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Cody Barlow, ‘straight, country boy’ from Oklahoma, decorates pickup truck for pride month

HULBERT, Okla. — Self-described “straight, country boy” Cody Barlow believes duct tape really can fix anything, including bigots.

The 28-year-old college student from Hulbert, Oklahoma, recently decorated the tailgate of his pickup truck like a pride flag with a bold message: “NOT ALL COUNTRY BOYS ARE BIGOTS.”

Barlow’s Facebook post about his truck had been shared more than 135,000 times by Tuesday with comments praising him for being an LGBTQ ally. He says he thinks he can change closed minds and encourage loved ones who feel alone.

Now, the “jacked-up” 1991 Chevrolet Silverado he uses to off-road through the woods is plastered with rainbow-colored duct tape.

“It fixes everything, even bigots,” he said.



Barlow plans to drive his truck in pride parades later this month in Oklahoma City and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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Arkansas native Adam Hambrick transitions from songwriting to solo career in Nashville

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — If you like country music, there’s a good chance you’ve heard lyrics written by Arkansas native Adam Hambrick. 

As a songwriter, he’s earned two #1 hits on country radio. The University of Central Arkansas graduate wrote Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will” and Dan + Shay’s “How Not To.” Moore and Shay Mooney are also Arkansas natives. 

Hambrick credits Moore for helping kick-start his career. In 2011, Moore called a producer in Nashville after watching Hambrick perform on an Arkansas morning show. 

“Here’s the thing you need to know about Justin. Justin is so pro-Arkansas,” Hambrick said. “Anytime that he can help somebody from here, he does. He doesn’t hesitate.” 

Hambrick quickly accepted the invite to Nashville and was soon writing songs. 

Hambrick’s journey to Nashville started in the Arkansas Delta. At 12-years-old, he received his first guitar – a 1960’s Gibson B-25 from his grandfather. 

“He gave me that guitar and he taught me a bunch of bluegrass songs on it,” Hambrick said. 

Last month, he was invited to perform on the The Bobby Bones Show. Bones is yet another Arkansas connection. During the show, Hambrick was told that he’d earned a spot on country music’s most classic stage – The Grand Ole Opry. 

“I found out that I was going to get to play at the Grand Ole Opry on the day I found out that papaw had passed away. It was a very high and low kind of day,” he said. 

Hambrick is not your stereotypical country crooner. There’s no cowboy boots. No steady southern drawl. His proof of country is in his songs. 

“I think the best thing I can do is be true to my voice,” he said. “My perspective is country. I come from a small town and those are the people that I wave the flag for.” Hambrick moved around growing up, but said the closest thing he has to the “house that built me” is his family’s farm in Des Arc, Arkansas.

Hambrick and his wife now live in Nashville with their three-year-old daughter. “She’s going to be a big sister in July, which we’re fired up about,” Hambrick said. He plans to “push pause” on touring when she gives birth. 

Hambrick will likely finish out 2019 the same way he started it – playing his music for crowds across the country. Here is a list of his scheduled shows. 

Click here to listen to Adam Hambrick’s debut single “Rockin’ All Night Long.” 

Fort Smith Pastor Chosen To Be Part Of Arkansas’ MLK Commission

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Arkansas is now one of only a few states in the country that has formed a committee centered around the ideas and values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The commission for the state was established in the 1990s under then-Governor Bill Clinton by executive order.

Senior Pastor of St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Paul Davis was chosen to head the Arkansas MLK Commission’s third congressional district.

That district covers Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley and parts of Russellville. It also serves around 270,000 people.

“My job and role is to make sure the principles and ideas that we have in place as a commission are really put to work. Really, our mission is to promote non-violence, to make sure we look at multi-culture diversity, look at inequities,” Davis said.

Davis will be taking a hard look within communities in his district to help pinpoint a lack of diversity, poverty, and lack of education. He will then bring that back to the commission as a whole in hopes of bringing change.

“I believe that if you can have a seat at the table, we can have a conversation and say, ‘You know what? You and I aren’t that different.’  It’s a matter of figuring out if I can make it how do we help somebody else,” Davis said.

Auditions To Be Held For Movie Being Filmed In Fort Smith And Fayetteville

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A California production company is shooting a new movie, Love in Country, in Fort Smith and Fayetteville. Auditions for the feature film will be held later this month.

Auditions are taking place on May 10 and 11 at the Miller Branch of the Fort Smith Library at 8701 South 28th Street. What time the auditions will be held is unclear at the moment.

Love in Country is a Vietnam era war movie this is being filmed in late May and June.

Part of the film will also be shot at Drake Field in Fayetteville.

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Country Legends Alabama, John Anderson Coming To Walmart AMP

ROGERS (KFSM) — Country music’s legendary group Alabama is coming to the Walmart AMP this July as part of its 50th Anniversary Tour.

