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Gov. Sanders updates Arkansas Water Plan, Hutchinson to debate Thursday


Gov. Sanders orders water plan updates

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued an executive order yesterday updating a range of issues around the state’s water policy.

This is the fourth iteration of the Arkansas Water Plan. Sanders said this is the first update in nearly a decade, and it’s needed to account for the growing needs of small and large communities within the state.

The plan will be implemented in two phases. The first is to determine changes from the previous plan from 2014. A work plan, schedule and estimated costs should be done in a year. Phase two will include updates reflecting current water demands, an evaluation of surface and groundwater, a resilience assessment, a structural analysis of flood mitigation infrastructure and a breakdown of water management policies.

A status report on phase two is expected at the end of 2024.

RNC confirms Hutchinson's participation in debate Thursday

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be part of tomorrow night’s Republican party debate. The Republican National Committee last night included Hutchinson as one of eight qualifying participants.

University of Arkansas begins semiconductor chip facility construction

Construction on a new semiconductor chip facility has begun at the University of Arkansas.

A groundbreaking event was held on Friday for the almost 18,700 square feet Multi-User Silicon Carbide Research and Fabrication Facility, or “MUSiC.” Alan Mantooth, distinguished professor of electrical engineering and MUSiC’s principal investigator, said it will fill a gap allowing organizations to develop low-volume production of chips and can scale up to high-volume manufacturing.

The $36 million facility is expected to be completed in January 2025.

Cox Communications awards funding to local nonprofits

Cox Communicationsrecently announced it will award more than $80,000 to 16 nonprofits throughout the KUAF listening area.

The funding comes from an employee-funded investment program within the company. In a statement, Tina Gabbard, Cox’s Arkansas market vice president, said the money awarded to the organizations is more important than ever because of high inflation and other rising costs.

The list of nonprofits includes Ability Tree Arkansas based in Siloam Springs, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Diamond Hills in Alma, Jack Williams Veteran Resources Center based in Harrison, Antioch for Youth and Family based in Fort Smith and many more.

Game and Fish proposes salamander mussel protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the salamander mussel as an endangered species.

The freshwater mussel is found across 14 different states in the U.S., including Arkansas and Missouri. An assessment from the fish and wildlife service shows there are 66 known existing populations of salamander mussels, and about 80% of them are at high risk from one or more primary threats.

A 60-day comment period opens today for residents to help provide more data and information about salamander mussels in their region.

NWA Naturals open homestand

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are opening a 12-game homestand tonight at Arvest Ballpark. This week the Naturals play Tulsa, then host Springfield next week.  The ‘Nats start the homestand a half-game out of first place.

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Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Anna Pope is KUAF's growth impact reporter and a Report for America corps member
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