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ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION RE-HIRES FACILITY AND STAFF 3/22/18
Members of the Ashdown Board of Education voted to re-hire the administrators and certified and classified staff during their March board meeting. They also voted to accept the resignations of Tyna Armstrong and Susan Surber.
Board members approved Superintendent Jason Sanders recommendations for the following changes to the salary schedule for the district secretaries and bookkeepers. He suggested a .75 cent increase for the District Bookkeeper/Superintendent Administrative Assistant, a .50 cent raise for the Special Education Secretary and a .25 cent increase for the Central Office Secretary I and II positions.
Representatives from Clear Energy presented information and made recommendations for improvements to the current LED lighting, HVAC and natural gas systems. Board members voted to table the issue until they can review the information and address it in April.
Board members will also consider an agreement between the Ashdown School District and the City of Ashdown concerning the district using the ballparks in the city park.
CHAMBER EGG HUNT IS SATURDAY, MARCH 31ST 3/22/18
De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President, Megan McMahen announced the chamber egg hunt is Saturday, March 31st at the Sportsplex at 2 p.m. She also stated they will have three age divisions: walking to age 2; 3 to 5; and 6 to third grade.
McMahen said there will be at least 2,000 eggs per age group. She said the egg hunt is a way for the chamber to say thank you and give back to the community.
McMahen said for more information, contact the chamber office at 870-584-3225 or stop by the chamber office on Stilwell Avenue in Historic Downtown De Queen [and visit with Mickey Johnson from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit the chamber's Facebook page at De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce.
ARKANSAS COUNTIES AND CITIES FILE JOINT LAWSUIT AGAINST OPIOID DRUG MANUFACTURERS 3/22/18
In a unified and unprecedented approach against the opioid drug industry, the state of Arkansas, Arkansas counties and Arkansas cities announced that together they have filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Crittenden County.
This unique litigation approach is unlike any others in the country and will represent 90 percent of Arkansas's population, with 72 counties and 210 cities participating. It is believed that it will cost billions to stop the Arkansas opioid epidemic and that this money should come from the companies that caused the problem instead of taxpayers.
According to the Association of Arkansas Counties, lawsuits have been filed in federal courts across the nation, but Arkansas is the only state that has united in this fashion.
The epidemic is real and has ravaged Arkansas families for years. While the U.S. experiences more than 42,000 fatal overdoses a year, Arkansas experiences over 400, a number that has increased nearly 300 percent since 2000 and conincides with opioid sales quadrupling. Additionally, Arkansas ranks second in the nation for ages 12 to 17 in misuse of opioids behind Alabama, which is also the only other state with a higher opioid prescribing rate than Arkansas, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2017, there were more opioid prescriptions than people, enough for every man, woman and child to have 80 pills per year. Hospitals and rehabilitation systems cannot keep pace with the influx of victims.
The executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League, Don Zimmerman said Arkansas's one-voice approach to this lawsuit is one that gives the state a seat at the table. He said neither the state or any county or city is big enough alone and this litigation approach ensures that recovered damages remain in Arkansas.
The surrounding counties of Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Montgomery, Pike, Polk, and Sevier are participating in the lawsuit, along with the cities of Ashdown, Cove, De Queen, Foreman, Hatfield, Hope, Horatio, Mena, Mineral Springs, Murfreesboro, Ogden, and Wickes.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - PBMS 3/22/18
Last week, the legislature completed its special session after addressing all of the issues that were on its agenda.
But, the bill that has garnered the most attention will require pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed by the state Insurance Department.
PBMs negotiate contracts between health insurance companies and local pharmacies. Since the beginning of the year, local pharmacists have been hit hard by reduced reimbursements from the managers and several neighborhood pharmacists testified during legislative hearings that in some cases they were not even getting paid enough to cover the cost of filling prescriptions.
According to State Senator Larry Teague, legislators were concerned by reports that PBMs reimbursed independent pharmacists at a lower rate than they reimbursed drugstores with which they had a corporate affiliation. According to Act 900 of 2015, that practice is not allowed by law and enforcement of the prohibition will be strengthened by passage of the legislation requiring PBMs to be licensed.
Opponents of the legislation pointed out that PBMs are hired to control inflation of the price of prescription drugs. They said by negotiating volume discounts for health insurance companies, they help hold down the cost of premiums.
Opponents also said the bill amounted to interference by the government into business transactions that are carried out between private sector companies. A spokesperson for the PBMs told the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee that the costs of pharmaceuticals accounts for 22 percent of the cost of insurance premiums.
The Senate passed the measure by a 30 to 2 vote. Teague said veteran senators predicted the legislation will need to be tweaked during the 2019 regular session due to the complexity and financial importance of the bill.
Teague said consumers will benefit from the new law because it prohibits PBMs from writing gag rules into their contracts with pharmacists. That means pharmacists will be able to advise customers on how to purchase alternative prescriptions that are equally effective but not as expensive.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, six states already prohibit gag clauses in contracts between pharmacies and PBMs, and Arkansas was one of 20 states considering a prohibition of them. When Arkansas's new law regulating PBMs takes effect in September, Arkansas will be the first state in the country to regulate PBMs.
TYSON FOODS RECENTLY MADE A COUPLE DONATIONS 3/22/18
Tyson Foods recently made a couple of donations to area agencies.
On March 17th, the Tyson Foods, Broken Bow Plant donated chicken to the SOS for Families shelter in Idabel.
SOS stands for Southeastern Services for Families and the shelter provides domestic abuse services to approximately 25 women and children each month. Abused or neglected women and/or children are provided housing and services for up to 30-days at the shelter. If victims are still unable to leave the shelter, extensions are granted.
Tyson has been a supporter of the SOS Shelter for many years.
And, Tyson Foods, Grannis/Broken Bow Complex participated in the 2018 Sevier County Extension's annual 4H BBQ cooking contest. 48, local 4H'ers competed in the chicken BBQ cooking contest on March 26th. Tyson provided 48, 3 pound chickens for the 4H'ers to prepare in the cook-off.
Sevier County 4H Program Assistant, Kim Frachiseur stated four District Broiler BBQ activities are held each year prior to the state contest which is held in June at the Annual Poultry Festival. 4H district activities are held at Batesville, Fayetteville, Little Rock and Arkadelphia and each county may send five Juniors (ages 9-13) and five Seniors (ages 14-19) to compete. State Senior winners for broiler and turkey will represent Arkansas at the National contest that will be held in November at the National 4H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
Tyson Foods is a proud supporter of local 4H students.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE WEEK - FORESTRY 3/22/18
It's National Agriculture Week and Bunyard Broadcasting is spotlighting the agriculture industry. Today, we will look at the forestry industry in Arkansas.
More than half of the state is forested and 42 percent of all woodland is made up of oak or hickory forest types. Private landowners own over 58 percent of the timberland in the state and many actively manage their woodlands.
The forest products industry includes the pulp and paper industry provides over 64,000 jobs and represents a labor income of $3.6 billion dollars a year.
For more information about the forestry industry in Arkansas contact the Arkansas Forestry Commission.
LAMBERT LUMBER 3/22/18
This week is Home Improvement Week in Southwest Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma and Bunyard Broadcasting is spotlighting area home improvement businesses.
Today, we spoke with Cameron at Lambert Lumber in Idabel and she provided KDQN with a list of items that they have to offer at Lambert Lumber.
Cameron stated Lambert Lumber also carries a huge assortment of paints and painting supplies.
Cameron said if your building a new home or remodeling your current home, you can purchase everything you need at Lambert Lumber and they have a return policy on certain construction items.
Cameron said if you have any questions about your home improvement project, you should contact Lambert Lumber.
It's home improvement week, so stop by Lambert Lumber in Broken Bow.
This Week's News:
STATE REVIEW BOARD TO
CONSIDER LOCKESBURG GYMNASIUM FOR NOMINATION TO NATIONAL REGISTER OF
HISTORIC PLACES 3/21/18
SEVIER COUNTY TOP SHOT COMPETITION TO BENEFIT 4H 3/21/18
Area shooting sports enthusiasts are being invited to shoot against some of the best shooters in Sevier County during the Sevier County Top Shot competition this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the 4H shooting range on Highway 71 North. The cost to enter the contest is $20.
J.P. Atkins works with the 4H shooting sports club and he said everyone is invited to test their skills against Wes Tudor and Monte Bartek, while raising funds for the Sevier County 4H program. He said everyone will shoot multiple firearms including a .22 rifle, .22 pistol, 9mm pistol, shotgun and a crossbow.
Atkins said participates will have a chance to win prizes including scholarships from UA Cossatot.
Atkins said everyone should also bring something that they would like to win and at the end of the Top Shot competition, they might have a blanket shoot for bragging rights.
Kids 12 and under will also have their own BB competition. Food and drinks will be available and there could possible be a bounce house.
For more information, call Bartek at 870-279-5439 or visit the Facebook page, Sevier County 4H Shooting Booster Club.
ASHDOWN POLICE DEPARTMENT WELCOMES NEW OFFICER TO FORCE 3/21/18
On March 12th, the Ashdown Police Department introduced their newest officer, K9 officer ROLO.
ROLO will be used to fight the war on drugs in Ashdown as well as assisting surrounding agencies as requested, according to Ashdown Police Sergeant Zane Butler.
ROLO is a two-and-a-half year old Belgian Shepherd that was trained at the Little Rock K9 academy. He has been trained to detect the odors of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. ROLO will be partnered with Butler.
According to Butler, he worked with ROLO when he served on the South-Central Drug Task Force, before he was hired by the Ashdown Police Department.
APPLICATIONS FOR FARM BUREAU MASH CAMPS NOW AVAILABLE 3/21/18
Applications are now available to high school students for the summer MASH camps. MASH stands for Medical Applications of Science for Health. These camps will be located at 34 medical facilities throughout Arkansas. The two-week MASH camps are designed to expose rising high school juniors and seniors to healthcare related vocations.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the MASH program in the state. During those 30 years, close to 9,000 students have participated in the program.
According to Jennifer Victory who is the director of Rural Health for Arkansas Farm Bureau, the MASH program gives students an inside look at various medical professions and is designed to spark students' interest in the medical field. She said a large number of camps are held at rural medical centers and attract local students with a rural background.
Victory said the idea is that future medical students from a rural background are more likely to return to their roots.
Applications are available through school guidance counselors, by contacting the MASH director in this area or by visiting the website, www.arkansashealthcareers.com/summer-camps.
Area MASH camps will be held in Mena from June 11th through the 22nd, and Nashville from June 18th through the 29th.
County Farm Bureau organizations and the MASH Partnership sponsor students so they may attend the camps at no cost. The partnership includes the University of Arkansas for Medical Science's Regional Centers, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Arkansas Farm Bureau and Baptist Health. For more information on the MASH program contact Amber Marshall with UAMS at 501-686-6188 or Victory of Arkansas Farm Bureau at 501-229-1269.
ASHDOWN SETS DATE FOR THE 7TH ANNUAL PROM GRAND MARCH 3/21/18
The Ashdown High School junior class announced the 7th annual Prom Grand March will be held on Saturday, April 7th at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.
The first Grand March was held in 2012 when 2012 graduate, Miranda Hopson created the event as a project in her EAST class. She said her friends in Texarkana hosted a promenade before the prom and thought it would be something the students of Ashdown would enjoy.
With the help of her classmate, Olivia Mize, they set in motion the steps to get the Prom Grand March approved by school officials. Today, the march is a tradition that utilizes the grounds of the historic courthouse as the photo setting.
The Grand March is for Ashdown High School juniors and seniors in the prom finery and it's the perfect photo op for family and friends.
The Prom Royalty Court will consist of 10 seniors. The senior class will elect the King and Queen along with four attendants. The court will be presented at the march and the king and queen will be announced at the prom.
In the event of rain, the Grand March will be cancelled and not rescheduled.
Those attending the Grand March are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for comfort and enjoyment.
The Ashdown High School practice gym will be the setting for the community/alumni prom on Friday night and it will be the setting for Saturday night's 2018 Junior/Senior Prom. This year's theme is "Masquerade."
The Community/Alumni Prom will be on Friday, April 6th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome to attend. There will be music playing from each decade and dancing is welcomed. Admission is free Friday night.
On Saturday night, there will be free valet parking provided by community volunteers, refreshments will be provided by the First Methodist Church and a bag and coat check will be available. The Ashdown High School Prom will be from 9 p.m. to midnight. The cost is $20 per person or $30 per couple. A free photo booth will be provided by the school.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE WEEK - CATTLE 3/21/18
It's National Agriculture Week and Bunyard Broadcasting is spotlighting the agriculture industry. Today, we will look at the cattle industry in Arkansas.
The beef industry has been apart of Arkansas since before the area became an American territory. And, even though the beef industry is not as prominent in the state as the poultry industry, the beef industry has an estimated $1.4 billion annual economic impact on the state.
Beef cattle can be found in every county of Arkansas, but the industry is largely centered in the northwestern counties of the state.
Arkansas is primarily a cow-calf state, which means that producers largely raise calves for sale to buyers who then grow them until they are ready to enter the feedlot for later slaughter.
Some of the breeds that raised in Arkansas include Shorthorn, Hereford, Angus, Brahman, Simmental, Limousin and Texas Longhorn.
According to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, there were approximately 23,442 farms with 822,222 cows and heifers that have calves in Arkansas. The average herd size is 35 head with 80 percent of the farms having less than 50 head. And, about 97 percent of the beef cattle farms are family owned and operated.
The industry advocacy organization in the state is the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association. The Cattlemen's Association members are devoted to improving the cattle industry. Arkansas also has a non-profit organization called the Arkansas Beef Council that promotes an understanding of the beef industry and works to maintain a positive marketing climate.
SKYWARN CLASS BEING OFFERED THIS THURSDAY IN ASHDOWN 3/20/18
A free Skywarn weather-spotting class will be offered from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at the Little River County Courthouse in the annex building in Ashdown.
Skywarn is a National Weather Service volunteer program with 350,000 to 400,000 trained severe-weather spotters. The volunteers help keep their communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.
The main responsibility of a Skywarn spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States.
