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Nation’s First Water Leak Detection Dog Graduates Arkansas Paws In Prison Program

Nation’s First Water Leak Detection Dog  Graduates Arkansas Paws In Prison Program

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LITTLE ROCK — A recent Arkansas Paws in Prison graduate is taking on a new role as the nation’s first water leak detection dog.

Vessel graduated from the Arkansas Department of Corrections Paws in Prison program.

No word on who Vessel’s handler will be yet, but he will be employed at Central Arkansas Water (CAW).

The black lab mix will help the utility find surfacing and non-surfacing leaks within the distribution system, according to the company’s website.

In the U.S., leak detection canines are most commonly used to detect leaks in oil pipelines. CAW is the first water utility in the U.S. to employ a water leak detection dog.

Central Arkansas Water will host a reveal and demonstration next Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the River Market Pavilions in Little Rock.

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Low-income families burdened with school lunch debts

PULASKI COUNTY — Students need to eat in school, but when parents don’t pay, school districts have to deal with the debt. And some Arkansas school districts are scrambling to find a solution.

Some school district leaders Arkansas said they spend hours upon hours contacting parents at the end of the year to collect payments.

During lunchtime at Maumelle Middle School, chili cheese fries were on the menu. But in the line of hungry students, there were some with no money in their lunch accounts.

“It’s been tough,” said Jessica Duff with the Pulaski County Special School District. “Obviously we want every child to make sure they have a meal no matter what.”

A newer law in Arkansas requires school districts to provide meals regardless of student’s account balances—preventing any type of stigmatization of the students with low balances.

And some school district employees are worried the debts will keep rising because of it.

“We’ve seen the debt climb back up, and it’s close to $76,000 for the school year already,” Duff said.

“I know last year she reached ten dollars, they wouldn’t let her eat,” said Sandra Murray, whose daughter attends Cabot High School.

Murray said it’s been easier this year, because her daughter qualifies for free meals.

Cabot School District leaders said they’ve had to turn some parent’s debt to a collection agency.

“To go to collections — that’s kind of harsh,” said Lynda Nipitella, whose grandson attends Cabot High. “You’re taking people that are down and keeping them down.”

Leaders at Bryant School District said they were able to lower their debt to about $3,000 by using money from their general operating budgets. Duff said they have done the same in the PCSSD.

“I guess it’s a shame,” Nipitella said. “If parents really can’t pay for the lunch, that would be horrible.”

Some parents said they wish school meals were free for every student.

“I think if we can feed and clothe and house inmates in prison, why can’t these kids eat?” Murray asked, To qualify for free meals, families must earn below a certain amount of money per year—and that depends on household size.

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Man arrested after throwing Lime scooter into Arkansas River

LITTLE ROCK — A video that was believed to be posted on Saturday shows a man throwing a Lime scooter into the Arkansas River from a bridge in Little Rock.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) says that Peyton Lane turned himself into the Sheriff’s office earlier today.

He confessed to investigators that he was the one who threw the Lime scooter into the river.

He is facing a charge of Theft of Property, which is a felony.

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