Southwest Arkansas Daily
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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE MAY 22ND PREFERENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION AND SCHOOL ELECTIONS 1/31/18
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin informed KDQN that it’s time for candidates and county residents to prepare for the May 22nd Primary Election.
Akin said anyone interested in being on the ballot in May should contact her office in the Sevier County Courthouse for information and deadlines. She said the filing period will open on Thursday, February 22nd.
Akin stated residents who are not registered to vote have until April 23rd to register if they want be able to vote in the May Primary Election. She said if you’re registered in another Arkansas county, you can transfer your registration to Sevier County until May 18th and still be able to vote.
Akin said early voting will be held in the county clerk's office. She said residents may vote early from May 7th to May 21st. The county clerk's office will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Absentee voting is available for qualifying applicants. Akin said you must request a ballot by contacting her office. She said absentee voting is designed to help voters who are unable to be present at the polls. She also said you may pick up a sample ballot when they become available at her office.
Akin also explained that the polling sites will now be voting centers and registered voters can vote at any voting center that is convenient for them.
Akin said the county needs poll workers for the Primary Election on May 22nd. To be a poll worker, you must be at least 18 years of age and registered to vote. She said there is some training required and poll workers receive a little compensation.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF SEVIER COUNTY SETS FILING FEES 1/31/18
Tuesday afternoon, the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Sevier County met in the courthouse to set filing fees and to discuss other business.
Committee members were informed Justices of the Peace serve two-year terms, but all other county elected officials serve four-year terms. Committee members also pay a $10 membership fee every two-years. The filing period will be open from February 22nd to March 1st.
Following a short discussion about the filing fees, committee members voted to keep the filing fees the same. The filing fee for the offices of County Judge and Sheriff is $1,200. The filing fee for the offices of Circuit Clerk, County Clerk, Treasurer and Assessor is $1,000. The filing fee for Justices of the Peace is $57. The filing fee for County Coroner is $15 and the filing fee for constable is $10.
Committee members voted to have a booth during the Hoo-Rah Days Festival and the Sevier County fair and to purchase a table for the Clinton Day Dinner in Arkadelphia.
Committee members also voted to end compensating members who attend the meetings. Previously, committee members received $35 per meeting that they attended.
Committee members also announced they will host two beans and cornbread suppers, one prior to the Primary Election and one in the fall before the General Election.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK - NATURAL AREA HAS NEW SUPERINTENDENT 1/31/18
Davy Ashcraft has been promoted to park superintendent of Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area. Stretching out for 5,401 acres, Cossatot emphasizes outdoor recreation, river preservation and environmental education. The park is managed by Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.
Arkansas State Parks Operations Manager, Mike Wilson said it was clear in the interview that Ashcraft's passion for the park started in his youth, where he grew up and explored the Cossatot River corridor extensively. Wilson said Ashcraft is well-rounded in his knowledge and experience in regards to the park's operation and mission statement, which focuses on education and preservation of the natural resources.
After graduating from Henderson State University and completing brief seasonal park interpretive duties with Arkansas State Parks, he started his career at Cossatot River as a full-time park interpreter in the spring of 2004. In 2006, he became Cossatot River's park ranger and was promoted to assistant park superintendent in the fall of 2009. In his 14 years with the Arkansas State Parks, he has gained certifications in search and rescue (SAR TECH II), swift water rescue, law enforcement instructor and as a prescribed burn boss.
Ashcraft said he felt privileged to be given the opportunity to manage his boyhood outdoor playground.
The park stretches for 12 miles along the wild and scenic Cossatot River, which is Arkansas's premier whitewater experience. It's known as the best whitewater float stream in mid-America. The Cossatot forms the Cossatot Falls, which is a rugged and rocky canyon that challenges the most experienced canoeists and kayakers with its Class IV and V rapids. The river drops 33 feet in elevation within a third of a mile.
SEVIER COUNTY 4-H HOSTING A VALENTINE'S FAIR 1/31/18
Sevier County 4-H member Amber Morris said 4-H is planning a Valentine's Fair on Saturday, February 10th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.
4-H member Alec Frachiseur said tickets will be 10 for a dollar and there will be several games for young people to play. He also thanked everyone for supporting the county 4-H program.
For more information about the Valentine Fair on February 10th, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013.
DE QUEEN ELEMENTARY STUDENTS INTERVIEW FORMER GOVERNOR 1/31/18
As part of their unit on state government, Mrs. Partain's fifth grade class at De Queen Elementary recently had the opportunity to interview, via phone, former Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe.
Partain's students used their knowledge of the executive branch to craft several questions. The questions ranged from Beebe's campaigning for the state's highest office to his proudest legislative achievement.
A veteran of Arkansas state government, Beebe served two four-year terms as governor, one four-year term as the state's attorney general and 20-years as a state senator.
Beebe spoke of the awesome responsibility that was given to him by the state's voters. He described visiting communities in the aftermath of natural disasters and called it "one of the toughest parts of the job." The former governor said he was proud of passing the state's Private Option plan, which resulted in more than 300,000 Arkansans gaining health insurance.
At the end of the interview, Governor Beebe emphasized the importance of education and acknowledged the role it plays in choosing a career path.
HORATIO STATE BANK MAKES SECOND DONATION TO LEGACY 2020 CAMPAIGN 1/31/18
The UA Cossatot Foundation received a second Legacy 2020 capital campaign donation from Horatio State Bank and the classroom in the Skilled Trades Building on the De Queen campus is now named the Horatio State Bank Classroom.
Ned Hendrix is the CEO of Horatio State Bank and he said they were thrilled to have a second room named in honor of the bank. He said many of their current and former employees attended classes at the college and Horatio State Bank is always trying to remove barriers that may keep community members from receiving an education.
The donation was made on Giving Tuesday, which is an annual day of giving that's celebrated nationally on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The UA Cossatot Foundation Legacy 2020 campaign focuses on community members that wish to invest in the development of the college on all three campuses. For every donation amount, a naming opportunity exists for those who want to leave a visible legacy in the donor's community.
Dustin Roberts is the UA Cossatot Development Coordinator and he reported the Legacy 2020 campaign has risen over $100,000. He said the foundation's goal is $1 million dollars by the year 2020.
Roberts said the communities that Cossatot serves have stepped up to support the students and campuses.
For more information about the Legacy 2020 campaign visit the college's website, www.cccua.edu/legacy2020.
AKIN ANNOUNCES BID FOR RE-ELECTION 01/31/18
Debbie Akin announced today that she is running for re-election to the office of Sevier County Clerk.
Akin has worked in the County Clerk's office since June of 2009 and is currently serving her third term as County Clerk. She said she enjoys working with/serving the employees and citizens of Sevier County and your support in the upcoming election would be greatly appreciated.
Questions or comments may be directed to her at the County Clerk's office at (870) 642-2852 or her personal cell phone number at (903) 280-1468.
SWEPCO WARNS AREA RESIDENTS ABOUT PAYMENT SCAM 1/30/18
Southwestern Electric Power Company is warning customers of scammers
threatening to turn off your electricity if payments are not made
over the phone.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO FINANCE OVER $3 MILLION IN RENOVATIONS 1/30/18
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders honored the members of the Board of Education with certificates of appreciation for their service to the district. He also reported all Ashdown board members currently meet their required training hours.
Board President, Dorothy Henderson, also presented board member Chuck Davis with a clock from the Arkansas State Board Association for his 37 years of service as a board member.
Board members then approved some renovation projects throughout the district. Sanders said the district will use 2nd lien bonds to finance the projects. He said the district hopes to start the projects as soon as students leave on summer break.
Sanders said they also plan to upgrade the districts lighting system to LED lights, like they did in Parker Gymnasium.
Sanders reported the district is applying for School of Innovation Grant. He said they will discuss the School of Innovation plan more thoroughly during the February board meeting.
Board members also approved the district's proposed 2019-2020 budget.
RECORD BREAKING YEAR FOR CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 1/30/18
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro had a record breaking year for park visitation, with about 182,000 visitors searching for diamonds in Arkansas.
According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, the park staff certified 445 diamonds during the year, weighing a total of 103.33 carats, which was nearly seven carats more than in 2016. Arkansans registered 109 diamonds, while visitors from 36 other states and two foreign countries registered 336 gems.
Cox said of the diamonds that were registered last year, 299 were white, 72 were brown and 74 were yellow. Fifteen gems weighed more than one carat each, and three weighed over two carats. He said while most diamonds were found by wet sifting more than one out of every 10 were found on top of the ground in the park's 37.5 acre search area, including the three largest finds of the year.
LIBRARY SNIPPETS 1/30/18
Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher announced the De Queen branch will host a children's Valentine's story and activity time on Wednesday, February 7th at 4 p.m.
Fisher said the De Queen branch offers adult activities like dominos, games, cards, coloring and more on Wednesday's at 10 a.m. She said for more information, call the library at 584-4364.
Fisher also announced the De Queen Library is partnering with the Chalice Cupboard as a collection site for food donations. She said the Chalice Cupboard is only open part-time and you can drop off donated items at the library and they will make sure the Chalice Cupboard gets them.
Fisher said the Horatio branch of the Sevier County Library has received a donation of quilting magazines and the February spotlight author is James Lee Burke. She said De Queen, Arkansas is mentioned in Burke's book, "Cadillac Jukebox" and an experience at the old Corley Grocery store that stood on the Southwest corner of Highway 41 and Stilwell Avenue.
The Lockesburg Library will celebrate "take your child to the library day" on Saturday, February 3rd. Fisher said the book club will also be discussing their book on Saturday at 10 a.m. March's book selection is "The Pearl that Broke its Shell."
Fisher said the Gillham Library is selling books that have not been checked out of the library in about five years, so stop by and see if there are any books that you would like to purchase. She said buffet coupons from CiCi's pizza will be given to the first four patrons who but a bag of books.
For more information about the Gillham Library including story times for children, call 386-5665.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: EDUCATION 1/30/18
Civic and business leaders want to increase the number of college graduates in Arkansas, in an effort to prepare the state's young people for jobs that are being created by the global economy.
However, members of the Senate Education Committee don't want policy makers to neglect the thousands of students who may not attend or finish college. With that in mind, legislators have sponsored legislation to improve opportunities for high school graduates and to raise the standards for courses that prepare students for careers.
Recently, members of the Education Committee were briefed on the effectiveness of the state's efforts to improve career and technical education in public schools.
According to one report, charter schools and public school districts spend about $120 million a year on career and technical education. Some courses are offered on the student's home campus and sometimes they are offered at local two-year colleges, like UA Cossatot.
Some of the most popular study programs are medical professions, welding and automotive service technology.
According to a study that was conducted by the Fordham Institute, students who focus on career and technical education, graduate at a higher rate than the general student body.
The study shows that those graduates are more likely to get a job, enroll in a two-year college and earn higher wages than students who did not concentrate on career and technical education.
According to surveys done by the state Department of Workforce Services, the job category in Arkansas that is expected to grow the most for people with only a high school diploma is food preparation and food serving. This includes jobs in fast food, restaurant cooks, waiters and waitresses and food preparation.
For people with an associate's degree from a two-year college, the most demand will be for heavy equipment and tractor-trailer drivers, followed by nursing assistants.
And for people with a bachelor's degree, the highest demand will be for registered nurses. The second most in demand category will be general and operations managers.
In Arkansas, 22 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 64 have a bachelor's degree. A high school education is the highest level of education for about half of the population in the state.
WORKSHOP TO TEACH OLDER ARKANSANS TO START A BUSINESS 1/30/18
Older Arkansans who are thinking about owning and operating a small business can learn what it takes to be their own boss at a workshop next week. Through a grant from the AARP Foundation, Winrock International is conducting a free, informational seminar titled Work for Yourself at 50-Plus in Little Rock, and it's designed to give people 50 and older the tools and information they need to start and run a small business.
Liz Young is the director of the Arkansas Women's Business Center and she'll be the workshop leader. She said people often start to think about doing something different with their lives, once their first career begins to wind down.
Young says the workshop will provide a look at what it takes to start a small business, help with writing a business plan and information on how to fund your venture. She adds that the workshop includes one-on-one counseling with a professional business coach and informs attendees on how to avoid financial pitfalls and scam artists.
Young says whether they want to open a store, provide a service or hang out a shingle as an expert consultant, her group will provide continuing assistance to those who begin the process of starting a business.
The workshop is set for noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 5th at the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at 201 East Broadway in Little Rock. You don't need to be an AARP member to attend and it is open to both men and women 50 and older. Call 1-888-339-5617 to register.
2018 SEVIER COUNTY YOUTH BASEBALL REGISTRATION 1/29/18
2018 Sevier County Youth
Baseball registration is ongoing and will run through Sunday, Feb.
25. Forms are available at De Queen and Horatio schools, Hibbett
Sports, and Shelter Insurance in De Queen as well as Horatio City
Hall or you can
click here. Tryouts and draft will be held Sunday, March 4,
starting at 2:30PM at De Queen Sportsplex.
THE LAYNE WOODS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP BENEFIT FEBRUARY 9TH 1/29/17
Toney Stowers of the De Queen Church of Christ announced the Layne Woods Memorial Scholarship committee will be holding a street taco benefit supper and silent auction on Friday, February 9th at 5 p.m. in the Leopard Coliseum.
Stowers said they will be serving three tacos and a drink for $6 per plate. He said the dinner and silent auction will take place during the senior girls and boys games.
Stowers said the last time the De Queen Lady Leopards and the Lake Hamilton Lady Wolves played, the Lady Leopards claimed a 56-51 overtime win. He also said this game will have a huge impact on the Lady Leopards post-season.
Stowers said the scholarship committee will select the scholarship recipients and he discussed the tragic death of Layne Woods. He also mentioned how Layne’s memory and his family continue to have a big impact on the community of De Queen.
To see a complete list of auction items or to donate an item to the auction, visit the church's website, www.dqcoc.com.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT OPENS DOLLY PARTON IMAGINATION LIBRARY 1/29/18
After several month of preparing, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library is finally a reality for children in Little River County and the Ashdown School District.
Children in the Ashdown School District from birth to age 5 will receive a book each month from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Program beginning eight to ten week's after they are registered. Children can receive up to 60 books, but in order for children to receive the books, parents must register them at the Ashdown Administration building on Rankin Street.
According to the program website, this is a book gifting program that mails free books to children in participating communities. Dolly Parton was inspired to start the program in 1995 because her father was unable to read. Today, over 1 million free books are mailed each month to four countries. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among her county's preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month.
Tyler Davis is the county chairperson for the Little River Imagination Library and he said they would not have been able to partner with the Dollywood Foundation to bring the Imagination Library to Little River County if it hadn't been for the support of Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders and the school district. Davis said everyone expects an increase in kindergarten readiness, improvement in student's reading ability and an increase in their overall literary knowledge.
PHARMACY CLOSED IN NASHVILLE; PHARMACIST SURRENDERS LICENSE 1/29/17
Submitted by KMTB
Last week, the owner of Morris Drug Store in Nashville surrendered his pharmacist license following an inspection and subsequent investigation by the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy.
Ronald Morris of Nashville surrendered his license and his permit to operate a pharmacy on January 25th and Morris Drug, which was located at 116 South Main in Nashville has been closed permanently.
Patients who have prescriptions at the store will need to contact their prescriber and have their prescriptions transferred to another pharmacy.
The case is still under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
PILGRIM'S PRIDE GIVES BACK TO THE COMMUNITY 1/29/18
Pilgrim's Pride graciously donated $750 to support Sevier County 4-H programs.
At last summers' Poultry Festival, Pilgrims won first place in the Barbeque Chicken Cook-off and for their booth. The first place prize, that was provided by the Arkansas Poultry Federation, was a monetary award that Pilgrim's could donate to a charity or charities of their choice. This year, Pilgrim's chose to donate part of the money to the Sevier County 4-H and the Little River County 4-H programs.
The money will be used to provide support for educational programs for 4-h youth in both counties.
For more information about the Sevier County 4-H program, call 870-584-3013.
CIVILIAN RESPONSE TO AN ACTIVE SHOOTER CLASS IS TUESDAY AT THE DE QUEEN FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH 1/29/18
Monti Stringfellow of the UA Cossatot police force will be leading a civilian response to an active shooter class this Tuesday at the De Queen First Assembly of God Church from 6 to 8 p.m.
Stringfellow teaches the Avoid, Deny and Defend method of response and he mentioned some of the topics that will be addressed Tuesday night. He said we all need to learn how to respond to an active shooter situation.
Stringfellow said if an active shooter situation develops in the building that your in, you need to be ready to serve as the first responder.
The class is open to anyone this Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the First Assembly of God Church in De Queen.
A COUPLE OF LEOPARDS CHOSEN FOR THE 2018 ALL-STAR FOOTBALL TEAM 1/26/18
Friday morning, De Queen High School Football Coach Stephen Sloan announced two senior Leopards have been chosen to play in the 2018 All-Star Football game on Saturday, June 23rd on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.
Coach Sloan stated Jace Simms and Quinton Thornton will represent De Queen in this year's game. He said Simms was a 3-year starter at right tackle and Thornton was a 2-year starter at left guard.
Sloan said the team appreciated the community's support this past season.
Sloan said there are 65 young men in the off-season program and they are following the examples that were set Simms and Thornton.
Other area players that will be playing in the All-Star game are Logan Lindsey and Brandon Thomas of Foreman, Justin Dean of Mena, Ceasar Octavion of Mineral Springs, Zack Izzo of Horatio and Dominick Kight and Ty Pettway of Nashville.
LOCKESBURG GYMNASIUM RESTORATION RECEIVES AWARD 1/26/18
The UA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium is the 2017 Preserve Arkansas Excellence in Preservation through Restoration Honorable Mention award recipient.
At the Arkansas Preservation Awards ceremony that was held on January 19th in Little Rock, UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole, Vice Chancellor of Facilities Mike Kinkade, and Ashdown campus Director Barry Reed accepted the award on behalf of UA Cossatot.
Preserve Arkansas is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to building stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. By presenting educational programs, advocating for preservation at the federal, state and local levels, and assisting historic property owners with the means and expertise to preserve and restore their structures, Preserve Arkansas has been a statewide voice for preservation in Arkansas for 37 years.
The UA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium restoration took almost two years to complete with the help of donations from the Bank of Lockesburg, the Lockesburg Lions Club, the Lockesburg High School Alumni Association, and the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, and labor was provided by UA Cossatot's facility staff.
In April 2018, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Board will review the gymnasium's nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
The facility will host UA Cossatot's new club basketball team, coming in the fall of 2018. The facility is made up of the gymnasium, a classroom and a conference room. All are available for rent for a fee. Friends of the college are able to use the facility free of charge. Rental information is listed at www.cccua.edu/gym.
GILLHAM RESIDENT CITED FOR DISCHARGING A FIREARM WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS OF DE QUEEN 1/26/18
Thursday night, officers with the De Queen Police Department were dispatched to the Vandervoort Circle neighborhood in reference to someone discharging a firearm within the city limits.
When Patrolman Josh Luman arrived in the area, he pulled over a pickup that was speeding and being driven in a reckless manner. The truck was being driven by 26-year-old Colt Hunter Lee and there was a AR-15 in the passenger seat that was still hot from being fired.
Luman also discovered several spent shell casings at Lee's residence, which matched the ammo that was in the gun.
After Lee allegedly admitted to firing the gun, the AR-15 was confiscated and Lee was issued a citation for discharging a firearm within the city limits.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: TIMESHARE RESALE SCAMS 1/26/18
Con artists are playing the odds and cold calling Arkansans about selling their timeshares. While many Arkansans do not "own" a timeshare those who do may fall victim to this scam. The callers are preying on consumers who may be surprised by expensive annual maintenance fees, difficulty exchanging specific dates or locations or that property values have remained the same or decreased when they thought they would increase, and want out of their timeshare agreement.
A timeshare is a type of property in which an "owner" buys the right to use it for a contractually designed period of time and are commonly condominium units located in a popular destination city and often have multiple "owners."
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge stated there are legitimate businesses that can help consumers sell their timeshares, but Arkansans must do their research to find reliable sellers.
She said consumers should beware of unsolicited timeshare resellers who contact you with the promise to resell your timeshare. She said if they say they have willing buyers, it is probably a lie and you should never pay a substantial advance fee for resale assistance. Rutledge said these advance fees may be called a marketing fee, a listing fee, an internet advertising fee or some other related fee. She said consumers should also get an independent appraisal from a licensed appraiser before agreeing on any resale assistance contract and you should only deal with licensed agents.
The timeshare industry has become a popular platform for a number of con artists to take advantage of 'owners' who are desperate to sell. They claim to offer assistance in selling the timeshare and take away the burden of the continuing costs of ownership. These operations collect hundreds or thousands of dollars in so-called deed transfer and marketing fees but never complete the sale.
The timeshare industry was rapidly expanding in the 1970s and1980s, which resulted in an overdeveloped market and flood of properties that now have depressed values. These circumstances make the resale of timeshares difficult. Like the real estate market, the timeshare industry fluctuates and is unpredictable.
For more information visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.
FOUNDATION TO HOST LAWRENCE CHANDLER BENEFIT 01/26/18
The University of Arkansas Foundation will host a drawdown benefit to raise funds for the Lawrence Chandler Memorial Scholarship that will benefit students attending UA Cossatot. There will be a special presentation honoring Mr. Chandler’s legacy.
Only 120 tickets will be sold. Tickets are $100 each and allow the holder two steak dinners and a chance to win. At a drawdown, tickets are drawn out of the bingo cage one at a time until one ticket is left. That winning ticket is worth $5,000. Ticket holders do not have to be present at the event to win. Additional donations can be made at www.cccua.edu/chandler.
The UA Cossatot Foundation Board, including Ned Hendrix, Mike Cranford, Dewayne Mac, Angie Walker, Greg Ray, and Russell Wake, and UAC Foundation staff will host the event. The Chandler Family and friends of Chandler Funeral Home will attend as honorary guests. UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole and Little River County Judge Mike Cranford will emcee the drawdown.
When: Saturday, February 10, 2018 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: De Queen Country Club at Club House Drive, De Queen, Arkansas (seating will be limited)
Media Contact: Dustin Roberts, 870-584-1172, email@example.com. An event page is also posted on the UA Cossatot Foundation’s Facebook page.
