Local News Archive

DE QUEEN POLICE NAB SHOPLIFTERS AT WALMART FRIDAY 03/31/20

Two local residents were issued citations for theft after authorities responded to a call at an area retail store last week. According to a press release provided to KDQN by Captain Sonny Kimmel, Sergeant Wayne Baker was dispatched to Walmart in De Queen on Friday, March 27th in reference to a shoplifting report.

An associate in the store’s asset department advised the sergeant that a male subject, named Bradley Neighbors, age 21 and a female identified as Taylor Rashelle Bolin Langwell, age 22 had taken fishing lures and “pop socket” phone accessories without paying for the items. Both suspects are residents of De Queen and Langwell was found to have an outstanding warrant in Polk County, Arkansas.

The two suspects were cited for theft of property and the case files have been submitted to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for forthcoming criminal charges.

UPDATED DISTRICT COURT NOTICE     03/31/20

Sevier County District Court is implementing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as recommended by the Center For Disease Control and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

 All cases set on April 14, 2020 have been rescheduled to May 12, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

All cases set on April 28, 2020 have been rescheduled to May 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

If you are represented by an attorney, please advise your attorney as soon as possible of the new dates.

As of March 16, 2020 until further notice, district court will no longer be accepting fine payments in person.  You may pay your fine over the phone by calling (870) 584-7311 or by mailing it in to Sevier County District Court, 115 N. Third St., Room 215, De Queen, AR 71832.  (this is contingent upon the courthouse remaining open)

If you have any questions, please contact the Sevier County District Court at (870) 584-7311.

UA COSSATOT FFA PLANT SALE TO BE HELD AT SEVIER CO FARMER’S CO OP 03/31/20

UA Cossatot’s agriculture department coordinates and operates a greenhouse plant sale every spring to raise funds for the collegiate FFA. The plants are grown and cared for by students in the Introduction to Horticulture class. The annual plant sale typically takes place at the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus during April and May, but due to COVID-19, the college has had to close its campuses temporarily.

UA Cossatot Agriculture Instructor, Kelli Harris, reached out to the Sevier County Farmers Co-op to see if they were interested in purchasing the plants grown by the agriculture students. The Co-op wants to support local growers as much as possible, and vegetable plants are in high demand with many people wanting to start gardens at home this year. Students at UA Cossatot have planted an impressive variety of tomatoes, including Arkansas Travelers, Celebrity, Beefsteak, Big Boy, Better Boy, Cherokee Purple, and many more. The peppers grown include a number of sweet bell peppers, traditional Jalapeño, and the always popular Tricked You Jalapeño, which tastes like a Jalapeño but has no heat.

This year the Sevier County Farmers Co-op will be purchasing tomatoes and peppers from the UA Cossatot agriculture program to sell at their De Queen store.

Kelli Harris stated, “I appreciate the Sevier County Farmers Co-op for supporting our local agriculture program during these challenging times, and I want to encourage everyone that has come to our plant sale in the past to please visit the Co-op this year.”

ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION ANNOUNCES CLOSURES 03/31/20

With coronavirus affecting many businesses in the state, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will extend the temporary closure of AGFC offices, nature and education centers and shooting ranges until further notice.

Wildlife management areas, boat ramps, lakes and fishing accesses controlled by the AGFC remain open to allow people to get outside during this time of social distancing. Field staff is still working, managing the state’s wildlife and fisheries resources.  turkey hunting season is just around the corner, opening on April 11-12 for youth hunting and April 13 for regular turkey season, and scouting for the birds is an excellent way to get out and avoid crowds. Fishing, too, is an excellent option for people to enjoy without concentrating in large groups.

The AGFC advises people to keep a “fishing rod’s distance” from other individuals while enjoying the outdoors and to practice proper safeguards provided by the Arkansas Department of Health at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES    03/31/20

STATE OF ARKANSAS SUSPENDS VEHICLE REGISTRATION LATE FEES 03/31/20

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT HANDLES SKIDDER FIRE MONDAY 03/30/20

The De Queen Fire Department responded to an all-call alarm skidder fire near Highway 41 North last week. A report released by Chief Dennis Pruitt states that 16 firefighters and 2 trucks were dispatched to the scene of a 2005 caterpillar skidder fire Monday, March 23rd on Beacon Hill road in De Queen around 6:12 p.m.

The fire was extinguished by use of foam and water and the department left the scene at 6:55 p.m, roughly 35 minutes after arriving to asses the situation at 6:19 p.m. No smoke detectors were reported to be found around the scene and no mutual aids were listed in the report.

The owner of the skidder is listed as Augustin Baladeras, a De Queen resident and Shelter insurance reported as the coverage provider. No injuries were included in the report, however Chief Dennis Pruitt told KDQN that the incident is being looked into by the fire investigator, though no arson is suspected at this time.

CONGRESSMAN BRUCE WESTERMAN ADDRESSES COVID-19 IN ‘WESTERMAN WEEKLY’ ON THE MORNING BREW WITH KDQN 03/30/30

(Listen to hear Jay and Wiley of The Morning Brew on KDQN 92.1 FM interview Arkansas 4th District Congressman Bruce Westerman about the Coronavirus Thursday, March 26th)

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT PROVIDING MEALS FOR STUDENTS THIS WEEK 03/20/20

Free meals will be provided to children in the De Queen School District who are 18 and younger this week, beginning Monday, March 30th.

All meals will be provided at the high school cafeteria with drive-through service only. They ask that you come in on School Drive to the cafeteria, remain in your vehicle and someone will bring the meal to you. It is required that kids be in the vehicle at the time meals are picked up. Once you receive your meal, exit past the Rock Gym and middle school.

This is a grab and go meal and you will not be able to congregate per CDC guidelines.

Serving times will be from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. each day Monday – Friday.

SEVIER COUNTY HOSPITAL BOARD CANCELS APRIL MEETING 03/30/20

Sevier County Hospital Board of Governors Chairman Dr. Steve Cole reports it is in the group’s best interest to cancel the April Sevier County Hospital Board meeting. Cole says the board is  making progress and will continue to do so. An update has been provided on action items and information that would have been addressed at the meeting.

Cole reports the board is still on track to close the land deal where the new hospital will be located and the action item should happen “any day now.”

The board is also bound for D and O insurance and have chosen Terracotta as the site soil company. They’ve also sent the Civil Engineering Contract to legal for review and expect to be able to sign within the next week or so.

Dr. Cole reported meeting with Network Solutions group this past week to break the ice on IT discussions and plans have been established to reach out to Edafio this week and speak with them. Cole will also sign the GE contracts for capital lease and equipment this week as well.

The chairman has asked the board members to be watching what happens with the economy, as this has the chance to impact what happens with the hospital construction project as it applies to timelines. For example, the municipal bond markets may currently have lower bond ratings, which means interest would have actually gone up instead of down and that makes this a difficult time to sell bonds. Also, a decline in county revenues may adversely affect collections.

The board has a goal to meet in the month of May dependent upon COVID-19.

ASHDOWN CITY HALL REDUCES HOURS, CLOSES CITY PARK 03/30/20

Ashdown City Hall has announced limited hours now in effect, the building will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The office is also operating with reduced staff in accordance with recommendations from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Municipal League in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A curfew is also now in order and Ashdown City Park is closed as well.

REPRESENTATIVE DEANN VAUGHT REPORTS LEGISLATURE WORKING TO COMBAT COVID-19 CRISIS 03/30/20
Representative DeAnn Vaught reports that the House recently convened for an Extraordinary Session to address the urgent funding needs in our state created by the COVID-19 crisis.
For only the second time in recent history, they convened outside of the Capitol. The Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock provided additional space for members to adhere to social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet and everyone was screened by medical professionals before entering the facility.
The legislation they were asked by the Governor to consider creates the “COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund” by redirecting surplus funds. The state currently has a surplus of $173 million.
The fund would be used to offset general revenue reductions, funding needs and unanticipated needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.
Any expenditure from the fund would require approval of at least two of three legislative leaders in both the House and Senate. Allowing this type of flexibility with the budget is unprecedented, but we are in unprecedented times. This measure helps to ensure the needs we face in weeks ahead can be funded quickly.
This legislation also makes it possible to extend the state tax deadline to July 15.
Meanwhile, the house is continuing to work on other needs families may be facing during this time. Resources are being made available to reduce waiting times on the hotline for unemployment claims. You can call the hotline at 1-844-908-2178 or 501-534-6304.
Vaught says “While we are facing uncertain times, know that your legislature is here and functioning on your behalf.”
If you run into issues navigating your way to needed assistance, reach out to your representative. Contact information for every representative is found on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.
SALVATION ARMY STORE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE 03/30/30
The Salvation Army reports that their first priority is the safety and protection of their clients, store customers, volunteers and staff. Goods purchased at Family stores help fund assistance for locals in need. Due to a decline in retail traffic caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, and out of concern for shoppers,  the De Queen location will be closing until further notice, effective as of March 25th, 2020.
While these changes are necessary to ensure the safety of all, they understand the significant impact Salvation Army Stores have on the local community and they report they are doing everything possible to ensure safety and well being of valued team members during this time. Financial support from the community is appreciated and information is available online now. Visit salvationarmyusa.org/covid19 to find out more about the Salvation Army’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
AMNESTY WEEK BEING OFFERED BY SEVIER COUNTY DISTRICT COURT THROUGH APRIL 30TH 03/30/20
Amnesty week is now being offered for individuals with outstanding warrants in Sevier County by Judge Monya Wood. This amnesty period is applicable now through April 30th, 2020/
Any person with an outstanding warrant for “Failure to Appear” or “Failure to Comply” for a traffic violation in Sevier County, Arkansas may have the warrant withdrawn by paying the fine and costs for the underlying charge.
Payments must be made to the Sevier County District Court Clerk’s office by check or money order. The amnesty program will not apply to anyone required to make a mandatory court appearance for DWI, driving on a suspended license or similar charge. The Court Clerk can advise if an offense will require a mandatory court appearance or if amnesty applies. Anyone who is arrested on an outstanding warrant during the amnesty period will not be allowed to take advantage of the program and will be subjected to the standard judicial process. Contact Sevier County district court at 870-584-7311.
AMERASIAN MINISTRIES HELPING COMMUNITY WITH GROCERY DELIVERY 03/30/20
Amerasian Hometown mission in De Queen is offering assistance to residents in need during the covid-19 pandemic. Minister Gerald Burt has announced that the organization offers commodities to local residents in need regularly but they are now helping with grocery delivery  to area citizens who are unable to get out to the stores while shut in due to coronavirus concerns. The assistance is geared towards elderly residents but anyone who is in need can utilize the free, volunteer-based service.The group is also looking to partner with area churches and seeking sponsors to help during this time. The goal of Amerasian ministries right now is to encourage the community to take care of each other in these trying times and supporting the elderly community. Contact Gerald Burt at 870-279-4154 for questions.
SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT FEB 2020 REPORT 03/30/30
At the end of each month, The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department tallies the monthly totals and complies a report for the public. In the month of February, 2020 the totals include:
-Hours Deputies were on Duty:  1,733.5
-Total Miles driven while on duty: 19,532
-Total fuel used: 1,035 gallons
-Calls taken by Deputies: 205
-Total Motor Vehicle accidents worked: 16
-Traffic stops: 86
-Citations issued: 7
-Warnings given: 81
-Total Arrests made: 29
-Civil papers served: 34
-Total building checks: 1,371
-Residential Checks: 10
Investigators opened 12 new cases and the school resource officer worked 17 incidents, 13 of which were at Horatio High School, 4 were at the elementary campus.
The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 870-642-6100 or email sevierso@windstream.net

PRESIDENT SIGNS CARES ACT INTO LAW       03/27/20

President Donald Trump today signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis related to COVID-19.

This bipartisan effort to provide relief to the U.S. economy contains $2.20 trillion in aid for businesses and individuals who are suffering economic distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After passing the Senate with a unanimous vote last night, the House passed the bill with a quorum of more than 216 members present. The President signed the bill into law just hours later.

AG RUTLEDGE ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION FOR MEDICAL PROVIDERS IN ARKANSAS 03/27/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced allocating $1 million for the State to acquire lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used by doctors, nurses and medical providers in the State to combat COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.

“This shortage of personal protective equipment is putting our front-line healthcare providers at risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If our healthcare providers are unable to care for patients, then exponentially more Arkansans could suffer.”

On March 20, 2020, Rutledge allocated $3 million, from the same funds, to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rutledge also has been proactively pursuing violations of price gouging laws since the Governor’s March 11 emergency declaration. Letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart regarding their proactive measures to prevent price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

Rutledge has received over 500 consumer complaints as a result of Arkansas’s price gouging law which prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

PRAYER WALK BEING ORGANIZED IN SEVIER COUNTY FOR SUNDAY 03/27/20

A Facebook event for a Community Wide Neighborhood Prayer Walk has been announced in Sevier County this weekend.
Visit https://facebook.com/events/s/community-neighborhood-prayer-/209794510329074/?ti=icl

The event is being organized by Keisha Mckinney and the purpose is to call those in the community, who feel comfortable, to pray. There is no scheduled agenda and They are encouraging people to go on a Prayer Walk in their own neighborhood/street, this Sunday, March 29, between 4-6pm.

Group organizers have asked people to respect and honor social distancing recommendations and regulations. They do not want groups of people gathering, but they do want people to join and pray in 5 areas:
-Healing
-Clarity of thought for our leaders and business owners
-Repentance and Revival
-personal requests
-neighbors and community

The goal is a simple, self-paced, do it on your own and share digitally type of event.

MAN SUFFERS DOG BITES AFTER ATTACK IN HORATIO 03/26/20

Local authorities have released information about an animal attack on a citizen in Horatio that occurred last week. The information was provided to KDQN today by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department in De Queen. The report states that Sergeant Greg Davignon was dispatched to a call on Blankenship road in Horatio, Arkansas around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 19th. The call is reported to have been in regards to a dog bite case. The man listed as the recipient of bites from a dog is Roger Kirk, age 69.

The dog was discovered to be up to date on rabies shots and all required vaccines, however the identity of the dog owner is not being released by authorities at this time.

Kirk was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital by Southwest EMS services in Nashville, Arkansas for treatment of injuries that were reported to be serious, but non-life threatening. No other persons were listed to be injured in the report and no charges have been filed against the dog owner at this time.

SEVIER COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE CLOSES OFFICE         03/26/20

The Sevier County Extension Service, located in the Adams Building on the UA Cossatot Campus, has closed it’s doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  You may still contact us via email at:

Rex Herring – County Extension Agent-Agriculture-Staff Chair at rherring@uaex.edu
Janet Cantrell – County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Science at jcantrell@uaex.edu
Dana Stringfellow – Administrative Specialist III at dstringfellow@uaex.edu
Kim Frachiseur – 4-H Program Assistant at kfrachiseur@uaex.edu

Or, you can contact us at these cell phone numbers:
Rex Herring (870) 584-6550
Dana Stringfellow (870) 582-3056

We are required to practice social distancing like everyone else but we are still dedicated to do everything we can to assist you with your Extension Service needs during this time.

TEMPORARY WAIVER ANNOUNCED FOR ARKANSAS FRANCHISE TAX LATE FEES & INTEREST CHARGES      03/26/20

(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston announced today that late fees and interest charges on businesses’ annual franchise taxes will be waived until July 15th. The filing deadline for annual franchise taxes is May 1st. Typically, companies filing after the deadline are charged a $25 late fee plus 0.000274% interest per day the payment is delinquent. These penalties will be waived for those who file between May 2nd and July 15th.  This only applies to the 2020 franchise tax reporting year.

Secretary Thurston said, “The May 1st deadline is set by state law, however, we thought this would be one way to help companies who may need a little extra time to get their tax payments in order. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having a serious impact on our business community and we want to help them in any way that we can.”

The Secretary continues to work closely with all stakeholders and coordinated these efforts with those of the Governor’s Office and the Department of Finance and Administration.

Arkansas franchise taxes can be filed conveniently online at https://www.ark.org/sos/franchise/index.php.

OUACHITA NATIONAL FORESTS ANNOUNCE TEMPORARY SHUTDOWN OF RECREATION AREAS, CAMPGROUNDS     03/26/20

HOT SPRINGS Ark. — To protect public health and safety and align with federal, state and local guidance, Ouachita National Forests officials are announcing the temporary shutdown of recreational areas and campgrounds for the safety of visitors and staff.

Effective immediately, some recreation areas and campgrounds are temporarily shut down. Some campgrounds and cabins have not yet open for season, and will remain shut down. Dispersed camping is still available on both forests. On the Ouachita National Forest, all restrooms are shut down.

Recreation areas temporarily shutting down:

  • Albert Pike Day Use Area
  • Charlton Campground
  • Charlton Group Campground
  • Crystal Campground
  • Little Missouri Falls Day Use Area
  • Camp Clearfork
  • Lake Sylvia Campground
  • South Fourche Campground
  • Bear Creek Equestrian Campground
  • Bard Springs Campground
  • Shady Lake Campground
  • Shady Lake Group Campground
  • Billy Creek Campground
  • Cedar Lake Campground
  • Cedar Lake Horse Camp
  • Winding Stair Backpacker Camp
  • Mena Visitor Information Station

The following sites are open but have reduced services, which includes restrooms being unavailable:

  • Rich Mountain Tower Day Use
  • Hickory Nut Mountain Day Use
  • Iron Springs Day Use
  • Emerald Vista Day Use
  • Horsethief Springs Day Use
  • Old Military Road Day Use
  • Fourche Mountain Day Use
  • Koppers Ford Day Use
  • Pipe Springs Day Use
  • Billy Creek Day Use
  • Dutch Creek CCC Day Use
  • Big Brushy Day Use
  • Dragover Day Use
  • Shirley Creek Day Use
  • Fulton Branch Day Use
  • River Bluff Day Use
  • Rocky Shoals Day Use
  • Presbyterian Falls Day Use
  • R.S. Kerr Arboretum & Nature Center
  • Hollis CCC Interpretive Site
  • Gap Creek Trailhead (Wolf Pen Gap South trailhead)
  • Standing Rock Trailhead (Wolf Pen Gap East trailhead)
  • Wolf Pen Gap Main Trailhead
  • Winding Stairs Trailhead
  • Brushy Hollow Shooting Range
  • Peeler Gap Shooting Range

Visitors are primarily responsible for their own safety. Keep in mind, trails and roads may be open for use, but please recreate responsibly and follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized

For a list of closures, more information and updates, visit the websites of the Ouachita National Forest atwww.fs.usda.gov/ouachita. Updates can also be found at the Ouachita National Forest Facebook site at www.facebook.com/ouachitanf.

LETTER FROM UA COSSATOT CHANCELLOR 03/26/20

The following is a letter from UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole regarding spring classes:

March 25, 2020

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR

The COVID-19 epidemic has created one of the most perilous times in Arkansas history. UA Cossatot stands ready to adapt to these new times and while we are dealing with these changes, we will always respect the health and well-being of our students, employees, and the public we serve.

Effective immediately, UA Cossatot students in lecture courses will complete their entire spring semester using the Blackboard Online Learning Platform. While we understand this presents a unique way of learning to some students, it is the best and safest method we have in helping students complete their semester. As for our students who are enrolled in technical courses (Medical Professions, Welding, Industrial Maintenance, Cosmetology, Agriculture, etc.), we will be making a determination next week on how we will best serve these students. Our faculty, student services staff, Educational Resource Center, and our administration stand ready to assist students in any way possible to help them achieve their desired learning goals during these tough times.

Also effective immediately, UA Cossatot will continue to keep our campuses closed to students and visitors at least through April 3rd and our employees will be working either on campus or by their remote work schedules. While on our campuses, our employees will be strictly observing the rules of social distancing and cleanliness as we continue to fight the battle against COVID-19.

You can always find more UA Cossatot information on Facebook (ED88 and UAC) and on our CCCUA.EDU website.

Thank You,

Dr. Steve Cole
Chancellor, UA Cossatot

CARES ACT PASSES SENATE, ADVANCES TO HOUSE     03/26/20

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) expressed optimism that the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act—historic legislation to help stabilize the economy and provide relief to Americans struggling in the wake of economic challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak—will give Arkansans “confidence they are going to make it through these challenging financial times.”

“Across the country we’ve seen mass layoffs and record numbers of Americans file for unemployment as people have been asked to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hardworking Arkansans need confidence they are going to make it through these challenging financial times. The CARES Act delivers immediate assistance to workers and families, and support for small businesses. I urge members of the House of Representatives to swiftly pass this legislation,Boozman said.

Boozman has talked with Arkansans from across the state who represent industries and hardworking individuals affected by the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus. He brought those concerns to his colleagues as members finalized the Phase 3 relief package. As Chairman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, Boozman provided increased flexibility to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funding to allow the department to react appropriately to the evolving health crisis. He also advocated and supported additional funding for the Army and Air Force National Guard to ensure Arkansas Guardsmen have all the resources necessary to best support the state’s needs during this difficult time. In addition, he fought for rural communities by pushing for provisions to protect agricultural producers and airports in rural America that were included in the CARES Act.

The CARES Act includes provisions that:

Bolster Health Care Response to COVID-19:

  • Makes all COVID-19 tests free;
  • Provides an influx of funding for hospitals and essential supplies:
    ο   $11 billion for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines
    ο   $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile;
  • Allocates $4.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    ο   $1.5 billion for state and local preparedness and response grants
    ο   $500 million to improve public health surveillance;
  • Allots $19.6 billion for veterans health care:
    ο   $14.4 billion to support increased demand for healthcare services at VA facilities and through telehealth,
    including the purchase of medical equipment and supplies, testing kits, and personal protective equipment.
    ο  Provides the VA with increased flexibility to react to the ever-changing situation and direct
    funding where it is needed most.

 Provide Relief to Families:

  • Provides checks directly to individuals and families:
    o    $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, means-tested and phased down for
    higher-earning individuals and couples
    o    $500 for each eligible child;
  • Delays student loan payments and interest for up to six months without penalty to the student;
  • Provides temporary expanded unemployment assistance, provides additional funding to states to administer increased unemployment assistance, and creates flexibilities such as waiving the “waiting week.”

Support Job Creators

  • Allots $350 billion to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make loans to small businesses to cover payroll costs and manage debts. The portion of the loan used for payroll, interest on mortgages, payment of rent or utilities can be eligible for loan forgiveness if certain criteria are met;
  • Provides the Treasury Secretary the authority to issue up to $500 billion in loans and loan guarantees to eligible entities including businesses vital to national security, air carriers and cargo air carriers;
  • Grants $265 million to Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers to provide technical assistance to small businesses.

Help Rural America

  • Provides $14 billion toward replenishment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, which will allow USDA the flexibility to respond to farmers’ economic challenges;
  • Provides $9.5 billion in emergency support for agricultural producers, including livestock producers impacted by COVID-19;
  • Allocates $300 million for financial assistance to aquaculture businesses and other fishery related businesses;
  • Permanently rescinds the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) interim final rule that would have negatively impacted poultry farmers trying to get SBA loans;
  • Allocates $56 million to the Essential Air Service (EAS) program to maintain existing air service to rural communities. (Four Arkansas airports participate in the EAS program: Harrison, Hot Springs, El Dorado and Jonesboro);
  • Provides $100 million for USDA’s ReConnect Program for grants to expand broadband service.

On Tuesday, Boozman spoke on the Senate floor urging his colleagues to advance the CARES Act. In addition, he helped secure $6.2 million to help Arkansas respond to the health emergency in Phase I legislation and supported the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Phase 2  package specifically designed to provide support for hardworking Americans and families who are facing financial challenges due to this outbreak.

ARKANSAS PARKS, HERITAGE AND TOURISM SITES ANNOUNCE CLOSURES AND CHANGES AMID COVID-19                03/25/20

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism (ADPHT), has announced that to ensure the safety of guests and employees during the COVID-19 public health emergency, they are closing the lodges at four state parks, effective at 8 a.m. Monday, March 23, through Friday, April 17, 2020.

The lodges to close include Queen Wilhelmina State Park in Polk County.   Cabins and campgrounds will remain open, and carry-out service at park restaurants will remain available. Guests will still be able to enjoy park trails and other outdoor amenities.

Guests will receive cancellations by email. Any deposits to the parks will be refunded and any lodge-based fees will be waived. Questions about reservation cancellation should be made to the parks directly.

Previously announced closures include Old Washington State Park and Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro.   Access to certain park facilities will be limited, effective March 20.

-Cabins and campsites will remain open. Daily housekeeping will not be provided. After a stay is over, the room will be cleaned and sanitized for the next guest, using Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

-Parks will continue to provide some access to restaurants, per the discretion of park superintendents regarding labor and supplies, some restrooms may close.

-Trails, picnic areas, and outdoor pavilions remain open.

-Groups holding reservations should contact the park. Group size, meeting location, etc., will affect the ability for events to proceed.

-Museum parks with trails restricted to trail access only. Museum parks without trails will provide limited access to exhibits. Gift shops are closed.

-Playgrounds are closed.

-Marinas and boat ramps remain open with the availability of rental equipment that will be sanitized following each use. Gift shops will be closed.

-Golf courses remain open. Pro Shops open to accept golf fees only. Gift shop and club rentals are closed. Cart rentals continue and are cleaned and sanitized between rentals.

