Local News Archive

ASHDOWN STUDENTS VISIT DOMTAR 04/30/19

Students from the Ashdown High School Advisory Class of Ms. Alicia McCormack were invited to Domtar on Tuesday, April 23 as part of Domtar’s Earth Week in order to show Domtar EarthChoice Ambassadors and employees about how they make mats from plastic bags for the homeless.  The students demonstrated how they fold the bags, trim and cut them before tying the loops together then crocheting them into a mat. The mats do not mildew and provide a moisture barrier from the ground.  It takes approximately 700 bags to complete each mat.

Superintendent Nichols said, “I am so proud of our students and all the time and effort they have spent on making the mats and the presentation they gave today at Domtar. We appreciate Domtar for inviting them today to speak and excited that they now have employees that are interested in making the mats.  Mill Manger Allan Bohn and his employees are top notch and so supportive of our staff and students at Ashdown Public Schools!”

ARKANSAS AG FILES SUIT AGAINST OPIOID DISTRIBUTORS 04/30/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced last week she has filed a lawsuit against opioid distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson Corporation and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation on behalf of the State of Arkansas.

This lawsuit is the latest step in Rutledge’s multifaceted approach to solving the opioid crisis, which has devastated families across Arkansas and the country.

Opioid distributors have the responsibility of ensuring that medications are only distributed and dispensed to appropriate patients and not diverted to unauthorized users. But these users failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of opioids, ultimately contributing to and creating a national and statewide emergency.

Rutledge is suing the opioid distributors who enabled the problem in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act as well as for negligence, creation of a public nuisance and for being unjustly enriched by their business practices.

Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combatting the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, litigation, treatment and enforcement. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Life program is free for high schools and over the last year has reached 67 counties and almost 13,800 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.

SEVIER COUNTY DEPUTIES FIND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA NEAR INFANT DURING SEARCH 04/30/19

A press release has been made public by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department:

The department executed a search warrant at a residence on brooks Road in Sevier County Thursday, April 25th. Upon entry into the residence deputies came into contact with 19-year-old Racheal Weathers, 34-year-old Brian Cunningham and a 3-month-old infant. All three subjects were located in the bedroom of the residence. Rachael and Brian were sitting on the floor beside the bed and the infant was on the bed. In the bedroom deputies located several glass smoking devices used to smoke methamphetamine. One of the pipes contained suspected methamphetamine residue. The case the pipe came out of was located on the bed beside the infant. Racheal Weathers and Brian Cunningham were both arrested and charged with Felony Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and The Department of Human Services was called in to take custody of the infant.

ARKANSAS STATE TROOPER VISITS ASHDOWN ELEMENTARY STUDENTS 04/30/19

Arkansas State Trooper Joshua Brougton gave a safety presentation for Ashdown Elementary 2nd Graders on Friday, April 26.

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM WINS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP 04/29/19

The De Queen High School Quiz Bowl team defeated Morrilton High School 290-260 Saturday morning to win the Class 5A State Quiz Bowl Tournament championship in
Conway. It’s the first ever quiz bowl title for De Queen High School, and the victory netted the school a $3,000 check.

Noah Reed was named the MVP with the highest scoring average during the state tournament contests. The De Queen High School team is coached by Thomas Sweeten. The state championship contest was televised statewide by the Arkansas Educational Television Network.

The De Queen team traveled to Conway on Friday and toured the A.E.T.N. studios and enjoyed the movie:“Avengers”. The team celebrated their state championship Saturday afternoon with a visit to the Trampoline Park in Conway. The De Queen team will now begin preparations for the National Quiz Bowl Tournament in Washington, DC in late May.

VENDOR APPLICATIONS FOR KIAMICHI OWA-CHITO FESTIVAL BEING ACCEPTED 04/29/19

The Kiamichi Owa-Chito is currently taking applications for vendors and businesses to set up booths at the annual festival, to be held June 22nd.
Any local craft vendors or businesses wanting a commercial booth need to contact the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce at 580-584-3393 or Sharon Jernigan at 580-212-9577. Vendor applications can be downloaded fromwww.owachitofestival.com.

TRANSPORTATION  CHANGES AHEAD FOR ARKANSAS RESIDENTS 04/29/19

Many of the bills passed in the recent Arkansas Legislative session could have a direct impact on residents daily commute.  The Public Transportation Committee heard testimony on proposals from how fast you can drive to requirements to get your license.

Some of the bills that have been signed into law impacting Arkansas drivers include:

Act 869 , which provides needed changes to have the Arkansas Online Insurance Verification System implemented by January 1, 2020. This system gives law enforcement access to real time information regarding proof of insurance.

Act 738 amends distracted driving laws to put Arkansas in compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. It establishes minimum fines for violating the law of $25 dollars for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Maximum fines are set at $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

Act 288 makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone. Act 550 increases the penalties for passing an authorized vehicle stopped on a highway. It increases the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.

Act 784 states the maximum speed limit on a controlled-access highway is 75 mph if the highway is located outside an urban area and has at least 4 lanes that are divided by a median strip. This law becomes effective July 1, 2020.

Act 364 amends the Arkansas Speed Trap Law. It requires Legislative Audit to include information to determine if a municipality is potentially abusing police power in the agency’s routine audit reports.  Act 368 amends the eligibility of antique motor vehicle special license plates to vehicles that are 45 years or older at the time of application. Currently, vehicles 25 year of age or older are eligible. Those with current antique plates are not required to reapply.

For a complete list of driving regulations visit www.asp.arkansas.gov. And for requirements regarding your car tags and license visit www.mydmv.arkansas.gov .

WESTERMAN WEEKLY WITH WILEY (AND JAY) 04/25/19

Every Thursday Morning, KDQN News Director Murriel Wiley and Jay Lindly of “The morning Brew” host a weekly interview with Bruce Westerman, Congressman for The 4th District. An edited version of the weekly call has been made available for KDQN listeners.

Take a listen!:

 

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS SCHOOLS TO RECEIVE MILLIONS IN FUNDING 04/26/19

Forty Arkansas school districts will receive $103.7 million in state funding for 56 campus construction, expansion and system replacement projects in the coming 2019-20 fiscal year.
The three-member Arkansas Commission for Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation on Wednesday unanimously approved state funding for the individual projects for districts as large as Springdale, Little Rock, Benton, Cabot, Fort Smith and Arkadelphia, and as small as Earle, Bay and Maynard.

The newly approved funding is the state’s share of the cost of the local district building projects — a percentage of the total project cost. The state’s share is determined by a district’s student enrollment and its local property tax wealth, with wealthier districts qualifying for smaller percentages of state building aid or even no state building aid.

The financial aid for school buildings is the result of Arkansas’ Academic Facilities Partnership Program. Officials began that program in 2006 to modernize public schools in response to a state Supreme Court decision that had declared Arkansas’ public schools inequitable, inadequate and unconstitutional.

In Southwest Arkansas, The Prescott School District is in line to receive almost $5.2 million for a new elementary school and Foreman High is set to receive $4.3 million. Of the total $104.8 million available for the partnership program in 2019-20, there is $41.8 million in newly appropriated funds by the state Legislature, $45.3 million in carry over funds from previous years, and an estimated $17.7 million that is available as school districts pay off their pre-2005 debts and no longer need the state aid they have received for those debts.

CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN IN PIKE COUNTY 04/26/19

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Pike County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.

The purpose of this project is to widen a section of State Highway 8 to construct a left turn lane in Rosboro and overlay 6.1 miles of selected sections of State Highway 8 between U.S. Highway 70 and the Clark County line, near Glenwood.

Cranford Construction Company of North Little Rock was awarded the contract at $2,517,290.93.

Construction is scheduled to begin within the next month, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2019.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES TIPS FOR RESIDENTS DEALING WITH STORM DAMAGE 04/26/19

After the recent heavy rains and severe storms swept across Arkansas, which caused a section of I-30 to be temporarily shut down and storm damage throughout the State, Arkansans are left picking up the pieces and preparing for storm season. While nature’s fury can be devastating, there are many things that Arkansans can do to protect themselves and their property in the aftermath of a storm.

“Severe storms and flood waters can cause terrible damage to property,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans need to know the steps to take if their property has been impacted by the recent severe weather. We also need to know how to protect our pocketbook from those who want to take advantage of us during this difficult time.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are cleaning up water damage on their property:

  • Call your insurance agent. If insurance covers the damage, the agent should have an adjuster contact you.
  • Make a list of the damage and take photographs or video as you clean. This documentation will be needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions.
  • Clear away any mud, and clean and disinfect every surface.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone to clean up or make repairs.
  • Get multiple estimates and compare prices.
  • Turn off all electrical and heating and cooling systems to be inspected and repaired or cleaned by a qualified or licensed contractor.
  • Appliances and electronics should be professionally cleaned and serviced to prevent electrocution.
  • Never pay in advance for any repair service, and inspect the completed project before making the final payment.
  • Communicate with the insurance company directly rather than authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the company.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

AGFC COMMISSION MEETING HELD THIS WEEK 04/26/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved the dates for the 2019-20 waterfowl season at Thursday’s regularly scheduled business meeting.

This year’s dove season will be Sept. 1-Oct. 27, 2019, and Dec. 14, 2019-Jan. 15, 2020.at the John Q. Hammons Center.

The 2019-20 Arkansas waterfowl season will be as follows:

Early Teal Season
Sept. 15-30, 2019

Early Canada Goose Season
Sept. 1-30, 2019

Duck, Coot and Merganser Season
Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019
Dec. 11-23, 2019
Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Special Youth and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt
Dec. 7, 2019, and Feb. 8, 2020

White-fronted Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Canada Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order Season
Oct. 5-25, 2019
Oct. 31-Nov. 22, 2019
Feb. 1-7, 2020
Feb. 9-April 25, 2020

New federal frameworks allow regular duck season to extend to the last day of January. Previous frameworks required duck seasons to end on the last Sunday of January, which could be as early as Jan. 25 in some years.

The season proposals include new combination youth/veteran days, in which veterans of the nation’s armed forces may participate in the hunt.

Commissioner Andrew Parker of Little Rock asked about extending those hunts to two full weekends for youths and veterans, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife frameworks allow only two days outside of normal waterfowl seasons for these special hunts.

This season’s daily waterfowl limits will remain unchanged, with the exception of a decrease to one pintail per day and an increase to two canvasbacks per day. Both of these changes are adjustments in federal frameworks based on fluctuating populations of the species.

The Commission also heard the first reading of a proposed increase to resident and nonresident trout permit fees. The increase from $5 to $10 for resident trout permits and from $12 to $20 for nonresident permits will be dedicated to funding the renovation of the AGFC’s Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, trout management efforts and improving fishing access and opportunities. This is the first increase to the resident stamp since 1987 and the first increase to the nonresident stamp since 2003. Approval to increase resident fees was granted by Senate Bill 486. The Commission is expected to vote on this increase during its May meeting; the increase would not go into effect until Aug. 1.

 DE QUEEN WAL-MART DONATES TO AINSLEY’S ANGEL’S OF SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 04/25/19

Pictured: Broken Bow Angel Athlete Alexis Berryhill, with her mom, Heather, sister, Tessa, and Nurse Ami Parker. De Queen Walmart Managers and Angel Runners Joyce Anderson and Randy Stepp who will be pushing the Walmart Freedom Chair along with other managers in the upcoming De Queen Fiesta Fest Kolor Run 5k on May 4. Southwest Arkansas Ainsley’s Angel Ambassador Tessa Dean. 

The Southwest Arkansas chapter of Ainsley’s Angels would like to express thanks to The De Queen Walmart for their generosity in sponsoring a Freedom Chair for their local non-profit group. For their first race in Horatio, AR on February 23, 2019, they used all borrowed athletic equipment from the next closest Ambassadorship four hours away in Northwest Arkansas. Now, the local ambassadorship has a fleet of four chairs for the area’s differently abled athletes. They currently have twelve registered Angel Athletes and 49 Angel Runners, with a quickly growing family as new Ainsley’s Angels register daily.

Coming up, Ainsey’s angels of Southwest Arkansas has announced theywill have a record number (for the area) of Angel athlete riders participating in the Peach Blossom Festival 5k May 3rd in Howard County. There are an estimated 20-25 participants, which will require 80-100 pairs of Angel runner’s legs (3-4 per chair) Angel Ambassador Tessa Dean says the goal is to not have to tell any differently-abled athlete in the Southwest Arkansas area that the group does not have the legs or the equipment for them to participate in a community event. The organization also plans to participate in the Fiesta Fest 5k on Saturday May 4th in De Queen and all available volunteers are welcome and appreciated. Also in De Queen on May 20th, Ainsley’s Angels will be partnering with DPS and the police department to participate in the Special Olympics Torch Run-the De Queen leg from City Hall to the Tractor Supply parking lot. The school will provide the student angel athlete riders transportation to the race, Ainsley’s Angels will provide the equipment. Then on June 1st, the group will host a major fundraising event with the benefit basketball tournament for 3-12 grade 5v5 in the morning and adult co-ed 3v3 that evening.. The fundraiser also includes a smoked chicken lunch sponsored by Tyson. For more information about Ainsley’s Angels, contact Tessa Dean. swarkansas@ainsleysangels.org

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES DISBURSEMENT OF TOBACCO SETTLEMENT 04/25/19
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has secured the 2019 share of proceeds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with tobacco companies. More than 20 years ago, 46 states and numerous other jurisdictions entered into a historic, multi-billion dollar agreement to settle consumer-protection lawsuits for the costs that they had incurred for treating the negative health effects of smoking.
This year’s disbursement of $ 55,375,060.96 brings the total amount received since 2001 to fund various public health programs in Arkansas to $1,059,678,391.78.
The MSA imposed health-related and advertising restrictions on tobacco companies. Additionally, the agreement requires the settling manufacturers to make annual payments to the settling states.

The Attorney General is tasked with enforcing the tobacco statutes that were enacted pursuant to the MSA. This enforcement includes operation of a certification process for tobacco manufacturers, ongoing quarterly and annual reporting, maintaining an Approved-For-Sale Directory, conducting audits, collection of escrow amounts and investigation or even litigation should violations of the tobacco statutes occur.

In 2000, Arkansas voters created the Tobacco Settlement Act, which governs how the funds received under the settlement are used. Payments are placed into the Tobacco Settlement Program Fund for later distribution to the programs supported by the settlement payments, including the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, an agricultural and medical research consortium; the Medicaid Expansion Program, which provides Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and increases hospital benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries; the Prevention and Cessation Program, which aims to reduce tobacco use; and the Targeted State Needs Program, which includes support for public health programs for minorities, older Arkansans and residents of rural areas and the Delta.

UA FAYETTEVILLE CHANCELLOR TO SPEAK AT LOCAL COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT IN MENA 04/25/19

A Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson is pleased to announce that the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville Chancellor Dr. Joe Steinmetz will deliver this year’s commencement address.

Dr. Steinmetz has served as the flagship’s chancellor since 2016. A nationally respected behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Steinmetz was recognized in 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences for his contributions to the fields of experimental psychology and neuroscience. In 2012 he was named an AAAS Fellow.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to not only have Dr. Steinmetz on our campus, but to deliver the commencement address. I’m not at liberty to give details but can confirm that Dr. Steinmetz will be delivering a tremendously exciting announcement that will be of great importance not only to this year’s graduates but for future generations.”

Dr. Steinmetz’s research interests include neuroanatomical and neurophysiological substrates of learning and memory; the effects of alcohol on neural and behavioral function; neurobiological and behavioral models of fetal alcohol syndrome; and the neurobiology of simple human learning, memory, and cognitive function.

Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Thursday, May 9 at 6 p.m. on the front lawn of the campus. In the event of rain, ceremonies will be moved to the Union Bank Center (the new gym). The public is invited to attend and celebrate this accomplishment with the UA Rich Mountain Class of 2019.

PRESCOTT SCHOOL TEACHER ARRESTED ON ASSAULT CHARGES 04/24/19

A press release has been made public by the Prescott Police Department regarding the arrest of a district teacher following the start of an investigation regarding misconduct with a student:

“On the morning of April 23, 2019, Officers with the Prescott Police Department arrested Leona Nivens, 33, of Prescott, at her home, without incident.The arrest came after a joint investigation between the Prescott Police Department and the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division concerning allegations of improper sexual contact between Nivens, a High School Teacher at Prescott High School, and a 15-year-old High School Student.

Nivens had been placed on Administrative leave by the Prescott School District pending the outcome of the investigation. The Charge at the time of the arrest was Sexual Assault in the 2nd Degree. Nivens will remain on administrative leave from Prescott School District pending the outcome of the investigation.”

HISPANIC NIGHT SCHEDULED AT UA COSSATOT IN DE QUEEN 04/24/19

UA Cossatot will be hosting their fifth annual Hispanic night event honoring the academic achievement among Latinos on April 25, 2019, at 6:00 PM. This event will be held at the De Queen campus in the Weyerhaeuser Room inside the Skilled Trades building. UA Cossatot students, high school seniors, UA Cossatot alumni, and their families are invited to attend and admission is free. During Hispanic night, the college will be giving out four awards to outstanding Hispanics in the community.

Awards will be given to a high school student, a UA Cossatot student, an adult education student at UA Cossatot, and a local community member who have all experienced academic success. A meal will be provided and catered by La Media Luna. The event will also include special guest speaker Doris Gutierrez. Before the awards are given out a discussion panel will take place for anyone who would like to learn about UA Cossatot. Questions about admissions, financial aid, degree options, and anything else UA Cossatot related can be asked and answered at Hispanic Night.

UA Cossatot Admissions and Recruitment Specialist, Lizz Garza has been coordinating the event and working with other UA Cossatot staff to make preparations for the event. Garza said, “Working on Hispanic Night this year has really opened my eyes to how extraordinary we Latinos are. We have so many ambitious and driven role models within our community and we hardly recognize them. It has been an enriching experience to get to know all that our community is accomplishing and it is even more rewarding to know that we are all pieces of the big picture.”
If you would like to attend Hispanic night please RSVP by contacting Lizz Garza at lgarza@cccua.edu at 870-584-1159 or 870-912-0338.

LAST SATURDAY SHOOT IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS PLANNED AT RICK EVANS CENTER 04/24/19

An ATA registered shoot has been announced for this weekend, Saturday April 27th at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus, Arkansas.

The shoot will be held from 9 A.M.-3:30 P.M. and the admission fee will vary. No registration required. All members of the community are invited to join the range staff on the last Saturday of the month from April-October for the ATA registered shoot. All targets will be registered and each discipline requires at least three shooters.

Singles will start at 9 a.m. with handicap and doubles to follow. If you have any questions about the ATA, weather or pricing, call Caleb Coulter at 870-983-2790 or visit: w w w.g r a n d v i e w p r a i r i e c e c.c o m |

Additional Last Saturday Shoot Sessions will be featured:

| May 25 | June 29 | JULY 27 | AUG. 31 | SEPT. 28 | OCT. 26

MENA SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADERS RECOGNIZED FOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS 04/24/19

Mena School District Superintendent Benny Weston has been named as the Arkansas Rural Education Association Superintendent of the Year. Mr. Dale Query attended the Mena School Board meeting Tuesday night at the administration building to present the award.

Weston accepted the award, with board members, administrators & community members in attendance to congratulate Mr. Weston for winning the prestigious award. In related news out of Mena, School Board Member Kyle Cannon was featured in the March issue of The Arkansas School Board Association’s monthly magazine.

Cannon was interviewed by the publication and to tell his experiences of being a director. Cannon is the Wickes branch manager for Union Bank of Mena.

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION APRIL MEETING HELD 04/24/19

The Foreman Board of Education met in regular session last week. Three students were presented with gator success certificates during the meeting, including Mallory Abercrombie and Ashley Guthrie for outstanding achievement in the battle of the books competition and Raichel Frye who was chosen as a delegate for an essay she submitted to Southwest Arkansas Electric. Raichel will be visiting Washington D.C this summer with the Arkansas Youth tour.

During the principal reports Mrs. Smiley announced Kindergarten and 6th grade graduations will be held May 21st and Champion gator will be this Friday, April 26th. High School principal Mr. Hall announced the Jr. High District track meet and senior nights for the baseball and softball teams. ACT aspire testing was also held last week and Kolten Green won the individual state champion award for land evaluation.

It was also announced that 11 students have begun the OSHA certification program with Mr. stone, 25 students are working toward Microsoft office certificates, 22 students are taking workkeys assessments for career readiness certificates and seven are working towards marketplace investment basics certification. In the superintendent reports Mrs. Tankersley presented rules and regulations for the board regarding self-construction and it was announced that a New Board Institute training will be held June 24th in Little Rock.

In the new business category Mrs. Tankersley presented six school choice applications coming in the district for Ashdown schools for the 2019-2020 school year which were approved by the board as presented.

The board also approved the licensed and classified salary schedule for the 2019-2020 school year and accepted the bid of K-12 culinary connection as presented before heading into an executive session for approximately 30 minutes. After the executive session the resignation letters of Food Service Director Penny Lansdell, Teacher June Jackson and custodian Elaine Johnson were accepted and are set to go into effect at the end of this school year.

The Foreman Board also agreed to hire new personnel during the meeting as well. Ella Boyd will become the new Food Service manager and Glenn Welch has been Hired as the baseball coach and history teacher for the 2019-2020 school year. It was also decided that Lacy Hall will be voluntarily resigning as basketball coach but is set to teach art full time and coach both the golf and track team.

After the March financial reports were approved the meeting adjourned as there was no further business to discuss. It has been announced that a specially called meeting will be held today, Wednesday April 24th at 5:30 p.m. in the superintendent’s office.

MUSEUM OF THE  RED RIVER ANNOUNCES SUMMER PROGRAMS 04/24/19
The Museum of the Red River is offering a variety of programs for children and adults this summer. Here’s what’s coming up.
First is Watercolors and Wine on May 11, starting at 6 pm. This year’s theme is ‘Spring Floral”. The class will be led by Connie Philips and costs $45 to attend. The fee covers everything needed to create a masterpiece-step-by-step instructions, supplies, and of course, wine. Aspiring painters and/or wine aficionados can register online at www.museumoftheredriver.org or by calling (580) 286 – 3616.
Fun with Molas and Fun with Mosaics are scheduled for May 18 and August 17respectively. (Molas are a type of reverse applique textiles unique to the Kuna, a South American indigenous group.)  Participants can drop in and drop out between 10 am and 3 pm. The workshops are part of the Museum’s Fun program, a series of free classes designed to connect people through art.
Summer Explorers Camp is scheduled for June 17 to June 22. This year, budding anthropologists ages 8 to 12 will learn about the art, cultures, and peoples of the South Pacific.
The Museum will also host two dinosaur-themed summer camps for children ages 4 to 8. The first camp is set for July 8 to 10. The second camp will run from July 15 to 17. Additional information and registration will be available in early May.

SEVIER COUNTY SPSF FISH FRY FUNDRAISER HELD AT LOCAL COLLEGE 04/23/19

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, the Sevier County Single Parent Scholarship committee held their annual spring fish fry fundraiser at UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. The fish fry took place in UA Cossatot’s Weyerhaeuser room from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM, as the Argenbright Band provided entertainment. At 6:00 PM the committee announced that five Sevier County students had been selected to receive scholarships.

The fish fry is a fundraiser that is used to raise money for scholarships that are given to single parents, but businesses, clubs, associations, and individuals can also provide scholarships to the committee. “We appreciate everyone that buys a fish dinner at our fundraiser, and we really appreciate sponsors who give scholarship donations on their own to be used for students selected from the Single Parent Scholarship committee,” said Single Parent Scholarship committee President, Jerry Davis.

Viridiana Cisneros and Jacqueline Rodriguez were two of the recipients present at the banquet. Cisneros received a scholarship for $450 from the Argenbright Band, and Jacqueline Rodriguez received a scholarship for $900 from Pilgrim’s Pride. Sandy Chandler, Kayle Helms, and Andrea Ruiz were unable to attend the banquet but did receive scholarships. Chandler received an $800 scholarship from the Rotary Club, Helms received a $650 scholarship from Bancorp South, and Ruiz received an $850 scholarship from Gentry Chevrolet.

Viridiana Cisneros, Sandy Chandler, and Kayle Helms are currently enrolled at UA Cossatot. Along with their other scholarships, they each received a $100 scholarship from UA Cossatot to be used for tuition and fees at the college. The Sevier County Single Parent Scholarship committee’s Treasurer, Maureen Burrow said, “Our committee supports single parents, and we give scholarships two times a year. We hold this fish fry fundraiser once in the fall and once in the spring. At this banquet, we were able to provide five applicants financial aidbassistance totaling $3,650. This is a great opportunity for single parents to apply for scholarships, and we need
more applicants.” To apply for a scholarship provided by the Single Parent Scholarship committee, please visit www.ASPSF.org for full eligibility and requirements.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY OPENING SOON    4/23/19

Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas are set to begin around May 12 as cultivators plan to begin harvesting the plant in the coming days and regulators finish the approval process for the state’s first dispensaries.

Department of Finance and Administration Spokesman Scott Hardin said the final decision for licensing Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs, which would be the state’s first operational dispensary, will be made within the next two weeks. The dispensary has been inspected by both the Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana, and the fire marshal and is awaiting final approval. There are currently around 10,500 Arkansas residents licensed for medical marijuana use but only one cultivator ready to harvest.

Three of the five licensed cultivators have begun growing, Hardin said, with Bold Team in Cotton Plant expecting to have their first harvest ready to be sold by May 12. Bold Team’s cultivators expect to have about 200 pounds of product dried and cured for an initial harvest. Plans for dispensaries in Southwest Arkansas include  the conversion of the old Electric Cowboy nightclub location on E. Broad Street in Texarkana as previously reported by KDQN.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO REDUCE FERAL HOG DAMAGE 04/23/19

Arkansas’s growing battle with overpopulating feral hogs received a boost April 19th at the state Capitol when Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 460 into law as Act 991 of the Arkansas General Assembly in front of members of the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force.

Feral hogs are considered an animal nuisance species and not wildlife that would fall under the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s role of conservation and species management. AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure notes that feral hogs are responsible for an estimated $19 million in row crop damage in the state and $1.5 billion in damages nationwide annually.

Act 991 originated as Senate Bill 460, co-sponsored by state Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, and Rep. Ken Bragg, R-Sheridan, and establishes a $3 million Feral Hog Eradication Fund with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Also, it moves to ANRC the fines that are collected by the AGFC for illegal transport or release of feral hogs.

The act broadens enforcement of feral hog regulations to any certified law enforcement officer. It distinguishes feral hogs from regular, owned hogs – now, all hogs must have premises identification or an official ear tag during transport.

For more information on feral hogs in Arkansas, visit the task force home page atwww.agriculture.arkansas.gov/feral-hog-eradication-task-force.

AFC DONATES TO LOCAL RURAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS 04/23/19

The Rural Fire Program, managed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC), received $237,000 from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 79 Wildfire Suppression Kits to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2019. Kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, more than 300 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Fire departments in our area that are receiving kits in 2019 include:

Board Camp /Polk
Cross Roads/Hempstead
Bradley/Lafayette
Murfreesboro/Pike
Dierks/Howard

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The application period for the 2020 Wildfire Protection Kit program starts in September. Contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.

WHISTLESTOP FESTIVAL 2019 IN ASHDOWN 04/23/19

The 2019 Whistlestop Festival will be held this weekend, Saturday April 27th. The festival has been held in Ashdown for more than 20 years and features a variety of festivities, vendors and family friendly activities. Jana Smith with the Little River County Chamber of Commerce says there will also be a 5k, 10k and 1k run to give families a chance to get active.

Other activities for the kids will include face painting, bouncy houses and an obstacle course. There will also be live music and a car show featured during the event.

Attendees have the chance to have their name entered in a drawing during the festival by visiting the chamber of commerce. For more information about the Whistlestop festival, call the little river county chamber of commerce at 870-898-2758.

FIESTA FEST 2019 TO BE HELD IN DOWNTOWN DE QUEEN 04/23/19

Fiesta Fest, formally known as Diversity Fest, will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, on North 3rd Street in front of the courthouse in Downtown De Queen from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The festival’s focus is bringing the community together to celebrate Hispanic cultures and raise scholarship money for UA Cossatot students. The festival will kick-off with a parade and a welcome speech by Miss UA Cossatot 2019 and De Queen Mayor, Jeff Brown. Festivities will include food, vendors, live music, a DJ, folkloric dancing, carnival rides, games, face painting, shopping, and a petting zoo.

The UA Cossatot Student Ambassadors will host the De Kolores 5K run before the festival at 8:00 AM in the same location. The entry fee is $20 and t-shirts are guaranteed to pre-registration participants. Registration forms can be found at www.cccua.edu/ff5k.

Completed forms can be mailed to Daniel Martinez
C/O UA Cossatot 183 College Drive De Queen, AR 71832.
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Fiesta Fest Parade. Interested participants can register at www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.net/events.
“We are so excited for this year’s Fiesta Fest and hosting it in Downtown De Queen,” said Dustin Roberts with the UA Cossatot Foundation.
“We greatly appreciate the community’s support and love that the money raised from the event will fund scholarships for UA Cossatot students.”

The event is sponsored by many local businesses. The presenting sponsor is Tres Agaves. Headline sponsors include City of De Queen, Miscellanea and Lonchera JB, Walmart, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce, Sonido Zeus, and Christus St. Michael Heath System. For information on how to become a sponsor or a vendor, please contact Dustin Roberts at  droberts@cccua.edu or at 870-584-1172.

ASHLEY DYKES RECEIVES ROTARY CRYSTAL AWARD  04/22/19

Ashley Dykes was named the recipient of the Rotary Crystal Award as the outstanding senior female athlete at De Queen High School at Monday’s noon meeting of the club.

Rotarian Tammy Huddleston explained that the award has been presented annually since 2000. It’s based on academics, sports performance, as well as community and school involvement.

Ashley Dykes is an all-conference and all-state performer in both basketball and track. She helped lead the Lady Leopards basketball team to a 28-4 record, and an undefeated conference championship. While in track, she currently holds the best time this year in Class 4A in the 800 meter run. Ashley Dykes is superb in the classroom too. She has a 4.0 grade point average. After high school graduation next month, she plans to attend Arkansas Tech University, earn a master’s degree in nursing, specializing in labor and delivery. At De Queen High, she’s a member of the National Honor Society and the Gifted and Talented Program. Ashley, the daughter of David and Fawn Dykes, is a member of the First United Methodist Church in De Queen, and she volunteers with the kids program at Rose Hill Baptist Church.

Rotary Club President Dustin Roberts presented the award to Ashley Dykes at Monday’s noon meeting of the club. Track Coach Brian VanWinkle, Cross Country, Archery, and Trap Shooting Coach Dennis Chaney, Soccer coach Jason Barker, Tennis Coach Jacob Lee, Basketball coach Paul Dean, and Softball Coach Tracy Nealy introduced the senior members of their teams, and updated the Rotary Club about their successful sports programs this school year.

EXILE, RICOCHET, AND THE MIDNIGHT HURRICANES TO PERFORM IN DE QUEEN 04/22/19
The Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee will host the bands EXILE and Ricochet for their 18th benefit concert on Saturday, May 25th. Local group, The Midnight Hurricanes will be the opening act starting at 6:30 pm, at De Queen’s CCCUA Amphitheater.

With 11 #1 Hits, 3 Gold albums, and 8 million records sold worldwide, EXILE will bring their suitcase full of pop and country hits to the UA Cossatot Amphitheater in De Queen on Saturday, May 25th.

EXILE’S biggest hit, “Kiss You All Over” spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s pop chart. During their run on the country charts EXILE has successfully had ten No 1 singles and many more top 20’s. In addition to numerous ACM and CMA nominations for Vocal Group of the Year as well as their individual musicianship, band members J.P. Pennington, Sonny LeMaire, and Les Taylor have been recognized as songwriters of the year by BMI.

Ricochet’s debut single, “What Do I Know”, was the highest charting debut single, rising to #3 in R&R and #5 in Billboard. The follow up release, “Daddy’s Money”, was #1 in R&R, Billboard, Gavin and Country Network. Recognized as one of Country Music’s hardest working groups, Ricochet has performed thousands of shows over the past 15+ years and they continue to perform to sold out venues all over North America.

Ricochet is the only country artists to ever chart with our National Anthem and is in constant demand to perform it live. They have performed the anthem for our men and women in uniform, at NASCAR Sprint Cup Events, at Major League Baseball Events, at National Football League Events, at National Hockey League Events, at PBR and PRCA Professional Rodeo Events and others national events

The Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee has donated approximately $300,000 from the previous concerts proceeds for scholarships to UA Cossatot for graduating seniors at area high schools as well as funding various other local projects each year.  Tickets are on sale now at KDQN’s studios at 921 West Collin Raye Drive in De Queen. For more information call 870-642-2446.

RECEPTION FOR ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES NEXT MONTH 04/22/19

Eight employees of the Ashdown School District will be honored at a reception to be held on Monday, May 6, from 4:00-5:00 in the Administration Building at 751 Rankin Street.

Those being honored include Roy Burton, Lynda Cunningham, Annie Hopkins, Barbara Hunter, Linda King, Ruby Rosenbaum, Carmen Sansom, and David Wilson, who total many years of service to public education between them.  The public is invited to attend ​the reception ​and offer congratulations to these eight upon their retirement.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/22/19

When legislation is passed to grow our economy, it does not stop at tax incentives and workforce training.

In Arkansas, the economy can also grow by bringing in people from out of state to appreciate our natural resources, our talents, and our history.

The hospitality industry is the second largest industry in the state. It is a $5.6 billion industry and employees over 100,000 people.

Representative Dee Ann Vaught says “From encouraging investment in our historic buildings to designating a scenic highway, several pieces of legislation aimed at promoting tourism were passed in the 2019 Regular Session.”

Act 292 designates certain routes in Central and Southwest Arkansas as the “Camden Expedition Scenic Highway”. The Camden Expedition Scenic Highway guides a Civil War tourist through southern and central Arkansas connecting five battlefields and other Civil War historic sites.

Act 601 states that the fourth Saturday in July shall be known as “National Day of the Cowboy” to commemorate America’s cowboy heritage. The vaquero spirit of competition among ranch cowboys and cowgirls is reflected in rodeo events throughout the state that contribute to tourism and the economy.

Act 818 designates Washington, Arkansas as the birthplace of the Bowie Knife, Arkansas Heritage Site.

Act 1066 creates the Arkansas Delta Music Commission within the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The commission will develop, implement, and administer a tourism program based on art projects that focus on highlighting music stories and related dynamics on the designated music highways in the state. Music highways in the state include Rock ‘n’ Roll Highway 67, the Louis Jordan Memorial Highway, the Levon Helm Memorial Highway, the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Memorial Highway, the Americana Music Highway, the Johnny Cash Memorial Highway, and the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway. The commission will also create a signage program that captures the stories and points of interest in blues, rock and roll, jazz, rockabilly, soul, hip hop, opera, country, and gospel music throughout the Arkansas Delta.

TYSON PRESENTS SCHOLARSHIP TO COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL CHORAL DEPT. 04/22/19

Tyson Grannis Plant team members recently raised $1500 and donated the money by the request of Rachel Norman’s family to the Cossatot River High School Choral Dept for the Rachel Norman Memorial Choir Scholarship. Rachel was a 5 year member of the CRHS Choir and choir president her senior year. The scholarship is for $500 and will be presented yearly to a senior member of the CRHS Choir going on to a 2 or 4 year university. The scholarship recipient will be announced at the upcoming concert on Tuesday April 30th. Susan Brewer, CRHS Choral Director received the money from Tyson Grannis plant team members. This scholarship fund was created by the Tyson Foods, Grannis Plant Team Members and presented to the Cossatot River School to administer in memory of Rachel Norman who was tragedy killed in an automobile accident earlier this year. Rachel was the daughter of Tim Norman, Grannis Plant Manager.

SEVIER COUNTY MARRIAGE RECORDS CAN NOW BE ACCESSED ONLINE 04/22/19

Sevier County Clerk, Debbie Akin, has announced that anyone interested in Sevier County marriage records can now instantly access that information online at no charge by going to www.actDataScout.com. In addition to this information, users can also print a form from the website to submit as a request for an official license by mail. The county has entered into an agreement with DataScout, LLC, a Web-based data solutions provider and database management firm, to host and maintain the website and the information at www.actDataScout.com.

The website is designed as an informational portal to the Sevier County Clerk’s office. Akin said it was time to move the county’s marriage records online, making the information more accessible to further serve the public. Akin believes this technology is one of the best available to her office. When they offered a software option for County Clerks in Arkansas, Akin knew it was time to go online. A few of the items users can expect to see online are marriage date, book and page, and participating parties. Transparency of the County Clerk’s information with online accessibility and ease of use for the taxpayers led to the decision to provide this information to the public. For more information, call (870) 642-2852 or email sevierclerk@arkansasclerks.com.

SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCED 04/19/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot and the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee have announced the official winner of the Sevier County Slogan Contest. Micah Martin was selected as the winner and “Sevier County: Where creeks and Culture unite” is the official slogan.

At their February meeting, Tourism Committee Members finalized details of the Slogan Contest, and an anonymous donor provided funding for the $500 cash prize. Entries were accepted during the month of March, and the winner was announced today in a formal event at the Lockesburg City Park. Contest judges selected Micah Martin’s entry as the winner on March 21 st , and they worked closely with the winner to further develop the slogan and an accompanying logo. The winner, Micah Martin, grew up in DeQueen, and after attending college at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, he and his wife Kimberly, also a native of DQ, chose to make this home for his family. After several years in the banking industry, Micah joined the staff of First Baptist Church and currently serves as Minister to Families, Students, and Missions. He and his wife have two daughters and one son. Micah can often be seen on the sidelines coaching basketball, soccer and softball for his daughters during their respective seasons.

“Today is an exciting day for Sevier County”, said Keisha McKinney, Tourism Committee Chairperson. “The Tourism Committee has been working closely with the Economic Development Director on new initiatives in our region and today marks a big step for us to move forward. Gathering current opportunities and developing a marketing and promotion brand for our county have been two of our first goals. Today we have arrived. This new slogan uniquely captures the opportunities and feeling that differentiates our county. Our natural resources and unique cultural experiences are unlike any other place in the state and we cannot wait for more people traveling our way to experience them.”

To learn more about the new brand and the future of tourism in Sevier County, please plan to attend a formal presentation on Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m. to be held in the Skilled Trades Building on the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus. The meeting is free, open to the public, and dinner will be provided by Pilgrim’s Pride of De Queen. Be sure to register online at cccua.edu/sevier. For more information, contact the Sevier County Economic Development Director, Lisa Taylor at 870-279-5937, or ltaylor@cccua.edu or contact Tourism Committee Chairperson, Keisha McKinney at mckinneymediasolutions@gmail.com.

FRED’S STORES TO CLOSE IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS

Retail chain store Fred’s has announced the closure of 159 stores across 13 states due to declining sales. The closing locations represent more than a quarter of Fred’s 557 total stores. Multiple stores in Southwest Arkansas are on the list of stores set to shut down. Southwest Arkansas locations closing include Hope, El Dorado, Mena, Prescott and Stamps. Other Arkansas closures have been announced for Mountain home, Searcy, Oceola, Cabot, Harrison, Bryant, Jonesboro, West Memphis, Paragould and Conway. The other 398 locations of the chain will reportedly remain open. KDQN reached out to the Nashville and De Queen locations and management confirmed both of these stores will remain open.

Fred’s began liquidation sales at the closing stores last week.

(See the full list of stores holding liquidation sales here.)

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS MAN KILLED CRASH 04/19/19

A Texarkana Arkansas resident was killed after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the roadway in a wheelchair Thursday. The Texarkana Texas Police Department are now investigating the crash. Police say a vehicle struck a man as he tried to cross North Stateline Avenue in a wheelchair tonight.  Marvin Weaver, 68, of Texarkana Arkansas, died as a result of his injuries. A resident of New Boston, was driving a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe in the inside southbound lane of the 5300 block Stateline Avenue at approximately 8:45 pm.  Weaver was attempting to cross Stateline Avenue toward Arkansas in his wheelchair.  The preliminary investigation indicates that the driver could not see Weaver until the vehicle in front of her suddenly swerved to avoid him, leaving him directly in the path of the vehicle.  Unable to stop, the vehicle struck Weaver.Weaver was pronounced dead at the scene.  His body is being sent to Dallas for an autopsy.  The driver was not injured.The crash is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed at this time.  Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the Texarkana Texas Police Department at 903-798-3116.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS TEMPORARILY CLOSING SPILLWAY NEXT WEEK 04/19/19

The US Army Corps of Engineers has announced they will be completing maintenance to the Broken Bow Lake Spillway on Tuesday, April 23 that will require the temporary closure of traffic crossing the spillway. They will be closing the spillway off beginning at 8:00 am to facilitate the placement of a crane which will be lowering components down into the spillway gallery. They will open the spillway road back up as soon as the are finished with the crane, which they anticipate will not extend beyond 1:00 pm, Tuesday April 23.

Upon completion of this maintenance project, flow from the Broken Bow Lake Spillway will be maintained through the low flow sluice gate.

For questions, contact The Army Corps of Engineers

Office: (580) 494-6452

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 04/19/19

Senator Larry Teague has provided KDQN with updates from the Legislative Session.

During the recent regular session, the legislature referred three proposed constitutional amendments to Arkansas voters.

One would limit terms of legislators to 12 years. Another would permanently extend a highway program that is now scheduled to expire in 2023. The third would make it more difficult to change the constitution. The proposals will be on the general election ballot in November of 2020.

The current half-cent in state sales tax was approved by Arkansas voters in 2012 by a 58 to 42 percent margin. It took effect in 2013 and is scheduled to expire after 10 years. It raised the state sales tax from 6 to 6.5 percent.

If extended, the half cent would generate an estimated $293.7 million a year, of which cities and counties each would receive $44 million, and the state Transportation Department would get the remaining $205 million.

A second proposed amendment would limit terms of lawmakers to 12 years, although it grandfathers in current office holders. They could serve 16 years, which is the limit under current law.

The 12-year limit is consecutive, but not lifetime. That means a lawmaker would have to sit out after serving 12 years, but after a four-year break could run for office again.

The third proposed amendment that the legislature put before voters is whether or not to change the process of gathering signatures on petitions to place issues on the ballot.

The number of signatures required does not change. The threshold will still be eight percent of the turnout in the most recent gubernatorial election for an initiated act and 10 percent for a constitutional amendment.

Now, signatures must be gathered from at least 15 counties, and the change would require them to be gathered from at least 45 counties of the 75 counties in Arkansas.

If approved, the measure would repeal current provisions that allow an additional 30 days to collect more signatures. Now, if a group submits petitions on which 75 percent of the signatures are valid, it may get a 30-day extension to collect more.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO INCREASE STAMP PRICE FOR ARKANSAS ANGLERS 04/18/19
With the signing of Senate Bill 486 on April 11, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas General Assembly have started the ball rolling to maintain the trout fisheries that draw thousands of anglers from across the country to The Natural State each year. The act will increase the cost of Arkansas’s resident trout stamp from $5 to $10, with the additional proceeds devoted to trout management and hatcheries in the state. The AGFC will hear the first reading of a similar price increase on nonresident trout permits at next week’s regularly scheduled Commission meeting in Springdale.

The increase is the first for resident anglers in 32 years, and would be the first for nonresident anglers in the last 16 years if passed by the Commission. In that time, costs of operation for hatchery work, trout management and increased access for anglers have increased. The increase will enable the trout program to continue providing the world-class trout fishing experience for anglers that has made Arkansas a bucket-list destination for many fishing enthusiasts.

Anglers may catch and keep any warm-water species in Arkansas with a standard fishing license, so long as they stay within the daily limits and any length limits given for a certain body of water. Trout anglers, however, require a special permit, called a trout stamp, in addition to their regular fishing license. The proceeds from the addition are used by the AGFC to increase habitat in Arkansas’s trout fisheries as well as bolster hatchery efforts for the non-native species.

Seven focus groups were held near Arkansas’s major trout fisheries, including representatives from each aspect of that angling community. General anglers, guides, resort owners, nonprofit organizations and chambers of commerce were all represented in these groups to gather input on how a price increase would be received and what areas such an increase should be used for.

In addition to hatchery renovations, the increased funding also will help the AGFC’s Trout Management Program improve habitat and access for anglers on the White, Norfork and Little Red rivers as well as many of the smaller seasonal trout fisheries around the state.

ARREST MADE IN TEXARKANA SHOOTING CASE 04/18/19

On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, around 12:45 a.m. Texarkana Arkansas Police responded to reports of a shooting at The Village South Apartments. Upon officers arrival to the scene, it was determined victim, Jaqualyn Paxton, age 18 suffered a gunshot wound. Paxton was transported to a local hospital and later passed away from injuries caused by the shooting.

The suspect in the case is 19-year-old Markelle Davis. Davis was located by authorities moments after leaving the scene. Detectives determined an altercation ensued between Paxton and Davis in the parking lot of the complex when Paxton was shot.

Davis has been arrested and charged with 1st Degree Murder. This investigation is ongoing.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES PLEA MADE IN MEDICAID FRAUD CASE 04/18/19

This week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced an Arkansas woman has pleaded guilty to theft of property by deception for caring for her husband, the patient, which is conduct that would make her ineligible to be paid by the Medicaid program.

“Shirley Owens took advantage of a vital resource by being illegally paid to care for her husband,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Medicaid is an important safety net for many, and what Owens did was take money and services away from another deserving Arkansan.”

Owens, 63, of Dumas, pleaded guilty to a form of Medicaid fraud involving theft of property by deception, a Class C felony, between December 2016 and July 2017. A Medicaid fraud investigation revealed that Owens and her husband, the Medicaid recipient had married in January 2006. She was ordered to pay $5,364 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program Trust Fund.

This case was referred to the Arkansas Attorney General’s office by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and prosecuted in coordination with Sixth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MEETING FOR SEVIER, PIKE AND HOWARD COUNTIES 04/18/19

The Arkansas Department of Transportation will conduct a public involvement meeting in the City of Glenwood to discuss the proposed replacements of the Caddo River Bridge on Hwy. 70 and the Saline River Bridges on Hwy. 70 and Hwy. 278 in the counties of Sevier, Pike and Howard.

The public meeting will be held Thursday, May 2, 2019 from 4 PM to 7 PM, at the Glenwood First Baptist Church – Family Life Center, 904 US Hwy 70, Glenwood, Arkansas.

This will be an “open house” meeting with no formal presentations. The public is invited to visit anytime during the scheduled hours to view exhibits, ask questions, and offer comments.

Anyone needing project information or special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is encouraged to contact Ruby Jordan-Johnson at 501-569-2379 or email environmentalpimeetings@ardot.gov.

STATEWIDE DRUG TAKE BACK DAY APPROACHING 04/18/19

The Arkansas Drug Take Back Day will be 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27 and will include more than 250 locations across the state. Hundreds of volunteers and first responders will be at those locations encouraging citizens to dispose of unused or expired medications and officers will not ask for any identification or other questions regarding the prescriptions being dropped off.

The prescription medications will later be counted for statistical purposes and destroyed at a facility in an environmentally safe manner. Prescription medicines are a toxic waste & pose a danger to people, pets, & the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Medicines flushed or poured down the drain end up in the waterways, affecting our drinking water.

Throwing medications in the trash, even if they are mixed with materials such as kitty litter or coffee grounds, will still make it to a landfill and seep through the soil and into ground water. There’s also a danger of people and/or pets finding medications in the trash – The Animal Poison Control Center said 17.5% (34,888) of pet poisoning calls in 2017 were attributed to prescription medications.

With the launch of the nARcansas app coinciding with the 17th Arkansas Drug Take Back Day, the theme is “I can. You can. We can. Save a life with Narcan!”

The nARcansas app is a free opioid overdose resource containing tools that will help you administer the drug naloxone in the moment of an opioid overdose and provide steps on how to save a person’s life in the event of an opioid overdose. Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid-induced overdose. Though it should be used in an emergency situation only, Naloxone has no effect on non-opioid overdoses.

In Arkansas, there were 379 drug overdose deaths in 2016, which increased to 411 drug overdose deaths in 2017. Arkansas ranks second in the nation for per capita opioid prescriptions, at 107 per 100 residents; the national average is 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons. In nearly a decade (since 2000) deaths involving opioids has increased by 200% in the U.S.

The nARcansas app was created in a partnership with the Office of Arkansas Drug Director, Criminal Justice Institute, Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services and Team Si. Naloxone is available for purchase by the public at some pharmacies throughout Arkansas.

HEMPSTEAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY INVITES COMMUNITY TO UPCOMING PROGRAM 04/18/19

The Hempstead County Historical Society will be holding a meeting on Tuesday evening April 23, 2019 at the Presbyterian Church in Washington at 7pm located at the corner of Lawrence and Carroll Streets. Everyone is welcome. The evening program will be presented by Michael Terral on Grandison Royston. Terral works for Historic Washington State Park and portrays Grandison Royston for tours and programs at the park. He will give a tour of the Grandison Royston home in Washington as Grandison Royston. All are welcome to attend.

The Historical Society seeks to bring awareness to the rich heritage and history of Hempstead County. Come and share your history with us.

If you have any questions concerning the event itself call 870-703-8256 or emailhempsteadhistory@gmail.com.

BARRETT ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS 04/17/19
Stephanie Potter Barrett of  has announced her candidacy for Arkansas Court of Appeals District 4, Position 2. The office serves 15 counties including Polk, Sevier, Howard, Pike, Hempstead, Little River and Miller Counties. The citizens of Miller and Lafayette Counties recently elected Barrett to a second term as the Prosecuting Attorney for the Eighth Judicial District South. Barrett graduated with honors from Arkansas High School in 1991 and from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.A. in 1995. In addition to her studies at the University of Arkansas, she attended George Washington University where she studied International Relations. She also studied foreign language at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

During law school, she studied comparative law at Oxford University in Oxford, England. She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Following law school graduation, she served as a law clerk for Judge Terry Crabtree at the Arkansas Court of Appeals until 2000 when she returned home to Texarkana to begin a private law practice. She spent the next seven years in a private general practice which included everything from family law and criminal defense to contracts and estates. During that time, she also worked as a contract public defender until she went to work as a deputy prosecutor in 2007.

Stephanie Barrett has also served on various community boards and she has been licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Texas in state courts as well as federal courts. She is a member of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney’s Association, the Texarkana Bar Association, and the Arkansas Bar Association. A lifelong resident of Texarkana, Arkansas, Stephanie Barrett is married to Shorty Barrett and the couple have two children, Lawson and Mary Elizabeth. The family attends First United Methodist Church.

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT RECORDS ANNOUNCEMENT 04/17/19

The following announcement has been made to all parents of children who have attended The Horatio School District:

“State and federal guidelines required that all special education due process forms and records be destroyed  six(6)years after a student leaves the special education or speech therapy program.

If you have a child who was dismissed, has graduated, or,was dropped from the program or found to be ineligible for special education services or speech therapy during the school year 2012 and 2013, you have the right to review and request copies of your child’s due process records before they are destroyed.  Your child also has the right to review these records providing he or she is 18 years old or older. If you wish to see these records, they will be available at Horatio High School Special Education office beginning May 6th 2019 to May 17th, 2019 from 8:30 until 3:00 p.m.

Records not picked up will be destroyed on June 30th, 2019.These records are not your child’s permanent school records.  They are only special education records or 504 records.”

EXTENDED HOURS ANNOUNCED FOR LOCAL COUNTY HEALTH UNITS 04/17/19
The Howard, Little River, Pike and Sevier County Health Units will have special hours on Tuesdays from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM. These extended hours allow the unit to stay open later to accommodate those who cannot come in during normal business hours.
Clinical services will be available from 9:30 AM until 6:00 PM each Tuesday and will include: Women Infants and Children (WIC), nutrition counseling and support, women’s health services, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and services, and immunization appointments. Staff will be available from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM on Tuesdays to schedule appointments, answer calls, and issue birth and death certificates. On all other weekdays, the Local Health Units will continue with regular business hours from 8 AM until 4:30 PM. For more information, call your local unit or visit healthy.arkansas.gov

 

RUEDA RECEIVES $132,000 IN SCHOLARSHIP MONEY 04/17/19

De Queen Honor Graduate, Cindy Rueda has been awarded an $80,000 scholarship from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN as well as the CBU Maurelian Scholarship worth $52,000.

Cindy is the daughter of Mauricio and Elsa Rueda.  She is a member of National Honor Society, Future Teachers of America, Spanish Club, Young Democrats and the Lady Leopard Soccer Team.

Cindy plans to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

 

SHOOTING IN TEXARKANA ARKANSAS EARLY WEDNESDAY 04/17/19

Police have begun investigating the death of a shooting victim in Texarkana, Arkansas that occurred early this morning.

According to reports, a woman was shot at the Village Park South Apartments on East Street around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. The apartment building is located directly across the street from the Miller County Detention Center.

When police arrived, they discovered the woman who had been shot. The victim was taken to a near by hospital where she died.

A suspect was taken into custody for questioning but details about the suspect have not been made available at this time.

Details will be released as information becomes available.

ASHDOWN RESIDENT APPOINTED TO LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY BOARD BY GOVERNOR 04/16/19

Governor Asa Hutchinson recently appointed Tyler Davis of Ashdown to the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Livestock and Poultry Commission Board for a seven-year term. Davis, a sixth generation farmer who has a hand in several areas of agriculture including cattle, row crops, poultry, and show pigs says that he is humbled and honored to be appointed to this position of extreme importance and will bring his talents to the commission’s board.
“I will come to the table with an open mind, common sense, and will remain fair and impartial,” said Davis. “I am ready to get to work and help to sustain and improve livestock and poultry in Arkansas.”

He sees the work that the commission does as vital to the people of Arkansas and wants to make sure that his children see exactly how important that work is.

“I want my children to see what the commission does to improve the livestock and poultry industry,” said Davis. “My hope is that my children and their generation won’t have to deal with the hardships we faced because the commission has got us to the point of disease eradication and overall success.”

Patrick Fisk, Director of the Livestock and Poultry Commission, believes that Davis will be a valuable asset to the commission as it promotes Arkansas livestock and poultry industries and maintains health and safety in the industry. “We are privileged to have Mr. Davis on the commission and welcome his wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry,” said Fisk. “He is well respected in the livestock industry and will
be a valuable asset to the Commission.”

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS 04/16/19

Several local High School students have recently been awarded scholarships towards higher education after graduation. School counselor Ramona Hill announced Tuesday that De Queen senior Angeles Rojas has been awarded a $10,000 Horatio Alger Scholarship.  She is the daughter of Liliana Duran Anaya and Jose M Rojas.  She is a member of  Show Choir, National Honor Society, FCCLA, Cross Country and Archery. Angeles plans to earn a Doctoral Degree in Psychology.
Another scholarship recipient includes Esmeralda Balderas-Hernandez is the daughter of Pedro and Maria Balderas.  She is a De queen High School Honor Graduate, secretary of National Honor Society, FCCLA, soccer and basketball.  She has been awarded the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy and named December Rotary Student of the Month.  Esmeralda’s plans are to attend Arkansas Tech University and double major in business and communications.  Arkansas Tech has awarded Esmeralda the University Scholarship valued at $28,000.
De Queen senior Sadie Trevino has received an in-state tuition waiver valued at $60,000 and a $16,000 Wentz Housing Scholarship from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK.  She is the daughter of Daniel and Tracie Trevino and Beth and Tony Hughes.  Sadie is a 4 year member of the De Queen Show Choir and is currently the Vice- President.  Her plans are to major in Zoology.

 

LOCAL COLLEGE PROVIDES TUITION WAIVER TO LEADERSHIP RETREAT ATTENDEES 04/16/19

UA Cossatot selected ten students from various UA Cossatot student organizations to attend a student leadership retreat on April 5 to April 6 at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus, Arkansas. The leadership retreat included different leadership courses and team building activities for students to learn and apply in the workplace.

After arriving, the students took part in a panel discussion and talked about the clubs and organizations UA Cossatot offers. Students were encouraged by Club sponsors and UA Cossatot faculty to join more than one organization and take advantage of opportunities that are available. The retreat was designed for students to learn about leadership and how to work well with others to accomplish goals and be productive. Students learned that being in a student organization is a great way to learn useful tools on how to be a leader and a team player.

“It is important that UA Cossatot equips its student leaders with leadership skills, guidance on how to communicate effectively and lead others as they become professionals in their field. We are excited to be part of all that,” said Student Success Center Coordinator, Erika Buenrrostro.
At the end of the retreat, students received a certificate of leadership training that can be added to their transcript. Along with the certificate, each student received a $250 tuition waiver for attending the student leadership retreat.

To attend a student leadership retreat in the future, one must be a member of a UA Cossatot student organization. To learn about student organization opportunities, please visit www.cccua.edu

ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULED IN HORATIO 04/16/19

A Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events training has been announced in Horatio for next month.

The event will be presented by UA Cossatot Police officers and the training is free and open to the public. The training will be held on Monday, May the 6th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 207 Hazard Street, Horatio, Arkansas. The purpose of the training is to present civilians with information on what to do if they are confronted with an active shooter event.

The topics discussed during the event will include history and prevalence of active shooter events, response options and medical issues. Some material presented during the training may not be suitable for small children. For more information about the training, or to schedule a training class for your organization, contact Monte Stringfellow at 870-582-5639.

TEXARKANA, ARKANSAS POLICE TO HOLD DRUG TAKE BACK EVENT 04/16/19

On Saturday, April 27th , from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, Miller County Sheriff Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Miller County Prosecutor’s Office will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for April Drug Take Back Day.

Residents can bring medications for disposal to any of the three drop off box locations; Bi-State Justice building (100 North State Line Avenue), Miller County Sherriff Office (2300 East Street) or the Texarkana Emergency Center (4646 Cowhorn Creek).

Twice a year law-enforcement agencies throughout Arkansas host Drug-Take-Back events at various locations in an effort to not only get the public to dispose of unused or expired medications, but to educate as many people as possible about the dangers prescription medications can pose. Agencies will take back all medications, no questions asked.

For more information, contact:
Sergeant Kristi Bennett
Public Information Officer
903-798-3187 (office)
Kbennett@txkusa.org

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM HEADED TO STATE FINALS 04/15/19

During the April 8th De Queen School Board meeting Quiz bowl adviser Thomas Sweeten reported on the team’s competitions and fundraising efforts to pay for required travel expenses.

The team competed Saturday, April 13th at the ASU-Beebe campus. A total of 16 teams participated this year. Last year, De Queen received fifth place. This year the team went 6-0 and are now in the finals. They will compete against Morrilton in the finals on Saturday April 27th and it will be broadcast live from AETN studios in Conway.

The team is also preparing for the national competition in Washington D.C May 28th. So far, the team has raised $27,869.07 of the $31,531.32 needed to cover travel expenses, hotel fees, food and educational site-seeing.

