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This Hour: Latest Arkansas news, sports, business and entertainment

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Immigrant children being placed with sponsors

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The federal government says well more than 100 unaccompanied children in Arkansas have been placed with sponsors so far this year after they crossed the border into the United States.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement released a state-by-state breakdown Thursday of the numbers of unaccompanied minors in each state that were placed with parents, relatives or family friends after crossing the border. The ORR says from Jan. 1 to July 7 that 166 unaccompanied children were placed with a sponsor in the state.

The office says all sponsors undergo background checks and the children are vaccinated and medically cleared before being placed with a sponsor.


Report: Adding vision, dental would cost $43M

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A report says that adding dental and vision coverage to Arkansas' compromise Medicaid expansion would cost nearly $43 million, but officials say they're not looking at adding on to the program.

A report commissioned by the state Insurance Department projected that adding the coverage to the state's "private option" would cost about $20 a month per person in the program. More than 176,000 people are enrolled in the private option, which is using federal funds to purchase private insurance for the poor.

The program was approved last year as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law. One of the insurance companies participating in the program had been offering the dental and vision coverage, but that coverage will end in 2015.


Arkansas base lockdown blamed on mistaken identity

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock Air Force Base officials are blaming a case of mistaken identity for an alarm that led them to lock down the base for several hours following the report of a suspicious individual.

Officials said Thursday the 6,100-acre base was locked down Wednesday after they received a report that a suspicious individual tried to forcibly gain access to a base building. No one was allowed to enter or leave the base in Jacksonville.

Base officials said they conducted a sweep of the base and determined the report was a case of mistaken identity and there was no threat.

Col. Patrick Rhatigan, the 19th Airlift Wing commander, said in a statement that no injuries or damages occurred during the lockdown.


2 men charged in shooting death plead not guilty

VAN BUREN, Ark. (AP) - Two Arkansas men have pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges in the shooting death of a 19-year-old.

Twenty-seven-year-old Jonathan Bridgewater and 19-year-old Nicholas Barrows are accused of fatally shooting Jamison Lee Plum of Alma in June.

Bridgewater and Barrows are half brothers from Rudy. Barrows also faces a charge of criminal use of a prohibited weapon.

The Southwest Times Record reports the public defender's office entered not guilty pleas on the men's behalf Wednesday in Crawford County Circuit Court.

The men are being held in jail on no bond.

Authorities say Plum's body was found last month in a shallow grave on property owned by the suspects' grandmother. Both men lived on the property in separate homes.

A message left with their attorney Thursday wasn't immediately returned.


Police: 17-year-old arrested in Stuttgart killing

STUTTGART, Ark. (AP) - A 17-year-old has been charged in the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in eastern Arkansas.

The Stuttgart Daily Leader reports police were called to an address around 5 p.m. Tuesday and found Ray Daniel Ruffin shot once in the chest. He was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and then by helicopter to Little Rock. Stuttgart police officials said Thursday morning that he died.

Police say they arrested a 17-year-old within two hours of Tuesday's call. He was initially charged with first-degree battery but that will likely change because Ruffin has died. Police are not releasing his name or a motive for the shooting.


UAMS Northwest vice chancellor pledges $250,000

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The vice chancellor for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest in Fayetteville has pledged a quarter million dollars to support a new physical therapy program on the UAMS Northwest campus in Fayetteville.

Dr. Peter Kohler pledged the deferred gift for use in continued development of the doctor of physical therapy program.

The program is part of the UAMS College of Health Professions and is the first UAMS academic program to be housed solely on the Fayetteville campus. The first 24 students in the program are expected to be enrolled in 2015.

UAMS Northwest opened in 2009 and now has 190 students and resident physicians in programs that include medicine, pharmacy, nursing and allied health professions.

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