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First ‘Baby Box’ installed in Arkansas

First ‘Baby Box’ installed in Arkansas

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BENTON, Ark. (KARK) — Safe havens for unwanted newborns are expanding in the Natural State.

The Benton Fire Department is installing the state’s first “Safe Haven Baby Box.” This allows a parent to anonymously drop off unwanted newborns into the climate-controlled box.

This comes after recent amendments adding fire departments to the state’s “Safe-haven Law” which allows parents to place newborns, 30-days and younger, in the hands of authorities without penalty as long as there are no signs of abuse or trauma.

Fayetteville Fire Department Assistant Chief Thomas Goode broke down how the box is issued. “If a person was set to drop off a baby — an unwanted baby — less than 30 days old, they can open it from the outside, place the infant in the baby box, lock it, and then it sends an alarm to dispatch where the units can be notified that there is an infant in there.”

Assistant Chief Goode said first responders are the only ones able to unlock and remove the baby.

Arkansas is the third state behind Indiana and Ohio to install baby boxes.

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HELENA-WEST HELENA — Police in Helena-West Helena are investigating a series of business robberies in which the suspects wore Halloween masks. They department believes these incidents are related.

Around 12:30 p.m.

Monday, police say a black male about 6 feet 1 and 170 to 180 ponds entered the Federal Post Office on Sebastian and jumped over the counter.

Police say the employees ran to the back and locked themselves in. The man left without taking anything, but while officers responded to the Post Office the same man walked into Southern Bancorp Bank on Plaza Street armed with a black semi-automatic handgun.

Police say the man took an undetermined amount of cash from the tellers and was last seem driving a white sedan with no tag information. On Saturday, police say a man in a gorilla mask and gloves resembling gorilla hands robbed Jordan’s Tobacco Super Center.

Employees said he kept one hand in his pocket and they thought he had a gun.

Police say the man ordered the employees to get money out of the safe, hand it to him and get down on the ground. The clerks complied and the man ran off.

One of the employees followed the robber and saw him get into what could’ve been an older model white Chevrolet Malibu with paper tag 5C16RO covering the license plate. Police ran the tag number but it had no record.

The robberies are under investigation by Arkansas State Police, the FBI and local police.

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City of Hot Springs going green with 100-percent solar energy

HOT SPRINGS — The city of Hot Springs is switching to 100-percent solar energy.

City leaders said this will save the city millions of dollars.

“We’re the natural state, and there’s nothing more natural than solar power,” said Bill Burrough, Hot Springs City Manager.

Solar energy will soon power all city operations– from City Hall to the Fire Department.

“It’s a very ambitious project, so far it’s the largest Arkansas city to go 100 percent solar energy,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar.

Hot Springs is partnering with Scenic Hill Solar.

They’ll build solar power plants across 80 acres of land in the city, with more than 30-thousand modules.

Some will likely go on cityowned land next to Kimery Park.

Burrough said this will save the city an estimated 30 million dollars over the next 30 years.

“We’re always looking for initiatives to become greener, to take care of our environment, and look at opportunities to lower costs,” he said.

Scenic Hill Solar will be building and operating on city land at no cost to the city. The City will then purchase power from the plant.

Leaders said the solar plants should be completed within a year.

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