Superintendent Bruce Hill told Mr. Sweeten to report back to the school board after the additional t-shirt sale and concession stand fundraisers are complete. Sweeten spoke highly of the quiz bowl team members and said he has been blessed with a great group of kids.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/15/19
More than 900 bills have been signed into law this session. This General Assembly has reduced taxes, addressed infrastructure needs, increased funding to education, and transformed state government. One of the last bills passed was the amendment to the Revenue Stabilization Act. This outlines the $5.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020. It includes a 2.2% increase in spending from the current fiscal year. It is the lowest amount of increased spending in Arkansas in the last 10 years. The increases include an additional $61 million for Medicaid and additional $31 million for public education.

The budget also addresses public safety by increasing funding for state police to hire more troopers and funding for the Department of Community Correction to hire more parole officers. This budget includes increases for UAMS, the Division of Agriculture, and the Department of Correction. Meanwhile, legislation passed this session has reduced income taxes for more than a ½ million families in Arkansas to the tune of $97 million. Taxes for business have also been reduced as well as establishing online sales tax. In addition, every homeowner in Arkansas will benefit from the $25 increase in the homestead tax credit.

When it comes to infrastructure, the 92nd General Assembly passed legislation creating $95 million in additional funding and they have referred an amendment to voters on the November 2020 ballot to create additional funding for highways.In addition to the $31 million increase in education, this General Assembly also increased the minimum starting teacher salary pay by $4 thousand over the next 4 years.

Just last week, the Governor signed The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 into law. It authorizes the reduction of the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15 and accomplishes the largest reorganization of state government in almost 50 years. Legislation was also passed to transform the state juvenile justice system. Pilot programs have shown these changes result in a lower prison population and drastically reduce the number of children in foster care.

The 92nd General Assembly cut red tape for small businesses, created and funded the Next Generation 911 system, and laid the groundwork for a state of the art cancer research facility in Arkansas.The House will convene again on April 24 to address any unfinished business and officially adjourn the 2019 Regular Session.

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL MEETING 04/15/19

The Dierks City Council met for a brief meeting this week, discussing sewer plant upgrades and city maintenance. Mayor Ronnie Cogburn reported that several potholes had been repaired following recent rainfall, including on Arkansas Avenue. He also reported that two wild hogs had been captured at the city park. Repairs on the fire department building have also been completed, following a car accident that damage the building several months ago. The council took no action following an executive session to discuss personnel.

GOVERNOR HONORS VETERANS WITH NEW BILL 04/15/19

During a ceremony in the governor’s office Wednesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 397. The bill creates an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission resident disabled veterans license that includes a lifetime combination hunting and fishing license, a lifetime Arkansas duck stamp and an Arkansas trout stamp.

The governor said the license is a way to recognize and honored disable veterans for their service and sacrifice in serving the country. “It’s one way to recognize and honor the service of disabled veterans in this state.”

AGFC Director Pat Fitts said the license will double the reach of eligible recipients to over 14,000 disabled veterans. “It also lowers the threshold from 100 percent disable to 70 percent disabled,” Fitts said. “We did work very closely with the Veterans Affairs office on this bill and while we can never fully repay our disabled veterans for what they have given this country, we can say ‘thank you’ by offering this lifetime license,” he added.

The cost of the license will be $52.50 and will be available 90 days after the current legislative session officially adjourns. The new license is an option to the current $1.50 resident disabled military veteran lifetime fishing license and the $1.50 resident disabled military veteran lifetime hunting license.

LOCAL RESIDENT HONORED AT STATE CAPITOL 04/15/19

A Southwest Arkansas resident received recognition for athletic achievement this month at the State capital in Little Rock. Medal winner Krista Carstens of Mena, was honored on the floor of the Arkansas State House of Representatives, as a guest of State Representative John Maddox of Mena in early April.

Carstens received a resolution of congratulations for her accomplishments at the World Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi. Carstens acquired two bronze medals at the 2019 Special Olympic games for the United States.

Carstens described the event as “an amazing day” stating, “We had lunch with Representative Maddox, toured the Capital Building, met lots of State officials and sat in the gallery during afternoon session.” Carstens also issued thanks to everyone who made the day possible.

On Friday, Mayor Seth F. Smith issued a Proclamation honoring Carstens with her own special day of recognition in the City of Mena. Carstens was the ONLY athlete from Arkansas that participated at the event.

 TEXARKANA HIT-AND-RUN VICTIM DIES 04/15/19

Reports have verified that a Texarkana, Arkansas resident who was the victim of hit-and-run accident died over the weekend. Albert Creamer passed away Saturday, April 13th at a hospital in Texarkana. Officers believe that Creamer was struck by a car that neglected to stop and he was found with severe injuries on Summerhill Road late Wednesday night.

Officers are still working to find the driver and vehicle involved. Authorities believe a Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis is the likely vehicle involved in the incident. Any person with any information is asked to call Texarkana Texas Police at 903-798-3116.

JUDGE RULES BANKRUPTCY FOR DE QUEEN MEDICAL CENTER CANNOT BE FILED IN FLORIDA 04/12/19
On Thursday, April 11th a judge with the U.S Bankruptcy court for The Southern District of Florida ruled that Bankruptcy for The De Queen Medical Center cannot be filed in the state of Florida despite attempts to do so by Hospital owner Jorge Perez.

The ruling was based on the fact that receivership was already granted to Rachel Matheson in the state of Arkansas last month on March 28th. The decision also means that local leaders in Sevier County can continue working on a corrective action plan that will allow revenue to be generated so the hospital can stay open. Sevier County Judge Greg Ray says at this point efforts are being made to keep the hospital afloat and an extensive plan is currently underway.

Judge Ray Soundbite: 

Hospital Owner Jorge Perez currently owes Sevier County more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes and millions of dollars in assets as well as several thousand dollars to employees for unpaid earnings. KDQN reached out to Attorney on the case, Linda Johnson for comment and she was unavailable at the time. Updates will continue to be provided to KDQN listeners as details come in.

 

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT NAMES NEW HEAD BASEBALL COACH 04/11/19

A new head coach has been announced for a local High School baseball program in Southwest Arkansas. Last month, KDQN reported that Horatio High School baseball coach Lance Spigner will be resigning from the program after 28 years.

Spigner is leaving Horatio Schools to become the head coach at UA rich Mountain in Mena, Arkansas at the end of the school year. On Monday, April 8th the Horatio Board of Education held their regular meeting and voted to accept Spigner’s resignation and to promote Assistant coach Stephen Sprick to the role of Head Coach.

KDQN interviewed Coach Sprick about the promotion and his qualifications. Sprick has an extensive background in baseball, including time as a college player at Carl Albert State College in Poteau, Oklahoma, four years with the Dierks School District and two years working with Lance Spigner at Horatio Schools.

Sprick Soundbite:

Sprick says the team goals will remain the same as they have always been and the players will continue to be taught to achieve success both on and off the field. Spigner’s resignation will go into effect June 30th and Sprick spoke highly of the long time leader, stating that he couldn’t have asked for anyone better to help him with the transition of becoming head coach.

Sprick Soundbite:

Keep listening to KDQN for Horatio Baseball updates and more information about local sports in the area.

2019 WHISTLESTOP FESTIVAL TO FEATURE YOUTH ART SHOW 04/11/19

The Whistle Stop Youth Art Show is back in downtown Ashdown!  Sponsored by the Little River Arts Council, the display of artwork by 4th through 12th grade artists will be open to the public during the 2019 Whistle Stop Festival in downtown Ashdown on Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  The Youth Art Show was put on hold last year when the Festival was held at the Ashdown City Park, but the Arts Council is excited to open the show this year in a new location — the Arts Council building across from the First United Methodist Church (previously a drive-in bank next to the Ashdown Community Library).

LRAC encourages all artists in grades 4-12 to put their best artwork forward for the public and show off their talents.  Artists, parents, and art teachers may register their entries at the Arts Council building on Thursday, April 25 between 1:30-5:30.  Monetary prizes of $25, $15 and $10 will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners respectively in three categories: 4-5 grades, 6-7-8 grades, and 9-10-11-12 grades.

Artwork must be on paper, matted or backed but unframed, at least 5″x 7″ but no larger than 18″x 24″, and ready to be hung with clips.  Each student is limited to two entries with no entry fees, and subject and medium are the choice of the artist. Additional information concerning the entries can be picked up in the Two Rivers Museum and at the Ashdown Community Library, and complete registration and entry information has been shared with art teachers in surrounding school districts.  For any other questions, call Carolyn Henderson at 903-826-5627.

DE QUEEN FFA LAND AND JUDGING TEAM HEADED TO NATIONALS 04/11/19

The De Queen FFA Land Judging Team placed 4th at the State FFA Contest held at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on April 4th. They have qualified and will be competing in the National Land contest in Oklahoma City on May 2nd. Team members include: C.J. Chandler, Dulce Vargas, Blanca Morales and Weston Harp. They are coached by John Frachiseur.

C.J. Chandler was the second-high point individual overall out of 92 contestants.

UA COSSATOT FFA SATURDAY PLANT SALE 04/11/19

The UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA plant sale has opened to the public. There will be a Saturday Sale from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. featured this weekend on April 13th. FFA Sponsor Kelli Harris says a good selection of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and flowers will be available. All proceeds of the plant sale go towards the FFA program and help with expenses and scholarship opportunities for students.

Regular hours for the plant sale this season also include:

Monday 8:00 – 12:00

Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday 8:00 – 12:00

Thursday 8:00 – 12:00

Friday 10:00 – 12:00

Contact Kelli Harris for more information: kharris@cccua

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS MAN INJURED IN HIT AND RUN 04/11/19

A Texarkana Arkansas resident has been hospitalized after a car accident on a busy road late Wednesday night.

The Texarkana Texas Police Department is investigating the reported hit and run crash that happened about 10:30 Wednesday on Summerhill Road. Albert Creamer of Texarkana Arkansas, was reported to be in critical condition at an area hospital.

Police officers were dispatched to the report of a man laying in the roadway on Summerhill Road and the victim was found with severe injuries. Officers believe that he was struck by a vehicle that failed to stop and Creamer was transported to Christus St. Michael Hospital for treatment.

The driver has not yet been identified. However, evidence found at the scene indicates the vehicle may be an older model Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis.

Anyone who may have witnessed this hit and run or has any information that would assist in this investigation is asked to contact the Texarkana Texas Police Department at 903-798-3116.

ARKANSAS AG RECOGNIZES VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK 04/11/19

April 7-13 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week to raise awareness for victims and the effect that the victimization has on victims. Victims of crime may receive financial assistance to cover the medical and funeral expenses incurred by the victim or the victim’s family. Communities across the country, including here in Arkansas, are hosting events this week to honor crime victims and recognize those who advocate on their behalf. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has also declared this week as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Arkansas.

This year’s theme for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”

The Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program, administered by the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on behalf of the Crime Victims Reparations Board, provides financial compensation to victims and family members who have suffered personal injury or death as the result of violent crime.

Victims may apply for compensation by submitting an application to the Attorney General’s office. Applications are available at ArkansasAG.gov or from Arkansas’s 28 elected prosecuting attorneys.

In 2016, Rutledge unveiled Laura’s Card and has since distributed over 75,000 cards across Arkansas. Laura’s Card is a resource to assist and empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to provide resources to people in abusive situations. The card can also be downloaded in English and Spanish at LaurasCard.ar.gov.

LOCAL COLLEGE HOLDS SELF DEFENSE CLASS FOR WOMEN 04/11/19

UA Cossatot hosted a women’s self-defense workshop on March 25 through March 29 on the De Queen Campus from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM offering women the chance to learn tips, pointers, and advice, about self-defense tactics.

UA Cossatot offers a variety of classes and workshops for college students and community members. The women’s self-defense workshop was taught by David “Kick” Griffin and J.P. Atkins. The workshop was free and offered through UA Cossatot’s Center for Student Success and Continuing Education program.

Nineteen women signed up for the workshop, and UA Cossatot is making plans to host this workshop again next semester. The Workshop is designed to help individuals grow in confidence, improve safety skills, work on fitness goals, get more educated, and enjoy social interaction with others.

“It was a lot of fun and very informative. I now feel confident and unafraid while out alone. I encourage any woman wanting to protect herself to take this class,” said workshop attendee Lizz Garza.

In addition to receiving self-defense tools, participants received a certificate and were encouraged to share their hands-on experience with others.

Workshop attendee Eda Lopez said, “It’s really exciting and cool that UA Cossatot has fun things like this to get involved in. I had fun participating in the workshop, and I feel it was a good use of my time.” For questions about upcoming workshops, classes, and other recreational activities please visit
www.cccua.edu/conted

SERGEANT CATCHES THEFT SUSPECTS WITH DRUG PARAPHERNALIA FRIDAY 04/10/19

Two Arkansas residents were found in possession of drug paraphernalia and they admitted to stealing a trailer from a local Sevier County business last week. Both are now facing felony charges for the crimes.

According to a report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, on Friday, April 5th, Sergeant Greg Davignon, assessed a reported theft situation at ACR company on highway 70 East in De Queen. Ray and Cody Stinnett reportedly told the sergeant they had seen two people on camera stealing a trailer on Saturday, March 30th around 5:00 in the morning. The trailer was located in the back of the building and was reportedly valued at more than $2,000.

Camera footage revealed two Caucasian suspects, one woman and one man in an SUV who backed up to the trailer then attached it to their vehicle and left the premises.

Later, Sergeant Davignon reported noticing a vehicle driven by suspects that he thought may have been connected to the theft and he conducted a traffic stop on the car for a broken taillight. Davignon identified the driver as Julie Donaldson and Tyler Davison as the passenger in the vehicle.

Both suspects reportedly consented to a search of the vehicle and were advised of their Miranda Rights. While speaking to the suspects Donaldson reportedly admitted to stealing the trailer and taking it to Little Rock to sell for a profit. She also admitted to being in possession of a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine, and a white residue was found on the pipe. Donaldson and Davidson were booked into the Sevier County Jail and are facing class D felony charges. In addition to the theft charge, Donaldson is also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and a controlled substance.

JUDGE EMILY WHITE SEEKING DISTRICT 4 POSITION 2 SEAT 04/10/19

Judge Emily White announced today she would seek the District 4, Position 2, Arkansas Court of Appeals seat. This district covers 15 counties along the western part of the state from Sebastian to Miller Counties and includes Logan, Scott, Yell, Garland, Montgomery, Polk, Sevier, Howard, Pike, Clark, Hot Spring, Hempstead and Little River. Governor Asa Hutchinson recently appointed Meredith Switzer
to the unexpired term of Judge David “Mac” Glover, who recently died. State law does not allow Switzer to run for the Court of Appeals position.

“I practiced law for 18 years and believe my expertise in criminal law, civil practice and judicial ethics has prepared me for this important office. I currently serve as District Court Judge in the 33rd State District Court, which is Hot Spring and Grant Counties. Previously, I served as Deputy Executive Director of the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission, was managing attorney for a law practice in
central Arkansas, where I over saw all aspects of civil and criminal litigation, and served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for both the 6th and 22nd Judicial Districts. I believe in a fair and impartial judicial branch and that a judge’s role should be as an interpreter of the law. If elected, I promise to continue to
treat everyone before my court with dignity and respect.”

White graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law with a Juris Doctorate and received her undergraduate degree from Henderson State University. She has served as a Special Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, special guest speaker for the Arkansas Bar Association, Arkansas Trial Lawyers’ Association, Arkansas State University Systems, Pulaski County Bar Association, Association of Judicial Disciplinary Counsel and the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute. She currently serves on the Arkansas Lawyer Wellness Taskforce appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
White and her husband, David Lengefeld, have been married for 16 years and have two school age daughters. White’s family has lived in the Hot Spring County area for over 100 years.

ASHDOWN STUDENTS TRAVEL TO LITTLE ROCK FOR FBLA COMPETITION 04/10/19

Ashdown High School FBLA students competed in State Competition on April 1-2 in Little Rock at the Statehouse Convention Center. There they attended workshops and some toured the Old Statehouse Museum, William J. Clinton Library and Museum and the State Capitol.  Amy Newton sang the National Anthem at the Opening General Session Monday Evening with over 3,800 in attendance.

The students that attended and competed include:

Chelbi Gathright, Rhys Parker, and Ansleigh Patrick,  Business Ethics Team Event

Amy Newton and Lyndon Youngblood, Introduction to Business Presentation Team

Jasmine Richard, Taneka Hamilton and Tate Hooper,  Emerging Bus Issues Team

Carson Jefferies,  Political Science, Ellie Loosier – Business Communications

Keely Turner, Choe Young and Ashlynn Johnston, Social Media Communications Team

Alex Fahandezh and Breanna Parker – Mobile Applications Development Team

Kohl Kervin, Introduction to Financial Math and Aliyah Anderson who qualified for The National Leadership Conference in San Antonio June 29-July 2nd by placing 2nd in Public Speaking.

FORMER U.S PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON ATTENDS HOPE/HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET 04/10/19

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Saturday at the annual Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet held at Hempstead Hall over the Weekend on Saturday, April 6th. Clinton, the keynote speaker, was born in Hope in 1946. He served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Clinton, Mack McLarty and Joe Purvis shared stories about growing up in Hope.

Dixie Coffee, coordinator for The CALL in Hempstead County, received the 2019 Citizen of the Year award. Robin Townsend received the Educator of the Year award.

More than 1,200 people attended the event.

AGFC STOCKS PONDS WITH CATFISH STATE-WIDE 04/10/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently announced community fishing ponds around the state have been stocked with catfish. Thousands of pounds of 13- to 15-inch channel catfish are stocked periodically at all Community Fishing Destinations in the months of April, May, June, September and October

Family and Community Fishing locations are open to fishing with rod or pole only. Catfish daily limit is three. Anglers 16 and older must have a valid license to fish.

Southwest Arkansas ponds stocked with fresh catfish the first week of April include:

The John Benjamin Glenwood Community Pond in Glenwood,

Lake Dieffenbacher in Texarkana,

The Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth and Senior Pond in Hope,

and Both family and entergy ponds in Hot Springs.

Stocking information can be found by calling the stocking hotline at 1-866-540-3474 or visit AGFC.com

FINAL DAYS OF SEVIER COUNTY AMNESTY PROGRAM 04/10/19

The final days of the Sevier County Amnesty Program are approaching. The final day for amnesty will be Monday, April 15th, 2019. The program is for residents who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest with the Sevier County District Court.

The Amnesty Program is designed to give local residents a chance to handle their responsibilities with the court without facing the risk of being arrested.

Any person with a qualifying outstanding warrant for failure to appear or failure to comply may have the warrant withdrawn by paying in full the fine and costs of the underlying charge. The Amnesty Program does not apply to charges that require a mandatory court appearance, like DWI and select misdemeanors.

Anyone arrested during the Amnesty Program period will not be allowed to participate in the program. Payments shall be made at the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, which is located on the second floor of the Sevier County Courthouse. For questions about the program call the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, 870-584-7311.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY COMING TO TEXARKANA 04/10/19

Last week, The Arkansas Medical Marijuana meeting was held in Texarkana and a decision was made for the former site of The Electric Cowboy Nightclub to become a medical marijuana dispensary.

The dispensary was originally planned to be developed in Prescott but The move to Texarkana was requested by the owners RX Med.

A representative of RX Med told commissioners that a location in Prescott would not be feasible because of laws that restrict the location of a dispensary and land owner objections. An additional 15 locations were considered but none turned out to be available.

The official opening date has not been announced for the Texarkana Dispensary but reports indicate that the first Arkansas dispensaries are expected to have products in by late April.

As of the end of March, nearly 10,000 residents have been approved for medical marijuana ID cards in the state of Arkansas.

 

DEPUTY FINDS DRUG PARAPHERNALIA IN GILLHAM WEDNESDAY 04/09/19

A Sevier County Woman is Facing Felony Drug Charges after a traffic stop Wednesday. According to a report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Greg Harper was on patrol near Bellahmine Road in Gillham on Wednesday, April 3rd when he observed a vehicle sitting in the westbound lane with no lights on. Deputy Harper identified a female as Anita Allen. Allen claimed to believe the tie rod on the driver’s side of her vehicle was bad. Deputy Harper stated in the report that Allen got back in the vehicle and began “acting extremely nervous.” A passenger in the car previously known to the deputy was identified as Patrick Weed. Weed was asked to step out of the car based on the nervous behavior observed by Harper.

Prior to conducting a search, Deputy Harper reportedly told Weed he was going to pat him down for weapons and he asked if there was anything in his pockets that he should know about. Weed reportedly removed two unused syringes and an empty, small plastic baggie. At that time, Harper asked Anita Allen to exit the vehicle and the report states that she complied with the request. Harper asked Allen if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and she claimed she did not think so. After reportedly agreeing to a search, Deputy Harper noted finding a backpack containing a green purse with a white pharmacy bag containing a glass pipe that is commonly associated with the smoking of methamphetamine.

The report states that when asked about the backpack and the contents in it, Allen admitted the items belonged to her. A wrecker service came to collect the vehicle and Deputy Chett Stubbs arrived on the scene to transport Allen to the Sevier County Jail. Deputy Harper wrote in the report that Allen was read her Miranda rights and she signed paperwork acknowledging that she understood and agreed to speak to deputies without a lawyer present. When asked about the backpack, its contents, and the glass pipe during the interview Allen reportedly admitted the items belonged to her, however when asked about the syringes Allen asked for a Lawyer and Harper ended the interview.

Harper then reported that he read Weed’s rights and he agreed to speak without a lawyer present. Patrick stated he was walking down Bellahmine road and when he walked up to Allen’s vehicle she asked to use his cell phone to call a wrecker service, then gave him the syringes in exchange for borrowing the phone. A written statement was also made by Patrick that was consistent with what he told the deputy during the interview. At that time Patrick was released with no charges and Allen was turned over to jail staff for booking procedures. Allen has been charged with possession of Drug Paraphernalia, class D felony.

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO SELL LOCKESBURG ELEMENTARY PROPERTY AT APRIL MEETING 04/09/19

The De Queen School Board met for their regular meeting Monday, April 8th at the district administration building. The previous meetings minutes and bills were approved and an update was provided by Quiz bowl adviser Thomas Sweeten about the team’s upcoming competitions and fundraising efforts to pay for required travel expenses. The team will be leaving Friday April 12th after school to head to the state quiz bowl competition in Beebe. The competition will take place Saturday, April 13th at 9:00 a.m. at the ASU-Beebe campus. A total of 16 teams will be competing and last year De Queen received fifth place. The team is also preparing for the national competition in Washington D.C May 28th. So far, the team has raised $27,869.07 of the $31,531.32 needed to cover travel expenses, hotel fees, food and educational site-seeing. Superintendent Bruce Hill told Mr. Sweeten to report back to the school board after the additional t-shirt sale and concession stand fundraisers a complete. Sweeten spoke highly of the quiz bowl team members and said he has been blessed with a great group of kids.

In the old business category, Jason Sanders provided an update about the status of the new High School building construction project. Sanders announced good news, as the project is till on track to be completed on time by the end of March, despite more than two weeks worth of rain-outs.

(Jason Sanders soundbite)

Prior to heading into executive session the board voted to approve the 3rd quarter financial statement as well as the professional development year schedule. Professional development will run June 1st 2019-May 31st 2020. The board also agreed to continue the services of Susan Alspaw as district treasurer and financial secretary.

In personnel news, Jason Sanders told KDQN some changes will be made in terms of faculty and staff. In addition to a new D.I instructor, A new band director has been promoted and a long time district employee will become principal of the De Queen Primary school.

(Jason Sanders Soundbite)

The last item on the agenda was a discussion about The Lockesburg Elementary School property. The building is the responsibility of the De Queen School district and has been listed as an underutilized facility with the Arkansas board of education. The board agreed to begin the process of getting the site ready for accepting bids to be sold. The property includes 33 acres and is located at 121 darter circle, Lockesburg Arkansas. Jason Sanders says the next 30 days will be focused on assessing market value and moving forward with preparing for public sale.

(Jason Sanders Soundbite)

The next De Queen School Board Meeting will be held May 6th at 5:30pm in the District Administration building.

DE QUEEN ROTARY CLUB PRESENTS PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS 04/09/19

The De Queen Rotary Club presented their annual Public Service Awards at Monday’s noon meeting. County Judge Greg Ray presented a special Community Service Award to Jerald Birmingham. A member of the Horatio Fire Department, Birmingham was recognized for
recently becoming a National E.M.S. Educators Level One Instructor. Both Judge Ray and Sheriff Robert Gentry thanked Birmingham for assistance he provided during their personal family emergencies. Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith presented the Sevier County Firefighter of the Year Award to Kendall Johnson. The award is rotated annually among the eight fire departments in the county besides De Queen.

The Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department members selected Johnson as their 2019 recipient. An 11 year veteran of the Cossatot Department, Johnson serves as Lieutenant.  Sheriff Robert Gentry presented the Sevier County Officer of the Year Award to Sergeant Greg Davignon. Sheriff Gentry selected Davignon to serve as supervisor on the night shift, and credits Davignon for bringing much integrity to the position. Chief Scott Simmons presented the De Queen Police Officer of the Year Award to Bobby Bagley. After beginning his career as a Dispatcher for Sevier County in 1990, Bagley has worked with the De Queen Police Department since 1999. Since 2012, Bagley has served as the School Resource Officer for De Queen Public Schools. Chief Simmons pointed out that there are over 3,500 people on the De Queen School campuses each day, and Officer Bagley does an outstanding job protecting them.

Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt presented the De Queen Firefighter of the Year Award to Brandon Winer. This recipient was also selected by the fire department members. Winer is a two-time winner of the award despite only serving on the De Queen Fire Department for about two years. Chief Pruitt says that shows the respect that his fellow firefighters have for him. Winer also recently earned his E.M.T. status. Chief Pruitt also introduced newly hired full-time firefighter Jessica McGough, who’ll be attending the fire training academy in August. The awards presentation was arranged by Rotarian Mac McDaniel.

ARKANSAS AG HOSTS LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING 04/09/19
Last week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie hosted, for the first time in the history of the office, a law enforcement training event in south Arkansas. The free training and educational opportunity for the law enforcement community, including police, prosecutors and criminal justice personnel, was attended by about 70 officers and held in Monticello.

“Our men and women in blue put their lives on the line to protect Arkansans every day,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s event is an important experience for the law enforcement community in south Arkansas to help them tackle some of the issues they face. I look forward to continuing to offer this training across Arkansas.”

The participants heard from State Drug Director Kirk Lane and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Dak Kees. And from the Attorney General’s office, participants heard Investigator Shamikah Johnson, Assistant Attorneys General Jill Irwin and Marianne Satterfield, Special Agent Michael Thatch and Nurse Investigator Vicki Jones.

In 2017, Rutledge announced a new initiative to offer training outside of central Arkansas to build off of the overwhelming success of the annual Law Enforcement Summit. Training sessions have previously been held in northwest and northeast Arkansas, allowing officers to have easier access to the training.

This training provided participants with 5 hours of Continuing Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST) credit and 4.6 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit.

TRAFFIC STOP TURNS TO DRUG DISCOVERY IN DE QUEEN 04/08/19

A report released by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon and Deputy Chett Stubbs pulled over the driver of a red Kia Rio on Highway 329 for expired tags on Thursday, March 28th. In the report Deputy Stubbs noted observing excessive movement from the driver and passenger in the vehicle prior to conducting the traffic stop at the handi-mart store. The driver was identified as Otis Grant and when asked if he had anything to drink he reportedly told deputies he had drank one beer and also admitted he did not have a valid driver’s license.

The passenger in the vehicle reportedly told deputies his name was Joey Bennett. Deputies report that Bennett did comply when asked to step out of the car. Deputies also noted that both Grant and Bennett exhibited behavior “more anxious than the average person” and making excessive movements. When asked if there was anything illegal inside the vehicle, reports state that Grant claimed there was not and he consented for Sergeant Davignon to search the car. Sergeant Davignon also reportedly asked Bennett if he had any personal property in the vehicle and he claimed that he did. The report also states that Bennett says he did not consent to a search of the personal property. Patrolman JJ Lopez later arrived on the scene with K9 unit “Kilo” to conduct a free air sniff of the vehicle. Lopez reportedly found one clear, plastic bag that contained several smaller clear plastic bags with a white substance believed to be methamphetamine by the driver’s side door. Both suspects were placed in custody for possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver.

The report states that both men were advised of the rights. Both suspects were also said to have denied knowing where the suspected methamphetamine came from. During the vehicle search no other contraband was discovered. After Bennett was placed in the patrol unit for transport to the county jail, Grant reportedly told Deputy Stubbs that Bennett had set him up, claiming he must have thrown the substance outside after getting papers from the glove box. Grant was then transported to the Sevier County Jail and a wrecker’s service retrieved the car. The suspected methamphetamine was sent off the state crime lab in Hope, Arkansas . The total weight of the suspected meth was approximately 5 grams divided into seven small plastic bags.

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN RECEIVES SCHOLARSHIP TO NEW YORK COLLEGE 04/08/19


Sinai Trejo, De Queen High School Valedictorian, has received a freshman award of  $63,000 from Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Sinai is the daughter of Rosa Trejo and Gil Trejo.  She is Vice-President of National Honor Society, Publicity Officer for Spanish Club, Member of Quiz Bowl, Gifted and Talented as well as the Robotics Club.  Sinai’s plans are to earn a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish as well as a bilingual certificate while preparing for medical school.

 

AGFC OFFERING REWARD FOR INFORMATION ABOUT BALD EAGLE DEATH 04/08/19
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joined forces to conduct a joint investigation into the death of a mature bald eagle found in Drew County March 28.

The dead eagle was found near Tennessee Spur Road, west of Monticello and transferred to the Little Rock Zoo, where veterinary staff determined the preliminary cause of death as a gunshot wound. The female eagle’s body was found near a nest, and it is believed that the bird was tending the nest at the time of death.

A reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Anyone with information involved in this case is encouraged to contact the AGFC’s Stop Poaching Hotline at 800-482-9262. All calls to the hotline will be kept confidential.

ARKANSAS AG AND SENATOR TOM COTTON HOST ROUND-TABLE EVENT 04/08/19

On Friday, April 5th Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton held a round-table discussion today with state law enforcement and criminal justice leaders, followed by a question and answer session with the media, to address issues at the state and federal level. Topics included the continued effort to combat the opioid epidemic and stopping the sale of lethal unwashed poppy seeds. Also discussed were Senator Cotton’s legislation to allow cell phone jamming in prisons and Attorney General Rutledge’s efforts to curb illegal robocalls and spoofing, which was signed into law Wednesday.

“It is always a pleasure to join my friend Senator Cotton, and work with him on issues that require leadership at both the state and federal level,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Today’s discussion gave us the opportunity to hear from state leaders on ideas to protect and serve all Arkansans. I look forward to continuing the partnership between our offices to make Arkansas a safer and better place to live.”

The round-table was attended by Arkansas Crime Lab Director Kermit Channell, Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute Director Dr. Cheryl May, Arkansas Department of Correction Director Wendy Kelley, Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator Bob McMahan, Arkansas State Police Col. Bill Bryant, Arkansas Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Bryan Rorex, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch and other Arkansas leaders.

 

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY INDUCTION    04/08/19

Ashdown High School Juniors and Seniors were inducted into the National Honor Society on Wednesday, March 27th.

National Honor Society Inductees 2018-19         

Juniors: Noah Pounds Tyreese Westbrook
Chloe Anderson Roger House Are’jeon French
Colby Dellinger Raeleigh Grimes Brooklyn Welker
Paige Smith Kasey Barton Kaitlyn Woodall
Ashlyn Harger Breana Noble Kylie Rae Cross
Anyiya Polite Sydney Hurd
Rylee Burden Colyn Grimes
Aaliyah Nutt Jaliana Clinton Seniors:
Cole Smith Reba Mahaffey Coleman Newberry
MacKynze Dollarhide Makayla Dixon Chance Redfearn
Anthony Knudson Jeb Parker Deniyah Hemphill

 

National Honor Society Representatives: Bralee Lansdell, Bradee McKean, Advisor Connie Anderson, Kenya Wilson and Carson Jefferies

UA COSSATOT RECOGNIZES AUTISM AWARENESS DAY    04/05/19
UA Cossatot strives to promote causes that are important.  April is National Autism Awareness Month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day.  To highlight, understand, and raise awareness of Autism, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, UA Cossatot encouraged its employees and students to wear blue in recognition of the day.  The college also took part in a t-shirt fundraiser to support the cause.

Autism is a developmental disability that impacts the normal development of the brain.  In the United States, Autism now affects one in fifty-nine children.  This disability impacts areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function.  It is the fastest growing developmental disorder, but it is also the most underfunded.  Autism generally appears before children reach the age of three.  The rate of autism has steadily grown over the last twenty years, but it is not a hopeless condition.  It is treatable, and children diagnosed with this disability can progress.

“Our daughter and son-in-law started the t-shirt fundraiser last year after their son, our grandson, was diagnosed with Autism,” said UA Cossatot Division Chair of Professional Studies, Barbara Lacefield.  “We used #understandAUTISM to promote understanding of autism, not just awareness.  Today, most people have heard about autism, but very few truly understand the autism spectrum and how it affects the people who have the diagnosis.”

Lacefield added, “In an effort to give back, profits from sales of the t-shirts have been used to purchase sensory equipment for our grandson’s elementary school.  Last year just over $100 was raised, and we purchased a snuggle swing attachment for the occupational therapy room.  This year between shirt sales and donations, we raised $550 and were able to purchase and donate a squeeze machine to Southside Elementary in Cabot, Arkansas.  We are so thankful for the support of everyone in our community who purchased a shirt this year in support of this effort.”

To understand more about autism and to learn about ways you can get involved to support the fight against autism please visit www.autismspeaks.org.###

LARGEST DIAMOND OF THE YEAR FOUND AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 04/05/19
A crater of diamonds state park attendee discovered the biggest find of the year on Tuesday, according to state park officials. A picture of the diamond shows a mahogany color and size of about 1.52 carats.

“It’s very eye-appealing,” said Glenn Worthington, an author who runs a website called Diamonds in Arkansas said the jewel is the largest found so far this year. The park is located in Murfreesboro and is one of the only diamonds mines where people can keep what they find.

Since it became a state park, visitors have found thousands of diamonds in its 37-acre field, according to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Worthington said looking for diamonds after rainfall can be an ideal time to go because the water washes away silt and makes them easier to spot.He said among the biggest recent finds was an 8.5-carat diamond unearthed in 2015. Last year’s record-setting discovery measured in at about 2.5 carats.

 

DE QUEEN SENIORS RECOGNIZED FOR BI-LITERACY 04/05/19

Nine De Queen High School Seniors recently earned the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy was first adopted by California in 2011, and as of today, 36 states, including Arkansas, and Washington D.C., have adopted the Seal of Biliteracy. In order to receive this Seal, a student must have proof of proficiency in English (ACT scores are used or other English standardized exam scores) and another language, which in this case, was Spanish. To show proof of proficiency in Spanish, the students took the AVANT Stamps Exam which consists of the four communicative domains of language: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  Each student must score a “5” or higher on all four segments in order to pass this exam. This is the first time for De Queen High School students to apply for the Seal of Bi-literacy. Only nine students applied and all nine proved proficiency in both English and Spanish and were awarded the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy. There were 275 Arkansas students that earned this Seal this school year. Each student will receive a certificate, as well as a stamp on their diploma, showing that he/she has earned this prestigious status. These nine students not only can say that they are bilingual, but now have the Seal of Biliteracy that proves that they are bilingual which will be an asset when applying for future jobs.

The nine students are:
Antonette Worthy, Neri Mejia, Carlos Aparicio, Crystal Alarcon-Martinez, Belen Hernandez, America Pulido-Rojas, Miguel Montero, Yailin Dominguez, and Esmeralda Balderas.  All 9 students have taken Spanish through levels 3 or 4.

UA COSSATOT ENROLLMENT FOR SUMMER AND FALL ANNOUNCED    04/05/19

UA Cossatot is announcing that summer and fall registration is now open for enrollment. Current UA Cossatot students can take part in early registration and sign up for classes a week early during the week of April 8th– April 12th. Everyone can enroll in summer and fall classes at UA Cossatot starting on Monday, April 15, 2019. UA Cossatot has several courses for students to enroll in ranging from general studies, business, medical education, and diesel technology, just to name a few.

Summer classes will begin on June 3, 2019, and fall classes will start on August 13, 2019. These dates are also the deadlines for when students can register for 2019 summer and fall classes. Four, six, and eight week courses are available at different times throughout the summer, and during the fall students can take both sixteen and eight-week courses.
To enroll in classes, first-time students need to contact Student Services. Admission Advisors in that department can help you get started with the admissions process and registration. Walk-ins are welcome and their phone number is 800-844-4471. Returning students can register for classes by contacting their assigned advisor as listed on Campus Connect. To see if you can apply for financial aid in the summer or in the fall, please speak with someone in the financial aid office. Their phone number is 870-584-1112. UA Cossatot offers classes for students to take online, during the day, and in the evening to provide more options. To see the full list of classes and their schedules please visit www.cccua.edu/summer.

ASHDOWN LIVESTOCK JUDGING TEAM PLACES AT STATE COMPETITION 04/08/19

 

The Ashdown High School Livestock Judging Team won 3rd at the State Contest Friday at the UofA in Fayetteville. They are headed to Nationals in October! The team consists of Bandera Sansom, Lyndon Youngblood, Caden Hinton and Caylee Turner and is coached by Ron Bigham.

LOCAL COLLEGE ANNOUNCES FIRST ANNUAL SCHOLARSHIP PAGEANT 04/05/19
UA Cossatot announces the first annual  Scholarship Pageant to be held at the historic Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at 7 PM. The winner of the pageant will be crowned Miss UA Cossatot 2019, and will also receive a full tuition waiver while attending school. This is an opportunity for current and future  students to receive a scholarship, and also to promote their school and their community.
To be a contestant in the pageant you must be a female student who has never been married, you must be seventeen to twenty-one years old, and have a GPA of 2.5 or above. To participate, you must also be a current student  or an area high school senior who plans to enroll. The winner of the pageant will be expected to make appearances and be on promotional material while being a  student for at least two semesters after being crowned Miss UA Cossatot.
The Student Ambassadors are coordinating the pageant and admission prices for the event are $5. UA Cossatot students and local high school students can pay $3 to attend, and there is no fee for children twelve and under.
“I am glad to have the support of UA Cossatot’s Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole, Board of Visitor Chair Kathy Beavert, and the college. We hope the event to be successful and we can make this a tradition for years to come,” said Student Ambassador Valeria Gomez, “It is a scholarship opportunity that should be  taken advantage of.” The theme for the first annual pageant will be celebrating countries around the world. For anyone interested in participating in the pageant, please visit www.cccua.edu/missuac for more information.
FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH ARCHERY TOURNAMENT 04/05/19

Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center invites you to the first Saturday of the month 3-D Archery Tournament. Bring the family and brush up your skills or learn a new sport. Awards will be given to the first three places in each division. Call Caleb Coulter, 870- 826-8193, to register or for more information.

Competition Divisions
Open • Unlimited • Known
Senior Hunter (ages 50 and over)
Senior Open (ages 50 and over)
Novice • Women’s Open
Women’s Bowhunter • Women’s Novice
Hunter • Traditional • Young Adult (ages 15-17)
Youth (ages 13-14) • Senior Eagle (ages 11-12)
Eagle (ages 9-10)
Junior Eagle (ages 8 and under)

Entrance Fees
All Eagles……………………………. $5
Youth………………………………….. $5
Young Adult…………………………. $5
Adults…………………………………. $10
Families………………………………. $20

 

FIRST EVER FULL-TIME FEMALE FIREFIGHTER HIRED IN DE QUEEN 04/04/19

(pictured above: Jessica McGough, 26, is the newest hire at the De Queen Fire Department and the first full-time woman the team has ever had)

Last month, Chief Dennis Pruitt hired the first Full-Time Female Firefighter the De Queen Fire Department has ever had. Though women have helped the department in volunteer roles before, Jessica will be the first full-time woman in DFD history. Jessica McGough is a 2010 Horatio High School graduate and now she’s a 3rd-generation Firefighter who is following in the footsteps of both her father and grandfather, who each put in time to serve local Fire Departments over the years.  Jessica is the daughter of Rene Logan and Greg McGough. Greg worked for HFD as a volunteer, and her grandfather, Spencer Logan, worked for the De Queen department in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Before Jessica was hired, she was required to join a group of candidates in an agility test at De Queen High School last month. The candidates were put to the test by having to climb a set of stairs ten times while carrying a fire hose, flip a tire three times, perform a dummy rescue, complete a high rise pull, strike wood 20 times with an ax and then walk around a track and then perform a search and rescue through a blacked-out obstacle course. Chief Pruitt said he was going to make his hiring decision based on whoever did the best at the agility test and according to Pruitt, Jessica “outperformed” the other seven participants and that made her the most qualified person for the job.

 

In addition to hiring Jessica, Chief Pruitt has also named 18-year-old Monique Jacobo as a Jr. Firefighter. Last month, KDQN published an article about Monique’s desire to work for the department and the hurdle she faced because the position was only open to persons 21 or older. In March it was announced that Governor Asa Hutchison lowered the legal firefighter eligibility age from 21 to 18. After the news broke, Chief Pruitt made the decision to grant Monique a Jr. Firefighter spot.

(“Veteran” Jay Litchford helps “Rookie” Monique Jacobo during PPET at The Station Wednesday morning)

On Wednesday both Jessica and Monique began mandatory PPET training with the department. PPET stands for Personal Protective Equipment Training, and the sessions are lead by Code Enforcement Officer, Jay Litchford.

Litchford instructed the trainees on the correct process of dressing in full turnouts and Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith assisted in teaching the new girls proper techniques when gearing up. The trainees have just 60 seconds to put on all required gear in the right order, and the process is repeated until the new hires finish properly within the time limit.

In August, Jessica Will head to the Arkansas Fire Training Academy for 10 weeks to become officially certified. In addition to the required training, Monique and Jessica will be working out to stay in shape and be able to keep up with the demands of being on hand to help their community at any moment.

LOCKESBURG WOMAN FACING DOMESTIC BATTERY CHARGES 04/04/19
A Sevier County resident has been charged with domestic battery in the third degree following a family dispute.

The report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Deputy Greg Harper and Deputy Chet Stubbs were dispatched to a residence on E. Magnolia Street in Lockesburg, around 1:00 in the morning on Friday, March 29th. Deputy Harper reported that Marlon Rodriguez was found standing outside the home at the time the Sheriff’s department arrived on the scene. Deputy Harper noted that he discovered scratches and drawn blood on Rodriguez’s face.

In the report, Deputy Harper stated that signs of domestic disturbance were found upon entering the home, including a torn-up marriage license and items thrown on the floor.

Harper reportedly found Mrs. Cari Rodriguez in a bathroom of the home and she admitted she had been drinking a fight occurred between her and husband, Marlon Rodriguez. Mrs. Rodriguez admitted to throwing the “first blow” by scratching her husband across the face. While assessing the situation at the residence, Deputy Harper reported that Mrs. Rodriguez exhibited agitated behavior, began raising her voice and refused to comply with commands issued by Deputy Chett Stubbs. At that time, Mrs. Rodriguez was escorted outside and placed in the patrol unit. The deputies then spoke with the suspects 14-year-old-son who translated for Marlon Rodriguez. the report states that through translation, Marlon communicated to the deputies that he did not want to press charges against his wife. However, Mrs. Rodriguez will has been charged with Domestic Battery in the 3rd degree and her court date has been set for May 28th at The Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen.

HORTICULTURE FIELD DAY NEXT MONTH 04/04/19

The 2019 Horticultural Field Day is scheduled for May 16 at the Southwest Research and Extension Center in Hope. The day-long event will include a symposium of experts speaking on subjects ranging from blackberry, blueberry and muscadine production to identifying and managing troublesome pests, including root-knot nematodes and common diseases.

Sherrie Smith, plant pathologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will be available to help diagnose any ailing plants attendees bring with them to the field day.

Amanda McWhirt, extension fruit and vegetable horticulture specialist for the Division of Agriculture, is scheduled to deliver a presentation on growing blueberries in Arkansas, as well as lead a hands-on cover crops workshop in the afternoon.

“We are going to discuss the basics of using cover crops in vegetable systems as well as updates on watermelon production, and then show off some of our winter cover crop research for watermelons,” McWhirt said. “We will be inside for a short while to cover the basics and get research updates, and then we’ll go outside and look at several research plots and hear from researchers, graduate students and weed and pest management specialists Matt Bertucci and Jackie Lee.”

Pre-registration for the event is encouraged to ensure that enough meals are prepared. To pre-register, call the SWREC at 870-777-9702, download, print and mail in the event flyer at https://flic.kr/p/2fkoxg5 or register online at https://uaex.formstack.com/forms/horticulture_field_day.

To learn about horticulture in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu.

LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SPOTLIGHT: MEGAN LINZY

Once a month, KDQN is providing a behind the scenes look at the lives of our local law enforcement representatives in the Sevier County area. News director Murriel Wiley has been granted access to sit down one-on-one with employees of The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department to give the community a close-up look at those who help keep our community safe.

For the month of April, We’re spotlighting Megan Linzy, a detention officer at the Sevier County Sheriff’s department in De Queen.

Megan is a 2008 graduate of Nashville High School and a Howard County Native. Each day, Megan drives over 40 minutes each way from her hometown of Nashville to De Queen to work 12-hour shifts at the Sevier County Jail, despite living 2 miles from the Howard county jail, where she has had job offers before. Megan says the feeling of family is the reason why she chooses to commute from Nashville to De Queen. “It’s all about who you work with, how y’all work together and how the environment is and this is like a big family.”

On top of working for the department full-time, Megan is also a wife to Johnny Scroggins of Nashville and a mother of two children. Her daughter Jazlyn is 9 and her son Jordyn is 6.

Megan has been with the department for two years and she says she has always wanted to be a corrections officer. Megan got the chance to achieve her career goal when her lifelong friend, Deputy Kristyn Reed told her about a job opening with the Sevier County jail while she was still working at the Howard County hospital in the emergency room.

Megan told KDQN her favorite part of working at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department is being able to try and help people.

“I love that we have the classes and the programs because I have family members who I have lost to addiction.” Megan said, “So I want to try and help someone else, even if they don’t succeed, I felt like I did my part in the community to help.”

We asked Megan what her least favorite parts about working at the department are and she laughed. “I really don’t have any!” The only bad part Megan has found about working at the jail is that “you can’t help everyone.”

In terms of her favorites, Megan loves steak, and when she’s not at work, she enjoys relaxing at home with her husband and kids as well as taking family trips down to Shreveport Louisiana to visit the aquarium or the trampoline park in Texarkana. The final question KDQN asked Megan during the interview revealed the most about why she has chosen to pursue the career path she’s taken.

We asked Megan what she would be doing if she could have any job in the world and was not working for The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

Megan said “This has always been my dream job, so I really don’t know, as crazy as that sounds. My mom and family never liked it but I told them I was getting into law enforcement somehow.” “I like the way this jail is run, some jails don’t have what we have here and I have great bosses and co-workers, I don’t have any plans to go anywhere. Once you’re happy at a job you don’t get tired of it, and then you can bring that happiness home to your kids .”

This week, in addition to her normal job responsibilities, Megan also assisted volunteers in conducting a baptism ceremony at the jail that included 15 inmates who dedicated their lives to Christ Tuesday afternoon. Features like this are an example of the programs and services provided by the jail that help rehabilitate the inmates at The Sevier County jail .

Keep listening to KDQN to find out more about our local law enforcement representatives in the area.

FORKLIFT CLASS SCHEDULED IN HOPE 04/04/19

A forklift certification training class will be held at the University of Arkansas Hope campus on Saturday, April 27, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Technical & Industrial Building room 160. The class is $75 per person and is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. The class is instructed by Iry T. Rice, owner of Rice Safety Consultants. The class is compliant with OSHA specifications and provides a three-year certification.

The Department of Labor requires any forklift operator to hold an OSHA forklift certification. Certification can
increase workplace safety and productivity, and lower costs. A forklift operator card and certificate will be awarded to attendees after successfully completing the course.

For more information or to register, contact Akili Moses Israel at 870.722.8162 or akili.mosesisrael@uacch.edu.

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS FOR APRIL 2019: BY HEAD LIBRARIAN JOHNYE FISHER 04/04/19

LIBRARY SNIPPETS

BY: JOHNYE FISHER

 First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week “Libraries Lead” is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate. During this week on April 9th is National Library Workers Day. The purpose of this day is to recognize all library workers including librarians, support staff, and others who make library service possible every day Stop in the De Queen Library to join in the celebration April 7-13.

April 10th at 4 pm is our Easter program for children ages 3-8. There will be a special visitor hopping by to see everyone. Hoppy Easter and even though we enjoy the fun activities of Easter, let’s not forget the true meaning.

April 24th is “What! Cried Granny: an almost bedtime story” by Kate Lum story time and fun at 4 pm.

Don’t forget those Domino games or other games going on Wednesdays at 10am for any of you folks that would like to come in and join in the fun. We also have other games if you want to participate.

Amy from Horatio says Don’t let anyone fool you, Libraries are a great place to go. We have a wide variety of services to offer you. Why would you want to go and pay money for a movie? You can go to your local library and check out the latest movies for free. We also have several computers and free WIFI. We will have a special guest on April 13th for our Easter Program. The Easter Bunny will be here at 10 am. You are guaranteed to have a hopping good time. We will also be having a children’s program April 27th at 10 am. We will be learning about feelings and reading the book The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. Don’t forget about dominoes on Thursdays at 10 am. If you are interested in playing Scrabble or Pitch give us a call at 832-6882. We hope you have a very Blessed Easter and hope to see you soon.

On Saturday, April 9th the “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ to It” Book Club will meet at the Lockesburg Library to discuss the novel, “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel at 10 am.

An adult program “Working with Clay 10 will be held Saturday April 27th at 10 am. Those present will be taught simple pinch and coil pot making with air dry clay. Something new at the library is our new children’s book bins with the category, “Books with a Bonus”. Parents, grandparents or children can select a book that has an attached activity that is associated with the subject of the book. The activities are designed to enhance family reading time!

Visit the Lockesburg Library on Facebook for posts of our programs and projects or call Mz. Wendy at 870-289-2233 for more information.

Gillham Library has new on the shelf: C. J. Box’s “Wolf Pack” a Joe Pickett novel and Christy Barritt’s “Attempt to Locate” and “On the Lookout”. We have new DVD’s on the shelf and one is “Ralph Breaks the Internet”. Story time for April will be on Saturday April 20th at 2:00 pm. The Library hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9-5 closed 12-1 for lunch. For more information, you can contact Susie at the Gillham Library at 870-386-5665 or you can visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/gillhamlibrary

UPDATES FROM THE DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING 04/03/19

The De Queen City Council met for their regular meeting Tuesday, April 2nd at city hall. Prior to addressing the items on the agenda Mayor Brown opened up the floor for public comment and Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor announced that the winner of the Sevier County slogan contest will be revealed on Thursday April 18th at 11:30 a.m. at the Lockesburg City Park. Taylor also reminded the council that the Sevier County Tourism Committee will be meeting on April 22nd with a free dinner that is open to the public.

Mayor Brown also noted the success of the Adopt-A-Block event that took place over the weekend on Saturday, March 28th. The event was an initiative to clean-up Sevier County and the results of the efforts include 182 bags of trash picked up in 3 hours by 130 people.

The council approved the previous meetings minutes and then a presentation of the Ennis Building status was delivered by Beth Hughes. The presentation revealed pictures of the exposed wire, fallen-in ceilings, rain damage, mold and several other safety concerns in the deteriorating building. Mayor Brown told the council that the building must be returned to it’s original state before a grant can be applied for to get the building on the historical registry site. The Mayor asked the council to decide whether the best plan for the building is to sell it, fix it up or tear it down. The next step now is for the city to find a contractor who can assess the amount of financial responsibility required before the building is presentable enough to apply for a grant.

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite:

The next big item discussed was the topic of bringing a splash pad to the city of De Queen. Mayor Brown believes the splash pad would not only supply entertainment for children and families in Sevier County, but would also serve as an attraction that would draw in tourists and economic dollars from outside areas. The Mayor and Sevier County Parks and Tourism Director, Gathea Bakenhous have a meeting planned for Thursday to visit with the Parks and Tourism commission in Magnolia to find out more information about applying for a grant that would help fund the project. The splash pad will cost more than an estimated $400,000.

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite:

A quick item on the agenda discussed, was the resolution to authorize transactions between businesses and organizations run by Alderman Loftin and the city. The council accepted the resolution as written.

The Mayor then presented a resolution to recognize parting city Attorney Laura Lindly and acknowledge her time spent working with the city for the last 7 years. Laura was present for the recognition and was joined by husband, Jay and Daughter Rachel. The city expressed many thanks and gratitude for her professionalism and leadership qualities. Laura has left the position because Arkansas has a law that if an attorney moves into the De Queen City limits and they request the job, the precedence is given to the De Queen resident and the action goes into effect 30 days from the day the Mayor receives notice about the position request. Mrs. Lindly resides in Broken Bow Oklahoma, and she graciously turned the reigns over to new City Attorney Erin Hunter. Though Laura no longer serves as the city attorney, the services offered at her downtown De Queen office will remain available to local residents in the area.

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite:

After recognizing Laura Lindly, the council then confirmed the appointment of new city Attorney Erin Hunter. Hunter is a De Queen resident with a local law practice and she was present at Tuesday’s meeting to begin work as soon as the appointment was confirmed.

The last item on the agenda was the mayors announcement that Gosley contractors has been hired for the installation of the new water line to be ran around the perimeter of pilgrim’s pride chicken plant. The bid came in under budget at roughly $84,000. The council accepted the motion unanimously.

The next city council meeting will be held April 16th at city hall in De Queen.

TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF HWY 41 NEAR SEVIER & LITTLE RIVER COUNTY LINE    04/03/19

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY (4-2) – Demolition of piers for the old State Highway 41 Little River bridge will require a temporary closure on the new State Highway 41 Little River bridge, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.

Weather permitting, crews with Jensen Construction plan to stop both directions of traffic on State Highway 41 just south of Horatio, at the Sevier and Little River County line on Wednesday, April 3, between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. for a blasting operation to remove concrete piers in the river channel.

The closure should last approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the detonation and inspection of the driving lanes for any debris.

The project to replace the State Highway 41 Little River Bridge was awarded to Jensen Construction in March of 2016 for $13,965,914.82. The new bridge opened to traffic on February 26, 2019. Major work remaining includes constructing county road connections, removal of the old bridge structure, and placing the final layer of asphalt pavement on the bridge approaches. It is estimated that the project will be substantially complete mid-2019.

Traffic will be controlled with signage and traffic barrels. Drivers should exercise caution when approaching and traveling through all highway work zones. Additional travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ARDOT.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter @myARDOT.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/03/19

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced SB576. This bill requires out of state online retailers to collect and remit state sales tax.

The bill also reduces corporate income tax from 6.5% to 5.9% over a three year period.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1933, an Act to Amend the Anti-Bullying Policy.

This bill address bullying in several ways.  It requires parents of the victim of bullying be notified as soon as reasonably practicable. It requires schools to investigate and write a report on the complaint within 5 school days. The bill also requires the school notify the parent or legal guardian of the student who is determined to have been the perpetrator of the incident of bullying.

In addition, the bill also requires the superintendent to annually update the school board on the number of incidents of bullying reported and the actions taken.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1761. This bill prohibits soliciting egg procurement and egg harvesting for purposes of sale. Egg harvesting is the extraction of an egg from the reproductive organs of a woman who agrees to provide her eggs for purposes other than her own pregnancy.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced SB623. This bill prohibits judges from suspending or revoking a driver’s license for failure to appear or failure to pay fines.

The full House passed SB99. SB99 is the appropriation bill for Medicaid and Medicaid expansion.

The House passed HB1821. This bill requires DHS to implement an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for medical providers to address minimum wage increases.

The House passed HB1417 which creates the Arkansas Major Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit for projects worth more than $1.5 million. This bill creates the qualifications for the tax credit but does not provide funding.

The House passed SB584. This bill requires the Department of Finance and Administration to provide space on income tax forms to designate more than one account for the direct deposit of the taxpayer’s refund.

MISSING TEEN FOUND SAFE 04/03/19

The Arkansas State Police and Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department has located a missing Nashville teen reported missing this week.  Sheriff James Singleton says 17 year old Keleya Lewis has been located and is safe.  Investigators received information Tuesday evening that led them to find her early Wednesday morning in Alma, Arkansas.  The seventeen year old had been reported missing late Monday.  Sheriff Singleton appreciates the assistance of the public in helping to locate Lewis.

PRESCOTT SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIM EXPECTED TO RECOVER 04/03/19

The 14-year-old who was shot by another student at a Prescott school Monday is now expected to make a full recovery. The student was airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, which is about 100 miles from Prescott High School. Authorities said the shooting came after an argument between the victim and another student at the school. Superintendent Robert Poole said in an interview Tuesday that the student was recovering quickly from his injuries.

The shooting occurred around 9:15 a.m. Monday and caused a lockdown of the school and surrounding communities of Gurdon and Hope. District officials canceled classes for the rest of the day Monday shortly after the lockdown ended and counselors were made available for students and teachers as classes resumed.

Prescott Police Chief Joey Beavers said “It’s that call that no police chief wants to get, It’s that dreaded call.” Beavers said officers arrested a 14-year-old suspect off campus and found a handgun tucked behind bushes in front of the school. Beavers said the teen suspect has been held at a local youth facility while awaiting possible criminal charges following his arrest.

Nevada County Prosecutor Christi McQueen did not say if the suspect would be charged as an adult. Arkansas law permits prosecutors to charge minors as young as 14 adults for bringing a weapon to a school campus. Two school resource officers were at the school at the time of the shooting. School leaders said they plan to review additional security measures and practices around campus buildings in the coming weeks.

BAPTISM CEREMONY HELD AT SEVIER COUNTY JAIL 04/03/19

A baptism ceremony was held at the Sevier County Jail Tuesday, April 2nd in De Queen.

The baptisms were conducted by Pastor Ray Reynolds of De Queen First Assembly of God and the ceremony was facilitated by Joe and Hattie Vance of the local celebrate recovery program. 15 male inmates participated in the baptism and have now given their hearts to the lord.

The jail also held a ceremony last Friday where 6 female inmates were baptized. The goal of the programs and services at the Sevier County jail is to rehabilitate inmates through bible studies, classes and various training that help them live a better life after serving their time. Since 2017, several dozen inmates have been baptized at the Sevier County Jail.

TRAFFIC STOP TURNS TO DRUG POSSESSION FIND IN SEVIER COUNTY THURSDAY 04/02/19
A man is facing drug possession charges after a traffic stop was conducted by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department last week.

According to reports from the Sheriff’s department, Deputy Chett Stubbs pulled over the driver a of a white Honda civic on Highway 41 South around 11:00 p.m. Thursday, March 28th. The vehicle reportedly had defective license plate illumination lights, which deputy Stubbs stated was his reason for the stop.

