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The Arkansas Department of Corrections says an inmate who died in a cell at the East Arkansas Regional Unit apparently took his own life.

Public information officer Cathy Frye says correctional officers delivering meals early Tuesday to inmates housed in maximum security discovered 44-year-old Kenneth Boucher with a sheet wrapped around his neck. The sheet had been woven through a grate in Boucher's cell. Staff took immediate steps to resuscitate Boucher until paramedics arrived.

Federal prosecutors say 70 people have been charged after a two-year investigation into alleged drug trafficking and gun violence in northeastern Arkansas.

U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer and others announced Tuesday that 40 sealed indictments handed up last week named 70 defendants in a major drug-and-weapon operation. More than 500 law officers staged a number of arrests Tuesday morning.

Thyer said it had been evident for some time that drugs and guns were "overrunning" the Arkansas Delta.

Gay marriage same-sex marriage Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling striking down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, finding that the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage didn't render the state case moot.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says 1,300 students have signed up for coding classes under a new state law requiring public schools to teach computer science.

Arkansas is ending a program that provides home health care to thousands of people, a move that will affect more than 2,300 state workers and contractors.

Arkansas Department of Health Director Nathaniel Smith told the employees and contractors working for the In Home Services program in a letter dated Monday that the agency decided the program was no longer sustainable.

Smith's letter cites financial constraints and private sector competition, and said finding private providers for those on the state program will take at least six months.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas lawmakers are encouraging public school districts around the state to plan special events with their local legislators next month to promote more cooperation between educators and the General Assembly.

Lawmakers on Monday promoted a resolution approved earlier this year that designates September as "take your legislator to school month," an effort to encourage legislators to spend more time learning about public school firsthand.

13 states led by North Dakota are asking a federal judge in Bismarck to block a new rule that gives federal authorities jurisdiction over some state waters.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem says he will request a preliminary injunction Monday.

The states filed a lawsuit in June challenging the rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The states say the new rule illegally expands the jurisdiction of those agencies under the federal Clean Water Act.

The law goes into effect Aug. 28.

Tom Cotton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is on a weeklong trip to east Asia to meet with senior government officials and service members, including troops from Arkansas.

The freshman Republican lawmaker's office on Monday said he's visiting Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Cotton embarked on the trip Saturday, and has already met with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and embassy staff in Japan.

The Arkansas Forestry Commission says 37 counties in southern and central Arkansas are under a moderate wildfire danger because of dry vegetation and the expectation of continued dry conditions.

In addition, burn bans have been issued in 13 counties in the state. The counties are Chicot, Faulkner, Garland, Jefferson, Lincoln, Hempstead, Howard, Miller, Montgomery, Ouachita, Polk, Saline, and Union.

North Little Rock police say a woman has been shot by officers after she pointed a gun at them.

According to police, officers responded to a house Thursday where a 24-year-old woman was in the front yard holding a gun to her chest, threatening to kill herself. 

Authorities talked with the woman for about 40 minutes before they say she pointed the weapon at them. Officers fired multiple times at the woman, striking her "in the extremities."

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