SEVIER COUNTY 4-H COUNTY OUTDOOR O'RAMA HELD 3/20/18
Bait Casting Division:
Senior winners: Marcus Rosson,
Veronica Rivas, Hunter Frachiseur, Andrew Shelton, and Ethan Wolcott
BB Gun Division:
Senior winner: Veronica Rivas
Senior winners: Hunter Frachiseur and
If you’d like more information about 4-H and how to join, please contact the Sevier County Extension Office at (870)-584-3013. (Pictued: Dori Bartek with Legacy 4-H Club participated in the Baitcasting division of the County 4-H Outdoor O’Rama held last month.)
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - SPECIAL SESSION ENDS 3/20/18
Last week, the House officially adjourned the Fiscal Session, elected the Speaker-designate, convened for a special session and sent more than a dozen bills to the Governor's desk.
Shortly after adjourning the 2018 Fiscal Session, House members elected Representative Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado as Speaker-designate. Shepherd is serving his fourth term in the House and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee.
During the session, the following bills were passed by both chambers: House Bill 1001 prevents Arkansas from losing millions in federal highway funding by aligning state law with federal law when it comes to open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles.
House Bill 1003 addresses when the operator of an ATV can use a public street or highway. The new bill loosens the restrictions when the driver is trying to get from one off-road trail to another or back to their property.
House Bill 1007 addresses liquid animal waste management system permits that are issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Control. The bill states an existing state permit that is in good standing is not subject to review or third-party appeal for location issues that were not raised during the review or appeal period at the time the permit was issued.
House Bill 1008 makes changes to the 529 savings plan in an effort to make it more compatible to the federal code. The new federal tax plan allows funds to be withdrawn for K-12 education in private schools.
And, House Bill 1010 creates a licensing process for pharmacy benefit managers who do business in Arkansas. This bill allows the Arkansas Insurance Department to regulate the industry. PBMs process prescription claims for insurance companies and often determine the rate of reimbursements.
For a complete list of bills, visit the website arkansashouse.org.
HORATIO PEEWEE CHEERLEADERS TO HOLD BINGO FUNDRAISER 3/20/18
The Horatio PeeWee Cheerleaders will host a Bingo fundraiser on Saturday, April 14th at the Horatio Elementary cafeteria. The doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the first game will begin at 5.
Kim Cleghorn informed KDQN that players can win prizes that range from $10 to $300.
Cleghorn said Bingo cards are $10 each. She said you can still reserve a table for 8 for $10, reserve a parking spot for $5 and reserve a single seat for $2. For more information or to make a reservation, call 903-490-5865.
Cleghorn said the proceeds will be used to purchase uniforms for the PeeWee Cheerleaders and to help all of the young ladies attend camp this summer.
Concession will be available.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE WEEK - POULTRY 3/20/18
It's National Agriculture Week and Bunyard Broadcasting is spotlighting the agriculture industry. Today, we will look at the poultry industry in Arkansas.
Arkansas leads the nation in poultry production, which includes domestic fowl, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, ostriches, emus, quail, pigeons, pheasants and geese that are raised for meat or eggs. But, the most common poultry in the state is chickens.
Broilers are chickens that are raised for meat and laying hens are chickens that are raised for their eggs.
Several poultry companies call Arkansas home including Tyson and Butterball.
Tyson is headquartered in Springdale and is the largest poultry producing company in the world. Pilgrim's Pride is not based in Arkansas, but is a major contributor to the Arkansas economy with several plants and feed mills in Southwest Arkansas.
Arkansas produces 5.7 billion pounds of broiler meat and there are more then 2,400 broiler farms in the state.
Poultry production accounts for one in four agriculture jobs and companies that produce and process chicken employ about 37,000 people. There are another 70,000 jobs that provide services and supplies to the poultry companies.
LIGHT HOUSE AND FLOORING GALLERY 3/20/18
This week is Home Improvement Week in Southwest Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma and Bunyard Broadcasting is spotlighting area home improvement businesses.
Today, Chris Nichols of Light House and Flooring talked about what they offer. He said granite and vinyl plank flooring are hot items, but they also offer a wide variety of decorative lighting.
Nichols said homeowners realize they can add value to their homes by remodeling a room or two. He said Light House and Flooring is so busy doing bathroom remodels that they hired new installation crews.
Nichols suggested you stop by and starting planning your remodeling project about four to six weeks before your ready to start.
For more information, contact the Light House and Flooring Gallery by visiting their Facebook page or stop by their store in Texarkana.
It's home improvement week, so let the Light House and Flooring Gallery help you update the look of your home.
PARK FAMILY DONATES TO UA COSSATOT FOUNDATION 3/20/18
UA Cossatot Foundation received a memorial gift from Monika Park and her family in memory of the late Donald W. Park.
Park served in various academic support and student services roles at Cossatot from 1993 to 2006. He saw the school evolve from a vocational school to become part of the University of Arkansas system.
Room 204 on the De Queen campus is now the Donald W. Park classroom.
The family has also established a scholarship in Park's name. The scholarship will award $500 to its first honoree in the fall of 2018.
To apply for UA Cossatot scholarships, visit the website www.cccua.edu/scholarships.
LOCAL AUTHORITIES ARREST 120 PEOPLE IN ROOSTER FIGHTING RAID 3/19/18
Saturday morning at 11:56 a.m., agents with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the De Queen Police Department, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Forestry Agency, the U.S. Wildlife Service, and Homeland Security executed a search and seizure warrant on Whistlestop Road and booked a total of 137 people into the Sevier County jail.
Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reported the investigation started about 18-months ago when his department received some calls from agencies in Texas and North Arkansas about a rooster fighting ring in the county. Gentry said other agencies learned about the illegal activity while conducting interviews with subjects who had been arrested for drugs.
Gentry said 86 suspects were charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful animal fighting, which carries a possible $2,500 fine. Thirty-four suspects will be charged with felony counts of unlawful animal fighting.
Gentry said suspects were from as far away as New Jersey. He said others were from Mount Pleasant, Pittsburgh and San Antonio, Texas; Westen and Tulsa, Oklahoma; as well as, Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, Little Rock and Alma, Arkansas.
REWARD OFFERED FOR INFORMATION ABOUT FIRES IN MCCURTAIN COUNTY 3/19/18
Firefighters in Eagletown, Oklahoma are seeking information about several suspicious fires that have been set recently.
Anyone with information about the fires is being asked to call the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office at 580-286-3331 or the arson hotline at 1-888-662-7766.
Rewards are being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the act of arson on southeastern Oklahoma forestlands.
Firefighters are concerned about the risk to responders and people who live nearby.
COSSATOT FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL FISH FRY AND MEMBERSHIP DRIVE IS SATURDAY, MARCH 31ST 3/19/18
On March 31st, the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department will hold their annual membership drive and fish fry starting at 5 p.m. Fire fighter, Roy Stover stated the event will feature a live and silent auction and live music by the band Harmony.
Volunteer firefighter, Kendall Johnson said a membership is $40 and that includes three fish plates. He said a plate is $6 of fish and will include fish, hushpuppies, fries, coleslaw and pinto beans.
Johnson said this event provides the department with operating funds. He said they are also raising funds to expand the fire station and buy new equipment for new volunteers.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call Ashley Johnson at 870-784-1360 or Marion Emerson at 870-584-9753.
SEARCH WARRANT EXECUTED IN LOCKESBURG 3/19/18
On March 2nd, Sevier County Deputy Matt Webb was patrolling in Lockesburg when he witnessed a suspect with an active warrant sitting on the front porch of a residence on East Main Street.
Webb pulled into the driveway, but the suspect, 36-year-old Curtis Ayers of Lockesburg ran into the house. Webb knocked on the door, but Ayers would not come to the door.
Webb contacted the sheriff's office and Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle obtained a search warrant for the residence. Other deputies were dispatched to the house to ensure the suspect did not flee.
At 10:40 a.m., Dowdle arrived with the warrant and deputies executed the warrant by knocking the door down after no one would open the door. Inside the house, deputies made contact with Ashley Ayers who was taken into custody and charged for hindering apprehension.
Curtis Ayers was found in the bedroom and was taken into custody without any further incident. Curtis Ayers was arrested on the active warrant and then charged with fleeing #2.
After his arrest, a hold was put on Ayers by the Howard County Sheriff's Office for an outstanding warrant in their county.
HOMELAND SECURITY MAKES LARGE DRUG BUST 3/19/18
March 6th, Sevier County Investigator Jeff Wahls and Lieutenant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department assisted agents with Homeland Security with a federal search and seizure warrant for a residence on Mercer Street in Horatio.
Officers executed the warrant about 1 p.m. and located one suspect, 27-year-old Yayserh Navarette in the house.
Officers located a loaded AR-15 rifle, a loaded Glock 9mm pistol, parts for an AR-15, ammunition and about a pound of suspected methamphetamine and about an ounce of suspected cocaine. Officers also confiscated packaging material, a tire and wheel that appeared to have been used to transport contraband and numerous cell phones.
Navarette reportedly told agent Jermy Ridenour of Homeland Security that he would travel to Dallas once or twice a month to pick up meth and cocaine. He allegedly said he put the drugs in the dash of his truck, but once he picked up a tire that contained drugs.
Navarette also allegedly confessed to selling drugs to people in Sevier County and Oklahoma.
Navarette has been charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, trafficking a controlled substance, possession of meth or cocaine with the purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.
HOME IMPROVEMENT WEEK IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 3/19/18
This week, KDQN will be featuring area home improvement businesses and today, we spoke with Bill Lee of the Bill Lee Company in De Queen.
Lee explained that the heating and cooling system in your home could mean the difference between you being comfortable or not. He stated there are several components in your home that contribute to the comfort system.
He also said technology is improving the efficiency of comfort system.
If you are tired of paying high utility bills, contact the Bill Lee Company and let him do an energy efficiency review of your home, call 870-642-7127 or visit his Facebook page, Facebook.com/Bill Lee Co, LLC.
NATIONAL AG WEEK 3/19/18
March is National Agriculture Month, which is a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America recognize and celebrate the abundance of food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced in the nation.
This month, the Agriculture Council of America hopes to help every American understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced. They also want Americans to understand the essential role agriculture plays in maintaining the country's economy. And, for Americans to learn to appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
Everyone here at Bunyard Broadcasting salutes all of you, the farmers and ranchers of southwest Arkansas.
ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
RECEIVES APPRECIATION AWARD 3/19/18
AHS teacher, Dixie Ardwin was
nominated by a student to receive the Teacher Appreciation award
from Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA).
This is the first year teachers around the state are being
recognized “for having inspired or impacted students in a positive
light. This award is dedicated to you for the guidance, character,
patience, knowledge and wisdom that you have bestowed upon our
DRUG ARREST MADE AT HORATIO HIGH SCHOOL 3/16/18
About 1:20 p.m. on Thursday, March 15th, deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and Officer J.J. Lopez and his K9 partner, Kilo of the De Queen Police Department conducted random vehicle sniffs in the parking lot of the Horatio High School.
While sniffing around a black Mustang, Kilo hit on suspected drugs.
The vehicles owner, 18-year-old Jonathon Gonzalez of Horatio was retrieved from a classroom and escorted to the parking lot by a school employee and questioned about the K9's alert.
Gonzalez allegedly stated he had smoked marijuana in his car that morning and that was probably the reason the dog hit on his vehicle.
Deputies then searched the vehicle and discovered a plastic bag containing suspected marijuana along with several small Ziplock bags and an E-vape smoking devise with THC oil in it.
Gonzalez was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO AMEND THE CITY'S CURRENT RETIREMENT PLAN 3/16/18
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council voted to amend the city's current retirement plan during their meeting on March 13th.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy said the council listened to a presentation by the city's actuary, Dennis Decoursey. He said aldermen then passed a resolution to amend the plan to allow former employees who are vested in the plan to withdraw their funds out of the plan. He said the council is still thinking about changing the city's retirement plan to a defined contribution plan.
McKelvy also reported the city will hold a special clean up campaign during spring break. He said the city code enforcement officer has tagged 100 properties since January 1st.
McKelvy stated local groups, churches and individuals can volunteer at the city park to participate in the city's Keep Arkansas Beautiful campaign.
To volunteer, call the park office at 642-4140.
AREA STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 3/16/18
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary announced the park has some special activities planned for next week.
Flanary said they will have activities and programs everyday during Spring Break. She said they'll be offering hikes, games, star gazing and geo-caching activities.
For more information, Flanary said you can visit the website www.arkansasstateparks.com, email her or call the park at 870-385-2201.
Daisy State Park will also have some activities during spring break, including a scenic lake cruise on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
For more information, about the Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park offered the following tips to help make the most of your time at their park.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox suggests you check the weather forecast as you pack. He said temperatures can range from the 40s to the 70s this time of year. Cox recommended guests wear hats and apply lots of sunscreen. He also suggested a pair of rubber gloves and rubber boots to keep your hands and feet dry and warm.
The diamond search area is open until 4 p.m. Sunday through Saturday and tickets that are purchased after 3 p.m. are good for the following day.
The park rents equipment and sells small hand tools, but guests can take their own buckets, shovels, and screens. No battery-operated or motor-driven mining equipment is allowed in the search area.
For more information, visit the park's website www.CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SHINING LIGHT ON FOIA DURING SUNSHINE WEEK 3/16/18
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act helps ensure government transparency and allows the public to hold government officials accountable for their actions. In conjunction with National Sunshine Week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge highlights the FOIA to educate Arkansans about their rights when it comes to government accountability.
Arkansas' FOIA was enacted by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in 1967. It is considered one of the strongest and most comprehensive open-records and open-meetings laws in the United States.
The law gives Arkansas citizens broad access to public records and public meetings, with limited exceptions. A public record is defined as any writing, sound recording, video or electronic or computer-based information that is required by law to be kept or is otherwise kept that reflects the performance or lack of performance of official functions.
All records maintained by public employees within the scope of their employment are presumed to be public records, although several exemptions may shield a record from disclosure. Government entities generally have up to three working days to provide a record that is requested under the FOIA. Custodians of records may only charge for the actual costs of reproducing public records, plus mailing expenses.