Quote: “I’m just tickled that the Foundation is hosting this event because Mr. Chandler loved giving to scholarships. He loved helping local kids go on to get their education,” stated Kay Duggan, a former employee of Chandler Funeral Home.
UA COSSATOT INTRODUCES BASKETBALL TEAM 01/26/18
The University of Arkansas Cossatot introduces Colts Club Basketball as a sport option for students. The team will compete in the new two-year college league as part of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association. Funding for the basketball program will come from private donations and income generated by club sports.
Arkansas Activities Association Hall of Fame Inductee Warren Bane will coach the team. Bane coached the Lockesburg Blue Darter basketball teams from 1985 until 2000, with many of their home games played in the historic gym where the Colts will play. Pictured are UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole and Bane with UA Cossatot’s NIRSA certificate, accepting the college into the association. The Colts will compete against other two-year colleges in the region, culminating with the NIRSA National Championships to be held in spring of 2019.
To be eligible to play, students must be enrolled in six credit hours per semester, maintain a GPA of 2.0, and may compete for a total of four academic semesters.
The team will being competing fall 2018. Recruiting begins spring 2018. The first team tryout will be held in summer 2018. Depending on interest, a women’s team could be introduced in 2019.
Practices and home games will be hosted at the UA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium in Lockesburg, Arkansas.
Please contact UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole, 870-584-1173, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Dr. Steve Cole stated “Just to start a basketball program was a tremendous step for our college, but to have a hall of fame coach developing it is simply unbelievable.”
Coach Warren Bane responded “I am honored to be the first basketball coach for UA Cossatot. It is special that I can coach within the confines of the historic Lockesburg Gymnasium.”
“I have been on the recruiting trail for our program and I have heard nothing but positive things. I expect to field a competitive team while given area athletes a chance to maybe hone their skills and move on to larger schools, all while earning their first degree at UA Cossatot."
ARKANSAS BIG BUCK CLASSIC STARTS FRIDAY 1/25/18
The Arkansas Big Buck Classic returns to the Arkansas State Fairgrounds for its 28th year this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Knife-making demonstrations, mechanical bull riding, live snakes and alligators may grab many people's attentions, but the show's true focus is the trophies from this year's deer season, brought in from hunters across Arkansas. Hunters are encouraged to bring their deer's antlers or mounts to be scored and judged for prizes.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a booth at the event, and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff will be on-hand to answer your questions about fisheriers, wildlife management and wildlife law enforcement in the Natural State.
The awards presentation begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 28th. There is no charge for parking on the fairgrounds site.
Show hours are: 1 to 9 p.m. on Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Visit the website www.bigbuckclassic.com for a full schedule of events.
ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN LITTLE RIVER AND SEVIER COUNTIES 1/25/18
The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Little River and Sevier counties, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation officials.
The purpose of this project is to repair slide damage on U.S. Highway 71 and State Highway 234 in Little River and Sevier counties.
Kesser International, Inc. of Little Rock was awarded the contract, which totals $3,121,672.84.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in late 2018.
For travel information visit the website IDriveArkansas.com or ArDOT.gov.
CIVILIAN RESPONSE TO AN ACTIVE SHOOTER CLASS TO BE HELD AT FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH IN DE QUEEN 1/25/18
Monti Stringfellow of the UA Cossatot police force announced Thursday morning that he will be leading another civilian response to an active shooter class this month at the De Queen First Assembly of God Church on Tuesday, January 30th from 6 to 8 p.m.
Stringfellow said he teaches the Avoid, Deny and Defend method of responding to an active shooter. He said participates will discuss the warning signs and the mentality of an active shooter.
He said participates will also learn what their response should be to an active shooter situation.
Stringfellow said if an active shooter situation develops in the building that you’re in, you need to be ready to serve as the first responder.
Stringfellow said our first instinct is flight or fight, but we need to train our minds, so we can overcome those thoughts and act appropriately.
The class is open to anyone on Tuesday, January 30th at 6 p.m. at the First Assembly of God Church in De Queen.
ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH TEACHER AWARDED E-Z MART GRANT 1/25/18
An Ashdown Junior High School teacher has been awarded $1,000 grant from the E-Z Mart Education Grant program.
Lacie Shamsie received $1,000 to purchase lab supplies for her science classes.
The E-Z Mart Education grants are designed to assist educators in acquiring the resources that are needed to keep the teaching of children fun, up to date and interesting.
The funds for the Education Grant Program are made possible through the proceeds from the Jim Yates Memorial Charity Golf Tournament that's hosted every year by the E-Z Mart Corporation.
SEVIER COUNTY INCLUDED IN STATE FERAL SWINE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM 1/25/18
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Mike Sullivan has announced producers in 10 Arkansas counties can sign up for a feral swine management program for funding consideration through February 23rd. The program is a multi-partner collaboration geared towards addressing resource issues caused by feral swine.
Arkansas landowners and agricultural producers in Arkansas, Ashley, Baxter, Desha, Drew, Izard, Sebastian, Searcy, Sevier and Yell counties can sign up for the project through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
The interim feral swine management conservation activity will aid with monitoring expenses. Other conservation practices include conservation cover, critical area planting, tree and shrub site preparation and establishment, forage and biomass planting, stream bank and shoreline protection, upland wildlife habitat management, restoration of rare or declining natural communities, wetland wildlife management, early successional habitat development, wetland restoration and wetland enhancement.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service's role in the program is limited to determining the impacts upon natural resources, developing a management plan to address the impacted resources and evaluating the effectiveness of a practice in reducing the impacted resource. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will not provide assistance for trapping, euthanizing, or disposal of the feral swine. This role will be fulfilled by other partners or agencies.
All eligible applications will be evaluated for funding based on state and nationally developed criteria to optimize environmental benefits by April 6th. Applications ranking highest in a funding category will be selected for funding, subject to availability of program funds, no later than May 1st. Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center.
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR MINORITY STUDENTS IN THE CHEMICAL SCIENCES ARE AVAILABLE 1/25/18
The American Chemical Society Scholars Program is announcing the availability of its annual renewable scholarship for minority students.
The renewable scholarship ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 per year for African-American, Hispanic or Latino and American Indian students majoring in chemistry-related disciplines at accredited community colleges or four-year institutions. Graduating high school seniors and college freshman, sophomores and juniors may apply.
Eligible majors include, but are not limited to, chemistry, biochemistry, toxicology, chemical engineering and chemical technology. Scholarship applications must be completed by March 1st, for the 2018-2019 academic year. Applications can be submitted online at the ACS Scholars Program website, www.acs.org/scholars. Additional information is available by calling 1-800-227-5558, extension 6250 or by emailing email@example.com.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PLEDGES TO MOVE FORWARD 1/24/18
Little River County Chamber of Commerce President Danny Young has pledged to revitalize the chamber following the arrest of its executive director.
Fonda Hawthorne who is a former state representative, has been accused of using the chamber's debit card to make unauthorized purchases.
Young announced Kirk Babb has been named the interim executive director. Babb is the former president of First Guaranty Insurance Company.
Young also stated that he and the other chamber board members are saddened by the recent allegations and the subsequent arrest of the chamber's former director.
In a press release, Young listed some changes that the board intends to make. The list includes implementation of stricter rules for oversight and audit functions; a push to renew and revitalize relationships with chamber members; start a "listening campaign" to hear from the membership and the community and new leadership in the chamber office.
Hawthorne turned herself in at the Little River County Sheriff's Office on January 18th and is currently free on a $7,500 bond. She is scheduled to appear in the Little River County Circuit Court on Tuesday, January 30th for her formal arraignment.
PATROLMAN SAWYER TWO FOR TWO TUESDAY 1/24/18
Around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer with the De Queen Police Department pulled over a car for doing 52 in a 45 miles per hour speed zone at the Handi-Mart convenience store.
The driver was identified as 29-year-old Donetta Berry of Nashville.
During the traffic stop, Sawyer was informed that Berry had an active warrant out of the county and he asked her to step out of the vehicle. Sawyer reported he could smell marijuana on Berry's person when she got out of the car and asked her if she had anything illegal in the vehicle or on her person.
Berry allegedly told Sawyer that she had smoked some weed before work but didn't have any on her or in the car. Sawyer informed Berry that since she allegedly confessed to smoking marijuana, he had probable cause to search her and the vehicle.
While searching the car, Patrolman Kris Hundley found a blunt in a black portable ashtray that was in the console. Berry then allegedly went to the vehicle and retrieved a clear plastic bag that contained suspected marijuana and a partially smoked marijuana cigarette from a compartment between the steering wheel and the door.
Hundley also found a red grinder that had suspected marijuana particles in it.
Berry was arrested and cited with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
About six hours later, Sawyer made a second traffic stop for speeding and discovered some more marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
About 12:42 Tuesday afternoon, Sawyer pulled over 61-year-old James Ewert of Nashville for speeding.
Ewert said he didn't have a driver's license and when Sawyer asked him if he had a warrant or anything on his record, Ewert allegedly stated that he could possibly have warrant out of Nashville because he had been in trouble for possession in the past.
Ewert allegedly told Sawyer that he had smoked some marijuana earlier that day, but went ahead and gave Sawyer permission to search his vehicle.
While searching the vehicle, officers found a clear glass jar that contained a small amount of suspected marijuana, a marijuana cigarette and a smoking device.
When asked how long he had been smoking marijuana, Ewert said almost 50 years.
Ewert was arrested and cited with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CONFIRMS TORNADO IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 1/24/18
The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-1 tornado touched down Sunday night in Little River County.
The tornado touched down about 9:48 p.m. about 7-miles south-southwest of the city of Foreman.
The tornado stripped a fence, the siding and roofing off a large barn and flipped two semi-trailers on their side. The tornado then moved northeast across Highway 41, snapping power poles and trees.
The First Baptist Church lost several shingles, and several homes in the area sustained minor roof damage.
The National Weather Service estimated wind speeds between 100 and 110 miles per hour with a path about 295 yards wide.
The tornado was produced by the same thunderstorm that generated two tornados in Bowie County, Texas earlier that evening.
63RD ANNUAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET - SAVE THE DATE 1/24/18
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will host its 63rd Annual Chamber Banquet and Silent Auction on Tuesday, February 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the Broken Bow Assembly of God Family Life Center.
Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at the chamber office, from a chamber board member or at the door.
The 2018 board members are: Wenda Blankenship, Patrick Williams, Dereck Warren, Sharon Payne, Keith Donaldson, Pam Jackson, Alana Hiner, Kim Kennedy, Jazmin Pola, Rene Latta and April Roberts.
The Bennett Starz vocal group will be performing.
Another activity that has been planned for the evening is the silent auction. Anyone who would like to donate an auction item can drop it by the chamber or contact the chamber and they will arrange to have the item picked up.
Awards to be presented at this year's banquet will include: Citizen of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Heritage Award, Business of the Year, Community Service Award and Community Expansion Award.
For more information, call the chamber director, Charity O'Donnell, at 580-584-3393.
UAEX SURVEY AMONG WOMEN FOR INTEREST IN ANNIE'S PROJECT 1/24/18
Little River, Howard, Miller and Sevier counties are planning to conduct Annie's Project in the near future. If you, or a woman you know is interested, you are being asked to print a survey and return it to the extension office by Friday, February 16th. If you want to scan the survey and email it, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annie's Project is the agricultural business education program that empowers farm and ranch women who want to be even more knowledgeable about their agriculture enterprises.
Annie's Project will consist of six educational sessions.
Once the needs-assessment forms are returned, the exact topics and dates will start being planned.
Locations for these sessions will vary among the counties that have been listed, including Little River, Sevier, Howard, and Miller.
It's estimated the survey will take about 12 minutes to complete. To fill out a survey visit uaex.edu/counties/howard/Annies_Needs_Assessment.pdf.
IT'S GIRL SCOUT COOKIE TIME 1/24/18
Girl Scouts-Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas recently kicked off their 101 year of selling Girl Scout cookies.
Girl Scouts will be selling S'mores, Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles and the gluten-free Toffee-tastic. In Arkansas, Samoas are the most popular cookie, but nationwide Thin Mints gets that accolade.
The cookie sell is not only designed to raise money for individual scouts, troops and councils, but it also teaches Girl Scouts some important lessons.
According to Alexus Raymo who is the communication specialist for the Diamonds council, there are five skills that the girls learn from the Girl Scout cookie program. She said they are goal setting, decision making, people skills, business ethics and money management. Raymo said scouts keep a portion of the money that they make from the cookie sales and they get to decide what they want to do with it. She said a lot of troops take trips or invest the money back in their communities with different projects.
To find a Girl Scout in this area email the council @girlscoutdiamonds.org, also check out the free Girl Scout Cookie Finder app that you can download on your Apple or Android device.
SEVIER COUNTY WELCOMES NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPER 1/24/18
The University of Arkansas Cossatot has named Lisa Taylor of De Queen as Economic Development Coordinator for Sevier County.
Taylor worked over the last eighteen years to improve the quality of life for small town communities. Her success is attributed to her ability to collaborate with various community members and organizations to achieve common goals.
"I value the input of others and feel everyone has a part to play in making our community the best it can be," Taylor explained.
Along with her education and professional experience, Taylor draws her experience from a seven-year term as Executive Director for the Pushmataha County Chamber of Commerce. As executive director, she oversaw the Antler’s Main Street program in which the town was able to develop and restore their downtown to historical integrity.
She is well versed in the processes and in acquiring funds needed to implement county and city economic development projects successfully.
"These projects take buy-in from the entire community. We will need that kind of support in Sevier County," Taylor said.
The new position is the product of a collaboration between the University of Arkansas Cossatot, Rural Development Authority (RDA) of Sevier County, Sevier County Industrial Board, and Sevier County Judge’s Office.
UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole explained, "While every single person in Sevier County plays a part in helping the county grow, Lisa provides us that one focal point through which everything that pertains to economic development can hopefully flow, and for our county, this is a first!"
Taylor’s priority is to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Sevier County. The process will take time and involve conversations and vision casting with community members, local leadership, and agencies.
Taylor will also oversee the redesign and maintenance of the Sevier County website that will connect with potential industry.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray commented, "Lisa will be reaching out to state and federal agencies who can assist in recruiting new businesses into the county. We’ve never had someone in this role before."
Taylor can be reached at 870-584-1184, email@example.com or at her office on UA Cossatot's De Queen Campus.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AWARDED PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP FROM HSU 1/23/18
Henderson State University has offered De Queen High School senior Giovanni Huesca the HSU Presidential Scholarship, which is valued at $40,000.
Huesca is the son of Jose and Elena Huesca. He is a member of the Spanish Club, Young Democrats and National Honor Society. He also pole vaults on the Leopard Track and Field team.
Huesca plans are to major in Civil Engineering.
ASHDOWN WOMAN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF PROPERTY 1/23/18
A trial date of March 12th has been set for an Ashdown woman who is being charged with theft of property in the Little River County Circuit Court.
According to the arrest affidavit that was filed in the Little River County Circuit Court, 32-year-old Kiley Huddleston has been charged with theft of property for allegedly making $25,000 worth of fraudulent purchases by using a debit card from an Ashdown Parent Teacher Organization.
Allegedly between April of 2017 and November of 2017, the Parent Teacher Organization officers reported fraudulent charges were made on the PTO debit card that was issued to Huddleston.
The PTO officers discovered the alleged theft when the bank account balance was questioned by other officers of the PTO, and wanted to review the bank account balance for the organization.
The PTO officers contacted Ashdown Police Chief Boyd Kennemore who opened an investigation.
On November 1st, 2017 Huddleston was identified on video at Walmart receiving cash back from the PTO debit card and placing it into her bag.
According to the affidavit, Huddleston attempted to use the debit card again inside Walmart on November 2nd.
Huddleston's bail was set at $7,500 by Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan and she is currently free on bond.
If found guilty, Huddleston could be sentenced between five and 20 years in prison and could be fined up to $15,000.
COWGIRL ROUND UP AT CROSS POINT COWBOY CHURCH 1/23/17
The Cross Point Cowboy Church in Nashville will be hosting a cowgirl roundup this Saturday beginning at 8 a.m.
Tommie Adair reported the church is inviting women from all churches to attend their conference. She said the featured speakers will be Elsie Frost who is the mother of World Championship bull rider, the late Lane Frost and LeAnn Hart who is the wife of PBR legend J.W. Hart. She said music will be provided by Hart and the Cross Point Cowboy Church Band.
The theme is "Lord, I cannot but you can" and tickets are $15 each.
The conference is for high school age women and up, but no childcare will be provided.
For more information, call Adair at 870-828-1231.
59 FLU RELATED DEATHS REPORTED IN ARKANSAS 1/23/18
The Arkansas Department of Health is calling the flu conditions in the state an epidemic with a total of 59 flu related deaths being reported.
Dr. Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health stated all four strains of the influenza virus have been detected in the state and the state can expect more flu deaths before this flu season hits it's peak.
The dominant strain of flu that is causing people to feel their worst is the H3-N2 strain, which seems to affect adults the most.
Haselow said everyone should take some personal precautions to help stop the spread of the flu. He said if you have a fever, are experiencing chills, a runny nose or coughing. You should take heed. He said when you have symptoms of the flu it's important to stay away from other people because the flu spreads easily, through coughing and talking. Haselow said it can be transmitted through the air and to people within a 6-foot radius.
The health department is recommending that if you have not had a flu shot that you get one as soon as possible because this flu epidemic has not hit it's peak yet.
The state health department is also reporting that due to the high volume of patients, flu test kits are also running low.
CORPS TO RE-OPEN CAMPGROUNDS 1/23/18
Beginning today, the Little Rock District of the Army Corps of Engineers will reopen the Corps-operated campgrounds, day-use areas, visitor centers and offices that are normally open this time of year.
Little Rock District Commander Colonel Robert Dixon reported the ranger staff started re-opening the facilities, first thing this morning. He said all of the facilities were closed Monday due to the federal government shutdown, but they reopened today. Dixon said only a few Little Rock District parks are open during the winter months so campers should visit the website recreation.gov before they visit one of the parks.
Visitors can log online to www.recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 to verify if a facility is normally open or closed this time of year.
Recreational campsites were closed January 22nd because of the government shutdown. Visitors whose reservations were cancelled during the shutdown will receive a full refund. To request a refund, call 1-888-448-1474.
A-STATE ANNOUNCES 2017 FALL GRADUATION LIST 1/23/18
Arkansas State University has released the list of students who were awarded diplomas on the undergraduate and graduate levels during the 2017 Fall Commencement ceremony on December 9th in the First National Bank Arena on the campus of Arkansas State.
A total of 1,474 diplomas were conferred during the ceremony, which is a new record for A-State.
Graduates from six colleges including Agriculture, Engineering and Technology, Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Liberal Arts and Communication, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics received doctorate, bachelor, master, specialist and associate degrees.
Students representing 69 of the 75 counties in Arkansas received degrees, along with graduates from 36 states and 14 nations.
Graduates from southwest Arkansas included:
From Howard County, Tabitha Ann Jones of Mineral Springs received a Building-Level Administrative certificate.
From Little River County, Jessica Leigh Jewell of Ashdown received a Master of Science in Education. Mark Pounds of Ashdown received a Master of Science in Education; Molly Kristin Cross of Ashdown received a Bachelor of General Studies and, Shelby Layne Tipton of Ashdown received an Associate of Science degree.
From Sevier County, Dena Kaye Whitney Hibbs of De Queen received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Timothy Ryan Hanney of Lockesburg received a Master of Science in Education.
BOOZMAN SAYS LOCAL BUSINESSES SEEING POSITIVE RESULTS AFTER TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT SIGNED INTO LAW 1/23/18
U.S. Senator John Boozman says that the state is seeing positive results since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law one month ago. He said there is a growing list of businesses of all sizes that are investing in their employees, thanks to tax reform.
Walmart announced it would increase the starting pay for hourly associates, provide a bonus to other employees and expand benefits to its associates as a direct result of tax reform.
Region's Bank announced its minimum hourly wage will increase, benefiting 25 percent of its employees. In addition, the bank will contribute $40 million dollars to its charitable foundation for financial education, job training, economic development and affordable housing.
The company also plans to expand its capital expenditures budget.
The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that 90 percent of the workforce will see higher take home pay as a result of tax reform. The legislation also benefits farmers and ranchers.
SECOND VETERANS 4 AG SUMMIT SET FOR UA-MONTICELLO 1/23/18
A second Veterans 4 Ag Summit has been scheduled for February 22nd on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. The summit is designed to educate and prepare military veterans for potential careers in the agriculture field.
Arkansas Farm Bureau will join Arkansas veterans, the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs, the Arkansas Agriculture Department and other agriculture leaders at the John F. Gibson University Center. Roughly 100 attended the inaugural Veterans 4 Ag Summit in Jonesboro.
As Arkansas's largest industry, with an economic contribution of $20 billion dollars a year, agriculture presents many possible opportunities for Arkansas' 225,000 veterans.
At the Veterans 4 Ag Summit, leaders in both agriculture and veteran affairs will participate in panel discussions focused on how to get started in agriculture and why veterans are a great fit for careers in the industry. In addition, a showcase of agriculture and veteran's organizations will provide attendees with networking opportunities and the chance to speak to industry partners one-on-one.
ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RACE SHAPING UP 1/23/18
An Arkansas Supreme Court justice who was targeted by outside groups in her failed bid to lead the court two years ago plans to seek re-election this year.
Campaign Advisor Keith Emis said Justice Courtney Goodson intends to run in the May judicial election for her Supreme Court seat.
Attorney David Sterling is the Chief Counsel for the Arkansas Department of Human Services and he says he plans to challenge Justice Goodson in the May judicial election.
Sterling ran an unsuccessful election for the Republican nomination for attorney general in the 2014 election.
Justice Goodson was defeated by Dan Kemp in her bid for the chief justice seat in 2016 after outside groups blanketed the state with ads and mailers criticizing her. The groups and candidates spent more than $1.3 million dollars on advertising.
Goodson's Supreme Court seat is the only one on the high court that is up for election this year.
10BEST ANNOUNCES TOP TRAVEL DESTINATIONS IN ARKANSAS 1/23/18
USA Today's 10Best Readers' Choice Awards list is out with the top travel attractions in the state of Arkansas.
