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State agency officer gets national honor

A top official at the Arkansas Department of Transportation has been recognized for exceptional service and innovation by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

Lori Tudor, the department's deputy director and chief operating officer, was presented the Alfred E. Johnson Award at the association's national meeting this week in St. Louis, the association said in a news release.

The annual honor recognizes middle managers in state transportation agencies who make outstanding contributions in engineering or management.

"We know how important Lorie has been to our efforts here," Scott Bennett, the department director, said in a statement. "It's rewarding for that to be recognized nationally now."

Tudor, who has been with the department for 35 years, was inducted last year into the Academy of Civil Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, becoming the department's 30th engineer to achieve that distinction and its first female engineer in the academy's 40-year history.

-- Noel Oman

Court strikes down home-renting fines

A Miami-Dade County circuit judge on Monday struck down a Miami Beach ordinance that fines homeowners $20,000 per violation for illegally renting their places short-term on Internet sites such as Airbnb. The city said Tuesday that it will appeal.

Miami Beach first instituted the fines -- $20,000 for the first violation up to a maximum of $100,000 for the fifth violation -- in March 2016. They are the most expensive fines in the country for illegal short-term rentals.

Florida law prohibits local governments from fining residents more than $1,000 a day for code violations.

Mayor Dan Gelber said the fines are justified based on how lucrative the short-term rental market is for homeowners. Lower fines the city had used did not deter illegal short-term renting, he said.

In his ruling, Judge Michael Hanzman said that the city's fines are in "jarring conflict with [state law] and are therefore illegal and unenforceable."

-- Miami Herald

State index declines 6.37, ends at 419.17

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Tuesday at 419.17, down 6.37.

"U.S. stocks took a hit Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said [the Fed is] open to further rate cuts and that the time has come to allow the Fed's asset holdings to begin to expand, sparking further concern over a slowing economy," said Chris Harkins, managing director at Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

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

Business on 10/09/2019

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