The driver was reportedly known to the deputy from prior experiences and he was identified as Andy McGough. McGough reportedly told the Deputy he did not have a valid driver’s license but he did comply when he was asked to step out of the vehicle. Deputy Stubbs described the driver’s behavior as “more anxious than he normally would be” and asked McGough if he could search the vehicle. The report states that McGough consented to the search and Deputy Stubbs discovered a clear, Ziploc-style bag torn in half containing a white residue consistent with methamphetamine. McGough was read his rights and agreed to speak with the Deputy. McGough reportedly admitted that the bag contained methamphetamine at one time and Stubbs then placed him into custody for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Deputy Greg Harper arrived later to assist Deputy Stubbs with the traffic stop. Upon his arrival on the scene Harper shined a flashlight on the ground and a half of a plastic bag was discovered near the spot where McGough was standing. The bag contained what was believed to be methamphetamine and McGough is said to have admitted to throwing the bag while Deputy Stubbs was searching the driver’s side of the vehicle. McGough was transported to The Sevier County Jail where he was charged with possession of controlled substance, schedule II meth or cocaine.

UAHT NOW ENROLLING FOR SUMMER COURSES 04/02/19

Registration for summer and fall classes at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana is open now. There will be a special and free “Wax Hands” registration event at the Hope campus on April 2 and at the Texarkana campus on April 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. “Students who register on those days can have a little fun while registering by dipping their hands in wax to make really cool hand molds,” said Jennifer Wright, Director of Student Relations.

UAHT has the most affordable tuition and fees in the State of Arkansas. The college also offers Bowie and Cass County residents the same affordable in-state tuition rate. Along with affordable tuition, UAHT offers a textbook rental program where students can rent college textbooks for only $20 per credit hour. The UAHT Foundation offers students over one hundred twenty privately funded scholarships. There are also numerous financial aid opportunities, institutional scholarships, and work-study programs available to students. UAHT even offers the “U Can Scholarship” which may qualify students to take a free three-hour course.

UAHT is now offering anew Associate of Arts Degree with a Registered Nursing focus designed for students to transfer into the Texas A&M-Texarkana Bachelor of Science in Nursing RN program. UAHT also offers a variety of technical programs such as Diesel Technology, HVAC, Industrial Electricity, Industrial Maintenance, Power Technologies, and Welding that prepare you for great jobs. With the availability of online, hybrid and evening classes at UAHT, students can earn certificates and degrees through a variety of avenues.

Summer I classes begin May 29, summer II classes begin July 1, and fall classes begin August 21.

For more information or to enroll at U of A Hope-Texarkana, call 870-777-5722 or visit www.uacch.edu today.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/02/19

  • In a vote of 51-26, with 9 members voting present, the House passed SJR15. This is a proposed constitutional amendment for the November 2020 ballot addressing term limits for legislators.  This amendment would limit state legislators elected after January 1, 2021 to 12 years of consecutive service. Those legislators would not be eligible for subsequent service in the General Assembly until four years after the expiration of the last term in office.

Current legislators could serve under the existing term limits of 16 years.  Those members would be subject to a 4 year waiting period for before running for a subsequent term in the General Assembly.

The House passed HB1837. This bill expands access to association health plans to allow more small businesses to band together to purchase insurance.

The House passed HB1733 which makes threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property a Class C felony.

The House passed HB1945. This provides needed changes to have the Arkansas Online Insurance Verification System implemented by January 1, 2020. This system gives law enforcement access to real time information regarding proof of insurance.

The House passed SB492. This allows cities in wet counties to pass an ordinance creating a temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts.

DHS SENIOR GRANTED DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARSHIP TO HSU 04/02/19

De Queen senior Sophie Gail Burke has been awarded the Distinguished Freshman Scholarship worth $46,000 and a $3,200 choir scholarship from Henderson State University.

Sophie is the daughter of Christopher and Misty Burke.  She is a member of FCCLA, National Honor Society, Gifted and Talented, Quiz Bowl and DHS Choir.

Sophie’s plans are to earn a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communication

JUDGE GREG RAY TALKS HOSPITAL RECEIVERSHIP ON KDQN 04/02/19
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stopped by “The Morning Brew” Monday, April 1st to inform the local community about a recent receivership of the De Queen Medical Center that was granted to local leaders in the area last week. Rachel Matheson was granted the temporary receivership in circuit court Thursday March 28th.
The Judge says the move was crucial for maintaining the credentials for the center to qualify as a critical access facility.
*SOUNDBITE:Judge Ray also clarified that receivership is not the same as a transfer of ownership and more than $100,000 in taxes are still owed to Sevier County by the De Queen Medical Center at this time.
*SOUNDBITE:The next step is to establish a plan for reviving services as well as replenishing the supplies and equipment required for the Hospital to get back on track.*SOUNDBITE:An additional court date has been set for mid-April and more updates will be released as details become available. Keep listening to KDQN on 92.1 FM and checking kdqn.net/local-news for information.LOCAL NON-PROFIT CHAPTER BRINGS INCLUSION THROUGH ATHLETIC EVENTS  04/01/19 The Andrew Shane Griffin Memorial 5K (ASG) held its inaugural race Saturday, March 30th to benefit a scholarship fund in honor of Andrew Griffin, a former student at Horatio High School, and Brooke Toye’s brother, who passed away in 2017. The race was a special one for both race director Brooke Toye and Ainsley’s Angels of Southwest Arkansas. Andrew and Brooke’s aunt, Ginger Griffin, also wanted to participate in the 5K in memory of her nephew. The only stumbling block: Ginger Griffin needed racing equipment to accommodate her lower lumbar paralysis.Toye contacted Ainsley’s Angels after seeing them participate in their first 5K in Southwest Arkansas, The Never Give Up 5K on February 23, 2019. Andrew Griffin’s birthday was also February 23rd. Toye told the Ainsley’s Angels South West Arkansas Ambassador, Tessa Dean, “It just seemed right, that I would find out about you guys on Drew’s birthday, and now my Aunt Ginger can do his 5K.”
Ainsley’s Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides the free use of athletic equipment so that athletes of all abilities can participate in races across the country. Their mission, however, goes beyond athletics. According to the new South West Arkansas Ambassador-in-Training, Tessa Dean, “Ainsley’s Angels want to spread the joy of inclusion. We educate and advocate for the special needs community to have a place in the community at large. Everyone deserves to belong and to be part of events with their neighbors.”


On March 30th, Ginger Griffin rolled with her Ainsley’s Angels teammates- five Angel Athlete Riders pushed by 15 Angel Runners. Team Ginger was pushed by her longtime friend, Angel Runner Tracy Stancil, who was assisted on the hilly and wet course by Angel Runner Jason Barker. Throughout the race in her Axiom Racing Chair, she held a framed picture of Drew Griffin.
Sign-up to be an Ainsley’s Angel runner, Angel athlete rider, or Guardian Angel volunteer at www.ainsleysangels.org or follow them on Facebook: Ainsley’s Angels in Arkansas. Contact Tessa Dean about racing chair sponsorships or upcoming races that Ainsley’s Angels in Southwest Arkansas will be participating in at swarkansas@ainsleysangels.org.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 04/01/19

Legislation passing the House this week addressed everything from robocalls to property taxes.

While illegal robo-calls are frustrating for most, they are also costly and dangerous for far too many Arkansans. An alarming number of illegal robo-calls originate from scammers using automatic telephone dialing systems to send out thousands of phone calls per minute with fictitious or misleading names or telephone numbers displaying on unsuspecting consumers’ telephone caller identification. SB514 addresses this in a few ways.  It makes “spoofing”, or displaying fictitious names or numbers, a crime.  It makes robo-calling a Class D felony and holds telecommunication providers accountable with the Public Service Commission.

The House also passed legislation this week ensuring that firefighters who have completed 5 or more years of employment are granted at least 1,456 hours of paid leave for treatment of any cancer caused by his or her job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S. HB1773 is title Crump’s Law. It is named in honor of Little Rock firefighter Nathanial Crump who was forced to go back to work after exhausting his sick leave while being treated for occupationally caused cancer.

This session is expected to be complete by April 12. We will continue to keep you updated.  And remember you can watch all House proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

ASHDOWN TEACHER CADETS VISIT ARKADELPHIA 04/01/19

The Ashdown High School Teacher Cadets attended the Henderson State University Future Educators Conference at Arkadelphia on March 29th. They talked with panels made up of education professors and students. Topics discussed were education classes, projects, internships, field experience, and information relating specifically to HSU. The students were, also, introduced to STEM (science, technology, engineering & math), where they got to interact with STEM manipulatives that educators use.  The students include Kasey Barton, Adaysia Thompson (HSU Volleyball Commit & education major), and Kaitlyn Woodall. Contact sponsor, Julie Sheppard, at AHS if you are an AHS student interested in becoming a member of this program.

AGFC NEW CADETS BEGIN TRAINING 04/01/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission welcomed 16 cadets into their 18-week enforcement training period with their official swearing-in on Monday, March 18.

The 15 men and one woman are now wildlife officer cadets and employees of the AGFC as they go through training at H.C. “Red” Morris Enforcement Training Center off Arkansas Highway 89. The AGFC holds one enforcement training class per year; the process for these cadets to become wildlife officers began last fall.

The average class size ranges from 12 to 14 individuals, making this group slightly above average and one of the larger ones in recent years. One of the 16 cadets is from out of state and four have prior law enforcement experience. The rest are just out of college, while some have a military background.

The 18-week curriculum is longer than previous years as the most recent and slightly smaller classes went through 16-17 week sessions. Some of the larger classes went through 22 weeks of training. The Mayflower center has held training since 1984.

At the end of 18 weeks, upon graduation from the academy, the cadets will receive their county office assignments and continue their careers with the AGFC.

DE QUEEN STUDENT AWARDED MAJOR SCHOLARSHIPS 04/01/19

Rosena Tinajero has been awarded an Arkansas Governor’s Scholarship worth $40,000.  She also earned the $40,000 ATU Board of Trustees Scholarship. Rose is a senior at De Queen High School and the daughter of Evaristo and Denise Pedraza. She is a member of Student Council, National Honor Society and Gifted and Talented.  Her plans are to earn a degree in Finance at Arkansas Tech University.

RUTH SELECTED TO SERVE ON STEERING COMMITTEE   03/29/19

UA Cossatot Director of Educational Resources and OER Specialist Relinda Ruth was recently selected to serve on the Open Textbook Network (OTN) Steering Committee for a two-year term.
“This is a great honor,” Ruth said. “I am excited to work with dedicated individuals who are devoted to making higher education more accessible through the use of open textbooks.”
Ruth will join the six-member Steering Committee, alongside members from Colorado State University, the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, the University of Arizona, Minnesota State and Penn State University. The Steering Committee offers field perspectives, provides guidance and support for OTN leadership, and offers outreach to OTN membership.
In 2018, UA Cossatot became the first institution in Arkansas to join the OTN. The OTN includes nearly a thousand institutions, both nationally and internationally. Its mission promotes access, affordability, and student success by using open textbooks and free open educational resources (OER). Ruth attended OTN’s July 2018 Summer Institute and Summit in Minnesota. As the college’s OER Specialist and an OER contact for Arkansas, she will continue training to facilitate future workshops and encourage the use of openly licensed materials across the state

PLAYGROUND CLEANUP    03/29/19>

Third grade students from De Queen Elementary School participated in a playground cleanup project.
The project was initially started by a two students in Mrs. Williamson’s 3rd grade class, Gabriel Martinez & Micah Irvan, who observed a lot of trash on the playground area while playing at recess.  They began picking up what they could during their recess time.  The movement then spread by including some of their classmates and friends. They even named their group the “Trash Troop.”
Coincidentally, De Queen is also hosting a citywide clean up project throughout the town.  This proves that no matter your age, you can still make an impact! De Queen Elementary is proud of these young students that are making a difference.

Pictured students from Left to Right: 1st row: Micah Irvan, Jordan Pass, Gabriel Martinez, Thomas Brewer.  2nd row: Haylee Hernandez, Maddie Elmore, Virginia Nix

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/29/19</strong

On Thursday, the House passed a measure to increase homestead property tax credit. SB447 increases the credit from $350 to $375. It also diverts $8.2 million from the property tax relief fund to the county voting systems grant fund.  It also directs excess funds to the state’s long-term reserve fund.

The House passed HB1773. This bill ensures that firefighters who have completed 5 or more years of employment are granted at least 1,456 hours of paid leave for treatment of any cancer caused by his or her job.  Paid leave for occupationally caused cancer under this bill would not reduce the accrued sick leave or annual vacation leave of the firefighter.
The House passed SB448. This bill prohibits any person from performing an abortion unless he or she is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Arkansas and is board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. It also defines viability as:

The state of fetal development when, in the judgment of the physician based on the particular facts of the case before him or her and in light of the most advanced medical technology and information available to him or her, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the unborn child outside the body of the mother, with or without artificial life support.
The House Revenue and Taxation committee advanced SB582. This bill provides a sales tax refund for machinery and equipment used to modify, replace, or repair molds and dies used in manufacturing.

The House Public Transportation Committee advanced SB534. This bill amends distracted driving laws to put Arkansas in compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. It establishes minimum fines for violating the law of $25 dollars for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Maximum fines are set at $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced HB1802. This bill instructs a committee appointed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice to revise the family support chart used in determining child support awards. It instructs the committee to base the chart on payor income and recipient income and no longer on the payor income based support chart. The new chart would be revised by March 1, 2020.

The Judiciary Committee also advanced HB1733which makes threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property a Class C felony.

UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS TRAVEL TO LITTLE ROCK 03/29/19

During their spring break, UA Cossatot student ambassadors traveled to Little Rock to explore tourist attractions and learn more about global hunger and poverty. Visiting the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, a 1200-acre ranch that focuses on finding solutions to poverty, hunger, and environmental issues, student ambassadors were able to simulate the experience of living in a third world country. “We knew our stay at Heifer Ranch was going to be one night, but we didn’t know what to expect,” said Alondra Galvez. “We had to make our own fire, prepare and cook our own food, and sleep on a cold, hard floor, which is a normal way of living for many people around the world.” Student ambassadors hiked to Pinnacle Mountain and ate lunch at The Root Café, which uses food grown by local Arkansas farmers. They learned the value of growing one’s own food. After touring an art exhibit and volunteering at a Salvation Army kitchen, the group understood how serious poverty is and how it affects people. “We all had a positive attitude about this trip and had fun, but we learned that we have the power to help make a change for those who are suffering,” said Galvez. “Speakers on this trip reminded us that we are educated, we have a voice, and we can speak our thoughts while using resources like social media to make a difference.” UA Cossatot students interested in becoming a student ambassador can contact Daniel Martinez at dmartinez@cccua.edu for more information.

4 STATE BARREL RACES IN TEXARKANA 03/29/19

The 10th annual Lucky Dog Texarkana Barrel Races will be held this weekend at the Four States Fair & Rodeo arena in Texarkana, Arkansas March 29 to 31 with Better Barrel Races, the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, and Lucky Dog Productions.

The Four States Fairgrounds are located at 3700 50th St, Texarkana, AR 71854. Pony entries close at 10:00 pm on Friday, March 29 and call-ins are accepted during event office hours with credit card payment. No checks accepted and current 12 month Negative Coggins papers required on all horses. All hat fines from this event will be donated to The Shirley Treat Memorial Scholarship Fund. Visit the Facebook Event Page for more information.

ARKANSAS AG ACCEPTING INTERN APPLICATIONS 03/29/19

On Thursday, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that her office is accepting applications for summer interns. The summer internship session will begin June 5.

“Internships are an incredible way for students to gain real world work experience in a professional setting,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I want to encourage college students to take the opportunity to serve their State and communities by working in the rewarding public service sector.”

Applicant packet information is available under the Office section at ArkansasAG.gov. The deadline to apply is May 1.

Some students may be able to arrange for college credit for their internship depending on the requirements of their college or university.

Those with questions about the Attorney General’s office intern program may contact Katy Fraley at internship@ArkansasAG.gov or 501-682-2007.

LOCAL STUDENT AWARDED CONSERVATION SCHOLARSHIP 03/29/19

The Mine Creek Soil & Water Conservation District board of directors recently selected Barrett Jackson to receive a $500 scholarship.

Mark Millwood, Chairman of the district board, says Jackson is a senior at Nashville high School, where he maintains a 4.0 grade point average.

Jackson is a member of the, Nashville High School FFA where he participates in the following; Show Team, Land Judging Team, he was awarded High Point Individual in Howard County in 2019 Mine Creek Land Judging Contest, Ag Mechanics, Chapter Reporter Junior Advisor, Star Green Hand Award, member of the SWARK Shooting sports team, National Honor Society, FBLA ,and Hempstead Co 4H District he was a 4H Record Book winner in Howard County 4H.

Jackson plans to attend Southern Arkansas University and pursue a degree AG Business.

Jackson is the son of Bill and Jodi Jackson of Ozan.

Millwood stated that the scholarships are given each year to a Howard County High School Senior that plans on attending a college and pursuing a degree in a conservation or agricultural related field.

MEDICAL DIVISION HOST NURSING SKILLS COMPETITION  03/28/19

UA Cossatot held its first annual Nursing skills Competition for LPN Nursing students on March 15, 2019.  Approximately fifty-one LPN students and ten nursing instructors participated in the event at the Adams Building on the De Queen campus.  Students were able to select events at the competition.  The events included prepared speaking, CPR, an anatomy and physiology exam, an anatomy and physiology game, a medical terminology exam, and a performance of a specific nursing skill.

Following the competition, first and second place winners in each category were awarded during an awards ceremony.

Winners include: Prepared speaking: Ashley Smallwood, first place; Ashley Crocker, second place.  CPR (2-person competition): Stormie Garza and Ashley Coleman, first place; Ludy Aparicio and Sandybel Aparicio, second place.   Anatomy and physiology exam: Lauren King, first place; Kaile Walker, second place.  Anatomy and physiology game: Veronica Castro, first place; Jennifer Howard, second place.  Medical Terminology: Angel Espinoza, first place; Kaylynn Brasel, second place.  Performance nursing skill: Selena Leon, first place; Adriana Figueroa, second place.

Due to positive student feedback, the Medical division plans to continue the event in the futur

STREET DEDICATED TO COACH SPIGNER 03/28/19

Horatio Schools Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith presented Horatio High School Baseball coach Lance Spigner with the sign for the street dedicated in his name before the lions game against Ashdown Tuesday night. Coach Spigner is leaving the program after 28 years to accept a coaching position at UA rich Mountain in Mena.

2019-2020 ASHDOWN CHEERLEADERS 03/28/19

Congratulations to the 2019-2020 Ashdown High School Cheer Team:  Davina Gaines, Ebony Hawkins, Raeleigh Grimes, Amy Newton, Ansleigh Patrick, Emma Wrinkle, Sara Huddleston, Kaylee Welborn, Railee Schmidt, Liza Embry, Chloe Young, Zoie Hurd, Chevi Flournoy, Kaytlyn Brower, Hannah Denton and Ashlee Waller.

FOREMAN FFA CHILI SUPPER TONIGHT 03/28/19

Foreman High School’s FFA would like to remind everyone in the community about the Annual FFA Workday Auction and Chili Supper tonight in the FHS Cafeteria.  Meal starts at 6:00 p.m. and the cost is $8.00.  The auction portion of the evening starts at 7:00 p.m. Student-made projects will be auctioned off as well as labor.  Five teams have recently qualified for state career development events.  All proceeds go to the local FFA chapter to fund trips like this as well as numerous other projects.  Please come out and support our students.  Events like this help to promote community service, reward hard work, and builds responsibility.  This also encourages networking for future jobs.

POLL TAKEN SHOWS ARKANSANS SUPPORT OF WATER QUALITY 03/28/19

The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas recently conducted a statewide poll of likely voters to better understand conservation interests and priorities. Protection of drinking water sources and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats ranked highest among those polled.

A survey was conducted by Gilmore Strategy Group of Little Rock. Jon Gilmore, founder of the group, said he had not seen favorable numbers as high as the results shown from the survey for any other statewide issue or candidate. “It’s clear voters believe in the importance of conservation,” Gilmore said.

The survey revealed voters’ concern for, as well as their resounding support of the state’s water quality. With 98 percent of those polled citing “protecting sources of drinking water” as an important issue for conservation within the state.  And 87 percent said they would support efforts to reduce sediment runoff from dirt and gravel roads, a leading contributor of pollution to streams, lakes, and rivers in Arkansas.

96 percent of the respondents cited the importance to conserve fish and wildlife habitats and 80 percent showed favorable views of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure stated, “The survey results are a welcomed confirmation for the work of our team here at the Commission, but also is evidence for how strong voters’ support our state’s natural resources. The outdoors are a way of life in Arkansas and together we need to protect the opportunities we have for future generations.”
The survey asked likely voters if they favored or opposed Amendment 75, which directs 1/8th of a percent of all sales in the state to conservation. Almost 80 percent said they support it. In 1996, Arkansas voters passed this tax to provide funding for fish and wildlife conservation, state parks, litter prevention and protection of natural heritage. The AGFC receives 45 percent; Arkansas State Parks, 45 percent; Department of Arkansas Heritage, 9 percent; and Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, 1 percent of the funding.

>ARKANSAS DISTRICT 4 JUDGE PASSES AWAY 03/25/19
Arkansas Court of Appeals judge, David “Mac” Glover passed away over the weekend after collapsing in his yard in Malvern.
The judges wife, Michele Glover reported finding her husband early Saturday morning and that he died the same day.
Glover was 74 years old and served as the District 4, Position 2 judge on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. District 4 is composed of Clark, Garland, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Little River, Logan, Miller, Montgomery, Pike, Polk, Scott, Sebastian, Sevier and Yell counties.
Glover earned as bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in 1966, and his juris doctor degree from the university in 1969. He was private practice attorney in Malvern for 34 years.
Glover also served as a Hot Spring County district judge, as an assistant state attorney general, as Malvern city attorney, and as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the 7th Judicial District.
POLK COUNTY CLEAN UP AND BLOCK PARTY 03/26/19
Cossatot River Communities Revitalization Initiative, a group working toward economic revitalization in South Polk County, is having a clean up event and block party on April 13th beginning with the clean up at Noon, and the Block Party starting at 4:00 pm in Wickes. To help clean up in Wickes, meet at the Wickes Fire Station, and to help in Grannis meet at the Grannis Fire Station.  The Block Party will have food, provided by Tyson and local churches, games, live music and an Easter Egg Hunt!  For more information contact Tracy Youngblood or visit Cossatot River Communities Revitalization Initiative on Facebook.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/26/19

More than 550 bills have made it to the Governor’s desk during this legislative session.  We now begin the 11th week of the Regular Session.

The House passed more than 50 bills today including the following:

HB1634-This bill includes acts committed by a victim of human trafficking under the state’s rape shield law. Arkansas’s rape shield law prohibits an accuser’s previous sexual conduct from being presented in court.

HB1695-This bill directs prosecutors to ensure children were not victims of human trafficking before they can be charged for prostitution.

HB1648-This bill will add Arkansas civil rights leaders in teaching materials regarding African-American history in a public school.

HB1786-This bill requires a public school to create and publish an online report that provides the number of students who have an exemption from the requirement to obtain vaccinations.

HB1708-This bill raises the minimum age for girls to get married.  The current minimum, with parental consent, is 17 years old for boys and 16 years old for girls. This bill raises that age to 17 for girls.

HB1868-This bill allows voters to present their identification in a digital format at polling precincts.

HB1824-This bill allows recipients of the Arkansas Academic Challenge and the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship to continue to receive a scholarship if they are enrolled part-time in their senior year of college.

HB1623-This bill requires anyone who sells a dog or a cat to provide documentation to the buyer regarding whether the dog or cat has been properly vaccinated.

 

SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST WINNER CHOSEN 03/26/19

During the past month, the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee held a contest to see who can come up with the best slogan for Sevier County.  The contest was created to identify an appropriate brand or slogan to represent Sevier County as its citizens plan for future economic growth.  Sevier County residents were encouraged to compete in the contest to have a role in the promotion of their community.

The contest ended on March 14, 2019, and judges selected a winner during a meeting held on March 21, 2019.  The winner will receive a $500 cash prize, and the winning slogan will be one part of an overall marketing plan that will be developed to highlight tourism opportunities located in Sevier County and the surrounding area.

Keisha McKinney, chairperson of the Sevier County Tourism Committee shared, “The committee considered a long term value for the county in the selection they made. We realize a brand is earned and not created so as we looked at the options before us, we wanted to tell a visual story with words and capture the distinctions that make our county unique from any other part of Arkansas or the ArkLaTex region. Our goal was to develop something that all people who live in Sevier County will be proud of and can easily recite when they talk to people about the place they call home.  With the growing ventures for biking families, fishermen, cabin seekers, and adventure activists, we know Sevier County will be a place more people are talking about in the months and years to come.”

Within the coming weeks, the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee will work to develop a marketing plan to accompany the new slogan, which will be revealed at a community event on April 18, 11:30 a.m., location to be determined.

DE QUEEN SPRING CLEAN-UP MARCH 25TH-29TH 03/25/19
This week, March 25th-29th is the official Spring Clean-up week for the City of De Queen. Residents are being asked to pick-up litter around town and remove any excess trash from local properties. Anyone who needs to dispose of large items can do so by making arrangements with city hall. Large items include mattresses, old furniture, appliances, limbs, brush and similar items. City Hall can be reached at 870-584-3445.
Chamber of commerce director Suzanne Babb says an adopt-a-block program will be held this weekend, on Saturday March 30th. Local groups and organizations are encouraged to participate in the event as an ice cream social will take place at the days conclusion. Throughout the week anyone who needs to dispose of old electronics, computers, printers, cell phones, and monitors can drop items off with the De Queen Fire Department March 25-29th only.

Mayor Jeff Brown says the spring clean-up week initiative is designed to get citizens to take pride in the local area. Sevier County Judge Greg Ray says there are multiple places throughout the county where items can be taken for recycling purposes. Contact the chamber for questions about adopt-a-block at 870-584-3225 or the city of De Queen at 870-584-3445 for more information.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/25/19

The House is now in the final weeks of the 2019 Regular Session.Legislation passing the House this week includes:

HB1754-This bill seeks to address the recent overdose related deaths inside state prisons. In 2018, 22 inmates died in the Department of Correction as the result of illicit drugs. This bill states the delivery of a controlled substance from one inmate to another that results in the death of an inmate is a Class A felony and punishable by up to an additional 30 years in prison.

HB1433- This bill authorizes individuals with prior drug-related offenses to work with individuals receiving substance abuse treatment as peer support specialists or similar positions.

SB109- This bill ensures that battery in the first degree is a Class Y felony if the injured person is an employee of a correctional facility acting in the line of duty.  The offense is currently a Class Y felony if the victim is a law enforcement officer.

SB486- This bill authorizes a $5 increase for special permits to trout fish and lifetime trout stamps. The money will be used to make necessary renovations for hatcheries damaged by floods.  The trout industry in Arkansas generates an estimated $180 million in revenue every year.

HB1684-This bill ensures students receive in-state tuition at state supported institutions of higher education if he or she has resided in the state for the previous three years.

SB445-This bill states that the date of the primary election will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March for years in which the office of President of the United States will appear on the ballot at the general election. The primary would continue to be held in May in gubernatorial election years.

This bill would also move fiscal legislative sessions from February to April in presidential election years.

HB1792-This bill states that when an individual under sentence of death, whose execution date has been set by the Governor, believes that he or she is not competent to be executed, the individual may inform the Director of the Department of Correction in writing and shall provide any supporting evidence he or she wishes to be considered.  This bill directs the Director of the Department of Correction to consider any evidence offered by the individual in making a determination.

HB1867-This bill amends the requirements for a driver’s license or instruction permit by eliminating the requirement for school records for those under 18 years of age to take the written test.

SB381-This bill states that a school district authorizing the use of corporal punishment shall not use corporal punishment on a child who is intellectually disabled, non-ambulatory, non-verbal, or autistic.

To date, 550 bills have been signed into law during this session.  We will continue to update you during the remainder of the session.  You can watch all House proceedings on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

MENA SCHOOLS TALK STAFF ADMINISTRATION CHANGES 03/25/19

The Mena School District met earlier this month at the Administration Building in downtown Mena and accepted the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Jeannie Smith. Smith was actually given a final opportunity of rescinding her impending retirement from the district. This is Smith’s second stint in that position. Smith will be replaced by Paulette Sherrer, who’s position will be combined to the title of Assistant Superintendent & Federal Programs Coordinator. Thus, saving the district much needed money. Mena School Superintendent Benny Weston commended the work that Smith has done for the district.

There were other changes in the administrative structure within the district. The high school principal, Shane Torix; will be promoted to the new title of Administrator of School Support Services. Torix will be replaced by the high school principal at Arkadelphia, David Maxwell. Maxwell has been the high school principal at Arkadelphia for the last ten years.

According to Weston, there may be other cost-saving moves in the near future. Weston added that “where the district can save money, and still do the work for less” he is all for it.

DIERKS LOOKING TO IMPROVE BALL FIELDS 03/25/19

Directors of the Dierks Chamber of Commerce and City of Dierks are taking a second look at the existing city park ball fields. Preliminary work had been conducted on a site north of town, however that would be a large financial commitment.

Chamber Director Jerry Mounts says he and Mayor Rodney Cogburn recently met with the city engineer to discuss raising the existing fields. The engineer believes the city has a good chance to secure matching grant dollars for the improvements. Mounts says they still need volunteers and financial assistance for the project.

The chamber of commerce will meet again soon to discuss the improvements. You can find their latest announcements on their Facebook page: Dierks Chamber of Commerce.

ASHDOWN PROM GRAND MARCH SET FOR APRIL 6TH 03/25/19

The Junior class of Ashdown High School would like to invite the public to the 8th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 6, at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.  The first Grand March originated in 2012 by 2012 AHS graduate, Miranda Hopson as a result of creating a project in her EAST class.  She stated, “that her friends in Texarkana hosted a promenade before the prom and thought the idea would be something the students in Ashdown would participate.”  With the help from her classmate, Olivia Mize, they set in motion the steps to approve the promenade. 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 Ashdown High School ‘Practice’ Gym will be the setting for the Community/Alumni Prom on Friday night and Saturday Night for the “Diamonds Are Forever” AHS 2019 Junior/Senior Prom.  Please enter through the high school main entrance at 171 South Locust.

The Community/Alumni Prom will be on Friday, April 5th 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 gym 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.

HIGHWAY 32 CLOSED THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON 03/25/19

One lane of Highway 32 bridge across Millwood Dam will be closed for routine bridge inspection until 2 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday March 26.
Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers regret any inconvenience this may cause, and asks for the public’s cooperation until the work is complete. The closure is being coordinated with emergency services and law enforcement agencies.  Corps officials ask travelers to plan alternate routes and allow extra time to reach their destinations.
For more information call the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office at 870-898-3343.
Recreation information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock. 

HOME IMPROVEMENT MONTH SPOTLIGHT: RAWLS FURNITURE 03/22/19

It’s home improvement month and KDQN is spotlighting Rawls Furniture. The company has two locations, one in De Queen and one in New Boston, Texas. The company owner, Robert Rawls has been in the furniture business for more than 40 years. The Rawls Furniture De Queen store is located at 503 East Colin Raye Drive and the New Boston location is at 103 McCoy Blvd.
Tammy Soden sat down with KDQN this week for an interview to provide local residents with more information about what Rawls has to offer their customers. Tammy says the company features a wide selection to choose from and top-notch service for customers. They also offer in-house financing and a variety of different payment options. During tax season, the company will pay sales tax on purchases and customers are encouraged to take advantage of their offer while the special lasts. In addition to carrying popular name-brand furniture items, Rawls also has appliances including refrigerators, washers, dryers and more.
The store hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00-5:00p.m. Call 870-642-2202 for more information.
HORATIO HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL COACH TO LEAVE PROGRAM AFTER 28 YEARS 03/22/19
Horatio Head Baseball coach Lance Spigner has announced he will be leaving the program after 28 years.
The coach released the following statement:

More information will be announced on KDQN as details become available.
FIESTA FEST VENDORS BEING ACCEPTED NOW 03/22/19
The University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation is now accepting vendor applications for its Cinco de Mayo festival, Fiesta Fest (formerly known as Diversity Fest.)
The event will be on May 4, 2019, from 11 am to 4 pm, at Downtown De Queen. The event draws more than 800 attendees from Southwest Arkansas and Southeast Oklahoma.
Fiesta Fest celebrates the Hispanic heritage of the Southwest Arkansas community with food, fun, and cultural performances. The festival will kick-off with a Cinco de Mayo Parade in downtown organized by De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce.
Food, craft, community group, sales, information, and demonstration vendors are all welcome to apply. Please visit cccua.edu/fiesta for vendor application forms, or call Dustin Roberts at 870-584-1172.
AGFC TALKS POSSIBLE CHANGES TO BIRD HUNTING SEASON 03/22/19
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners heard the first reading of the coming year’s migratory bird seasons, including early migratory seasons as well as duck and goose seasons.
This year sparked some debate, as new federal frameworks allow the state to extend regular duck season to the last day of January. It previously required duck seasons to end on the last Sunday of January, which could be as early as Jan. 26 in some years. As proposed, this year’s duck season would run through Jan. 31, but some shifts to other portions of the hunt were required to keep as many days as possible toward the tail end of the season while accomodating special dates, such as Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The season proposals also include new combination youth/veteran days, in which veterans of the nation’s armed forces may participate in the hunt. This also is a reflection of federal frameworks recently passed in regard to waterfowl season. This year’s youth/veteran hunts are proposed to be December 7 and February 8, similar to last year’s youth-only hunts.
If approved, the 2019-20 migratory bird seasons will be as follows:

Dove Season
Sept. 1-Oct. 27, 2019
Dec. 14, 2019-Jan. 15, 2020

Duck, Coot and Merganser Season
Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019
Dec. 11-23, 2019
Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

White-fronted Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Canada Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’ Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’ Goose Conservation Order Season
Oct. 5-25, 2019
Oct. 31-Nov. 22, 2019
Feb. 1-7, 2020 Feb. 9-April 25, 2020

GLEN CAMPBELL MEMORIAL MUSICAL EVENT IN PIKE COUNTY APRIL 20TH 03/22/19

A music event hosted by the Campbell Memorial Foundation will be held on April 20th in Delight. The purpose of this organization is to raise funds to design and install Glen Campbell memorials at Campbell’s Cemetery and in Delight. The intention of these memorials will be to educate people and commemorate the accomplishments of Glen Campbell through his music. Steve Campbell is a member of the foundation board and says they also hope to later establish a Glen Campbell Museum in the Delight area. The music event will include Billstown and several guests.

ARKANSAS LOTTERY ANNOUNCES POWERBALL JACKPOT PASSES $600 MILLION 03/22/19

For only the fourth time ever the Powerball jackpot has surpassed the $600 million mark. The cash option is an estimated $380.6 million. Powerball has had 24 drawings in a row without a jackpot winner so this will be the first jackpot won in 2019.

Bishop Woosley, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director, said March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and he wants to remind players to know their limits and play responsibly.

“We realize when jackpots get really high, people want to be a part of the excitement, but we want people to only play what they can afford,” he said.

Powerball tickets are $2 per play. Players can multiply non-jackpot prizes with the Power Play option for an additional $1 per play. Tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 9:59 p.m. CST.

From now through May 31, all winning and non-winning Powerball tickets are eligible to enter in the lottery’s newest Second Chance promotion – March into May Spring Cash Giveaway. Players can enter Powerball and newly issued non-winning scratch-off tickets from March, April and May. More than $170,000 in cash will be given away in three drawings scheduled for April 4, May 2 and June 4.

For more information on the Spring Cash Giveaway, to enter tickets or to join The Club, players should visit MyArkansasLottery.com.

SEVIER COUNTY 4H BROILER BBQ CONTEST MONDAY 03/22/19

On Monday, March 25, 41 4-Hers will take part in the Sevier County Broiler BBQ Contest at the De Queen Church of Christ parking lot.   Each 4-H’er gets a whole chicken split into halves to grill on a charcoal grill.  The 4-H’er gets to season the chicken how they want.  While they are cooking they are being judged on how well they can start a charcoal fire, control the fire, food safety when handling raw chicken, and how they cook the chicken.  Once the chicken is cooked they pick their best half to be judged.  The cooked chicken is judged on appearance, color, doneness, and taste.  The top 10 winners will go on to district, state, and even national levels if they win. This year, the local chapter of The Brother Keeper’s motorcycle club will be helping judge the cooking part, and Tyson representatives will be taste testing.

4-H is the premier youth development program conducted by the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.

Through non-formal, science-based, experiential education activities, 4-H participants gain knowledge and enhance life skills enabling them to become positive, productive, capable and compassionate members of society.

Find out more about agriculture and 4H in Sevier County online at https://www.uaex.edu/counties/sevier/

UA COSSATOT FFA PLANT SALE 03/22/19

The UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA plant sale will begin on the De Queen campus next week. The grand opening will take place Wednesday, March 27th from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Regular hours this season will be:

Monday 8:00 – 12:00

Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday 8:00 – 12:00

Thursday 8:00 – 12:00

Friday 10:00 – 12:00

There will be various days with extended hours and Saturday Sales will be featured on April 13thand May 11th.

The first week they will offer-

Tomatoes: Better Boy, Roma, Super Fantastic, Arkansas Traveler, and Purple Cherokee

Peppers: Carnival Bell Mix, Jalapeno

Herbs: Basil, Dill, Chocolate Mint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme

Flowers Etc.: Wax Begonias, Angel Wing Begonias, Coleus, Airplane Plants, Swedish Ivy, Double Impatiens, Succulent Dish Gardens, Fuchsia, Calibrachoa, Sweet Potato Vine, Gernaiums

Contact Kelli Harris for more information: kharris@cccua

HOME IMPROVEMENT MONTH SPOTLIGHT: BAKER’S SAW SHOP 03/21/19
It’s home improvement month, and KDQN is spotlighting Baker’s Saw Shop in Lockesburg, Arkansas. Rodney Jones stopped by KDQN studios Wednesday to provide local residents with information about what Baker’s saw shop has to offer the Southwest Arkansas area. Baker’s saw shop is a family-owned company that was established in 1946. The business provides the selling and servicing of outdoor power equipment. Rodney says they carry many trusted brands and popular products from Husqvarna, bad boy and more. Rodney also says fast, quality service is a company goal.

Baker’s Saw Shop offers many closeout deals that save customers money and bring top-notch products to the table. On Friday, March 29th KDQN will be live on location at Baker’s Saw Shop from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The address is 3820 Highway 71 South in Lockesburg. The event will be a chance for local residents to meet the staff, ask questions and find out more about the products and services provided by Baker’s Saw Shop. there will also be complimentary barbecue food for customers as well as prizes and give-aways.

For more information about Baker’s Saw Shop, call 870-289-4623 or visit Facebook.com/Bakerssawshop

POLK COUNTY MURDER SUSPECT CAUGHT IN BROKEN BOW, OK 03/21/19

The Polk County Sheriff’s office announced the arrest of Adam M. Green, age 27 of Mena for murder in the first degree for the shooting death of Calvin “CJ” Goforth.   In addition to the murder charge, Green was also charged with possession of a firearm by a certain person (class B felony).

Calvin Goforth was found dead in his truck in the early morning hours of March 9th, 2019 on Polk 42 east of Mena.

Adam Green was arrested March 14th, 2019 at a motel in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, on Polk County warrant for parole absconding and Felony Theft by receiving. Green was extradited to Polk County on Wednesday, March 20th 2019. He has been held in the Polk County Detention Center and will be arraigned in the Circuit Court of Polk County March 21st, 2019.

Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated “The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and The Arkansas State Police CID worked day and night on this case. I’m really proud of the hard work and long hours they put in. I’d also like to thank the 18th Judicial West DTF, The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, The Broken Bow Police Department, The Choctaw Tribal Police, and The Arkansas Department of Community Corrections for their help in apprehending the suspect. This was truly a team effort.”

All suspects mentioned in this or any press release by the Polk County Sheriff’s Department are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

KIRBY SCHOOLS TO BEGIN FOUR DAY SCHOOL WEEK 03/21/19

A local school district announced it will be the first current district to implement a four-day week, with plans to begin the schedule in the 2019-2020 school year.

The decision was made during a regular school board meeting in the Kirby School District on Thursday, according to a statement by the district. The board unanimously approved the four-day school week, officials said.

According to the statement, the district spent six months discussing, researching and distributing surveys about the concept of a four-day week among administrators, faculty and staff, parents, students and the broader community.

Pike Palmer, superintendent of the Kirby School District, said talk about a four-day schedule first began when news broke in 2018 about Colorado schools adopting the schedule to cut costs. Community members approached Kirby administrators about making a similar shift.

The district first considered a four-day week to combat issues with student attendance and difficulties in bringing teachers to west Arkansas, Palmer said. But when a required increase in minimum wage and teacher pay passed into state law, the superintendent said his district’s operating costs became a primary factor.

The district’s budget is just over $2 million, Palmer said. According to the superintendent, the schools’ goal is to save between 3 to 5 percent of that, with the biggest cuts likely to come to transportation and utilities costs.

Pay for teachers, aides and cafeteria workers will not decrease, as the length of the school day will increase on those days in which classes are in session, Palmer said. Though bus drivers will likely receive a pay cut, Palmer said they will have opportunities to work additional hours through the enrichment program, or through maintenance work and other tasks around the district while classes are out of session.

The shift to a four-day class schedule will come with some difficulties, officials acknowledged. Parents and guardians will largely be required to provide an extra day’s care for their children, as well as breakfast and lunch several additional days each month.

The district will soon send out a school calendar, registration details and other information regarding the next school year, according to administrators.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/21/19

In a vote of 87-0, the House passed HB1674. This bill creates a statewide child abduction response team.  It states that the following agencies shall collaborate in an effort to rescue abducted or endangered children:

  • Arkansas Attorney General
  • Department of Arkansas State Police
  • Criminal Justice Institute
  • Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission
  • Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association
  • Arkansas Department of Emergency Management
  • Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
  •  Department of Community Correction
  • Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator

The House passed HB1342. This bill increases the amount below which sales tax is exempt on the purchase of used vehicles from $4,000 to $7,500.

The House passed HB1792. This bill states that when an individual under sentence of death, whose execution date has been set by the Governor, believes that he or she is not competent to be executed, the individual may inform the Director of the Department of Correction in writing and shall provide any supporting evidence he or she wishes to be considered.  This bill directs the Director of the Department of Correction to consider any evidence offered by the individual or his or her attorney in making a determination.

The House passed HB1867. This bill amends the requirements for a driver’s license or instruction permit by eliminating the requirement for school records for those under 18 years of age to take the written test.

The House passed SB381. This bill states that a school district authorizing the use of corporal punishment shall not use corporal punishment on a child who is intellectually disabled, non-ambulatory, non-verbal, or autistic.

The House will convene again on Monday at 1:30pm.

ARKANSAS SENATOR TOM COTTON SEEKING INTERNS 03/21/19

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today announced he is seeking summer interns in his state offices in Little Rock and Springdale. Internships will be offered in two sessions: May 13 – June 28 and July 8 – August 23.

Interns will have the opportunity to help with the daily operations of Senator Cotton’s office. Depending on their college requirements, students may be able to receive academic credit for their service. Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Nicole_Millar@cotton.senate.gov and specify their desired office location and session.

Contact: Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 4-H RABIES CLINIC 03/21/19

The Little River County 4-H rabies clinic will be held April 9th in Foreman and April 12th in Ashdown.

The clinic on April 9th will take place 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the Little River County Fairgrounds and on April 12th the clinic will be held at the Ashdown Vet clinic from 3:30 to 5:00.

Rabies shots: $10.

Parvo for puppies and adults dogs: $15.00.

Upper Respiratory shots-cats: $15.00

Feline Lukemia shots: $20.00

Corona and Lepto shots: $10.00

For each shot given, a donation will be made to the 4H clubs in Little River County. Dogs must be leashed and cats must be in a kennel.

For questions call the Ashdown vet clinic at 870-898-5181 or the Little River Extension office, 870-898-7224.

HOME IMPROVEMENT MONTH SPOTLIGHT: BILL LEE COMPANY 03/20/19
It’s Home Improvement month and KDQN is spotlighting The Bill Company in De Queen. The Bill Lee Company provides a variety of heating and cooling services for residents of Southwest Arkansas. The company specializes in indoor comfort for residential homes and has been serving the area since 1976.

Bill is a De Queen native with a background in engineering and more than 40 years experience in the heating and cooling industry. Before owning his own company, Bill worked in what he describes as “the corporate world.” He says he started his own company with the purpose of providing customers with quality services and comfort.

Bill Lee and Hunter Black stopped by KDQN studios this week to provide local residents with information about the unique services offered by the company.

The Bill Lee Company is the only factory-trained provider of the Geothermal system option in the local area. Bill Lee told KDQN the Geothermal equipment prevents extreme temperature swings and allows for maximum comfort in residential home. The geothermal equipment also provides a cost-saving avenue for homeowners in the long run and a 30% federal tax credit is applicable for customers as well.

Company employee Hunter Black manages the Bill Lee company website and social media outlets. Hunter has been with the company for more than two years and says he enjoys helping customers save money and maintain comfort in their homes. You can view the Bill Lee company website by visiting BillLeeCo.com or search Bill Lee Company LLC on facebook.

LOCAL DONATION DRIVE TO HELP FLOODING VICTIMS IN NEBRASKA 03/20/19

Following the recent flooding in Nebraska, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says farmers in the state are bearing the brunt of “the most widespread destruction we have ever seen in the state’s history.” Rickets declared a state of emergency as more rain is expected to soak the already flooded region.

Local residents of southwest Arkansas can help. Items are needed for victims of the Nebraska flooding during this difficult time. Donations can be dropped off at the Horatio Fire department. There are two pickups going back to Nebraska. One will be leaving this week of this week and the other truck will leave next weekend.

Diapers
Formula
Garbage Bags
Paper Plates
Food that doesn’t require cooking or refrigeration
Toiletries
Paper goods
Plastic ware
Cups
Contact solution
Glasses cleaner
Blankets
Towels
New Pillows
Air mattresses
Cots
Pillow cases
Snack food individually wrapped
Brooms
Mops
Masks
Gloves
Dog Food

Contact Matt Wesch at 402 957 5079 to find out more about how you can help.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/20/19

With a vote of 91-0, the House passed HB1685. This bill increases the foundation funding for K-12 education from the current $6,713 per student to $6,899 per student for the 2019-2020 school year.  The bill increases funding to $7,018 per student the following school year.

The House passed HB1684. This bill ensures students receive in-state tuition at state supported institutions of higher education if he or she has resided in the state for the previous three years.

The House passed SB445. This bill states that the date of the primary election will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March for years in which the office of President of the United States will appear on the ballot at the general election. The primary would continue to be held in May in gubernatorial election years.

This bill would also move fiscal legislative sessions from February to April in presidential election years.

The House Education Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1786.  This bill requires a public school to create a report that provides the number of students who have an exemption from the requirement to obtain vaccinations.

The committee also advanced SB381. This bill states that a school district authorizing the use of corporal punishment shall not use corporal punishment on a child who is intellectually disabled, non-ambulatory, non-verbal, or autistic.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1486. This bill addresses custody cases for children born outside of marriage. If paternity has been established, this bill directs the court to determine custody of a child in accordance with the same set of standards that are currently applied in divorce actions.

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK COMING TO SEVIER COUNTY 03/20/19

Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its TEFAP USDA Commodity Mobile Pantry. “We have several communities in our rural service area that are not fully served by local partner agencies. To be sure that the residents in these areas are served, we are providing direct service where needed.” said Camille Coker Wrinkle, Executive Director of Harvest Regional Food Bank. Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute TEFAP USDA Commodities directly from their truck on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 10 am to noon. The truck will be parked at the Horatio First United Methodist Church located at 304 S Pennock St., AR. Recipients must bring photo identification verifying their age and residence in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household. USDA TEFAP Commodities will be available for those who meet income requirements. Please note, the day of mobile pantry will be on a Wednesday.

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN VISITS TEXARKANA 03/20/19

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman visited Texarkana on Tuesday to meet with city leaders. Congress is currently on recess and Westerman is meeting with constituents of the 4th Congressional District. A meet and greet and plant tour showcasing local industry took place yesterday morning at the Union Tank Car Facilities. The company recently refurbished the plant and has kickstarted some long-term economic opportunities that will be great for the local community.

At the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Rep. Westerman gave a brief speech on budget process, waterways, and infrastructure, highlighting the work he’s done on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He’s also the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, so he tied in some of those priorities as well.

MICHAEL RAY TO HEADLINE KIAMICHI OWA-CHITO FESTIVAL 03/19/19

New Country artist Michael Ray will be headlining the 47th Annual Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 at 8:30pm.

Ray is nominated for the ACM ‘new male artist of the year’ awrd and three of his singles were recently certified gold. Entertainment chairman Brad Box, says “This is going to be one festival you do not want to miss”.

Michael Ray is a Florida native who loves to tell stories through music. His 2015 self titled debut album had him two number one hits with “Kiss You in the Morning” and “Think a Little Less”.

The show will start at 8:30 and all ages are welcome.

Kiamichi Owa-Chito planning is well underway for this year as vendors and sponsorships are currently being accepted. Vendor forms are located on the Kiamichi Owa-Chito website.   Event entry forms will be available soon as well. Volunteers are still needed and anyone interested can attend the Event Chair meeting on April 4th at the Broken Bow Chamber of commerce beginning at 5pm. Kiamichi Owa-Chito is partially funded by the McCurtain County Tourism Authority and the local businesses who sponsor it. For complete details on about the festival go to www.owachitofestival.com or check out the festival’s facebook page.

SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE EVALUATED IN TEXARKANA 03/19/19

The Texarkana Arkansas Police have released details regarding Mondays bomb scare at the Bi-State Building in downtown Texarkana. Following the discovery of a suspicious package, the building was evacuated before 9:00 am and a special Bomb Squad was called in from El Dorado Arkansas.

A press release regarding the incident stated the following:

On the 18th day of March 2019, at 08:40 am, a citizen at the Bi-State Justice Center (100 North Stateline Ave.) observed what they believed to be a suspicious package on the northeast corner of the Bi-State Jail. They immediately reported the package at which time the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department responded.

Upon arrival, officers located a small package with three glass cylinders inside. The cylinders had unknown writing or symbols written on the outside and an unknown substance was inside with what appeared to be wires extending from the base.

The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department immediately secured the area, and issued an evacuation notice for the Bi-State Justice Building, as well as, surrounding businesses. The El Dorado Bomb Squad responded and found that their response was warranted. They advised that the positioning of the package and the cylinders inside were suspicious in nature. After conducting their investigation, the El Dorado Bomb Squad deemed the suspicious package safe to move and placed it into a hardened container and removed to a safe location for further investigation.

They later advised that the material inside the cylinders were deemed non-hazardous and the package was rendered safe.

And as always, if you see any suspicious persons or activity, call the police promptly.  Anyone with information of any crime is strongly urged to contact the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department at 903-798-3154 or Texarkana area CrimeStoppers at 903-793-STOP.

Thank you and you can visit the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department online at http://www.txkusa.org/arkpolice.

UA COSSATOT BOARD MEETING HELD 03/19/19

The Board of Visitors met at UA Cossatot’s Lockesburg campus to discuss and review recent and upcoming information. It was announced that 1,347 students enrolled in courses for the spring 2019 semester and of those students, 551 of them are concurrent high school students.

Upcoming events were announced for the next couple of months. On April 26, 2019, UA Cossatot will be presenting the first Miss UA Cossatot scholarship pageant. The pageant will be an opportunity for current
and future UA Cossatot students to participate. The college will also be celebrating its annual Fiesta Fest on Saturday, May 4, 2019. This year’s event is being moved to Downtown De Queen.

The board also approved to add women’s basketball to the sports program. The board chose to move their basketball teams to play in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association). This decision will allow them to schedule enough teams to offer more opportunities for students, the college, and the community. This action will now be sent to the UA Board of Trustees for final approval.

The board also reviewed employee changes at UA Cossatot. In January and February, five employees were hired. Eda Lopez was hired as Administrative Specialist I – Assistant to Vice Chancellor of Academics,
Jimmy Washburn as SNAP and E&T Coordinator, Cindy Paetzel as an Institutional Services Assistant, Cindy Mashburn as an Institutional Services Assistant, and Ben Renfrow was hired as Marketing Coordinator.

SEVIER COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CHAIR ANNOUNCES SUPPORT OF NEW LEGISLATION 03/19/19

Sevier County Democratic Party Chairman Victor J. Rojas expressed support for two pieces of legislation last week. If enacted, the legislation would assist Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients residing in Arkansas.

DACA is a federal policy that allows some individuals who were brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to become eligible for a work permit.

The House Education Committee recently approved House Bill 1684, which would allow students who meet state residency requirements to qualify for in-state tuition at state-supported colleges and universities. House Bill 1552, which has been referred to a Senate committee, would authorize the Arkansas State Board of Nursing to issue licenses to DACA recipients.

“There is bipartisan support for these changes – and I’m hopeful both bills will become law. I commend Rep. DeAnn Vaught for her work on these issues,” said Rojas. “DACA recipients are making significant contributions to our communities – and it’s important we remove the barriers these young men and women face as they support their families and pursue their dreams.”

 

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SIGNS SENATE BILL 308 03/19/19

Last week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 308, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2019, into law. Senate Bill 308 instates stronger due process protections for Arkansans by requiring a criminal conviction before property can be forfeited by the state. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing unanimously in both chambers.

The Civil Asset Forfeiture Act of 2019 was championed by  Senate Majority Leader Bart Hester (R-1) and Representative Austin McCollum (R-95), whose leadership drove this bill to unanimous passage in both legislative chambers, before being signed into law by Governor Hutchinson.

Jenna Moll, Deputy Director of the Justice Action Network said “Arkansas established itself as a leader for due process and property rights for all Arkansans by enacting this landmark civil asset forfeiture reform legislation,” “We applaud Senate Majority Leader Hester and Representative McCollum for their leadership on this issue, as well as their colleagues in both the House and Senate for their unanimous votes. We also thank Governor Hutchinson for his support and for swiftly signing this bill into law.”

H&R BLOCK VISITS ASHDOWN SCHOOLS 03/18/19
Mrs. Dianne Wren and Sue Burgess from H&R Block came to speak to the AHS JAG students on March 14.
They taught the students about different tax forms and what each one of them consists of. They walked the students through how to fill out a W-4 form at their jobs. They also told the students about where and how to file their taxes appropriately and answered many questions that the students had about their own tax situations.
They didn’t leave them empty-handed either. The company also provided resources to help support students in the future and told them that their door at H&R Block is always open if they ever have any questions.
The students said they enjoyed having them and would welcome them back anytime.

SPRING BREAK PROGRAMS AT RICK EVANS EDUCATION CENTER IN COLUMBUS 03/18/19

The Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center invites local residents to Archeology on the Prairie, Monday, March 18-Friday, March 22. March is Archeology Month in Arkansas. Programs focus on the lives of the Caddo and exciting outdoor adventures with staff. These are free programs, but for planning purposes, everyone must register to attend. Participants are welcome to come for one program or bring a sack lunch and bottle of water to stay for the day.

Monday
10-11 a.m. Archery
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Bow Making
1-2 p.m. Guns of the Past

Tuesday
10-11 a.m. Trapping
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Furs and Skulls
1-2 p.m. Pottery Sculpting

Wednesday
7 a.m.-5 p.m. Hunter Education

Thursday
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Canoeing Like the Caddo
12 p.m. Fishing for Food

Friday
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Wagon Tour
1-2 p.m. Prairie Hike and Craft

There is no fee for this program thanks to your support of the 1/8 Cent Conservation Sales Tax.

Call 870-983-2790 to register, get directions or get more information about the programs.

ARKANSAS MAN SENTENCED FOR SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD 03/18/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a Conway County man has been sentenced to probation and to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for social security fraud.

Joseph Sensabaugh, 47, from Hattieville, pleaded guilty in October to one count of theft of government funds. He has been sentenced to 18 months probation and ordered to pay $311,813 in restitution to the Social Security Administration, as well as a $100 special assessment fee.

“Social Security fraud on the backs of hardworking taxpayers is unacceptable,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This case was the result of outstanding coordination between multiple state and federal agencies.”

In addition to the Attorney General’s office, law enforcement officers from the SSA-OIG, Conway County Sheriff’s Department and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism contributed to the investigation initiated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and led by the Social Security Administration’s – Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG) through Arkansas Cooperative Disability Investigation (CDI) Unit.

Two special agents and an analyst from the Attorney General’s Office are assigned to Arkansas’s CDI Unit which began operation in October 2015 as a state and local cooperative effort funded by SSA-OIG. The mission of the CDI Unit is to combat fraud by investigating questionable statements and activities of claimants, medical providers, interpreters or other service providers who facilitate or promote disability fraud. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Bragg from the Office of United States Attorney Cody Hiland.

 

AGFC NATURE CENTER TO OFFER SPRING BREAK EVENTS 03/18/19

The AGFC operates four nature centers and four education centers across the state, with a new one currently being built in Northwest Arkansas. Each center offers a variety of experiences from archery, kayaking and canoeing, bb gun shooting and nature-themed arts and crafts for people of all ages.

Each center boasts excellent hiking trails with interpretive signs to teach hikers about some of their surroundings, and indoor displays offer visitors the opportunity to get their outdoors fix when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Admission to the centers and regular programs are absolutely free thanks to Amendment 75, which created a ⅛-cent Conservation Sales Fund to help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Parks and Tourism, The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

Each center has its own website and Facebook page to keep you up to date on the latest programs going on and a profile of the many exhibits and trails you will find during your trip. Visit www.agfc.com/naturecenters to learn more about each center, view their calendar of events and link to their Facebook page.

“I want to be a firefighter”

By KDQN News Director Murriel Wiley

March 13th, 2019

“Are you guys hiring?” is not a sentence De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt recalls hearing often, but that’s exactly the question he was asked by 18-year-old Monique Jacobo in early February when she wandered into the De Queen Fire Department looking for an opportunity.

Monique is a 2018 graduate of De Queen High School and a native of El Paso, Texas who currently works at the Deli in Wal-Mart and is taking steps toward her goal of working with the De Queen Fire Department some day. Monique has called Arkansas home since her family moved to De Queen when she was 5. I got the opportunity to sit down with Miss Jacobo to find out what inspired her to walk into the fire department that day. As the news director and morning show co-host of the town’s local radio station, I stop by the fire station often to gather reports and chat with the firefighters about what’s happening with the department and around the local community. During the near-dozen times I’ve checked in at the department, the thought of being a firefighter myself has never once crossed my mind. In fact, I don’t know any one among my family and friends who have chosen to pursue a career fighting fires. This realization was my inspiration to interview Monique and Chief Pruitt about why a career as a first responder is important and special to a community.

A nervous but excited Monique told me earnestly “I want to help people.” Monique opened up to me about how she is turning her dream into a reality.

