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DE QUEEN POLICE OFFICER ASSAULTED      3/30/17

 

A De Queen Police Officer was assaulted early Sunday morning while arresting a drunk driving suspect.

 

Patrolman First Class J.J. Lopez reported he pulled 29-year-old Ibarra Hernandez of Nash, Texas over for suspected drunk driving after witnessing him cross the centerline on a couple of occasions on Collin Raye Drive.

 

After Hernandez failed a series of field sobriety test and a portable breath test, Lopez took Hernandez into custody.

 

Lopez reported that while he was walking Hernandez to his patrol vehicle, Hernandez asked him if he was really going to arrest him because he was Hispanic. But as Lopez placed Hernandez in his vehicle, Hernandez lunged forward and head butted Lopez.

 

Lopez subdued Hernandez on the ground and was assisted by Officer Justin Gentry.

 

Hernandez was citied for not having a valid driver's license, driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test and battery in the second degree.

 

 

INTOXICATED SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING     3/30/17

 

Around midnight on Saturday, March 25th, Patrolman First Class Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the Wal-Mart parking lot to investigate a possible hit and run accident.

 

When Gentry and Patrolman First Class J.J. Lopez arrived they interviewed Jacquelynn Ludlow who stated she noticed her vehicle had been damaged on the driver side.

 

A witness informed the officers that she saw a black Chevy Silverado hit Ludlow's vehicle and then park a few rows across the parking lot. The witness said the driver got out of the truck and went into the store. She also provided the officers with a description of what the suspect was wearing.

 

Gentry located a suspect matching the description as he exited the store and identified him as 22-year-old Andy Arce of De Queen and he allegedly admitted to hitting Ludlow's truck.

 

After being administered a portable breath test, officers asked Arce if he had used any drugs recently. He allegedly stated that he was planning to smoke some marijuana later.

 

While searching Arce, officers discovered he was carrying several packages of meat in his shorts and he was taken into custody for shoplifting.

 

Arce then informed the officers that the owner of the truck was still in the store.

 

When Officer Lopez located the owner of the truck, 22-year-old James Sweeden of De Queen inside the store, he arrested him because Sweeden allegedly admitted to shoplifting.

 

After impounding the truck, officers discovered a rolled marijuana cigar and six Xanax pills in driver side door, as well as five more Xanax pills in a separate bag along with a bag of marijuana and two more marijuana cigars.

 

Sweeden allegedly admitted the drugs were his and he was charged with shoplifting, public intoxication, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver.

 

 

KDQN PARTNERS WITH DE QUEEN FOUR EAST LAB TO VIDEO BROADCAST LEOPARDS SPORTS        3/30/17

 

Bunyard Broadcasting and the De Queen School District will be working together to video broadcast selected Leopard sports on the internet.

 

Nina Land is the technical coordinator for the De Queen School District and she approached Jay Bunyard about the Leopard Network 102.1 partnering with the EAST students to video broadcast some Leopard sports on the internet.

 

Land said she then presented her presentation to the De Queen Board of Education, which was approved by the board during their March meeting.

 

Land also explained parents can watch the live broadcast on their computer, tablet or smartphone through a tab on the KDQN.net website or the schools website.

 

Two to the new KDQN interns, Danyelle Hall and Adam Shores told the Morning Brew listeners that they will be broadcasting the games over the internet by using iPads.

 

The first live video broadcast is Friday at 4:30 when the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards host Hope in 5A South conference soccer action.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - REPRESENTATIVE DEANN VAUGHT      3/30/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would change the date for the state's primary elections and fiscal sessions in Arkansas. She said House Bill 1707 would permanently move the primary from May to the first Tuesday in March. It would also move the date of the state's fiscal sessions from the second Monday in February to the second Wednesday in April.

 

Vaught said the House also passed House Bill 1166 which allows a tenant to terminate a lease agreement if the residental landlord fails to provide heating and air conditioning if its provided when the lease is signed, along with functioning electricity, potable water and a sanitary sewer system.

 

Vaught said the House is starting to focus on the budget as the session winds down. She said by law the legislature cannot pass a budget with a deficit. Vaught said the Revenue Stabilization Act keeps the state operating in the black. She said any appropriation that is not funded by the RSA is essentially null and void.

 

Vaught said throughout the session legislators have been passing appropriation bills based upon needs, but before they can adjourn, they must pass the RSA to fund those appropriations. She said by law, the proposed budget must be given to the members three days before they are asked to vote on it.

 

To review the budget proposal, visit the website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

LOCAL CMA CHAPTER HOLDING BASS TOURNAMENT ON SATURDAY     3/30/17

 

Newman Hance of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry reported the CMA forming De Queen Chapter "Disciples of the Son" is holding a bass tournament this Saturday on the De Queen Lake from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. He said the boats will launch from the Pine Ridge Ramp and the cost is $25 per person or $50 per boat.

 

CMA Disciples of the Son member, Brad Hathridge said 40 percent of the proceeds will benefit the CMA Run for the Son ministry.

 

Hance said for more information, contact any CMA member or call Hathridge at 903-908-4773.

 

 

LOCKESBURG QUILTERS AND CRAFTERS GUILD HOSTING A QUILTING RETREAT FRIDAY       3/30/17

 

The Lockesburg Quilters and Crafters Guild is hosting their 2017 Retreat in Lockesburg at the First Baptist Church starting Friday at 5 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday. The cost is $20 per person.

 

Everyone should bring a covered dish or dessert to share for the Friday evening meal. Breakfast will be prepared Saturday morning and leftovers will be served for lunch on Saturday. If you plan to stay the night, you will need to provide your own bedding.

 

This year's pattern is called the "Rail Fence." In can be made with three, four or five fabrics. A copy of the pattern will be provided to all of the participates. You may also bring your own project and work on it during the retreat.

 

Organizers said participates will be playing a game that requires three fat quarters per person. Participates may also want to bring an item in a bag that is valued at $3 to $5 that will be swapped with another quilter. And, if you would like to learn how to make a pillowcase with hidden seams, bring three-fourths of a yard of fabric for the body, a quarter of a yard for the cuff.

 

If you have any questions, call 870-784-4388. 

 

 

SOUTHERN STATES FORAGE CONFERENCE IS FRIDAY      3/29/17

 

Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan stated the forage conference is this Friday in the Four States Fairgrounds Fire Arts Building from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. She said the cost is $30 per person, but they are offering a discount for people representing the same farm.

 

Sullivan said there will be speakers from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma and they will be discussing leasing property, the management to extend grazing season, livestock forages and potential wildlife benefits.

 

On-site registration is available and lunch will be provided. For more information, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.

 

 

 

ALBERT PIKE FLOOD LAWSUITS DISMISSED      3/29/17

 

A federal judge in Texarkana dismissed 11 civil lawsuits on Tuesday that were connected to the historic 2010 flood at the Albert Pike campgrounds that took the lives of 20 men, women and children.

 

U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey issued an 18-page opinion that says the government is immune from suit because of the Arkansas Recreational Use Statute.

 

According to news articles, the depth of the Little Missouri River rose from 3 to 23 feet in a matter of hours in the pre-dawn hours of June 11th, 2010. Recreational vehicles, cars, asphalt, concrete picnic tables and campers were swept away by the rolling water.

 

Eleven lawsuits were filed after the flood in federal courts in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, but they were eventually consolidated into one.

 

 

ASHDOWN GRAND MARCH IS APRIL 1ST       3/29/17

 

The junior class of the Ashdown High School will be hosting the 6th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 1st at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.

 

The first grand march was organized in 2012 by retired Ashdown teacher Nancy Stuart. Now, the march has become a tradition that utilizes the grounds of the historic courthouse as a photo backdrop.

 

The Prom Royalty Court will consist of 10 Ashdown High School seniors. The senior class will elect a King and Queen 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 Prom March will be cancelled and not rescheduled.

 

The Community and Alumni Prom will be held on Friday night, March 31st from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Helen Parker Gymnasium and the 2017 Ashdown High School Junior and Senior Prom will be held on Saturday night, April 1st from 9 p.m. to midnight. The cost is $20 per person or $30 per couple.

 

This year's prom theme is "Once Upon a Dream."

 

 

DERRICKS PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN THE LITTLE RIVER CIRCUIT COURT      3/29/17

 

Twenty-four year old Glenn Lee Derricks of Dallas was charged Tuesday with attempted capital murder in the Little River County Circuit Court on Tuesday for his alleged role in shooting at an Ashdown police officer.

 

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan set a pretrial date of August 1st and an August 28th trial date. Derricks is currently being held in the Little River County jail on a $250,000 bond.

 

Derricks is accused of firing several gunshots at an Ashdown Police Officer on the night of March 20th following a traffic stop on North Third Street.

 

According to the report, the Howard County Sheriff's Office issued a BOLO for an individual who reportedly was waving around a pistol at a residence on Mount Pleasant Drive in Nashville, but had left the scene in a white Malibu car before the officers arrived.

 

According to the Ashdown Police officer, Derricks was a passenger in the vehicle that matched the description of the vehicle from Howard County, when it was pulled over. He stated Derricks exited the vehicle and starting shooting.

 

Derricks fled the scene Monday night and eluded police until he was taken into custody on Tuesday near the Ashdown City Park.

 

Derricks was also charged with a count of felon in possession of a firearm, terroristic act and possession of a firearm by a certain person.

 

Derricks is also facing possible charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a certain person in Howard County.

 

 

HOUSE APPROVES HIGHWAY FUNDING BILL      3/29/17

 

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed the more modest of two measures that propose to raise money for state highway maintenance.

 

Both of the bills initially failed in the House chamber Monday, but Representative Johnny Rye of Trumann offered to amend his bill to cap the money that would go to highways at $140 million dollars after his measure to earmark revenue from applying the state sales tax to Internet sales fell short by two votes. The bill passed with 56 members voting in favor of the measure.

 

A bill sponsored by Representative Dan Douglas of Bentonville which would have raised $200 million dollars annually for road maintenance failed by four votes.

 

Douglas' bill had drawn opposition from Americans for Prosperity Arkansas and other conservative groups who are opposed to raising taxes. It would've referred a bond issue to voters in the November 2018 general election.

 

A favorable popular vote would've applied the state's 6.5 percent sales tax to the wholesale price of fuel and directed the proceeds to state highways, city streets and county roads.

 

 

JUDGE DISMISSES INMATES ATTEMPT TO BLOCK EXECUTIONS      3/29/17

 

An Arkansas judge dismissed an effort to block the state's unprecedented plan to conduct four double executions over 10-days in April, while a new federal lawsuit argued the compressed schedule is depriving the condemned inmates of fair process to seek clemency.

 

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted the state's motion to dismiss the amended complaint challenging Arkansas' lethal injection law that was filed by eight inmates who are facing execution next month.

 

Five of the eight inmates are seeking clemency and they asked a federal judge to halt all eight executions, saying the quote, "assembly-line schedule" unquote, created a rushed clemency process and its unconstitutional.

 

All of the inmates that are set to be put to death next month are fighting on multiple fronts to halt the executions, including another federal lawsuit that was filed Monday. They've asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to not review a state court ruling that upholds the state's lethal injection law.

 

Tuesday's ruling comes a day after the state Parole Board recommended Governor Asa Hutchinson reject a clemency request by Stacy Eugene Johnson who was convicted of the murder of Carol Heath in De Queen and Ledell Lee. The panel held a review of the clemency request of Marcel Williams on Monday and is set to review the cases of two other inmates on Friday.

 

 

This Week's News:

 

 

 

 

 

4-H IS FOR YOUTH OF ALL AGES        3/28/17

 

Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan reported she is fortunate to work with more than 100 wonderful youth throughout the county through the county 4-H program. She said the program is unique because it offers something for not only the youth involved but the entire family. Sullivan said many of the clubs and activities not only provide hands-on learning experiences for 4-H members, but their parents and adult volunteers get something out of the experience, as well.

 

Sullivan said 4-H has so many opportunities for young people to be involved. She said 4-H offers leadership development, public speaking skills, team work, community service and a variety of project areas.

 

Sullivan said there are 120 projects that 4-H members can get involved in, like Science and Technology, photography, bicycle safety, shooting sports, consumer education, small engines, electricity, fashion revue, health snacks, fitness leadership, environmental stewardship, agriculture, gardening and horticulture, home environment, child care and arts and humanities.

 

Young people between the ages of 5 and 19 and their families are invited to join 4-H. Sullivan said as a 4-H alumni, she can tell you that her experiences helped her choose a career path, receive scholarships, gave her the confidence to speak to large and small audiences and it taught her the value of community service.

 

Sullivan said there are eight clubs in Little River County and all of them meet once a month. For more information about the 4-H clubs in Little River County, call the extension office at 870-898-7224 or contact the leader of one of the clubs.

 

The County-wide clubs include:

The archery club, which meets on the weekends at the 4-H archery range. The archery club is led by Kira Staten and you can contact her at 870-451-2272.

 

The Teen Leader's Club is for students 13 and older. For more information, call the extension office.

 

And, there's the livestock club, which meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot. For more information, call Julie Chauncy at 903-826-4272.

 

The Community Clubs includes the Little River Community Club. They meet the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Billingsley Corner Community Church. For more information, call Jamie or Mary Cowan at 903-293-9257.

 

The Go-Getters Club meets the first Thursday of the month at 3:30 p.m. in Mrs. Hill's room on the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown. For more information, call Brenda Hill at 870-279-3637.

 

The Cloverbud Club meets the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot. For more information, call the extension office.

 

And the CAPPS club meets the second Tuesday of the month in the Community Freewill Church in Ashdown at 5 p.m. and on the third Wednesday of the month at the St. Matthews Church in Foreman at 5 p.m.

 

In addition to club meetings 4-H members have the opportunity to participate in a variety of special interest workshops, and camps.

 

If you are interested in joining one of these clubs or if you are interesting in starting a new club, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.

 

 

APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE FOR M*A*S*H CAMPS        3/28/17

 

Applications are now available to high school students for the summer M*A*S*H camps, which stands for medial applications of science for health. These camps will be located at 32 medical facilities throughout Arkansas, including two new host facilities at DeWitt Hospital and Conway Regional Medical Center.

 

The two-week M*A*S*H camps are designed to expose high-school juniors and seniors to healthcare-related vocations.

 

Jennifer Victory is the Director of Rural Health for Arkansas Farm Bureau and she said the M*A*S*H program gives students an inside look at various medical professions and is designed to spark a students' interest in the medical field. Victory said a large number of the camps are held at rural medical centers and attract local students with rural backgrounds.

 

She said the idea is that future medical students from rural backgrounds will return to their rural root when they graduate.

 

Applications are available through the school guidance counselors, by contacting the M*A*S*H director in this area or by visiting the website, www.arkansashealthcareers.com/summer-camps.

 

Local M*A*S*H camps will be held in Nashville, June 19-30 and Mena, June 19-30.

 

County Farm Bureau organizations and the M*A*S*H 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.  

 

 

AUTISM WAIVER PROGRAM IN SEVIER COUNTY      3/28/17

 

Lisa Morphew is an Arkansas Medicaid Autism Waiver Consultant, with the Sevier County Developmental Center and she announced the developmental center has received grant approval to participate in the statewide Autism Waiver Program through Partners for Inclusive Communities of Arkansas.

 

Children between the ages of 18-months to 4 years of age with an Autism diagnosis, may obtain an application from the Sevier County Development Center. The Autism Waiver Program offers Intense In-Home instruction to the child and the family for up to 30-hours per week. Once a child has been approved for the Autism Waiver Program, the child may remain in the program until their 7th birthday.

 

The Autism Waiver Program applications and additional information is available by contacting Morphew at 584-3416 ext. 4 or 642-5164.

 

 

DIERKS SCHOOL DISTRICT EARNS OEP AWARDS       3/28/17

 

Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern reported this week that the Dierks School District has earned three Office of Education Policy awards from the University of Arkansas.

 

Cothern said the Jo Ann Walters Elementary earned two OEP awards and the high school earned one. She stated the Beating the Odds distinction identified the Dierks School District as being a district that scored high on state mandated test despite the sociological barriers that students have to overcome.

 

Cothern said the district has implemented several academic programs to help students excel, but she said a lot of the credit must be giving to the district's staff and the community of Dierks as a whole.

 

Cothern said the district is currently preparing for the upcoming ACT Aspire test in April. She encouraged parents to help students be prepared to perform their best.

 

The Dierks Board of Education will meet tonight for a regular school board meeting at 6 p.m. in the high school library.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY MAN SCHEDULED FOR EXECUTION IN ARKANSAS       3/27/17

 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson set the execution dates for eight Arkansas death row inmates for April and one of the men scheduled for execution was convicted of murder in Sevier County.

 

Forty-six year old Stacey Eugene Johnson is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, April 20th for the murder of Carol Heath on or about April 1st, 1993.

 

Johnson was convicted in 1994 in Sevier County and was sentenced to death.

 

However, Johnson won an appeal on the grounds that the trial court had improperly admitted an out-of-court statement that was allegedly made by Heath's 6-year-old daughter, in which she claimed she witnessed the murder of her mother and identified Johnson as the murderer.

 

In 1997, Johnson was retried in Pike County and was found guilty and sentenced to death for a second time.

 

According to court records, Heath was murdered in her apartment in De Queen either the night of April 1st, 1993 or during the early morning hours of April 2nd. She was beaten, strangled, and her throat slit while her two small children were in the home.

