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A looming government shutdown, free COVID-19 tests available again


Arkansas Representative Womack concerned about government shutdown

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working with his colleagues in the US House of Representatives to convince members of his own party to avoid a government shutdown. In an interview with Arkansas PBS, Republican Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District said he is concerned about the potential impact of a shutdown. 

“People that advocate for government shutdowns, that’s not a winning formula,” said Womack. “It costs money. I think it was like .4% of real GDP last time. That’s some serious money out of the economy. It causes agencies to have to do a lot of reprogramming and re-shuffling, those kinds of things. That’s expensive. And the uncertainty in the markets.”

Womack said there are four or five members of his party who are holding out and stopping a spending plan from being passed.

Free COVID-19 tests available again

Free COVID-19 tests will once again be available starting today. Households can order up to four free COVID-19 rapid test kits for home delivery online at covid-tests-dot-gov.

The free at-home test delivery program ended last May when the national public health emergency was declared over. More than 755 million tests were mailed, nearly half of those in underserved communities. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced awarding $600 million to a dozen coronavirus test manufacturers to boost domestic manufacturing capacity and supplies.

CDC officials say the new rapid tests are able to detect the latest variants and are intended to be used through the end of the year.

Two new Innovation Labs available at Boys & Girls Club

The Fort Smith and the Benton County Boys & Girls Club are celebrating the launch of two Innovation Labs tomorrow afternoon at the Boys & Girls Club in Fort Smith. The labs are made possible by a $40,000 grant from Cox Communications.

Chronic Wasting Disease programming available at Hobbs State Park

Hobbs State Park Conservation Area is partnering with Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife to host a program discussing chronic wasting disease on Sunday afternoon. The disease affects members of the deer family across the state with no known treatment or vaccine at this time. There have not been any reported cases of CWD in humans at this time, but hunters during deer season may unknowingly interact with infected animals. The program is free and will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 in the Hobbs State Park visitor center.

Croce Plays Croce in Fort Smith

Temple Live in Fort Smith will host singer/songwriter A.J. Croce next spring. He’ll be performing songs of his father, Jim Croce, who died in a plane crash 50 years ago this month. The “Croce Plays Croce 50th Anniversary Tour” will feature the younger Croce playing songs from three of his father’s albums including “I Got a Name.” Dates for the tour were released this morning and the Fort Smith concert is March 26th.

A weekend full of Razorback sports

Plenty of Razorbacks sports in action over the weekend. The number 11 Razorback women’s soccer club won on the road yesterday against Texas A&M yesterday 1-nil. They now stand as the only team undefeated in conference play. The next match is on Thursday evening in Columbia against Mizzou, with their next home match on October 5th.

The number 16 Razorback volleyball squad began their conference play this weekend in Barnhill Arena. The Hogs swept South Carolina in three straight sets on Friday, including 8 service aces. On Sunday they hosted Texas A&M, winning 3 sets to 1. Their next match will be in Barnhill once again on Wednesday night.

And finally, two current Razorback golfers will be playing to qualify later today for the LPGA tournament in Rogers. One player, Miriam Ayora, has already qualified to play in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club beginning on Friday.

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Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Jacqueline Froelich is an investigative reporter and news producer for Ozarks at Large.