When a governing body meets to conduct the people's business, the meeting is a public meeting and is subject to the open-meeting provisions of the FOIA. Notice of public meetings must be provided to anyone who has asked to be notified, and two-hour notice of special or emergency meetings must be provided to members of the news media.
Governing bodies may only enter into closed meetings, which are also known as executive sessions, for the limited purposes of considering employment, appointment, promotion, demotion, disciplining or resignation of an individual officer or employee. However, if any action is to be taken, the governing body must reconvene in public and take a formal vote on the matter.
For more information about the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.
MC QUEEN FILES WITH ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE FOR U.S. HOUSE SEAT, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT 4 3/16/18
Lee McQueen of Texarkana has announced she filed with the Arkansas's Secretary of State Office on February 27th to run as a candidate for the 4th Congressional District of Arkansas office in the U.S. House of Representatives.
McQueen is an Independent Progressive candidate who intends to run her grassroots-inspired campaign free from corporate money and influence all the way to Tuesday, November 6th.
She publicly announced her candidacy in October of last year and since last fall, she has traveled and campaigned all across the Fourth District. She has visited Texarkana, Hope, Arkadelphia, Magnolia, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and Camden, plus town in-between in an attempt to learn about citizen concerns and citizen requirements from a congressional representative.
McQueen's progressive policy platform includes single payer healthcare, free education, and affordable housing; good jobs with living wages; responsible business and strong tax base; renewable energy development and infrastructure modernization; safety and security with respect to civil liberties; foreign policy with respect for diplomacy and human rights; integrity and trust in the electoral process; plus active civic engagement.
STATE POLICE COMMISSION OK’S
DIRECTOR’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROMOTION 03/16/18
Among those receiving promotions was:
Corporal Kyle Peek, 38, of Hempstead County, was promoted to the
rank of sergeant. He is a thirteen year veteran of the department.
Sergeant Peek will assume new duties as a post supervisor within the
Highway Patrol Division, Troop G.
CITY OF DE QUEEN TO HOLD SPECIAL CLEAN UP CAMPAIGN 3/15/18
De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy announced this month that the City of De Queen will hold a special city-wide clean-up campaign during the week of Spring Break and he asked clubs, groups and churches to volunteer.
Any interested groups should contact the De Queen City Park to sign up to pick up litter. Park Program Director, Chris Hale said the city employees have already been picking up litter and they've already collected 30 - 50-gallon bags.
The city's clean-up campaign is registered with the Keep Arkansas Beautiful program. Hale said the park has safety vests, trash bags and pick-up tools available for volunteers.
Anyone who feels the City of De Queen needs to clean up, can now volunteer to help during Spring Break by calling 642-4140.
UA HOPE-TEXARKANA ANNOUNCES WINNERS FOR THE 11TH ANNUAL PULLING FOR EDUCATION TRAP SHOOTING EVENT 3/15/18
The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana held its 11th annual Pulling for Education Trap Shoot on Marcy 9th and 10th at the Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus. The event was sponsored by AEP/SWEPCO and Farm Bureau for the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Foundation.
The following were winners from the community shoot and the high school shoot.
In the Junior High Division, the winner was Ashdown Junior High Team 1. The Jr. Panthers scored 112 points and Drake Abney was the top shooter with a perfect score of 25 out of 25. Second place went to Pulaski Academy and third place went to the Nothing but Dust team from Nashville.
In the Senior High Division, Ashdown Senior team 1 took first place with a score of 234. Jon Michael Molock was the top shooter with a perfect score of 50 out of 50. Ashdown Senior team 2 took second and SWARK Shooting Sports of Nashville took third.
In the Community Shoot: UAHT team 1 took first place, UAHT team 2 took second and Senator Larry Teague's team placed third. The individual high point winner was Austin Johnston and Logan Crawford was the runner up.
AGFC HONOR 20 WILDLIFE OFFICERS 3/15/18
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission honored 20 wildlife officers for their dedicated service to the natural resources and the people of Arkansas during their 5th annual Enforcement Awards Banquet. The banquet recognizes officers from across the state who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the previous year.
Wildlife Officers Sydney Grant and Cody Standifer from the Hope Regional Office were both honored with the Warden's Star. The Warden's Star is given to officers for acts of heroism involving an unusual situation, that required immediate action and the use of good judgment, ingenuity and exceptional tactics to prevent an incident from escalating.
Grant and Standifer were the first on the scene at Millwood Lake on November 18th, 2017, when winds up to 70 miles per hour and a temperature shift of nearly 40 degrees caused extreme conditions during the opening day of waterfowl season.
Many avid duck hunters attempted to launch on the lake that morning, despite the life-threatening conditions. Grant and Standifer responded to a report of a boating accident on the lake in their boat. Once at the area where the incident was believed to occur, they were unable to locate any victims. Their own boat was in danger of becoming disabled from the wind and waves, so they were forced to make their way to the nearest boat ramp. Once at the ramp, they heard and saw an individual clinging to a stump about 600 yards from the bank. They and officer Corporal Keith Teague jumped back in the boat and pulled the victim from the water. Due to their quick actions and attention, the victim escaped the deadly situation with only stiff legs from the cold water.
Sergeant John Partain, Sergeant Ronnie White, Corporal Jeff Neel, Corporal Dennis Hovarter, Corporal Blake Broomfield, Corporal Keith Teague and Wildlife Officer Andrew Watson from the Hope Regional Office were also recognized for their efforts that resulted in the rescue of eight individuals from three separate boating accidents on Millwood Lake in one day.
2018 HENRY AWARDS PRESENTED AT ARKANSAS GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE ON TOURISM 3/15/18
Arkansas tourism partners from across the state honored the 2018 winners of the annual Henry Awards during a ceremony at the 44th Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism, Tuesday night in West Memphis. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state's tourism industry in the preceding year.
Madison Murphy was named the Tourism Person of the Year. AY Magazine of Little Rock was presented the Media Support Award. Visit Hot Springs and 61 Celsius was given the Bootstrap Award. The town of Wilson was presented the Arkansas Heritage Award. Warfield Concerts of Helena-West Helena was named the Grand Old Classic Special Event Award winner. Keep Arkansas Beautiful was named the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. The City of Batesville was presented the Community Tourism Development Award. and the Natural State Award went to the Murphy Arts District of El Dorado.
SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY JACKPOTS 3/15/18
This week, jackpots for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery have climbed over $300 million dollars for both the Powerball and the Mega Millions and the director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, Bishop Woosley, stated changes have been made to the metrics of the Mega Millions game to help increase jackpots quicker.
Woosley stated more people play the lottery when jackpots get this large and 39 Powerball tickets have won a $1 million prize in 2018 alone and another seven tickets have won $2 million. So, the lottery is making millionaires in the state.
Woosley stated the lottery has helped increase the number scholarships that are available to students in Arkansas and it also helped reduce the debt that students incurred while attending college.
Woosley said the scholarship lottery has a new ad campaign with testimonies from graduates who benefited from earning a lottery scholarship.
JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS STATE FROM AWARDING MARIJUANA GROWING LICENSES 3/15/18
An Arkansas judge temporarily blocked the state from awarding its first licenses for companies to grow medical marijuana in response to some complaints about the state's process for reviewing the applications for the facilities.
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen issued a temporary restraining order preventing the state from issuing permits to five companies that had qualified to grow marijuana.
Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana for patients with certain condition. The commission is expected to license up to 32 dispensaries to sell the drug later this year.
Griffen issued the order in response to a lawsuit that was filed by Naturalis Health LLC, which was one of the companies that was not awarded a license.
The lawsuit claims the state's process for awarding the cultivation licenses has been flawed, saying the applications for the winning companies shoed wide-ranging discrepancies and outright violations of the rules. Other unsuccessful applicants have sent letter to the commission in recent days with similar complaints.
Last month, the commission announced the top five applicants from the 95 applications that it received. All five of those companies have paid the $100,000 licensing fee and posted the $500,000 performance bond that is needed to receive the licenses.
The lawsuit contends that the state caused a complete distrust in the newly implemented medical marijuana industry.
Arkansas has already approved 4,410 applications for patients to use medical marijuana and will issue registry cards about a month before the drug is expected to be available legally.
FERAL HOG WORKSHOP AT HORATIO ELEMENTARY THURSDAY NIGHT 3/14/18
The County Extension offices of Little River and Sevier counties are hosting a free Feral Hog Control Workshop Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the Horatio Elementary School cafeteria.
Little River County Extension Service Agent Sherry Sullivan said they will discuss the natural history, damage identification and rules and regulations regarding feral hogs.
Sullivan said after a generation of two in the wild, domesticated hogs appear untamed, with thickened fur and tusks. Sows produce an average of six piglets per litter when 8 to 13 months of age and they have 1 to 2 litters per year for a lifespan of 5 to 8 years. She said other than hunters; research indicates feral hogs have few predators once they are over 10 to 15 pounds.
Sullivan said the feeding and wallowing behaviors of feral hogs create a number of problems, including agriculture crop loss, pasture damage, wildlife loss, water pollution and transmission of diseases.
Controlling feral hogs has proven to be difficult because they are adaptive and learn to avoid hunters and traps.
Signs of feral hogs include rooting, tracks, wallows, nests or beds and tree and post rubs.
Shooting a few feral hogs in a group does little to control their numbers and typically educates the survivors to avoid humans.
Corral trapping captures multiple hogs in a sounder or bachelor group at one time and is considered the most effective method for removing feral hogs.
Baiting hogs with corn is a common practice for surveillance and trapping and snaring can be used to supplement corral trapping. Snares can be placed around corral fences and along trails. Landowners are advised to check snares often because they can capture non-target wildlife. They should also contact a local wildlife officer to discuss Arkansas law regarding snares.
It is legal to shoot or trap feral hogs day or night on privately owned land, however, public lands, which include federal refuges and Wildlife Management Areas, have different rules about feral hogs; so check the rules before you plan to go hunting.
It is also illegal to possess, sell, transport or release hogs into the wild.
For more information, contact the Little River County Extension Office by calling 870-898-7224 or the Sevier County Extension Office by calling 870-584-3013.
TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST 3/14/18
Tuesday afternoon, Patrolman Josh Luman of the De Queen Police Department conducted a traffic stop after witnessing a truck turn right onto Gilson Avenue without stopping at the stop sign and without using the turn signal.
The driver was identified as Gregory Harris who stated he did not stop or use his turn signal because he was in a hurry to get his passenger back to work. The passenger was identified as 43-year-old Edward Kilcollins of De Queen.
After speaking to Kilcollins, Luman retrieved a backpack from the truck that allegedly belonged to Kilcollins. While searching the bag, Luman discovered three syringes and a clear plastic container of suspected marijuana.
Kilcollins was taken into custody and charged with a felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.
UA COSSATOT COLLEGIATE FFA GREENHOUSE PROJECT AND SALE 3/14/18
UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA advisor, Kelli Harris announced this week that students are working in the greenhouse and getting ready for their annual plant sale by taking a couple of trips before Spring Break. She said students will visit Garvin Gardens in Hot Springs on Thursday. And, students will tour the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus on Friday. She said students will be learning more about the forestry degree that UA-Monticello offers.
Harris reported students started working on the greenhouse in December and they're getting ready for the plant sale.
Harris said she'll be leading a continuing education class in April about plant propagation and students will be landscaping some yards in the area as a part of their final exam.
The plant sale starts March 26th and the greenhouse will be open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. She said they will post all of their hours of operation on the door of the greenhouse.
For more information, call Harris at 870-584-1218.
HEMPSTEAD AND NEVADA COUNTIES ESTABLISH NEW DRUG TASK FORCE 3/14/18
8th North Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen, Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton, Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin, Hope Police Chief J.R. Wilson and Prescott Police Chief Joseph Beavers are combining forces to establish a new drug task force that will focus on Hempstead and Nevada counties.
The unit will focus on the distribution, sale and transportation of illegal narcotics in and through the 8th North Judicial District. McQueen said they will not only focus on large scale dealers but also on street-corner dealers. She said the task force will also work together on major crimes that are committed within the district.
Part of the funding for the task force will come from monies seized by officers during drug arrests and forfeited by court order to the 8th North Judicial District Drug Control Fund that is administered by the prosecuting attorney's office.
The 8th North Judicial District had been a part of the South-Central Drug Task Force for the last 15 to 20 years. The South-Central Drug Task Force included Howard, Sevier, Little River, Hempstead and Nevada counties until the law enforcement agencies in the 8th North Judicial District decided their resources could be better used, and the citizens of Hempstead and Nevada counties could be better served, by establishing a new task force.
According to McQueen, federal funding for the South-Central Drug Task Force has been reduced each year, leaving the funding for the task force in question. She said over the past several years, there has only been one supervisor and two agents covering five counties and two judicial districts.
The newly formed 8th North Task Force will have a director and four agents to cover one judicial district and two counties. The task force will be governed by a board of directors consisting of McQueen, Singleton, Martin, Beavers and Wilson. The board will oversee the daily operations of the task force.
The task force is set to begin operations March 15th.
PBM REGULATION ADVANCED OUT OF THE HOUSE INSURANCE AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE 3/14/18
An Arkansas House panel advanced a proposal to regulate pharmacy benefit managers Tuesday as lawmakers began a special session that will focus primarily on addressing a cut in reimbursement rates for pharmacies.
The House Insurance and Commerce Committee endorsed a proposal that would allow the state Insurance Department to require the PBMs to license with the state. PBMs run prescription drug plans for employers, government agencies and insurers, among other clients. They use their large purchasing power to negotiate prices.
The legislation was spurred by complaints from pharmacists around the state concerning cuts in reimbursements that they receive for generic drugs. Under the proposal, the state insurance commissioner may review and approve a PBMs compensation program with a health plan to ensure pharmacists' reimbursements are fair and reasonable.
The proposal would also ban PBM "gag clauses" that prevent pharmacists from discussing the total price of a drug or cheaper alternatives. The House is expected to vote on the proposal today, and more than three-fourths of lawmakers in that chamber and the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors. An identical measure is pending in the Senate. Governor Asa Hutchinson has also said he supports the measure.