The list was complied by a panel of experts coupled with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and then the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
The top 10 winners in the category of Best Arkansas Attraction are:
#1 the Buffalo National River
#2 Old Mill at T.R. Pugh Memorial Park in North Little Rock
#3 Mount Magazine State Park in Paris
#4 Museum of Native American History in Bentonville
#5 Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs
#6 Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock
#7 Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton
#8 Downtown Eureka Springs
#9 Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville
#10 Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View.
ASHDOWN STUDENT RECEIVES S.I.S.T.A. GRANT
Hemphill, a freshman at Ashdown High School, had the opportunity to
visit the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this past week. She
was recognized for her ongoing work to revitalize “The Old Brown
Building” into more of a community center. She is a recipient of the
S.I.S.T.A. grant. S.I.S.T.A stands for Students Interested in
Sustaining Their Arkansas and is a project of the Brown Chair in
English Literacy in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and
Sciences. This grant will allow her to work with fellows from the
University who will help her with all aspects of the project.
SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY HOLDING FIRST SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC OF YEAR IN FEBRUARY 1/22/18
Juannelle Gage and Martha Fines of the Sevier County Humane Society reported the humane society will be holding their first spay and neuter clinic of the year in February.
Fines said the clinic is February 6th, 7th, and 8th in the humane society's building across from the Herman Dierks City Park in De Queen. She said you should call 870-584-9096 to set up an appointment. The cost is $60 per dog plus a $5 rabies shot and $35 per cat plus a $5 rabies shot.
Fines also gave a summary of the 2017 clinics. She said they average between 100 and 120 animals per clinic.
Gage said the humane society has sent out membership letters to area residents. A family membership is $15, a individual membership is $10 and a student membership is $5. Fines said they currently have a 14X24 building, however, they would like to purchase another building or add more space to their current building.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 870-584-9096.
FORMER UA COSSATOT STUDENT TO PERFORM AT CARNEGIE HALL 1/22/18
Rachel Faulkner Edge, a former UA Cossatot student, will perform with selected finalists for the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The performance will be on Sunday, February 4th and will be under the direction of Dr. Eph Ehly, who has been declared "one of the most sought after choral conductors/clinicians in the American Choral Directors Journal.
Edge, who is originally from Umpire, is a senior at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. She was nominated for this home by Dr. David DeSeguirant, who is SAU's choral department director. 12,000 performers were nominated from the United States and only 80 were selected as a finalists and invited to perform in New York.
In addition to the feature on the stage at Carnegie Hall, Edge will attend various workshops with Broadway faculty and classical music performers in New York City.
UA Cossatot selected Edge for the SAU transfer scholarship in 2015.
Edge stated she was grateful that she started her educational career at UA Cossatot and for the transfer scholarship that she received so she could attend SAU.
UA Cossatot offers an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science transfer degrees that are guaranteed by various universities across the state to transfer seamlessly. While students are ultimately responsible for checking whether specific courses completed at UA Cossatot will transfer to specific programs at an Arkansas four-year institution, approved associate degrees at Arkansas community colleges will satisfy core educational requirements for most bachelor's degrees.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - SNOW DAYS 1/22/18
Last week, several schools in the area were closed due to inclement weather and thanks to Act 862 of 2017, students will not have to make up those days later this spring. Act 862 allows schools to provide students with alternative methods of instruction when inclement weather forces the cancellation of classes.
According to the legislation, the Commissioner of Education may grant a district up to ten student attendance days for public schools that have an approved alternative instruction plan. This plan can include virtual learning online or even packets that are sent home with students ahead of time.
Schools can use the alternative methods for snow days, or even when schools need to close for a contagious illness outbreak or utility outage.
Each district's alternative instruction plan must demonstrate how teaching and learning in the public school district will not be negatively impacted by the use of alternative methods of instruction.
Schools must describe how technology and resources will be available to the students, if needed. Schools must also detail teacher responsibilities. For instance, teachers are expected to monitor online work and answer phone calls and emails. Districts must decide how attendance will be determined and how the district will communicate the expectations with parents and students on an alternative method instruction day.
This year, the Commissioner of Education approved AMI plans for 175 districts.
Another law, Act 143 of 2015, gives school superintendents some flexibility in managing schedules that are affected by winter weather. Act 143 allows superintendents to delay starting times until as late as 10 a.m. due to inclement weather, and schools will not have to make up that day later in June.
The act also states that if inclement weather moves into the area after classes have already begun, schools can close as early as 1 p.m. without having to schedule a makeup day. Schools can apply Act 143 as many as five times a year.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - CHANGES MAY BE COMING TO MEDICAID 1/22/18
Last week, the federal government approved a Kentucky proposal to require Medicaid recipients either to work or look for a job in order to qualify for some benefits and that decision may have significant financial consequences for Arkansas' Medicaid program.
Arkansas, like Kentucky and about 10 other states, has sought waivers that would allow them to impose a work requirement for people who qualify for Arkansas Works, which is a category within the Medicaid program. If implemented, this requirement would apply to recipients between the ages of 19 and 49.
The requirement will not apply to people who are 50 or older, or people who are in the category known as "medically frail." A pregnant women and people who are caring for children under the age of six are also exempt.
Arkansas officials have not received an official notice of a waiver, but they are optimistic that the state will receive a waiver because of the similarities in the Arkansas and Kentucky requests.
Arkansas has also asked for a waiver, which will allow the state to lower the eligibility threshold for Arkansas Works, from 138 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent. That would affect about 60,000 of the 280,000 people who are now receiving benefits from the Arkansas Works program.
There are also similar work requirements for food stamps. Exemptions include children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.
MINERAL SPRINGS BOARD OF EDUCATION MAKES SEVERAL HIRES DURING SPECIAL CALLED MEETING 1/22/18
The Mineral Springs Board of Education held a special called meeting last week to approve the 2019-2020 proposed budget and to approve a housing allowance for the superintendent.
Board members voted to renew the school board's legal liability insurance and they made several hires.
Margaret Macon was hired to teach 7th and 8th grade Math for one semester. Mark Propps was hired to serve as the Dean of Students for one semester and Aubree Gauldin was hired as a Special Education Teacher.
ARKANSAS STATE PARKS DEPUTY DIRECTOR IS AN EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL 1/22/18
With 20 years of experience as an Arkansas State Park employee, Shea Lewis is now the department's first deputy director and will be serving as second in command to Arkansas State Park Director Grady Spann.
Lewis started his career with the Arkansas State Parks as an interpreter at both Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park and Crowley's Ridge State Park. He was promoted to superintendent at Parkin Archeological State Park in 2004 and then served as a regional supervisor for the past eight years.
According to Spann, Lewis has been an integral part of the parks leadership team for many years. Spann said Lewis has worked at multiple levels in the system; most recently as acting operations manager.
Lewis said he is excited to serve the state's guests, parks, and employees in this new capacity.
ASHDOWN MAN ARRESTED IN TEXARKANA 1/19/18
Earlier this week, Texarkana, Texas police officers arrested an Ashdown residents for trying to pay for a drink at Hooter's with counterfeit money.
According to the Texarkana, Texas Police Department, 55-year-old Mark Dudley of Ashdown was arrested at the Hooter's restaurant on State Line when he tried to pay for a double shot of scotch with a $100 dollar bill that had the words "For Motion Picture Use Only" across the top of it.
Dudley told the officers that he had been given the money while panhandling on North Stateline near the Interstate 30 overpass. He allegedly stated that he thought the money was fake, but he figured he'd try to use it anyway.
Dudley is arrested and charged with forgery, while booking Dudley into the Bi-State Criminal Justice jail, officers discovered Dudley was wanted on a felony parole violation warrant in Arkansas.
Dudley was being held in the Bi-State jail on a $10,000 bond on the forgery offense.
After his arrest, Officer Cory Motley realized Dudley was the suspect in an indecent exposure case that happened at Cindie's Adult Novelty Store in December of last year.
Motley reported Dudley fled the store after an employee caught him in an inappropriate situation inside the store. Officers obtained a warrant on Thursday and the charge of indecent exposure was added to Dudley’s list of charges.
Dudley made his first appearance this morning in the Bi-State facility and the judge set Dudley’s bond at $10,000 for the indecent exposure charge.
Authorities with the Texarkana, Texas Police Department informed KDQN that Dudley will be extradited back to Arkansas after his two charges have been resolved in Texas.
NEW PARK COMMISSIONER SWORN IN AT LOCKESBURG 1/19/18
During the January meeting of the Lockesburg City Council, Mayor Danny Ruth swore in Sandy Webb as a new park commission and aldermen voted to give all city employees a 2 percent raise.
Aldermen voted to give City Recorder/Treasurer Becky Jegstrup a $50 a month raise and a 2 percent raise to all other city employees. They also voted to approve the city's 2018 budget.
Mayor Ruth presented aldermen with three construction bids for the city's new Senior Adult Center, but after the council reviewed the bids, they voted to reject all three.
Ruth reported the city's water tower was inspected earlier this month and he is waiting on a report from the health department. He also stated the aerators had been installed at the sewer pond and some new trees had been planted in the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park to replace the trees that were damaged by vandalism.
Ruth also suggested aldermen consider installing security cameras at the park.
Aldermen also voted to continue meeting on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockesburg City Hall.
BLOOD SUPPLY IS CRITICALLY LOW 1/19/18
LifeShare Blood Center has declared that the area's blood supply is critically low. Center officials are asking people to donate blood to make sure there is enough blood available on hospital shelves when it's needed.
LifeShare Blood Center of Texarkana was closed on Tuesday due to the inclement weather. Theresa Westbrook is the center's director and she stated nobody was drawing blood on Tuesday, but patients throughout the area still needed it. She said since most of the centers were closed and there were no mobile units drawing blood on Tuesday, the center has less than a two-day supply of blood on hand.
LifeShare Blood Centers in Texarkana will have extended hours this weekend. It wil be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday at 1321 College Drive.
Westbrook said they need donors of every blood type. She said anyone is able to donate as long as they are in good health.
Walk-ins are welcome but appointments can be made by visiting the website Lifeshare.org to donate at the center or one of the mobile units which visit towns around the area.
For more information, call the LifeShare Blood Center at 903-794-3173.
ADH CONFIRMS FIRST PEDIATRIC FLU DEATH 1/19/18
For the second week in a row, the Arkansas Department of Health is reporting widespread influenza activity to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for geographic spread and the intensity of the flu is high.
Since October 1st, there have been over 22,000 positive influenza tests reported to the ADH online database by health care providers. Flu cases have been reported in 73 of the state's 75 counties.
To date, there have been 49 influenza-related deaths, including one pediatric death.
Since October 1st, 32 nursing homes in the state have reported influenza outbreaks.
The department of health is also reporting an estimated 150 people have been exposed to the measles between January 9th and the 11th. According to the health department, this includes people who were on the United Airlines Flight 5314 from Chicago to Little Rock.
According to the CDC, an exposed person is very unlikely to get the measles if they've had a laboratory confirmed illness in the past, if they've had a single measles, mumps and rubella shot, or if they were born before 1957, when all children were thought to have been exposed to measles.
However, because the measles virus is highly infectious, the Arkansas Department of Health is providing guidance so that exposed people and health care providers can minimize the risk of infection to others.
The incubation period is typically 8 to 12 days but can be as short as 5 days or as long at 21 days.
Through February 1st, health care providers should be on the lookout for measles. Symptoms include a runny nose, high fever, red eyes, rash and cough.
The department of health is recommended that if someone has symptoms consistent with the measles virus that they should be tested.
PILGRIM'S IN DE QUEEN MAKES DONATION TO AREA 4-H PROGRAMS 1/19/18
Pilgrim's in De Queen donated $750 to the 4-H programs in Little River and Sevier counties.
According to Little River County Extension Agent Sherry-Beaty Sullivan, Pilgrim's made the donations to support the area 4-H programs. She said Pilgrim's won First Place in the Barbeque Chicken Cook-off and First Place for their booth at the Poultry Festival, last summer.
The Arkansas Poultry Federation funded the donation for the first place winner to the local charity of their choice and Pilgrim's choose to donate their winnings to the Little River and Sevier county 4-H programs.
Sullivan said the money will be used to provide support for educational programs for the members of the Little River County 4-H.
UPCOMING LITTLE RIVER COUNTY EXTENSION EVENTS 1/19/18
Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan is holding a "hands-on" pruning workshop this Monday, January 22nd beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the extension office on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.
Sullivan said there was no charge for this program, but everyone will need to bring their own pruning shears, lopers and gloves. She said participates will learn how to correctly prune trees...(Sound Bite #6433-1). - 1:21.
She said the 4-States Ag Expo is Thursday, February 1st at the Four State Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m...(Sound Bite #6433-3). - 1:37.
Topics to be covered during the expo include fire ants, blackberry pests, lawn care, estate planning and feral hog control.
For more information or to register for these programs, call the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: THE COST OF REFUND ANTICIPATION LOANS 1/19/18
Although some companies offer refund anticipation loans during tax season, these loans can actually cost consumers money. Arkansans planning to receive a refund this year often are excitedly looking forward to the lump sum return. But when opting to use a refund anticipation loan, consumers rarely plan to give a large portion of their tax returns to interest rates.
Refund anticipation loans and refund anticipation checks are high-interest loans that must be repaid by the actual return proceeds, essentially borrowing your own money. It the actual tax refund amount is less than estimated, the buyer is on the hook for the difference.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she encouraged all Arkansans to practice a little patience to ensure they receive their entire tax refund.
Rutledge also released the following considerations before agreeing to have taxes prepared as part of a Refund Anticipation Loan:
She said there are some free or low-cost options such as the online Internal Revenue Service Free File program and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Rutledge said electronically-filed returns can be deposited in bank accounts in as few as eight days. She also said the IRS can provide refunds by check or prepaid debit cards. Rutledge said if you do apply for a refund anticipation loan that you should get a written list of fees before entering into any agreement or requesting tax preparation assistance.
Refund Anticipation Checks are similar to Refund Anticipation Loans and can be attractive to some consumers because businesses often waive tax preparation fees, but many Arkansans can obtain free tax preparation services. The IRS provides a Free File program online that is a federal tax preparation and electronic-filing program for approximately 70 percent of taxpayers who earn less than $66,000. Eligible consumers can go to IRS.gov and choose from multiple private companies that will file federal returns at no charge.
Some Arkansans may also be eligible to receive free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Meanwhile, senior adults can contact AARP to learn more about the tax preparation services they provide.
Arkansas's Refund Anticipation Loan Act requires rates to be posted and clearly stated for all consumers to see, and, among other requirements, they must be provided with a written statement explaining the loan or check-issuing process. Those offering Refund Anticipation Loans are prohibited from charging additional fees or requiring consumers to take out such loans in exchange for tax services.
For more information, call the Attorney General's office 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
FORMER DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 1/18/18
Thursday morning, Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne made a first appearance in the Sevier County Circuit Court before Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper.
Charges have not been filed by the prosecuting attorney's office in the case, but Hawthorne was told to return to Ashdown and turn herself in at the Little River County Sheriff's Office where she was booked into the county jail.
Hawthorne's bond was set at $7,500 and she is scheduled to appear in the Little River County Circuit Court on Tuesday, January 30th for her formal arraignment.
According to court records, a bank in Ashdown notified a chamber board member about some suspicious activity on the chamber's debt card. Allegedly, there were several transactions totaling $16,000 at a liquor store and a tobacco store.
According to court officer, Hawthorne allegedly stated that she just wanted to pay the money back and stay out of jail. Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir stated the case is still under investigation.
Hawthorne is also a former District 4 State Representative, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and the former Sevier County Economic Development Director.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: The Cost of Refund Anticipation Loans
HORATIO UPGRADING LADY LION YARD WITH NEW SCOREBOARD 1/18/18
Horatio Softball Coach Dustin Bakenhus announced Wednesday morning that Lady Lion Yard would be sporting a new scoreboard this season, thanks to the generous support of Horatio softball supporters.
Bakenhus stated they realized they needed a new scoreboard last year. He said they started raising funds, and thanks to the support of the community of Horatio, they were able to order the scoreboard this week.
Wednesday morning, Coach Bakenhus expressed his appreciation to everyone that helped the team with this project.
Bakenhus said the upgrades to Lady Lion Yard will enhance the softball experience for fans. He said Horatio is also hosting the Region 4 baseball and softball tournaments this spring.
The Lady Lions will open the season on February 27th at Lady Lion Yard in Horatio against the Dierks Lady Outlaws.
POP DAY CELEBRATED 1/18/18
Sevier County 4-H members celebrated POP day on January 12th for National Popcorn Day, which is January 19th.
4-H Program Assistant, Kim Frachiseur planned activities to teach 4-H'ers some fun facts about popcorn. Amber Morris gave a slide show presentation on popcorn and taught her fellow 4-H'ers how a kernel of popcorn will reach 135 pounds per square inch before the kernel explodes.
There are also different types of popcorn shapes. The round pieces are called mushrooms, while the others are called snowflakes. Mushroom popcorn is what you will find in candied popcorn. Snowflakes are found in movie theater popcorn.
And the unpopped kernels are called "old maids" or "spinsters."
Afterwards, 4-H'ers got to relax and eat plenty of popcorn while watching a movie.
For more information or to join a 4-H club in Sevier County, call the extension office at 870-584-3013.
GLENWOOD POLICE INVESTIGATING MURDER OF 18-YEAR-OLD MAN 1/18/18
The Glenwood Police Department is investigating the murder of an 18-year-old man who was set to appear in court in February for drug charges.
According to the police, the body of Jody Chance Fogle was found early Tuesday morning.
According to the Glenwood Herald, 19-year-old Christopher Ledbetter accused Fogle of giving him counterfeit $100 bills in April of 2017. Ledbetter was charged with first degree forgery and an investigation concluded the bills originated from a website. However, Fogle was not charged in the case.
In October 2017, Fogle was arrested in Montgomery County and charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled for a jury trial on February 9th.
The Arkansas State Police, the Pike County Sheriff's Office and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is assisting the Glenwood Police Department with the homicide investigation.
ARKANSAS SEEKS WORK REQUIREMENT FOR MEDICAID RECIPIENTS 1/18/18
A request by Arkansas officials to waive Medicaid rules is being met with skepticism by health-care advocates, who say it would hurt more people than it would help. Governor Asa Hutchinson has asked federal officials to lower the income threshold for eligibility in the state's Arkansas Works program, as well as add a requirement that most recipients work.
Bruno Showers, a policy fellow at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says he believes the proposed changes are designed to cut the number of people on Medicaid in the state.
In addition, state officials say lowering the eligibility from 138 percent to 100 percent of the poverty level would cut about 60,000 people from the rolls. Hutchinson says the work requirements would help the unemployed pre0pare to rejoin the workforce. But in a recent report, Showers says while the state claims those people could find new coverage in the insurance marketplace, they would most likely become uninsured.
Dianne Skaggs is the director of the Mental Health Council of Arkansas, and she says the state's network of 14 community-based mental health centers would be forced to absorb the patients who lose coverage.
Showers says more than half of the state's Medicaid beneficiaries would likely be exempt under the work requirements.
The Trump administration recently signaled its willingness to consider Medicaid changes, and granted the first waiver to Kentucky last week. Federal officials say Arkansas' request is still under review.
DREAMS DO COME TRUE 01/18/18
The 41st Annual Miss DHS Pageant themed" Dreams Do Come True" will be held at the De Queen high School auditorium on Saturday, January 27th. Mini & Little Miss DHS pageant, for ages 3-10, will start at 5:45 and the Miss DHS Pageant will begin at 7:00.
Miss DHS contestants will be judged on School wear, Talent, Formal wear and an onstage interview question. Awards will also be given for People's Choice and Miss Congeniality.
Admission price is $5 each with proceeds going to the Junior Class.
Here are the contestants for the De Queen High School Miss DHS pageant.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL PASSES ORDINANCE SEEKING FOUR-YEAR TERMS FOR ALDERMEN 1/17/18
Tuesday night, aldermen of the De Queen City Council discussed refinancing the waste water bonds, were updated on the sidewalk project and passed an ordinance to put 4-year terms for aldermen on the ballot this November during the General Election.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported he had received an updated proposal from Stephens, Inc. concerning the city's waste water bonds. He stated the city could refinance the bonds and save about $15,000 a year. However, McKelvy said the new proposal had a few new restrictions.
McKelvy reported the city's engineering firm had reworked the sidewalk project based on the grant amount that the city had been awarded. He said the sidewalk will run from the high school to the corner of 9th Street and Coulter Drive and will cost the city about $115,000. McKelvy said he plans to ask the De Queen School District to consider helping the city financially with the project.
McKelvy said he expects the construction portion of the project to start next year.
Aldermen verbally agreed to allow the De Queen Police Department to donate their old copier to the South Central Drug Task Force and to proceed with updating the department's phone system to a voice over IP system through Windstream.
De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons then addressed the council about purchasing at least one dose of Narcan for each officer. He stated it would cost about $600. Simmons also explained why he wanted his officers to be equipped with the life saving medication.
Aldermen approved an ordinance seeking four-year terms for aldermen during the November General Election. McKelvy said if approved aldermen representing position one from each ward would be elected to a four-year term in 2018 and two-years later, aldermen representing position two from each ward would be elected to a four-year term. He stated this would ensure that at least three experienced aldermen would be on the council.
Aldermen also voted to sell a 2007 Chevy Malibu, a 1995 Ford truck and a 2007 Ford Ranger on govdeals.com and to reappoint Peggy Ingram and J. Bigham to the city's Planning Commission.
JANUARY FINANCIAL REPORTS IN GOVERNORS RACE 1/17/18
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's campaign announced it has more than $2 million in the bank as the Republican ramps up his re-election campaign.
Hutchinson's campaign reported raising nearly $622,000 in the final three months of 2017, while spending more than $152,000.
Hutchinson was first elected in 2014 and announced last spring he was seeking re-election. He faces a challenge in the May Republican primary from Hot Springs gun range owner Jan Morgan. Jared Henderson, who announced last month he's seeking the Democratic nomination to unseat Hutchinson, has raised more than $131,000 and has almost $129,000 in the bank, according to his campaign.
Since the Secretary of State's office was closed on Tuesday due to inclement weather, candidates will file their fundraising reports on today when the office reopens.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - DISTRICT 4 REPRESENTATIVE DEANN VAUGHT 1/17/18
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Joint Budget Committee spent last week reviewing projections for the next fiscal year and the governor's proposed budget.
