney general’s office for allegedly defrauding Medicaid. In a letter sent to the...
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State sanctions Empower, says Medicaid managed care company ‘misrepresented’ facts
The Arkansas Department of Human Services has suspended new enrollment for Empower Healthcare Solutions, a managed care organization serving about 20,000 Medicaid beneficiaries with intellectual or developmental disabilities, behavioral health disorders or both. Empower is one of four Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entities, or PASSEs — managed care organizations that...
2 senior Arkansas bridge inspection engineers out after release of long-awaited I-40 reports
This story was co-published with The Daily Memphian. The Arkansas Department of Transportation on Thursday confirmed the retirement of two senior bridge inspection engineers soon after releasing new information about the near-catastrophic crack found earlier this year on the I-40 bridge linking Memphis and Arkansas. Mike Hill, who ran ArDOT’s...
Medicaid managed care company sues outgoing corporate co-owner, alleging ‘sabotage’
This story was updated with additional details at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 6. Empower Healthcare Solutions, a managed care organization that serves almost 20,000 Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries with complex health needs, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against a Boston-based company that owns a portion of Empower but is planning to leave by the end of the year.
Former chemistry professor pleads guilty to manufacturing meth in college lab
The story sounded like it was made for Hollywood: Two chemistry professors in a small Arkansas college town accused of cooking methamphetamine in their school laboratory. On the night of Oct. 7, 2019, a chemical spill occurred in Room 304 at Henderson State University’s Reynolds Science Center. The next day, a strong odor filled the building, forcing the school to evacuate the building and cancel classes. Weeks later, Terry David Bateman, 47, and Bradley Rowland, 42, were arrested and charged with manufacturing meth and other drug-related offenses.
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