 

According to court testimony, Rose Cassidy, Heath's sister-in-law discovered her body lying on the living room floor. Sergeant Keith Tucker of the De Queen Police Department testified that he found Heath's body between the couch and a coffee table. De Queen Police Chief James Smith said when he pulled Heath's t-shirt away from her neck; he noticed her throat had been slashed.

 

According to testimony by Arkansas State Police investigator Hayes McWhirter, Heath's daughter picked Johnson's photograph out of a stack of seven photographs.

 

Johnson was later arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

On March 31st, the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will hold an event in Bentonville at 7 p.m. that will feature stories from the book, "On the Row" that will feature excerpts from interviews with Johnson, Kenneth Williams and Don Davis. The Prison Story Project spent 6-months in 2016 with 10 of the 34 men on death row conducting a storytelling/creative writing project.

 

Johnson is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, April 20th

 

 

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF OFFICE BUILDING NOW OPEN 3 DAYS A WEEK       3/27/17

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey sent out a press release on Friday that states the chamber office at 315 West Stilwell Avenue in De Queen will be open three days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. starting today.

 

Massey said the chamber office has been closed for several years due to budget restraints, but starting today, March 27th, the office will be staffed for several hours throughout the week to provide visitors and area residents the opportunity to meet with chamber officials and learn more about the chamber and Sevier County.

 

Massey stated the chamber office will be open on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., however, the hours may change in the future to better meet the needs of the public and other visitors.

 

All visitors, business owners and members of the public are invited to stop by, enjoy a cup of coffee and visit with chamber officials.

 

 

NEW HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE SYSTEM TO DEBUT APRIL 1ST      3/27/17

 

Hunters and anglers who are looking to renew their licenses this year will notice a big change from the long, tag-laden receipt they normally receive at their local sporting goods store. All licenses and permits that are sold by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will now be available as a downloadable file that they can carry on their mobile phone or have printed out on a single piece of standard printer paper.

 

The change in the license format is part of an effort to make it as easy as possible for hunters and anglers to purchase and carry their license with them.

 

The change was approved by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the new system will allow hunters and anglers to look up their current license privileges and print out replacements at home if they lose their original copy.

 

Game tags for deer and turkey will be included in the printout.

 

Chief Information Officer, Tony Davis, said the commission will use the same tagging system for this spring, but are looking at implementing the new tagging requirements for upcoming seasons.

 

Online license purchases will be much simpler under the new system. Davis said with the new system, big game hunting privileges will become effective the moment the license is purchased through the online system.

 

On April 1st, visit the website www.agfc.com to purchase a license, apply for all special hunting permits, check their game and get up-to-the-minute harvest reports for deer and turkey. You will also be able to purchase gift certificates for fellow hunters and anglers, as well as, make donations to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

Other improvements are coming, including email reminders to renew expiring licenses, an auto-renewal feature and increased communication possibilities depending upon a person's license-purchasing options.

 

 

UA COSSATOT OPEN HOUSE         3/27/17

 

UA Cossatot RAMP Grant Coordinator Tommie Cobb announced this morning that UA Cossatot will be holding an open house on all three campuses this week from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. She said if you are curious about what Cossatot has to offer, then you should stop in and visit with the college's staff this week.

 

Cobb said the open house on the Ashdown campus is tonight. She said they will be providing campus tours, providing refreshments and giving away some door prizes.

 

Cobb stated the open house on the De Queen campus will be held Tuesday night. She said guest will tour the nursing classrooms and the automotive repair shop, and they open house on the Nashville campus is Thursday night.

 

For more information, call UA Cossatot at 1-800-844-4471.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN'S ANNUAL FIELD DAY APRIL 1ST        3/24/17

 

Sevier County Cattlemen's Association president, Greg Wright announced Friday morning that more vendors have signed up for the 2nd Annual Cattlemen's Field Day on April 1st at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.

 

Wright said the cattlemen's association attempts to educate not only cattle producers but also members of the public during events like this field day. The cattlemen's association will have a booth set up to collect membership dues of $50 a year.

 

Wright said this year's event is sponsored by Pettit Machinery and Farm Bureau will be on hand to help get producers financing for any equipment that they would like to purchase during the event.

 

Wright said representatives from several other companies will be on hand to demonstrate their products including, portable working pens, herbicides and pharmaceutical items.

 

He said there will also be representatives from local companies, but if you would like to set up a booth during the event to contact him at 870-584-9479

 

There is no cost and you do not have to be a member of the cattlemen's association to attend. Wright said lunch will be served by the Lakeside 4-H club.

 

  

DOMTAR ASHDOWN MILL RECEIVED SAFETY AWARD        3/24/17

 

Thursday morning, the Domtar Mill in Ashdown was recognized by the Arkansas Department of Labor for accumulating 1 million work-hours without a lost day away from work because of a work-related injury or illness between April 20th, 2016 and December 24th, 2016.

 

Deputy Director of the Arkansas Department of Labor, Ralph Hudson presented Domtar representatives with a plaque and letters of endorsements from U.S. Senator John Boozman and Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson.

 

Boozman's letter stated very few companies have ever achieved a comparable safety record and he appreciated Domtar's dedication to safety. He said Domtar's commitment to safety sets the standard for other companies to follow.

 

Hutchinson's letter said the fact that more than 800 employees have worked one million hours without a lost day due to work-related injury or illness is a testament to Domtar's ongoing commitment to their employees. He also stated that as Little River County's largest employer, Domtar is helping improve the lives of countless families in the state.   

 

  

UA COSSATOT TO HOST AN OPEN HOUSE        3/24/17

 

UA Cossatot will be holding an open house on all three campuses next week from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. each night. The events will highlight the programs of the college.

 

Monday night, March 27th, UA Cossatot will hold an open house on the Ashdown campus. The De Queen campus will hold their open house on Tuesday, March 28th and the Nashville campus will hold an open house on Thursday, March 30th.

 

According to the UA Cossatot administration, there will be door prizes, refreshments and more.

 

 

HOPE POLICE STILL LOOKING FOR MISSING GIRL       3/24/17

 

The Hope Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a missing teenager.

 

Sixteen-year-old Kara Watson was last seen at her home in the 1500 block of Lester Drive in Hope on Sunday, March 19th about 10:30 in the morning.

 

The reporting party was not sure what Watson was wearing at the time of her disappearance, but they believe she is driving a black Ford Explorer with the Arkansas license plate number 784 WXD.

 

If you have any information concerning the whereabouts of Watson, contact the Hope Police Department at 870-777-3434 or the local authorities.

 

 

TRANSFORM YOUR IDEAS ABOUT THE LIBRARY AND CELEBRATE NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK APRIL 9TH-15TH        3/24/17

 

April 9th through the 15th, the Sevier County Library System will join libraries in schools, college campuses and in communities nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries are transforming their communities every day through the services and expertise that they offer.

 

April 9th through the 15th is National Library Week. It's a time to highlight the changing role of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren't only a place of quiet study, but also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate by using new technologies, learn how to use a 3D printer or even record their own music.

 

Libraries of all types are evolving to meet the needs of the communities that they serve. Elected officials, small business owners, students and the public at large depend upon libraries and the resources that they offer to address the needs of their communities. By providing such resources as e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, programs for job seeks or a safe have in times of crisis, libraries and librarians transform their communities.

 

Sevier County Head Librarian, Johnye Fisher said the library embraces the entire community, by offering unlimited opportunities for personal growth and lifelong learning. She said libraries level the playing field for people of any age who are seeking the information and access to technologies that will improve their quality of life.

 

Libraries also offer something unique to their communities, the expertise of individual librarians. Librarians assist patrons in using increasingly complex technology and sorting through the potentially overwhelming mass of information bombarding today's digital society. This is especially crucial when access to reliable and trustworthy data is more important than ever.

 

For more information, visit your local branch of the Sevier County Library.

 

 

DEATH PENALTY OPPONENTS CRITICIZE ARKANSAS EXECUTION PLANS      3/24/17

 

Despite a decline in states' use of the death penalty in recent years, Arkansas officials are planning an unprecedented string of executions in April. Governor Asa Hutchinson has scheduled the deaths of eight inmates in 11 days, all convicted of murder, after Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said they had exhausted all appeals.

 

Robert Dunham who heads the Death Penalty Information Center, says no state has ever executed that many people in such a short period of time. He says Arkansas is trying to get the executions done before part of its supply of lethal drugs expires.

 

Several anti-death penalty groups have condemned the plan, including the Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which calls it grotesque. Capital punishment has been suspended in Arkansas since 2005, but the governor says victims' families should not have to wait any longer to get justice.

 

One of the three drugs that are used in a lethal injection expires in April and prison officials are unable to obtain more. However, Dunham notes the drug has been linked to botched executions in other states, when people have woke up during the process.

 

He says performing that many executions in a short time period could also produce unintended consequences.

 

Dunham says the Death Penalty Information Center does not take a position for or against the death penalty, but does oppose the way it is currently being administered.


 

 


CHAMBER'S  "OPEN DOOR"  POLICY    03/23/17

 

After being closed for several years due to budget cuts, starting March 27th, the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce office at 315 West Stilwell Avenue in De Queen will be staffed for several hours throughout the week to provide a chance for both visitors to and residents of Sevier County to meet with chamber officials and learn more about the organization and area.


Currently, the office will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Hours may change in the future to better meet the needs of the public and other visitors.


Visitors, business owners and members of the public are invited to stop by, enjoy a cup of coffee and visit with chamber officials.
 

 

 

 

SHOOTING SUSPECT MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TODAY       3/23/17

 

A Dallas, Texas resident who was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly shooting at an Ashdown Police officer made his first appearance this morning before 9th West Judicial Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper in the Sevier County Circuit Court.

 

Judge Cooper assigned Public Defender Mickey Buchanan to be 25-year-old Glen Derricks' attorney and Derricks will be arraigned Tuesday, March 28th in the Little River County Circuit Court before 9th West Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan.

 

Derricks is currently being held on a $250,000 bond. Prosecutors reported Derricks had a prior charge but had not been convicted, so they asked the court to require Derricks to wear a GPS monitoring system if he is able to post bond.

 

Police apprehended Derricks Tuesday, March 21st about 1:30 p.m. in the Ashdown City Park after searching for him since Monday night around 8:30 p.m.

 

The search for Derricks started after he fired a gun at an Ashdown Police officer who had made a traffic stop on a vehicle in reference to a domestic disturbance report out of Howard County. The officer made the traffic stop in the parking lot of the local revenue office near the intersection of Main Street and Fourth Street.

 

The officer reported when the vehicle came to a stop Derricks jumped out of the vehicle and started shooting at him. When the officer took cover near the back of his patrol car, Derricks ran into a nearby neighborhood and eluded police until Tuesday afternoon when he was taken into custody by members of the Ashdown Police Department, the Little River County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the K-9 unit from the De Queen Police Department.

 

Prosecutors reported Thursday morning that charges will be filed by Tuesday morning with the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

 

AGRICULTURE WEEK - CATTLE INDUSTRY       3/23/17

 

It's National Agriculture Week and today we will look at the cattle industry in Arkansas.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau reported the beef industry was the 5th largest agriculture commodity in the state in 2012 and Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring stated there are about 23,000 cattle operations in the state.

 

Herring said people need to understand, it takes about two-years to go from farm to table.

 

Rex said the cattle industry is very important to Arkansas' economy. Farm Bureau reported that cash receipts for Arkansas cattle producers totaled about $600 million, last year.

 

Rex also stated everyone should thank a cattle farmer.

 

 

ARKANSAS GIVES DAY IS APRIL 6TH      3/23/17

 

 

The annual Arkansas Gives day is coming up on April 6th and local nonprofit organizations encourage you to make a donation.

During this one-day event, each donation you give will help your favorite nonprofit organizations qualify for additional bonus dollars from Arkansas Community Foundation. All participating nonprofits will receive a portion of a pool of bonus dollars provided by Arkansas Community Foundation; the more a nonprofit raises, the more of the bonus dollars it will receive. All donations are tax deductible.

The registered organizations that serve Sevier County include The First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas, CASA of the Ouachita Region, Harvest Regional Food Bank, UA Cossatot Foundation, Legacy Academy, Legacy Initiatives, the Mary and Martha Center, and the Single Parent Scholarship fund of Sevier County.

The registered organizations that serve Little River County include The First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center, Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas, CASA of Texarkana, Harvest Regional Food Bank, UA Cossatot Foundation, Legacy Initiatives, and the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship fund.

You can find more information at arkansasgives.org.

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL APPROVES NEW MOBILE HOME ORDINANCE       3/23/17

 

Aldermen of the Lockesburg City Council met Tuesday night and approved two ordinances one concerning mobile homes within the city limits of Lockesburg and the other concerning the construction of a sewer facility.

 

According to Ordinance 2017-2, residents must obtain a moving permit and have their mobile home inspected before they can move it into the city limits of Lockesburg.

 

The ordinance also states the cost of the moving permit is $100. And, the ordinance states any mobile home that is moved into the City of Lockesburg without obtaining a permit being inspected is subject to a criminal offense, which is punishable by a $25 a day fine.

 

Aldermen also passed an ordinance authorizing the construction of a sewer facility and for the issuance of water and sewer revenue bonds to pay for the construction of the project.

 

Alderman recommended the Lockesburg Volunteer Fire Department create a committee to develop a Standard of Operations Guide. The guide must be presented to the city council within the next two months and approved by the members of the volunteer fire department within three months.

 

 

Aldermen were then asked by Fire Chief Doug Currence to purchase four new Fire Hawk Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses with four extra bottles at a cost of $3,380. The request was granted. Aldermen voted to cover the cost of the equipment with Act 833 funds and funds from the department's special account.

 

 

ROTARY FLAG PROJECT     3/23/17

 

Residents of Sevier County only have a week left to make a $50 donation to the De Queen Rotary Club to have a United States flag displayed at their home or business.

 

Rotary Club President, Jerry Don Roberts stated the funds will be used to fund scholarships and support the club's youth ball teams. He said club members will put the flags up, take them down and store them for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veteran's Day.

 

Roberts said the last day to make a donation is Friday, March 31st. He said you may contact any Rotary Club member to place your order.

 

You may also visit KDQN.net and download a form to place your order or for more information. 

 

 

 

 

BROOMFIELD HONORED BY ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION      3/22/17

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission honored nine wildlife officers and one wildlife management technician for their dedicated service to the natural resources and the people of Arkansas during its Fourth Annual Enforcement Awards Banquet in Little Rock on March 14th.

 

The awards were presented to officers from across the state who have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the previous year.

 

Corporal Blake Broomfield of Little River County was honored with the Warden's Cross Award. The honor is bestowed to the wildlife officer who, through their actions, demonstrates extraordinary courage that sets themselves apart from other enforcement officers.

 

Broomfield received the award for his actions during an armed standoff in April of 2016 in a residential neighborhood in Little River County near the Oscar Hamilton elementary school in Foreman.

 

Broomfield went to the scene to assist the Little River County Sheriff's Office. He set up surveillance at a residence where an armed suspect had barricaded himself into an outbuilding after firing a handgun. Officers talked with the subject and tried to get him to come into custody peacefully, but after several attempts to work with the subject, officers were forced to use a Taser to remove the threat of injury or death from the suspect's firearm. However, the first Taser shot did not connect properly, so Broomfield fired his Taser and officers were able to disarm the suspect and take him into custody without any further incident.

 

 

ASHDOWN GRAND MARCH IS APRIL 1ST       3/22/17

 

The junior class of the Ashdown High School announced they will be hosting the 6th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 1st at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.

 

The first grand march was organized in 2012 by retired Ashdown teacher Nancy Stuart. Now, the march has become a tradition that utilizes the grounds of the historic courthouse as a photo backdrop.

 

The Prom Royalty Court will consist of 10 Ashdown High School seniors. The senior class will elect a King and Queen 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 Prom March will be cancelled and not rescheduled.

 

The Community and Alumni Prom will be held on Friday night, March 31st from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Helen Parker Gymnasium and the 2017 Ashdown High School Junior and Senior Prom will be held on Saturday night, April 1st from 9 p.m. to midnight. The cost is $20 per person or $30 per couple.

 

This year's theme is "Once Upon a Dream."

 

 

BEACON HILL BIKERS MINISTRY HOLDING A HOLY GHOST REVIVAL     3/22/17

 

President of the Beacon Hill Biker's Motorcycle Ministry, Newman Hance, announced this week that they will be holding a Holy Ghost Revival over the next four weeks, starting Monday, March 27th at 7 p.m. at the Party Barn on Huckleberry Lane off Highway 41.

 

Services will be held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week from March 27th through April 21st, with the exception of Wednesday, April 6th.

 

Hance said they will have an old style tent revival for the kids and music will be provided by the Burrows and the Hances.

 

Hance said the revival is 16-meetings over the next four weeks.

 

For more information about the meeting place and times for the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry revival, call 682-970-0378 or 870-784-1899.

 

Hance also mentioned the local CMA group will be hosting a bass tournament on Saturday, April 1st on the De Queen Lake. Boats will launch from the Pine Ridge Ramp. The cost is $25 per person or $50 a boat.

 

For more information, call Brad Hathridge at 903-908-4773.

 

 

LEGACY ACADEMY PROFESSIONAL DAY        3/22/17

 

As a part of Legacy Academy's academic program, the school connects upper-level students with various business owners and professionals in the surrounding community to broaden their understanding of various professions and to help students consider various industries for future careers.