The revenue forecast was presented by the Department of Finance and Administration and it shows expected net available revenue of $5.6 billion, which is 4.3 percent more than what is expected for the current fiscal year.
The revenue forecast also predicts moderate job gains and rising wage income.
Arkansas law requires the governor to submit a balanced budget proposal and present the proposal to the General Assembly before every session.
The governor's proposed budget includes a $1.3 million increase for the public school fund; $3.5 million for the Department of Correction; $1.7 million for the Department of Community Correction; $4 million for county jail reimbursement; $10 million for higher education and $142 million for the Department of Human Services.
The increase for the DHS includes increases for Medicaid and funding for 65 new child welfare case workers.
The governor's proposal also projects to provide a surplus of $64 million. He is asking for $16 million of that surplus to be used to match federal grants for highways and the remaining amount be set aside in a reserve fund to be used only in the event of an economic downtown.
Vaught said that just like your household budget reflects your priorities, the state budget does the same. She said legislators will be working diligently over the next few weeks to ensure they craft a budget that meets the needs of Arkansans while being efficient in our spending.
The fiscal session officially begins on February 12th.
HUTCHINSON PROCLAIMS JANUARY 21-27 "ARKANSAS SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK" 1/17/18
Governor Asa Hutchinson has officially proclaimed January 21st through January 27th as Arkansas School Choice Week, joining dozens of other governors and hundreds of city and county leaders nationwide.
More than 32,000 independently planned events across all 50 states, including 350 in Arkansas, will celebrate opportunity in education. The rallies, coffeehouse meetups, roundtable discussions, receptions, festivals, and school fairs are aimed to spark conversations about school choice and help parents find the educational setting that's best for their children.
Held every January, National School Choice Week is an independent, nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort designed to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for every child. Through thousands of independently planned events across the country, National School Choice Week raises public awareness of all types of educational choices available to children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.
HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES DISTRICT'S MASTER PLAN 1/16/18
Members of the Horatio Board of Education approved the district's Master Plan and discussed new door locks for district buildings during their January meeting.
Superintendent Lee Smith reported the board discussed ways to enhance campus security by reviewing several proposals for electronic access systems.
Smith said the board reviewed the district's Master Plan. He said it still includes a new bus garage and a roof for the old elementary building. Smith said neither project qualifies for state partnership money, so the district will need to wait until local funds are available before they can start those projects. However, the district is currently working on their immediate needs.
January is School Board Appreciation Month and Smith said the district will hold a dinner in February to honor the board and the district Teachers of the Year.
Smith also announced the Horatio School Board Elections will be held in May during the primary election.
TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN FELONY DRUG ARREST 1/16/18
About 11 p.m. Friday night, Patrolman First Class J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department made a traffic stop on 9th Street after witnessing a white Ford Explorer with broken tag light.
The driver, 47-year-old Andy Biddle of De Queen appeared nervous and was speaking very rapidly.
After Biddle declined to give Officer Lopez permission to search his vehicle, Lopez retrieved his partner, K9 Officer Kilo who ran around the vehicle conducting a free air sniff. After the sniff resulted in a positive alert on the vehicle, Biddle allegedly informed Lopez that there was a red tube that contained meth near the consol and the driver's seat.
After Lopez retrieved the items, Biddle was arrested and charged with a felony count of possession of a controlled substance and a felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL 1/16/18
Early Saturday morning, Patrolman Josh Luman of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to South 4th Street in reference to a man that was slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle.
When Luman arrived, the driver, 34-year-old Winter Jurelong of De Queen was awake but was unable to start his vehicle.
After failing a series of field sobriety test, Jurelong was taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
About 11 p.m., Saturday night, Sergeant Wayne Baker observed a vehicle cross the fog line and center line on several occasions on Highway 70B.
The driver was 55-year-old Stephen Whitmore of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and after he failed the field sobriety test. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit to test.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING IS TONIGHT AT 6 PM 1/16/18
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council are scheduled to meet tonight to discuss purchasing Narcan for the police department, the sidewalk project and to consider passing an ordinance to put the issue of four-year terms for aldermen on the General Election ballot this November.
In the council packet, Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy stated Police Chief Scott Simmons will discuss purchasing Narcan for officers to carry in their patrol vehicles.
Narcan is an opioid antagonist that can be used to treat known or suspected opioid overdose. Narcan is administered by injection and blocks the effects of the opioid in the brain.
Simmons also will discuss some issues his department is having with their phone system.
Mayor McKelvy reported the city has received some updated numbers concerning the sidewalk project that would run from the De Queen School to the intersection at 9th Street. The total cost of the project is estimated at $288,700.
Aldermen will also consider passing an ordinance to ask the voters of De Queen to allow aldermen to serve four-year terms, instead of two-year terms.
The agenda also includes the latest proposal from Stephen's Inc. on refinancing the waster water bonds and the re-appointment of two members of the Planning Commission.
ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT
ASHDOWN CHEERLEADER JADE KENDRICK MARCHES IN LONDON'S NEW YEAR'S DAY PARADE 1/15/18
High School Senior Cheerleader Jade Kendrick was one of more than
650 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who
represented Varsity Spirit in the world famous London New Year’s Day
SEVIER COUNTY FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT ATTENDS AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION'S ANNUAL CONVENTION 1/15/18
Sevier County Farm Bureau President Bruce Jackson and his wife, Sandra attended the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jackson and the other delegates voted to re-elect American Farm Bureau Federation President, Zippy Duvall during the convention. Delegates also approved measures to help assure a prosperous agricultural and rural economy in the coming year.
Delegates passed resolutions related to trade and regulatory reform, crop insurance and more.
EXTENSION OFFICE OFFERING BEST CARE DEVELOPMENT CLASSES 1/15/18
The Sevier, Howard and Pike County Extension Service offices, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education, will be offering the Best Care 2018 professional development training on Saturday, January 27th in a classroom setting in the Howard County Extension Homemakers Educational Center on 2nd Street, behind the Howard County Courthouse in Nashville.
There will be 10hours of face-to-face lessons and participants are being asked to take their lunch, however, light snacks will be provided.
All training opportunities are offered free of charge and are verified training through the new Professional Development Registry, which is also know as the Traveling Arkansas' Professional Pathways and is supported by the Better Beginnings quality rating system.
The deadline to register is Monday, January 22nd. For more information about the Best Care training opportunities for early childhood professionals, contact Janet Cantrell at 584-3013 in Sevier County, Jean Ince at 845-7517 in Howard County and Eva Langley at 285-2161 in Pike County.
JANUARY 27TH IS GOING TO BE A BUSY DAY 1/15/18
Several events have been planned for Saturday, January 27th including a women's conference, a fundraiser for a non-profit that helps pregnant women and an auction supporting the community of Ashdown.
Tommie Adair of the Cross Point Cowboy Church in Nashville reported the church is hosting a women's conference on January 27th. She said the featured speaker will be LeAnn Hart who is the wife of bullrider J.W. Hart and another speaker is Elsie Frost who is the mother of the late Lane Frost. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
For more information about the Cowgirl Roundup, call 870-828-1231.
The WeeCare Pregnancy Resources Center in Idabel is holding their 9th annual Plunge for Life fundraiser on the 27th at 1 p.m. at Area D at Stephens Gap on the Broken Bow Lake.
Sandy Gaskey stated the WeeCare Pregnancy Center provides services to ladies of all ages.
Gaskey said this is the only fundraiser that the center holds and the funds are used for operational expenses.
She said the center is a non-profit, faith-based pregnancy center and they do not receive funds from any state or federal government.
For more information about the WeeCare Pregnancy Center call 580-286-5390.
And, the Domtar Advisory Committee will host their 7th annual Ashdown Community Auction on the 27th in the Ashdown High School cafeteria. The doors will open at 4 p.m. and the auction begins at 6.
Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne stated the auction as raised over $175,000 over the past six years and they use the funds for renovation projects throughout Ashdown.
Hawthorn said they'll have a penny auction, a silent auction and a live auction. She said they are also selling tickets for several raffles.
For more information, call the chamber office at 870-898-2758.
UA COSSATOT TO BENEFIT FROM NEW HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA 1/15/18
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he is seeking a $10 million increase in higher education funding during the upcoming fiscal session.
UA Cossatot Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole, said he fully supports the productivity funding model because the old formula didn't properly fund schools.
Cole said Cossatot will not change their curriculum or do anything different to address the new funding model because Cossatot has one of the highest graduation rates in the state.
UA Cossatot is expected to receive an additional $323,000 in funding in 2018.
Hutchinson is also encouraging schools to not increase tuition and for two-year colleges to keep any increases consistent with the consumer price index or below to maintain educational affordability.
UA Cossatot has 1,500 students and has a tuition rate of $70 per hour, while the University of Arkansas at Hope has about the same population, but has a tuition rate of $74 per credit hour.
The Department of Higher Education announced schools have a hold-harmless agreement for the first year, which means those schools without high completion rates will not be penalized for their numbers, but after the transition period, they will begin to lose funding.
MCCURTIAN COUNTY DA CONSIDERING CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST KIAMICHI YOUTH SERVICES 1/15/18
The McCurtain County District Attorney is considering criminal charges following an investigation that was conducted by the Idabel Police Department.
The Kiamichi Youth Services operates an emergency youth shelter and outreach program in McCurtain County and is funded by a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Juvenile Services Unit.
According to KYS' 990 tax return that was reviewed and signed by the KYS board of directors' chairman, Greg Matlock, KYS' executive director, Pamela Griffin-Rambo was not paid a salary, although she worked an average of 40-hours a week.
According to Rambo, her base salary is $70,000 and KYS must pay her overtime for working more than 40-hours a week. Rambo says she averages 14-hours a day, six-days a week, which means she received around $196,000 in 2016, which would make Rambo, one of the highest paid directors in Oklahoma.
KYS has between 30 and 35 employees and several of them are related to Rambo and one is the wife of Matlock who served on the board until October of 2017. KYS has now refused to release any other documents, including the organization's governing documents and polices.
However, District Attorney Mark Matloff has not announced what charges, if any, he is planning to file in connection with the criminal investigation.
SUSPECT ARRESTED WITH STOLEN FIREARM 1/12/18
On Wednesday, January 10th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Wendell Randall took a report concerning some stole firearms from a homeowner in Lockesburg.
Logan and Brandi Arter reported someone broke into their home and stole a handgun and a rifle along with some ammunition while they were working. The Arter's reported a handgun was taken from their bedroom and a youth rifle was taken from the couple's gun cabinet.
After discovering the guns were missing, the couple found the bathroom window was broken and there was a bucket outside, beneath the window.
While speaking with the Arter's, Brandi reported she had received a message from a friend, asking where Justin Stubbs had gotten a gun.
Brandi told Randall and Investigator Brian Hankins that she thought Stubbs who is a resident of Lockesburg may have broken into their home and stolen the guns. She then contacted Stubbs and asked for a ride. When he picked her up, she informed Randall that Stubbs had a handgun.
Randall made a traffic stop after he was informed that Stubb's driver's license had been suspended.
When Randall asked Stubbs if he had anything illegal on his person, Stubbs said no. When Randall found the handgun, Stubbs was taken into custody.
During the investigation, Stubbs was questioned about the handgun and the break-in on Melrose Road. Stubbs denied having any part in the burglary.
A witness informed Randall that he dropped off Stubbs at a church on Melrose Road and went back and picked him up about 30-minutes later. He said when he picked Stubbs up, he had a rifle, a chainsaw and a firebox of some type.
The witness stated Stubbs told him that a man who owed him some money had told him to hold onto the items until he could pay him back.
Later, a second witness stated Stubbs had asked her to sell the rifle for him, but no one would buy it.
Stubbs is being charged with residential burglary, theft of property and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
UPCOMING EVENTS BY THE LITTLE RIVER COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE 1/12/18
Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan announced her office has several upcoming events including a pesticide applicator training class, a pruning workshop and the 4-States Ag Expo.
Sullivan said the pesticide applicator training class is being offered for anyone who needs to re-certify or apply for a private applicator restricted use pesticide license. She said the class will be on Thursday, January 18th at 6 p.m. in the Foreman High School Agriculture Building.
You do not have to pre-register to attend, but there is a $10 registration fee.
Sullivan also explained they moved the pruning workshop to Monday, January 22nd because of an illness.
Sullivan said it's a "hands on" fruit tree and blackberry pruning workshop and it will be held on Monday, January 22nd. She said participates will meet at the extension office, which is located in the back of the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot at 9:30 a.m. They will then proceed to the workshop site.
There is no charge for this program but each person will need to provide their own pruning shears and or lopers and gloves. Sullivan said participates will learn the correct way to prune trees to help increase their fruit yield and to keep their fruit trees and brambles healthy.
Sullivan also stated it's time to get ready for the 4-States Ag Expo at the Four State Fairgrounds in Texarkana on Thursday, February 1st from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
For more information about any of these programs, call the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.
CITY OF MINERAL SPRINGS REORGANIZES THE PARK COMMISSION 1/12/18
The Mineral Springs City Council approved an ordinance concerning the park commission, Wednesday during a special called meeting. The ordinance reorganizes the commission and sets terms for the existing members and three new commissioners.
Mayor Bobby Tullis reported the group had not been meeting and from now on, any commissioner who misses more than two meetings in a row will automatically be removed from the commission. The ordinance also states the commission will meet quarterly.
The new commissioners are Roy Backus, Sharon Shelton and Tarrah Cheatham Johnson. The current sitting members are Jackie Matthews, Ray Hawkins, Mike Erwin, Vera Marks, Angie Piggee and Rhonda Conway.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: JANUARY IS NATIONAL SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH 1/12/18
The White House recently declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The International Labor Organization reports nearly 21 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, including labor and sex trafficking of both children and adults. Human trafficking occurs when force is used to control another person for labor or sexual purposes and is considered a form of modern-day slavery.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge reported the Polaris Project released the following red flags so someone can spot a potential victim of human trafficking:
They're fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense or nervous and paranoid. They exhibit unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement. They avoid eye contact and appear to be malnourished. They may show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture. They have few or no personal possessions. They are not in control of their own identification documents and they are not allowed or able to speak for themselves. They make claims of just visiting and they don't have the ability to clarify where they live. They have a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and may not know what city they are in. They may not have sense of time and there are numerous inconsistencies in their story.
The Human Trafficking Hotline reports that Arkansans submitted about 20 potential human trafficking cases in 2017 on both the hotline and BeFree Textline. Arkansans can submit tips to the hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or via text to BeFree (233733).
For more information about the Attorney General's office call 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
ARKANSAS DEER HARVEST GOES OVER 200,000 1/12/18
There's still a little over a month left in deer season for archery hunters, but Arkansas' deer harvest has already topped the 200,000 mark at the conclusion of the second modern gun youth hunt which was held January 6th and 7th and according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, this is the sixth straight year that Arkansas hunters have reached that milestone.
Arkansas' record harvest came in 2012, when hunters harvested 213,487 deer.
Although this year's harvest will likely fall short of that number, the season is fairly consistent with last year's total harvest of 202,070.
Ralph Meeker is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's deer program coordinator, and he said the consistent harvest numbers from recent years are a good indication that Arkansas deer populations are beginning to stabilize.
Meeker said one noticeable bright spot in this year's season is the number of deer that was checked from Zone 12. He said there was a noticeable decrease in harvest numbers last year, particularly in the number of does that was harvested.
In Sevier County, 1,050 antlered deer were harvested along with 120 button bucks and 942 does.
In Little River County, there were 1,040 antlered bucks harvested, 134 button bucks and 1,107 doe.
In the surrounding counties, the largest harvest was in Hempstead County. There were 1,535 antlered bucks harvested, 213 button bucks and 1,759 does.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission also reported chronic wasting disease was detected in three new counties. They said four deer in Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties tested positive for the deadly disease.
GENDER GAP WIDENS AS ARKANSAS REDUCES PRISON POPULATIONS 1/12/18
Prison populations are dropping in most states, but a new study finds the number of incarcerated women isn't falling as fast as it is for men, and in Arkansas, it's actually growing. Nationally, the total prison population peaked around 2009.
The study, by the Prison Policy Initiative, shows most states have made progress in reducing their overall prison populations in the past 10 years. But, incarceration rates for women have stayed about the same. According to Wendy Sawyer, one reason may be that women in prison may receive harsher punishments for rule violations than men for similar infractions, extending their sentences.
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of men incarcerated in Arkansas grew at a rate of 6.2 percent a year, while the number of women who were incarcerated increased by 7.6 percent, according to a study by the state.
Women make up a relatively small percentage of the prison population, but since 1978, their numbers have increased at twice the rate of men. And Sawyer says the impact of incarceration can be much more severe on women.
The report recommends increasing use of diversion strategies, decriminalizing offenses that don't threaten public safety, and increasing funding for indigent defense as ways to reduce incarceration rates.
Sawyer points out that ignoring trends in women's prisons works against efforts to lower prison populations.
She said she believes developing alternatives to incarceration that are less harmful to women should be a priority in every state.
CITY EMPLOYEE ANNOUNCES HE'S RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE OF MAYOR 1/11/18
Jeff Brown announced today that he will be a candidate for Mayor of De Queen in the November general election.
Brown is 44-years-old and has been employed by the City of De Queen water department for the past 11 years. He has been the head of the water department since October of 2014.
Brown is active in the De Queen Lions Club and attends the First United Methodist Church where he serves on the church council and board of trustees.
Brown and his wife, Heather, have one son, Tucker who is a student in the De Queen School District and Heather is employed by the State Of Arkansas.
Brown said he is a lifelong resident of De Queen and he has a great interest in the City of De Queen.
While serving as the head of the water department, he has overseen the modernization of the water system and updated the system to ensure the residents of De Queen have a safe and dependable water supply. Brown said the water department has replaced the pumps at the Stilwell pump station, added energy-saving variable frequency drives and added a SCADA system that allows workers to control every part of the system by computer. He said they upgraded to an automated meter reading system that will save on labor costs and will allow city workers to read all 2,500 meters in half-a-day rather than in one week.
Brown said he looks forward to meeting with the citizens of De Queen and hearing about their concerns.
In De Queen, municipal candidates run as non-partisan candidates and will be on the November 6th, General Election ballot.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL BANNER PROGRAM 1/11/18
In about one month, high school baseball teams will take the field and the De Queen Baseball program is selling banners for the outfield fence at Leopard Field.
Head Coach Beau McCastlain reported businesses and individuals have until February 15th to renew their banner if they had one last year, or purchase a new banner. He said he wants all of the banners displayed during the 3rd Annual Leopard Alumni Game and Hit-a-thon.
McCastlain said all of the proceeds will be used to make upgrades to the baseball program, including a spring break trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama where the team will compete in the Gulf Coast Classic.
McCastlain said they are also raising money to renovate and raise the infield dirt, purchase a new scoreboard and renovate the bull pens by the home and visitor dugouts.
McCastlain said this year's team is full of experience and he's looking forward to the upcoming season.
To purchase a four by six banner, contact McCastlain at 870-279-4479 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SERVSAFE COURSE 1/11/18
The Sevier County Extension Office announced there will be a ServSafe Course on Tuesday, January 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Wednesday, January 31st from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the county extension office in the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
The participation fee is $140 which includes the text book, exam, instruction and proctoring fee or $30 if you just need to retake the exam.
The registration deadline is Tuesday, January 23rd and you may pick up a registration form at the extension office.
ServSafe has been the industry national standard for years. ServSafe has trained more than one million managers and employees on how to receive, store, prepare and serve food safely.
For more information, contact Janet Cantrell at the Sevier County Extension at 870-584-3013 or email her at email@example.com.
EXTENSION GET FIT PROGRAM IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 1/11/18
The Extension Get Fit Program is a community-based strength training program that's targeted toward middle age and older Arkansans.
Based on the latest research, the program is designed to improve strength, balance and flexibility; reduce the risk of falls; help maintain independence; increase energy; help manage your weight; decrease pain; and help you feel better.
Classes meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. for an hour on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot. Each session includes exercises that can be done either sitting, standing or holding onto a chair. This program provides a supportive group environment and is appropriate for all fitness levels.
Extension Get Fit is evidence-based, safe, structured, and affordable. The $20 program fee covers an entire calendar year and you do not need special equipment for this class, however, light hand weights and or adjustable ankle weights are helpful.
For more information, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224 or just drop by on any of the exercise days and check it out.
NEW TRIAL DATES SET FOR THREE SEVIER COUNTY RESIDENTS IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 1/11/18
Trial dates have been re-scheduled for three Sevier County suspects who have been charged in the fatal shooting of an Ashdown resident.
Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan granted a new trial date of March 12th for 20-year-old Joshua King and 19-year-old Brady Winship. A trial date of May 21st was set for 18-year-old Tenescha Wilkerson.
The three suspects were allegedly involved in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Desmond Smith on July 16th in Ashdown.
King has been charged with second degree murder, first degree battery and the unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.
Winship and Wilkerson have been charged with being an accomplice to murder in the second degree, first degree battery and the unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.
According to the arrest affidavit, Winship allegedly drove to a house located at 195 Washington Street about 1 a.m. because King allegedly wanted to fight.
According to witnesses, King fired a weapon at several people as Winship drove away.
The suspects were later arrested near De Queen by deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and an officer with the De Queen Police Department.
REGISTRATION AT UA COSSATOT OPEN UNTIL JANUARY 17TH 1/11/18
UA Cossatot's Marketing Coordinator, Daniel Martinez, announced Cossatot selected nine students as Student Ambassadors this year. He said the ambassadors will facilitate service projects, recruit potential students and organize student activities.
Martinez introduced Alex Alvarado and Brooke Scott (shown left), Thursday morning.
Alvarado stated he applied to be a Student Ambassador so he could help future students.
Scott said ambassadors also tell students about the student services that are available to them at UA Cossatot.
Martinez said registration is open until January 17th, but classes start on the 16th. He also announced Cossatot will be accepting applications for 2019 Student Ambassadors beginning in October.
For more information, contact UA Cossatot by calling 870-642-2115 or visit their website cccua.edu.
