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Homeless census planned for homeless in Little Rock area

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Central Arkansas Team Care for the Homeless plans to conduct a census count of the homeless population in central Arkansas.

The count of sheltered and unsheltered people will be conducted Tuesday night in four counties in the Little Rock area - Pulaski, Lonoke, Prairie, and Saline.

Volunteers plans to distribute flyers throughout the area identifying satellite locations where volunteers will be working.

The 2014 count conducted last January found there were 571 men, women and children comprising 489 households residing in shelters in six Arkansas counties.

Of that number, 342 adults and children were in emergency shelters and 229 adults and children were in transitional housing. There were 68 youth under the age of 18 residing in emergency or transitional shelters.

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New sculpture finds a home in Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A new sculpture found its permanent home in the Main St. corridor on Monday.

The 12-foot, bronze sculpture is called "peace" and is a silhouette with colorful origami cranes, which are known for peace and hope.

Colorado native and sculpture, Lori Acott, says this is her second piece of art in Little Rock and it's symbolic for her.

"…one of the things that's consistent in my work…I have long legs. They are about rising above life's challenges. There are also some cracks carved into the piece. The cracks are a reminder that we all have them on the inside and it's a reminder to be kinder and gentler to each other," said Acott.

Her sculpture is the winner of the 2014 River Market Show and Sale, and it is located at the corner of 2nd and Main St.

Update: Police release name of man dead following SWAT standoff

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Police have released the name of the man who died after a six-hour standoff with police and a SWAT Team.

According to the Little Rock Police Department, John Lynch, Jr., 37, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday night. Police said they found his body inside his home after an almost six-hour standoff.

*The above video interview occurred before the suspect was reportedly found dead.

Lt. Sidney Allen said officers arrived at a home on Warnix Ln. sometime around 5 p.m. as members of the Violent Criminals Apprehension Team tried to serve a warrant to Lynch, but he refused to leave his home. The SWAT Team was called when police were led to believe that he might be armed.

The warrant, for first-degree battery, stemmed from a shooting that happened on Rinke Rd. on the night of January 15 where a man had been shot in the hip and stomach outside his home.

EXCLUSIVE: Dayong Yang speaks days after son dies

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "I lost everything. My whole family gone," Dayong Yang explained.

An emotional Dayong Yang sat down with THV11 for the very first time since losing his son on Monday. Yang continued, "The doctor told me, actually he died."

Seven-year-old Leo was hospitalized after a tragic accident killed his mother. On the morning of January 14, 2013 Jinglei Yi was traveling less than a mile away from her home when her car hit a patch of ice, losing control of her car, sending she and her son into a nearby pond. Since the accident, the city of Little Rock has installed underground pipes to drain water when it rains.

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Governor wants to extend private option to 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One of the big questions surrounding the election of Governor Asa Hutchinson: would he get behind the private option? On Thursday, he urged state lawmakers to fund Private Option through the end of December 2016.

"This avoids harm to the 200,000 plus on the Private Option and it assures our hospitals and providers of financial stability," Governor Hutchinson said.

"We like the stability of retaining it to 2016," said Bo Ryall, CEO of Arkansans Hospital Association. "That's certainly a positive to hospitals and hospital revenues."

He said keeping private option likely allows rural hospitals that may have closed without the Private Option, to stay open. Under the plan - state hospitals have seen a $69 million reduction in uncompensated care.

"We have to decide what kind of reforms are good reforms that puts it back on the patients," said Senator Missy Irvin.

Little Rock prepares for possible winter weather

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- There's no doubt that this winter has been very different than last winter. So far, there has been no major snow. But that has given the city and state plenty of time to prepare for any potential snow.

Mark Jacobi, the Public Works Operation Coordinator, said the city is lucky because they have not needed to put the trucks to use. "I think the entire city is lucky that we haven't had to do that," said Jacobi. "It's really hard to fight these types of events, and it does cost a lot."

Calvin Smith is one of the drivers that handles the city's snow plows. He says the city goes months a time when the plows aren't used so they have to do maintenance to get ready. "There could be a hydraulic leak that would make it not work right," said Echols.

Pulaski County Judge Rules Criminal Eviction Unconstitutional

Pulaski County Judge Rules Criminal Eviction Unconstitutional

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Judge Herbert Wright, 4th Division Circuit Court Judge in Pulaski County, ruled Wednesday that the failure to vacate statute is unconstitutional. 

Arkansas has received national attention for this previous statute from Human Rights Watch with their report “Pay the Rent or Face Arrest: Abusive Impacts of Arkansas's Criminal Evictions Law." Also unique to Arkansas, landlords are not responsible for keeping a safe and livable resident for tenants.

Now, Arkansas tenants can no longer become convicted criminals for failing to pay their rent on time. 

"Arkansas has been on the wrong side of history when it comes to treating citizens of the state equally," said Stacy Fletcher, a staff attorney with the Center for Arkansas Legal Services. "The failure to vacate statute was solely designed to intimidate renters into giving up their rights to a trial."