Latest Arkansas news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. CDT


Cold cases get colder as coronavirus pandemic wears on

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives are struggling to connect with victims through thick masks, and investigators accustomed to wearing plainclothes are digging out their dusty uniforms for patrol duty as the coronavirus pandemic rages. Police departments nationwide are grappling with changes the virus has wrought on their investigations, even as law enforcement agencies report major decreases in crime due to stay-at-home orders. Authorities say enough wrongdoing abounds to keep police busy, and detective work must still be in-person and hands-on, despite COVID-19. Evidence has to be collected, statements must be taken in person and death notifications need to be made face-to-face.


Arkansas orders venue not to defy restrictions with concert

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas has ordered a large theater to abandon its plans to defy the state’s coronavirus restrictions on gatherings by holding what could be the nation’s first major concert this far into the pandemic. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the state Health Department was sending a cease and desist letter to the Fort Smith venue, TempleLive, to postpone or cancel a concert Friday night by country rock singer Travis McCready. The event is expected to draw more than 200 people and would be held three days before Arkansas allows large indoor entertainment venues to reopen. Even under those rules, such venues are limited to 50 people in the audience unless approved by the state.


Arkansas decisions coming next week on opening bars, camps

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says he'll announce next week whether bars and summer camps can open as he continues moves to ease the state's coronavirus restrictions. Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that he'll announce Monday whether bars can reopen, and the decision on summer camps and youth sports will come two days later. Health officials said Tuesday at least 4,164 people in Arkansas have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, an increase over the 4,043 reported a day earlier. Ninety-five people in Arkansas have died from COVID-19.


Arkansas professor accused of not disclosing ties to China

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas has suspended an electrical engineering professor without pay after he was arrested on an allegation that he failed to disclose that he had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese businesses. A statement issued Monday by federal prosecutors says 63-year-old Simon S. Ang has been charged with a wire fraud count after failing to make the disclosure on an application for a NASA grant. A federal complaint says such materially false representations led to numerous wire messages that facilitated a scheme to defraud. A university spokeswoman says the school is cooperating with federal investigators. Jail records do not list an attorney for the professor.


Arkansas' lottery revenue soars, helps fund scholarships

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The drop in gas prices and closure of Arkansas’ three casinos amid the coronavirus pandemic has fueled the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery fund, as the lottery set a record for total revenue in the month of April. Under state law, at the end of each fiscal year, the lottery is required to transfer the balance of the unclaimed prize reserve fund, minus $1 million, to college scholarships. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the lottery director has projected a total of $89.3 million in net proceeds for college scholarships. The state Division of Higher Education forecasts that it will distribute $94.6 million in Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarships to 33,315 students in fiscal year 2020.


Prosecutor says woman killed Arkansas lawmaker for money

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that a woman charged with killing a former Arkansas lawmaker last year did it for money and to avoid arrest. Robert Dittrich, the special prosecutor assigned to the case, filed a notice with Randolph County Circuit Court in late April. The Arkansas Times first reported on the new filing last week. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Rebecca O’Donnell, 49, who is charged with capital murder, abuse of corpse and evidence tampering in the killing of Sen. Linda Collins. She has pleaded not guilty. Collins’ decomposed body was found outside her Pocahontas home last June.