-All interpretive programming, events, and workshops are canceled until further notice.
Find more resources posted online to Arkansasstateparks.com

AG RUTLEDGE ALLOCATES $3 MILLION TO FIGHT COVID-19 IN ARKANSAS 03/25/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge  announced allocating $3 million to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Quick Action Loan Program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will be in addition to the $4 million the Governor directed to the same program. The announcement was made during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s daily briefing on COVID-19. The money will be sourced from the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund, which consists of monies from lawsuit settlements and not taxpayer dollars.

“This money will be a lifeline for many Arkansas small businesses owners and will help to protect them from the prolonged economic hardships these local job creators are now facing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Small Businesses are the back-bone of our communities, and we must do everything we can to help them during these unprecedented times. Uniting our efforts will not only help stop this pandemic and heal those who are sick, but also help jumpstart our state as we recover from COVID-19.”

Since the Governor’s declaration last week, Rutledge has been enforcing the price gouging laws in the State that protect Arkansans. Earlier this week, letters were sent to Amazon, eBay and Walmart praising the companies for their proactive response in preventing price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging them to take further action to stop bad actors from artificially raising prices on basic needs products during this public health crisis.

Arkansas’s price gouging law prevents individuals or businesses from increasing product prices by more than 10 percent of what the product would have cost prior to the state of emergency declaration on March 11, 2020. Violators can face criminal charges and fines as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 per incident. Arkansans can report price gougers to the Attorney General’s Office at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

COUNTY LIBRARIES TO REMAIN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE 03/25/20

 All Sevier County Libraries announced their closure to the public on March 18th, 2020. The branches were anticipating reopening March 30th, however that date has since been resolved and no new opening date has been reported.
 Items can still be dropped off in the drop boxes and sanitizing efforts are in place.  Head Librarian Johneye Fisher and staff have apologized to the community for having to close due to Covid-19, however,  the closures were necessary for the safety of everyone. Call your local library: De Queen 870-584-4364, Horatio 870-832-6882, Gillham 870-386-5665, Lockesburg 870-289-2233 during normal business hours.
VIP REGISTRATION AT UA COSSATOT BEGINS MARCH 30TH FOR SUMMER AND FALL COURSES 03/25/20
UA Cossatot students who are currently taking classes this semester will have the opportunity to sign up for summer and fall 2020 classes starting on Monday, March 30, 2020. VIP Registration Week will take place March 30 through April 7.  Current UA Cossatot students who register for classes during VIP Week will have the chance to win an Apple iPad.

Several courses at UA Cossatot that students can enroll in are available online, in-class, and through AV instruction. The full list of classes for this summer and fall semester can be viewed on UA Cossatot’s website at www.cccua.edu/enroll. Students will need to contact a Student Services Advisor to enroll in the courses they wish to take for the 2020 summer and fall semester.  Campuses are currently closed due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak and student Services Advisors at UA Cossatot are now working from home ton continue serving students.

These advisors include Addison Hill, Holly, Norman, Jocelin Galvez, Lizz Garza, Rachel Barfield, Sheila McCandless, and Suzanne Ward. Students can call, text, or e-mail, any one of these employees for any questions about college. Student Services employees are also available via zoom.
On March 30, students can begin contacting these advisors to take part in VIP Registration Week and sign up for classes.  The contact information for these Student Services Advisors are included in UA Cossatot’s online directory that is available at www.cccua.edu/directory.

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL MARCH MEETING UPDATE 03/25/20

The Lockesburg City Council met in regular session Tuesday, March 10, in the Council Room at City Hall. A full list of agenda items were accomplished, beginning with approving the financial report, budget and minutes from the meeting held in February.
A resolution allowing the mayor of Lockesburg to apply for a grant for the installing of the kitchen in the senior citizens center passed unanimously before Mayor Danny Ruth updated the council on the sidewalk project, reporting that workers had begun working at the creek preparing it for the sidewalk. Mayor Ruth also informed the council they had been denied the street grant this time but the application was still good for the next round of grants.
Mayor Ruth also informed the council there was an an error in the bidding of the paving project approved at the February meeting. The section of the street on W. Pine needed to be larger than was first bid and the additional work would increase the project from $8,800 to $13,315.  After a brief discussion, the council agreed to approve the additional money needed.

The council then discussed researching prices on gravel to be used at the bus stop on Main street,  and Mayor Ruth announced that a search is being done to seek another grant for covering the cost of improvements needed on the water tower.

A brief executive session was held before it was announced that the city will hire Penney McWhorter to replace Rhonda Dean for cleaning of city hall and the community building with the salary to remain at $75/month for city hall and $40/week for the community building.

The council the agreed to read a resolution adopting the budget for the city of Lockesburg, for the twelve month period beginning January 1, 2020 and ending December 31,2020, and appropriating money for each and every item of expenditure therein, by title only.

Lastly, the council approved suspension of the new wastewater project at this time, along with approval of the bills for February before adjourning.

HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION MARCH MEETING 03/25/20

All board members were in attendance at the most recent Horatio Board of Education meeting held March 9th. During this regularly scheduled meeting resignations were accepted from Susan Nelson and Ginger Young as they are set for retirement at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Board members also approved a contract with Pendergraft Speech Services LLC, adding RN to consultant to salary schedule.

Arkansas school board policies were approved, as well as a student transfer from De Queen to Horatio schools.

Routine reports were given by The Superintendent and Principal and the financial statements, monthly bills and previous meeting’s minutes were all approved before adjourning.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT, FOUND BREAKING PIT-BULL BAN IN DE QUEEN 03/23/20

Two citations and a trip to the hospital were in order for a De Queen resident after authorities responded to a call Friday, March 20th.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that Patrolman Brady Hanney was dispatched to a residence on East Heynecker in reference to a domestic dispute Friday. Upon arriving at the scene, Patrolman Brady was reportedly bitten on the hand and leg by a Pit-Bull at the residence. The City of De Queen has an ordinance in place that prohibits ownership of these type of dogs. The officer did manage to make contact with Jerry Hurlocker, age 39 of De Queen, however authorities were reportedly unable to understand him. Hurlocker was noted to be bleeding from his head, and after speaking with two other individuals it was determined that Hurlocker was, in fact, the aggressor in the situation.

Hurlocker was arrested on Friday March 20th by the De Queen Police Department for the offenses of: Assault on a family member in the 2nd degree, and a citation was issued for violation of the city’s pit-bull ordinance. Hurlocker was also transported to Howard memorial hospital in Nashville for observation.

The case files pertaining to the case have been turned over to the ninth West Judicial District Prosecuting attorney’s office for forthcoming criminal charges. Hurlocker has been given a court date of May 12th for the crimes.

UA COSSATOT GRADUATION CEREMONY POSTPONED 03/23/20

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, UA Cossatot announced that the scheduled spring graduation ceremony set to take place at UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus on May 15, 2020, will be postponed.

Due to COVID-19, the UA Board of Trustees voted, as a system, to make the decision that no schools within the UA system will be allowed to hold a graduation ceremony before June 1.

The graduation ceremony will be rescheduled, and UA Cossatot will notify students and the public of when that date will be so everyone can make plans accordingly.

INCOME TAX FILING DEADLINE PUSHED BACK 03/23/20

The income tax filing date has been pushed back from April 15th to July 15th, 2020, as announced Friday March 20th by The Federal Government under the direction of President, Donald Trump. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

President Trump reported that if people are expecting refunds, they should go ahead and file now so that they can receive their refunds from the IRS more quickly.

The administration used authority under Trump’s national emergency declaration. The delay is available to people who owe $1 million or less and corporations owing $10 million or less. It is expected that many states will follow the lead of the federal government and delay their tax filing deadlines as well, but that will be a state by state decision. The payment delay is expected to provide $300 billion in temporary support to the economy by giving household and businesses the ability to use money they would have otherwise had to pay to the IRS as financial support to meet other needs during the economic emergency created by efforts to contain the coronavirus.

SWEPCO SUSPENDING DISCONNECTS DUE TO CORONOVIRUS 03/23/20

SWEPCO has announced they are temporarily suspending all disconnections for non-payment, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread throughout communities. A statement made by the company in a social media post states that they understand customers are concerned about their families and the company is ensuring there will be reliable electric service allows them to focus on staying healthy and well. They say are committed to doing what they can to help customers,  employees, and communities navigate this uncertain time.

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/23/20

If you are a business owner struggling to meet payroll or if you have recently become unemployed due to the response from COVID-19, we want to direct you to state resources that may help.

Earlier this week the Governor announced that Arkansas will tap Community Development Block Grant funds and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state will allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help midsize companies and nonprofits remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also announced the transfer of $3 million of settlement funds from her office to the quick-action loan fund for small businesses.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has been made available to eligible businesses and private non-profits that were impacted.

These working capital loans of up to $2 million can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
Businesses and employers can access information on the grants and loans atwww.arkansasedc.com/covid19.

The Governor has also directed Division of Workforce Services to waive a number of restrictions for workers who have lost employment to ensure that the Unemployment Insurance Program (UIP) can provide needed assistance in a timely manner.

Unemployed individuals will be able to collect benefits immediately upon application approval rather than the typical week-long waiting period.
In addition, for the next 30 days, unemployed individuals will not be required to meet job search requirements. In person application requirements are also waived.
Arkansans can apply atwww.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suspend the work requirement through the end of April. DHS also will expedite decisions about SNAP eligibility for those who lose income because of COVID-19 www.access.arkansas.gov.

We will continue to update you daily on new developments concerning the state response to COVID-19 atwww.arkansashouse.org.

ARDOT ANNOUNCES IMPROVEMENTS COMING TO LITTLE RIVER COUNTY ROADS 03/23/20

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 overlay 1.8 miles of various city streets in Winthrop to include Pine Street, Oak Street, Broad Street, North Street, Morgan Street, Burke Street and Post Street.
Tri State Asphalt, Inc. of De Queen was awarded the contract at $315,558.00.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2020.

As Arkansans respond to COVID-19, the Arkansas Department of Transportation is taking action to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus throughout the state.
While all 13 Welcome Centers have closed their lobbies, the restrooms will remain open to the public until further notice. The employees who maintain these facilities will continue to focus their efforts on cleaning all surfaces that are touched often.
ARDOT officials are working closely with other state agencies and will continue to take measures as necessary to safeguard travelers.

Travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ArDOT.gov. You can also follow on Twitter @myARDOT.

CLINTON BIRTHPLACE HISTORIC SITE MODIFYING OPERATIONS       03/23/20

Hope, AR – President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site is announcing modifications to operations to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. As of Friday, March 20, 2020, there are no scheduled guided tours of the Birthplace Home and the Visitor Center is closed to further notice.  Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, the historic site grounds will remain open.

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.

For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For more information and updates, visit our park website at www.nps.gov/wicl or follow us on social media.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED BY DE QUEEN MAYOR JEFF BROWN AND JUDGE GREG RAY, CURFEW IN EFFECT FOR MINORS             03/20/20

De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown stopped by KDQN studios alongside Sevier County Judge Greg Ray Friday morning to announce an executive order that has been issued for local residents in the City of De Queen and Sevier County.  City Order    County Order-English    County Order-Spanish

The order states that the Center for Disease Control currently recommends mitigation measures in communities with COVID-19 cases, and as of Thursday March 19th, 2020 a coronavirus case was confirmed in Sevier County by the Arkansas Department of Health.  The City of De Queen will ensure the health and safety of city employees and the public served by enacting a curfew for underage residents in effect Friday, March 20th at 4:30 p.m. through April 17th, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. All residents under the age of 18 must refrain from being present in any public place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.

In addition to this executive order, City Hall in De Queen and The Sevier County Courthouse have both locked their doors to the public and will conducting business through telephone services at this time.

Reach city hall at 870-584-3445. The courthouse can be reached at 870-642-2425 for the Judge’s office.

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT       03/20/20

CDC and Other Health Officials are not Going Door-to-Door Performing Tests

LITTLE ROCK – While Arkansans are staying home in an attempt to prevent infection and spread of the COVID-19 virus, con artists are out and about going door-to-door targeting frightened senior citizens. Posing as employees of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these scammers knock on your door and offer to scan you for the COVID-19 virus at a cost of $50. These con artists, who are not licensed medical professionals, swab your nasal cavity and pretend to perform a medical test while you watch. To obtain your “test results,” the scammers ask for your banking information, including credit and debit card numbers, and social security number.

“It is unbelievable that con artists use the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to target Arkansans, especially senior citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The CDC and other health officials are not going door-to-door and performing tests. Arkansans should consult their trusted health care provider or the Arkansas Department of Health regarding COVID-19 testing.”

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the CDC is not going door-to-door for testing. Arkansas residents encountering someone at their door stating that they are there to test them for the COVID-19 virus should immediately call local law enforcement and file a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office.

CORPS OF ENGINEERS ANNOUNCES CLOSINGS AT LOCAL LAKES, LIMITED CAMPING AVAILABLE 03/20/20

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District is announcing campground reservation cancellations in Arkansas and Southern Missouri in response to the Coronavirus.
The cancellations will not affect those campers already at the campgrounds.

USACE campgrounds that are currently open will honor active reservations through Sunday, March 22. Individuals with reservations on or before March 22 will be able to camp for the entirety of their reservation. No new reservations will be accepted after March 22.
No new campers will be accepted at first-come, first-serve campsites effective Thursday, March 19.

Campground reservations scheduled between March 23 and May 15 will be cancelled. Refunds will be provided through Recreation One-Stop (1-877-444-6777 or recreation.gov). Reservations after May 15 will be reevaluated at a future date.

These measures are in addition to operational changes announced earlier this week.
Those changes included:

  • All USACE sponsored events, tournaments, volunteer activities and public meetings are cancelled until further notice.
  • Special event or activity permits will not be issued; those permits that have already been granted will be considered for revocation based on the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.
  • Visitor centers and lake offices are closed to the public until further notice.
  • Campgrounds that are currently closed will not reopen until further notice.
  • Day use facilities, such as group shelters, are subject to evolving conditions and may not be available. Please call the local project for the latest information.
  • Corps of Engineers personnel will no longer conduct site visits that require personal interaction during inspections for shoreline management activities until further notice.
  • These changes, officials said, are being made in an abundance of caution and to protect guests, volunteers and staff.
  • Guests planning to visit USACE lakes for any reason are encouraged to call the lake project office before planning their trip to obtain site-specific closures, such as parks and boat ramps.
    Officials urge anyone visiting a USACE lake to follow the CDC’s guidelines regarding social distancing and remain diligent. CDC guidelines and more information can be found at www.conoravirus.gov.

I addition to COVID-19 closures the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office is immediately closing access to multiple recreation areas at Millwood, De Queen, Dierks, and Gillham Lakes because of flooding.

  • Millwood Lake – River Run East, River Run West, Wilton Landing, White Cliffs, Saratoga Campground, and Beards Bluff-sites 6 through 11.
  • Dierks Lake – Sites 1 through 52 in the Jefferson Ridge Recreation Area.
  • Gillham Lake – Little Coon Creek, Coon Creek North, and Big Coon Creek sites 2 through 15 and 20 through 31.
  • De Queen Lake – Rolling Fork Boat Ramp and Bellah Mine sites 3 through 8 and 9 through 13.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District updates can be found at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/usacelittlerock.

LOCAL AGENCIES RESPOND TO CAR FIRE IN DE QUEEN 03/20/20

The De Queen Fire Department and The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department responded to a vehicle fire this Friday morning, March 20th. Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle reports that authorities responded to the scene of the enflamed car in the parking lot of Dr. Randy Walker’s office on Collin Raye Drive in De Queen around 10:00 a.m. The vehicle on fire was a 1996 4-door Toyota camry.

The De Queen Fire Department quickly extinguished the flames, thus The fire was put out before causing damage to any other vehicles and  no injuries were reported.

AGFC WAVES FISHING LICENSES FOR THE WEEKEND 03/20/20

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has waived all fishing license and trout permit requirements for residents and nonresidents starting this weekend at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, March 21 through 11:59 p.m Sunday, March 29. The special waiver is in response to the extended spring break by many schools and voluntary measures suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus currently affecting the world. Visit AGFC.com for information.

COVID-19 UPDATE     3:00 pm          03/19/20

Governor Asa Hutchinson announced in his 2:30 news conference today that all Arkansas K-12 schools will remain closed through April 17th.

Sixty-two people have tested positive for the virus as of this date according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

As many other businesses are doing, #1 Country studios has closed our lobby to visitors.  If you have business with us that cannot be conducted via telephone, call us at (870) 642-2446 during business hours 8 am – 4 pm and someone will meet you at the door.  Further, we will postpone our annual Golden Egg Hunt contest until later in April.  We will still run the contest for three weeks as planned.

UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole has informed KDQN that  effective at 3:00 PM on Thursday, March 19th all UA Cossatot campuses will be closed at least until March 30th.  If they must extend the campus closings beyond March 30th, they will make that determination later next week.

Their students have already been moved to our online learning platforms and they will keep that in place for the foreseeable future.

SEVIERLY STRONG – STRONGER TOGETHER!             03/19/20

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce has started a new facebook page which will allow local businesses to post change of hours, curbside and home delivery  availability as well as online shopping incentives.   Help spread awareness for our local businesses by inviting friends and fellow business owners to join the group.  For the most up-to-date listing or to post your information, click here.

MARCH 17 STATEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SYSTEM DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE ON COVID-19                 03/19/20

Starting March 18, 2020, following guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about gatherings and social distancing, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will not be holding face-to-face meetings with 10 or more people for the next eight weeks.

Some of the meetings may shift to a virtual format and some may be canceled or postponed. If you had planned to take part in a meeting hosted by the Cooperative Extension Service or the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station in the next eight weeks, please watch for communications from the meeting organizer or contact the organizer.

Some Cooperative Extension Service offices, in keeping with the local government decision, are functioning, but closed to the public. Many of our staff are still available by phone, text, email or social media and many offices have established drop boxes to collect soil samples.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Arkansas Department of Health athttps://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus or the CDC online at:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts.html.

The Cooperative Extension Service has a page with easy-to-understand COVID-19 information here:https://www.uaex.edu/life-skills-wellness/health/Coronavirus.aspx.

ONE MONTH LEFT TO APPLY FOR SBA DISASTER LOANS   03/19/20
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West today reminded small nonfarm businesses in 68 Arkansas counties; neighboring counties in Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas; and neighboring parishes in Louisiana of the April 15, 2020, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury. These low-interest loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by rain, flash flooding, flooding, hail, winds, lightning and tornadoes in the following primary counties that began Sept. 20, 2018.
Primary Arkansas counties: Arkansas, Ashley, Chicot, Clay, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Franklin, Greene, Hot Spring, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lee, Lincoln, Little River, Logan, Lonoke, Miller, Mississippi, Monroe, Perry, Phillips, Poinsett, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Randolph, Sebastian, Sevier, St. Francis, Stone, Washington, White, Woodruff and Yell;
Neighboring Arkansas counties: Baxter, Benton, Bradley, Clark, Cleburne, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Garland, Grant, Hempstead, Howard, Izard, Madison, Montgomery, Nevada, Newton, Polk, Saline, Scott, Searcy, Sharp, Union and Van Buren;
Neighboring Louisiana parishes: Bossier, Caddo, East Carroll, Morehouse, Union, Webster and West Carroll;
Neighboring Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Issaquena, Tunica and Washington;
Neighboring Missouri counties: Butler, Dunklin, Oregon, Pemiscot and Ripley;
Neighboring Oklahoma counties: Adair, Le Flore, McCurtain and Sequoyah;
Neighboring Tennessee counties: Dyer, Lauderdale, Shelby and Tipton;
Neighboring Texas counties: Bowie and Cass.
According to Garfield, small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. “Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact,” said Garfield.
“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the applicant suffered any property damage,” Garfield added.
The interest rate is 3.675 percent for businesses and 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
By law, SBA makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. The Secretary declared this disaster on Aug. 14, 2019.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.
Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT CONTINUING GRAB AND GO MEALS FOR STUDENTS 03/18/20

The Horatio School District Food Services Department is providing student meals during this unplanned, emergency COVID-19 Closure. The district has been provided a waiver to proceed with this plan of action, however certain guidelines must be followed in order to receive meals for students through the feeding program.

Guidelines include:

-Meal packages will include a breakfast and lunch for students within The Horatio District.

-Pick up of meals will be in front of the Horatio Elementary School Cafeteria School through Friday, March 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m

-The meal service is drive-through only and it is required that participants stay in the vehicle, and someone will bring the meals out to you.

-Students must be present in the vehicle at the time the meals are picked up.

DE QUEEN SCHOOLS GRAB AND GO MEALS PLAN ESTABLISHED 03/18/20

A letter from Jason Sanders, Superintendent of De Queen Public Schools has been released to inform the community about information regarding the meals program taking place while school is out for coronavirus precautions:

“In the event that we do not return to school on Monday March 30th, 2020 the De Queen School District will be prepared to start serving a meal that will include a breakfast/lunch combo. Here is information about our grab and go program:

-Free meals will be provided to children in the De Queen School District who are 18 and younger.

– Meals will be provided at our High School Cafeteria.  Meals will be drive through only. We ask that you come in on School Drive to the cafeteria.

-Please remain in your vehicle and someone will bring the meal to you. We require that kids must be in the vehicle when meals are picked up. Once you receive your meal you are to exit past the Rock Gym and Middle School.

-This is a grab and go meal and you will not be able to congregate per CDC guidelines. Serving times will be from 11:00 am -12:30 pm each day Monday – Friday.”

UA COSSATOT SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION DEADLINE APRIL 1ST        03/18/20

The UA Cossatot Scholarship Application is open until April 1 of each year. The deadline to complete the application for the 2020-2021 academic year is approaching, and UA Cossatot encourages all current and incoming students to apply.

The UA Cossatot Scholarship Application is one application where students can apply for institutional and foundation scholarships online and is located at www.cccua.awardspring.com.

For more information about the UA Cossatot Scholarship Application, please contact UA Cossatot Foundation Director, Dustin Roberts, at 870-584-1172 or droberts@cccua.edu.

SEVIER COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY SET TO CLOSE MARCH 18TH       03/17/20

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Housing Authority of Sevier County will be closed to the public as of March 18th, 2020. Any local residents who have business with the Housing Authority are asked to contact 642-2960 for assistance with housing needs. Only essential business will be conducted and most duties can be performed over the phone or by mail. Work projects inside occupied homes will only be done if deemed necessary or an emergency.

If anyone in your residence has been sick, you are required to inform the office prior to maintenance being dispatched. Routine and non-essential work orders will be completed at a later date.

EXECUTIVE ORDER ISSUED FOR LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RESIDENTS DURING CORONOVIRUS PANDEMIC       03/17/20

Little River County Judge, Mike Cranford has announced the details of an executive order for all county residents to abide by during the coronavirus pandemic.

Protocol in effect as of March 17th, and set to continue until further notice include :
-All-access to the Little River County Courthouse is limited to essential personnel.
-No one will be allowed to enter the county offices without an appointment.
-Appointments can be made by contacting the office in question.
-Anyone needing to conduct business within the courthouse will be subject to screenings including checking of temperature to see that it is below 99.6 degrees, and the individual does not display any other outward symptoms of the virus.
-Other measures may be implemented as needed to provide for the safety and welfare of the county employees.

Those needing to conduct business with offices within the courthouse are encouraged to make an effort to conduct their business via telephone, email, or fax.

Appointments can be made by contacting the appropriate offices.

SEVIER COUNTY OFFICIALS RESPOND TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC        03/17/20

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry and Judge Greg Ray told #1 Country listeners that access to the Sevier County Courthouse and Jail have been limited due to the Corona virus pandemic.

Sheriff Gentry said that as of noon Tuesday, March 17th, there are NO confirmed cases in Sevier County, but the jail is in lock down and no visitors will be allowed.

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Sevier Courthouse will only be accessible for those who are due in court through the main entrance on the east side.  Visitors will have to sign in, fill out a questionnaire including having and have their  temperature taken before admittance.  Judge Ray stressed that most business can be taken care through a phone call.  You need to call and make an appointment before before going to the courthouse.

BUSINESS WITH COURTHOUSE OFFICES – USE THE FOLLOWING NUMBERS TO CALL AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE RELEVANT OFFICE:

County Judge                                             870-642-2425
County Clerk                                              870-642-2852
Circuit Clerk & Circuit Court                         870-584-3055
Tax Assessor                                              870-584-3182
Tax Collector                                              870-642-2127
Treasurer                                                    870-642-2358
Juvenile Intake                                            870-642-5481
County Road Department                            870-642-2425
Solid Waste Department                              870-832-4273
9-1-1 Addressing (Non-emergency)             870-642-4292
Veterans Service Office                                870-642-6622
District Court                                               870-584-7311

COURT – GO TO THE MAIN (EAST) ENTRANCE TO THE COURTHOUSE WHERE YOU WILL COMPLETE A QUESTIONNAIRE AND PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING THE COURT CASE REQUIRING YOUR ATTENDANCE.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding as we take these measures to protect the health of the public and our staff.”

SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES NEW FACILITY UPDATES FOR DE QUEEN SCHOOLS 03/17/20

Despite a short list of a agenda items, the De Queen School Board had a busy evening at the District Administration Building for the monthly School Board meeting, March 16th.
Two expulsions were upheld and the previous meeting’s minutes were approved by the board before diving into a list of expenditure items and addressing the district’s current financial statement.
Parking lot renovations are on the way for De Queen schools as both the middle and jr. high have been approved to receive updates to the asphalt and painted lines to the parking spaces on their campuses. The elementary and primary schools will be renovated in the future, as the project for the middle and jr. high schools will cost roughly $117,000.

