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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Nearly 200 school districts in Arkansas have been approved to start the next school year five days earlier than state law permits.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the state Board of Education decided Thursday to let 191 districts start the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 13. A dozen districts have yet to receive waivers of the statute that controls the timing for the start of a school year.

SCOTT CITY, Mo. (AP) - The former mayor of a southeast Missouri town who resigned after allegations he abused his position says he wants his job back.

Ron Cummins on Tuesday filed to run in April's election for Scott City mayor. He will have to defeat the current mayor, Norman Brant, who was named to replace Cummins when he resigned.

Brant also filed to run for mayor in April. They seek to finish a term that ends in April 2020.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A new poll says Tennesseans are more moderate than their neighbors think they are.

In the Vanderbilt University poll Thursday, more than six of 10 people surveyed believed fellow state residents are conservative or very conservative.

Only about half of those respondents described themselves that way, a 14 percentage-point gap between perception and reality. About three in 10 considered themselves moderate. Almost 2 in 10 identified as liberal.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Democrat James Mackler says he's dropping out of the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee to replace Sen. Bob Corker, a move that appears to clear the path to the Democratic nomination for former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Mackler said in a news release he's "stepping back" from the race, but will stay active with a political action committee named Believe in Service. The Nashville attorney and Iraq War veteran says the committee will support federal candidates who will protect and expand national service programs.

Check presentation (pictured L to R):  Niel Crowson, Stacy Crawford, Terry Mohajir, Tracy French, Chuck Welch, Davy Carter, Johnny Allison, Jennifer Allison, Blake Anderson, Kelly Damphousse, Ron Rhodes, Bunny Adcock
Arkansas State University

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas State University's athletics department has received about $10 million in donations to renovate Centennial Bank Stadium.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that a more than $5 million gift from John W. Allison to the Red Wolves Foundation was announced during a Board of Trustees meeting in Jonesboro.

Allison is the founder and chairman of the parent company of Centennial Bank, which currently has naming rights to the football stadium.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he wants his five new appointees to the state veterans commission to fire the leader of the embattled St. Louis Veterans Home.

Greitens during his Monday announcement said he's calling for changes in leadership after an independent investigation found substandard care at the home.

Some patients, families and staff have complained for months about care at the home. But prior reviews didn't turn up any wrongdoing.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Roy Reed, who covered key events during the civil rights movement for The New York Times before returning to his native Arkansas to write and teach, has died. He was 87.

Reed died Sunday night at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, according to his wife, Norma Reed. He had a severe stroke on Saturday at his home in the nearby unincorporated community of Hogeye.

After stints at the Joplin Globe in Missouri and the Arkansas Gazette, Reed reported on the civil rights movement during the 1960s for The Times.

Wikipedia

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Rappelling into a bull-riding rodeo event, crawling through dirt in a SWAT obstacle course and entering a burning building with firefighters.

These could be action movie stunts by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood star turned California governor.

But they were all done by another governor earning a reputation for public displays of physical prowess — Eric Greitens of Missouri.

Wikipedia

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Travel Writer Kim Williams talks about the following events happening in Arkansas during the weekend of December 15!


US flu season off to an early start; widespread in Arkansas

Dec 8, 2017
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NEW YORK (AP) - This year's flu season is off to a quick start and so far it seems to be dominated by a nasty bug.

Health officials say the flu vaccine seems well matched to the viruses making people sick, but it's too early to tell how bad this season will be. The main flu bug this season tends to cause more deaths and hospitalizations and vaccines tend not to work as well against this type.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas State Medical Board has approved draft regulations aimed at reducing opioid abuse.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the board unanimously voted in favor of the regulations Thursday. The requirements are based on guidelines issued last year by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

City of Jonesboro

Representatives of Jonesboro, including Mayor Harold Perrin, flew to Springfield, Missouri, this week to share experiences and ideas in city stewardship.

“It was wonderful to see what’s going on in Springfield, and they have been through a lot of situations that are similar to issues we are dealing with in Jonesboro,” Perrin said. “We exchanged ideas on quality of life issues, things you can partner on with your local university, and public-private partnerships – a whole range of topics.”

Talk Business and Politics

Could we see a special election to replace Sen. Tom Cotton should he jump to a rumored CIA post?  Plus, tax cuts passed the Senate, but are they a political winner or loser?  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics discusses those topics and more with John Brummett, a columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his senior staff are using a secretive app that erases messages after they're read.

The Kansas City Star reports that use of the Confide app by the governor and some of his top advisers is raising concerns that it could be used to undermine open records laws. But it's unclear whether the governor and his staff are using the app for state business, personal use or campaign work.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An eastern Arkansas woman has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after being convicted in a scheme to steal millions of dollars from a federal program meant to feed underprivileged children.

Jacqueline Mills was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. The 42-year-old must also pay more than $3 million in restitution.

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