 

On Monday, March 13th, Sevier County District Judge Manya Wood spoke with students for their monthly professional day. Judge Wood described her experiences in private law, as a prosecutor and as a newly elected judge.

 

School founder Jessica Gallagher said learning is a lifelong skill that Legacy Academy wants to develop in each student. She said hands-on experiences, combined with a variety of opportunities, will enhance student's learning and will create an environment that will allow them to apply the things that they've learned.

 

For more information about Legacy Academy, call the school office at 870-642-8937 or visit the school at 314 West Gilson Avenue in De Queen, to request an information packet. Additional material can also be found on the school's website at legacyaademyonline.com.

 

 

NATIONAL AG WEEK      3/22/17

 

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 that 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.

 

 

UPDATE!!!! SUSPECT APPREHENDED IN ASHDOWN SHOOTING    3/22/17

 

Police apprehended a Dallas man Tuesday afternoon about 1:30 p.m. in the Ashdown City Park who shot at an  Ashdown Police officer, Monday night.

 

According to the Ashdown Police Department, an officer made a traffic stop on a vehicle regarding a domestic disturbance out of Howard County in the parking lot of the local revenue office near the intersection of Main Street and Fourth Street.

 

The officer reported the female driver pulled over and as the vehicle came to a stop, the male passenger, who was identified as 25-year-old Glen Derricks, jumped out of the vehicle and started shooting at the officer.

 

The officer reportedly took cover near the back of his patrol car and Derricks ran into a nearby neighborhood.

 

Officers with the Ashdown Police Department, the Little River County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the K-9 unit from the De Queen Police Department are currently searching for Derricks in the area, but have not located him as of this time.

 

The female driver was not arrested but taken into custody for questioning.

 

 

AREA POLICE ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A SUSPECT THAT FIRED AT AN ASHDOWN POLICE OFFICER       3/21/17

 

Police throughout southwest Arkansas are looking for a Dallas man who shot at an Ashdown Police officer, Monday night.

 

According to the Ashdown Police Department, an officer made a traffic stop on a vehicle regarding a domestic disturbance out of Howard County in the parking lot of the local revenue office near the intersection of Main Street and Fourth Street.

 

The officer reported the female driver pulled over and as the vehicle came to a stop, the male passenger, who was identified as 25-year-old Glen Derricks, jumped out of the vehicle and started shooting at the officer.

 

The officer reportedly took cover near the back of his patrol car and Derricks ran into a nearby neighborhood.

 

Officers with the Ashdown Police Department, the Little River County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the K-9 unit from the De Queen Police Department are currently searching for Derricks in the area, but have not located him as of this time.

 

The female driver was not arrested but taken into custody for questioning.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's Office, Derricks is 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighs approximately 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing all black clothing and is considered armed and dangerous.

 

If you have information, concerning the whereabouts of Derricks, contact the Little River County Sheriff's office at 870-898-5115.

 

 

BRIDGE CLOSING IN SEVIER COUNTY      3/21/17

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced Tuesday morning that the county road department will be closing a bridge on Valley Road, which is just off Bellah Mine Road on Monday, March 27th. He said the bridge will be closed until further notice.

 

Ray said the wooden bridge has been declared structurally deficient by state bridge inspectors and the county will replace the wooden deck with a concrete deck that's wider and more sturdy.

 

Judge Ray said he regrets any inconvenience that this may cause and is asking for the public's cooperation and patience until the work is completed. Ray also recommends area residents plan an alternate route for the next several weeks.  

 

 

 

DE QUEEN POLICE DEPARTMENT TO HOST MEMORIAL SERVICE       3/21/17

 

De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons announced Monday afternoon that his department would be hosting a memorial service this Friday, March 24th at the National Guard Armory in De Queen at 2 p.m. to honor the officers who lost their lives in 1984.

 

Recently, the De Queen City Council agreed to memorialize these officers by dedicating four streets, Third Street, Fourth Street, Ninth Street and College Avenue to their memory with memorial street signs.

 

The four officers died while driving in the funeral procession of Arkansas State Police Trooper Louis Bryant who had been killed during a traffic stop about 5-miles east of De Queen on U.S. Highway 71.

 

The four De Queen Police Officers were Captain William Mills, Sergeant Roy Brewer, Patrolman Bill Gilham and Patrolman Herman Jones. They were killed when the patrol car they were traveling in was hit by a tractor-trailer on Highway 71 south of Ashdown.

 

The public is invited to attend the memorial service to honor these fallen heroes.

        

 

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL INFORMED SEWER POND PROJECT IS FINISHED       3/21/17

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts told KDQN that he informed the Dierks City Council that the city's sewer pond project has been completed and that work is starting on the city's new park during the council's March meeting.

 

Mounts reported the city elected to build a new park because the city cannot apply for grants to upgrade the park on Arkansas Avenue because it's in a flood zone.

 

Mounts also reported the city's sales and use tax has been up since construction started on the new Weyerhaeuser mill.

 

Mounts said the next meeting of the Dierks City Council is scheduled for Monday, April 10th.

 

 

TRAFFIC STOP IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY NETS TWO BAGS OF METH      3/21/17

 

The Little River County Sheriff's Office announced Monday night that a Foreman woman is facing multiple charges after a traffic stop led to deputies uncovering two zip-lock bags containing meth.

 

According to the arrest report, deputies with the Little River County Sheriff's office conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle where 38-year-old Candice Alton was a passenger after the vehicle was seen driving along the ditch of a county road near Foreman.

 

After stopping the vehicle, deputies discovered Alton was wanted on several warrants by the City of Ashdown and Little River County.

 

After taking Alton into custody on the warrants, deputies discovered two zip-lock bags containing methamphetamines in the drivers' compartment of her car, along with a glass smoking devise that contained suspected meth residue.

 

Alton was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Both counts are class D felonies.

 

Alton is currently out of jail on bond awaiting her court appearances.

 

 

ASHDOWN FFA STUDENTS COMPETE IN DISTRICT CDE     3/21/17

 

The Ashdown FFA recently competed in the District Career Development Events and they all qualified for the state competition April 12th through the 14th in Fayetteville.

 

The Ashdown Poultry judging team is the district champs for the third year in a row. Maddie McAllister was the high point winner, Walker Morton took second place, Cole Grimes took third and Rolando Olmos was sixth overall.

 

The Ashdown Horse judging team also won the district title and Nicole Poole won the high point honor.

 

Ashdown Livestock judging team took fourth and Karen McMillian was second in the high point standings. And, the Nursery Landscape team placed seventh.

 

Media Relations Director Ronda Pounds also reported Cole Grimes took first place in the Arkansas High Points sweepstakes.

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT PURSUING SCHOOL OF INNOVATION STATUS       3/20/17

 

Cossatot River Superintendent Donnie Davis reported the Cossatot River Board of Education approved the district's plan on innovation for the high school.

 

Davis said if approved the Cossatot River High School will offer both a traditional high school setting and a school of innovation setting and students will be able to choose which path they will follow.

 

Davis also reported the board approved the purchase of 60 Chromebook 2's for the Wickes Elementary campus, as well as, 34 Dell desktop computers that will be used to replace outdated systems throughout the district.

 

Davis said the board voted to hire Gene Strode as the new K-12 principal for the Umpire campus after Carla Golden decided to go back into the classroom full-time, next year.

 

Davis also mentioned the Cossatot River elementary campuses received several Outstanding Performance Awards from the Office for Education at the University of Arkansas.

 

Board members also approved a $400 raise for certified staff members and a $300 raise for classified employees. 

 

 

UAMS TESTING TICKS IN ARKANSAS                 3/20/17

 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is putting out the call to all citizen scientists.

 

A research team wants to test ticks from all 75 Arkansas counties and is asking for residents to send them ticks for testing. researchers say it doesn't matter if you are at deer camp, hiking on a trail or playing in your backyard, they want you to send ticks so they can be tested for a variety of disease-causing bacteria. They also hope to discover how many types of ticks there are in the state.

 

When you collect a tick or ticks, you should put them in a zip lock bag, add a moist bit of paper towel or a wet cotton ball, seal it and tape the top shut. You should then put the sealed bag into a padded envelope and mail it to UAMS. You should also include the date and location of the discovery.

 

Send the tick specimens to Jon Blevins, Associate Professor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 4301 West Markham, mail slot 511, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205.

 

 

VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL WALL TO VISIT MENA      3/20/17

 

An event welcoming the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall monument will be held on Wednesday around 11 a.m. at Bearcat Stadium on the campus of Mena High School. According to event organizers this will be the wall's only stop in Arkansas this year.

 

Area residents are being encouraged to line up along the parade route and wave flags that will be handed out. The wall will be accompanied into town by an escort of police and Patriot Guard followed by 300-400 motorcycles from Conway, Russellville and other areas. Area bikers will meet at the Mena High School football field at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22nd and ride up to Waldron to meet the Wall and join the escort back. All bikes are welcome.

 

The Wall is visiting Mena thanks to the efforts of the Mena chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Commander Linda Johnson said the Wall will enter Mena going South on Highway 71 through town and along Mena Street. It will then turn left at Pine and travel to Dallas Avenue to Morrow Street and then end at the school.

 

The Wall is a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is 250-foot wall that is moved around the country by an 18-wheeler and has visited more than 400 cities and towns.

 

The Wall will be accompanied by a mobile education center and the Wall of Faces. The Wall of Faces is a photo display of every soldier whose name is listed on the wall.

 

The Wall will be open 24-hours a day until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 26th.

 

 

DOMTAR TO RECEIVE SAFETY AWARD THURSDAY       3/20/17

 

Domtar's Ashdown Mill will receive a "One Million Man Hour Safety Award" on Thursday from the Arkansas Department of Labor.

 

According to Leon Jones, Jr., of the department of labor, Domtar's 800 employees have accumulated one million work hours without a lost day away from work due to a work-related injury or illness between April 20th, 2016 and December 24th, 2016.

 

The company has a safety program in effect and a safety committee consisting of both employees and management.

 

An award ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Domtar Mill on Highway 71 South, in Ashdown.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: HOURS EXTENDED FOR HOUSE COMMITTEES AND FLOOR PROCEEDINGS        3/20/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught stated this year's legislative session is in its final weeks and committees and house floor proceedings have been meeting for extended hours in an effort to hear as many bills as possible.

 

Last week, the House moved forward with legislation concerning education funding, juvenile sentencing, tax deductions and even speed limits.

 

Last week, the House passed House Bill 1729 which sets the funding for public schools. The bill increases the funding from $6,584 dollars per student to $6,713 per student for next year.

 

The House also passed legislation that will allow teachers to take a tax deduction for out of pocket expenses for their classrooms.

 

Vaught said the House also passed legislation which abolishes life sentences without parole for anyone under the age of 18. Senate Bill 294 would allow parole to be considered for a juvenile who was tried as an adult, after serving 20 years for a non-homicidal offence, 25 years for a first degree murder conviction and after serving 30 years for capital murder.

 

Vaught said the House also passed a bill that she sponsored that allows the highway commission to increase the speed limit on interstates to 75 miles per hour. It also raises the speed limit on other highways to 65 where permissible.

 

 

LEE REMOVED FROM KING HOLIDAY     3/20/17

 

Arkansas lawmakers gave final approval last week to legislation that removes Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the holiday that honors slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The House approved the proposal and sent the legislation to Governor Asa Hutchinson for his signature.

 

The bill sets aside the second Saturday of October to honor Lee with a memorial day, but not a state holiday. It also expands what is taught in schools about the Civil War and civil rights.

 

Both Lee and King were born in January. Arkansas has had a holiday honoring Lee since 1947 and King since 1983. That year, state agencies required employees to choose which of the two days they wanted to take off as a holiday. In 1985, the Arkansas Legislature voted to combine the holidays.

 

 

2017 Henry Awards presented at Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism   03/17/17
Jim Rice named ‘Tourism Person of the Year’

Arkansas tourism partners from across the state today honored the 2017 winners of the annual “Henry Awards” during a luncheon at the 43rd Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held March 12-14 in Little Rock. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson presided at the banquet and addressed more than 500 attendees about tourism issues in Arkansas. Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas 2016 Savannah Skidmore assisted in the presentation of the awards.
 

 

 

The winners were:

Tourism Person of the Year: Jim Rice, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Rock

Media Support Award: Arkansas Living, Little Rock

Bootstrap Award: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs

Arkansas Heritage Award: Ozark Highlands Radio, Mountain View

Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Arkansas Derby, Hot Springs

Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Ross Cowling, Texarkana

Community Tourism Development Award: The Unexpected, Fort Smith

The Natural State Award: West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau,

West Memphis


Miss Arkansas 2016 Savannah Skidmore, Ross Cowling & Governor Hutchinson

 

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

For more information, contact Kristine Puckett, Tourism Development Manager, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, 501-682-5240.

 

 

Proper Tree Planting Tips for Arbor Day   03/17/17


Arbor Day, an April holiday that celebrates the planting and caring for trees (April 28th this year), is a popular time for homeowners to add new trees to their landscapes. Before doing this, however, homeowners should consider advice from expert arborists to ensure the trees' longevity.


"Too often, consumers waste hundreds of dollars on trees that will die because they were planted too deep," cautions Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, CTSP* and staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).


"Proper planting is absolutely essential for the success of a transplanted tree," says Andersen. "Using quality plants and following up with good tree care practices, such as watering, pruning and fertilizing, will not save a poorly planted tree. The most common mistake is planting the root ball too deep."


Andersen advises consumers to follow these planting guidelines:


· Measure the height and diameter of the root ball or root spread.


· Dig the hole just deep enough to allow the first structural root to be at level grade. The diameter of the hole should be two to three times the diameter of the root ball or root spread.


· Set the tree on undisturbed solid ground in the center of the hole. The tree should be planted so that the root flare, the base of the tree trunk where the roots begin to "flare-out," will be visible above grade.


· Backfill with soil from the planting hole, using water to pack or settle the soil around the root ball. Do not tamp soil by stepping on it.


· Mulch the planting area with 2 to 4 inches of an organic, composted mulch such as wood chips. Do not mulch up to or against the trunk. Start the mulch 6 inches away from the tree trunk.


· Trees should be pruned after planting to remove broken, damaged, diseased or dead branches.


· Stake and/or protect the trunk of the tree if there is a real potential for wind damage or lawn-mower injury. Remove the guy wires (string, rope, wire or other ties used with supports) when the staking is no longer needed or the tree could be injured or even killed from girdling by the wire.


· Prune to develop a good branch structure once the tree has become established in its new home, usually one to three years after planting. Never remove more than 25 percent of total foliage in one year. (Depending on the tree and its condition, some arborists advocate capping pruning at an even lower percentage.)
· Fertilizing is not recommended at the time of planting.

Homeowners can purchase trees packaged in three common forms:


1. Bare-root plants may be sold with the roots tightly packed in a moisture-retaining medium that is wrapped with paper or plastic, or with roots loosely covered by a moist packing medium. Roots must be adequately moistened prior to planting. Roots are spread out evenly in the hole when planting.


2. Balled-and-burlapped (B&B) trees are moved with balls of soil protecting their root systems. Soil balls are heavy, so professional arborists who have proper equipment should be hired to plant large trees. Smaller B&B trees should be carried with a hand under the ball. Carrying a B&B tree by the stem or branches can result in serious root damage. When planting, carefully remove the top layer of soil on the root ball down to the first structural root. Set the root ball in the hole, position the tree, then remove twine and nails. Remove or fold back burlap from the upper third of the root ball, and cut any wire caging.


3. Container-grown trees have the advantage of a root system that is relatively undisturbed at planting, but beware of "pot-bound" container trees. Do not buy container trees that have a large amount of roots completely circling the inside of the pot. These trees will take a long time to get established after planting because the roots have difficulty growing beyond the thick ring of circling roots. Immediately before planting container trees, prune any circling roots. Root pruning can cut up to 50 percent of the roots in container trees but this is still sufficient to permit plant establishment. This compares with pruning about 10 percent or less of the root system being transplanted with B&B trees. Always remove the container prior to planting.

 

 

Read Across America Day at L.F. Henderson Intermediate School  03/17/17

 

L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown, celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday by participating in Read Across America Day on March 2nd. Third-fifth graders at the school held pep rallies and students were dressed in their favorite storybook characters or in red, white, and blue. During the pep rallies students and staff sang songs and cheered with the cub cheerleaders. Top AR (Accelerated Reader) students received certificates for their reading accomplishments if they had at least 25 points. These points were from January 17 - March 2. They also enjoyed an afternoon of “All American Fun” in the library on March 10th. Top three students with the most AR points were Luke Barnes, Anna Arnold, and Kevin Scott.


Volunteers from the community read to students during the afternoon.