Other projects on the way include work on the rock gym, a new roof on the elementary school building and facilities updates. Superintendent Jason Sanders reported that The De Queen High School Football team currently has 87 athletes on the roster for the fall 2020 season. The issue, however is that only 50 lockers are currently available in the facilities. In addition to installing 90 new, custom metal lockers for the football team, a brand new curtain is also on the way for the High School Auditorium.

After discussing the expenditures and budget logistics, the board approved the financial report and then heard an important update from Superintendent Jason Sanders. Sanders reported that he’d attended a meeting earlier Monday with community leaders, business owners and church pastors in the area who have organized efforts ton provide meals to students in De Queen while school is out due to the covid-19 pandemic. Different churches are stepping up each day to work with businesses in the area to supply “grab and go meals” to kids in need. Local Car dealership, De Queen Auto Group also volunteered to provide transportation to children who may not have a ride to receive food. All meals are being provided at The De Queen Fire Department between 11:00 am and 1:00 p.m. while school is out for the pandemic. Superintendent Sanders expressed gratitude for the community members who stepped up to help the children of the De Queen school District during the pandemic.

*

After the superintendent’s report, an executive session was held and new personnel hires were announced. Mr. Ethan Crocker will become the new baseball coach and Nick Evans will be joining the football staff as an offensive coordinator, as well as assisting with other sports programs for the leopards. The final personnel decision made was accepting the resignation of tech Robert South. The next meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 13th 2020 at the District Administration Building. The public is always welcome.

DE QUEEN SCHOOLS GRAB AND GO MEALS AVAILABLE AT LOCAL FIRE STATION THIS WEEK 03/17/20

De Queen Public Schools have partnered with several area churches and community leaders to coordinate “grab and go meals” for students who are needing food while school is out during the covid-19 pandemic. The meals will always be available for pick up at The De Queen Fire Station from 11:00 am through 1:00 p.m. Each church is volunteering on a different day and all children must be present in the vehicle to receive a meal at pick up. Volunteers are still needed and those who would like to help with these efforts can contact The De Queen Sevier County Chamber of Commerce at 870-584-3225.

 SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM TO CLOSE ALL BRANCHES MARCH 18-MARCH 30TH 03/17/20   03/17/20

Beginning tomorrow Wednesday March 18, 2020 through March 30, 2020 All Sevier County Libraries will be closed to the public.The open day may change. We will be here normal hours for any questions and items can be dropped off in the drop boxes and will be sanitized and we will be here to answer any questions you may have. Library staff apologize for having to close due to Covid-19 but this is necessary for the safety of the community.

ARKANSAS AG TO HOST FREE PRICE GOUGING DEFENSE WEBCAST    03/17/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced an additional free webcast training hosted by the office on Thursday, March 19. The webcasts will be an opportunity for Arkansans to learn from consumer protection experts about the recent price gouging concerns sweeping the state, all from the comfort and safety of their own homes.

“The Governor has declared a state of emergency triggering our price gouging laws,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This free webcast will allow Arkansans to stay informed from the safety of their own homes.”

Rutledge will be hosting the following webcasts for free to any interested viewers:

Consumer Protection: Price Gouging – Thursday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Missing Persons Webcast – Wednesday, April 8, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Freedom of Information Act Webcast – Thursday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. to noon.
Interested Arkansans can sign up for the free webcasts at ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

ASHDOWN TEACHER RECEIVES GRANT FOR INCLUSIVE CLASSROOM SEATING    03/17/20

Ashdown School District teacher Mrs. Dixie Ardwin received a grant in the amount of $1,001.87 from the Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation for the purchase of comfortable seating for her Ashdown High School History classroom. Mrs. Ardwin states that her dream for her classroom was to be a place where a student could stand or sit according to their needs. She believes that two standing desks is a good start to increasing engagement that meets the needs of all students. Mrs. Ardwin has taught at Ashdown High School for 9 years and was selected as Teacher is the Year in 2017. She presently teaches World History and Advanced World History.
The Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation continues to fund unique and innovative ideas that place Ashdown students on the cutting edge. Pictured with Mrs. Ardwin is Kari Harger – Foundation treasurer.

APRIL ACT TESTS POSTPONED     03/17/20

The ACT coordinators have decided to reschedule the April 4, 2020 National ACT® test date to the June 13 and July 18 test dates in response to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

ACT will be notifying registered students directly in the next few days, informing them of the postponement and providing instructions for next steps.

They will be making announcements in the days ahead as they work to plan for June and July, where they will need to build capacity to accommodate April examinees.

They report that the primary concern right now is the safety of students and testing staff during this challenging time.

DE QUEEN TEAM COMPETES IN ‘BATTLE OF THE BOOKS’ TOURNAMENT    03/17/20


(De Queen ‘A’ team members Romeo Timothy, Jafet Sotelo, Brittany Hernandez and Litzi Flores)


(De Queen ‘B’ team members Hannah Phillips, Luke Reed and Isabel Hernandez)

De Queen High School competed in the “Battle of The Books” Competition Friday, March 13th. The leopards brought both an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team to the tournament, which was held on the CCCUA campus. A total of ten teams participated and De Queen’s A team finished in second place, while De Queen’s B team went undefeated and were named tournament champions. De Queen’s teams are coached by Casey Bissell and Thomas Sweeten.

TO RESIDENTS OF SEVIER COUNTY      03/16/20

RECKLESS DRIVER CAUSES ACCIDENT IN DE QUEEN FRIDAY MORNING    03/16/20

A Kansas man was held in The Sevier County Arkansas Jail after authorities worked the scene of a car accident in De Queen Friday morning.

The driver of the vehicle that caused the accident is set to face multiple criminal charges following the incident. A report released by Captain Sonny Kimmel of The De Queen Police Department states that on the morning of Friday, March 13th 2020 at approximately 04:02 a.m, officer Doug Johnson was patrolling East Collin Raye Drive near the city limits when a vehicle was recorded travelling at a speed of 113 miles per hour.

The officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop on the vehicle, however the driver continued traveling and struck a 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Hansford Long. The suspect’s vehicle came to a stop on the West End of the overpass on Collin Ray Drive. Officer Johnson identified the driver as Rex Hayes, age 48 of Kincaid Kansas. Mr. Hayes was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital in Nashville, Arkansas for medical evaluation following the wreck.

Hayes was released from the hospital and transported the The Sevier County Jail where he was charged with multiple crimes. The offenses listed in the report include Felony Fleeing, No liability insurance, Driving on a suspended license, fictitious tags, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

Arkansas State Police also worked the scene of the wreck and a probable cause affidavit was signed by Judge Tom Cooper. This case has been turned over to the Ninth West Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s office for the forthcoming criminal charges.

UA COSSATOT CHANCELLOR DR. STEVE COLE ANNOUNCES CAMPUSES CLOSED TO VISITORS 03/16/20

From the office of UA Cossatot Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole:
“In the UA Cossatot update that was sent on March 12th, we indicated that the Coronovirus situation was extremely fluid and could change at a moment’s notice. That moment is now as earlier today Governor Hutchinson and Education Secretary Key announced that all K12 schools will be closed this week. Our institution has a wonderfully close working relationship with all of our K12 districts and we share many of the same students. With that being said, UA Cossatot will follow suit and will close our campuses to students this week. We will continue to be closed to students until after spring break, where, at that time, we will reevaluate the Coronavirus situation. Our campuses will also be locked and closed to visitors and outside entities.

All UA Cossatot employees will be working on Monday. We will assess that situation on a day-to-day basis.

All UA Cossatot courses have been converted to have an online component and faculty will have the ability to teach this week via the Blackboard Learning System. While our maintenance department has already been working overtime to keep our campuses clean, over the next two weeks we will have the opportunity to deep clean our campuses as per CDC guidelines.

Please know that our campus will continue to work closely with the University of Arkansas System Office, UAMS, and other government entities to ensure our pandemic plan regarding COVID-19 continues to protect our students, employees, and other stakeholders.
UA Cossatot will continue to update our status on our cccua.edu website. These are very different times that call for very different measures and we appreciate our community’s understanding of this necessary decision.”

Regards,
Dr. Steve Cole
Chancellor, UA Cossatot

SEVIER COUNTY DISTRICT COURT TAKING CORONOVIRUS PRECAUTIONS 03/16/20

Sevier County District Court is implementing precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as recommended by the center for disease control and Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson. All cases scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on March 24th have been rescheduled for 9:00 a.m. on April 14th, 2020. All trials set for 1:00 p.m. on March 24th have been rescheduled for 1:00 p.m. on April 14th 2020. If you are represented by an attorney please, advise them of the date changes as soon as possible.

As of Monday, March 16th 2020 district court is no longer accepting fine payments in person. You may pay a fine over the phone by calling 870-584-7311, or mail it to Sevier County District Court, 115 North 3rd street, Room 215, De Queen Arkansas 71832. For questions call 870-584-7311.

UA COSSATOT SAYS NO OUTSIDE MEETINGS AT COLLEGE    03/13/20

UA Cossatot has placed a moratorium on using their facilities for meetings by the public due to concerns regarding COVID19.

Following is a list of the meetings we were told have been moved, postponed, or cancelled:

First Impressions Hospitality Training – Monday, March 16 – Postponed Indefinitely
Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association – March 16th  – Moved to Community Building in Herman Dierks Park
Preventing & Overcoming Drug Abuse – March 19th – Postponed Indefinitely
Pesticide Applicator Training Class – Thursday, March 19th- Moved to Sev. Co. Farm Bureau Building
Hunters Ed class – Saturday, March 28 – Cancelled

FIRST IMPRESSIONS HOSPITALITY TRAINING POSTPONED     03/13/20

The First Impressions Hospitality Training sponsored by the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Department Parks & tourism that was scheduled for Monday, March 16th has been postponed due to concerns and recommendations regarding COVID19.

The workshop will be rescheduled with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and announced as soon as a possible date is available. The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce appreciates all who registered online and through email, and we will keep you updated on this and other training opportunities as dates become available. Thank you for the willingness to invest your time into making our community a thriving place to work, stay and play!

FROM THE OFFICE OF UA COSSATOT CHANCELLOR STEVE COLE 03/13/20

UA Cossatot chancellor Steve Cole reports the college is working closely with the University of Arkansas System Office, UAMS, and other entities to ensure the pandemic plan regarding COVID-19 protects students, employees, and other stakeholders. The team has met for the past several weeks to enact measures to address the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures include sharing more information campus-wide regarding prevention, altered course scheduling, restricted campus usage, and campus closures, should that need arise.

They have provided a link to all students and employees: https://www.cccua.edu/novel-coronavirus.  This link includes useful information regarding what UA Cossatot is doing locally and it offers students and employees health and safety information about COVID-19.

UA Cossatot campuses continue to prepare for the college community’s safety as well as possible closure as they have:
Created online versions of all non-technical courses offered at UA Cossatot and are currently working on all technical courses to ensure students can maintain learning, even while being away from campus.
-Initiated a policy where, until further notice, we will not be allowing the use of our facilities by outside groups.
-Directed Medical Division to cancel clinical rotations at local health care facilities and teach Medical Department lecture courses via Zoom software.
-Developed an IT plan that allows personnel VPN access to their workstations. This will allow UA Cossatot to operate from a business standpoint while not being on campus.
-Cancelled the second annual UA Cossatot Scholarship Pageant that was to be held on March 28th. We do not have a reschedule date.
-Encouraged UA Cossatot employees to limit non-essential business travel.
-While no members of the UA Cossatot community have been diagnosed with COVID-19, UA Cossatot is preparing for the potential of local transmission and we are aligning our efforts with local leaders, The UA System, UAMS, and the Arkansas Department of Health.

These are just a few of the preparations made to keep students and campus community updated and better protected from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Campus leaders are meeting daily to assess this very fluid situation. The school will continue to monitor and adjust  efforts, keeping student, public and, employee safety in mind.

ARKANSAS CAPITOL BUILDING CLOSURE EFFECTIVE TODAY 03/13/20

Following the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic announcement this week,and the measures taken in Washington, D.C.  along with the very recent report from Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Secretary of State John Thurston is ordering the closure of the Arkansas State Capitol to the public, effective Friday, March 13, 2020. Only authorized personnel will be permitted to enter the building for work purposes. Updates to the building’s status will be made available as we continue to monitor the situation.

The Secretary of State’s Office will also not be accepting walk-in visitors to their Business & Commercial Services offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville until further notice. Business services can still be conducted by phone or online.

TWO PEOPLE CHARGED WITH DRUG POSSESSION AFTER TRAFFIC STOP IN DE QUEEN SATURDAY 03/12/20

Two people are facing drug-related charges after local authorities pulled a driver over for speeding Saturday in De Queen. A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that officer Doug Johnson was dispatched to assist Sergeant Bucky Sawyer with the traffic stop on Highway 29 around 4:15 p.m. Saturday, March 7th.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Michael Swim. De Queen Police say Swim was also being sought for questioning in regards to a break-in report from the night before, in which his name had been mentioned as a possible suspect.

The suspect was asked to exit the vehicle and when speaking with police Swim reportedly admitted to driving on a suspended license. He was later allegedly seen reaching in his pockets before dropping an item on the ground. The item was discovered to be suspected methamphetamine inside a container . Swim was taken into custody for possession of a controlled substance and then the passenger, identified as Alicia Johnson was questioned about any possible illegal items remaining in the vehicle. It was reported that a clear pipe with suspected meth residue was found inside of a black case along with a green pill found inside of an altoid can. The pill was found to be a two milligram dose of alazopram, a benzodiazepine used as anxiety medication.

Johnson and Swim were each taken to the Sevier County Jail in De Queen and processed for the crimes. Swim was charged with two felonies, for possession of a controlled substance and possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Johnson was charged with a misdemeanor for possession of controlled substance as well.

CORONOVIRUS Q&A TO BE HELD APRIL 2ND AT UA COSSATOT ASHDOWN CAMPUS 03/12/20

On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the Little River Wellness Coalition, Kindred at Home, Little River Memorial Hospital and UA Cossatot will be co-hosting a dual topic lunch-and-learn featuring “The Importance of Physical Therapy in the Home Setting” and a “Cornoavirus Q&A” at UA Cossatot’s Ashdown Campus. The presentation will be held in room 230 from 11:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon.
Sam Condemo will be bringing the presentation about physical therapy. Sam is employed as a physical therapist with Kindred at Home and also has his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Central Arkansas.

Mr. Condemo will be speaking about how it is essential to stay active throughout one’s life. As a person ages, their ability to exercise safely and effectively can diminish. Therefore, it is important to implement physical therapy in a home setting.

He plans to teach those at the lunch-and-learn that physical therapy activities can help individuals be more independent for a longer period of time.

Sarah Vanhoose is the Infection Control Nurse at Little River Memorial Hospital. She will also speak at the lunch-and-learn about the recent COVID-19 outbreak and answer any questions concerning the virus.

COVID-19 is a type of Coronavirus that was discovered in late 2019. As of March 2020, this Coronavirus has been confirmed in eighty-nine countries around the world, with six countries reporting suspected cases.

At the lunch-and-learn, Sarah will be discussing the seriousness of the virus and prevention methods.

All are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy this free presentation. For more on upcoming lunch-and-learn programs, please call UA Cossatot’s Continuing Education department at 870-584-4471.

ARVEST BANK–HELPING KEEP OUR OFFICERS SAFE     03/12/20

Officers in Sevier County can go about their duties with confidence thanks to a $7,500 donation from the Arvest Foundation.
The gift was announced today at the Sevier County Sheriff’s office.  Patti Boone, Helga Buenrrostro and J Bigham of Arvest Bank were on had to present the check.
The donation will go towards new bulletproof vests for the deputies.
Sheriff Gentry was very pleased that Arvest made this donation to the Sheriff’s Department to help protect our officers.  “The majority of the vest that the officers currently use are at their expiration.   Thank you Arvest Foundation from the Law Enforcement Officers in Sevier County.”
‘We are pleased to present this donation on behalf of Arvest Foundation to support the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office and help ensure their safety with the bulletproof vests” said Patti Boone, Branch Sales Manager, Arvest Bank.  “This donation is just one of many we have made throughout the area.  It demonstrates the foundation’s ongoing commitment to our community.”
The Arvest Foundation seeks to provide funding to grantees who are actively working to create positive change for others.  Major areas of focus include K-12 education, economic development, and enhancing the quality of life throughout the Arvest footprint.

KDQN Staff 

COSSATOT VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DRIVE AND FISH FRY 03/12/20

The Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting their annual membership drive and fish fry on Saturday, March 28th beginning at 5:00 p.m The mean will include fish, hush puppies/fries, coleslaw and pinto beans. The cost is $40 per household for membership or $10 per plate. Attendees can receive up to three plates with the payment of their $40 membership fee. Any and all donations are appreciated and all proceeds go directly to the fire department.

There will also be a live auction and desserts are needed. A live musical performance will take place featuring Harmony. Please call Ashley Johnson at 870-784-1360 to arrange a dessert donation. Anyone who is unable to attend can mail membership dues to Cossatot VFD, 1930 Highway 70 East, De Queen Arkansas. Chief, Archie Johnson would like to thank the community for all of their support throughout the years.

Everyone is welcome to attend the fish fry and support the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department.

BASS FISHING TOURNAMENT FUNDRAISER APRIL 4TH FOR HORATIO 12U SOFTBALL 03/12/20

A bass fishing tournament to raise funds for the Horatio 12u Softball organization has been announced for Saturday, April 4th at De Queen Lake. Take off is set for 7:30 am and the price is $100 per boat. Payouts will vary based on the number of entries, and forms can be dropped off along with payment at Diamond Bank in Nashville, Dierks or De Queen. Contact Matt Young for information at young.matt25@yahoo.com

2020 CENSUS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED 03/11/20

Omar Gallardo of The Arkansas Counts Communication Committee announced that the #2020Census has officially started. Local residents can expect to start receiving mailers from The US Census Bureau in the coming weeks. The online website has gone LIVE for self-reporting at https://my2020census.gov/ . It is not required to have the unique ID to begin.
The #Census2020 is important for every American community because #WeCount. The information provided in the census will determine:
School funding Roads, public transportation, & infrastructure projects, ‍‍‍Community Resources and Political representation for the next years!
REMEMBER: The #2020Census will NOT ask about your:
❌ immigration or citizenship status
❌ income
❌ Social Security Number
Community resources available at arcounts.org. Follow us on FB https://www.facebook.com/ARcensus2020/Twitter @ar_censusArkansas is using #GetOutTheCountAR

ASHDOWN KINDERGARTEN ENROLLMENT 03/11/20

Ashdown Kindergarten pre-registration packets are being sent home with students in area preschools and daycares. If your child is not enrolled in a local program, a packet may be picked up at the Ashdown Elementary office. Students must be 5 years old before August 1st to enroll in kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year. Registration packets should be turned in by April 15th. For more information call 870-898-3711.

FREE PUBLIC EVENT WITH ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT COORDINATOR 03/11/20

Today, Wednesday March 11, 2020 from 6:00-7:30 pm join Park Rangers for an engaging evening with Karen Steward the Public Education Coordinator for the Arkansas Supreme Court. She’s responsible for planning and implementing statewide public education initiatives and events to raise awareness and understanding the role of the judicial branch of government.

The event will take place at Rapert Library Auditorium on the campus of the University of Arkansas Hope/Texarkana located at 2500 S. Main Street in Hope.

Miss Steward will discuss her time in the Arkansas Supreme Court and her educational vocational journey to an influential public service position.

The program is FREE to the public and all are welcome. Admission is free. For more information call (870) 777-4455.

LOCAL COLLEGE HOSTS EVENT FOR AREA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS 03/11/20

“Come Fall in Love” is an event that takes place at UA Cossatot every February. It is designed for juniors in high school to visit the college to learn about careers, educational opportunities, and how they can achieve their goals by enrolling at UA Cossatot.

This past month, UA Cossatot hosted seven “Come Fall in Love” events to seven local area high schools. The high schools that brought their students to the college included; Foreman, Kirby, Ashdown, Nashville, Dierks, Horatio, and De Queen.

UA Cossatot Director of Student Services, Suzanne Ward, said, “Providing the basic information regarding college prior to the senior year is crucial. The more students know about career goals, academic programs, college life, and financial planning for college, the better decisions they can make about their future.”

For more information about UA Cossatot, please contact Student Services at 870-584-4471. To learn about college opportunities offered at UA Cossatot while in high school, please contact the Director of High School Programs, Julie Rhodes, at 870-584-1343.

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT ADDRESSES VEHICLE PURCHASES FOR SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AT MARCH MEETING 03/10/20

Many local community members gathered at the courthouse in De Queen Monday afternoon for the March 2020 Sevier County Quorum Court meeting. Two hot topics on the agenda included the continued time clock issue discussion, as well as the need for purchasing replacement vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department.

The quorum was first addressed by Dr. Steve Cole, Chairman of the Sevier County Hospital board of Governors, who informed the group that the New Medical Center project construction date is still on track to begin dirt work this summer around the 1st of July. Cole also announced that extra patient rooms have been added to the final floor plan for the new hospital, and a contract for the land where the facility will be located is currently pending. As far is the bonds go, Dr. Cole expressed gratitude for the timing of selling the bonds, with interest rates reported to be around 1%.  Lastly, Cole mentioned that a foundation board for the hospital is being established and that foundation will be composed of an unlimited number of volunteers who will help fund raise and support the center.

The first item of old business was the time clock issue regarding use of electronic equipment for tracking the hours, vacation time and sick days of county employees. Implementing the technology has yet to take place, as the quorum agreed to table the issue again with the purpose of restructuring the language surrounding the time clock logistics prior to making any decisions. The proposed ordinance revising the Sevier County employee policy was postponed as well. The two items go “hand in hand” with each other, according to County Clerk Debbie Akin. Those issues will be addressed at a future meeting, though no specific date has been set.

The Quorum then heard from Sheriff Robert Gentry about the need for replacing two wrecked vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department. It was agreed that one vehicle will be paid for by transferring funds from the county general reserve fund in the amount of $5,000. Those funds will be combined with the money that the insurance company has provided from the wrecked vehicles with a check valued at $23,611.

The quorum quickly agreed to approve the transfer of $5,000 from line item 3005 special legal line to line 3009, other professional services, which pertains to a contract for general legal services.

A request to expand the agenda was approved and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray asked for the appropriation of $300,000 for the purchase of the land where the new medical center will be located. The money will be reimbursed to the county once the hospital board begins collecting voter approved sales tax revenue.

The discussion of applying for a grant to benefit the Sevier County Senior Citizen’s Center was set to be held Monday, however, the agenda was shortened as the item is set to be addressed at another meeting. The next Sevier County Quorum Court meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 15th, at 12:00 p.m. at the county courthouse. The public is always welcome.

A livestreamed video can be found of the March Quorum Court meeting online at Facebook.com/KDQN921

ALCOHOL FOUND IN VEHICLE DURING TRAFFIC STOP IN DE QUEEN 03/10/20

Two Sevier County men are now charged with alcohol-related crimes after a traffic stop was conducted in De Queen over the weekend.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that CPL. James Gilbert was requested by officer Thomas Hundley for assistance with a traffic stop near the 4-way stop by EZ-mart in De Queen on Saturday, March 7th.

Officers reported the reason for the stop was discovering a vehicle with no tail lights. Two open beer cans were also observed in the console of the car, and police noted the smell of alcohol coming from the vehicle. The driver was identified as Michael Curtis, age 46 of Lockesburg and the passenger is listed as Hunter VanHoose, age 20 of De Queen.

The driver was said to have the smell of alcohol coming off of his person and authorities asked him to submit to a series of field sobriety tests. Curtis reportedly agreed to the tests, however he also claimed he had leg problems caused by an accident years ago and could only submit certain tests. Officers stated that Curtis showed signs of intoxication and was later given a portable breathalyzer test. The reported result was that Curtis showed a blood-alcohol content level of .27. The passenger, Hunter VanHoose was also given a PBT and the result reportedly showed him to have a BAC of .15.

The men were taken to the Sevier County Jail and Curtis was charged with suspicion of DWI while VanHoose was given a Minor in Possession of alcohol charge.

NATIONAL FORESTS CONDUCTING PRESCRIBED BURNS    03/10/20

The Ouachita  and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests fire managers will be conducting prescribed burns over the next several months.

The purposes of these burns are to reestablish fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.  Prescribed burns are conducted when the conditions indicate that there will be minimal impact to the public.

Prescribed burn areas will include forests in our area:

Caddo-Womble Ranger District County: Montgomery   Vicinity: Glenwood Acres: 908
Caddo-Womble Ranger District County: Garland    Vicinity: Glenwood Acres: 781
Mena-Oden Ranger District County: Scott   Vicinity: Eagleton Acres: 3,372
Poteau-Cold Springs Ranger District County: Scott   Vicinity: Waldron Acres: 2,576
Oklahoma Ranger District County: McCurtain   Vicinity: Hochatown Acres: 1,268

A prescribed fire is one that is ignited by highly trained fire personnel under specified fuel and weather conditions to achieve specific resource objectives.

Daily updates on prescribed fires across the forests can be found athttp://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/FireInformation or by calling 1-888-243-1042.
                                                                                                                            KDQN Staff

CORONAVIRUS SCREENINGS ISSUED FOR NURSING HOMES BY ADH    03/10/20

The Arkansas Department of Health has issued a coronavirus screening advisement for the occupants and employees of nursing homes and residential care facilities.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) adversely affects older adults and persons with underlying health conditions or compromised immune conditions. This population is at greater risk for severe illness from this virus.

