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Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – Convocation Center staff reminds the public of security checks for Arkansas State University’s two 2017 spring commencement ceremonies, Saturday, May 13, as well as upcoming graduation events for area high schools in the Convocation Center.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee education group is aiming to get high school students interested in teaching.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2phxbEK) that the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, known as SCORE, launched its "Teach Today. Change Tomorrow" initiative this week.

The program offers a recruitment and mentorship network for a diverse variety of young students.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A second Republican has launched a bid for Arkansas state land commissioner.

Alex Ray on Wednesday announced he's seeking the GOP nomination next year for the post currently held by John Thurston. Thurston, a Republican, is serving his second term and running for secretary of state next year.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators on Wednesday voted to give residents the option to get a driver's license that complies with a federal identification requirement, which would allow people to board airplanes and enter military bases.

The measure passed the Senate 28-5 in the early morning after hours of debate. It would give Missouri residents the option to get compliant or noncompliant state driver's licenses and identification cards.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri's top prosecutor says a sheriff participated in a jail altercation in which an inmate died and that he should be fired.

Attorney General Josh Hawley says in a news release that he filed a request in court Tuesday to remove Cory Hutcheson from his position as sheriff of Mississippi County.

Hawley says his office is investigating the inmate's death Friday. Details haven't been released.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee police say they have found an infant that was the subject of an Amber alert.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said 5-month-old Ayla Settles was taken early Tuesday "by force" from her home in Memphis by her non-custodial father, Alvin Lloyd.  The agency says she was found about six hours later and Lloyd has been arrested.

No additional details were immediately available.

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — The final suspect charged in connection with the 2014 shooting deaths of Arkansas State football player Markel Owens and his stepfather Johnny Shivers has pleaded guilty.

The Jackson Sun reports (http://bit.ly/2qCPQam) 24-year-old Craig Taylor pleaded guilty Monday to accessory after the fact on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and attempted first-degree murder.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — New school enrollment numbers will shake up the classifications used in Arkansas school activities.

The Arkansas Activities Association released school enrollment numbers for the 2018-2020 reclassification cycle on Tuesday. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2pwx9HK), Texarkana will drop down to Class 5A, while Sylvan Hills in Pulaski County will move up to Class 6A.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is cutting its budget for the coming fiscal year by $43 million, state officials announced Tuesday, days after the governor ordered reductions in this year's funding for state agencies.

The Department of Finance and Administration lowered its forecast for the state's revenue for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to $5.4 billion. The reductions will affect programs for about a dozen agencies under a lower priority category of the state's budget.

MICHAEL HIBBLEN / KUAR NEWS

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers have approved an effort to scale back the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion by moving 60,000 people off the program and to require some remaining participants to work.

The Senate and House gave final approval to identical measures Wednesday allowing the state to seek federal approval for the new restrictions to the program, which covers more than 300,000 people. The program was created in 2013 as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health overhaul.

Ann Kenda, Arkansas Public Media

"Devastating."

That's the only way Kary Story, Mayor of Pocahontas, can describe the record flooding coming to his city.  The National Weather Service in Memphis on Tuesday issued a Flash Flood Warning for southeastern Randolph County, and central Lawrence County.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Office

7 people in Arkansas are dead as a result of flooding in the state so far, and the worst of the flooding is yet to come.  KASU’s Johnathan Reaves has more:

Governor Asa Hutchinson toured some of the hard hit areas today, which are in Randolph and Lawrence Counties.  He held a press conference in Pocahontas, where the Black River is overtaking a key levee.  Hutchinson says a historic crest of the Black River, as well as additional rain coming, is expected to make a bad situation much worse:

State of Arkansas, YouTube

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held a press conference in Pocahontas Tuesday after surveying the damage to Sharp and Randolph Counties from the severe storms that hit over the weekend.  The GOP Governor held the presser in the #4 Fire Station in Pocahontas with Mayor Kary Story and AJ Gary, Director of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

The National Weather Service says the Black River is expected to flow over a levee in Pocahontas today, forcing many in the east side of town to evacuate.  Officials say the flooding is imminent and they are expecting businesses, homes and structures to flood.  

When the river crests Friday, it is expected to be about 29.5 feet, which is well above flood stage.  It is also expected to be over a foot higher than the historic 2011 Black River flooding, which caused millions of dollars in damage and killed 14 people across the state.  

Pixabay

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are forecast from the Plains states to the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Valley regions.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Board of Health has unanimously approved rules that govern the issuance of marijuana-user registration cards, and the labeling and testing of the drug.

Robert Brech, the Department of Health's chief attorney, tells the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2ptmqy5) the department's staff made a few technical revisions since receiving board approval in January before submitting the final version of the rules Thursday.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say 54 cases of mumps have been confirmed among students at Southeast Missouri State University.

KFVS-TV (http://bit.ly/2oR3hD5) reports that there also are another 23 probable cases among students at the Cape Girardeau school. School leaders believe the peak of the mumps outbreak has passed, but expect to see more positive cases on campus and in the community. Students are being urged to receive a booster dose of the vaccine that protects against mumps, as well as measles and rubella.

Arkansas State University

JONESBORO – Jared Gowen, a senior from Garner who will graduate from Arkansas State University in May with a degree in biological sciences, received the prestigious R.E. Lee Wilson Award for 2017 at the 84th student honors awards ceremony Thursday evening at Cooper Alumni Center.

Gowen was selected from a group of eight Distinguished Service Award winners honored at the ceremony. Perry Wilson, the great-great grandson of R.E. Lee Wilson, presented the award to Gowen.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The Arkansas State University Chancellor Search Advisory Committee and ASU System President Dr. Charles L. Welch today announced that three finalist candidates have accepted invitations to visit the campus in Jonesboro and formally interview for the position of chancellor. 

The three finalists are:

•        Dr. Kelly Damphousse, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman;

A lawsuit has been filed against the general contractor of the Hyatt Place Hotel and Convention Center in Jonesboro.

The Sun reports Midsouth Steel Inc. is suing Construction Network Inc. for a breach of contract in the project to be located near Interstate 555.  Midsouth is seeking nearly $430,000.

Pixabay

Update 4/26/17 11:22 am:  The National Weather Service in Memphis has issued a Tornado Watch for all of Northeast Arkansas with the exception of Crittenden and Mississippi Counties until 5:00 pm today.

Bobby Ampezzan, Arkansas Public Media

A new book that details the history of the Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas has been released.   Learn the importance of this railroad to Arkansas and what happened to the Rock Island Railroad in the state.  KASU's News Director Johnathan Reaves interviewed KUAR's News Director and author of the book Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, Michael Hibblen.  Listen to the interview here.  

Pixabay

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a Memphis meat packer has recalled some ready-to-eat ham products due to possible bacterial contamination.

Arkansas State University System

Officials at Arkansas State University are narrowing down the list of potential candidates for the Jonesboro Campus chancellor position.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems closely divided about whether an Alabama death row inmate should get a new sentencing hearing because he did not have a mental health expert on his side when he was tried and sentenced to death more than 30 years ago.

The court has ruled previously that poor defendants whose mental health might be a factor in the criminal charges they are facing have a right to an expert's evaluation. The justices on Monday took up a case about whether the expert must be independent of the prosecution.

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