AERT to Expand Oklahoma Recycling Plant

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Arkansas Business


Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies, Inc., a leading plastic recycler and manufacturer of green building products that is based in Springdale, announced Wednesday that it will expand its Watts, Okla. facility.

A 15 year, 3 percent interest loan for over $3 million will implement Phase 2 for its new recycling facility in Watts, Okla.

Phase 2 will double the output and install additional equipment at the facility.

The AERT Watts project was ranked the top stimulus business project for the ARRA State Energy Program for the state of Oklahoma.

Tim Morrison, AERT’s president, stated, “The State of Oklahoma has been very supportive of the Watts plant, and we are excited that they have once again joined AERT in creating green jobs in Oklahoma,” said AERT president Tim Morrison. “Phase 2 of Watts builds upon AERT technology, expanding our leadership position in recycled polyethylene materials and continuing our strategy of expanding our plastics recycling presence.”

UPDATED: Windstream Corp. to Keep Little Rock HQ, Hire 210; Governor’s Fund Pledges $5.5 Million in Incentives

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Arkansas Business

Robert Bell

Windstream Corp. on Tuesday said it will keep its corporate headquarters in Little Rock, create 210 new jobs and retain 300 existing jobs. This, after Gov. Mike Beebe committed $5.5 million in incentives to the telecommunications firm.

“I am extremely pleased to announce that Windstream has chosen to make Little Rock its permanent home,” Jeff Gardner, president and CEO of Windstream, said in a prepared statement.

“This is due in large part to the fact that the state of Arkansas and the city of Little Rock have created a climate where technology companies like Windstream can grow and achieve long-term success, and I want to thank Gov. Mike Beebe and Mayor Mark Stodola for their leadership,” he said.


Immigration law to get first major court hearing

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Associated Press

A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday over whether Arizona’s new immigration should take effect on July 29.

It will mark the first major hearing in one of the seven challenges to the strict law.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton also will consider arguments over Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to dismiss the challenge filed by Phoenix police Officer David Salgado and the statewide nonprofit group Chicanos Por La Causa.

The judge said last week that she wasn’t making any promises on whether she will rule on the officer’s request to block enforcement of the law before it takes effect.

The law requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person’s immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

’08 TARP vote shadows incumbents

Monday, July 12th, 2010

New York Times

C. Hulse and D. Herszenhorn

The vote in 2008 to bail out Wall Street was framed as the only way to avert an economic meltdown and relieve financial institutions of their most poisonous holdings.

But nearly two years after Congress approved the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Bush administration’s $700 billion program to rescue the banking system when it appeared close to collapse, lawmakers from both parties who backed it face political attacks as midterm elections approach.

Republicans for months predicted that a public backlash against the Democrats’ big health-care law would be the defining issue in this year’s congressional campaigns. But the bipartisan Troubled Asset Relief Program vote has become a more resonant issue in a year when anti-incumbent, anti-Washington sentiment is running strong.

“It is part of a bigger narrative,” said Nathan Gonzales, a nonpartisan analyst for the Rothenberg Political Report. “I don’t think a general election is going to be won or lost based on that one vote, but I think it will be part of a big-ger argument that candidates are going to make against those incumbents who voted for it. It has had more staying power than most votes.”

Democrats who voted for the bailout, which was championed by their own leaders along with President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, then the Republican presidential nominee, are now facing attacks from Republican challengers on the campaign trail. Republicans who voted for it are being accused of promoting big government and fiscal irresponsibility by Tea Party candidates and other conservatives.


LR police, fire unions accept pay-raise deal

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Sean Beherec

The Little Rock police and firefighter unions have voted to accept a city offer of an extra week of vacation and a one-year contract extension in exchange for deferring a 4 percent pay raise city officials say they don’t have the funds to pay.

The agreement, which came after a three-day vote by both unions, delays possible legal action by the unions, which had considered suing the city for violating its contract with their members.

The majority of both groups voted for the agreement. The fire union held meetings at each battalion between Thursday and Saturday, where they took a vote, while police officers voted online during the same period.

Though he would not release the vote totals, Fraternal Order of Police President John Gilchrist said 75 percent of police union members who voted favored accepting the city’s compromise offer. Gilchrist and Richard Morehead, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 34, said the vote was difficult for both unions. While the police and firefighters wanted to work with the cash-strapped city, they also wanted their pay raises, the union presidents said.

“It was a pretty tough decision,” Morehead said.