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Pine Bluff police say man was fatally shot

PINE BLUFF — Police opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a 39-year-old man on Monday afternoon.

Police identified the man as Cedric Sloan and said he is the city’s 14th homicide victim of the year.

Officers responded to a call about an armed disturbance in the 4300 block of Union Avenue in Pine Bluff, police said. When they arrived, the officers learned that the disturbance was not on Union Avenue but in the area of 7300 Rosswood Colony Drive. Officers went there about 1:40 p.m. and were told that a man inside the residence had been shot, authorities said.

Sloan was taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

— ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Tech designates short-term exec

JONESBORO — Arkansas Tech University has a new vice president for administration and finance, the university announced last week.

Linda Birkner, associate vice president for fiscal affairs, will assume the role on a “short-term” basis after the resignation of Bernadette Hinkle.

Hinkle’s resignation took effect July 1. She worked at the university for four years, helping develop the university’s first campus master plan, redesign employee health benefits, and create an environmental sustainability and efficiency plan for the school, according to the university’s announcement.

Hinkle earned $193,000 in base salary during the 2018-19 academic year. It’s unclear what her salary was for the 2019-20 academic year. Birkner’s base salary was $120,000. It’s unclear if she will earn a pay increase as a part of her new temporary role.

— ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Man charged in home burglaries

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Police on Monday arrested 43-year-old Roderick Benard Allen on two felony counts of burglary after officers responded to two home burglaries within 10 minutes of each another, according to an arrest report.

Allen, of North Little Rock, was found in the second house and matched a description from the first caller, according to police. Although Allen told police that he knew the owners of both homes despite having kicked in their doors, the owners of both homes denied knowing him, according to the arrest report.

Allen was arrested at 1407 Vine St. and transported to the Pulaski County jail, where he remained with no bail set.

— ARKANSAS-DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Judge sends pot lawsuit to Carroll County

LITTLE ROCK — The lawsuit by Eureka Green, a rejected contender for an Arkansas medical marijuana dispensary license, is headed to a courtroom closer to the company’s Carroll County headquarters at the order of a Pulaski County circuit judge.

Judge Tim Fox on Monday sent the week-old litigation challenging Eureka Green’s license denial to Carroll County. The case had fallen to Fox after the original judge, Mackie Pierce, recused.

Carroll County residents have a vested interest in the outcome of the case, especially if the lawsuit has to be resolved with a jury trial, Fox wrote.

“It is patently clear from the … complaint that the best interests of judicial economy and efficiency are served by this matter being conducted in Carroll County … that the citizens, residents, and taxpayers of Carroll County have a substantial interest in this matter being conducted in Carroll County,” Fox wrote.

The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court because the state-regulator defendants are all in Little Rock. Such cases used to have to be decided in Pulaski County, but the General Assembly changed that requirement in 2017.

The move transfers the proceedings to the courtroom of Circuit Judge Scott Jackson of the 19th East Judicial Circuit, which is based in Berryville.

— ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Entertainment area gets board approval

LITTLE ROCK — The Board of Directors on Tuesday approved a new temporary entertainment district in the city, and extended the boundaries and hours of the existing River Market Entertainment District.

People will be able to consume beer, wine and mixed drinks from open containers throughout the River Market Entertainment District every day from 8 a.m. until midnight and from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, as well.

Previously, open containers were allowed in the area only from 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays, from 8 a.m. to midnight Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, as well as on some holidays.

The River Market Entertainment District was also expanded by two blocks and now includes the 100 blocks of South Rock Street and South Commerce Street. The district already encompassed the stretch from the 300 block to the 600 block of President Clinton Avenue, the 100 block of North Rock Street and the 100 block of North Commerce Street.

The board also approved a temporary entertainment district along Main Street, bounded by 12th Street to the north and 17th Street to the south. The area already contains an “outdoor dining room” established by several restaurateurs on the street in June.

The hours of operation for the South Main entertainment district are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will last for eight weeks. Additionally, city directors signed approved a third ordinance that increases the amount of time temporary entertainment districts are allowed to exist, from five days to 120 days.

— ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

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