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Attorney working to close loopholes in Arkansas adoption laws

Attorney working to close loopholes in  Arkansas adoption laws


FAYETTEVILLE — After several local Marshallese mothers are blindly swept up in a black market baby scheme, a local attorney is in Little Rock pushing for state lawmakers to change Arkansas’ adoption laws.

Local attorney Josh Bryant is in Little Rock, sharing a

study about the loopholes in Arkansas adoptions.

The study was scheduled on the calendar already, but it’s even more pressing now that an alleged adoption scheme by Arizona attorney Paul Petersen was uncovered.

Bryant says that adoption has become human trafficking in vulnerable communities in Arkansas, including the sizeable Marshallese population in the northwest part of the state.

Justin Heimer is also a local adoption attorney in Northwest Arkansas. He says there are good laws in place for adoptions in the state, but beginning the discussion about how to improve loopholes would be good for expectant mothers and adopting families.

“Josh Bryant has worked really hard on this law, and I am a fan of the work he is doing.

I’d like to see all of us, all of the adoption attorneys in the state, most of which have spoken to each other about this, kind of work together to go ‘Wait we’re the ones who understand this code’,” Heimer said.


JONESBORO — The March of Dimes, whose mission is to improve the health of mothers and babies, issued their yearly report cards which take an in-depth look at maternal and

infant health in the United States.

Arkansas received an F because of the high number of babies being born prematurely. At the county level, Craighead County also received an F.

The state’s preterm birth rated is 11.6%, which means every 11 babies out of 100 are born prematurely.

In Craighead County, that number sits at 12.3%, meaning every 12 babies out of 100 are born prematurely, which is worse than last year’s rate, according to March of Dimes.

Nationally, 10-percent of babies born are premature.

Medical staff at St. Bernards Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are not happy with the failing grade.

They work to serve mom and baby from inception to delivery.

A pregnancy clinic, educational classes, labor and delivery, obstetrical emergency department, operating rooms, and a NICU all work to serve any need at St. Bernards.

The pregnancy clinic serves anyone that walks through their doors, with or without insurance. There’s also an OBGYN and Neonatologist on staff 24/7.

Dana Lands, NICU nursing director for obstetrics, said at St. Bernards it’s all about serving mom and baby.

“To be able to provide that care, that’s our biggest goal,” she says. “That’s our first, big step. We want to take care of these moms and these babies and give them a good first step once they get home.

That’s going to help carry this forward.”


Police make busts in illegal gambling venues

JACKSONVILLE — Search warrants have been executed at 11 Jacksonville businesses after police say there were numerous complaints from citizens about alleged illegal gambling.

In a news release issued Monday, the Jacksonville Police Department said its Criminal Investigation Division conducted undercover operations on multiple businesses inside the city.

On Monday at 10:30 a.m., JPD investigators executed search warrants alleging operation of an illegal gambling house and illegal use of gambling equipment at these businesses: Bucks Country Store, Citgo Flash Market, Citgo T-Ricks, Feeze Kutz, Han’s Citgo, Heards and Q Tee’s, Hi-Life Market, OK Mart-Valero, Roadrunner Dist., Victory Express, and 501 Vapes.

Police say several of the business have been conducting illegal operations since 2017.

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