A national group representing the PBMs says the measure goes to far. They say the mandate would enrich drugstore owners at the expense of patients and the employers who provide prescription drug coverage.
The anti-tax group Americans for Tax Reform says it also opposes the measure. The group's president, Grover Norquist, stated in a letter that was sent to lawmakers that the proposal is a misguided piece of legislation that would unnecessarily insert state government into certain business-to-business transactions.
The proposal is among several other items on the agenda for this week's special session. Lawmakers are also considering changes to the state's open container law that officials say are needed to protect highway funding and a measure allowing 529 college savings funds to be used for K-12 education expenses at public and private schools.
ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL ANNOUNCES 2018 PROM 3/14/18
BARKER RESIGNS AS GIRLS HEAD BASKETBALL COACH 3/13/18
Monday night, the De Queen Board of Education voted to approve a mock car crash re-enactment program and accepted the resignation of several district employees.
Superintendent Bruce Hill reported the board approved a request by the De Queen High School Student Council to hold a prom night mock car crash re-enactment for high school students on April 13th. He said members of the De Queen Police Department, the fire department, the sheriff's office; Southwest EMS, Air Evac and Chandler Funeral Home will be participating in the re-enactment.
Hill said the board discussed hiring an athletic trainer, but did not take any action on the matter.
Board members also voted to approve the addition of another step to the Certified and Classified salary schedules along with some minor changes to the classified salary schedule. Hill said the board added a 23rd year to the certified salary schedule.
Hill announced the board accepted the resignation of two teachers and the superintendent's secretary. He also said Jason Barker also resigned as the girls head basketball coach.
Board members also upheld the expulsion recommendations of the campus administrators for three students.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES GRANT APPLICATION FOR SHERIFF'S SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM 3/13/18
Monday afternoon, Justices of the Peace for the Sevier County Quorum Court approved several additional appropriations for the County Treasurer's office, the Sheriff's office and the county road department.
JPs approved an additional appropriation in the amount of $12,185 to the Treasurer's budget, so retiring treasurer; Risa Krantz can train the Treasurer-elect, Heather McDonnell.
JPs also approved the appropriation of $500 from the county general fund-county grants in-aid account to the Sevier County Citizens Appreciation Day account. Judge Greg Ray explained, SWEPCO made a $500 dollar donation to the county for the annual Senior Citizens Day event, but the quorum court had to appropriate the funds to the proper account.
JPs also approved an additional appropriation of $3,500 for the purchase a 13 GPS modules for the sheriff department’s patrol vehicles and $1,200 for the purchase of two portable radios.
Sheriff Robert Gentry stated the GPS modules will help dispatchers dispatch the closest deputy possible and to allow him to keep track of deputies patrol activities.
Gentry said the modules and the radios will be purchased with the proceeds from the department’s firearm and vehicle auctions.
JPs voted to payment $120 a month for a dedicated internet line so the county can provide video arrangements for prisoners in the Arkansas Department of Correction and the county jail. The dedicated line will be installed by Windstream.
Sheriff Gentry reported it costs the county about $500 for a deputy to transport a prisoner from the ADC.
JPs also voted to allow Sheriff Gentry to re-apply for a grant to fund the department's Residential Substance Abuse Program. Gentry said 23 inmates have been through the program and it currently has a 91 percent success rate.
The Quorum Court also voted to purchase a new sweeper for the road department at a cost of $46,000.
DREW, MILLS INDUCTED INTO ARKANSAS TOURISM HALL OF FAME 3/13/18
Cathy Drew is the executive director of the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council and Mike Mills is the owner of the Buffalo Outdoor Center and they are both new members of the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame honor is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have been actively involved in tourism for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole.
Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote, the Ozark Gateway. She was born in Batesville and worked for Media Market Inc., which is the former ad agency that handled the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council account. In this role, Drew helped design the region's tabloid publication. She later worked at WRD Entertainment in marketing and graphic design and in 2000 began her career with Ozark Gateway.
Drew's many contributions to the tourist council include converting the traditional tabloid-style publication into a magazine-format regional guidebook, attending several AARP tradeshows to represent the state as a travel and relocation destination, opening a 24/7 welcome center for the region, creating a new regional motorcycling pocket map and guide and significantly improving the region's website.
Mills is an Arkansan through and through. He grew up on a farm west of Lowell and later graduated from Rogers High School, Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas Graduate School, and served in the United States Marine Corps. Mills founded the Buffalo Outdoor Center in 1976 and expanded it into Arkansas' first log cabin resort in 1985. With 44 years in the business, he has clocked in over 150,000 hours for the tourism industry and has served more than 3 million guests. Mills has also served 36 years on the Arkansas Travel Council, 36 years on the Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation, 22 years on the Ozark Mountain Region board of directors and 18 years on the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. He was the Director of the Arkansas Tourism from 1982 to 1986.
For information on the Annual Governor's Conference on Tourism, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-324-1521.
SEVIER COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION CERTIFIES STATE CANDIDATES FOR THE PRIMARY ELECTION AND NON-PARTISAN JUDICIAL GENERAL ELECTION 3/13/18
The members of the Sevier County Election Commission met Friday, March 9th to certify the state candidates for the Primary Election and Non-partisan Judicial General Election. They also designated the voting places that will be open on May 22nd for the purpose of voting for or against candidates whose names appear on the ballot for the following offices.
County Clerk Debbie Akin reported the following candidates filed with the Republican Party:
U.S. Congress District 4 - Randy Caldwell and Representative Bruce Westerman
Governor - Governor Asa Hutchinson and Jan Morgan
Attorney General - Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
State Treasurer - Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan
State Representative District 20 - Representative John Maddox
State Representative District 4 - Representative DeAnn Vaught
Secretary of State - State Representative Trevor Drown and John Thurston Commissioner of State Lands
Lieutenant Governor - Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin
Commissioner of State Lands - Tommy Land
Auditor of State - Auditor Andrea Lee
Akin reported the following candidates filed with the Democratic Party:
U.S. Congress District 4 - Hayden Shamel
Governor - Jared Henderson and Leticia Sander
Attorney General - Mike Lee
State Senate District 10 - Senator Larry Teague
Secretary of State - Susan Inman
Lieutenant Governor - Anthony Bland
Commissioner of State Lands - Larry Williams
Akin reported the following candidates filed for the Non-partisan Judicial Election:
State Supreme Court Associate Justice, Position 3 - Judge Kenneth Hixon, David Sterling and State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson
Prosecuting Attorney, District 9-West - Bryan Chessir
Akin announced absentee and early voting will be held in the county clerk's office in the courthouse, and the following vote centers will be open on May 22nd:
De Queen Community Building in Herman Dierks Park, Geneva Baptist Church, Ben Lomond Community Building, Central Community Building, J.L. Walker Fellowship Hall, Kern Heights Baptist Church, De Queen Church of Christ, De Queen/Mena Education Co-op in Gillham and the Lockesburg Methodist Church.
Akin said voters from all precincts are allowed to vote at any vote center. All regular polling places will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on election day.
Absentee voting will be conducted at the Sevier County Clerk's office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning Friday, April 6th. Early voting will be conducted at the Sevier County Clerk's office beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, May 7th and will continue until 5 p.m. on Monday, May 21st. Extended hours for early voting are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays during the early voting period.
Absentee ballots will be opened, processed and canvassed beginning at 5 p.m. on May 22nd in the conference room of the Sevier County Courthouse. All ballots will be counted after 7:30 p.m. on May 22nd, in the office of the county clerk.
SENIOR AT DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL ARRESTED FOR TERRORISTIC THREATENING 3/12/18
De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons released the following press release Saturday morning.
The De Queen Police Department responded to a call at approximately 5:50 p.m. Friday, March 9th in reference to a threatening message that was sent over social media.
Officers of the De Queen Police Department made contact with the complainant and they reported they received a message pertaining to the De Queen School. During the course of the investigation a suspect was developed.
Lieutenant Chad Bradshaw and Sergeant Bobby Bagley were able to make contact with the suspect, 18-year-old Alfredo Jair Ruiz of De Queen. Ruiz was placed into custody and transported to the police department and questioned about the message. Ruiz admitted to sending the message as a joke or a prank.
Ruiz was taken into custody a few hours after the message was sent.
Ruiz is currently being held in the Sevier County Jail for Terroristic Threatening which is a Class D Felony.
The De Queen Police Department was assisted by the Arkansas State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The De Queen Police Department and the De Queen School District appreciates the help from the students, parents, and concerned citizens that helped them resolve this incident, very quickly.
Chief Simmons stated these incidents are taken extreme serious and will not be tolerated.
GOVERNOR EXPECTED TO CALL SPECIAL SESSION TODAY 3/12/18
Arkansas law makers are expected to
wrap up the 2018 Fiscal Session today and Governor Asa Hutchinson
has stated that he plans to call a special session to address
pharmacy reimbursement rates, highway funding and other issues.
You can follow the House floor proceedings on the Arkansas House of Representative's website www.arkansashouse.org.
TRAIL DELAYED IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 3/12/18
A drug trial that was scheduled for today in Little River County has been delayed indefinitely, according to the Little River County Circuit Clerk's office.
Attorneys for 54-year-old Steven Snyder of Ashdown asked for a continuance and no new trial date was set.
Snyder has been charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Agents with the South Central Drug Task Force, the Arkansas State Police and the Little River County Sheriff's Office executed a search and seizure warrant on May 1st of 2017 at a residence on Powerline Road in Ashdown.
Officers seized 52 marijuana plants, marijuana smoking devices, digital and postal scales and chemicals that are used to grow marijuana and an assortment of other items that are used to grow marijuana.
Officers also discovered a commercially manufactured marijuana grow room and processed marijuana.
ACTIVITY REPORT FOR SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE 3/12/18
Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry released the monthly activity report for the deputies of the Sevier County Sheriff's office on Monday.
Gentry reported deputies conducted a total of 260 traffic stops, issued 134 warnings and wrote 6 citations, while patrolling a total of 25,179 miles throughout the county. He said they also worked 16 accidents and made 21 arrests.
Gentry said a total of 78 inmates were booked into the county jail. Community service picked up trash along South Park, Horatio area, Dike Road, Piney Road, Kornegay, the landfill, Johnson Bridge Road and Rink Road. He said community service program also provided workers for the courthouse, the Salvation Army Store and the county library.
Gentry reported the School Resource Officer managed 13 complaints on the high school campus, 11 on the elementary campus and numerous complaints concerning bus riders.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: STATE PASSES BALANCED BUDGET 3/12/18
Friday, state legislators approved the state budget. The $5.6 billion dollar balanced budget includes a $172.8 million, or 3.1 percent increase in spending.
The increases include $1.3 million dollars for the public school fund, $3.5 million for the Department of Correction, $1.7 million for the Department of Community Correction, $12 million for 2- and 4-year colleges, $7.3 million for the foster care system, $4 million for county jail reimbursements, $8 million for performance raises for state employees and $137 million for the traditional Medicaid program and the Arkansas Works program.
The majority of the Medicaid increase is for the traditional Medicaid program. There are close to 700,000 Arkansans on the traditional Medicaid program and most of them are children.
There are 285,000 Arkansans on the Arkansas Works program and the federal government approved the state's request to implement a work requirement for Arkansas Works enrollees.
Enrollees who are 19 to 49 years old will be subject to the work requirement. The requirement will be phased in on the 30 to 49 year old first over a four-month period beginning this June. Individuals who are subject to the requirement must report 80 hours of work activity every month or show that they are exempt. Work activity can include job training, job searching, school, health education classes, or volunteering. Activity must be reported online.
There are also several exemptions, including those who are medically frail, going to school full time, or those caring for young children in the home.
TRADE WAR OVER TARIFFS COULD COST ARKANSAS FARMERS MILLIONS 3/12/18
If President Donald Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports start a trade war, Arkansas could take an almost $400 million dollar hit it its economy. Agricultural economists at the University of Arkansas say if the state's major trading partners retaliate with similar import taxes on commodities such as soybeans, rice, corn and grain sorghum, the value of those products could drop drastically.
Eric Wailes is a professor of agribusiness at the U of A, and he says the state is vulnerable because it is a major player in the global markets.
Wailes estimates a trade war could cause Arkansas agriculture to lose almost 45,000 jobs and reduce labor income by $261 million dollars. He adds that the loss of output could cost the oilseed farming sector $244 million dollars and another $191 million in the grain farming sector. Wailes and other economists at the University of Arkansas issued the analysis late last week.
Wailes says the United States is among the largest exporters of rice, corn, soybeans, and sorghum in the world, and Arkansas ranks among the top producing states. He adds that the state ships grain to almost every corner of the globe.
He says the impact of a trade war would extend beyond the farm belt to all of Arkansas.
Wailes says markets lost to trade wars can take decades to rebuild, as numerous other countries, such as Brazil, Argentina and Australia, stand ready to jump in and sell their commodities.
NEW EXHIBIT AT THE ARKANSAS STATE CAPITOL FOCUSES ON WORLD WAR I 3/12/18
War, Collections, Memory: The Great War in the Arkansas State Archives
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – When, in 1917, the United States entered the
world war, Arkansans in all walks of life stepped forward. Over
70,000 Arkansans, black and white, served in uniform. By war’s end,
nearly 4,000 had died or were seriously wounded.
WOMEN OF GOD - LIVING LOVED 3/9/18
The women's ministry of the First Assembly of God Church of De Queen is hosting a women's conference on Friday, March 16th at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 17th at 9:30 a.m.
Jenetta Adams stated the conference was designed to help women feel glamorous and loved.
Tammy Allen said the guest speaker will be BJ Pons and the activities will begin Friday night with a meal in the hospitality hall at 6:30 p.m. and on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. for a light breakfast. The cost is $25 and women can register by calling 870-584-3435.
MCCASKILL MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF PROPERTY AND FLEEING 3/9/18
A McCaskill man who attempted to outrun five law enforcement agencies while driving a stolen car has been charged with theft of property and fleeing in Howard County.