Due to the vulnerability of residents in long-term care facilities, it is of utmost importance to limit possible exposure to COVID-19. A long-term care facility is defined by section 20-10-101(10) of the Arkansas Code and includes nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, post-acute head injury retraining and residential care facilities, and any other facility that provides long-term medical or personal care.

Effective immediately, the Arkansas Department of Health directs all long-term care facilities to screen all visitors and employees of facilities. The facility shall restrict entry for visitors meeting any one of the screening criteria.

1. Facility staff must question all visitors regarding international travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained transmission of COVID-19. For updated information on restricted countries visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

2. Facility staff must question visitors if they have had contact with someone known to be infected with or, under investigation for, COVID-19.

3. Facility staff must screen for signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as cough, sore throat, and fever by measuring their temperature. Temperature may not exceed 100.4
degrees Fahrenheit for any visitor entering the facility.

For employees, temperature screening shall be done prior to every shift. For assistance with
screening, an optional questionnaire is attached and can also be accessed at
www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

CADC EXPANDING SERVICES IN SEVIER COUNTY 03/10/20

The Central Arkansas Development Council (CADC) currently serves 19 counties in Arkansas, including Sevier. With the help of UA Cossatot Center for Student Success Coordinator, Erika Buenerrostro, the CADC will be providing more services in Sevier County to help its residents.

CADC began in the 1960s and continues to operate today based on the mission of alleviating the causes and conditions of poverty. The council aims to help vulnerable populations achieve their potential and to build strong communities in Arkansas through community action.

This past year, Erika Buenerrostro was invited to become a board member of CADC. After attending meetings and learning about services they provide, Erika has expressed to the Council that Sevier County has a great need for these services.

Erika stated, “CADC serves Sevier County, but many people living here are unaware of what all they can do for people who qualify. CADC offers help to families who need it, and the number of families benefiting from such services are not many. Having a permanent location in Sevier County would help change that. My goal is to provide these services to our residents of Sevier County while at the same time creating more job opportunities. Those who qualify can receive help with strategic planning, identification of local resources, educational resources, nutrition, tax assistance, transportation, utility assistance, and weatherization.”

As 2020 progresses, Erika will continue to represent Sevier County as an active board member of CADC. The CADC office will be housed at UA Cossatot on the De Queen Campus, which will be a crucial location for students of the college.

To learn more about CADC, please visit www.cadc.com. For questions about CADC in Sevier County, please call Erika Buenerrostro at 870-584-1133.

HUNTING KNIFE CLASS IN APRIL AT UAHT 03/10/20

The James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades will offer a Hunting Knife Class on April 20-23 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In this intensive 4-day class students will learn to forge a carbon steel blade, heat treat metal, fashion a wooden handle and brass guard, and sharpen a knife. Each student will forge a completed hunting knife. The class will be taught by Journeyman Bladesmith Ricardo Vilar, former President of the Brazilian Society of Cutlers and coordinator and teacher for Corneta Tools in Osasco Brazil.

The class will be held at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades in Historic Washington State Park. The school is located at 601 Lawrence Street, Washington, Arkansas 71862. The price for the course is $450.

To register for the class, visit https://www.uaht.edu/continuing-and-community-education-registration-form or contact the UAHT Community Education department at bladesmith@uaht.edu or 870.722.8568.

To learn more about the James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades, visit https://www.uaht.edu/bladesmithing.

HUNTER’S EDUCATION CLASS OFFERED 03/10/20

A one day Hunters Ed class will be held on Saturday, March 28, at the Adam’s Building on UA Cossatot Campus in De Queen from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. You will need to bring a sack lunch and you must attend all day in order to test.

Anyone born after 1968 must complete a hunter’s education course and carry a valid hunter’s education card to hunt in Arkansas. Children under 16 may hunt without the class as long as they are under the direct supervision of an adult who is 21 years old or older. There is no specific age requirement to enroll in hunter’s education however, the educational material is based on a sixth-grade reading level. Arkansas recognizes hunter’s education cards from other states. Arkansas’s hunter’s education program is recognized in all states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

You must sign up by going to: https://register-ed.com/events/view/159688. There is a limit of 20 participants so you may want to sign up early. If you have any questions, please call Kim Frachiseur at the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013.

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/09/20

Representative DeAnn Vaught reports it’s important to remember that state and federal income tax forms are due soon. Both state and federal income tax forms must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2020, to avoid penalties and late fees.

The legislature prioritized and passed several changes to its tax laws during the 92nd General Assembly, which means that your income tax rate may have changed from last year.

The passage of ACT 182 during the 2019 legislative session, for example, reduces the top income tax rate in our state from 6.9% to 6.6%. The income tax rate will lower again in 2021 to 5.9%. This rate reduction took effect on January 1, 2020, for individuals and will be phased in for corporations by 2021. This is in addition to previous tax cuts passed in recent years impacting every income group.

Because of these reduced tax rates, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced to employers that the income tax withholding tables will change. As a result, you may see an increase in the amount of your paycheck starting this month.

This increase will be offset in the future by lower tax refunds. As tax refunds issued now relate to tax year 2019 they are not affected by the withholding changes. The upcoming withholding changes will not impact annual refunds until calendar year 2021.

Many Arkansans can utilize the IRS’s Free File program. This web-based program is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for the approximately 70% of taxpayers who earn less than $60,000 in annual adjusted gross income. Eligible consumers can go to IRS.gov and choose from multiple private companies that will file federal returns at no charge.

If you cannot afford to pay for tax preparation assistance, you may also be eligible to receive free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Consumers can call (800) 829-1040 for information about VITA volunteer locations near them. Additionally, seniors can contact AARP at (888) 227-7669 to find the nearest TCE Tax-Aide site.

DHS QUIZ BOWL TEAM WINS REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 03/09/20

The De Queen High School Quiz Bowl Team had a successful run at their most recent competition over the weekend.

Team advisor Mr. Thomas Sweeten informed KDQN that the team went undefeated at the tournament held Saturday, March 7th on the Watson Chapel campus. In addition to going undefeated the team also earned the title of regional champions.

During the 5a South region championship, De Queen Student Noah Reed was named MVP of the tournament, as he averaged 19 questions per game. Mr. Sweeten reports that this is De Queen’s first regional championship in 5 years since the team’s creation.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 03/06/20

This following information was obtained by KDQN Staff from the CDC website:

CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally, including in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concernexternal icon” (PHEIC). On January 31, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to COVID-19.

According to the CDC, there is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of the illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

Older people and people with certain underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example, seem to be at greater risk of serious illness.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

                • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
                • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
                • Stay home when you are sick.
                • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
                • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
                • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
                • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
                • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
                • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
                • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
                • You should watch for symptoms. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
Fever
Cough
Shortness of breath
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Situation in U.S.

Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S.

Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 was first reported among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan.

During the week of February 23, CDC reported community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in California (in two places), Oregon and Washington. Community spread in Washington resulted in the first death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case of COVID-19 in a health care worker, and the first potential outbreak in a long-term care facility.

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications). The fact that this disease has caused illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustained person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria, worldwide spread of the new virus.

Reported community spread of COVID-19 in parts of the United States raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for those communities. The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, to the United States and globally.

At this time, however, most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will be updated as needed.

4-H OUTDOOR COUNTY O’RAMA 03/06/20

Sevier County 4-H held their annual Outdoor County 4-H O’Rama February 17. The competitive events included gun safety and BB gun marksmanship, reel into sports fishing, and bicycle. The winners of these events will be eligible to compete at the District 4-H O’Rama that’s held in June. Even though it was a wet day, 32 4-H’ers showed up to compete. Winners from each competition are as follows:

Gun Safety and BB Gun – Juniors: 1st – Landon Frachieur, 2nd – Darrbey Courtwright, 3rd – Jake Sawyer & Kyle Williamson, 4th – Charlie Collins, and 5th – Sy Collins. Seniors: 1st – Hunter Frachiseur, 2nd – Amber Morris, 3rd – Blake Sawyer, 4th – Brayden Frachiseur, and 5th – Ethan Wolcott.

Reel into Sports Fishing – Juniors: 1st – Landon Frachiseur, 2nd – Pace Frachiseur, and 3rd – Raegan Frachiseur, 4th – Kolton Dockins, and 5th – Max Rosson. Seniors: 1st – Marcus Rosson, 2nd – Brayden Frachiseur, 3rd – Hunter Frachiseur, 4th – Ethan Wolcott, and 5th – Madison Bagley

Bicycle – Juniors: 1st – James Bartek, 2nd – Jake Sawyer, and 3rd – Evan Wolcott, 4th– Matthew Maben, and 5th – Libbie Bartek. Senior: 1st – Dori Bartek, 2nd – Blake Sawyer.

For more information on 4-H, contact Sevier County Extension Service at (870) 584-3013.

Above: Brayden Frachiseur takes the sports fishing test where he ID’s the parts of fish and different types of fish during the 4-H Outdoor O’Rama held on February 17.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL MAKER SPACE 03/06/20

Housed in the Ashdown High School Media Center, the AHS Maker Space began on a small scale at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. According to AHS Librarian, Sandy Smith, “The original idea came from the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conferences held at Lakeside High School in 2018.” As she and Ashdown Curriculum Coordinator Teri Lynn Day attended other conferences, the ideas for an expanded maker space grew. At a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day Conference, they heard of students who were excelling because of the different types of technology in their school media centers (Maker Space Areas) and even making careers out of the technology they were using in their school’s Maker Space area.

“Maker space” is a collaborative work space for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. it has a variety of equipment including a 3D printer, an electronic cutter that can be used to cut paper, vinyl, wood, leather and other materials, a soldering iron, a sewing/embroidery machine, a robotics kit, a binding machine, a plotter printer, virtual reality headsets, an electronic circuit board, an abundance of materials for knitting, crafting and painting, cardboard creations, materials for science experiments and a section of books and materials with ideas and instructions. There is also 2 vinyl presses and 2 Cricuts available.

At AHS, all high school students and teachers are able to use the area as part of classroom special projects or independently on their own projects.

This space will help to prepare those who need the critical 21st-century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It will provide hands on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Students will have the opportunity to schedule work time in the Makerspace during flex time that students acquire throughout the week when they have met class expectations in core classes. Mrs. Smith, the library/media specialist, is continually looking at additional equipment and tools that can be added to this innovative area to enhance our students’ learning and skills.

Smith also added, “Our ultimate goal for the space is to have everything that students would need to ‘Dream It, Design It, Do It’, the possibilities are endless!”

LUNCH AND LEARN MARCH 19TH AT CCCUA IN DE QUEEN 03/06/07

On Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Sevier County Coalitions Live Well Sevier County Committee and UA Cossatot will be co-hosting a lunch-and-learn entitled “Preventing and Overcoming Drug Abuse” at UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. The presentation will be held in the Weyerhaeuser room, located in the Skilled Trades Building, from 11:00 A.M. to 12:20 P.M.

Hattie Vance the RSAT Aftercare Coordinator with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office will bring the presentation, which will consist of people giving their testimonies with stories of addiction, incarceration, and recovery. Skits and real-life scenarios will be performed to show the harmful effects of drug abuse and how it affects the entire family unit.

The mission of the program is to show people how easy it is to get off track in life by making wrong choices and how those wrong choices can have lasting effects. Those who attend the lunch-and-learn will learn ways to prevent and overcome drug abuse.

All are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy this free presentation. For more on lunch-and-learn programs, please visit the Sevier County Coalition’s website at www.seviercountycoalition.com,

DAISY STATE PARK OUTDOOR WEEKEND 03/06/20

Daisy State Park will be holding our annual Outdoor Skills Weekend March 27th – 29th. This event is great for those who love being outdoors along with those who may be new to the outdoors. Event participants will learn new skills from field experts and make lasting memories. Featured programming includes archery, Dutch oven cooking, survival skills and much more! On the final day of the event, they will have a cook-out to celebrate the weekend. Daisy State Park is located at 103 East Park, Kirby Arkansas. Call 870-398-4487 or email Daisy@Arkansas.com or visit ArkansasParks.com

WOMAN WINS $1 MILLION PRIZE AFTER STOPPING AT GAS STATION IN WICKES ARKANSAS 03/05/20

A cigarette stop in Wickes, Arkansas led to the ultimate payoff for a Shreveport woman this week. Tiffany Schubert claimed a lottery prize worth $1 million at the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Claim Center. Her win came from the lottery’s $20 instant-ticket game, Millionaires Club.

The top prize amount for Millionaires Club is $1 million. Now there are two top prizes left.

Schubert purchased the ticket from E-Z Mart, 7641 Highway 71 South in Wickes Tuesday afternoon. Schubert was traveling with her family to visit relatives in the area.

“My husband, Thomas, and I stopped at the gas station to buy a carton of cigarettes because they’re cheaper in Arkansas than Louisiana,” Schubert said.

While standing in line, the couple decided to purchase some lottery tickets separately.

“I seldom play the lottery, so Thomas encouraged me to buy a $20 ticket,” she said. “I scratched the ticket off in the car and didn’t think it was real. I thought someone gave me a fake ticket.”

“When I realized the win was real, I told my husband, and he kept asking me if I was kidding with him,” Schubert laughs.

Schubert plans to pay her tithes and donate to her church with her winnings.

“I’m still in shock! I just keep thanking Jesus for this blessing. He’s the only reason that we won. We haven’t scratched my husband’s tickets yet. We’re still excited about my win!”

Schubert is the 70th person that has won a lottery prize worth $1 million or more in Arkansas since 2009.

STATE ARCHERY TOURNAMENT IN HOT SPRINGS THIS WEEKEND 03/05/20

Thirty-six teams across three divisions including elementary, middle and senior schools will – once again meet at Hot Springs’ Bank OZK Arena this weekend, March 6th and 7th for the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament.

The elementary and middle school  divisions compete on Friday beginning at 9 a.m., with the day expected to wrap up at 4:30 p.m. with trophy presentations. The seniors begin with the first flight at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and trophies expected to be presented at about 2 p.m.

Individuals, both boys and girls, placing in the top five positions of the senior division will receive college scholarship money provided by the AGFC, starting with $2,500 for the top boys and girls finishers and incrementally decreasing $500 for each placing.

Admission to view the competition is free with a canned food item, and the team whose fans bring the most canned food items will win a cash prize from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The canned items are part of a drive organized by Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry and The donated cans go to a local food bank.

To read about qualifiers to the state tourney from regional competitions held last month, visit https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2020/02/12/high-scores-highlight-archery-regional-tournaments/. Also, the schedule for Friday and Saturday is available at www.agfc.com/anasp. The top two teams from each of 12 regions qualified for the state tournament, along with 12 at-large berths in each division.

ASHDOWN L.F. HENDERSON QUIZ BOWL TEAMS PLACE IN TOURNAMENTS   03/05/20

Congratulations to the 3rd & 4th grade L.F. Henderson Quiz Bowl team for placing 1st at the Genoa Invitational Tournament on February 24!

Shown Below:  Back row (l-r):  Jaxon Reed, Cade White, Kambren Zaliski
Front row (l-r):   Kennedy Thornton, and Adalie Aylett.

Congratulations to the 3rd & 4th grade Quiz Bowl Team from L.F. Henderson Intermediate (Ashdown) for placing 2nd at the Murfreesboro Invitational Quiz Bowl Tournament on February 28.
Back row (l-r) Hudson Smith, Cade White, Carson Wilckens, Mrs. Emily Freeman
Vali Anderson, Kaitlin Sivley, and Adalie Aylett.

DE QUEEN BAND STUDENTS EARN SCHOLARSHIPS TO UAM 03/05/20

A scholarship and letter of intent signing ceremony for two De Queen High School seniors was held this week.

The signing was hosted by Band Directors Alex Clark, Chris Richard and Jeff Attaway Wednesday afternoon.

Both students, Anna Stinnett and Aldo Hernandez will be attending University of Arkansas at Monticello on the scholarships this fall. Between the two of them, they will be receiving more than $70,000 in scholarship opportunities.

Anna is the daughter of Ray and Glenda Stinnett, and Aldo is the son of Fredrico and Paula Hernandez. Gary Megs from UofA Monticello attended the signing. Anna will be involved in band, piano, color guard, jazz band and choir. Aldo will be participating in band, jazz band and color guard.

CONTRACTS APPROVED AT MARCH DE QUEEN COUNCIL MEETING      03/04/20

A brief City Council meeting was held in De Queen Tuesday night, as all four items under the new business category were tackled in less than half an hour.

After the previous meeting’s minutes were approved, the first item addressed was an ordinance reconciling the 2019 budget. Though the ordinance was approved, two additional readings of the information will be required before the item is officially adopted.

The remaining three items on the agenda were all contracts with various organizations who have existing partnerships with the city.

The contract with David Boone Ministries to provide services for the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center was approved in the amount of $10,000.00 per year. Though the senior center is a county organization, the building that the group operates from is owned by the city of De  Queen.

The next contract approved was with the Sevier County Historical Society in the amount of $5,000 for services. The final contract approved was the agreement involving the Sevier County Humane Society for $2,500. The funds provide support for spaying and neutering efforts of overpopulated stray animals around De Queen.

After all the agenda items were addressed, Mayor Jeff Brown addressed the council, who agreed to expand the agenda. Brown reported that an adjustment of funds is in order for the budget to properly reflect expenditures of an awning built at the city’s fire department. Mayor Brown explains that the item is just an appropriation of funds for a project that has already been approved and completed.

The next De Queen City Council meeting is scheduled for March 17th, 5:30 p.m.

JESSICA MCGOUGH GRADUATES FROM ARKANSAS FIRE ACADEMY IN CAMDEN FRIDAY 03/04/20

De Queen Firefighter Jessica McGough graduated from The Arkansas Fire Academy in Camden on Friday, February 28th.

Jessica is a Horatio native and the 27-year-old daughter of Renee Logan and Greg McGough. As a third-generation firefighter in Sevier County, Jessica has been influenced by her grandfather, Spencer Logan, who worked for the De Queen Fire Department and her father, who worked at the Horatio Fire Department before her. Though Jessica’s firefighter role models are male, she herself was one of just two women out of 33 total members in her graduating class at the academy.

The process required eight weeks of training in rescues, safety, first responder and EMT work, along with agilities requirements.

An agilities test is where De Queen Fire Chief, Dennis Pruitt first saw Jessica’s potential as a Firefighter and first response team member. In March 2019, The De Queen Fire Department was seeking to fill an open full-time position and Jessica was said to be the only participant that day who asked if she could do the agilities test again after completing it once, initially. Chief Pruitt says he’s proud to have Jess as a member of the department.

Jessica is now certified in both “FF1” and “FF2”, which include a focus on preparation and the act of extinguishing flames. The certificates demonstrate that she is qualified to fight fires anywhere in the world.

ELECTION RESULTS SHOW BARRETT AS DISTRICT 4, POSTION 2 WINNER 03/04/20

The election results are in and Stephanie Potter Barrett has been reported as the winner of the Arkansas Court of Appeals District 4, Position 2 race. The Texarkana Gazette noted that Barrett won by an near 10,000-vote margin, based on information provided through the Secretary of State, John Thurston’s website.
Barrett received 41,883 votes, or 56.52% to challenger Emily White’s 32,215 votes, or 43.48 percent.
The Court of Appeals district is comprised of 15 counties including, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Little River, , Miller, Montgomery, Pike, Polk, Sevier of Southwest Arkansas.

Barrett is currently serving as the elected prosecuting attorney for the 8th Judicial District South, for Miller and Lafayette counties. She is a 1991 Arkansas High School Honors Graduate and a Graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
White was appointed May 22, 2018, to serve as district judge for the 33rd Judicial District serving Hot Spring and Grant counties by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
She has practiced law for 18 years and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law as well as Henderson State University.

CCCUA FFA OFFICERS ANNOUNCED 03/04/20

UA Cossatot’s Collegiate FFA organization announces the spring 2020 FFA officers. These officers will serve for a term of one semester and be active leaders in UA Cossatot’s FFA.
The officers include President Codie Jamison, Vice President John Hardin, Secretary Kinley Wright, Treasurer Lindy Price, and Reporter Kelsey Russell.

UA Cossatot’s FFA student organization gives students who are interested in agriculture the chance to learn about opportunities in this field while also learning skills in leadership, communication, and networking. Building friendships and scholarship opportunities are other benefits of being in UA Cossatot’s Collegiate FFA as well.

This spring, UA Cossatot’s FFA will be hosting the annual plant sale in the greenhouse on the De Queen campus. The plant sale provides an affordable resource for local producers to acquire a variety of plants for their spring gardens. Students learn to grow and care for the plants, and they also obtain valuable customer service skills while interacting with the public during the sale.
For additional information about UA Cossatot’s Collegiate FFA, please contact Kelli Harris at 870-584-1218 or kharris@cccua.edu.

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE THROUGH ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FARM CREDIT ASSOCIATION 03/04/20

The Homegrown by Heroes Scholarship applications are due this month. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas are partnering to provide two $1,500 Homegrown by Heroes academic scholarships to military veterans and active military personnel, their spouses, and children who are pursuing a degree in agriculture. Funding for the scholarships is generously provided by Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas. Online applications are due March 16, 2020 and are available at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/aad-programs.

Selection of scholarship recipients will be based on academic achievement, community involvement, extracurricular activities, financial need, and family circumstances. Preference will be given to Arkansas Homegrown by Heroes members, spouses, and their children, but membership is not required.

The scholarships are affiliated with Homegrown by Heroes, an Arkansas Department of Agriculture program that helps farmer veterans market their local agricultural products by labeling them as veteran-produced. Learn more about Homegrown by Heroes and find products grown or made by military veterans at https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/aad-programs .

With more than $3.7 billion in assets, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Midsouth, and Farm Credit of Western Arkansas support rural communities and agriculture across Arkansas with  credit and financial services. In Arkansas, Farm Credit associations are owned by the more than 11,000 customer-owners they serve. Through the cooperative structure, customer-owners have a voice and vote in the associations’ governance. Members also share in the cooperatives’ financial success through cooperative returns which total more than $243 million since 1997.

SEVIER COUNTY MAN MAN AIRLIFTED TO LOUISIANA HOSPITAL AFTER DEPUTIES RESPOND TO CALL SATURDAY MORNING 03/03/20

A local man was airlifted to a Louisiana Medical Center after authorities responded to a report of a suspicious man in a ditch Saturday morning in Sevier County, Arkansas.

A report from The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Deputy Chett Stubbs was dispatched to a residence on Farm to Market Road at 7:34 a.m. Saturday, February 29th in reference to a suspicious white male seen lying in a ditch near a residence, covered in blood.

Cossatot River Fire Department Chief Archie Johnson was reported to have already been on the scene with the man when deputies arrived. The subject was noted to be conscious but not alert when found, and he was already known to authorities as Cole Smith, age 30, from previous law enforcement interactions.

The woman who called in the report informed Deputies that she had taken her dog outside at 7:15 am when she noticed the male lying in the ditch, covered in blood. She also told authorities that the man was known to sometimes stay at the residence across the street, which is the home of the man’s biological grandmother.

Fire Chief Johnson was reported to have stayed with the man until Southwest Emergency Medical Services arrived on the scene and Deputy Chet Stubbs then investigated the incident further, though he was unable to speak with the man directly due to his medical condition. Smith was airlifted to LSU medical Center in Shreveport to receive emergency medical attention for his injuries.

Stubbs conducted a welfare check on the home of the man’s Grandmother and noted observing a substantial amount of dried blood in the breezeway leading up to the house, along with a pair of wet blue jeans, brown leather shoes, blood on the door and evidence of forced entry into the home, as the glass pane closest to the door knob was found broken. Investigators working the case suspect Smith cut his wrist when he broke the glass in an attempt to get in the house.

Upon questioning the woman who reported the incident, it was discovered that the witness and her husband stated they had found blood on the porch earlier that morning , around 1:30 a.m. but assumed the blood came from an animal. The reporting party agreed to fill out a voluntary witness statement about the incident.

Additional photographs of the scene were taken for evidence and an additional person was contacted to gather information about the man’s condition leading up to the incident.  Smith was reported to have been drinking the night before on February 28th and a woman claimed she’d dropped him off with his belongings at the address on Farm to Market road around 10:10 p.m.

Deputies later made contact with the man’s Grandmother through a phone call and she claimed she was not at home during the time the incident occurred and stated she had no idea about what had happened at the residence.

The Sheriff’s Department was unable to provide information on Cole Smith’s Current medical condition.

 INMATE CAPTURED QUICKLY AFTER ESCAPING SEVIER COUNTY JAIL IN DE QUEEN MONDAY 03/03/20

An inmate of the Sevier County Jail is back in custody after escaping from the Detention Center Monday afternoon. A news release provided by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry states that inmates William R. Cooper and Caleb Brown decided to escape while out in the exercise yard of the jail around 1:30 p.m. Monday, March 2nd.

Video footage showed Cooper crawling over the fence into the outside yard, then over the perimeter fence. Brown did not make it over the divider fence and landed back in the exercise yard. The inmates were classified as minimum security and both have pending cases in The Sevier Circuit Court.

Dispatch was notified about an inmate knocking on doors on Cox Lane and a call came from Whispering Pines mobile Park about an inmate asking residents for a change of clothes. Officers responded to the location and cooper was found inside a mobile home. He was then taken back into custody and returned to jail at 2:08 p.m.

FARM BUREAU INSURANCE OF ARKANSAS TURNS 70 TUESDAY MARCH 3RD 03/03/20

The Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Arkansas, Inc. turns 70 on Tuesday, March 3, a testament to a local presence in each of Arkansas’ 75 counties and a commitment to customer service and client satisfaction.

Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Arkansas, Inc. has the second-largest market share for property insurance coverage in the state.

The Farm Bureau insurance companies were formed by a group of Farm Bureau Federation leaders who shared a vision for providing better service to their members, including cost-effective insurance rates. Farm Bureau Insurance has been developing new products and services ever since.

As an example, Farm Bureau Insurance has developed over the past three years a product targeted at its clients involved in agriculture. The Ag Promise® farm insurance policy covers farm structures, personal property and liability.

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY AT UAHT 03/03/20

Wednesday March 11, 2020 from 6:00-7:30 pm join Park Rangers for an engaging evening with Karen Steward the Public Education Coordinator for the Arkansas Supreme Court. She’s
responsible for planning and implementing statewide public education initiatives and events to raise awareness and understanding the role of the judicial branch of government.
The event will take place at Rapert Library Auditorium on the campus of the University of Arkansas Hope/Texarkana located at 2500 S. Main Street in Hope.
Miss Steward will discuss her time in the Arkansas Supreme Court and her educational vocational journey to an influential public service position.

The program is FREE to the public and all are welcome. Admission is free. For more information call (870) 777-4455.

FEBRUARY LOCKESBURG COUNCIL MEETING 3/03/20

The most recent Lockesburg City Council meeting was held Tuesday, February 11th at city hall. After beginning the meeting with an executive session, new personnel updates were reported for the city, as the hire of Whitney Stapp was announced for the new part time office assistant position. Tatyanna Bailey and Linda Hopkins will serve as alternate office assistants for the city of Lockesburg, as well.

Water Superintendent Justin Ruth presented the council with several prices on mowers and after a lengthy discussion, the council agreed to purchase a Husqvarna CZT60X in the amount of $10277.76 from Bakers Saw Shop. The funds will be provided through the city’s street equipment fund and the park fund.

Mayor Danny Ruth addressed the council concerning three locations where city streets are in need of repair. Those locations include West Pine, North Park at the bridge and one on East Steele street. Wastewater Superintendent Matt Webb requested permission to accept bids on the project. The bid for asphalt work from Jessco Paving was received and the cost for city employees to do prep work for the job is $8712. The council approved Jessco to be hired for the job and the funds will come from the city street fund.

The previous meetings minutes, financial and budget reports were all approved before discussing  a small parcel of land brought to Mayor Ruth’s attention recently. Local homeowners requested purchasing the parcel so they could square up their property and build a privacy fence. The council approved the purchase of the land in the amount of $750 and the homeowners set to pay the for the land survey.

The council also approved a mobile home to be moved in on Pecan Street and the approved A.L Franks to be hired as the engineer for the wastewater and sidewalk projects before the meeting was adjourned.

ANNUAL DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET HELD THURSDAY 03/02/20

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet hosted a record attendance at De Queen High School Thursday evening, February 28th. The Chamber is celebrating its Centennial this year and the “Developing Through the Decades” theme encouraged members to don period dress and decorate tables accordingly. Special Centennial Awards were given to the De Queen Bee and De Queen Abstract Company, who were charter members when the Chamber was founded in 1920 and have continuous membership since that time.

Other Awards given were:

Educator Awards:
Teacher of the Year – Legacy Academy – Susan Shelton
Teacher of the Year – DeQueen/Mena Coop – Lora Gregory
Teacher of the Year – UA Cossatot – Kathy Richards
Teacher of the Year – Horatio Primary – Stephanie Baker
Teacher of the Year – Horatio High School – Sherry Surber*
Teacher of the Year – De Queen Primary – Tracy Kendrick
Teacher of the Year – De Queen Elementary – Sherri Shelton
Teacher of the Year – De Queen Middle School – Roberta Johnson
Teacher of the Year – De Queen Junior High – Carol Hall*
Teacher of the Year – De Queen High School – Jordan McMellon
* School District Teacher of the Year

Business Awards:
Renovation – Burger King
New Construction – Taco Bell
Small Business of the Year: – Sweet Cravings
Large Business of the Year – De Queen Auto Group
Community Service Award (2) – Jay Litchford; Keisha McKinney
Lifetime Achievement Award – Herman Jackson (Posthumously)
Citizen of the Year – Dr. Steve Cole
Table & Costume Awards:
Most Beautiful Table – City of De Queen
Most Unique Table – De Queen Middle School
Dress to Impress Award – Bartek Recon
The event was sold out over a week in advance. The Chamber is considering having a theme for annual
banquet going forward due to the popularity of the theme concept and the participation by members.

Banquet Photos by:  Suly J. Photography, Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/DQChamberofCommerce

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING SCHEDULED TUESDAY 03/02/20

The next De Queen City Council meeting has been announced for this week on Tuesday, March 3rd at 5:30 p.m. in city hall. Time for citizen comments are being allotted with a limit of three minutes each. Area residents are encouraged to use the time for community announcements, updates and requests relating to the city of De Queen.

A short list of agenda items is on deck for the council, as multiple resolutions are listed under the new business category this week. Those resolutions up for approval include contracts with Boone Ministries, The Sevier County Historical Society and The Sevier County Humane Society. Also under the new business section this week,  the aldermen are set to discuss an ordinance reconciling the 2019 budget.

City Hall in De Queen is located at 220 North Second Street and all meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The public is always welcome to attend  and requests for inclusion on the agenda can be called in at 870-584-3445 during business hours.

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/02/20

By law, Fiscal Sessions can only last 30 days (45 days with a ¾ vote to extend), so members work weeks in advance drafting appropriation measures in order to ensure our sessions are brief.

That preparation begins in budget hearings. Beginning Wednesday, March 4, 2020, the Joint Budget Committee will hold a series of meetings designed to begin the process of outlining a budget for the next fiscal year. The Fiscal Session begins Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at 12:00 noon.

Budget hearings will begin with the Department of Finance and Administration presenting its annual forecast and recommendations for a balanced budget by the Governor.

Over the course of the next several days, the committee will hear budget requests for Higher Education Institutions, Department of Education, the Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety, commonly referred to as the “Big 6”.

In the following weeks, members will review budgets for all state boards, commissions, and agencies.

Seven months into this fiscal year, general revenue is now $149.7 million or 4.4% above this time last year. The most recent general revenue report showed net available revenue is above forecast by $94.2 million or 2.7 percent. This report and revenue forecast from economists will help us guide our decision making process in the months ahead.

Although legislation during the Regular Sessions typically attracts more attention, it is important to remember the impact our budget making process has on our day to day lives.

The decisions we will be making show the priorities we make as a state. Appropriations fund everything from classrooms to health care.

Members can begin filing appropriation bills and identical resolutions on Monday, March 9, 2020. As a reminder, the legislature cannot take up any non-appropriation bills during the Fiscal Session unless 2/3 of the body votes in favor of a resolution.

You can watch the meetings live at www.arkansashouse.org.

ARKANSAS AG MOBILE OFFICE COMING TO SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 03/02/20

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. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices served over 2,200 Arkansans.

Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist Arkansans 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 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 five years in office, over 800 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. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule for March includes a stop in Howard County:

Tuesday, March 10
10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Nashville Senior Adult Center
206 East Howard Street
Nashville, AR 71852

ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY ANNOUNCES RESOURCES FOR PROBLEM GAMBLING AWARENESS MONTH 03/02/20

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) wants to spread the word that help is available around the clock to those who need it.

Last summer the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery received Responsible Gambling Certification from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries and the National Council on Problem Gambling. The certification involves a multi-step verification program to ensure the lottery provides best practices in training for lottery employees and retailers and treatment options for players who may have a gambling problem.

Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling.

Problem gambling includes behavior that damages personal, family or vocational pursuits. In extreme cases, problem gambling can result in financial ruin, legal problems, loss of career and family or suicide.

According to the National Council of Problem Gambling, Problem gambling is a preventable and treatable disorder. If gambling is causing a problem for you or someone you know, call or text the 24-hour confidential National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700, visit ncpgambling.org or contact Gamblers Anonymous at gamblersanonymous.org.

SCHOLARSHIP ESTABLISHED TO HONOR ALEX IRVAN    02/28/20

Horatio resident, Gayla Irvan, donated to the UA Cossatot Foundation to establish the Alex Scholarship.

The scholarship is to honor the memory of her son, Alex Irvan. The Alex Scholarship is for UA Cossatot students accepted into the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program. Eligible applicants will need to have a minimum GPA of 2.5 and have a financial need. The scholarship will award one applicant $500 for the academic year.

Irvan said, “I had a disabled child and I wanted to give to a college with an OTA program to help students who could work with people with disabilities and helping with other rehabilitation services.”

The UA Cossatot Foundation exists to create awareness of the need for scholarships while focusing efforts on raising resources to meet the need and furthering UA Cossatot’s institutional development.

UA Cossatot Foundation Director, Dustin Roberts said, “Mrs. Irvan has a big heart and a strong desire to help others succeed. This gift in memory of her son, Alex, is greatly appreciated and will help a deserving OTA student at UA Cossatot.”

AHS STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN “GET REAL – HERE’S THE DEAL”         02/28/20

Students in Mrs. Tipton’s Financial Literacy class participated in a program Feb. 24th and 25th with Bethany Bailey from the U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.

Get Real-Here’s the Deal! is a hands-on experiential simulation that gives young people the opportunity to experience your future in a financial decision-making mode.

Each participant was given a card with various career options and salaries along with different family scenarios with single, married or divorced and childless to several children.

There were 12 simulation stations where students made decisions about housing, transportation, food, insurance and other real-life financial choices.   Moving from station to station, students made financial lifestyle choices similar to those that adults face, basing their decisions on their family size and affordability.

The program also included instruction on correctly writing out actual checks from their accounts.

Community Members who participated in the project included: Teresa Fawcett, Becky Reynolds, Holly Norman, Tyler Davis, Kirk Mounts, Glenda Smedley, Deanna Sively, Jennifer Sansom, and Carolyn Henderson.

Ronda Pounds

AHS WRESTLERS COMPETE AT STATE TOURNAMENT        02/28/20

The following AHS varsity wrestlers, wrestled at the State Tournament, Saturday, February 22nd, held at Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock:

At 113lbs. Chris Bailey, Jr.,
At 120lbs. Braydon Cross,Jr., 6th place medalist
At 126lbs. Logan Fisher, Fr., 6th place medalist
At 132lbs. Cole Sallade, Jr., 6th place medalist
At 138lbs. Sean Swearingen, Fr.
At 145lbs. Matt Reed, Fr.,
At 152lbs. Grant Young, Jr.
At 170lbs. Cameron Reed, Fr.
At 182lbs. Mason Bush, Fr.
At 220 lbs. Will Ford, Soph. 6th place medalist
At 285lbs. DJ Johnson, Sr.

Top Right: Will Ford
Bottom Left: Cole Sallade, Logan Fisher, and Brayden Cross
Bottom Right: (l-r) Cole Sallade, Logan Fisher, Coach Chaz Mauger, Braydon Cross, Grant Young, and Will Ford

Ronda Pounds

DE QUEEN MAN FOUND WITH METH PIPE AFTER TRAFFIC STOP TUESDAY 02/28/20

A De Queen man was held in the local jail after authorities discovered two travelers with warrants out for their arrest during a traffic stop in Sevier County Tuesday, February 25th.
A report released by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and Deputy Justin Gentry were patrolling Smith Road East of De Queen Tuesday when they observed two people traveling in a green Pontiac car without wearing seat belts.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Tony Evans, and the passenger is listed as Donavon Ford, both residents of De Queen, Arkansas. The Deputies were informed through dispatch services that Tony Evans had a warrant out in Texas but authorities did not pursue extradition. The passenger, Donavon was discovered to have a warrant out for his arrest in Polk County, Arkansas and authorities did wish to have him picked up.
Donavon was transported to The Sevier County Jail where he reportedly admitted to being in possession of a pipe used for smoking methamphetamines concealed in his boot. Authorities recovered the glass pipe containing suspected meth residue wrapped inside a sock and Donavon was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, both class D felonies.

DIERKS MAN SENTENCED IN SEXUAL ASSUALT CASE 02/28/20

A Dierks man was sentenced to 15 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections earlier this week on Tuesday, February 25th. The man, 53-year-old Rhodie Romine, was found guilty and sentenced following a bench trial before Circuit Judge Tom Cooper.
Romine was charged with Second Degree Sexual Assault last year in 2019. Prosecutors report that Romine was accused of having sexual contact with an underage victim in March of 2019.
The felony count carried a prison term of five to twenty years. He will be given credit for jail time served.

SEVIER COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION TO HOLD MEETING TUESDAY 02/28/20

There will be a meeting of the Sevier County Election Commission on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 5:00 P.M. The meeting will be held in the County Courthouse in the Conference Room. This meeting is to canvass the results of the Primary Election held on the same day.
There will be a meeting on the 9th of March to conduct Provisional Ballot Hearings. This meeting will start at 1 P.M. in the County Clerk’s office.
All Election Commission meetings are open to the public.

AGFC TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING IN SW ARKANSAS MARCH 18TH              02/27/20

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special open forum for the public at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana campus on March 18. The forum will begin at 6 p.m. in Hempstead Hall, 2500 S. Main St., in Hope.

The AGFC hosted three open town hall meetings during 2019, and this will be the first scheduled for 2020.

This forum will take on a different look than previous town hall meetings. Instead of Commissioners sitting in front of a crowd to answer questions, they and various AGFC staff will be stationed at tables throughout the room to answer questions on a one-on-one level.
“We received some excellent participation from the public at the last three meetings,” AGFC Director Pat Fitts said. “We hope to offer even more time for individual questions and engagement with the public through this new format. Everyone will still be able to talk directly to Commissioners or staff, but we hope this gives a much more personal environment where people can speak freely.”

Brief presentations are planned before the open question period. Anyone who wishes to speak is encouraged to attend.

Visit the AGFC’s YouTube page for a recap of questions and answers during the previous three meetings. A direct link to the Stuttgart meeting, held in November, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9B7_7iehas.

ARKANSAS AG TO HOST SCAM PREVENTION WEBCAST            02/27/20

Later this Spring, The Office of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will be hosting a scam prevention webcast March 5th in recognition of National Consumer Protection Week. This free webcast on scams and consumer protection will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and is open to the public.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division represents and protects the State, its subdivisions, legitimate business community and Arkansas consumers.

This webcast will review the many ways the Attorney General’s office can be utilized as a resource, common scams to be aware of and how to avoid them, and identity theft. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation.

The Attorney General’s office has applied for 1.5 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) and law enforcement standards (CLEST) credit.

DE QUEEN MAN FACING MULTIPLE DRUG RELATED CHARGES AFTER TRAFFIC STOP MONDAY 02/26/20

A De Queen man has been charged with multiple drug-related Crimes after a Deputy with The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department pulled a vehicle over for traffic violations Monday, February 24th.
A report released by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Deputy Isaac Alvarado was dispatched to the area of HWY 29 and Farm to Market Road in regards to a suspicious vehicle call. While en route to the scene, Deputy Alvarado noted witnessing a vehicle commit multiple traffic violations. That vehicle was listed as a 2013 Dodge Ram being driven by a man identified as Steven Curtis , age 18, of De Queen.
During the traffic stop, a sobriety test was administered that resulted in Curtis being placed into custody for suspicion of DWI. A search of the truck revealed marijuana, THC oil and drug paraphernalia to be located in Steven’s possession. The suspect was transported to the Sevier County Jail in De Queen and charged with possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, and DWI drugs. All charges are listed as misdemeanors and a court date for Steven Curtis has been set for April 28th, 2020.

MISS UA COSSATOT PAGEANT ANNOUNCED 02/26/20

The second annual Miss UA Cossatot Scholarship Pageant will be held at the historic UA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium on Saturday, March 28, 2020, at 6:00 P.M. The winner of the pageant will be crowned Miss UA Cossatot 2020 by Perri Lowrey, and will also receive a full-tuition waiver while attending UA Cossatot. This is an opportunity for current and future UA Cossatot 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 at UA Cossatot or an area high school senior who plans to enroll at UA Cossatot. The winner of the pageant will be expected to make appearances and be on UA Cossatot promotional material while being a student at UA Cossatot for at least two semesters after being crowned Miss UA Cossatot.
The UA Cossatot Student Ambassadors are coordinating the pageant, and admission prices for the event are $5. UA Cossatot students and high school students can pay $3 to attend, and there is no fee for children twelve and under to attend.
UA Cossatot Student Ambassador, Jhamilex Hernandez, said, “This is our second Miss UA Cossatot pageant. I know the pageant will be a super fun night, but it will also be an opportunity for the winner to earn scholarship money.”
The theme for the second annual pageant will be “The Roaring Twenties”. For anyone interested in participating in the pageant, please visit www.cccua.edu/missuac for more information.

ARKANSAS TO JOIN MULTISTATE INVESTIGATION OF TOBACCO VAPE COMPANY 02/26/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining a bipartisan, multistate investigation of JUUL Labs. The 39-state multistate coalition is investigating JUUL’s marketing and sales practices, including targeting of youth, claims regarding nicotine content and statements about risks, safety and effectiveness as a smoking cessation device.
“Misinformation and inaccurate advertising has run rampant in the vaping industry, enticing our youth to use a virtually unknown product” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Millions have been put at risk and it’s time to fight back against JUUL for making profits through deceptive practices.”

While traditional cigarette use has plummeted among young people, vaping is skyrocketing. From 2017 to 2018, Arkansas saw a 78 percent increase in high school students vaping and a 48 percent increase in middle school students vaping.

Rutledge has been at the forefront of the fight against the vaping crisis. In 2019, she hosted two Youth Vaping Summits in Little Rock and Bentonville, bringing medical experts together to help present facts and address the public on the real dangers associated with e-cigarette use.
Rutledge also issued an Enforcement Advisory to 100 online e-cigarette retailers, warning them that it is illegal to sell or ship any nicotine products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids, to consumers in Arkansas. The advisory warned of potential legal action if businesses are found selling to minors over the internet.
In October 2019, Rutledge filed suit against three online e-cigarette retailers for violating Arkansas laws. By selling and shipping nicotine products and devices to Arkansas children without age verification, the companies are in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
To learn more about the dangers of youth vaping, visit ArkansasAG.gov.

MARGARET DANIEL FOUNDATION DINNER RAISES OVER $9,010 IN ASHDOWN 02/26/20

Ashdown School Board Member Glenda Smedley, Ashdown Teacher and Foundation Board Member Brenda Tate, and Ashdown School Board Member Rosa Bowman.

The Annual Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation Dinner was held in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria on Saturday, February 15 and sponsored by Trammell Piazza Law Firm, PLLC. The cafeteria was set for an elegant dinner of creamy green pea soup (Sponsored by Red River Oil/McIver Abstract & Title), Bibb salad with raspberry maple dressing (Sponsored by Little River Health System), smokey garlic pork loin with mahogany sauce and spiced peaches, loaded mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach & corn, (sponsored by Cowling Title) and cream cheese carrot cake crumble (sponsored by Judge Mike Cranford and Horatio State Bank) prepared by Chef Lois Corbell and assisted by Gary Corbell, Michelle Haskins and Wilma Burke. The delicious meal was served by the AHS Skills USA and Beta Club students and guided by their sponsors Mrs. Amy Silva and Mr. Elmorris Hopkins. The evening entertainment of piano music was provided by Ashdown High School student pianists Ariel Shumake, Ashlyn Harger, Alex Hamby, Dal Ringgold, Tryston McCandless, Grant Young and his dad Mr. Carl Young (sponsored by Red River Federal Credit Union).

The evening raised over $9,010. AHS Principal, Kay York Wortham said, “We are all delighted in the outpouring of support for our students and schools. Grants totaling over $137,000.00 have been awarded since 2005 to teachers in the Ashdown School District. The teachers and staff at Ashdown have many unique and innovative ideas in which they wish to come to fruition and the Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation provides the support and funds to do so.”

The Foundation Board continues to keep the standards high so that each dollar that is given either as a gift, memorial or honorarium is in turn granted to projects and ideas that meet the goals set forth by the Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation. Wortham said, “We want our donors to know that their hard earned dollars are benefitting students in Ashdown to reach higher learning and academic achievement through unique and state of the art ideas and materials.”

Grants have been awarded for World Drumming Materials, sensory stations, butterfly gardens, AHS art supplies, engineering equipment for robots and programming, Colombia University Writing Institutes, the Baby Grand Piano at Ashdown High School, and most recently computer software and equipment for our computer science class to work closely with the AHS Baseball Team on data analysis. These grants have provided over-the-top opportunities for our 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. According to Wortham, “That is a true blessing.”

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

JONQUIL FESTIVAL SET FOR MARCH 20-22 IN WASHINGTON 02/26/20

The 52nd Annual Jonquil Festival will be held at Historic Washington State Park, March 20-22, 2020 and the Festival is Free to enter, $5 for Parking and Tours at regular prices.

Jonquils are in bloom at Historic Washington State Park and a tremendous line-up of Entertainment and fun await those who will be visiting the park on March 20th through 22nd for the 52nd Annual Jonquil Festival.
In addition to our crafters and food concessions, festivities will include the Four States Iron Munchers, 5K run, and singing competition.

The Washington Volunteer Fire Department will be having a Burger Fundraiser Saturday beginning at 11:30am under the Farmer’s Market pavilion. There will also be a free concert featuring Dillan Cate, a country/rock artist from Northeast Arkansas beginning at 11:30am under large green and yellow entertainment tent.

One thing that makes this festival stand out from other events is the “Atmosphere”. Strolling the board walks, watching children play in the jonquils, picnicking on festival food or enjoying music under the entertainment tent, there is something for every family member to enjoy. After shopping and enjoying a great meal, you cna experience history in the 19th century by touring locations such as the Weapons Museum, the Print Museum, and the Blacksmith Shop, famed home of the Bowie Knife!
Williams Tavern Restaurant will be open serving the buffet all three days from 11am – 3pm.

FIRE CAUSED LOSS OF HOME FOR LOCAL FAMILY, DONATIONS BEING ACCEPTED 02/25/20

More information about a house fire that caused the displacement of a local family last week was released by The De Queen Fire Department Monday. The report states that the De Queen Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of a structure fire on the edge of De Queen Thursday, February 20th, 2020.

Seven members of the department responded to the all-call alarm at 10:30 a.m. and arrived to the house fire by 10:45 a.m. The home was located on Swift Road and The Horatio Fire Department assisted in handling the scene. Water was used to extinguish the fire but Chief Dennis Pruitt confirmed the flames caused a total loss of the structure. The Department left the scene by 12:03 p.m.

No insurance company was listed for the home in the report and no persons received injuries as a result of the fire.

An occupant of the home is an employee of The City of De Queen and donations are currently being accepted at city hall to help the family during this difficult time.

Donations can be dropped of during business hours at city hall, located at 220 North 2nd Street in De Queen, Arkansas.

TRIAL DATE SET FOR NASHVILLE WOMAN WHO FILED FALSE REPORT IN SEVIER COUNTY 02/25/20

A Nashville woman accused of filing a false police report in Sevier County has a trial date set for May 13th, 2020.

Casey Parker, age 31 of Nashville was arrested February 4th, 2020 for falsely reporting that her vehicle had been stopped near the Highway 70/71 intersection by someone impersonating a police officer. Parker claimed the man who stopped her was a black male, weighing around 200 lbs and standing 5’7 inches tall.

Deputies with The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, De Queen Police Department, 9th West Judicial Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Highway Patrol, Howard County Sheriff’s Department, and the Little River County Sheriff’s Department were all assisting in the attempted apprehension of the alleged suspect before the claim was determined to be a hoax.

Deputies reported as they began investigating the incident, they received information that Parker had made up the story as a prank.

Casey was arrested that same day and charged with Class D Felony for filing a false report and was held in the Sevier County Jail.
Parker’s pre-trial date is scheduled for April 30th.

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK COMING TO SEVIER COUNTY THIS WEEK 02/25/20

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, February 26, 2020 from 10 am to noon. The truck will be parked at the Horatio First United Methodist Church located at 304 S Pennock St., AR. Next Mobile Pantry will be on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

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.

FREE PREDATOR TRAPPING WORKSHOP IN HEMPSTEAD COUNTY 02/25/20

A free predator trapping workshop for Arkansas Hunters has been announced in Southwest Arkansas this weekend. Trapping provides important benefits for people, habitat and wildlife. The workshop will cover basic trapping safety, trapping equipment and preparation, selective trapping techniques, ethical best management practices, trap modifications and care, as well as fur handling and preparation.
There is free Admission and the workshop will be held at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center in Columbus, Arkansas on Highway 73 in Hempstead County .

This program is for adults and teens age 15 and older and attendees should meet at the pavilion dressed for outdoors Friday, February 28th at 6:00 p.m.

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

For more information about this or any other program, please contact the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center at 870-983-2790.

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL QUIZ BOWL TEAM STILL ON TOP IN MID-SEASON POLL 02/25/20

De Queen, Fort Smith Southside, Russellville, Arkadelphia, Mountain View, Haas Hall-Fayetteville and Norfork High School all top their divisions, from 7A to 1A, respectively in a mid-season poll of participating Arkansas Governor’s Quiz Bowl Association (AGQBA) coaches.

The poll was administered by Arkansas Friends of Quiz Bowl, a nonprofit organization comprised of alumni, coaches and others who support quiz bowl in Arkansas by, among other things, funding annual scholarships for quiz bowl players.

Polls were taken in January in which all AGQBA coaches were asked to rank their opponents by division, as determined by their classification in the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA). Weighted points were assigned to higher rankings. A composite score was generated from those weighted points to determine the highest ranking teams in each division.

