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News in brief

June 10, 2021 at 1:41 a.m.

Hearing canceled on 2 Plant Board suits

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Morgan E. "Chip" Welch has canceled a hearing set for today on the merits of two lawsuits, now consolidated, against the state Plant Board.

In an order filed Tuesday canceling the hearing, Welch cited an Arkansas Supreme Court order Monday that granted an emergency stay of Welch's previous temporary restraining orders against the Plant Board's dicamba rules for this crop season.

Other than staying his temporary restraining orders "pending appeal," the high court "provides no other guidance," Welch wrote. "After considering precisely WHAT appeal remains, given the Stay Order, and why the same issue is not now moot, the Court must, reluctantly, conclude the Stay is, however, intended to preclude ANY relief from this Court."

The Supreme Court's stay of Welch's restraining orders means the Plant Board rule allowing in-crop use of dicamba through June 30 is back in effect.

A group of farmers and Ozark Mountain Poultry in Batesville filed separate lawsuits last month alleging that the Plant Board's 2021 dicamba rule was invalid because of legal flaws in the process the board followed in adopting the new rule.

-- Stephen Steed

Walmart opens door on its virtual classes

Walmart Inc. is now making the same educational preparation and job-skills training it gives its workers available to the public for free.

Registration is now open for Walmart's Community Academy virtual courses. Course and application information is available at

Class topics include resume building and job interviewing; budgeting; preparation for standardized tests; and navigating the college admissions process. Walmart Academy facilitators will teach the classes.

Andy Trainor, Walmart's vice president of learning, said in a corporate blog post Wednesday that the courses will be grouped into five overall themes: community, personal finance, home, career projection and technology. More classes will be added throughout the year, he said.

"With so many communities struggling economically and education sometimes out of reach, we recognized a need that we're uniquely suited to fill," Trainor said.

-- Serenah McKay

Arkansas Index dips ahead of CPI report

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Wednesday at 641.47, down 5.18.

"Equities closed modestly lower as the industrials and financials sectors underperformed in nervous trading ahead of [today's] monthly CPI report, which will be closely monitored for inflationary signals," said Leon Lants, managing director at Stephens Inc.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.


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