Associated Press

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.

A new nature preserve is planned near the Buffalo National River after the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas purchased 1,425 acres of land in the area. 

The conservation group says the land is on a mountain near Mt. Judea along Big Creek, which flows into the Buffalo River. The group says the new preserve, which will be called Council Rock Forest, is also home to three rare bat species. 

An Arkansas man has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to capital murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff's deputy earlier this year.

Police in Little Rock say a park on the city's west side will be searched for a woman who disappeared more than a year ago.

Police say detectives and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children will search Chalamont Park starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday for Ebby Steppach.

Steppach was 18 when she disappeared. She was last heard from during a phone call about 2 p.m. Oct. 24, 2015, and was reported missing two days later.

Her car was found about a week after her disappearance, although police have declined to reveal where it was found.

An infant is unharmed after she was thrown into a drainage ditch during a two-vehicle accident near Texarkana.

Texarkana police say 8-month-old Bryce Hale was one of five people traveling in a car on Interstate 30 Friday night when a semitrailer hit the vehicle while changing lanes. The vehicle skidded before striking the median's guardrail.

Police say Bryce was ejected from the vehicle's back window and landed beneath some metal bars at the entrance of drainage ditch separating eastbound and westbound traffic.

Little Rock police have announced a $20,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction for whoever fatally shot a 2-year-old girl earlier this week.

Police announced Friday that an anonymous donor gave $10,000 for the reward, and the city of Little Rock matched that donation.

Authorities say the girl was riding in a vehicle Tuesday night when she was struck by gunfire. The girl was taken to a Little Rock hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police say a motive for the shooting is not yet known.

A federal judge is prohibiting Arkansas from enforcing its anti-begging law.

U.S. District Judge Billy Joe Wilson on Tuesday agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas that the law unconstitutionally restricts freedom of speech.

An Arkansas panel will hold a public hearing next month on plans to build a privately funded monument to the Ten Commandments near the state Capitol.

A subcommittee of the State Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission on Monday set Dec. 14 as the date for its hearing to receive public comments on a proposal by the American Heritage and History Foundation to build the monument. The subcommittee will make a recommendation to the full commission on the monument plans.

Construction work to replace the U.S. Highway 70 Broadway Bridge will prompt closure of the Arkansas River on two days next week.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department says one of the remaining two footings that supported the steel navigation arch will be detonated Monday at about 4 p.m.

Monday's demolition work on the Broadway bridge will close the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Arkansas lawmakers are considering delaying the launch of the first medical marijuana program in the Bible Belt as well as an effort to impose additional taxes on the drug as they work on legislation implementing a medical pot measure voters approved this month.

The ideas are among several lawmakers are discussing for next year's session.

State forestry officials say a wildfire that burned nearly 2 square miles in western Arkansas has been contained. 

The Arkansas Forestry Commission says the fire that started Thursday near Charleston burned an estimated 1,100 acres. Windy, dry weather on Thursday caused the blaze to quickly spread, and many counties had burn bans in effect.     

A cold front moved through the state on Friday, bringing rain, which lowered the wildfire risk. 

Arkansas' highest court has banned a labor union from protesting or demonstrating at Wal-Mart's stores and offices in the state, scaling back a judge's order prohibiting the group from entering the retail giant's property for anything other than shopping.

A prosecutor says the Fort Smith School Board violated the state's Freedom of Information Act when they conducted business through a series of emails.

School board members discussed the new slate of school board officers prior to elections.

The Southwest Times Record reports that Sebastian County prosecutor Dan Shue issued a letter to school board members Nov. 8. informing them of the violation. 

A plan to build a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Arkansas state Capitol has advanced, with a state panel voting the proposal can now face a public hearing.

A national trucking company has agreed to pay $260,000 to settle discrimination complaints by four Sikh truckers who were denied jobs for refusing drug tests that violated their religious beliefs.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. reached the settlement being announced Tuesday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization that represented the men, says the trucking company required three men to clip their hair for drug samples and required a fourth to remove his turban before providing a urine sample.

Arkansas foster care officials say a proposed $26 million budget increase will allow them to hire hundreds of more staffers over the next two years as they try to cut down caseloads and increase the number of homes available for children in the state's custody.

An invasive beetle known for destroying ash trees has been discovered in two more Arkansas counties.