“I was in college and I was going for nursing and I just didn’t feel like that was the right thing for me. I really did want to help people but I also wanted to help more physically, and one day I was at the deli and Max Jones was there with his wife and he had his firefighter shirt on and I was like how old do you have to be to be a firefighter? He said I could be 18 and so I went over there the next day, got an application, filled it out and took it that same day. They just thought it was you know, different, a young female to go over there and get that. Somebody told me later I had to be 21. I went back a few days later and he (Chief Pruitt) was like are you really wanting this?  I was like “yes! ”

Monique continued to prove how much she wanted to be a part of the Department by getting acquainted with the station and the guys who work there. She tried on the gear, got to ride in the truck and learned about the equipment used to put out fires.

“I really wanted a job that’s going to keep me physically active so I’ll stay healthy for some part of my life. The next day I went and they got me to put on gear. I really loved putting on that suit and I got to ride in the fire truck.”

Monique smiled from ear to ear when she began talking about trying on the suit and checking out all the equipment. “It was really nice. They just seemed so sweet and being a firefighter, all the people that work there, they’re going to be like your second family.”

An unfortunate disappointment for both Monique and the department is her age. The department has to follow the rule that states anyone pursuing a career as a full time firefighter must be 21 or older. The setback has far from stopped the 18-year-old from working towards her goal. She has been spending her free time working out with the department so she can stay in shape. She has been getting comfortable with all of the gear required so when the time comes, she’ll be ready.

Monique might not exactly be fighting off competition to earn a spot with the department when she turns 21. Research conducted in the last few years shows an overall trend of new firefighters entering the industry is generally on the decline.

A 2015 report by the Springfield News Sun in Ohio revealed the number of volunteer firefighters across the country has dropped about 12 percent nationwide, from nearly 900,000 in the 1980’s to about 786,000 in present times. The statistics came courtesy of the National Volunteer Fire Council, a nonprofit membership association that represents volunteer fire, medic and rescue services.

The Federal Emergency Management Association website showed as of March 2019 the state of Arkansas has 684 registered fire departments. Of those departments, 84% of the those stations are made up of volunteers. Those volunteers often manage other full time jobs, families and responsibilities in addition to donating their time to help their communities when emergencies happen.

The De Queen Fire Department wasn’t just interested in working with Monique because they would like to train her for the future. The city recently lost one of their employees who left the station to chose a different career path and currently have an open position. The Department currently has only two full-time employees- Chief Dennis Pruitt and code enforcement officer Jay Litchford. The other 20 firefighters who work with the department do so on a volunteer basis. Chief Pruitt is looking to fill the spot quickly and the department will be holding an agility test for potential candidates this month. The applicants who do well will go on to the fire academy where they will learn the skills required to earn their official firefighter titles. The agility test is not for the faint of heart. Potential candidates will be required to climb a set of stairs ten times while carrying a fire hose, flip a tire three times, perform a dummy rescue, complete a high rise pull, strike wood 20 times with an ax and then walk around a track and then perform a search and rescue through a blacked-out obstacle course. Chief Pruitt says if the candidates can’t complete these tasks, they won’t make it to the fire academy, much less would they be qualified for hire at the station.

Ambitious teenager Monique has also taken on a second job to get closer to her dreams. She still works days at the deli in Wal-Mart and has also began training as a dispatcher with the Sevier County Sheriff’s department at night.

Firefighters Pruitt and Litchford have begun to take Monique under their wings, affectionately giving her the nickname “rookie” and teaching her about proper use of equipment when fighting fires. Pruitt is a 34-year veteran of the Department and has seen many people want to pursue a career as a firefighter for bragging rights and to “wear the t-shirt.” Pruitt says it isn’t just unusual that someone so young wants to be a part of a first-response team. He says it’s also unusual for the Department to have someone so young who wants to do it for the “right” reasons.

I asked Chief Pruitt what makes a good firefighter. Without hesitation he replied “heart.” “It’s something you’ve got to have inside you, and the desire to help people and make peoples lives better is something I think a firefighter is born with.”

Chief Pruitt agrees that “Rookie” Monique Jacobo was born with that special something, and though she is too young to pursue the career of her dreams today, Monique has already clinched a much-needed position as a firefighter in the future and I have a feeling this story won’t be the last time I write an article about Monique achieving her dreams.

Though she may not be participating this year, Monique will be cheering on the applicants partaking in the agility test this Saturday Morning, March 16th at the De Queen High School Football field. When the time comes the De Queen Fire Department may have a spot ready for her. By that time, Monique should no longer need the nickname “Rookie.”

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/15/19

With a vote of 82-0 and 10 members voting present, the House passed the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019.

This bill reduces the number of cabinet-level agencies by nearly 65 percent, from 42 to 15. A cabinet level secretary will serve as the executive head of each department.

The House passed HB1564. This bill develops the Next Generation 911 System. The bill replaces the Arkansas Emergency Telephone Services Board with the Arkansas 911 Board. To fund upgrades, the bill increases the public safety charges on cell phones from 65 cents/month to $1.30/month. It also places a 10% tax on prepaid cellular plans.

The House also passed HB1409 which requires elementary schools to provide at least 40 minutes of recess.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1684. This bill ensures DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students receive in-state tuition at state supported institutions of higher education if he or she has resided in the state for the previous three years.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced HB1655. This bill ensures that state law that mirrors the federal law prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence from ownng a firearm.  Additionally, the bill also provides a pathway for restoration of rights upon sealing of records related to the misdemeanor of domestic violence.

The Judiciary Committee also advanced HB1748. This bill states a veteran who voluntarily sought mental health treatment can petition the court for restoration of rights to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced SB341. The bill states that after dispensing the first dose of abortion-inducing drugs to a woman, the physician who is to perform the abortion shall provide a written notice that states: “Notice to Patients Having Medication Abortions That Use Mifepristone: Mifepristone, also known as RU-486 or Mifeprex, alone is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. It may be possible to reverse its intended effect if the second pill or tablet has not been taken or administered. If you change your mind and wish to try to continue the pregnancy, you can locate immediate help by searching the term “abortion pill reversal” on the internet.”

The committee also advanced HB1555 which expands medications covered by Arkansas Medicaid for tobacco cessation.

The House will convene again on Monday, March 18 at 1:30pm.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COLLEGE STUDENT TO RECEIVE NATIONAL RECOGNITION 03/15/19

A southwest Arkansas college student will be recognized at a national event this year.It was announced Thursday that Ryan Downs of Stamps, Arkansas, has been named a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship. Downs is a student at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana where he is pursuing an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Power Technologies with an emphasis in Electrical Instrumentation.

This scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions who plan to enter the workforce upon the completion of a degree or certificate on a national scale. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa.

“Education helps ensure that young people can realize their full potential,” said Helen Smith Price, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “The Coca-Cola Foundation places a high priority on supporting education to help build strong communities.”
New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Over 2,000 students were nominated from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country. Only one New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar was selected from each state.

“We congratulate Ryan for receiving this prestigious scholarship, and we are honored to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize his outstanding achievements,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner. “Scholarship programs like this are integral for creating opportunities for students to succeed as they prepare to enter the workforce and for putting college completion within reach.”

The New Century Workforce Pathway Scholars will be recognized during the Association of Community College Trustees’ (ACCT) Congress in San Francisco, California, in October 2019.

KDQN INTERVIEWS LT. GOVERNOR ABOUT SCHOOL CHOICE 03/14/19

This week, KDQN 92.1 sat got the opportunity to interview Arkansas Lt. Governor Tim Griffin about legislation regarding the proposed school choice plan. The plan would give parents options to place children in an educational institution of their choosing regardless of address or income. Options for school choice include public, private, charter, religious-based, home-school or other specialty schools available. Decisions would be based on each individual child’s need, not zone location. The Lt. Governor is a father of three who says the school choice issue is a personal one for him. KDQN asked Mr. Griffin how he feels the issue would impact Arkansas families and what the breakdown of school choice really means. The Lt. Governor says the plan is ultimately about giving the best academic platform available to children.

A K-12 tax credit has been proposed at a federal level with the purpose of providing scholarships for individuals who do not have the financial means to place their children in the educational program of their choice. Businesses and private donors would receive a dollar-for-dollar credit on state taxes . Mr. Griffin says he is pleased with President Donald Trump and the education department’s proposal.

The Father of three emphasized that removing limitations based on districts and focusing on freedom is an important aspect of providing educational support for children. The Lt. Governor says there is one focus of the proposal, and that is on the kids.

More information about Lt. Governor Tim Griffin’s stance on school choice can be found by visiting his website, LTgovernor.arkansas.gov and www.ed.gov/freedom.

 

LOCAL JUVENILES REPORTEDLY ATTEMPT FIREARM PURCHASE 03/14/19

A press release from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon was contacted by the FBI on Thursday, February 7th in regards to a call they received from a gun dealership in California.

The FBI reportedly told the Sergeant that some juveniles had made phone calls to a gun dealership in California and used an email address linked to the Horatio, Arkansas school district.

The FBI also reportedly stated that the caller asked for a gun and provided a Horatio school email address. The press release states that the officers met with an employee of Horatio schools on March 7th in an attempt to locate the person connected to the email but the attempt was unsuccessful. The FBI then reportedly contacted the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department back and stated they tracked the IP address and linked a physical address within Sevier County. The press release states that on the night of March 7th 2019 the FBI, Sheriff Robert Gentry, Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle, Investigator Jeff Wahls and Sergeant Greg Davignon went to multiple residences in Sevier County to speak with juveniles in regards to the incident. Interviews were reportedly conducted on the night of March 7th and during the day on March 8th. The case file has been prepared and has been sent to the prosecuting attorney for review. more information will be provided on KDQN as updates become available.

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT WORKS ACCIDENT THURSDAY 03/14/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident on Thursday, March 14th

The Department provided assistance to emergency medical technicians working the accident that occurred on Highway 71 North and Pullman road. Firefighters were dispatched at 11:19 a.m. and arrived on the scene six minutes later at 11:26 a.m. A 12-person response team and three trucks worked the incident. The wreck occurred when contact was made between an 18-wheeler and car at the 71 north and Pullman intersection. The cause of the accident has not been listed in the report released by the fire department however Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt told KDQN that a woman was taken by ambulance after the wreck. The names of the individuals involved in the crash were not listed in the accident report.

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL UPDATES 03/14/19

Dierks city council members have agreed to discussions about taking over the management and finances of the North Howard County Rural Water Association.

Mayor Ronnie Cogburn says the council has signed a resolution to at least enter discussions about the consideration of the transfer and assumption of their association assets and liabilities. The city has requested information regarding finances, billing reports, and repair and maintenance issues.

Mayor Cogburn says they will be looking at several aspects to make sure that the assumption would not pose a hardship and also the financing of needed repairs.

AGFC TROUT PRIZE PROGRAM WINNERS TO BE ANNOUNCED 03/14/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program and Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation will celebrate the end of the winter trout stocking season with a bang at 6 p.m. this Thursday. A live drawing will be held on KTHV’s regularly scheduled Outdoor Report and will be streamed live at www.thv11.com.

Nearly 70,000 13- to 14-inch long rainbow trout have been stocked in FCFP ponds since November to offer anglers access to this exceptional sportfish while water temperatures would enable them to survive. Three hundred of these fish were outfitted with pink fluorescent tags when they were stocked to help biologists measure angling effort and promote the added opportunity.

“Anglers from around the state have sent in tags and won prizes all winter long simply by fishing at one of our stocked locations,” said FCFP coordinator Maurice Jackson. “Prizes ranged from a shopping gift card to tackle boxes and other fishing gear.”

In addition to individual prizes, each person who turned in a tag is eligible for the grand prize, a two-night stay for up to 14 people at the Rick Evans Conservation Education Center courtesy of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. Winners will be able to enjoy fishing, canoeing, archery and trap shooting during their stay at the center.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON DECLARES MARCH 10-16 AGRICULTURE WEEK 03/14/19

During a ceremony Tuesday at the State Capitol, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson joined nearly 150 farmers, agriculture leaders, and industry partners in declaring March 10-16 as Arkansas Agriculture Week. The Arkansas Agriculture Week proclamation event, held in conjunction with Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Farmers’ Day at the State Capitol, highlighted the state’s largest industry that contributes more than $21 billion annually to the state’s economy.   Find the full Arkansas Agriculture Week proclamation, here<https://governor.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/proclamations/190310_2019_Arkansas_Agriculture_Week.pdf>.

“Farmers produce the food we enjoy in the comfort of homes and restaurants that are built from the timber they raise. With the cotton and leather they produce, we create our clothing, our coats, our quilts and linens,” said Governor Hutchinson. “I am proud to proclaim this week as Arkansas Agriculture Week in honor of the farmers and ranchers who touch and improve every aspect of life as they sustain agriculture as our No. 1 industry.”

Agriculture provides one in every six jobs in Arkansas.   The state consistently ranks in the top 25 nationally in the production of 15 different agricultural commodities, and ranks in the top one-third of the nation for agricultural cash receipts.   Arkansas is home to over 43,000 farms on 13.7 million acres.  Approximately 19.2 million acres, 57% of the state’s total land, is forestland.

SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST DEADLINE MARCH 14TH 03/13/19
The deadline for the Sevier County Slogan Contest is this week, Thursday march 14th. The goal of the contest is to receive suggestions from Sevier County residents that would lead them to adopt a new promotional slogan, identifying icon and marketing concept for the Sevier County region.

The Sevier County Tourism Committee was formed as a result of this community planning process and has been working to identify tourism assets in the county. In fall 2018, efforts put forth resulted in the opportunity to participate in the CREATE Bridges (Create Bridges – Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies) Tourism Development Initiative. All residents, and only residents, of Sevier County, are encouraged to complete an entry. Additionally, the contest guidelines dictate one must be a current resident of Sevier County, must be 13 years of age or older, and only one entry per resident.

Once you decide on your slogan, go to www.cccua.edu/sevier to submit your entry no later than 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Entries may be made in the English or Spanish version of the same form for entry in the same contest.

For questions, contact the Sevier County Economic Development Director, Lisa Taylor at 870-279-5937, or ltaylor@cccua.edu or contact Tourism Committee Chairperson, Keisha McKinney at mckinneymediasolutions@gmail.com.

ARKANSAS AG TO HOLD ROUNDTABLE DISUCCUSSIONS IN ALL ARKANSAS COUNTIES 03/13/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that, for the fifth consecutive year she will hold Rutledge Roundtables in all 75 counties to hear directly from Arkansans about their concerns and the issues impacting their community. Today, Rutledge has met with community leaders in Van Buren and Searcy counties.

“Meeting Arkansans face-to-face allows me to listen to their concerns and ideas so that we can work together on solutions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After all, Arkansas is just one big small town.”

Rutledge has hosted 306 roundtables since taking office with more than 3,200 attendees since taking office in 2015.

Roundtable dates for Sevier, Little River, Howard, Pike and Polk Counties will be announced on KDQN as scheduling becomes available.

TEXARKANA AREA FLOORING BUSINESS PARTNERS WITH DE QUEEN FURNITURE STORE 03/13/19

March is home improvement month and on Tuesday March 12th KDQN sat down with Chris Nichols of Lighthouse Flooring and Gallery out of Nash Texas. Nichols has 24 years of experience in the flooring industry and says he found his “home” with Lighthouse flooring and Gallery. Lighthouse flooring has been providing services in and around the Texarkana area for 10 years, This week, Chris Nichols made an announcement about a new partnership with Southern Home Furniture and interior Design in De Queen.

The new partnership will allow residents of De Queen and the surrounding areas the convenience of having access to everything offered around Texarkana without having to make the near-hour-long drive. Chris also provided an update on the most quality flooring options available for customers nowadays. Chris described the popular vinyl plank option as “the hoppin’ thing.”

Southern Home furniture and interior design in De Queen is located at 300 W Collin Raye Drive. For estimates call 903 793 2047. Information also available on lighthouseandflooring .com

UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS VISIT STATE CAPITOL 03/13/19

UA Cossatot Student Ambassadors traveled to Little Rock to observe, tour, and learn about state legislature responsibilities at the Capitol on February 26.  Student ambassador attendees included Alondra Galvez, JoAnna Martinez, Valerra Gomez, Jhamilex Hernandez, and student sponsor Wendy Garcia.

District 4 representative DeAnn Vaught introduced the student ambassadors as her invited guests.  The student ambassadors were able to watch two bills get passed by the house.

“It was a great day for the students to witness leadership and see Arkansas’s House of Representatives at work,” said Wendy Garcia, Student Ambassador Sponsor.

The student ambassadors also met with other colleges and student groups, listened to the House of Education Committee speak, and toured the state capitol.

“It was really interesting getting to tour the capitol and getting to learn something new about Arkansas” said, Student Ambassador Alondra Galvez.

More information on student ambassador activities can be found at www.cccua.edu or by contacting Wendy Garcia at wgarcia@cccua.edu or 870-584-1139.

MARCH QUORUM COURT MEETING UPDATES 03/13/19

The Sevier County Quorum Court met for their regularly scheduled meeting Monday March 12th at the courthouse in De Queen.

A report from the Sevier County museum was delivered to the JPs electronically in advance and a couple of housekeeping items were addressed in the old business category. Sheriff Robert Gentry told the Quorum that he followed up on an issue that was brought up in the February meeting. A pack of unruly dogs have been creating a nuisance in a county neighborhood and a group of concerned residents questioned what could be done to resolve the issue. Gentry reported that no criminal charges can be filed against the owner of the dogs and there is no law in place requiring rabies vaccine enforcement.

In the new business category a request for an additional appropriation of $10,000 to the road department budget for the paints and metals line 2021 for the purchase of guard rails was approved. The request for an appropriation of $20,000 to the road department budget to the rent-machinery and equipment line 3071 for crane rental was approved. Judge Greg Ray says the county is receiving $500,000 worth of culvers at no cost, the only expense will be the crane rental.

The quorum also approved the request to appropriate $1,995 to the road department to the computer software support and maintenance line 3102for DataScout Roads and Bridges program. The Saline River Bridge between De Queen and Dierks is set to be replaced.

In positive news Sheriff Robert Gentry announced a change in provider of medical services for the county jail. The Sevier County Jail will terminate the contract with Southern Health partners and begin a partnership with Turnkey Health. The change in service providers will save the jail more than $30,000 per year.

The last items discussed also involved the county jail. The sheriff’s department is down from 2 vans to one van for the transport of inmates to and from the courthouse as the transmission on one van has recently gone out. The department will rely on the single van for the time being until a decision is made for the future about purchasing a new van. The quorum did agree to provide $1800 to the 2019 Sheriff’s communication, facility and equipment fund for the purchase of 2 portable radios.

The next Quorum Court meeting will be held Monday April 8th at 2pm in the Sevier County Courthouse.

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT CLOSED DUE TO MUMPS OUTBREAK 03/12/19

 

An illness epidemic in a local school district has caused unexpected closures for the rest of this week.

An official statement released by the Cossatot River Schools Facebook page has announced a closure for the district beginning today.

The announcement says:

“Due to an outbreak of mumps across the district, school will dismiss at 2 p.m. today and be out for the remainder of the week. We will be using three A.M.I. days for contagious disease. Parent Teacher conferences will be cancelled and rescheduled at a later time. Students will return 3/25/19 after Spring Break.”

More information may be released as information becomes available.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DRUG CHARGES AT STORE IN LOCKESBURG 03/12/19

A woman is facing drug related charges after being arrested at a store in Lockesburg last week.

According to a press release from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department on Friday March 8th, Sergeant Greg Davignon was dispatched to the Dollar General Store in Lockesburg Arkansas in reference to a suspicious person believed to be under the influence. The press release states that the Sergeant located a woman identified as Leah Daughtery inside a Grey Chevrolet car in the store parking lot.

Sergeant Davignon reportedly noticed an open can of beer of the vehicle Leah was parked in. The release states that Leah was asked to exit the vehicle and a search was conducted. During the search Sergeant Davignon reportedly discovered a clear plastic bag containing suspected methamphetamine, two glass smoking pipes and a syringe used to inject methamphetamine. Leah Daughtery was arrested on the scene and charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

OEM VISITS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE    03/11/19

OEM Walter Smith visited the National Weather Service in Shreveport Friday, March 8th.  This follow up visit was part of the requirement for Sevier County to become

SKYWARN certified.

During a tour of the facility, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum explained how a weather forecast or warning was issued.  Smith was also allowed to observe the launch of a weather balloon.  Thes

e balloons gather data that is transmitted back to National Weather Service computers to help meteorologists with their weather forecasts.  Shreveport is also participating in a research study that uses the collected data to compile information that may help better predict catastrophic storms and weather trends.

Shown with Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Charlie Woodrum (top left) and  Aaron Davis, Meteorologist Intern

ASHDOWN ANNOUNCEMENTS 03/12/19

Ashdown High School Updates have been provided by Rhonda Pounds:

On Saturday, March 9th, the Ashdown High School Band traveled to Lake Hamilton High School to perform for a panel of judges as part of the Region 2 Concert Assessment.  The band received a Division I composite rating on stage for their prepared music selections and a Division I rating for sight reading.  The band is under the direction of Mark Pounds, Tim Avery, and  Nick Palmissano.

AHS student Breonna Parker won 3rd place at the Student Chef Showdown at Pulaski Tech in Little Rock on Saturday, March 9th. The Student Chef Showdown is a contest by K-12 Culinary Connection that is sponsored by Pulaski Tech. Breonna won a 4.5 quart KitchenAid mixer sponsored by General Mills.

The Ashdown Junior High School EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) class received a grant for $1000 in order to create an exhibit at the Two Rivers Museum located in downtown Ashdown.  The Museum also received a matching $1000 grant in addition to what the class received.

The grant has given the class the opportunity to partner with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street  and create an exhibit for the local museum.  The exhibit will focus on the decline of gardens in Little River County.  The students plan to interview older members of the community to help showcase the change over time.  They hope that the exhibit will be appealing to all ages and encourage more people to visit the museum

DIERKS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN EAST CONFERENCE 03/12/19

Dierks High School will be taking 8 students to the 2019 EAST Conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center on March 12th-14th. East Conference has more than 2,500 students, teachers, community and business leaders, and parents attending. It is the largest EAST event each year. It is a three-day exhibition style event that recognizes and challenges EAST students to learn and perform at the highest levels. This conference is an opportunity for those attending to network with other EAST students, share stories and ideas, and present projects that make a difference in their communities. Dierks will be presenting three major projects at EAST Conference:

Their 3D Printed Robotic Car, New Year Food Drive, and Drive-In Movie.

VETERANS FUNDRAISER EVENT ANNOUNCED 03/12/19

The 2019 “Wagons for Veterans” is scheduled for March 30 at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana Arkansas. This event is hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America, Texarkana Area Chapter # 278 and benefits area veterans of all eras.

“Wagons for Veterans” is a fundraiser to raise money to assist our local disabled and needy veterans of all eras. Local residents can come out to the Four States Fairgrounds and see 18 or more chuckwagons and other displays, hear local bands,  participate in the live auction and there will be a wine raffle. The gates open at 9:00 am and it is free to get in and look around, but to eat from a varied menu of food cooked the old fashioned way – in cast iron pots over an open fire, it is only $10 for adults, $5.00 for children 12 and under. Feeding will begin at 12:00 noon and continue until all the food is gone.

This event will take place at the Four States Fairgrounds, around the Oasis area on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

For more information: 903-908-2135.

TEEN STILL MISSING FROM MURFREESBORO 03/11/19
Authorities are still seeking help in locating a Southwest Arkansas teenager who has been missing since February.

16-year-old female named Sierra Dean was reported missing on Sunday, February 24, 2019 from Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

Sierra Dean was last seen Saturday February 23, 2019 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. KDQN spoke with Murfreesboro Police Chief Randy Lamb Monday, March 11th about Sierra’s status. Chief Lamb says Sierra is still missing and a few reports of possible sightings had been called in but none have “panned out.”

Sierra is described as a 5’10, 150 pound Caucasian female with long dyed-black hair and a nose ring. If Sierra is located residents are asked to contact Murfreesboro police 870-285-3533.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY WILDLIFE OFFICER HONORED 03/11/19

Eleven Arkansas Game and Fish Commission enforcement officers and a K-9 were recipients of the division’s top honors Tuesday in the sixth annual AGFC Enforcement Division Awards at the Crowne Plaza.

Three officers earned the Governor’s Lifesaving Award and AGFC Lifesaving Medal, presented to an officer who, through direct lifesaving measures, sustains the life of another person. These included wildlife officer Cody Standifer of Little River County. Officer Standifer assisted Little River County Sheriff’s Office personnel with a motor vehicle accident, extracted from the back window a seriously injured victim who had a weak pulse and had bled extensively, saving his life.

Standifer also received a certificate of commendation for responding to another motor vehicle accident in Little River County that resulted in seven injured people and two fatalities, rescued 4- and 8-year-old children. His quick thinking in treating the 8-year-old’s head injury with applied pressure before emergency personnel could arrive was “instrumental in the outcome of this situation,” the accident report said.

SCOUT-O-RAMA EVENT FREE FOR PUBLIC SET FOR NEXT MONTH 03/11/19

Boy Scouts of America units all over the Four States area (Oklahoma, Arkanasas, Louisiana and Texas) will be gathering for Scout-O-Rama 2019 at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, Texas April 26th, 27th and 28th. Registration for Scouting troops in the area is free and available online at 4statesSOR.com/registration through March 20th. After March 20th, there will be a $25 late registration fee. T-Shirt and patch orders must be in the Scout Service Center no later than April 12 by 5 PM.

The general public is invited to come learn more about Scouting on Saturday from 10:30 am to 4:00 p.m. and a variety of exhibits will   be open around noon. This year the theme is “Scouting for Life.” Scout Troops, Venture Crews, Sea Scouts, Webelos, Cub Scouts, Exploring Posts, and more will come from all over the Four States area for this popular regional Scout show and would love to show off the skills they have learned through their adventures in Scouting. Admittance is FREE, however attendees can Bring $5 to purchase a chili bowl to sample chili from across the Four States area during our 4th annual ICS sanctioned chili cook off. Chili will be served from Noon until it’s gone.

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM HEADED TO STATE 03/11/19

The De Queen High School Quiz Bowl Team competed at the 5A South regional tournament held in De Queen on Saturday, March 9th. Noah Reed was named the 5A regional tournament quiz bowl MVP as he averaged 17.4 questions per game. The team received 2nd place and will advance to the state competition scheduled for Saturday, April 13th in Beebe, Arkansas.

The team also won 1st place in a recent tournament held in Murfreesboro on Thursday, March 7th.

De Queen School District Superintendent Bruce Hill told KDQN during a recent interview that the team is on track to attend a national competition that will be held in Washington D.C this summer. The team needs roughly $30,000 to send 16 students and 4 advisors to the tournament. Superintendent Hill says quiz bowl team adviser Thomas Sweeten delivered a report at the March school board meeting last Tuesday and announced the team has raised about $25,000 of the $30,000 needed for the trip.

KDQN will announce the results of the state quiz bowl competition on-air when the results are in next month.

SEVIER COUNTY RSAT PROGRAM RECOGNIZED DURING 92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT STATE CAPITOL 03/11/19

A local program based in Sevier County has been recognized on a statewide level during the 92nd General assembly in Little Rock this week.

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry, Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir, Jail Administrator Chris Wolcott, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan and Celebrate Recovery Program Director Hattie Vance were invited to the State Capitol in Little Rock Arkansas Wednesday, March 6th to be honored for the success achieved in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program, also known as RSAT. Representatives DeAnn Vaught and Keith Slate presented the Sevier County leaders with the honor.

 

RSAT launched in August of 2017 and boasts a 70% success rate. The year before the program started, the Sevier County Jail documented 67 physical altercations, the year after it started the number of fights was logged at 12.  Wolcott and Gentry have dedicated countless hours to making the program a success.

 

The program is designed to take people who would have to enter the Arkansas Department of Corrections but instead are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves. In Sevier county, 48 people are allotted spots in the program each year. The ADC reported that it requires $22,856 per year to house each inmate in the system. Which means, that 70% of the 48 people who stay out of the prison system saves ADC $767,961 per year. Wolcott noted that some of the people in RSAT took sentences ranging from 3 years to 20 years suspended upon completion of the program.

 

The program has been recognized during the 92nd General Assembly with HR1037.

The House Resolution states:

“Substance Abuse is a problem across our country and the Sevier County Jail has done its part in helping those in need. The program gives inmates the opportunity to be rehabilitated from Drug Abuse and prepare for a productive life after incarceration.”

RSAT participants are taught vocational training, life skills and discipline. In addition to saving the state money, Administrator Wolcott told KDQN that the program also helps communities because the inmates are able to contribute to the workforce after graduation which factors into local economies and less children have to be placed in foster care when parents stay out of jail.

 

Every 3 months, a new class of inmates get to participate in a graduation ceremony where their achievements are recognized in front of family, friends and community members at De Queen First Assembly of God Church. During the last graduation ceremony on January 31st, Sheriff Robert Gentry gave opening remarks for the ceremony during which he described Sergeant Greg Davignon as one of the best drug enforcement agents in the county. Gentry asked Davignon to address the attendees and speak about his experiences with the RSAT program. During his remarks, Davignon admitted to doubting the program at the start of it’s launch but later came to support it. “I was wrong,” Davignon admitted, “I was dead wrong.” The nine year veteran of law enforcement told the audience he came to recognize that the solution for the drug problem in the community is to “curb the demand” as prison does not beat addictions.

Information about the celebrate recovery and RSAT program can be found by emailing joehattiecr@yahoo.com

SEVIER COUNTY 4H VISITS CAPITOL IN LITTLE ROCK 03/08/19

About 700 4-H’ers flooded the Arkansas Capitol on last month.  Sixteen youth from Sevier County traveled to the Capitol for an opportunity to see for themselves, how their state’s government works. During the event, 4-H youth met the governor, toured the state Capitol, and watched a session of the legislature.  Many 4-H’ers also were able to meet Arkansas representatives and senators.

“This is also an opportunity for today’s Arkansas leaders to meet tomorrow’s leaders,” said Angie Freel, interim associate department head for 4-H. “State government officials get to learn a little bit about the exceptional young people of Arkansas 4-H and learn about how 4-H is building life skills through their project areas.”

“What a great group of young leaders,” Governor Hutchinson said during the opening tribute to 4-H. “We are going to have a bright future. To see all of you in the Capitol today is very exciting to me and encourages all of us about the future of this state. Thank you for what you do to support Arkansas agriculture and leadership.”

FORE MAN SCHOOL BOARD MEETING AGENDA ANNOUNCED 03/08/19

Foreman Public Schools will hold their regular monthly board meeting next week.The board will meet at 6:00 p.m. at the foreman High School library on Tuesday, March 12th.

The agenda is as follows:

Call meeting to order and prayer

  1. Gator Success
  2. PPC Reports
  3. Principal Reports
  4. Superintendent Reports

NEW BUSINESS:

  1. Discuss bus purchases
  2. Executive session: a) rehire licensed employees for 2019-2020 school year
  3. Current Enrollment
  4. Approve minutes – regular meeting of February 19, 2019
  5. February Financial Reports
  6. Adjournment

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/08/19

The House Education Committee advanced HB1409.  This bill provides 40 minutes of recess for elementary school students. Currently, most students are allowed 20 minutes. The committee also advanced HB1647. This bill amends the eligibility requirements for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship to include the applicant’s superscore on the ACT.  

“Superscore” means the final composite score that is calculated according to a combination of the highest individual section scores across all of the ACT tests taken by an individual. 

 The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced HB1552. This bill allows for licensing of DACA recipients for nursing licenses.

 The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1689. This bill increases the penalties for passing an authorized vehicle stopped on a highway. It increases the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.

 The full House passed HB1620. This bill creates the Arkansas Cycling Activities Act. It puts liability protections in place for businesses renting bicycles in the state.

 The full House also passed HB1565. This bill seeks to provide funding for a national cancer institute-designated center at UAMS.  The bill provides the funding by diverting existing taxes on medical marijuana from general revenue to the institute trust fund. The trust fund would also receive new revenue created by a 50 cents per pack tax on cigarette rolling papers, removing a border tax exemption on cigarettes and increasing the minimum mark price on cigarettes. In addition, HB1565 raises the legal age to use or possess vape or tobacco products to 21, with an exception for military.

 The House also passed HB1640 which designates the Alligator Gar as the official game fish of Arkansas. The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO ARM STAFF FOR 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR 03/07/19

The De Queen School Board held their meeting for the month of March on Tuesday, March 5th at the district’s administration building.

The main item discussed in the old business category was update on the construction process of the new high school building. Superintendent Bruce Hill told KDQN that despite numerous rain days the project is still on track and expected to be completed on time. The new building is expected to be ready for the fall of 2020.

The board also agreed to expel three students in the district for the remainder of the school year. Superintendent Hill says legalities prevent the board from revealing the names of students or details about their actions but he was able to say that the three students who were expelled were students of De Queen High school.

In positive news, Thomas Sweeten announced that the De Queen High School Quiz bowl team is on track to represent De Queen at a national competition in Washington D.C this summer. The team has been trying to raise the money to send 16 students and 4 advisers to the event. As of this week the team has raised roughly $25,000 of the $30,000 total needed for the trip. Hill is confident that the team will raise the funds needed and will represent the district well at the national competition.

The biggest item discussed during the meeting was the topic of arming staff with firearms for the 2019-2020 school year. The board voted to approve the item and a number of policies and procedures will be established in the upcoming future. In order to become an armed staff member, candidates will be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, then be recommended and interviewed by the De Queen Police Department. Those acting as armed staff will remain under the jurisdiction of DPD as well. The board agreed that the staff members equipped with firearms will remain anonymous and they will not be permitted to carry outside of the school campus or school events in De Queen. Superintendent Hill also noted that the De Queen police department will provide 120 hours of training before the staff can be armed. Additional training will be required each year in order for the staff to remain armed on campus and at events.

The last items discussed during the meeting was the approval of upcoming trips for De Queen High School students. The board approved the senior trip to six flags amusement park in Dallas as well as a student council trip to Dallas to visit the JFK museum.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m. and the next meeting has been scheduled for April 8th, 5:30 p.m. at the administration building.

SENATOR LEADING SUICIDE PREVENTION EFFORTS FOR VETERANS 03/07/19

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is helping lead efforts to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) operation, oversight and evaluation of its suicide prevention media outreach campaigns.

Boozman is the lead Republican cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act. The bill, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), seeks to correct failures in VA’s suicide prevention outreach activities identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act requires that the VA:

  • Establish targets—based on industry-standard metrics such as impressions and engagement rate—to evaluate the efficacy of its mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns;
  • Create a process to oversee VA’s suicide prevention media outreach campaigns;
  • Report to Congress on the expenditures and obligations of funds of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; and
  • Ensure all future contracts regarding mental health and suicide prevention outreach include a clause that the contractor must track metrics established by the secretary and report these metrics to the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Boozman previously included language in the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

ASTRONOMY EVENT AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 03/07/19

On Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. local residents of all ages are invited to come to the campground amphitheater at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro for an evening under the stars. Guest astronomer Rick Floyd will share his knowledge of the night sky, along with photos of the moon and stars.

Mr. Floyd first became interested in astronomy as a child and as he grew older and acquired a deeper love of space, he began taking pictures through his telescopes, to share captivating celestial scenes with family and friends.

The Astronomy event is free to attend. Participants should dress for the outdoors, and bring a flashlight to use after the program. Mr. Floyd will also have telescopes set up to answer questions and help others get started in astronomy and astrophotography. Because this is an outdoor program, it may be cancelled in the event of rain. For more information, contact Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.

AGFC INVITES HUNTERS TO HELP WITH SURVEY  03/07/19

Hunters can help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission track hunting effort and success throughout turkey season this spring by signing up to be a part of the annual Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey. It’s free to participate and your responses will help shape important aspects of wild turkey management in Arkansas.

The spring turkey hunting survey has been in place since 2007 to gather information on hunter activity, gobbling activity, turkey observations and hunting success throughout turkey season. Volunteers record data from each hunt in a small booklet provided by the AGFC and send the results to be analyzed at the end of the hunting season. Biologists then compile all the data to identify trends in hunter participation and satisfaction and provide a report for all hunters to compare notes.

Wild turkey populations have declined throughout the southeastern United States in the last decade. Even turkey hunting destinations like Missouri have seen as much as a 17 percent decline in turkey harvest from spring 2017 to spring 2018. Arkansas’s turkey population has seen the same decline, and biologists are working to reverse the trend. It may be easy to pick out one or two obvious things that have changed since Arkansas’s turkey hunting heyday in the early 2000s, but many factors play into turkey population health.

Email Wood at jeremy.wood@agfc.ar.gov or call 800-364-4263 to participate in the survey.

COLTS CLASSIC HELD AT UA COSSATOT 03/07/19

UA Cossatot hosted over 1,000 high school students from across the state at the 8th Annual Colts Classic FFA Career Development Event on Friday, February 15th. Students from all across the state gathered at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater for the welcome by Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole before dispersing to the different
locations for contests.
“The Colts Classic is an important event to our college and community, and a way for our collegiate FFA to stay connected with the high school FFA chapters,” said UA Cossatot Agriculture Instructor Kelli Harris. “We couldn’t do this without all of our generous volunteers or the support of our local partners, UA Cossatot
employees, and the community.”

The event is organized and hosted by the UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA. There were fifty-six schools from across Arkansas and one school from Missouri that participated in twelve different contests, such as forestry, vet science, horse judging, and floriculture. Plans are already underway for the contest next year

 

ARKANSAS AG RECOGNIZES NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK 03/07/19

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the top 10 most common complaints the Attorney General’s office received in 2018.

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

“At the Attorney General’s Office, we take every complaint seriously and will work diligently to protect Arkansans and hold bad actors accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

The 10 most common complaint categories from 2018 were:

  • Automobile sales, service financing and repair
  • Sales of goods and services
  • Health care
  • Home repair, construction and maintenance
  • Landlord/tenant and real estate
  • Satellite, cable and internet service providers
  • Wireless and landline telephone services
  • Scams and opportunities
  • Credit repairs and other financial services
  • Utilities

After falling to the number two most received complaint in 2017, automobile-related transactions returned to the most common type of complaint reports to the Attorney General’s office in 2018. Last year, automobile sales, service financing and repairs brought in 1,200 complaints. These types of complaints often involve consumers reporting financing errors; high-pressure tactics to buy add-on services at the time of purchase, such as gap insurance, extended warranties; and sales misrepresentations.

Attorney General Rutledge’s office resolved 5,595 formal complaints in 2018. File a complaint online at ArkansasAG.gov.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/05/19

On Monday, the House passed two pieces of legislation addressing highway funding. In a vote of 71-26, the House passed SB336.  This bill outlines $95 million in additional funding in three ways.

First, it diverts all revenue from casino gaming that exceeds $31.2 million to the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund. Second, it includes a wholesale tax on fuel raising gas prices by 3 cents a gallon and diesel by 6 cents a gallon. And third, it imposes a $100 registration fee on hybrid vehicles and a $200 registration fee on electric vehicles.

The second piece of legislation addressing highways before the House was HJR8. This is a proposed constitutional amendment which would permanently extend a ½ cent sales tax for the purpose of funding state highways.  The current ½ sales tax funding highway improvements is set to expire in 2023.  If this resolution passes both chambers, it would be on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020.  The resolution passed the House with a vote of 67-30.

The House passed HB1522 which ensures that soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard are afforded the same benefits and protections as active duty soldiers when they are called on state active duty.

The House passed HB1407. This bill requires truth in labeling of agricultural products that are edible. The bill states the seller cannot sell the product under the name of another food.

The House passed HB1263. This bill allows pharmacists to prescribe certain types of tobacco cessation products.

The House also passed HB1278. This bill allows pharmacists to administer childhood vaccines to children age 7 and older under a written protocol by a physician.

The House will convene on Tuesday at 1:30pm.

STUDENT CHEF SHOWDOWN THIS SATURDAY 03/05/19

Students in the local area have qualified for the upcoming student chef showdown and will be competing in the finale this weekend.

Local qualifiers include Breonna Parker of the Ashdown School District. Linda Zaragoza of the Cossatot River School District and Jayla Densen of the Horatio School District.

Area friends, family, school personnel and community residents are encouraged to attend the showdown and support the contestants.

The event will be held Saturday, March 9th at Pulaski Tech Culinary Institute at 1:00 p.m. All participating students will arrive one hour early and have sessions with the chef to go over their recipes. The results of the competition will be posted to KDQN.net

TWO SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COLLEGES ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP 03/05/19

Southern Arkansas University (SAU) and National Park College (NPC) announced a degree partnership that will bring bachelor’s degree programs to Hot Springs beginning in fall 2019. The agreement was approved Wednesday, Feb. 27, during the February Board of Trustees meeting at NPC.

All four years of the three new degree programs will be offered through the National Park University Center on the NPC campus. Students will complete the first two years of the degrees enrolled as NPC students and the junior and senior years enrolled as SAU students. The degrees will include Biology, Pre-Health; Chemistry, Pre-Health Biochemistry; and Computer Science.

Students will pay NPC tuition rates for the first two years of coursework and SAU tuition rates for the junior and senior year coursework. Fees will be shared among both institutions. Students who participate will have access to all of the services and resources NPC offers, as well as those SAU offers. Students will earn an associate degree diploma from NPC and a bachelor’s degree diploma from SAU upon graduation.

A public announcement for students was held immediately following the board meeting. Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Kettle to hear the news. NPC Student Government Association President Tyler Draper said, “Our College has come a long way since 1973. Just in my two years here, we’ve seen rapid expansion with the student commons and new road construction, residence halls and NJCAA sports. Today, our next chapter of growth is announcing three new bachelor’s degrees through the National Park University Center and Southern Arkansas University.”

More information about the degree plans can be found at saumag.edu/npc.

AMNESTY PROGRAM IN SEVIER COUNTY GOING ON NOW 03/05/19

Sevier County will be holding the annual “Amnesty Program” now through April 15th, 2019. The program is for residents who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest with the Sevier County District Court.

The Amnesty Program is designed to give local residents a chance to handle their responsibilities with the court without facing the risk of being arrested.

This year’s Amnesty Program concludes April 15th. Any person with a qualifying outstanding warrant for failure to appear or failure to comply may have the warrant withdrawn by paying in full the fine and costs of the underlying charge. The Amnesty Program does not apply to charges that require a mandatory court appearance, like DWI and select misdemeanors.

Anyone arrested during the Amnesty Program period will not be allowed to participate in the program. Payments shall be made at the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, which is located on the second floor of the Sevier County Courthouse. For questions about the program call the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, 870-584-7311.

UA COSSATOT RECEIVES GRANT TO HELP POND CREEK REFUGE 03/05/19

Collegiate FFA members at UA Cossatot recently completed a Day of Service Mini-Grant through the National FFA’s Living to Serve program during National FFA Week. Hadley Philamlee, an agriculture business major and Collegiate FFA president, developed the project with Paul Gideon at Pond Creek National Wildlife
Refuge. The grant allowed students to purchase $400 worth of tools and materials to build hog traps and place them on the refuge to help reduce the feral swine population.

Feral swine are an invasive species that have a negative impact on the hardwood wetland ecosystem at Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge and cause significant damage to surrounding agricultural lands. Studies show at least 66% of a hog population must be removed each year to prevent it from growing. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recognizes large-scale trapping as the most efficient and economical means currently available to reduce feral hog populations.

On Thursday, February 21st, agriculture students Hadley Philamlee, Cody Chandler, Dusty Kesterson, and Peyton Frachiseur spent the day working with Kelli Harris, their agriculture instructor at UA Cossatot, and Charlie Marshall, an employee at Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge, to complete the project. Students will
be tracking data with Pond Creek to determine how many feral swine are removed from the refuge with the placement of additional traps.

ARKANSAS BROADCASTERS VISIT CAPITOL HILL   03/01/19

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Broadcasters Association took on Washington D.C. for the 2019 NAB State Leadership Conference. They met with U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to discuss their continued support of local broadcasting and how Arkansas is #BroadcastingNaturally.
Their trip included: dinner with Representatives French Hill and Rick Crawford, lunch in the Senate Dining Hall with Senator John Boozman, and breakfast in the West Wing of the White House.

MAN FACING DRUG PARAPHERNALIA CHARGE IN SEVIER COUNTY 03/01/19

A man is facing drug paraphernalia charges after the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department conducted a traffic stop near Horatio Thursday.

A report from The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon pulled over the driver of a Maroon Honda vehicle for not having valid registration on Kornegay Road, West of Horatio Arkansas on Thursday, February 28th. Sergeant Davignon Reported noticing the smell of Marijuana upon approaching the vehicle.

The Driver of the car was identified as Michael Robinson. Robinson reportedly told the Sergeant he did not have a valid driver’s license. Davignon requested to search the vehicle and Robinson gave the sergeant permission to conduct the search. Davignon reportedly discovered a glass pipe believed to be used for methamphetamine and another glass pipe believed to be used for marijuana. A small amount of marijuana was also reportedly found during the search. Robinson was placed under arrest for drug paraphernalia and then transported to the Sevier County Jail.

THE 74TH ANNUAL DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET 03/01/19

The 74th annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held Thursday, February 28th at the De Queen High School Cafeteria. Hundreds of local leaders, business owners and residents gathered for the event where entertainment was provided by the De Queen High School Jazz Band and awards were presented by the chamber board members. The evening began with the national anthem lead by Angela Smith, the pledge of allegiance by Michael Barnes and Pastor Ray Reynolds guided the attendees in prayer.

The award winners include:

 

 

Renovation Award: The Montgomery Family for De Queen McDonalds.
New Construction Award: HealthCare Xpress
Small Business of the Year: Country Girls Cafe
Business Family of The Year: Doug Suttle Family
Large Business of The Year: UA Cossatot
Citizen of the year: ZZ Kamruddin
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ms. Jen Arnold

After the awards were presented Kevin Williamson served as a lively and comical auctioneer for the live auction and the 50/50 raffle drawing was held. The night concluded with the table decorating awards, an announcement of the silent auction winners, and closing remarks made by Suzanne Babb.

Award for Most Beautiful Table went to De Queen Elementary School.  The award for Best Businesses Themed Table was given to UA Cossatot.

See more photos in our Photo Album.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/01/19

In a vote of 85-6, the House passed HB1437. This bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor if a mandated reporter fails to notify law enforcement of a serious threat made by an individual regarding violence in or targeted at a school.

The House also passed HB1356. This bill makes it against the law for students to be shamed or stigmatized for not paying for lunch. It prohibits schools from providing a different meal or snack than other students, from requiring a wristband or hand stamp, or requiring the student to dispose of the meal. It also requires the Department of Education to implement a system of best practices in collecting for unpaid lunches.

Additional legislation passing the House on Thursday include:

HB1416-This bill removes the enrollment cap on school districts which separation may occur. HB1491- This bill mandates DHS dissolve the wait list for the alternative community services waiver program (Developmental Disabilities Waiver) within 3 years.

HB1493-This bill amends the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.  It lowers the minimum threshold for the credit from $25,000 to $5,000 of rehabilitation expenses in non-income producing properties.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1290.  This bill authorizes pharmacists to provide access to and administration of oral contraceptives.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced HB1497.  This bill provides liability protection for stolen agricultural equipment or other off-road vehicle.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1485. This bill allows schools to use excess NSL (National School Lunch) funds for teacher salaries in certain circumstances. The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1561 which allows the State Highway Commission to approve an autonomous vehicle pilot program.

The House will convene again on Monday at 1:30pm.

PERMITS FOR ARKANSAS TURKEY HUNTING THROUGH AGFC 03/01/19

If you didn’t draw a wildlife management area turkey hunt permit during the regular drawing, there’s still a chance to get a spot to hunt some of Arkansas’s most popular WMAs. All leftover permits will be available at www.agfc.com on a first-come, first-served online sale beginning 8 a.m., March 12.

Hunters interested in purchasing a leftover permit also can visit the licensing site. Applicants should click on the “Buy a License|Check Game” button in the top right of the page and then click “WMA Applications.” Once they have entered their personal information, they will be able to choose from the remaining permits and complete their purchase.

With nearly 3,300 applicants for WMA turkey permits and more than 250 applicants for the WMA youth turkey permits, there always are some people who do not draw for the limited hunts. There also are a few hunts that don’t receive enough applicants to fill their quota.

Just because there weren’t enough applicants for a hunt doesn’t mean the area is a poor hunting location. Some wildlife management areas that have excellent success rates often fly under the radar because all the attention is placed on one or two standout areas. In some cases, very good WMAs are left as a fallback option, in case hunters don’t draw the more popular hunts.

Each leftover permit requires a $5 processing fee. Each hunter may purchase one permit for each of the remaining WMA permit hunts. There is no limit to the number of permits a person may buy, but many of the hunts are on the same days, so hunters should pay attention to the hunt dates as well as the location before purchasing.

Visit www.agfc.com/turkey and click on “WMA Turkey Hunt Permits” see the list of remaining permits.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS TOURISM COFFEE MEETING SET FOR MARCH 15TH 03/01/19

The Arkansas Welcome Center at I-30 East Texarkana, Arkansas would like to invite community members to participate in a coffee reception for area leaders on March 15th at 9:30 a.m. to share ideas on Tourism efforts in the Southwest Arkansas area. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with and discuss tourism with representatives from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, including Cynthia Dunlap, Interim Executive Director of Parks and Tourism, Jim Daily Tourism Director, and Kristine Puckett, Deputy Director. If you have any questions please contact the Arkansas Welcome Center at Texarkana at (870)772-4301.

SWEPCO COULD RAISE RATES BY 24% IN 2020 03/01/19

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) on Thursday (Feb. 28) submitted a request to the Arkansas Public Service Commission for a net annual increase of $45.6 million in the company’s non-fuel base rates, plus $12 million for increased vegetation management.

If approved, new rates could go into effect in the first billing cycle of January 2020. The combined $57.6 million request would result in an overall bill increase of approximately $22.60 per month, or 24%, for an Arkansas residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

Since SWEPCO’s last base rate review 10 years ago, the company’s operations and maintenance expenses and its capital investments in generation, transmission and distribution facilities have increased substantially.

According to SWEPCO, base rates refer to the costs of building, maintaining and operating electric system, including power plants, transmission and distribution lines and facilities to serve customers. Base rates do not include the fuel portion of the customer’s bill, which pays for fuel and purchased power and is a pass-through to customers with no profit to the company.

SWEPCO is also requesting that $28.9 million for costs now recovered through separate charges on customers’ bills be moved into base rates.

SWEPCO is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, and has 535,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. American Electric Power has more than 17,000 employees and nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM COMPETITION RESULTS ANNOUNCED 02/28/19

The De Queen Quiz Bowl Team finished in 2nd place at the recent tournament held Friday, February 22nd . A total of 16 teams from all over the state participated in the event. De Queen lost a close match in the finals to the three-time defending State Quiz Bowl champions from Russellville. Team members include Noah Reed, Reed Renfro, Miguel Montero, Ismael Montero, Sophie Burke and Emily Riley. Thomas Sweeten serves as the team advisor.

At the Arkansas State History Bee, Noah Reed finished in 3rd place. The De Queen History Bowl team finished in 5th place at the Arkansas History Bowl behind Little Rock Central, Fort Smith Southside, Episcopal Collegiate and Fayetteville. The event was held Saturday, February 23rd.

TRIPLE TROPHY AWARD FOR DEER HUNTERS DEADLINE APPROACHING 02/28/19

Deer season may be winding down, but there’s still a reward for those lucky and skilled enough to hit the trifecta of deer hunting. Applications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Triple Trophy Award may be submitted online by April 10, 2019.

Hunters who qualify for the Triple Trophy Award must, within a single deer season, take at least one deer by each of the three legal hunting methods – modern firearms, muzzleloading rifle or pistol, and archery/crossbow tackle. Qualifying hunters receive certificates suitable for framing and a patch to place on their hunting vest or jacket.

The program began in the mid-1980s to encourage primitive weapons hunting. It was intended to accomplish two things – to increase the harvest of antlerless deer, and to spread out hunting pressure and reduce crowding during modern gun season.

In addition to more liberal seasons, hunters using archery tackle and muzzleloaders are more apt to harvest antlerless deer because of the increased difficulty of using those weapons.

Protecting does was essential decades ago, while managers were trying to increase the total number of deer in the state. Now that deer are plentiful, the management goal must shift to keeping the herd at healthy levels for the habitat available.

Applications are available from the AGFC, 501-223-6351, or online at www.agfc.com/tripletrophy.

ARKANSAS AG ISSUES DMV SCAM WARNING 02/28/19

Arkansans are required to annually renew license plate registrations, which can be accomplished online at mydmv.arkansas.gov. Some online companies, however, have created services that may mislead consumers into purchasing material they do not need. This problem occurs when a consumer conducts an internet search and clicks on results for a website that appears to be the Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) but is instead an unrelated site that directs consumers to purchase a registration renewal how-to pamphlet and not a registration renewal. If consumers fall victim to this problem, then consumers run the risk of failing to renew their tags by the deadline and spending money unnecessarily.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says “At the time of renewal, the DMV mails a reminder letter which includes the correct web address to complete the registration purchase online.”

Rutledge released tips to ensure safety while making purchases online.

  • Avoid using an internet search to find the DMV’s site, and instead typemydmv.arkansas.gov directly on the URL at the top of the page.
  • Use a secure browser to help guard the security of your information as it is transmitted to a website. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer.
  • Check the site’s privacy policy before providing any personal financial information and determine how the information will be used or shared with others.
  • Search for the words “official website” and try to avoid clicking on “ads”

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
HOT SPRINGS MAN WINS SIX FIGURES IN ARKANSAS LOTTERY 02/28/19

A Garland County man had a habit of joking with his wife every time he bought a lottery ticket that she needed to be ready to go to Little Rock the next day to claim his prize. That joke became reality Tuesday when Travis Hancock of Hot Springs won $190,000 in the Natural State Jackpot (NSJ). The couple drove to Little Rock today to claim his prize.

Hancock purchased a Quick Pick 10-Buck Bundle at Golf Links, 2224 Malvern Ave. in Hot Springs for the Feb. 26 drawing. He almost threw the ticket away thinking that it was a fake ticket.

“The ticket had the numbers 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. I used the last $10 in our savings jar and was worried that the purchase was for nothing,” he said. “Luckily, I kept the ticket, and it paid off!”

“I checked the website three times because it seemed so unreal. After realizing that I won, I called my wife, Tonia and told her that she’s not going to work tomorrow because we’re going to the Lottery’s Claim Center in Little Rock,” he said.

Tonia initially didn’t believe him since he had a habit of saying that every time he purchased a lottery ticket.  Hancock plays the lottery often and plans to pay off debt, save money and help the couple’s six children and four grandchildren with his winnings.

Natural State Jackpot (NSJ) is a drawing game exclusive to Arkansas. Drawings are held Monday through Saturday at 8 p.m. CST. The jackpot starts at $50,000 and increases by $5,000 every draw until it hits $150,000. After that, it increases by $10,000 every draw until it’s won. Five numbers are drawn from 1 to 39. If all numbers match those that are chosen, the player will win the jackpot. If other players also match all five numbers, the prize will be shared in equal amounts. Each play is $1.

ARKANSAS TOURISM CONFERENCE AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED 02/28/19

Arkansas tourism partners from across the state tonight honored the 2019 winners of the annual “Henry Awards” during a ceremony at the 45th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held February 24-26 in Hot Springs. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Cynthia Dunlap, interim executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Governor Asa Hutchinson and Miss Arkansas Claudia Raffo assisted in the presentation of the awards.

The winners were:

  • Tourism Person of the Year: Gretchen Hall
  • Media Support Award: Gary Jones Video
  • Bootstrap Award: Melba Theater, Batesville
  • Arkansas Heritage Award: George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville
  • Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Old Soldiers Reunion, Mammoth Spring
  • Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Central Arkansas Trail Alliance
  • Community Tourism Development Award: Helena Advertising & Promotion Commission
  • The Natural State Award: Fort Smith Bicentennial Celebration
  • Crystal Award: Geneva Lamm and Gina Marchese Pharis

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 Leigha Jones at 501-682-1676 or email leigha.jones@arkansas.gov.

TYSON DONATES $50,000 TO HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK 02/28/19

Harvest Regional Food Bank, Texarkana recently received a grant from Tyson Foods, Inc, f in the amount of $50,000 to support Harvest’s Mobile Pantry program in Howard, Pike and Hempstead counties in Southwest Arkansas. A check presentation took place on Thursday, February 28 at Tyson Foods Inc in Nashville, Arkansas.

Several of the nine Arkansas counties served by Harvest Regional Food Bank lack enough pantries or agencies to distribute enough food to meet the hunger relief needs of the community.  In 2011, Harvest established the Mobile Pantry program to provide food directly to those
communities with the fewest hunger relief options. The food bank began quarterly distributions in two counties, and have increased mobile distributions to include six rural and underserved counties. “It is Harvest Regional Food Bank’s plan to continue expanding the program to hold either quarterly, or bi-monthly mobile pantries in rural and underserved areas to increase the percentage of need met through distribution,” said Camille Wrinkle, Executive Director at Harvest. “The funds received from Tyson Foods, Inc. Blue & You Foundation will help us provide an additional 300,000 pounds of fresh and shelf stable food to approximately 175 food
insecure families each month.”

“Recognizing there is real need for hunger relief here in southwest Arkansas, Tyson Foods is pleased to provide a $50,000 grant to Harvest Regional Food Bank,” according to Tem Gunter, HR Manager at Tyson Foods Nashville Complex. “The grant will enable Harvest Mobile Food Pantry to not only add to the number of communities it serves, but also the frequency in which it delivers meals to those communities.”

AFBF ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD LAST WEEK 02/28/19

American Farm Bureau Federation held Issue Advisory Committee Meetings in Washington, D.C. Feb. 21-22. Farmers from across the country were assigned to a committee to give input on agricultural issues. ArFB state board members participated in the meetings. Bruce Jackson of Sevier County served on the Food Safety Committee.

 

ARKANSAS TOURISM START UP COMPETITION WINNERS ANNOUNCED 02/27/19

The first Ark Tank, startup pitch competition developed by Arkansas Tourism concluded Tuesday after four finalists presented their business ideas at the 2019 Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism held at the Hot Springs Convention Center. Presented by founder Corey Boelkens, RaftUp, a destination management software for outdoor recreation businesses, was named the winner and received a cash prize of $5,000, a guarantee for mentorship, and ongoing advisement with Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Tourism research and development section.

The competition criteria required that the presenting companies be a tourism-related business, defined as one that directly interacts with tourists, deals with businesses that cater to tourists, encourages tourism in and travel to Arkansas, and/or supports tourism-related activities in Arkansas.

The competition was also streamed live for people from all over Arkansas to watch and included an invitation for viewers to vote for a winner. The “audience favorite” winner from that voting will be announced later this week. The full competition can be watched on the Arkansas Tourism Industry Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasTourismIndustry

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/27/19

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced legislation outlining $95 million in additional funding for highways.

