Arkansas continues defending 12-week abortion ban
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is continuing to defend the state's 12-week abortion ban to a federal appeals court, arguing the state has a legitimate interest in barring the procedure at that point in a woman's pregnancy.
McDaniel on Wednesday filed a reply brief with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is weighing whether to uphold a federal judge's decision that the 12-week ban is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright struck down the ban in March.
McDaniel argued in the brief that the ban is constitutional under existing court precedent.
The Republican-led Legislature approved the ban last year, overriding a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.
AIR FORCE BASE-LOCKDOWN
Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base
JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Military officials who shuttered the Little Rock Air Force Base say they have lifted the lockdown after determining that any threat to personnel was no longer credible.
Col. Patrick Rhatigan of the 19th Airlift Wing said Wednesday's lockdown was necessary to secure airmen, their families and Air Force facilities. The wing commander said that, after a search of the base, the report of a "suspicious individual" was no longer credible.
In a statement, he apologized for the inconvenience of the shutdown, which lasted nearly five hours. He did not say what prompted the alarm.
The base had been conducting emergency response exercises but base officials said Wednesday's incident was not part of the drill.
The air base is a major training site for personnel assigned to the C-130 cargo planes.
Federal disaster declarations made for 10 counties
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has made disaster declarations for farmers and ranchers in 10 Arkansas counties who suffered losses due to storms that began in the affected areas June 29.
Vilsack issued disaster declarations Wednesday in response to flood conditions in Cross, Independence, Jackson, Lee, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, St. Francis, White and Woodruff counties.
Additionally, a declaration providing flood-related aid also applies to 13 Arkansas counties that are next to the declared region.
Included in that declaration are Arkansas, Cleburne, Craighead, Crittenden, Faulkner, Izard, Jefferson, Lawrence, Phillips, Poinsett, Pulaski, Sharp, and Stone counties.
Farmers who feel they may qualify for this federal aid should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.
US gives Arkansas $1 million for winter cleanup
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Labor is giving Arkansas $1 million to help continue cleanup operations following a December winter storm.
Federal officials declared 14 counties eligible for a public assistance program after the Dec. 5-6 storm. The National Emergency Grant announced Wednesday will go to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and will let the state agency keep on temporary workers who are helping the area recover.
The counties involved are Crawford, Franklin, Fulton, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Polk, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Sharp and Van Buren.
An earlier grant totaled $506,748.
4 airports to get more than $500k for upgrades
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Members of the state's congressional delegation have announced more than $500,000 in grants for upgrades at four airports around Arkansas.
The announcement of the Federal Aviation Administration grants was made Wednesday.
The airports receiving funding are the Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field in Arkadelphia, which will receive $150,525 to update the existing master plan and identify future airport growth and development needs.
Saline County Regional Airport in Benton will receive $51,000 to fund the design and expansion of the airport apron, which is needed to accommodate the increased use of the general aviation facilities.
Magnolia Regional Airport will receive $270,000 to support the milling and overlay of the apron.
And Ozark-Franklin Count Airport in Ozark will receive $50,000 to design and make drainage improvements that will help handle stormwater runoff.
Ark. man gets 15 years in prison for child porn
EL DORADO, Ark. (AP) - Federal authorities say a 45-year-old El Dorado man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for receiving images of child pornography.
Authorities said Wednesday that Shannon Ross Griffin's prison term will be followed by supervised release for life.
Court records say investigators executed a search warrant for child pornography at Griffin's home last year.
Authorities confiscated two computers and other digital storage devices and a forensic examination revealed multiple images and videos of child pornography.
After being advised of his rights, Griffin admitted to downloading child pornography from the Internet and saving the images on his computers and digital storage devices.
Investigators said they found nearly 650 images and 69 videos depicting sexual assaults of children and other child pornography.
Griffin pleaded guilty to the charge March 10.
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