A similar poll conducted in September prior to the beginning of the academic year’s competitions had Conway, Russellville, De Queen, Arkadelphia, Centerpoint, Haas Hall-Fayetteville and Haas Hall-Rogers as the top ranked teams in each division from 7A to 1A, respectively.

Quiz bowl is an academic competition governed by the AGQBA under the administration of the AAA. During games, players answer questions on a variety of academic topics such as literature, art, music, history, science and math to earn points.

Games are structured such that teams must rely on the individual knowledge of each player to answer most questions but are allowed to work collaboratively on others. State championships will be played in April and broadcast live on the Arkansas Educational Television Network.
5A includes: De Queen, Morrilton, Huntsville, White Hall, and Little Rock Christian.

FIESTA FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED FOR DE QUEEN MAY 2ND 02/25/20

Fiesta Fest will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020, on North 3rd Street of the courthouse in Downtown De Queen from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The festival’s focus is bringing the community together to celebrate all the cultures of Southwest Arkansas while raising scholarship money for UA Cossatot students.

Festivities will include food, vendors, live music, a DJ, folkloric dancing, carnival rides, games, face painting, shopping, a petting zoo, and a mariachi.

The UA Cossatot Student Ambassadors will host the De Kolores 5k run before the festival at 8:00 A.M. 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 Ben Renfrow C/O UA Cossatot 183 College Drive De Queen, AR 71832.

Sponsors and vendors are wanted for Fiesta Fest. Sponsorship and vendor forms can be found online at www.cccua.edu/ff or by contacting Dustin Roberts at droberts@cccua.edu or 870-584-1172.

TRAFFIC STOP LEADS TO METH DISCOVERY IN DE QUEEN 02/24/20

A man was jailed on multiple drug-related charges after a traffic stop was conducted in De Queen earlier this month. A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that Sergeant Wayne Baker was eastbound on Colin Raye Drive on February 14th when he observed a pick up truck in front of him change lanes without using a turn signal.

Wayne pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver as De Queen resident Stacey Higgins, who was known to officers from previous interactions involving an arrest for methamphetamine possession. Higgins reportedly claimed there was a problem with the turn signal on his vehicle and looked away when asked if he was in possession of anything illegal.

After being granted permission to search the truck, a brown crystal-like substance was discovered to have been concealed by paper inside a cigarette pack. Higgins was transported to the De Queen Police Department where he was read his rights and agreed to answer questions. During the questioning, Higgins also presented a pipe for meth consumption that had been kept in his sock. That pipe was discovered to contain residue of suspected methamphetamine and Higgins was charged with both possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspected methamphetamine was reported to weigh a total of .03 grams. Higgins was held at the Sevier County Jail for the crimes.

CREATE BRIDGES SEEKING SURVEY PARTICIPATION FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT 02/24/20

A pilot program focusing on rural economic development in six rural Arkansas counties is surveying employees to learn more about job training and experiences that can bolster businesses in the retail, tourism, entertainment and accommodations industries.

Create Bridges, a multi-state program to help communities strengthen their retail, tourism, accommodations, and entertainment sectors, which in turn provide jobs and business opportunities that can boost rural economies, is seeking survey participants. In Arkansas, the efforts are organized by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Community, Professional and Economic Development unit.

The program was established in October 2018 in two regions in Arkansas. The 3Cs Region includes Howard, Little River and Sevier counties, while the Ozark Foothills Region is made up of Fulton, Izard and Sharp counties.
In 2019, Create Bridges held forums in several counties throughout the state to gather information about community assets in the retail, tourism, entertainment and accommodations industries. They also interviewed business owners to learn about the opportunities, benefits and challenges of operating a business in rural Arkansas.

Now, the project is focusing on gathering employee insight, asking survey participants about their current skills, areas in which they want to improve, and training available to them. The survey also asks about the types of benefits employees appreciate in their jobs, such as flexible scheduling, training opportunities, childcare assistance and insurance. Finally, the survey asked participants about the factors affecting their ability to work, including limited transportation options, housing availability, and child or elder care access.

Employees in the six program counties can access the survey at http://bit.ly/CBEmployeeSurvey. The survey is anonymous and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Results will be used to create strategies to support these businesses including workforce training.

Julianne Dunn, economic development instructor for the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service, encouraged employees to participate in the program.

“The employee perspective will be invaluable to identifying training and policy opportunities to promote the flourishing of these types of businesses,” Dunn said.

Create Bridges — an acronym for Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies — has already held community forums and a retail academy for regional leaders.

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 02/24/20

Early voting for the Arkansas Preferential Primary and Nonpartisan General Election began last week and will continue up until the date of the election, Tuesday, March 3.

Although many of the headlines focus on the Presidential race, it’s important to remember the other significant elections on your March ballot including legislators and judges.

Non-partisan elections for judicial candidates and prosecutors are held at the same time as Democratic and Republican primaries.  If no candidate wins a majority in the non-partisan races, the two candidates with the most votes participate in a runoff. If a runoff is required, it takes place on the same day as the general election for partisan races, and runoff candidates appear on the general election ballot.

Arkansas is one of thirteen states that choose their state supreme court justices in entirely nonpartisan elections and one of eighteen states that select judges through nonpartisan elections at all trial court levels.

The polls are open between the hours of 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. Early voting ends at 5:00 pm on the Monday before the election. The polls on Election Day will be open from 7:30 am until 7:30 pm. Once at the polls, you will be asked to show a photo ID issued by either the United States, the State of Arkansas, or an accredited postsecondary educational institution in the State of Arkansas.

In most counties, early voting is conducted at the county clerk’s office. In counties with off-site early voting (a location other than the county clerk’s office), local newspapers will publish the designated sites. You can also find your polling location and a sample ballot at www.voterview.org.

DANNY RUTH PASSES LEAGUE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM    02/21/20

The Arkansas Municipal League congratulates Danny Ruth, who has achieved or maintained their status as a Certified Municipal Official through the League’s Voluntary Certified Continuing Education Program.

The certified municipal officials were honored during the opening night banquet at the League’s 2020 Winter Conference, held Feb. 12-14 in Little Rock.

Numerous municipal officials representing cities and towns from across the state completed 15 core Level 1 hours and six continuing education hours of study in subjects such as budgeting, personnel management and methods of effective leadership. To maintain certification, graduates must complete six hours of continuing education workshops each year.

The program continues in 2020 with workshops held throughout the year at the League’s North Little Rock headquarters and in June at the League’s Annual Convention in Little Rock. The League is also expanding its certification program this year, offering Advanced Level 2 workshops for those who have achieved Level 1 status in addition to offering a new Certified Municipal Personnel designation for key municipal personnel such as department heads and finance directors.

The Arkansas Municipal League is a service and advocacy organization for the municipalities of Arkansas. The League offers its programs and services to 500 cities and towns in Arkansas and was created in 1934 to assist cities with information and representation in the public affairs of our state and nation. To find out more, please visit www.arml.org.

UA COSSATOT RECOGNIZES AMERICAN HEART MONTH 02/24/20

February is recognized as American Heart Month. The UA Cossatot Employee Safety and Wellness Committee and the college’s Continuing Education department are both promoting heart health and CPR training this month to educate individuals throughout the year.
Statistics indicate that over 17 million people in the U.S. have coronary heart disease, with 234,000 of those individuals in Arkansas. About 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year.
The UA Cossatot Employee Safety and Wellness Committee has teamed up with the college’s Educational Resource Center (ERC) to provide heart-healthy information to everyone at the college.

This month in the ERC, students and employees can view fact sheets, statistics, and suggestions to improve heart health. Large heart magnets displaying signs of a heart attack are also available and free to anyone.

UA Cossatot’s Continuing Education department is also promoting American Heart Month by hosting a free lunch and learn in partnership with the Sevier County Coalition’s Live Well Sevier County Coalition on Thursday, February, 27 at noon. The lunch and learn will take place in the UA Cossatot Weyerhaeuser room located in the Skilled Trades building on the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus.

This lunch and learn will inform those in attendance about early heart attack care and will be presented by Radiologic Technologist, Leah Harper. All are invited to bring their lunch and enjoy this free event.

UA Cossatot is offering CPR and AED training this spring, summer, and fall on a demand basis for both initial certification and recertification. CPR is an emergency procedure that can help save a person’s life if their breathing or heart stops. More than 350,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States per year. Ninety percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest die before reaching a hospital or medical care facility. Knowing CPR can save someone’s life.

This training is available to the general public, daycare centers, industry personnel, or anyone wanting to learn the skill of CPR. To sign up for a class or to learn more about CPR courses through UA Cossatot, please contact UA Cossatot’s Continuing Education department at 870-584-1178.

BANK ROBBERY REPORTS SURFACE IN DE QUEEN 02/21/20

On Thursday February 20th, KDQN received reports about a possible attempted robbery at a bank in De Queen occurring around the 6:00 p.m. hour. We reached out to De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons and Mayor Jeff Brown for an official statement. Mayor Brown confirmed multiple law enforcement agencies worked a call regarding a bank. The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a burglary was attempted at Red River Credit Union in De Queen.

According to an official press release from The De Queen Police Department, on Thursday February 20th, 2020 at approximately 6:03 p.m. officers of The De Queen Police Department were dispatched to an attempted robbery call at Red River Credit Union at 6th and Collin Raye Drive in De Queen.

It was reported that a black male approached the front door of the bank and pointed a gun while attempting to open the door. The suspect is said to have then fled the scene and a pursuit was initiated after the man’s vehicle was located.

The pursuit crossed over into McCurtain County Oklahoma where the suspect’s vehicle reportedly became stuck and he then fled on foot.

The Arkansas State Police, De Queen Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, and McCurtain County Sheriff’s Department are currently investigating the case.

As of Friday morning, February 21st, no persons of interest were reported to have been taken into custody. De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons confirmed no suspects have been apprehended but officers are actively working the case.

CITY OF DE QUEEN ACCEPTING DONATIONS TO HELP FAMILY AFTER HOUSE FIRE 02/21/20

De Queen Fire Department Chief Dennis Pruitt has confirmed that a house Fire occurred in the local area Thursday, February 20th and the flames caused a total loss of the structure. The Horatio and Broken Bow Fire Departments assisted in handling the scene.

The home belonged to an employee of the City of De Queen and donations are currently being accepted at city hall to help the family during this difficult time.

More details will be reported in the KDQN local newscasts on 92.1 FM and donations can be dropped of during business hours at city hall, located at 220 North 2nd Street in De Queen, Arkansas.

 IMPROVEMENTS COMING FOR KIDD’S LANDING IN HEMPSTEAD COUNTY 02/21/20

On Thursday, February 20th, The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously authorized $554,800 from the state’s Marine Fuel Tax program to be used for repairs and upgrades to boat ramps and access points throughout Arkansas at its meeting today.

The money will fund eight projects ranging from road repairs and construction to parking lots, boat ramps and courtesy docks.

Marine fuel taxes are collected on gasoline and diesel fuel used in boats throughout Arkansas. The money is held by the Arkansas Department of Transportation and is distributed through a partnership between the AGFC and ArDOT.

In Southwest Arkansas, projects funded included:Improvement of Kidd’s Landing Access on Bois d’Arc Lake in Hempstead County.

The Commission also approved the 2019 White-tailed Deer Strategic Management Plan, which will help guide the agency’s efforts in managing the species for the next five years. The plan was submitted for public review throughout January and was viewed by more than 34,000 people. More than 4,100 public comment surveys were completed during this time to offer input and overall attitudes toward the plan. The final approved plan will be published at agfc.com later this week.

PUBLISHED AUTHOR TO HOST BOOK SIGNING AT LOCKESBURG LIBRARY 02/21/20

Lockesburg native and published author Davida Wynn will be hosting a meet and greet/Book signing event at the Lockesburg Library in Sevier County on Saturday, February 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

There will be free entry, door prizes, an open forum discussion, a question and answer session and book purchase and signing available. Light refreshments will be served and everyone is welcome.

Davida is a 1999 Lockesburg High School graduate who achieved a Master’s Degree in Nursing and also works as an editor, motivational speaker and advance practice nurse, in addition to being an author.

Wynn is committed to empowering women in all walks of life and she currently resides in Atlanta Georgia, though she often returns to her roots of Lockesburg to stay connected with her friends and family in Southwest Arkansas.

For questions about the book signing, call Ms. Wendy at 870-289-2233.

OFFICER ARRESTS MAN FOUND WITH DRUG PARAPHERNALIA IN DE QUEEN 02/20/20

A local man is now facing a felony charge for being in possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop in De Queen Monday, February 17th.

A report released by The De Queen Police Departments states that Officer Jarrin Platt was patrolling South 4th Street around 1:20 p.m. when he observed a man known to have a suspended driver’s license traveling near the 41B and Hwy 41 South intersection.

Platt conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and confirmed the driver’s identity as Joshua Burcham, age 33 of De Queen. Burcham complied when asked to step out of the vehicle and he reportedly admitted to possessing a needle used for drugs.

A search of his person uncovered a syringe with suspected meth residue and Burcham was restrained. Platt noted finding needle marks on both of Burcham’s arms and he continued the search, but no additional paraphernalia was discovered in the car.

Platt transported the suspect to The De Police Department where he reportedly agreed to answer questions and make a statement. Burcham was charged with drug paraphernalia, class D felony and was held in The Sevier County Jail.

PINKERTON NAMED NEW ATHLETIC AND FACILITIES DIRECTOR  FOR DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL 02/19/20

A full agenda was handled by The De Queen School Board Tuesday night, as personnel, student healthcare and financial topics were among the most major of the 25 total items addressed during the meeting. A new Athletic Director and Facilities Director will be in order for the districts High School programs as the board agreed to promote from within and hire current Middle School Principal Mr. Lance Pinkerton to fill the role. The position opening was presented following the recent announcement of retirement for longtime coach and AD Bob Sikes.

The first item discussed Tuesday night was the bond closing with Ray Beardsley of First Security Financial. Superintendent Jason Sanders credits Mr. Beardsley for his guidance on the matter, as his financial advice helped the district obtain more than $700,000 in total unrestricted savings.

The board then heard from Angie Walker from the office of De Queen Physician, Dr. Randy Walker in regards to the proposed Leopard Clinic. The purpose of the clinic is to “help students and faculty in the district by bringing health services to them where and when they need it.” The proposed partnership will aim to reduce absences, increase vaccine compliance and fill gaps in the healthcare needs of the district by providing free access to medical services. The board agreed that educating the families and students through parent-teacher conferences, emails and informational materials prior to moving forward with the clinic would be the best approach in implementing the new services.

After holding the conferences and allowing time for public input, the board will reconvene on the issue at the April meeting.

Stephanie Jones informed the board that the show choir has raised a total of $20,450 towards their upcoming trip to attend “America Sings.” The show choir has attended the event 6 times, but this is the first group to be invited to participate in the honor choir. With around $2,000 still needed to pay for all parts of the trip, the board agreed to provide the remaining amount for the show choir to participate in the event.

All financial reports, previous meeting minutes, student transfer, substitute pay, stipends and the calendar for the 2020-2021 school year were approved, as well as the renewal of the administrative contracts.

Following the announcement of the new Athletic Director hire of Mr. Lance Pinkerton, Mr. Sanders also announced that an opportunity has been presented for assistant Middle School Principal, Brandon Lindly. As Mr. Pinkerton will step in to the AD position for the High School, the assistant principal position at the middle school will be condensed with the principal role and Mr. Lindly will serve as the principal and lead administrator for the campus.

Another big personnel change has been revealed with the announcement that Beau McCastlain will be stepping into a media relations position with the district. McCastlain is currently the baseball coach for De Queen, however he has a background in broadcasting and media and he will be leading the video board and video production class at the High School, as well as serving as a point of contact with media relations for De Queen schools. The move from baseball to video board/production will open up a spot for a head baseball coaching position and Sanders reports a recommended hire to replace McCastlain will be announced “in the next month or two.”

Good news is in order for staff members as the 2% raise announced for De Queen teachers is reportedly the first raise implemented in about 10 years. The raise will go in effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

The technology project bids were approved for two companies at a total of $310,308 to cover the installation and set up of cabling, cameras, intercom systems, and access controls for the district to feature top-notch equipment. The selected bids allow the board to save more than $400,000 from what the original bid submitted.

The board agreed to approve the start date of new head football coach Brad Chesshir on March 2nd, 2020, which allows him to participate in Spring football with the program.

Chesshir’s wife, Phylicia was also hired on with the De Queen district within the special education department. She is set to begin the position July 1st.

The final item addressed before adjourning was the selling of the Lockesburg Property on steel street. The highest bid came in at $36,500 and the letter of approval to sell the property was received from the state on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020, just in time for the board meeting.

The next De Queen School Board meeting is set for March 16th at 5:30 p.m. in The District Adminsitration building and the public is welcome.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MEETING HELD FOR HIGHWAY SALES TAX TOPIC IN MENA 02/19/20

The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) held a public meeting on Tuesday, February 11th at the Ouachita Center on The UA Rich Mountain Campus in Mena to emphasize the need to maintaining the state sales tax on the sale of Gasoline, which is set to expire in 2023.

Featured speaker for the meeting, Scott Bennet, ARDOT Director, advocated a proposed constitutional amendment for the 2020 General Election Ballot-Issue1- that would make the tax permanent. The half-percent sales tax that was originally approved by voters in 2012 and set to expire after a 10-year run.

Bennet expressed concerns in Mena about a grim future for Arkansas infrastructure if the tax is allowed to sunset. Bennett projects the tax will raise about $205 million per year for highways and around $89.6 million to be split between cities and counties.

Approval of the proposed amendment would provide funding for thousands of miles of interstate highways and farm-to-market roads, as well as money for repairing deteriorating bridges. Bennett said the measure is needed because highway revenue has remained flat over the last 30 years. “We have had three fuel tax increases since 1983, but people are also buying vehicles that are more fuel efficient,” Bennett said. “It has kept the revenue flat while prices for construction and repairs could have continued to increase.”

Bennet said $10 million could have paid for 200 miles worth of overlay in 1995 but today, it would only cover around 54 miles. Bennett said allowing the tax to sunset would call for a 30% reduction in funding.

The November, 2020 ballot proposal, referred to voters by the Legislature, is the second part of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s $300 million highway plan.

The meeting in Mena was one of 12 total sessions planned around the state in which attendees are able to view displays, ask questions and hear from ARDOT staff about the highway tax.

UA COSSATOT HOSTS TRANSFER FAIR MONDAY 02/20/20

The 2020 UA Cossatot Transfer Fair took place on Monday, February 17, at UA Cossatot’s De Queen and Nashville Campus. Thirteen four year universities visited the college to meet with students to discuss transfer options.

The UA Cossatot Transfer Fair gives students who have chosen to go to school at UA Cossatot the chance to meet with university representatives to learn about how they can continue their education after obtaining an associate’s degree.

rkansas Tech University Assistant Director for Transfer Recruitment, Sabrina Billey, said, “I am excited to be at the UA Cossatot Transfer Fair. Arkansas Tech University has several educational opportunities for transfer students. There are five transfer scholarships available that community college students can apply for and use at Arkansas Tech University that range from $3,000 to $9,000.”

Billey added, “We also have a Tech Transfer Tracker where transfer students can view degree agreements online between UA Cossatot and Arkansas Tech. On the Tracker, students can also view how many of their credits will transfer.”

The representative from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville also provided information to students. She informed them that this past year the University of Arkansas announced that they would honor UA Cossatot’s tuition rate by offering the Arkansas Transfer Achievement Scholarship.

Anyone who graduates from UA Cossatot with a transferable degree to the University of Arkansas, which would be an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or an Associate of Arts in Teaching degree, can pay the same tuition rate at Fayetteville that they spent at UA Cossatot.
The University of Arkansas’s tuition rate per hour is $246.12. UA Cossatot’s in-district tuition rate per hour is $72. This scholarship is available for those who qualify and will allow UA Cossatot students the opportunity to continue to pay UA Cossatot’s tuition rate of $72 at Fayetteville.
UA Cossatot students wishing to learn more about transfer agreements and options at other four year universities can contact UA Cossatot Student Services Advisor, Jocelin Galvez, at 870-584-1163.

ARKANSAS AG FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST HOT SPRINGS WOMAN FOR SCAM 02/20/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a Hot Springs woman who facilitated a multi-million dollar international sweepstakes scheme. The complaint alleges that Jean Butler, 73, is funneling fraudulently obtained funds through numerous bank accounts to the operators of the scheme in Jamaica.

“Jean Butler was and has always been an active, willing participant in this fraudulent money mule scheme,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Money mules like Butler who help scammers take advantage of Arkansans and people across the country must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

In these types of schemes and in this particular case, the operators, who are often in foreign countries, contact potential victims and say they have won a jackpot or lottery but must first pay taxes or fees before receiving the prize. The victims are instructed to send this payment to a person in the U.S., commonly referred to as a “money mule,” like Butler. The money mule opens bank accounts and deposits money received from these victims. The operators then withdraw those funds for themselves. In Butler’s case, investigators estimate she opened numerous bank accounts and facilitated the transfer of about $6 million to the operators of the scheme in Jamaica. The victims, usually seniors or other vulnerable persons, never received the promised prize and discover all too late that the money they sent to the money mule is gone.

Butler is accused of acting as a money mule since 2017 in a scheme purporting to be the “Mega Millions” lottery. After opening bank accounts, Butler would inform the bank that she would be traveling out of the country that way avoiding raising suspicions about the foreign transactions. Banks would eventually suspect fraudulent activity and close the accounts. Butler would then open an account in another bank and continue the activity.

Investigators determined that Butler was aware of her actions and complicit in her involvement in the scheme. The various victims of this scheme are reportedly from throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, alleges that Butler violated the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and seeks restitution for affected consumers, civil penalties and an injunction prohibiting Butler from further participating in this or any other scheme. The lawsuit also requires her to cooperate with any additional law enforcement investigations into the scheme. Any person who violates the ADTPA may be subject to civil penalties up to $10,000 per violation. The Attorney General’s Office coordinated this effort with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The recruitment of money mules is on the rise, often deceptively advertised as “work from home jobs” or “online jobs”, and appear to be attractive options for the elderly or college students to make money easily. It is common for those who participate in money mule activity to not even be aware they are facilitating an illegal operation. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be a victim of money mule activity, or to file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

DE QUEEN POLICE FIND PARAPHERNALIA, MAN SUSPECTED OF DWI DURING TRAFFIC STOP 02/18/20

An Oklahoma man was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia and arrested for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated on President’s day in De Queen.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states Sergeant Bucky Sawyer was patrolling Locke avenue in De Queen when he observed a vehicle in front of him accelerate in speed quickly. The vehicle was reportedly clocked at 47-miles-per hour in a 35-mile-per hour zone. The driver of the car was identified as Markus Hill of Smithville, Oklahoma, age 25.

Upon making contact with the driver, the officer noted the smell of an odor associated with alcohol coming from inside the vehicle and asked Markus how much he’d had to drink. The suspect reportedly claimed he’d consumed one alcoholic beverage an hour earlier, however a Portable Breathalyzer Test revealed Markus to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.12

Sergeant Wayne Baker assisted in administering additional field sobriety tests and officers asked if any drugs including marijuana, methamphetamine or cocaine were located inside the vehicle, Markus reportedly claimed he did not, however the police report lists a green pipe with residue as evidence found in the car.

Markus Hill was taken into custody for possession of a marijuana pipe and suspicion of DWI.

ARKANSAS AG LAUNCES FIRST OF ROUNDTABLE MEETINGS IN ALL 75 COUNTIES OF ARKANSAS       02/18/20
Last week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge launched her Rutledge Roundtable of 2020 with community and business leaders in Sebastian County. The event kicked off her sixth consecutive year of hosting roundtable meetings in all 75 counties around the State.
“As I visit all 75 counties each year, these meetings allow me the opportunity to hear directly from folks in their hometowns about issues faced by their communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By meeting people where they live, we can work on real solutions immediately.”
Since taking office in 2015, Rutledge has hosted 384 Roundtables with over 4,300 participants. Each meeting has included officials from local businesses, local and State government, farmers, faith leaders, educators and representatives from various other industries.
In addition to the Roundtables, Rutledge had a record year in 2019 with 2,232 Arkansans visiting an Attorney General Mobile Office throughout the State, and 2020 is already on pace to exceed the record. The mobile office initiative was created in 2015 to provide a county-by-county location to personally assist consumers in filing consumer complaints and answer questions about the full range of services provided by the Attorney General’s Office. After the success of the initiative in 2015, Rutledge expanded to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes during each visit. The office collaborates with local law enforcement agencies across the State to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Since the addition of this service, the boxes have allowed authorities to properly dispose of nearly 620 pounds of expired or unused medications.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

4-H POP-A-TOP CAN DRIVE    02/18/20

Ethan Wolcott reminded #1 Country listeners of the ongoing 4-H Pop-a-Top Can Drive being conducted by the Sevier County 4-H.  This is a state-wide campaign and Sevier County placed 1st in the Region and 3rd in State for this community project last year.

4-H is focused on community service and a new 4-H service club has been formed.  The Sevier County Community Changers will assist local groups with community service projects.  Call (870) 784-0748 or (870) 584-3013 for more information.

SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING VISITORS 02/17/20

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarships to 2020 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 65 scholarships with a total value of $37,090” states Ronda Pounds, chairperson of the committee. “This brings the total scholarships to over $462,557 awarded to 1,116 students over the course of our 34-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, May 3 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 2020 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.

