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Ex-University of Central Arkansas administrator drops appeal

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - The former chief of staff for the University of Central Arkansas has dropped his appeal of his commercial burglary conviction and is set to carry out his sentence.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that 59-year-old Jack Gillean dropped the appeal Monday for a deal in which the state will not file additional charges or jail time after learning that Gillean failed six separate drug tests while on probation.

Gillean was convicted in March 2014 of six counts of commercial burglary. Prosecutors say he gave master keys to a student who then stole tests from professors' offices. Gillean was sentenced to three years in prison and was fined $35,000 with 120 months of probation.

UCA receives $215,500 to support Nursing Department

UCA receives $215,500 to support Nursing Department

CONWAY—The University of Central Arkansas Foundation, Inc. has received $215,500 to support the Nursing Simulation Lab in the Department of Nursing.

“Nursing has afforded me the opportunity to care for a lot of individuals,” said Elizabeth A. Blankenship, CEO of Southridge Village Nursing and Rehabilitation. “With our ability to gift to the nursing program, the students will have some of the best technology available to them, and I believe it will assist in their training and education.”

Blankenship, along with her daughters and fellow UCA alumnae, Ashley M. Blankenship and Gretchen E. Humphreys, made the gift in a presentation that included UCA faculty, staff and students.

UCA President Tom Courtway expressed gratitude to the Blankenship family, “Thank you very much for your generosity. Thank you, more than anything else, for believing in UCA and believing in this college and this department.”

Conway Police Department returns stolen bicycles to owners

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - Conway police wheeled out lost or stolen goods on Thursday, and what's unique about this particular lineup is that police are trying to return these items to the appropriate owners.

LaTresha Woodruff with Conway police explained, "We have found ourselves with an abundance of bicycles."

The department is storing 36 bikes in their evidence room, and now they are turning to the public for help on locating the owners of them because they are simply running out of space. Typically, word gets around that bikes have been recovered, and you can always go to the police station to redeem it. But this year Conway police turned to the internet for help.

"We decided that we would put pictures of these bicycles on our website," Woodruff said.

Conway student gets perfect score on ACT


CONWAY, Ark. (Conway Public Schools) -- Jillian Tang, a 16-year-old Junior at Conway High School, has made the “perfect score” of 36 on the ACT.

Tang, the daughter of Chiung-Fang Liang, took the test in October.  This was her first time to take the exam in high school.  She previously took the ACT as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program in middle school, where she scored a 30 in the 7th grade.

“I felt pretty confident coming out of it,” says Tang, who is taking several Advanced Placement Classes at Conway High School.  “I felt like I was well-prepared for the test, so I wasn't stressed about it.”

U of Central Arkansas President Courtway to depart in 2017

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway has announced plans to step down at the end of his current contract.

Courtway's contract ends June 30, 2017, and he said in a statement released Friday by UCA that it's time to search for a new president. The statement said Courtway will become an instructor in the UCA College of Business.

Courtway became UCA president in December 2011 after initially serving as interim president following the resignation of Allen Meadors. Meadors resigned after it was revealed he failed to tell trustees that a $700,000 offer by Aramark to renovate his university home was contingent upon Aramark's food service contract being renewed for seven years.

Request denied for records help for teen charged in killings

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) - A Faulkner County judge denied a request to allow a family member or attorney to sign for records for a teenager charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of a couple who raised him as their grandson.

Attorneys for Justin Staton, who turned 15 last month, said Wednesday that because he is underage and his mother is being held on other charges, they've been unable to get school transcripts and other records. Circuit Court Judge Troy Braswell says other orders he's issued should solve the problem.

Staton is charged as an adult in the July killings of Robert and Patricia Cogdell, both 66.

Police say Staton and another teenager shot the couple then dragged their bodies to a wooded area.

Hit musical Mamma Mia! to visit UCA for two shows

Hit musical Mamma Mia! to visit UCA for two shows

CONWAY, Ark. - The long-running hit musical Mamma Mia! will visit the University of Central Arkansas’s Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall for two performances in February.

The original date — Monday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. — sold out quickly, so UCA Public Appearances has scheduled a second show for Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m.

“The Central Arkansas community has been requesting for years that we add Mamma Mia! to our Broadway series,“ said Amanda Horton, director of UCA Public Appearances. “The show became available for single booking nights this year, and the routing was coming near Conway, so it all worked out in our favor.

“Once we announced the season, the Mamma Mia! tickets immediately began selling, and we quickly sold out.  So we worked with the company to add another show so that more of our community could see this popular performance.”