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This Hour: Latest Arkansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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DASSAULT FALCON JET-FACTORY EXPANSION

Jet maker breaks ground on Arkansas expansion

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Dassault Falcon Jet has officially begun work on a $60 million expansion of its private jet finishing plant at Little Rock's airport.

The factory has about 2,000 employees, and expansion of the completion center ensures that 400 of those positions will stay in Arkansas.

The company broke ground Tuesday on the expansion, which is set to be complete in early 2016. It will add 250,000 square feet to Dassault's site and bring the plant's total area to 1.25 million square feet.

Gov. Mike Beebe says Dassault's facility brings international attention to Arkansas' aerospace sector.

Dassault qualified for a state economic incentive because the 400 jobs were at stake. That rebate is equivalent to 3.9 percent of payroll for 10 years for those workers.

ARKANSAS STEEL MILL

Osceola steel mill schedules groundbreaking

OSCEOLA, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Mike Beebe is expected to attend an invitation-only groundbreaking for an Osceola steel mill that's been sued by a competing company.

The Blytheville Courier News reports the groundbreaking for the Big River Steel mill will be held Sept. 22. Construction on the $1.3 billion project is scheduled to last two years. The mill is expected to employ more than 500 workers when complete.

Nucor Steel is still trying the block the project. It has sued in federal court, alleging the company has violated the Clean Air Act.

The Big River project received $125 million in state bonds and $14.5 million from Mississippi County's economic development sales tax.

MIDWEST ECONOMY

Report: Midwest economic index inched up in August

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states rose slightly in August, suggesting growth is ahead.

A survey report issued Tuesday says the overall Mid-America Business Conditions Index inched up to 57.2 last month from 57.0 in July. The index had reached a three-year high of 60.6 in June.

Looking six months ahead, the business confidence portion of the overall index climbed to 60.4 from 60.0 in July. It had hit 63.6 in June.

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers at Creighton University say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

US HOUSE-ARKANSAS

Peterson: Witt assured of agriculture panel spot

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - The top Democrat on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee says former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt is assured a spot on the panel if he's elected to a south Arkansas congressional district.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota campaigned Tuesday in Arkansas with Witt, who is running for the 4th Congressional District. Witt is running against Republican state Rep. Bruce Westerman for the seat, currently held by GOP Congressman Tom Cotton.

Witt and Peterson spoke at a forum on farming issues in Hot Springs.

Westerman's campaign noted that Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford already serves on the Agriculture Committee and said the state representative's top goal is to win a spot on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

MADISON COUNTY-FATAL CRASH

1 killed, 2 hurt in Labor Day crash in Madison Co.

HUNTSVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas State Police say a Green Forest woman was killed and two people were injured in a two-vehicle wreck in Madison County.

State police say the crash happened Monday on U.S. 412 east of Arkansas 127. According to a preliminary report, 69-year-old Peggy Rhoades was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck head-on by another vehicle that crossed the center line.

State police say Rhoades was killed in the crash, and the driver in her vehicle was injured.

The driver of the oncoming vehicle was also injured and taken to Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

LITTLE ROCK-DORM ARREST

Police: Little Rock men arrested at area college

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock police say they've arrested three men at Philander Smith College who pointed a gun at children.

Sgt. Michael Ford tells KATV-TV he saw a male passenger in a car on Sunday point a gun at two children.

Ford says he chased the vehicle to the college, where three people fled on foot.

Police chased the suspects into a residence hall and locked it down. They searched it floor by floor until two of the men were apprehended. Campus security detained the third suspect.

It's unclear if they are students or if they've been charged.

The station reports the college declined to comment.

LITTLE ROCK-STATUE THEFT

Stolen statues returned to Little Rock park

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock authorities say three stolen sculptures worth nearly $30,000 have been returned.

The city's Parks and Recreation director says a couple found the artwork Sunday morning at the Riverfront Park sculpture garden where they were stolen. He says the couple found the artwork inside of black garbage bags.

The bronze statues were sawed off at their bases and taken Thursday night. They will be fully repaired and placed back into the garden.

Little Rock Police is reviewing security footage to see who returned the art.

Officials plan to increase the number of surveillance cameras in the park and add more lighting.

GREENE COUNTY JAIL

Arkansas jail to start new video visitation system

PARAGOULD, Ark. (AP) - An official with an eastern Arkansas county jail says he expects video visitation services for inmates to begin this week.

Greene County Jail administrator Dave Tierney tells the Paragould Daily Press that inmates and their visitors should be able to talk to each other through video calls starting Wednesday. Tierney says that before, visitors would meet face-to-face in what he called a "chaotic" and "free-for-all" process.

He says his plan is to streamline the process into remote video conferencing made only by appointments. He says all visits will be recorded.

The new 75,000-square-foot jail opened last month and can house nearly 500 inmates. Voters in Greene County passed a sales tax increase in November 2012 to help pay for its construction.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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