SB336 creates the funding in three ways. First, the legislation diverts all revenue from casino gaming that exceeds $31.2 million to the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund. Second, it includes a wholesale tax on fuel raising gas prices by 3 cents a gallon and diesel by 6 cents a gallon. And third, it imposes a $100 registration fee on hybrid vehicles and a $200 registration fee on electric vehicles.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1356. This bill makes it against the law for students to be shamed or stigmatized for not paying for lunch. It prohibits schools from providing a different meal or snack than other students, from requiring a wristband or hand stamp, or requiring the student to dispose of the meal. It also requires the Department of Education to implement a system of best practices in collecting for unpaid lunches.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1267 which gives prescriptive authority to Advanced Practice Nurses for schedule II narcotics in certain settings.

That committee also advanced HB1491 which mandates DHS dissolve the wait list for the alternative community services waiver program (Developmental Disabilities Waiver) within 3 years.

The House Judiciary Committee advancedSB10. This bill prohibits level 3 & 4 registered sex offenders from distributing candy or wearing a costume during Halloween activities.

Meanwhile, the full House passed SB170 which limits cities and counties from regulating elements of residential building design.

The House also passed SB249 which increases penalties for ethics violations from $2,000 to $3,500. The House will convene again on Wednesday at 1:30.

UA EXTENSION OFFICE REPORT ON EMPLOYMENT IN RURAL ECONOMIES:

A new report from the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and information provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows employment grew 6.5% statewide between 2010 and 2017, but growth was largely limited to urban counties. Of Arkansas’ 62 rural counties, 50 counties or 80%, had lower employment in 2017 than in 2010.

Howard and Pike Counties have largely remained unaffected and have seen slight growth in employment during the same years, while neighboring Sevier and Little River counties have seen large drops in employment.

The report states that there are many factors driving this trend in declining employment in rural counties. Part of the decline is related to a continuing shift from manufacturing to service sector jobs, which disproportionately affects rural areas.

However some rural counties have seen increases in employment, due to industry or growth in local economies.

ARKANSAS AG MOBILE OFFICES: 02/27/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans.

The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

Rutledge continues her partnerships with the Cooperative Extension Service and local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007.

The upcoming mobile office schedule includes:

Howard County: Thursday, March 7 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Howard County Senior Citizens Center 206 E. Howard St. Nashville, AR 71852

Pulaski County Friday, March 8 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. West Central Community Center 4521 John Barrow Road Little Rock, AR 72204

ARKANSAS MEN SENTENCED FOR DRUG CHARGES 02/27/19

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Duane Kees , announced the sentencing of two Southwest Arkansas men this week. The sentences are for cases involving Patrick Taylor (32) of Texarkana, Arkansas, and Bruce Witherspoon (34) of Washington, Arkansas. Taylor has received a sentence of 100 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. Witherspoon was sentenced to 92 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. Both men Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute charges. Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearings in the United States District Court in Texarkana.

Records indicate that Hempstead County investigators connected substance purchases between Taylor and Witherspoon between March and July 2017. 47 grams of methamphetamine from Taylor, and 10 grams of methamphetamine from Witherspoon were collected by investigators.

Both men were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2018. Taylor entered plea in August 2018, while Witherspoon entered a plea in October 2018. Both Taylor and Witherspoon plead guilty to the charges.

The cases were investigated by The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department, South Central Drug Task Force and The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COLLEGE TO FEATURE TWO NEW SCHOLARSHIPS 02/27/19

A Southwest Arkansas college has announced new funding received that will provide scholarship opportunities for students. Henderson State University IS Arkadelphia has been awarded nearly $450,000 from estate gifts to establish two significant scholarship endowments for history majors.

The Carrigan History Scholarship Endowment was established from a $257,000 bequest left by Jo Ann “Jody” Carrigan who earned her bachelor’s degree from Henderson in 1953. Carrigan, who passed away in September, spent much of her career in the Department of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

She was an active historian with involvement in the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association and the Southern Association of Women Historians. The Carrigan History Scholarship will provide $10,000 per year in scholarship support to high-achieving upperclassmen seeking a bachelor’s degree in history.

The Michael Link History Scholarship Endowment was established from a $190,000 bequest from Michael Link who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Henderson in 1962 and 1963, respectively. He was also a lineman for the Reddies football team. Link, who passed away in April of 2016, spent more than 50 years teaching history at Arkansas Tech University where he also served as a student advisor. A master of the French, German, Latin and Bulgarian languages, Link was a member of the European Section of The Southern Historical Association.

The Michael Link History Scholarship will provide $7,500 annually in scholarship support to high-achieving seniors majoring in history.

Information can be found on http://hsu.today/

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS ARCHERY TOURNAMENTS SCHEDULED 02/26/19

A series of 3-D archery tournament dates have been announced for the year. All sessions will be held at The Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Center in Columbus Arkansas, near Hope. The first tournament will take place this weekend on: Saturday, March 2, 2019. The event is an opportunity for family fun as divisions are available for all different ages and skill levels. Awards will be given out to the first three finishers in each division.

Additional tournament dates include : April 6 • May 4 • June 1 • Aug. 3 • Sept. 7

Competition Divisions
Open • Unlimited • Known
Senior Hunter (ages 50 and over)
Senior Open (ages 50 and over)
Novice • Women’s Open
Women’s Bowhunter • Women’s Novice
Hunter • Traditional • Young Adult (ages 15-17)
Youth (ages 13-14) • Senior Eagle (ages 11-12)
Eagle (ages 9-10)
Junior Eagle (ages 8 and under)

Entrance Fees
All Eagles……………………………. $5
Youth………………………………….. $5
Young Adult…………………………. $5
Adults…………………………………. $10
Families………………………………. $20

Call Caleb Coulter, 870- 826-8193, to register or for more information.

UPDATES FROM ARKANSAS SENATOR LARRY TEAGUE 02/26/19

Senator Larry Teague reported that Governor Asa Hutchison signed two of the high-profile bills of this year’s session. One bill lowers state income taxes by $97 million a year for 579,000 Arkansas taxpayers who earn more than $38,200 a year. It is Act 182. The other bill raises teacher minimum salaries by about $1,000 a year, over the next four years. It will directly benefit teachers in 168 school districts. It is Act 170.

Arkansas became the fifth state to enact a so-called “trigger” law that will immediately prohibit abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade ruling. It is Act 180 and It has exceptions. For example, it would not be an abortion if the procedure were done to save the life or preserve the health of the unborn child, to remove a dead unborn child caused by a spontaneous abortion or to remove an ectopic pregnancy. There is a provision allowing an abortion to save the life of the pregnant mother in a medical emergency.

Senate Bill 256 to prohibit legislators and state constitutional officers from lobbying was approved by the Senate and advanced by the House Rules Committee. The elected officials it affects may not register as a lobbyist, not only in Arkansas but also in other states. SB 256 has bipartisan sponsorship, and passed the Senate by a 34-to-0 vote.

SB 150, which grants cities greater authority to offer broadband Internet service, passed unanimously in both chambers and was sent to the governor. More than 500 Arkansas state troopers would get a five percent pay raise, on top of merit raises and cost-of-living raises, under an amendment to the State Police appropriation that got a favorable vote in subcommittee.

The Joint Budget Committee must affirm the vote, and legislators must identify a source of revenue to fund the raises.

 

PARENT NIGHT AT ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH 02/26/19

Parent night at Ashdown Junior High will be held Tonight, Tuesday February 26th. The event will kick off with a performance by the band at 6:30 p.m. The band is lead by director Tim Avery. During parent night a variety of club booths will be set up providing information for parents about the activities and requirements of the clubs. The Anime, Calvary Christian, quiz bowl team, PPYC, Student Council and Kpop Clubs will all be featured.

Ms. Pounds will be leading the EAST students in presentations about community service projects and Karen Vice will lead students in a presentation in the Library Media Center on Health issues. Lastly, High School Counselor Susan Fleming will be on hand to help current 8th grade students and parents with class selection and registration for the 2019-2020 school year. Refreshments for parents will be served during the event and questions can be referred to Ashdown Junior High at 870-898-5138.

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR MARCH ANNOUNCED 02/26/19

March 2nd is Read Across America Day as well as Dr. Seuss’s birthday and celebrations are being held on March 1st in The Sevier County Public Library System. A wide variety of family-friendly books to read to children are available.

March 6th at 4:00 pm the De Queen Library will be holding a children’s “Tech Day” to honor Tech Week. Jon Chambers will hold a demonstration of small robots and Robots will be running wild! The Arkansas State Library has provided a box of robots for children to interact with at the De Queen Library.

Staff have asked that patrons be advised that the De Queen Library will be closed March 8, 2019 for training. They are attending The Annual Children’s workshop in Ferndale Arkansas and they plan to bring lots of new ideas for the Summer Reading Program which will be in the month of June.

Dominos and other games happen on Wednesdays at 10am for any folks who would like to participate in fun activities.

On March 2 at 10 a.m. Miss Khloe, a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix dog, will be at the Horatio library during story time.  Ms. Amy will read ” Ed and Fred Flea” by Pamela Duncan Edwards.   On March 16 at 10 a.m.  Dixie Hill with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be doing a program called “All About Alligators”.  She will bring a real baby alligator.   There will be a story time about an Alligator named Allie and the book is “May I Please Have a Cookie”.  On Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. Residents are welcome to come and play a game of Scrabble.   They will also have their Dominoes game on Thursday mornings at 10 you and they have recently received several Best sellers as well as new books and movies to choose from.  Horatio Library hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 to 12 then 1 to 5.  Wednesday 1 to 5 and Saturday 9-12.

On Saturday, March 9th the “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ to It” Book Club will meet at the Lockesburg Library to discuss the novel, “Virgil Wander,” by Leif Enger at 10:00 am. Lockesburg Library’s children’s library programs that are planned for Thursdays at 1:00 p. m. in March will be:

“Happy Birthday! Dr. Seuss”, “Pi Day”,“How To Catch a Leprechan” and “Passports / Brazil”. An adult program “Tea and Poetry” will be held March 23 @ 10:00 a.m. Those present will be served tea and can enjoy poetry selections from the library’s collection. Visit the Lockesburg Library on Facebook for posts about programs and projects or call Mz. Wendy at 870-289-2233 for more information.

The Gillham Library has new books on the shelf, including Liar Liar by James Patterson & Candice Fox and Once a Liar by A. F. Brad.  They will have a Story Time and Craft Day on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 2:00 PM. The Lockesburg Library hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9-5 closed 12-1 for lunch. For more information, you can contact Susie at the Gillham Library at 870-386-5665 or you can visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/gillhamlibrary.

NEW TEXARKANA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHAIRMAN SELECTED 02/26/19

The Texarkana Chamber of Commerce has announced a new chairman of the board has been selected. Curtis Schneekloth is the Technical Services Manager at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, Inc of Texarkana, Arkansas. Schneekloth was chosen to be the 2019 Chairman of the Board of Directors and the decision was announced last week. The new chairman has worked with the chamber before as a board member, the Economic Development Council Executive Committee Chairman, and he is a graduate of the prestigious Leadership Arkansas Program.

He is also a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and has an MBA from the University of Toledo. He is a 15 year employee of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company with a variety of positions including Director of Investor Relations, Texarkana Plant Controller and Texarkana DC Manager. He is also married with one son.

The Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce serves over 880 businesses, organizations, and professionals in the northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas region. Contact the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce at 903-792-7191.

ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH QUIZ BOWL COMPETES AT STATE TOURNAMENT   02/26/19

The Ashdown Junior High Quiz Bowl Team competed in the State 4A Tournament today at Henderson State University after qualifying at regionals. They were part of the top 20 teams in the state.

Front (l-r) Zoe Hogan, Bannon Price,  Rylee Youngblood, Bella Woolfrey, and Rachel Vice
Back (l-r) Landon Wright, Dal Ringgold, Dylan Rose, Spencer Patterson, and Luke Barnes

 

DE QUEEN ARCHERY SCHOOLS HEADED TO STATE 02/26/19

The De Queen Archery team has been to four archery meets this year. At Glen Rose the team finished 5th, at Hill Farm in Bryant they got 2nd, and at the Murfreesboro meet they received 2nd place as well. The team also finished 3rd at the regional competition behind Murfreesboro and Acorn schools. Reed Renfro, Shaylon Loyd, Dennis Peppers have been the leading boy archers while Ruby Peppers, Lexi Hall, and Amber Morris have been the best for the girls.

The Jr. High received 2nd at Murfreesboro and at regional. Steven Peppers, Bryan Tapia, and Armondo Lopez have been tops in the boys while Evelyn Farrier, Nancy Martinez, and Arrionna Stout has been the top 3 girls. Both team qualified for state. The Jr. High will go this Friday to Hot Springs for state at the convention center with the high school going Saturday. Jr High shoots at 10:00 A.M. and the senior high at 9:30 A.M. on Saturday.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY MAN FACING DRUG POSSESSION CHARGE AFTER TRAFFIC STOP 02/25/19

A Gillham resident is facing a felony drug possession charge after the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of “suspicious vehicle” on Wednesday, February 20th. According to a report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, Sergeant Greg Davignon was dispatched to King Road in Gillham Wednesday evening. Upon arrival on the scene the Sergeant noted in the report that he discovered a black Chevrolet Camaro parked near the old King school. Sergeant Davignon reportedly watched the car leaving less than 100 yards from the school’s driveway. The Sergeant noted that he stopped the vehicle and made contact with the driver, who was identified as John Miller of Gillham.

Davignon reported observing Miller’s hands were shaking and he was short of breath. According to the Sheriff’s report, Sergeant Davignon asked Miller multiple times to step out of his vehicle and Miller did not comply at first and asked why he had to step out of the car. Reports indicate that Miller did finally comply with the orders and he stepped out of the vehicle.

Davignon reported that when Miller got out of car, he observed a small, clear plastic bag with a white substance in it on the floorboard of the vehicle. Sergeant Davignon noted he suspected the bag may contain a controlled substance. The sergeant told Miller that he wanted to search the car for weapons and other items and Miller reportedly said he did not want the vehicle searched. Miller was then handcuffed and placed at the front of the vehicle while the search was conducted. According to the Sheriff’s report a drawstring bag containing a glass   pipe was discovered in the car.   According to Davignon’s report, Miller admitted to using the pipe to smoke meth the previous evening and claimed he forgot the pipe was still in his car, Miller requested his vehicle be parked at friend’s home and then he was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a class D felony.

SEVIER COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFERING SCHOLARSHIP 02/25/19

Graduating seniors from De Queen and Horatio high schools are encouraged to apply for the scholarship being offered by the Sevier County Democratic Party.

“I am glad we have the opportunity to make a worthy investment in a student’s post-secondary education,” said party chairman Victor Rojas. “The scholarship committee will make their selection based on academic achievement, work ethic, and a letter of recommendation.”

The deadline is April 5, and applicants must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average. The scholarship will be paid directly to the recipient’s college or university. For the application, interested students should see their high school counselor or visit the following link: https://bit.ly/2tukxSA

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/25/19

Close to 200 bills have been signed into law as we close the 6th week of the 2019 Regular Session. One of the bills signed by the Governor this week was SB152, An Act Restoring Arkansas Families.  It is now Act 189.

This legislation reforms the juvenile justice system by requiring judges to use a validated risk assessment.  Judges will be provided with information about the juvenile’s home life, mental health needs, and school needs.  Legislators along with every agency working with juveniles in the state have been working on this comprehensive legislation for 6 years. The assessment tool created by the legislation has been used in a pilot program in the 20th Judicial District.  A juvenile judge testified in the Judiciary Committee that since using the assessment, the district has seen an over 50% reduction in the number of children sent to juvenile detention centers.  They have also seen a 42% reduction in the number of youth committed to DHS custody and a 35% reduction in cases filed by the prosecuting attorney’s office Act 189 also creates plans for diversion options using community providers. And it redirects savings from incarcerating youth to community based services. This legislation had unanimous support.  The vote in the House was 95-0.  The Senate vote was 35-0.

Another piece of legislation signed this week was Act 190.This legislation was brought forward through recommendations by the School Safety Commission last year.

This legislation repeals the Public School Student Services Act and creates what is called the School Counseling Improvement Act.

It requires schools to develop and implement a comprehensive school counseling program that ensures services are coordinated in a manner that provides comprehensive support to all students.  Schools must regularly review the program.

To ensure services are being delivered it requires school counselors to spend at least 90% of his or her time providing direct or indirect services to students.  Only 10% of a counselor’s time can be spent on administrative duties.

The Governor also signed into the law the tax cut plan passed by the House last week. The Act to Create the Tax Competitiveness and Relief Act of 2019 (Act 182) reduces the top tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9% over the next two years.

the House is expected to address highway funding and begin hearing testimony about proposed constitutional amendments.

 

ASHDOWN WRESTLERS HIT STATE CONTEST IN LITTLE ROCK 02/25/19

Ashdown High School was well represented with four sophomores and one senior in the State Wrestling Tournament held on February 22-23 in the Jack Stephens Center on the University of Arkansas Little Rock Campus and sponsored by the Arkansas Activities Association.

Ashdown 113 pound Sophomore Brayden Cross finished 5th in the state with a win over his 5th ranked Pulaski Academy opponent by a pin in 1:13 of the first period in his match.  Ashdown Senior Cody Barton advanced to the quarter final matches by a pin.

Sophomores were Brayden Cross, Lee Isham, Grant Young, Will Ford and senior Cody Barton.  Jacob Formby served as manager for the tournament.

The team is coached by Chris Scarborough and Chaz Mauger.

NEW AGFC REGULATION ANNOUNCEMENTS 02/25/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved updates to the AGFC Code of Regulations concerning the possession, breeding, sale and importation of captive wildlife species at its regularly scheduled meeting last month.

Notable regulations changes include:

  • The creation of a Venomous Reptile Possession Permit and venomous reptile caging and handling requirements for anyone possessing exotic or some native medically significant venomous reptiles after July 1, 2020;
  • Adding a grace period for persons to submit applications for Wildlife Breeder/Dealer permits through July 1, 2020, to come into compliance with these regulations;
  • The creation of a Conservation Education Permit to enable educators to possess more than six individual native wildlife specimens captured from the wild in Arkansas to conduct conservation education programs;

A complete list of captive wildlife regulations is available at www.agfc.com/code. A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish.

DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD MEETING ANNOUNCEMENTS 02/25/19

The Dierks School Board met last week for their regular monthly meeting.

A motion by Brad Garner and seconded by Wendell Garner passed unanimously to extend contracts for both Lori Finley, Elementary Principal, and Jeff Jones, High School Principal for the 2019-2020 school year as per the salary schedule.

A motion by Brad Garner and seconded by Wendell Garner passed unanimously to approve the Dierks School District Community Service Learning (CSL) 2018-2019 Plan.

Superintendent Jody Cowart says the board also approved next year’s school calendar and discussed future bus purchases.

Dierks JoAnn Walters Elementary School first through third grade students are participating in a pilot program that allows teachers assess students’ oral reading fluency.

NURSING EXPO AT UAHT 02/25/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) will hold a Nursing Expo for Employment and Education opportunities on April 3, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Hempstead Hall on the Hope campus. All professional nurses (PN, RN, & APRN) and nursing students are invited to attend. The event will offer exposure to educational institutions offering programs to further education and vendors that offer a variety of quality products.

Employers, educational institutions, and vendors from the Ark-La-Tex region and beyond can reserve booth space at the Nursing Expo. If you would like to reserve booth space at the Expo, reserve by March 15, 2019.

Find out more at uacch.edu

Booth Space Form: https://goo.gl/7oV1Lg

DE QUEEN FFA UPDATE    02/22/19

The De Queen Chapter of the FFA has had a very active year this year.  Members have participated in showing livestock at the county fair, Four-States Fair, and Arkansas State Fair.

Officers in the De Queen Chapter also attended the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.  While at the convention students attended various student workshops, the career expo, and got to watch Garth Brooks live in concert.

Currently the chapter has a total of 98 active members.  These members participate on 9 Career Development (CDE) Teams: Livestock Evaluation, Horse Evaluation, Milk Quality and Products, Poultry, Agri Mechanics, Agronomy, Forestry, Land, and Farm Business Management. They will be participating in the Southern District Contest in March where they hope to qualify for State.

The current chapter officers for the 2018-2019 school year are: President, Brennan Seymour; Vice President, Reed Renfro; Secretary, Mckenna Caudle; Student Advisor, Valentin Sanchez; Treasurer, Heather Bradshaw; Sentinel, Aubrey Seymour; Reporter, Lucy Trejo-Cruz.  These students do a great job of leading our chapter to success.

ASHDOWN FFA REPORTS ON CHAPTER ACTIVITIES   02/22/19

Ashdown FFA has been busy over the past year with many different successes and activities.Through the spring the FFA competed in career development events across 5 states winning numerous titles.

The poultry evaluation team ended the year being named Arkansas high point team for the year and the livestock evaluation team ended the year being in the top five overall.

Last May the Ashdown FFA held its first annual Fish Fry and Ag auction to show off students projects as well as being the main fundraiser for the year. Last year’s auction was a huge success keeping the community involved.  This year the 2nd annual Ashdown FFA Fish Fry and Ag Auction is scheduled for May 10th.

Through the summer the FFA attended several different Leadership Development Workshops and Judging Workshops.

As the show season started up in the summer the students were very successful with winning Hog shows and Lamb shows in Arkansas and Louisiana. The Arkansas State Fair was a huge success for the program as 4 students received scholarships from the Arkansas State Fair.

In the Market hog show the show team had a division grand champion with two students finishing in the top 15 overall out of about 800 market hogs. Also in the market hog show there were 3 exhibitors that finished in the top 5 in their respective age divisions in showmanship.

The Market Lamb show was even a larger accomplishment with students having two grand champion division winners and the grand champion overall market lamb. Also in the market lamb show couple of the exhibitors finished 2nd and 3rd in junior showmanship.

After the state fair the chapter held its annual fruit and meat fundraiser which is a tradition that has been going on in the community for over 25 years.

As the year wound down the Ashdown FFA Chapter had students exhibit livestock at three national shows which was the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville KY, the Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix AZ and the National Western Livestock Show in Denver CO.

All in all the Ashdown FFA had a great year in building future leaders for tomorrows society.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/22/19

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1437.This bill requires mandated reporters to notify law enforcement if he or she has a good faith belief that there is a threat to the safety of students or school employees.  This legislation would make the failure to notify a Class A misdemeanor. The bill identifies several professions as mandated reporters including clergy, physicians, and teachers.

The committee also advanced HB1438. This legislation makes repeat offenses of voyeurism and video voyeurism a Class C felony.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1413 which states private school and home school students who enroll in an endorsed concurrent enrollment course in a public school should not be charged for the course unless the district also charges public school students.

The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1304 which amends the Arkansas Speed Trap Law.  This bill requires Legislative Audit to include information to determine if a municipality is potentially abusing police power in the agency’s routine audit reports.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced SB298.  This bill seeks to lower unemployment taxes paid for by employers. The bill outlines a sliding scale based on the unemployment rate.

The House passed SB161.  This bill concerns special license plates and certificates for persons with disabilities.  It states the special license plate issued by the DFA should contain the international symbol of access and not display the word “disabled”.

The House also passed HB1496 which amends the requirement for an antique motor vehicle license plate from vehicles 25 years of age to vehicles 45 years of age or older.

The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

AGFC INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED 02/22/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications for summer internships until March 8, 2019. These internships, funded by sales of the AGFC’s Conservation License Plates, let students gain hands-on training and experience needed to compete for a future career in conservation.

To qualify for an internship, an applicant:

  • Must have a declared degree in the conservation field. Must have 60 hours of college credits earned by the time the Internship begins.
  • At the time of application, must be a college student, graduated within the previous 12 months, or currently enrolled in a post-graduate program.
  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Selected interns will be responsible to coordinate with their college or university to obtain course credit for their work.

Applications should include a current resume, a one-page cover letter, a copy of college transcripts and a completed application form.

Visit https://jobs.agfc.com for more information on the internship program and a list of openings for 2019.

FLU CASES REPORTED IN ARKANSAS 02/22/19

The latest flu report from the Arkansas Department of Health still reports widespread activity.

71 counties reported influenza cases. Howard County schools have reported large numbers of students absent, however that percentage is lower than surrounding counties.

The report stated that as of Feb. 16, eleven schools have closed briefly due to the flu.

Since Sept. 30, 2018, over 15,200 positive cases have been reported to the ADH online database by healthcare providers.

MUSEUM YOUTH ART CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The Museum of the Red River revealed the winners of its biennial art competition, Expressions of Youth, on Thursday. The contest was open to artists ages 11 to 19. Contestants could submit two original works in any form of media. Entries were judged on their technical quality, originality and artistic merit by Chris Powell, Associate Professor of Art at Texas Christian University. All submissions will remain on display until March 3. The winning works are also available online at www.museumoftheredriver.org/exhibits/.The exhibit closes with an Awards Ceremony on March 3, at 1:00 pm.

The winners of the “two-dimensional, ages 16 to 19” category are:  Sloan Hickerson ,Addie Stephens, Peter Jinna and Alissa Ferrell (third place). The winning submissions in “three-dimensional art, ages 16 to 19” category are: Quaed Cox,Sloan Hickerson, Ana Adrian and Timothy Wright

The winners of the “two-dimensional art, ages 11 to 15” category are: Armanda Stewart, Evy Zimmerman, Raylee Gaston, Breece Berryhill, and Lakken Caffey). The winners of the “three-dimensional, ages 11 to 15” category Jaxie Glasson and Mia Janelle Reich.

ASHDOWN WRESTLERS HEADING TO STATE COMPETITION 02/22/19

Ashdown High School Wrestlers will be competing in State Competition on February 22-23 in Little Rock at UALR Jack Stephens Center.
(l-r):  Brayden Cross, Lee Isham, Grant Young, Will Ford, Cody Barton and Manager Jacob Formby

GOVERNOR HUTCHISON TO SPEAK AT MURFREESBORO CHAMBER BANQUET 02/22/19

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will be featured as the keynote speaker at the upcoming Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce banquet next week. The annual event will be held Thursday, February 28 at Murfreesboro High School. Tickets will cost $20 each and can be found at ‘On the Square Home and Floral’ as well as the Murfreesboro mayor’s office. A barbecue meal will be served and this years theme is “Denim and Diamonds,” The program begins at 6:30 p.m. A silent auction will be held and more information is available by calling 870-285-3131

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT TACKLES TWO FIRES WITHIN FOUR HOURS THIS WEEK 02/21/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to two calls within a 4 hour time period earlier this week.

The first incident was a chimney fire on Red Bridge road in De Queen Tuesday, February 19th. The department was dispatched after an all-call alarm came in at 9:21 p.m. and they arrived on the scene by 9:26 p.m. 16 responders and 3 trucks contributed in extinguishing the flames. The owner of the home was identified as Lidia Figueroa, though, the current occupants in the report are listed as Michael Seals and Leila Ni. The cause of the fire was not released but the report from the incident noted that no smoke detector was found in the home. The department contained the flames with water and left the scene by 9:56 p.m. Insurance information on the home was not provided and no injuries were reported.

The 2nd incident the department handled this week was a chicken house fire on Red Cut road in De Queen early Wednesday morning. The department was dispatched to the scene at 1:15 a.m in response to an all-call alarm. A report from the Department states that responders were on the scene by 1:30 a.m. to control the flames. A total of 16 responders and 5 trucks helped extinguish the fire with water. The Department left the scene at 2:35 a.m. The owner of the home was identified as Mario Maya and diamond bank is listed as the corresponding insurance company. A smoke detector was not listed as present in the home. Firefighter Jay Litchford noted the loss of chicken but no human injuries were reported.

AGFC TAGGED TROUT PROGRAM TO CLOSE AT THE END OF FEBRUARY 02/21/19

The tagged trout program that has been running since Thanksgiving in Family and Community Fishing Program Ponds will be coming to a close at the end of February.

Thousands of rainbow trout were stocked around the state in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program locations throughout winter, while the fish could survive in the cold temperatures. Among these fish, 300 were fitted with special fluorescent pink tags that can be redeemed for a special prize in addition to the meal they provide.

Southwest Arkansas area stocked ponds include:

Entergy and Family Parks in Hot Springs, Lake Dieffenbacher in Texarkana, Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth and Senior Pond in Hope and John Benjaman Glenwood Community Pond in Glenwood.

All tags must be mailed to the AGFC and postmarked by Feb. 28, 2019, to be eligible for the drawing. For more information or to find a location near you, visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing or call the stocking hotline at 866-540-3474.
This year’s grand prize is an overnight stay and fishing trip at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center near Hope. This will include fishing in the center’s lakes that are teeming with giant largemouth bass as well as trap and archery shooting.

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR STORM SAFETY PREPARATION 02/21/19

As springtime nears, the threat of severe weather increases. There are steps Arkansans can take to be better prepared heading into a potentially dangerous season, which often brings large amounts of rain, floods, severe storms and tornadoes.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips on how to prepare for potential storms:

  • Create an emergency plan to share with friends, family and neighbors.
  • Heed severe weather warnings. Once a warning is issued, go to a safe place.
  • Secure personal belongings. It is a good idea to always keep an updated record of the descriptions and serial numbers of electronics and other valuables in case they need to be tracked down, replaced or reported to the insurance company after a disaster strikes.
  • Review insurance policies and consult with a qualified agent or broker to assess insurance coverages.For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED 02/21/19

A local health organization is actively seeking volunteers to help support Southwest Arkansas Hospice patients and their families.

Encompass Health is a nationwide company offering home health services as well as rehabilitation and hospice care to patients.
Locally the company is seeking residents who can donate their time to help provide support to individuals during their final weeks and months of life.Volunteers are needed to provide non-medical assistance for hospice patients in the Lockesburg, De Queen, Ashdown, Foreman and Texarkana areas at this time.

Examples of ways volunteers can help hospice families include:
-Helping care for family pets
-Running errands for patients and families
-Assisting with housework
-Reading to patients
-Create a photo album for patient and family
– and playing games and reading to hospice patients.

All volunteers are given options for the locations and ways in which they can provide support and time for patients. More detailed information about being a hospice volunteer for encompass health can be found online at encompasshealth.com. There is no deadline for volunteer submissions as support for patients is a recurring need. To become a volunteer in the Southwest Arkansas area today, contact local volunteer coordinator Latoya Farris by calling 870-773-2621 or email Latoya.Farris@encompasshealth.com

TEXARKANA MUSEUMS HOSTING BLACK HISTORY MONTH PRESENTATION 02/21/19

The Texarkana Museums System is presenting an opportunity for local residents to celebrate Black History Month this weekend with “Legacy of the Great War: W. E. B. DuBois, the N.A.A.C.P., Democracy Building and Me,” The feature is a living history program organized and presented by Charles Everett Pace. The program begins at 2 p.m. at the P. J. Ahern Home, 403 Laurel Street, in Downtown Texarkana, on February 23, 2019.. The program is free, but seating is limited, so reservations are recommended.

In the Chautauqua tradition, Charles Everett Pace will present a living history performance focused on famous activist and writer, W. E. B. DuBois. Pace takes on the persona of DuBois, one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).

HOSPITAL OWNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT MADE AT DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING 02/20/19

The De Queen City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall Tuesday, February 19th.

After the prayer and pledge of allegiance were recited Mayor Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments. ZZ Kamruddin represented The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce and requested the council consider allowing Food Trucks to operate in the city of De Queen. The trucks could potentially bring economic opportunities for business owners and variety in local restaurant choices for residents.

The council was generally receptive to the concept and will discuss the idea of considering the proposal on a trial basis.

After the public comment time, Mayor Brown addressed the room for an announcement regarding the status of the De Queen Medical Center. Brown revealed an agreement between Healthy Connections inc. and Hospital owner Jorge Perez is underway.

Brown also noted that the same company has purchased The Former Nursing home in De Queen, Crystal Falls health and rehab across from the hospital.

After the announcement Mayor Brown also read the state of the city, which announces the summary of the city departments review for 2018.

In the city address, Brown noted the water department updated their meter system to read more efficiently and sidewalks around town that have been replaced by the street department. He also acknowledged The Parks and Recreation Department received no complaints and had 0 accidents at the city swimming pool. The Fire Department responded to 107 alarms last year. Other success noted was the replacement and cleaning of city sewer lines as well as more than 7,000 calls worked by city police.

Next, the council discussed the resolution to terminate the contract with the current city attorney. The role is an elected 4-year position that has been held by Laura Lindly, of Broken Bow Oklahoma. The contract is being terminated because the law states that if a licensed attorney moves to the city of De Queen and requests the position, the role shall be filled by that resident. The aldermen and Mayor Brown thanked Mrs. Lindly for her service to the city and expressed gratitude for her time. The motion passed and the contract will be resolved within 30 days of the date from the day the request for the role was submitted to Mayor Brown.

The minutes from the January 15th meeting were approved Tuesday, as the had been tabled at the previous meeting.

In the new business category, Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor was on the agenda to discuss moving forward with a master plan for the city, however due to Lisa’s absence the item is tabled until the next council meeting.

The last item addressed was the potential partnership between the city of De Queen and UA Cossatot for the annual Fiesta fest that will be held May 4th.

Representatives from the college attended the last meeting to request the event be moved from the UA Cossatot amphitheater to downtown in front of the court house. The college would be needing financial support from the city to produce the resources required for the events success. The school’s request for $6500 and additional $800 for a generator was approved.

After the meeting adjourned the aldermen attended a workshop in which they discussed official guidelines and regulations for attendance requirements of the alderman. The results of the workshop will be announced at the next city council meeting, Tuesday March 5th at 5:30 p.m.

ARKANSAS DUCK STAMP REVEALED 02/20/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation unveiled the artwork to be used on the 2019-20 Arkansas State Duck Stamp at the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus luncheon in downtown Little Rock last week. The event was part of an update to state legislators on work the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and other partners are doing to improve and maintain the valuable natural resources of The Natural State.

Over the last few years, AGFC has sold an average of 102,000 state duck stamps to resident and non-resident hunters. The agency spends funds from these stamps each year on improving habitat for waterfowl and providing access to public lands for many of the state’s duck hunters and bird watchers.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled the image and said the Arkansas state duck stamp is one of the most highly sought pieces of artwork at the Governor’s Mansion each year. This year’s featured print was painted by Mike Marlar, a North Little Rock native who is an avid duck hunter. The print depicts a scene of father and son hunting in flooded green timber- a rich Arkansas tradition Marlar remembers well from his time hunting Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge.

NEW HEMPSTEAD COUNTY LIBRARY NOW OPEN 02/20/19

The updated Hempstead County Library is now finalized and open for local residents to visit

The new library is located in the same spot as the old site, at 500 South Elm Street in Hope, Arkansas. The public library has served the community Hempstead County since the 1940’s and offers a variety of services to patrons. The library hours will be Monday Noon-8:00PM and Tuesday through Friday from 9:00AM-5:30PM, closed on weekends.

In addition to books, the Hempstead County Library also offers DVDs.   computer access, audio books, magazines, research outlets and much more. All services that are provided at the library are free to the community with a library card. Cards are issued at no charge to citizens who show proof of residence through a Driver’s license or State issued ID card. The library is managed by Librarian Courtney McNiel as well as a full staff available to answer questions at 870- 777-4564.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/20/19

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1126 which requires a defendant to physically remain in the courtroom during any victim impact statement.  Exceptions are made if the court determines that the defendant is disruptive or presents a safety threat.

The committee also advanced HB1114.This bill addresses child custody cases in which one parent wishes to move more than 60 miles from the current principal residence of the child. This bill places the burden of proof to show that the move is in the best interest of the child on the relocating parent.  Current law requires the burden of proof on the non-custodial parent.

And the Judiciary Committee advanced HB1280. The bill states that upon the third offense in five years for public intoxication, the judge has discretion to order individuals to alcohol treatment for a period longer than 30 days.  Current law allows for a period up to 30 days.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1396. This bill allows a school board to implement a drug screening requirement for new applicants and random drug testing for current employees of a school district.

This afternoon, the House passed SB150. This bill allows a government entity, on its own or in partnership with a private entity, to apply for grants or loans to provide broadband in unserved areas.

The House also passed SB199 which states a school counselor shall spend at least ninety percent (90%) of his or her working time during student contact days providing direct and indirect services to students.

In a vote of 95-0, the House passed SB152. This legislation reforms the juvenile justice system by requiring judges to use a validated risk assessment.  Judges will be provides with information about the juvenile’s home life, mental health needs, and school needs.  It also creates plans for diversion options using community providers. And it redirects savings from incarcerating youth to community based services.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL LAUNCHES GAMING CLUB 02/20/19

New this year at Ashdown high school is the launch of The Game Club, put together by students Tyler Burnham and Marshall Sullivan. The club is a gathering of students who have an interest in the various kinds of video gaming. This club presents a unique opportunity for students who have up until now not had a school-sponsored avenue to share these interests. Students with interests in PC and console gaming gather and play together, discuss, and find others who share their passion. This helps build comraderie between students, as well as giving some students a connection to the school and their classmates that they formerly lacked. Video gaming has long been considered a niche hobby, but it is now shifting to become more mainstream as well as a profitable form of entertainment. More people play games than do not, and the students felt it was important to the student community for their school to acknowledge this.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/19/19

On Monday, the House passed HB1403. This bill allows for an additional

sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison if certain offenses are committed in the presence of a child.  The offenses include murder, aggravated robbery, felony assault or battery, and rape.

The House passed HB1301 which creates temporary and provisional occupational licenses (90 days) to individuals with a similar active occupational license in another state.

In a vote of 91-0, the House passed HB1426. This bill prohibits the spouse of a county election commissioner, a county party chairman, or the spouse of a county party chairman from working as a poll worker for elections.

The House also passed HB1446.  This legislation updates the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act. In 2015, colorectal cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death in Arkansas.

The House will convene on Tuesday at 1:30pm

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS MAN KILLED IN SINGLE-CAR WRECK 02/19/19

Alex David Walker, 44 of Texarkana, Ark., was killed in a single-vehicle crash Friday night. According to a preliminary crash report Walker was driving a 2010 model Chevrolet Camero South on the highway when the vehicle veered off the right side of the highway and struck a culvert. The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 15 near Fulton. Trooper Dale Young investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police.

Walker was pronounced dead by the Miller County Coroner at 11:55 p.m. Friday evening. The weather was reported as cloudy and the road conditions were described as dry at the time of the accident. At least 47 people have died on Arkansas roads so far this year, according to preliminary figures.

UA COSSATOT FFA ACCOMPLISHMENTS 02/19/19

It’s national FFA week and today KDQN is spotlighting the accomplishments of the FFA program at UA Cossatot.

Fall 2018

Received a Living to Serve Grant from National FFA to assist the campus food pantry through a semester long project

Students worked the hog show at 4-states fair in Texarkana.

Forestry and Soils students presented at the ArcGIS Users Forum in Little Rock about GIS technology in agriculture

Hosted our annual chili supper and gun raffle

Purchased gifts for the Cossatot Angels program

Hosted annual banquet

Spring 2019

Attended Arkansas Alumni Conference at SAU

Organized Colts Classic Career Development Event which was attended by over 1,000 FFA members

Received Living to Serve Grant from National FFA for feral swine project at Pond Creek Wildlife Refuge

Planned for Spring 2019

Students will be delivery drivers for fundraiser lunch for Asher Frachiseur on Tuesday, Feb. 19th

Weather permitting, we will work on our project at Pond Creek this Friday (or the first Friday the weather cooperates)

Greenhouse will open for the season on March 25th and the sale will go through May 11th

Students are planning to volunteer at Runnin’ WJ Ranch in Texarkana

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL COMING TO HOWARD COUNTY 02/19/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced an upcoming mobile office location for the Southwest Arkansas area next month. The mobile office will be in Howard County March 7th.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city.

The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist constituents with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, more than 3,300 residents were served and over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2019 9:30 AM

Howard County Senior Citizens Center 
206 East Howard Street, Nashville

Mobile Office
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Prescription Drug Take Back
9:30 to 11 a.m. Partnering with Sheriff Bryan McJunkins
Identity Theft and Scam Presentation 
10:30 to 11 a.m.

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK FUNDRAISER 02/19/19

Harvest Beast Feast is a festival style culinary fundraising event featuring “off the menu” items prepared by local backyard chefs and popular restaurateurs. Harvest Beast Feast 2019: Surf, Turf, and More is set to take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Festival Plaza Downtown Texarkana, AR. Cooks can begin setting up and cooking as early as 7:00 a.m. Judging will begin at the following times: Fish: 1-1:30pm Cajun 1:30 to 2 pm Fowl 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. Game: 2:30-3pm.  All proceeds of the event will benefit Harvest Regional Food Bank.

The entry fee is $100  for each category. The first prize winning team will win $500.  Second place will receive $250. Teams can have no more than 6 members and the competitors will be cooking up venison, wild game, quail, duck, alligator, rabbit and more.

Call Harvest Regional Food Bank at (870) 774-1398 for more information about this Fundraising event.

MARGARET DANIEL EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION DINNER 02/19/19

The Annual Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation Dinner was held in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria on Saturday, February 16 and sponsored by Diamond Bank. The meal was served by the AHS Skills USA and Beta Club students.  The evening entertainment was provided by local pianists. A total of $9,825 was raised for the foundation.

Grants have been awarded for World Drumming Materials, sensory stations, butterfly gardens, AHS art supplies, engineering equipment for robots and programming, Colombia University Writing Institutes, and most recently the Baby Grand Piano at Ashdown High School.  These grants have provided  opportunities for Ashdown teachers and students.

The Foundation accepts donations, memorials, and honorariums throughout the year as well as providing for the annual dinner and silent auction in February each year.  Ashdown School District Employees that are “invested” have been giving $10 per month which is automatically deducted and given to the foundation each month.
Foundation Board members include:  Darren Thomas, Brenda Tate, Kari Harger, Beth Provence, Thad Bishop, Katrina Williamson, Mallory Wharton and Kay Wortham. Any donations can be mailed to:  MD Ed. Foundation, 171 South Locust, Ashdown, AR   71822

 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO ADVOCATE FOR FOSTER CARE CHILDREN 02/18/19

The local CASA agency has an immediate need for volunteers to advocate on behalf of children in the Foster Care system around the Southwest Arkansas area. Yuliza Aguirre is the volunteer coordinator for the organization’s local chapter. Yuliza told KDQN that CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and the role is designed to help children have a constant point of contact during difficult times in the foster care system.

Yuliza also says experience is not required for the volunteer position but having a passion for helping kids is very important as an advocate. KDQN asked Yuliza what makes the position worth it and without hesitation she said “the difference it makes.”

Sevier, Montgomery and Polk counties are the areas in which immediate help from volunteers is needed. All volunteers must complete 30 hours of training and be sworn-in by a judge.  The De Queen office is located inside the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center by Herman Dierks Park. For more information call 870-518-4026 and speak with Yuliza today.

UAHT COLLEGIATE ACADEMY INFORMATION MEETING MARCH 4TH 02/18/19

The University of Arkansas at Hope along with the Hope Public School District will host a public informational meeting on Monday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Rapert Library Complex for parents and guardians who have students interested in attending the Hope Collegiate Academy. The purpose of the meeting is to inform parents/guardians about the Collegiate Academy requirements, expectations, and the process of application for students entering the 10th grade next school year.

The Hope Collegiate Academy is a partnership between the Hope Public School District and the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. The goal of the academy is to provide students with a three-year curriculum that allows them the opportunity to complete a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.

Students who will be entering the 10th grade can apply for the program now through April 1, 2019. Students must be enrolled or be eligible to become enrolled as a Hope Public School student and meet the collegiate academy entrance requirements to attend. The academy is a public school that is free of charge and is located on the University of Arkansas Hope campus.

Students must submit the collegiate academy application and college entrance scores by April 1, 2019. To apply, visit  http://www.uacch.edu/collegiate-academy/.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/18/19

More than 140 bills have been signed into law during this session. There are hundreds of bills still to be heard in committee and we expect many more to be filed in the weeks ahead.

On Thursday, with a vote of 82-14 and 2 members voting present, the House passed SB211. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration estimates this legislation will impact 579,000 Arkansans. Currently, Arkansas has the highest top marginal individual income tax rates among surrounding states. Other legislation passing the House this week include:

SB149-This bill would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

HB1302-This bill creates a process by which similar agencies could submit rules and regulations collectively to expedite process.  It would help ensure that agencies needing to respond to new legislation for occupational licensing do so in a timely manner.

SB113 -This legislation would transfer the responsibilities and duties of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace to the Arkansas Insurance Department.

HB1231-This legislation ensures journalism students at public higher education institutions have freedom of expression. This legislation states a student media advisor is not to be disciplined or dismissed for protecting the rights of a student journalist.

The deadline to file proposed constitutional amendments was February 13.  A total of 31 amendments were filed.  The topics addressed vary from term limits to highway funding. The legislature can refer up to 3 amendments to voters on the November 2020 ballot. You can review the proposed amendments on our website www.arkansashouse.org .

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN ANNOUNCES LOCAL MOBILE OFFICE DATES 02/18/19

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman will be hosting mobile office events in counties across Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District during the month of February. During these meetings, his staff will be available to help Arkansas residents with a wide range of issues, including Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs claims, Medicare/Medicaid, international adoption, visas and the IRS. No appointments are necessary. Local mobile office dates and times will include

Sevier County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 11:00am
Sevier County Courthouse
115 North 3rd Street
De Queen, AR 71832

Little River County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 12:45pm
Little River County Courthouse
351 North 2nd Street
Ashdown, AR 71822

Hempstead County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 2:45pm
Hempstead County Courthouse
400 South Washington Street
Hope, AR 71801

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY AMNESTY PROGRAM 02/18/19

The Ashdown Police Department along with the Little River County Sheriff’s Department has announced an amnesty program for anyone who has a misdemeanor warrant in the City of Ashdown or Little River County. The amnesty period will range from March 1st through March 31st. This will allow anyone who has a warrant to contact the District Court Clerk to take advantage of this program. This program will help those who want to catch up on their fines. It will hopefully help the two agencies to collect these fines without having to arrest and jail these individuals.

Anyone who has questions about the program can call the Court Clerk at 870-898-7230 or 870-898-7231.

HOWARD COUNTY CREATE BRIDGES MEETING 02/18/19

The Howard County Extension Service in cooperation with the 3Cs Create Bridges Regional Steering Committee is hosting a community forum to gather information about the community assets in the retail, tourism, entertainment and accommodations industries. “Create Bridges” is actually an acronym, which stands for “Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies.”

The forum will be held Tuesday, February 26, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Educational Center located directly behind the courthouse in Nashville. The forum is open to anyone with a vested interest in retail and tourism to join in the discussion and share their perspectives. The goal is to recognize community assets, look at challenges and barriers and eventually develop an action plan to expand retail and tourism.

Create Bridges is a multi-state pilot program designed to help rural communities build their capacity for strengthening the retail, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors, which provide jobs and business opportunities that frequently boost rural economies. For more information about Create Bridges or the community forum, please call the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517.

NATIONAL FFA WEEK SPOTLIGHT: FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL 02/18/19

It’s National FFA week. With Agriculture serving as the top industry in Southwest Arkansas, KDQN is highlighting local High School FFA programs in the area.

Today, we’re spotlighting the accomplishments of the FFA chapter at Foreman High School. The program placed First in numerous Land Judging contests, including the Tiger classic in Taylor, Arkansas the Mine Creek Conservation Contest in Nashville and the Centerpoint Knights Battle Royale. Foreman also finished 2nd at the Arkansas state contest in Fayetteville.

The District Champion Horse Judging team placed 5th at state while the Dairy Foods team received 2nd at district and qualified for state. The agri mechanics team and the Livestock team both qualified for state and numerous members of the Foreman FFA chapter exhibited livestock at the county, district, state, 4state and national level.

This year the chapter will be participating in land, livestock, poultry, agri mechanics, horse and dairy products career development events. The classes have done several community service projects in the shop, including building picnic tables for the jr. high and building lockers for the school’s new softball facility.

The Foreman FFA is also planning a teacher appreciation breakfast during FFA week.

AGFC PUBLIC MEETING TOMORROW 02/18/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special “A Conversation with Commissioners” town hall style meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock. The public is invited to come ask the Commissioners questions and learn more information about the agency’s work.

Commission Chairman Ford Overton proposed the meeting to offer Arkansans additional opportunity to voice any issues and have an open forum for public input into areas where the Commission should look deeper.The meeting will have no particular agenda, only the opportunity for participants to speak freely about conservation, fishing, and hunting in The Natural State. More information posted online at AGFC.com

AMNESTY PROGRAM IN SEVIER COUNTY BEGINS MONDAY FEB 18TH 02/15/19

Sevier County will be holding the annual “Amnesty Program” beginning Monday, February 18th. The program is for residents who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest with the Sevier County District Court.

The Amnesty Program is designed to give local residents a chance to handle their responsibilities with the court without facing the risk of being arrested.

This year’s Amnesty Program begins Monday and concludes April 15th. Any person with a qualifying outstanding warrant for failure to appear or failure to comply may have the warrant withdrawn by paying in full the fine and costs of the underlying charge. The Amnesty Program does not apply to charges that require a mandatory court appearance, like DWI and select misdemeanors.

Anyone arrested during the Amnesty Program period will not be allowed to participate in the program. Payments shall be made at the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, which is located on the second floor of the Sevier County Courthouse. For questions about the program call the Sevier County District Clerk’s Office, 870-584-7311.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/15/19

In a vote of 82-14 with 2 members voting present, the House passed SB211. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

In a vote of 93-0, the House passed SB151 which establishes a fund to assist the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in its ongoing efforts to gain a National Cancer Institute designation.

With a vote of 72-20, the House passed SB149 which would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

The House also passed SB168 which adds 24 hour manned fire stations to the locations where a parent can relinquish an infant. This bill also allows for the use of a Safe Haven Baby Box at Safe Haven locations if it includes a dual alarm system to notify authorities.

And the House passed HB1014 which requires that bleeding control training be taught as part of high school health courses.

The House Education Committee advanced SB199 which states a school counselor shall spend at least ninety percent (90%) of his or her working time providing direct and indirect services to students.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced SB196.  This bill provides tax incentives to businesses that invest in “Opportunity Zones” which are designated to be in economic distress. There are 85 opportunity zones in Arkansas.

The House Judiciary Committee passed SB152. It reforms juvenile justice system by utilizing the validated risk assessment tool. It also creates plans for diversion options to maximize benefits for juvenile offenders.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1440. This bill directs the Arkansas Department of Health to establish the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to review maternal deaths and to develop strategies for prevention. The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR’S CONFERENCE ON TOURISM SET FOR FEB 24-26TH 02/15/19

Tourism partners from across the state will meet at the 45th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism February 24-26 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Tourism Builds Community.”
The annual gathering of Arkansas’s tourism industry offers sessions on a variety of topics such as Google’s latest trends, marketing to a diverse audience and 21st century visitor engagement.

New to the conference this year is the inaugural ArkTank startup pitch competition. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $5,000 and guaranteed mentorship from Arkansas Tourism and Innovate Arkansas. The opening keynote speaker for the event is Erica Wheeler, a visitor experience specialist, educator and award-winning songwriter. She is the founder of Sense of Place Consulting and has worked extensively with the National Park Service.

The Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation’s annual auction will take place Monday night. The money raised from the silent and live auctions funds scholarships for individuals seeking careers in the hospitality and tourism industries.
The conference will culminate with the presentation of the 2019 Henry Awards and an address by Governor Asa Hutchinson.
For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.

ARK-LA-TEX OUTDOOR EXPO 02/15/19

The 3rd Annual Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo will be held March 1-2, 2019 at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas Hope’s campus. Participating vendors will have boats, all-terrain vehicles, duck and turkey calls, cabin lamps, leather goods, fishing lures, knives, lawn mowers, and jewelry for those who enjoy the great outdoors.

Admission to the Expo is $3 per person. The Expo will run 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

The Kentucky Headhunters will headline this year’s Expo Concert on Friday, March 1 in Hempstead Hall’s theater. Tickets are on sale now at hempsteadhall.com and start at $25. The Kentucky Headhunters have won a GRAMMY Award, the CMA Album of the Year Award, two CMA Vocal Group of the Year Awards and multiple Top 40 hits, The band has been described as a blend of honky-tonk, blues, and southern rock.

Doors for the Expo concert open at 6:00 p.m. and the Kentucky Headhunters will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Vendor space is still available and interested participants should contact Amanda Lance at Amanda.lance@uacch.edu or (870) 722-8566.

 

AHS SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING CONTRIBUTORS   02/15/19

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarships to 2019 AHS graduates, as it has since its formation in 1986, and contributors are encouraged to either continue donations as they have in previous years or become new scholarship donors and contribute to the success of new Ashdown High School graduates in their post-secondary endeavors.

“Last year, we awarded 51 scholarships with a total value of $27,220” states Ronda Pounds, chairperson of the committee.  “This brings the total scholarships to over $425,467 awarded to 1090 students over the course of our 33-year history.”

Pounds also states that 100% of all donated monies are awarded every year and that all donations are tax deductible.

The Scholarship Committee has also authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School and businesses may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time.  Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones.

As in previous years, scholarship recipients will be announced and scholarships awarded at a tea sponsored by the committee.  The date for this year’s tea is Sunday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Ashdown High School cafeteria.  “All donors are welcome at the tea,” Pounds continues, “and welcome to participate in presenting the scholarship they are giving if they would like.”

To be awarded to 2019 AHS graduates, contributions must be received by April 2.  They may be mailed to or dropped off at the Ashdown School District Administration Office at 751 Rankin Street, Ashdown, Arkansas 71822.

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES     02/15/19

Lockesburg City Council met in regular session Tuesday, February 12, 2019 in the Council Room at City Hall.  The media was notified of the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 by Mayor Danny Ruth followed with prayer by Council Member Roberts and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Those in attendance were Mayor Danny Ruth, Recorder Treasurer Becky Jegstrup, Council Members Steven Hill, Rodger Ridley, Donna Gallaher, Claudine Tompkins, Bill Roberts and James Jester.  Also in attendance were City Attorney Erin Hunter, Park Commissioner Shelia Ruth, Utilities Supervisor Justin Ruth, and Deputy Municipal Clerk JoAnna Giusti.

Guests in attendance were Joe Vallee and Jason Sanders from DeQueen School District.

Motion was made by Jester and seconded by Gallaher to appoint Steven Hill as Council Member to Ward 3 Position 2.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

Hill was then sworn in by Mayor Danny Ruth.

Joe Vallee from DeQueen School District addressed the Council concerning some discrepancies on the water bill for the New Gym on the Elementary School Campus.  After a lengthy discussion a motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Ridley to have Utilities Supervisor Ruth to read the meter daily and if anything was found to be out of the ordinary to notify Mr. Vallee at which time they together would try to find the problem. She also stated the current water bill was to be adjusted to show the average water use of 300-400 gallons of water daily. Motion passed 6/0/0.

Park Commissioner Shelia Ruth addressed the Council concerning Spring Fest at the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park.  Most of the activities will be cancelled for this Spring due to medical problems with the Park Committee Members but the Easter Egg Hunt would still be held.

She also addressed the Council about the status of the security cameras that were to be installed at the IMCS Park. After a brief discussion and at the recommendation of the Park Committee a motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Roberts to hire Lindsey Communications to install cameras in the Park.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

A motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Hill to replace the doors at the new Sr. Citizens Building with doors that have glass and the additional cost would be covered from the Tax Fund.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Jester to continue the Boulevard of Flags at a cost of $480 to come from the Community Relations Account.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

Mayor Ruth addressed the Council concerning a window on the back hoe that had been broken out and needed replacing.  They are searching for a used door to replace the broken one.

Council Member Tompkins left ill at 8:05.

Motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Hill to allow JoAnna Giusti and Becky Jegstrup to attend the ACCRTA district meeting at DeGray March 6-7, 2019.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Ridley to approve the minutes from the January 8, 2019 meeting with corrections made. Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Roberts to approve the Financial Report for January 2019.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Hill to approve the bills for January 2019. Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Hill to go into executive session at 8:40.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Jester and seconded by Roberts to come out of executive session at 8:46 with no action taken.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Gallaher to adjourn.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:04.

 

L.F. HENDERSON JR. CHEF     02/15/19

On February 4, 15 L.F. Henderson students were able to participate in the k-12 Culinary Connection Jr. Chef Program.  Students, one from each class donned chef hats and made their own 7 inch pizzas.  Students were taught about proper hand washing, cooking techniques while making their pizzas, and learned about nutrition facts while the pizzas baked.  Chef Justin Mills of K-12 Culinary Connection said, “the Jr. Chef Program was to get kids cooking and teach them how to eat healthy.”

The students were presented a certificate and enjoyed watermelon, apples, and their freshly baked homemade pizzas.

Back row (l-r) Terri Cribbs (K-12 Culinary), L.F. Henderson Principal Keith Fricks,  Kamarion Fricks, Jade Robinson, VonDerrick Hamilton, Chef Justin Mills, Zah’nye Ramnarine, and Sidney Isenberg, Celeste Scarborough (K-12 Culinary) and Superintendent Casey Nichols
Middle row (l-r) Colton Hinton, Learrey Baker, Keneica Barber, Serenity Mangrum, and Madison Blankenship
Front row (l-r) Shaylee Dossett, Kendall Erwin, Mayilah Scott, Peter Strong, and Sophie Lacey

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD DISCUSSING POSSIBILITY OF ARMING TEACHERS WITH FIREARMS 02/14/19

The De Queen School Board met for their regular meeting on Monday, February 11th in The District Administration Building.

The board approved the previous meetings minutes as well as the old bills and the 2019-2020 school year calendar. Student transfers were also accepted.

Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton noted that the contracts for projects involving the primary school came in significantly under budget with the Clark Contractors company. The bids were an estimated $80,000 less than anticipated.

Shelton said the main topic discussed during the meeting was the question of whether or not the district will move toward arming teachers with firearms at De Queen Schools. Though the item was tabled until the next meeting and no decisions were made, Shelton said the topic was discussed at length and local Police Chief Scott Simmons attended the meeting to explain the process required for training if the district were to decide to arm staff.

If the board does vote in favor of arming teachers proper training would be provided by local law enforcement representatives. In other news staff changes were made as some of the district’s principals were re-hired and a few resignations were accepted. The next De Queen School Board meeting will be held Tuesday March 5th at 5:30 P.M in the District’s administration building.

AGFC INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED 02/14/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications for summer internships until March 8, 2019. These internships, funded by sales of the AGFC’s Conservation License Plates, let students gain hands-on training and experience needed to compete for a future career in conservation.

To qualify for an internship, an applicant:

  • Must have a declared degree in the conservation field. Must have 60 hours of college credits earned by the time the Internship begins.
  • At the time of application, must be a college student, graduated within the previous 12 months, or currently enrolled in a post-graduate program.
  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

Selected interns will be responsible to coordinate with their college or university to obtain course credit for their work.

Applications should include a current resume, a one-page cover letter, a copy of college transcripts and a completed application form.

Visit https://jobs.agfc.com for more information on the internship program and a list of openings for 2019.

