Group asks state to block alcohol measure
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A group opposed to a proposal expanding alcohol sales in Arkansas is asking the secretary of state to not certify the measure for the November ballot, claiming it missed a deadline to submit petitions.
An attorney for a group called Let Local Communities Decide For Themselves asked Secretary of State Mark Martin's office to not accept any more petitions for the proposal, which would legalize alcohol sales in all 75 Arkansas counties. Thirty-seven counties currently prohibit alcohol sales.
The group claims the petitions should have been submitted by July 4, which would have been four months before the November election. The state deadline was July 7.
The group favoring expanded sales is gathering additional signatures after Martin's office said it had fallen short of the 78,133 needed to qualify.
Arkansas AG rejects medical pot measure wording
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the wording of a proposal to legalize medical marijuana by a group that is trying to put the measure before voters in 2016.
McDaniel's office on Monday rejected the wording of the proposal by Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which had tried unsuccessfully to get medical marijuana legalization on this year's ballot. The group had been unable to gather the 62,507 signatures from registered voters needed by the July 7 deadline to submit petitions to qualify for the November ballot.
The group is now trying to put the legalization measure on the 2016 ballot. McDaniel cited ambiguities in the text of the latest measure in rejecting its wording.
The proposal would allow patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from nonprofit dispensaries.
Arkansas Red Cross deploys 2 disaster responders
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The American Red Cross in Arkansas has deployed two disaster responders to join Red Cross teams providing care since early July in north central Washington for residents in the path of wildfires.
It will be the agency's second time within a few months that it will be providing disaster support to the state of Washington.
In March, two Arkansans with Red Cross mental health and shelter operations management experience provided care as rescue efforts continued after the Oso, Washington, mudslide.
The most recent wildfires were ignited a week ago by a lightning strike and grew from strong winds in the area.
103 rabies cases reported in Arkansas this year
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than 100 rabies cases have been reported in Arkansas through the end of June - a figure nearly double the norm of just 54 cases in a year.
State health and animal science experts say that of the 103 cases, 86 have been confirmed in skunks. Experts say most of the rabies cases are found skunks and bats.
Pulaski and Lonoke counties have the most cases, with 26 for Pulaski and 13 for Lonoke.
Tom Troxel, associate head of animal science for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, says the reason for the outbreak is unknown.
Rabies is a deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system of mammals. It's considered one of the most infectious diseases and is fatal for both animals and humans.
Invasive beetle confirmed in 3 Arkansas counties
HOPE, Ark. (AP) - State agriculture officials say an insect native to Asia that kills ash trees has been confirmed in three Arkansas counties.
The Arkansas State Plant Board and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture say the emerald ash borer has been found in Hot Spring, Clark and Nevada counties. The insect arrived in the U.S. around 2002 and has killed about 50 million ash trees since then.
Officials say the insect has now been confirmed in 24 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.
Female emerald ash borers lay eggs on the bark of ash trees. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the bark, eventually killing the trees.
Officials say the best way to avoid the spread of the insect is to not move firewood from place to place.
Annual blues festival expanding into Springdale
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) - Officials say Arvest Ballpark will serve as a venue for the upcoming Bikes Blues and BBQ rally this fall.
Springdale officials announced Monday that the ballpark will host a car show, vintage motorcycle show, live music and more during the festival, which is set for Sept. 26-27. City officials credit the completion of the $23 million Don Tyson Parkway interchange as key in landing the event.
The interchange opens up another route into Springdale off Interstate 49 in northwest Arkansas.
The annual event draws tens of thousands of people to northwest Arkansas every fall.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.