 

Front row (l-r): L.J. Britt, Mack Anderson, Caroline Silva, Shelby Green, Jada Robinson, Janeth Rubio, Tucker Wilson
Back row (l-r): Madison Ceynar, Zavier Conkleton, Joe DelAngel, Kaylee Markham, Jakailyn Martin, Hunter Rose, Will Tomlinson, Logan Vest

 

 

 

(l-r) Cheyenne Arnhart, Abigail Cisco, Kaitlin Jones, Landry Patrick, Sebastian Patt, Andrew Sanders, and Ty Tong

 

 

 

Front row
(l-r): Kenya Hemphill, Makayla Lawson, Halli Mays,Hunter Mize, Alexa Pena, Bannon Price, Anna Reed, Tessah
Hawk, Michala Scarborough, Faurice Scott, Kevin Scott,Mary Vermeer, Caroline Wrinkle

Back row
(l-r): Keymond Hemphill, Anna Arnold, Luke Barnes,Audrey Kate Bishop,Ella Bowman, Kylie Erwin, Jaiden Ford,
Karyssa Riley, Samantha Fowler, Braylee Thomas, Bella Woolfley, Rylee Youngblood

 

 

 

ASHDOWN PROM GRAND MARCH    03/17/17

 

The Junior class of Ashdown High School would like to invite the pubic to the 6th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 1, at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse. The first Grand March originated in 2012 by retired Ashdown teacher Nancy Stuart. Now, the march has become a tradition utilizing the beautiful grounds of the historic courthouse as a favorite photo setting. The promenade of AHS juniors and seniors in all their prom finery is the perfect “photo op” for friends and relatives to view the procession. The Prom Royalty Court will consist of ten AHS seniors. The senior class will elect a King and Queen with four attendants. The court will be presented at the march and the king and queen announced at the prom.  In the event of rain, the Prom March will be cancelled and not rescheduled.

Those attending the Prom March are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for comfort and enjoyment.

The Helen Parker Gymnasium will be the setting for the Community/Alumni Prom on Friday night and Saturday Night for the “Once Upon a Dream” AHS 2017 Junior/Senior Prom.

The Community/Alumni Prom will be on Friday, March 31st from 7-8:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. There will be music playing from each decade. Dancing is welcomed. This is your opportunity to see the transformation of the Helen Parker Gymnasium and enjoy an evening of dancing and reminiscing. Come see what the students and sponsors did to create this magical night. Admission Friday night is free.

On Saturday night, there will be free valet parking provided by community volunteers, refreshments provided by First United Methodist Church, and a bag/coat check available. The AHS Prom will be from 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. The cost is $20 per person or $30 per couple. A free photo booth will be provided by the school.

 

 

Ashdown FFA students compete in District CDE     03/17/17
 

Ashdown FFA students competed in District Career Development Events on Tuesday, March 14th.


Livestock- 4th overall Karen Mcmillian 2nd High point
 

Poultry Judging Team- 3rd year of Being District Champs
Maddie McAllister High point
Walker Morton 2nd High
Cole Grimes 3rd High
Rolando Olmos 6th overall 

Cole Grimes is 1st in Arkansas High Points sweepstakes

Horse Team  - District Champ
Nicole Poole High point

Nursery Landscape- 7th place

All teams qualified for State contest and will compete April 12-14 in Fayetteville for state

 

 

4-H Holds Indoor O’Rama    03/17/17

 

Sevier County 4-H held its annual Indoor O’Rama competition on March 13.  Indoor O’Rama consists of speeches, performing arts, and fashion review.  

 

They had 13 4-H’ers competing, making it the largest Indoor O’Rama in the past 20 years according to Staff Chair, Rex Herring.  The winners in the Junior and Senior divisions will be able to compete against others in the Ouachita District in the District O’Rama held at Malvern in June of this year. 

 

Those competing and the categories they competed in are as follows:

Cloverbuds – ages 5 to 8:  Aubrey Williams – Performing Arts – Vocal, Eli Mitchell – Demonstrative Speech – How to Build A Robot

 

Juniors – ages 9 to 13:  Reese Walker – Performing Arts – Instrumental and Fashion Review – Constructed-Dressy, Hunter Frachiseur – Demonstrative Speech – Gun Safety, Evin Frachiseur – Demonstrative Speech – How to Show A Pig, and Fashion Review – Purchased-Dressy, Brady Haarmeyer – Demonstrative Speech – How to Make A Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Jacob Seymour – Illustrated Speech – First Aid Box, Lexy Rosson – Performing Arts – Vocal, Kane Faulkenberry – Public Speaking – How to Pick and Raise a Show Steer, Aubrey Seymour – Illustrated Speech – Home Safety for Babies, Brayden Frachiseur – Illustrated Speech – Wildfires in the Panhandle

 

Seniors – ages 14 to 19:  Brennen Seymour – Illustrated Speech – Feral Hogs, Amber Morris – Demonstrative Speech – Yogurt Parfait

 

Shown above:
Front Row L to R: Aubrey Williams, Reese Walker, Hunter Frachiseur, Evin Frachiseur, Brady Haarmeyer, Eli Mitchell, and Jacob Seymour
Back Row L to R: Lexy Rosson, Kane Faulkenberry, Brennen Seymour, Amber Morris, Aubrey Seymour, and Brayden Frachiseur

 

Photo by Dawn Leeper

 

SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION HOSTING ANNUAL FIELD DAY        3/17/17

 

Sevier County Cattlemen's Association President Greg Wright announced this week that the association will host their 2nd annual Field Day event at the Sevier County Fairgrounds on April 1st at noon. He said there will be several vendors demonstrating a multitude of products at the event.

 

Wright said any local vendors can contact him and set up a display.

 

Wright said participates do not have to pre-register and you don’t have to be a member of the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association to attend the event. He said lunch will be served by the Lakeside 4-H Club.

 

 

TO EXPENSIVE TO JUST THROW AWAY        3/17/17

 

March 13th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Greg Davignon was patrolling in Horatio when he noticed a pickup that appeared to wait on the Deputy to turn before moving. After pulling up behind the truck, Davignon noticed the license plate was not visible.

 

Davignon also noted that both windows were down on the truck and the driver, 49-year-old Mitchell Everhart of De Queen was breathing rapidly and his hands were shaking.

 

A search of the vehicle did not turn up anything illegal, but after Everhart left, Davignon began searching the area for any suspicious items. A few minutes later, Davignon found a small piece of aluminum foil on the ground about 100 feet from where he had pulled Everhart over. He reported the foil was dry, but the grass around the foil was wet.

 

Davignon discovered the foil contained a clear-crystal like substance of suspected meth.

 

After locating Everhart again, he allegedly admitted to Davignon that he had tossed the foil out the passenger window because it contained about $80 dollars worth of meth.

 

Everhart also allegedly said that he went back to the area in a different vehicle to pick it up, but Davignon was still there searching the area.

 

Everhart was charged with a felony count possession of a controlled substance.

 

 

NO WHERE TO RUN DOWN A DEAD END       3/17/17

 

March 14th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Kristen Reed and Sergeant Greg Davignon were patrolling around De Queen Lake and noticed a SUV sitting at the end of Dike Road.

 

When Davignon and Reed approached the vehicle, the driver started the vehicle and started to pull forward, so the deputies blocked the roadway. The deputies then noticed the driver toss a glass smoking pipe out of the passenger side window.

 

The driver, 48-year-old Scott Bowden of De Queen, was arrested and allegedly admitted that he had marijuana in a black bag in the vehicle.

 

While searching the vehicle, deputies discovered not only two containers of marijuana, but two small bags of suspected methamphetamine, a scale and multiple syringes.

 

Bowden was charged with possession of meth with the purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

THREE DES STUDENTS COMPETE IN BATTLE OF THE BOOKS       3/17/17

 

De Queen Elementary School had three third grade students compete in the Battle of the Books competition. The event was held at the De Queen-Mena Education Cooperative on March 15th.

 

All three students are in the Gifted and Talented Program. The students did not place this year, but they learned a lot and plan to compete again next year. The students were: Mario Gonzalez, Millie Sanchez and Victor Sanchez.

 

Gifted and Talented students from De Queen Middle School and Junior High School attended the Perot Theatre in Texarkana on February 9th to see "ArcAttack", a high energy program featuring a Singing Tesla Coil. There were 45 students and three teachers in attendance.

 

The program was once on the television show, "America's Got Talent."

 

 

TEEN FINDS LARGE DIAMOND AFTER ONLY 30-MINUTES OF SURFACE SEARCHING        3/17/17

 

While in southern Arkansas for a baseball tournament, 14-year-old Kalel Langford of Centerton fulfilled a longtime dream of visiting Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park. Langford and his parents arrived at Arkansas' diamond site on the afternoon of Saturday, March 11th. By the end of the day, he had registered the 7th largest diamond found at the Arkansas State Park since 1972.

 

Langford was walking near the East Drain, in the southern portion of the park's diamond search area, when he spotted the shiny, dark brown gem. He said it was just a few inches from a stream of water, with a bunch of other rocks that were about the same size.

 

Langford said he picked up the gem and called his dad, Craig, who was searching nearby. According to Craig, his family had only been at the park for about 30-minutes when his son found the diamond. Craig said the whole family stopped by the Diamond Discovery Center to have their finds identified and they learned Langford had found one of the biggest diamonds in the park's history.

 

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said conditions were ideal for Langford to find his diamond. He said about an inch of rain fell on the plowed search area during the week. He also stated Langford's diamond is about the size of a pinto bean and very dark brown in color.

 

Langford named the diamond Superman's Diamond for his unique connection to the DC Comics superhero. 

 

As of this week, there have been 97 diamonds registered at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2017, weighing a total of 26.84 carats.

 

 

AARP: HEALTH PLAN WOULD RAISE COSTS FOR OLDER AMERICANS      3/17/17

 

Critics of the proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act are warning that the cost of the plan would disproportionately fall on older Americans. Estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office say the American Health Care Act would increase costs for many while causing 24 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

 

Herb Sanderson is the state director for AARP Arkansas and he says the proposal would send health insurance costs soaring for people over 50.

 

Supporters of the Republican plan say it will make health care more affordable and reduce the deficit. But Sanderson says the plan would change Medicare to a voucher system, where participants get a fixed amount to buy insurance, with the rest paid out-of-pocket. He adds that 565,000 Arkansans get their health coverage from Medicare.

 

AARP is calling one facet of the plan an age tax. Sanderson says it would allow insurance companies to charge significantly higher premiums for older Americans, while cutting the tax subsidies that help them pay for their coverage.

 

He says if the plan is approved, older Arkansans can expect to see some eye-popping health insurance premiums.                   

 

 

SHOOTING IN HORATIO STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION      3/16/17

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reported a shooting incident in Horatio is still under investigation, however a suspect is in custody.

 

Gentry stated one man was shot in the leg at a residence in Horatio Wednesday afternoon. He said the Horatio schools were locked down, but there was no danger to any students.

 

Gentry said a call was made from the EZ-Mart in Horatio that a man had walked into the store with a gun shot wound to his leg. School Resource Officer Nicole Nealy was the first officer on the scene.

 

The victim was transported to a Little Rock hospital where he is listed in stable condition.

 

Gentry said his office is being assisted by the Arkansas State Police in the investigation.

 

 

LOCAL RANCHERS PARTICIPATING IN NATIONAL FARM RESCUER DAY       3/16/17

 

National Farm Rescuer Day is a day to recognize the men and women who help farmers and ranchers during a time of crisis and local rancher Greg Wright pointed out that farmers and ranchers are needing help now, following the recent wildfires in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

 

Wright said wildfires have caused massive losses to ranchers in the region and several organizations are accepting hay and monetary donations to help cattle producers who have been were impacted by the wildfires.

 

If you would like to make a donation, contact Wright for more information at 870-584-9479.

 

According to the Arkansas State Plant Board, hay from most counties must be certified as fire ant free before being transported. To set up an inspection or for more information, contact Paul Shell or Terry Walker of the plant board at 501-225-1598, if you plan to have hay transported from a quarantined area to a non-quarantined area.

 

For information or educational material about the quarantine area, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 584-3013.

 

 

U.S. CIRCUIT JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF STATE PHARMACY LAW     3/16/17

 

U.S. Circuit Judge Brian Miller upheld an Arkansas prescription drug law that ensures independent pharmacies receives fair treatment from pharmacy benefit managers.

 

Local pharmacist Renee Logan of Harris Drug stated the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association filed the lawsuit in 2015.

 

Judge Miller stated independent community pharmacies have had to eliminate employees during the last five to 10 years due to the financial hardships because the pharmacy benefit managers were reimbursing pharmacies at a lower rate than pharmacies could purchase the medications.

 

Logan said Act 900 of 2015 created an even playing field and allowed pharmacists to receive at least their cost for the medication. She said local pharmacies could be forced to close their doors or sell out to the big box stores if they are not reimbursed the cost of medication.

 

Logan also reported there is a bill in Congress right now that concerns DIR fees that if passed would benefit local pharmacies. And, Arkansas Senate bill 153 has been passed by the House and Senate and is waiting on Governor Asa Hutchinson's signature. She said this bill will allow pharmacists to refill a patient's maintenance medication once until they can contact the patient's primary care physician.

 

Arkansas' retail pharmacies are an important part of Arkansas's economy and healthcare delivery system, employing over 10,000 Arkansans and representing almost $3 billion dollars of annual revenue.

 

 

DHS SENIOR LOWREY AWARDED UALR CHANCELLORS SCHOLARSHIP      3/16/17

 

De Queen senior Alec Lowrey has been awarded the UALR Chancellor's Leadership Corps Scholarship, which is valued at $16,000.

 

Lowrey is the son of Julie Lowrey and Brett Lowrey.

 

Lowrey is the vice-president of De Queen High School's Interact Club and the FBLA historian. He plans to attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and major in Business Management.

 

 

ONE LANE OF HIGHWAY 32 ACROSS MILLWOOD DAM TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE        3/16/17

 

The Army Corps of Engineers announced one lane of Highway 32 Bridge across the Millwood Dam will be closed for routine bridge inspection from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21st.

 

Officials say they regret any inconvenience that this may cause, and is asking for the public's cooperation and patience until the work is completed. The closure is being coordinated with emergency services and law enforcement agencies in Little River and Howard counties. Corps officials are asking travelers to plan an alternate route and to allow extra time to reach their destinations.

 

For more information, call the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office at 870-898-3343.

 

 

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT FILLING APPLICATION FOR SCHOOL OF INNOVATION STATUS WITH THE STATE     3/15/17

 

Tuesday morning, Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith informed stakeholders of the district that the Horatio Board of Education voted to allow the district's administration to apply for School of Innovation status with the state department of education.

 

Smith told KDQN that the move came about while the district was looking for ways to improve attendance in the high school.

 

Smith said the distinction would allow the district to "turn off the bells.” He said it will also allow students to purse topics that interest them, and thereby improve attendance.

 

Smith said the board also approved some changes to the district's policies concerning sick leave, smart core classes and the district's student drug testing policy. He said the board expanded the drug testing pool to include any student that drives on campus.

 

Smith also announced the board promoted Junior High Head Football coach Robert Collum to Head High School football coach following the resignation of Coach David Bennett.

 

Smith said anyone wanting more information about the School of Innovation status to search the web for examples.

 

 

LEWIS NAMED NEW ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS FOR ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION      3/15/17

 

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education announced this week that Alisha Lewis has been named the Associate Director of Communications, effective March 13th.

 

Lewis' duties include acting as an agency spokesperson and promoting higher education initiatives in the state. Lewis is also responsible for planning, development and implementation of all of the agencies marketing strategies, marketing communications and public relations activities, both externally and internally, as well as the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship.

 

Previously, Lewis was the Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement at UA Cossatot. Lewis was responsible for marketing, public relations activities, strategic communication, website maintenance, and foundation efforts. Prior to working at UA Cossatot, Lewis was the Marketing Officer for the southern region of First National Bank, now Bear State Bank.

 

The De Queen native holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master of science in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

 

Dr. Maria Markham the director of the department of higher education said she was pleased to add Lewis to her staff. She said Lewis has experience in both higher education and strategic communications.

 

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the AHECB, reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state's 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.  In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $120 million dollars annually from state revenues and lottery funds.

 

For more information, visit the website www.adhe.edu.

 

 

OSBI OFFERS REWARD IN MCCURTAIN COUNTY MURDER CASE     3/15/17

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is offering a $5,000 reward for information in a McCurtain County murder case.

 

In November of 2016, the McCurtain County Sheriff's office found 53-year-old Jimmy Barrett dead on the floor of his camper on Ribbon Fish Road in the Smithville area.

 

The medical examiner determined Barrett died from a gunshot wound to the head.

 

Barrett was last seen when he left from work in Idabel, three days prior to his death.

 

Anyone with information can contact the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-522-8017, or the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office at 580-286-5419.

 

 

TRIAL DATES SET IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY       3/15/17

 

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan set trial dates for two men who were recently arrested and are currently being held in the Little River County jail, on Tuesday during a session of the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

A trial date of June 26 was set for 33-year-old Daniel Flores of Winthrop. Flores has been charged with commerical burglary for allegedly stealing almost $500 from a coin machine at a car wash in Cross Roads.

 

Flores was arrested February 27th after cashing in two jugs of change at a Coinstar Exchange Machine in Ashdown. Earlier that day, the Little River County Sheriff's office was informed that the coin machine at the car wash in Cross Roads had been stolen out of the wall.

 

According to the arrest report, Flores allegedly admitted he broke into the Fawcett Car Wash and hid the machine in the woods between Winthrop and Alleene.

 

Flores is being held in the Little River County jail on a $25,000 bond.

 

Yeargan set a trail date of May 15th for 31-year-old Robert Foster of Texarkana after he plead not guilty to a felony count of criminal mischief in the first degree.

 

Foster was arrested after he allegedly disconnected some freight cars from a train as it traveled north of Alleene.

 

Foster was arrested after jumping off the train near Winthrop after it stopped. Foster allegedly told deputies he disconnected the cars because the train was going to fast for him to jump off. Foster apparently boarded the train in Texarkana.

 

Foster is being held in the Little River County jail on a $25,000 bond.

