Associated Press

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Tornado Faulkner County January 22, 2018
KATV-Channel 7

Strong storms that raked Arkansas included a tornado that took the roof off a church in Faulkner County.

The National Weather Service said Monday that a tornado with winds around 100 mph hit east of Springhill, just north of Conway. The Sunday night storm damaged other buildings and knocked down a number of trees and power lines. Forecasters rated the storm as an "EF1" on a six-level scale of tornado damage.

A number of homes and businesses lost power during the storms Sunday evening. Jefferson County had 1,770 outages while Mississippi County had over 1,300.

Wendell Griffen
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

An Arkansas judge disqualified from handling execution cases after participating in an anti-death penalty demonstration says his lawsuit against the state's highest court should be allowed to move forward.

Attorneys for Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen asked a federal court Tuesday to deny motions by state Supreme Court justices to dismiss his lawsuit challenging his disqualification.

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's campaign says it has more than $2 million in the bank as the Republican ramps up his re-election campaign.

Hutchinson's campaign on Tuesday reported raising nearly $622,000 in the final three months of 2017. It spent more than $152,000 during the same period.

Hutchinson was first elected in 2014 and announced last spring he was seeking re-election. He faces a challenge in the May Republican primary from Hot Springs gun range owner Jan Morgan.

House Chamber of Arkansas General Assembly
wikipedia.org

The Arkansas House will soon offer voluntary sexual harassment training to lawmakers, while the Senate is considering whether to conduct similar training when lawmakers convene next year.

The House is scheduled to conduct the training for staffers next week. It is mandatory for staff, but not lawmakers. House Speaker Jeremy Gillam said lawmakers will be offered the same training when they convene next month for a session focused on the state's budget.

An Arkansas man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for sexually abusing children while working as a missionary in Haiti.

A U.S. Department of Justice news release says 36-year-old Daniel Pye was sentenced Wednesday. He was convicted in November of three counts of traveling in foreign commerce with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

North Little Rock Police Shooting
North Little Rock PD

North Little Rock police have released video from a deadly encounter with a teenager, with its police chief saying he hopes to knock down "misinformation" that the 17-year-old wasn't armed and quell threats made against the agency.

The five-minute video from a patrol car's dashboard camera released Wednesday shows Charles Smith pulling out a gun and firing at officers. Police returned fire, killing Smith early Sunday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson presenting his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 Tuesday to the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas Legislature.
Governor's Office / You Tube

Arkansas' governor is proposing a $5.6 billion budget that increases funding for the state's Medicaid program and sets aside surplus money for future tax cuts and highway needs.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday proposed increasing state spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1 by nearly $173 million. Most of that increase goes toward Medicaid. Hutchinson said the funding increase is lower than what was originally proposed for the program last year.

UAMS
UAMS.edu

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences says it will lay off 258 workers and leave another 350 or so positions unfilled as it addresses a $30 million hole in its budget.

The university chancellor notified 10,900 employees Monday. The school said in a statement it could no longer use reserve money to ensure that it wouldn't exceed its $1.5 billion budget. Spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said the cuts will save $30 million in the rest of this fiscal year and about $60 million next year.

UAMS has employees in 73 of the state's 75 counties.

Governor Asa Hutchinson DHS director Cindy Gillespie
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The governor of Arkansas is touting an 11 percent drop in the state's Medicaid rolls over the past year as he faces another potential fight in keeping the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion alive another year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday that enrollment in the state's Medicaid program dropped by more than 117,000 people from 2017 to 2018. Nearly 59,000 of that came from the state's hybrid expansion, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

A convicted killer from Arkansas has died in suburban Detroit, 47 years after he visited Michigan on a brief furlough - and never returned to prison.

Lester Stiggers was 68 years old. His daughter, L'Donne Hampton, tells The Associated Press that he died Saturday at his apartment in Warren, probably from a heart attack.

Stiggers made headlines in 2013 when Arkansas asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to send him back. It was the first time in years that Arkansas had expressed interest in Stiggers, who entered Michigan in 1970 and worked as a plumber and auto worker.

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