DE QUEEN POLICE DEPARTMENT RELEASES SUMMARY REPORT FOR 2018 1/8/18
Last Friday, the De Queen Police Department released the figures on the number of arrests made in 2017.
Assistant Police Chief Sonny Kimmel reported officers responded to 5,389 calls and made 348 arrests. Of those arrests, 95 were felony arrests and 253 were for misdemeanor charges. Officers also made 17 DWI arrests.
Kimmel reported officers wrote 1,308 citations and worked 273 accidents.
Kimmel said the department opened 167 investigations and served 160 warrants.
DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES PURCHASE OF ADJACENT PROPERTY 1/8/18
Friday afternoon, the De Queen Board of Education held a special called meeting to discuss the purchase of some property that is adjacent to the district's baseball and softball fields.
After a brief discussion, board members voted to purchase the 30-acres of land after Superintendent Bruce Hill told them the property would be used as a staging area for the high school construction project.
Hill also stated the district could possible use the property for future growth, including a school farm.
Board members approved the transfer request of a Legacy Academy student from the De Queen School District to the Cossatot River School District.
Hill explained that even though the student did not attend school in the De Queen School District, he did live within the district and therefore, the school board had to approve or disapprove his request to attend school outside the district.
Board members also voted to help Legacy Academy with their physical education program by allowing them to use the new Lockesburg gymnasium for the remainder of this semester or until Legacy can find a more suitable solution.
This afternoon at 5 p.m. the board will hold their regular monthly meeting. According to the agenda, the board will review the district's Master Plan and consider renewing the contracts of Superintendent Hill and Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton.
FIVE ARKANSANS APPOINTED TO FARM SERVICE AGENCY STATE COMMITTEE 1/8/18
Five Arkansans have been appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to serve on the Farm Service Agency State Committee, which is responsible for carrying out the Farm Service Agency's programs in Arkansas.
Ron Chastain of Faulkner County has been appointed to serve as the Committee Chair. The other committee members are Gary Churchill of Pope County, Sarah Dunklin of Desha County, Nathan Reed of Lee County and Vicki Wright of Sevier County.
U.S. Senator John Boozman congratulated the new committee members, saying they are among the best of an elite class of farmers and ranchers in the state.
The committee oversees Farm Service Agency activities in the state. This includes assisting in implementation of Farm Service Agency programs, including Price Loss Coverage, Agriculture Risk Coverage, and conservation programs; resolving appeals from the agriculture community; and informing producers about Farm Service Agency programs that can help their operations.
State committees are appointed for one year terms which began on January 1st. Each state committee has five members, one chairperson and four members, who serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of Agriculture.
FRUIT TREE AND BLACKBERRY PRUNING WORKSHOP 1/8/18
Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan will be holding a "hands on" fruit tree and blackberry pruning workshop on Friday, January 12th. Participates will meet at the extension office, which is located in the back of the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot at 9:30 a.m. They will then proceed to the workshop site.
There is no charge for this program but each person will need to provide their own pruning shears and or lopers and gloves. Sullivan said participates will learn the correct way to prune trees to help increase their fruit yield and to keep their fruit trees and brambles healthy.
To register or for more information, call the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.
GROUP TYING ROAD FUNDING TO CASINOS 1/8/18
A group is trying to put a measure on the ballot this fall that would allow up to three casinos in Arkansas to raise money for state highways.
Driving Arkansas Forward submitted a proposed constitutional amendment to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office last week to allow the casinos, with 65 percent of the casino tax revenues to go toward highway funding. Rutledge must approve the measure's language before supporters can gather signatures to try and place it on the November ballot.
The proposal calls for the first casino to be located in Jefferson County and the second in Crittenden County. A third could located in Crawford, Miller, Mississippi, Pope, Union or White counties.
The Arkansas Supreme Court disqualified a measure to legalize casinos in three counties in 2016.
MEDICAID DOMINATES ARKANSAS' PROPOSED BUDGET 1/8/18
When Governor Asa Hutchinson unveils his proposed 2018-2019 budget this week, most of the attention will be on the state's Medicaid program and the future of the hybrid expansion that 's provided coverage to thousands of low-income residents over the past few years. The questions that arise will indicate how much of a fight he'll face to keep the program alive.
With two vacancies in the Senate creating uncertainty about whether the votes are there for the expansion's future, Hutchinson offered a preview of his budget last week. Hutchinson reported Medicaid enrollment dropped by more than 117,000 people last year and he said he's seeking about $488 million less in state and federal funds for the Medicaid budget than he originally had planned.
Most funding plans need a three-fourths majority in each chamber to pass, and Hutchinson said he expects the hybrid Medicaid bill to be approved. However, the Medicaid budget measure passed in the Senate last year with 27 votes, which is the minimum number of votes needed.
The governor's Medicaid budget plan will likely face some scrutiny from expansion opponents who have argued the state can't afford the program and have called for its end.
There's also uncertainty surrounding the state's request to move 60,000 people off the program by lowering its eligibility cap and imposing a work requirement on participants.
Legislative leaders, however, say they remain confident that there won't be a budget standoff over the program's future.
Senator Larry Teague of Nashville, who is a co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee, said the Arkansas Legislature hasn't proved willing to do the deadlock kind of business that they do in Washington and he feels legislators will continue to do the right thing.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - OPEN CARRY 1/8/18
State Senator Larry Teague reported Governor Asa Hutchinson wrote a letter to the state police stating that open carry of a firearm is not a violation of state gun laws, as long as there is no intent to use the weapon unlawfully.
Teague said this is the second time since 2015 that a state constitutional officer has written that open carry is legal. He said in 2015, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote open carry was legal in an opinion when she stated merely possessing a handgun on your person or in your vehicle does not violate statutes about firearm possession.
Both Hutchinson and Rutledge cite Act 746 of 2013, which spells out when it is permissible to carry a firearm on a journey.
Teague said although open carry is legal, someone who carries a handgun should remember that the police may lawfully question them about their purpose. The officer may detain the person carrying the firearm due to suspicions based on the persons' demeanor and activities, or based on information supplied to them by a third person, or because of known criminal activity nearby.
Private property owners are still entitled to keep firearms off their property, and a person carrying a handgun can be prosecuted for criminal trespass if they enter that property against the owner's wishes.
Teague said there are also prohibitions against carrying a firearm into public buildings such as jails and courtrooms.
Teague stated according to the attorney general's opinion, Act 746 changed state law so that there is no longer a presumption that possession of a loaded handgun indicates any intent to commit an unlawful act.
According to the attorney general's opinion, Act 746 also did not overturn any rules affecting concealed-carry permit holders, and laws requiring concealed carry permits are still in full force and effect. Teague said a person may not carry a concealed handgun unless he has a concealed carry license.
The attorney general's opinion also discusses the journey exception, which allows you to carry a firearm in your vehicle either in the open or concealed, as long as you have no intent to use it unlawfully. However, the journey exception does not override other gun laws.
And, once the gun owner takes it out of the vehicle, the journey exception no longer applies but the person may lawfully carry the gun as long as he or she has no intent to use in unlawfully against another person. If the person conceals it while carrying it, he or she must have a concealed carry license.
Act 746 passed by a vote of 82 to 1 in the House of Representatives and 28 to 0 in the Senate.
TYSON FOODS DONATES TO UA COSSATOT CENTER FOR STUDENT SUCCESS SUMMER PROGRAM 1/8/18
Tyson Foods donated $250 to fund the We Can Summer Program hosted by UA Cossatot’s Center for Student Success.
Tyson Foods Complex Human Resource Manager Donna Duggan presented the check to UA Cossatot Development Coordinator Dustin Roberts.
The We Can Summer Program is a three-day course for area high school sophomores and juniors. The program will begin in June 2018 at De Queen and Nashville UA Cossatot campuses.
The program’s focus is to inspire future minority leaders of Southwest Arkansas by providing support that will encourage more students to attend college after high school.
UA Cossatot Center for Student Success Coordinator Erika Buenrrostro said, "Tyson Foods has supported many of our programs for years. Their donation will provide mentorship, help students learn how to market themselves, and prepare them for college."
For more information about the We Can Summer Program, please contact Erika Buenrrostro at 870-584-1133 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UA COSSATOT INDUCTS 2018 STUDENT AMBASSADORS 1/8/18
COSSATOT POLICE FORCE OFFERING FREE ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE CLASS JANUARY 11 1/5/18
Members of the UA Cossatot police force will be leading a civilian response to an active shooter situation class at the De Queen Church of Christ on Thursday, January 11th at 6 p.m.
Monte Stringfellow said training is important. He said the only way you can survive an active shooter situation is to be prepare for one and he used fire drills in schools as an example of how preparation can save lives.
Stringfellow said the three officers with the UA Cossatot police force attended training seminars in Dallas at Southern Methodist University and in Little Rock through the Attorney General's office.
Stringfellow stated everything has changed since Columbine, including the way police respond to active shooter situations.
Stringfellow said everyone is invited to the active shooter civilian response class on Thursday, January 11th at 6 p.m. at the De Queen Church of Christ.
WALRAVEN ANNOUNCES HE IS SEEKING RE-ELECTION 1/5/18
Little River County Sheriff Bobby Walraven announced Thursday that he will be seeking re-election in November's General Election.
Walraven stated he has implemented some new polices and increased the mandatory training for deputies during his first-term in an effort to provide a more proactive service of law enforcement.
He reported ballistic vests, patrol rifles and body cameras have been purchased through grants and donations. Walraven said his department has also updated their police software and added JPX pepper guns for the deputies protection.
Walraven stated he holds various specialty instructor certificates for firearms, chemical weapons, radar, supervision and management and he hold an advanced level certification in Law Enforcement Standards.
He said it has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Little River County as their sheriff and with their support he will continue to protect the people and property of the county.
QUEEN WILHELMENA STATE PARK HAS NEW LEADER 1/5/18
Mike Farringer has been promoted to the position of superintendent at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park.
According to Arkansas State Parks Director Grady Spann, Farringer has a good history of exceptional performance in the state park system. Farringer has been a ranger, an assistant superintendent and he was the superintendent at Cane Creek and at Cossatot River.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park sits atop the 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, which is Arkansas second highest peak.
Queen Wilhelmina State park features a lodge that offers 40 guest rooms, the Queen's Restaurant, and a treasure-filled gift shop. Campsites and hiking trails are also available.
Farringer said he was looking forward to working with the staff at Queen Wilhelmina to ensure the park continues to be part of the rich history of the surrounding area.
For more information about Queen Wilhelmina or any of the other 51 state parks visit the website www.ArkansasStateParks.com.
GOVERNOR APPOINTS DE QUEEN RESIDENT TO STATE BOARD 1/5/18
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson recently appointed a De Queen resident to a state board.
Dori Gutierrez was appointed by the governor to serve on the State and Public School Life and Health Insurance Board.
The appointment expires December 1st, 2021.
WEYERHAUSER MILL IN DIERKS ABOUT HALFWAY FINISHED 1/5/18
The new Weyerhauser Mill in Dierks is almost finished and Director of Government Affairs, Nancy Thompson said there as been a mill in Dierks for the past 100 years and Weyerhauser is excited to be re-investing in the mill at Dierks.
Thompson said phase one is just about complete and they hope to finish the project by the end of 2018. She said the product line will remain the same in Dierks, but the mill is already reaching new production millstones with the current upgrades.
Thompson said Weyerhauser has been in Arkansas since 1956 and they have about 700 employees. She said Weyerhauser supports the communities that they are in by providing grants to local governments, fire departments, schools and other organizations.
She also said Weyerhauser is working to ensure they are in Arkansas for a long time by sharing their environmental sustainability story.
WEECARE PREGNANCY RESOURCES HOSTING 9TH ANNUAL PLUNGE FOR LIFE JANUARY 27 1/4/18
The WeeCare Pregnancy Resources, Inc. is hosting their 9th annual Plunge for Life event on Saturday, January 27th at Area D at Stephens Gap on the Broken Bow Lake at 1 p.m.
Executive Director Sandy Gaskey reported the WeeCare Pregnancy Center is a non-profit, faith-based pregnancy crisis center in Idabel and they offer several services to area clients regardless of their economic status. The services include pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, adoption education, child birthing classes, CPR/first aid classes, parenting classes, maternity clothes, baby care items, tutoring and mentoring programs, post-abortion support and love and support.
Gaskey explained the Plunge for Life event is the only fundraiser that the WeeCare Center conducts each year and they use the funds for centers general operating expenses.
Gaskey said if you, your business or your organization would like to participate by getting sponsors and taking the plunge call 580-286-5390 or stop by the center at 110 East Main Street in Idabel.
You may email the center at email@example.com if you have any questions. If you want a Plunge for Life t-shirt, the deadline to enter is January 10th.
CONSUMER ALERT: LOW TEMPERATURES EQUAL HIGH HEATING BILLS 1/4/18
If the recent cold snap is a sign of what is to come this winter, Arkansans can expect higher than normal energy costs. The low temperatures mean furnaces are working overtime and more money is draining from our pocketbooks in an attempt to stay warm. But there are ways we can save some money and beat high heating costs this winter.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released some tips to help keep energy costs low throughout the colder months.
Consumers should use a programmable thermostat to automatically lower the temperature when no one is home. Consumers should seal cracks or holes around the home by weather-stripping doors and windows and by adding insulation to walls, attic and crawlspace to prevent the loss of heat. You should set your ceiling fans to spin clockwise to recirculate the rising hot air. You should make sure baseboard heaters, air vents and radiators are unobstructed. Consumers should have their heating unit serviced at least once a year to ensure it is operating properly. Consumers should consult a licensed plumber regarding wrapping your water heater in a water heater insulating blanket and then turning it down to the warm setting to save money. You should also close vents and doors to rooms that are not being used and you should keep air filters clean and replace them on a regular basis.
Many Arkansans burn wood as a heat source, while other consumers heat with liquefied petroleum gas. Gas users should consider signing a long-term contract with a provider in order to lock in a specific price over a set period of time. Homeowners should also assess consumption needs and order propane refills prior to the current supply running out. Other heating sources like space heaters require caution and must be located away from flammable materials and can often impact energy costs.
The Department of Energy reports that space heaters account for about 45 percent of the average energy bill.
Consumers should use caution when a product claims to drastically lower your heating costs and you should avoid unsolicited high-pressure sales calls or visits from contractors offering furnaces, windows, roofing and other home-improvement projects.
Remember if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.
Other tips and resources are available at EnergyEfficiencyArkansas.org. Consumers should also reach out to your electricity or natural gas provider to see if they have any programs to reduce weather-related heating costs.
For more information, contact the Attorney General's office by calling 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
CADC TO START 2018 WINTER LIHEAP UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM THE WEEK OF JANUARY 16 1/4/18
The Central Arkansas Development Council announced that the 2018 Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will begin the week of January 16 and will continue as long as funds are available.
The day and times of when applications will be taken are listed for area counties that are in the 19 county Central Arkansas Development Council service area: including Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Hot Springs, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Lonoke, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Pulaski, Saline, Sevier and Union counties. Additional information can be found on the Central Arkansas Development Council's website, www.cadc.com/liheap.
The Central Arkansas Development Council is a nonprofit Community Action Agency and their mission is to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty, to help vulnerable populations achieve their potential and to build strong communities in Arkansas through community action, improve the quality of life and to build strong communities in Arkansas.
In Hempstead County, applications will be accepted in Hope beginning Thursday, January 18th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Thursday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the First Baptist Church at 315 South Main Street.
In Howard County, applications will be accepted in Nashville beginning Monday, January 22nd. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Monday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Legion Hut building at 301 West Dodson Street.
In Lafayette County, applications will be accepted in Magnolia beginning Tuesday, January 16th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to noon, at the CADC office at 1503 North Vine Street.
In Little River County, applications will be accepted in Ashdown beginning Wednesday, January 17th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Wednesday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Ashdown Methodist Church at 145 East Commerce Street.
In Miller County, applications will be accepted in Texarkana beginning Tuesday, January 16th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Tuesday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Life House Outreach Ministry at 915 East Street.
In Pike County, applications will be accepted in Glenwood beginning Tuesday, January 16th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Tuesday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the CADC Senior Adult Center at 229 Betty Street.
In Sevier County, applications will be accepted in De Queen beginning Thursday, January 18th. Regular Winter Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications will be accepted on Thursday's from 8 a.m. to noon, at the De Queen Nazarene Church at 129 West Locke Street.
TWO ASHDOWN TEACHERS AWARDED MARGARET DANIEL EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION GRANTS 1/4/18
Two Ashdown School District teachers were awarded grants from the Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation.
Mavis Patillo received $2,132.22 to create a sensory station lab.
The lab will consist of a sensory tent and manipulatives to assist children with sensory issues. The lab will help students to deescalate their sensitivity problems.
Gerina Ritter received $1,180.59 for the purchase of a Red Cat audio sound system.
The system will amplify the teacher's voice and provide more clarity for instruction. This type of system has proven to aide in a student's ability to hear distinct sound and help improve student's performance in literacy, especially writing.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL SETS MEETING TIMES AND DATES 1/3/18
Tuesday night, the De Queen City Council passed a resolution to establish the meeting times and dates for the year 2018 and they approved three contracts of services.
Aldermen also discussed passing an ordinance during their next meeting that would establish 4-year terms for city aldermen. The mayor and city clerk already serve 4-year terms and Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy stated this would ensure some experienced aldermen were always on the council.
If aldermen approve the ordinance, the voters of De Queen will determine the term lengths for the city council members.
McKelvy informed aldermen that he did not plan to run for re-election this year. He stated he has served as the mayor of De Queen for the past 13 and 1/2 years. He also stated that the filing period for city offices was in July and August.
Aldermen also approved contracts of services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the Sevier County Historical Society and the Area Agency on Aging, which operates the Sevier County Senior Adult Centers. Mayor McKelvy stated the council approves these contracts every year.
This year, the council approved a $500 increase for the humane society, so they can give a $20 discount to more De Queen residents to have their dog or cat spayed or neutered.
McKelvy reported aldermen also approved a resolution to use federal funds for the construction of a bridge over Wilson Creek.
McKelvy also reported the city was approved for a $222,000 grant to help build a sidewalk from the De Queen High School campus to 9th Street.
During his Around Town report, McKelvy said this year's street department budget is less than previous years, but includes several projects that will completed by using state and federal funds.
ACCIDENT RESULTS IN DWI ARREST 1/3/18
Saturday, December 30th, Sevier County Deputies Matt Webb and Thomas Jackson were dispatched to Bradley Chapel road in reference to a motor vehicle accident.
When deputies arrived, first responders had removed the driver from the truck. First responders informed the deputies that the driver was unresponsive until they got him out of the truck.
When deputies asked the driver his name, he informed them that he was Bob Stevens. Deputies noted that they thought Stevens was intoxicated and they took him into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Hames was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated #3 and refusal to submit to chemical test.
LET'S NOT START THE NEW YEAR OFF LIKE THIS 1/3/18
Early New Year's Day, several Sevier County deputies were dispatched to Cypress Lane in Lockesburg after they received a report that a man was assaulting people.
Deputies Chet Stubbs, David Stinson, Greg Harper, and Thomas Jackson went to the home of the suspect where he allegedly choked his girlfriend until she blacked out. The reporting party identified the suspect as 21-year-old Brandon Crow. They also stated he fled toward some other trailers or possibly into a near by field.
While some deputies remained at the trailer, a couple of deputies went to Crow's grandfather's house, looking for him, but he was not there. However, they did find a firearm that Crow allegedly owned.
Later, deputies found Crow at his trailer and he was taken into custody. Crow attempted to resist the deputies but they deployed some pepper spray and they were able to take him into custody.
Crow was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - FLU ACTIVITY 1/2/18
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught announced the Arkansas Department of Health has reported 12 Arkansans have died as a result of influenza.
Last week, Arkansas reported "widespread" flu activity to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for the geographic spread of influenza, and "high" or 10 out of 10 for Influenza like Illness intensity.
Vaught said since October 1, over 7,000 positive influenza tests have been reported to the Arkansas Department of Health's online database by health care providers. 70 counties in Arkansas have reported influenza cases.
The Department of Health is urging Arkansans to stay home if they have a fever or other symptoms that could be flu-related. They are also reminding everyone to practice good hand hygiene, get a flu shot, and to think of flu if there is fever or cough to prevent the spread.
Going to work or to school can spread the flu. People are generally contagious one to two days before symptoms start and five to seven days after symptoms start.
Flu symptoms include, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, fatigue and a headache. Symptoms may also include vomiting and diarrhea in children. Influenza antiviral prescription drugs, like Tamiflu, can be used to treat or prevent influenza if started soon after symptoms begin.
The 12 flu-related deaths this flu season all occurred with people over the age of 65. People who are at a higher risk for complications from the flu include: children aged two years old and younger; adults 65 and older; pregnant women, or women up to two weeks after delivering a child; people with a suppressed immune system, people with chronic health problems, like asthma, diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities.
The Arkansas Department of Health recommends everyone aged 6 months and older get the flu shot every year. It is especially important for pregnant women and others at high risk for complications. The flu shot is available at the local health units and at doctor's offices. Some pharmacies may also have flu shots available but do not give flu shots to children younger than seven years of age.
For more information, visit the website www.healthy.arkansas.gov.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO RE-ORGANIZE TONIGHT AT 6 P.M. 1/2/18
Tonight, the De Queen City Council will hold the first meeting of the new year at 6 p.m. in the council room of the De Queen City Hall to re-organize and consider several resolutions that deal with contracts of services and bridge work.
De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported the first order of business for De Queen aldermen will be to establish their meeting time for the year 2018. For the past couple of years, the council has met the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m.
Aldermen will consider passing a resolution to enter into an agreement with the Arkansas Department of Transportation to build a bridge over Wilson Creek. According to the proposed resolution, the City of De Queen will pay 20 percent of the preliminary engineering cost and 20 percent of the construction cost. The federal government will be responsible for 80 percent of the preliminary engineering cost, 80 percent of the construction cost, and 100 percent of the cost for obtaining right-of-ways and utilities.
McKelvy reported the city's portion of the engineering cost is $12,000.
Aldermen will also consider resolutions to enter into contracts for services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the Area Agency on Aging and the Sevier County Historical Society.
CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR DECEMBER 1/2/18
During the month of December, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 29 families including 66 adults and 38 children, totaling 104 people.