 

 

DE QUEEN RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE      3/15/17

 

Late Friday night, De Queen Police Officer David Higgins noticed a vehicle on Collin Raye Drive that did not have a license plate.

 

A traffic stop was conducted in the Diamond Bank parking lot and Higgins then realized the vehicle’s paper tag had been pushed up into a hole in the vehicle's rear bumper.

 

After checking to see if the driver and passenger had any warrants, Higgins asked if he could search the vehicle. The driver, 22-year-old Aaron Vazquez of De Queen said yes.

 

While searching the vehicle, Higgins found an ink pen cap with a small clear plastic bag rolled up inside it in the driver's side floor board between the seat and the center console.

 

When Higgins unrolled the bag, he discovered a methamphetamine like substance in it.

 

Vazquez was interviewed and allegedly said the drugs were not his, but he was charged with a felony county of possession of a controlled substance.

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT PROMOTES ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AT MIDDLE SCHOOL        3/14/17

 

Members of the De Queen Board of Education met Monday night and voted to promote Middle School Assistant Principal Lance Pinkerton to Principal following the retirement of Brenda Leeper.

 

Superintendent Bruce Hill said Leeper is going to be missed, but the board excited about Pinkerton's promotion.

 

Hill reported board members approved the 2017-2018 school calendar, a trip to the Perot Museum in Dallas for the high school National Honor Society students and a student internship program with KDQN. Hill said students will be working with KDQN to video broadcast school sports events.

 

Hill also stated Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton informed the board that the Middle School and Junior High had received several Outstanding Educational Performance awards in math and literacy from the University of Arkansas.

 

Hill said the De Queen School District has been a high academic school district for many years. He also mentioned the board accepted five resignations, Monday night.

 

Board members also approved the transfer of one student to another district.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES SUCCESSION PLAN FOR SHERIFF'S OFFICE        3/14/17

 

Monday afternoon, the Sevier County Quorum Court met to adopt a resolution to approve the Sevier County Sheriff's Policy Statement outlining the line of succession of the office of sheriff and collector in the event of an emergency.

 

According to the resolution, if Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry dies or is unable to fulfill his duties as sheriff, the Quorum Court will appoint one of the following deputies, in this order: Jail Administrator Chris Wolcott, Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle, and County Investigator Jeff Wahls.

 

Sheriff Gentry also presented a quarterly report to the JPs concerning several upgrades that have been made at the county jail.

 

Gentry stated the county has benefited from having a contract with Southern Health Partners and he discussed the jails new video visitation system that was installed by City Tele Coin. Gentry said family members of inmates can have three free visits at the jail or family members can pay $7.50 for a 15-minute visit from an offsite location.

 

Gentry also stated they will be utilizing the system for first appearances and arraignments in the near future.

 

Sheriff Gentry informed the Quorum Court members that he needs to update the department's computers and that they will be installing a new Guardian tracking system, the first week of April.

 

Gentry also reported a county patrol car was involved in an accident on March 4th. He said no one was injured in the accident. He stated one of the suspects that eluded deputies on the 4th was arrested on the 5th.

 

JPs also advised County Judge Greg Ray to advertise for bids for a new roof at the jail. Ray said the Quorum Court will vote to accept or decline those bids during the April meeting.

 

 

CENTER POINT FIRE DISTRICT ISO LOWERED       3/14/17

 

Residents within the Center Point Fire Protection Area in Howard County will soon see a decrease in their homeowner's insurance premiums because the Center Point Volunteer Fire Department has been able to lower their ISO rating from a class 9 to a class 6. The new rate will become effective June 1st.

 

As Fire Chief Alan Green explains, the ISO of a department takes into account several things ranging from equipment to fire prevention.

 

Green said he appreciated every member of the department that helped them to lower their ISO. He stated it was not a one man process and everyone in the department took part in it.

 

Green said property owners within the fire protection area are encouraged to pay their $50 membership fee because if the fire department is every needed, the property owner will not receive a bill.

 

Green said their annual membership drive and fundraiser is May 13th.

 

For more information, contact any member of the Center Point Volunteer Fire Department.

 

 

TRIAL SET FOR ASHDOWN MAN CHARGED WITH NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE       3/13/17

 

A trial date of July 10th was set for 20-year-old Colton Daniel Ard of Ashdown last week in the Little River County Circuit Court. Ard has been charged with negligent homicide for allegedly causing a fatal vehicle accident.

 

The fatal accident occurred on March 7th of 2016 and was reported about 7:51 p.m. at the intersection of Arkansas Highways 23 and 108 near Alleene.

 

Ard is being charged with a felony count of negligent homicide and a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.

 

The accident killed 18-year-old Mason Gross of Ashdown who was a passenger in the 1993 Jeep that was being driven by Ard. Gross was pronounced dead at the scene by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith.

 

According to the incident report, the Jeep failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection and collided with the trailer of a Dodge truck that was being driven by 52-year-old Lawrence Chandler of De Queen.

 

Ard has been released from jail after posting a $15,000 bond.

 

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE EFFICIENCY AND SAFETY ACT SIGNED INTO LAW      3/13/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Criminal Justice Efficiency and Safety Act was signed into law last week by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Vaught said this bill should have a tremendous impact on Arkansas' overcrowding situation, as well as the way the state treats residents with mental health issues.

 

Arkansas currently has the number one incarceration growth rate in the country. Vaught stated this bill will reform the probation and parole system in the state and provide more access to mental health treatment in the criminal justice system.

 

Currently, there's an average of 1,600 people who are incarcerated because their parole or probation was revoked for a non-violent misdemeanor. Vaught said this bill will allow those who violate the conditions of their parole by committing a minor violation, such as missing a meeting, to serve a 45-day program with the Department of Community Correction. She said those who violate conditions by committing a non-violent misdemeanor would serve a 90-day.

 

Vaught said the second part of the legislation is the mental health component. She said law enforcement will receive training in mental health crises intervention.

 

According research, officers who receive specialized training are able to de-escalate a situation on site 52 percent of the time. For those situations that cannot be de-escalated on site and where no serious crime has occurred, the bill establishes three crises stabilization units in the state.

 

The centers will provide another place that officers can take an individual who needs assistance, other than jail. The governor has committed $5 million to support these facilities, which will provide evaluation and treatment.

 

The House is now in its 10th week of the Regular Session. You can also watch all of the House committee meetings that are held at the Capitol and all House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

CASSADY INDUCTED INTO ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME      3/13/17

 

Nashville resident and former state Senator, Neely Cassady was recently inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame.

 

Cassady is credited for playing a key role in making the poultry industry what it is today in southwest Arkansas. His ties to the industry began when his father formed Cassady's Hatchery in 1937. He would later go on to play a major role in the formation of the companies known today as Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride.

 

In addition to his connections with the poultry industry, Cassady would also form an investment company that he would lead from 1987 to 2015. He also served parts of southwest Arkansas as a State Senator beginning in 1982. He held that position for 14 years and had a major impact on the agricultural industry by serving on the senate's Agriculture Committee as well as the Tax and Revenue Committee.

 

 

 

BAIL SET AT $750,000 FOR TEXARKANA MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING AND BURYING GIRLFRIEND IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY      3/13/17

 

A Miller County judge set bail at $750,000 for a Texarkana man who has been accused of stabbing his girlfriend to death and burying her body on a hunting lease near Ogden in Little River County.

 

Fifty-six year old Tony Taylor has been charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the death of 35-year-old Crystal Reed.

 

Reed was reported missing on Tuesday, March 7th, by her mother. Janice Reed told investigators that Reed and Taylor had an argument on Monday, March 6th and she didn't show up for work on Tuesday.

 

After searching the apartment that Reed shared with Taylor, investigators interviewed Taylor on Wednesday, March 8th at the Bi-State Justice Building in downtown Texarkana. During the interview, Taylor allegedly confessed to stabbing Reed with a knife and burying her body in a heavily wooded area on a hunting lease in Odgen. Taylor then led officers to Reed's body.

 

Crime scene detectives recovered a bag that contained the human remains of Reed. Her body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: TOP 10 CONSUMER COMPLAINTS       3/13/17

 

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, which is March 5th through the 11th, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the top 10 most common complaints that her office received in 2016.

 

National Consumer Protection Week is a partnership with attorneys general from across the country, along with many national organizations, including the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the AARP, to encourage consumers to understand their rights and to help them make educated decisions.

 

The 10 most common complaint categories from 2016 were: number one automobile sales, service, financing and repair; number two sales of goods and services; number three health care; number four landlord and tenant issues; number five home repair, construction and maintenance; number six satellite, cable and internet service providers; number seven wireless and landline telephone services; number eight credit service, credit repair and other financial services; number nine utilities; and number ten travel and timeshares.

 

For the fifth consecutive year, automobile related transactions have been the most common type of complaint reports to the Attorney General's office. Purchasing a vehicle can be one of the most significant purchases a consumer makes, and because the process is complicated, a consumer may not even be aware that a problem exists.

 

The most common scam reported to the Attorney General's office in 2016 was the IRS imposter scam. Scam artists are still posing as the IRS and demanding payment immediately and threatening arrest if payment is not received. 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.

 

Attorney General Rutledge's office resolved 9,000 formal consumer complaints in 2016. To file a complaint online, visit the website www.ArkansasAG.gov.

 

For more information, call 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

 

Arkansas Highway Commission Approves Bid for Improvements in Sevier County 03/10/17

 

SEVIER COUNTY (3-10) - The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Sevier County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.

 

The purpose of this project is to resurface 1.4 miles of various city streets in Gillham, to include: 5th St., 1st St., and Hornburg Ave.; 1.3 miles of various city streets in Horatio, to include: S. Williams, Bruce St., and S. Blackhawk; and 1 mile of various city streets in Lockesburg, to include: N. Park Ave., N. Azealea and Steele.

 

R.K. Hall, LLC of Paris was awarded the contract at $808,664.19. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid-2017.

 

 

Arkansas Highway Commission Approves Bid for Improvements in Little River County 03/10/17

 

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Little River County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.

 

The purpose of this project is to install a traffic signal at the intersection of State Highway 71 and Front Street in the city of Ashdown. L.E.G. Enterprises, Inc. of Cabot was awarded the contract at $174,653.67.

 

Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in early 2018.

 

Travel information on Arkansas’ highways can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ArkansasHighways.com. You can also follow us on Twitter @AHTD.

 

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT WEEK - LAMBERT LUMBER      3/10/17

 

KDQN has been celebrating home improvement week, all week along by speaking with home improvement professionals throughout the area.

 

Today, we spoke with Annette Lambert of Lambert Lumber in Broken Bow.

 

Lambert said Lambert Lumber is the place to shop for specialty lumber in southwest Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma. She said the offer a huge selection of tongue and groove items, log cabin siding and dimensional wood beams.

 

Lambert said this is the time of year that home owners should inspect their porch posts. She also said they had several hard to find items including Channel Lock tools, paint and wood preservatives.

 

Lambert said Lambert Lumber as a very knowledge staff that has worked in the construction industry, as well as three draftsmen that will help you design your floor plans.

 

For more information, call Lambert Lumber at 580-584-9272.

 

 

 

GILLHAM MAN KILLED IN TEXAS         3/10/17

 

A Gillham man died Saturday, March 4th after being shot during a reported domestic dispute between the shooter and his wife at a restaurant in Seminole, Texas.

 

Fifty-one year old E.C. Shelton had been working in the Lubbock area as a dozer operator for the past four weeks.

 

Shelton was dining in the Perika's Terrace restaurant when a man was asked to leave. Later, the man returned with a weapon and opened fire.

 

Shelton and 46-year-old Miguel Diaz were shot. Shelton was reportedly attempting to protect some other people and stop the man when he was shot.  The alleged shooter was identified as 31-year-old Jacob Groening. He was arrested by officers with the Seminole Police Department. Groening has been charged with murder and attempted capital murder for the restaurant shooting. He is also accused of shooting his wife and daughter.

 

Shelton was a graduate of Wickes High School and served in the military. He had three children and one grandchild. 

 

 

TEXARKANA SUSPECT HOPING TO NOT GET RAILROADED       3/10/17

 

Tuesday, 31-year-old Robert Foster of Texarkana, Texas appeared in the Little River County Circuit Court and had his bond set at $25,000 for disconnecting cars from a moving train.

 

Foster is being charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief in the first degree. According to court records, Foster's charge is a Class C felony, which carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000 if convicted.

 

Foster allegedly boarded the Kansas City Southern freight train in Texarkana and rode 40 miles north to Winthrop. Just North of Alleene, Foster allegedly forced several connectors loose, causing the train to separate in half.

 

The disconnected section stopped about a mile north of Alleene, while the section containing the locomotives and Foster continued north six miles to near Winthrop.

 

According to Little River County Sheriff's office, Foster said he disconnected the train because it was going too fast for him to jump off. The train was traveling approximately 45 miles per hour when Foster disconnected the cars.

 

 

RIDING INTO SPRING TOUR PASSES THROUGH DE QUEEN       3/10/17

 

Thursday afternoon, Bill Pierce arrived in De Queen on his bike as he continues to chase spring. Pierce started his journey in Mexico the first of February and hopes to end his trip in Winnipeg, Canada this May.

 

Pierce said he rides about 50 miles a day towing a trailer that contains about 70 pounds of baggage. He explained spring traditionally travels north at about 19 miles a day and he hopes it will continue to warm up as he travels north.

 

Pierce is not only a cycling enthusiast, he's an author and is collecting information and images for his new book, "Riding into Springtime." He said along the way he is visiting with some interesting people, including a lawyer in Natchitoches, Texas.

 

Pierce said this is not his first long distance ride. He rode 15,000 miles across Europe in the 80's and he rides with a group from Iowa in the RAGBRAI tour every summer for the past 38 years.

 

Pierce informed KDQN that he met some wonderful people in De Queen this week, so be looking for stories from Southwest Arkansas in his upcoming book.  

 

 

COSL OFFICE RETURNS $18.1 MILLION TO COUNTIES       3/10/17

 

The Commissioner of State Lands Office returned over $18 million dollars to counties across Arkansas in 2016, according to Commissioner John Thurston.

 

That turnback, totaling $18,244,997.50, is produced by property owners paying delinquent real estate taxes, and from proceeds in excess of taxes due when the Commission of State Lands office sells property.

 

Thurston stated the whole purpose in collecting delinquent real estate taxes, and in selling long-delinquent properties, is to get that funding to the counties where it is owed. He said when the state sells properties that have been delinquent for many years, it gets them back onto the county tax rolls, producing income that helps a county with its roads, schools and emergency services.

 

Since Thurston took office in 2011, the Commission of State Lands office has returned almost $119 million dollars to counties across the state. Turnback totals have declined slightly over the past few years, but more properties are returning to county tax rolls.

 

In the past, bidding at auctions began at the assessed value of the land. A 2013 law changed the opening bid amount to the accrued delinquent taxes and related penalties. Other statutory changes reduced the redemption and litigation periods after a property is sold.

 

Thurston said more people are purchasing property now, since the bidding begins lower and the waiting period is shorter.

 

Property is certified to the Commission of State Lands when it is two years delinquent. Owners than have two more years to redeem the property before it goes to public auction. If a parcel sells at auction, the owner has 10 business days after the sale to redeem the property. Any parcels not sold at auction are placed on the Commission of State Land's post-auction sales list, where the public can submit offers to purchase.

 

The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, containing the current statutes governing the sales, auction dates, times, location, and other pertinent information regarding parcels being offered. The catalog and schedule can be found on the Commissioner's website at www.cosl.org, providing current information about each parcel. This year's auction season begins April 4th in Pope County.

 

 

 

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT WEEK - JIM'S BOOT SHOP      3/9/17

 

This morning, Zebbie Launius of Jim's Boot Shop in Lockesburg stopped by the KDQN studios and talked about how you can make your home beautiful with plants.

 

Launius said Jim’s Boot Shop has already received a shipment of early garden items, as well as a new shipment of seed. She said they are also expecting a shipment of flowers and bushes next week.

 

Launius also discussed the differences between perennials and annuals. She also said you can call Jim's Boot Shop at 870-289-5231 or her cell phone at 870-584-9966 to place a special order.

 

Launius said you can have your boots fixed or pick up a few other items at Jim’s Boot Shop in Lockesburg.

 

Launius said if you are interested in saving some money, stop by Jim's Boot Shop on Highway 71 in Lockesburg.

 

 

TIME TO PLANT SPRING ANNUALS       3/9/17

 

Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan announced this week that it's time to plant spring annuals.

 

Sullivan said annuals are a wonderful way to add a burst of color to an already existing flowerbed or beds that are predominantly perennial shrubs. She said the recent weather has been perfect for getting out and working in your garden.

 

Sullivan said the preferred method to start annuals that do not transplant well is to seed them directly into the beds where they are going to grow. Furthermore, she said young plants that are grown from seed sown directly in the soil outdoors will immediately acclimate and will not need to be hardened off, which is a time saver.

 

Sullivan said although seeds will grow in all kinds of unconventional situations, she said a properly prepared seedbed spares them from being rain-compacted. She said when the soil is warmed and dried out from the winter melt and spring rains, you should dig down about 8 to 10 inches to loosen it and mix in some organic matter that will help it hold moisture. She said while you are at it, you should also mix in some slow acting general purpose fertilizer that will help provide consistent nutrition over many weeks. She said this will help sustain the annuals riotous flowering. Sullivan said you should then rake the soil level and smooth it out before you sow your seeds.

