KASU

Associated Press

The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the capital murder and kidnapping convictions of a man sentenced to life in prison for the 2014 killing of a real estate agent.

The court on Thursday affirmed the conviction of Aaron Michael Lewis, who was convicted of luring Beverly Carter to fake home showing, then kidnapping and killing her.

Prosecutors said Lewis targeted Carter in a failed ransom plot, believing she was a "rich broker."

The Arkansas Highway Commission has decided to seek a ballot measure to increase money for state roads next year after lawmakers refused to send voters a proposal that would have raised $200 million a year.

The panel voted Wednesday to pursue putting a proposal on next year's ballot to increase highway funding. The panel will spend the coming months studying the level of additional funding it wants to seek. It also will work on the specific type or proposal it wants to put before voters.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Marsha Blackburn has confirmed she will seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Tennessean reports (http://tnne.ws/2rIGLi8) that Blackburn's bid for a ninth term puts an end to speculation in some circles that she might instead try to run for statewide office next year.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The six members of Arkansas' congressional delegation have written to President Donald Trump in support of a federal disaster declaration for the state as a result of severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that struck the state in April and May.

Republican Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman say in a letter sent Tuesday that state and local officials are working to clean up and rebuild following the storms, but that federal assistance is needed to help in the recovery.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri officials say that nearly all state tax refunds should be delivered by June 30.

The Missouri Department of Revenue said Thursday the only unpaid returns should be those that were flagged for various reasons.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — About 26,000 customers of a Memphis power company are still without electricity in the aftermath of a Memorial Day weekend storm that hit the Tennessee city with strong winds.

Memphis Light, Gas & Water said Thursday its crews are working with about 90 other utility companies to restore power to parts of the city that remain in the dark.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's recent special legislative session cost taxpayers more than $66,000.

Gov. Eric Greitens called lawmakers into special session to authorize discounted electricity rates for a steel-works facility and aluminum smelter that are considering opening near the southeastern Missouri town of New Madrid.

Lawmakers passed the legislation in one week, and tried to hold down costs by coming to the Capitol in Jefferson City only on the days when votes were scheduled.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft says the state won't have free identifications required by a new state law ready in time for a special election in July.

But Ashcroft says provisions in the law, which took effect Thursday, will allow every eligible voter to cast a ballot.

A state constitutional amendment approved by Missouri voters last November requires photo IDs for voting, with some exceptions. Voters without proper identification can cast provisional ballots.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of business supply managers suggests a slight decline in the economic conditions for nine Midwest and Plains states, according to a report released Thursday.

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index report said the overall regional economic index dropped to 55.5 in May from 61.4 in April. The March figure was 60.1.

The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor, while a score below that suggests decline.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court won't review a lower court ruling that spares the state's prison system from having to reveal where it gets drugs used in executions.

Missouri's high court didn't comment Tuesday in rejecting a request to review the case from the American Civil Liberties Union, the nonprofit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and other plaintiffs.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Kellogg Co. says it plans to shut down a distribution plant in Memphis and lay off 172 workers.

The company said Tuesday in a letter to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the Memphis plant will close by the end of July.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company has said it would close 39 distribution facilities across the country, affecting more than 1,000 workers. The company says it is changing how it ships products.

Originally a cereal maker, Kellogg's also makes Eggo frozen waffles, Pop-Tarts and Pringles.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 23 Arkansas counties disaster areas after recent flooding.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says in a news release Friday he was informed of the designation from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Counties designated as disasters include Faulkner, Lonoke and Randolph.

Perdue visited the state in early May and said in his letter to the governor that there were sufficient production losses in those counties to warrant a designation.

Another 23 counties were designated contiguous disaster areas.

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JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas food distributor has recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of precooked sausage products that might contain metal.

The recall was announced Wednesday by Armour Eckrich Meats in Junction City.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service says the recall includes more than 8,000 cases of 16.6 ounce packages of "Eckrich Smok-y Cheddar Breakfast sausage, Naturally Hardwood Smoked." The labels have the case or UPC code and a "27815 17984" with a use-by date of Aug. 17. The products also have the number "EST. 3JC" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

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NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Forecasters say potentially explosive thunderstorms packing large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes could develop this holiday weekend over parts of eastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to speak with Tennessee law enforcement officials about efforts to fight violent crime, nearly two weeks after he said prosecutors should bring the toughest charges possible against most suspects.

Sessions' speech is set for Thursday morning in Memphis, a city beset by gang activity, drug crime and gun violence.

The trial of a former Arkansas state senator and two others on corruption charges is being delayed.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a federal judge in Fayetteville on Tuesday postponed the trial of Republican former Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III and consultant Randell Shelton Jr. until Dec. 4. Prosecutors say the investigation continues and more indictments are expected.

The judge also rejected Paris' request that he be tried separately in the case.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has been approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing to bring back its pre-licensure nursing program.

The Pine Bluff Commercial reports the university's approval for the program, which extends through 2020, is the final step before accreditation. 

FORREST CITY, Ark. (AP) — Authorities say four inmates face additional charges after a fire was intentionally set in the St. Francis County jail in Forrest City.

The Times-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/2q0EjSj) that it took two hours to fully extinguish a fire that was set Monday night in a jail cell. Authorities say the fire apparently started when inmates stuck pieces of paper into an electrical outlet, then threw the burning papers onto bed mats inside a cell.

By JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Solid hiring nationwide led unemployment rates to touch record lows in three U.S. states last month.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates declined in 10 states in April, increased in one — Massachusetts — and held relatively stable in the other 39. A significant number of the job gains occurred in nine states, led by Texas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Indiana was the only state to see a significant decrease in jobs last month.

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By KATIE KULL and DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens announced Thursday that he's calling lawmakers back to work about a week after the end of their regular session to discuss legislation that could make it easier to open a new steel plant and reopen an old aluminum smelter in rural southeast Missouri.

DARDANELLE, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on deaths of a sheriff's deputy and two others in rural Arkansas (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

Arkansas' governor has ordered the state flag to be flown at half-staff in memory of a sheriff's deputy who was killed along with two other people.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation Friday ordering the honor for Yell County Sheriff's deputy Lt. Kevin Mainhart.

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Police in Arkansas have arrested two people for stealing a 16-foot trailer that contained thousands of dollars' worth of Little Debbie snack cakes.

Police say the trailer was discovered missing early Wednesday from outside a storage unit in Jonesboro, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) northeast of Little Rock. According to a police report, the trailer belonged to a Little Debbie salesman and contained $5,000 worth of snacks.

By SUMMER BALLENTINE, KATIE KULL and DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers faced a Friday evening deadline to finish work in their annual session with several key proposals in limbo, including personal care services for low-income seniors and the disabled and pay raises for tens of thousands of minimum-wage workers in St. Louis.

Authorities say an Arkansas man faces three counts of capital murder in the killing of three people, including a sheriff's deputy who was fatally shot during a traffic stop.

State Police said Friday that 42-year-old James Arthur Bowden was jailed Thursday afternoon after a five-hour standoff at a home in a rural area near Dardanelle, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west of Little Rock.

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.

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