J.W.’s News Update: Thursday January 26th, 2012
Its voting day in Texarkana. No not at the polls, that is coming up later this Spring. The voting occurring today is at the local union hall of the USWA 752L. That is the union that represents most of the workers at the Texarkana Cooper Tire Plant.
Workers are voting until 8pm today to decide whether to accept or reject a tentative contract extension agreement that negotiators for both sides finished hammering out last week.
The Texas Transportation Department has voted to increase the speed limit to 75 mph across almost 1,500 miles of interstate highways in the Lone Star State. This includes almost 140 miles of Interstate 30 between Texarkana and Dallas. The counties included are : Bowie, Morris, Titus, Franklin, Hopkins, and Hunt Counties. The speed limit will not change until Highway Department personnel change the signs along the interstate.
Swepco, Southwestern Electric Power Company has signed long term agreement to purchase power from wind projects as a way to meet a renewable energy commitment it made in a recent legal settlement over a coal-fired power plant it is building in Southwest Arkansas, just east of Texarkana.
Officials said wind power from projects in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas will help it exceed its 400 megawatt renewable energy requirements. Environmental groups and neighbors of the John W. Turk Jr. Power plant in Fulton, Arkansas challenged the facility’s construction on grounds it would cause pollution and damage the surrounding land.
The company agreed to mothball an older coal plant in Texas to offset pollution generated by the new facility in Arkansas. A Sierra Club Spokesman said clean wind energy will now power homes and businesses in the region for years.
In economic news, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 377,000 an increase of 21,000 over the previous week. Experts say applications generally need to fall consistently below 375,00 to signal that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.
The Arkansas Razorbacks had an off night shooting but still managed to beat the Auburn Tigers at Bud Walton Arena by a score of 56-53.