 

Sullivan said broadcasting the seed creates an informal, natural look in a bed, border or mini-meadow. She said take a handful of seeds and gently sprinkle them randomly over the prepared soil.

 

Sullivan said most annual seeds need light cover, but some need light to germinate, so read the directions on the seed packets.

 

Sullivan said most annual seeds can take care of themselves as long as they have enough moisture, so keep the seedbed moist once the seeds are sown to assure a good germination.

 

For more information on planting spring annuals, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S ACTIVITY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY       3/9/17

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reported his office has received several calls about some scams that are circulating around the county.

 

Gentry said county residents have reported receiving calls from con artists that have offered to purchase their property for a small price. Some residents reported they have been contacted by someone pretending to be from the IRS, informing them that they owe back taxes and if they don't pay immediately, they will be arrested by the local sheriff.  Others have been contacted by someone claiming to be  a representative from the Publisher's Clearing House informing them that they've won a prize, but they need to pay a small fee in order to claim their prize.

 

Sheriff Gentry stated if you are asked to send someone some money to claim a prize or use a pre-paid debt card to pay a tax bill, it's not legitimate and you should hang up.

 

Sheriff Gentry also reported 90 individuals were booked into the Sevier County jail during the month of February and inmates serving community service picked up trash on Red Bridge, Provo, South Park and Mt. Pleasant Roads.

 

Gentry's report also states that deputies made 34 arrests, worked 15 accidents and conducted 237 traffic stops, while driving almost 25,000 miles throughout Sevier County.

 

 

BODY OF MISSING WOMAN FOUND IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY      3/9/17

 

The body of a missing woman was found Wednesday in a shallow grave in Ogden and her boyfriend 56-year-old Tony Taylor has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing 35-year-old Crystal Reed in the chest.

 

According to the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department, Reed was reported missing on Tuesday by her mother, Janice Reed. According to the initial report, Janice Reed told police that her daughter and her boyfriend had been involved in an argument when she spoke to her on Monday and that Crystal Reed did not show up for work on Tuesday.

 

Taylor was questioned on Wednesday and allegedly told investigators that he and Reed got into a physical altercation Monday night and that during the altercation, he stabbed her in the chest with a knife.

 

Taylor then led officers to a remote wooded area east of Ogden where he had buried Reed's body.

 

Reed's body was sent to the Madden Funeral Home in Ashdown, where Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith will maintain custody pending an autopsy at the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

 

Detectives from the Texarkana, Texas Police Department's crime scene unit assisted the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, along with the Little River County Sheriff's Office. 

 

 

ARKANSAS CAPITOL GOES GREEN       3/9/17

 

On Thursday, February 16th, nine Little River County 4-H members joined approximately 500 youth from across the state for 4-H Day at the Capitol.

 

During their day long visit, Little River County 4-H members had the opportunity to sit in on the joint budget committee meeting, visit the Arkansas Treasurer's office, hear from Governor Asa Hutchinson, Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, Speaker of the House Jeremy Gilliam and Senator Bruce Malock who addressed the 500 plus 4-H youth and adults in attendance.

 

The Little River County 4-Her's also had the opportunity to meet both Senator Jimmy Hickey and District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught. They also had the opportunity to tour the Arkansas Supreme Court Room and visit with Justice Shawn Womack.

 

The Little River County 4-H members who attended 4-H Day at the Capitol were Haley Wright, Timothy Wright, Connor Imler, Kayla Imler, Caylee Turner, Dalton Russell, Lyndon Youngblood, Molly Parker and Mackynze Dollarhide.

 

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT WEEK - BAKERS SAW SHOP      3/8/17

 

It's Home Improvement Week and KDQN is visiting with area businesses that can help you update your home and maintain your yard.

 

Today, Rodney Jones of Bakers Saw Shop provided KDQN's listeners some helpful tips concerning the upkeep of their lawn and garden equipment.

 

Jones also mentioned Bakers Saw Shop now carries the Bad Boy brand of mowers along with the Husqvarna brand and when you’re looking to purchase a new mower, you should inspect the deck.

 

Jones stated Bakers Saw Shop is the biggest Husqvarna dealer in the area and he invited everyone to take advantage of his Super Fleet program.

 

For more information about how to maintain your yard and equipment stop by Bakers Saw Shop at 3820 Highway 71, just 2-miles south of Lockesburg or call 870-289-4623.

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL PASSES REVISED CITY CLEAN-UP ORDINANCE        3/8/17

 

Tuesday night the De Queen City Council met in regular session.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported the council approved the amended 2016 budget and the revised city clean-up ordinance.

 

One of the changes to the clean-up ordinance states the Fire Chief or Code Enforcement Officer may direct the city water office to disconnect or remove all water meters that are on a property that is not cleaned-up after the property owner has been informed that their property is out of compliance with the city ordinance. 

 

McKelvy said aldermen also voted to hold a public hearing on May 2nd before the city places a lien on a property that's located on 5th Street.

 

McKelvy also reported the council had a lengthy discussion concerning the city's employee retirement plan. McKelvy stated he wants the council to consider changing the city's plan from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, so the city employees will own the contributions that they make to the plan, even if they don't retire from the city.

 

The next De Queen City Council meeting is March 21st at 6 p.m. in the De Queen City Hall.

 

 

ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU LEADERS VISIT WASHINGTON D.C.      3/8/17

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau leaders from the 4th Congressional district met last week in Washington, D.C., with Representative Bruce Westerman to discuss some issues that are critical to agriculture, including farm policy, immigration reform, tax revision and regulatory relief.

 

Congressman Westermen met with Sandra and Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg, Caleb Plyler of Hope, Grant and Gay Pace of Monticello and Dan and Belinda Wright of Waldron.

 

 

SPRING BREAK AT THE CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK      3/8/17

 

Spring break is just around the corner, and lots of families will be visiting the Crater of Diamonds State Park in the next few weeks. And, if you're preparing for a diamond mining excursion this spring, follow these tips to help you make the most of your time at the park.

 

While many people like to sleep in and take their time while they are on vacation, park interpreters recommend that you arrive early at the park during spring break for the best parking and to find the perfect spot to search for diamonds. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the spring and the parking area at the Crater fills up fast when the weather is nice.

 

If you arrive in Murfreesboro the evening before you plan to search, consider making a short introductory visit to the park because from now through Memorial Day Weekend, all admission purchased after 4 p.m. is also good for the next day.

 

Another way to get a quicker start on diamond hunting is to bring your own tools. The park rents equipment and sells small hand tools for diamond searching, but many visitors like to bring buckets, shovels and screens from home. If you plan to build screens to sift dirt at the park, park interpreters recommend using one-sixteenth inch aluminum or steel mesh to catch smaller diamonds while removing dirt. No battery-operated or motor-driven mining equipment is allowed in the search area.

 

For a better chance of finding a diamond, pack what you need to spend as much time as you can in the search area. Take a cooler with food and drinks, and enjoy a spring picnic at the park. Picnic tables are located in several different areas around the park.

 

Searching for diamonds is fun, but it's also hard work. The park allows guests to take a tent or canopy into the diamond search area, but is must be secured to the ground and removed every day. Park interpreters also recommend that you wear a hat and sunscreen to protect your skin, and you should take regular breaks to relax and cool off.

 

While spring break is only one week long, the best way to continue the excitement of searching for a diamond is to take gravel home from the search area. Each visitor may take up to five gallons of sifted gravel from the park per day. Although you cannot take dirt out of the park, about half of all the diamonds registered at the Crater of Diamonds State Park are found by visitors who have taken their sifted gravel home with them.

 

For more information, visit the park's website www.CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.

 

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2017     03/07/17

 

During February, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 47 families in Sevier County, including 96 adults and 69 children, totaling 165 people.

 

Food added to the pantry weighed 1,159 lbs.  This included 572 lbs. of purchased food plus the donation of 587 lbs.  First United Methodist, Saint Barbara Catholic, and the Knights of Columbus of Saint Barbara Catholic Church gave 196 lbs.  KDQN and Tyson Foods donated 150 lbs.   Individuals gave 171 lbs.  Anonymous donations totaled 70 lbs.  Total food distributed weighted 1,280 lbs.

 

The bank balance of February 1, 2017 was $2,779.63.  Deposits for the month of February totaled $1,515.00.  During February 2017, $520.98 was spent for food.  The bank balance on February 28,2017 was $3,673.65.

 

Individuals living in Sevier county who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm.  food is given to those requesting assistance once each three-month period of the year.  Suggested non-perishable items from those people who want to make a donation are cereal and soup.  Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.

 

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT WEEK - LIGHT HOUSE AND FLOORING       3/7/17

 

When it comes to updating your lighting and flooring there are a lot of options.  And, things like, budget, traffic, and whether it’s a bathroom, bedroom or living room will determine what time of lighting and flooring you will want to install.

 

This week, is Home Improvement Week and Kris Nichols of the Light House and Flooring in Nash, Texas stopped by to discuss flooring, lighting and everything in-between.

 

Philip Ball is a native of De Queen and he purchased Light House and Flooring over 10 years ago and they continue to expand their business to not only include lighting and floors, but personalize bathrooms and granite countertops.

 

Nichols said the best selling flooring, right now, is vinyl plank flooring because it's water proof and you can add value to your home by simply replacing that old flooring.

 

Nichols said Light House and Flooring has a designer on staff to help create that perfect look when it comes to lighting, but they also build custom tile showers and they install the Schluter Shower Systems.

 

Nichols said if you're planning to remodel your home from floor to ceiling, start with the flooring and work your way up and stop in and see them at Light House and Flooring in Nash, Texas.

 

For more information about Light House and Flooring, call 903-793-2047 or visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/Light House & Flooring or visit their website at www.lighthouseandflooring.com.

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TONIGHT AT 6         3/7/17

 

Aldermen of the De Queen City Council will meet tonight in a regular meeting at the De Queen City Hall at 6 p.m.

 

According to the council's agenda, aldermen will review and consider approving the city's revised 2016 budget and an updated clean-up ordinance.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed aldermen that he will make a presentation concerning the city's retirement plan. According to the letter that was sent to aldermen with the agenda, McKelvy will recommend the city stop funding it's old retirement plan and convert to a 403b plan.

 

Aldermen are also scheduled to review the city employee's compensation plan after Aldermen Gary Casey requested the issue be placed on the agenda, last month.

 

 

MAY I KEEP THE CHANGE        3/7/17

 

A Winthrop man is behind bars after breaking into a local business and stealing almost $500 in change.

 

According to documents from the Little River County Circuit Court, 33-year-old Daniel Flores was arrested on February 27th after trading in two jugs of change for $496.78 at a Coinstar Exchange Machine in Ashdown.

 

Earlier that day, the Little River County Sheriff's Office received a report that someone had broken into the Fawcett Car Wash near Crossroads and stolen a change machine out of the wall.

 

Deputies stopped Flores prior to receiving the call and had observed two containers of quarters in the floorboard of his vehicle.

 

After taking the report from the car wash, deputies relocated Flores at a Coinstar Exchange machine in Ashdown and questioned him about the change. Flores was a former employee of the car wash and provided authorities with several conflicting stories about the how he obtained the money, so he was arrested for the incident.

 

After being arrested, Flores allegedly admitted to breaking into the Fawcett Car Wash in the middle of the night. He allegedly stated he used a crowbar to take the coin machine and later hid it in the woods. Flores said he then took the money to Ashdown in two one-gallon jugs.

 

Officers with the Arkansas State Police were able to retrieve receipts from Coinstar showing the exact amount of stolen change that was cashed in. Deputies located the stole change machine in the woods between Winthrop and Alleene.

 

Flores has been charged with commercial burglary. He is currently being held in the Little River County jail on a $25,000 bond.

 

 

TEXARKANA RESIDENT ARRESTED AFTER DISCONNECTING CARS FROM MOVING TRAIN       3/7/17

 

According to a press release from the Little River County Sheriff's Office, deputies along with the Kansas City Southern Railway Police Department, arrested a Texarkana man after he allegedly disconnected several cares from a moving train in an apparent act of vandalism on Saturday, March 4th.

 

Thirty-one year old Robert Foster is being held in the Little River County jail pending a bond hearing, today.

 

According to the initial report, Foster climbed aboard a Kansas City Southern Freight Train in Texarkana and rode it 35 miles north of Alleene. Just north of Alleene, Foster forced several connecters lose from the car he had climbed aboard, causing the train to separate in half, locking up the brakes on the train.

 

The disconnected section came to a halt approximately a mile north of Alleene, while the section containing the locomotives and Foster continued on to Winthrop, when a member of the railroad crew who was investigating the separation spotted Foster as he jumped off the train.

 

A Little River County Sheriff's Deputy was able to take Foster into custody near the KCS Railroad Crossing in Winthrop a short time later.

 

As of this time, it is unclear as to the total cost that was incurred by the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, although the initial estimate is well above $5,000.

 

The train was traveling approximately 45 miles per hour when the cars were disconnected, and it remains unclear if any of the freight was damaged.

 

Foster has been charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief in the first degree.

 

 

FORD HOT AIR BALLOON COMES TO DE QUEEN     3/7/17

 

Due to the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday, the 7-story tall custom designed Ford hot air balloon will be making a stop in De Queen on Wednesday, March 8th thanks to De Queen Ford.

 

The Ford balloon is based in Branson, Missouri and is operated by Branson Balloon. Commercial hot air balloon pilot Rodney Williams, who was born in De Queen, has been flying balloons over 25 years with over 2,000 hours of flight time. Williams says he looks forward to returning to De Queen because he still has several relatives living in the area.

 

The pilot and crew from the Ford balloon will visit the De Queen Elementary and Middle School 10 a.m. Wednesday morning and present an educational program about hot air ballooning. Students will have the opportunity to watch the inflation and see the balloon up close. It is an interactive learning experience for students that's designed to spark interest in ballooning and aviation in general.

 

As another way of giving back to the community, the Ford balloon is partnering with the Sevier County Senior Adult Center by donating one hundred percent of the proceeds from the tethered balloon rides to the center.

 

De Queen Ford is sponsoring the tethered balloon rides Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m., weather permitting. All ages will be able to go up in the air for a short experience with the balloon anchored to the ground. The cost is $5 per person and all funds raised will benefit the Sevier County Senior Adult Center. Children 15 years of age or younger must have a parent or guardian present to sign a waiver.

 

For more information about the Ford balloon that coming to De Queen, contact Tammy Huddleston at 870-642-3604. To learn more about the Ford hot air balloon program, visit the website www.fordballoon.com.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM DISTRICT 4 REPRESENTATIVE VAUGHT      3/7/17

 

According to District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught, the House has addressed everything from school bus safety to reading proficiency during the current legislative session.

 

Vaught said Act 246 increases the minimum amount a school district can pay a teacher. It increases the minimum amount by $400 for the next school year. School districts can pay more but not less than the minimum amount that is set by the state. Vaught said the minimum starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree would be $31,400 a year. She said for a new teacher with a master's degree, the minimum starting salary would be $36,050.

 

Vaught said the House also passed Senate Bill 328, which requires anyone who applies for a K-6 teaching license or a special education K-12 license to receive training and pass a test on the science of reading. She said this legislation is designed to improve the ways schools teach students to read. Currently, 63 percent of Arkansas third graders are not reading at grade level.

 

Vaught said Act 173 allows a student who attends a private school or home school to enroll in an academic course within their public school district. She said the district that enrolls a private school or home school student would be entitled to one-sixth of the state foundation funding amount for each course.

 

The House of Representatives also passed House Bill 1539 which requires students to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test that is used by immigration services, before they can receive their high school diploma. The bill would require the student to answer at least 60 of the 100 questions correctly. It also allows the student to take the test as many times as needed.

 

Vaught said House Bill 1144 is on it's way to Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk for his signature. She said this bill allows images gathered from an automated school bus camera to be used in court. This technology could be used to investigate cases of drivers passing a stopped bus.

 

Vaught explained there are more than 30 bills still waiting to be heard before the House Education Committee.

 

All House education meetings are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. The meetings are streamed live online at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

LUCK OF THE IRISH HELPING THE ARKANSAS RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE        3/7/17

 

Steve and Celia Montgomery of the De Queen McDonald's are planning to share the luck of the Irish with fans of their Shamrock mint drink products during the week of March 11th through the 18th.

 

The week of Saint Patrick's Day, the De Queen McDonalds will donate .25 cents of the sale of each product including the chocolate mint shake, a chocolate mint frappe or chocolate mint hot chocolate to the Ronald McDonald house charities.

 

The Ronald McDonald house in Little Rock just reopened with a brand-new facility and is housing families with children who are residents in the Arkansas Children's Hospital. The House supports these families by allowing them to be close to their children while they are ill and in the hospital.

 

So celebrate Saint Patty's Day by helping the Ronald McDonald house charities by purchasing any mint or chocolate mint flavored products during the week of March 11th through the 18th.

 

 

HOME IMPROVEMENT MONTH - BILL LEE COMPANY       3/6/17

 

It's Home Improvement Month in Southwest Arkansas and now is an ideal time to start planning, preparing and acting upon those home improvement projects that you would like to start.

 

As you think about those projects consider the advise that area experts will be providing this week, here on Your Number One Country, 92.1.

 

Today, Bill Lee and Hunter Black of the Bill Lee Company talked about the heating and cooling unit in your house.

 

Lee has been in business since 1976 and he stated there are a lot of different types of heating and cooling units. However, he said the most efficient system is a geo-thermal system.