A total of 3,265 pounds of food was added to the pantry shelves, including 945 pounds of food that was purchased with donated funds. The First United Methodist Church and the Saint Barbara Catholic Church donated 321 pounds, while individuals donated 21 pounds. The De Queen High School Student Council and the Sevier County Library donated 1,978.
Volunteers gave out 898 pounds of food.
A cash donation was made to the cupboard through the efforts of a Facebook cake auction. Brenda Stewart made three cakes and the winning bidders were Suzanne Green, Brett Counts and Jimma Stinnett.
Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Food is given to those requesting assistance once each three-month period of the year.
Cupboard volunteers stated they appreciated the support that they receive from everyone in the community. This month, they need donations of non-perishable food items like cereal and soup. All monetary donations will be used to purchase food.
REPUBLICAN JAN MORGAN ANNOUNCES RUN FOR GOVERNOR 1/2/18
A Republican gun-rights advocate who declared her firing range "Muslim-free" says she's challenging Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for the GOP nomination for governor.
Jan Morgan is the owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range in Hot Springs and she announced she plans to run for governor on her campaign's website on New Year's Eve. Hutchinson was elected in 2014 and announced last year that he plans to seek re-election this year.
Morgan has criticized Hutchinson as someone who "campaigns like a conservative Republican but governs like a liberal Democrat." If elected, Morgan would become Arkansas' first female governor.
Morgan said in 2014 that her gun range would be a "Muslim-free zone" because of safety concerns and that she viewed Islam as a "terrorist organization and not a religion."
A Democrat, Jared Henderson, has also announced that he'll be running for governor.
FREEZING TEMPERATURES TO CONTINUE IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 1/2/18
A hard freeze warning continues through Wednesday for all of the Four State Region. An arctic air mass will remain in place through tonight, allowing temperatures to fall into the lower and middle teens across all of the ArkLaTex. Temperatures will climb back to near or above freezing by mid to late morning on Wednesday.
Precautions should already have been taken to wrap any exposed pipes, but be sure that the elderly and those that may not have adequate indoor heating are provided means to be kept warm. Please bring your pets inside. If you have to be outside in these very cold temperatures, be sure to dress in layers, wear gloves, and a hat. Extended exposure to these very cold temperatures will lead to frost bite and hypothermia.
AHS STUDENT INVITED TO COMPETE IN MICROSOFT OFFICE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 1/2/18
of the exceptionally high score Dimiyah Johnson received on her
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Word 2013 exam, she has been named
Arkansas’s Champion and selected to compete in Certiport’s 2018
Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship at the
Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia June 13-15, 2018.
The Microsoft Office U.S.
Championship presented by Certiport, Inc. is a competition that
tests students’ skills on Microsoft Office Word, Excel® and
PowerPoint® (2013 or 2016). Top students are invited to represent
their respective states at the World Championship. Winners will
continue to the World Championship.
Jefferies and Kohl Kervin became only the 2nd and 3rd Ashdown High
School students to earn an Expert MIcrosoft Office Certification.
They recently passed the Expert level in Microsoft Word 2013.
WEECARE PREGNANCY RESOURCES, INC. SPONSOR PLUNGE FOR LIFE 1/2/18
Resources, Inc., a non-profit, faith based pregnancy crisis center.
Will be hosting our 9th Annual PLUNGE for Life on Saturday, January
27, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Event will take place at Area D, Stephens Gap
This is the only fundraiser that the WeeCare Board does each year
and funds go for general operating expenses. If you would like to
participate, please contact the center at 580-286-5390 or by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline entry for a participant to receive
a t-shirt will be on January 10th.
ASHDOWN HOLDS CTE MEETING 1/2/18
Technical Education (CTE) Teachers from Ashdown Junior High and
Ashdown High School hosted a meeting with their Advisory Board on
December 13 in the AHS Library. After introductions and lunch, there
were breakout sessions with the CTE Instructors.
TWO COMPANIES APPLY FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSES IN SEVIER COUNTY 12/29/17
Two companies applied for medical marijuana licenses in Sevier County. Those two license applications are among the 16 that were submitted to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, in hopes of opening a cultivation center and a dispensary, here locally.
Peace of Green Inc. of De Queen is seeking a license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Sevier County, although the application does not list a specific city within the county.
Another company, Cannacare Wise LLC of Nashville also applied for a dispensary license for Howard County. That application, lists Rock Station Dispensary as its trade name.
These two dispensary applications are among the nine applications that were received from the Medical Marijuana Commission's zone 8, which includes 14-counties in Southwest Arkansas, including, Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Sevier and Union.
The Medical Marijuana Commission is evaluating applications and will award up to four dispensary licenses in each of the eight zones. The dispensaries will sell cannabis to medically qualified consumers.
One cultivation application was submitted from Sevier County. It was submitted by Arkansas Aquacronic Inc. of De Queen.
A total of seven cultivation applications were submitted and the commission will award up to five cultivation center licenses statewide. The cultivation centers will grow cannabis.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - MEDICAID 12/29/17
State Senator Larry Teague reported the state government is facing several challenges in 2018 and one of the biggest challenges is Medicaid.
Teague said Medicaid is a state administered health care program for people with disabilities, the elderly and low-income families. He said since the program was created in the mid-1960's, state watchdogs have been working to improve efficiency and accountability in the program.
Teague said the Department of Human Services administers Medicaid and the department is planning to introduce an innovation in 2018 to help control the costs of home care and personal care, which costs the state about $800 million a year. He reported the department will contract with a software firm to operate a cloud-based "electronic visit verification" method to reduce fraud.
According to the Department of Human Services, about 15 other states are doing something similar in an effort to hold down costs. The idea is to make sure personal care workers have actually visited the homes of Medicaid patients when they file a claim for reimbursement.
Home care and personal care workers are paid to visit Medicaid patients and help with household needs like personal hygiene and preparing meals. After the new verification system is in place, the smart phone of the home care worker will record and transmit a log of its location and the times it was at a particular location.
The Department of Human Services also has a new computer system that checks a recipient's income by accessing files at other state agencies and it also checks to see whether an Arkansas recipient is receiving Medicaid benefits from another state. This new system removed about 80,000 Medicaid recipients from the Arkansas rolls in 2017.
State officials expect to see other changes in the Medicaid program in 2018, if the state receives a waiver from the federal government. The state has asked to lower the eligibility requirement from 138 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent. The state also wants to add a requirement that some recipients work, look for work or take job training in order to qualify for Medicaid.
Teague said when the legislature convenes for the fiscal session this February, one of the most important bills that they will consider is the appropriation bill that will authorize Medicaid funding.
PLAN FOR EXTREMELY COLD WEATHER 12/29/17
The National Weather Service is predicting extremely cold temperatures for parts of Southwest Arkansas and the surrounding area and they say the best way to avoid frostbite and hypothermia is to plan for these cold conditions.
The National Weather Service suggests you check the weather on a regular basis so you can stay informed about potential severe weather. They also suggest you adjust your schedule so you can avoid being outdoors during the coldest part of the day, typically during the early morning hours.
The Sevier County Humane Society also suggests you protect your pets and livestock during these extremely cold conditions. They say make sure your pets and farm animals have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to the extreme cold.
Also, make sure your car or vehicle has at least a half a tank of gas during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded and dress for the outdoors even if you don't plan to get out much.
The AAA says you should update your winter car survival kit and make sure your kit has the following items in it:
Jumper cables, flashlights, first aid kit, food - non-perishable items such as dry cereal and protein rich foods like nuts and energy bars, water, basic toolkit - including pliers, wrenches and screwdrivers, pet supplies, a radio, cat litter or sand - for better tire traction , a shovel to dig out snow, an ice scraper, an extra change of clothes, warmers for body, hands and feet, blankets or sleeping bags and a cell phone charger.
For more information, visit the website aaa.com.
SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION 12/29/17
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the following information pursuant to Section 13 of Act 989 of 1997, which is the Sex and Child Offender Registration and Community Notification Guidelines. The purpose of this notification is to inform the public of a sex offender’s release when the release of such information will enhance the public’s safety and protection.
According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, 42-year-old Daniel Dwight Matney is a level 3 sex offender and he is currently living at 349 Highway 371 in Lockesburg. The Sevier County Sheriff's Office wants to remind area residents that Matney is not currently wanted by law enforcement.
According to the Arkansas Crime Information Center, Matney has been convicted of an offense that requires him to register as a sex offender and his previous criminal history places him in a classification as a level 3 sex offender and that reflects the potential to be a repeat offender.
Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry wants to remind area residents that the abuse of this information by threatening, intimidating or harassing Matney or any other registered sex offender will not be tolerated. Gentry said this sort of abuse could possibly end law enforcement’s ability to provide community notifications and if that happens, only the sex offenders will win.
For more information, contact the sheriff’s office at 870-642-2125.
ADVOCATES SEEK HELP, SUPPORT FOR AR CHILDREN OF JAILED PARENTS 12/29/17
A group of children's advocates has begun talking with legislators to find ways to keep Arkansas families together when a parent is convicted of a crime. Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind is looking to find alternatives to putting parents behind bars when there is no one to care for their children.
Lee Ann Newell is the director of Arkansas Voices and she says at least 72,000 kids in the state currently have one or both parents in jail, and children's lives are falling through the cracks.
Newell says her group will be asking legislators to develop alternatives to incarceration for parents, such as ankle monitors, supervised home detention or weekends only in jail. She says in addition to acting as advocates, the group also provides counseling and other support services to the children, their caregivers and their incarcerated parents.
Newell says nationwide, there are almost 3 million kids with incarcerated parents. That is 1 in 28 American children, but the rate is higher among minorities, with 1 in 9 African-American kids affected. About half of the children are under 10 years of age, and almost all of them live in poverty. She says in Arkansas the foster care system is only able to place about 1,000 of these kids a year in temporary homes.
Arkansas Voices began in 1994 as a grassroots coalition of 32 groups to build awareness of the growing number of incarcerated parents and their children.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY JUDGE ESTABLISHES AN ABC BOARD 12/28/17
Little River County Judge Mike Cranford established an Alcohol Beverage Control Board for Little River County during the December meeting of the Little River County Quorum Court. He then appointed Clyde Clevenger and Tommy Wrinkle to serve on the board.
Cranford informed the quorum court that the county was advertising for bids for a bridge and culverts. He said the bridge replacement and culvert projects will be completed in 2018. He also reported ARDot approved a sidewalk grant for the county and that it will be used to replace the handicap ramp at the Foreman Community Library.
Cranford also reported Mid-continent Restoration has been hired to inspect the columns at the courthouse.
Cranford informed KDQN that the Little River Intermodal Committee has applied for some grants and he is hoping to make a big announcement after the first of the year.
Cranford also stated a Jail Task Force Committee has been formed and will give a report to the Quorum Court during their January meeting.
E-Z MART PURCHASED BY GPM INVESTMENTS 12/28/17
According to Convenience Store News, Texarkana based E-Z Mart has reached an agreement to sell its convenience stores to GPM Investments LLC.
E-Z Mart has 273 stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Jim Yates opened his first E-Z Mart store in 1970 in Nashville, Arkansas and today E-Z Mart is one of the leading, privately-owned convenience store chains in America.
E-Z Mart CEO, Sonja Yates Hubbard released a statement saying, the significant investment in the store portfolio over the last decade has changed both the look and profitability while advancing the quality of service that the company provides to its customers. She said to escalate that rate of improvement and ensuring growth opportunities for the E-Z Mart brand and team, the company is combining with GPM and will accelerate that growth, while preserving Jim Yate's legacy.
GPM Investments is based in Richmond, Virginia and operates and supplies stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.
CONSUMER ALERT: RESEARCH NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS 12/28/17
Resolving to improve your fitness in the new year is a popular resolution, but Arkansans need to make sure they don't get taken advantage of while trying to trim down after the holidays.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans to consider if they are thinking about joining a gym:
She suggests you visit the gym during the hours that you would normally be using it to see if it is overcrowded, and to see if the facility and the equipment are clean and well-maintained.
Rutledge said consider the hours of operation when deciding on a gym membership and to ask if the facility provides instructors or personal trainers.
She said Arkansans should find out if the membership offers fitness classes and childcare and if they're included or require an additional cost.
Rutledge suggests asking about a trial period. She said you should ask to sample the services and equipment for free to determine if the facility offers the programs and equipment you are seeking.
Many gyms offer incentives to join during this time of year, but be cautious of high pressure sales tactics or opportunities that seem too good to be true. Do the math to ensure the monthly and annual costs are affordable. And make sure everything discussed with the sales representative is stated in the written contract before signing on the dotted line.
Consumers should carefully review the cancellation terms of any gym contract prior to joining. The Arkansas Health Spa Consumer Protection Act requires gym contracts to allow consumers to cancel a membership within three days of signing the contract and their money must be refunded within 30-days of cancellation. Consumers may also cancel a membership due to death, permanent and total disability or moving more than 50 miles away from the gym location, unless another location exists with the same company at the consumer's new residence location.
The office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion encourages adults to do aerobic physical activity about 30-minutes, five times a week, and muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week. StateofObesity.org recently released new data for 2016 and Arkansas is tied for the third most obese state in the country, with a 35.7 percent obesity rate.
For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General's office at 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
APPLICATION PERIOD FOR FEMA FIREFIGHTERS GRANT PROGRAM IS NOW OPEN 12/28/17
U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman announced the application period for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance to the Firefighters Grant Program is now open. The application period will close in February.
The program is designed to assist fire departments and first-responder organizations with support to improve their capability to respond to fires and other types of emergencies through the AFG program.
More information can be found at fema.gov/grants.
MINERAL SPRINGS WOMAN KILLED IN THREE-VEHICLE ACCIDENT 12/27/17
Tuesday night, a Mineral Springs woman was killed in a three-vehicle accident on Highway 67 in Miller County.
According to the accident report, 56-year-old Jacque Tollett of Mineral Springs was pronounced dead at the scene by Miller County Coroner Josh Hawkins about 6:55 p.m. The other two drivers were not seriously injured.
According to the report, Tollett was driving a 2007 Ford Ranger northbound on Highway 67 in front of a 2002 Ford Explorer, while a 2016 Dodge Ram pickup was traveling south.
Tollett reportedly slowed down to make a left-hand turn and was struck from behind by the Explorer causing the Ranger to overturn and travel into the southbound lane where it was struck by the Dodge pickup. The Ranger overturned a second time and Tollett was ejected from the vehicle.
The accident was investigated by Trooper C. Bussey
FLU CASES ON THE RISE IN ARKANSAS 12/27/17
There are rising concerns about the flu virus this season, as hospitals and clinics across the state are filling up with patients who are testing positive for the flu.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there have been nearly 14,000 confirmed cases of the flu so far this season and many of those cases are in people who did get the flu vaccine, this year. A spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health said the vaccine is only 40 to 60 percent effective on a good year, while this year's vaccine may only be 10 percent effective. However, they suggest it is still a good idea to get the shot.
The department of health says one of the benefits from getting the flu vaccine is it can reduce the severity of your symptoms and the duration of your symptoms. Meaning, if you get the flu, it won't be as bad as it could've been. Sevier County Health Officer, Dr. Jason Lofton, reported research shows getting more rest, drinking lots of water and exercising can also help decrease the severity of your illness.
The health department suggests you visit your doctor if you have symptoms like body aches, headaches, runny nose, coughing, fever or chills that are more severe than cold symptoms. Dr. Lofton pointed out the flu is a virus and antibiotics won't make you feel any better.
They also say it's not too late to get your flu shot, because the peak flu season has not hit yet, although the flu is widespread throughout Arkansas.
FIRST DAY HIKES AT AREA STATE PARKS 12/27/17
State park officials are encouraging you to make a New Year's resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2018 with an invigorating First Day Hike at an Arkansas state park near you and here in Southwest Arkansas, hikers can choose an overnight hike at the Cossatot River State Park or a 1-mile guided hike along the Waterfoul Way trail at the Millwood State Park.
Sunday, December 31st, hikers can join park interpreters on an overnight hike along the River Corridor Trail to celebrate the New Year from 7 p.m. Sunday night to noon, Monday. Hikers will gather at the group camping area, camp overnight and enjoy a pancake breakfast on New Year's Day.
Hikers are encouraged to wear appropriate attire and take plenty of water, while all camping equipment will be provided.
The cost $15 and you can call 870-385-2201 for more information.
The Millwood State Park will host their annual First Day Hike at 1 p.m. on Monday.
This event is a 1-mile guided hike along the Waterfoul Way trail. The hike is free and everyone is invited to participate.
According to the American Hiking Society, the First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative that's being led by America's state parks to encourage people to get outdoors, get their hearts pumping and enjoy the beauty of a state park.
Dennis Allen is the superintendent of the Millwood State Park and he said this local hike will allow participants an excellent opportunity to learn about the plants and wildlife of the park.
Hikers should wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the outdoors and take their cameras or binoculars for viewing and photo opportunities.
Allen said Millwood State Park affords abundant opportunities to view such wildlife as deer, beavers and other land animals, as well as migratory birds such as white pelicans and bald eagles.
Park visitors who are interested in participating in the First Day Hike should meet the park staff at the trailhead parking lot.
For more information, call 870-898-2800.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park will also be holding a First Day Hike along the park's Little Missouri River Trail. The trail is a 1.2 mile loop that provides a relaxing, one-hour hike over level terrain. Half of the trail features paved, barrier-free access, and the unpaved section is easily walked.
Hikers of all ages can meet at the Little Missouri River Trailhead at 8 a.m. The trailhead is located across from site 22 in the park's campground. All other park facilities will be closed on New Year's Day.
NOTICE TO VIETNAM VETERANS 12/27/17
The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs would like to recognize Vietnam veterans during the new year on March 29th.
If you served in the U.S. military between November 1st, 1955 and May 15th, 1975 then you are asked to register in order to be recognized, during a Vietnam War Commemoration Ceremony at the Capitol in Little Rock in March. The registration is necessary to arrange for Vietnam Veteran Commemoration Lapel Pins, which will be presented to the veterans after the ceremony by the veteran's state representative and other leaders.
Veterans can complete a paper registration by January 12th with a county veteran service officer, or you may register online by January 15th at veterans.arkansas.gov.
FRANCHISE TAXES DUE BY DECEMBER 31ST 12/27/17
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin wants to remind businesses that the end of the year is approaching and there are a couple of important deadlines coming up.
If you have not paid your franchise taxes for 2017, and do not do so by December 31st, then your business will enter revoked status.
To find out if your business is currently in good standing or to file and pay our franchise taxes online visit www.ark.org/sos.
If you want to dissolve a business, the final date to formally dissolve and avoid accruing additional franchise taxes, is also December 31st.
ASHDOWN MAN SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS ON DRUG CHARGES 12/26/17
A Little River County jury found an Ashdown man guilty of drug charges and sentenced him to 40-years in the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Thirty-eight year old Steven Deloney was found guilty of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver last week.
Deloney was arrested October 13th of 2016 during the execution of a search warrant by the South Central Drug Task Force. The report states when law enforcement officers entered the house at 835 West Side Drive, Deloney was hiding behind a bedroom door.
Officers found a plastic bag containing suspected meth in his front pants pockets and another bag was found when Deloney walked to the bedroom and shook his leg.
The total weight was 39.7 grams.
Officers also found $1,100 in cash, in Deloney's wallet.
Deloney will be held in the Little River County jail until he is transferred to a state prison.
HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES PROCUREMENT POLICY FOR CLASSIFIED STAFF 12/26/17
Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith reported the Horatio Board of Education approved a procurement policy for the district's classified staff and the purchase of a truck during their December board meeting.
Smith said district employees are not allowed to accept gifts of any kind from vendors. He said the district had a procurement policy for certified staff members, but not for the classified staff. Smith said the board approved the policy mainly because a lot of items are purchased by the cafeteria staff.
Smith said the board also approved a bid from Gentry Chevrolet for a new truck that will be used by the agri department.
Smith reported on the district's fundraising efforts for two new scoreboards. He said they have raised enough money to purchase a new scoreboard for the football field, but they still need a few donations so they can purchase a scoreboard for the softball field. Smith also reported the lights for the baseball field have been ordered and should be installed in January.
Smith announced the district's E-Rate application was approved for a fiber optic line to connect the elementary campus to the high school campus. He said the project will begin in January and should only cost the district about $17,500.
Smith said attendance was up during the first semester and students will return to school on January 4th.
LIBRARY SNIPPETS 12/26/17
Sevier County head librarian, Johnye Fisher, announced the De Queen Library will be spotlighting fiction during the month of January.
Fisher said the De Queen library will continue having activities for adults on Wednesday's at 10 a.m. She said they offer dominos, games, cards, coloring and more.
For more information about activities at the De Queen Library, call 870-584-4364.
Fisher said the Horatio Library will spotlight the work of Marcus Emerson in January. Emerson is a juvenile writer who is the author of the "Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja" series.
She said patrons play Dominos, chess and checkers on Thursday's from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
For more information about the Horatio Library, call 870-832-6882.
Fisher said the librarian of the Lockesburg Library, Wendy Clay, will present a program called "My First Coding" on Thursday, January 18th at 1 p.m. Fisher explained coding is the language of programming. She said it is quickly becoming a language that students need to learn how to speak. She said this program will be a simple introduction to block-style coding using the medium of story sequencing. Fisher said it is best suited for kindergarten through third grade students. She said participates will be presented the basics of unplugged programming, by listening to a story and completing some coding activities.
Fisher said the Gillham Library is planning a story and craft day for January and will announce the day and time at a later date.
For more information about the Gillham Library, check out their Facebook page or call 870-386-5665.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 12/26/17
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the state legislature passed several bills that will take effect on January 1st. She said they will impact everything from taxes to school buses.
Vaught said Act 141 exempts military retirement and survivor benefits from income tax. This legislation also defines unemployment compensation as gross income for purposes of taxation.
Act 616 requires political action committees, exploratory committees and independent expenditure committees or individuals to file reports electronically. This bill also allows the Arkansas Ethics Commission to approve the format and to permit paper filing in certain circumstances.
Act 375 requires new or leased school buses that are purchased after January 1st to be equipped with seat belts, if a petition is signed by at least 10 percent of a school district's qualified electors and then submitted and voted upon during the annual school election.