The Arkansas State Plant Board said Thursday that the emerald ash borer has been discovered in Hempstead and Lafayette counties in southwest Arkansas. The board has established a quarantine in several Arkansas counties that prohibits the movement of ash items including nursery stock and firewood in hopes of preventing the spread of the beetle.

Democrats will have a majority of seats on an Arkansas House panel that will take up any proposals to cut taxes next year, despite the party's ranks thinning in the majority-Republican Legislature.

Democrats on Thursday secured 11 of the 20 seats on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee as representatives caucused and selected committees ahead of next year's legislative session. The meeting came two days after Republicans expanded their majorities in the House and Senate.

An Arkansas Supreme Court justice says she won't recuse from hearing an appeal related to a wrongful-death lawsuit against a nursing home owner who donated thousands of dollars to her campaign two years ago.

Justice Rhonda Wood on Thursday denied the motion asking that she not hear Michael Morton's appeal of a state judge's order granting class-action status in Andrew Phillips' lawsuit against Morton and Robinson Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Little Rock. Phillips' mother, who died in 2014, was a resident of the nursing home.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is proposing a $50 million cut in Arkansas' income tax in two years, warning fellow Republicans that he'll oppose a push for further reductions unless they're offset by closing tax exemptions or cuts elsewhere in the state's budget.

Arkansas State Police say a 1-year-old boy was killed when a pickup truck crashed into the bedroom where he was sleeping in a crib.

A state police report says the driver of the pickup was southbound on Highway 367 just south of Little Rock Monday afternoon when the truck went off the roadway and into a yard, then struck several trees.

The report says the pickup then crashed into the bedroom of a home where the boy was sleeping and struck the crib.

The driver of the truck was hospitalized in undisclosed condition. The child's name was not released.

Arkansas is asking the nation's highest court to not review a decision upholding the state's lethal injection law, saying the nine death row inmates challenging the ruling have not raised a federal claim in the case.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said the university is backing six women's basketball players who kneeled during the national anthem before an exhibition game Thursday.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says it won't reconsider its decision to disqualify a medical marijuana proposal from the ballot after thousands of votes had already been cast for next week's election.

In a 5-2 ruling Thursday, justices denied a petition to rehear its ruling that blocked state officials from counting any votes cast for the proposal, known as Issue 7. The court ruled last week that the campaign behind the measure did not follow state law regarding paid canvassers.

Arkansas Supreme Court justices are questioning whether it's up to them or the Legislature to rewrite the state's birth certificate laws following the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Police in Little Rock are searching for a former drummer for the Grammy Award-winning polka-rock band Brave Combo who hasn't been seen in two weeks.

Police say Joe Cripps was last seen Oct. 19 or Oct. 20 and that his family reported him missing. Cripps previously played drums with Brave Combo, a Denton, Texas-based band that won Grammys in 1999 and 2004 for best polka album.

Arkansas finance officials say a boost in corporate and individual income tax collections helped the state's revenue rebound in October after three months of losses this fiscal year.

The Department of Finance and Administration said Wednesday the state's net available revenue in October totaled $439.1 million, which was $33.2 million above the same month last year and $8.9 million above forecast. The state's revenue so for the fiscal year that began July 1 totaled $1.7 billion, which is $23.2 million below forecast.

A Little Rock attorney who successfully sued to disqualify a medical marijuana initiative says the Arkansas Supreme Court should reject an attempt by supporters of the measure to have it reinstated on the ballot in next week's election.

A man selling bluejeans has been shot in the visitors' parking lot of the Clinton Presidential Center in what police say was a robbery.

Little Rock Police Public Affairs Officer Lt. Steven McClanahan says three men approached the 19-year-old victim and his cousin Monday evening and at least one of them drew a handgun and fired, striking the victim in the leg. McClanahan says the injury is not life-threatening, and that the victim was taken by his cousin to a hospital.

Police have not released the victim's name.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Monday proposed keeping higher education funding flat next fiscal year but vowed to back a $10 million increase in 2018 if lawmakers support a plan to tie money for colleges and universities to factors such as degree completion.

The campaign behind a medical marijuana proposal disqualified from Arkansas' ballot days after early voting began asked the state Supreme Court Monday to consider reinstating the measure, saying the ruling would make it more difficult for grassroots groups to put initiatives on the ballot.

Pages