 

Lee said the key to staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer is not necessarily the biggest unit available. He explained it may heat and cool your home, but it may not save you money on your utility bill.

 

Lee said you should your change your filters every month. He also recommended you purchase pleated filters because they work the best.

 

The Bill Lee Company installs new units and provides maintenance on your existing unit. If you have any questions about your heating and cooling unit, call the Bill Lee Company at 870-642-7127.

 

  

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SIGNS COLLEGE GRANT PROGRAM INTO LAW      3/6/17

 

Last week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law a new program that provides two years of tuition and fees to students for enrolling in a high-demand field of study at an Arkansas community or technical college.

 

Hutchinson signed legislation creating the ArFuture Grants program. The program will be funded by redirecting $8.2 million dollars in general funds from other grant programs.

 

UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole informed KDQN that Arkansas is getting good at addressing the workforce needs of the state.

 

Cole stated the ArFuture grants will pay the tuition and fees at a state 2-year college, including UA Cossatot.

 

Cole also said the program is set up to ensure students will succeed.

 

The grants are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to traditional, home school and non-traditional students in the state. The grants are targeted toward students in high-demand fields, or in science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields.

 

 

HEARING SET FOR PROPOSED CHANGE TO REGULATION CONCERNING THE JOHN W. TURK, JR. POWER PLANT        3/6/17

 

The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will hold a public hearing in Hope on March 20th to receive comments on a third-party proposal by the SWEPCO John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant at Fulton to change the APC&EC regulation concerning Arkansas Water Quality Standards. The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. at the Washington Suite in Hempstead Hall of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope. The deadline for submitting written comments on the proposed regulation is at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30th.

 

The SWEPCO facility discharges treated wastewater from an outfall to the Little River under the provisions of a permit that was issued by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The treated wastewater that’s discharged by SWEPCO is from a wastewater pond that contains cooling tower blowdown and monitored low volume waste. The Little River flows approximately two miles from the facility's discharge to the Red River. The SWEPCO facility is requesting an amendment to the regulation, that would modify the TDS water quality criterion to be changed from 500 mg/L to 780 mg/L.

 

Detailed copies of the SWEPCO facility's proposed regulation change, along with supporting documents and summary information, are available for public inspection during normal business hours by contacting Kelly Robinson at ADEQ headquarters, and in the public libraries in Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Mena, Russellville and the main branch of the Central Arkansas Library System.

 

Oral and written comments on the proposed changes to Regulation 2 will be accepted at the hearing, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. Send your comments to Robinson at ADEQ, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, Arkansas 72118.

 

 

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS SEEK TO FREEZE MEDICAID ENROLLMENTS     3/6/17

 

With an estimated 330,000 people enrolled in Arkansas's expanded Medicaid program, state lawmakers are now taking steps to freeze enrollment. The state adopted a plan that uses Medicaid funds to buy healthcare from the insurance marketplace for those who were eligible, and the number of people who signed up has far exceeded expectations.

 

Marquita Little at Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says a lot of people could be negatively affected if lawmakers lock the program down too soon.

 

The Arkansas House passed a bill last Friday to freeze Medicaid enrollments as of July 1st, and the Senate will take up the bill this week. Governor Asa Hutchinson opposes the freeze, and in any case, state officials must get federal clearance to cap enrollment. Arkansas originally aimed for the program to have about 250,000 participates.

 

And so far, despite weeks of negotiations, there's no clear plan on the table in Washington, D.C. Little says it's a tense time for Arkansans who can't otherwise afford health insurance.

 

Under what is also known as "Obamacare," the federal government pays most of the Medicaid costs for states that opted to expand. But many believe Congress could decide to use block grants to fund Medicaid, which Little says would likely mean much less money, and major program changes.

 

She says Arkansas' Medicaid program has been one of the most successful among the 32 states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

 

 

LEARN TO BURN WITH THE AGFC AT PRESCRIBED FIRE WORKSHOPS       3/6/17

 

Landowners can learn how to properly and safely use prescribed fire to improve the wildlife habitat on their property through a series of free workshops that are being sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Private Lands Section.

 

Four workshops are being planned, beginning with two on March the 11th with one at Hatfield in Polk County and one at Batesville. A third workshop is set for March 18 in Fort Smith and the final workshop is April 8th in Clinton.

 

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, fire is the most cost-effective method for restoring and maintaining upland habitats. Properly managed habitats that are maintained by using proper burning methods can increase the availability of food and cover for game animals at a level twice that of planting food plots, at a much lower cost.

 

Fire is a driving force for improving wildlife habitat by encouraging the germination of beneficial plants, by controlling the undesirable plants and by opening the forest to allow the growth of grasses in the understory. Deer, turkey, quail and many non-game species benefit from and thrive on habitats that are maintained by fire. Frequent, small-scale, controlled fires will reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires by reducing the amount of fuel that is available.

 

The workshops are intended to educate participates about the benefits and mechanics of prescribed burning. They will also allow participates to communicate with and hire professionals to burn their property and it will begin the training process for landowners to conduct prescribed burns themselves.

 

The workshops will cover planning, fire strategy and equipment, fire weather, property safety considerations, Arkansas fire laws and more.

 

For more information, call 877-470-3650.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG LIONS CLUB BENEFIT RAISES OVER $3,000 FOR CLUB LEGACY PROJECT         3/3/17

 

Thursday night the Lockesburg Lions Club held a benefit dinner and auction at the Lockesburg First United Methodist Church to raise funds for their Lions International Legacy project.

 

Lions Club member Barbara Dixon reported Friday morning that they had a wonderful turnout and over 100 people attended the presentation by UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole about the college's plans for the old Lockesburg High School campus.

 

Dr. Cole informed KDQN that he informed those who were in attendance what the future plans are for the old Lockesburg High School campus.

 

Cole said the old Lockesburg gym is currently about 50 percent complete but they hope to have the project finished by May and to hold an open house in June.

 

Cole said the old Lockesburg gym will be used for community programs and meetings and for educational purposes.

 

Dixon said the club raised $3,170 for the construction of a sign on the UA Cossatot - Lockesburg campus that will serve as the club's Legacy project.

 

 

GILLHAM FIRE DEPARTMENT TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING MARCH 7     3/3/17

 

The Gillham Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting a public meeting on Tuesday, March 7th to announce the district's new fire protection rating, which will take effect on June 1st.

 

Marc Rosson informed KDQN that he will hold the public meeting at 5:15 p.m. at the fire station. He said the district's fire protection rating will be lowered from 9 to 6 for insured structures within a 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and 6X for structures over 1,000 feet from a hydrant.

 

Rosson stated there are some areas within the Gillham fire district that don't have any fire hydrants and he wants those residents to know what they can do to have a hydrant installed near their property.

 

Rosson said the department is trying to locate hydrants in the Kellum area and on Lee Road, Pullmun Road, Wolmack Lane and Peterson Lane.

 

Rosson also stated the department would be hosting their annual benefit BBQ dinner on Saturday, May 20th. He said they will start serving BBQ at 3 p.m. and the auction is scheduled to start at 5. Rosson said the funds will be used to purchase equipment that will help lower the district's fire protection rating even some more.

 

For more information, contact Rosson at 870-584-9434.

 

 

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES CONTRACTS FOR PRINCIPALS AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR         3/3/17

 

During the February meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, board members voted to extend the contracts of the Oscar Hamilton Elementary Principal, Patricia Tankerlsey, Foreman High School Principal, Kimberly Cody and Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach John Hall for the 2017-2018 school year.

 

Tankerlsey informed the board that 18 students from the Oscar Hamilton Elementary participated in the De Queen/Mena Educational Co-op's Reading Fair competition. She said 11 of the students placed in the competition.

 

The students who participated in the reading fair were Madison Click, Ava Whisenhunt, Hunter Carrell, Sophie Padgett, Rowan Sanchez, Rhiannon Poole, Kaylyn Maynard, Mallory Abercrobmie, Angela Sharp, Maggie McDonald, and Jade Hardwrick.

 

Superintendent George Kennedy said he encourages students to participate in learning activities outside the traditional classroom.

 

Kennedy also reported the district purchased and constructed a 10x20 portable building at the softball field. He said the building will serve as a temporary dressing room until a permanent building can be built.

 

Board members also heard from the Special Education LEA Supervisor, Kelli Parson about the district's need for another Special Education teacher.

 

 

43RD ARKANSAS GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE ON TOURISM IN LITTLE ROCK MARCH 12-14      3/3/17

 

Tourism partners from across the state will meet at the 43rd Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism March 12th through 14th at the Little Rock Marriott and Statehouse Convention Center.  This year's theme is "Showtime! Spotlight on Arkansas Tourism!".

 

the annual gathering of Arkansas' tourism industry offers sessions on a variety of topics such as bringing new travelers to the state, festival planning and promoting communities and attractions.

 

The opening keynote speaker for the event is Anne Madison. She is the chief strategy and communications officer for Brand USA, which is the nation's destination marketing organization. Also speaking will be Roger Dow, the president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association; Chris Stone, the president of VisitGreenvillSC. The conference will culminate with the presentation of the 2017 Henry Awards and an address by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

 

Other conference topics include: Presentation of the 2017 Tourism Hall of Fame Awards; making your community bicycle friendly; festival planning 101; guerrilla marketing of Little Rock's Southside Main Street District; nature tourism in the Natural State; communications strategies and best practices; marketing to a diverse crowd; and developing a film festival for your community.

 

The Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation's annual auction will take place Monday night. The money raised from the silent and live auctions will fund scholarships for individuals seeking careers in the hospitality and tourism industries.

 

The Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism was first held in 1975 at Dogpatch, U.S.A.

 

 

FORMER ASHDOWN RESIDENT FACING CHARGES IN SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT OF FLORIDA       3/2/17

 

A former Ashdown resident has been arrested and has been charged with traveling in foreign commerce with the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor.

 

Earlier this week, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and the special agent in charge with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations Division announced 35-year-old Daniel John Pye, formerly of Ashdown has been arrested and charged by criminal complaint.

 

According to the criminal complaint, Pye who was originally from Bradenton, Florida, traveled from Florida to Haiti for the alleged purpose of sexually abusing minors, from 2008 to 2011.

 

Pye ran a missionary orphanage in Haiti and allegedly engaged in illicit sexual conduct with minor female children who resided at the orphanage.

 

Authorities believe Pye has lived in Liberty Hill, Texas, Texarkana, Texas and Ashdown.

 

Authorities also reported a criminal complaint is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Pye's case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Widlanski.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY 4-H'ERS VISIT THE STATE CAPITOL       3/2/17

 

More than 400 4-H members from throughout Arkansas arrived at the State Capitol Building on February 16th to hear from Governor Asa Hutchinson and other elected officials before touring the Capitol grounds, meeting with some of their respective legislators and attending readings of the 4-H Day resolutions in the House and Senate.

 

Speaking to the hundreds of 4-H members who assembled at the Arkansas Association of Counties headquarters was State Auditor Andrea Lea. Lea said the visit was an opportunity for 4-H members to get a taste of the legislative processes.

 

After visiting with Lea, the 4-Hers took the short walk to the state Capitol building to visit with their elected officials and tour the grounds.

 

The first 4-H Day at the Capitol was held two years ago, in 2015. Brian Helms is the director of stakeholder relations for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, and he said the purpose of the event was twofold: to expose members of 4-H to the Capitol and the mechanics of the legislative process and to also familiarize legislators with the widespread importance and popularity of the 4-H program, which serves all 75 counties in Arkansas.

 

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin told the crowd that in his life he's never seen a larger crowed in the rotunda.

Governor Asa Hutchinson emphasized the importance of the members' future participation in government and the economy in Arkansas and beyond.

 

The Sevier County 4-H members that attended the 4-H Day at the Capitol event included: Kaydee Cowling, Hunter Frachiseur, Ethan Wolcott, Aubrey Seymour, Amber Morris, Sydney Hill and Brennen Seymour. They were accompanied by Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring.

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CELEBRATING ITS SESQUICENTENNIAL      3/2/17

 

In February, Fourth District United States Congressman Bruce Westerman saluted Little River County on its upcoming 150th birthday on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. in order for his comments to be a part of the National Historic Record.

 

This week, Little River County Judge Mike Cranford informed KDQN that Little River County is holding a sesquicentennial celebration this Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

At 9 a.m. Judge Cranford will welcome the residents of Little River County with some opening words. He will be joined by Ashdown City Clerk/Treasurer Kirk Mounts and Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin.

 

Through out the day, there will be performances and presentations by the Ashdown High School Band and Choir, the Ashdown Junior High School "team club" and cheer squad, the Ashdown Elementary fourth graders, the Foreman High School Dance Team, the Foreman elementary sixth grade class, and the Foreman High School Band.

 

Cranford said staff members from the Historic Washington State Park will be on hand. He said they will be leading period dance workshop at 10 and 10:20 a.m. and again at 2 and 2:20 p.m.

 

Cranford said they will be serving cake at 11 a.m. He said there will be speeches by Arkansas Senator Jimmy Hickey and Representative DeAnn Vaught, along with current and former county and city officials.

 

Friday night at 7 p.m., the Ashdown High School Theater Department will present a Trial by Jury event in the Little River County Courtroom. The cost is $5 per person.

 

Cranford said the Rocky Comfort Museum in Foreman is scheduled to be open this Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Will Reed House in Winthrop is scheduled to be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Two Rivers Museum in Ashdown is scheduled to be open on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there's going to be a 5K race on Saturday in Arden at 8 a.m. The registration cost is $25 and the proceeds will benefit the Little River County Shop with a Cop program.

 

 

COSSATOT FRIENDS OF NRA BANQUET       3/1/17

 

This Saturday, the Cossatot Friends of the NRA will be hosting their annual banquet in the De Queen High School cafeteria. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and activities will begin at 6.

 

This year's theme is Freedom, Family, Future and tickets are $25 for an individual dinner ticket or $40 for a couple. Custom tables of eight are available. There is also Big Shooter package for $100, which includes one dinner and $100 dollars worth of raffle tickets. The Super Shooter package is $250 and includes one dinner and $250 dollars worth of raffle tickets. A table of eight is $800 and there are other packages to choose from.

 

For ticket information, call 870-584-7719 or stop by Bakers Bargain House.

 

The Cossatot Friends of the NRA is focused on raising funds that benefit youth shooting sport programs in and around the area and throughout Arkansas.

 

For more information, visit the website FriendsofNRA.org.

 

 

MARGARET DANIEL EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION DINNER RAISES OVER $17,000       3/1/17

 

The Annual Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation Dinner and Silent Auction was held Saturday, February 18th at the Ashdown High School cafeteria and raised over $17,000 for educational grants.

 

The event is held each year and raises money to support "out of the box" innovation ideas that Ashdown teachers can receive through grant applications.

 

According to Foundation Board member and Ashdown High School Principal Kay York, pictured left with Margaret Daniel, the Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation supporters are varied and widespread. She said they enjoy donating so Ashdown students can grow into future leaders of the community and state.

 

Culinary Chef Lois Corbell, along with, special guest chefs Jack Madden and Chef Powell prepared the meal that was served by Ashdown High School students. Entertainment was provided by Chasing Rita.

 

To date, the foundation has raised over $17,000 from this year's dinner. However, the foundation accepts memorials, gifts and honorariums throughout the year. For more information, contact York at the Ashdown High School at 870-898-3562. Click here for more pictures.

 

 

MISSOURI RESIDENT ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGES       3/1/17

 

On February 28th, Patrolman First Class J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department noticed a vehicle parked very close to the North bound lane near the Tres Agaves Restaurant around 3:45 in the morning.

 

Lopez approached the vehicle and made contact with the driver, Christina Zimmer of Missouri. Zimmer told Officer Lopez that she had pulled over so she could roll a cigarette.

 

Lopez also identified the passenger as 40-year-old Aaron Roberts of El Dorado Springs, Missouri.

 

Officer Lopez was assisted by Patrolman First Class Levi Browning who advised Lopez that he had observed some beer cans near Roberts and that one of them was open.

 

Roberts was then taken into custody for drinking on the highway. Officers also retrieved a black bag from the passenger side of the vehicle. The bag contained marijuana, a glass pipe that contained a white residue of suspected methamphetamine and a plastic bag of suspected methamphetamine.

 

At the De Queen Police Station, Roberts allegedly admitted the contents of the black bag belonged to him.

 

Roberts was charged with drinking on the highway, a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, a felony count of possession of a controlled substance and a felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

FOREMAN GATOR YOUTH BASEBALL CAMP       3/1/17

 

The Foreman Gator Baseball Coach Mark Hill announced this week that the Gator Baseball Program will be hosting a youth baseball camp for children of all ages this Saturday at noon at the Foreman High School baseball field.

 

Hill said participates will receive instruction in hitting, defense, and base-running. He said players will also scrimmage at the end of the camp.

 

Players will need to provide their own gloves, helmets and bats. Hill also suggested players wear sweats or baseball pants because they will be sliding.

 

Hill also mentioned the senior Gators will be young, but one pre-season publication ranks the Gators as the number eight team in 2A baseball.

 

Hill said for more information you may call the Foreman High School at 870-542-7211.

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS HIRES BENNETT AS HEAD FOOTBALL COACH       3/1/17

 

Monday night, the Mineral Springs Board of Education voted to hire David Bennett as the new head football coach for the Mineral Springs High School.