Alabama will appear with special guest John Anderson at the AMP on Friday, July 12, as part of the Cox Concert Series.

Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. Prices range from $45 to $129.50 plus fees.

Tickets go on sale online or by phone, or at the Walmart AMP box office in Rogers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They’ll also be available at the Walton Arts Center box office in Fayetteville from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.amptickets.com or by calling (479) 443-5600.

Alabama has charted 43 No. 1 singles and won 178 CMA, Grammy and Academy of Country Music Awards/

John Anderson’s 40-year career includes more than 60 charted singles on the country music charts, including “Swingin’,” “Seminole Wind” and “Straight Tequila Night.”

Safe injection sites become a radical new approach to battling addiction

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — As the addiction crisis in our country continues to claim more lives, new ideas and concepts are popping up on how to tackle the growing problem.

A non-profit in central Arkansas is doing its part, but it has a bigger plan in mind, an approach that is already causing controversy around the country. 

RELATED: Central Arkansas Harm Reduction Project hotline provides free naloxone kits

“When we started it, it was just like super small. It was me and I had some naloxone and I was like ‘hey if you need naloxone just like text my personal number,’” said Clay Kasper, founder of Central Arkansas Harm Reduction Project. 

What began as a small idea in early 2018, has turned into a big mission for Clay Kasper. Her non-profit, Central Arkansas Harm Reduction Project, serves the community by providing people with items like condoms, fentanyl testing strips and the overdose reversing drug, Naloxone.

“We are basically doing whatever we can to take small material steps to help people who are suffering,” Kasper said.  

One year later, her mission is expanding. She’s begun researching the idea of bringing safe injection sites to Arkansas, a place where people can use illegal drugs with trained staff present, ready to respond in case of an overdose, as well as get their hands on recovery resources. 

“The alternative is people using in their homes by themselves where you could overdose and not have someone there to save your life and not being able to call 911 because you are unconscious. Or kids using drugs outside together and leaving dirty needles on the street outside. Those are not better options,” Kasper said.  

As drug-related deaths rise to record numbers, at least a dozen U.S. cities, including New York City and San Francisco, are considering opening supervised injection sites. However, according to Arkansas State Drug Director Kirk Lane, the idea of one coming to Arkansas is still a long ways away.

“Probably not likely in the near future,” said State Drug Director Kirk Lane.  

Director Lane said he’s familiar with the idea of safe injection sites after visiting one in Vancouver, Canada, one of 100 cities around the world with a safe injection site. However he said Arkansas still has a ways to go before one comes here.

“We would have to change some state laws involving drug paraphernalia and things like that to do that to make it achievable. We would have to look at manpower (as well),” Lane said. 

Lane said our state needs to work on education and ending the stigma of addiction before taking steps to getting a safe injection site. 

“The beauty of it is that we can see how other states deal with those issues and learn things to make our state exceed or excel, based on the trial and error of other states,” Lane said.  

Kasper said while she is has not taken any legal steps to get a safe injection site in Arkansas, she is continuing to raise awareness about them, hoping to get more people to accept the idea. 

“There has never been a death from an overdose in a safe injection site and I think that’s really incredible. That alone should be enough for us to want this resource to be available to everyone,” Kasper said. 

According to CBS, Philadelphia is moving to become one of the first cities in the nation to allow safe injection sites. 

However, Kasper said she is also hoping to begin safe needle distribution in the state in order to combat the rise of HIV from using dirty needles. Lane said that too will take some time and effort and changes to state law to become a reality.

The Central Arkansas Harm Reduction Project runs on donations, and recently received a $10,000 grant.

The best way to support the project is to donate to the project’s GoFundMe campaign, or to reach out to Kasper directly. All funds will be used to continue purchasing naloxone, fentanyl test strips and condoms to distribute for free.

Rascal Flatts coming to Walmart AMP in Rogers this August as part of 'Summer Playlist Tour'

ROGERS, Ark. — Multi-award-winning country music artists Rascal Flatts will be making a stop in Rogers this summer as part of their “Summer Playlist Tour.”

The trio will come to the Walmart AMP on Saturday, Aug. 31, with special guest Morgan Evans as part of the Cox Concert Series.

Tickets go on sale to the public this Friday, April 19 starting at 10 a.m., with prices ranging from $30 t $89.50 plus fees.

Tickets go on sale online or by phone, or at the Walmart AMP box office in Rogers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday or noon-4 p.m. on Saturday. They’ll also be available at the Walton Arts Center box office in Fayetteville from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekdays and noon-4 p.m. on Saturday. 

Tickets can be purchased online at the Arkansas Music Pavillion website or by calling (479) 443-5600.

Rascal Flatts last played at the AMP in 2017.