Vaught also reported one section of the Criminal Justice Efficiency and Safety Act takes effect January 1st. She said you can find a full summary of all the legislation passed in 2017 by visiting the website arkansashouse.org.
The General Assembly will convene for the Fiscal Session on February 12th. Budget hearings will begin on January 9th.
FIRST DAY HIKES IN ARKANSAS STATE PARKS OFFER INVIGORATING START TO 2018 12/26/17
State park officials are encouraging you to make a New Year's resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2018 with an invigorating First Day Hike at an Arkansas state park near you. On January 1st, all 50 states will participate in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with an outdoor exploration.
Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services, Kelly Farrell, said many people start the year with resolutions about improving their health and fitness, so why not put those good intentions right into action by participating in one of the state park's First Day Hikes.
Arkansas state park's offer both guided hikes and self-guided trek over 400 plus miles of trails.
Last year, 50 hikes were scheduled in 34 parks and 702 hikers along with 11 dogs covered 1,146 miles.
First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago and last year, more than 62,000 people took part in guided hikes that covered over 114,000 miles on 1,300 different hikes across the country.
ARKANSAS PLAN WOULD CUT THOUSANDS FROM MEDICAID PROGRAM 12/26/17
Arkansas health officials are proposing significant cuts to the state's Medicaid program by rolling back the income requirements for eligibility. But some experts say that is against the rules.
The state currently is awaiting an answer from the federal Health and Human Services Administration on its request to drop the qualifying income level down to the poverty level. That would mean as many as 60,000 current enrollees could lose coverage.
Jessica Schubel, an analyst with the progressive think tank Center for Budget Policies and Priorities, says that's not the way Medicaid is supposed to work.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Arkansas expanded its program with a private option where most participants are covered by market-based insurance with Medicaid picking up the tab. Under that plan, the state's rolls grew to more than 330,000 by 2017. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says the cuts are needed quote "to contain costs and eliminate waste." unquote.
The 2014 expansion allowed thousands of low-income Arkansans to gain coverage for the first time. State health officials maintain many of those who would be removed from Medicaid could qualify for coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. But in a recent report, Schubell says most people wouldn't be able to afford it and would be left without coverage.
Federal officials have not yet issued a ruling on the Arkansas request. Schubel says there will likely be a legal challenge if state officials are allowed to lower the eligibility rules.
12 DAYS OF GIVING - SEVIER COUNTY RESCUE UNITS TOYS 4 TOTS PROGRAM 12/22/17
Bunyard Broadcasting and KDQN is promoting the 12 Days of Giving this holiday season and encouraging our listeners to donate to local non-profit organizations.
On the 12th day of the 12 Days of Giving, Moyer Equipment is asking area residents to support the Sevier County Rescue Unit's Toys for Tots program.
Mac McDaniel is a member of the Toys for Tots committee and he reported the rescue unit started the program 25 years ago. He said in the beginning, rescue unit members would purchase toys at garage sales. McDaniel said they would repair and paint the toys and bicycles and then give them to underprivileged children at Christmas.
McDaniel said later on, they started hosting an auction and dinner. He said the first few years, everyone was asked to bring a toy, then later they started an auction to raise funds so they could purchase new toys.
McDaniel said the auction is the unit's only fundraiser of the year, however they have several individuals and organizations that support them all year long.
To make a donation to the Toys for Tots program, mail your donation to Toys for Tots, PO Box 884, De Queen, Arkansas 71832.
However, today, Bunyard Broadcasting and KDQN is asking our listeners to call the station at 870-642-2446 to make a pledge to the Sevier County Rescue Unit's Toys for Tots program.
DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES WINNER OF THE SHOP AT HOME CAMPAIGN GRAND PRIZE WINNER 12/22/17
Friday morning, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey and board members Sharon Baker and Lawrence Wishard announced the winners of the chamber decorating contest and the grand prize winner of the annual Shop at Home campaign.
Massey stated they had four categories in the Christmas decorating contest, which included a commercial category in De Queen and countywide and a residential category in De Queen and countywide.
The county commercial winner is Wolfe Chiropractic. The county residential winner is Jim Lawrence. The commercial winner inside the city limits of De Queen is Harris Drug and Gifts. The residential winner inside the city limits of De Queen is Jimmy Cooper. Massey also gave a Honorable Mention award to the homes on Lace Lane.
Massey said the chamber will name a People's Choice winner. He said they will put photos up on the chamber Facebook page so everyone can vote for their favorite.
Massey also thanked everyone who has been shopping in De Queen and Sevier County this Christmas and announced Bill Woods was the winner of the grand prize. Massey said the grand prize basket was full of cash, prizes and gift cards worth over $1,500 dollars.
Chamber members estimated over $900,000 was spent in Sevier County this holiday season.
CONSUMER ALERT: RESEARCH BEFORE RETURNING GIFTS 12/22/17
Complicated or confusing return policies can ruin even the most thoughtful gifts this holiday season. Retailers each have their own return policy and it's important for Arkansans to understand each store's specific requirements when making a return or exchange.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following information for gift recipients wanting to make a return or exchange.
Ask the gift giver about the store's return or exchange policy. Keep all gift receipts. Don't open the box or remove the tags if there is a possibility of making a return. And, some online retailers allow purchases to be returned to their stores, while others require the item to be shipped back. So, check with the company ahead of time.
As a gesture of goodwill, most companies offer in-store exchanges if the customer has the receipt and the item is promptly returned. However, others have an "all sales are final" policy for deeply discounted or clearance items and do not allow returns or exchanges. Return policies not only differ from store to store but can also differ for items that are purchased in-store and items bought online or by mail-order.
Some retailers that allow returns may charge a restocking fee for certain products. Consumers can sometimes pay a fee of 10 to 25 percent of the price of the item if the package is not in the condition in which it was purchased. Meanwhile, items like computer software, CDs, DVDs, and Blue-Ray discs are generally not returnable after the seal has been broken.
Retailers are not required to accept at-will returns, and even in the case of a defective product, consumers may be required to contact the manufacturer.
Retailers may also require consumers to deal with the product manufacturer directly, rather than simply returning the item to the place of purchase.
For more information, visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.
ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION CLARIFYING THE CARRY OF HANDGUNS FOR DEFENSIVE PURPOSES 12/22/17
Commissioners of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first reading of a regulation change clarifying the carry of handguns for defensive purposes while hunting during their regular commissioner's meeting, this month.
Under current regulations, hunters may not carry a modern gun while participating in archery or muzzleloading seasons, unless they have a valid concealed handgun carry permit. If passed, the amendment to this regulation will clarify that people may carry a handgun on commission-owned or controlled property or while hunting, fishing or trapping on private property as long as it is: 1 - for personal protection and either is not employed for hunting or is a legal killing device for a hunting season that is open and 2 - the handgun is otherwise lawfully possessed.
The proposed amendment will be presented for its final consideration and adoption at the commissions January meeting.
Commissioners also authorized the transfer of $727,129.05 from the wildlife fine money to the Arkansas Division of Rural Services so that it can be used for grants toward conservation education programs throughout the state.
End-of-Year Reminder for Arkansas Businesses 12/21/17
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) –
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin reminds businesses that the
end of the year is approaching and there are a couple of important
deadlines coming up.
Ashdown Junior High Campus Named an Achieving School 12/21/17
Arkansas State Board of Education voted to remove the Ashdown Junior
High School along with seven other Arkansas schools from Focus
Status. This status was given by the state to schools because of
large achievement gaps between student groups at their campuses. The
campus was officially recognized as being removed from the status
during at the October Arkansas State Board of Education Meeting and
is now recognized as an Achieving School as AJHS met state standards
two consecutive years in closing the achievement gap. Ashdown
Superintendent Jason Sanders praised the junior high staff on all
their hard work to improve the achievement gaps during the Ashdown
School Board meeting held in December.
SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT PHONE SYSTEM CURRENTLY NOT WORKING 12/21/17
Sevier County Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle reported the phone system is not working properly at the sheriff's office.
Dowdle said county residents should call 870-642-2125 for all non-emergency calls. He also stated the 642-2125 will not roll over to a busy signal if someone is on the line, so if a dispatcher does not answer the phone, please be patient, because they are speaking with someone else.
Dowdle said the 9-1-1 lines are working, but residents should not use those lines unless it is a real emergency. He said if someone calls 9-1-1 and it's not an emergency, dispatchers will tell you to hang up and call 642-2125.
Dowdle reported Windstream is working to resolve the problem, but currently the phone system at the sheriff's office is not working properly.
ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL CONSIDERING SCHOOL OF INNOVATION CLASSIFICATION 12/21/17
Ashdown High School Principal Kay York updated the Ashdown Board of Education on her research into the School of Innovation classification, during the board’s December board meeting.
Superintendent Jason Sanders told KDQN that York and a committee from the high school are looking at different options the high school could implement if they were declared a School of Innovation.
Sanders also reported Junior High School Principal James Jones announced the junior high has been removed from the state's Focus School list.
Sanders stated the district received a great state audit with no findings on it and the district has saved over $15,000 on substitute teachers since last October. He said he felt the district's new sick leave policy was the main reason for the savings.
Board members voted to hire Tim Avery as the Junior High Band Director and Music Instructor, Angela Jackson as a high school Math teacher and Ron Bigham as an Agri teacher for the junior and senior high schools.
Sanders also mentioned several board members were recently recognized for their service by the Arkansas School Board Association.
Sanders also reported Jean Ann Jefferies submitted her intent to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.
LOCKESBURG RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO RAPE 12/21/17
Last week, Barry Todd Smith of Lockesburg plead guilty to rape and sentenced to 38 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
According to the arrest warrant, Smith raped a 13-year-old female on or about the 14th day of June in 2016 at a residence on Peck Street in Lockesburg.
The victim told Sevier County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Webb that Smith came into her bedroom and took all of her clothes off and then got into bed with her wearing nothing but his boxer shorts. She said when he finished raping her; he got dressed and left the room. She texted a friend and told them what happened.
Sevier County investigators interviewed Smith and took a DNA swab. In July of 2016, the Arkansas Crime Lab reported the rape kit swabs of the victim and the DNA swab from Smith were a match.
On December14th, a jury was selected for Smith’s trial, but after the trial started, Smith accepted a plea offer and was sentenced to 38 years with five suspended.
MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES A NEW CITY WARD 12/21/17
During a special called meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen approved a pay raise for firefighters and passed an ordinance to establish a new city ward.
Mayor Bobby Tullis called a special meeting to explain the city sales tax has added a surplus of funds and aldermen voted to raise the pay for firefighters that attend meetings and fires to $25.
Tullis also reported the recent election results have been certified and all council positions will serve four year terms. Terms will be staggered and will be implemented in 2018 and 2020.
Aldermen also passed an ordinance establishing a new city ward, which will give the City of Mineral Springs three wards.
Ward One will consist of all land within the city limits north of Browning Street and east of Sherman Street. Ward Two will consist of all land within the city limits north of Spring Street, east of Sherman Street and south of Browning Street. Ward Three will consist of all land within the city limits south of Dillard Street and south of Spring Street and west of Sherman Street.
All city council seats involved with this ordinance will be filled in the 2018 election.
Aldermen also voted to recognize political parties during party primaries.
UA Cossatot Announces Fall 2017 Graduates 12/21/17
The University of Arkansas Cossatot Office of the Registrar releases names of fall 2017 graduates and names of those graduating with honors.
179 students graduate with a certificate of proficiency, technical certificate, or associate degree. Some students earned multiple certificates and degrees.
UA Cossatot’s graduation rate remains high and stable with a cohort graduation rate of 41%. This is still well above the majority of colleges and universities in Arkansas.
14 Students Graduated with Summa
Cum Laude Honors, meaning that they graduated with a cumulative
grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 to 4.0.:
AHS Students Study Satire With The Canterbury Tales 12/20/17
Ashdown High School English Teacher Ryan Murry and her Senior English Advanced Placement students studied Chaucer’s use of satire (a type of genre that uses humor, irony, hyperbole and understatement to point out a problem in society and thus promote a change in behavior) as they read The Canterbury Tales. All but three foil characters suffered from at least one deadly sin (wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy or gluttony).
Students were given the task of analyzing the character and revealing the satirical elements through a costume and a lecture to fellow classmates. The final activity was a small festival as they prepared to leave from the Tabard Inn and journey forth to “seek the holy blissful martyr,” in Canterbury. The piece of Horatian satire was the perfect stepping stone to the study of Jonathan Swift’s famous satire, A Modest Proposal.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES 2018 BUDGET 12/20/17
Tuesday afternoon, members of the Sevier County Quorum Court met to approve the 2018 budget.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray reported the budget contains new equipment for the road department and two new vehicles for the sheriff's office, along with a 2-percent raise for all county employees.
Judge Ray said the 2018 budget also includes funding for a new phone alert system, called Code Red. He said county residents will be able to sign up after the first of the year for the new service.
Ray also stated the quorum court voted to change the county's allocation of it's portion of the 1-percent sales tax. He said in past years, the county allocated 48 percent for the County General fund, 47 percent for county roads and 5 percent for reserve, but the JPs increased the county reserve percentage to 8 percent.
JPs also approved the purchase of a new phone system for the Sevier County Health Unit. The system will cost about $11,000, but it comes with a five-year warranty.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: WHO DO YOU ANSWER TO? 12/20/17
District 4 State Representative DeAnn Vaught reported there are more than 300 occupations in the state of Arkansas that requires a state license. She said some of these licenses require examinations and fees. Vaught said these occupations range from hair dressers to commercial truck drivers.
Vaught reported there are 83 authorities in our state, from stand-alone boards or commissions to state agencies that have supervisory authority over these occupations.
Vaught said the state legislature is working to make sure the state is not creating unnecessary barriers for hard working men and women who contribute to the state's economy by practicing their skills and trades.
Early this year, the state was accepted into a national consortium where participating states will examine the issue of occupational licensing. Arkansas's delegation is made up of three members of the House, three members of the Senate and three representatives from the executive branch. Vaught said this group will work with delegates from other states to study issues surrounding occupational licensing and potentially develop some reforms.
The purpose of the study group is to improve understanding of occupational licensure issues and best practices; identify current policies that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry; and create an action plan that focuses on removing barriers to labor market entry and improves portability and reciprocity for select occupations.
Vaught said Arkansas doesn't want business owners to feel burdened by red tape, however, the state wants consumers to feel protected.
DONATE YOUR REAL CHRISTMAS TREE TO ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH AFTER CHRISTMAS 12/20/17
Once the wrapping paper has been thrown away and the last drop of egg nog has been consumed, few people have a use for the evergreen tree that graced their home during the holiday season. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a new job for those leftover trees, as fish habitat.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has drop-off locations across the state to let your old Christmas tree have a second life as underwater cover.
Clint Coleman is the assistant coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Family and Community Fishing Program. He said anyone who wants to drop off a natural tree can place it at a location on the list, and anyone who wants to sink a few trees to create their own little honey hole can do that as well. He said you will only need to bring your own parachute cord, wire, rope and cinder blocks to sink the trees.
Coleman said artificial trees are not allowed at the drop off locations, and all trees should be cleaned of ornaments and tinsel before they are dropped off.
Christmas trees typically only last a year or two before all that's left is the main truck, so Coleman suggests anglers sink groups of trees together. He said this way, the site is still attractive to baitfish and sport fish long after the smaller branches and needles have rotted away.
Trees can be dropped off at any of the following locations until the end of January:
Southwest Arkansas -
Bois d'Arc Lake at the Kidd's Landing or Hatfield Access.
Millwood Lake at Cottonshed, White Cliffs Recreation Areas and the Millwood State Park ramp on the point.
Dierks Lake at Jefferson Ridge South Recreation Area.
De Queen Lake at any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp.
Gillham Lake at any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp.
Lake Greeson at New Cowhide Cove and Self Creek Recreation areas.
ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES $3 MILLION DOLLARS IN SECOND LIEN BONDS 12/19/17
During the December of the Ashdown Board of Education, Scott Beardsley of First Security presented information about Second Lien Construction Bonds.
Beardsley stated the district would raise about $2.9 million dollars for renovation projects. Superintendent Jason Sanders stated the district will add $1 million dollars from the district's building fund to fund several projects on all four campuses. He said they will also spend some money on the gymnasium and auditorium.
According to Beardsley, it will cost the district about $200,000 a year to repay the bonds.
Sanders said the board accepted his recommendation to start a Dolly Parton Imagination Library program in the district. He said every child from birth to five-years of age will receive a new book every month. He said the district will pay $2.10 per book for every child that is enrolled in the program.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library will administer and cover all of the other expenses of the program. Sanders said the program is designed to boost literacy in the district.
Sanders said the district is also partnering with the APSRC Digital Learning Academy so they can offer free educational material to home school families.
Sanders said the district will receive funding per course a student signs up for and the APSRC will invoice the district for half of those funds, while providing free access to quality curriculum for home school students to use.
BURN BANS LIFTED IN LITTLE RIVER AND SEVIER COUNTIES 12/19/17
Monday afternoon, Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced he was lifting the burn ban for Little River County. Tuesday morning, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray lifted the burn ban for Sevier County.
Cranford and Ray said they lifted the burn bans after consulting with the Arkansas Forestry Commission. They both stated that even though the burn bans have been lifted, residents should still use extreme caution when burning outdoors.
Again, the burn bans for Little River and Sevier counties have been lifted.
CITY OF DIERKS RECEIVES APPROVAL TO MOVE DIRT AT NEW CITY PARK 12/19/17
The City of Dierks has received permission to start moving dirt at the new city park, north of town.
Dierks Chamber of Commerce Director Jerry Mounts reported the city and chamber were notified that they could start doing dirt work on the ball fields that will be located in the new city park. He said the chamber had been waiting on a permit from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to allow them to start the dirt work.
Mounts said an engineer is working on the layout of the fields and concession stand areas. He said the drawings should be ready some time after the first of the year.
ARKANSAS WILDLIFE FEDERATION ART CONTEST 12/19/17
The Arkansas Wildlife Federation and the Little Rock based nonprofit organization Creative Ideas have come together to promote wildlife education through the arts in the Fifth Annual Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest. Young artists are encouraged to study and immerse themselves in Arkansas's natural surroundings, then recreate their visions from that scenery on paper or canvas. They can then submit their work to the contest for a chance at awards, certificates of recognition, money and the opportunity to display their work around the state.
The contest is open to artists from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Only one entry is allowed per student and it must be completed in the 2017-2018 school year. A panel of professional artists will judge the submissions and will choose a first, second, third and honorable mention winner for each grade level.
Last year, 1,100 submissions were received, but they want to expand the program in new areas of the state, especially in the southern part of Arkansas, where they have not received as many submissions.
One criteria of the contest that must be met is the artwork must be an image of animals and scenes that are found in the state. However, the artwork does not have to a portrait of an animal, but if the artwork depicts an animal that is not found in the Natural State will be disqualified.
In addition to winners in each grade level, one piece will receive the "Best of Show" award, which comes with an additional cash prize.
The awards ceremony will be held at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro.
The display will travel to all four of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's nature centers throughout the year. It will also be displayed at the Arkansas Wildlife Federation's annual Governor's Conservation Awards Banquet. And, a calendar will also be generated from the winning artwork.
Submissions will be accepted until February 23rd. Visit the website www.arwild.org or call 501-837-0462 for more information.
UA Cossatot Announces Fall 2017 Honor Students 12/19/17
University of Arkansas Cossatot Office of the Registrar released fall Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s lists.
95 students were named to the Chancellor’s list, maintaining a minimum of a 4.0 semester GPA while taking a minimum of 12 college credit hours. 79 students were named on the Vice Chancellor’s list, maintaining a minimum of a 3.50 semester GPA while taking a minimum of 12 college credit hours.
Students named to the Chancellor’s list include:
Amity: Lance Spoo
Ashdown: Keely Butler, Nathan House, Kasie Robinson, Jamie Timmerman, and Ashley Jester
Blevins: Courtney Sumpter
Cove: Maranda Dees
De Queen: Andrea Herrera, Daniel Montero, Anel Montiel, Angel Olguin, Maria Pacheco, Avel Perez, Sarai Ramirez, Sierra Ramirez, Cirilo Resendiz, Jesse Rubio, Alexandria Stark, Alex Suarez, Janine Williams, and Stephanie Zavala
Delight: Seth Kirkham, Jayci Perrin, and Leann Watts
Dierks: Michael Adams, Corina Green, Jacob Lloyd, Emily Martin, Rosa Salinas, and Brady Strasner
Eagletown, OK: Peter Carney
Foreman: Beatriz Alvarez, Luke Carver, Andrea Jones, and Chaylee Lincoln
Gillham: Stephanie Staggs
Grannis: Jacquelyn Speight
Hope: Kaitlyn Ward
Horatio: Debra Boyd, Evelyn De La Cruz, Shantae Hames, Shelby Lemons, Edith Luna, and Cassady Rankin
Lockesburg: Abby Harmon, Tyler Miller, and Jaleisha Reyna-Martinez
Mineral Springs: Katie Carroll and Katelyn Hipp
Murfreesboro: Heidi Buck, Morgan Cox, Sara Lamb, and Loran Wilcher
Nashville: Morgan Allen, Jacob Boyer, Esmeralda Camacho, Jacob Carpenter, Alexandria Davis, Loren Gills, Felicity Green, William Hilliard, Lori Kelley, Gage Kropf, Kyler Lawrence, Megan Lawrence, Haley Lingo, Lindsey O'Donnell, Breanna Peebles, Alyssa Rather, Triston Rhodes, Ashley Ritchie, McKayla Vines, Zackary Williams, and Kristopher Woodruff
Newhope: Caleb Adams
Odgen: Tarnesa Ramnarine
Texarkana, AR: Chinamontoyia Walter
Texarkana, TX: Katelyn Scott
Umpire: Sheena Estep
Wake Village, TX: Hunter Burt
Wilton: Ashley Paris
Students named to the Vice Chancellor’s list include:
Ashdown: Seth Anderson, Jason Aylor, Canyon Baker, Kayle Coulson, Kachari Gulley, Shayni Jackson, Garry Johnson, Tyler Merrell, David Mitchell, and Terri Anderson
De Queen: Alex Alvarado, Cherokee Birmingham, Andrew Bradley, Silvestre Cordero, Kelsie Easlon, Alexis Gallardo, Teresa Gaona, Damian Garcia, Jesus Gonzalez, Mallory Long, Delfina Martinez, Elvia Martinez, Sammi O'Connor, Edgar Pacheco, Amanda Parsons, Debra Payne, Esther Perez, Miriam Rodriguez, Sydney Talkington, Gabriel Tinajero, Jonathon Torres, Elizabeth Balderas, Stormie Garza, and Karne Perez
Dierks: Jessica Vance
Gillham: Brooke Scott
Horatio: Allie Marshall and Chelsea Salas
Kirby: Geoffry Epperson
Lockesburg: Rachel Bradshaw, Lindsay Coulter, Jason Erwin, Daniel Gilbert, Kaylee Sharp, Alyssa Thigpen, Salina Dixon, and Kathleen Rosenbaum
Maud. TX: Aubrey Luecke
Mena: Brandyn Gortemiller
Mineral Springs: Jazzmyn Carver
Murfreesboro: Jacie Henderson
Nashville: Michael Bevill, Marisol Bustos, Sarah Butler, Malcom Campbell, Bailey Dougan, Charles Furr, Kelsey Hockaday, Emily McCauley, Madison Miller, Kerri Murphy, Kaden Peebles, Angelica Romero, Aaron Willard, Charles Williams, Eve Young, Ryan Hainen, Loretta McLaughlin, Catrice Payne, Brandi Wofford, and Glenn Hartness
Newhope: Blair Garner and Jared Harner
Okolona: Janilo Ray Woodley
Umpire: Angelica Salinas
Vandervoort: Andrea Watkins
Wake Villiage, TX: Megan Tallant
Wickes: Eduardo Medina
Winthrop: Zachary Cole Izzo
BURN BAN LIFTED FOR LITTLE RIVER COUNTY, AR 12/18/17
Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced today based on the information from the Arkansas Forestry Commission, Little River County is NO longer under a Burn Ban effective 2:00pm today.
