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ARKANSAS-FALLING BIRTH RATE

Arkansas birth rate lowest in nearly two decades

LITTLE ROCK Ark. (AP) — According to health officials, people in Arkansas are having fewer babies. KATV reports the Arkansas Department of Health says the state last year had its lowest birth rate in at least 19 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports birth rates in the U.S. have hit a record low and Arkansas is seeing a similar trend. Dr. William Greenfield, with the Arkansas Department of Health, tells the Little Rock television station he's not worried because it could mean couples are waiting until they're ready. He says the state has seen a decline in the teen birth rate, “which is a positive.”

CORPSE HIDDEN IN HOME

Arkansas couple facing charges after hiding corpse in home

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A Texarkana, Arkansas, couple is facing charges after police discovered a skeletonized corpse that might have been inside one of their homes for the past two years. Tony Ken Hooker, 63, and Debbie Sue Himes, 55, have each been charged with abuse of a corpse after what is believed to be the body of Himes’ sister, Christy Himes, was found Oct. 2. Texarkana police discovered the remains in connection with the arrest of Hooker on allegations of sexual assault of a child. Debbie Himes told detectives her sister died after having a seizure and didn’t call 911 because she couldn’t afford a funeral.

ROBBERY SUSPECT FATALLY SHOT

Arkansas State Police to investigate fatal shooting

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas State Police says it’s investigating the fatal shooting of a robbery suspect by a Bentonville police officer. Authorities said Bentonville police suspected that 17-year-old Dominick Matt had attempted to rob a convenience store on Friday evening. Police say an officer saw Matt walking near the store and when the officer approached him, Matt pulled out a handgun. The officer fatally shot Matt. The officer was not injured. State police will present its findings to the Benton County prosecuting attorney, who will determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.

UALR-NORTH TEXAS

North Texas his record 19 3-pointers in 76-53 rout of ULAR

DENTON, Texas (AP) — North Texas hit a program record 19 3-pointers in its 76-53 rout of Arkansas-Little Rock on. Umoja Gibson had a season-high 23 points with seven 3-pointers for North Texas (4-6) and James Reese had 12 points with four 3s.

AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE

2 Arkansas air ambulance bases close after lawsuit is tossed

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two Air Evac Lifeteam bases in Arkansas have closed after a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the company's lawsuit seeking higher rates for medical flights. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the company could not maintain the bases in Morrilton and Paragould, since the reimbursements for a trip do not come close to covering the actual cost of a flight. The federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit on grounds that the company didn't have standing to sue under federal law and that the medical companies' reimbursement practices did not violate the Deceptive Practices Act.

HENDERSON STATE-MERGER

Arkansas State trustees OK merger with Henderson State

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University System trustees have signed off on a plan to merge Henderson State University into its system. The trustees approved a resolution on the merger Friday. In October, Henderson State's trustees approved a similar measure, which calls for Henderson State to keep its name and its mascot, the Reddies. Henderson State is Arkansas' only public, four-year liberal arts university.