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Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

A 14-year-old girl from Oklahoma City has unearthed a 3.85-carat diamond at Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Tana Clymer discovered the canary gem Saturday at the park, which is the only diamond-producing site in the United States open to the public. 

Tana says she'd been digging in the dirt for about two hours when she discovered the gem on the surface of the search field.

The yellow diamond is teardrop-shaped and about the size of a jellybean. Tana named the diamond "God's Jewel."

A 13-year-old Arkansas boy is being treated for what is believed to be a rare case of Eastern equine encephalitis.

 Arkansas lawmakers have given final approval to a package of bills aimed at reducing health insurance rate increases for thousands of teachers next year and laying groundwork to overhaul that insurance program.

The House and Senate approved the bills shortly after midnight, wrapping up a marathon special session that began Thursday afternoon to address the premium increases. The measures now head to Governor Mike Beebe, who plans to sign them into law as soon as Monday.

A plan to allow Arkansas to retain excess property tax revenue from a handful of school districts has stalled before a House panel. Supporters say the move effectively kills the proposal for this week's special session.

The House Education Committee rejected an effort Friday to bring the proposal up for a vote after it was tabled earlier in the day.

The Senate sponsor of an identical bill said he wouldn't bring it before that chamber due to the House objections.

Authorities say a Harding University graduate student was killed after she was struck by a patrol car driven by a White County sheriff's deputy.

The White County Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Courtney Book was riding her bicycle Thursday night when she was struck by a patrol car driven by Lt. Brandon Grimes.  A spokesman for Harding says Book was a graduate student in the college of education.

The Daily Citizen reports Book had been a Harding student since 2008, earning an undergraduate degree in history in 2012.

Candidates from Arkansas' closely watched political races in 2014 addressed members of the Delta Grassroots Caucus at a conference in Memphis.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor addressed the crowd in person Friday, while his challenger, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, spoke with members via speaker phone.

The caucus also included speeches from Democrat Mike Ross and Republican Asa Hutchinson, who are both running for Arkansas governor. The governor's office comes open next year because Democratic incumbent Mike Beebe is term-limited.

Arkansas lawmakers Friday approved legislation aimed at averting health insurance rate increases of up to 50 percent that are otherwise set to hit thousands of teachers next year.

The House and Senate on passed identical but separate bills that call for using $43 million in state surplus money this year. Those proposals will head to the opposite chambers for final votes.

The House also approved a series of long-term changes to the insurance program that supporters say are needed to keep it sustainable and avoid future efforts to boost funding.

Leading candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor's races in Arkansas are scheduled to speak at a conference in Memphis.

Two-term incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, and the Republican opponent for his Senate seat, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, will speak Friday at the Delta Grassroots Caucus at the Agricenter in east Memphis.

Also scheduled to speak are former Congressmen Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson, who are competing to replace Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.

An Arkansas legislative committee has advanced a bill to use state surplus funds to lower an increase in teacher insurance premiums that are to hit next year.

The Joint Budget Committee on Thursday endorsed the proposal to use $43 million from the surplus to lower the premium which otherwise would increase by as much as 50 percent. The proposal is the centerpiece of a package of bills aimed at reducing the premium increase.

The surplus money and redirected surplus funds in subsequent years is expected to lower the premium increase to 10 percent.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is offering a $119 million settlement to three districts involved in a long-running school desegregation case.

In a letter Thursday, McDaniel said any settlement must involve the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County districts.

Arkansas pays about $70 million annually to the districts under a 1989 agreement. The offer was in response to a proposed settlement McDaniel recently received from Little Rock to phase out its payments in either a $297 million lump sum or $42.4 million a year for seven years.

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