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This Hour: Latest Arkansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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EXPLOSIVES MANUFACTURER CITED

Explosives manufacturing plant in Arkansas cited

EAST CAMDEN, Ark. (AP) - The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited the Austin Powder Co. for safety and health violations at its plant in East Camden.

OSHA said in a news release Thursday that 22 serious and one repeat safety and health violations were cited because of alleged deficiencies in chemical process safety management and for other safety hazards at the facility. OSHA proposed fines of $178,400.

A spokesman for the Cleveland-based company did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

OSHA says Austin Powder manufactures industrial explosives and provides blasting services to customers nationwide

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

ALCOHOL SALES-ARKANSAS

Pro-alcohol petition ends in 2 Arkansas counties

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A group advocating alcohol sales in dry Arkansas counties says it hasn't gathered sufficient support in Faulkner and Craighead counties.

Our Community, Our Dollars said on Thursday it will solely focus on Saline County. It says it has collected enough signatures there to put the issue on the November ballot. The organization has pushed to allow alcohol sales in all three counties.

The group says it failed to collect signatures from the 38 percent of voters needed in Faulkner and Craighead counties.

A separate group named Let Arkansas Decide still seeks a statewide ballot measure to allow alcohol sales in every county. The group fell short of the required signatures earlier this month. State officials granted it an additional 30 days to collect more.

LIBRARIAN FIRED

Arkansas county officials uphold librarian firing

YELLVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Marion County officials are standing behind a decision to fire a librarian accused of throwing booklets about the Freedom of Information Act at board members.

The Baxter Bulletin reports Thursday that quorum court members upheld the county library board's June termination of Anita Paulson.

Paulson says the board violated the law when it didn't provide proper public notice before a vote. Board members say Paulson threw booklets at board members, hitting one of them. They say Paulson was reprimanded for her personal conduct.

Paulson contests the board's claims.

She has filed a lawsuit against the library board and county judge. It seeks her reinstatement and reimbursement of wages and other benefits.

STATE LAWMAKER-UNIVERSITY JOB

Beebe: No special election for state Senate seat

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe's office says he won't call a special election to fill the state Senate seat vacated by a lawmaker who is taking a job lobbying for the University of Arkansas system.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Thursday that the governor decided against a special election to replace outgoing Sen. Johnny Key, who is resigning to take a job as UA system's associate vice president for university relations. Key, a Republican, is resigning effective Thursday and his term ends at the end of the year.

DeCample said Beebe thought it would be prudent to avoid the cost of a special election, since the earliest it could be held would be in November and there are no current plans for a special session this fall.

FIRE DEPARTMENT GRANTS

Delegation announces grants to fire departments

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Reps. Tim Griffin and Steve Womack have announced $700,000 in federal grants to five fire departments in Arkansas.

The grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program announced Thursday are to be used to purchase equipment, training materials and vehicles.

The grants are $12,357 to the Hensley Volunteer Fire Department; $100,482 to the Valley View Fire Protection District in Jonesboro; $132,052 to the Butterfield District 5 Volunteer Fire Department at Van Buren; $223,250 to the Burnt Ridge Volunteer Fire Department at Shirley; and $229,197 to the Crawford County Fire District One at Rudy.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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