GOVERNOR TALKS HIGHWAY FUNDING AT RECENT PRESS CONFERENCE 02/14/19

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson unveiled his highway funding plan during a press conference on Monday, in what he called the “largest single highway plan in our history.” Hutchinson said his proposal would provide $300 million annually to state highways. The plan would add another $110 million to cities and counties through a half-cent sales tax extension for ten years. A new fuel tax would also add three cents a gallon to gas prices and six cents a gallon to diesel.

Governor Hutchinson noted that even with the tax increases, residents would still see a decrease due to his previous tax cuts and the reduction in the grocery tax.

Thirty five million dollars would also come from casino tax revenues.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL NOW FEATURING A BABY GRAND PIANO 02/14/19

The Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation board members had the idea to purchase a Baby Grand piano to inspire those students who played and give them an avenue to showcase their talent during the lunch hour and to also provide the instrument for the many community and school events held in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. A local musician suggested selling individual “keys” for $100 to fund the piano purchase.

According to AHS Principal, Kay York, “since it’s arrive a few weeks ago, students, community members and staff have shared their talents and provided music to the open area in our school.  The soft music often heard in the office during lunches and between classes is a welcome addition to the high school.  Our wish is for many students to continue to develop an appreciation and love for music.  Some students are now taking lessons after hearing others play.”

Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “We are so excited to have such a wonderful gift placed in the cafeteria for our staff and students to showcase their musical talents. What an awesome memorial to long time Ashdown educator Mrs. Margaret Daniel.”

The MD Ed. Foundation supports the Ashdown School district via grants that staff deem “over the top” ideas and opportunities for students at Ashdown.
The Margaret Daniel Foundation Dinner will be held on Saturday, February 16 at 7 p.m. and area pianists will provide the entertainment on the new piano. To purchase tickets please contact the following MDF Board Members:  Brenda Tate, Kari Harger, Thad Bishop, Katrina Williamson, Beth Provence, Darren Thomas, Mallory Wharton, or Kay York at Ashdown High School.

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS RESIDENT CHOSEN FOR UAHT TRIO UPWARD BOUND HALL OF FAME 02/14/19

Diamond Holmes of Texarkana, Arkansas, has been selected as the 2019 TRiO Upward Bound Selects 2019 Hall of Fame Recipient at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT). Holmes is the daughter of Tanyaka Conway. She is a senior at Arkansas High School and an active member of Lonoke Baptist Church. She also works part-time and enjoys spending quality time with her three younger brothers.

Holmes is actively involved in numerous school clubs and community service organizations. She is a member of 4-H Club, Fellowship of Christian Students, Distributive Education Clubs of America, Future Business Leadership of America, NIKE Club, and TRiO Upward Bound. In addition to all of her involvement, Diamond maintains high scholastic achievements.

“I joined TRiO Upward Bound to learn about the opportunities that are available for my future in regards to college admission and scholarships. The program is also helping me identify the steps that are necessary for my chosen career path, and I have created lasting friendships through Upward Bound,” Holmes said. Diamond’s future plans include pursuing a career in nursing. “I want to become a registered nurse because I like to help other people,” she said.

The TRiO Upward Bound Hall of Fame is an effort to showcase the array of students within Arkansas TRIO Programs by noting their various academic and civic accomplishments. Each TRiO program can nominate one participant for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame nominees will be recognized during the Arkansas TRiO Day Program held on Saturday, February 23, 2019, on the campus of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR.

For more information about TRiO Upward Bound at UAHT, contact Nicole Woods at 870-722-8287 or nicole.woods@uacch.edu.

 

MOBILE FOOD PANTRY COMING TO SEVIER COUNTY 02/14/19

Horatio, AR, Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its Mobile Pantry. “We have several communities in our rural service area that are not fully served by local partner agencies. To be sure that the residents in these areas are served, we are providing direct service where needed.” said Camille Coker Wrinkle, Executive Director of Harvest Regional Food Bank.

Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute pantry boxes and USDA commodities from Horatio First United Methodist Church located at 304 S Pennock St., AR on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 from 10 am to noon.
Volunteers are needed to help load boxes into cars. If you can volunteer, please call Harvest Regional Food Bank at 870-774-1398.

Recipients must bring photo identification verifying their age and residence in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household. USDA commodities will be available for those who meet income requirements and do not receive commodities at another location. Please note, the day of mobile pantry will be on a Wednesday. Food boxes will include an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, fruit juices, spices, and other items. Harvest Regional Food Bank began the Mobile Pantry Program in 2011 with Pike and Lafayette Counties. Howard & Colombia Counties were added in 2014. 4.0 scale.

 

DE QUEEN MEDICAL CENTER POWER AND WATER ON, SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO PATIENTS 02/13/19
KDQN spoke with employees of the De Queen medical center who verified that the center is open, the electricity and water services are on and patients are being treated at this time. The clarification announcements have been made with the purpose of dispelling rumors that circulated this week after reports claimed the hospital had its power cut off Monday. Hospital employees verified the hospital is still operating, though with limited services for patients.
Other reports indicated that the power and water bills were paid by an organization called iHealthcare inc, however the company would not confirm the information when KDQN reached out to reps for comment Wednesday morning.

Mayor Jeff Brown told KDQN that the water bill still has yet to be paid as of Wednesday, February 13th. KDQN also spoke with ER nurse Julie Caudle who announced that services are still being offered by the De Queen Medical Center at this time. Caudle says patients will be seen for minor medical needs and any conditions that do not require lab work, which does include x-rays.The hospital remains on ambulance diversion but in the event of “dire emergency” situations Caudle says the hospital will accept patients with the purpose of being stabilized prior to being transferred to another facility to receive the necessary medical care.

KDQN will continue to update the community about the De Queen Medical Center’s status as developments become available.

Caudle asked that the community continue to pray for the hospital and its employees.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/13/19

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced SB211 this morning. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced legislation making changes to the Safe Haven Act.  SB168 adds 24 hour manned fire stations to the locations where a parent can relinquish an infant. This bill also allows for the use of a Safe Haven Baby Box at Safe Haven locations if it includes a dual alarm system to notify authorities.

The Public Health Committee also advanced SB149 which would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

The committee also advanced SB151 which established a fund to assist the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in its ongoing efforts to gain a National Cancer Institute designation.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced SB109 which adds correctional officers into the law enforcement officer classification regarding battery offenses against officers.

The committee also advanced SB14 which adds a $10 to fee for those convicted of driving or boating while intoxicated. That money will benefit program assistance for those recovering from alcohol abuse.

And the Judiciary Committee advanced HR1013, a resolution seeking to clarify gun rights and gun laws with regard to open-carry of firearms.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1014 which requires that bleeding control training be taught as part of high school health courses.

The committee also advanced SB135 which creates a tiered funding structure for secondary vocational centers.

Committees will convene at 10:00am on Wednesday.  The House will convene at 1:30pm.

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCES UPDATES IN COMMUNITY 02/13/19

The Dierks City Council discussed several upcoming projects at the February monthly meeting held on Monday. Mayor Ronnie Cogburn says he hopes that some grant funding can be secured for new water meters and for improvements to the ball fields at the city park. The council discussed a shock treatment for the sewer ponds to assist in keeping them compliant with ADEQ requirements.

Mayor Cogburn also reported that a total of 38 street lights had been repaired and that several missing or damaged street signs had been replaced.

Police Chief Brian White reported four warrants served during the month of January, including one for Pike County. There were nine citations and 48 traffic stops.

The fire department had two fire calls during last month and several firefighters recently attended a training held this month at Center Point.

LOCAL SCHOOLS QUALIFY FOR ARCHERY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 02/13/19

LITTLE ROCK – 3,554 students filed into middle and high school gymnasiums across Arkansas last weekend to take their shot at qualifying for the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program State Championship. Regional shoots were held in 12 locations, covering every region of the state.

Of the student athletes participating, 1,564 were female and 1990 were male. ANASP is one of the few scholastic sporting activities where young men and women compete side-by-side.

The top two teams from each division at each regional tournament will move on to the state championship. The remaining 12 slots will be filled by the highest-scoring teams who did not place first or second, no matter which regional tournament they participated in.

In addition to team competition, the top shooters at each regional tournament will be invited to compete at the state championship individually for additional awards.

The state championship will be held at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, March 1-2. Elementary and middle school divisions will shoot on March 1, and the high school competition will be held March 2.

Visit https://www.agfc.com/en/anasp-app/ for complete team and individual scores for each region.

local teams received at-large bids to attend the state championship including :

Elementary School At-Large:
Blevins Elementary School 2,317
Middle  School At-Large
Wickes Middle School 2,968
Washington Middle School 2,920
Senior High School At-Large
De Queen High School 3,155

FIRST HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOME BUILT ON ARKANSAS SIDE OF TEXARKANA 02/13/19

On Friday, February 8th, Habitat for Humanity Texarkana held a dedication ceremony for the first house built for the local chapter since the program launched. The home is located on E 12th St. in Texarkana, AR. Though the house is the first home built on the Arkansas side for the local habitat for humanity chapter, plans are already in place to build the next home.

The new homeowners have been working on the house as well as volunteering their time at community events, helping at Habitat events, and completing home ownership classes. The homeowner will be responsible for paying a zero-interest loan to Habitat for the purchase of the home. The organization depends on donations to continue building projects.

Habitat for Humanity will build the second Arkansas home in the spring of this year. A repair program is scheduled to begin once budgets are passed. To make a donation, volunteer or sponsor a home contact call 903 832-1746 or email info@habitattexarkana.org

FUNDRAISER ANNOUNCED FOR ASHER FRACHISEUR IN DE QUEEN 02/13/19

A fundraiser has been announced for Asher Frachiseur on Tuesday, February 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The meal will include a chicken sandwich, chips and water for $5.00. Orders can be placed ahead of time and picked up from the Adams building of the UA Cossatot De Queen campus or deliveries can be made to local businesses in De Queen.

Asher is the son of Tyler and Kim Frachiseur of De Queen. Asher was born with Eosophillic esophagitis, a chronic immune/allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. The disease can cause irreversible damage to healthy tissues as well as joint pain, eating difficulty and poor growth. Asher recently received his 16th surgery for the condition and as of today there is no known cure.

Because the disease is rare, insurance does not cover the costs of all medical expenses associated with the condition.

Orders for Tuesday’s fundraiser can be placed ahead by calling 870-584-3013 or make a donation to First State Bank of De Queen in the Asher Frachiseur Fundraiser account.

SKYWARN CLASS HELD IN DE QUEEN TUESDAY 02/13/19

County Judge Greg Ray, OEM Coordinator Walter Smith and Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum pictured at the SKYWARN storm-spotting class held at UA Cossatot Tuesday.

The storm spotting class held at UA Cossatot Tuesday night was lead by Davyon Hill, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport. The class was Free and open to the public. The main purpose of this class was to educate the public about hazardous weather, weather safety, and how to report hazardous weather to the National Weather Service. Walter Smith reported that 60 people attended the session and many attendees traveled from various parts of the Southwest Arkansas regional to participate.

SCHOOL ELECTION CANDIDATE FILING OPENS THIS WEEK 02/12/19
The Filing period for persons interested in submitting candidacy for the Sevier County School elections has been announced.
The filing period begins tomorrow, Wednesday February 13th at 12:00 p.m. and ends on Wednesday February 20th at 12 noon. All interested candidates must file at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen during this time. A meeting of the Sevier County Election Commission will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the county clerk’s office on Thursday, February 22nd to certify the candidates. The public is welcome to attend. The election will take place on May 21st 2019.

Open positions at this time include:
De Queen Zone one -Skip Bell
Horatio, At large position one, Elizabeth Walker
Zone two, Christy Scott

Contact the Sevier County clerk’s office at 870-642-2852

In Little River County the filing period for Ashdown’s interested candidates began today, Tuesday February 12th at 12:00 p.m. and the deadline is Wednesday February 20th at 12:00 p.m.

Open positions at this time include:
Zone A, Dorothy Henderson
Zone E Ricky Ward

Foreman elections will not be held until November. Contact Little River County Clerk Deeanna Sively with questions by calling 870-898-7298.

QUORUM COURT MEETING HELD MONDAY IN DE QUEEN 02/12/19

A full room gathered for the Sevier County Quorum court’s regular meeting Monday, February 11th at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen.

Sheila Cox attended the meeting to represent local residents who presented an issue to the JPs regarding legalities of Dog ownership within Sevier County. Cox reported that an overabundance of dogs have caused a nuisance in her neighborhood and she asked the quorum what could be done to address the issue as the dogs have not been vaccinated, spayed, neutered or fenced by the owner they belong to. A neighbor of Cox also revealed the owner has threatened her for asking him to control the pack of an estimated 15 dogs. Though the city of De Queen has a dog pound that can house excess dogs the county does not have a pound and a placement issue has risen with the problem as there is no formal ordinance set to limit the number of Dogs and owner can have at a time.

The Quorum Court and Sheriff Robert Gentry agreed to follow up with a public defender and report back to the residents about the legalities surrounding the issue.

The Report from Senior Citizen representative Sheila Nash was delivered prior to the meetings start time. Nash revealed that the center is serving meals four days a week and is beginning delivery services for homebound seniors. Judge Greg Ray also noted that he has received positive reports regarding the upgrade in the quality of the meals served through the center and commended Nash’s efforts as she took over in July of 2018.

In the new business category JP Greg Wright volunteered for the delegate position and a motion was made by Angie Walker. The motion passed unanimously and Wright has been   selected as the Quorum Court delegate to the Arkansas Quorum Court Association. As the delegate Wright will be responsible for attended Quorum conferences and reporting information back to the Sevier County JPs.

The Quorum also discussed the transfer of $13,000 to fund two bridges on Bear Creek Cut off road. The motion passed and the funds will be appropriated.The official line of succession for the Sevier County Sheriff was announced during the meeting. The line is as follows:

Sheriff Robert Gentry, then Jail administrator Chris Wolcott, followed by Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and then criminal investigator Jeff Wahls.

After the succession line was established Sheriff Gentry spoke to the JPs about a mildew issue that has come up at the Sevier County jail. A lack of airflow in pods has caused the mildew problem which makes for higher utility bills in the jail and health concerns for inmates. The sheriff revealed that multiple lawsuits are pending based on grievances regarding conditions in the jail. The quorum agreed to fund the cost of de-humidifiers that should alleviate the problem. The final item discussed in the meeting was a request from Sheriff Gentry to raise the uniform allowance for the Sevier County Deputies from $4340 to $9900. The motion passed and the funds will be appropriated.

Under announcements Sevier County Economic director Lisa Taylor informed the quorum that 73 new jobs have been established in Sevier County within the last year and more businesses are on the way. The Sevier County Quorum Court meetings are always held the 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the county courthouse.

CREATE BRIDGES KICK-OFF HELD AT UA COSSATOT MONDAY 02/12/19

Several local residents and leaders of Sevier County attended the Create Bridges Tourism Kick-off event at the Weyerhauser room at UA Cossatot in De Queen Monday night. The rally was organized by Lisa Taylor, Janet Cantrell, Suzanne Babb and Keisha McKinney.

The Create Bridges program is a regional effort designed to drive economic success in the Howard, Little River and Sevier County Regional area.   The event began with a meal provided by Tyson foods and opening words delivered by Lisa Taylor, Sevier County Economic Development Director. Sevier County Tourism Committee Director Keisha McKinney also spoke during the meeting to emphasize the importance of regionalism and actively pursuing efforts that will achieve growth for local businesses and drive tourism in the area.

A slide-show presentation was delivered by Julianne Dunn who revealed a step-by-step plan that has been established for pursuing the Create Bridges initiative. During the program Dunn had each table work together as a group in listing strengths specific to the local area as well as challenges and opportunities that exist in the community. The neutral location of Sevier County as well as the natural features of SouthWest Arkansas like lakes and Rivers were cited as strengths of the area but multiple groups agreed that declining industry and lack of entertainment and nightlife are challenges in the area. After the group work was completed an announcement was made by the Create Bridges leaders revealing that a Sevier County Slogan contest will be held through March 14th and is open to anyone 13 or older. The person who has their slogan chosen will win a $500 cash prize.

At the conclusion of the program Chamber Director Suzanne Babb spoke to the audience about the importance of why these economic initiatives are being made. Suzanne says “we are involved because this is where we live, work and play and we want our kids to grow up and if they choose, stay here with great job opportunities and a thriving economy. For that to be a reality we have to make that happen and for that to happen we have to all be united.”

$500 CASH PRIZE ANNOUNCED FOR WINNER OF SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST 02/12/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot and the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee are launching an official Sevier County Slogan Contest. The goal of the contest is to receive suggestions from Sevier County residents that would lead us to adopt a new promotional slogan, identifying icon and marketing concept for the Sevier County region.

During the past year, Sevier County residents have had the opportunity to participate in several surveys, community forums, and committee meetings with a common goal of planning for future economic growth in our region. The Sevier County Tourism Committee was formed as a result of this community planning process, and has been working to identify tourism assets in our county. In fall 2018, our efforts were awarded the opportunity to participate in the CREATE Bridges (Create Bridges – Celebrating Retail, Accommodations,
Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies) Tourism Development Initiative.

As community members work to develop our tourism products (lodging,
entertainment, retail, etc.), it has become evident that we need a vision for our future that includes a brand, or slogan, in order to market our region to potential tourists. The Sevier County Tourism Slogan Contest is expected to identify an appropriate brand.

All residents, and only residents, of Sevier County, are encouraged to complete an entry. Additionally, the contest guidelines include: must be a Current resident of Sevier County, must be 13 years of age or older, and
only one entry per resident. The committee believes this is a great opportunity for families to dream and be competitive. Each family member should complete an entry. They also encourage teachers, human resources departments, group leaders, and presidents of clubs throughout the county to encourage participation through competition.
When developing your idea for a Sevier County Tourism Slogan:

1) Keep it short and simple; 2) Focus on what makes Sevier County different and appealing to tourists; 3) Make it timeless; 4) Make sure it stands alone, without additional explanation; 5) Consider a specific target audience; and 6) Most important – get input from your family and friends. Once you decide on your slogan, go to www.cccua.edu/sevier to submit your entry no later than 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Entries may be made in the English or Spanish version of the same form for entry in the same contest.
This is your chance to personally invest in the marketing and promotion of our community and the exciting days ahead! The winner of the contest will receive a $500 cash prize, so everyone is encouraged to participate;
lifelong residents and youth alike. For questions, contact the Sevier County Economic Development Director, Lisa Taylor at 870-279-5937, or
ltaylor@ccua.edu or contact Tourism Committee Chairperson, Keisha McKinney at
mckinneymediasolutions@gmail.com.

CREATE Bridges aims to strengthen economies in rural Arkansas by building capacity in retail, tourism,
accommodations, and hospitality sectors. This rally will provide opportunity for participants to discuss tourism
related strengths, challenges and opportunities in Sevier County.
https://www.uaex.edu/business-communities/strategic-planning/create-bridges.aspx

KRAV MAGA INSTRUCTOR VISITS ASHDOWN ELEMENTARY 02/12/19

Learning for Life, a career exploring program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, provided for Dana O’Neal, Krav Maga instructor of Texarkana to meet with third, fourth, and fifth graders at Ashdown’s L.F. Henderson Intermediate School.
Mrs. O’Neal taught the students skills to focus and not be distracted from their studies or goals.  She also told them they had the power to not let negative thoughts stay in their heads, that they had the power to only focus on the positive comments.   When negative comments were to come their way, they could “wad them up and throw them away”. 
Learning for Life utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that are designed to prepare youth for future success and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem in future careers.
Linda Willis is the local Learning for Life Coordinator.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/11/19
Last week the house voted to raise teacher salaries, increase a tax credit, and increase fines for distracted driving in school zones. HB1145, titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act, would raise the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years.  The House voted 91-0 in favor the legislation.  The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.

The House also voted in favor of increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit. HB1321 raises the credit from $350 to $375 a year. In a vote of 89-7, the House voted in favor of HB1182. This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.

Other legislation passing the House last week include:

HB1006-This bill raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus.  It raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.

HB1246-This bill changes the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices.  Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. This extends it to four weeks after the general election.

HB1225-This bill requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website. This creates a one stop shop online in hopes of opening more childcare facilities in the state.

HB1128-This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats.

HB1249-This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.

In the upcoming week, the Governor is expected to address the tax cut proposal and hear more proposals regarding highway funding. Watch all committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

RESIDENT FINDS UNRESPONSIVE MAN IN DE QUEEN 02/11/19

A local resident called authorities to report an unresponsive man found lying in the road between KDQN studios and Bank Corp South in De Queen at approximately 9:30 a.m on the morning of Monday, February 11th.

Taxi Driver Nic Garza told KDQN that he noticed the man laying down on the ground while giving a passenger a ride on Collin Raye drive. Garza said he tried talking to the man to find out what was wrong but he did not respond so he called the local authorities. De Queen police officers and South West Emergency medical Services arrived on the scene within minutes.

An officer with De Queen police told KDQN they did not know the man’s name or exactly why he was lying on the ground but when he eventually responded he said he thought he had broken his ribs. No cause as to why the man believed his ribs were broken was provided to KDQN.

Because the De Queen Medical Center is currently not accepting emergency patients at this time the Police transported the man to Dr. Randy Walker’s office to receive medical attention.

A De Queen medical center representative confirmed the hospital is “under diversion” at this time and the staff has not received information about when they will begin accepting emergency-level patients again. To find out what services the De Queen Medical center is offering at this time call 870-584-4111.

More information will be reported as updates are provided.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED 02/11/19

A local health organization is actively seeking volunteers to help support Southwest Arkansas Hospice patients and their families.

Encompass Health is a nationwide company offering home health services as well as rehabilitation and hospice care to patients.
Locally the company is seeking residents who can donate their time to help provide support to individuals during their finals weeks and months of life.

Volunteers are needed to provide non-medical assistance for hospice patients in the Lockesburg, De Queen, Ashdown, Foreman and Texarkana areas at this time.

Examples of ways volunteers can help hospice families include:
-Helping care for family pets
– General office support
-Providing socialization and companionship
-Running errands for patients and families
-Assisting with housework
-Reading to patients
-Create a photo album for patient and family
– and playing games and reading to hospice patients

All volunteers are given options for the locations and ways in which they can provide support and time for patients. More detailed information about being a hospice volunteer for encompass health can be found online at encompasshealth.com

There is no deadline for volunteer submissions as support for patients is a recurring need. To become a volunteer in the Southwest Arkansas area today, contact local volunteer coordinator Latoya Farris by calling 870-773-2621 or email Latoya.Farris@encompasshealth.com

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET TONIGHT 02/11/19

The De Queen School Board will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the school’s administration building.

The agenda items include approving the previous meetings minutes, bills and discussing any old business needing to be re-visited.

In terms of new business items the board will discuss the approval or disapproval for the 2019-2020 school year calendar, approval or disapproval of the AIA contract and guaranteed maximum prices with Clark contractors. The board will also vote to approve or disapprove student transfers and an executive session will be held. The last items on the agenda include accepting of resignations and the discussion of arming teachers.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting.

MADDIE MARTIN CROWNED 2019 MISS DHS 02/11/19

17-year-old Maddie Martin was crowned the 2019 Miss De Queen High School on Saturday, February 9th at the DHS auditorium. Maddie is the daughter of Dr. Kenneth and Jennifer Martin. A member of the junior class, Maddie enjoys fishing, hunting, reading, signing and playing the piano and guitar. Maddie is an active member of the National Honor Society, FFA, Chapel Hill 4-H, as well as track and field and she is also a member of the Lady Leopards conference championship basketball team. She has received the Three Point Percentage award.

Maddie also won the People’s Choice award at the pageant Saturday night as well as the talent portion of the competition for her vocal solo, “I’ll never love again” by Lady Gaga. 2018 winner Halley Gentry crowned Maddie as the 2019 winner.

The first runner-up was Katelyn McDougal and the 2nd runner-up was Lizbeth Osura and the Miss Congeniality award went to Astrid J. Camarillo.

This year was the 42nd annual Miss DHS pageant as the competition originally began back in 1978. The theme for this year was “the world is your runway.” The pageant serves as a fundraiser for the junior class in paying expenses for the cost of prom.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY AWARDS BANQUET    02/08/19

The Little River County Chamber of Commerce held their annual Membership and Awards Banquet on Thursday, February 7, 2019 in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the UA Cossatot Ashdown Campus.

Several hundred people were present to enjoy the steak or chicken dinner, entertainment provided by the Ashdown Drama Club, and visit with their friends.

Awards presented included:  (Click here to view photos)
Foreman Teacher of the Year – Teresa Crenshaw
Ashdown Teacher of the Year – Connie Anderson
Business Renovation – The Weathered Rooster
Small Business of the Year – McIver Abstract & Title
Large Business of the Year – Justin Time Transportation
School, Community or Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Skills USA Team
New Construction – Davis Pecans & Justin Time Transportation
Best Business Themed Table – Pleasant Manor Nursing Home
Most Beautiful Table – Little River Nursing & Rehab
Clayton Castleman Public Service Award – Glen Ray Bowman
Steve Pearce Citizen of the Year – Courtney Pullen

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT PUTS OUT TWO GILLHAM FIRES IN ONE WEEK 02/08/19
The De Queen Fire Department responded to two calls in the Gillham Area of Sevier County, Arkansas last week. On Wednesday, January 30th around 2:48 p.m. a grass fire was reported at a residence on King Road. The De Queen Fire Department served as mutual aid for the Gillham Volunteer Fire Department by responding with 11 firefighters and one truck within 10 minutes of being dispatched to the scene. The official cause of the fire was not listed in the department’s report but no injuries were reported.

The 2nd fire extinguished last week was reported around 8:47 a.m. on Friday, February 1st. DQFD assisted the Gillham department as mutual aid and arrived on the scene with eight responders and two trucks by 9:01 a.m. The fire was called in by the owner of the home on Van Zant Road. The type of incident described in the De Queen Fire Department’s report is a water heater fire. The situation was contained by 9:49 a.m. and no injuries were reported.

LOCKESBURG MAN CATCHES POSESSION CHARGE AT EZ MART THURSDAY MORNING 02/08/19

A Sevier County man is facing felony charges for possession of a controlled substance after a Sheriff’s deputy observed suspicious behavior in the parking lot of the EZ Mart in Lockesburg this week. According to a police report by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Greg Harper, stopped at the EZ Mart on Thursday, February 7th around 3:35 in the morning. Harper reported noticing a white pickup truck parked outside. A man identified as James Horn of Lockesburg and a woman later identified as Susan Nolte were occupants of the vehicle.

Harper noted in the report that Horn was showing strange behavior and was moving “frantically” in the driver’s seat, which caused Deputy Harper to believe it that Horn was under the influence of an illegal substance. Harper contacted the EZ Mart store and spoke with an employee who told the deputy the truck had been parked in the spot for “a while.”

Upon making contact with Horn, it became apparent to Deputy Harper that he was under the influence and asked Horn to exit the truck. The report states that Harper saw Horn throw a glasses case into the floorboard of the driver’s seat.

Harper also requested the female passenger, Nolte to exit the vehicle and she complied. After speaking to Nolte, Harper asked Horn if there was anything illegal in the truck and Horn reportedly told him he didn’t have anything on him and just wanted to go home.

Upon searching the vehicle Deputy Harper found two plastic bags with a white substance believed to be methamphetamine. Horn was placed under arrest and advised of his Miranda Rights. Horn also reportedly admitted the methamphetamine belonged to him. The truck was released to Nolte and Horn was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was turned over to the on duty jail staff for booking procedures. Horn had a court appearance Thursday, February 7th at the Sevier County Courthouse where the judge issued a $5,000 bond.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/08/19

With a vote of 91-0, the House passed a bill titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act.

HB1145 brings the minimum starting teacher salary from $31,400 to $36,000 over the next 4 years. The bill includes the entire salary schedule.  We’ve posted it on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

Currently, there are 168 schools in the state paying the minimum salary.

The House also passed HB1321 which increases the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375.

The House passed SB153 which enhances the Right to Read Act.  This bill would require public schools and open-enrollment public charter schools to include a literacy plan in their annual school level improvement plan.  The plan would have to include curriculum and professional development aligned with the literacy needs of that school and based on the Science of Reading initiative. This bill also requires the Arkansas Department of Education to make a list of material and resources available that are supported by the Science of Reading.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor committee voted to advance HB1302, An Act to Create the Red Tape Reduction Collective Rulemaking Act of 2019. This bill creates a process by which similar agencies could submit rules and regulations collectively which would serve to expedite process.  It would help ensure that agencies needing to respond to new legislation for occupational licensing do so in a timely manner.

The House will convene on Monday at 1:30pm.

 

TRAP SHOOT FUNDRAISER FOR UAHT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 02/08/19

The 12th Annual University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana “Pulling for Education” Trap Shoots will be held on March 8 and 9, 2019 at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center located at 1685 Hempstead 35 Rd N, Columbus, AR 71831. Two trap shoots will be held again this year. Details for each shoot are listed below.

COMMUNITY TEAM SHOOT
Friday, March 8, 2019 • 9:00 a.m.
Community Team Registration Form

  • 3 Man Teams
  • $300 Per Team
  • Gun Raffle
  • Lunch provided by Farm Credit Services

SCHOOL TEAMS SHOOT
Saturday, March 9, 2019 • 8:00 a.m.
School Team Registration Form

  • 45 Team Limit; FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED
  • 5 Man Teams
  • Jr. High Team $50 / 1 Round
  • Sr. High Team $100 / 2 Rounds
  • Gun Raffle
  • Concessions Available

All proceeds from the event benefit the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Foundation scholarship funds. For more information, call the UAHT Foundation at 870-722-8516.

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN ANNOUNCES LOCAL MOBILE OFFICE DATES 02/08/19

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman will be hosting mobile office events in counties across Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District during the month of February. During these meetings, his staff will be available to help Arkansas residents with a wide range of issues, including Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs claims, Medicare/Medicaid, international adoption, visas and the IRS. No appointments are necessary. Local mobile office dates and times will include

Polk County Mobile Office

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – 1:30pm
Polk County Courthouse
507 Church Avenue
Mena, AR 71953

Sevier County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 11:00am
Sevier County Courthouse
115 North 3rd Street
De Queen, AR 71832

Little River County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 12:45pm
Little River County Courthouse
351 North 2nd Street
Ashdown, AR 71822

Hempstead County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 2:45pm
Hempstead County Courthouse
400 South Washington Street
Hope, AR 71801

AGFC TO HOLD TOWN-HALL STYLE MEETING FOR ALL HUNTERS AND ANGLERS IN ARKANSAS 02/08/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special “A Conversation with Commissioners” town hall style meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock. The public is invited to come ask the Commissioners questions and learn more information about the agency’s work.

Commission Chairman Ford Overton proposed the meeting to offer Arkansans additional opportunity to voice any issues and have an open forum for public input into areas where the Commission should look deeper.

Overton said. “With Facebook, Twitter and social media in general, we are able to hear many more viewpoints, but we want to offer this opportunity for face-to-face contact as well to ensure everyone has a chance to speak about issues they may have.”

The meeting will have no particular agenda, only the opportunity for participants to speak freely about conservation, fishing, and hunting in The Natural State.

Find out more at AGFC.com

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/07/19
In a vote of 95-0, the full House voted in favor of HB1296.  This prohibits an occupational licensing board from revoking a license specifically for a defaulted or delinquent student loan.

The House Insurance and Commerce Committee advanced SB113.  This would transfer the responsibilities and duties of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace to the Arkansas Insurance Department. The Insurance Commissioner has stated the agency can handle the duties of the marketplace at a lesser cost which could reduce fees for those buying insurance on the marketplace.

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced SJR3.  This resolution seeks to apply to the United States Congress to call a convention of states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution under the provisions of Article V. The resolution states the proposed amendments would be limited to imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting terms for members of congress.

The House City, County, and Local Affairs Committee advanced HB1174. This amends the civil service system law concerning the age of eligibility.  Upon approval from the individual city board, this lowers the age of eligibility for firefighters from 21 to 18.

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TALKS ATTENDANCE, IMAGINATION LIBRARY AND FIESTA FEST AT FEBRUARY MEETING 02/07/19

The De Queen City Council met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 5th at city Hall in De Queen.

Mayor Jeff Brown, City clerk Donna Jones and all 6 members of the council were present for the meeting. After Alderman Lofton lead the prayer and the pledge of allegiance was recited Mayor, Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments.

Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor took the floor and announced the upcoming forum for the Create Bridges program that will be held on Monday, February 11th at the Weyerhouser room of UA Cossatot De Queen campus. The meeting will discuss ways to recruit new businesses for Sevier County and push established businesses to the forefront of the community.

Another issue discussed during Lisa’s time on the floor was the talk of a master plan for the city of De Queen. Lisa says a master plan for the city would allow updates to zoning laws which would help create new opportunities to satisfy housing needs in the area.

The next item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the January 15th meeting. The council agreed to table the minutes approval until the next meeting which will take place February 19th.

The Council has also been in discussion about establishing official guidelines for alderman attendance requirements. No formal attendance rules have previously been set in place and the council decided certain exceptions for meeting participation should be considered, including vacations days, sick days and family obligations. A workshop will be held after the next meeting and rules will be established.

In the new business category the topic of the annual Fiesta Fest was addressed. Dustin Roberts, Erika Buenrrostro and Daniel Martinez attended the meeting to propose a partnership between UA Cossatot and The City to bring the festival to a new location. The college has suggested moving the fest from the UA Cossatot amphitheater to downtown De Queen in front of the courthouse. The council agreed to consider the college’s proposal and will add the topic to the next meeting’s agenda.

Representatives from Imagination Library also attended the meeting to announce the success of the Sevier County Chapter. ZZ Kamruddin told the council that the local chapter is considered among the top programs in the state as roughly 40 local businesses have donated to the chapter and enough funding has been generated to back the children’s literacy program for a full year.

(Imagination Library Sevier County Chapter pictured with De Queen Mayor, Jeff Brown at the February 5th City Council meeting. Imagination Library provides children up to age 5 with one book a month for literacy development support.)

The last item on the agenda was a discussion about Ennis building in Downtown De Queen. The building is currently in need of remodeling as a recent engineer report revealed numerous issues with the wiring, plumbing and several structural features in need of being replaced. A pending roof replacement project has been cancelled as mayor Brown says the construction would be costly and the building itself needs additional work. Mayor Brown says a public hearing has been scheduled with the Southwest Arkansas planning and Development district to address the topic of an infrastructure grant. The topic of historic site registration for the building has been proposed as well.

The next De Queen City Council meeting will be held February 19th at 5:30 p.m. in city Hall.

ARKANSAS TOURISM WEBSITE WINS NAJTA AWARD 02/07/19

Arkansas Tourism was recently selected as a bronze award winner in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards Competition. The award recognizes the official travel website for the state, Arkansas.com. The site won in the category of visitor’s guide (printed or digital)/website.

This NATJA competition, now in its 27th year, honors the best of the best in travel journalism, photography and destination marketing that cover all aspects of the travel industry.  Submissions reflect major publications, renowned journalists, and influential bloggers from across the globe.

“The winners are a microcosm of the talent, creativity and journalistic excellence that encapsulates our industry leading members,” said Helen Hernandez, CEO, NATJA. “As our membership continues to grow so do the submissions of the accomplished pool of those who work in the travel industry—raising the competitiveness and prestige of the annual NATJA Awards.”

For more information about NATJA or a complete list of 2018 award winners and honorable mentions, visit www.natja.org.

NEW FARM BILL AIMS TO HELP ARKANSAS LAND OWNERS 02/07/19

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law on Dec. 20, offers renewed hope for conservation-minded landowners who are looking for ways to benefit wildlife habitat on their property without drastically losing production revenue from farming or other agricultural land uses.

While much of the bill supports subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, roughly $5 billion has been earmarked for conservation funding in the next five years.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission actually receives very little funding, if any, through grants related to the Farm Bill. Instead, this money goes to programs to benefit private landowners who want to restore and maintain wildlife habitat on their property. Only 13 percent of Arkansas is publicly owned land.

One of the most notable additions to the new bill for Arkansas landowners is the establishment of a pilot program to help combat feral pigs on private land. The program will receive $75 million over the next five years to help landowners with trapping and using modern technology to control feral hogs causing damage to their crops and land. With hogs causing and estimated $1.5 billion in crop loss and damage annually, more landowners are looking for help with the best methods to remove nuisance hogs in large enough numbers to reduce damage to property and wildlife.

Another area of the 2018 Farm Bill Colclasure is particularly interested is the continued  funding available for the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Improvement Program. This program is similar to other Natural Resource Conservation Service programs that enable landowners to receive compensation for habitat development on their property, but it goes a step further in adding a monetary incentive for landowners to allow public access for hunting on enrolled acres.

Landowners interested in learning more about how Farm Bill Programs such as CRP, EQIP and the Wetland Reserve Program should contact their local private lands biologist, available atwww.agfc.com/privatelands. These biologists can perform site visits and prescribe methods to create excellent wildlife habitat on marginal cropland or other property and can assist qualifying landowners with their application for grants and cost-share programs such as those outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.

 

BROKEN BOW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL BANQUET TO BE HELD THIS MONTH 02/07/19

The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will host the 64th Annual Chamber Banquet and Silent Auction.  The banquet will be held: Thursday, February 28th 6:30 p.m.  the Family Life Center behind 1st Assembly of God Church.

Tickets are $25.00 each and can be purchased at the chamber office or from any of the chamber board members. The 2019 board members are Patrick Williams, Sharon Payne, Wenda Blankenship, Rene Latta, Donald Watson,  April Roberts,  Leah Sanders,  Alana Hiner, Kim Kennedy,  Jazmin Pola,  Kendra McIntyre and Jeremy Jewell.

Entertainment at this year’s banquet is Broken Bow High School’s the very talented Alorany Villalobos, who will be singing.

Awards to be presented at this year’s banquet will be as follows:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Heritage Award
  • New Business of the Year
  • Small Business of the Year
  •  Organization of the Year
  • Business of the Year
  • Community Appreciation Awards

Everyone is invited to attend.

Another activity planned for the evening will be a silent auction.   Anyone who would like to donate an auction item can drop it by the chamber or contact us and we will arrange to have the item picked up.

For more information call Charity O’Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393.

 

ARVEST BANK DONATES TO DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR NEW EQUIPMENT PURCHASES 02/06/19

The De Queen Fire Department has purchased equipment that will help the firefighters put out fires more efficiently and quickly detect safety issues thanks to a donation made by the local Arvest bank, De Queen Branch. Each Arvest location is provided with funds that are set aside to be donated to local organizations in the community every year. Patti Boone of Arvest bank told KDQN that the De Queen branch chose to allocate their funding to The De Queen. Fire Department and the Imagination Library, Sevier County Chapter.

The donation amount of $5,000 was originally presented to the De Queen Fire Department last year during a grand opening celebration of the Bank’s De Queen location on October 29th and the funds were recently put towards the purchase of two positive pressure ventilation fans as well as a set of V-watches.

De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt explained how the fans will pressurize a house and push the fire in the appropriate direction which will help the department control flames.The purchase of the V-watches will help detect hot power lines and identify danger in the event of storm damage and car accidents.

Chief Pruitt explained that the equipment can be costly and he says the department is appreciative that Arvest reached out them and offered the generous donation. In addition to new equipment, the De Queen Fire department is also seeking new volunteers and currently has one full time job opening available for a qualified applicant age 21 or older. For questions, contact Chief Pruitt at 870-584-7224.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/05/19
More than 600 bills have been filed and several bills are now making their way to the Governor’s desk as we enter the 4th week of the 2019 Regular Session.

In a vote of 70-18, with one member voting present, the House passed SB17. This reduces the fees for a concealed carry permit. This Senate bill is identical to the House version, HB1036, which passed last week. It reduces the application fee from $100 to $50 and then lowers the renewal fee from $35 to $25. This bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

The House also passed HB1249. This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.

According to testimony, there are currently 1,200 veterans serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. This new facility would help veterans re-enter society after their sentence is served. The new facility is expected to create 100-150 new jobs for the region. HB1249 passed the House with a vote of 95-0.

In a vote of 88-0, the House passed legislation changing the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices. Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. HB1246 extends it to four weeks after the general election.

The House voted in favor of HB1128. This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats. The Governor can currently call the guard into active service in cases of invasion, disaster, public health emergencies, or training purposes.

The House will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30 pm.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL BEAUTY PAGEANT 02/05/19

On Thursday, January 31st, the Ashdown High School Journalism Department sponsored the Miss AHS Beauty Pageant themed “Black Tie Affair” as part of their annual fundraising effort. AHS Journalism is sponsored by Ms. Julie Sheppard.

The pageant was led by emcees Colyn Grimes and Brylee Haskins. Fifteen Ashdown High School girls competed in the pageant as they hoped to be named one of the Top Four AHS Beauties.  Contestant include:  Kaylee Welborn, Bailee Whitehead, Breonna Parker, Ashlynn Johnston, Paxton Parker, Emma Wrinkle, Chloe Young, La’Nyce Hemphill, Liza Embry, Railee Schmidt, Ebony Hawkins, Davina Gaines, Blair Gentry, Deniyah Hemphill, and Treija French.

After the opening dance number was performed and the contestants prepared for the evening wear part of the competition, Emma Gamble performed a dance to “Here I Come” and AHS Student Amy Newton sang “Rise Up”.

2018 Miss Photogenic Ansleigh Patrick presented the 2019 Alisha Proksch Photogenic Competition Winner to Chloe Young and the Top 8 Contestants were announced and each answered a question that they randomly selected.  The Top 8 were:  Kaylee Welborn, Ashlynn Johnston, Paxton Parker, Emma Wrinkle, Chloe Young, Ebony Hawkins, Davina Gaines, and Treija French.

Miss Congeniality 2019 Railee Schmidt was announced and the 2018 Miss AHS winners were presented for their final walk.  They were Aliyah Anderson, Autumn Hoffman, and Ansleigh Patrick. The 2019 Miss AHS Beauties are:   Ebony Hawkins, Treija French, Emma Wrinkle, Paxton Parker

PIKE COUNTY SCHOOLS HIRE NEW SUPERINTENDENT 02/05/19

During a special called meeting on Monday, the South Pike County School Board approved Brad Sullivan of Hot Springs as the new superintendent on a 5 to 2 vote. He accepted the position following the meeting. Board President Steve Conly said Sullivan is being hired on a two year contract.

Both Sullivan and Bill Lee were interviewed during an executive session. Sullivan will replace current superintendent Roger Featherston at the end of the school year, who was not involved in any of the hiring process.

Sullivan currently serves as the Education Renewal Zone Director at Henderson State University, where he works with 16 school districts. He has spent the last 24 years as a school administrator, also previously serving for four years as assistant superintendent of Fountain Lake schools.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/06/19

The House Education Committee advanced several bills including HB1145, the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act.  This bill raises the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced HB1321. This bill increases the Homestead Property Tax Credit from $350 to $375 a year.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced HB1362, which would transfer $300,000 in surplus funds from the Marketing Recyclables Program Fund to the Used Tire Recycling Fund. This will allow the program to accept bids for the collection and processing extra-large tires such as those used on tractors and farming equipment.

In a vote of 89-7, with 1 member voting present, the full House voted in favor of HB1182.  This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.

The full House also passed HB1006 which raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus.  This bill raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.

Committees will meet Wednesday morning at 10am.  The full House will meet at 1:30 pm.

 

CHAMBER DIRECTOR NOTIFIES LOCALS ABOUT NEW SCAM 02/06/19

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Babb has announced a new telephone solicitation scam that has been circulating in the local area recently.

Multiple phone calls have been placed to local residents from scam artists claiming to represent the chamber and requesting people buy ads for a new map of the city that is being produced. Suzanne verified that this is not connected with the local chamber in anyway and local residents and chamber members are encouraged to disregard the phone call. Scams can be reported to the Arkansas attorney general, Leslie Rutledge through information provided at arkansasag.gov and Chamber information confirmed through Suzanne Babb at 870-584-3225

RDA TALKS HOUSING AT FEBRUARY MEETING 02/06/19

The Sevier County Rural Development Authority (RDA) met Tuesday afternoon at 12;00 p.m. in the Tres Agaves board room on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot. Members in attendance were Gary Golden, Dick Tallman, Ray Wilson, Crystal Rankin, and Chair Dr. Steve Cole. The group briefly took up new business by approving the minutes and the most recent financial report and voting to hire New Growth Solutions to perform grant research, looking for economic development funding opportunities for RDA and Sevier County.

The main conversation during the meeting centered around new housing development in Sevier County. For this conversation, the RDA was joined by Lisa Taylor, Director of Economic Development for Sevier County, John Baxter, of Baxter Family Investments, Trey Gage, Housing Specialist for Simmons Bank in Fort Smith, and Eddie Halter, plant manager of Pilgrim’s Pride in De Queen. The focus of the discussion was how this community could leverage resources to provide attractive investments for single-family dwellings in Sevier County, citing that this is one major way to improve our local industry employee pool and grow the economy.

According to John Baxter, “There is real opportunity for affordable housing in Sevier County, and with groups like the RDA, the City of De Queen, and the County all pulling the same direction, this can really work. The beauty of the model I would propose for Sevier County is that all the construction is performed by local sub-contractors, which is another plus for the economy”.

After the group heard Halter’s concerns for our area to have more family housing opportunities, it was agreed that Baxter would develop some scenarios where affordable single family dwellings could be built in Sevier County. A driving force behind these conversations is that industries like Pilgrim’s Pride offer jobs that pay $12 and $13 dollars per hour, but for employees to relocate here, there needs to be affordable housing. This same scenario applies to all existing and perhaps future industries. During the discussions, RDA Chair Dr. Steve Cole mentioned that for any economic development plan to work, even housing, there must be a broad-based steady stream of funding or efforts like these would tend to fade with time. The meeting adjourned agreeing to revisit housing at their next meeting.

SERGEANT FINDS DRUG PARAPHERNALIA NEAR LOCKESBURG MONDAY 02/06/19

A Sevier County man is facing Felony Drug Paraphernalia charges after a traffic stop was conducted by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department near Lockesburg Monday.

A report from the Sheriff’s Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon was patrolling on Highway 71 when he noticed a small white vehicle pull over and turn on emergency flashing lights. The driver was identified as Ambrocio Shomo. Shomo reportedly told the sergeant he stopped because he was having trouble seeing and the patrol unit lights were bright.

The report states that Davignon requested a warrant check on the vehicle plates from the dispatcher and found Shomo to have an active warrant in the city of De Queen. Shomo reportedly exited the car and cursed at the sergeant, asking “what the f*** is the deal?” Davignon explained the warrant had been revealed and requested the suspect place his hands behind his back multiple times.

In the report, Sergeant Davignon noted making contact with female passengers in Shomo’s vehicle who were identified as Rylie Gonzalez and Sarah Rosas. While speaking with the women the sergeant reported noticing a smell consistent with marijuana. After removing the keys from the ignition and placing them on the hood Davignon reported the suspect cursed at him again, saying “d*** white boy.” The sergeant reportedly told the suspect that he could be charged with disorderly conduct for using the curse words in public.

Upon conducting a search of the car Sergeant Davignon noted finding a black backpack in the trunk with the smell of marijuana coming from it. Inside the bag Davignon reported finding a glass pipe with white residue consistent with methamphetamine. Gonzalez reportedly claimed the backpack and its contents belonged to Shomo. Shomo was advised of his Miranda rights and when questioned about the backpack he reportedly acknowledged that it belonged to him but claimed the pipe belong to “dope heads” he used to live with.

Inside the backpack Davignon also reported finding two burnt marijuana roaches and a metal marijuana pipe. Shomo was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with possession, class D felony. He will go to court at the next available date.

HOWARD COUNTY ACCIDENTS CLAIM TWO LIVES THIS MONTH 02/04/19
Two fatal accidents occurred in Howard County over the weekend. The first accident took place on Friday evening at 9:40 on Highway 278, east of Nashville. According to the Arkansas State Police, twenty-six-year old Gambino Martinez of Nashville was the driver of a 2011 Dodge vehicle, which was traveling eastbound. The vehicle veered off the right side of the roadway and collided with a tree. Martinez was pronounced deceased by Howard County Coroner John Gray at Howard Memorial Hospital. Trooper Antonio May investigated the accident.

The second fatal accident happened early Sunday morning on state highway 84, north of Umpire. That single vehicle accident killed a Wickes resident and injured four others. According to an Arkansas State Police preliminary report, the accident occurred when the 2019 Chevy Traverse, headed westbound, ran off the right side of the roadway then over-corrected to the left and crossed both lanes of traffic. The vehicle then overturned several times before coming to rest. A passenger, 19 year old Rachel Rada Mae Norman of Wickes was pronounced deceased on scene by Howard County Coroner John Gray at 6:10 a.m. The driver, 21 year old Chance Austen Manasco of Cove, and three minors who were passengers were injured and taken to Mena Regional Health System and Children’s Hospital. Trooper First Class Mason Glasgow investigated the accident.

CITY OF HORATIO TO CONDUCT SMOKE TESTS THIS WEEK 02/04/19

Mayor Rich Dorsey has announced the city of Horatio will be conducting smoke tests on the sewer system this week.

The tests will begin today, Monday, February 4th on Bourkeslough and will continue in various parts of Horatio throughout the week.

Residents are advised to not be alarmed by seeing the smoke, as Mayor Dorsey says the smoke is not hazardous and the city is conducting the test to try and find leaks in the plumbing.

For questions or concerns contact the city of Horatio by calling 870-832-2511.

LOCAL WOMAN FACING ASSAULT CHARGES AFTER INCIDENT IN LOCKESBURG 02/04/19

A Sevier County woman is facing charges for assault on a family member after deputies responded to a call in Lockesburg Thursday afternoon. A report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s department says the resident contacted authorities to report that she had been assaulted with a knife by her daughter Thursday, January 31st at her home on Highway 71 South.

The reporting party informed the deputies that the suspect, Katelyn Brewer  left the scene in a Gray Ford Escape after the incident occurred. Deputies Wendall Randall and Matt Webb reportedly patrolled the area in search of a car matching the description given. The car was located nearby with a pit-bull dog in the front of it but was otherwise unoccupied. A wrecker service was called to impound the vehicle and an interview with the victim was conducted to collect additional information about the incident.

The victim told deputies the altercation occurred earlier that day at her Lockesburg home. The sheriff report states that the victim found her daughter, Katelynn Brewer asleep inside the vehicle when she arrived home from work about 7:30 a.m. that morning. Brewer reportedly asked to use the reporting party’s phone and for gas money. The report says the victim told Brewer she had no money on her but would meet her at a gas station to put gas in the vehicle. Brewer reportedly cursed and screamed at the victim and also began shoving her and exhibiting “physically aggressive” behavior in various parts of the home.

The victim told Deputies she attempted to keep Brewer off of her by trying to hold her hands. Brewer reportedly told the victim she would kill her as well and removed a knife from her pocket and threatened again to kill her and also burn the house down. Brewer reportedly grabbed a sheet from the closet and began cutting it with the knife and told the victim she was going to tie her up and duct tape her.

The victim told deputies she tried to get away from the suspect by going through the bedroom to a door that leads outside but was drug to the floor and continued to struggle to get away from Brewer.

The report states that Brewer said “why don’t I just kill myself” and allegedly took the knife to her forearm and proceeded to drag the blade down her arm in a slicing motion then began hitting her self in the face in an attempt to make it appear as though she had been assaulted by the victim. The suspect reportedly continued to threaten the victim as she ran to a neighbors house where she contacted the Sheriff’s Department.

While searching the yard of a neighboring residence the cut up sheet was located along with items belonging to Brewer. Brewer was taken into custody following a traffic stop conducted in De Queen by Police Officer Doug Johnson. On Friday, February 1st Wendall Randall reported interviewing Brewer at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department. Brewer opted to speak with an attorney prior to telling her side of the story in regards to the incident. Katelynn Brewer was booked into the Sevier County Jail for aggravated assault on a family member.

HOPE COLLEGIATE ACADEMY ENROLLING NOW 02/04/19

The Hope Collegiate Academy is a partnership between the Hope Public School District and the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. The goal of the academy is to provide students with a three-year curriculum that allows them the opportunity to complete a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.

Students who will be entering the 10th grade can apply for the program now through April 1, 2019. Students must be enrolled or be eligible to become enrolled as a Hope Public School student and meet the collegiate academy entrance requirements to attend. The academy is a public school that is free of charge and is located on the University of Arkansas Hope campus.

Students must submit the collegiate academy application and college entrance scores by April 1, 2019. To apply, visit  http://www.uacch.edu/collegiate-academy/.

For questions about eligibility or a paper application, contact Mikki Curtis at mikki.curtis@uacch.edu or 870-722-8133.

ASHDOWN STUDENT TAKES FIRST PLACE AT TRACK MEET IN FAYETTEVILLE 02/04/19

Congratulations to Vincent Jones on winning 1st place in shot put at the Indoor Track Meet in Fayetteville.

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INDIAN TACO FUNDRAISER FOR INJURED TROOPER 02/04/19
An additional fundraiser has been planned to help offset medical expenses for the family of injured Arkansas State Trooper Corporal Clayton McWilliams who was hurt in a crash while en route to the scene of an accident in Sevier County last month.
Melodie Clemmons of Little River Nursing and Rehab is organizing an Indian taco fundraiser to be held Thursday, February 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m at 162 HWY 32 in Ashdown. Melody says the fundraiser will also help the family with monthly bills and expenses as well as travel costs while McWilliams recovers at a facility in Houston, Texas.
Orders can be made ahead of time and delivery for the fundraiser is available by calling 870-898-5101.

SAT GRADUATION CEREMONY HELD IN DE QUEEN THURSDAY 02/01/19

Hundreds of local residents gathered at De Queen First Assembly of God church for the Sevier County Jail’s Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program graduation ceremony Thursday, January 31st.

The ceremony marked 6 graduations since the program launched two years ago and 23 total graduates were recognized Thursday evening. There were 13 of the participants who graduated into after care and 10 were recognized for their one-year after care completion. A series of community leaders attended the graduation to speak to the graduates and provide content for the ceremony.

Former razorback football player Muskie Harris served as the program’s speaker at the banquet held prior to the ceremony. Hattie Vance of the celebrate recovery group facilitated the ceremony and introduced each speaker.During the service, words were delivered by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry, Jail administrator Chris Wolcott, Sergeant Greg Davignon, Representative Dee Ann Vaught, Counselor Shaun Higgins as well as both past and current graduates.

(Former Razorback Football Player Muskie Harris pictured with KDQN News Director Murriel Wiley. Markie runs MHRS monitoring and rehab center in Little Rock and spoke at the RSAT graduation banquet Thursday, January 31st in De Queen. )

Sheriff Robert Gentry gave opening remarks for the ceremony during which he described Sergeant Greg Davignon as one of the best drug enforcement agents in the county. Gentry asked Davignon to address the attendees and speak about his experiences with the RSAT program. During his remarks, Davignon admitted to doubting the program at the start of it’s launch but later came to support it. “I was wrong,” Davignon admitted, “I was dead wrong.” The nine year veteran of law enforcement told the audience he came to recognize that the solution for the drug problem in the community is to “curb the demand” as prison does not beat addictions.

Both Sheriff Gentry and Representative Vaught noted that De Queen has gained state-wide attention from other communities for the success in rehabilitating inmates in the jail system through the RSAT program. Jail administrator Chris Wolcott leads the program and says that the local community benefits from the program as rehabilitated inmates are able to contribute positively to their families and the area workforce after working with the program. Wolcott also noted that volunteers contribute to the program’s success.The celebrate recovery group meets at DQ first assembly of God Church at 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. For more information contact Joe and Hattie Vance by calling 870-584-3435.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/01/19

The House has now completed the third week of the Regular Session.

Today, the House Public Transportation Committee passed HB1006.  This bill increases the minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus from $250 to $500.  It also makes the offense a Class A misdemeanor.

The same committee advanced HB1182 which allows law enforcement to stop a driver using a handheld device in a school zone. The Public Health committee also advanced HB1296 and HB1317.  HB1296 ensures occupational licensing boards do not revoke licenses solely based on delinquency of student loan payments. HB1317 gives Office of Medicaid Inspector General access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The Judiciary Committee advanced legislation including HB1233. This bill clarifies for community corrections that a probationer’s probation begins upon judge issuing verdict.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1021 and HB1020.HB1021 requires newly elected school board members to receive training and instruction on how to read and interpret an audit report in their initial training.

HB1020 allows school districts to consider out of state school experience when considering teacher salary schedule.

The full House passed several bills including HB1012.  This bill authorizes the issuance of a Purple Heart recipient special license plate to a surviving spouse.

The House also passed HB1100. This bill gives a veteran more options to prove his or her veteran status when they go the DMV for a license.  This designation makes it easier on veterans to receive access to benefits.

The House passed HB1239 which updates what is included in a search for a parolee’s residence.  Currently, law enforcement officers and probation officers are not allowed to search an out-building or garage.

The House will convene again on Monday at 1:30pm.

PILGRIM’S EMPLOYEE CELEBRATES 59 YEARS WITH COMPANY 02/01/19

Last month, Pilgrim’s Pride employee Gene Leathers, Sr., accomplished a milestone with the company as he celebrated 59 years of employment with the Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. The near six decades of experience makes Leathers the longest-employed team member the company has at the Nashville/De Queen complex.

To recognize the achievement, Pilgrim’s threw Leathers a party with cake and ice cream, and also hosted a meeting with officials from a Pilgrim’s internal Kickoff Meeting in Charlotte, N.C. Company leaders gave him a round of applause and an award for his long-term commitment to the company.

Plant manager Randy McClellan said “We at Pilgrim’s are proud to have you in our work family and we look forward to working beside you for many more years.”

Pilgrim officials reported that Leathers has been a model team member for 59 years, contributing greatly to the company and inspiring others to be as dedicated as he is to the success of our complex.

Management also expressed thanks to Gene for his hard work and dedication over the last several decades, and wished him many more years of continued success.

LOCAL WOMAN CHARGED WITH DISORDERLY CONDUCT 02/01/19

A Sevier County resident has been charged with disorderly conduct following a report of her being in possession of a weapon while walking on a local highway.

Reports from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department say on Tuesday, January 29th, Deputies Krystin Reed and Wendell Randall were dispatched to Highway 71 in response to calls concerning a woman identified as Belinda Golston. Upon arriving on the scene, officers reported patrolling the area but initially did not locate the suspect on site. Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and the deputies went by an address on Highway 27, where they made contact with Jody Wilson, who reportedly informed the deputies that Golston was located inside the home.

Deputy Randall reportedly questioned Golston about what had happened and she did not respond. He noted observing two rifles behind a butane stove in the home.

Reports say Deputy Dowdle removed the riffles and took them outside. When Deputy Reed asked Golston what happened and she reportedly stated that she had a gun and was going to kill her nephew for lying to her.

Golston was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center for an evaluation. Deputies reported that multiple officers have responded to calls involving Golston recently. Deputy Randall reported that Nurses from the hospital evaluated Golston’s medical needs and attempted to contact several mental health facilities to find a place that could take her but had no success.

