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VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS

Arkansas to ban some indoor social gatherings due to virus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says the state will ban some large indoor social gatherings to address a growing number of coronavirus cases in the state. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday said the state Health Department is working on a directive prohibiting indoor social gatherings of more than than 10 people. The number of people in Arkansas with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, increased to at least 301 people on Wednesday. Little Rock's mayor also said his city will be expanding its nightly curfew imposed because of the outbreak.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TYSON FOODS

Tyson donates 40,000 pounds of chicken amid virus pandemic

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — Tyson Foods gave away 40,000 pounds of chicken to hundreds of people in Arkansas to lend a helping hand amid the new coronavirus global pandemic that has upended life across the nation. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Tuesday that The giveaway Monday in Pine Bluff offered people from all over the state 10-pound variety bags of pre-cooked chicken strips in several flavors, pre-cooked popcorn chicken, buffalo-style chicken wings, uncooked leg quarters and other selections. Derek Burleson, Tyson's public relations manager, said the company donated more than 2.6 million pounds of product in 18 states, including a million pounds in Arkansas.

OBIT-BRAUM'S FOUNDER

Bill Braum, ice cream and burger chain founder, dead at 92

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores says its founder, Bill Braum, has died. He was 92.  The company announced the death Tuesday. The company says in a statement that Braum died Monday at his home in Tuttle, Oklahoma. He grew up in the Kansas town where he worked for the small butter and milk processing plant his father ran. He inherited the plant, but later sold it. Braum launched the chain bearing his name in 1968 with 22 Oklahoma stores. The chain has grown to nearly 300 stores with locations in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS-UNIVERSITY HOUSING

Arkansas Tech issues credit for lost housing due to pandemic

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Students at Arkansas Tech University will be receiving a credit toward future university housing after the outbreak of the coronavirus forced student dorms to close. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the school's board of trustees approved the pro-rated credits based on the student's check-out date. Seniors will receive pro-rated housing refunds. The board separately voted to approve a similar measure for campus meal plans. All credits will be applied over the next 12 months. Arkansas Tech’s vice president for administration and finance said an appeal committee would consider students' "extenuating circumstances" should they not be able to re-enroll when classes resume and possibly “find favor with them and refund their amount.”

MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOODING

Officials: As Mississippi River drops, floods still a threat

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — As the Mississippi River in New Orleans continues to drop there is still a threat of flooding this spring across a third of the country. The Times-Picayune reports the river dropped below 15 feet last week in the city’s uptown neighborhood at the Carrollton gauge. The Army Corps of Engineers has changed rules that prohibit construction work on or near the river. It has also dropped river inspections from at least once a day to twice weekly. Federal forecasters say an increase in rainfall across areas north of Louisiana will pose a threat of high river conditions through May. Official say highly saturated soil in areas where rainfall might occur will also increase the chances of flooding.

INFANT DIES-CHARGES

Arkansas couple is charged in death of infant daughter

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A southwest Arkansas couple has been charged in Miller County with second-degree murder in the death of their 7-month-old daughter and endangering the welfare of the girl's twin brother. The Texarkana Gazette reports 24-year-old Crystal Morrow and 19-year-old Dustin Harley both of Fouke are charged in September death of Kimberly Harley and neglect of their son. Court records do not list attorneys to speak on behalf of the couple.