Thirty-four year old Antonio Garner is currently being held in the Howard County jail on a $100,000 bond and is facing a felony count of theft of property for allegedly stealing a 2016 Chrysler 300 C model from York Gary Auto in Nashville.
The incident started about 8:50 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27th, when Garner asked York Gary Auto salesman Arturo Perez for a test drive.
After leaving the dealership and driving east on Leslie Street, Garner stopped the car near the old Howard Memorial Hospital property and told Perez to get out of the car. Garner then drove away and York Gary Auto reported the car stolen.
A short time later, Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins and Nashville Police Officer Greg Parker located the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but Garner fled and the pursuit started.
The chase included officers from the Nashville Police Department, the Howard County Sheriff's office, the Arkansas State Police, the Little River County Sheriff's office and the Sevier County Sheriff's office.
The report states Garner drove on the wrong side of the roadway, passed vehicles in curves and forced oncoming traffic into the ditch. The pursuit traveled from Nashville to Mineral Springs, then onto U.S. Highway 71 south to Ashdown.
Officers laid down spike strips near Ashdown and were finally able to bring the pursuit to an end with no injuries. The pursuit lasted about 30 minutes and reached speeds of 140 miles per hour.
44TH ARKANSAS GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE ON TOURISM STARTING SUNDAY IN WEST MEMPHIS 3/9/18
Tourism partners from across the state will meet at the 44th Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism starting Sunday at Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis. Christina Puckett of the Arkansas Tourism Department said this year's theme is "Natural Connections.”
Puckett said the annual gathering of Arkansas' tourism industry offers sessions on a variety of topics such as musical heritage, marketing to a diverse audience, social media and more.
She said the opening keynote speaker is former Austin, Texas, Mayor Will Wynn. Puckett said Governor Hutchinson will also present the Tourism Hall of Fame Awards to Cathy Drew and Mike Mills.
Puckett said the conference will conclude with the announcement of the 2018 Henry Award winners.
The first Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism was held at Dogpatch, U.S.A. in 1975.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: TOP 10 COMPLAINTS OF 2017 3/9/18
In conjunction with national Consumer Protection Week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the Top 10 most common complaints the Attorney General's office received in 2017.
The top 10 most common complaint categories from 2017 were:
Sales of goods and services.
Automobile sales, service, financing and repair.
Credit repairs and other financial services.
Satellite, cable and internet service providers.
Home repair, construction and maintenance.
Landlord/tenant and real estate.
Wireless and landline telephone services.
And, travel and timeshares.
For the first time in five years, automobile-related transactions were not the most common type of complaint reported to the Attorney General's office. The sales of goods and services was the top complaint category and brought in 1,383 complaints. These types of complaints often involved problems with purchasing goods both in store, and online, along with door-to-door sales.
The most common scam reported to the Attorney General's office was the Internal Revenue Service scam, in which scam artists intimidate Arkansans by posing as the IRS and demanding payment immediately. to protect themselves, Arkansans need to remember that the IRS will never call and demand payment, require taxes to be paid in a certain way, ask for credit or debit card numbers or threaten to bring police or other agencies to make an arrest for unpaid taxes.
In total, Rutledge's office resolved 7,229 formal complaints in 2017. To file a complaint online, visit the website ArkansasAG.gov. For more information, call 1-800-482-8982.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THESE 'LADYBUGS' 3/9/18
Arkansas is home to many varieties of multicolored beetles known as ladybugs, but here recently a multicolored Asian ladybug is causing concern among Arkansas residents.
Arkansas Agriculture Department pest specialists have received numerous inquires about a larger than normal population of Asian lady bugs that are making their way inside homes, vehicles, campers, barns, storage units and other areas uncommon for beetle populations.
Jake Bodart of the agriculture pests program said as temperatures rise, the population of lady bugs inside homes will likely decrease. He said these ladybugs are migrating anywhere they can find warmer temperatures. He said they are also attracted to light and shiny surfaces.
Bodart said Asian lady bugs are not poisonous but they do exude a foul-smelling, yellow defensive chemical, which will sometimes stain walls and other surfaces. While the odor of their defensive mechanism should create only a minor nuisance, some people are reporting a mild allergic reaction to it.
Bodart said there is no way to keep the Asian beetles out because they can fit through the tiniest crack or surface opening, but to prevent their movement indoors, homeowners can use a good quality silicone or silicone caulking to seal doors, windows, pipes, chimneys and other openings. He suggested homeowners repair damaged screen doors and vents. Bodart said the quickest remedy to get rid of the ladybugs is a vacuum cleaner.
For information about methods to control the multicolored Asian lady beetles visit on the website www.aad.arkansas.gov.
SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT ISSUES NOTIFICATION OF SEX OFFENDER 3/8/18
OFFENDER: Robert Rubio Garza. LEVEL: 3
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the following information pursuant to Section 13 of Act 989 of 1997. The Sex and Child Offender Registration and the Community Notification Guidelines promulgated by the Commission on Child Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence, which authorize law enforcement agencies to inform the public of a sex offender’s release when the release of such information will enhance the public safety and protection.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY ANNOUNCES LOCAL CANDADATES FOR THE 2018 PRIMARY ELECTIONS, SCHOOL ELECTIONS AND NONPARTISAN JUDICIAL GENERAL ELECTION 3/8/18
Little River County Clerk Deanna Sivley announced the local candidates that filed for office in Little River County for the 2018 Primary Elections, School Elections and Nonpartisan Judicial General Election.
Sivley reported the following candidates filed to run for office with the Democratic Party.
Justice of the Peace, District 6 - Gene Smithson
Justice of the Peace, District 7 - Charles Henderson
Justice of the Peace, District 8 - Phillip Penny
Constable for Caney - Wesley Tudor
Constable for Wallace/Richland - Anthony Bowman
Constable for Arden - Marcus Pullen
Constable for Jackson - Ladell Hinton
Constable for Lick Creek - Austin Ardwin
Constable for Franklin - Larry Phillips
Constable for Johnson - T.J. Badgett
Constable for Red River - Brandon Kennemore
Sivley reported the following candidates filed to run for office with the Republican Party.
County Judge - Don Lamon
County Sheriff and Collector - Bobby Walraven
Justice of the Peace, District 1 - Al Austin
Justice of the Peace, District 2 - Jeff Neeson
Justice of the Peace, District 4 - Billy Bob Pounds
Justice of the Peace, District 6 - Susan Carroll
Justice of the Peace, District 9 - Beverly Glanville
Sivley reported the following candidates filed to run for office as Independents.
County Judge - Mike Cranford
County Clerk - Deanna Sivley
Circuit Clerk - Lauren Abney
County Treasurer - Dayna Guthrie
County Assessor - Allie Rosenbaum
County Coroner - Roddy Smith III
Justice of the Peace, District 1 - Larry Broomfield
Justice of the Peace, District 2 - Larry Cowling
Justice of the Peace, District 3 - Keith Pullen
Justice of the Peace, District 4 - Ricky Bowman and Mark Ardwin
Justice of the Peace, District 5 - Chuck Davis
Justice of the Peace, District 9 - Bobby Furlow
Foreman School Board, Zone 3 - Elbert Bradley Jr. and Sandra McDonald
For more information, call the county clerk's office at 870-898-7210.
DE QUEEN BASEBALL ALUMNI GAME IS RESCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY 3/8/18
De Queen Head Baseball Coach Beau McCastlain informed KDQN that the De Queen Leopards have rescheduled their 3rd annual alumni baseball game and home run derby for Sunday at 2 p.m. at Leopard Field due to the possibility of rain on Saturday.
McCastlain stated the Annual Leopard Alumni game and home run derby are big fundraisers for the team. He said there will be players for the past couple of decades including some former Leopards who played minor league baseball.
McCastlain said admission is a donation of cash, a case of water or some bottles of Gatorade. He said the donations will help the team attend the Gulf Shores Classic Tournament in Alabama over Spring Break.
The Leopards are 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference play and they will travel to Hot Springs this Friday to face-off with the Lakeside Rams at 4:30 p.m. You can follow the Leopards on the Leopard Network 102.1 the Good Path, weather permitting.
DE QUEEN RESIDENTS REPORT CALLS SEEKING PHONY FIRE DEPARTMENT DONATIONS 3/8/18
De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt informed KDQN that area residents have been receiving calls from people claiming to be representing the De Queen Fire Department.
Pruitt said a local resident was informed that the caller was a member of the fire department and they were seeking donations.
Pruitt stated the department does accept donations for the purchase of smoke alarms that they install for city residents, but they do not call residents and ask for donations.
Pruitt said if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the fire department, to contact the De Queen Fire Department or the De Queen Police Department, but you should not make a donation.
For more information, contact the De Queen City Hall at 870-642-2123.
DISPUTE OVER ARKANSAS 529 COLLEGE SAVINGS PROGRAM HOLDS UP STATE TREASURER'S BUDGET 3/8/18
The budget for the Arkansas Treasurer's office has stalled in the Legislature over a dispute over the state's 529 college savings plan.
Legislators are debating whether to allow taxpayers with a 529 college savings plan to withdraw funds for education expenses at public, private or religious K-12 schools.
The Arkansas House voted 74 to 15 in favor of the treasurer's budget, which is one vote shy of the 75 votes that needed to advance the measure. It's the second day in a row that the proposal has failed before the House.
The budget bill also includes a provision that's intended to mirror a change in the federal tax law that was recently enacted. Supporters say the change in state law is needed to ensure Arkansans don't face state tax penalties if they withdraw funds from their 529 college savings plan for educational expenses related to K-12 schools.
HOUSE APPROVES ARKANSAS WORKS BUDGET 3/8/18
Arkansas lawmakers voted Wednesday to keep the state's Medicaid expansion for another year after federal officials announced the state can require people on the program to work or volunteer in order to keep their coverage.
The Arkansas House approved the budget for the state's Medicaid program and the hybrid expansion by a 79 to 15 vote. The measure needed at least 75 votes to pass. It will head to Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk for his signature.
More than 285,000 people are on the program, which uses federal and state funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. The Arkansas Works program was created as an alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law.
The Trump administration approved Arkansas' request to require thousands on the expansion program to work or volunteer. Arkansas is the third state that has been allowed to impose a work requirement on Medicaid.
The bill cleared a major hurdle on Tuesday in the Senate, where vacancies had created uncertainty about the program's future. The proposal passed without a vote to spare in that chamber. The measure passed in the House without any debate.
Arkansas' work requirement will affect non-disabled, childless adults on the plan who are 19 to 49 years old. People affected by the change will be required to work or participate in other activities such as volunteering or vocational training for 20 hours a week. Arkansas' requirement will not affect people on its traditional Medicaid program, which covers more than 645,000 people statewide.
STATE REPORTING A TOTAL OF 184 FLU RELATED DEATHS 3/8/18
The number of deaths due to the flu rose by five in the past week to bring the total number to 184 in what was already the state's deadliest flu season since the state Department of Health began tracking the deaths in 2000.
The previous record of 110 deaths was recorded during the 2014-2015 flu season.
Dirk Haselow of the Arkansas Department of Health reported earlier this week that it appears the flu season has peaked and should end in about five weeks.
Haselow said influenza B has now surpassed influenza A as the most common type of flu in the state.
Most of the season has been dominated by the influenza A virus which is also known as H3N2. Health officials stated this strain of the flu tends to cause more illness than the other flu viruses.
A WILTON MAN DIED MONDAY IN ACCIDENT IN NEW MEXICO 3/7/18
A Wilton man died in an accident in New Mexico on Monday according to the New Mexico State Police.
The accident happened about 11:30 a.m. Monday morning on State Road 128 around mile maker 30. According to the accident report, a 2001 Dodge pickup rear-ended a 2003 Peterbilt tractor-trailer.
The report states the Peterbilt had slowed down to make a left-hand turn, but it is not known why the Dodge pickup did not slow down.
The pickup's driver, 22-year-old Matthew Rosenbaum of Wilton, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, but the accident is still under investigation.
The report states that alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
DESCENDANTS OF BABE RUTH TO ATTEND DEDICATION OF HOT SPRINGS HISTORIC BASEBALL TRAIL 3/7/18
Descendants of baseball's immortal Babe Ruth and other Major League legends will interact with the public March 23rd and 245th when Hot Springs completes its internationally famous Historic Baseball Trail.
Hot Springs will host a baseball weekend to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's historic 500-foot home run that he during spring training at Whittington Park in Hot Springs. Steve Arrison said there will be a dedication of two Baseball Trail markers honoring Arkansas-born catcher Bill Dickey and pitcher Lefty Grove.
Arrison said Hot Springs will dedicate the final two plaques in the Historic Baseball Trail to honor the scores of pitchers and catchers who trained in Hot Springs.
On Saturday, three generations from the Babe Ruth family will be on-hand to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth's 500-foot home run at Whittington Park. Arrison said there will also be a screening of the documentary, "The First Boys of Spring," a panel discussion by baseball historians and a panel discussion with Ruth's family.
The Historic Hot Springs Baseball Trail traces the locations, activities and information about the hundreds of Major League baseball players and staff who trained in Hot Springs long before spring training became associated with places like Arizona and Florida.
For more information, visit the website www.hotspringsbaseballtrail.com.
STACY TO RUN FOR SEVIER COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR 03/06/18
Robin Stacy of Lockesburg announced today that she will be a candidate for Sevier County Tax Assessor, subject to the May 22nd Democratic Primary election.
Robin Stacy, 53 is a 38 year resident of Lockesburg, AR. She is a granddaughter of Herman and Bertha Christian from De Queen, youngest daughter to Russell Wayne Christian, Lockesburg, AR and is greatly supported by her Aunt Alma Hunter. She was born in Torrance, CA and relocated to Lockesburg, AR the latter part of her high school years to help her parents with the family farm. She has provided the following statement in support of her candidacy:
“I have learned the value of hard work, integrity and responsibility which led to making this decision to run for public service. If I am fortunate enough to be elected for County Assessor, I assure the citizens of Sevier County that I will never think that the office belongs to me. I understand that it belongs to the taxpayers and voters of Sevier County who should always have the right to choose who receives the privilege to hold this important office.”