EARLY VOTING FOR PRIMARY ELECTION STARTS FEBRUARY 18th      02/17/20

>Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston wants to remind Arkansans that Early Voting for the Preferential Primary & Nonpartisan General Election begins Tuesday, February 18th.The polls will be open between the hours of 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. Early voting ends at 5:00 pm on the Monday prior to the election.  Election Day is Tuesday, March 3.  The polls on Election Day will be open from 7:30 am until 7:30 pm. 

To check your voter registration information, find your polling location, or view a sample ballot, you can visit www.VoterView.org.  If you have moved or your information has changed and you need to update your voter registration, you have until February 28th to make this change before the March 3rd election.
By state law, voter identification is required at the polls, so remember to have a photo ID with you when you go to vote.
You may vote at any listed Vote Center: 
Kern Heights Baptist Church De Queen, AR 71832 
De Queen Church of Christ De Queen, AR 71832 
Ben Lomond Community Bldg Ben Lomond, AR 71823 
De Queen Mena Educational Co-Op Gillham, AR 71841 
J L Walker Fellowship Hall Horatio, AR 71842 
De Queen Community Bldg De Queen, AR 71832 
Lockesburg United Methodist Church Lockesburg, AR 71846 
Central Community Bldg Horatio, AR 71842 
Geneva Baptist Church De Queen, AR 71832.
Early Voting Site: Sevier County Clerk’s Office, Courthouse – Room 102. Available between Tuesday, February 18th and Monday, March 2nd, 2020
 Sample Ballots:            Democratic             Republican           Non Partisan

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT STAYS PUZZLED ON TIME CLOCK ISSUE FOR COUNTY EMPLOYEES        02/14/20

A small list of agenda items managed to host a “packed house” and a continued discussion of a puzzling time clock issue for the Sevier County Quorum Court at the February 10th meeting.

With just four items under the “new business” category and only two presentations in the committee and reports section, it was an item in the “old business” topics that held the JP’s up in lengthy discussion. The Time Clock Management system item is one KDQN has previously reported on in multiple recent meetings of the county Quorum Court.

After hearing an update from the Sevier County Hospital Board of Governors and a report from Kaylen Lewies of the Jason Owens Law Firm in regards to legal policies, the use of time clocks presentation was delivered, as The Quorum Court heard from Becky Boyett of Financial Intelligence Systems out of Little Rock. Ms. Boyett explained the logistics of the proposed time keeping system and answered questions from the JP’s, Department Heads and meeting attendees.

The Sevier County Quorum Court first approved the state-operated electronic timekeeping system for county employees back in December of 2018, but the discussion didn’t begin to heat up until nearly a year later, when the topic of implementing the system was included on the Quorum’s agenda for the November 2019 meeting. The hot button conversation was put on hold  in November and was tabled again until this month.

The proposed system will require all county government employees to clock-in and out of all shifts using a digital method through computer or cell phone app to log the hours worked. The system will also keep track of sick time and vacation hours for employees as well.
The discussion sparked a variety of reactions and response from the supervisors responsible for tracking employee time, as a concern for overtime regulations was brought up, along with the issue of emergency response time for Sheriff’s Deputies and logistics for the County Road Department. The elected officials of the county are split on the issue with differences in opinion.

After the presentation, the item was then tabled for the fourth time and will be addressed again at the March 9th meeting.

After the JP’s reviewed the 2018 County Audit results, a request for the allocation of funds to replace two wrecked vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department was discussed. The combined amount of the two vehicles in need of replacement totals more than $23,000 and after insurance, Sheriff Gentry reported the amount needed is roughly $12,000. No action was taken during the meeting, as Sheriff Robert Gentry is set to collect bids and then report back to the Quorum Court before the purchases are made.

The last items on the agenda included the re-appointment of Greg Wright as the delegate for The Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts and the 2% increase on dispatch fees for Horatio before the meeting was adjourned.

The next Sevier County Quorum Court meeting will be Monday, March 9th at 2:00 p.m in the conference room of the courthouse. The public is welcome.

LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SPOTLIGHT: JUSTYCE JOHNSON, FEBRUARY 2020
This month, KQN is providing the behind-the-scenes story of the lives of our local law enforcement representatives in the Sevier County area. We’ve been granted access to sit down one-on-one with employees of The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department for a close-up of those who help keep the community safe.
For the month of February, we’re spotlighting Justyce Johnson, a Detention Officer with The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department who was born and raised in the city of De Queen.
Justyce is a 2015 De Queen High school graduate, mother of a two-month old son named Dexter, and wife to De Queen Police officer Doug Johnson. Her family connection to law enforcement doesn’t just include her city officer husband, as her mother is also employed by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department as a Dispatcher.
Originally, Justyce wanted to become a lawyer for many reasons, including how fitting the job would pair with her name.
After realizing how long she’d have to be in school to earn a law degree, Justyce changed her path to discover a different side of law enforcement so that she could begin her career sooner.
In August 2017, the De Queen native began working at The Sheriff’s Department when a position opened up and her mom encouraged her to apply. A full time opportunity presented itself and she has been with the department ever since.
For fun, Justyce says she hangs out with her son a lot and enjoys watching Disney movies like “Monsters Inc.” She also loves working out, spending time with her family and going out to eat. Favorite foods on her list include pasta, Texas Roadhouse, Mexican food, sushi and “food in general.”
Something the wife and mother enjoys about her job is helping people. She says she believes that “if you treat people fairly, the way you’re supposed to, then you gain a lot of respect from people and they’ll come to you.”
We asked what Justyce wished people on the outside looking in at law enforcement could realize and she says she wishes everyone could see how much “they just want people to do better.” “We’re not out to get them”, she says ” I promise we aren’t hoping you come back to jail, we don’t want you to keep making the same mistakes.”
Being a Detention Officer at the county jail includes a series of responsibilities, such as booking inmates in the system, running regular security checks, verifying information, logging property, maintaining cleaning supplies, updating and scanning paperwork as well as escorting inmates to classes plus many other tasks. The officers are also required to help get the inmates ready for their court dates and keep the daily operations of the county jail running smoothly.
As far as her goals go, Justyce has a desire to patrol the streets some day. She says her favorite thing about law enforcement is that “you never know what is going to happen.” Despite how much routines play a role in a typical day at The Sheriff’s Department, anything can also change at a moments notice. Although she finds law enforcement exciting, she also recognizes that it isn’t the safest career field and the work-related stress is Justyce’s least favorite part about the job. She also has to make sure she doesn’t bring any of the stress from the Job home with her, even though her husband is a police officer who can relate to what she’s going through, she says she doesn’t want to take that stress out on her family.
We also asked Justyce who she looks up to, and she mentioned her maternal Grandmother, who she says was a great person and was like a 2nd mom to her, though she passed away when Justyce was a teenager.
Lastly, Justyce told KDQN she wishes people outside of Law Enforcement could go a day in their shoes, experiencing how busy they are, and how even when they’re not busy, she says there is “always” paperwork. Beyond patrolling the streets as an officer some day, Justyce has aspirations to become a parole or probation officer and to continue serving her community.
For more law enforcement spotlight stories like Justyce’s, keep listening to the local newscasts on 92.1 FM and keep checking out KDQN.net online.
CORPS TO CLOSE MILWOOD LAKE TEMPORARILY 02/14/20

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office is temporarily closing access to several boat ramps on Millwood Lake because of high water levels.

The impacted boat ramps are River Run East, River Run West, White Cliffs, and Wilton Landing.
The project office is monitoring the water levels and will reopen the ramps when the water recedes.

Officials at the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office regret any inconveniences this may cause.

If you have questions, please contact the Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office at 501-340-6609.

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.

GRAMMY WINNING ARTIST TO PERFORM IN TEXARKANA 02/14/20

Friday, February 21, 2020, at the First Baptist Church Texarkana, located at 3015 Moores Lane in Texarkana, TX, multi-Grammy Award-winner Bill Gaither will host a spectacular evening of music, laughter and encouragement featuring the talent of the prestigious Gaither Vocal Band.

The Gaither Vocal Band will share timeless gospel classics, as well as refreshing, inspiring new favorites embraced by audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Few events have the ability unite individuals from all walks of life the way Gaither concerts do. “The longer I live, the more I learn to appreciate the here and now – this moment – this place in life – this group of people with whom I am privileged to collaborate,” states Gaither Vocal Band founder and bass singer, Bill Gaither.

During the summer of 2019, the Gaither Vocal Band celebrated the release of a new recording, Good Things Take Time, produced by famed country and gospel music performer and studio musician Gordon Mote. The recording is a musical snapshot of a special season for this lauded quintet, featuring Gaither, Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb, Todd Suttles and Reggie Smith.

Year after year, Bill Gaither has brought the Homecoming Tour into cities worldwide, performing to packed houses with collective attendance figures exceeding a million people and being ranked among the top concerts for tickets sold worldwide in any music genre during the past two decades. Each concert showcases gospel music’s finest talent and draws new listeners with every city. Joining The Gaither Vocal Band for this special evening will be talented female vocalist, Charlotte Ritchie and powerful male vocalist Gene McDonald, as well as guitarist and comedian, Kevin Williams.

Gaither continues to be delighted by audiences’ response to the concerts, now more than 40 years after he quit his day job as a teacher: “I’ve always said it all starts with a great song, and we are fortunate that each concert includes great songs that have stood the test of time. With all the musical choices that are available now, there is still a special place for the joy and optimism that reside in Gospel music. Good news never gets old.”

Named ASCAP’s Songwriters of the Century, Bill and Gloria Gaither have written more than 700 popular gospel songs throughout their multi-decade career, including favorite standards “He Touched Me,” Because He Lives,” and “There’s Just Something About That Name.” Since 1992, when Gaither began recording the celebrated Homecoming series of DVDs and CDs, most every volume has gone gold or platinum with sales totaling approximately 100 million volumes. The programs appear regularly on television networks around the world.

This event with the Gaither Vocal Band at the First Baptist Church Texarkana in Texarkana, AR, begins at 7:00pm and will celebrate timeless themes of faith, unity and eternal hope through a variety of music the whole family will enjoy. Complete information, including ticket pricing, is available by visiting www.gaither.com or www.premierproductions.com. To charge tickets by phone or to obtain additional information call 1-855-484-1991.

WESTERMAN WEEKLY 2/14/20

MAN ARRESTED FOR DWI, DROVE WITHOUT LICENSE IN DE QUEEN 02/13/20

A man found driving without a license was charged with DWI and held in the Sevier County Jail after authorities worked a motor vehicle accident in De Queen over the weekend.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, February 8th, officer Hanney arrived on the scene of a car accident on West Locke Avenue and noted observing a vehicle “had run off the road and taken a street sign with it.”

The driver of the car was identified as Jose Luna, age 21 of Nashville, Arkansas. Luna reportedly spoke limited English and a nearby resident assisted in translating. Luna allegedly claimed to have a vison problem and also stated that another car had driven by with headlight beams on high. He also reportedly admitted to not having a driver’s license and a series of sobriety tests were administered.

The portable breathalyzer revealed a .13 and Luna claimed he’d consumed two beers, and officer Michael Barnes noted seeing a 30 pack of beer in the car. After completing additional Sobriety tests, Luna was arrested for driving while intoxicated and read his rights.

Another breathalyzer test taken later at the jail showed Luna to blow a .146. The suspect was charged with DWI and driving with out a license then booked in the Sevier County Jail.

ARKANSAS TOURISM EARNS STATE TOURISM OFFICE OF THE YEAR AWARD 02/13/20

Arkansas Tourism has been named the State Tourism Office of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The 2020 Shining Example Award winners were announced during the Southeast Tourism Society’s annual Connections conference in Little Rock, which was attended by representatives of several southeastern states.

The State Tourism Office of the Year award was given in light of team accomplishments throughout the Arkansas Tourism office, including effective tourism marketing, creativity in design and development, and implementation of new projects.

A recent economic impact report indicates that Arkansas hosted more than 32 million visitors in 2018 who spent $7.37 billion in total travel expenditures, $408 million in state taxes and $161 million in local taxes. This data indicates a healthy, thriving tourism industry across Arkansas.

The job of Arkansas Tourism is not just about numbers though. It’s also about finding creative and innovative ways to help tourism partners promote their attractions and destinations, while also enhancing the traveler’s experience.

In 2019, Arkansas Tourism conceptualized and launched several new projects that had not previously been implemented in the tourism field.  The most prominent example was the creation of “Ark Tank,” a competition for start-up tourism businesses within the state that debuted during the 2019 Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Other highlights of the year included: Arkansas Tourism took part in its first international sales missions trips including a Travel South International Sales Mission trip to Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou, China and sales trips to the UK and Ireland. Arkansas Tourism began a new partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to produce “ARKANSAS: Love Where You Live,” a print publication targeting potential audiences for relocation to the state. Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., served as an ambassador for Arkansas’s participation in the U.S. Civil Rights Trail by participating in a satellite media tour broadcast to local news outlets across the U.S.

In his appearances, Mayor Scott promoted not only Central High School National Historic Site and other Arkansas civil rights sites, but also Arkansas’s culinary scene and other tourism attractions. Arkansas Tourism collaborated with the University of Arkansas to launch an experiential learning experience for high school students.

Arkansas Tourism increased its professional development opportunities for the industry by hosting a Crowdriff Webinar and Google Webinar.

In addition to these external-facing projects, Arkansas Tourism also launched several new programs for internal staff. These programs not only increased the team’s professional knowledge, they also fostered a spirit of teamwork and collaboration.

STATE PARK IN MENA TAKES TOP PRIZE IN TOP CHEF COMPETITION 02/13/20

Queen Wilhelmina State Park took home the top prize today at the Arkansas State Park’s Top Chef Competition. It was the first time they won in the seven years of the contest.

Five park restaurants participated in the event, sponsored by Ben E. Keith, at the Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute. “We made a fajita salad with roasted asparagus,” said winning Chef Ken Morse. “We think it was our special seasoning on the fajita steak that caught the attention of the judges.”

Contestants from Queen Wilhelmina, DeGray Lake Resort, Petit Jean, Mount Magazine and Ozark Folk Center state parks prepared a new entrée and sides that each restaurant does not currently have on its menu but is considering adding it as a selection.

Judges from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Ben E. Keith and UAMS used criteria such as flavor, presentation, and workstation tidiness to crown the victor.

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY BOARD OF DIRECTORS ANNOUNCED 02/13/20

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce board election committee met to tally the ballots cast for the four positions open on the current board, and the 2020 Board of Directors have been announced.

Incoming board of directors:
Tara Athey – Hale Real Estate
Monica Pearce – Monica Pearce Designs
Angie Walker – Dr. Randy Walker Family Clinic
Callie Miller – De Queen-Mena Educational Co-op

Current board of directors:
Chris Chandler – Smartphone EMT
Christy Gallegos – HealthCARE Express
Sheila Ridley – Sevier County
Amanda Billingsley – Avanna Boutique
Emilee Vaught – Vaught Care Center
Zahir Kamruddin – Individual
Angela Smith – Bailey Discount Building Supply
Lori Jones – Ranch House Cafe

Board alternates:
Hector Gallegos – HealthCARE Express
Denise Smith – Country Girls Cafe
Jan Wolfe – Wolfe Chiropractic
Daniel Figueroa – Selena’s
Alicia Gonzales – Meraki Hair Studio
Montana Frachiseur – Pilgrim’s Pride
Jackie Taylor – UA Cossatot

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TRAVELS TO WASHINGTON D.C FOR ASBA 02/12/20

Ashdown School Board Member Rosa Bowman traveled to Washington D.C. February 2-4 to represent the Arkansas School Board Association. She currently serves as President-Elect for the State Association.

The trip was part of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Advocacy Institute 2020. Mrs. Bowman has served on the Ashdown School Board since 2006 and is a retired teacher.

She was excited to travel to the nation’s capital for a second time to be a part of the Advocacy Institute, and said, “I’m honored to have the privilege to again meet with our national legislators concerning upcoming legislation and to thank them for all they do in providing federal funding for our schools.

This was 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 had two days of meetings and workshops focused on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), broadband for rural communities, and E-Rate funding. On the third day, she had the opportunity to meet one on one with Arkansas Legislators serving the state of Arkansas. She met with Senator Tom Cotton and Congressmen Bruce Westerman and Rick Crawford. This gave Mrs. Bowman the opportunity to communicate to them the important issues of our local schools.

While in Washington, Mrs. Bowman was able to tour the Smithsonian Museum of Natural Science, see the 45 carat Hope Diamond, and see the original Declaration of Independence.

Ashdown Superintendent, Casey Nichols said, “We are so excited Mrs. Bowman had the opportunity to again represent both Ashdown Public Schools 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. We are so proud of her dedication to our students.”

SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMAN’S ASSOCIATION 02/12/20

The monthly meeting of the Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association will be held on Monday, February 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Adams Building of UA Cossatot.

Morris Ranch Inc. will sponsor the meeting, and the speaker will be Rachel Bradshaw with Farm Service Agency.

A drawing will be held for all those who have paid their 2020 dues in December and January, and the prize is a steak dinner from the Ranch House Café.

Come eat with the organization, learn about some valuable programs available to agriculture producers through Farm Service Agency, and renew your cattlemen’s membership if you haven’t already.

They welcome new members as well, and all who renew in February will be entered in the drawing for a steak dinner to be drawn for in March. For more information, call 870-584-8809.

HILLTOP BAR BURNS DOWN IN EAGLETOWN WEDNESDAY 02/11/20

The City of Broken Bow, Oklahoma has released information about a fire that caused a McCurtain County bar to burn down last week.

A report from The Broken Bow Fire Department states that on Wednesday, February 5th at approximately 11:45 p.m, Firefighters were dispatched to the scene of a commercial structure fire at Hilltop Saloon off Highway 70 East in Eagletown, Oklahoma. Multiple members of the department worked to extinguish the flames, along with assisting aid from The Eagletown and De Queen Fire Departments.

The report states that Broken Bow Fire arrived on the scene by 11:59 p.m. February 5th to discover the building fully engulfed and “50%” of the structure already burned to the ground.

Firefighters pulled lines to suppress the blaze from both sides of the building and reported the fire to be out by 1:28 a.m. At that time, command of the incident was transferred back to The Eagletown Volunteer Fire Department.

There were no deaths or injuries reported and the state Fire Marshall was contacted to assess the scene and investigate what caused the flames.

The owner of the property is listed as Jeanette Rojas, a resident of De Queen, Arkansas. KDQN reached out to the office of the State Fire Marshall to retrieve the official report and officials stated that “the investigation is ongoing at this time”. Details will be reported as information becomes available.

SEVIER COUNTY HOSPITAL MEETING HELD THURSDAY 02/11/20

The most recent Sevier County Hospital Board of Governor’s meeting was held Thursday, February 6th in the conference room of the county courthouse in De Queen.

The meeting was lead by acting chair Greg Revels, who filled in for chairman Steve Cole. After the prayer and opening remarks, the board welcomed a presentation from Mark Webb of Vizient, who announced that he will be making himself available as a resource for the construction and equipment planning aspects of the hospital project.

The board agreed an important point to consider as construction draws closer is making the most cost-efficient decisions possible when planning equipment purchases and patient logistics. The next item discussed was the floor plan design for the medical center. The board previously sought input from the local community and held a special meeting to go over the results submitted.

After discussing several issues within the floor plan that still needed adjusting, an additional meeting to finalize the blueprint for the new Sevier County Medical Center was scheduled for Wednesday, February 12th at noon in the county courthouse conference room.

It was reported that a communication error resulted in the final floor plan being estimated at 1500 square feet more than planned, when the goal was to reduce the overall center size by 1500 square feet. Details still needing to be finalized in the plan include locations of the kitchen, inpatient rehab services, trash removal coordination and other logistics.

The next item on the agenda was discussing the land and site survey for the property in which the center will be located. A full site survey is reportedly in the works, as well as the laying out of electric lines and water lines.

In regards to the old De Queen Medical Center, an update was provided by Attorney Lynda Johnson of The Friday Firm and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray. It was revealed that the old building in De Queen will be put up for auction by the Commission of State Lands in September of next year. Greg Ray reported the property, however, is “uninsurable” and will require a 3-year minimum before anything else could be built in the old center’s place. Ray also currently has full authority over the hospital license and money from the receivership account has also been transferred to the Sevier County Court System.

The final item on the agenda was about developing a support system for the hospital through an official foundation. That foundation would serve a purpose of directly benefiting the Sevier County Medical Center through efforts coordinated by local people in the community who have a strong interest in the well being of the center. The foundation board will consist of 9-15 community residents who will be in charge of donations, fundraisers and events that will benefit the new medical center.  The board approved the decision to form the official organization and the group title has been chosen as “The Sevier County Medical Center Foundation.”

The next Sevier County Medical Board of Governor’s Meeting is set for this week on Wednesday, February 12th at noon in the county courthouse conference room.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS SIGN WITH COLLEGES THIS MONTH 02/10/20

Ashdown High School senior football players signed to continue playing at the next level. Brett, Joseph and Delrae will play at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Anthony Hopkins will play at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas.

(l-r) Brett Bond, Anthony Hopkins, Joseph Paredes and Delrae Smith


Front row (l-r): Brett Bond, Anthony Hopkins, Joseph Paredes and Delrae Smith Back row (l-r): Matt Richardson, Chuck Crow, Joe Baker, Jake Norwood, David Wilson, Tyler Sheppard

TRUCK DRIVING TRAINING OFFERED AT UA COSSATOT 02/10/20

UA Cossatot is offering a Truck Driving Training Program this spring at its Nashville Campus for individuals seeking a career as a professional truck driver.

The training program is provided through the college’s Continuing Education department and is available in March, April, and May.

The UA Cossatot Truck Driver Training Program is an intensive one hundred and sixty-hour training program with a proven record of providing quality, in-depth truck driver training that will have students on the road in four fast-paced weeks. The training program includes a combination of up-to-date classroom, field, and on the road training.

The total cost to sign up for the course is $3,695, which includes books needed for the training. Financial assistance may be available for students interested in being in the program.

Classes will take place Monday through Thursday on March 2-26, April 6-30, and May 4-28.

The instructor, Phillip Jones, will teach the course from 6:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. each day. The Truck Driving Training Program at UA Cossatot will be offered three times this spring semester.

The deadline days to register for one of the three options is February 24, March 30, and April 27. Truck drivers, on average, make $39,070 a year in Arkansas. In only four weeks, students in this program at UA Cossatot can expect to be prepared to enter a career where there is a bright job outlook.

The college is also offering a Truck Driver Refresher Program designed to reacquaint individuals who haven’t worked in the trucking industry for a long period of time with the opportunity to get refreshed. In this program, the student will learn skills to obtain his/her CDL license and re-enter the trucking industry as a professional commercial truck driver. The course is also available to those who would like to improve on their existing skills, such as backing, shifting, or driving.

The course is customizable to each student’s needs and may include classroom, range, and road time. Persons entering this course must have his/her permit or a valid CDL. The program includes forty hours of training and costs $900, which includes the CDL Skills Test.

To learn more about the Truck Driving Training Program, the Truck Driver Refresher Program, or to enroll in either program, please call UA Cossatot’s Continuing Education department at 870-584-1178.

10TH ANNUAL IRONMEN’S WILD GAME COOK-OFF 02/10/20

De Queen First Assembly 10th Annual Ironmen’s Wild Game Cook-Off will be held Saturday, February 29th in the Hospitality Hall. This year’s speaker will be John Williamson. Area men may enter their Wild Game dishes for a chance to win great prizes. Dishes for judging must be turned in and registered between 4:30 pm and 5:00 pm at the church. The meal will begin at 5:30 pm.

Prizes include: Browning Abolt 270 Rifle Ruger 10/22 Rifle Chain Saw Weed Eater and many other great prizes. There will also be a Rack Em up Contest for the Best Mount, Best Rack, and Ugliest Rack. Call 584-3435 if you have any questions.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHAMBER AWARDS BANQUET WINNERS ANNOUNCED 02/10/20

The annual Little River Chamber of Commerce membership banquet was held Thursday evening, February 6th in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the U of A Cossatot campus in Ashdown.

Congratulations to the following award recipients: The Steve Pearce Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Joe Mack Bennett. Rhonda Fleming Pounds received the Clayton Castleman Public Service Award. The Panther Ambassador Award was presented to Cole Smith, while Kenzie Cowan received the Gator Ambassador Award. Teachers of the Year was honored as follows: Jennifer Simmons for Ashdown; Samantha Lace Smith for Foreman; and Lynze Greathouse for U of A Cossatot. New Construction Award went to Davis Feed Company. The Renovation Award went to Tres Agaves. Noah’s Ark Daycare won the Small Business Award, while Southern Precision Fabrication took Large Business honors. And the School/Community/Non-Profit Award was presented to the Methodist Church in Ashdown and Reverend Jim Cross, our own “Voice of the Panthers” on 92.1.

Congratulations to all the award recipients at the Little River Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet last Thursday evening in Ashdown.

2020 CENSUS UPDATE 02/10/20

A greater effort is being made in many Arkansas cities to emphasize getting an accurate count in hard-to-count communities during the 2020 census effort this spring.

Getting an accurate count is important in helping cities receive the maximum federal funding that’s based on population. Every year, census data is used in sending billions of federal funds to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other services.

At last week’s Count Me In Census 2020 Kickoff in Little Rock, it was estimated that census numbers are projected to amount to an average of $3,300 per person per year over the next ten years. Undercounted residents include children under younger than five, people of color, people with limited English language skills, those in rural communities, those who distrust the government, those who move a lot, and the homeless.