 

Bennett coached this past season at Horatio High School where he also served as the Dean of Students. Bennett graduated from Dierks High School in 1982 and coached the Dierks Outlaws for 16 years.

 

Board members also voted to hire Thelma Forte as the superintendent, effective July 1st. Forte will replace Curtis Turner who will remain with the district as an advisor.

 

Forte has been an elementary principal for 20 years with the Texarkana, Arkansas School District.

 

  

PLEASE MAKE HIM LEAVE        3/1/17

 

February 25th, De Queen Police Corporal James Gilbert was dispatched to a residence on West Maple Street after the resident reported a male subject was on her porch and she wanted him to leave.

 

When Gilbert arrived, he identified the male subject as 26-year-old Adam Smith of Arkadelphia. When asked why he was at the home, Smith said he was there to see a friend.

 

While speaking with Smith, Gilbert noticed a female subject sitting in a silver SUV who was asking Smith to get back in the car.

 

After running a background check on Smith and the female subject, Gilbert discovered Smith and the female subject, Billie Renee Moore had outstanding warrants for their arrest.

 

De Queen Police Officer David Higgins was asked to transport Smith to the Sevier County Jail. As Higgins walked Smith to his patrol vehicle, he asked Smith if he had anything illegal on his person. Smith allegedly said he had a pipe in his pocket. When Higgins retrieved the pipe, he also discovered a small bag of suspected methamphetamine.

 

Smith was arrested on the warrant and charged for possession of controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Moore was also transported to the Sevier County Jail on a warrant out of Sevier County. 

 

 

WARRANT RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST     2/28/17

 

On Friday, February 24th, officers with the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police and the South Central Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at a residence at 128 Lone Pine in De Queen.

 

A search of the residence produced 2.4 pounds of marijuana.

 

The suspect was identified as Daniel Luna of De Queen. He was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with the purpose to deliver.

 

 

LOCKESBURG LIONS CLUB HOSTING FUNDRAISING DINNER AND SILENT AUCTION THIS THURSDAY      2/28/17

 

The Lockesburg Lions Club will be hosting a fundraising dinner and silent auction this Thursday in the fellowship hall of the Lockesburg First United Methodist Church from 5 to 7:30 p.m. to help raise funds for a sign for the Lockesburg campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Club members Barbara Dixon and Terry Chapman told KDQN that UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole will also make a presentation at 6 p.m. about the college's plans for the old Lockesburg High School campus.

 

Dixon said Lions International is celebrating its 100th anniversary and every club has been asked to create a legacy. She said the Lockesburg Lions Club is raising funds to construct a sign for the new Lockesburg campus of UA Cossatot. Dixon said they will be selling chicken, brisket and pulled pork plates for $8 each or $4 for children four and under.

 

Chapman stated they will have several items for people to bid on, as well as, a Kindle Fire door prize.

 

Dixon said the auction will begin at 5 p.m. and it will end after Dr. Cole's presentation. She also mentioned you do not have to be present to win.

 

For more information, call the Bank of Lockesburg to speak with Dixon at 870-289-4071 or you may contact Chapman at the First United Methodist Church by calling 870-289-2871.

  

 

FORD HOT AIR BALLOON COMES TO DE QUEEN     2/28/17

 

A 7-story tall custom designed Ford hot air balloon will be making a stop on its 2017 tour in De Queen on Friday, March 10th and Saturday, March 11th thanks to De Queen Ford.

 

The Ford balloon is based in Branson, Missouri and is operated by Branson Balloon. Commercial hot air balloon pilot Rodney Williams, who was born in De Queen, has been flying balloons over 25 years with over 2,000 hours of flight time. Williams says he looks forward to returning to De Queen because he still has several relatives living in the area.

 

The stop in De Queen is part of a 3-year balloon program that is taking the balloon across the United States and to Mexico and has attended hundreds of fairs, festivals, sporting events and hot air balloon festivals such as the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every year in October. Select Ford dealerships are also hosting the balloon in their hometowns for promotional events.

 

In each town that is visited, they also visit a local school. The pilot and crew from the Ford balloon will visit the De Queen Elementary and Middle School Friday morning and present an educational program about hot air ballooning. Students will have the opportunity to watch the inflation and see the balloon up close. There is no cost to the school or dealership for the educational program. It is an interactive learning experience for the students that's designed to spark interest in ballooning and aviation in general.

 

As another way of giving back to the community, the Ford balloon is partnering with the Sevier County Citizen's Center. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the tethered rides will go directly to help the center.

 

De Queen Ford is sponsoring the tethered balloon rides Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until noon, weather permitting. All ages will be able to go up in the air for a short experience with the balloon anchored to the ground. The cost is $5 per person and all funds raised will benefit the Sevier County Senior Adult Center. Children 15 years of age or younger must have a parent or guardian present to sign a waiver.

 

For more information about the Ford balloon that coming to De Queen, contact Tammy Huddleston at 870-642-3604. To learn more about the Ford hot air balloon program, visit the website www.fordballoon.com.

 

 

PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING OFFERED        2/28/17

 

County Extension Agent, Rex Herring will conduct two Private Applicator Training sessions on Tuesday, March 7th at 2 and 5:30 p.m. at the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Anyone whose Private Applicator Training license has expired or those who do not have a license and need to be certified to purchase restricted products for farm or ranch use should attend one of the meetings. For more information, call the Sevier County Extension office at 870-584-3013. You do not need to pre-register to attend.

 

 

4-H OUTDOOR COUNTY O'RAMA      2/28/17

 

The Sevier County 4-H held their annual Outdoor County 4-H O'Rama February 20th. The competitive events included gun safety and BB gun marksmanship, reel into sports fishing, baitcasting, and bicycle .

 

The winners of these events will be eligible to compete at the District 4-H O'Rama that's held in June. Even though it was a rainy day, 21 4-H'ers showed up to compete.

 

The winner of the Junior Gun Safety and BB Gun  competition was Hunter Frachiseur, 2nd place went to Attalee Frachiseur and 3rd place went to Evin Frachiseur. In the senior division the winner was Veronica Rivas, 2nd place was Amber Morris and 3rd place went to Marcus Rosson.

 

The winner of the Junior baitcasting competition was Hunter Frachiseur, 2nd place went to Brayden Frachiseur and 3rd place went to Makade Bivins. The winner in the senior division was Veronica Rivas, 2nd place went to Amber Morris and 3rd place went to Marcus Rosson.

 

The winner of the Junior reel into sport fishing competition was Brady Haarmeyer, 2nd place went to Evin Frachiseur and 3rd place went to Brayden Frachiseur. The winner in the senior division was Marcus Rosson.

 

The winner of the Junior bicycle competition was Jade Bivins, 2nd place went to Makade Bivins and 3rd place went to Brady Haarmeyer.

 

 

AG SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK IS MARCH 5-11       2/28/17

 

Across the country, Farm Bureaus are making safety a top priority this spring through the Agricultural Safety Awareness Program. As a part of ASAP, March 5th through the 11th has been designated as Agricultural Safety Awareness Week.

 

This year's theme, "Get out of my space," will highlight a different safety focus each day of the week. Monday will focus on Confined Space, Tuesday will focus on Animal Space; Wednesday will focus on Equipment Operator Space; Thursday will focus on Electrical Space; and Friday will focus on Driver Space.

 

When the latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor and other organizations are examined, it's easy to see why the awareness of safety in these areas is important.

 

Each year, there are 804 ATV-related deaths nationally on average. In 2014, 259 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries. In 2015, there were 32,166 people killed in car crashes and 2,443,000 injured, nationwide, and there were 38 documented grain-bin entrapment accidents that resulted in 17 deaths in 2015, which is the highest level since 2010.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau has two full-time safety coordinators on staff who offer eight different safety and informational programs free of charge to schools and civic groups.

 

For more information, visit the "Education" section of the Arkansas Farm Bureau's website, www.arfb.com.

 

 

READ ACROSS AMERICA        2/27/17

 

Students of the L.F. Henderson campus of the Ashdown School District will be participating in the Read Across America Day, which is Thursday, March 2nd.

 

Students are being encouraged to read and take an AR test on every book that they read, if students have 25 or more AR points on Wednesday, March 1st, they will be recognized at the reading pep rally on March 2nd and they will enjoy an afternoon of "All-American Fun" in the library on March 10th.

 

Students are also being encouraged to dress up as their favorite character from their favorite book or dress in red, white and blue.

 

 

PROTECTION ORDER VIOLATION       2/27/17

 

February 20th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies Wendell Randell and Kris Hundley were dispatched to a residence on Huffman Lane in reference to a violation of a order of protection.

 

According to the arrest affidavit, Samantha Coulter informed the sheriff's office that she was contacted by Jerry Don Brown of Lockesburg by Facebook Messenger about 1:30 p.m. and that she had an order of protection against Brown.

 

Brown was arrested without incident and transported to the Sevier County jail where he told the deputies that Coulter had filed for the protection order after they had an argument earlier in February. Brown said they were arguing because he didn't want Coulter and her friends at his mother's house when she wasn't there.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE - DEANN VAUGHT       2/27/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Arkansas House of Representative has passed a number of bills this session that are aimed at not only creating jobs, but sustaining them and ensuring that Arkansas' workforce is ready.

 

Vaught said Act 166 creates a state matching grant program for small businesses that have received a federal Small Business Innovation Research grant. The Small Business Innovation Research grant encourages small businesses to engage in federal research and commercialization that has the potential for technological innovation, which may lead to creating and retaining high-wage, high-tech jobs in moderately and highly skilled occupations.

 

Vaught said Arkansas consistently ranks poorly among states in the number of federal Small Business Innovation Research grants. She said the state is hoping that the matching grants will encourage Arkansas businesses to apply for the federal grant and realize the economic benefits of the research.

 

Vaught said to qualify, the business would have to be principally engaged in one or more of the following: advanced materials and manufacturing systems; agriculture, food, and environmental sciences; biotechnology, bioengineering and life sciences; information technology; transportation logistics or bio-based products.

 

The matching grant would be limited to 50 percent of the federal grant up to $50,000 for Phase I and up to $100,000 for a Phase II award.

 

Vaught said Act 165 is the Arkansas Business and Technology Accelerator Act and it creates a $2 million accelerator grant program for startup companies.

 

And last week, the House approved House Bill 1442, which is the Personal Finance and Job Readiness Act. Vaught said this legislation requires the Department of Career Education and the Department of Education to write standards for a curriculum that will teach students skills to help them create a household budget, credit management and retirement planning.

 

It will also require students to learn basic job skills including resume building and how to fill out a W-4. It will also require instruction of soft jobs skills such as time management, communication and meeting basic employer expectations.

 

The House is currently in the 8th week of the Regular Session and you can watch House floor proceedings and House committee meetings that are held in the Capitol at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

LIFESHARE BLOOD CENTER HOLDING BLOOD DRIVE AT WAL-MART IN DE QUEEN MARCH 10        2/27/17

 

LifeShare Blood Center is having a blood drive on Friday, March 10th at Wal-Mart in De Queen from 2 to 7 p.m. The blood drive will be in the LifeShare Bus and is open to the public.

 

About five percent of the population donates blood, but 38 percent are eligible. Anyone 16 years old and weighing at least 110 pounds can present to go through a short screening process for blood donation and the opportunity to save someone's life.

 

For more information, go to www.lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3173.

 

LifeShare Blood Centers regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including the De Queen Medical Center, the Little River Memorial Hospital and the Howard Memorial Hospital.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: REFUND ANTICIPATION LOANS AND CHECKS CAN COST YOU        2/27/17

 

Some car salesmen use high pressure tactics to slither their way into a consumer's wallet and some car dealerships and other large-item retailers are trying to convince Arkansans to let them do their taxes. They say they can predict the tax refund amount and will encourage consumers to enter into a loan with the business to purchase a large ticket item. This is called a Refund Anticipation Loan and it may end up costing the consumer more then filing his or her own return.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Refund Anticipation Loans can be risky and costly for consumers. She said the actual refund may only cover a portion of the loan, leaving the consumer on the hook for the rest of the money and often at an inflated interest rate.

 

Rutledge released the following considerations before you agree to having your taxes prepared as part of a Refund Anticipation Loan:

For one, there are free or low-cost options such as the online IRS Free File program or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance may be options.

 

Electronically filed returns can be deposited in bank accounts in as few as eight days and the IRS can also provide refunds by check or prepaid debit card.

 

And you should always get a written list of fees before entering into any agreement or requesting tax preparation assistance.

 

Refund Anticipation Checks are similar to Refund Anticipation Loans and can be attractive to some consumers because businesses often waive the tax preparation fees, but many Arkansans can obtain free tax preparation services. The IRS provides a Free File program online that is a federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for approximately 70 percent of taxpayers who earn less than $64,000. Eligible consumers can go to IRS.gov and choose from multiple private companies that will file federal returns at no charge.

 

Some Arkansans may also be eligible to receive free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Meanwhile, seniors can contact AARP to learn more about the tax preparation services they provide.

 

For more information, visit the website arkansasag.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

STATE SUPREME COURT SAYS CITY'S ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE VIOLATES STATE LAW       2/27/17

 

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a city's ordinance banning discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity, but it stopped short of saying whether a state law aimed at prohibiting such local LGBT protections is constitutional.

 

Justices reversed a judge's decision that Fayetteville's anti-discrimination ordinance didn't violate a state law prohibiting cities from enacting protections that are not covered by state law. Fayetteville, a liberal enclave in northwestern Arkansas, is one of several cities that approved local protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in response to the 2015 law.

 

The court ruled that other laws, including the anti-bullying law, aren't related to anti-discrimination laws and don't create new protected classes. They noted the 2015 law states its intent is to provide a uniform anti-discrimination measure in the state.

 

According to the court, the Fayetteville ordinance violates the plain wording of Act 137 by extending discrimination laws in the city of Fayetteville to include two classifications that were not previously included under state law. Thereby, creating a non-uniform nondiscrimination law.

 

Eureka Springs approved a broad anti-discrimination ordinance in 2015, while the state government, and the cities of Little Rock and Hot Springs have passed a limited protection measure that only covers government agencies and contractors.

 

 

UA COSSATOT REDACTS PROGRAM STATEMENT         2/24/17

 

UA Cossatot regrets the fact that they published a press release on February 6th that contained the statement, "UA Cossatot continues to add new programs such as Physical Therapy Assistant in the Fall of 2017.." This statement was published without the review of the PTA Program Director and must be redacted so the college can be in compliance with the guidelines of the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

 

Graduation from a physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the Commission Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is necessary for eligibility to sit for the licensure examination, which is required in all states.

 

UA Cossatot is seeking accreditation of a new physical therapist assistant education program from the CAPTE.  The program is planning to submit an Application for Candidacy, which is the formal application that's required in the pre-accreditation stage. The application will be submitted on March 1st. Submission of this document does not assure that the program will be granted Candidate for Accreditation status because an Achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status is requried prior to implementation of the technical phase of the program; and therefore, no students may be enrolled in technical courses until the Candidate for Accreditation status has been achieved. Further, though achievement of Candidate for Accreditation status signifies satisfactory progress toward accreditation, it does not assure that the program will be granted accreditation.

 

The developing physical therapist assistant program at UA Cossatot is planning for a charter class that will graduate in August of 2018. Initial accreditation decisions will be acted upon at the next regular Fall Meeting of the Commission following the on-site visit, which must occur during the penultimate term when the charter class is enrolled.

 

CAPTE will not make exceptions to its Rules to accommodate graduation dates that precede regularly scheduled CAPTE meeting dates, like graduation in the summer because a summer graduation does not allow the initial accreditation decision to occur prior to the graduation date.

 

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy sets the dates for licensing exams and the first sitting for which students with an August graduation date would be in January. Therefore, the timing of the planned graduation date increases the likelihood of a significant financial disadvantage for students due to an approximate six-month delay in possible employment as a physical therapist assistant.

 

 

HONORS OF THE 2017 DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE         2/24/17

 

Thursday night, the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Membership and Awards Banquet at the De Queen High School cafeteria.

 

Awards were presented to local businesses and individuals for their service to Sevier County.

 

Chamber President Patrick Massey reported the chamber has 166 members. He also mentioned several events that the chamber sponsored in 2016. Massey said the chamber hosted the annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Classic, an I-49 meeting, the KCS Holiday Express and the finals of the Mr. Big Bass Classic in October. He also encouraged area residents to Shop Local, Think Local and Invest Local.

 

Luke Billingsley State Farm Insurance Agency was awarded the Renovation/Beautification Award. Gentry Chevrolet won the New Construction Award. Smiles of Arkansas Dental was named the Small Business of the Year and Horatio State Bank was named the Large Business of the Year.

 

In the table decorating contest, Pilgrim's Pride won the Best Business Theme division, while Bancorp South won the Most Beautiful Table award.

 

Massey then presented Sevier County Judge Greg Ray (Below-left) with the 2017 Community Service Award and the Ed Revels family (Below-right) was named the 2017 Sevier County Business Family of the Year.

 

And, chamber board member Susan Alspaw introduced Tony Bob Ray (Below-center) as the 2017 Sevier County Citizen of the Year.

 

 

The 2017 Teachers of the Year were: Sara Dockins from the Horatio Elementary School, Leslie McCleskey from Legacy Academy, Kay Trotta from UA Cossatot, Anita Caudle from the De Queen High School and Susie Carver from the De Queen/Mena Educational Co-op.

 

 Photos by De Queen Bee Staff

 

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