My career began at the Cossatot Conservation District office in De Queen for the last 23 years. I currently hold the position of District Manager and Water Quality Technician. Some of my duties include visiting the land owners, collecting soil samples, educating farmers and making recommendations. It also includes working closely with Natural Resource Conservation Service at the Federal level to assist the local farmers to take advantage of any Federal cost share programs. As the manager I do all the bookkeeping, financial statements and reports due to our State agency. I also, have worked with the county tax assessor’s office to publish the ownership maps/books for the county.
I am dedicated to my family, husband Keith of 35 years and two wonderful daughters, Sarah and Erica. I enjoy spending time with my family, camping, fishing, hunting, gardening, and canning. I volunteer my extra time at church, fairs, assisting with school activities.
My name is on the upcoming election ballot for the County Tax Assessor position for Sevier County, May 22nd, 2018. I’m honest, hardworking, and would appreciate your vote.
CHRISTUS ST. MICHAEL DONATES $20,000 TO UA COSSATOT 3/6/18
Christus St. Michael Medical Center in Texarkana, Texas donated $20,000 through the Christus Fund to UA Cossatot in support of the Center for Student Success.
The Christus Fund provides resources to not-for-profit agencies and groups whose vision, mission and goals are consistent with Christus Health's mission, values and philosophy of a healthy community. According to the Christus Fund, quote "by working together, we can make a profound difference in the quality of people's lives and create sustainable, positive change in our communities" unquote.
Center for Student Success Coordinator Erika Buenrrostro stated, donations like this one are an integral part of every community and they help change the lives of people within the community. She said Cossatot was excited to work alongside Christus St. Michael in helping to promote healthier living and building a healthier community.
Signage for the Center for Student Success will carry the Christus St. Michael name to commemorate the hospital's dedication to Southwest Arkansas communities.
The Center for Student Success provides support, resources, motivation, and assistance to all students of the college, including women, veterans, Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics as they progress through their educational experience at UA Cossatot. According to the press release, the center will work alongside Angela MacDonald, Christus Fund program manager, to ensure the donation will fund monthly community and student workshops through January 2020 supporting healthy lifestyles, unity and diversity and collaboration with the regions' industry to promote higher education.
Find more information about the Center for Student Success events and services on their Facebook page at Facebook.com/CSSatUAC.
ANNUAL TRAP SHOOT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY 3/6/18
The 11th annual University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana's Pulling for Education Trap Shoots will be held this Friday and Saturday at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus.
The community team shoot will begin at 9 a.m. Friday for three-man teams. A Henry .22 rifle will be raffled and lunch will be provided by Farm Credit Services.
The school teams shoot will begin at 8 a.m. Friday. It has a 45 team limit for five-man teams in junior and senior high. A gun raffle will be held and concessions will be available.
For more information, call the UA Hope-Texarkana Foundation at 870-722-8516.
ARKANSAS GETS OK TO ADD WORK REQUIREMENT FOR MEDICAID RECIPIENTS 3/6/18
Arkansas officials say they will soon begin requiring most Medicaid recipients to work, but advocacy groups say it's just another burden on people whose lives are already difficult.
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the approval of a federal waiver allowing Arkansas to implement the work requirement on participants in the state's Arkansas Works program on Monday. But Marquita Little with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families says the work requirement is a costly and punitive political move designed to kick people who need health care out of the program.
Arkansas is the third state to be granted the waiver, but Hutchinson says it will likely be the first to implement the regulation, starting on June 1st. It would apply to the 285,000 enrollees in the Arkansas Works program. The waiver does not, however, approve a requested provision to lower eligibility to 100 percent of the federal poverty level from the current 138 percent level.
Hutchinson maintains that the work requirements are designed to help, not hurt, Medicaid recipients.
The requirement for 20 hours of work, volunteering, or vocational training would affect about 40,000 people on the program. But Little says adding a punishment will only serve as a disincentive to people who are already struggling.
Approval of the work requirement is seen as a key to winning support for reauthorizing the budget for the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, which is currently pending in the state Legislature.
THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER PROGRAM SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 28TH and MARCH 30TH AND 31ST 3/6/18
Recently, DeAnn Vaught of Horatio announced she and about 50 other individuals from all across Southwest Arkansas joined together to present a program entitled "The Truth about Forever."
She stated the group will present the free program on Wednesday, March 28th, Friday, March 30th and Saturday, March 31st at the De Queen High School auditorium at 6:30 p.m. each evening.
Vaught said the event is a non-denominational outreach program. She said the event is for people who believe in God and those who don't.
She said there are volunteers from Gillham, De Queen, Foreman, Ashdown and Horatio.
For more information, visit the Facebook page, “The Truth about Forever.”
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE TO OFFER PRIVATE APPLICATOR LICENSE CLASS MARCH 20TH 3/6/18
The Little River County Extension Office will offer a class for residents who need a license to buy restricted products to spray their fields and crops.
Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan said you can take this class if you've never had a license or if your license has expired. The license are issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board.
The first class is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on March 20th and the second class will begin at 5:30 on the same day.
Classes will be held on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot. Sullivan said you do not have to pre-register for the class, but if you need more information, call 870-898-7224 or email her at email@example.com.
GILLHAM VOLUNTEER FIRE
DEPARTMENT IMPROVES AREA WILDFIRE SAFETY 03/6/18
SEVIER COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION CERTIFIES LOCAL CANDIDATES FOR THE 2018 PRIMARY ELECTIONS, SCHOOL ELECTIONS AND NONPARTISAN JUDICIAL GENERAL ELECTION 3/2/18
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin announced the Sevier County Election Commission met this morning at 10 a.m. to certify the local candidates for the 2018 Primary Elections, School Elections and Nonpartisan Judicial General Election.
Akin reported the following candidates filed to run for office with the Democratic Party.
Sheriff and Collector - Robert Gentry
County Judge - Greg Ray
County Clerk - Debbie Akin
Treasurer - Heather McDonnell
Assessor - Sheila Ridley and Robin Stacy
Circuit Clerk - Kathy Smith
Coroner - Rusty Williams
Justice of the Peace, District 1 - Earl Battiest
Justice of the Peace, District 2 - Charles Keels
Justice of the Peace, District 3 - Roxy Stephens
Justice of the Peace, District 4 - David Wright
Justice of the Peace, District 5 - Roger Whitmore
Justice of the Peace, District 6 - Victor Rojas
Justice of the Peace, District 8 - Kenneth Currence
Constable, Monroe Township - Kim Culp
Akin reported the following candidates filed to run for office with the Republican Party.
Justice of the Peace, District 9 - Greg Wright
Akins reported the following candidates filed to run for office as Independents.
Justice of the Peace, District 6 - Angie Walker
Justice of the Peace, District 7 - Michael Archer
De Queen School Board Director, Zone 4 - Kenneth Martin
Horatio School Board Director, Zone 5 - Greg Litchford.
Atkin said state candidates will be certified during a meeting of the county election commission at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 9th.
Akin also mentioned county residents have until April 23rd to register to vote in the Primary, School Elections and Nonpartisan Judicial Election in May.
Akin also reported Sevier County now has vote centers and registered voters may vote at the center of their choice.
For more information, call the county clerk's office at 870-642-2852.
GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF LOCAL RESIDENTS 3/2/18
Thursday afternoon, Governor Asa Hutchinson's office announced the appointment of 55 Arkansans.
Victor Rojas of De Queen was reappointed to the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board. His appointment will expire August 1st, 2019. And, Linda Walker of Ashdown was appointed to the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board. Her appointment will expire August 1st. 2018.
Blake Montgomery of Hope was appointed to the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. He replaces Eugene Bramblett and his appointment expires July 1st, 2022.
Chief Bob Harrison of Texarkana was reappointed to the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training. His appointment expires January 14th, 2025.
Denise Sweat of McCaskill was reappointed to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Development Finance Authority. Her appointment expires January 14th, 2022.
And, Dennis Massey of Mount Ida was appointed as a Justice of the Peace for the Montgomery County Quorum Court, District 3. His appointment expires December 31st, 2018. He is replacing Lydon Spivey.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK - A RIVER FOR ALL SEASONS 3/2/18
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary reported the Cossatot River changes on a regular basis and that is why they call it a river for all seasons.
Flanary said the current river level is 5.4 feet. She said that means bridges are covered by water and park visitors are being encouraged not to cross them.
Flanary said the river level was 11.5 Thursday. She said the water level depends on the amount of water that they release in the Gillham Lake. She said you can check the rivers level at www.waterdata.usgs.gov.
Flanary reported the park is going to be offering some new programs this month, like Cossatot's Cover-up, Regurgitation Situation and Town Ball.
Flanary said they will also have activities and program everyday during Arkansas' Spring Break. She said they'll be offering hikes, games, star gazing and geo-caching activities.
For more information, Flanary said you can visit the website www.arkansasstateparks.com, email her or call the park at 870-385-2201.
The park is also offering programs beginning at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday and Sunday.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT - TAX TIME TRICKS FROM THIEVES 3/2/18
With tax season in full swing, scammers are ramping up efforts to steal data from tax professionals and scam their clients. The IRS recently issued an identity theft warning indicting that thieves hack into a tax professional's files, steal sensitive client information and file a tax return in that person's name. While the money may go to your personal account, reports indicate some amounts are as much as $20,000, the scammer then has plans to impersonate the IRS and collect that money later.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said some victims receive threats of being turned over to the IRS collection agency, while others have been told that their social security number would be blacklisted. These are both scams and the IRS asks consumers who receive an erroneous refund to follow the established procedures listed below.
If the erroneous refund was a direct deposit: you should contact the Automated Clearing House department of the bank or financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS, or you can call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 to explain why the direct deposit is being returned.
If the erroneous refund was a paper check and has not been cashed; you should write the word void in the endorsement section on the back of the check. Submit the check immediately to the local IRS location. do not staple, bend or paper clip the check and include a note stating, return of erroneous refund check because and provide a brief explanation of why the refund check is being returned.
If the erroneous refund was a paper check and you cashed it: submit a personal check or money order to the appropriate IRS location for the amount deposited by the scammers. If you no longer have access to a copy of the deposited check, call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 and explain to the IRS assistor that you need information to repay a cashed refund check. Write on the check or money order: payment of erroneous refund, the tax period for which the refund was issued and your social security number. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the refund and be aware that repaying an erroneous refund in this manner may result in interest due to the IRS.
The IRS has also encouraged tax preparers to increase their own security measures to avoid these data breaches. Tax preparers should consider consulting with a reputable data security consultant or provider in order to give greater protection to their customers.
The IRS also encourages Arkansans with any questions about owed taxes to contact their office directly by calling 1-800-829-1040.
For more information, visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.
ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 3/1/18
The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Little River County.
The purpose of this project is to resurface approximately 6.7 miles of County Road 21 starting at State Highway 32 South and continuing westward.
C & F Construction of Smackover was awarded the contract at $514,394.92.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected by mid-2018.
According to the Arkansas Department of Transportation, they opened bids on a total of 32 projects.
The largest single project, which was bid at $28.9 million dollars, was to widen U.S. Highway 167 for 7.2 miles, from two lanes to four, in Calhoun County.
Under the governor's proposed balanced budget for next year, $16 million dollars from the state's surplus would go to the Transportation Department. In order for the state to qualify for about $200 million dollars in matching federal highway funds, the state must come up with about $50 million dollars by the end of the summer.
For the five year period from 2016 through 2020, the Transportation Department budget will average about $990 million dollars a year. That comprises $455 million in state generated revenue, which comes from the motor fuels taxes and fees on heavy trucks, and $535 million in federal funds.
For travel information visit the websites IDriveArkansas.com or ArDot.gov.
OVERNIGHT RAIN FORCES SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND ROAD CLOSURES 3/1/18
Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Sevier County received almost five-inches of rain and flooded several county roads, forcing the De Queen and Horatio School District's to cancel classes.
De Queen Superintendent Bruce Hill reported he canceled school Thursday because he would rather error on the side of caution.
Hill stated Thursday night's Math and Literacy Night event and the practice track meet at Lake Hamilton were also canceled.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray reported water was over several county roads and reminded people to use caution and to turn around and not drown when they discover water over the roadway. He said people who remove caution tape or warning signs put others in danger.
Sevier County Officer of Emergency Services, Walter Smith reported the De Queen Police Department had to evacuate some homes in De Queen. He said they also had to rescue a woman that drove off into some high water.
Water is receding, but Judge Ray stated the Little River has not crested yet.
HIGH SPEED PURSUIT ENDS IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 3/1/18
Tuesday morning, law enforcement officers from Howard County were involved in a high speed pursuit that ended in Little River County, near Ashdown.
According to the incident report, 33-year-old Antonio Garner visited the York Gary Autoplex in Nashville about 9 a.m. and inquired about a vehicle. Garner and the salesperson, Arturo Perez left the dealership in a Chrysler 300, however, as Garner approached the old Howard Memorial Hospital property on Leslie Street, he stopped the vehicle and ordered Perez to get out.
The dealership reported the incident to the Nashville Police. A short time later, Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins and Nashville Police Officer Greg Parker located the vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but Garner sped away.
Garner left Nashville and traveled south through Mineral Springs and eventually turned south onto Highway 71. Once the chase neared Ashdown, officers deployed stopsticks in an effort to deflate the car's tires. Police say two tires were affected by the spikes, but the vehicle continued to travel south into Ashdown where an Arkansas State Police trooper conducted a PIT maneuver, forcing the vehicle to come to a stop.
Garner was arrested at the scene and was transported to the Howard County Jail. He is being charged with felony counts of theft of property and fleeing and could face charges in Little River County.
Authorities say the pursuit sustained speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour during the half hour pursuit.
FIRST EVER 15TH ANNUAL WORLD'S SHORTEST ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE IN HOT SPRINGS 3/1/18
A dancing dinosaur, roller derby ladies, and the Budweiser Clydesdales will join returning favorites for the First Ever 15th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17th in downtown Hot Springs.