Mireya Reith, executive director of Arkansas United, an advocacy group for immigrants, said state, local, and community partnerships will be needed because the 2020 census faces several unique challenges. Reith said mistrust of government isn’t limited to immigrant communities. Farmers in rural Arkansas also fear government intrusion. Reith said that in De Queen, there is a large number of hard-to-count residents from immigrants with limited English language skills to farmers who don’t trust the government because they think it will make their taxes go up.

Tyson Foods is also participating in the efforts to ensure an accurate count. With 25,000 team members in Arkansas, John Tyson says that communicating the importance of census participation to employees and dedicating company time and resources to helping everyone understand is vitally important.

The goal of the Count Me In 2020 campaign is to tear down fear and distrust, and to start building bridges among people in communities.

AGFC ANNOUNCING YOUTH SHOOTING SPORTS SCHOLARSHIPS 02/10/20

Student athletes considering participating in this year’s Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program have a new reason to sign up and build their shotgunning skills: the chance to claim a $1,250 scholarship as top gun in the Champion of Champions shoot that will be held in conjunction with the program’s state championship event.

The additional scholarship opportunity is possible thanks to the Homebuilders Association of Greater Little Rock. In November, they signed a five-year agreement to donate $2,500 each year to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation to support the scholarship. The remaining portion of the donation will be held in an annuity to continue funding the scholarship in the future. AYSSP is a competitive trap shooting program created by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2007 for any student in grades 6-12.

Teams practice on their own beginning in February, and then compete in regional tournaments held each weekend from the end of April through May. Teams and individuals who qualify through regionals then advance to the annual state championship.

Jimmy Self, AYSSP coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says the contract will renew at the end of its five-year term unless either party opts to cancel it at that time, so the donation may very well support young shooters’ college goals for the foreseeable future. “We’ve always been able to provide a scholarship to the top teams in the senior division at the state championship, but this will be the first time we can offer the top overall shooter a scholarship as well,” Self said.

According to Self, before this donation it was entirely possible for the best shooter in the whole program to get a trophy and a pat on the back, but no scholarship like the top overall team. In some cases, individual shooters have come to the state championship’s “Champion of Champions” competition from teams that didn’t even show up to the final weekend’s shoot. “Usually the top shooter is on a qualifying team, but there are cases when the entire team could not make it to the competition day,” Self said. “We hope the added incentive helps motivate some of our young outdoors-oriented students to take up the sport and compete.”

Visit www.agfc.com/ayssp for more information on the program.

ARKANSAS AG LAUNCHES PSA ON CHILD ABUSE 02/10/20

LITTLE ROCK –This week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released her public service announcement (PSA) on her YouTube channel addressing the warning signs of child abuse.

One in every five children in Arkansas suffers abuse from family, friends or neighbors. “Many of us were blessed to grow up in a loving home, but not every child does,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If something doesn’t seem quite right, say something, and save a child’s life.”

The Special Investigations Department (SID) of the Attorney General’s Office has statewide jurisdiction. These certified law enforcement officers are committed to protecting Arkansas’s children by investigating and arresting those who sexually exploit children online. SID is also a member of the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and cooperates with federal, State and local law enforcement agencies.

The public service announcement can be viewed now on Rutledge’s YouTube page and it can later be seen on various networks and cable stations throughout the State. Arkansans who have questions can email the office at oag@ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

HORATIO STUDENTS TO ATTEND BOYS AND GIRLS STATES 02/06/20

American Legion Post 54 of De Queen is sponsoring Duncan Connor and Melissa Arellano from Horatio High School to participate in the upcoming American Legion Boys State and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs. American Legion Boys State will be held at the University of Central Arkansas and the Girls State will be held at Harding University from May 24-May 29.

The Boys and Girls State programs are a one week intensive education program of government instruction for high school juniors. They are programs where each participant becomes part of the operation of their local, county and state government. Connor and Arellano will partake in various activities to include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies’ band, chorus and recreational programs.

ASHDOWN COMEPTES AT FBLA CONFERENCE THIS WEEK 02/06/20

The FBLA District IV Conference was held on Wednesday, Feb. 5th at UACCH in Hope. Ashdown High School had 16 students competing in various events. Several students qualified to compete in State Competition on April 6-7 in Little Rock by placing in District competition.

Above: Aly Mills was installed as the District IV Reporter and will work with the District IV Officer Team for the year 2020-2021.

Public Service Announcement – Gracie Sisemore – 1st Place Business Ethics – Chelbi Gathright, Rhys Parker and Ansleigh Patrick – 3rd Place Digital Video Production – Morgan Billingsley and Kaya Stultz – 3rd Place Introduction to Public Speaking – Aly Mills – 3rd Place Public Speaking – Sara Huddleston – 3rd Place Business Calculations – Addison Smedley – 5th Place Business Communications – Ellie Loosier – 5th Place Personal Finance – Lanyce Hemphill (not pictured) -6th Place

STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS DELIVERED AT TUESDAY’S COUNCIL MEETING 02/06/20

The agenda for the council meeting in De Queen Tuesday night listed just three items and one of those was the notable state of the city address delivered by Mayor Jeff Brown.

The address reading took place after the approval of the previous meeting’s minutes and time for citizen comments. During the comment session, Imagination Library organizer Z.Z. Kamruddin informed the council that the program has been a big success for Sevier County since launching the local chapter in 2018. Kamruddin thanked the council for their financial contribution but announced the $2,500 donation would not be needed this year due to an outpour of support from the community.

Suzanne Babb used the comment time to report the annual chamber of commerce awards ceremony and banquet set for Thursday, February 27th in The De Queen High School Cafeteria. This is the 100th anniversary of the De Queen chamber of Commerce and this year, the theme for the banquet will be “Dress for the Decade.” Attendees will be encouraged to wear outfits that were popular during their chosen decade between 1920-2020.

The first item of new business was a fiesta fest presentation from Dustin Roberts of The UA Cossatot Foundation. City Attorney, Erin Hunter informed Mayor Brown and the council that using taxpayer money for a donation towards anything that is not a youth organization (like boys and girls clubs or imagination library) is a violation of Arkansas constitution.

Though the council will not be able to donate any money, they can still help with the festival by closing off city streets and routing traffic for the event.

The next item on the agenda was the state of the city address delivered by Mayor Jeff Brown. KDQN was permitted to record the reading and the file has been uploaded below:
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The last item on the agenda was information about a COPS grant presented by Police Chief, Scott Simmons. Simmons reported that the city will be applying for a grant in the amount of $125,000 through The Governor’s office that would allow for an additional school resource officer to serve the campuses of De Queen public schools. Simmons said 75% of the funds can be used for the officers salary. After three years, the grant would run out and the city would be require to foot the bill for that officer’s pay. After a brief discussion, the council discussed a few housekeeping items that will be addressed at the next meeting and then the meeting was adjourned. The next meeting is set for Tuesday, February 18th at 5:30 p.m.

HORATIO STUDENTS ATTEND FBLA COMPETITION IN HOPE 02/06/20

Horatio FBLA students dressed to impress for their spring conference and competitions this week. UA Hope hosted over 750 competitors just for the district . A total of 12 students placed top 5 in the district and will advance to State in several categories. Superintendent Lee Smith reports “All of the FBLA students represented Horatio well, and we couldn’t be more proud of them!”
Congratulations to the participating students:


Jacob Brecheisen-Securities & Investments Samantha Harris-Personal Finance Aubrey Matheson-Impromptu Speaking Gabbi Litchford-Job Interview Hannah Norman-Political Science Haylin Halcombe-AgriBusiness Madisyn VanBibber-Bus Communications Angela Gutierrez & Magaly Sandoval- Publication Design Team Diego Zenon, Norma Resendiz, & Melissa Arellano- Marketing Team

ARKANSAS HUNTERS CAN TRY FOR ‘TRIPLE TROPHY AWARD’ 02/06/20

The 2019-20 Arkansas deer seasons are winding to a close, and a handful of archers are still looking for a last-minute harvest before the February 29th deadline. But, there’s plenty of time for successful hunters to submit an application for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Triple Trophy Award. Hunters who qualify for the Triple Trophy Award must, within a single annual deer season framework, 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 a patch and a certificate suitable for framing. The program was started in the mid-1980s to encourage the harvest of antlerless deer and to spread hunting pressure through the three seasons, reducing crowding. It may be hard to believe now, but at one point in the 1930s, only 500 deer were estimated to still exist in Arkansas. Unregulated market hunting and subsistence hunting nearly caused them to be completely wiped out. The AGFC introduced deer from other states and relocated deer to game refuges, where deer were protected and allowed to grow without disturbance. Harvest of female deer was strictly prohibited to enable the deer herds to expand. By the 1980s, however, deer populations had grown to healthy enough numbers to allow some harvest of does to begin the change in management from growth to maintenance. But breaking the taboo of harvesting does was a difficult process. In fact, it is still frowned upon by some hunters, despite the need for more doe harvest to keep the herd balanced and healthy. If does are protected from harvest, the ratio of does to bucks can be too far out of balance. This can lead to many does being bred later in the season than usual as well as too many deer competing for limited resources, which impacts the health of bucks and does alike. Visit www.agfc.com/tripletrophy to learn more and apply.

TWO SW ARKANSAS SCHOOLS CLOSE FOR ILLNESSES 02/06/20

Two area school districts have announced their classes are dismissed for the remainder of this week due to a high volume of student sickness. Officials at the South Pike County District and the Mineral Springs School system both announced late Tuesday afternoon that school will be shut down through Friday. Both districts will utilize the A.M.I. days for this week. Mineral Springs officials say their conference basketball games slated for Friday night are still scheduled to be played at this time.

OFFICER IMPERSONATION REPORT DETERMINED TO BE A HOAX 02/04/20

On Tuesday, a press release containing information about a black male impersonating an officer was published to the community by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department.

The press release stated that a woman, who has now been identified as Casey Parker, age 31 of Nashville claimed she’d been pulled over for a turn signal violation by a black male driving a white, unmarked Chevrolet car with blue lights.

Deputies with The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, De Queen Police Department, 9th West Judicial Drug Task Force, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Highway Patrol, Howard County Sheriff’s Department, and the Little River County Sheriff’s Department were all assisting in the attempted apprehension of the alleged suspect who was reported to be impersonating an officer.

Multiple news reports were announced on local media sources to inform the public they should “Be on The Look out” for the suspect, described as a black male weighing 200 lbs, standing 5’7 inches tall.

On Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 after authorities spent numerous hours investigating the reported incident, Deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department received information about Casey Parker making the scenario up as a prank, and filing a false report.

Casey was arrested that same day and charged with Class D Felony for filing a false report and is currently being held in the Sevier County Jail.

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department would like to inform the public that they take every call the comes in very seriously and they are here to take care of all the citizens of Sevier County to the best of their ability. Anyone who calls in false reports will be dealt with accordingly. Sheriff Robert Gentry would like to thank everyone who shared the information on social media.

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET ANNOUNCED 02/05/20

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce has announced their annual banquet and awards ceremony for later this month. The event will be held on Thursday, February 27th with doors to open at 5:30 p.m. in The De Queen High School Cafeteria. This year, the chamber will be celebrating their 100th anniversary, and the theme for this year’s banquet is to “Dress for the Decade” as attendees are encouraged to come dressed in attire from their favorite 10-year span from 1920-2020. Community awards will be given out during the event, and a meal will be served by The De Queen High School cross country team. There will also be a silent auction and deals on merchandise that have been donated by chamber members through the live auction. The De Queen Jazz Band will be performing live and tickets are on sale now. The cost is $25 per person or $200 per table. Email DQchamber@gmail.com or call 870-584-3225.

SEVIER COUNTY COALITION TO HOST LUNCH-AND-LEARN ON HEART HEALTH 02/04/20

February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn lifesaving information about heart health. On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Sevier County Coalition’s Live Well Sevier County Committee and UA Cossatot will be co-hosting a Lunch-n-Learn entitled “Early Heart Attack Care” at UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. The presentation will begin at 12:00 noon in the Weyerhaeuser room, located in the Skilled Trades Building, and will conclude at 12:30 p.m.

Presenter Leah Harper will be teaching participants to recognize the signs and symptoms of heart attack including risk factors, how symptoms can differ for men and women and atypical presentations of a heart attack. Harper says, “Heart disease is the leading cause of death for adults in the United States,” adding “Last year alone, 647,457 people died of heart disease. A number of these deaths could have been prevented.”

Harper is a registered Radiologic Technologist (RT(R), ARRT) and native of Sevier County with a background is in Radiologic Sciences. She has worked at Christus Saint Michael Health System for over 36 years, including 26 years in the Heart Cath Lab. She is currently the supervisor for the Heart Cath, Electrophysiology and Interventional Radiology labs; and active in community outreach. Harper says, “Heart health is something I’m very passionate about. Heart disease doesn’t just happen to older adults. The conditions that lead to it are now being seen in younger adults more often. My goal is to save lives by educating the public on how to be savers instead of enablers.”

All are invited to bring their lunch and join Mrs. Harper for this free event. For more on Lunch-and-Learn programs, visit the Sevier County Coalition website at www.seviercountycoalition.com or call UA Cossatot’s Continuing Education Services at (870) 584-4471.

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO HOST PUBLIC MEETINGS 02/04/20

The Arkansas Highway Commission has scheduled a series of regional public meetings in the first quarter of 2020. The purpose of these meetings is to educate and inform the public while soliciting input regarding proposed projects that could be funded by a continuation of the temporary half-cent sales tax. A total of 12 meetings have been scheduled, and the next session will be held on Tuesday, February 11th at 5:30 p.m in The Ouachita Center of UA Rich Mountain in Mena. Other meetings are planned in West Memphis, Harrison, Texarkana, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Maumelle, Springdale, Batesville, Jonesboro and El Dorado . These sessions will consist of an open house program where attendees can view displays and visit with Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) staff. This will be followed by a brief formal presentation on the current funding and condition of the Arkansas Highway System as well as the impact that continuation of the half-cent sales tax would have in funding system preservation and new capital projects moving forward. In early 2019, Governor Hutchinson announced his highway funding legislative package that resulted in Act 416 and a proposed Constitutional Amendment, House Joint Resolution 1018. Act 416 provides revenue from motor fuel taxes, electric and hybrid vehicle registration fees, and casinos resulting in an estimated $95 Million in new funding to ARDOT. If the constitutional amendment is approved by voters, it will provide an additional estimated $205 Million annually to ARDOT and an estimated $43 million each to cities and counties. Citizens with an interest in learning more about the Governor’s proposed highway program are encouraged to attend one of these 12 regional public meetings. Each of the meetings will be identical in format and presentation material. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions that will be addressed by Commission Director Scott Bennett.

GAME AND FISH TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 02/04/20

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special open forum for the public at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana campus on March 18. The forum will begin at 6 p.m. in Hempstead Hall, 500 S. Main St., in Hope. The AGFC hosted three open town hall meetings during 2019, and this will be the first scheduled for 2020. This forum will take on a different look than previous town hall meetings. Instead of Commissioners sitting in front of a crowd to answer questions, they and various AGFC staff will be stationed at tables throughout the room to answer questions on a one-on-one level. “We received some excellent participation from the public at the last three meetings,” AGFC Director Pat Fitts said. “We hope to offer even more time for individual questions and engagement with the public through this new format. Everyone will still be able to talk directly to Commissioners or staff, but we hope this gives a much more personal environment where people can speak freely.” Brief presentations are planned before the open question period. Anyone who wishes to speak is encouraged to attend. Visit the AGFC’s YouTube page for a recap of questions and answers during the previous three meetings. A direct link to the Stuttgart meeting, held in November, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9B7_7iehas.

LIBRARY SNIPPETS: BY JOHNEYE FISHER 02/04/20

Each Sevier County Library Branch recently received a wonderfully generous gift of 100 new children’s book from The Brownstone Book Fund. The staff would all like to say a BIG Thank you to Diane. Johnye says Without folks like her our libraries could not continue to thrive. At The De Queen Library this month, The Caplinger family will be donating a bronze plaque in memory of their Beloved mother Thema Caplinger. She instilled upon her children the love of reading and are still avid readers. There will be a ceremony on February 20th at 1:00 pm. Everyone is invited to attend. We will have a story time and Making Valentine’s with Klondike February 12, 2020 at 4pm. Everyone is welcome to come on in and make Valentine Cards for the Nursing center folks here in De Queen. Don’t forget those Domino games going on Wednesdays at 10am.You can contact 870-584-4364 or visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/seviercountylibrary Happy Valentines Day from the Horatio Library. They will have a children’s program on February 15th at 10 a.m. Every Thursday there is a Mexican train domino game at 9:30 with a trophy for the winner to take home that week. They have several new books on the shelf from authors such as Stewart Woods, Suzanne Wood Fisher, and Melinda Leigh just to name a few. They also have 100 new children’s books that were donated by The Brownstone Book Fund and they have several used Christian Fiction books on the way. Any residents with an interest in starting a Book Club in Horatio should call at 870-832-6882. Have a Blessed month and we hope to see you at the Horatio Library. At the Lockesburg Library there will be a book club discussion of February’s selection “Where Somebody Waits”, by Margaret Kaufman at 10:00, Saturday, Feb. 8. March’s book club selection will be available to pick up at this meeting. Please join us on Saturday, February 22 for a “Come and Go”, “Meet the Author/ Book Talk/Book Signing” with Davida F. Wynn from 10-11:30. Davida F. Wynn is an advanced practice nurse, author, motivational coach, and speaker. She has resided in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area for the past five years. She is a 1999 graduate of Lockesburg High School. Her family continues to live in our area. Contact Wendy Clay at 870-289-2233 for more information concerning programs, books and activities at the library. Due to recent changes the hours for Gillham Library will be Saturdays 10 am- 2pm until further notice. For more information, you can contact at the Gillham Library at 870-386-5665. They are currently looking for volunteers please call the De Queen Library at 870-584-4364

SHOPLIFTERS ARRESTED IN DE QUEEN SUNDAY 02/04/20

Two local residents were charged with theft of property and held in the Sevier County jail after police responded to a shoplifting call in De Queen Sunday evening. According to a report released by The De Queen Police Department, Sergeant Wayne Baker and Officer Michael Barnes were dispatched to Wal-Mart on Colin Raye Drive around 5:54 p.m. Sunday, February 2nd in reference to a report about shoplifters inside the store. The suspect was described as a white male, wearing sunglasses and a cap who was reportedly seen switching his tennis shoes for a pair of boots and leaving them in the box on the store rack. He also consumed a red bull energy drink in the store without paying for the item. The man was identified as Shane Patrick Davis, age 25 of De Queen. Authorities waited outside until Davis exited the premises and then placed him in custody. Later that evening, a woman identified as Kristen Arrender, age 31 of De Queen was confronted by police for alleged thefts from the Wal-Mart store. Arrender reportedly admitted to having previously taken a bottle of shampoo, hair dye, a notebook and cologne. The suspects reportedly admitted to the shoplifting and were charged with theft of property. Both Davis and Arrender were read their Miranda Rights separately and held in the Sevier County Jail before being released due to overcrowding.

LOCKESBURG COUNCIL NOTES FROM JANUARY MEETING 02/04/20

The most recent Lockesburg City Council meeting was held Tuesday, January 14th and a variety of agenda items were addressed. The council agreed to continue their scheduled meeting times of 6:30 p.m. on the 2nd Tuesday of each month throughout 2020. Other action items approved during the meeting include new back tires for the city’s Kabota Tractor in the amount of $800 each, as water supervisor Justin Ruth reported the purchase would need to be made in time for Spring. An additional lawn mower may be coming as well. Justin also noted that the city is currently down to just one mower and it was agreed that price estimates will be collected and reviewed at the February meeting. Before entering an executive session, the council approved Wastewater Superintendent Matt Webb to attend a wastewater 1 class in Clarksville class March 10-12 with testing to be conducted March 13th. It was announced that work was under way for dead trees and various streets around town. Following the executive session, two raises were revealed for city employees. Recorder/Treasurer Becky Jegstrup will be receiving a 6% raise and after being presented with a certificate from the City Clerk Recorder Association, a 25 cent per hour raise is set to go in effect for Deputy Municipal clerk, Joanna Giusti. The council has also reviewed applications for a clerk assistant but no action was taken.After going over several engineering proposals, it was agreed that Al Franks Engineering will be hired to complete the wastewater project. In addition to a new audio recording device to be purchased for city meetings, new items have arrived for the Lockesburg Senior Center. The Lockesburg Lions Club purchased picnic tables and chairs that were delivered for the seniors. The council agreed to give $100 per month to the center and the current employee will cook on Fridays. In March, the city will be applying for a grant to supply funds for finishing the kitchen. After approving the previous meetings minutes, December Financial report, and bills, the meeting was adjourned. The next Lockesburg City council meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 11th at 6:30 p.m. in city hall.

DE QUEEN TEACHER ACHIEVES NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFICATION 02/03/20

Jill Collins, literacy facilitator at De Queen Elementary, recently achieved National Board Certification in the area of Literacy: Reading-Language Arts for early childhood through middle adolescence. She joins the ranks of teachers across the country who have proven their abilities as highly accomplished teaching professionals. “These new National Board Certified Teachers will continue to change the way their students learn, and their proven ability to be the best teachers they can be will have a ripple effect on their schools and their communities for years to come,” said Peggy Brookins, NBCT, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. “I’m especially proud to see that large numbers of new NBCTs are teaching in schools where they are needed most.” Including Collins, the De Queen School District now employs 11 National Board Certified teachers. According to Collins, “The rigorous process of achieving National Board Certification has helped me strengthen and refine my teaching skills. I have become more reflective in selecting only the best methods and materials to meet the unique needs of each learner. I am grateful to work in a district that supports teachers in reaching their full potential, encouraging them to continue to grow professionally throughout their careers. The students I have taught and the families I have gotten to know are among some of the greatest blessings in my life,” “The staff at De Queen Elementary School is extremely proud of Mrs. Collins and her accomplishments. She works diligently with all of the students at DES as well as serves as a resource to all teachers. She is a valuable member of our DES family,” said Terriann Phillips, De Queen Elementary principal. In order to become a Board-certified teacher, teachers complete a performance-based, peer-reviewed process, demonstrating their proven impact on student learning and achievement. In addition to the new NBCTs, more than 24,000 teachers are currently pursuing Board certification. An increasing number of states and districts support growing the number of Board-certified teachers because of the impact they see on teachers and students. “National Board Certification is about elevating the teaching profession; and it is about helping children achieve at higher rates,” said Brookins. “The certification process impacts teaching and learning well beyond an individual teacher’s classroom.” More about the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards can be found at www.nbpts.org

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 02/03/20

Representative DeAnn Vaught reports the Department of Finance and Administration announced that effective February 3, 2020, all 134 State Revenue Offices will have the ability to issue a Real ID. Arkansas is taking part in the federal nationwide initiative to improve the security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, which will help fight terrorism and reduce identity fraud. Starting October 1, 2020 anyone who boards a domestic flight or enters a federal building will need a Real ID driver’s license, Identification Card or other approved documentation required by the United States Department of Homeland Security. When we previously reminded constituents of the upcoming deadline, just 25 State Revenue Offices could issue a Real ID. Now, DFA has expanded the capability to all revenue offices to make it more convenient. The cost to obtain a REAL ID does not differ from the cost to obtain or renew a license or ID. Current Driver Licenses (DL) can upgrade to REAL ID at any time by purchasing a duplicate license. The fee for a duplicate DL is $10.00 and expiration dates remain the same. If within one year of the expiration date, you may renew and convert to the Arkansas Real ID. At regular renewal periods, the REAL ID may be purchased for $40.00 and will not expire for eight (8) years. Real ID will not replace a U.S. Passport or allow border crossing. A Real ID Driver’s License is optional and only required for individuals who wish to continue using their Driver’s License to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings after October 1, 2020. Should you have any questions about the Real ID, please contact the Office of Driver Services at 501-682-7059, email questions to driver.services@dfa.arkansas.gov or VISIT www.ar.gov/realid or www.dhs.gov/real-id

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES LAWSUIT AGAINST HOT SPRINGS TOW BUSINESS 02/03/20

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a lawsuit today against Classic 24 Hr. Towing & Recovery, a Hot Springs business for operating without a license, mandatory permits, vehicle registration or liability insurance. The owner, Paul Vujicic, advertises that his company has been in business for more than 40 years, yet evidence shows, it has never been properly licensed. “Every time this illegitimate business is put to work, its customers are unknowingly put at risk,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas has these regulations in place for the safety and protection of both consumers and business owners.” According to the complaint, Vijicic has been cited repeatedly by the Hot Springs Police Department for failure to register his towing vehicles, failure to have insurance, as well as safety and moving violations. In 2014 Classic 24 Hr. Towing was caught operating without the required safety permits. The investigator informed Vijicic that he was violating Arkansas law. A similar interaction occurred in 2017, and Vijicic was cited for displaying a fake safety permit on the rear window of one of his tow trucks. The Towing and Recovery Board demanded he quit towing immediately. Vijicic continued to operate. In 2018, the Towing and Recovery Board ordered Vijicic to pay a $10,000 civil penalty before the Board would issue him a license or safety permits. Again, Vujicic was later discovered to be operating with two unpermitted trucks. In 2019, Vujicic applied to perform towing and recovery for the Arkansas Department of Transportation. These harmful acts violate the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA). Each violation can amount to a $10,000 fine. The Attorney General asks that the Court prohibit Classic 24 Hr. Towing & Recovery from doing further business until it has all the required permits. To file a consumer-related claim with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, call (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.