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World Autism Awareness Day: Pre-K class caters to kids with autism

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(KTHV)- It's one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the United States. Autism now affects 1 in 68 children.

For some families, it can be a hard diagnosis to deal with, but help is out there.

After a short virus associated with high fever, John Mccollum says he noticed a change in his son Elijah.

"Within two weeks he couldn't talk anymore. He just really regressed really quickly."

Doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital diagnosed Elijah with autism in July of 2013.

Now, nearly two years later Elijah has made progress but is still not able to talk.

"No eye contact, not wanting to be touched, not wanting to be bothered to basically he's the same kid except for he can't communicate. He's still non-verbal."

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Gillam to seek re-election as Arkansas House speaker

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Speaker Jeremy Gillam says he's seeking another two-year term to lead the Arkansas House.

Gilliam told reporters Thursday he planned to run for re-election to the House in 2016 and will also run for another term as House speaker. The House will elect the speaker for the 91st General Assembly at the end of next year's fiscal session.

Gillam is a Republican from Judsonia and has served in the House since 2011. He was elected last year to lead the majority-Republican chamber through the end of 2016.

Gillam said he's already been telling members about his re-election plans, and didn't know if anyone else will run for the post.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Easter Bunny visits children at ACH

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Easter Bunny came early to the kids of Arkansas Children's Hospital on Thursday.

The Clinton Foundation hosted the egg hunt this afternoon for the dozens of ACH patients.

Hundreds of eggs were hidden in the hospital's play area, so the kids didn't have to go far.

It offered great hiding spots near the rock formations and water fall.

Griffin: GSI expansion is good news for the growing Arkansas Aerospace Industry

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 2, 2015) – On Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin issued the following statement after taking part in Galley Support Innovations' (GSI) ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their completed expansion and new multi-million dollar contracts:

"This expansion for GSI will help our economy and grow good paying jobs for hardworking Arkansans. Companies like GSI are vital to the aerospace industry here in Arkansas, and I am proud to support the expansion of this family owned and operated business. I applaud the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for their efforts to help make this expansion a reality."

GSI is a Sherwood, Arkansas based family owned and operated interior hardware manufacturer that has been in business for over 50 years.

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BNPD launches "My Safer City” initiative

BNPD launches "My Safer City” initiative

BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - During the month of April, the Benton Police Department is going to try and raise awareness to the alcohol and drug related substance abuse in the community. 

The police's initiative "My Safer City" plans to give more information about substance abuse through classes that will target those most likely to be affected. 

The school resource officers will be teaching classes this month to students about the dangers of drinking and driving along with illicit drug usage. According to officials, some of the classes will be targeting high school students prior to upcoming events such as prom and graduation.  

In addition to the classes, the Benton Police Department is also holding Operation Medicine Cabinet XI on April 25. Officers will staff a drop-off location, Ferguson's Furniture off Military Road, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for people to drop off all of their old or unused medications. 

Hundreds gather at Arkansas Capitol over religion bill

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Hundreds of supporters and opponents of Arkansas' religious conscience bill that has been criticized as anti-gay stood divided at the state Capitol steps.

One group urged Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto any and all proposals to prohibit state and local governments from infringing upon someone's religious beliefs and held signs reading "Arkansans are equal" and "Love one another." They say the bill would sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Another crowd held prayers and said people of all faiths need protection and that the change wouldn't harm the gay community.

There was little overlap between the groups, except brief outbursts from opponents during speeches downplaying potential discrimination as a side-effect of the bill.

Hutchinson says he wants the Legislature to consider changes to the bill that was sent to him.

Senate passes amended version of RFRA, House will vote Thursday

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Just hours after the governor announced he wouldn't be signing House Bill 1228, Republicans in the House and Senate drafted amendments to two other bills in hopes of keeping the Religious Freedom Restoration Act alive in Arkansas.

"With so much respect I have for the governor, I want to give him his time," said primary bill sponsor Sen. Bart Hester. "The law gives him five days to consider a bill and he has that right. I want to hold all of my rights as a legislator close."

Hester spent part of the day Wednesday making the rounds on a number of national news programs, reminding viewers around the United States and the world that his bill is not meant to promote discrimination but rather the freedom to follow religious convictions.