Steve Arrison is the CEO of Visit Hot Springs and one of the parade founders and he said there will be Irish Elvis impersonators, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and Irish belly dancers in this year's parade.
He said there will also a dancing dinosaur from the Mid-America Science Museum and the Sassy Shorty Ladies who are a team of roller derby skaters and a pack of marching Irish duchshunds.
Arrison said their packing 98 miles of solid fun into the 98-foot-long Bridge Street parade route, but he also stated the fun starts on Friday.
Arrison said there will be 40 entries, including the grand marshal Joey Fatone of NSYNC and the official starter is Jon Heder of Napoleon Dynamite fame.
The parade will begin at 7:30 p.m.
For more information, call 501-321-2027.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - TRADE EXPORTS 3/1/18
The World Trade Center Arkansas has compiled the first listing of companies in Arkansas that export products to foreign markets and it's over 110 pages long.
The goal of the Trade Center is to strengthen the ties between the Arkansas business community and the international business community.
Later this year, the center will lead Arkansas delegations on trade missions to the Netherlands, the Caribbean and China. At a conference in Jonesboro earlier this month, trade center representatives spoke on the importance of Canada and Mexico as markets for Arkansas rice.
At the same conference, the governor and trade officials emphasized the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement for Arkansas companies that export their products.
In the past five years, Arkansas firms exported more than $33 billion dollars worth of products. Arkansas is first in exports of rice, fourth in broilers, sixth in cotton, and tenth in soybeans. It would be fair to say Arkansas is leading the United States in efforts to normalize trade with Cuba, which is seen as a good market for rice and poultry.
Exports also support almost 350,000 Arkansas jobs.
After Canada and Mexico, the countries that buy the most Arkansas exports are Japan, France and Singapore. In all, Arkansas companies ship products to 181 countries. About 2,345 Arkansas companies either ship goods or sell services overseas, and almost 80 percent of them are small to medium in size.
two years of sales tax data 03/01/18
billy Ray McKelvy prepared a document comparing two full years of
city and county sales tax revenue. At the county level, sales tax
was up almost 5 percent over 2016. Most cities were in the 3 to 4
ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL APPLYING FOR SCHOOL OF INNOVATION STATUS 2/28/18
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders informed KDQN that the Ashdown Board of Education approved the high school's School of Innovation application. He said the district will present their application at the State Board of Education meeting later this spring. Sanders said the district made a four-year commitment to the School of Innovation concept to allow them to make adjustments where needed.
Sanders also reported the board voted to hire Craig Boone with Architecture Plus as the district's architect and C.R. Crawford Construction Management Company as the district's construction manager on the upcoming renovation projects throughout the district.
He also stated the project will be financed with district building funds and $2.9 million dollars in second lien bonds.
Sanders said the board also accepted a bid of $75,000 for the purchase of the former admin building on Second Street. The building was purchased by Kenny and Sherry Grounds. Sanders said by consolidating all of the admin personnel into one building, it will save the district about $4,000 a month on the district’s phone bill.
Board members also voted to approve a TIPS/TAPS bid from ClearEnergy's proposal to retrofit the lights in the gymnasium with LED lights at a cost of $72,952.
STATE ANNOUNCES LOCATION OF FIVE CULTIVATION CENTERS 2/28/18
The Medical Marijuana Commission announced where the five medical marijuana cultivation centers will be located on Tuesday and none of them will be in southwest Arkansas.
Commissioners spent months scoring the applications, which were redacted to hide the applicants' identifying information in order to avoid favoritism.
Each of the five businesses whose application scored high enough to win a license has seven days to pay the state a $100,000 license fee and secure a $500,000 performance bond. If any of the five cannot meet those requirements, the commission will award its license to the next-highest scoring business.
License applicants paid a $15,000 fee to be considered. The Medical Marijuana Commission will now refund half of that fee to the applicants who finished lower than fifth in the scoring.
The maximum score was 500. The five highest scoring businesses and their location where: Natural State Medicinals Cultivation of Jefferson County, Bold Team LLC of Woodruff County, Natural State Wellness Enterprises of Jackson County, Osage Creek Cultivation of Carroll County, and Delta Medical Cannabis in Jackson County.
The commission will now start scoring hundreds of applications for dispensary licenses, some of which are not yet redacted. The commission will eventually award up to four dispensary licenses for each of the state's eight geographical zones.
UA COSSATOT NAMED A HISPANIC-SERVING INSTITUTION 2/28/18
The U.S. Department of Education has named UA Cossatot a Hispanic-Serving Institution for 2018-2019, meaning that over 25 percent of the full-time students identify as Latino.
Cossatot is the first and only Hispanic-Serving Institution in the state.
UA System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt said the mission of the University of Arkansas System and its institutions is to serve Arkansas by providing high-quality educational opportunities and intellectual growth to an every-changing and diverse population.
Bobbitt said as the state's largest higher education system, he's proud UA Cossatot has earned the distinction of being a Hispanic-Serving Institution because the growing Hispanic population has so much to offer the state, first as students and then as future graduates.
UA Cossatot's Hispanic enrollment is currently 27 percent, compared to only 11 percent a decade ago. According the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the number of HSIs continues to grow from 189 in 1994 to 472 in 2015.
The Director of Arkansas Department of Higher Education Maria Markham stated, UA Cossatot is proving their commitment by providing access for Hispanic students to attend college. She said research shows that many Hispanic students are academically prepared for college; however, being the first generation to attend college makes navigating the higher education processes more of a challenge. Markham said the staff at UA Cossatot recognized these challenges and is demonstrating leadership in the state for educating and preparing a workforce in an efficient and effective way.
The HSI designation proceeds eligibility through the Higher Education Opportunity act of 2008 for the college to receive Title V federal grants. According to the U.S. Department of Education, these funds can be used for activities such as: scientific or laboratory equipment for teaching; construction or renovation of instructional facilities; faculty development; purchase of educational materials; academic tutoring or counseling programs; funds and administrative management; joint use of facilities; endowment funds; distance learning academic instruction; teacher education; and student support services.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said the best way to serve our communities is by assessing and meeting the needs of the people in those communities. He went on to say that UA Cossatot was doing just that.
FREE TAX HELP FOR ARKANSANS AVAILABLE THROUGH AARP PROGRAM 2/28/18
The income tax filing deadline is April 17th this year, and if you can't afford professional help with your tax return, free assistance is available. The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide Program offers no-cost services in Arkansas preparing federal and state tax returns.
Joe Irwin with Tax-Aide says most people's taxes used to a simple matter, but not any more.
Irwin says Tax-Aide will be available at 20 locations across the state this season, including senior centers, libraries, and community centers. To find a Tax-Aide site in your area, go to www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call 1-888-aarp-now or 1-888-227-7669. The dates and times each site is open will vary by site.
Irwin adds that you don't need to be an AARP member or even be age 50 or older to get their help. He says while they do prepare most returns, there are a few they don't handle.
Last year, he says almost 200 Tax-Aide volunteers assisted more than 19,000 Arkansans in completing and electronically filing their returns. He says, unfortunately, tax time is when a lot of people discover that they identity has been stolen.
AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program is celebrating its 50th year as the nation's largest free tax assistance service.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY TO EMPLOY INTERMODAL DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR 2/28/18
UA Cossatot announced it plans to hire a Coordinator of Intermodal Design and Economic Development for Little River County.
Once in place, the person will initiate, develop, and support economic development activities in Little River County, with specific importance placed on developing the Intermodal Project in Little River County. That project includes, site development, researching legislative opportunities, bond issues, housing development, and other economic development activities. The position is posted on the colleges website www.cccua.edu/jobs and has a tentative start date of April 8th.
According to UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole, the first major project for the new coordinator will be to help complete the Intermodal Authority project, which is already underway but needs that final push to get it across the finish line. Cole said the person will need to have the drive and energy to finish the intermodal project and move the county's culture to one that allows businesses and industries that are in Little River County to prosper and encourage new businesses to locate there.
The new coordinator will be housed on the Ashdown - UA Cossatot campus, but their work will be countywide. Among the qualifications for the position is the ability to understand and develop intermodal projects. They must also live in Little River County.
Cole said Cossatot has piloted a similar effort in Sevier County and based on the early success of that effort, the college decided this would be a perfect fit to help finish the Intermodal Design project and then follow up by serving as the overall coordinator of economic development in Little River County.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has endorsed this project and has offered their expertise and insight to ensure its success.
TRIAL DATES CONSOLIDATED FOR TWO SEVIER COUNTY DEFENDANTS 2/28/18
Trial dates for two suspects in a fatal drive-by shooting in Little River County have been consolidated.
The trials of 20-year-old Joshua King and 19-year-old Brady Winship, both of Sevier County, have been consolidated on April 16th in the Little River County Circuit Court.
King and Winship have been charged with the shooting death of 19-year-old Desmond Smith of Ashdown on July 16th, 2017.
According to the Little River County Prosecuting Attorney Al Smith, the county will save time and money by bringing the medical examiner to Ashdown to testify for one trial instead of two separate trials.
Eighteen year old Tenescha Wilkerson of De Queen is also charged in the shooting incident. Her trial has been scheduled for May 21st.
King is charged with murder in the second degree, battery in the first degree and unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.
Winship and Wilkerson are charged with being an accomplice to murder in the second degree, battery in the first degree and unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle.
ARKANSAS FOREST INDUSTRY HAS MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR MILITARY VETERANS 02/28
ASHDOWN GRADUATE INTERNS
IN WASHINGTON, D.C. 02/28
FOREMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT INCREASES BANDWIDTH WITH ASH GROVE GRANT 2/27/18
Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported the district increased its bandwidth and purchased 50 computers with the assistance of an Ash Grove grant. He said the grant was for about $23,000.
Kennedy said the district broke ground on the girls athletic facility early last week, but it's rained every since. He said they are currently signing construction documents and work will begin as soon as the weather cooperates.
Kennedy said the members of the Foreman Board of Education also voted to extend the contracts of high school principal, John Hall, elementary principal, Patricia Tankersey and Athletic Director, Mark King.
Board members also visited with the district's architect concerning upcoming construction and renovation projects.
COSSATOT FRIENDS OF THE NRA BANQUET IS SATURDAY 2/27/18
The Cossatot Friends of the NRA dinner is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the De Queen High School cafeteria.
Volunteer committee member, J.P. Atkins stated the net proceeds from the dinner and auction will benefit shooting sports programs in Arkansas, including the Sevier County 4-H Shooting Sports club. He said local shooting sports teams can receive grants from the Arkansas NRA to improve their gun ranges and purchase equipment for participates.
Atkins said the Cossatot Friends of the NRA still serve a steak dinner. He said they'll also have an auction and door prizes. Atkins said some of the guns that are available this year include the Sig Sauer P320 RX and the Diamondback DB10 rifle.
Tickets are $25 each or $40 for two people. Atkins said they also have tables for eight. To purchase tickets stop by Baker's Bargain House or call Erica at 870-623-2765.
To be entered in the Early Bird drawing, purchase your tickets by the end of the business on Wednesday.
LIBRARY SNIPPETS 2/27/18
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library System offers STEM programming to help children learn about STEM opportunities.
March 7th, the De Queen Library will have a STEM program entitled Dr. Seuss Story and Fun at 4 p.m. then on March 21st, the De Queen Fire Department will present a Fire Safety Story and program at 4.
For more information about programs at the De Queen Branch of the Sevier County Library, call 870-584-4364.
This month, the Horatio Branch of the Sevier County Library will highlight to work of Ree Drummond. Drummond is the author of four outstanding cookbooks, is a Star on the Food Network and has an award winning website called "The Pioneer Woman"
Drummond wrote a biography entitled "High Heels to Tractor Wheels" which is the story about how she became an accidental country girl.
The Lockesburg Library book club will meet this Saturday at 10 a.m. to discuss the novel "The Pearl that Broke its Shell" and there's going to be a children's STEM program at 1 p.m. on March 8th called "Kids Cook at the Library."
The Gillham Library still has some hardback books for sell and they will be having a children's story and craft time on Saturday, March 10th at 11 a.m. For more information, call 870-386-5665.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: SCAMMERS GUILTY OF USING COURTS TO INTIMIDATE VICTIMS 2/27/18
Scammers continue to attack our communities by impersonating law enforcement officers across Arkansas. This time, consumers are falsely being told that they have failed to report to jury duty and owe a fine. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge encourages all Arkansans who receive this call to contact the local courthouse or clerk directly.
Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are contacted by these scammers: contact your local courthouse to ensure you are not on a jury duty list; contact local law enforcement and provide the name and badge number you received to verify the officer information; and remember court officials will not ask for your personal information such as social security number, address, credit card number or any other personal information.
Rutledge reported scammers are asking for payment of the fine in the form of gift cards or prepaid debit cards. Once the code on the card is turned over, the criminal has control of the card value and once the value is redeemed, the consumer cannot get the money back.
If consumers have questions contact the Attorney General's office by calling 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: BUDGETING FOR PRISONS AND COUNTY JAILS 2/27/18
In the second week of the 2018 Fiscal Session, the House passed two measures that were aimed at addressing the overcrowding situation at the state prisons and county jails.
One of the appropriations will fund the crisis stabilization units. House Bill 1128 is a supplemental appropriation for $1.4 million dollars to fund the centers in Craighead, Pulaski, Sebastian and Washington counties.
These crisis stabilization units are short term clinical facilities that provide treatment for individuals with behavioral health conditions. The primary goal is to treat individuals and help reduce the number of people with behavioral health issues from being sent to jail.
The House also passed House Bill 1134 which appropriates $4.5 million from the state's surplus revenue to the Department of Correction. The additional funds will be used to reimburse county jails for holding inmates when there is insufficient space in the state prison.
Other supplemental appropriations that were passed include one directing $386 thousand dollars to the Arkansas Supreme Court for legal fees and another one directs $150 thousand dollars to the Arkansas School for the Blind for renovation purposes.
Governor Asa Hutchinson also announced he plans to call a special session to address two issues.
One will address the regulation of pharmacy benefit managers and the other issue affects highway funding as it relates to our laws concerning open containers of alcohol in a vehicle.
To watch House floor proceedings visit their website, www.arkansashouse.org.
