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 The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is to host more than 150 participants for a program on managing emergency responders who come in from out-of-state during a disaster.

The Thursday event in Conway will focus on testing the agency's ability to assign, track and monitor out-of-state emergency responders.

Members of local, state and federal agencies are to act in roles of help arriving from other states during the exercise.

The ADEM will practice signing in, briefing and deploying the workers acting as though they are from outside Arkansas.

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department says lanes of Interstate 530 in Pine Bluff and Highway 10 in Little Rock will be closed this week.

On Highway 10 - also known as Cantrell Road - bridge painting on the Marsh Arch Bridge between Chester Street and Dillard's corporate headquarters will require closing the outside lane of westbound Cantrell near the bridge from Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day - weather permitting.

Traffic will be controlled using cones and warning signs.

Craighead County's juvenile drug court that a judge said earlier this year would end remains open and officials are now looking to hire new case coordinators.

Circuit Judge Lee Fergus oversees the court and told county officials in September that he was ending it. Fergus told The Jonesboro Sun that he's been unable to hold court because of a fractured vertebra in his neck.

He now says Circuit Judge Cindy Thyer has stepped in to oversee the court in his absence.

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board has approved a request for $960.7 million in funding for college and university operations for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The request approved Friday during a board meeting at North Arkansas College in Harrison is for $133 million more than current funding.

The request will be presented to the Arkansas Legislature during the upcoming fiscal legislative session that begins in February.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he's worried that conservative activists are spending more energy targeting fellow Republicans than focusing on Democrats, a move he says will hurt the party going forward.

Speaking at the Political Animals Club in downtown Little Rock, Huckabee on Friday complained about conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action focusing on incumbent GOP lawmakers in primaries.

More than 66,000 Arkansans have applied for health insurance under the state's expansion of the Medicaid program as part of the federal health care overhaul.

The state's Medicaid director told legislators on Thursday that of those, just over 62,000 applications have been approved. 

The Public Health Committee also heard from state Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford, whose office says there are 71 available health plans from four insurance companies.

Memorial services are set for Friday for a southwest Arkansas teenager whose death may have been caused by a rare infection spread by mosquitoes.

Family members say 13-year-old Coleman Pearson was diagnosed earlier this month with eastern equine encephalitis. He died Tuesday at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

The diagnosis has not yet been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

AG Dustin McDaniel (D)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure aimed at limiting corporate spending to influence elections in Arkansas.

McDaniel rejected the proposal's wording on Wednesday, citing what he said were ambiguities and deficiencies in the proposed ballot title and text. 

McDaniel has to certify the wording of a proposed measure before groups can begin gathering signatures needed to qualify for a spot on the ballot.

The proposal that McDaniel rejected on Wednesday comes from the Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee.

A wholesale manufacturer of frozen bakery products says it's opening a production facility in northwest Arkansas.

Mark Gregory / Arkansas Times

City councilors in Bryant are examining the travel expenses of the town's police chief and a school resource officer after the pair was reimbursed for steak dinners from an upscale Orlando, Fla., strip club.

According to travel receipts obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Police Chief Mark Kizer and Bryant High School resource officer Lee Ledbetter both submitted receipts in July from O.C. Food & Beverage LLC Steakhouse.

The newspaper reports the address and telephone number for the steakhouse belongs to Rachel's Adult Entertainment & Steakhouse.

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