Golston was transported to the Sevier County Jail where she was charged with disorderly conduct. A court date has been set for February 26th at the Sevier County Courthouse.

ADDITIONAL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR HOPE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET 02/01/19

Due to the overwhelming response to the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet, tickets for the dinner portion of the event have sold out. President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the event. The chamber and the University of Arkansas-Hope Texarkana have revised the event to allow more people to attend. The annual meeting and awards presentation will follow the dinner and Clinton will speak in the auditorium of Hempstead Hall. Tickets are $21 and must be purchased in advance. The banquet will be held on April 6th at 6:30 p.m. in Hope. Call 870-722-8565 or visit hempsteadhall.com for more information.

NURSING EXPO ANNOUNCED AT UAHT 02/01/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) will hold a Nursing Expo for Employment and Education on April 3, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Hempstead Hall on the Hope campus. All professional nurses (PN, RN, & APRN) and nursing students are invited to attend. The event will offer employment recruitment for professional nurses and nursing students, exposure to educational institutions offering programs to further education and vendors that offer a variety of quality products.

Employers, educational institutions, and vendors from the Ark-La-Tex region and beyond can reserve booth space at the Nursing Expo. Booth space for the event is $50. If you would like to reserve booth space at the Expo, please click on the link below and complete the booth space form. Deadline for reserving booth space is March 15, 2019.

Booth Space Form: https://goo.gl/7oV1Lg

 

 

 

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 01/31/19

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced legislation that will allow a former prison facility to be transferred to a non-profit group helping veterans.The Arkansas Department of Community Correction owns the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff.  The facility has been vacant since 2015, but there are costs to maintain the site.

HB1249 would allow the agency to donate the building to a non-profit group serving veterans released from incarceration. According to testimony in committee, there are currently 1,200 veterans house in the Department of Correction.  There was testimony in committee that this new facility could also assist homeless veterans and those returning from war zones.The legislation states the transfer must be approved by the Governor.

The State Agencies Committee also passed legislation changing the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices.  Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election.  HB1246 extends it to four weeks after the general election. The House Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committee passed HB1264.  This legislation allows a chiropractor, who is trained to work with animals, to provide services to animals without the immediate supervision of a veterinarian.

The House Insurance and Commerce Committee advanced a bill changing the financial reporting date for charitable organizations.  Currently, charitable organizations must file financial reports with the Secretary of State’s office on August 1st of every year.  HB1247 changes the deadline to 180 days after the last date of the organization’s fiscal year.

The House Aging, Children & Youth, Legislative & Military Affairs Committee advanced legislation aimed at opening more childcare facilities in the state.  HB1128 requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website.The committee also passed HB1022 which states that a mandated reporter who in good faith notifies the Child Abuse Hotline is immune from civil and criminal liability.The House convenes on Thursday at 11am.

FORKLIFT CERTIFICATION TRAINING TO BE HELD AT UAHT 01/31/19

A forklift certification training class will be held at the University of Arkansas Hope campus on Saturday, February 23, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Technical & Industrial Building room 160. The class is $75 per person and is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. The class is instructed by Iry T. Rice, owner of Rice Safety Consultants. The class is compliant with OSHA specifications and provides a three-year certification.

For more information or to register, contact Edessa Walton at 870.722.8162 or edessa.walton@uacch.edu.

AGFC REGULATION CHANGES TO BE PRESENTED AT FEBRUARY MEETING 01/31/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold a public meeting to present an update on proposed regulation changes concerning importing, breeding, selling and keeping of captive wildlife species and educational animals in the state. This update presentation will be immediately followed by a question and answer session to further clarify these proposed regulation changes. Anyone who is interested in these regulations or has questions about these regulations is encouraged to attend. The meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 7 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock.

The regulations changes originally were presented during the Commission’s September and October meetings. Modifications to the regulations were made based on public comment, and the final proposals were presented to the Commission at its Jan. 17 meeting. A complete list of regulations changes and link to provide comments is available at www.agfc.com/code. Comments also may be made by email at AskAGFC@agfc.ar.gov with the subject line “Regulations Proposals.” These proposals are expected to be voted on at the Commission’s Feb. 21 meeting

ARKANSAS AG MOVES TO PROTECT RESIDENTS FROM UTILITY RATE INCREASES 01/31/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a settlement with Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) to protect ratepayers from over $3.1 million in unjustified anticipated rate increases, with the company making several major monetary and non-monetary concessions.

On October 1, OG&E requested a $6.4 million increase in rates under its formula rate plan – a 6% increase in retail rates for all major rate classes. Rutledge challenged the requested increase in filings made December 28, as did the general staff of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and the Arkansas River Valley Energy Consumers group, an affiliation of several large business customers.

  • The increase is reduced to $3.3 million – a reduction of more than $3.1 million, or 48%, from the requested increase – and the increase is now 3% for all major rate classes.
  • As urged by the Attorney General, OG&E is required to report and document how its proposed investments in grid modernization will benefit all of its customers.
  • OG&E is required to report and document how its proposed investments in transmission assets will be reimbursed by other states through its regional transmission organization, the Southwest Power Pool.

A hearing on the settlement is set for February 7, but all parties have requested that the Commission waive the hearing. The Commission is required to rule by March 12, and the increase will be effective with April bills.

AR-TEX REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW CEO 01/31/19

Sonja Yates Hubbard, of the AR-TX Regional Economic Development, announced the appointment of Robert Sitterley as the organization’s first President and CEO on Wednesday.

The organization’s mission to build a stronger economy for southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas.
Hubbard is on the AR-TX group’s Board of Directors which consists of community leaders from both Bowie and Miller Counties. The organization began the search for a CEO last year in 2018. AR-TX REDI organizers launched the organization’s quest to hire a president at a community event in September 2018. Governors from both sides of the state line participated in support of AR-TX REDI’s initiative. Texarkana Arkansas Mayor Allen Brown said that collaborating with AR-TX REDI is top on his list as he begins his term of office.
Bowie County Judge James Carlow said the success of AR-TX REDI is the predictor of the future prosperity of the entire region.

INJURED TROOPER MOVED TO REHAB FACILITY 01/31/19

An update has been announced on the condition of Arkansas State Trooper, Corporal Clayton McWilliams who suffered serious injuries in an accident while responding to the scene of a wreck in Sevier County earlier this month. Last week McWilliams was transferred from a Little Rock hospital to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehab and Research Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32 was driving to the crash scene along U.S. Highway 71 near Wilton when his vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. Weather conditions are believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash.

McWilliams was transferred to the Houston rehab center on Jan. 22. The center is ranked third in the nation for medical rehabilitation and research.

An additional fundraiser to help the McWilliams family offset medical costs has been planned for Thursday, February 7th at Little River Nursing and Rehab center from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

DEPUTIES FIND DRUG PARAPHERNALIA IN TRAFFIC STOP 01/30/19

A man is facing Felony drug possession charges after being pulled over by Sevier County Deputies in De Queen Tuesday.

A report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department says Sergeant Greg Davignon and Deputy Justin Gentry observed a small white car pull up several feet over the stop line at the intersection of Highway 71 and Colin Raye drive while on patrol January 29th.Sergeant Davignon reportedly turned his patrol unit around to conduct a traffic stop on the driver of the vehicle and noted the driver took longer than expected to come to a complete stop.

The driver of the car was identified as Jason Wells. According to the police report Sergeant Davignon says digital scales were discovered in the rear floorboard of the driver’s seat, which caused the suspicion that other possible drugs and paraphernalia could be located inside the vehicle.

Wells was asked to step out of the vehicle for a pat down and complied. Reports state that during a search, The digital scales were found to contain a white residue and red straws cut in half. A taser and a glass smoking pipe with residue were also discovered in Wells’ possession. Sergeant Davignon reported that his training and experience lead him to believe the items were consistent with Methamphetamine use. Jason Wells was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with Drug Paraphernalia class D felony. A court date has been set for Thursday, January 31st at The Sevier County Court House.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HIGH SCHOOLS MEET TO DISCUSS CAREER CENTER PROGRAM UPDATES 01/30/19

Secondary Career & Technical Education Center at U of A Hope-Texarkana

School officials from Arkansas High, Ashdown, Blevins, Fouke, Genoa, Hope, Lafayette County, Nevada, Prescott, and Spring Hill School Districts met today at Hempstead Hall to discuss opportunities for students at the new Secondary Career & Technical Education Center at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT).

The UAHT Secondary Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center is an area secondary career center located on U of A Texarkana Campus, Arkansas High School Campus in Texarkana, and the U of A Hope Campus. The Center provides area high school juniors and seniors with the unique opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school at no charge. The center’s curriculum serves as an extension of the high school curriculum offerings by providing students with hands-on experiences in a variety of career fields taught by UAHT Faculty.

Areas of study in the Center will include:
• Industrial Equipment Technologies
• Medical Professions – General Health Option
• Medical Professions – Certified Nursing Assistant Option
• Welding Technology

Students will also have the opportunity to graduate high school with certificates of proficiency in the following:
• Certificate of Proficiency in Industrial Maintenance Technology
• Certificate of Proficiency in Certified Nursing Assistant
• Certificate of Proficiency in Basic Welding

Prospective students apply for admission to the UAHT Secondary Career & Technical Education Center programs through their local high school counselors. Please see your high school counselor as soon as possible to sign up for fall classes.

For more information, contact Mikki Curtis, Secondary Career Center Director, at 870-722-8133 or mikki.curtis@uacch.edu.

COLLEGE IN MENA BEGINS NEW SOCCER PROGRAM 01/30/19

UA Rich Mountain has a new Soccer program and the university has hired Bryan Byrd as its first coach. Coach Byrd comes to UARM by way of Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Texas. Before Byrd’s arrival at Coastal Bend the team only won one game in 14 years. In his 5 years at Coastal Bend, Byrd led the program to the regional semi-finals or finals every year. UARM Athletic Director, Morris Boydstun says that the school has landed “The best candidate we had” and that he was surprised that a coach with trips to multiple divisional and state playoffs championships plus four Championship Cups was interested in the position.

Being a new program, Coach Byrd says he has already contacted FC Dallas to inquire about potential recruits. The recruiter for the Major League Soccer club is putting together a list of athletes who would be a good fit for UARM. Byrd has also reached out to the director of Sporting Kansas City to seek out the best athletes who have not committed to a club as yet Coach Byrd has designated February 17th as a day for local tryouts. “Bucks Athletics” can be followed on social media for more information.

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER SCHEDULED IN HOT SPRINGS 01/30/19

The 15th annual Chocolate festival has been announced for this weekend.

The event will be held at the embassy suites hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Sunday, February 3rd 2019. The chocolate festival serves as a fundraiser for the Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic. Admission is $15.00 in advance, $20.00 at the door, $50.00 VIP and all proceeds benefit the medical, dental, and vision clinics for the Bridges out of Poverty Getting Ahead programs Bakers may enter their chocolate treats in a competition to take place during the event. Any person interested in volunteering the day of event, donating sponsorship, or participating in the silent auction may contact Lynn at 501-318-1153

ASHDOWN SENIOR HIGH STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN REGION CLINIC 01/30/19

Members of the Ashdown Senior High School Band participated in the Region 2 All Region Band Clinic on January 25-26 at Lake Hamilton High School.
(l-r) Noah Pounds 2nd Band, 1st Chair (Qualified for All State Tryouts), Xavier Daniels 1st Band, 1st Chair (Qualified for All State Tryouts), Nate Boley 2nd Band, 8th Chair, Tryston McCandless 1st Band, 4th Chair (Qualified for All State Tryouts, ), Brayden Porter 2nd Band, 5th Chair and Anthony Knudson 2nd Band, 1st Chair (Qualified for All State Tryouts – Alternate).
Not Pictured: T’Nia Washington 1st Alternate
Noah Pounds, Xavier Daniels, Tyston McCandless, and Anthony Knudson will travel to University of Central Arkansas in Conway to tryout for All State on Saturday, February 2.

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY ANNOUNCED 01/30/19

Events and programs for the Sevier County Library system have been announced for the month of February.

The De Queen Branch will be hosting a valentine’s story and fun with Klondike event on February 13th at 4:00 p.m. The first 30 children will get to make valentine’s with Klondike for the local senior living facility. Little Bear story time for the kids will be held Wednesday, February 20th at 10:00 a.m. Call the De Queen Branch at 584-4364 for more information.

The Horatio library will be hosting a valentine’s program on February 2nd at 10:00 a.m. and a teddy bear clinic for kids on February 16th. Children are invited to bring their teddy bear to the library as Klondike the bear will talk with kids about going to the doctor. The Horatio library offers free WI-FI, magnified books for the visually impaired, notary services and they will continue to hold their regular dominoes game on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m throughout the month of February.

On Saturday, February 9th the “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it” book club” will meet at the Lockesburg Library at 10:00 a.m. This book discussion will be about Agatha Christie’s novel “and then there were none.” A new program called “momsit” designed for moms with children under age 2 is scheduled for Thursdays at 4:00 p.m. An adult painting program called “painting without a twist” is planned for February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. The program is limited to 10 participants and all supplies are provided. Call 870-289-2233 for more information about the Lockesburg library programs.

The Gillham Library will host story time and crafts on Saturday February 9th at 2:00 p.m. Robert B. Parker’s Blood Feud by Mike Lupia and Nora Roberts is now available to be placed on hold. Call 870-386-5665. The Gillham Library can be found on Facebook.com/gillhamlibrary.

CHANGES AT DE QUEEN AND DIERKS LAKES LISTED IN NEW AGFC GUIDEBOOKS 01/30/19

The latest edition of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing and trout fishing guidebooks are being distributed to AGFC offices and license dealers around the state. The guide is free and contains a few changes from 2018.

Changes in the 2019 guides include:

  • Removal of the restriction on common carp as bait on Dierks Lake in Howard County and De Queen Lake in Sevier County.
  • Reduction of sport fish daily creel limits on Lake June in Lafayette County during its renovation.
  • Application period for 2020 trophy alligator gar tags (required for harvesting an alligator gar longer than 36 inches) will be Nov. 1-Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Addition of the White Hall Community Pond in Jefferson County and the Arkansas State University Pond in Craighead County to Family and Community Fishing Program daily limits and restrictions.
  • Prohibiting all possession of live Asian carp.

Visit www.agfc.com/guidebooks to download a copy for your home computer or smartphone, or pick one up at any AGFC nature centerregional office or license dealer.

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT CANCELS CLASSES FOR REMAINDER OF THE WEEK 01/29/19

The flu virus has impacted the Horatio School district significantly this week. The district has reported more than 300 students out absent today, Tuesday January 29th. In an effort to prevent further illness and loss of instructional time, the district announced the release of students at noon and will be closing all campuses for the remainder of the week.
Tonight’s game against Murfreesboro has been cancelled as well. Any additional changes to the rest of the week’s games will be posted at a later time.

Horatio school district plans to resume classes as normal on Monday, February 4th. The days out this week will be AMI or Digital Days.

Again, Horatio Schools have released as of today at noon and will resume classes on February 4th.

LEGACY INITIATIVES RECEIVES GRANT TO ASSIST LAID-OFF DE QUEEN MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEES 01/29/19

De Queen, ARK– Legacy Initiatives, a 501c3 in Sevier County that focuses on community development projects announced that it has received a $35,000 grant to assist employees recently impacted by layoffs at the De Queen Medical Center. Recent financial challenges have caused the hospital and some of its employees hardship, creating a wave of concern throughout the community.

This grant will help provide some immediate assistance and relief to families who
were caught off-guard with an unexpected job loss.
“Walmart has long proven its committed to continue Sam Walton’s love for communities and people through their charitable giving. We are very grateful for their assistance and partnership.”said Chad Gallagher, Legacy Initiatives founder. “We are especially grateful to Kevin Sherry, with our local Walmart, who worked hard to ensure these funds became a reality.

We appreciate his leadership and partnership.” he continued.

The funds were awarded through Walmart’s Strategic Initiatives Program. Through this program Walmart is positively impacting communities all across the world.

“Our hospital is a tremendous asset to our community and we have excellent healthcare workers. I am pleased to see Walmart and Legacy partner together for these families. This is a perfect example of proactive efforts making a difference.” said Dr. Jason Lofton, Sevier County Health Officer and a director with Legacy Initiatives.

Legacy Initiatives focuses on community development projects in the areas of healthcare, historic preservation, economic development, and the arts. Other current Legacy Initiatives projects include: the development of the FUSION Art Center downtown, new biking trails at the De Queen Lake, a free annual health screening clinic, a minority tobacco cessation program, and the restoration of the Historic Presbyterian Church.

“A bright future for our community will require proactive and creative partnerships and efforts. It also includes a thriving healthcare operation. There’s no doubt that together we can overcome any obstacle.” Gallagher said.

Former employees of De Queen Medical Center laid off should contact Whitney Tatum at whitney.tatum@legacymail.org or by calling Legacy Initiatives at 870.642.8937 to make application for assistance.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANNOUNCES PROJECTS IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY  01/29/19

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Little River County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials. The purpose of this project is to resurface approximately 2.9 miles of selected sections of various city streets in Ashdown to include:

Byrne Street, W. Cowling Street, W. Richmond Street, E. Main
Street, N. Wallace Drive, Belmont Avenue, Dove Street, Bryan Avenue, Deerwood Drive, and S. Beech Street.

Tri State Asphalt, Inc. of De Queen was awarded the contract at $496,701.00.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in early 2019. Travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ArDOT.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter @myARDOT.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANNOUNCES PROJECTS IN POLK COUNTY 01/29/19

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Polk County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation
(ARDOT) officials. The purpose of this project is to resurface .6 miles of selected sections of various city streets in Grannis to include Frachiseur Road and Line Road.

Tri State Asphalt, Inc. of De Queen was awarded the contract at $249,148.57.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion isexpected in mid 2019. Travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ArDOT.gov. You can also follow us
on Twitter @myARDOT.

ARKANSAS AG OFFICE ARRESTS DENTIST FOR MEDICAID FRAUD 01/29/19

Monday Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a North Little Rock dentist for making false statements on billing records to the Arkansas Medicaid Program

Dr. Brian Moore, 47, of Maumelle, is accused of billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services not rendered between January 24, 2016 and December 31, 2017, totaling about $9,000. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Moore was arrested today at his North Little Rock business. He is charged with two counts of Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony and a Class A misdemeanor.

Records indicate Moore submitted false dental information on patients between the ages of 2 and 21 so that the recipient’s dental conditions appeared they needed to receive, and were eligible for, various dental services, such as amalgam and resin composite fillings in order to bill the Medicaid program.

This investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the two State dental managed care companies, Delta Dental of Arkansas and Managed Care of North American, and the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov.

 

BEYOND BOW WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN PLANNED  IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 01/29/19

A workshop for women interested in learning to trap furbearing animals has been schedueld for this weekend in Southwest, Arkansas. This event will take place at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center and surrounding WMA on Friday, February 1st 2019 at 4 p.m. through Feb. 3, 2019 at noon.

The event is called Beyond BOW and will guide participants through learning regulations, teaching how to set traps for each furbearing species, processing fur and more. Participants will have the opportunity to set traps and check for a catch.

Lodging and meals will be provided by the education center. Space is limited to 25 participants and admission is free . To register or for more information, call 870-983-2790.

WOMAN FACING MULTIPLE CHARGES AFTER LOCKESBURG WRECK 01/28/19

A woman and two female minors were hospitalized for injuries after a single-car wreck on Highway 24 in Lockesburg last week.  The accident occurred around 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7 Up Ranch Road. Police arrived on the scene around 4:30 p.m.

Arkansas State Police reports state Lockesburg resident Wendy Michelle Burge was traveling west in the rain in a 1990 Ford truck when she attempted to pass another car in a no passing zone and she lost control of her vehicle. Reports state her vehicle crossed the center line and left the road on the north side. The truck rolled over in a ditch and then crashed into a tree.

Inside the vehicle alcohol containers were found scattered around which has lead police to believe alcohol may have factored into the cause of the crash. An 8-year-old passenger in the vehicle was transported to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana by Southwest EMS and another female minor passenger was transported to De Queen Medical Center. Burge is now facing charges of DWI, endangering the welfare of a minor, improper passing and not wearing a seat belt. Burge was also found operating a vehicle without a license or insurance and caused an estimated $500 in property damage to a fence.

 

FATALITY IN LOCKESBURG WRECK SUNDAY 01/28/19

A twenty-year-old Lockesburg man passed away in an automobile accident that occurred Sunday evening in Sevier County.

Arkansas state police reports indicate that Bobby Smith was driving a 2010 Ford Fusion traveling North on Highway 71 when his vehicle crossed the center line into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a 2017 Volvo tractor-trailer.

Smith died at the scene.

The accident occurred at approximately 4:45 p.m. Sunday January 27th.

Weather and road conditions were described as clear and dry at the time of the accident.

GILLHAM MAN FACING DOMESTIC BATTERY CHARGES 01/28/19

A Sevier County man is facing domestic battery charges in the 3rd degree after police responded to a 911 call on Thursday January 24th in Gillham.

A report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department says a woman called deputies to report that her husband, Joe Nemeth, had been abusing her and holding her against her will at their Gillham home on Clinton Crossing. Deputies Wendell Randall and Matt Webb spoke with Nemeth in the front yard upon arrival at the residence.

Webb reportedly spoke with Nemeth about the incident while Randall made contact with the victim who placed the call. The report states that the woman informed deputies that she was getting ready for a doctor’s appointment and her husband became angry that she wasn’t getting ready fast enough. According to the police report the victim claimed her husband starting putting his hands on her neck and was choking her and at one point pushed her up against the wall of their house.The victim reportedly told the deputies that incident had occurred before on other occasions. The report states that the victim said she was able to get out of the room and go outside, but her husband kept trying to get in front of her so she could not leave the residence. The woman also told deputies that her husband scratched her on the stomach and on her back. She reportedly informed the deputies that she did want to press charges.

Deputy Webb took pictures of her injuries as well as photos of the home where the incident occurred. Joe Nemeth was taken into custody and transported to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office where he was read his rights and he acknowledged that he understood.

Nemeth reportedly told deputies that he did not choke his wife or put his hands on her in any other way. When asked about why he barricaded his wife in a room of their house, he claimed the incident did not happen. Upon completion of the interview, Randall asked Nemeth if he would write a statement as to what had happened but Nemeth said that he did not wish to write a statement but rather explain his case to a judge.

Nemeth was booked into the jail for domestic battery in the 3rd degree and will appear before a judge at the next available court date.

 

HOUSE WRAPS UP SECOND WEEK OF REGULAR SESSION 01/28/19

The House has now wrapped up the second week of the Regular Session. More than 250 bills have been filed in the House so far.  And more than 150 have been filed in the Senate. Committees heard proposals on everything from restructuring our state government to rules about sunscreen use in schools. The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee started reviewing the government transformation legislation.

HB1070 contains the general provisions for the transformation.  It creates 15 departments.If passed, a secretary will serve as the executive head of each department.  The secretaries will be appointed by the Governor.  Currently, there are 42 agencies reporting directly to the Governor.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation to reduce the costs of a concealed carry license.  HB1036 reduces the costs of the initial application from $100 to $50.  It reduces the costs of the renewal fee from $35 to $25.Ultimately, 16 pieces of legislation will be filed.  After each proposal is vetted by the committee, the sponsor will consolidate all the changes to one comprehensive bill for a vote. A posted chart of the proposed changes is online at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

ARKANSAS AG HOLDS OVERDOSE INVESTIGATION TRAINING 01/28/19

Last week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge partnered with the National Association of Attorneys General Training and Research Institute to host the Overdose Death Investigation and Prosecution training. More than 300 law enforcement officers, coroners and prosecutors attended.

“We are losing too many of our friends and loved ones to opioid addiction,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is imperative those on the front lines know how to address and examine the information at the scene. While the number of overdose deaths is absolutely heartbreaking, I fear the numbers are even greater as people may be unaware of the tell-tale signs of heroin and fentanyl deaths.”

The training covered drug overdose death investigation techniques, discussed legal requirements and issues involved in drug overdose death investigations. The training also addressed drug safety awareness particular to heroin and fentanyl and highlighted proper evidence handling and protocols.

The purpose of the training was to change the mindset from accident to homicide in responding to and investigating drug overdose deaths, including what evidence to look for, documenting the death scene, electronic evidence, witness and suspect interview techniques, search and seizure issues, legal theory and case development, intelligence gathering and sharing, officer safety with dealing with drugs like fentanyl, and case analysis.

UA COSSATOT ENROLLMENT UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/28/19

UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole gave an update on enrollment and upcoming new programs at Wednesday’s meeting of the Nashville Rotary Club.

The college currently has 1,390 students enrolled this semester, about a one percent decrease from last year. However Cole said the college has seen a four percent increase in full time equivalent students.

New programs at UA Cossatot include the industrial maintenance institute at Lockesburg. College administrators are exploring offering collision repair and computer technologies on the Nashville campus. Another program looking at expanding with other nearby colleges is the truck driving course.

 

DE QUEEN MIDDLE SCHOOL RECEIVES ROBOTICS GRANT 01/28/19

Dr. Scott White, SAU, and Mary Lowrey, De Queen Middle School Science Teacher,co-authored a grant for 10 Arduino Hummingbird Robotics Kits through SAU STEM Center.  The grant specifically required funds be used to further the interest and education of middle school students in building and designing through technology. The grant was accepted and the kits were purchased and delivered to De Queen Middle School this past week. Pictured with the Hummingbird kits are DMS science teachers: Mary Lowrey, Stacy Faulkenberry and Adam Matthews; along with DMS principal, Lance Pinkerton, and assistant principal, Brandon Lindly.

CLINTON BIRTHPLACE HOME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE RE-OPENS 01/28/19

Hope, AR – With enactment of the continuing resolution, staff at President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site has resumed regular operations as of 1/27/2019 at noon. Please visit www.nps.gov/wicl for updated information about the historic site.
President Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site employees are happy to be back at work, serving people and welcoming visitors to their national parks.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees who care for America’s 418 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

 

BODY FOUND IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 01/25/19

Authorities said Thursday they discovered the body of a 58-year-old Amity man.

Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson said in a news release that police found the body of John Ratton near Norris Road, a few miles north of Amity.

The sheriff’s office said two people were in custody, but the individuals haven’t been formally charged.

Ratton’s body will be taken to the State Crime Lab, Watson said.

Watson said authorities are still investigating.

Amity is located about 33 miles southwest of Hot Springs.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 01/25/19

On Thursday, the House passed legislation aimed at protecting employees when it comes to microchip technology.  HB1177 provides rights for employees including the right to refuse an implant, have it removed, and access to the data collected.  The bill also ensures that the employer is responsible for costs incurred. The bill passed with a vote of 84-4.

In a vote of 97-0, the House passed HB1016.  This legislation reduces the amount of time that a petition to seal a criminal record can be open before a court can act upon it.  It reduces the time from 90 days to 30 days.  The sponsor of the legislation explained this reduction could be beneficial to offenders who have served their sentence and are attempting to reintegrate into society.

The House also passed HB1076 which amends the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program.  This program allows Arkansans with disabilities to save up to $15,000 in an account without impacting eligibility for many public benefits.  HB1076 ensures that in the event of a death, the money in that savings account cannot be seized by Medicaid but can instead be transferred to a designated beneficiary.

The Education Committee passed HB1167 which allows students to apply their own sunscreen at school or on field trips.  Currently, sunscreen can only be applied in school by a school nurse since the FDA considers it an over the counter medication.

The House Revenue and Tax Committee advanced HB1005.  This bill seeks to clear up confusion for retailers regarding the sales tax on candy and soft drinks.  The legislation requires DF&A to either provide a list of products to be taxed or not subject a retailer to penalties if the retailer demonstrates a good faith effort to collect and remit the tax payments.

The House will reconvene on Monday, January 28 at 1:30pm.

 

NEW ARKANSAS AG MOBILE OFFICE LOCATIONS ANNOUNCED 01/25/19

This week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced mobile office locations for February.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans.

Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices.

The upcoming mobile office schedule for February includes stops in:

Garland County

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 10:30 a.m. to noon, CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs Senior Center

Hot Springs, AR 71901

Saline County, Thursday, Feb. 7, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Central Arkansas Development Center Benton Senior Wellness and Activity Center

Benton, AR 72015

Visit ArkansasAG.gov for more information.

UAHT KIDS COLLEGE TEACHERS BEING ACCEPTED 01/25/19

Teaching proposals for Kids’ College at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana are being accepted now. If you are interested in teaching, please submit a detailed class proposal for each age group, each week, and each class you wish to teach by 3:30 p.m. on February 1, 2019. Class topics will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis from proposals as they are received. Applicants must be team players and have prior teaching experience. A teaching license is preferred, but not required.

Kids’ College dates and times for 2019 include:

June 10-13
Morning sessions: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., for students entering 1st and 2nd grade (6-10 students per class)
Afternoon sessions, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., for students entering 3rd and 4th grade (12-15 students per class)

June 17-20
Morning sessions: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., for students entering 1st and 2nd grade (6-10 students per class)
Afternoon sessions: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., for students entering 3rd and 4th grade (12-15 students per class)

June 24-27
Morning sessions: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., for students entering 5th and 6th grade (6-10 students per class)
Afternoon sessions: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., for students entering 5th and 6th grade (12-15 students per class)

For more details and to submit a proposal, visit http://www.uacch.edu/business-community/kids-college/kids-college-employment-opportunities/. For more information contact Edessa Walton at 870-722-8102 or edessa.walton@uacch.edu.

 

AGFC TO HOST TROUT FISHING CLINIC 01/25/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special trout-fishing derby and clinic in Little Rock next week for through its Family and Community Fishing Program.

One thousand rainbow trout from the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery will be stocked at MacArthur Park Pond in Little Rock and the FCFP will hold a special fishing derby for all ages from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 26.

Youths do not need a license or trout stamp to fish in Arkansas, and the derby is free. Anglers 16 and older are welcome to fish as well, but they must have a valid AGFC fishing license and trout stamp, available to purchase at www.agfc.com.

Anglers must bring their own bait and tackle, and chairs or coolers to sit on are strongly encouraged.

Call 501-907-0636 to register for the clinic. Registration is not required for the derby.

Visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing for more information on the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program.

ARKANSAS TOURISM HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES TO BE RECOGNIZED AT GOVERNORS CONFERENCE 01/26/19

Bill Barnes, president of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts, and Robert Moore, a farmer and politician, will be inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during a noon luncheon Monday, Feb. 25, during the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference will be held in Hot Springs on Feb. 24-26, 2019.

The Hall of Fame honor is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have been actively involved in tourism for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole.

Bill Barnes

Born in Wyoming in 1948, Barnes graduated from Hot Springs High School and studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma, and at Forest Park College in Missouri. He was also inducted into the Arkansas Hospitality Hall of Fame in 1999.

Robert Moore

An Arkansan who loves music, writing, bicycling and outdoor recreation, Moore was born in Dumas in 1945. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and obtained a degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry and the Vietnam War. He currently resides in Arkansas City.

For information on the Hall of Fame Awards, contact Leigha Jones at 501-682-1676.

For information on the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism or to register to attend, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1926.

 

ASHDOWN ELEMENTARY CELEBRATES 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL 01/25/19

Mrs. Tate’s 100-year-old mom “Dear” read to students at Ashdown Elementary school in celebration of the 100th day of school, Thursday January 24th. Mrs. Green was born and raised in Ashdown.

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Ashdown Elementary teacher Mrs. Brenda Tate with her mom Mrs. Lessie Green, better known as Dear
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ADE VISITS ASHDOWN SCHOOLS 01/23/19
Crystal Beshears from the Arkansas Department of Education School of Innovation and Cindy Hogue from the Department of Education visited Ashdown High School in order to assist and instruct AHS in being designated a School of Innovation.  The ladies met throughout the day with students, staff, administrators, school board members, community members, business partners and staff from area universities to discuss the benefits of the changes as well as ways that the program could be improved.

They were even treated to coffee from the AHS Serenity Cafe coffee shop and entertained by the AHS Choir.  AHS students and staff were very open with the team in discussing the positive changes they have seen this year in the addition of advisory time with teachers,1:1 ratio of students-Chromebooks, and the additions of LIMI (Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute) and CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) programs.

According to AHS Principal Kay York, “The team from the ADE left our school with lots of positive comments about us being well on our way to having a designation site visit.  The outpouring of support and encouragement from the students, community, and staff has been over the top.”

Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “Our passion is for our kids, we want to be innovative and think outside of the box in order to serve them in the best way possible to provide them all the opportunities that they will need to graduate from Ashdown High School and either continue their education in college, trade school, or the workforce.”

NEW LEGISLATION MOVING FORWARD IN ARKANSAS 01/23/19

Representative DeAnn Vaught has provided KDQN with an update announcing Two pieces of legislation addressing the opioid crises in Arkansas moved forward Tuesday.

With a vote of 97-0, the House voted to advance HB1013 to the Senate.  This bill adds podiatrists to the list of healthcare providers subject to rules regarding schedule II narcotics.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced HCR1003.  This resolution encourages collaboration among healthcare providers, law enforcement, educators, public officials, and the Arkansas community in battling prescription drug abuse.

Also advancing in the Public Health Committee is a bill to require newborn screenings for spinal muscular atrophy.  HB1074 also requires insurance policies to cover the screening.  According to testimony presented in committee, there is a new treatment available if it is detected early.

The same committee advanced HB1076 and HB1177.

HB1076 amends the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program.  This program allows Arkansans will disabilities to having a savings account up to $15,000 without impacting eligibility for many public benefits.  HB1076 ensures that in the event of a death, the money in that savings account cannot be seized by the state but can instead be transferred to a designated beneficiary.

HB1177 concerns microchip implantation of employees. Currently, there are no laws governing this technology.  HB1177 provides rights for employees including the right to refuse an implant, have it removed, and access to the data collected.  The bill also ensures that the employer is responsible for costs incurred.

A bill now making its way to the Senate addresses the large animal veterinary shortage in the state.  HB1124 creates certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist. It passed the House with a vote of 96-0.

The House convened again today, Wednesday January 23rd at 1:30pm.

VICTOR ROJAS NAMED CHAIRMAN OF SEVIER COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY 01/23/19

During a Tuesday meeting, members of the Sevier County Democratic Party unanimously elected Victor J. Rojas to fill the role of chairman.

“It is an honor to serve as chairman for this new two-year cycle,” said Rojas. “Humbled by the trust placed in me, I am committed to bringing new energy and ideaswith a bold vision for the future.”

In 2018, Rojas was a candidate for District 6 Justice of the Peace. His past political experience includes serving on the state party’s platform committee and volunteering for various campaigns. Last year, Rojas was presented with the Emerging Leader Award from the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

KDQN INTERVIEWS SENATOR BALLINGER ABOUT MINIMUM WAGE BILL 01/23/19

Arkansas State Senator Bob Ballinger last week introduced Senate Bill 115, which would add exceptions to the States original minimum wage law, as well as subsequent minimum wage legislation, including last November’s Initiated Act 5, which would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $11.00 an hour by 2021.

The Bill, if passed, would provide exceptions to the minimum wage law for individuals under eighteen, educational institutions, employers with fewer than fifty employees, and nonprofit organizations, as well as amend the law impacting Initiated Act 5 Of 2018.

The Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee will hosted a hearing on this Bill, Wednesday, January 23rd at 10am.

CAR FIRE HANDLED IN DE QUEEN MONDAY 01/23/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to the scene of a car fire on E Vandervoort Monday Morning.

Ten firefighters and two trucks assisted in containing the fire that occurred around 7:40 a.m. near parkhill pre-school. A firefighter with the department says the fire was fully involved when they arrived on the scene, just three minutes after being dispatched.

The car on fire was discovered to be a 2013 Lincoln Navigator owned by William Anderson of De Queen. The crew extinguished the flames with water and foam in approximately 40 minutes and left the scene by 8:20 a.m.

Reports say the owner does have insurance and no injuries were reported.

DIERKS SCHOOLS EXTEND SUPERINTENDENT CONTRACT AT JANUARY MEETING 01/23/19

The Dierks School Board met Monday, January 21st and extended Superintendent Jody Cowart’s contract through the 2022 school year. Cowart reported during the financial report that several line items saw an increase in revenue above last year. He received approval from the school board to move forward with a fiber project that would be funded partly by e-rate funding, if the application is accepted. In a related technology agenda item, the board approved the purchase of 46 Chromebooks to be used by the elementary school at a total cost of $11,382.

Other technology purchases did not require board approval, since those costs were below $10,000. Both school campuses recently received $10,000 grants from Weyerhaeuser and the elementary school also received a $5,000 grant from Arvest for technology upgrades.

High school principal Jeff Jones says he is working towards having the campus one to one, providing a device for each student, next school year. Board members also approved raising the classified substitute teacher pay from $65 per day to $70 to stay in line with the minimum wage increase.

The board approved the following substitute hirings: Alayna Morphew, Aide K Soto Sanchez, Terry Helms, Gayla Rowe and Lina Goodner.

28 INMATES BAPTIZED AT SEVIER COUNTY JAIL TUESDAY 01/23/19

A baptism ceremony was held at the Sevier County Jail in De Queen Tuesday afternoon. The ceremony was facilitated by Joe and Hattie Vance of the Celebrate Recovery program and 28 inmates participated in the service.

Pastor Ray Reynolds of De Queen First Assembly of God Church conducted the baptisms and of the 28 inmates baptized there were 22 men and 6 women in the ceremony.

The inmates were presented certificates after the baptisms were held and pictures were taken after the event. The baptisms are a part of the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program, also known as RSAT.

Joe and Hattie Vance will be facilitating a Graduation Ceremony for the RSAT program on Thursday, January 31st at De Queen First Assembly at 6:00 p.m. The guest speaker for the event will be Representative Dee Ann Vaught. The public is welcome to attend.

ASHDOWN ELEMENTARY STUDENTS COMPETE IN CHESS TOURNAMENT 01/23/19

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Ashdown students competed Friday, January 18th at the DeQueen-Mena Co-op in Gilliam, AR.
Ty Tong placed 3rd in the 6th grade division and 
Hayden Altenbaumer placed 2nd in 4th grade
Back row (l-r) Zavier Conkleton, Ben Parker, Nataleigh Wharton, Ty Tong, Hayden Altenbaumer, Jackson Hamby, and Gunnar Altenbaumer
Front row (l-r) Kutter Dollarhide, Tyler Graf, and Destiny Curtis

 

DIERKS RESIDENT RECEIVES AGRICULTURE AWARD 01/22/19

The Arkansas Agriculture Department recently recognized several forestry commission employees for their years of service. Shane Booth, District 2 Forester at Dierks received his 20 year service award. Prior to Dierks, he worked for 17 years at the AFC Stuttgart office. Booth has also been selected to receive the District Forester of the Year award, which he will receive on February 14th.

The forestry commission also recently announced several other awards. Rodney Haney of Pike County received the District Employee of the Year award. Jerry Huff in Polk County recently received a Masonic Community Service Award.

ASHDOWN BAND STUDENTS PERFORM IN TEXARKANA 01/22/19

Five Ashdown High School Band students were selected and performed on Saturday, January 19th with the Four States Bandmasters Clinic/Concerts in Texarkana, TX at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center.
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(l to r) Brayden Porter 2nd band 2nd chair; Anthony Knudson 2nd band 1st chair; Noah Pounds 2nd band 1st chair; Ian Boley 2nd band 3rd chair; and Xavier Daniels 1st band 6th chair.

AGFC TO HOST STATEWIDE WORKSHOPS FOR PROPERTY OWNERS 01/22/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in cooperation with Quail Forever and the Arkansas Forestry Association, will be hosting special workshops for land managers on how and when to use fire to promote better wildlife habitat on their property. Workshops are scheduled in a variety of cities across Arkansas and the locations will be announced at a later date. The current list of scheduled workshops includes dates in Malvern, Mountain View and Ash Flat in the next few weeks

With proper conditions and supervision, fire can be a very valuable tool for a landowner to increase valuable wildlife habitat on his or her property.

During the workshop landowners also will be able to meet with private lands biologists in their area and learn about some of the programs available.

The workshops all will be held in a classroom setting, and lunch will be provided to all attendees who register in advance. The following workshops are being sponsored by the AGFC, Quail Forever, and the Arkansas Forestry Association.

Malvern
Feb. 14, 2019
Malvern 4H Center
1407 MLK Blvd., Malvern AR 72104
Register at www.eventbrite.com/e/learn-to-burn-tickets-malvern

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL RELEASES STATEMENT ON DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY 01/22/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a statement Monday in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day of service.

Rutledge said:

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for all Americans to reflect on the work of a man who was tireless in his dedication to freedom and justice for all,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Communities around Arkansas will pause today to reflect and celebrate Dr. King and his dream of equality for citizens across the country. But today is not only a day of remembrance; it is also a day to honor his memory by giving back and serving our communities where it is needed most.”

Rutledge attended the Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission’s Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at the Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock.

ASHDOWN NIGHT LIBRARY SCHEDULES ANNOUNCED 01/22/19

Ashdown Elementary Night Library will meet each Monday when school is in session. It begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 6:30 and will be located in the C.D. Franks Library located next to the Margaret Daniel Building. Mrs. Tami Cross and Mrs. Phyllis Veazey will be managing FNL.
Students will be able to read books and take Accelerated Reader (AR) tests on those books.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is the most popular and successful reading product of all time. AR’s advanced technology helps teachers:
• Make essential reading practice more effective for every student
• Personalize reading practice to each student’s current level
• Build a lifelong love of reading and learning
FNL is a great opportunity for parents and students to spend quality time together ready.

Students at L.F. Henderson Intermediate are invited to “Think Big Thursday” Night Library.  They are able to read, take AR Tests, and get help with other homework.  Night Library is from 4-6:30 p.m. on the following Thursdays.

Dates are:
January:  24, 31
February: 7, 21, and 28
March: 7, 14, 28
April: 4, 11, 18, 25
May: 2, 9, 16

All students at AJHS are welcome to attend Night Library to make up work, take tests, study, homework, get math tutoring, or take A.R. tests.  Night Library is held in the AJHS Library Media Center on Mondays & Tuesdays from 3:30pm-4:45pm.

Math & Literacy Tutoring are on Mondays & Tuesdays from 3:30pm-4:30pm.

Students will sign in and out, but are not required to stay the entire time.  A phone is available for students to use as parents are responsible for transportation home.  Students MUST be picked up by 5:00pm

2019 SCHEDULE:
January  22, 28, 29
February 4, 5, 11, 12, 19, 25, 26
March 4, 5, 11, 12, 25, 26
April 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21

Dates are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, students will be notified at school of any changes.

The Program Coordinator is Karen Vice and she can be reached at 870-898-5138 or kvice@ashdownschools.org for more information.

Students at Ashdown High School are able to arrive early each school morning and go to  the library to read, make up work and check out books.  Mrs. Dixie Ardwin opens at 7:15. Mrs. Carmen Sansom is available during that time for math tutoring.

Students are also able to spend Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons each week from 3:30-5 p.m. in Night Library held in the AHS Library.  This is facilitated by Mrs. Sandy Smith. They are able to take make up tests, research, study, and have use of computers.

Mrs.  Stephanie Ringgold, AHS math teacher, along with trained students provide tutoring every morning from 7:15-7:45 and in the afternoon Tuesday thru Thursday from 3:30-4:30.  Tutoring is offered in Algebra 1,2, and 3, Geometry and English.

Dates are posted at www.ashdownschools.org in the district calendar.

CORPS ANNOUNCES SUMMER POSITIONS OPEN 01/22/19

The Little Rock District, Corps of Engineers is accepting price
quotations for 2019 summer gate and park attendant positions.
If you are interested in summer gate or park attendant positions, solicitations are posted at https://www.fbo.gov/index.php?s=opportunity&mode=list&tab=list&_nfound=1

There is one solicitation for all positions within the Little Rock District. More than 35
positions are available throughout the district.
Gate and park attendants play a vital role in keeping Corps parks in top shape. Park
attendants are responsible for cleaning the parks and surrounding areas. Gate attendants, who greet visitors, are among the Corps’ more visible contractors. The gate attendants, who reside within the park, are primarily responsible for collecting fees, providing information to park visitors, and assisting Corps staff.

For more information about park attendant solicitations contact, Contract Specialist
Ashanti Brown at Ashanti.D.Brown@usace.army.mil or by phone at 501-340-1257.
Little Rock District news and recreation information can be found on the Internet at
www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON TO RETURN TO HOPE THIS SPRING 01/21/19

The Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce has announced details of their upcoming annual meeting & banquet. President Bill Clinton will return to Hope, his birthplace, on Saturday, April 6, 2019 to serve as the 2019 Keynote Speaker.

The evening at Hempstead Hall begins with a silent auction and concludes with the announcement of the highly anticipated Citizen, Educator & Business of the Year Awards.

Chamber Director Beckie Moore says several goals have been set this year to revitalize downtown Hope and recruit new businesses. She also hopes to grow the Watermelon Festival and offer programs pertaining to workforce.

For sponsorship or ticket information call 870-777-3640.

FORESTRY SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR OKLAHOMA STUDENTS 01/21/19

The Forest Heritage Center Museum has announced they will be offering scholarships to college students and graduating high school seniors, as well as stipends for forestry program educators. Forestry’s impact on the economy in Oklahoma provides more than 19,000 jobs and $1 billion in wages statewide. The foresters and community leaders who make up the Forest Heritage Center’s Board of Directors want to help Oklahoma’s youth take advantage of the opportunities that the industry provides, and in 2018 introduced the Forest Heritage Center Scholarship Program.

The Fred Dierks Educational Scholarship offers a $1500 scholarship to a college undergraduate student. The scholarship is available to all students currently enrolled as second semester freshmen or higher grade level. Students must be enrolled in a forestry program in one of Oklahoma’s institutions of higher education, with a minimum of a 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.

For graduating high school seniors the Quintus Herron Educational Scholarship provides $500 to an Oklahoma student enrolling in a college level forestry program in an Oklahoma institution for higher learning.

A $1000 stipend is available for both formal and informal educators who wish to implement forestry curriculum in their program. Leaders of youth organizations and teachers can take advantage of this opportunity to introduce youngsters to the endless possibilities that the forest and forestry industry provide.

To learn more or to receive an application, call the Forest Heritage Center Museum at 580-494-6497 or e-mail fhc@beaversbend.com

ASHDOWN SENIOR CHOSEN AS KDQN CORRESPONDENT 01/21/19

 

Ashdown High School Senior Aliyah Anderson was selected to be the spring 2019 KDQN Panther Correspondent.  She will report on Ashdown sports scores and other news around the high school campus. She said, “I am so honored to have been chosen to be the KDQN Correspondent.  I am excited to begin this new adventure that I can apply to my degree plan in college.  I can’t wait to represent Ashdown High School!”

After graduation, Anderson plans to major in marketing with a minor in broadcasting.  Her ultimate goal is to become a marketing executive.  She is currently the local President, District IV Secretary and a national competitor for FBLA, President of National Honor Society, Vice President of the AHS SkillsUSA chapter, senior captain of the Ashdown Varsity Quiz Bowl team and senior captain of the Ashdown Varsity cheer squad.

Ashdown Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “We are so proud of Aliyah being chosen as the student correspondent for the KDQN radio station.  Our partnership with KDQN allows for the broadcast of our sporting events and an avenue for our surrounding communities to see all the wonderful things we are doing in the Ashdown School System for our students.”

U.S NAVY CONCERT BAND COMING TO TEXARKANA 01/21/19

The United States Navy Concert Band from Washington, D.C. will present a free concert in Texarkana next month. The performance will be held at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center and John Thomas Theatre in Texarkana on Tuesday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m.  Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

The Concert Band is the United States Navy’s premier wind ensemble and includes 56 performers on flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, horn, euphonium, trombone, tuba, string bass, harp, and percussion.  The band is lead by Capt. Kenneth Collins and the group has been performing public concerts and been showcased at events for more than 85 years.The concert is free but tickets are required to attend. Tickets may be picked-up at Texarkana Independent School District (TISD) Administrative Offices, 4241 Summerhill Road, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.  Additionally, you may contact TISD via phone at 903.794.3651 ext. 1013 or email at tisdpr@txkisd.netand they will mail tickets directly to you.

Any unclaimed seats will be available to non-ticket holders just prior to concert time.

BEST CARE CHILDCARE PROFESSIONAL TRAINING THIS WEEKEND 01/21/19

The University of Arkansas Extension Service has partnered with The Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education to provide Best Care programming for childcare providers in The Southwest Arkansas area this month.

On Saturday, January 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. professional training sessions will be held at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Center, 425 Second Street in Nashville, Arkansas.

This years topics include safe food handling and picky eating, opioids and early childhood, illness prevention and accidents, grace under pressure, making a clean sweep, STEM in early childhood, creative art and addressing challenging behavior.

All professionals who work in childcare and early childhood development are encouraged to attend the best care event.

Contact Janet Cantrell, 870-845-7500 or email Jcantrell@uaex.edu for registration and more in formation.

ASHDOWN STUDENT WINS CHESS TOURNAMENT AT CO-OP 01/21/19

Ashdown Students participated at the DeQueen-Mena Education Co-op Chess Tournament on Thursday and Ashdown High School 10th grader, Ricky Ford placed 1st!

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Ricky Ford

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Kohl Kervin and Luke Barnes
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Caleb Blankenship

 

 

 

 

 

FLU CASES ON THE RISE IN SEVIER COUNTY 01/18/19

Dr. Jason Loftin is the Sevier County Health Commissioner and the primary doctor at the wellness center in De Queen. Dr. Loftin stopped by KDQN studios to announce a recent rise in local flu cases this winter. Area residents are encouraged to get themselves checked and to receive proper medical care to manage the illness.

If a person suspects they may have the flu it is important to avoid spreading it to others by staying home from school or work.

The flu shot is a common method for preventing the virus and Dr. Loftin revealed that he recommends the shot for his own family as well as area community members. Flu shots can be administered by the wellness center in downtown De Queen.

Dr. Loftin can be reached at the wellness center by calling 870-642-4000 with questions regarding flu concerns.

ARKANSAS TO BE AWARDED SETTLEMENTS 01/18/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached two settlements in the form of consent judgments requiring Fiat Chrysler and auto supplier Bosch to pay a total of $171.2 million nationwide for their roles in selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.

Following a nearly two-year investigation, Rutledge, with 51 jurisdictions nationwide, filed suit against Fiat Chrysler and its subsidiaries, for having installed unlawful defeat device software and undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices in several models of its diesel vehicles. The attorneys general found that Fiat Chrysler cheated on federal and state emissions tests by calibrating the software to conceal that vehicles emitted higher than permitted levels of harmful nitrogen oxides in real-world driving conditions, and misled consumers by falsely claiming some vehicles were environmentally friendly.

After a separate but related investigation, Rutledge, along with 49 other jurisdictions, filed suit against Bosch which is the engineering company that supplies Fiat Chrysler and other automobile manufacturers with electronic control units housing the complex software that controls nearly all aspects of an engine’s performance, including emissions systems. The investigation concluded that Bosch facilitated the implementation of the defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles over a period of more than 10 years.

Under the terms of the two settlements, Fiat Chrysler will pay a total of $72.5 million to the litigating jurisdictions for consumer and environmental violations, with Arkansas receiving $763,750. Bosch will pay $98.7 million, with $737,100 for Arkansas.

AGFC MEETING ADDRESSES REGULATION CHANGES 01/18/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first official reading of amended regulations concerning importing, breeding and selling of captive wildlife species and educational animals in the state at this week’s regularly scheduled  meeting.

The regulations changes originally were presented during the Commission’s September and October meetings, and have been circulated to the public for comment. During the October 18, 2018 meeting, the Commission voted to table the first regulation proposals until January 2019. Modifications to the regulations were made based on public comment, and the final proposals were presented to the Commission . A complete list of regulations changes is available at www.agfc.com/code for review. These proposals again are available for public comment and are expected to be voted on at the Commission’s next meeting, Feb. 21.

As a result of the final proposals being submitted, the AGFC voted to amend the current temporary suspension on the issuance of importation permits for venomous or poisonous wildlife species to allow persons to apply for temporary importation permits for short-term public exhibition of such species, provided they meet certain criteria:

  1. The permit applicant is capable of complying with all existing regulations applicable for such captive wildlife species;
  2. The permit applicant agrees to voluntarily comply with the proposed regulations concerning possession of venomous reptile species, including caging and handling requirements, and
  3. The duration of the visit will be no longer than seven calendar days.

A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish.

FSA LOCATIONS IN HOWARD, SEVIER LITTLE RIVER COUNTIES OPEN 01/18/19

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

Local FSA offices that will be open will include the Hempstead County, Little River County, and Sevier County Service Centers.

UPDATES FROM REGULAR SESSION ANNOUNCED 01/18/19

Representative Dee Ann Vaught announced there are a few bills now making their way to the House floor as the first week of the Regular Session is wrapping up..

Thursday the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1013 which adds podiatrists to the list of healthcare providers subject to rules regarding schedule II narcotics.  Schedule II narcotics include most opioid prescriptions.

The Judiciary Committee advanced HB1016 which reduces the waiting period that a court may grant a petition to seal a criminal record.  The legislation reduces that period from 90 to 30 days.

Also making its way the House, is a bill advanced on Wednesday in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committee.  HB1124 creates certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist.  This legislation was drafted to address the shortage of large-animal veterinarians in the state.

The House will not meet on Monday as Arkansas honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. The group will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30 pm.

ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING HELD FOR JANUARY 01/18/19

The Ashdown Board of Education held their regularly schedule meeting this week.

All board members were present and after the pledge of allegiance and prayer the superintendent and principal reports were presented.

The previous meetings minutes were approved and superintendent Casey Nichols acknowledged that January is school board appreciation month and thanked the board members for their efforts. Nichols also announced that all board members have completed the required six hours of training for 2018.

The free and reduced lunch application procedure update was approved as was a payment in the amount of $58,314.00 to C.R Crawford for the AES wall panel project.

The board also approved the 2020-2021 budget and a contract with Bunyard Broadcasting.

Prior to going into an executive session the board also approved a school choice transfer application and the financial reports as presented.

The executive session lasted approximately one hour and a half though no action was taken during the session.

After the session personnel issues were discussed.

Mr. Nichols made a recommendation to accept the resignation of Deyanira Rodriguez in food service, which was approved. Mr Nichols also recommended the approval of compensation for Anna Tillery for working a conference period during the spring semester and the motion carried.

The last items discussed during the meeting were approval of the MOU for the Ashdown Rotary Club and the Little River Chamber of Commerce as presented and the addendum to the superintendents contract to pay dues to the organizations. Both motions carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK IN ARKANSAS 01/18/19

National School Choice Week in Arkansas will be celebrated January 20th – 26th. The dates have been declared official school choice week by Governor Asa Hutchison. The Reform Alliance has organized events throughout Arkansas including the sponsoring of the “Partner With Me,” Community Meeting, January 21st, 6:00 pm – 8:00pm at Friendship Aspire Academy, 3615 W. 21st St., in Little Rock. Panelist for the evening will include Sidney and Takisha Moncrief. They will engage the community in a discussion on school reform in Arkansas.

Sidney and his wife Takisha own a professional development company called Game Changer. Sidney Moncrief is a 5X NBA All-Star, and his wife Takisha is a former classroom teacher. For over 20 years she taught K-12 eduction serving children, teachers and parents. The purpose of the Non-profit organization is to develop important skills for children and families with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Sidney and Takisha use their organization as a platform for bringing awareness for the right for parents to choose educational paths for their children including home school, private school, charter schools and religious based learning centers.

The Reform Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting school choice opportunities for all students in Arkansas. More information can be found online at thereformalliance.org

DE QUEEN CHEER SILENT AUCTION TONIGHT 01/18/19

The De Queen High School cheerleaders have announced a fundraiser taking place this evening, Friday, January 18th.

A silent auction is being held at Leopard Coliseum during the basketball games against Eagletown. The auction items include a Husqavarna chainsaw and a weedeater.

The game starts at 5:00 and the winner will be announced at halftime.

The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise money for uniforms, travel expenses, camps and outfits for the De Queen cheer squad.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the game, participate in the auction in support of De Queen cheerleaders.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/17/19

Representative Dee Ann Vaught has provided KDQN with updates on the 92nd General assembly.

Wednesday, Ms. Vaught reported that in every session, one of the first pieces of legislation to be considered by the House is the resolution to adopt House Rules.  Rules of the House guide members on everything from how a bill can be amended to when a member can ask a question. In the rules adopted Wednesday, members approved eliminating a bill filing deadline for non-appropriation bills.  In previous sessions, more than 20% of all bills were filed on the deadline.

 The House also approved a resolution proclaiming  January 16, 2019, as “Religious Freedom Day”. Close to 300 bills have now been filed.  Committees began reviewing bills Wednesday morning and will be continuing today, Thursday January 17th.  The House convened at 10am.

 

1ST ANNUAL ARKANSAS CHAMPIONSHIP GOOSE HUNT 01/17/19

A new, friendly competition has been planned to bring awareness to a conservation issue and help feed needy families in Arkansas this February. The first World Championship Snow Goose Conservation Hunt competition will take place, Feb. 9-10 at Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

The competition enables teams of 10 hunters each to harvest as many snow geese as possible during the two days, with the chance to win thousands of dollars in hunting gear. All geese harvested will be donated to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry to provide meals for needy families in The Natural State. All proceeds from the competition will be donated to Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl and AHFH.

Look to the skies and you’ll see there’s no shortage of snow geese in east Arkansas. Hundreds of thousands of these waterfowl migrate to and through Arkansas each year, playing havoc on winter wheat fields and other agricultural crops. Snow geese are so abundant, they actually are damaging their breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle. To combat this population explosion, in 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened a special hunt to encourage hunters to take as many of the geese as possible.

Visit https://www.mackspw.com/snow-goose-conservation-hunt for more information on the competition.

REGIONAL FOOD BANK RECEIVES $30,000 GRANT 01/17/19

Harvest Regional Food Bank of Texarkana, received a grant from the Blue & You foundation in the amount of $30,000 to support Harvest’s Mobile Pantry program this week. A check presentation was held on Monday, January 14, 2019.

Several of the nine Arkansas counties served by Harvest Regional Food Bank lack enough pantries or agencies to distribute enough food to meet the hunger relief needs of the community.

In 2011, Harvest established the Mobile Pantry program to provide food directly to those communities with the fewest hunger relief options. The food bank began quarterly distributions to Lafayette and Pike Counties and have increased mobile distributions to include Columbia, Howard and Sevier, and Hempstead Counties. The funds received from the Blue & You Foundation will help provide an additional 300,000 pounds of fresh and shelf stable food to approximately 14,000 food insecure individuals.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. This year, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded $2.7 million to 42 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

NEW MEMBERS ON DIERKS CITY COUNCIL 01/17/19

Dierks Mayor Ronnie Cogburn conducted his first city council meeting on Monday. The new mayor says he also welcomed three new council members including Quinn Revels, Jaron Tipton and Kevin Dinger. The council approved a cell phone allowance for three employees in the water and sewer departments. Council members also hired a new police officer, Zack Shankles…who has previously served as sheriff’s deputy for Howard County.