MARGARET DANIEL FOUNDATION RAISES OVER $14,000 2/27/18
The Annual Margaret Daniel Foundation dinner was held in the Ashdown High School cafeteria on Saturday, February 17th.
The event raised $14,050 and Ashdown High School Principal, Kay York Wortham stated the foundation was delighted with the outpouring of support that the community showed to the Ashdown students and schools. She said a total of 64 grants totaling $11,365.20 have been awarded since 2006.
Grants are awarded to teachers and staff to implement their unique and innovative ideas in which to make learning fun for students.
The foundation board continues to keep the standards high so that each dollar that is given as a gift, memorial or honorarium is in turn granted to projects and ideas that meet the goals that are set forth by the foundation. Wortham stated the board wants their donors to know that their hard earned dollars are benefiting students to reach higher learning and academic achievement through unique and state of the art ideas and materials.
Grants have been awarded for World Drumming Materials, Sensory Stations, and Colombia University Writing Institutes. These grants have provided over-the-top opportunities for students and teachers.
The foundation accepts donations, memorials, and honorariums throughout the year as well as providing for the annual dinner and silent auction in February.
Foundation board members include: Darren Thomas, Brenda Tate, Kari Harger, Beth Provence, Thad Bishop, Katrina Williamson, Mallory Wharton and Kay Wortham.
Donations may be mailed to MD Ed. Foundation, 171 South Locust Street, Ashdown, Arkansas 71822.
MCDONNELL IS RUNNING FOR THE OFFICE OF COUNTY TREASURER 2/26/18
Heather McDonnell of De Queen announced she will be a candidate for the office of Sevier County Treasurer.
McDonnell is 35-years of age, a graduate of De Queen High School and a lifelong resident of Sevier County. McDonnell is the daughter of Kenny and Vicki McDonnell and the granddaughter of Anna Miller who was the Sevier County Circuit Clerk for 12 years.
McDonnell said from 2003 to 2009, she worked at a local bank and her duties were to balance a cash drawer on a daily basis. She assisted in balancing the ATM every week and he accurately and quickly processed deposits consisting of large sums of money for commercial customers and personal customers.
Since September of 2009, McDonnell has worked in the Circuit Clerks office and is currently the Chief Deputy. She aids in the operations of the Circuit and Juvenile courts including assisting in the courtroom, filing and disposing of cases and maintaining the records of Sevier County. She is responsible for recording deeds, mortgages, liens and many other court orders and documents which involve property and circuit court cases in Sevier County. She is also responsible for the daily deposits, monthly balancing and accuracy of several accounts held in the Circuit Clerk’s office.
McDonnell said being an employee of the county has taught her several functions of county government. She said she has a good rapport with all current courthouse officials, employees, and the public. She said she believes that’s important to ensure smooth processes for our county government as well as services to the county’s citizens. McDonnell said she’s honest, dependable and responsible and promise to make the transition as smoothly as possible as the current treasurer retires in December, 2018.
McDonnell said she is committed to the county and would like to expand my knowledge as your County Treasurer. She said she believes her knowledge and banking experience in addition to her 9 years of experience with the county qualifies her for the position of Sevier County Treasurer and she would appreciate your vote and support in the upcoming Democratic Primary.
AUTHORITIES SEARCHING FOR BURGLARY SUSPECT 2/26/18
Authorities with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office are looking for 30-year-old Terry Bohannon-Follis of Horatio in connection with a residential burglary and theft of property.
On Sunday, February 25th, Sevier County Investigator Brian Hankins and deputies Matt Webb and Kristyn Reed were dispatched to a residence on South Cemetery Road in Horatio to take a theft report.
Hankins interviewed the reporting party who informed him that his sister had told him that Bohannon-Follis and his girlfriend, 32-year-old Leah Dull-Chapman had stolen some items from her roommate.
Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and Hankins interviewed the victim who reported a Smith and Wesson 9mm, a Tauras Snub Nose 38 Special and several pieces of jewelry were missing from her bedroom.
Another witness reported Bohannon-Follis, Chapman and another man went into a bedroom. The witness said Bohannon-Follis pulled a gun out of Chapman's purse and pointed it at the man and told him to get out of the house.
Some of the jewelry was recovered and returned to the victim, but the guns are still missing.
Chapman was arrested and charged with residential burglary and theft of property, but Bohannon-Follis is still at large.
Sheriff Robert Gentry is asking for the public's help in locating Bohannon-Follis. He said if you have any information as to the whereabouts of Bohannon-Follis to please contact the Sevier County Sheriff's Office at 870-642-2125.
CHASING THE DRAGON: THE LIFE OF AN OPIATE ADDICT PROGRAM THURSDAY ON DE QUEEN CAMPUS OF UA COSSATOT 2/26/18
Dr. Randy Walker's office, the Sevier County Coalition and UA Cossatot will be screening the documentary "Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict" this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Frank G. Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
Angie Walker said the documentary is about 45-minutes long and then they will have a panel to discuss how the opiate problem is affecting Sevier County. She said there is an opiate problem in Sevier County and the community as a whole needs to understand the issue.
Walker also reported there are some new regulations to help control the distribution of opiate medication and the CDC is recommending alternative pain management medications and treatment.
Seating is limited, so RSVP by calling 870-584-3000.
BODY OF DIERKS RESIDENT FOUND HANGING IN TREE 2/26/18
According to the Texarkana, Texas Police Department, the body of a 32-year-old homeless man from Dierks was found last week hanging in a tree along the KCS railroad tracks south of College Drive.
The railroad crew found the badly decomposed body about 10:30 a.m. and initially thought it was a left over Halloween decoration, but discovered it was a body when they got closer.
According to the incident report, the body appeared to have been there for a while and initially, they could not tell the race, sex or age of the person.
The family has been notified, but they have not released his name because they suspect the man committed suicide.
LOCAL PHARMACIST ASKS COMMUNITY TO HELP PASS LEGISLATION 2/26/18
Pharmacist Renee Logan of Harris Drug and Gifts reported the Arkansas Legislature is considering a measure that would regulate pharmacy benefit managers and she is asking for the community's help.
Logan said a PBM is a managing firm that serves as a middle man on every prescription that people have filled. She said they determine how much the pharmacy will be reimbursed for filling a patients medication.
Logan also explained PBMs were originally created to process claims from the pharmacy to the insurance company, but now they control which medications a pharmacy can have, the dosage, and how much a patient’s co-pay will be. She said the PBMs also file bills with the insurance companies that are dramatically different from what the pharmacy is getting paid.
Logan also reported Caremark, which is the PBM for Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is owned by CVS Pharmacy, thus regulating what their competitors can charge.
Logan stated the citizens of Sevier County can help get the regulation measure passed by calling Governor Asa Hutchinson's office at 501-682-2345, Senator Jimmy Hickey's Office at 501-682-2902 and Representative DeAnn Vaught's office at 501-682-6211.
FEBRUARY MEETING SCHEDULED FOR STORAGE TANKS ADVISORY COMMITTEE 2/26/18
The Arkansas Petroleum Storage Tank Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27th at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality headquarters in North Little Rock.
Items on the agenda include reports on the financial status of the Petroleum Storage Tank Trust Fund and consideration of requests for reimbursements for cleanup operations in Crossett, Marmaduke, Jacksonville, Fort Smith, Mayflower, Paragould, Pine Bluff and Wickes.
The committee advises and assists ADEQ and the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission concerning administration of the state Regulated Storage Tank Program.
UMPIRE RESIDENT CHARGED WITH RAPE 2/26/18
An Umpire resident has been charged with the rape of a 10-year-old girl.
Last week, 35-year-old Silverio Avilez plead not guilty and had a trial date of March 13th in the Howard County Circuit Court. He is currently in the Howard County Jail.
According to court records, an anonymous person contacted the "Crime against Children Hotline" and said the 10-year-old victim had been inappropriately touched by Avilez.
The victim was interviewed by an investigator with the Crimes Against Children Division at the Children's Advocacy Center in Nashville. In the interview, the victim said the incident occurred inside a chicken house. She said Avilez would lock the doors and told her not to tell anyone because he would go to jail.
Avilez allegedly told investigators that the victim came to the farm with a cardboard box and took her clothes off and started to unzip his pants. He allegedly stated he had intercourse with the victim for about three minutes and then he realized what he was doing was wrong and stopped.
ASHDOWN FFA - 2/21/18
VETERINARY MEDICINE LOAN
REPAYMENT PROGRAM OPEN THROUGH MARCH 16 2/21/18
THEFT OF PROPERTY CHARGES FILED 02/21/18
Sevier County Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to a home, located at 336 Bear Creek Cutoff near De Queen, on Monday, February 12th at around 12:25 P.M., when a resident saw a suspicious vehicle leaving the driveway. The vehicle was described as a white Ford S.U.V. with Texas license plates. The vehicle was spotted a short time later at The Villas Apartments in De Queen by De Queen Police Department Captain Sonny Kimmel and Deputy Kristyn Reed. 26 year old Caleb Everhart of Texarkana was taken into custody. Authorities recovered a Interstate battery, that had been reported stolen, in Everhart’s vehicle. A witness also stated that Everhart siphoned gas from a four-wheeler at the residence on Bear Creek Cutoff. Everhart has been charged with theft of property.
MULTIPLE CHARGES FILED AGAINST TEXARKANA MAN 02/21/18
Authorities were called to investigate a disturbance at Burger King in De Queen on Sunday, February 18th at around 10:00 P.M. The couple involved in the disturbance had departed the restaurant, traveling east on U.S. Highways 70-71. Sevier County Sheriff’s Deputy John Stinson observed a vehicle, matching the description, pull off the highway near Suttle Equipment Company. Deputy Stinson noticed the couple exit the vehicle arguing, so he initiated a traffic stop. 35 year old Calvin Young of Texarkana, Texas was arrested at the scene and charged with drinking on the highway and public intoxication. After a background check revealed a criminal history, Young was also charged with possession of a firearm by Certain Persons. Deputies Thomas Jackson and Justin Gentry assisted at the scene with the arrest, as Young was transported to the Sevier County Jail.
TERRORISTIC THREATENING CHARGES FILED 02/21/18
Sevier County Deputy Kristyn Reed was dispatched to a residence at 325 Huffman Lane in Lockesburg on Sunday, February 18th to investigate a report of death threats being made. 43 year old Shana Ray was taken into custody and charged with second degree Terroristic Threatening. Ray allegedly made death threats during a disturbance caused by accusations that a neighbor was breaking into her home and stealing its contents.
TRIAL DATES SET FOR FATAL DRIVE-BY SHOOTING SUSPECTS 02/21/18
TWO CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH MISTREATMENT OF ANIMALS 02/21/18
MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP DRAWDOWN RAISES OVER $11,000
FFA WEEK - SPOTLIGHTING HORATIO CHAPTER 02/20/18
It's National FFA Week and KDQN is spotlighting the area FFA chapters. Today, we'll highlight the Horatio FFA.
Nicki Litchford is the FFA advisor and she reported the Horatio FFA has 184 members. The chapter president is Grace Harris and the vice-president is Ryan Vaught. Litchford said the officers lead the chapter like a team. The rest of the leadership team is Parker Rowe, Austin Lawerence, Gerardo Buenrostro, Tell Burney, Kaylee Eden, Raven Revels, Aubrey Matheson and Trever Blankenship.
Litchford said the Horatio FFA has a show team. She said they show sheep, rabbits, cattle and hogs.
She said they also have Leadership Development and Career Development Events.
Litchford said the Leadership Development Events include Creed Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure and Prepared Public Speaking.
The Horatio FFA Career Development Events include Forstry, Ag. Mechanics and Livestock judging.
The Horatio FFA will hold their annual Chili Supper and Auction on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the High School cafeteria. The cost is $7 for all you can eat. They will also be auctioning off items that FFA students made, as well as, FFA Officers for 8-hours of labor.
Shown above: Raven Revels, Ryan Vaught and Grace Harris
HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK TO PROVIDE PANTRY BOXES TO SEVIER COUNTY RESIDENTS 2/20/18
Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its Mobile Pantry. Harvest Regional Food Bank, Executive Director Camille Wrinkle, said there are several communities in the rural service area that are not fully served by a local partner agency. She said to make sure the residents in those areas receive the help they need, the food bank provides pantry boxes to those communities.
Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute pantry boxes and USDA commodities at the Horatio First United Methodist Church on Wednesday, February 28th from 10 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers are also needed to help load boxes into cars. If you would like to volunteer, contact the Harvest Regional Food Bank by calling 870-774-1398.
Recipients must bring a photo ID verifying their age and residence in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household and USDA commodities will be available for those who meet the income requirements and do not receive commodities at another location.
Food boxes will include an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, fruit juices, spices and other items.
ASHDOWN FBLA PARTICIPATES IN SPRING CONFERENCE 2/20/18
On February 7th Ashdown High School senior Isaac Thomas gave his farewell address as the current District IV President at the FBLA Spring Conference at the University of Arkansas Community College of Hope.
At that same conference Aliyah Anderson gave her candidate speech and was installed as the new District IV Secretary.
Ashdown Media Relations Director, Ronda Pounds reported 19 Ashdown students will represent District IV during the State FBLA Conference at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock this April.
Carsen Jefferies took first place in the Computer Problem Solving competition.
Amy Newton, Chelbi Gathright and Robin Roy earned first place honors in the Introduction to Business Presentations competition.
Aliyan Anderson won the Electronic Career Portfolio competition.
Alexus Hopkins and T.J. Gist won first place in the Hospitality Management competition.
Molly Parker won first place in Introduction to Public Speaking.
Kaianna Donato, Alex Day and Austin Royal was second in the Entrepreneurship category.
Chris Oglesby was second in the Business Ethics category.
Isaac Thomas was third in the Public Speaking contest.
Alex Simmons was fourth in the Business Calculations category.
Isaac Cross was fifth in Business Law.
Joshua Linnett was sixth in the Introduction to Financial Calculations.
And, Taneka Hamilton, A'Darrius Hamilton and Jasmine Richard were fifth in the Emerging Business Issues category.
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