Even though the Burn Ban has been lifted, we encourage everyone to use extreme caution when burning under the best of conditions. Please do not take anything for granted or rely on favorable conditions to control your burning!
Again, the Burn Ban for Little River County has been lifted.
For more information you can contact Mike Cranford at 870.898.7202
Sevier County Farm Bureau members attend 83rd annual convention 12/18/17
Sevier County Farm Bureau members (left to right) Brian Walker, County Secretary/Treasurer Greg Wright, County President Bruce Jackson, Allen Stark, Sandra Jackson and Earl Pepper were among more than 1,000 who recently attended Arkansas Farm Bureau’s 83rd state convention in Little Rock.
Convention activities included addresses by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach.
Counties were honored for their accomplishments during the past year and delegates voted on formal recommendations submitted by counties for inclusion in the organization’s policy.
LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL WORKING TO ENSURE FUTURE NEW CONSTRUCTION AND MOBILE HOME SETUPS ARE IN COMPLIANCE 12/18/17
Lockesburg City Council members opened bids for the renovation of the fire station and they discussed compiling a checklist for future construction projects and mobile home setups during their December meeting.
Fire Chief Doug Currence presented three sealed bids to the city council for the renovation of the fire station. Lockesburg received bids from ACCI Restoration, Hostetler Construction and A2Z Construction. Aldermen voted to accept the bid from Hostetler Construction.
Mayor Danny Ruth then addressed the council about appointing an Administrator to help ensure all new construction and set up of mobile homes were in compliance with the city's ordinances.
Aldermen decided to compile a checklist of things that need to be completed. The list includes obtaining a building permit before construction or set up begins. They also agreed that there would be zero tolerance for people for non-compliance. If someone does not comply with the city ordinances, utility services will be withheld until they get compliant.
Aldermen also denied a building permit request because the paperwork was not complete.
Ruth reported contractors have finished laying pipe at the end of Holly Lane and are waiting on 3Phase Electrical to complete their work at the sewer pond.
SHOP WITH A COP IN DE QUEEN 12/18/17
Friday afternoon, members of the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas State Police and the De Queen Volunteer Fire Department took about 50 children shopping at the De Queen Wal-Mart during the annual Shop with a Cop program. Local VFW volunteers prepared a spaghetti dinner for participants following the shopping trip.
De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons reported 30 kids shopped with officers from the police department and another 30 or so, shopped with county deputies.
Simmons said the children were selected by the Sevier County Department of Human Services. Many of the children are in the state's foster care system.
Earlier this year, Wal-Mart presented the De Queen Police Department with a grant to by used for the Shop with a Cop program. Simmons said the Pettigrew Family, Wilkerson Funeral Home and the American Legion Post also donated money.
Simmons said he appreciated everyone that helped make this event a huge success this year. (More photos)
UA Cossatot Selected for National Award
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT NEWS 12/18/17
An Ashdown School District teacher was awarded an E-Z Mart grant and members of the Ashdown Junior High School Band and ninth graders from the high school band qualified for Junior High All-Region Bands.
Brenda Hill is a teacher on the Ashdown L.F. Henderson campus and she received a $1,000 E-Z Mart Education Grant.
Hill said she plans to use the funds to purchase Makey Makeys, which will allow students the opportunity to develop coding skills and to help her teach about open and closed circuits. The Squishy Circuit kits will allow students the opportunity to learn the basics of electrical circuits.
Hill said the different activities will allow students to develop critical thinking skills while working through the steps of the engineering process.
The E-Z Mart Education Grants are provided to assist educators in acquiring the tools that are necessary to keep the teaching of children fun, up to date and interesting. The funds for the Educational Grant Program are provided from the proceeds from the annual Jim Yates Memorial charity golf tournament that is hosted by E-Z Mart.
Members of the junior high school band and ninth graders from the high school band participated in the Junior High All-Region band tryouts, December 2nd.
Blayne Buster was named second band, sixth chair on the trumpet, Reagan Burden was named second band, sixth chair on the baritone, Ariel Sumake was named second band, 11th chair on the clarinet, Samantha Chandler was named second band, third chair on the trombone, Liza Embry was named second band, ninth chair on the trombone, Brayden Porter was named second band, fourth chair on the French horn and Tryston McCandless was named first band, first chair tuba.
Students performed last week at the Lake Hamilton High School in the All-Region band concert.
CONSUMER ALERT: SECRET SANTAS SCAMMING SOCIAL MEDIA USERS 12/18/17
Most Arkansans believe the Secret Santa or Secret Sister exchanges seen all over social media are a fun way to interact with friends, but participating in these can often lead to identity theft or more. Each year, these scammers have emerged in posting a request for other users to send a gift valued at approximately $10, in exchange for other gifts. But the scam convinces the user to disclose their name and address on social media, making it easier for criminals to obtain personal information.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said people who actually send gifts to the scammer are the ones who put their identity at risk by disclosing their personal information.
Rutledge released the following tips for consumers to avoid this holiday scam:
For more information, contact the Attorney General's office at 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS REBUILD GO CART IN INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY CLASS 12/18/17
UA Cossatot Secondary Career Center students rebuilt a donated go-cart as a Mechanical Devices and Systems class project.
The high school students produced calculations for a speed reduction system and installed the system to regulate the speed at 15 miles per hour, which is the maximum speed of a motor vehicle on Cossatot campuses. Components of the speed reduction system included RPM of the motor, the size of the rear tire and a double reduction drive sprocket and clutch.
Dick Pierce is the UA Cossatot Industrial Technology instructor and he said he was pleased with the results and the students were excited to see the results of their hard work.
Pierce said when they told him they wanted to rebuild a go-cart, his first reaction was, "This isn't an automotive class." But he said he reconsidered and approved their project because it displays the versatility and reach of Industrial Technology training.
Students from Nashville and Kirby worked on the project, including Joel Betancourt, Devin Young, Cole Reeder, Isaiah Smith, Brant Reeder, Damien Miranda-Dickinson, Corey Peterson and Randall Copeland.
TRIAL DATE PENDING MENTAL EVALUATION IN BANK ROBBERY CASE IN HOWARD COUNTY 12/18/17
Mental evaluation results for one of the four suspects who has been accused of robbing a bank in Mineral Springs will determine if and when a trial date is set for Byron Coleman.
Four suspects were arrested for robbing the Diamond Bank in Mineral Springs on July 25th, of 2016.
Twenty-three year old Jomari Bradford plead guilty to aggravated robbery and theft of property. He was sentenced to 360 months but given credit for time served.
Bradford was ordered to pay $9,888 in restitution, as well as court costs and fees.
Tatyana McBee and Bobby Padillow have also been charged with aggravated robbery and theft of property and are still awaiting trial.
Since the bank robbery, the Mineral Springs Police Department has been moved to the Diamond Bank building to help deter future bank robbers.
According to the Howard County Circuit Clerk's office, Byron Coleman of Tulsa requested the mental health evaluation.
MEXICAN CONSULATE PRESENTED DONATION FOR SCHOLARSHIPS TO UA COSSATOT 12/15/17
Thursday morning, the Mexican Consulate from Little Rock visited UA Cossatot and presented a donation for scholarships.
Rodolfo Arenas presented UA Cossatot Dr. Steve Cole with a check for $5,000 that will be used for scholarships for undocumented students. Cole said the UA Cossatot Foundation will double match the amount to provide $15,000 for summer and fall 2018 IME-Becas Scholarships. He said the matching funds were raised by the foundation during their annual Diversity Fest.
Arenas stated the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, supports Mexican students that excel academically, promoting IME-Becas Scholarships. He said the program was created in 2005 at the initiative of the Mexican government whose aim is to allocate resources to increase and facilitate academic and professional development of Mexicans and strengthen the capacities of institutions and organizations who offer educational programs for Mexican migrants in the United States.
Since 2005, the government of Mexico has donated 10 million pesos annually for educational grants.
DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES MORE WINNERS IN THE SHOP AT HOME CAMPAIGN 12/15/17
De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce board members Lawrence Wishard and Sharon Baker announced some more winners in the annual Shop Local campaign, Friday morning.
Wishard said everyone who spends $10 at any of the participating businesses can put their tickets in the weekly drawings and the grand prize drawing, which will be held on Friday, December 22nd live on Your Number One Country 92.1.
This week's winners were: Gary James, Deborah McDonald, Valerie Curton, Kay Wade, DeAnna Miller, Carolyn Vaught and Michael.
Chamber President Patrick Massey announced the chamber will continue to judge county Christmas decorations until Friday, December 22nd. So, it's not too late to participate in the chamber's decorating contest. He said the winners will receive $100 each and there are four categories, including: a residential and business category in the City of De Queen and a residential and business category throughout the rest of the county. The winners will be announced on Friday, December 22nd.
For more information about the Shop at Home campaign, contact the chamber at 870-584-3225.
AREA FIRE DEPARTMENTS ANNOUNCED THEIR FIREMAN OF THE YEAR 12/15/17
Area fire departments are holding their annual Christmas meetings and awards banquets this month and announcing their 2017 Fireman of the Year recipients.
During the Dierks Fire Department's awards banquet, Fire Chief Mike Noel presented the Training Achievement Award to Jennifer Noel. Jennifer completed 98 hours of training during the past 12 months.
Cody Blair was named the Firefighter of the Year. Blair has been with the Dierks Fire Department for almost a year and has attended all of their meetings and answered every call since he joined the department.
Chief Noel stated if you are interested in serving the community of Dierks, you should consider joining the Dierks Volunteer Fire Department.
The Mineral Springs Volunteer Fire Department named Reggie Marks their 2017 Fireman of the Year for the 2nd year in a row.
Marks is a 21 year veteran of the department and Fire Chief Chris Hostetler said Marks is an outstanding individual and is passionate about serving the community of Mineral Springs as a firefighter.
Hostetler reported the department responded to 71 calls in 2017, including both fire and medical calls.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHAMBER SHOWING THE MOVIE ELF THIS MONDAY AT DICK HAYS STADIUM 12/15/17
Little River County Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director, Fonda Hawthorne announced the chamber is partnering with the Ashdown High School FFA and the Ashdown High School Production Club to show the movie Elf on Monday, December 18th at 6 p.m. on the big screen at Dick Hays Stadium.
Hawthorne said everyone is being asked to bring a new scarf, gloves, socks, toboggan or some canned food as admission. She said there will be concessions, but you will need to bring your lawn chairs and blankets.
For more information about the Little River County Chamber of Commerce, contact the chamber office by calling 870-898-2758.
ARKANSAS MEDICAL BOARD DRAFT REGULATIONS TO REDUCE OPIOID ABUSE 12/15/17
The Arkansas State Medical Board has approved some draft regulations that are aimed at reducing opioid abuse. The regulations are based on guidelines that were issued last year by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The federal agency said Arkansas had the second highest opioid prescribing rate in the country last year, with more than 110 prescriptions for every 100 residents in the state. The national rate was 66.5 prescriptions per 100 residents.
Arkansas' high poverty rates, obesity and smoking make for a chronic pain nightmare and a perfect storm for opioid prescribing according to board member Ronald Tilley. Tilley is a pain specialist.
Opioid medications include hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine.
The new requirements would limit prescriptions for treatment of acute pain to a seven-day supply. It would also require doctors who prescribe more than 50 morphine milligram equivalents per day to explore alternative treatment plans and document objective findings such as lab tests to show the need for treatment.
The fatality rate from drug overdoses in Arkansas has increased from 5.1 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 13.4 last year, according to the state health department.
The board will submit these regulations to legislators for final approval following a public hearing in February.
DEVELOPMENTAL SERVICES OFFERED AT HOWARD COUNTY CHILDREN'S CENTER IN NASHVILLE 12/15/17
Howard County Children's Center in Nashville offers services to developmentally delayed and/or intellectually disabled children and adults in Sevier, Howard, Hempstead and Pike counties. The Children's Center strives to provide an environment that is nurturing, loving and safe for all children and adults who are receiving services in their programs.
The Children's Center "Rainbow Learning Center" provides Early Intervention and Early Childhood services to children 8-weeks of age until the child enters Kindergarten. The programs provide individual instruction to the child addressing areas of developmental delay in an organized/structured setting with trained, compassionate, and loving staff members to assist every child with their individual needs.
The Children's program offers daily transportation to and from the child's home to the facility. The program also offers services by licensed nursing staff members, audiologist screenings by licensed Audiologist, vision screenings by licensed Ophthalmologist, adaptive and assistive technology assistance, special education, speech and occupational and physical therapies, as well as, the Arkansas Medicaid Autism Waiver Program.
If you child has a diagnosed disability or if you have concerns for your child because they are having difficulties meeting the developmental milestones, contact, Lisa Morphew at 870-845-1211. She's the Children's Program Coordinator and she can assist you with service placement or a free developmental screening.
ARKANSAS IMPROVES GRADE FOR TEACHING FINANCIAL LITERACY 12/15/17
A new report shows that Arkansas is making significant progress in teaching high school students the life skills they will need to handle money.
According to a new study by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College, the Natural State has gone from one of the worst in the country for financial literacy instruction to among the top states. John Pelletier is the director of the Center in Burlington, Vermont, and he points out that knowing how to handle money can serve people well throughout their lives, and he says it's important to learn those skills early.
The new study, which ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia with letter grades, gave Arkansas a B, reflecting improvements made in its curriculum standards. In the Center's 2013 rankings, Arkansas schools received an F. Earlier this year, state lawmakers ordered Arkansas schools to make financial literacy a required class for graduation.
Pelletier says to succeed in today's world; students need a broad based knowledge of how our economy works.
He says one of the first decisions facing many high school students when they graduate is how to pay for college.
The Center for Financial Literacy is a partnership among financial institutions, nonprofits and government agencies. It promotes and develops financial literacy programs for K through 12 and college students, teachers and adults.
ASHDOWN MAN CONVICTED OF MURDER GETS PAROLED 12/14/17
An Ashdown man who was convicted of killing a couple and attempting to kill their baby in 1997 was released this week after nearly two decades behind bars.
Forty-eight year old Timothy Lamont Howard was released around 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, according to the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
The terms of Howard's parole requires him to be employed and take periodic drug tests. Howard is also not allowed to have any contact with the victim or the victim's family and he has a strict curfew.
According to court records, Howard was convicted of two counts of capital murder at his first trial in 1999, but the conviction was overturned in 2013 after a hearing on some possible problems with DNA testing.
In 2015, Howard was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Brian and Shannon Day of Ashdown and he was found guilty of one count of attempted murder of the couple's son.
Howard was sentenced to 38 years in prison after his second trial but received credit for the 18 years that he had already served behind bars.
KNIFE SHOW TODAY AT RIVERSIDE MACHINE SHOP 12/14/17
Logan Pearce of De Queen announced the local knife making club is hosting a knife show today at the Riverside Machine Shop on Stilwell Avenue in De Queen at 5 p.m. Pearce said they will have a cutting competition at 3 and the events are free to the public.
Pearce said he is a third generation knife maker and his grandfather taught him how to make knives. He said his grandfather worked for the railroad and so he made knives out of railroad spikes. Pearce said he still makes knives out of railroad spikes but he also makes knives out of wrenches, horseshoes and bolts, as well as other materials.
Pearce said a railroad spike knife can cost between $40 and $100 dollars, but the average price of a Pearce handmade knife is about $1,500.
To learn more about Pearce's knives, visit his website pearceknives.com.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - TAX REFORM AND RELIEF LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE 12/14/17
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught announced the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force met recently to study the impact of tax reform in other states across the country.
Vaught reported the legislature lowered the income tax rate for Arkansans making below $21,000 a year and they created the task force to explore future tax reform measures. She said the task force will present their findings to the legislature no later than September 1st, 2018.
Vaught said last week they reviewed an extensive report that compares the tax rates of Arkansas to the tax rates of surrounding states.
One area that the report compared was the state's personal income tax.
Arkansas has six income tax brackets. Missouri has 10, while Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Mississippi have three.
Eight states have a flat tax rate, ranging from 3.07 percent in Pennsylvania to 5.499 percent in North Carolina.
When it comes to sales taxes, Arkansas's rate is 6.5 percent. Surrounding states have sales tax rates that range from 4 to 7 percent.
When it comes to state corporate income taxes, 31 states have a flat rate ranging from 3 to 9.9 percent. Arkansas has six brackets for state corporate income taxes that range from 1 to 6.5 percent depending on income.
Since 2008, 18 states including Arkansas have cut their individual income taxes and 15 states have reduced their corporate income taxes. Several other states have fundamentally remade their tax codes.
Vaught said the task force will continue studying this information in an attempt to find what tax reforms are needed to benefit the citizens of Arkansas.
RESULTS FROM MINERAL SPRINGS SPECIAL ELECTION 12/14/17
Mineral Springs voters approved changing the term lengths for city council members from two years to four years, Tuesday.
Howard County Clerk Keri Teague reported the proposal passed by a 10 to 4 vote.
With the passing of the ballot measure, all of the Mineral Springs Council seats will be on the ballot in May. However, only the two positions in Ward 1 will serve four year terms, because the four-year terms for Ward 2 will be implemented in 2020.
MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO REHAB TRACK 12/14/17
Monday night, the Mineral Springs Board of Education voted to rehab the high school track and start a scholarship for a student that has a 2.5 GPA or higher.
Board members accepted Superintendent Thelma Forte's recommendation to resurface the high school track at a cost of $150,906. The resurfacing project will be completed by Beynon Sports and will have a five-year warranty. GeoSurfaces will rehab the long jump area at a cost of $2,800.
Forte said the projects will be completed by the start of track season.
Board members also voted to start a scholarship that will be presented to a student who has a 2.5 GPA or higher. They stated all applications will be due by March 31st.
Following an executive session, board members voted to pay boys basketball coach Roy Backus a partial stipend for coaching the girls basketball team, since the girls coach resigned. The board also approved a three-percent raise for Forte because she was not included in the staff raises that were approved last month.
COCO WITH MRS. CLAUS THIS SATURDAY AT DE QUEEN BRANCH OF THE SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY 12/14/17
This Saturday, the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library will host Coco with Mrs. Claus at 11 a.m.
Wednesday morning, Librarian Carolyn Jones, reported the De Queen Library collected 130 pounds of food for the Chalice Cupboard during their annual Food for Fines program during the month of the November. She said they also collected over 300 coats, jackets, and sweaters during the Mr. Rogers Neighbor Sweater Drive.
Jones said last week, the library showed the movie Captain Underpants and 27 people attended the event. She said this Saturday the library will host its annual Coco with Mrs. Claus event at 11 a.m. She said the first 40 children will receive a stocking full of goodies.
For more information about programs at the De Queen Library call 870-584-4364 or visit their Facebook page, Sevier County Library.
FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD IN DE QUEEN HAVING CHRISTMAS SERVICE THIS SUNDAY 12/14/17
Thursday morning, children's minister, Dan Nemlowill and youth pastor, Jerry Minchew of the First Assembly of God Church in De Queen announced the church will be having a special Christmas service this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. They also said the youth group will be caroling this Friday beginning at 6.
The First Assembly of God Church is located at 1440 West Collin Raye Drive, but for more information, contact the church at 870-584-3435.
CADDO AREA COUNCIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS SUSPEND OPERATIONS AT CAMP PIONEER FOR ONE YEAR 12/14/17
Tuesday night, the Caddo Area Council Board of Directors voted to suspend operations of Camp Pioneer in 2018 so the council can raise funds to make improvements to the camp. Camp Pioneer is a resident camp that is located between Hatfield and Mena in Polk County.
According to the Caddo Area Scout Executive, Anthony Escobar, the council plans to develop a year-round program at Camp Pioneer that will include new events and activities for scouts.
A plan for long-term maintenance and development of facilities at Camp Preston Hunt is also being developed.
COSSATOT VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT IMPROVES AREA WILDFIRE SAFETY 12/13/17
Volunteer Fire Department has worked to complete a large-scale
wildfire prevention effort across the Geneva community. The Arkansas
Forestry Commission (AFC) Firewise program is a nationally
recognized wildfire safety effort that works with communities at a
local level. As part of Firewise USA recognition requirements,
Cossatot crew members completed wildfire safety assessment surveys
on structures in their fire district. From that data, they created a
Community Wildfire Preparedness Plan, which outlines wildfire
mitigation projects and concerns in the next 3-year window
(residents may request a copy).