ANNUAL BOAT, SPORT, AND RV SHOW STARTS TOMORROW 1/18 01/17/19

The 7th Annual Boat, Sport, and RV Show begins tomorrow and will continue through January 20th at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.  The hours are Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 10am – 7pm, and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Close to 400 Boats, RV’s,  ATV’s and Side by Sides will be on display from the regional area. Attendees will have the opportunity to shop and compare many different lines of Boats, RV’s and ATV’s in a competitive environment. This event officially kicks off their season with the dealers offering discounts and special Show pricing.

The show will feature a large kid’s area for family-friendly activities and some of the top 2018 State Fair food vendors will be on hand providing concessions the show.

This year the show will also host two Bass Tournaments that will begin the tournament season for the Bayou Outdoor BOSS Tournament Trail and the North Louisiana High School Fishing League. Between 250-300 teams will be participating. Both weigh-ins will take place Saturday afternoon at the show.
For more information on the State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show, you can visit www.statefairoflouisiana.com.

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT ATTENDS FARM BUREAU CONVENTION 01/17/19

Arkansas Farm Bureau state board member Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg served as a voting delegate for the business session Jan. 15 at the 2019 Annual American Farm Bureau Convention in New Orleans, La.

As a voting delegate, Jackson was among 351 delegates from across the country who worked to set 2019 policy positions on issues important to the organization’s 6 million members.

The 2019 convention marks the 100th anniversary American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest agricultural advocacy organization.

CITY COUNCIL TALKS PROJECTS AND ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AT JANUARY MEETING 01/16/19

The De Queen City Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall Tuesday, January 15th. All city council members were present for the meeting.

The meeting was called to order at a new start time of 5:30 p.m. and after the pledge of allegiance and opening prayer were held Mayor Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments.

Sevier County Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor spoke during the public comment time and provided updates for the council about efforts being made through a new program called “create bridges” which is designed to strengthen businesses, tourism and economic advancement of rural counties. Taylor announced that the first tri-state phone call with partnering communities was held on Monday, January 14th and a meeting has been planned for February 11th to discuss tourism development in Sevier County. Taylor also revealed she is working on an economic development summary with documented updates and accomplishments achieved in the last year.

Mayor, Jeff Brown announced a possible project on the horizon for the city as an updated roof is required at the Ennis building downtown. The project will cost an estimated $18,000 but the mayor revealed the city could qualify for grant money of up to $250,000 from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District. A visit has been planned with a representative from the district for later this month to further discuss the topic.

In the new business category the council re-visited the contracts of services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the senior center, Sevier County Museum, Economic Development and the Imagination Library-Sevier County chapter. Each contract had previously been discussed by the council and the financial amounts to be dispersed were agreed upon at the December meetings. Those amounts were finalized and approved Tuesday.

The final item addressed before the council entered a scheduled workshop was the topic of attendance requirements for the council members. No documented policies or guidelines are currently in place to mandate the number of meetings council members must attend, nor have any repercussions been established in the event that a member must miss a meeting for illness, vacation or prior obligation. The council held a discussion about establishing official attendance requirements and agreed to finalize the attendance policy by next month.

The next City Council meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5th at city hall.

92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/16/19

Representatives DeeAnn Vaught has provided KDQN with updated reports from the House Chamber as all newly elected constitutional officers took the oath of office this week.

Among those swearing in were Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, Secretary of State John Thurston, Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Auditor of State Andrea Lea, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

After taking his oath, the Governor addressed the legislature outlining his agenda for this session.

He called for a third phase of tax cuts he referred to as the “2-4-5.9 plan”. It would lower income tax rates to 2% for people who earn up to $8,000 a year, 4% for those who earn between $8,001 and $18,000 a year and 5.9% for people who earn more than $18,000 a year. He is also asking the legislature to increase public safety funding for more state troopers and increase minimum teacher salaries by $1,000 a year.

More than 250 bills have already been filed.  Committees will begin meeting Wednesday morning at 10am.  The House will convene at 1:30pm on Wednesday.

As a reminder, the House streams all meetings on our website atwww.arkansashouse.org.

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL LESLIE RUTLEDGE BEGINS 2ND TERM 01/16/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following having been sworn in for her second term as Attorney General Tuesday, January 15th.

Attorney General Rutledge said:

“As we begin the next four years, I remain committed to increasing economic and educational opportunities for our families and keeping our most vulnerable children and seniors safe from predators. I will continue making the State more efficient and effective by expanding services and accessibility while decreasing the budget. On behalf of Boyce, Julianna and me, thank you, Arkansas families, for trusting me with these great responsibilities.”

Rutledge took the oath of office in the Chamber of the Arkansas State Capitol House of Representatives while her parents Keith and Nancy Rutledge, her brother Alan Rutledge and niece Kylie Rutledge as well as several other family members and friends observed from the House Gallery. She was escorted onto the House floor by her husband, Boyce Johnson who held their five-month old daughter Julianna and the family Bible.

In December 2015, Rutledge announced her marriage to Johnson and in July 2018, Rutledge announced the birth of their daughter, Julianna. Rutledge is the first constitutional officer of Arkansas to give birth while holding office, and also the first female and first Republican elected to the Office of Attorney General in Arkansas.

DE QUEEN MCDONALD’S DONATES TO LOCAL COLLEGE 01/16/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation received a donation of ten canvas artwork sets that highlight various Sevier County landmarks from McDonald’s of De Queen.The artwork is being showcased in UA Cossatot’s Center for Student Success on the De Queen Campus.

“We helped create these canvas pieces highlighting De Queen and after the recent McDonald’s remodel, wanted the artwork to be displayed where the public could enjoy,” said Celia Montgomery, Owner of McDonald’s in De Queen. “We are happy to donate these pieces to the college and love where they are being
displayed.”

The UA Cossatot Foundation accepts a variety of donations including financial instruments, property, bequests, and artwork.
“We absolutely love the landmark artwork and truly appreciate McDonald’s of De Queen gifting us this collection,” said Dustin Roberts, Coordinator of Development.
More information on how you can give can be found at www.cccua.edu/give or by contacting Dustin Roberts at droberts@cccua.edu or 870-584-1172.

TURKEY HUNTING APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW FOR ARKANSAS HUNTERS 01/16/19

Turkey season will open at the beginning of April, but The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says now is the time to begin planning for a successful season.

Officials have urged Arkansas hunters to apply for The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s wildlife management area turkey hunt permits early, as the deadline is next month.

Many good public turkey hunting opportunities exist, particularly on the large cooperative WMAs owned by the U.S. Forest Service. However, turkeys and turkey hunters need room to spread out, which can lead to conflicts between hunters on some smaller WMAs. To increase the quality of the hunt on some of the most popular public areas, the AGFC restricts the number of hunters allowed during turkey season through random drawings.

Only permit holders may hunt on the WMA during the permit hunt. However, a permit holder can have a friend alongside them to call for them. Friends and family may camp with permit holders at designated campsites on the WMA.

Applications are taken electronically through www.agfc.com, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 15, and winning applicants will be notified via email.

Applications require a $5 nonrefundable processing fee. Winning applicants are not required to pay any additional fees beyond the purchase of their hunting license.

DE QUEEN PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES SOCCER REGISTRATION 01/16/19

Shelby Liggin is the Youth Sports Director for the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department. Shelby stopped by KDQN studios to announce soccer registration for Pre-K through 6th grade students is ongoing now. The fee is $25 and children are not required to live withing De Queen city limits. Forms are available at the park office in Herman Dierks Park.

Shelby is also seeking parents to volunteer in coaching positions as well. Forms must be turned in by January 30th and Shelby can be reached at 870-642-4140 or sliggin@yahoo.com

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD TALKS  BUILDING UPDATES AND SUPERINTENDENT CHANGES AT JANUARY MEETING 01/15/19

The De Queen School board met for their regular meeting Monday, January 14th at the district administration building. All school board members were present and lengthy list of agenda items were discussed.The previous meetings minutes, bills and old business items were addressed and approved.Joe Valley offered an update for the board regarding maintenance issues within the district. The updates include new lighting at the De Queen Elementary school, a recently repaired fire alarm at the middle school and the installation of new water fountains at the middle school as well.

The board also approved the financial statement, which Superintendent Bruce Hill noted has included an increase on costs in textbook purchases and the board approved the errors and omission insurance item prior to breaking for executive session. Student transfers and personnel changes were also discussed. The board agreed to hire a nurse at beginning salary to assist in covering shifts for nurses who may be out for vacation, or sick days as well as helping serve as extra staff for special events.

Mr. Kenneth Davis will be hired in as a bus driver with the district and the retirement of maintenance personnel Johnson was approved.Lastly, the board agreed to accept the resignation of superintendent Bruce Hill. The change will take effect June 30th with Jason Sanders filling the superintendent position on July 1st, 2019. Paul Shelton will remain assistant superintendent for De Queen schools.

Jason currently serves on the De Queen school board and has been working closely with Clark construction during the new high school building project. Jason announced that the project is still on track and the building is expected to be complete within 16 months and will be open in the fall of 2020.The next De Queen School board meeting will be held February 11th at the administration building.

DEPUTY DISCOVERS MAN WITH WARRANT, SUSPECTED DRUGS IN LOCKESBURG 01/15/19

A man is facing drug possession charges after a traffic stop was conducted by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department in Lockesburg Sunday.

According to the report from the Sheriff’s Department Deputy Greg Harper was tracking drivers speeds at the intersection of Provo road and North Azalea street around 9:15 p.m. when he observed a ford truck travel at a rate of 37 miles per hour in area with a limit of 25.Deputy Harper reportedly conducted a traffic stop on Provo road and as he was exiting the patrol car a person described as an older white male exited the driver’s side of truck at the same time. The man identified himself as Mike Dixon, age 56 of Lockesburg.

The police report states that Deputy Harper requested a query from the dispatcher to discover further information about Dixon and it was discovered that the man had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Sevier County. Deputy Harper reported noticing Dixon turn away from him as though he was trying to discard something. Harper then questioned the suspect if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and asked if he could conduct a search.

Dixon agreed to the search and Harper reported observing a plastic bag containing suspected illegal substance on the ground underneath the truck where the suspect was standing. Dixon was then placed under arrest and advised of his Miranda rights. The suspect reportedly agreed to speak with the deputy without a lawyer present and when questioned about the bag he claimed it did not belong to him.

Dixon’s vehicle was released to Justin Dixon upon request and he was transported to the Sevier County Jail where the warrant was served and he was booked by the jail staff. The contents of the bag were sent to the crime lab in Hope for analysis. Dixon will appear in circuit court on Thursday, January 17th at the Sevier County Courthouse.

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS RECOGNIZED 01/15/19

Ashdown School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1500 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.

 The members serving on the Ashdown School Board are Chuck Davis, Dorothy Henderson, Michael Turner, Ricky Ward, Glenda Smedley, Raymond Latson, and Rosa Bowman.

 Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas State Board of Education issued a proclamation and a resolution recognizing the boards for their contributions.

 As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.

 In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities. 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET SET FOR FEBRUARY 01/15/19

The Little River County Chamber Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 7, 2019.  They will be honoring individuals, businesses and teachers of the year selected in 2018.

Performing guests will be the Ashdown Drama Club.  Individual tickets are $30 each or 2 for $50.  Table sponsorships (with seating for 8) are also available by calling the Jana Smith at the chamber office at 870-898-2758 or e-0mail director@littlerivercoc.org.

You may decorate your own table for a chance to win Best Table Decorator or a centerpiece will be provided for you.

MCCURTAIN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY BANQUET ANNOUNCED 01/15/19

The McCurtain County Historical Society will be hosting their annual banquet at the Kiamichi Technology Center in Idabel on Friday, January the 25th at 6:00 P.M. Keynote speaker for the event will be Mr. Jeff M. Moore, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society’s OKPOP project.

The Oklahoma Historical Society will begin construction of the OKPOP Museum in Tulsa this year. The museum will be located across the street from the historic Cains Ballroom and will include many exhibits telling the story of Oklahoma natives in American pop culture.

The museum facility will also include a large events area and even a balcony overlooking Cains Ballroom and downtown Tulsa’s Arts District. Jeff will speak to the organization about the OKPOP project and highlight  some of the artists from McCurtain County who will be featured in the new museum such as Harold Stevenson and Mae Axton

Admission is free and everyone is invited to attend. A pot luck dinner will be held before Jeff gives his presentation and attendees are urged to bring a covered dish. Memberships to the McCurtain County Historical Society will be available for purchase and existing annual memberships will be due the night of the banquet. The Historical Society will also have two of their books; McCurtain County Cooks and McCurtain County Pictorial History Vol. II available for purchase as well.

The organization will also honor one member with the society’s Distinguished Service Award, which has not been awarded in the last 3 years. For more information please call Kenny Sivard at (580)212-3639.

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM WINS TOURNAMENT 01/15/19

The De Queen High School Quiz bowl team won the DMEC/SWAEC tournament held in Nashville, Arkansas Tuesday, January 8th. The team went 6-0, winning by an average of 250 points and the closest win was by 165 points. A total of 12 teams participated. The De Queen Quiz bowl team will be competing at Nationals in Washington D.C this summer.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TO ATTEND NSBA EVENT IN WASHINGTON D.C 01/14/19

Ashdown School Board Member Rosa Bowman will travel to Washington D.C.  in January to represent the Arkansas School Board Association.  She currently serves as Vice-President for the State Association.  This trip is part of of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Advocacy Institute 2019.

Mrs. Bowman has served on the Ashdown School Board since 2006 and is a retired teacher.  She is excited to travel to the nation’s capitol, and said, “I’m honored to have the privilege to meet with our national legislators concerning the upcoming legislation.  This will be a great opportunity to consider the proposed federal mandates and to discuss the impact that they will have on the students of our state and community.”

While in Washington, D.C., she will have two days of meetings and workshops focused on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), Delivering Workforce Readiness, School Safety and to hear about current legislation.  On the third day, she will have the opportunity to meet one on one with Arkansas Legislators serving the state of Arkansas.  This will give Mrs. Bowman the opportunity to communicate to them the important issues of our local schools.

Ashdown Superintendent, Casey Nichols said, “We are so excited for Mrs. Bowman to have the opportunity  to represent both our Ashdown School District and the entire state of Arkansas in order to voice the needs for our district and state to the legislators who serve us in Washington.”

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT REGISTRATION DATES 01/14/19

De Queen High School Pre registration for the 2019-2020 school year dates have been announced:

Thursday, January 17 – juniors (next year’s seniors)

Tuesday, January 22 – 9th grade (next year’s sophomores)

Thursday, January 24 – 10th grade (next year’s juniors)

All meetings will take place at 6 PM in the high school cafeteria.  Faculty will discuss requirements for Pre-AP and AP courses.  Parents and students are encouraged to attend.

ART CONTEST ANNOUNCED FOR ARKANSAS YOUTH 01/14/19

The Arkansas Wildlife Federation and Creative Ideas, a Little Rock-based nonprofit organization, are accepting entries into the 2019 “Wildlife of Arkansas” student art contest to help promote conservation awareness through the arts. Entries will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2019.

The art contest is open to all school-aged youths from kindergarten through 12th grade level. A panel of professional artists will select 4 winners in each grade level based on creativity, skill and interpretation of the theme. All artwork must be focused on wildlife and the natural world, however, it is not limited to animals. Wildflowers, landscapes and other natural features may be the focus of the piece. A special category will focus on monarch butterflies and other pollinatinator species to help bring awareness to their declines.

Winning entries will earn the artist a cash prize as well as a certificate of achievement at the AWF Annual Conservation Awards Banquet. All winning artwork also will be displayed at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission nature centers across the state throughout the year.

Teachers and other educators can find further information on the contest and entry forms at the AWF’s website, www.arwild.org.

CHILI SUPPER AND AUCTION COLLECTS $55,000 AND COUNTING FOR INJURED TROOPER 01/14/19

A Fundraiser was held at Ashdown High School over the weekend to assist the family of Arkansas State Police Trooper corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Little River County. The purpose of the fundraiser was to help offset the cost of medical expenses for the McWilliams family.

As KDQN previously reported McWilliams was injured in an accident earlier this month while en route to the scene of a crash in Sevier County. Wet road conditions have been believed to have contributed to the accident.

Fundraiser organizer Johnny Brown said the event was a success as an estimated 600 people attended the fundraiser and more than $50,000 were raised for the injured trooper. As of 10:00 a.m Monday, January 14th donations were still coming in.

Brown also said the auction portion of the fundraiser was a success as a variety of different items were submitted. He also wanted to express thanks to all the people who came out to the fundraiser and those who assisted in organizing the event.

A social media post made by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department Sunday offered an update for McWilliams’ supporters regarding his condition. The post announced that the trooper was recently removed from a ventilator and is now breathing on his own.

Persons interested in donating to help the family with medical expenses can donate cash or check to an account that has been set up at Diamond Bank in Ashdown, Arkansas.

92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS 01/14/19

The regular session of the 92nd General Assembly is beginning today, Monday, January 14th. Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchison mentioned last week that this would be “one of the most historic and transformative” of his lifetime, as he plans to initiate multiple key pieces of his recent re-election campaign.

Legislative leaders said the full agenda for the session calls for remaining focused to avoid the session taking an excessive amount of time.

The longest regular session documented in modern history was the 89th General Assembly back in 2013, which started January 14th and concluded May 17th. The Arkansas Constitution states, regular sessions are confined to a maximum of 60 days (days off, including weekends, are counted) unless extended to up to 75 days by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Members may also agree to meet past 75 days by a three-fourths vote.

Regular sessions begin the second Monday in January in odd-numbered years, after November general elections. In even-numbered years, lawmakers meet in fiscal sessions to approve funding bills. The first fiscal session was in 2010.

ASHDOWN SCHOOLS COMPETE IN QUIZ BOWL 01/14/1

The Ashdown Junior High 7th Grade Quiz Bowl Team won 2nd place at the DeQueen Invitational Tournament on January 9th
(l-r) Luke Barnes, Ernie Merrell, Kevin Scott, Bella Wolfley, Bannon Price, and Caleb Blankenship
Ashdown High School Quiz Bowl Team won 2nd place at the SWAEC/DMEC Tournament on January 8
(l-r) Coach Jennifer Simmons, Carson Jeffries, Caden Hinton, Kohl Kervin, Aliyah Anderson,  Will Ford, Robin Roy,  Joshua Linnett, and Cole Sallede

 

 

FIRE CAUSED BY CHILD PLAYING WITH LIGHTER IN DE QUEEN 01/11/19
The De Queen Fire Department responded the call of a structure fire on Harvey Drive Wednesday, January 9th around 3:40 pm.

Two trucks and 12 fireman arrived on the scene within 5 minutes of being dispatched to the residential home. The occupants of the home made it out safely and the cause of the fire was identified. A child in the house was playing with a lighter when a towel caught fire and the flames spread.

The Department contained the fire and left the scene within one hour of arriving. Chief Dennis Pruitt credited the daylight as a factor in the department’s quick response time to the home. He also says he hopes the department will be able to shorten response on night calls as well.

The owner of the home was identified as Sergio Gomez of De Queen and the house is covered by insurance. No injuries were reported.

 

 

 

HORATIO CITY COUNCIL TALKS RATE CHANGES AND NEW PURCHASES AT JANUARY MEETING 01/11/19

The Horatio City Council met Monday, January 7th for their regular meeting.This was the first meeting of the year with new Mayor Rich Dorsey, who was sworn in last week at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen.

The previous meeting’s minutes wee approved and a motion was made to pay all outstanding bills. The motion carried and a discussion was also held about the purchase of a lawnmower for the street department. A decision was made to purchase a Husqvarna 61” cut from Baker’s saw shop.

The council also agreed to purchase three signs from R&J sports in De Queen. One for the Fire Department, one for City Hall and one for the Museum.

The next item on the agenda was the topic of raising water and garbage utility rates for Horatio residents. The council agreed to raise the rates at the next meeting in February with the increase going into effect by March.

During the meeting Mayor Dorsey also presented four names to the city council for approval of membership in the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department. The names include Ben Mooneyham, Adam Mooneyham, Jason Vanhoose, and the transfer of Tyler Jones from Dierks VFD. The motion carried.

Mayor Dorsey also met with Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry on Monday to discuss the Horatio Law Enforcement Department. The Mayor recommended that ticket books be purchased for the department as well as an upgrade be made to the reporting system computer program. In February Mayor Dorsey will meet with the Quorum Court to discuss fee for dispatch calls in the city of Horatio. The city will also be checking in with De Queen city officials concerning an ordinance on leash laws for dogs.

The Next Horatio City Council Meeting will be held February 4th at City Hall.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/11/19

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Babb announced the annual chamber Banquet will be held next month in De Queen on February 28th. The banquet is a tradition lasting more than 70 years and it is not required that attendees be chamber members to attend. Suzanne can be contacted for information about purchasing tickets to attend the event.

Suzanne Also announced that the chamber and other local groups are working with a new program called “Create Bridges” in the Southwest Arkansas area. The purpose of the program is to strengthen local businesses, tourism efforts, entertainment options and other areas of opportunity in local, rural communities.

The De Queen/Sevier Chamber of Commerce is located in Downtown De Queen and Suzanne available to answer questions. To receive information about tickets to the upcoming chamber banquet or to find out more about the Create Bridges Program, call 870) 584-3225.

AGFC LAUNCHES NEW SKILLS PROGRAM 01/11/19

A new Outdoors Skills Program created by The Arkansas Game and Fish commission will reward beginner and veteran hunters and anglers with a special patch for their accomplishments in the outdoors.

When a person attends one of many workshops the AGFC’s Education Division provides, they become eligible to receive an attractive patch to place on their favorite piece of outdoors clothing. The initial patch labels them a beginner in one of 10 outdoor disciplines. From there, participants can complete different tasks for each discipline to “level up” through intermediate, advanced and expert rankings, each with its own rocker to accompany the initial patch.

Patch categories include archery, conservation leadership, fishing, game-calling, hunting, paddle sports, rifle marksmanship, shotgun marksmanship, trapping and watchable wildlife. Some of the categories crossover and lead into others, while some are independent of the rest.

Eric Maynard, AGFC assistant chief of education, says the new program will be available through all AGFC education centers, nature centers and regional educators this year.

Visit www.agfc.com/outdoorsskills or visit your local nature center for more information.

NEW HEMPSTEAD HALL DIRECTOR ANNOUNCED IN HOPE 01/11/19

Amanda Lance has been named the new Director of Hempstead Hall and Workforce Development at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. Lance brings over a decade of hospitality experience to the role and previously served as the Advertising and Publications Coordinator for the college. She is a 2003 graduate of Hope High School, a 2016 graduate of UAHT, and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree through the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.

“The impact of Hempstead Hall has been tremendously positive on Hope and all of Southwest Arkansas, and I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy started by Dolly Henley,” said Lance. “Our community’s culture is greatly enriched through the performing arts brought through Hempstead Hall, and I am thrilled to be a part of broadening that scope of opportunity. It will also be exciting to work with our industry and community partners to continue to offer the best training facility in our region.”

For more information, contact Amanda Lance at 870.722.8566 or amanda.lance@uacch.edu.

SWEAR-IN CEREMONY HELD AT SEVIER COUNTY COURTHOUSE 01/02/19

A formal swear-in ceremony was held in the courtroom of the Sevier County Courthouse Wednesday, January 2nd for elected officials of the county.

Law enforcement members, the Quorum Court JP’s, county coroners, treasurer, clerk, and city mayors were all present at the ceremony where they were sworn in by Judge Monya Wood and Judge Greg Ray.

All deputies and elected officials were also required to sign documents recognizing their obligations to the county.

After the ceremony the first Quorum court meeting of the 2019 year was held in the conference room at the courthouse. All JP’s on the quorum court have previously served out terms and were re-elected to their positions. Judge Ray says he felt the swear-in ceremony was successful and he has confidence in the county’s elected officials.

There were only two items on the agenda, the first item to discuss was the ordinance for establishing the meeting times and dates for the quorum for all of 2019. All meetings will be held the 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the conference room of the courthouse with the exception of November, due to a holiday the meeting will be held the 3rd Monday.

The 2nd and last item discussed was the appointment of Debbie Brotherman to the Sevier County Library Board. Debbie is replacing Lecretia Walker, who resigned from the position.
The next Quorum Court meeting is scheduled for February 11th at 2:00 p.m. at the Courthouse in De Queen.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY PRE-TRIAL HEARING HELD TUESDAY 01/10/19

An update on current cases in the Little River County Court System has been provided by the Little River County Circuit Clerk, Lauren Abney.

A pre-trial hearing was held Tuesday, January 8th 2019.

Vincent Bradley, -Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Controlled Substance. $750 fine and 3 years probation.

Gary Graves- Possession of Firearms by certain person. $1,000 fine and 3 years

Stephen Owens- Possession of controlled substance, Trial set for January 28th

Jaquenda Sims, No contest plea to child endangerment charge. $1,000 fine and 3 years probation

Jamaal Starks- Possession with purpose to deliver, 10 years and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 6 years.

Todd Wade- Theft By Receiving , Trial set for January 28th

Additional cases scheduled on January 8th have been granted continuance, dismissed or awaiting evidence.

KDQN will continue to provide updates on pending cases in Little River and Sevier Counties.

DE QUEEN FIRE CHIEF ANNOUNCES FIRE SAFETY REMINDERS 1/10/19

De Queen Fire Department Chief Dennis Pruitt visited KDQN studios Thursday to issue a reminder for local residents to educate their children about the importance of fire safety at home. The reminder was inspired by a recent structure fire that was caused by a child who was playing with a lighter.

Chief Pruitt also clarified the policies in place for controlled burning of leaves and twigs on personal property. Though it is not illegal to conduct a controlled burn in a residential yard it is recommended that residents wait until leaves are dry before burning and monitor the smoke while being courteous of neighbors.

The Chief also reminded residents about proper locations for use of Turkey Fryers and similar heat-based cooking methods. He urged locals to not use these products inside an enclosed space like a garage. The chief also encouraged parents to reach out to the Fire Department for information about how to talk to kids about fire safety education. They can be contacted at 870-584-7224.

ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH WINS QUIZ BOWL TOURNAMENT 01/10/19

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Congratulations to the Ashdown Junior High Quiz Bowl Team for winning 1st place at the SWAEC/DMEC tournament on January 7.
(l-r)  Sponsor Jaime Ward, Landon Wright, Rachel Vice, Dal Ringgold, Zoe Hogan, Dylan Rose, and Bannon Price

DIABETES-FRIENDLY COOKING CLASS SCHEDULED AT UAHT 01/10/19

The University of Arkansas Hope will host “Living Well with Diabetes” a Diabetic Cooking Class beginning on Thursday, January 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hempstead Hall. The class will be taught by Terrie James, County Extension Agent at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research & Extension Agency. The class will consist of four sessions on the following dates; January 17, January 31, February 7, and February 21. It is not necessary to attend all sessions. The cost is $10 per session.

The classes will offer tips for managing blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure, simple meal planning strategies, cooking demonstrations and tasting, hands-on activities, and class discussions. Recipes and materials are provided during each class.

For more information, contact Edessa Walton at 870-722-8102 or edessa.walton@uacch.edu.

AGFC HOLDS ALLIGATOR GAR TAG DRAWING 01/10/19

One hundred lucky anglers and bowfishermen were successful in drawing this year’s allotment of Alligator Gar Trophy Tags last week. These tags are required to take an alligator gar 36 inches or longer in Arkansas.

Applications for tags were available through the AGFC’s licensing system from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. Applications and tags for successful applicants are completely free. Each applicant should have received an email notifying them of their results. The successful applicants should log into the licensing system to claim their tag. Â At that point it will appear on their license, which they can reprint.

As part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s effort in conserving and promoting this once popular trophy sportfish, fishing for alligator gar 36 inches and longer is only allowed on a catch-and-release basis without a trophy tag.

Alligator gar, the second largest species of freshwater fish in North America, occurs in many of Arkansas’s large rivers. The species frequently grows longer than 7 feet from tail to snout and can weigh more than 200 pounds. The largest fish ever caught in Arkansas was an alligator gar in the Red River that weighed 241 pounds, over 100 pounds more than the next largest Arkansas record fish, a 116-pound blue catfish that once held a world record.

Unfortunately, dams placed in many warmwater streams have blocked gar from their spawning areas and degraded spawning habitat. For many decades, indiscriminate killing of trophy gar, which tend to be females, also took its toll on this slow-growing species. The AGFC has been involved in a recovery and conservation effort for these large fish for the last decade. The Alligator Gar Permit and Alligator Gar Tags enable biologists to contact anglers who pursue the species and work with them to learn more about Arkansas’s remaining population and remnants of spawning grounds anglers may have knowledge of.

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES NEW INDUCTEES 01/10/19

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame has announced plans to induct five individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state’s largest business sector.

The newest class includes retired University of Arkansas educator Dr. L.B. (Bernie) Daniels of Fayetteville; Ed Fryar of Rogers, the founder of Ozark Mountain Poultry; UA professor Dr. Donna Graham of Fayetteville; UA distinguished professor Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen of Fayetteville; and David Walt of Dumas, a retired soybean farmer.

The group will be honored with an induction luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m. on March 1 at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.

The new selections will bring to 169 the number of honorees in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, encompassing 32 classes of inductees.

The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose efforts have led to the prosperity of local communities and the state.

Luncheon tickets are $35 each. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available by calling (501) 228-1609 or emailing aghalloffame@arfb.com.

ARKANSAS FALLEN OFFICERS FUND ACCEPTING DONATIONS 01/10/19

A statewide effort that started last year to support families of fallen law enforcement officers has started this year’s fundraising drive. The Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers, Inc. provides support to the families of all first responders who are killed or die in the line of duty. No law enforcement officers died in Arkansas during 2018. The 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization donated $1,000 to Arkansas State Police Trooper Kyle Sheldon’s recovery (K Troop Hot Springs).

In 2017, Arkansas lost 3 firefighters and 3 law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers President Richard Curry of Nashville says the 2019 goal is to collect enough donations to be able to pay for the cost of funerals for the families. All funds raised are used for the families of responders, including law enforcement, firefighters and EMS. Organization volunteers do not receive any pay. Several fundraising efforts are planned for 2019. Curry says they have received support from several County Sheriffs offices across the state.

For more information, contact Curry at 870-557-6813 or make checks to:

Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers, Inc.

NEW ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGES BOARD DIRECTOR ANNOUNCED 01/09/19

T.J. Tubbs, Director of Physical Plant Operations at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, has been elected to serve as the 2019 President-elect for the Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) Board and as President for the year 2020. Tubbs began serving at UAHT in 2012 as a full-time faculty member in the Technical & Industrial Division and became the Director of Physical Plant Operations in 2017. He recently earned a Master of Science in Operations Management Degree from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville is currently working toward a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

ACC is a non-profit association representing all twenty-three public community colleges in Arkansas. The Association facilitates the sharing of ideas, resources, and opportunities among its members, and advocates on behalf of members’ students. Tubbs has served as a member of the ACC Board for three years.

Each of the twenty-three community colleges has at least one representative from their school serving on the ACC Board. An election among these members is held each year to elect a new president to represent and lead the board

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES ARREST OF WOMAN FOR MEDICAID FRAUD 01/09/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a mental health therapist at Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) this week.

Kandice Robinson, 33, of Bartlett, Tenn., is accused of billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services not rendered between August 15 and November 1, 2017, totaling about $4,950. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Robinson turned herself in at Pulaski County District Court. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony.

“Robinson is another PFH employee accused of lying and charging Medicaid for services she did not provide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “People cheating the Medicaid system are stealing from taxpayers and hurting the system, which is designed to protect Arkansas’s most vulnerable. I will not tolerate this behavior as the Attorney General.”

Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or oag@arkansasag.gov

ASHDOWN CHEERLEADERS TRAVEL TO LONDON FOR NEW YEAR’S PARADE 01/09/19

  Ashdown High School Senior Cheerleaders Aliyah Anderson and Autumn Hoffman performed with more than 800 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who represented Varsity Spirit in the world famous London New Year’s Day Parade.

The individuals invited to perform in the parade qualified for the trip after being selected as an All-American at a summer camp hosted by one of the Varsity Spirit camp brands, which include Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Universal Dance Association (UDA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), National Dance Alliance (NDA) and United Spirit Association (USA).

All-Americans are selected to try out based on superior cheerleading, dancing and leadership skills at camps across the country. Only the top 12% of the more than 325,000 cheerleaders and dancers who attend the 5,000 Varsity Spirit summer camp sessions earn the chance to march in the holiday spectacular.

Cheerleaders, dancers, marching bands, acrobats and more made up the 10,000 performers representing 20 countries worldwide in the 2019 parade. Established as one of London’s biggest events, the parade is seen by nearly 300 million people around the world. In addition to cheering in the parade, All-Americans were able to celebrate the holiday’s European style with the chance to tour some of London’s most historic sites during their seven-day stay.

FREE WEEKEND ACTIVITIES AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 01/09/19

A variety of free, family-friendly activities have been planned at Cossatot River State Park in Wickes this weekend, Saturday January 12th and Sunday, January 13th.

On Saturday at 3:30 p.m. a one hour informational session about birds will be held in the legacy room of the visitor’s center. The program is titled “Birds, it’s cold outside” and park interpreters will educate attendees about birds who stay in the local area for the winter. A one hour “guess who’s coming to dinner” program will be held in the wildlife viewing area of the visitor’s center at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. Park interpreters will have participants identify animals by the foods they eat.

At 2:00 p.m. park visitors can meet at the natural area to feed the critters until 3:00 p.m. Park interpreters will also provide educational information about the animals while visitors observe the animals in their habitats.

The final weekend activity will be held at 3:30 p.m. as park interpreters lead visitors through a “primal paints” program. Attendees will be able to paint images of the park’s animals in a natural setting.

All activities at Cossatot River State park planned for January 12th and 13th welcome visitors of all ages and are free of charge.

The park is located in Polk County at 1980 Hwy 278 West, Wickes Arkansas. More information at (870) 385-2201 or visit www.arkansasstateparks.com

FUNDRAISER SCHEDULED FOR INJURED TROOPER 01/09/19

An upcoming Fundraiser has been announced for this weekend to assist the family of Arkansas State Police Trooper corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32 of Little River County. The purpose of the fundraiser is to help offset the cost of medical expenses for McWilliams’ family.

As KDQN previously reported McWilliams was injured in an accident last week while en route to the scene of a crash in Sevier County. Wet road conditions have been believed to have contributed to the accident. A chili dinner auction and fundraiser have been planned for Saturday, January 12th at 5:00 p.m. at The Ashdown High School cafeteria. The cost is by donation only and the Auction will start at 6:30 . Persons wishing to contribute an item to the auction can donate in advance by contacting Johnny Brown at 903-748-6846. Items will be accepted at the door as well.

ASHDOWN FOOTBALL SENIOR PLAYS IN ALL AMERICAN BOWL 01/08/19

Cody Barton, a Senior at Ashdown High School was named an Offense-Defense All-American at Camp this past Summer,   and received an invitation to participate in the 13th Annual Offense-Defense Bowl Week festivities that took place in December in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Cody’s team SSC1 won their game 24-12.

Cody Barton plays nose guard and defensive tackle for Ashdown High School. He was was selected for this opportunity from an outstanding group of thousands of athletes across the country and played well representing Ashdown, easily validating the Bowl Selection Committee’s choice in tabbing Cody for the All-American tilt.  This is Cody’s 3rd year to earn honors to play in the O-D All American Bowl playing previously in Atlanta, GA (2016) and New Orleans, LA (2017).

UMPIRE MAN FACING CHARGES IN PIKE COUNTY 01/08/19

An Umpire man is facing felony charges in Pike county following a traffic stop by deputies. Authorities say 52 year old Robert Faulkner is charged with felony counts including Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrod Reid observed a pickup truck being driven by Faulkner on December 19th.

Knowing Faulkner had a suspended drivers license, the deputy conducted a traffic stop on Faulkner’s vehicle. While searching Faulkner, Deputy Reid said he discovered a piece of aluminum foil that had been folded numerous times. Police say the foil contained a white powdery substance believed to be meth cocaine. Authorities also said they recovered a zip lock bag containing several other smaller bags. In addition to the items found on Faulkner, reports said other drug related items were found beside the driver’s seat of the pickup.

UPDATE ON ARKANSAS STATE TROOPER INJURED IN CRASH 01/08/19

An Arkansas State Police trooper injured in a car accident on U.S. 71 remains in serious but stable condition in a Little Rock hospital.

Cpl. Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Ashdown was undergoing surgery Monday morning, according to his mother-in-law, Deanna Sivley.

“He has been stable enough to have surgery,” Sivley said. “The state police have been outstanding and have been to the hospital every day.

“We appreciate all the prayers and support we’ve been getting. This teaches us humility.”

McWilliams was taken to a Little Rock hospital after initially being taken to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System on Thursday.

While driving to a crash scene on U.S. 71, McWilliams’ patrol vehicle left the roadway after hydroplaning and struck a tree.

Heavy rainfall in the area is believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash.

The accident happened at 12:50 p.m. Thursday near Wilton in Little River County, according to a news release. McWilliams was responding to a crash scene in Sevier County where a logging truck had overturned.

POLK COUNTY SHERIFF ISSUES STATEMENT ON MURDER SENTENCING 01/08/19

Brian Travis, age 39, pled guilty to four counts of Capital Murder in Polk County Circuit Court today. Travis admitted guilt in the April 2017 deaths of Bethany Wester, age 43, Acelynn Wester, age 2, Reilly Scarbrough, age 9, and Steven Payne, age 66. Travis was sentenced to 4 Life without the Possibility of Parole sentences.

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said “He will spend the rest of his life in prison and after today I will never mention his name again. Though this case was initially pursued as a death penalty case, ultimately Prosecutor Andy Riner allowed Travis to plead guilty to 4 Life w/o sentences. There are many reasons why Mr. Riner made this decision, which by the way I support 100%, but ultimately this is the sentence that the family of the victims requested. Travis was transported to ADC Varner Supermax after being sentenced. Please remember our victims and their wonderful family in your prayers”.

RAINFALL CALCULATED FOR DE QUEEN 01/08/19

Rainfall totals for 2018 in De Queen reached 69.20 inches. De Queen’s yearly average rainfall is about 51 inches, based on a 30-year average.

Periods of “just prolonged rainfall events” occurred in 2018’s final months, said meteorologist Travis Shelton at the National Weather Service in north little Rock. Rainfall in December totaled 8.94 inches in De Queen. The highest monthly rainfall in De Queen occurred in February when 12.23 inches of rainfall was recorded.

There is a good chance for higher-than-normal rainfall to continue for at least the early part of 2019, according to the National Weather Service three-month outlook for February through April, Shelton said. Temperatures, meanwhile , are expected to be in the normal range that time of the year, he said. That will follow below-normal temperatures for the latter half of January, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast for the next four weeks.

UA COSSASTOT SPRING SEMESTER ANNOUNCEMENTS 01/08/19

UA Cossatot student ambassadors Alondra Galvez, Saleni Rojaas and Johanna Martinez stopped by KDQN studios Monday, January 7th to announce upcoming dates and events happening for the Spring semester at the college campuses.

The ambassadors reminded area students that classes will begin January 14th with registration available until January 15th. Scholarships and financial aid information are still available online at cccua.edu. There will also be required new student orientation “colt kickers” in De Queen, Ashdown and Nashville this week.

More information about enrollment and the spring semester can be found at cccua.edu

THE 7TH ANNUAL BOAT, SPORT, AND RV SHOW ANNOUNCED 01/07/19

The State Fair of Louisiana will host the 7th Annual Boat, Sport, and RV Show January 18,-20 at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.  The hours are Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 10am – 7pm, and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Close to 400 Boats, RV’s,  ATV’s and Side by Sides will be on display from the regional area. Attendees will have the opportunity to shop and compare many different lines of Boats, RV’s and ATV’s in a competitive environment. This event officially kicks off their season with the dealers offering discounts and special Show pricing.

The show will feature a large kid’s area for family-friendly activities and some of the top 2018 State Fair food vendors will be on hand providing concessions the show.

This year the show will also host two Bass Tournaments that will begin the tournament season for the Bayou Outdoor BOSS Tournament Trail and the North Louisiana High School Fishing League. Between 250-300 teams will be participating. Both weigh-ins will take place Saturday afternoon at the show.
For more information on the State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show, you can visit www.statefairoflouisiana.com. KDQN will be giving away tickets this week during the morning brew show from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Listen for your chance to win.

UAHT ANNOUNCES FUNDRAISER SET FOR FEBRUARY 01/07/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana will hold the 13th Annual Beads, Bags, and Bangles Kids’ College fundraiser on Thursday, February 28, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at The Venue at Twelve Oaks. The Venue at Twelve Oaks is located at 4177 Highway 29 North, Blevins, AR, just six miles north of Hope.

The theme of this year’s event is “Big Hats and Bow Ties.” Featured this year will be southern fare, mint juleps, horse racing, live music, and shopping. Wear your best big hat or your most charming bow tie.

Proceeds raised at the 13th Annual BBB event will be used for scholarships and supplies to benefit the 2019 Kids’ College and Camp Save-A-Life programs. These programs are designed for students who will be in first through eighth grade. The 2018 programs served over 250 children from Hope, Texarkana, and the surrounding communities. A portion of the funds will also benefit UAHT’s Camp Save-A-Life program which serves approximately 50 students in seventh and eighth grade on the Hope and Texarkana campuses.

Tickets to the BBB Big Hats and Bow Ties event are $35. For more information or to buy your tickets, contact Anna Powell, UAHT Foundation Executive Director, at 870-722-8516 or anna.powell@uacch.edu.

DE QUEEN DOCTOR WINS AWARD FOR PREVENTIVE VACCINE INITIATIVES 01/07/19

Dr. Floyd Gonzalez of De Queen is Arkansas’ 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award Winner.

The Award is given annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, and Association of American Cancer Institutes The award recognizes doctors, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems that are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities.

This year, one Champion from each of the 50 U.S. states, 8 U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia was recognized.
Dr. Floyd Gonzalez is a private practicing pediatrician in the city of De Queen, Arkansas, and has been a practicing pediatrician for more than 20 years.

Dr. Gonzalez received his medical training at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Tec Salud in Monterrey, Mexico and has achieved high vaccination rates through effectively communicating the benefits of vaccination and answering parents’ questions in both English and Spanish. He educates parents about vaccines and explains the that it can help prevent children from developing certain types of cancer as they get older.

Dr. Gonzalez answers parents’ questions and concerns and provides written information about the vaccine in both English and Spanish to ensure all of the parents in his practice have the information they need to feel comfortable in their decision to vaccinate their child.

Dr. Gonzalez has been recognized on the CDC website:  https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/2018-winners.html

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL TO MEET THIS WEEK 01/07/19

The Lockesburg City Council has announced the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockesburg, City Hall.
The meeting’s agenda includes allotted time for visitor contributions and public comment. There will also be a report form the mayor.

Actions for council members will include swearing in of Alderman members, addressing the 2019 budget and setting future council meetings dates and times.

They will also discuss a request for synchronizing well #1 and well #2 as well as a building permit issue and the approval of the December meeting’s minutes and approval of the December budget, bills and the council’s financials.

LOCAL RESIDENT DONATES TO COLLEGE CAMPAIGN 01/07/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation received a Legacy 2020 capital campaign donation from Ms. Julie Brown of De Queen.
Classrooms 305 and 307 in the Science and Arts Building on the De Queen campus is now named after Brown’s mother, Eddie Lou Watson and grandmother, Lou Gray to recognize the gift.

The UA Cossatot Foundation’s Legacy 2020 campaign focuses on community members and businesses that wish to invest in the growth of the college on all four campuses; De Queen, Nashville, Ashdown, and Lockesburg. For every contribution, a naming opportunity exists for those who want to leave a visible legacy in
the donor’s community.

“Naming a room in honor of a loved one is a great way to leave a legacy and help local college students” said UA Cossatot Development Coordinator Dustin Roberts.
“We greatly appreciated Julie’s generosity and support of our college.”
More information about the Legacy 2020 is available on the college’s website at www.cccua.edu/legacy2020.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES STATE TO RECEIVE $75,000             01/07/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the for-profit education company, Career Education Corp. (CEC) has agreed to change its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting more than $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In the settlement with Arkansas and 48 other attorneys general, affected Arkansas students will receive $1.8 million in debt relief through student loan forgiveness, and the State of Arkansas will receive a payment of $75,000.

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance caps a five-year investigation. CEC agreed to forgo any and all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement.

CEC is based in Schaumburg, Ill., and currently offers primarily online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. CEC has closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Its brands have included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College and Sanford-Brown.

A group of attorneys general launched an investigation into CEC in January 2014 after receiving several complaints from students and a critical report on for-profit education by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The attorneys general alleged that CEC pressured its employees to enroll students and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices. These practices included making misleading statements or failing to disclose information to prospective students on total costs, transferability of credits, program offerings, job placement rates, and other topics. As a result, some students could not obtain professional licensure and incurred debts that they could neither repay nor discharge. CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general but agreed to resolve the claims through this multi-state settlement.

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT IN MINERAL SPRINGS THIS WEEK 01/07/19

One of the oldest basketball tournaments in the state begins Monday January 7, the Southwest Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament will be held at Mineral Springs High School. The tournament originally started and was held for many years at Saratoga. Superintendent Thelma Forte has confirmed that the games will be held in the brand new arena, located in the new Mineral Springs school building that has been under construction since early 2017. Superintendent Forte says the new gymnasium seats roughly 1640 people. There are 510 bucket seats.

Girls teams participating in addition to the Hornets include: Ashdown, Murfreesboro, Horatio, Bradley, and Fouke.

DEPUTIES CATCH MAN ATTEMPTING TO FLEE IN DE QUEEN 01/04/19

A man is facing charges of drug possession and fleeing after Deputies from The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call about an attempted burglary in De Queen last week.

A report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department says Deputy Chett Stubbs was dispatched to a residence on Dunn Road December 28th for the attempted burglary call when he observed a truck leave the area at a high rate of speed. Deputy Stubbs reportedly initiated emergency lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop when the vehicle stopped and a passenger in the car took off on foot. In the report Deputy Stubbs stated that the passenger was wearing a black mask and camouflage jacket.

Stubbs reported issuing multiple commands to get the suspect to stop but he continued running before he was detained in a field behind a residential home. The suspect was identified as Keith White and he was placed into custody. Upon conducting a search on White, Deputy Stubbs reported finding what was suspected to be a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine.

Deputies also reported finding a white substance suspected to be methamphetamine, a leafy substance suspected to be marijuana, a syringe, 4 25 milligram alaprazolam pills, a tube containing suspected methamphetamine and plastic zip-lock bags consistent with the repacking and sales of controlled substances.

White was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with possession of controlled substance schedule 2 with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and fleeing. A court date has been set for January 10th at The Sevier County Courthouse.

STATE TROOPER HOSPITALIZED AFTER CRASH IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 01/04/19

An Arkansas State Trooper has been hospitalized from injuries he sustained in a single-vehicle motor vehicle crash in southwest Arkansas at approximately 12:50 PM Thursday, January 3, 2018.
Corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Little River County, was initially transported to a Texarkana hospital and later moved to a Little Rock hospital where his injuries are being assessed.
Trooper McWilliams was responding to a crash scene in Sevier County where a logging truck had overturned.
While driving to the crash scene along U.S. Highway 71, northbound, near Wilton (Little River County), the patrol car driven by Corporal McWilliams left the roadway and struck a tree.  Heavy rainfall in the area is believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash. (Photo submitted by Texarkana Gazette)

ADEQ TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING THIS MONTH 01/04/19

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will host a public meeting on January 22, 2019, from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30  p.m. at ADEQ headquarters, 5301 Northshore Drive in North Little Rock, to kick-off the Air Regulatory Efficiency and Streamlining Effort (EASE) Collaborative. The EASE Collaborative will bring together interested Arkansans and ADEQ staff to develop solutions to achieve regulatory streamlining goals and establish permitting guidance to assist the regulated community, as well as develop recommendations for streamlining four Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission (APC&EC) regulations.

The EASE Collaborative was formed in response to comments and feedback received by ADEQ on the pre-proposal draft of the Air Integrated Regulation Streamlining Project and the group is open to the public. The purpose of the kick-off meeting is to select workgroup members for two smaller task-focused workgroups—Regulatory Streamlining and Permitting Guidance—which will meet regularly to develop solutions to present at quarterly meetings. The kick-off meeting will include discussion of a work plan to develop proposed revisions to streamline current APC&EC air regulations.

Further information about the EASE Collaborative, related public meetings, and historical documents for this effort can be viewed from the EASE webpage athttps://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/planning/streamlining/.

PLUNGE FOR LIFE    01/04/19

WeeCare Pregnancy Resources, Inc., a non-profit, faith based pregnancy crisis center will be hosting the 10th Annual PLUNGE for Life on Saturday, February 2nd at 1:00 p.m.  The event will take place at Area D, Stephens Gap of Broken Bow Lake.  The theme this year is “TOO CHICKEN TO PLUNGE.”   Youth Organizations and Church Groups are encouraged to register for the Battle of the Plunge.  The group with the largest donations will receive a travel trophy and pizza party for their group.

Other prizes and awards will be presented at event.  Plungers are encouraged to dress up in costumes or as chickens!  If you would like to participate, please contact the center at 580-286-5390 or by email at weecare4u@yahoo.com. You may also pick up a participant packet at our center located on 110 E Main St, Idabel, OK.

LISTED BELOW ARE SOME OF THE FREE SERVICES OFFERED TO CLIENTS REGARDLESS OF ECONOMIC STATUS:

  • PREGNANCY TESTS
  • ULTRASOUNDS
  • CHILD BIRTHING CLASSES
  • CPR/FIRST AID CLASSES
  • PARENTING CLASSES
  • MATERNITY CLOTHES
  • BABY CARE ITEMS
  • TUTORING & MENTORING PROGRAMS
  • POST-ABORTION SUPPORT
  • ADOPTION EDUCATION
  • LOVE & SUPPORT

 

DEPUTIES DETAIN DISORDERLY SUSPECT IN DE QUEEN 01/03/19
A woman is facing charges for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after deputies responded to an incident that occurred in De Queen Monday, December 31st.
A report from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department says Deputy Justin Gentry was dispatched to a residence on Chapel Hill road Monday to respond to a call about an unwanted intoxicated person on the property. A caller reported that the suspect had been banging her head against a car and attempting to force her way into the home.
The report says Deputy Gentry was assisted by Sergeant Greg Davignon and the suspect was identified as Alexis Richards. Richards reportedly placed her hands behind her back to be handcuffed as requested but then attempted to pull away from the officers and turn around. Deputy Gentry reported commanding Richards to comply several times and ultimately had to force her hands in a position to be properly cuffed.
The report also stated that Sergeant Davignon spoke with the occupants of the home who claimed Richards showed up at the residence and they asked her to leave, which caused her to become irate. The home occupants reported that Richards tore the screen door of the home in an attempt to get inside. A resident of the house also reported that Richards clawed their arm and Stomach during the incident.
The residents declined to press charges against the suspect. Richards was transported to The Sevier County Jail where she was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A court date has been set for January 22nd 2019 at the Sevier County Courthouse.
STUDENT AMBASSADORS ANNOUNCED AT LOCAL COLLEGE 01/03/19
The University of Arkansas at Cossatot inducted thirteen college students into the 2019 Student Ambassadors Class at a ceremony held at the Weyerhaeuser Room last month.
This was the sixth year of the Student Ambassador program. In exchange for a tuition waiver, resume building and networking opportunities, and help transferring to a four-year university, Student Ambassadors recruit in their communities, organize student events, facilitate service projects, and provide support at many other college events.
Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole welcomed the group and presented tuition waivers.
“Of all the things we do at UAC, Student Ambassadors is one of my favorites,” Dr. Cole addressed the Ambassadors.
“Out of 1500 students and those who applied, the Ambassador Selection Committee saw something special in you. Something that will help move the college forward. It’s truly an honor to welcome you into your new role.”
“These students pass a series of interviews and meet stringent criteria before being selected to be Ambassadors,” said Daniel Martinez, Marketing Coordinator and Student Ambassador Sponsor. “This program gives students a chance to network and seek opportunities that enhance their future.”
HISTORIC WASHINGTON PARK EVENTS PLANNED FOR NEW YEAR 01/03/19
Several events and activities are planned for 2019 at historic Washington state park in hempstead county. Four “Trial By Jury” events are planned for the new year, with registration open for the first event on January 12th.
The evening begins with a meal and then a trial drama at the 1874 Courthouse. Cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children under 14. Registration is required by contacting the park at 870-983-2684.
Dancing with the Stars “Washington Style” is also planned for January 19th at the WPA gym.
BROKEN BOW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SEEKING CITIZEN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES 01/03/19
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting nominations for the 2018 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR. The recipient will be acknowledged at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet scheduled for the end of February.
Nominees are not required have to be well-known in the community or involved in major events. It’s is not a contest multiple nominations for the same nominee are not necessary. The nominees can be anyone, including friends, family, or neighbors.The purpose of the award is to recognize how their efforts have made a positive impact in the city of Broken Bow.
The chamber is looking for people who go beyond their jobs to impact the community positively. An ideal nominee is someone who gives their time and energy on a voluntary basis to benefit Broken Bow.
If you know a Broken Bow resident who deserves this honor, please submit:
Your Name, Address, Phone Number, then the NOMINIEE’S NAME, Addres and Phone Number and A description of “WHY” you believe this individual should be Broken Bow’s Citizen of the Year.
Nomination forms are due January 11th Nominations can be mailed, emailed, or dropped off to the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, 113 West MLK, Broken Bow, OK 74728.
For more Information, call Charity O’Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393 or visit www.BrokenBowChamber.com
JEFF BROWN BEGINS TERM AS MAYOR OF DE QUEEN 01/02/19

Jeff Brown is the new Mayor of De Queen at New Years time. Mayor Brown and four new Aldermen were administered the Oath of Office by Judge Monya Wood during swearing in ceremonies Tuesday evening at De Queen City Hall.

Mayor Brown won over two other candidates in the November general election to become Mayor of De Queen. Previously, he had served as head of the Water Department for the City.
New Council members Jeff Holcomb, Dr. Jason Lofton, Troy Cravens, and Rick Pruitt were also sworn in along with returning Aldermen Teresa Bunyard and Kathy Richards, as well as City Clerk Donna Jones.

In the only action item at Tuesday’s meeting, the Council set their regular meeting dates and time as the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 at City Hall.

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S FIRST TERM IN REVIEW 01/02/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is closing out her first term as the state’s chief legal officer with the announcement she has reached almost 90,000 Arkansans in person since taking office in January 2015, including over 21,000 in 2018.

Rutledge had hosted 306 roundtable meetings and 313 mobile offices to meet face-to-face with thousands of Arkansans. In 2016, Rutledge began partnering with local law enforcement to collect unused and expired prescription medications at mobile offices.

Rutledge also hosts numerous outreach and training events, including the annual Law Enforcement Summit, Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit and the Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event to recognize Arkansas’s missing persons. In addition to annual events, the Attorney General’s Office increased outreach efforts by hosting webcasts on topics including avoiding common scams, the Freedom of Information Act and teen dating violence prevention. During her first four-year term, Rutledge hosted 68 large training events and the Attorney General’s staff has presented to 1,291 groups.

LAST YOUTH MODERN GUN HUNT OF THE SEASON JAN 5TH-6TH 01/02/19

The second modern gun deer hunt for youth hunters will take place across Arkansas this Saturday and Sunday. Only hunters who are 6 to 15 years of age may pursue deer with modern guns on this last chance of the season.

Incorrect dates for the hunt were listed in a previous press release before the Christmas Holiday, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission apologizes for the error.

All private land deer zones are open during the youth hunt. Some wildlife management areas are not open to the special modern gun youth hunt. Visit https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/where-hunt/wildlife-management-areas for season date information on WMAs.

During the youth hunt, youths who have completed Hunter Education may hunt on their own if their parent or guardian feels that they are responsible enough to do so. Youths who do not have Hunter Education must be under the direct supervision of a mentor who is at least 21 years old. Mentors may not hunt any species while accompanying the youth.

All deer taken during the hunt count toward the youth’s seasonal bag limit and the bag limits for the zone where they are hunting. Deer taken during the youth hunt must be checked to the youth hunter’s name and not the mentor or parent. Deer may be checked via phone, internet or the AGFC’s smartphone app.

To check by phone, call 877-731-5627. Checking via internet is available at www.agfc.com. The smartphone app is available for Android or iPhone through the Google Play and iTunes app stores.

WAGE INCREASES FOR ARKANSANS WITH NEW YEAR 01/02/19

Thousands of Arkansans will get a pay raise soon, compliments of a ballot measure approved by voters in November to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021.

The first stage — an increase from $8.50 to $9.25 — kicked in Tuesday January 1st.For an employee working 40 hours a week, that’s a weekly pay increase of $30, from $340 to $370, not including deductions for taxes and other withholdings. For a year’s work, that translates into an increase from $17,680 to $19,240, before taxes and other withholdings.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and other groups that supported the passage last November of Issue 5 said 300,000 workers — or one-fourth of the state’s workforce — will benefit as the measure takes full effect over the next couple of years. It’s the second time since 2014 that Arkansas voters approved a minimum-wage increase. Both measures won with more than 60 percent of the vote.

The $9.25-an-hour wage will increase to $10 a year in 2020 and to $11 on Jan. 1, 2021. “Tipped wages” remain unchanged, at $2.63 an hour, at places where tips are expected to equal or exceed the $9.25 an hour. If that level of pay isn’t reached, the employer is required to make up the difference.

NEW YEAR BRINGS NEWS TAX CUTS FOR ARKANSANS 01/02/19

The new year brings tax cuts to Arkansans, one for grocery shoppers and the other for lower-income people. On the first day of 2019, the state sales tax on groceries will drop from 1.5 percent to 0.125 percent and the individual income-tax rates for people who make less than $21,000 a year in taxable income will be cut.

The grocery tax cut is the final step of former Gov. Mike Beebe’s bid to make good on a 2006 campaign pledge. He had proposed to incrementally trim the tax from 6 percent to 0.125 percent. Beebe served as governor from 2007-2015. The cut for low-income Arkansans will be the second in individual income-tax rates to take effect in recent years. They were proposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and enacted by the Legislature.

In 2015, the Legislature enacted Hutchinson’s plan to trim individual income-tax rates for people who make between $21,000 and $75,000 a year in taxable income. Then in 2017, the Legislature approved his second cut proposal, for people with less than $21,000 a year in taxable income. Governor Hutchinson hopes to continue his tax cutting in the regular session that starts Jan. 14. The governor is asking for the Legislature’s approval of his plan to gradually cut the top individual tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent.