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News with JW – Monday March 21, 2011

John WilliamsGood Monday-The 1st Full day of Spring 2011. Here are some news stories making headlines today:

The Texarkana Arkansas City Board of Directors meet tonight 7 pm at City Hall. Items on the agenda include:

A presentation by City Manager Harold Boldt and Public Works Director Paul Hackleman regarding possible signalization at Pinson Street and Arkansas Boulevard. (This item was placed on the agenda at the request of Mayor Smith at the March 7th Board of Directors meeting).

Also the board adopting a resolution amending the FY 2011 Budget to make adjustments to the General fund budget allocations. The public is invited to attend the open portions of tonights meeting.

The dry and windy weather is beginning to take its toll around the area as Miller County is Southwest Arkansas was one of 8 counties across the Natural State to report wildfires on Sunday. Authorities say the worst of the fires was in the North Central Arkansas county of Van Buren as 1,000 acres there were charred with several outbuildings destroyed, but no injuries or loss of homes reported as of yet. A firefighter sustained a minor foot injury when a log fell on him while fighting a blaze in Jefferson County in the Southeast part of the state. Most of Arkansas is currently experiencing drought conditions with portions of South Arkansas in an extreme drought category.

Texarkana College is to be formally recognized this week as the First Storm Ready University in East Texas. The National Weather Service in Shreveport, along with Texarkana College Administrators, and the Office of Texarkana Emergency Management is conducting a formal ceremony this Monday Morning at 10:00 am in Meeting Room A of the Truman Arnold Center at Texarkana College.

Being a Storm Ready University means Texarkana College has taken the initative to ensure its faculty, students, and campus infrastructure are prepared to deal with destructive severe weather events. It has done this by meeting established National Weather Service criteria for reception and dissemination of emergency weather information and preparedness activities.

Finally, the state of Arkansas has become one of the 1st states in the nation to enact a signifigant tax cut this year. State Representatives are approving cutting the grocery tax, a portion of a $35 million dollar tax cut package with the Governor says he will sign into law. The tax cut package includes five other tax cuts which are expected to be approved by weeks end.

Arkansas expects even with the tax cuts to maintain and balanced budget while increasing public school spending. The grocery tax cut was a campaign pledge of Governor Mike Beebe when he ran for re-election last year.

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